32: Apple And Blackcurrant Squash

Which Is Bad For You?

Which Is Bad For You?


To say Blameworthy and I drank rather a lot during the eighties is something like saying the Pope prays a bit. The amount we drank throughout the eighties would have had today’s health lobby in epileptic fits. Fingers would be violently wagged and predictions of doomed kidneys not far behind; with the added threat of a badly battered liver thrown in.

Nowadays it’s all referred to as Units of Alcohol and if you go over a certain amount of units then you are in the danger zone. Trouble, ailments galore…and lashings of tut-tuts!

Well, despite us being well over the unit safety limit – many times over in a night let alone a week – Blameworthy and I have survived reasonably well physically. That’s not to condone the copious amounts we drank but more to say we are doing ok considering…

In later years we have found a way to curb what the health critics would call excessive alcohol intake – we rarely drink together this has a tendency to curb our drinking by fifty percent…or at least I try to convince myself it does.

Some wags have suggested that as Blameworthy and I rarely frequent the pubs together like we did in the ‘old days’ it’s a possible explanation as to why so many Public Houses have closed over the last twenty years or so. Their profit levels dropping rapidly after our semi-retirements – if that is what our abstinence can be described as.

It has to be admitted that The Duke of Wellington – so frequently blessed with out custom – is no longer a pub. Whether this is evidence of their reliance on booze hounds like Blameworthy and I is anyone’s guess…

However much the doomsayers of old condemned our capacious ability to consume beer, there was little warning of another beverage which was in recent times to do me more damage than alcohol ever did.

And that is Apple and Blackcurrant squash.

How so, you may ask. Well, get comfortable and I shall tell you the woes that accompanied the pint of the aforementioned concoction.

Ever since my brush with Doctor Calm and the need to take medication for my rather OTT blood pressure, I have been taking a pint of Apple and Blackcurrant squash up with me to bed in the evenings. The main reason for this is down to one of the pills I take for my blood pressure in the morning. There is a particular tablet that whilst keeping the old BP down does drain the liquid in my body necessitating me drinking more liquids than I have ever done before to replace those the pill gets rid of.

Even beer didn’t disturb my sleep as much as this tablet does. Three times a night! Three times! And each time it’s during a good bit in a dream I’m having!
Anyway, a particular night in 2012, I was in bed early as I needed to be up early in the morning. I got out of bed at around 1am to take care of a need precipitated by the tablet and returned a minute or two later to replenish the liquid lost.

Being half asleep pouring the liquid in worked ok but when I went to put the glass back down on the bedside table I misplaced it on top of a pen which unbalanced the glass and sent the contents pouring across the bedside table and the floor.

With an exclamation of ‘Oh dear’ (or perhaps something a little harsher with about the same amount of characters) I switched on the light to commence a mop-up operation.

Needless to say once finished I was wide awake.

Back into bed I found I couldn’t get comfortable. The quilt wasn’t quite in place; it wasn’t covering one corner of the bed. Not vitally important but after the debacle with the Apple and Blackcurrant squash I wasn’t happy. I wanted it to be in the correctly place…

However, anger and stubbornness had me shaking the quilt from the top to try to get it into place. The more it didn’t the more I became angry with it and increasingly aggressive.

I know it would have been easier to get out of bed to get the thing in place. I know that trying angrily to shake it from a semi-laying down position was totally the wrong way to do it!

But anger removed all rational thought and I became determined it was going to be shaken into place without me having to get out of bed.

The fight went on for about twenty minutes – such was my stubbornness – before it finally fell into place and I had secured the victory I wanted.

Another hour and the adrenaline had died down and I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, I managed to get up early and into work. I ached a bit but all seemed to be fine.

However, by 8am that evening I began to feel some chest pains; aches I couldn’t figure out where they came from.

