Following my references to the delights of Nytol, I received a letter from a schoolfriend who, like me, is retired and also like me performing various community service roles to fill in the days. He wrote as follows:
“I read your blog about Nytol. It is entertaining and could make a book along the lines of Alf White or Gervaise Finn. The present economic climate is causing many a sleepless afternoon so I may join you in a packet, that’s if the pharmacist will let me have some. Doesn’t it p*** you off that we are trusted to govern schools, imprison people, and inspect jails but are not to be trusted with Night Nurse?”
He’s right – it does. Only the other day I asked at the pharmacy for two packets of Nytol and the response was an anxious frown and a long silence. I gave her a desperate look and in a stage whisper pleaded, “I promise not to do anything silly”, which did the trick. I felt like a teenage crackhead negotiating with his supplier.
I don’t want you to run off with idea, by the way, that our retirement pursuits are the expression of a sanctimonious and selfless wish to do good. On the contrary, we are trying to shift the balance of the scales towards the plus side, to cancel out the heavy load of moral turpitude we piled up in our youth, so that when the final reckoning comes we may manage to sneak under the wire. But will it be enough?