You know how it goes

Saturday July 30, 2005

It’s been what I call a bitsa day. You know, bits of this, bits of that.

I fear I may have started out by getting the car salesman into a spot of bother. When I phoned to see why he’d not returned my call from yesterday he wasn’t there and it was his boss who picked up the phone. I told him the problem. “I’m sorry about that.” he said. “He will call you the minute he’s back in the office.” Sounded stern. About the same as I’d have done if I’d picked up a similar call in my business days.

In a remarkably few minutes the phone rang and there was my salesman, slightly ruffled by the sound of him, telling me the handbook was on his desk ready for me to collect. I felt a little sorry for him but all the twerp had to do was return a call. Oh well, he’ll learn. Or not. It’s not my affair.

So I pitched into the morning house clean routine, left all neat, tidy and sparkling clean, and took myself and the little silver Ford off to Boston. Oh. Boy. It was a muggy, ultra-humid day so I slapped the air-conditioning on, set it to recirculate, and within a couple of minutes I was revelling in dry, cool air. It wasn’t a fast run but even so I was almost sorry when I pulled up at the dealer’s, turned off the engine and stepped out. That was when I got the payback for my shameless, self-indulgent comfort-fest. Getting out of an air-conditioned car into hot, damp air was something I’d quite forgotten.

However, the salesman met me, handed over the owner’s manual that he’d forgotten to give me on Thursday, and we shook hands and parted company in good sorts. He could have done with some air-conditioning, that bloke. His hand-shake was as limp as ever but even more damp. As clammy as three-day-old salmon, you could say.

Hey ho. Honour was satisfied. I’ve checked carefully all over the car to be sure there’s no other unfortunate omission, so I hope not to have to revisit the dealer until October when I take it back for a thorough re-check to be sure all the nuts and bolts and mysterious adjustments are in good order. By the time the first real service is due, in July next year, we should be back in Somerset and I shall be able to take it to White’s in Taunton, not more than a short stroll from the County Library, and only a few steps further on to Starbuck’s. That’ll please me.

So, off to Tesco’s where I had my wicked lunch of the week—sausage, chips and beans washed down with black Assam—and picked up my provisions for the next three days. Walking through to the food aisles I passed a display of low-price audio CDs and decided to blow four quid on a Don McLean ‘best of’ album with which to start my in-car collection. I’ve never used a CD player in a car before so it was a strange feeling to feed my new record into the slot, and even stranger to hear the music start. American Pie is the first track on the album. Haven’t sat and listened to that properly in a lot of years. It was much like being in a time machine. Air-conditioned car, my own master, and American Pie. I sang along all the way through, finding all the words still safe in my memory after all these years. Then, Vincent, and I sang that, too, and wiped my moist eyes, just as I used to do.

And that’s the way the journey back home went. When I got to the turn off to our lane the album was still only half-way through and it was awfully tempting to carry on until the music stopped. Silly thought, and I didn’t follow it through. Instead I came home, unpacked, locked the car up in the garage until the next excursion, and went indoors to stow the stuff away, make coffee, and settle down to the computer to carry on uploading photographs before taking my afternoon nap.

I was just getting to the bottom of my wake-up coffee when the door bell rang and there stood the guy who’d viewed the house yesterday. “Do you think we could have another look?” Darn right they could. I let them have free run of the place while I made coffee and we sat and chatted for a while, going over what was included and what was not. They were wise enough not to say whether they’d be putting in an offer but said instead that they were going home to Suffolk to think it all over and would let me know one way or the other on Monday. I waved them off down the lane and thought, privately, that the odds had moved up to 70/30 in our favour.

Ah, well. We shall see on Monday. I intend to be standing outside the agent’s door when they open, to be sure that they are not going to charge the same fee for a sale at the lower price, and to re-state, to the boss’s face, that either they arrange a firm sale by the end of the contract or I’m taking my business elsewhere. I don’t care what they have to do to sell the house. What I do care about is that they should jolly well earn their money.

A quick conference with Graham, and then I went back to the computer to finish the upload of all the journal photographs I care to re-publish, and then going on to start the task of organising sets by subject. Flickr is getting better, with fewer interruptions, but even so I shall be glad when the job is done. Then I shall be able to turn my thoughts to the way I want to handle photographs on the Internet in future. Apart from a few flurries of intense activity I’ve been almost as fallow on the photography these past few months as I have been and still am on the poetry. I intend to rectify both failings.

And that was my day. Bitsa this. Bitsa that. You know how it goes.


CD Cover, July 30,'05
The day the music started over



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