That night I was in quite a lot of pain and found it difficult to sleep laying down so had to sit up. This stopped the chest from hurting so badly but had the effect of every hour on the hour of me having get out of bed to shake my arse – hula dancer style sans grass skirt – in order to restore the circulation in my buttocks quickly enough for me to get back into bed for another hour’s asleep.

I dread to think what the neighbours – if for some reason insomniac – would have thought if I hadn’t had my curtains closed and me being observed going through the hourly arse shaking ritual.

I am not sure I have much of a reputation for sanity in the street where I live. In the early part of this century I did some gardening – not something I do often – and filled about a dozen large sacks with garden waste. These I stacked in the small area outside my front room window. My friend Anecdote offered to load them in his estate car and take them to the tip.

All went well. We loaded the car – after a couple of beers – then made off to the tip. But, we were too late and it was closed. We had to bring the rubbish back.

Unfortunately, the neighbour who saw us load the car also witnessed us unloading and putting it back at the front of the house.

I could imagine him saying to his wife: ‘That bloke next door. He just loaded his garden rubbish into his friend’s car and took it for a ride round for half an hour…’

Anyway, I digress…

Finally, as is so often the case, a new day dawns and the pains are worse. Walking and breathing were difficult but I managed to get into work; albeit later than planned.

More or less as soon as I walked through the door Mrs Immediately noticed I was not well.

‘You look pale,’ she said. ‘Are you alright?’

‘A little achey,’ I responded.

Within five minutes of sitting down Mrs Immediately commented again. ‘You don’t look well.’

‘I’m alright,’ I replied, despite the pain.

‘You should get a doctor’s appointment.’

‘No, no I’m fine. It’ll probably go by the end of the day.’

Five minutes later.

‘You’re no better. You should ring the doctor,’ said Mrs Immediately; yet again.

I inwardly sighed. I knew I wouldn’t get any peace until I rang the doctor. When Mrs Immediately got the bit between her teeth she wouldn’t let go; never give in. It was unwise not to do what Mrs Immediately told you do…er..um well immediately.

And to be quite honest I wasn’t getting any better. I felt pretty bad the breath was becoming even more difficult and painful.

‘If you don’t want to do it then I will,’ she said.

I hadn’t reacted within a split second so she was onto me again.

I dialled the doctor’s number and got an appointment for 16:30 that day. If nothing else my ears wouldn’t get a bashing from Mrs Immediately.

Shortly afterwards I informed Topman and he was insistent that I go home now and not hang about. Topman wasn’t prepared to listen to a word of argument and went even further to tell me that he did not expect me in the next day.

So some half an hour later I was on my way home. I was walking quite slow but allowed enough time to get to the bus stop on time.

Once home I dozed and wake up half an hour before I was due for my doctor’s appointment. I decided I would get there early and began making my way.

It was this walk, normally no more than six or seven minutes, which brought home to me how bad the old chest was. I took twenty minutes to get there. It also helped me understand why Grandfather Fitrambler couldn’t walk very far in his later years.

Grandfather Fitrambler had breathing problems and, as I was finding myself, if you couldn’t take in enough oxygen then movement of any kind was difficult. It depleted your energy levels.

I got to the doctors, managed to get my breath back enough to tell them I had an appointment with the emergency doctor.

Ten minutes after my appointment was set for I got to see Dr Calm. I explained what was wrong.

‘Hmm,’ he said with a frown.

Then he got me to stand up and stood up himself. He stretched his arms straight out in front of him.

‘Put your arms on the outside of mine…’

I frowned but did as I was told. If this was the first stage of the beginning of some sort of Morris Dance…however the lack of the sound of bells from the direction of his knees took that thought out of my head. Besides, if he wanted to Morris Dance I would have pointed him in the direction of the Pink Lady; she was far more experience in that than I ever would be.

‘Now try and push my arms inwards,’ said Doctor Calm.

I did as he said and although it hurt managed to move his arms a little.

‘Hmm.’ he said.

