Written by tjmstroud
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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Dear Constituents

I had a most hectic weekend.

Not only was it hectic but it was spoiled by a panic over my own personal health. Don't spread this around too widely as I wouldn't want the PM to suspect something that could delay my progress towards assuming higher office, but the fact is that I've recently been finding it necessary to get up at least three times a night to visit the bathroom.

I called Doctor Sinnick (my GP) on Sunday morning to discuss it. After checking how many I had had in the Red Lion on Saturday and asking a few other similar questions, I heard him tapping on his calculator. After expressing concern that I might be about to be charged for his time, he told me not to worry but that he was merely subtracting the number of pints I estimated I had produced during my three nocturnal visits to the bathroom from the total number of pints I said I had consumed in the Red Lion.

It was then that I heard him whistle as if in shock. My anxiety escalated.

It appeared that the amount I had produced was almost double the amount consumed. Sinnick claimed that this suggested either a wasting disease or a type of fluid retention such as is deliberately exploited by camels.

With my concern increasing by the second and being unwilling for him to explain things on the telephone in case my phone was being tapped we agreed to meet for a private consultation away from the usual posse of prying eyes, flapping ears, wagging tongues and the strange clicking noises on my telephone. We chose to meet on Sunday lunchtime in the Golden Fleece over a few glasses.

Now, for those constituents who have not passed or been inside the Golden Fleece recently, you should know that, like many small pubs, it struggles to keep going. Suffice it to say that the bar at the Golden Fleece, despite it being Sunday, was not exactly heaving. I will be discussing the state of the brewery industry and pubs in a future newsletter. That Colin, the landlord, has said that if I write something he will give me a free pint has, of course, nothing to do with it.

To put it bluntly, Sinnick and I were the only ones there, but as we had to climb over Colin's Pitbull Terrier to get through the door, I wonder whether this has anything to do with the pub's popularity.

Colin's Pitbull is called Frankly. Colin says that Frankly is a very good natured dog and that the shape of his mouth, being constantly open with his teeth exposed, means that he is actually smiling at customers. But it is a strange sort of smile that, as I said to Sinnick, reminded me of my wife. As men do, we commiserated with one another for a while as I know Sinnick has a very similar domestic problem. Finally, Sinnick broke the seriousness of our whisperings by telling me that Frankly's smile also reminded him of a patient who he had had to refer to a criminal psychiatrist.

However, once we had recovered from our mirth, we tossed a coin to see who would buy the drinks. Fortunately Sinnick lost and I actually saw him open his wallet. We then settled in the corner with our pints. Having not paid, I felt relaxed enough to start discussing my health. Finally, taking a deep breath, I admitted that I thought I may have early onset cancer in my prostrated glands.

In his professional manner, Sinnick smiled and said he was sure there was nothing wrong. But, to allay my fears and as he had a full patient list on Monday morning and I had to be in Westminster and didn't want to spend the whole week worrying about my health instead of the Eurozone crisis, he suggested a quick urine test and internal examination.

As the corner window seat of the bar was clearly unsuitable, we left our glasses on the table, borrowed an empty half pint glass from Colin and went to the men's lavatory.

Now, in the case of the Golden Fleece, this facility is outside, down a short muddy path and is built mostly of Victorian brick with a leaking corrugated tin roof. This might also be another reason for the pub's popularity. That Frankly often sits outside panting, with his tongue hanging out doesn't help one's concentration either.

But, on this occasion it was also raining and the half pint glass was already wet before we arrived, so Sinnick said he would make a suitable allowance for any abnormally high water content in his analysis.

Once inside this dilapidated shed, Sinnick admitted he had never done such a thing in his life ie accompanied another man into a public toilet with a view to one of them taking his trousers down.

I admitted that neither had I but, having squeezed into the space provided and with Sinnick first having held the half pint glass for me to produce my sample, I bent over. Unfortunately, we were then unable to close the door.

However, he managed to perform his task and we then made our way back to the bar with Colin clearly surprised at seeing Sinnick carrying what looked like half a pint of his best bitter in a glass. Once settled, Sinnick performed a quick dip test on my sample and was also able to confirm that his brief internal examination suggested that there wasn't much wrong as far as he could tell. Any minor blockages might have been due to tension.

With my mind at rest I relaxed a little and we then discussed other things to do with men's health. I managed to make my pint last slightly longer than Sinnick and, as he got impatient waiting, he paid for the next round as well. We left after the second pint as I said I had to see a constituent.

However, as we left, I saw Colin clearing our table and sniffing the contents of the half pint glass. I hope he doesn't think his beer was off.

Once in the car park, Sinnick and I agreed that, whilst the clinical facilities had not been of a particularly high standard, it was better than nothing. After all I was only a bloke. It was at that stage we started discussing the far superior conditions offered to women and that they got a much better deal when it comes to health campaigns, health checks and screening and that we needed to do something. I told Sinnick I would raise the matter with the Health Secretary.

And now for the good news - especially for all my male constituents.

Sinnick and I will be launching our own local men's health awareness campaign to compete with the plethora of similar women's campaigns. However, instead of organising half mile runs or midnight walks wearing pink bras and knickers and running jumble sales with little pink bows and badges, we are going to start a much more male orientated campaign.

We agreed that men needed a much louder voice when it comes to their health. So from August (when we expect the weather to have improved) we will be launching our new "A Louder You - Powder Blue" campaign. This name was Sinnick's suggestion as he likes poetry.

This campaign will start with a half marathon to be run by young men wearing powder blue underpants and light blue, hand-knitted bobble hats and we will be giving away little poses made from fresh pansies. Look out for the launch date. Unfortunately neither Sinnick or I will be there as I will be in Spain and Sinnick is on holiday in Cornwall.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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