The trouble with being smug is that sooner or later, you get your comeuppance.

For instance, I am well aware that I can be annoyingly smug about having nothing wrong with me at the age of 74 – well, nothing physical anyway: No aches and pains, no stick, no specs, no dentist’s bills and so on…

Worse still, I keep going on about the nutrition supplement I take instead of pharmaceutical products.

For instance, if I do get a niggling little twinge, I just take more of the stuff – as happened the other day when the big knuckle on my right hand started to ache. Sure enough, I took another helping in the evening for a few days, and the ache went away.

But then it came back – and that shouldn’t happen.

For about a week, I have been wondering whether I should share this on the blog – after all, it’s a bit dishonest not to report all the news – good and bad.

I was thinking about this as I doled out the morning spoonful – and if you are anywhere in the United Kingdom at the moment, you will not be surprised to hear that breakfast is being taken in the cockpit: We’re just embarking on the summer we seemed to have missed…

Also, those who have been paying attention will be aware of the new cockpit table – or, to put it another way – the new single-piece washboard wedged on top of the tiller so that it doubles as a cockpit table. It’s the perfect size, and you’re never going to need a cockpit table and a washboard at the same time, are you?

It is also exceptionally beautiful because of the month I spent in Amsterdam, giving it twelve coats of varnish.

…with the result that now it gets stuck in the grooves, and I have to give it a thump to free it.

The consequences of the thump are why I am telling you all this. The thump has to be on the inside. If I am administering it from the cockpit, I reach down and bang as if thumping on a table to applaud a particularly notable speech. Job done.

If I am inside, the ergonomics are rather different. Somehow, it comes more naturally to punch the companionway with my fist.

I’ve been doing this every morning: Knuckles on one end. Eighteen mil plywood on the other.

I’ve stopped doing it now.

Yes, exactly…

The same effect can be achieved with the table-thumping technique (after all, it is a table the rest of the time).

And guess what? My knuckle doesn’t hurt any more.

Do think I can claim the supplement has intelligence-enhancing properties?

A one-piece washboard…

…or a cockpit table.

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