He got me to sit down and then got me to do some deep breathing, which also resulted in pain. After that he clipped a device to my finger, checked the reading on it.


I babbled within this time telling him that I thought it was probably strained muscles. Or probably hoping he’d say it was…


He then got me to strip to the waist, listened to my back and chest.

‘Hmm.’ Then: ‘Ok, you can get dressed, please.’

I got dressed and then, once settled back in our respective seats he began to fill out the ‘Hmms.’

‘It could well be you strained the muscles in your chest. This would have the effect of making breathing painful. Shallow breathing means you’re not getting enough oxygen. The oxygen levels in your system seem to back that up. However, just to be safe, I’m going to book you in for an immediate ECG with the nurse. I’ll arrange an appointment for an x-ray tomorrow…’

Being the devoted drivelling coward that I am I asked: ‘Any chance of some painkillers.’

‘I’m not sure that would be a good idea…’ Doctor Calm replied as he tapped the keys on his computer.

I thought it was a great idea. Painkillers equals no pain and a happy Fitrambler…what’s not to like?

‘You can take some Paracetamol. But you need the pain so that we can see if you are getting better or not.’

For a few seconds I did consider grizzling but felt that probably wouldn’t change his mind.

Ten minutes later I was in the waiting room awaiting the call from the nurse.

Once I was called I shuffled my way into her office she smiled at me. I tried to smile back but because of the pain I probably grimaced; an expression more at home in a Hammer horror film.

She got me to strip to the waist and take off my footwear. My walking trainers were coming to the end of their life so some nose twitching accompanied this; but in a very English way nothing was mentioned.

I moved over to the trolley which was where I would lay down. I suddenly felt a cold sweat form. Laying down caused pain…I didn’t like this one bit.

What I didn’t predict was the pain I was going to go through trying to get on the trolley to lay down in the first place. I couldn’t use my arms to lever me on because that caused pain and I couldn’t lift my leg high enough to use that to get me on top.

However, while the nurse went to get the ECG machine I saw a chair by the trolley.

Ah ha!

I would use that as an intermediate stage to getting on the trolley. I raised my leg to the chair with minimal pain but then when I put the weight on the chair I must have been at the wrong angle. I slipped and sent the chair ten feet away from the trolley.

Unfortunately, I let out what can only be described as a girly-scream. If I’d had more chance to evaluate the pain I might have been better prepared and been able to let out a manlier scream but no, a girly one issue forth…

I got my breath back after a minute then went to get the chair back just as the nurse was coming in. She frowned at me.

‘I thought you would’ve been on the examination trolley by now?’

‘Working on it,’ I said.

She sat back on her seat while I struggled to get onto the trolley. She was untangling the wires for the ECG and then filling out some more paperwork while I struggled a second time only sending the chair a couple of feet and this time managing to suppress a potential girly scream!

Finally, I got on top of the trolley but when I tried to lay down and relax pain went through my chest and there was another stifled girly scream.

It seemed like hours I was there laying in pain but was only minutes and then the nurse got up and started to place the wires on the strategic parts of my anatomy.

‘You should have asked for help if you were having trouble getting on the trolley…’ she said.

Personally, I felt the yelps of pain and sending the chair flying a couple of times might have given her a clue but hey ho!

Once the tabs were placed on she started the ECG and then walked away just as tab felt off my side.

‘Tab’s fallen off.’

She carried on walking to the desk.

I repeated myself. ‘Tab’s fallen off!’

She seemed not to pay attention and went back to tapping her computer keyboard.

A few minutes later she came back and looked at the ECG then at my body and saw the loose tab.

She sighed. ‘You really should have said one of the tabs had come loose. We don’t want to be here all night…’

I went to say something but was in too much pain. She re-applied the offending tab and then walked away while the machine did its stuff.

This time there was a reading and she smiled. ‘Right, you can get down and get dressed now. All over.’

‘A bit of help, please,’ I said as I tried to get in a more upright position.

