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Martin Kelner, Journalist, Author and Radio Presenter.
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A message to Philip Balmforth
By Martin "condensed milk" Kelner on Apr 10, 2014 - 9:25:25 PM

It's like this, Philip.  I've had some abdominal surgery which has left me with a "drain site," which isn't anything I've heard of before, but basically it's a 2cm deep wound which has to heal from the bottom upwards, and it's rather painful.  A district nurse comes to visit me each day to pack it and change the dressing, but it's an uncomfortable thing to walk around with, which kind of strips me of the motivation to sit down and blog. I'm not sleeping too well either, so I'm a little short of energy too.

However, today I completed my first Saturday column for the Racing Post, a new gig for me, which kind of demonstrated that if I put my mind to it I could summon up the motivation to update the blog for you, Philip.

The surgery was my second stay at St James's Hospital, and actually much tougher than the first, when I was, as I like to say, "hovering between life and death." 

(By the way, you know that extreme ironing thing where people go up a mountainside to press their clothes, if someone were to take the vacuum cleaner up there as well & clean along a narrow ledge, could they be said to be "Hoovering between life and death?" Ha, ha, you never lose it, Philip) 

Anyway, I should be able to provide the odd blog update, Philip, but as to returning to the airwaves, that isn't going to happen for a while. 

Medical advice is not to go anywhere "your carpet slippers won't take you," although as I point out in my Racing Post column, living in Wakefield that more or less takes in the whole town, and any occasion short of a formal Masonic dinner.

I just don't feel strong enough to go back on the radio yet, though.  The medics say I have to build myself up with stodgy plain foods, and have given me a meal plan, and a suggestion for supplies to keep "in the store cupboard."

These include, hilariously, "milk powder, tinned meats and fish, e.g. corned beef, ham, pilchards; macaroni cheese, tinned spaghetti, baked beans; creamy/condensed tinned or packet soups, tinned vegetables and potatoes, tinned cream, condensed/evaporated milks...etc."

"Hello, meet my store cupboard.  It hasn't heard that the Second World War is over." 

Either that, or it's a surreptitious effort to get me to lay in supplies for a nuclear war.  Maybe all the dystopian fiction - Hunger Games, Divergent, and all that - that my daughter gobbles up is for real.

The way I feel at the moment, I'm disinclined to take absolutely all the dietary advice on board.  I really don't want to spend my last hours on the planet eating cling peaches in tinned cream.

As the Radio Leeds listener Philip, I'll try and keep you informed.  I realise I am something of a public figure round these parts with a duty to my customers. 

My semi-fame was brought home to me by an encounter with one of the hospital porters wheeling me into the operating theatre.  Inspecting my name tag, he said: "Didn't there used to be a dj called Martin Kelner?"  "Yes, I get mistaken for him all the time," I said, which seemed to satisfy his curiosity. 

Then there was Shelly, who took my bloods, and said she loved what I did, so much better than "all that bouncy pop music" on the other channels.  And Dave from Otley, a patient who came over to congratulate me on West Ham's win at Sunderland:  "Good win for your boys last night," he said, and then mouthed silently in Les Dawson fashion, "Big fan," assuring me he wouldn't tell any one it was me, clearly under the impression I was on some kind of a rehab mission or something, and blowing my cover could have serious consequences.  As it turns out, I appear to have escaped the paparazzi, and be safely home.

Thank god I have my new Racing Post Saturday column to occupy me.  At first I didn't feel well enough to do it, but I'm glad I did, because reading through this list of foods I'm supposed to get my laughing tackle around - cartons of milk pudding, dried fruit, e.g. currants, honey, syrup, treacle, Horlicks, Ovaltine - I'm inclined to ask, "Death, where is thy sting?"

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