Bill Lawless column

Bill Lawless.
Bill Lawless.
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Several thousand of you saw the deliberate mistake in my column when I relegated Valentine’s Day from Friday to the following Sunday.

Actually it wasn’t deliberate, just further proof of galloping senility. So, sorry if all you dear ladies had to wait a couple more days for proof of your beloved’s devotion.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have become an impressive insomniac. I take anti-depressants and sleeping pills before I go to bed, when I pop two more pills and chase them with a whizzer of whisky. But all to no avail.

Both the dog and I get up around 2.30am, go for a wee, then Benji goes back to sleep in my bed and I stagger blearily to the lounge for the rest of the night.

Ben is at least 17 and no longer house trained.

He won’t sleep anywhere else but on my bed. Sheila said ‘we’ll have to do something about that dog.’ I was horrified. ‘What, have him put down?’ I said. ‘No’ said Sheila, ‘I was thinking of you.’

Hmm, Could she have meant taking me to the vet? That conversation requires some further thought.

So while you lot have successfully counted sheep, I am being haunted by various ghosts, including the phantoms of regret, of which I have more than a few, but then again, too few to mention.

I read a lot of poetry in those early hours. The other night I got out my long-neglected works of Shakespeare and recalled, practically word for word, all the main speeches in Julius Caesar, which I last studied in 1952.

My long-term memory is great. But I forget what I had for dinner yesterday. One thing I will never forget is the two frenzied months I spent ‘ghosting’ the memoirs of a posh vet some fifty years ago.

I always get a laugh when I think of the book on the ‘auto-bio’ shelves of libraries.

It was nine parts fiction, made up by me because the old boy had shot his bolt in a previous book, also ghosted but by a better-known writer than me.

He pleaded illness to get out of his contract for a follow-on which was why I was parachuted in to meet the production schedules.

He even insisted of correcting anecdotes on the grounds of factual inaccuracy that were complete figments of my imagination.

Yet another reason for not believing all you read, or indeed on some occasions much of what you read...