It's snowing properly, finally, so despite everything it is beginning to look a bit like Christmas.
Mr Brain has perpetrated another perfidious ambush, thwarted by my need to replace a chequebook in the very nick of time. A tax rebate that was issued by cheque to us for a princely 600 bux1 and that had required countersigning by each of us before it could be deposited, had been stuck in the back of the chequebook after gaining the oh-so valuable signature of Mrs Stevie. Mr Brain then took advantage of certain distractions in my life to clear the registers and thereby erase all knowledge of it from my head. This is why sometimes I feel like taking an electric drill to him.
Fortunately the villainy was discovered before 90 days had elapsed and place us iun the position of having to go cap in hand to the government for a new cheque.
Walking back from the bank I was caught up in the beauty of the large, white flakes of fluffy snow falling silently from the sky. Such was my joy at this sight that I gasped aloud, thereby inhaling one of the large, fluffy, white flakes which hit my tonsils with great force2 and brought on a violent coughing fit. As I reeled around the street, empty a moment before but now full of speeding vehicles, my tastebuds informed me that the snowflake had formed in the lower regions of the atmosphere above Brooklyn, dictating a composition of 5 parts water, 1 part volatile exhaust byproducts from the petroleum industries of nearby Hoboken, 1 part powdered aerosol of bird dung, 1 part asbestos fiber, 1 part Jet-A vapour and 1 part soot. I decided on the spot to forego lunch and have another look at breakfast.
Returning to my building I met the half-dozen people who still smoke. William was enjoying a small panatella of the sort Leo McKern made famous in his iconic portrayal of Rumpole of the Bailey. The fragrant smoke wafted over to me and I realised something. Two things actually. Firstly that Christmas and the smell of small cigars are inextricably linked in my mind as much as the tree and presents are.
Secondly, I gave up smoking more than 15 years ago, but right then I would have committed murder for a long Dutch panatella and a match.