It was a wasted remark on her receding back. I struggled stifling an excessive amount of girly screams as pain shot through me.

I got to the chair a few minutes later just as the nurse looked up from her computer.

‘Not dressed yet, are we?’

Well, I wasn’t but she seemed ok.

I managed to get my clothes on and left the bow tie to sit in my pocket. I felt I didn’t want to inconvenience her any more than I had.

I slowly left the surgery and began what now seemed a long walk home. The physical pain I’d just been through was fading but the memory was pretty clear…

I hadn’t eaten since breakfast so bought a tin of soup from the corner shop before going home. It would be a simple thing to cook. And for what could be termed a red-letter day in diaries of those who knew me, I didn’t feel hungry.

Fortunately, there was not any permanent damage and I was surprised that the pain eased off within days. However, all those dire warnings about the dangers of alcohol and it turns out that the spilling of a pint of Apple and Blackcurrant squash was far more dangerous than any beer I’d drunk in the past or was likely to drink in the future…

45 comments on “32: Apple And Blackcurrant Squash

  1. Blameworthy, I already have depression: single malt can surely do no harm to a man who already yearns for extinction.
    I read some of Psmith stories two decades or more ago and can remember little about them. I seem to recall at least some of them taking place at a posh school.

  2. Have you not read Psmith Goes On The Ppiss, or Psmith Undergoes Pspsychoanalysis? Stay off the single malt, Gloomers, it’s a common cause of depression. As, indeed, are Nottingham realists.

  3. Blameworthy, I see no parallels whatsoever between myself and Psmith. Is there a book of which I have hitherto been unaware in which Psmith studies the oruvre of Nottingham realist Stanley Middleton or discovers at the age of 47 that he quite likes single malts?

  4. If my half-life really is interminable, GloomLaden, I’m not sure whether the swiftness of its passing would be of benefit to me or otherwise or, indeed, whether it might ever be likely to pass at all. But, oh, how I would love to have sampled Robert Robinson’s fruit cordial had he branched out into the soft drinks industry. Sadly, I suspect it may have been too exclusive even for Waitrose, let alone M&S.

    I have recently been reading a series of Wodehouse stories featuring the character Psmith. He reminds me so much of you despite lacking your flamboyant joie de vivre.

  5. There is only one Robinson. And He is Bob.

    I’d have been more impressed if the ‘real’ fruit was not present in every drop. Imagine the fun one could have extracting the fruitless drops. Even your interminable half-life, Blamers, would simply whizz by. Of course, I drink only real freshly squeezed fruit juices from M&S and have no truck with such syrupy stuff.

  6. While I was pondering the philosophical issues raised by the mysterious cable, my mind was distracted by the lettering on the squash bottle. The liquid inside the bottle, whatever it may be, either contains fruit or it doesn’t. The number of parts fruit compared to other, more dubious, ingredients may be of a very low ratio but if there’s fruit in one drop, surely, there has to be fruit in every drop. Whether it’s real fruit or not is beside the point. Even a simpler statement such as ‘contains fruit’ would seem rather superfluous as the words apple & blackcurrant would already have given the game away to even the dullest of brains.

    And how many Robinsons are there? We can no longer tell because Fitrambler, while in the throes of a suspected coronary, has manhandled the squash bottle in such frantic fashion as to erase the apostrophe.

  7. For once, Blameworthy, you have a point. By which I do not mean that there is any sense a point to you, for neither are you physically in possession of a point (as, for instance, a pencil might) nor philosophically utile. No, the point to which I allude is that concerning what you presume to be an electrical wire. Could it lead to a standard lamp? Or a hairdryer, mayhap? In many ways, I don’t want to be told the answer, preferring the myriad possibilities to the closing down of options truth boils down to.

