Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Vol 24  Birmingham


This mistake came about as a direct result of my finding it utterly impossible to be even a couple of minutes late, it might be a touch of OCD, who knows. 

I was on an early train, having grabbed a usually disparaged breakfast en route, on the way to Birmingham Lime Street heading for yet another scintillating training day close by, when it started innocently enough as a bit of a tickle down deep in my throat and I said ‘hruhm’ quite a few times while simultaneously checking my watch in the days before phones. 

Regrettably, the numerous opportunities to purchase chewing gum, lozenges or anything else to sate the irritation failed to distract me from my mission to arrive precisely on time.  Achieving this immediately led to an inner fury developing (perhaps it was karma) as we candidates were informed that the start of the training was to be delayed for fifteen minutes to allow for latecomers. 

 The training session itself had us in semi-circularly arranged seats listening to the usual housekeeping, introductions and witticisms as delivered by somebody probably called Marigold or Neil.

As the morning unfolded. the tickle developed into a full blown cough and its contractions, like labour, came closer and closer until, eyes bulging I coughed and coughed convinced that if only I could dig deep enough the troublesome tickle would be slaked.   By now, several of my colleagues for the day, training abandoned, were turning in my direction wearing, according to their character, curiosity, amusement or alarm.

Embarrassed now and determined to resolve my predicament.  I took a huge breath and reached inside for the cough that would hopefully end all coughs and began, I hoped, the final paroxysm. 

Clutching my chest I heaved and heaved until, horrifically, a gargantuan man- belch blasted forth.

Mortified, clasping my hands tight over my mouth and still spluttering coughs through my fingers, nose streaming, I lurched from the room terrified that I would actually follow through and deliver to the stunned Marigolds a re-worked sausage mcmuffin.