Friday, July 20, 2012

Blast From the Past

Been busy lately. Not only with my real job but working on my novel, Finding Rachel Davenport, due out this autumn. But I am conscious of not having posted in a long time, so I thought I’d dredge up one of my favorite posts from the past. This one is about the time I got sick and threw up while staying over with some friends in Bognor; it’s such a favorite, I included it in my second book, More Postcards From Across the Pond.

Well, enough about me. Here’s more about me, and The Night of the Loud Burps:

The Technicolor Yawn
14 December 2009

Hopefully, you won’t think this represents a new low for me, but while I was up last night talking to Ralph on the Big White Phone, it occurred to me that we haven’t really broached that subject, and now is the perfect time for it.  If you’re a bit squeamish, or would like to continue to think of this blog as a welcome oasis of quality writing, you might be better off looking at something else.

Giving your meal a round-trip ticket is no joy in any circumstance, but this particular episode took place while we were staying with friends.  We’d spent a lovely afternoon browning around Arundel, a quaint little town with a castle and a cathedral that, as a bonus, happened to be having it’s Christmas Fete while we were there.  There were bands and beer booths and the type of small town festivities you generally only see in Midsommer Murders.  Afterwards we retired to our friend’s manor for dinner and some postprandial libations.  We had a nice chat, then retired.

An hour later my eyes shot open and I found myself fully awake in an unfamiliar room wondering what it was that roused me.  And a voice, way in the back of my mind whispered.

“Get ready, you’re going to throw up.”

“Hey, who said that?  That’s a perfectly ludicrous idea.  Get it out of your head right now.  Think good thoughts.  Yes, that’s better.”

“No, I think you’re about to toss your cookies.”

“No, clearly not!  Stop thinking that!”

“Sorry, but it’s true.”

This went on for some time.  I don’t know about you, but this is necessary for me, it is a sort of coming to terms, my “seven stages” of nausea, if you will.  It suits me well because, by the time I reach acceptance and head for the porcelain bus, I am immediately ready to start driving, so to speak.  And that’s a good thing, because once you assume the position, there’s no sense in hanging about.

And so I stumbled through the darkness, found the little room and proceeded to serve up what looked like a Dulux color chart.

Over the years, having been in a variety of relationships, I have had occasion to be around other people while they were making friends with the toilet and I have always marvelled at the ones—and this means almost all of them—who manage this feat in relative silence.  I once had the opportunity to witness the young lady in the seat next to me making use of her air-sickness bag, and if I hadn’t known what the bag was for, I would have had no idea what she was doing.  (I have always dreaded having to make use of one.  Have you seen the size of them?  I could fill three with the first gastro geyser.  I’d have to have a line of people on one side passing them to me and another line to pass the full ones to.)

Anyway, you get my point, many people seem to be able to have dinner in reverse gear in relative silence—I, however, cannot.  When I start calling the buffalos, that’s exactly what it sounds like; this is an activity I like to share with the rest of the household, the neighbors, and the people down the street.

Chagrined as I was, I put it down to excess and returned to bed.  An hour later I was wide awake and arguing with myself once more, signifying that it wasn’t a drink-induced spewing, but a bonafied illness.  This continued on an hourly basis until I had fully reviewed the day’s menu.  My friend, who drank as much whiskey as I had, slept blissfully through it, but his wife, with her mother-radar, was not so fortunate.

In the morning, I felt like ten miles of bad road, but my wife and I managed to make our way home without incident (read: I didn’t make a carpet pizza on the train) and I slept the day away.

I feel marginally better now (thanks for asking) but, with another three day business trip beginning tomorrow at 5 AM, I find myself wavering as to my fitness for such a task.  Part of me wants to just stay in bed for the next few days, but the other part of me (that tiny portion some people call “responsibility” but I refer to as “that sanctimonious prig”) insists that is not an option.

I suppose the only thing I can do is pack, get ready, and see if I can go the night without yodelling down the porcelain canyon.


  1. As far as your adventures in Barfing (is that near Dorking?) all I can say is, been there--done that. However, I have a question about Arundel. I have heard of the English place by that name and have always wondered how it should be pronounced. I live on Arundel Street in St Paul and we say uh-RUN-dull. I have the feeling that's not quite "British". Of course, Minnesotans are notorious for using international names and changing pronunciations willy-nilly--thus Montevideo is MON-tuh-vid-eeo and Milan is MILE-un. So if you can offer any insight into Arundel, I'd love it!

    1. Over here--at least in my experience--it's pronounced AIR-un-dull. But the British pronounce Basil as BAZ-ul, so don't go by what they do ;)