a watch and a ticket

It’s only Tuesday and it’s already been a week of awkward moments. This is largely due to not thinking it through and the fact that I’m not at my brightest first thing in the morning.

Yesterday I woke to a beautiful blue sky and the sun streaming in through the gap in the curtains. Someone was busy dragging a suitcase down the stairs and bustling in the kitchen…where is my cup of tea I wondered? It wasn’t long before it arrived and I was duly kissed farewell by a man in combats saying, “see you in a week.” I snuggled further down under the duvet, glad I didn’t have to get up quite yet. But as I heard the back door bang, I glanced across at the other bedside table (not actually a table, a tall piece of wood which balances a lamp and half a cup)… but there was a large black watch on its back in place of the cup.

His watch. He’d be needing that this week. Moral dilemma: do I dash down and try and catch him with it or ignore it and say sadly, “Oh dear,” when he calls later and says, “I’ve forgotten my watch”? It was sunny, so I decided to at least try and see if he was still in the car. Jumping out of bed I snatched up the watch and ran down the stairs. The car was running but it was still in the drive. I yanked open the backdoor and half ran, half tiptoed towards the car. The pavings were cold on bare feet. The next second I banged straight into a tall man in uniform and heavy boots.
“What are you doing?” he was half laughing though.
“Your watch – you forgot your watch!” I said and then looked down at what I was wearing. Small pants and a strappy top. It might have been fine in Cyprus, but a frosty November morning in England? I don’t think so. Dashing back inside, he followed me in still laughing and asking if I’d seen the group of schoolboys walking down the road past the house. The final scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary popped into my head. “Crazy girl!” The trouble was I hadn’t thought it through.

This morning was another case in point. I had timed the trip to London carefully, allowing time for traffic and buying a ticket at the station, as well as collecting my train ticket from the machine. I parked the car at the far end of the car park, away from other cars because someone is worried it might get scratched (it’s newish). I was hoping I would have enough change for the parking machine, which was back into the centre of the car park. I stared hard, hunting for coin slots…card slot? Then I read the sign – pay on line or with an app or by phone. Great. Would the other machines take cash? The time was ticking. I hadn’t allowed time for this. The other machines were a lot further down the car park so I decided to phone the number to pay for parking by phone. How hard could it be? I listened while a nicely spoken robot man asked me for information. Next I needed to tell him the car registration number – which I didn’t know. Phone at my ear, large bag and a carrier bag full of advent calendars (the Real one ofcourse) in each hand, I trotted back down to the other end of the car park towards the car, reading out the number just in time. IMG_0727But now the demanding but polite robot man wanted the car park location code… which was on the machine. I scooted back towards the parking machine, rushing past a bemused school boy  in a half jog with my rustling bags and a phone still pressed to my ear. I was desperate to reach the machine in time to impart the next piece of information and glanced up nervously as I spotted a train had just slid in beside the platform. “Crap, I’m going to miss my train at this rate…” and other such sentiments were going through my head. But I was now being asked to key in numbers from my credit card and I hadn’t even picked up my train tickets yet. The voice was still talking to me…”press 1 for ‘yes’ and 2 for ‘no'” but I’d completely forgotten what he was asking! After another tricky moment with the train ticket machine and more codes to key in, I eventually received a text to confirm I had paid for parking and train ticket in hand, I headed for the platform. Miraculously I did catch the train.

Apologies to all schoolboys who may have been disturbed by these morning mishaps – as ever, I didn’t think it through.


mini mishaps

Problems come in threes don’t they? Well that’s what I’m banking on…
Yesterday we had a few and it started with a dawn attack by ANTS. Yes, my worst fears were realised when we sat down to breakfast. We’d been re-telling the slightly amusing tale of a friend showing us a sealed packet of muesli he had taken from the fridge earlier and saying it would get ants in it if they didn’t keep it in the fridge. Someone took a close look at the packet and said, “But there are ants in there now!” “No, there can’t be this is a new packet, it hasn’t been opened.” But it was true the ants were already in there…in a sealed packet of muesli. Where there’s a seam of plastic an ant can finds its way in. But seconds later as someone began to pour out their muesli, tiny ants were spotted in our own tupperware sealed muesli. It turns out the tupperware leaks…or at least that one did! Someone said the ants are just extra protein, but strangely I didn’t feel in need of that kind of protein. It wasn’t a good start to the day.

Still there was plenty of time for more upsets.

Going to the beach here is best done later in the day, after 4 or 5pm when the sun is slightly less burning hot. There are some beautiful little bays not far away, where the rocky cliffs and clear blue water make it ideal for snorkelling. So after flippers, snorkels, bottles of water and towels were bundled into the hot car, we all jammed ourselves in, a bit like neatly packed sardines, but ever so slightly less smelly. On arrival at the top of the cliffs we were all looking forward to a refreshing swim and there was plenty of space on the little beach, as well as some welcome shade. Very dodgy half made steps frame the approach to the bay, but at least there is a rail at the top to stop yourself sliding down the steps which slant precariously downwards in a zig-zaggy kind of way. The rocks on this side of the island are either a soft sandy colour or very dark brown with jagged surfaces. The light coloured rocks seem to be higher up, but many of the dark rocks protruding from the water are shaped like mushrooms, where the sea has eaten away at their base, leaving a strange flat top balanced on a narrow stem above the surface. Everyone was in the water busy fitting on flippers and adjusting masks and I was thinking, ‘what a beautiful spot’…then I looked down to watch one of the boys swimming under the water below me without flippers. What are those black things on his feet?…Oh dear, oil had struck. Large black patches of crude oil were splattered on his feet. His father sighed… “You must have stood on something.” Tut, tut how careless! He swam on out to sea, two black soled feet splashing in the water behind him. “You’ve got black feet too!” I called after him. Then followed a lot of diving to rub feet on the rocks below and scrub them on the sea bed to no avail. It wasn’t coming off. The sea seemed a little less magical after the oil encounter and I was slightly worried I would swim into a slick or come across marine casualties floating on the surface. Back at the beach we discovered the oil was lining the beach disguised as seaweed, we had all walked over it, bar one, who had waddled into the sea in his flippers…there’s always one! No-one could wear flip flops back as our soles were covered in tar, and arriving home, there was a dash for the turps before anyone could enter the house….but the day wasn’t quite over, nor were the hassles.

How do you open your door? Slot the key in, turn it until it releases the lock and probably push it open. Sounds sensible. Some people though are in the habit of turning the key and if the door doesn’t budge, giving it a shove with their shoulder. To me this is a bit like kicking the boiler to make it start or smacking your computer when it misbehaves. You feel better but it’s not effective. However, opening the door to the house yesterday evening was attempted with a shove when the key didn’t open it easily. This particular shove from a 6ft something teenager resulted in one cracked glass panel on the top half of the door. Good end to the day! The next hour or so, after turps had been administered to oily feet and flippers, a couple of lads became glazing experts, tapping and removing broken glass from the door and clearing away splinters from the floor. That’s it, time for bed… this day of mini mishaps has to end now because three is quite enough.