Life is a continual series of ups and downs
Yesterday morning, despite a spark inside, I was feeling pretty miserable. Money problems had hit an all time… finally agreed to put the house on the market. <sniff> I love our house but… the bank won’t give us any more cash, our credit cards are nearing saturation, it’s the only way to carry on surviving.
I was early for my meeting with Perfect, and realised that Sarah E works around the corner. Called her up to see whether she could meet for lunch, and she was delighted to. It was a breath of fresh air seeing Sarah, as ever, but more than that… she helped me out lots. First thing she said when I turned up at McCann’s was “how much money do I owe you?” I’d completely forgotten that a couple of years before, when I was earning silly money and Sarah was always broke, I had frequently lent her cash in £50 installments, not really worrying whether I’d get it back. So it was nice to be marched around to a cashpoint and presented with 200 quid. She then treated me to lunch, and offered to look after Lola while I had my meeting with Jo. She even… how extravagent is this… bought some extra dough balls from Pizza Express so that she and Lola could feed the squirrels in Russell Square.
My joy at this restoration of faith in human nature lasted until the next morning. I had a couple of errands to run… drive to Lincoln for 10am to pick up a car stereo which I won on Ebay a few weeks back, then on to Nottingham for 11am to get the car locks fixed and MOT re-tested. As I was driving to Lincoln the garage rang me… turns out they are having there Christmas lunch today, so wanted to check I’d be in before noon. No problem. Except then the traffic got busier… I wouldn’t make it to Lincoln until 10.20, and it would take another hour to get to Nottingham. Thought I’d better divert to Nottingham, and pick up the stereo on my way back. After all, I had to be home by 4pm, which still seemed hours away, but if a long Christmas lunch at the garage got in the way it might creep up on me.
More traffic around Nottingham… so I didn’t reach the garage until 11.15. And they told me the car wouldn’t be finished by lunch time. OK, problem still not insurmountable… they would start work now, give me a loan car, and I could pick my car up about 2.30pm. I took the loan car to Lincoln (fun driving a Saab 9000CSE… though far too much time spent monitoring my MPG and seeing how much different driving styles affected it. And the car’s too bloody big. And hard to get a 360-degree view around the back – head-rests get in the way). Got there around 1pm and made the exchange, all no problem. Driving back contented to Nottingham, got past the A52 turn-off, next big junction is the A606 – my exit. Suddenly traffic stopped. And didn’t move for 10 minutes, at which point the jam crawled forwards about 100 metres and stopped again. So for the next hour I’m stuck in a well-nigh-stationary queue only 4 miles from the garage, painfully aware of time ticking by. Turns out there was a crash ahead, and police were re-directing all traffic, lots of lorries and stuff, through the little country lanes between here and the garage. Oh joy.
So I arrived in Keyworth at 3.30pm, to the deeply inspiring news that my car had again failed its MOT – the tyre that had let me down (boom boom) before was now OK, but this time my exhaust was a problem. A potentially much more expensive problem too – I was told I needed an entire new exhaust, front to back. I seethed ineffectively for a few minutes at the garage owner before setting off through what was rapidly becoming rush-hour traffic to try and get back to Sheffield. Rowan’s dance-class party started at 5pm, I was supposed to be home at 4pm to take her, her friend (also Rowan) and her friend’s dad. In the end I arrived at 5pm, friend and dad had taken the bus, and Rowan had been mortified at missing the party.
I said “OK, are you ready to go”, and after a couple of minutes debate Rowan jumped in the car. She was in a good mood (something seemingly uncommon nowadays). We got to the party at 5.20, to discover it had actually started at 4.30 but all the other parents were confused about times and fuming at the dance teacher. I went to the pub with other parents, really nice to get to meet some of them at last (after all, Rowan’s only been at school for 15 months), had a lovely time, arrived back at the hall half-a-pint-merry to watch the dance show. Genuinely enjoyed it. Went home very happy.
Down: Nah, not yet