TODAY I shall mostly turn a deaf ear to politics, but only because I am turning a deaf ear to everything. The right one, as usual.
Here is a vignette from my life. It is breakfast time and I am in the conservatory with my porridge. The old hi-fi system is in there and sometimes one of the speakers doesn’t work. The right one, as usual.
I crawl around trying to work out if the speaker has cut out, but this involves constantly turning my head because the right ear is wrong for this task right now. Eventually I work out that the speaker has gone silent.
I nudge the amplifier and for some reason this brings the speaker back. All is good again, except that I can’t hear any better because of my ear.
A visit to the practice nurse is arranged. For some reason, I think the blocked ear might be caused by the virus my wife passed on: sore throat, coughing, congestion and a deaf ear. She’s gone deaf in her left ear, so we need to arrange ourselves the right way around, or share a duff ear and ignore each other.
The practice nurse is a man who wears a genial smile and Doc Martens. He checks the left ear and says it is clear, then steps to my silent side. “Ah,” he says. “Completely occluded.”
What a good word for blocked, I think, as he tells me that it’s the usual wax problem, and therefore presumably not my wife’s virus.
“Try olive oil for a few days and then come back if it’s not shifted,” he says.
Here is another vignette from my life. I am in bed alone due the isolation theory which dictates that the person with the germs sleeps by themselves. My wife is downstairs with what remains of her germs for company.
The olive oil drops have been applied and, as suggested, I have put a bit of tissue in the ear to keep the oil there. I read my book, then I burst out laughing. This is because the tissue has gone in the wrong ear.
The BBC turns a deaf ear to politics today, too. Broadcasters are not allowed to report details of the campaigning while the polls are open. The BBC website’s review of the papers usually shows most of the front pages. Today, it displays the papers rolled up and concertinaed together so that only the titles can be seen, while the review is confined to non-political stories. A bit of investigative Googling could uncover those pages, but most are best left unseen today.
But I will end with a story that combines politics and bread, two interests of mine. The YorkMix website carries a lovely report about Phil Clayton, aka the Haxby Baker. When he’d not been long at his ovens, I joined Phil for a five-hour baking shift so that I could write a feature for my old newspaper, so I know him a little.
It was good fun and I picked up a few tips for my own baking ‘career’. Since then, Phil has become something of a star in the baking firmament and his loaves travel around York and further afield, too.
Phil has been putting his bread pictures on Instagram, including sourdough loaves that feature Jeremy Corbyn’s face. The Labour leader is etched in flour in a rather fine portrait. Another pictured loaf features the words “Tories out”.
As Phil’s splendid bakery is in Haxby, his loaves are baked in the York Outer constituency, which usually votes Tory. I don’t know what his customers think. According to YorkMix, Phil accompanied his Instagram pictures with a message for the Labour leader: “Hope you don’t mind your face appearing on our loaves for the new few days. Getting the message across via bread.”
I am not a skilled enough baker to decorate my sourdough loaves in such a fashion. Instead I shall put a slice under the grill and make some Theresa May toast. I know she probably won’t be, but this early in the day you can still hope.