OF STAMPS, BANANAS AND DOCTORS
Good morning dear reader and welcome to a very wet Sunday at Comb Towers. I may be in the minority but I welcome the rain. The water level in our wildlife pond has dropped by six inches and I had been in negotiations with our water company to refill it, (that might be another blog, believe me). However, with all the rain we've had this week, the pond is almost refilled and so are our tanks and water butts. If another heatwave comes, we are ready!
This week's wet weather has kept Spouse indoors and after tidying up his den he spent some time on one of his hobbies - philately. Spouse has been a keen stamp collector since he was a young stripling and has an extensive knowledge of this subject and the fascination for him is that he never stops learning. Most of the time he obtains the first day covers by post or from the Post Office and sometimes, stamps on a particular subject, from the philatelic society meetings. Seeing him with his albums spread out and setting out stamps for cataloguing reminded me of the time he totally bemused our village post mistress when we lived in the Durham Dales.
Spouse went into the little post office and asked Maxine, the post mistress, if she had any stamps with submarines on. Just like that. Maxine looked at him askance and said she didn't think so, probably thinking, 'we've got a right one here'. But Spouse persisted - there must be some stamps with submarines on. So, to oblige, Maxine and her colleague hunted through their massive ledgers of stamps and sure enough, found the four stamps featuring British submarines 1901-1992.
So far so good, Maxine thought the war was one, but in fact, the battle had only just begun. She looked at Spouse expectantly, assuming he wanted to buy them. Oh no, nothing as straightforward as that! 'I would like a "single one" of each stamp, then a "block" of four of each stamp, a "gutter pair" of each stamp and another single stamp of each type with the "traffice lights" on. Maxine's eyes glazed over and she took a step back from the counter. 'Really?,' she said faintly. 'Mr Comb, I have no idea what you're talking about. are you pulling my leg?' Spouse was quick to reassure her. 'No, really. I know it's a bit of an order but we can do one bit at a time.'
So, they started with the "single" stamps and the "blocks" of four of each type. That bit went well. 'Now the "gutter pair" of each stamp,' says Spouse. 'And what might a "gutter pair" be?' asked Maxine. 'One stamp with a broad, white perforated strip separating it from the stamp below.' Maxine tracked down the relevant sheets and carefully tore out the stamps. 'Last, but not least,' says Spouse, 'the "traffic lights".' 'Aren't traffic lights for ... traffic?' ventured Maxine. 'Not when it's a stamp,' Spouse retorted triumphantly. 'Enlighten me,' Maxine said wearily. Spouse pointed to the top of the sheet of stamps. 'See all those coloured circles there? They're known as the "traffic lights" - each of those colours is on every one of these stamps. Some collectors are very interested in the actual colours - in addition to the subject matter on the stamp.'
Spouse wanted a single stamp with the "traffic lights" attached for each submarine stamp. As she was working her way through them, she said, 'I don't mind doing this ... but why?' 'That's the way I like them,' said Spouse and merrily went on his way, leaving behind a very perplexed post mistress ... 'And you didn't think to tell her, all this is for your philately?' says I when he related the tale on arrival home. 'Well, no,' says Spouse lamely. 'She'll think you're a right numpty,' says I ...
The "bannanas" incident was slightly different, although again, he left behind a rather bemused, if very amused lady. A recent blood test had shown slightly low potassium levels and so Spouse was instructed to eat a bannana every day for a while and then return for a further blood test. He duly did this and at the same time collected a new prescription which included potassium in it. Out of nowhere he said to the receptionist, 'Should I keep eating bannanas?' She tried very hard to keep a straight face and replied, 'Well ... if you want to!' And he wondered why there were shrieks of laughter as he left the surgery. He should be royalty - never complain, never explain.
Last, but by no means least, dear reader, we come to our lovely lady doctor in Scotland. Believe it, or believe it not, Spouse has a natural charm and combined with big blue eyes and a merry smile, caused our doctor to adore him, even though he drove her up the wall most of the time, with his explanations as to why he hadn't ever followed her instructions time and time again. One day he went for his check up and he noticed a chart pinned to the inside of her consulting room door. It illustrated all the healthy food groups. Right at the bottom was "Fats". Now, this lovely lady had spent years trying to keep Spouse on the dietary straight and narrow and well away from "fats" of all kinds. So, triumphantly, Spouse pointed to the chart and said, 'You see, what did I tell you. Fats are good for you. I was right all along!!!' ... Spouse came out from his consultation beaming and said, 'You're next,' to me. Off he went and I made my way into the her room. Our lovely doctor had her head in her hands and was the picture of despair as she slumped over her desk ... once again he had got the better of her!
Well, dear reader, it's still pouring down as I write and Spouse is in his den. We are dog sitting for a fortnight and his four legged friend is lying at his feet. The only person Spouse is likely to bemuse today is me and I'm well used to it. But there again, the dog is not and after a very wet day with Spouse in his den ... who knows. I hope the weather improves as one of us is going to have to take doggo out for a walk soon. I hope you have a good week and may the sun shine on us again before too long.
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