The highlight of the office day was a lunchtime pop across to the shop in the concourse (what sort of noncey name is that for a hospital entrance?) for some Maltesers, 187 calories the packet said. Except that I didn’t buy that size. I didn’t even buy just Maltesers. Was it my fault they had reduced the little tublets of mini eggs to half price? I felt it was only fair to liberate them. The Maltesers took about an hour to eat, slow I know but I had to stop for a drink midway as being slightly allergic to low cocoa chocolate my throat went into a dry spasm and I nearly choked. I still finished the packet though. You should have seen me downing water like I’d had to get it from a standpipe in a drought, desperately popping them while daring the phone to ring. Amazingly the mini eggs are unopened in my drawer. I going to have to stock check my grazing PDQ, I’ve calculated that by the time my first years contract is up in August I will have gained a stone if I continue at this rate. And, I’ve just been given a contract for a second year. Result? Yep, you can picture it. Ah the joys of returning to sedentary work.
Of course if I hadn’t been cold for a good part of the day I might not have eaten so much. Fact is, behind me sits a 66 year old retirement returnee who loves to hurl his window open with his walking stick to enjoy a gentle waft of fresh air while I have the almighty draught. We have been arguing about it all winter with me saying ‘If you’re hot why do you wear jumpers?’’To cover up my gut’ he replies. ‘So we can’t see the size of your belly if you wear a jumper?’ I answer. ‘Not as much, believe me.’ Okay, it’s now late May, I’m still cold until the sun finds its way round the side of the building, but I’ve shed the warmest of my work clothes, it’s what you do in spring right? Gradually yes? Not if you‘re a retirement returnee with a gut to hide. Nope, no way. What you do is wear exactly the same winter woollies all year round. And fling the window even wider. Especially first thing in the morning, before the sun finds its way round the building, when you’ve worked up the tiniest sweat walking one hundred yards from the bus stop. Can this get any worse? Oh yes . . . much worse. The blinking garden just below the OPEN window is beautifully planted with a haven of trees and shrubs, a paradise for birds and insects and a harmattans worth of pollen all heading towards me via the retirement returnees OPEN window. So in between choking on the chocolate I’ve been forced to comfort eat to keep warm I’m coughing, wheezing, sneezing and rubbing my eyes.