David Newnham

Only skin deep

It is the moment I have been dreading. Janet stares at my face and points to my nose. ‘I think you’d better get that checked out,’ she says.

Shattering news

When I fear I am becoming clumsy in old age, I take out my smartphone, cradle it in the palm of my hand and admire its pristine glass surfaces.

Tell us a story

Want to hear some good news? Of course not. Only bad news sells papers, attracts viewers, gets clicks. Good news is for freesheets and council newsletters. Young people raise cash for puppies? Pass the sick bag.

Fine fare

Getting a dessert recipe from Janet’s mum is like getting custard out of a stone. How does she make Eve’s pudding – the baked apple and sponge treat that is the ultimate answer to all those nasty mother-in-law jokes?

Round in circles

There are more than 1,200 home exercise bikes for sale on Gumtree. That’s more than 1,200 sellers whose dreams of peak fitness lie abandoned in the corner of the spare bedroom or garage. But one of them now has an extra £15 to spend on comfort food.

Listen again

At last I’ve caught up. Not only does my new-to-me but previously-loved motor have climate control and a heated windscreen, it lets me play music from my phone.

Alive and kicking

With the arrival of spring, a small heap of unfamiliar junk lands on my desk. ‘I have been clearing out the cupboard under the stairs,’ says Janet. ‘I think this is your stuff.’

Missed evidence

Lisa blamed herself for what happened to her Aunt Flora.

Testing times

The nurse is gentle with me and tells me I perhaps need to drink more water. But ‘Dr Google’ does not pull his punches. Blood in the urine? I have cancer without a doubt and likely as not will be dead within a year.

Loud and proud

I once had a friend who, whenever she nicked herself with a kitchen knife or barked her shins on a dishwasher door, would cry ‘Thatcher!’ How many hours of practice had gone into this?

Cereal offender

I catch Janet studying the side of a cereal packet. ‘I’m sending off for your personalised All-Bran cereal spoon,’ she tells me. ‘I can’t wait to see you produce it at dinner parties.’

It’s a gas, gas, gas

My mother has a problem with gas. It is, she informs me, a ‘gastric thing’, and nothing I can say will shake her firm belief that the two words are related.

The space cadet

What did the woman serving the quiche do while her brainy husband was working? Look after...

Paws for thought

For a full five minutes, I completely misunderstood what Janet was telling me. ‘Emma went on...

The wrong track

The official-looking email was rather alarming. Glancing at the sender’s name, I saw it was...

Empathy calls

I know the minute I walk in that something is up. Four people are talking quietly in a...

A testing time

It is time for my six-monthly check-up: the ‘blood and pee’ session where the practice nurse...

No one panic

Now listen up. I could be about to wipe my hard drive, so I need to make this quick....