Sunday, 24 November 2019

It's time to change

I am not an elegant eater. In fact, I'm a bit of a slob. Whatever and wherever I eat, the food seems to wander in directions other than where it's aimed. I attempted a scientific analysis of this strange effect, but the answer was too simple: I do not concentrate. I eat whilst reading the newspaper or watching television. I have dinner in my chair reading a book, and food falls from my fork. I was reminded of how bad I am when the dog began licking my jersey; it is time to put it in the wash and rethink my strategy at the trough.

My car has now travelled near on 90,000 miles. It is not old, but well-used and developing the clunks and squeaks of an old man's joints, so I suspect the suspension is protesting at our Suffolk lanes. Ann says it's the rough way I drive, but it's not – it's the rotten roads and potholes.
My XF navigates the Suffolk Lanes
Either way, yesterday we visited Marshalls in Cambridge to look at a replacement. The salesman had only been there for three days, so Ann knew far more than he about the cars; but he made up for it with knowledge about how to hold a customer all afternoon so they can't go and look at any other showrooms. We were there so long it had grown dark, and Edwin and his partner came to join us to see the cars. They had only just returned from Sheffield where Edwin had delivered a paper to the Brontë society. In the end, we came down to one model that we liked; we were on the test drive, and the salesman said three people had already test-driven it, so it was in demand. We thought, "Oh yes, typical sales pressure," only for the manager to come through and say they'd now sold it while we were out on the test drive! Then, to our surprise, Edwin invited us to eat with them, and – unbelievably – Andre offered to treat us! We ended up having a wonderful Thai meal in some hidden back-street pub they knew. But even there, eating with great care, I saw bits of noodle had somehow littered the chair under me and the floor round my space when I left.

Last night, I dreamt of Judah. His face was clear, and he invited me to join him in a room full of people. He was a friend of mine from 30+ years ago, until his wife threw him out. He then lived in a one-room rented flat somewhere in the back-end of Middlesbrough, where he went into a decline and was found dead in his bath. To my shame I never made the effort to find out where he lived or visited him. I ended up as a pallbearer at his funeral. There were six of us, for he was a big man, and we struggled under the weight of his coffin with the undertaker fussing around as we shuffled along, nervous that we might drop it and telling us not to hold the handles – they were only cheap plastic for decorative effect. I believe in a universal spirituality, where our souls merge with the Universe after death, but I don't accept the literal interpretation that we all meet up in a great heavenly party. So thank you Judah – but I don't want to join you just yet.

Ann loves to play tricks on me. Once, she hid under my desk for ages until I came in, just so she could jump out at me and make me jump, as she knows I always do. Sometimes she hides things so I think I'm losing my memory. Yesterday she hid one of my slippers, to see me search for it. Today, she had hidden a pair of frilly panties in the sleeve of my jersey. The annoying thing is, I can never catch her out – she see's my tricks coming before I've finished thinking about them.

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