Saturday, 24 December 2011

Tales from Elsewhere - The Leg of Lamb

At the recently built institute located within the hospital where I worked there is a very smart seminar room with state of the art conference facilities which is much in demand for meetings by people from all over the hospital. 

The now retired professor of the institute particularly liked using it not only because of its modern and technological image, but one suspects also because it had been called after him in recognition of the worthy work carried out in his field as a consultant surgeon, and for all he had done to set up the institute.  His name figures large and bold above the double doors and given his personality one almost expected him to turn as he reached the entrance, spread his arms and bow to his adoring public before entering.  I always felt we were expected to speak to him with ‘ill-concealed’ respect and awe in our voices, and to say his manner was dignified was an understatement.  We used to debate whether he said ‘excuse me’ when he asked patients to remove their clothing.

While he was some 6’2” in height, (1.90m), his wife was a feisty little lady of 4’10” (1.50m).  She was very supportive, and could be counted upon to organise dinners and events to help his career along.

On this particular day he was chairing a surgeons’ meeting when the administration office took a call from another hospital in the area urgently needing to speak to him. 

“Is it really an emergency?” the secretary asked.  “He’s chairing a large meeting and I’m not supposed to interrupt him.”

“Up to you” said the impatient voice at the other end, and breaking the rule of confidentiality in these matters, he continued “his wife was shopping at Sainsburys this afternoon and was trying to get a leg of lamb out of the freezer box, but it was a bit out of her reach and she balanced wrongly on the edge of the box and fell in.  Thing is, she had been struggling to get a grip on the lamb and it came free just at that moment, and somehow she managed to knock herself out at the same time.  The staff didn’t dare move her while they called an ambulance, and as a result she had frostbite as well by the time they got her out and took her to the Infirmary.  So she’s a bit poorly, and it’s up to her husband if he wants to come and see her.”

Asking the person to hold on, the secretary lost no time in hurrying to the seminar room and whispering in the professor’s ear that she had taken a call from the Infirmary advising that his wife had been brought in not feeling well, and could he come out and speak to them.

They went back to the office together, and the professor picked up the telephone, speaking very quietly and soberly, with his lips carefully pursed together.

“Hell-low?  Yairs it is… oh… oh I see… aaah… yairs.  Well thenk you for telling me, I’ll be theah as soon as possible, but it may take a while.  Goodbye.”

The secretary meanwhile busied herself with her back to him, determined to keep a straight face and not reveal that she knew what was being said on the other end of the phone.  It was a relief when the professor departed, walking in the opposite direction to the seminar room to the exit door, and she was able at last to give way to the most undignified, disrespectful and unkind mirth that was bubbling up within her.


Photo Finish -
from Lonicera's non-digital archive


Gilbert & Sullivan's "Ruddigore",
Bristol G&S Operatic Soc, 2007 (digital)

Merry Christmas!



Joyful said...

I couldn't help but let out an undignified chuckle. Good thing the professor wasn't here ;-) I enjoyed your story as it brought a lighter note into my week though I'm sure for the professor's wife it wasn't such a fun time.

I am cooking my turkey right now and wanted to stop by and say I hope you had a MERRY CHRISTMAS. All of my best wishes for a relaxing holiday and a prosperous, peaceful and joyful 2012.

Lonicera said...

Thanks Penny! I cooked it for lunch today (well, 3 p.m.!) and did so many extras that I was thoroughly exhausted, and went to sleep for several hours after our guests left. But I really enjoyed doing it, and it was so nice to spend it with friends. Hope yours turns out well - how about some pics?

Joyful said...

Hi Caroline. The day is done here and I will do some little things and go to sleep. I hope you get a nice rest now before you go back to work.

There were two of us for dinner so it wasn't a lot of work for me. I hesitated to invite more people because my plans were in a state of flux.

My turkey was a little lopsided but cooked up just fine. I did remember to take photos but they didn't turn out. I guess the indoor mood lighting was too dark :-)

Zanna said...

Loved it. Wishing you and yours a very happy Christmas and a wonderfulk year ahead in 2012 Zxx

Lonicera said...

Hey Zanna - lovely to hear from you again, and thank you! Hope to be seeing a post from you before long!

Azin Ahmadi said...

It was amazing, i loved it. I am proud of u xxxx

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