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Wednesday, 10 May 2017


Visited Hereford hospital’s dermatology department where I underwent an erotic experience. Given my 300-word limit there may not be enough space to include this.

The building, located on the city’s ominously labelled Gaol Street, is surrounded by a paid-for public carpark. A strange form of discrimination is practiced. Dermatology patients are told not to use the park “as (they) will be fined”. This happens, it seems, even if they buy a ticket. Conclusion: skin conditions may inhibit car usage.

The tiny waiting room measures 5 m x 5 m and the door carries the single word: Waiting – as if the room itself were waiting for patients to come in and wait. On one of the walls are three separate posters offering the same rubric: “Have you booked in at the Dermatology reception?”  When you do you will be asked by the receptionist to confirm that the figures she has just recited are the last four of your phone number. This will take you slightly longer than you expect.

None of the people waiting showed any visible signs of skin problems. This is not remarkable since one of the many posters – entitled Guide To Checking Your Skin – shows by way of two decorously rendered mannikins that the areas most at risk are the arms and the legs. Surprising. Or as Donald Trump might say: Bad!

Posters proliferate. For those who demand the whole picture one poster illustrates ten steps to effective hand hygiene. Exhaustive as Donald Trump would not say.

Sun is definitely the dermatologist’s Satan. “Slip on a shirt” one is told; I actually swim in one during villa holidays in France.

During my visit I became familiar with the Giant Comedone, which I misheard as Komodo (ie, the dragon). The erotic episode will, alas, have to wait.


  1. No, no, no. This is a cheap trick! You cannot mention an erotic experience in the first sentence and then - what?

    Hope all is well, BTW.

  2. Come ON! You can't leave us hanging like that!

  3. Sabine/Beth: Oh yes I can if I'm desperate enough. These days comments to Tone Deaf are as rare as apercus from Brexit voters. Politics wasn't getting me anywhere, neither were elegantly written feuilletons. I have a 3000-word short story on one of my favourite subjects (embarrassment) waiting to be posted but I can't do things like that at the drop of a hat. I need to be read, do you understand?

    Actually, I may have become a hostage to fortune. However cheap this trick is I have - by implication - given my word. I will reveal all. But when did either of you tackle eroticism recently? It's gonna be much harder than I thought. Tone is everything and the risks are terrible. I may have to write the thing in French in order to maintain my status as a belle-lettrist.

    Meanwhile keep on visiting Tone Deaf. I am as you both know an ex-journalist, well versed in cheap tricks. Anything just this side of downright lying.

  4. All: Hey, proof of the pudding yesterday: 241 pageviews!

  5. Breath his bated. (Not, I hope,as DT would say, bad.)

  6. That should, of course, have been 'is', not 'his'. I almost deleted and rewrote, but thought in your current gloomy mood you might appreciate the extra comment.

  7. Lucy: Appreciate your inventive approach re. additional comments and your Croix Rouge spirit. Gloomy? I do have one incredibly faithful commenter but his surname (Robinson) merely confirms that some people are capable of simultaneously chewing gum and thinking.

    Breath bated? On doit hausser les ├ępaules. I can't see it as comfort-threatening let alone life-threatening but this may be because I'm not looking in that direction. I'm more concerned about the irregular bouts of self-hypnosis I'm prone to when singing takes a backwards step. "On average," I say to V, "this song has me continuously in a higher register than any other."

    "No it doesn't. You're confusing bass and treble clefs."

    I'm not reassured, even though I'm slightly proud of committing such a techno-sounding error.

    V despatched me from the last lesson saying that during home practice I should eschew "marking". More snob appeal.

  8. Well, Robbo, you've certainly brought your female fans to life with this one. Your gum chewing gender-mates seem less titillated, though I'm pleased you will not have to add another asterisk to your blog intro.

  9. MikeM: Robbo? Nobody's called me that since Miss Hudson's class at primary school during the war.