Dedicated with thanks to Matt, Claire and Lorraine
It being a really busy road – well, you know what Cockfosters is like at the best of times and today it’s pouring down – we were lucky to find a parking space so easily. “If you take her straight into the vets, I’ll sort out the parking meter,” I say.
So ActorLaddie sets off with Willow in the cat-carrier – heck, that’s seen better days. The carrier, that is, not Willow, who has been remarkably trouble-free in her sixteen years. So far.
The parking meter takes me a wee while to figure out. You have to feed it with these metal disk things called coins; they have a certain novelty value but I don’t see them catching on. Ticket in car, check. Car locked, check. Mask on, check. And off to the vets.
“I’m with the chap who has just come in with a cat,” I tell the receptionist.
“No-one’s come in with a cat,” she says to me. “We’re expecting Willow but no-one’s come in.” I go back out, look up and down the parade of shops but there’s no sign of a cat in a carrier with an elderly actor that’s seen better days. There is a sign for another vets down at the far end of the parade of shops. Could he have headed down there, by mistake? I ring his mobile and, eventually …
“Willow’s escaped from the carrier,” gasps ActorLaddie. “She went under a stationary lorry, run across the Cockfosters Road and down some side street. We’re trying to find her.”Continue reading →
If it’s true that we are but toys for the Gods, then my sister-in-law is definitely their Etch-a-Sketch.
I guess you could say that it all started with the Golden Giraffe.
Tasteful, or what? One of my brother-in-law’s finest creations: essence of plastic giraffe, with an artisanal wooden mount and golden overtones. Such simple beginnings; such magnificent results.Continue reading →
“The thing is, before I retired, I used to rush around on a Sunday trying to get everything done. But I’m finding now that I say ‘I’ll do this, that and the other tomorrow’ and do something else instead. Then whatever it was never gets done. Do you find that?”
i) Walking into the Ladies’ Changing Room at the gym to find three giggling girls – aged about 5 – clothed only with the contents of a very large (and now, presumably, empty) jar of talcum powder. Cheerful singing from the shower cubicle. #InterestingTimeAhead.
ii) Repressurising the boiler in YoungLochinvar’s shared house with the aid of a flat head screwdriver and YouTube. What drives anyone to video themselves adjusting a boiler, goodness knows, but God Bless them everyone. Hot water and heating restored to half a dozen blokes. #IrresistableFeelingOfSmugness #OldBiddyPower
Life can turn on a sixpence.
Ann from next door and I were chatting yesterday whilst sweeping leaves off the pavement. Ann has an uncle – we’ll call him Pat – in his mid-nineties. He’s been married for forty-seven years to his second wife. Let’s call her Jess. She’s about ten years younger than Uncle Pat, so mid-eighties. There are two sons, both abroad.
Talking of which, this response has flooded in following my last blog. What a genius way to deal with cold callers!
“My brother … would greet them with the message ‘we are experiencing a very high volume of enquiries today but your call is important to us. Please hold the line’ and then follow up by playing Wagner until they lost the will to live.”
Stop there. Your name is not Mary; you are not calling from Microsoft – go and get a proper job. I’m busy. Goodbye.
Stop there, person that is almost certainly not called Peter. At what stage in your life did you decide to become a crook? Suppose it was your grandmother who had picked up this phone and was even now installing your evil malware? Now, I’m very busy – I need to get to the shops – go and rethink your life choices.
Hello. Now that winter’s here…
Today I am covering Mrs Grenfell’s class and am under instructions to lead a discussion on different sorts of airborne travel: aeroplanes, helicopters, rockets and the like.
“I have something sad to tell you about Mrs Sugarsprinkles,” I start. The children glance at Mrs Sugarsprinkles, who attempts to look grave. “At the weekend,” I continue, “she got stuck on a desert island.” I draw on the whiteboard a stick figure with a sad face and long hair, standing by herself under a tree on a small island. I add some surrounding sea and sharks fins, in an attempt to rack up the excitement. Bit of a masterpiece, if I say so myself. Continue reading →
“Now, when someone joins the department you write their name, date of birth and reference number on this card. It’s called an M11.” I nod and try to look intelligent. It’s my first proper graduate job and I’m being shown the ropes by an old hand in the staffing department.
“What’s the purpose of the card?” I ask.
“Oh, it’s not for us: it’s used by other people in the department. We just make them and put them into this index box.”
Leave my iPod in the car? Are you mad?
For one thing, the best technique I know for surviving IKEA on a Saturday afternoon is to be plugged into a good audiobook. In my case, that cosy celebration of country life “Slaughter in the Cotswolds.”
As Thea started her new house-sitting assignment, she hoped that she wouldn’t get caught up in the ghastly murders which had made the previous twelve so difficult.
Great stuff. Whisks you past any amount of unpronounceable furniture.