River Wissey Lovell Fuller


January 2010

Ian had been teaching his grandson some tales of the wild west

Oliver and the Lone Ranger

You may recall the tales of our young grandson (age 3 in January) who lives near Royston and loves to come out in the car with me, listen to "Chas and David" and buy shortbread. As I write this nearly 2 weeks before Christmas, he is preparing for his nursery school nativity play. He is mightily fed up because he has to be a shepherd when, really, all he wants to be is the Lone Ranger! His poor mother could not understand why on earth he should want to be the Lone Ranger, so I had to "come clean" - for the past month, I have been teaching him the Lone Ranger joke and we are very near to success! My conversation with Oliver goes something like this: Shall we do the Lone Ranger joke, Oliver? Yes, Grandpa (as he runs out of the room and tears back, putting on his battered cowboy hat). Lone Ranger....cowboy......had friend Tonto and a horsey....Silver. What was Tonto? An Indian. What happened, Oliver? Horsey, Silver, did lots of running and got very hot. What else? Lone Ranger was thirsty - wanted a pint like Daddy. (There is a pub in their village called The Black Horse. Whenever we drive past it, Oliver pipes up Black Horsey - I hurt my lip there - He fell off their swing in the summer and bruised his lip). What did the Lone Ranger do before he went into the pub? Asked Tonto to wave blanket and run around horsey - cool him down. Then what happened? Lone Ranger in pub, drinking beer. Then what? Man came in - said "Whose horsey is that?" Then what? Lone Ranger says - "it's my horsey - Silver". Then what? Man says - "You've left your engine running Ha Ha Ha Ha". So, we need to work on the ending which is, of course, "You've left your Injun running"

Oliver is quite savvy in the car. He insists that two hands should be on the wheel at all times (I can't argue with that) and that I should turn the engine off when we park up (also, fair enough!). So, the current project is to teach him the difference between engine, Indian and Injun and I shall keep you informed of our progress. The problem will be that none of his peers will understand the joke when he finally masters it and he will have to pester the adults around him.

By the time you read this, Christmas will be over and the days will be lengthening. However, it will still be a bit of a depressing time of year, so a few reminiscences would not go amiss.

In the 1960's, as a medical student, I spent four consecutive weeks locked into Claybury Hospital in Essex, a secure unit for those poor folk who had either been sectioned or who had been institutionalised, often for many years. It was a truly terrible place and a month there would have sent me around the bend had I not spent nearly all my time playing Billiards in the doctors' mess. Staff in such a place tend to develop a very black medical humour and one of the psychiatrists took pleasure in humiliating medical students (There were only two of us at a time). The seminar would start and the topic would be steered such that the medical student would ask about the criteria which determined whether or not a patient should be sectioned. The doctor would say "Well, we fill a bathtub and offer the patient a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket and ask them to empty the bath". "Oh, I understand" would say the student "A normal person would use the bucket because it would be so much quicker". "No" would say the doctor "A normal person would pull out the plug - would you like the bed near the window?"

At about the same time, I spent a month at Black Notley Hospital learning Orthopaedics. As we drove up the drive on arrival, I saw a sight I shall never forget. There were rows of beds on the ward balconies, each with a patient in it and every bed covered in snow! They were suffering from Tuberculosis and fresh air was considered therapeutic. When the patients were allowed home, they often had to live in a circular summer house in the garden, the house being turned regularly to face the sun as doctors believed that direct exposure to the sun (heliotherapy) would help to cure the disease.

Those were the days when medical students were educated by humiliation (James Robertson-Justice style). One very eminent thoracic surgeon, whom I remember as 80 years old, 7ft tall and always wearing a jet black pin stripe and tails, chose me to assist him with some lung surgery. I was honoured! The surgery was going well and I was retracting the lung for him to work on the base of the lung. He kept asking me to pull harder and harder on the retractor, so I did. Suddenly, the lung came away from the patient with a mighty "plop" and he gave me a real telling off! ("Now look what you have done **!!** and so on). It was only when I saw the theatre sister and the nurses tittering behind their masks that I realised I had been the victim of his little party-piece prank and that he had been removing the lung all the time!

A friend of ours teaches children from a poor part of Birmingham where parental language often leaves a lot to be desired. They were discussing stammering. One of the little 6 year old girls told the teacher that she once had a cat which had stammered. Pressed for details, the child told how she was in the back yard with her cat when a Rotweiler attacked the cat. "My kitty arched its back and hissed "Ffffffff! Ffffffff! Ffffffff! Ffffffff!" but before she could say "F*** Off" (an impolite form of "Go away now") the Rotweiler ate her". The teacher had to leave the room, tears of laughter streaming down her face.

A friend of mine ordered a blow-up doll on the internet. It arrived dressed in a burkha with explosives packed all around her waist.

Finally, if you are really bored, sit on a chair, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. Now, while doing this, make the number 6 in the air with your right hand and get someone to watch your foot!

Best wishes to you all for 2010 (Two thousand and ten or twenty-ten) from Management and me. Ian G. Nisbet

Ian Nisbett

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