The job in hand

Saturday March 18, 2006

Now let’s be clear about this. Even inside the United Kingdom there are colder, bleaker places than my little bit of Lincolnshire. Zoom out and there are places around the globe that, compared like for like, make my world look positively tropical. That ain’t knowledge, or philosopy, it’s geography.

So, when it comes down to it, when I complain of the cold, I know full well that it’s a relative thing. And I don’t care.

I’m fed up with being cold, you see. I’m fed up with the chill wind and more than fed up with grey skies and green-grey landscapes. I want some sunshine and I want some Spring flowers and I want them now. It’s time, guys, well past time.

Last mid-March I was recording lovely balmy Spring days. And daffodils. This year everything is running late, and I’m well and truly fed up with it. And, apart from a few reluctant blooms in very sheltered places, there are no daffodils. That’s not a host, and they aren’t fluttering and dancing, they are huddling. Just like me.

Yesterday, in the late evening, sitting as close to my favourite radiator as I can get, I was just about to congratulate myself on not needing to go out again until Monday when we have an appointment with the new Harry Potter DVD. Then the bombshell hit. Not a major bombshell, more a penny banger, but a bombshell all the same.

“This new parcel tape doesn’t stick!” exclaimed Graham, ripping streamers of non-gummy gummy tape from his latest cardboard box. “Look! It just falls off!”

“Oh dear,” I said. “That’s annoying. That’s what we get for relying on the cheap-o tape that comes free with the boxes. We’ll have to go out tomorrow and get some genuine 3-M tape to finish the job.”

“Where can we get that, then?”

“Oh, Tesco’s. They have the genuine article at a reasonable price.”

“Right you are. We’ll have to go early because I want to get this job finished over the weekend.”

And that’s why, mid-morning, we pulled up in a bleak, cold, windy carpark and dashed over to the store entrance, heads down and coats clutched close around our throats. Even I can do a reasonable dash when faced with such dreary, draughty conditions.

“I want coffee and croissants first,” I said.

“Seems fair enough.”

We split up after that, me to grab sticky tape and Graham to sieze a copy of Computer Shopper, a bottle of Jacob’s Creek chardonnay, on special offer, and, last but by no means least, a Mother’s Day card so’s he’ll be in good time to send it off before next weekend. We fetched up back in the car no more than thirty minutes after we’d left it.

The little silver Ford was still warm, thankfully, and I’d left the house heating on so’s Dolly the Mega-cat wouldn’t get cold while we were out, so it wasn’t too bad a diversion from my plan for a weekend in the warm.

I huddled up to my radiator again, and Graham resumed the taping and filling of flat pack cardboard boxes. The job’s almost done.

It’s a strange thing but the house seems to be growing smaller all the time as things are stripped from walls and shelves. With nothing left to divert the eye, the walls close in, leaving a collection of small, empty rooms where only a week back we had an attractive and comfortable home.

In the evening, Graham opened a bottle of wine and pitched in to make dinner, following our tradition that Saturday is pasta day. By my request it was his famous putanesca sauce, over penne pasta, and followed by organic plum yoghourt.

“That was good,” I said, pushing my plate back and patting my comfortably full tummy.

“You’re only saying that because it was your day off from cooking.”

“Well, that does help of course, but it was a truly delicious sauce, and you can be proud of producing it. Especially in the circumstances.”

“Thanks. Now let’s clear this lot up so’s I can get back to the job in hand.”



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