Your hard-working member has been forging a much closer friendship with the splendid Paul Hutcheson in recent days.
An element of self-interest comes into it (although Alf is not admitting to it). He had been told how Paul – bloody good bloke and a doctor – helped steer Chris Auchinvole to treatment for a dicky ticker.
Mind you, Alf could have diagnosed Chris’s problem too, if consulted, because Chris had been experiencing pain while walking up stairs.
No, not in the legs. In the chest.
That’s spells trouble of some sort and needs checking out.
Anyway, Chris mentioned the pains to Paul, and Paul gave him bloody good advice, and now Chris has had one of those stent things put in an artery.
The NZ Herald tells the story here –
Mr Auchinvole said today he was feeling better than he had in a long time, but had been told he could not work for three weeks.
“The cardio unit in Wellington kindly put a stent in an artery that they found was 90 per cent occluded.”
Mind you, it’s not all hunky-dory. The bugger is not allowed to fly overseas for two months.
But he will be…
“Back to work when Parliament re-sits.”
Auchinvole had been due to visit Scotland over Easter to see where a plane had crashed shortly before the end of World War II.
His father had been a passenger.
He said today that little had been lost by having to postpone the trip, and he would talk to the parliamentary whip about when it could be rescheduled.
All is not lost, however.
Alf is willing to make the arduous journey in Chris’s stead and has offered to help out in this respect, although – fair to say – he would rather the plane had crashed near one of those French beaches where the sheilas wear monokinis.
He has wanted to spend a holiday at one of those beaches since he saw the picture above of Brigitte Bardot, but Mrs Grumble has always vetoed such ambitions and steered him to other vacation spots.
Anyway, Alf understands that France can no longer pride itself on being the world capital of seaside semi-nudity.
The reason (as he learned here) is that …
A younger generation of women are covering up, citing new feminist priorities, skin cancer fears and a rebellion against the cult of the fetished body beautiful.
The Guardian, the source of the above information, said French academics and historians had been pondering the sociological meaning of the demise of France’s once-favourite piece of beachwear, the “monokini” – the bottom half of a bikini with no top.
The Guardian recalled that –
Since the 1970s, when the French state refused to ban “le topless” on beaches, women’s semi-nudity has become a symbol of summer in France. It was a point of national pride that the same freedom to strip off in public was off-limits in other more prudish nations such as the US.
But modern French 18- to 30-year-olds were rejecting toplessness, boosting the sales of two-piece bikinis and old-fashioned bathing suits.
One swimsuit saleswoman said that going topless is no longer seen as a feminist act, as young women see equal pay and work-family balance as more pressing battlegrounds.
It tended to be the over-60s – women involved in the initial women’s lib struggle – who dispensed with tops nowadays.
This, of course, suggests Brigitte might still be seen in a monokini, although perhaps she now needs a bigger size.
But that’s to digress.
The fact is, the plane went down in Scotland, and that’s where Alf would go if Chris accepts his invitation to ease the burden of travel overseas.
And Scotland does have lots of outfits that make whisky, all of them worth a visit.
Chris may well turn down the invitation, of course.
He is stressing that he has not had a heart attack – his angina has been taken care of and he felt re-energised.
As for Alf, he intends inviting Paul up to the Bellamy’s bar for a wee dram and a chat about his own aches and pains.
He will make special mention of people who have become a pain in the arse, such as Chris bloody Finlayson, who has become much too fond of the constitutional abomination of co-governance arrangements.
The tosser announced another one yesterday.
He takes pride in his role in these arrangements.
If he came to Alf complaining of chest pains, the advice would be to eat plenty of pies, to generously use butter instead of those vegetable-fat products, and throw away the trim milk in favour of cream. Lots of it.