  8. Please accept my apologies, Fitrambler, I had no right to denigrate the quality of your furnishings, especially as my own desk actually is made out of fake, plastic coated wood. I assumed, incorrectly, that the photograph was taken on one of those laminated wood-effect kitchen worktops. It’s good of you to take time out from your busy working day to clarify the knotty problem of the knotty pine. Despite having lots of spare time on my hands I had made no further progress on the issue.

    I do, however, find myself wondering about what appears to be an electric cable just to the right of the beer bottle. Where does it come from? What does it lead to? Is it really a cable at all?

  9. Oh and the legs are wood painted green. Not sure why anyone would do that but they did. I’ve never been bothered enough to change that.

  10. I take issue with the not real wood. It is not a real desk in the sense that it’s purpose is a dining table I use for a desk. The main point is that it is solid pine varnished. Bought it second hand from Sue Ryder’s.

  11. Do you mean the bottom left from the point of view of the pint glass – and let’s assume for one moment that the glass has arms to make things easier – or to the left of the picture from our own perspective? I suspect you are referring to a small knot in the wood, but then it’s clearly not real wood so therefore not a real knot.

    I’ll get back to you on this one.

  12. Just to the bottom left of the pint glass in the picture heading this blog post, one can see what may either be a mark in the wood or an actual divot. I suppose the former is the safer bet but is the latter not possible? Perhaps, Blameworthy, having no job to go to anymore, you could look in to the matter.

  13. You were right about these comments being merely the banter of three ageing men, GloomLaden, your contributions today have been so far from satire it’s almost laughable. How’s about we all just strip life down to basics and have a damn good weep. I always used to think I was just bantering with Mrs. Sunshine. My mistake.

  14. Don’t knock John Suchet; I saw his live stage show about Beethoven at the Arts Centre many years ago and it was excellent. This was probably before he had endured the full agony of his wife suffering dementia, of course. But his specialist knowledge exempts him from being in the same category as Titchmarsh or Armstrong, who no more listen to classical music in real life than I go kayaking.

  15. Well, turn that radio on, GloomLaden, and tune in to Classic FM; bring some colour back into your life with John Suchet.

    And why not join the National Trust and make new friends? That 2 for 1 offer is still valid until the end of the month and it’s still the same price if you join alone.

  16. Wrong again, Blameworthy. Without work, what would I have? Unlike you, I have no wife, no child, no car, few friends, no urbane satisfactions. Nothing. If my life with work were like black and white television, my life without it would be a television showing merely black. A radio, in effect.

  17. Your indignant verbosity is like water off this old coot’s back, GloomLaden. What really irks you is that I no longer have to go to work and you do. What really irks me is that I don’t yet qualify for a bus pass.

  18. Fitters, it is unusual for one of your comments to inflame my spleen in the way that has become almost inevitable when Blameworthy burbles forth. Truth to tell, I don’t much like Alexander Armstrong. Just another posh Establishment popinjay, affecting to be friendly towards a public his class have always despised. Friends can call him Xander, he can go on tour singing middle of the road shite and he need do nothing other than the sledgehammer oronically titled Pointless and everyone thinks him a good egg. Well, Fitrambler, you would be first to say – and right – that one does not have to watch him. But there really is no comparison between AA and Robert Robinson. Bob was middle rather than upper class by birth and upbringing. Bob denied himself greater wealth by not doing adverts, believing that if people couldn’t trust what he said about toilet rolls, they couldn’t trust him on anything else. Bob wrote novels and columns, made the finest radio discussion programme ever made (Stop the Week) and was quick to refer to his quiz show work as money for jam. He never presented programmes about classical music, though he would certainly have been better informed and a sight less matey than Xander if he had. Anyway, my real objection was less to AA than Blameworthy and his dismal cohort of early retirees – ‘old coots retired early’ as Mark E Smith calls them.

