In the post today I received from my trusty solicitor lady a copy of my new Last Will and Testament. We’ll just call it the New Testament to keep it short, shall we? Now I’m not feeling ill or miserable but there have been a few changes in my life since I last made a will and I hope that there will be a few more before it needs to be read so adjustments to my requirements needed to be made.
I don’t own a house anymore but I do own a business. Some people have gone out of my life and new people have come into it. The last time the final division and distribution or my estate was considered, Pokémon cards hadn’t been invented. When I wrote my previous will I had a pile of financial documents bearing details of vast sums of money but now my credit card bills have all been paid off. I’m pretty sure that I’ve finished having children, amongst whom I shall divide my possessions, but you never know what might happen on a balmy Wiltshire summer’s evening such as this so I’ve left a tenner and a crate of Guinness in the cupboard under the stairs so that any future additions to my team of offspring don’t feel left out.
I’ve also recently renewed my annual ‘no matter what shit happens’ travel insurance largely because I find that since I have moved house I often find myself journeying through the darker and scarier outposts of Melksham on my way home from work. Also I have a number of intrepid travel adventures looming and the one in Ghana, Togo and Benin might just be a little more challenging than my previous jollies have been. I’m sure the pilot of our aeroplane will have an adequate A to Z of Africa but if he doesn’t we may have to deal with the likes of big mountains, dense forests, fierce beasts, warring factions, tropical diseases, spiders and snakes, and Ant and Dec. Where I am going, apparently, is less than a thousand miles from places where cannibalism is said to be still on the menu and as I’ve been marinating my body in red wine for the last forty years I feel a comprehensive policy against such risks will be worth every Togolese franc that I have parted with. I love all foreign food except myself.
Hopefully I won’t need to make a claim on the travel insurance. Hopefully, if I do need to make a claim, it will mean that such measures are taken to render the reading of my will unnecessary. However, if all else fails and my assets and chattels need to be shared between those who love me I would like to take this opportunity to add a few features that the solicitor guffawed at when I suggested including them in the document of death.
In this connection my additional legacies and legatees are as follows. My vast and ever expanding collection of high quality music CDs is to be sold and the proceeds of the sale are to be used either to finance Leeds United’s meteoric rise to world supremacy or to buy all my friends a pint and a pasty, whichever is the more viable venture. My collection of virulent bacteria samples is to be left to the Right Honourable Mr David Cameron MP, preferably on his pillow as he sleeps. My collection of empty bottles is to be left out for the bin men on Tuesday. My Subbuteo Dukla Prague away kit is to be left to my good friend Malcolm. My Subbuteo The Ramones are to be left to my good friend Rigger. My Subbuteo Andy Murray is to be left to my good friend Ian. All my green possessions are to be left to my Dutch good friend Paulien who loves green things. As soon as the Coroner has finished doing what he needs to do with them I’m sure she would soon develop a fondness for mushy peas and Crème de Menthe, though probably not in the same glass.
Now I’m not feeling ill or miserable but death has been on my mind quite a bit this week. A canister of slug pellets has caused utter carnage in and around the garden pot in which my dahlias are fighting for their lives. I thought slug pellets only worked if you fired them from a slug gun but apparently not.
Being serious for a moment, though he never was himself, I was deeply saddened by the passing of comic actor Rick Mayall earlier this week. The fact that he was the same age as me, that his character, The Young Ones’ Rick, considered himself the ‘people’s poet’, just as I do, and that I too have a massive spot on my chin scared me as much as his death saddened me.
What made me even sadder was the demise of three of my very good customers. Before you start thinking the worst I would point out that they had all been suffering poor health and they were all quite elderly and that their journeys to a better place were definitely not as a result of something that I had done to their feet in my working capacity, or any other capacity for that matter.
On Thursday one of my clients cancelled their appointment with me at short notice so I thought I would put the vacant slot to good use. I went into the greetings card shop in the fashionable Phelps Parade shopping mall in Calne and bought three bereavement cards to send to the grieving partners of my former customers. The lady in the card shop looked a bit worried by my bulk purchase until I explained to her that I wasn’t an axe-wielding maniac and that I wouldn’t need a bag because I was going to write in them straight away. Sadly my sad tale gets even sadder here as, while I was sitting in a sad café (my, oh my) having a brew and composing messages of sympathy, my mobile phone buzzed into life with a call from another client to tell me that her husband had recently died. This made me sit for a few minutes in a sombre silence as I reflected upon life and how I should have bought four bereavement cards.
Now I’m not feeling ill or miserable but I did feel the need to tell the world how my life has been touched by death during the last few days. It’s probably also worth mentioning that in the last few days, most notably Sunday morning, although I wasn’t feeling ill or miserable I was feeling a bit fragile. So I’ll leave my collection of Anadin Extra tablets to anyone who wants them … if there are any left.
Now I'm not feeling ill or miserable but ...