Why did I have a headache today? Because my mum isn’t dead.

Imagine the scene.

You’re sat at work, quietly beavering away on your computer (unless you’re a lumberjack, whereupon you might be at a tree), and you get a text message.

The message is from your mum. It simply says “Dr”. How would you respond?


Yes, I went with the well established Yorkshire classic “Eh? You ok?”

My mum tends not to text during the day, unless it’s regarding something particularly trivial. She normally schedules her text messages and phone calls to coincide with my first mouthful of a meal. Or when I’m having a shit.

Anyway, this message concerned me. Did she need a doctor? Had she collapsed? Fallen?  Why else would she text doctor? She must be in trouble. I tried ringing; no answer. Called again, and again. Nothing. I was at work, she lives 5 miles away, but I had to go. I couldn’t ring an ambulance could I? I considered it, but no.  I gave my excuses at work and left. The good lord above threw traffic calming measures, people turning right and thoroughly slow daydreaming daytime driving bastards at me, but I got there in about ten minutes, the last few minutes of which I spent trying to remember what to do in the event of a stroke or a heart attack, and fearing I might find her prostate on the floor, alone, in pain, unconscious, and possibly dead.  I was nervous, and frightened.

I could see the end of her street when my phone rang, it was her.

“Hi love I have a missed call, are you ok?”


“Yes I’m okay, are YOU?”

“Fine love, are you driving?

“Yes I’m driving! I’m round the corner! You sent me a text just saying doctor”

“Did I? Oh so sorry love, I was texting you to say the doctor had rung to say my x-ray last week was fine. Then your Auntie Anne rang so I answered, didn’t know I’d sent it”

“Well you did!”

“Oh sorry, I heard my phone bipping too, I wondered who was ringing”.

Now, this might sound wrong, but despite my relief that she wasn’t dying, a little part of me wanted to go round and beat her to death with her lamp in the form of a fat gold cherub.

We had a little chat, she apologised profusely, then I asked if she minded if I went, so I could drive back to work.  This didn’t stop her texting me before I got back to work to apologise.  Nor did it stop her popping round tonight with a nice battenberg as an apology.  Of course, all was forgiven prior to the arrival of the pitiful cake, but I joked “it would have been nicer if it had been a chicken bhuna”, which led to her suggesting we had one, and she would pay.

We agreed to have one, that would be nice. She hadn’t brought her bag though, so I paid.

So the moral of the story is if you have an elderly relative who is in possession of something more dangerous than caesium-137; a smartphone, go round to their house now, and take it off them. They have no reason to have one, they’re not safe with one, and they don’t need one. They need a slap, a cup of tea, and some fucking battenberg.

ma batt


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