The other day I had one of those thunder-flash reminders of old age that come upon us without warning. For no apparent reason the right knee buckled as I traversed from the family pile in Rockland to my club ( the home of homes ) nestled next to the city harbour. Suddenly I had gone from a still rather natty figure to a sort of biblical wayside tragedy.
Month: November 2015
Major’s Corner: Major’s parting from wife is such sour sorrow
BY MAJ. (RETIRED) NIGEL SMYTHE-BROWN, TIMES COLONIST MAY 30, 2010 7:21 AM
Maj. (retired) Nigel Smythe-Brown Photograph by: Staff, Times Colonist
I am not sure how others feel about this subject, but I don’t like desertion on the part of the memsahib.
Surely, if we are supposed to be together through thick and thin, I see no earthly reason she should want to visit her frightful sister in Port Moody.
This outrage is only matched by Mrs. Bleak, our hirsute cook, using my wife’s absence as a loose excuse to take a fortnight off. I don’t like the woman as she puts it about the neighbourhood that she is afraid to be alone with me, which is based on a deeply held misunderstanding.
I did not know my wife, Kitty, had actually hired the woman so when I appeared naked at the top of the stairs one morning, reciting Richard the Third (“Was ever woman in this humour wooed”) as is my wont — or rather, was.
It was a shock to both of us. Plus, is a situation ever helped by “wake up the dead” screams forthcoming from a female cook?
On top of all else, there are my wife Kitty’s blasted cats Pericles and Bertram, which I am expected to feed during her long absence. Mind you, not just any old can of cat food will do; oh, no, it must be the rare blue tuna with a sauce of an egg and vitamin E spread artistically about the saucer.
These damn creatures lick their own fundaments and then have the temerity to turn their dirty noses up if I do not prepare dinner to their exacting specifications.
I wave grimly as I watch my wife of some 40 years tootle off in the family car toward the ferries, knowing that the weeks ahead are full of hurdles. I glumly make my way to the club after almost being filleted by the impatient cats for not providing their meal with the speed and deference of the missing cook.
Thankfully, I find at the club many who have been left on their own for much longer than my two weeks of hell.
The Brigadier was once alone for an entire month and quietly became a hermit living on his top floor. This was because his wife had recently bought a new oven that, instead of the tried and true “Off” and “On” buttons, had coloured moving figures with active buzzers going relentlessly, denoting sauces and pie crusts.
That forced him in a rage to the attic with a large number of cans of food, unfortunately all containing the same substance. His personal flushing system has never recovered from 30 days of cold creamed corn.
Now, when reminded of the incident, he becomes agitated and produces the most awful scents with accompanying noises.
One general, we were told, sat blowing a bugle for an entire summer. He later published a book on How to Lose 100 Pounds in Two Months. However, as he weighed only 170 pounds when he started, he died shortly after, and with him the short-lived “Bugle Diet.”
Another mem sat vellicating at the memory of his dear lady who ran away with the Albanian gardener, leaving him with a house that is now completely covered by English ivy.
There were many other stories, with several ending badly, but I am determined to not be one.
This entailed finding our cook Mrs. Bleak and convincing her that when I rang out with:
“Now is the winter of our discontent,” albeit naked, I was not referring to her runny eggs but merely quoting the Bard.
The unsavoury cook returned but only if I moved into my club. Bah. Please come home, Kitty.
copyright christopher dalton 2015
A visit to the hairstylist leaves the Major’s wife a modern Medusa
Times Colonist (Victoria)
Sun Aug 25 2013
Byline: Major’s Corner
Column: Nigel Smythe-Brown
Source: Times Colonist
Most of my loyal readers will have by now grasped the fact that I have never dealt well with sudden change.
In fact, I don’t much like change at all. I prefer the known path, trodden by my shoes of life, every centimetre recognizable to my now old and rheumy eyes. I have determined that the cause for the frequent ruptures to my carefully chosen way is because I share said journey with others, namely Kitty, my wife of some 50 years.
Let us remember troops in Afghan mission
Times Colonist (Victoria)
Sun Nov 6 2011
Byline: Maj. (reitred) Nigel Smythe-brown
Column: Major’s Corner
Source: Times Colonist
“All you hoped for, all you had, you gave, To save mankind – yourselves you scorned to save:”
The above is from the second verse of that marvellous yet wrenching hymn O Valiant Hearts.