I drove through Boringland. That is almost its name, and periodically the road sign is changed with spray paint to show its real nature – obviously, it’s probably lovely to live in but it is frightfully tedious to drive through. Just past the first roundabout there were road works and traffic lights. I waited behind several cars until the lights turned green and we slowly moved. The car two ahead stopped and the young man waiting at the bus stop (oh yes, that’s a good idea in the middle of single-lane traffic, no question of moving it for a week or two?) moved towards the beckoning finger. He took an envelope and put it dutifully into the pillar box. The car moved off. I laughed (out loud, yes indeed).
I had Errands to do in Bonds – or, as it’s now called, John Lewis. As ever, the assistant was charming and carried my purchase to the till, although it was well within my capabilities. Having spent some time there already, I decided to repark, because I was likely to stay long enough into the time when the car parking charge went from ‘ooh, how reasonable’ to ‘fuck me, how much?’ by the time I left. I had to get into the car through the passenger door, as the Bonds multi-storey is incredibly badly designed and gives very little space between the Meccano-like metal structure to actually park the car. I can park well enough, but I do not always allow room for opening the door on my side, because that’s the side I go by when I’m judging distance. As I slid into place, I got a dusty streak on my white top. I did indeed get out of the car and head towards the shop to buy a new one before I came to my senses and simply brushed it off. I might still have looked a little grubby. This is good for humility and I accepted the probability.
As I drove around the new car park, I received a text message from Dilly
‘Hello, are you ok? are you there yet? bit worried about you…’
I returned a calming message.
‘Take care and enjoy lunch x’ she texted back.
Look, Dave’s okay. He may come across as a miserable bugger, but he’s much nicer than that. And he brought me jamjars. What a sweetie. He did all the talking, except when the waitress came mid-anecdote (mine) and I lost the thread and had to interject several other vaguely relevant stories until I remembered what the hell I’d been talking about. But after I’d told my story, I shut up and deboned my sardines. I started with aubergines and he had gravadlax, and then he had lamb. I finished with crème brûlée and he with raspberry (? I think?) pavlova.
Later, back in the car, I texted Dilly again.
‘Safely alone again in my own car! x’
‘Thanks for letting me know – hope all went well -sorry to be all protective – I know what weird people you can meet online! x’
‘Indeed. Like husbands for instance’ I replied.
‘Exactly! x’ she replied.
Which is not to scare Dave, but Dilly and Al did, indeed, meet online.
The Sage didn’t fuss, of course. Sound, the Sage.
And I’m early, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVE!!(!)