YOU will doubtless be familiar with the long- running advert on television where a fellow stroke victim appears to have a fire burning inside his head.

Well call it coincidence, but the other day, I was burning some farm rubbish in a brazier when a stray gout of flame shot out and set my hair and eyebrows on fire.

I know strokes can make you feel a little light headed, but this was a step too far. The dancing flames were immediately flapped out, and I didn’t think anyone would notice.

However, I forgot that Mrs Hextol had been pressed into service as my personal chauffeuse during my enforced absence from behind the driving wheel, and she doesn’t miss a thing.

“What’s that smell, she demanded as soon as I got in the car, “I have just been mucking out horses,” I responded. “I don’t suppose it’s the smell of Fabulous Pink Camay!”

“No, it’s not your usual horsemuck and haylage – it’s like bacon burning!” she continued.

I automatically touched my forelock, as is my wont in Mrs Hextol’s presence, and much of it crumbled to dust in my hand.

“What have you been doing?” she demanded. “All the front of your hair has frizzled away, and there’s hardly anything left of your eyebrows!”

I was obliged to confess my little mishap with the belching brazier, but was emboldened enough to point out my eyebrows had recently taken on a life of their own, and had expanded to create a Becher’s Brook of a facial feature which would have challenged those of Denis Healey or even George Woodcock.

They were now little more than sorry cinders, and it was from them that most of the smell of frizzling hair seemed to emanate.

The hairs on my forearms had been singed too, leaving little black balls of matter which my 12-month-old great niece Emma discovered made excellent playthings

I had often wondered what was involved in having a singe, as offered by old time barbers, and now I was finding out at first hand.

As soon as we got home, Mrs Hextol whipped out her hairdressing kit and set about salvaging what she could of my crowning glory.

She did her usual excellent job, and you have to look closely to see the crinkly bits after my cranial conflagration,

I am not sure if setting yourself on fire is one of the usual side effects of a stroke, but I appear to have got away extremely lightly after my blood clot on the brain.

For the first time in my life, I am now on long-term medication, to thin my blood and to reduce cholesterol levels, even though they were already close to acceptable limits.

One tablet in my daily double is agreeably small, but the other is as big as a sugared almond , and just about as difficult to swallow,

I have been told to eat lots of fruit, so was quite disappointed when the terrifying barrage of small print listing the horrendous potential side effects which comes with all tablets said that on no account should I eat grapefruit – one of my favorite breakfast snacks,

My speech has returned to normal, I have stopped drooling and am reasonably sound in wind and limb, apart from a tendency to doze off into a dreamless sleep at the drop of a hat.

I have, however, taken advantage of the glorious summer weather to stretch out on one of our ancient sun loungers in the back garden.

We bought a pair of them from the Co-op in Maiden’s Walk somewhere around the turn of the Millennium, and they have spent most of the time encased in bin bags in the garage waiting for the sun to put in an all too rare appearance,

But given my enforced idleness and the brilliant sunshine, I got them out and endeavoured to set them up in an optimum basking location.

However, that was easier said than done, for those loungers are closely related to Arkwright’s till, and snap and bite at the slightest provocation.

Eventually, I got mine up, and stretched out like a fat cat on its quilted cushion, looking forward to being baked to a crisp.

I fell into a peaceful snooze, but even my reduced bulk proved too much for the ancient tubular frame, which suddenly collapsed and catapulted me spluttering into the begonias.