Finger kaputt! Career as a professional pianist over


This afternoon I am driving and listening to the radio when I decide I must sit my grade eight piano exam – the top playing level. I idly toy with the idea that I might take up teaching in later life. As I am mulling this over, I park the car and promptly shut the door on the index finger of my left hand. Aaaargh.

Try not to panic as I look at the mess that was previously my finger and head into B&Q. But I can’t concentrate thanks to my throbbing finger, which is glowing and pulsating like a squashed digit in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Muttering under my breath, I go back to the car and cack-handedly drive home. Dave emerges from his office as I show him my crumpled finger, saying: “I’ve shut it in the car door.” I feel like an eight-year-old with a scraped knee. He leads me and the now blackened fingernail – aka awfy sair digit – and holds it under the cold tap. It is agony. “No,” I say in a wobbly voice as I limp off. Quite why it causes me to limp I have no idea but I keep a safe distance away from Dave and the agony of cold water for the rest of the day, preferring to sit and watch my damaged digit as it pulsates away.


How I took having a fully functioning hand for granted I will never know. Wake up this morning and the dreaded finger is huge, swollen and black and blue. It looks like a love bite but you would avoid touching it, let alone kissing it.

I am now down to nine fingers and have my flamenco class tonight – all the arm-twitching and finger-clapping will have to be toned down. I wonder if jogging will be sore? Maybe I am just looking for excuses.


My old pal Elaine arrives from Sunderland for a couple of days. Every time we meet we have a weird coincidence. Twice on two different holidays we both emerged from our respective bedrooms wearing the same swimsuit. The worst thing was she is a neat, leggy size 10. We looked like the before and after on a Slimfast ad.

We hit the town for a quick swig and she notices my battered finger, asking: “Is that the latest thing, one painted nail?” I tell my hideous injury story which almost puts her off her tea. We then go on a brief pub crawl ending up at The Outsider, where we scoff massive plates of garlicky lamb meat balls to fend off potential vampires.


Fresh air is the name of the game as I stride off into town early doors to collect my car, which I naively took with me last night. Feel the benefit of a lung full of air. Elaine is leaving today, so we say a fond farewell until next time and I wave goodbye with the finger from hell.


My niece and nephew are staying over tonight and we all settle down to watch the telly with a family pack of Jaffa Cakes. “Ugly Betty’s good,” says Louis. I flip it on just as Salma Hayek peels off her jacket and stuffs the leading man’s face into her heaving bosom.

Coughing, I change channel. “Oh, Meet The Fockers – that’s supposed to be good,” says Louis. We settle down again only for Barbra Streisand to smear baby oil all over her boobs. Glancing at my nephew, I turn over again… and find Ice Age 2. Phew, at last something suitable.

God knows what my sister-in-law will think when the wee man goes home and tells her he watched lots of ladies’ boobies on the telly at uncle David and auntie Alison’s last night.


It’s my cousin Patricia’s birthday, so the family meet in the Mussel & Steak Inn in the Grassmarket, where we explore the theory that a liking for a swally or 10 runs in the family. It does in this case – from my 70-year-old auntie Joyce to her 23-year-old granddaughter Sarah.

There is a camera in the kitchen so you can watch the chefs doing their stuff, which proves too much of a temptation. Half-way through the meal the birthday girl leaps up from the table and runs into the kitchen to wave to us.

But she gets the angle of where she needs to stand completely wrong, so all we see are her shocking pink, Cashmere-covered boobs wobbling around, which causes much hilarity.

After she emerges and we tell her she has just done a Trixie the stripper impression, she dives back into the kitchen, this time making sure we see her funny face goggling into the camera. The poor chef simply stands behind her bravely ignoring the antics that ensued.

“Happy birthday,” we shout as she is wheeched off in a taxi by her husband Mark, who has to get her on the train or book into a hotel for the night.



Writer & broadcaster.

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