  19. They’ve got Bill Turnbull now, you know, as well as Alan Titchmarsh and Aled Jones; all good, decent chaps. It’s not been the same, though, since Laurence Llewelyn Bowen went off to China to sell his exotic lingerie range. Ahh, if Jonathan Swift were alive today he’d be presenting the Top 300 Hall of Fame over Easter without a doubt. Two-for-one entry to Corfe Castle for senior citizens who go before the school holidays… and here’s Rachmaninov to take us up to the next lengthy batch of DFS adverts… or is it Shostakovich? Who cares? They all sound the same anyway.

  20. You don’t like Alexander Armstrong, do you GL. I’m quite surprised as you like Robert Robinson who took self-agranding smugness to a level never seen by others’ and that includes the aforementioned AA.

  21. He was laughing at you and your kind, Blameworthy, laughing at you and all your comfy, early retired, National Trust membership brandishing, gillet wearing, Memory Lane haunting, cream slacks sporting, Dire Straits respecting, sensibly driving, R White’s lemonade sign fetishing, wider-world-muted-by-final-salary-pension unappreciating, Countryfile weather forecast heeding, Bank of Mum & Dad wisecracking, Endeavour in-joke referencing, Viking river cruise contemplating, country lane clogging, celebratory funeral planning sixtysomethings. ‘Lark Ascending you want,’ one can almost hear him treacling into the mic, ‘Lark Ascending you get.’ as he contemptuously licks brandy cream from between the eagerly proffered breasts of some twentysomething trustafarian intern who can’t wait to tell her Pointless loving friends by text of her latest adventure in media studies. He hates you and your beige kind for your middle of the road tastes and next stop dementia ability to know the tune and not the composer, let alone the conductor, let yet further alone soloist. He and his kind have one; politicaly, socially and intellectually and the supine middle and lower classes of England can do no better than genuflect to this overpaid rugger bugger unfit to lick the boots of the still dead Robert Robinson, a man who would never his dirtied his tweed jacket sleeves in the post Alzheimer brain sponge that is Classic FM.

  22. I’ve just returned from a Sunday afternoon jaunt around the Oxfordshire villages; it’s lovely to get away from reality and glide into the more gentle, reassuring world of Midsomer Murders. My car radio is always tuned to Classic FM and who did I hear as I drove carefully and courteously into the English countryside but the wonderful Alexander Armstrong. His off-screen persona displays no trace of the smugness and contempt that viewers often, mistakenly, feel he exudes while hosting the popular Pointless TV show. His musical knowledge enables him to select, unerringly, all those easy-listening, catchy, snippets of classical tunes which we all know and love, even if our ageing memories will not always allow us to recall the composer. How can one feel one’s life has come to nothing in the company of such a consummate host?

  23. Aged as you undoubtedly are, Blameworthy, you continue to age. I’d wonder where it is all going to end but suspect we all know, As to the when; there’s a question even Fitrambler cannot answer.

  24. Well, thanks a bunch, GloomLaden; there’s gratitude for you. I try to ease your shame by claiming grander purpose for our persistent drivel and you throw it back in my face by exposing me as a fraud.

    I am a man more aged than ageing. Last of the Winter Whingeing in my case.

  25. So now, Blameworthy, you launch the self-aggrandising claim that these blog comments and the characterisations to which they are appended are some sort of Swiftian satirical project nobly aimed at poking a rectal thermometer up the metaphorical anus of the social media fraternity. You imagine yourself as some sort of latter day Alexander Pope when you are more like the off-screen Alexander Armstrong, brim full of contempt and smugness. These comments are no such thing, merely being the banter of three ageing men whose lives have come to nothing – an electronic Last of the Summer Whine, if you will.

  26. The comments section of the blog would never have developed as it did had real identities been used. It is not difficult to identify the real life ‘blogmeister’ behind the character of Fitrambler; he is the author of each post and makes the occasional comment himself. The writer and the character Fitrambler are one and the same and this is reflected in the tone of both blog posts and comments. Fitrambler created the blog and the blog begat GloomLaden and Blameworthy.

