Recent article I wrote for a newsletter was on public speaking and that some people dread it so much they’d sooner have a root canal. Hot on publication, indignant and lengthy email arrives from dentist who’s taken great umbrage at what he’s interpreted as heinous slight on his profession.  Honestly, you couldn’t make it up!

I hastily email back to say, last profession I’d ever want to offend is the dental one. Am tempted to add that would consider it foolish in the extreme to get on the wrong side of people wearing masks and bearing needles but feel this would only add insult to injury. So stick to profuse and humble apology and express surprise that my light-hearted musings should have caused anybody any distress.

Anyone else out there with increasingly depressing tendency to start a sentence, get halfway through then completely forget how you planned to end? To counter this small problem, have cultivated habit of  gazing thoughtfully into the middle distance, as if struck suddenly by something of momentous relevance. This gives helpful few seconds to re-gather the threads. Question: why should getting older mean everything starts heading south except for brain cells which head for the hills?

Out for meeting with a web site designer I met at breakfast networking session. Didn’t get a chance to talk to him much at the meeting although he did appear pretty miserable, am hoping he’s cheered up. Turns out he hasn’t. Ever noticed how people fall into three personality categories – radiators give off  lots of warmth, have strong sense of humour and make you feel heaps better, simply for being with them. Drains, whilst often perfectly nice people, veer slightly towards the needy. And occasionally you come across a hoover! Naturally we aspire to radiatorhood but can all, on occasion drift drainward. Hopefully most of us haul ourselves back from the brink before reaching hooverdom.

Fear this time I hit a hoover, which, as long as you’re aware what’s going on, shouldn’t be overpowering – unless of course you’re feeling a tad under the weather. As I sit down and we order coffee, can detect a thumping headache on the way. Knock back a couple of industrial strength painkillers which according to ads will do their stuff in double time because they have superb sense of direction and know exactly where the source of the pain is. Website designer shakes his head gloomily, ‘Painkillers,’ he says, have I thought about stomach bleeding? As it so happens, I graduated years ago with first class honours in hypochondria, so there’s actually nothing I don’t already ‘think’ about on a daily basis.

I pass swiftly over bleeding ulcers and suggest he tells me what he was doing before he decided to set up the web business. He was, he says, a clown. Not sure if he’s kidding, but he doesn’t seem like a kidding sort of a guy. ‘Really?’ I say. Yes he says, he ran a children’s party entertainment company.  ‘That must have been hard work.’ I say. ‘Hard?’ he says, ‘Hard? It was bloody torture!’ Feel headache take rapid turn for the worse. Wherever flipping painkillers have gone, it’s certainly not to the source of the pain!