Cock rings and cream cakes …

Today started with a disappointment: the made-for-TV movie on Five is not about a missing child. Usually it’s about a middle class family whose son or daughter has been abducted, joined a cult or run away with someone of questionable sexuality. It’s a romance today.

I had planned to go out, and would miss the romance in the Wild West, but the thought of busy people, buzzing freezers, the fake smell of baking bread and bright lights unnerved me so I sorted an Asda delivery. Besides, it’s £3 for delivery and £3.40 in bus fare. I can hardly contain my excitement about the potential arrival of a caramel choux bun. I say potential because I’m becoming a cynic and can just imagine it being replaced by something irritating like a cupcake.

I can feel my energy draining from me, bit by bit, every day. The thought of going for a walk is too much. The stroll to the corner shop feels like an adventure of exhausting proportions. I think Chaplin has considered inviting me on his rounds but knows I’ll hold him back.

There was a time when I ran from morning meetings with the police, to court, to the office, back out on the streets for a vox pop. I’d then go out in the evening, to a glitzy do and definitely to a pub. Indeed, there were days when I’ve driven across the country in search of stories. There were others when I did so half-cut. Now it’s all I can do to put a DVD into the player. I’m finding the work tension in The Hour too challenging. I think State of Play would leave me in need of a nap.

Coroners’ Court was my favourite part of a busy week. I mean it. The courts themselves were shabby: wood panelling surrounding creaky, probably mite-chewed, seating and an old man looking down at us all, a bit bemused by what he heard. Of course, coroners’ courts are about death. They can decide if someone committed suicide despite a note which read “I’m off out to the shops” or an accidental verdict for someone who was found using a belt for purposes other than for which it was intended.

In fact, my favourite coroners’ court visit involved such a tale. A man, in this thirties and seeking excitement, had met another man in a park. They had hit it off and, not bothering with the traditions of a date or even a brew, tied each other up and, once trussed up like turkeys, started to, well, touch each other. Unfortunately, one man became ill in all the excitement and, as the rubber/leather gripped his neck, the poor fella died. His “date” did a runner.

Now the family in court listening to the grizzly details was not funny. The tension can, though, reduce you to giggles, at which point you have to leave the room. We would bring water to sip or lean down, as if to get something from our bags, while hiding and shoving our fists into our mouths. The coroner could sense a shift in the mood of the press bench and would throw us a look that could shut us up or have us running from the room, apologising and trying to keep a straight face.

Mostly, though, it is just bizarre. However, on this occasion I thought I might be held in contempt. The coroner was being given the details of how the man was found: tied to a tree, a leather/rubber strap around his neck hooked over a branch, wearing a tight leather vest and a cock ring. There was silence in court. The coroner looked confused, not shocked, not appalled, not judgmental, just confused.

“Tell me,” he said, peering down like Professor Yaffle. “What is a cock ring?”

The family burst into tears as the entire press bench burst into laughter. We didn’t mean to, being disrespectful wasn’t a natural position for us but this was too much. The tension in the room had been such that we were teetering on the brink of hysterics anyway. The coroner called for calm, looking confused by the outburst, as it was explained to him.

Even after such excitement I would’ve returned to the office, or to my patch, full of energy but now switching channels is a challenge. Maybe I should do some exercise.

Money I have: £120

What I have bought before my Asda delivery: Rioja Reserva Berberana, sausages, bread and Whiskas Temptations

How I intend to spend my day: Watching DVDs and eating sausage butties

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