Thursday July 27, 2006
Not so long ago I’d not have needed to set my alarm for 6 a.m. I was always up with the lark and at this time of year that’s in the region of 4:30. Now, living by the sea, and keeping very late hours to match Graham’s schedule, I commonly sleep through to about eight or thereabouts.
This morning, then, needing to get the car to the Ford garage in Bridgwater by eight o’clock, I needed that alarm. I didn’t want to wake up at 6 a.m. Not at all.
Even so, I heaved myself out of bed, struggled into the kitchen, brewed a mug of coffee, and collapsed in my corner seat to let it wake me properly.
A lifetime of dragging myself out in the morning has left its strength in me however, and by the time I drove up the long winding lane to the main road I was fine. And I got the car to the garage in very good time.
Leaving the little silver Ford to the tender attentions of the friendly mechanic I trod my way into the town centre and over to Barney’s Café to enjoy one of their American Breakfasts. Now, why they call it American I really don’t know. I’ve had I don’t know how many breakfasts in America—How do you like your eggs in the morning—but I don’t recollect having had a breakfast like this. It’s nothing more than a typical greasy spoon café English Breakfast except that you have twice the quantity. Of everything.
Ah well. It’s my reward for getting up and out early to take the car for its annual service. At least, that’s how I justify it to myself.
The good lady who served me and, later came along to clear my plates away was rather taken aback. Seems that most customers who order the American Breakfast don’t manage to finish it. Me, I’d consumed every morsel, and polished the plate with the last slice of bread and butter that came alongside. With gusto. I was brought up that way. Waste not, want not, was the way I was taught to approach food and, if it’s on my plate, I eat it. All of it.
The garage had promised best efforts to have the car ready to collect at 9:30 and, when I walked out of Barney’s Café it was about 9:15 so I determined to walk back through the maze of little old streets that run parallel with the river and the main road, avoiding the High Street. Fascinating. Bridgwater is a town that’s undergoing a major programme of improvement and there were signs all over that even here, where you’d expect the old scruffiness to survive to the bitter end, there’s a determination to bootstrap the place into the 21st century, spreading the benefits of increased wealth and prosperity. There are still places that haven’t seen a lick of paint or a repointing trowel since Victoria was on the throne, but in the main you can tell that things are on the way up. I shall make best efforts to learn my way around these parts of town and get the camera clicking.
I avoided getting lost, and turned out over the river and onto the main road just a short distance from the garage, where the car was ready to collect and the guy was just printing out the invoice. We went over the service report together and, as I’d expected, all was well, with the tyres wearing evenly and no signs of problems anywhere. All the proper adjustments had been made, the engine oil changed and all the filters replaced. I was well pleased, and I said so.
“See you next year,” I said, and drove off, following yet another unknown route around the back of the town to return to the house where I’d dropped off the laptop on my way into town. Everything was just right.
Or at least, it was until I opened the computer to find that not only had I forgotten to recharge the thing but I’d left the mains cord in the caravan. The ‘Save your work’ balloon popped up and beeped almost immediately. I had just time enough to connect to the Internet, read the comments for the medicine walk entry [thanks!], and leave a note to say I’d be unable to upload until tomorrow before the system closed itself down in hibernation mode.
By this time the heat had built up once more and, although it’s forecast to cool down from tomorrow onwards, it was still too uncomfortable for me to wash walls so I closed the house down and came back to the caravan for a well-earned pre-lunch nap. Closely followed, after lunch, with a good long siesta. We had a couple of hours extra on Graham’s afternoon break so we ate lemon and blueberry cheesecake, and sipped a glass of wine as the evening light faded.
It’s been a pretty good day all in all and I drew the curtains over the windows with some reluctance. I doubt somehow that the heatwave will have diminished sufficiently by tomorrow for me to get back to work but I have great hopes for Saturday and Sunday. I’d like to get to grips with the newly mixed paint by Monday but I have one wall and one smallish bedroom to wash down before I start out with the paint pad. It’s looking good for the project once more.
Drawing the curtains