    Of course there are real people concealing their shame behind the fig leaf sobriquets of these last two characters but those real people are not GloomLaden and Blameworthy. The characters themselves are a complete work of fiction, part of a private running joke which gained a momentum all of its own and then suffered a braking system malfunction. Sadly, comments input in haste which, at the time, seemed utterly hilarious to the contributor must not only have failed to connect with the occasional reader but, on looking back, probably now make no sense whatsoever to those who wrote them. Why I, all alone, almost wet myself laughing cutting and pasting song lyrics by Lulu and Lionel Richie in response to GloomLaden’s Larkin and Beckett quotations God alone knows.

    I believe the contributions of GloomLaden and Blameworthy may have been our way of mocking the whole ludicrous trend that is social media, but often mockery can be mistaken for genuine comment, especially long after the event. We have also suffered the occasional disorientation and confusion which arises when real life collides with comic fiction, such as the time when the real person behind the character of Mr. Gowithit directed an impassioned rant at the cartoon-like persona of Blameworthy. The seriousness of the situation prevented me from responding in typical Blameworthy style. Fortunately GloomLaden also showed uncharacteristic restraint at the time.

    Perhaps these ill-advised attempts at satire have run their course; perhaps in reality they never even made it out of the paddock. The time may have come for GloomLaden and Blameworthy to be laid to rest along with Robert Robinson and Jimmy Savile. But bagsy I get a separate plot on the other side of the graveyard.

    And remember, none of it was my fault.

  27. Hold fourth Gloom-Laden; put back that wallet which is so use to the darkness. I was just thinking how much easier conventional names would have been or indeed the real names. I vowed I would never use the real names and it’s a vow I will keep. I suppose when I began the blog I didn’t think it would last as long as it did; that I would lose interest. However, it’s still going sixteen years later…hey ho.

  28. I might feel an ounce of shame if only I could remember having written any of it. I don’t believe it was me at all. If Fitrambler can tamper with our identities who’s to say he hasn’t input all the comments himself? Including this one.

  29. I hope, Fittters, that you are not intending to blackmail us with the news that you can replace our fig leaf soubriquets with our real names? Being utterly ashamed of everything I’ve ever done or said, I’d have to pay up. Blameworthy, being utterly unashamed, would feel no such obligation, the swine.

  30. The names came about when I decided to change direction of the blog – a mere three or four months old in Feb 2010 – and instead of sounding off about things I decided to recount incidents from the past. The original blog I started was called Rambling man. I decided not to use the real names of the people I knew out of courtesy. Of course, I could edit them all and put in the real names…but I won’t. The rambler in Fitrambler cam from the Rambling man of the early blog, the fit was added because at the time I was rather fit if still a few stone over weight.

    Thinking about it, it would be a lot easier if I reverted to true identities….

  31. I think you’ll find, Gloomers, that Fitrambler, Blameworthy and GloomLaden all began their blog existence as Mister Men, but gradually things became less formal. You also acquired a Big L at some point.

  32. Of course, Blameworthy, you only began styling yourself Blameworthy the Elder quite recently, forgetting (perhaps) that you had started by calling your son Master Blameworthy. His name had to be changed – he is no longer the reluctant schoolboy that term Master implied, but a galumphing twenty-something fellow in his own right. And weren’t you at some point Mr Blameworthy, an allusion to the Mr Men books of which the pre-galumph Master was preternaturally fond? I was GloomLaden from the off and seriously cannot recall a time when I was not full of despair. Fitrambler’s moniker is troubling: in one sense it may be entirely ironic since he is neither especially fit (see all foregoing Tales) nor what many people would regard as a rambler (he does his share of walking but it seems always to be on the beaten track and I associate rambling with those who eschew well trodden ways). But he may just as likely have the name for its purely phonic qualities – being called, for instance, Mr Underhill would not confine him to a life beneath such a geographical feature, but the name does have a nice ring to it.

