THE FRIARY NEWSLETTER: A patron who understands our guests' pain

`To my mind, sport seems to be having far too great an influence and increasingly threatens to upset the equilibrium of our establishment'
Click to follow
The Independent Online
irst of all, a loud round of applause for all those who made the week's visit by the Queen M such a resounding success. The occasion certainly ranks as the main highlight of my tenure as head of clerical services in the country's leading rehabilitation centre.

The day was glorious. The lady herself, as graceful and charming as ever, her sure step belying her advanced years, looked radiant in swirling veils of purple and pink (her racing colours). As you all know, the venerable lady has been one of our most stalwart supporters through good times and bad and it was only fitting that she should choose to spend her birthday with us, her adopted family.

A huge cake, made by a celebrity chef staying with us for a touch of remedial treatment after over-exposing himself on TV, was set out on the front patio. "Well, strike a light," exclaimed her ladyship, sending the assembled crowd into paroxysms of laughter.

She undoubtedly has a unique gift for communicating with both high and low. At one stage of her visit she challenged the inmates of our fast expanding sporting stars demythologising unit to a general knowledge contest. "What won the 1954 Derby?" "What odds was the second placed horse in the 1972 Cheltenham Gold Cup?" She knew all the answers. Our outrageously overpaid but mentally malnourished group of sport stars was left speechless at the starting gate.

There was only one slight hiccup in the course of the good lady's glorious canter through our humble establishment. We are particularly proud of our high-profile visualisation workshops, during which clients are encouraged to conceptualise objects outside their own aura spheres. After sitting in on one session, however, she seemed distinctly unimpressed, describing it as "a load of old cobblers". She went on to state that the clients were nothing but "a bunch of namby-pamby navel gazers" and recommended an afternoon at Plumpton and a good tumbler of gin as a way of sorting themselves out.

Whilst I would hesitate to contradict the noble lady, I do take strong issue with her views, particularly in relation to her notion of the therapeutic value of sport. To my mind, sport seems to be having far too great an influence lately and increasingly threatens to upset the calm and equilibrium of our establishment.

As you are aware, the primary focus of our activities to date has been the care of politicians with severe personality problems. Many is the bulging ego that has wandered in here from the dispatch box, to be retooled and reshaped into a normal, decent, upstanding person. Lately, however, we have been inundated with so called sports personalities, suffering from the most bizarre range of disorders.

This week, for instance, a silvery haired gent, who, apart from wearing an outrageously garish tie seemed a normal sort of individual, entered our portals screaming at the top of his voice that he was a loaf of bread. It took all the skill and therapeutic resourcefulness of our staff to elicit the full story.

Apparently this man had once been what is termed a sports anchorman - a most unsuitable title given the client's clear instability.

For years he had sat in the same swivel chair and, doing little other than smiling enigmatically, peering into the camera as the world's great sporting moments were played out on a screen behind him.

For this rather trivial exercise he was paid vast amounts of money: not only that but he became something of a middle-aged pin-up - the object of lustful longings among certain misguided sections of society. "Now it's all over," sobbed this TV Romeo. "They say I'm stale. No one would even want a nibble at me anymore."

The staff, acting under the wise stewardship of Mr Fatherly, our scream technician, decided that the best course of action for this client was a dose of the three Ss - the short, sharp, shock. This involved a hook up to our recently purchased Self Esteem machine. Knobs were adjusted and pumps primed.

The results were mixed. The client recovered - but far too quickly. Only an hour after entering as a babbling wreck, the client was talking of new beginnings, enormous bonuses and, affecting a most lascivious manner, he suggested a liaison with Ms Livinia, the primal integration specialist. The two then disappeared.

Elizabeth Lyon, Pitmans (Penge) head of clerical services.