Don’t read this if you’re squeamish!

Just had an op done on my eye. Something to do with the epiretinal membrane.

Basically they got a sharp needle, drove it into my eye, sucked out the fluid (possibly, or I may have imagined that) scraped the epiretinal membrane at the back to remove distortion, cut out the lens and put in a new one to remove a cataract, filled the eye up again with the fluid plus a small air bubble (not sure why) and put it all back together again. All in day surgery! Home in time to watch “24 hours in A&E”. Now I’m an expert.

It was under a general anaesthetic (sigh of relief) but apparently they can do it under a local. So now I am walking about with an eye patch like a pirate. And probably typing with a lot of spelling errors since I can’t see the screen very easily.

Just reporting all this because I think it sounds rather splendid. When you hear what they’re going to do it sounds awful. In actual fact, I was pretty much unaware of it and it was fine. But I may as well milk it.

NHS. Bloody marvellous. And wonderful surgeons, doctors and nurses. Let’s give them all a good pay rise. Tell Theresa I said so.

What on earth will we talk about after Brexit?

Brexit
Brexit. Will it ever happen?

Imagine! You’ve just got up on the morning of 30 March 2019, come down to breakfast thinking it’s just another day and then, suddenly you’ll remember – it’s not.

Yesterday was the day we left the European Union. As you sit down with your friends/family, through the haze of the inevitable hangover (you couldn’t let such a momentous day pass without marking it with a few drinks) it will dawn on you that you have nothing to say. Just as the conversational run up to Christmas each year is brought to a shuddering halt by the abruptness of the Strictly Come Dancing finals, you will realise that you no longer have any topic of conversation to fall upon to fill those awkward moments. What will you say to the barber whilst getting a haircut? Or your fellow passengers on the train/bus as you go to work? Or even your work colleagues – although in that case you can probably revert to the standard moaning about the bosses – which, lets face it, is always a dependable standby.

So what on earth are we going to talk about after Brexit?

There are other highlights that pop up which are always reliable talking points. Take the US elections at the end of 2016. They are nothing to do with us in the UK, but we still managed to have a good moan, no matter which side we ‘supported’. Then the result came out and Trump was President. What a result that was! It might not have been a good day for democracy or the free world BUT IT GAVE US SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT because some people thought it was a good day for democracy and the free world. So plenty of room for debate there.

Since then, it’s just got better because at 6am every weekday I wake to our alarm clock radio tuned to Radio 4 and the Today programme and am really struck by the fact that Donald Trump gets pole position each morning due to some amazing fact, comment, tweet, action or threat that he is responsible for. I wake with a lighthearted lift to my soul as I wonder fondly “What has The Donald done today?” And he hasn’t let us down at the time of writing. He’s a publicist’s nightmare because he doesn’t need a publicist. And if there wasn’t Twitter he’d have had to invent it. (Thinking about it, he probably claims he did invent it.)

But even The Donald loses his lustre after a while because we begin to expect the unbelievable, so are not easy to surprise any more – with the result that the subject becomes passé.

That won’t happen with Brexit because we know that the confusion will carry on at least until the 29 March 2019, when we are supposed to be leaving, and I bet that doesn’t go entirely according to plan either. It’s one of those dates that is a bit like your projected retirement date. The closer you get to it the further they move it away, so you become like Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster pursuing, not some beautiful maiden but your retirement, never quite capturing her but getting tantalisingly close. I suspect that no matter how fast we pursue it, Brexit will remain just out of reach.

So maybe there’s no need to worry. Brexit will NEVER happen. After March next year it will be pushed back a bit and will remain just a couple of months away – forever.

If you only do one thing today – get a Fender Stratocaster

Looks wonderful on the wall

You don’t have to be able to play it – or even tune it. Just hang it on the wall and look at it. It’s an object of beauty and promise. Just touching it is a joy.

I started playing the guitar in my mid teens, and you could be excused for thinking that I should be quite good by now. Well I’m not. From my thirties until about a year ago (thirty years later) I stopped playing. What got me going again was a brand new Squier (by Fender) Bullet Strat I bought on the internet. I couldn’t believe you could buy a new “Strat” for so little, but hey, it would look good on the wall.

And I love it. The Fender Stratocaster is one of the most ubiquitous guitars of the last 50+ years and (in my opinion) it meets all of the criteria for a work of art. It looks good, feels good and, as a bonus, can sound good too. It is a triumph of form and function.

Of course, if you get one, you’ve got to take it down from the wall from time to time. And with a little practice it plays beautifully. It has an action that makes it a pleasure to play and handle – and this is the bottom of the range model, for goodness sake – and now I’ve even pimped it with a floral leaf pattern, just to make it unique.

I’ve got my eye on an “American Elite” Stratocaster in Sky Burst Metallic with maple fingerboard, which is a lot more money, and the day I win the lottery will be the day I order one of those. I will hang it on the wall next to the Squier, and take it down to play whenever I get the chance. In my hands it won’t sound any better than its forebear, but wow. What’s better than a Strat? Two, of course.