I Beg Your Pardon?
A little hearing difficulty runs in my family and, true to my genes, I have started to suffer from the unwanted attentions of that implacable lady, Ms Anne O'Domini.
I was driving a friend on a winding country road recently when he asked me, and I quote, 'Has your ma had her 50th year?'
It was a very odd question, so I asked for a repeat, and got, 'Are we far from a swift beer?'
'My dear chap,' I told him, 'I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.' Upon which he took a deep breath and asked very slowly, clearly and loudly, 'Has your car got a fifth gear?'
It was a hint that I should change up from fourth to fifth. Unlike me, he could hear the engine calling for a change, as insistently as a baby will.
Ah, well, perhaps it's time for an electronic aid.