Grinning baboonishly. That's me. Grinning baboonishly. But not because of the weather. It's day four of spring as I write and it's raining nails and the wind's got teeth and for the first time in months there's snow on the hills across the water and the about-to-burst buds on the apple tree, the buds that had just begun to crack their shells, have sniffed the sudden cruelty of the air and stopped exactly where they were, have stopped bang dead, their little noses frozen at the burrow's mouth.

Not so the flowers on the flowering cherry that ventured out in foolish hope and now in all this Wenceslasish weather look so frail and papery you want to bring them in and pamper them and feed them soup. Though the you in that last sentence does not include the dog who is concerned as always only with his own comfort and is curled in his chair in a nose-to-rectum wagon circle of fur and flesh.

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The chair is set within singeing range of the log burner (that e in singeing looks odd though its absence would confuse) but the wood shed now is all but empty so, if spring continues wintry, we'll have to turn to oh so clean and oh so easy and oh so bloody costly electricity. Yet I am grinning. Baboonishly.


And neither is it because of the darling prostate gland. I took it to the urologist's this last week in the biting cold, and he came in in hospital scrubs and jaunty youthfulness and said to me, "what seems to be the problem?" as if there might be a range of problems brought to a urologist by a male aged 61 and I said something along the lines of "I am become old man and all that that connotes and though I know I shouldn't be surprised to find that time, who strikes down all, has chosen to include me in the all, I am surprised, the reason being the secret lurking near-belief - the one we all are born with and that insulates us from despair - that I might actually and uniquely be exempt".

US president Donald Trump departs the White House on Friday (NZT) on his way to rally in Montana. Photo / Getty Images
US president Donald Trump departs the White House on Friday (NZT) on his way to rally in Montana. Photo / Getty Images

"I see," he said, "well if you'd just assume the position…" which we who like a little Latin with our medicine know as vulnerabilitas maxissima (though we have recently taken to calling it, among ourselves you understand, by way of cruel political joke, the Paul Manafort) "…and we shall see what's what."

What's what of course turned out to be what we both knew was what, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and once I had regained the status of a grown-up man in trousers the nice urologist explained that there were pills available that may or may not do the trick, and beyond that there were interventions surgical that may or may not do the trick, though the trick, if we were being honest, was in the end undoable since it really called for the reversal of all that time had done. And if there's one thing that we know for sure in this world where we really don't know much, it is that on the gearstick knob in time's slow-rolling vehicle, however hard you look, you will not find the letter R.

Eventually then, he didn't say, though he most definitely implied, all treatments he could offer were just temporary things, just fingers in the dyke - if you'll forgive the metaphor - against an ultimately overwhelming force. In other words, he didn't say but I most definitely thought, just like all medicine.

"One thing you should remember," said the nice urologist, "is you are not alone."

Indeed, I said. And I imagined the constant stream of men who came so profitably to his door each day, all lowered by a gland that loses its efficiency too soon. The work of this young man, this able, kind and well-informed young man, it seemed to me, was the polar opposite of school teaching, which keeps you young by forcing you to focus on the adolescent mind in all its messy energetic zest. Doctoring obliges you to look down the telescope from the other end. It's degeneration against regeneration. No wonder the one is paid more than the other. The balance of the pay packet is the hope.

So I thanked the nice urologist and wandered out into the wintry spring and the people huddled deep in coats and scarves. Yet despite the weather, and despite the urologistics, I was still grinning baboonishly. For one simple reason. Trump is going down. It will take a while yet, but it's now inevitable. You can see he knows it. And a world in which Trump goes down is a world that's the right way up.