  33. That might have worked, Fitters, but for the fact that, inevitably, there would have been those who, either for their own amusement or through simple misunderstanding, would have addressed me as Blameworthy the Uneven Elder. Eventually this would have become shortened to Blameworthy the Uneven.

    I assume you remain Fitrambler (the Younger).

  34. You take our names far too literally, GloomLaden. Whilst Fitrambler may possibly have been considered fit from birth, he could hardly have been dubbed a rambler prior to being capable of standing upright and moving about a bit without support. Equally, there must have been a time, long, long ago, when you were not full to bursting with melancholy and despair.

    The previous Blameworthy the Elder – my father – was no longer alive when the current Blameworthy the Younger was born. Had he survived I would have been left with something of a dilemma, being only the elder or the younger when compared with one or the other of the other two but not with both at the same time. Blameworthy the In-between, lacks a certain air of authority and credibility.

  35. So did you only become Blameworthy the Elder the second Blameworthy the Younger did his uterine escapology routine? As an infant, he can’t have strictly speaking been Blameworthy at all, unless you are minded to blame him for the state of the placenta; I shouldn’t put it past you.

  36. That’s all very well, Fitters, as long as you’re not pinning the blame on me for all that booze you put away in the 1980s. Of course, I would have been Blameworthy the Younger in those days, although I feel a more appropriate sobriquet might have been Virtuous the Irreproachable. GloomLaden was still an exuberant and frolicsome teenager: Mirthful the Ebullient, perhaps.

  37. Oh, and the Entire Stout glass was entirely legally obtained, having come in a cardboard box, and kept company within the box by two bottles of Entire Stout; lovely. On this occasion I’d only been inside the house ten minutes before the first was poured, having only been purchased thirty minutes earlier…

  38. I know what you’re saying. There was a time when a bottle of beer in the Fitrambler household would be lucky to last two weeks let alone two years. Having said that, I have probably gone through over 100 bottles since then. Some just get pushed to the back for a special occasion. Then in the absence of aforementioned special occasion finally drunk. I am now down to three semi-empty malts, one full bottle of malt, four red wines and a Greek brandy. There is also a strangely shaped bottle whose contents rather resembles bitter lemon. None of these would obtained by opening the Fitrambler wallet…funny how free drinks taste better than ones you’ve paid for yourself…

  39. Tosh and piffle, GloomLaden; we never established anything of the sort! Any pub within approximately 20 miles of home is a local one as far as I’m concerned, even though I don’t consider any of them to be MY local. Having been a fairly regular patron of the pub in question for over 40 years I suppose I, myself, might qualify as a local in the eyes of some of the other locals as I live within 2 miles or 3,520 steps. They can think what they like; I know best!

    … And get back on the beer, Fitters, it’ll do you good. Over two years to drink one bottle is just not on! What’s wrong with you, man?

    … And take that glass back where it belongs before they notice they’re one short.

  40. The beer bottle was part of a set of three which were a gift from Topman Christmas 2013. It was at a Christmas do at the Narrowboat. I only drank them a couple of weeks ago. The night I wrote about was one I went to bed quite sober – as so many are these days. I now tend to take my liquid refreshment at night in a plastic bottle with a top to ensure no similar accidents occur. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life. But it taught me not to be so childishly stubborn – well at least until the next time…

  41. You don’t have a local pub, Blamers, as we established long ago. You have pubs located near your abode and pubs of which you are a patron. Described on a Venn diagram, one would find no area of crossover between these two sets. Unless retirement has lowered your standards, of course.

  42. In fairness, though, GloomLaden, you didn’t wish to get a single day older the day before you read the post.

    I note that the beer bottle in the photograph is empty, suggesting that FItrambler had already been on the beer before he downed the squash. Might that have had an influence on the waywardly contrary duvet.

    And I trust the Entire Stout beer glass was not stolen from our local Hop Back pub.

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