24 MARCH 1990, Page 40

Low life

Still functioning

Jeffrey Bernard

Iwanted very much to accompany Anna Haycraft to Rosamond Lehmann's funeral but I was trapped in a sickbed. What a delightful woman Rosamond was. Some old ladies can be quite daunting if not scary but she was utterly charming, entertaining and funny. I went to see her sometimes in her house in the afternoons to have tea with her and I felt it was a privilege to be invited. It was a surprise if not something of a mystery to me that she actually read this column. At least she won't have been in the slightest bit frightened of dying. I don't think death existed for her.

It was a sad end, though, to a bizarre week. I get some strange letters from time to time and I received a couple of real weirdos. Saab motor cars wrote to me to inform me that they have a new model that has 150 bhp and can do 127 mph and would I care to test-drive it. They have to be mad. In my present condition I couldn't test- drive a lawn-mower. I wondered if they would have liked me to take this car through its paces after the cocktail hour and I can only assume that they are prepared to write off one of these £15,000 cars. I wonder why.

The second crazy letter I received was from a medical clinic the name of which I have forgotten. It was an unsolicited mis- sive and a damned impertinent one. They offered to cure me of impotence and premature ejaculation. Where on earth did they pick my name from? I have never complained of either malfunction and if I did suffer from premature ejaculation how could I possibly be impotent? I have made facetious remarks in the past about giving up the chase and the struggle but there is a world of difference between indifference and impotence. Furthermore it is 100-1 that a man of 57 could suffer from prema- ture ejaculation. They must have drawn 'Is this where my marriage was made?' my name out of a hat. Other than that someone is stirring it. It matters not but I would quite like to see what sort of letters they address to women.

Last Sunday morning I managed to move at last to a new flat and what a gargantuan struggle that was. Of course I couldn't move a muscle never mind help carry anything, so I sat and watched the noble removal men. What a marvellous team they were, not professionals but the gang from the Coach and Horses. Heroes. They were dripping sweat at both ends of the move and they had all of them volun- teered to do the job. That's friends.

The flat is a nice self-contained place just suitable for me and it has a lift which compensates for my having hardly any legs left. It even has a small balcony which I shall sit on during the summer months. I am not quite sure about the location, though. Maida Vale isn't exactly exciting and it is some way from the West End. But it is a vast improvement on my last place and even has a washing machine. My niece who lives around the corner has put me in touch with a cleaning woman, who is going to come in twice a week owing to my being more or less disabled, but she tells me that the woman is on anti-depressants. I am not quite sure how I will greet the sight of a depressive armed with a Hoover. With luck she may have her manic moments.

What I do look forward to now is being able to take up cooking again. Sharing a kitchen just didn't work and this place will work.

New life