Nessie’s brother – a big heavy Scot; ice-grey hair, bushy eye-brows, big nose; determined look; high-pitched voice; about thirty years older than me; used to tackling people – with a knife, if necessary; a surgical one, I mean; used to people listening to him and taking his advice. A believer in bran. Somewhat food-conscious. I first met him at Nessie’s house, but we had no interest in one another.
Once he was forced to take me out to the theatre – along with a second lady – because Nessie, who had invited me/us, had been taken ill. It was not a very memorable evening. His only merit was that he reminded me of Nessie a little bit. I wondered whether he had expected to be kissed properly when we parted at the end of the evening; I only kissed his cheek. Next day Steve and I saw him at a meeting and he remarked to Steve : I had a good night out with your good wife …
Once I had to see him in his medical capacity. I had a broken wrist and had to be sent to the local hospital : he would give me a letter to take. I wondered what he would write in a letter, because I had brought all the x-rays and reports from the West Country hospital where I had originally been treated. What would he have to add?
He took the opportunity to tell me that according to his files I had never had my blood pressure taken nor a certain preventive test done. I told him I did not believe in these exams. He looked amazed and incredulous, then managed somehow to entice me onto his settee and took my blood pressure before I knew where I was. The blood pressure was alright and he entered it triumphantly in his records. Now came the more difficult task of doing the other test. I am afraid he lost that battle, although he did what he could to impress Steve and me by gravely quoting disturbing figures concerning a high incidence of something under certain circumstances around the Black Sea. I gave him my amateurish view of things. He conceded indirectly that I might be right as far as the psychology involved is concerned, but … He had offered this test to three hundred women in his surgery. Every single one had accepted. Did I want to accept it or not ? I said “no”, at which he turned to my husband “is that your last word?”. He was desperate. Steve meekly pointed out that he had nothing to do with his wife’s decisions. Nessie’s brother gave a pained smile and dismissed us.
Later that day he was on the telephone to me twice, once through his secretary who wanted to make me pick up the above-mentioned letter. I refused because of the inconvenience and asked for it to be put in the post, pointing out that I had all the necessary documentation with me, anyway. A little later the phone rang again. It was Nessie’s brother himself. My heart was beating fast by now and I wondered whether I shouldn’t have a bad conscience about something. However, it was the letter again ! The post apparently was not altogether reliable; it was doubtful whether the letter would reach its destination in time. I remarked we had four or five days to go. He must have seen that, for he suddenly changed his mind, saying “alright, we’ll put it in the post”. I have not seen him since.
When I went to the hospital, I was curious to find out what this important sounding letter contained. Much to my surprize it was pushed aside with hardly a glance. When the examination was finished, it had to be referred to, though, because to whom could this particular “senior registrar” address his thanks for sending him a patient ? He duly recorded his answering letter while I was still there, beginning with the words “thank you very much for sending me …”. They are a polite race.