50-70?! How dare you. I'm 49. It's not the being 50 that bothers me. It's the being prematurely hurtled into the 50-SEVENTY age group. To me, still clinging to the last embers of my 40s, 70 is OLD. Admittedly, in cathedral circles 70 is referred to as 'no age' (as in, 'A stroke? But how old is she? 70! That's no age!'). But in cathedral circles I'm still something of a fine young filly.
But I swallowed my pride and headed out across Lichfield to the Co-op carpark in Holy Boley (so called because half the cathedral congregation lives there), where the Mobile Screening Unit was parked.
NB. Just in case you've been confused, 'Mobile' refers to the unit, not the breast. Breast mobility is an issue, of course, especially for the well-endowed jogger. (I recommend wearing two sports bras, tethers everything nicely.)
The South Staffs mobile unit is very pleasant, a bit like a tiny hotel lobby housed in a caravan. Nice and warm inside. Perfect for inducing those 'Is it just me, or is it hot in here?' episodes so familiar to ladies in the 50-70 category. Lots of plush seating and glossy magazines. Two little cubicles where you sit and wait, stripped to the waist, aiming for nonchalance but feeling like a prat, reading Good Housekeeping. Or in my case, re-reading a Georgette Heyer novel. La, Sir Peregrine! It is too tiresome! I must prevail upon you to wait outside while I have my bosoms clamped!
After a few pages, I was called through for my screening. You know the score. Stand right in the middle, pop yourself on the little shelf, stretch your arm over your head, bend double, turn yourself inside out, here comes the crusher! Aargh! I'm just going to leave you trapped there helpless and in agony while I hide behind this radiation-proof screen and ZAP you.
No, of course it's not really like that, silly. I'm a novelist. I make stuff up. Here are three things that are worse: root canal fillings, letters from HMRC, walking down the street with your skirt tucked in your knickers. Get over yourself--these routine screenings save countless lives. And the whole process was about 5 times quicker than the same malarky in hospital. Very glad I went along. Thank you, South Staffordshire BreastScreening Service, on behalf of all women in the 50-70 age group.