I’m so not well. If you have an ounce of sympathy left in you, shove it my way. So many things have happened this week that left me feeling moby dick that, after I write this, I’m going straight back to bed. The sight of that large hairy creature showing off her backside to me in a show of defiance was the last straw. And no, in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t Mrs X going for a shower. Not this time.
It was an ape on the news. Me and those animals have history, you know. Many years ago, I unexpectedly ended up on Gibraltar for a week when the RAF Nimrod I had been hitching a lift on had a mechanical problem. What can you do on Gib? Having illegally burrowed under a fence into Spain, flown across to Morocco on a puddle jumper that made Loganair seem executive class, and drunk as much in the beer cellar as I could, it was time to go up the Rock.
Easier than a Munro, there was not just a road but also a cable car. There are also these knuckle-dragging primates wandering around looking for treats. Being a lowly-paid airman, I wasn’t inclined to share my lunch with an ape. Oops. One of them sank his canines into my inner thigh.
Stretchered off, I was subjected to painful examinations, probes, needle insertions and other awful indignities. In my morphine-induced haze, I mumbled about being mauled by King Kong. The doc explained I’d actually been attacked by an ape known as a macaque. Apparently I replied: “I didn’t know you spoke Gaelic but that’s a good word to describe it.”
Now the most uncontrollable of the macaque pack are being shipped to Blair Drummond Safari Park. Why? To be nearer me? So they can have another go at my pink bits? Now I’m quivering. Bet you they’ll escape soon. I’ll have to live behind the sofa.
I shall have to get fit – so I can run fast in case I meet one again. Maybe I should get one of those machines called bicycles again. That thought brings back memories of learning to ride. There I was, racing around the garden on my bike while calling out to my mother to watch what I could do. “Look mum, no hands. Look mum, no feet.” Brag. Look mum, no teeth.
With painful memories swirling around in my head, I happened to watch that wee TV prog Riding The Ridge the other night with Dunvegan lad Danny Macaskill making his way along the stone-strewn top of the Black Cuillin – on his bike. I winced in disbelief. I have flown in a jet fighter upside down over the North Sea while retaining most of my breakfast but this made me more unwell. The queasiness has lasted for days; all I have to do is think of daredevil Danny perched atop the pinnacle, holding the cycle over his head and … ooer. Gulp.
No matter how good the suspension on that bike, there must have been some sensitive parts of the Macaskill anatomy that ached for days after that. And did you see when he was riding along that really narrow ridge with all the loose stones? I knew it wasn’t a live broadcast but my brain was screaming at me that the guy I was watching was taking his final cycle. Meanwhile, my stomach was churning like a spin dryer on its final cycle.
Had the fearless fellow veered two inches sideways, he would have plummeted to his doom. For someone suffering from vertigo, as both Mrs X and I do, it was not just frightening but quite horrific to watch. We each had to hold onto something. What can you hold onto when you’re scared witless in a sitting room? Each other? Don’t be daft. I wasn’t that scared. I only went behind the sofa because I thought I saw a macaque on the ridge.
Danny’s so calm, so unruffled. Not like any of the Skyemen I know. When the dank, black rain came down on the hill and prevented them making any upward progress, Dan The Man didn’t resort to uttering: “Yuck. Just my luck. We’re stuck”, or any words that rhyme with that. He yelped: “Oh, dearie me.” Mind you, when he was practising that amazing crash as he went pell-mell into the fence and landed on his noggin, I’m sure I heard something fruity in Dunvegan dialect.
Seriously, so many people cycle now. There is a story about a certain unconventional minister who had his cycle go missing. However, he told his friends he would get it back on Sunday. At his next sermon he would go through the 10 Commandments and when he would get to ‘Thou shalt not steal’, God would sort it out.
The following week he was in the saddle again. He was asked if the 10 Commandments had worked as planned. He said: “I got as far as ‘Thou shall not commit adultery’ when I suddenly remembered where I left my bike.”