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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

The story of Mr Manjure and the agony aunt,
related by ALICE McVEIGH

? 'Hi Alice,

I have been told that I have to undergo a second hip surgery -- very scary at my age (late eighties). I live in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, and I wonder if you could advise me?
(name and address supplied)

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Alice Dear supplied,

You have definitely come to the right place!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I am a world expert on several things: orchestral playing, novel writing, literary ghosting, Duccio, Jane Austen and P G Wodehouse, but very few people, up until now, are aware that I am also the world's definitive expert on hip surgery in Hertfordshire.

I am in a position to advise you that the man you want is the frighteningly gifted, devastatingly handsome, and seriously charming Sanjiv B Manjure, BBS,MS,MCh,FRCS,FRCS(Orth), who operated last week on my mother-in-law at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

(In parentheses, I wonder if someone could very kindly explain to me why -- in the UK -- after going to all the fuss and bother of becoming a famous orthopedic surgeon, not to mention the simple day-to-day annoyance of having to type out 95 letters after one's name -- one reverts to being a plain old mister, just like anybody else? Daft, I call it.)

Anyway, and leaving that question for the moment, let me explain what 'Mr' Manjure did. He persuaded my (completely unpersuadable) mother-in-law to endure a major hip operation, due to her heart condition, without a general anaesthetic, and performed it so brilliantly that, only six days later, she is effectively without pain for the first time in a decade. Not only that, but he called me up personally -- not the usual haughty consultant style at all -- the instant he left the operating theatre, to assure me that all had gone as well as possible. (Nor was this the only time he gave me. We had several phone conferences lasting twenty minutes to a half-hour: in my terms £25, in his, probably £2500.)

As for being gifted and good-looking, that's just basic luck, but to be so generous and thoughtful is truly rare.

Nor should I neglect to mention his partner, the anaesthetist, Dr Zady (or Zadie?) who was so brave: telling my mother-in-law what the score was (bleak) and seeing her through it all on an epidural.

So: look no further. Insist on Mr Manjure. Accept no substitutes!!!! (We already have an informal arrangement that he'll sort my hip out when I'm in my late eighties, should I live so long.)

(Actually, it feels okey doke, so far ...)

Ask Alice

? 'Dear Alice,

I am a professional violinist in Yorkshire, suffering from a frozen shoulder. I wonder if you could kindly recommend a local consultant for me?

Ask Alice

Alice Dear B,

Sorry, not a clue. My expertise is rigorously confined to the immediate vicinity of Harpenden, Herts.

Good luck,

Copyright © 13 February 2009 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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