Just a Minute


Inside the mind of Clement Freud.

On sex and the older male…
I am 82 and was indeed fitted with titanium and plastic knees six months ago. When propositioned recently by a woman to “come upstairs and make love”, I had to explain that it was one or the other.

On greyhound racing…
I had coffee with a racing manager who told me that dogs from traps one, two and six narrowly outperformed the mid-trap runners and, if I did forecasts involving the three favoured draws, I would show a slight profit over the season. As “a slight profit” was not what I had in mind, I backed a dog led up by a kennel maid with a huge bust. He came fifth. That system is a good way of showing a slight loss.

On food and wine…
Watercress does funny things to your palate – makes it very hard to appreciate good wine, does a plate of watercress salad. So, look on the bright side, if the wine you have bought is iffy, bring on watercress.

The family name…
In my youth “Freud” was not a household name in Britain. At prep school I was once called to the headmaster’s study to be beaten for talking during class, told to take off my trousers “and your pants, you stupid little boy”, lay across the man’s knee as he fondled my bum with his gnarled hand, whereafter he said: “I am not going to smack you because your grandfather would disapprove.” When people ask whether being related to a famous man is a help or a hindrance, I think of that.

Good Irish folk…
My distinguished Aunt Anna had a house on the west coast of Cork and always spoke with affection of the simple, straightforward decency of the local people. She was in Skibereen for her 70th birthday and received hundreds of telegrams of goodwill from all parts of the world where psycho-analysis rules OK. The messages were telephoned through to the postmistress, who inscribed them on greetings forms and hired a boy to deliver them hourly to the Freud house. During the afternoon she received one which read: “The rapists of Philadelphia send good wishes and best regards.” Over which my elderly maiden aunt puzzled greatly. When she called on the postmistress the next day she asked if they might send off for verification. The postmistress said that she, too, had been shocked by the words and checked them, and they had been right. Therapists is not a word in common usage around those parts.

Wills and the wife…
In October 1950 I left everything to my wife, told her so at dinner; she was too well brought up to ask questions. In fact, “everything” then was under £100, my paternal grandfather’s silk night-shirts, which my grandmother had given me as a 21st birthday present, and some extremely heavy, leather luggage nicked from a German factory that my regiment had “liberated” a week or two before VE Day. Last week, 58 years, five children and 16 grandchildren later, my first wife (we remain together, I call her “my first wife” to keep her on her toes) asked whether I had made a will. Not for a while, I admitted, and determined to do it all over again.

Life’s little pleasures…
If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving, you don’t actually live longer; it just seems longer

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