Someone in Dundee is impatiently waiting to see the contents of my bowels – Vladimir McTavish

At the end of July, I received a bowel cancer testing kit from the NHS.

Vladimir McTavish has failed to respond to a request to take part in bowel cancer screening (Picture: David Davies/PA)
Vladimir McTavish has failed to respond to a request to take part in bowel cancer screening (Picture: David Davies/PA)

Many readers will be familiar with the drill. You have to take a stool sample on a stick, put it in the pre-addressed envelope and post it back to the bowel screening unit in Dundee.

I fully intended to get my sample off to them as quickly as possible. However, it was just before the start of the Fringe, and I was so busy that I forgot to do so, and never got around to it before I went away for a week’s holiday.

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At the start of this week, I received a letter reminding me that I had not yet sent in my sample. This conjured up a picture of some person waiting expectantly in Dundee, drumming their fingers on their desk as they wait for my reply, wondering when I’m going to send in my poo.

I imagine the reminder letter they sent was merely intended to give me a nudge. Which could well prove to be counter-productive. After all, if someone is hovering over the toilet as they try to defecate on a stick, nudging them doesn’t seem like a particularly sound idea. That could turn very messy indeed.

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While I really ought to send in my sample, I think I may wait a bit longer, and sit this out (no pun intended) as I’m intrigued about what will be their next move.

Will it follow the same pattern as unpaid utility bills? Are they soon going to issue a final demand? Will they demand I send them an extra 10 per cent as a penalty for being late? Will they ultimately threaten to send round a debt collection agency? I doubt very much that they’ll go as far as threatening to cut off my supply. Best of luck with that one.

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Obviously, I’ll give up in the end and send in my sample. They’re welcome to it, as I do not envy them their job. It’s bad enough living in Dundee in the first place, without having to spend your working day raking about in other people’s excrement. I’m not sure what they’re expecting to find when they start rummaging around in my faeces, but I suppose that’s why Dundee is called the City of Discovery.

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