Poor James Naughtie. For those who live outside the UK and have not heard - he fronts a radio programme early in the day and yesterday when speaking about Jeremy Hunt, the Culture secretary, he accidentally mispronounced the surname and came out witha four letter word (which I will leave to your imagination)instead of Hunt. Of course, he is all over the papers this morning - a front page photograph in the Times. How people do like to dwell on our misfortunes. Poor Mr Naughtie - whatever he does in the future it is this gaffe for which he will be remembered.
This morning, walking around Tesco with the farmer (yes, I know, I hate going with him but now I can no longer drive I have little option and, I must say, he is very good about it and assures me he doesn;t mind), we met a friend of mine. We haven't seen each other for a while and it was lovely to have a chat. I introduced the farmer and they agreed that they had met once before. She is a delightful lady, so accomplished, friendly, charming. After we moved on I asked the farmer if he remembered her. "Oh yes," he said, "she's the one who spilt the curry on the carpet!" (Some years ago a group of us went for a meal and she served up the most delightful authentic curry with all the trimmings. Just as she brought it to the table she tripped and threw the whole lot over her lovely cream wool carpet.) So rather like King Alfred, remembered for burning the cakes, M is remembered for throwing curry over the carpet.
This afternoon I was relating this to a friend who had called. He laughed and told me a story about his wedding day almost forty years ago. Whenever the wedding is mentioned the same story is mentioned - never about the bride, or the groom, or the ceremony, or the dress - oh no - the highlight of B's wedding was that his mother set fire to her hat. On her way to see her son married and in a bit of a nervous
state she decided to have a cigarette (well, you did in those days, didn't you).
Unfortunately while smoking the cigarette she set fire to the front of her blue feathered wedding hat and burnt a hole through it. B's Auntie Mary, seeing her distress, snipped a pink rose bud off a bush in a garden they happened to be passing and quickly pinned it in the hole. The hat was admired by all and became the talking point of the wedding!
So it does seem that we do not have a lot of control over what people remember about us. Apparently the kind of mistake Naughtie made is often called "corpsing" - this is something which actors on the stage do - they make a mistake, or a Spoonerism, to an actor who is supposed to be dead on the stage - the idea being that they are trying to make the corpse laugh. This is not to suggest that James Naughtie did it on purpose - it was obviously a slip of the tongue and I am sure he is very embarrassed about it. Forget about it Mr Naughtie - everyone else will - until that is, somebody mentions your name - then it'll all come flooding back.
To those of you who have asked about my health over the last week this is just to say thank you for being concerned. I am recovered and carrying on with life - there is nothing else I can do. I feel almost back to normal and am getting used to a large cocktail of drugs every day. As for not driving - that is not the end of the world - no-one in their right mind would wish to be on the road on this grey, wintry day. Keep warm.