Thursday is my first day at home after three days of work, which are often followed by a mind-bending evening at youth club. Although I have chores to do it is a nice feeling to get up and feel in control of my day, answering only to myself – well in theory anyway.
So yesterday morning I rose, planning a shower and a cooked breakfast. I put my head round Mavis’s door and told the hump of duvet that it was seven o’clock. I went into the bathroom and performed my ablutions. I came out of the bathroom and told the duvet that the bathroom was free. I went downstairs to put on the kettle and began to read my emails while sipping my cup of tea.
It began to dawn on me that time had passed and when I looked at the kitchen clock it was 7.50. As this is the time the school bus is supposed to arrive at the bus stop I became a bit agitated. There was no sign of Mavis and when I yelled up the stairs, a muffled voice responded – clearly coming from inside the duvet hump.
I issued a few choice words, at volume to signify urgency. They might well have been audible at the bus stop, they were very urgent indeed. I then legged it up stairs to drag some clothes onto my unwashed body and take it, hollow and irritable, to the car in order to chauffeur Miss Lazy to school in Duckchester.
Now, to explain about the traffic: If we leave the house at 7.50 we can be at school by 8.10. If we leave at 8pm, we are there at 8.30 and any later, it will be about 8.50 – 9am before Mavis gets to school. This is what usually happens with the school bus; Mavis is late for school much of the time. We, however, managed to get out of the house at 8am, no mean feat on Mavis’s part: duvet to seat belt in 10 minutes. It’s quite amazing how fast a teenager can move when prompted by the right stimulus. Did she wash though? Who cares? Time was of the essence.
Mavis was due to go to the orthodontist at 9.50 that day, one of the reasons for my irritation. My plan had been to swan into Duckchester at 9.30, collect her from school, park the car in town and stroll into the dental place with five minutes to spare. In the circumstances this was not appropriate therefore on the way out of the house I had grabbed my laptop so that I could fill in the hour writing my book.
The morning was foggy; headlights were switched on. We crawled along but made it to school for 8.30. I parked up in the school grounds and set about writing while I waited for Mavis to return.
I was so engrossed in my task that the first I knew of Mavis’s arrival was the car door opening and the car dipping as she plonked herself on the seat. “Hang on a tick.” said I, finishing a sentence. I then folded the laptop, put it on the back seat and said “Hello”. turning the key in the ignition at the same time – nothing occurred.
The car has been playing up a bit lately. Sometimes it just stops and then, a few seconds later it starts again. This is disconcerting but not earth shattering. I tried again; still nothing. Then it dawned on me. I had left the lights on, for a whole hour! The battery was as flat as a fluke.
We set off on foot at a spanking pace, heading towards the orthodontist’s. Five minutes later I was to be seen jogging in the opposite direction, back to the car to collect my mobile phone- which I would need to sort out my eventual rescue. I jogged back towards Mavis thinking, as I often do, of the positive spin on this: no breakfast and a jog, I must have shed at least an ounce by now.
By some miracle of navigation we got to the dentist’s with five minutes in hand. On the way I had explained to Mavis how convenient it was that we were walking because now she knew the route and next time she could do it on her own. I don’t think she was convinced.
I rang Whizz, in some trepidation. He already thinks I’m three knives short of a cutlery set. “Hello…” I said in a slightly small voice.
“Hello?” he replied in the kind of voice that suggests the owner is not expecting good news.
“Um, I’ve done something very stupid.”
Silence, although I could almost hear him thinking Nothing new there then.
I told him of my misdemeanour and apart from sighing a bit he was, as ever, uncomplaining.
After a while, Mavis with new, tighter bands on her teeth and I, hoping nobody had pinched my laptop, arrived at the car, and Whizz soon followed. I popped the bonnet of the Mercedes (this is not as opulent as you might think, it is very old, has many injuries and inside it looks and smells like a cattle truck – actually it is a dog truck). Whizz did the same on the Peugeot. Then we looked under the bonnet of the Peugeot to find the battery. It wasn’t there. We kept looking as if it might inexplicably appear but no, it was definitely not there. Whizz got out the handbook announcing that it must have a battery somewhere.
Now, we have used our handbook many times because our car, a Peugeot 807, is the most illogical car I have ever driven – the handbook is equally illogical. It has an index decreeing which page to consult, but it has no page numbers!
Eventually we located the battery, it is under the driver’s carpet in the foot well. This is a very silly place to have a battery when you want to jump start another car. If you get close enough to the car for the jump leads to reach the other battery, you can’t get out of the driver’s door. Ridiculous! Anyway we managed overcome that barrier and I was once more mobile.
I decided to do my shopping, originally planned nearby in Duckchester, in another town, some miles away, so that the battery would recharge, and I headed for Waitrose.
I got to the entrance of the car park. In this particular Waitrose there is a barrier that presents one with a ticket and then opens automatically when there is a parking place available. When the car park is full, some system notes when a car leaves and lets a waiting one in… usually! Of course today this did not happen. We in the queue watched in frustration as car after car exited, and our barrier remained firmly shut. We sat and sat. The man at the front got out of his car and gesticulated with a Gallic shrug to the rest of us that he hadn’t a clue what was going on. He was helpless poor man (read this to yourself in a sarcastic voice)!
Guess what; I was jogging again, across the car park to ask the man in the exit booth to sort us out. I don’t know how long we would have waited if I hadn’t done that. Give me a pat on the back – and another ounce shed.
Waitrose is very efficient – customer focussed you might say. Within a couple of minutes a smiling man rushed to help and we were let in. There were loads of parking spaces to choose from.
I was starving. Starving is not a good state of mind to be in when shopping in Waitrose but I knew this and I was on the alert not to buy everything I fancied and to make sure I did buy everything on my list.
As a low carb eater my choioce of quick food is limited. Often when we are out Whizz and I share a pork pie, he has the pastry and I, the filling. I particularly like those pies with the egg in the middle, there is something about the rubbery consistency of the egg and the way it absorbs the flavour of the pork that gets my taste buds tingling, so I couldn’t resist taking one off the shelf and mentally setting it aside for my lunch, which was quickly becoming afternoon tea.
On exit from the shop I contemplated eating the pie in the car park. I could wrench off the pastry with my thumbs and stuff the meat into my mouth. I decided on reflection that this would be too undignified for Waitrose so I forced myself to wait.
When I got home I didn’t even put the frozen food in the freezer; I sliced the pastry from the pie (with a knife not my hands), got out some tomatoes and sat down to enjoy my treat. I sliced a bit of meat off, hmm, the egg must be at one end, I sliced again, I checked the box, yes, it definitely said Pork Pie with Egg. I sliced and sliced. NO EGG!
Not a good day at all.