Monday, 8 September 2008

Five Pppphhhzzzzs in the Night

The new electrified fence kept me awake for most of the night. Every few minutes, the light of the clock radio would dim as another moth bridged the high voltage lines and found God where our herbaceous border meets Ronnie Corbett’s vegetable patch. Why Judy decided to go the high security route remains a mystery to me. Even as I’d watched Stephen and Sir Clive fit the high voltage capacitors to the tops of the fence yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t see the sense of it. And now, from my side of the bed, the new security arrangements still seem like overkill, with all the emphasis on the killing.

‘At this rate, there won’t be any moths left in this undisclosed part of North London,’ I said as I lay there counting the latest casualty.

‘But at least we’re safe from prowlers tonight,’ replied the voice at my side.


‘Eighty three,’ I said, wearily.

‘It’s funny that Stephen never mentioned moths.’

‘I shouldn’t imagine he would,’ I answered. ‘He’s in love with the technology. There’s no room for emotion when there are gadgets to review for The Guardian.’

‘But I would have liked to have known about moths. I would have thought he might have checked the effect of these fences on wildlife when he reviewed them for Dork Talk.’


‘Eighty four. Perhaps that’s why his review of electrified fences hasn’t yet hit the newsstand. Could you imagine what would happen if this fencing went mainstream?’

‘Still, it’s good to know that it’s protecting us from prowlers. Sir Clive said that he’s had it installed around his house. He swears by it.’

‘Probably in rhyme,’ I speculated. ‘Sir Clive sits behind his electrified fence, writing essays about Milton’s quintessence.’


‘Was that eighty five or six?’

‘Five,’ said Judy.

‘I’m beginning to lose count. One dead moth is becoming much like the last. I’m telling you, Jude, that there’s something we can learn from this fence. It teaches us about the fragility of life and the eternal play of being against eternity.’

Suddenly the bed made a squeak in the darkness and I felt Judy sit up.

‘Oh, Richard. I’ve just had a terrible thought. You don’t suppose the fence is a danger to Bill or his owls?’

I reached out and stroked her arm.

‘Such a gentle thing, you really are, Jude. Bill will be fine. He’s safe in his rubber boots. And the owls will be flying well above the fence.’

The bed squeaked again as Judy lay down.

‘Only, I wouldn’t want to think that Bill is out there being electrocuted.’


‘Well that’s either the eighty sixth moth or the eighty sixth time Bill’s carried voltage this evening.’

‘Oh, Richard, don’t joke.’

To pacify her, I swung my legs out of bed and went to the window. I opened the curtains a touch to see the fence.

‘No sign of Bill,’ I said.

‘Is Graham still out there?’

I looked across the street to where Graham Norton was sitting outside his house on a deckchair reading under a streetlight.

‘Still there and still keeping an eye out for prowlers.’

‘Such a strange man,’ said Judy. ‘It’s no wonder he hasn’t married.’

‘Pppphhhzzzz’ said the electric fence.

‘Eighty seven,’ said I as I climbed back into bed. I knew I was in for a very long night.


bertas said...

Ah Richard old chum its nice to see you back to the usual form :)

Dick Madeley said...

It's been a very difficult five weeks but I'm feeling a little brighter. Glad to see you back too. I'll have to post a picture of Fry just for you. ;o)

bertas said...

Oh I'm glad you are feeling brighter :)

How is the family doing? I do hope much better then few weeks ago.
As I said if you need anything give us a shout :)

Oh, jolly good a picture of Fry (I should really really stop fancying gay men, at my age I should know better :)... and specially for me tsss :) well thank you :)

Dick Madeley said...

Thanks for asking, Betas. Things are going slowly but we're further along. He has another operation three days ago and we hope it's the last. He's still not talking (or the words are garbled) but he is aware and looking around the room. We think he possibly recognises people too. We're told that this is all normal after an aneurism and it can take months for any sense of normality to return. The brain apparently rewires itself. All we can do is wait.

Barbara said...

That's what Graham needs to keep him busy at night, a girlfriend! Maybe Judy could set him up with someone. He would love it!
Probably keep him away from your house anyway.

My grandfather had a stroke years ago and was incapacitated. My grandma taught him how to write again and he had therapy to learn to walk and talk, all that fun stuff. It took some time but he eventually was pretty much back to normal, driving and everything. The brain really is a resilient organ.

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