Ah, just settling down in front of the fire - glass of sherry in hand, cottage pie bubbling away nicely in the oven. Yes, life is good. In sharp contrast to yesterday. Very trying! But to be fair it was only when when I glanced into my Marks and Sparks basket and surveyed my chosen selection of goodies that I realised how trying it had been. Of a total of eight items, seven were different varieties of comforters, or, 'chocolates' as some people refer to them! Champions do not feed on this kind of diet.
My mood stemmed from the Christmas play earlier in the day - the one and only one where Billy and Fin would appear on stage together. Rather than blind the kids with my super duper flash during the performance, I thought I'd wait until the end and grab a photo of them together in their outfits. Billy was dressed as an African, Fin as a Japanese Warrior. They looked great, so this was one for the album, the grandparents etc. (All around the World). Anyway, at the end, as they came off stage I went up and took them to one side and lined them up for the photo. "You can't take a photo now!" said the lady. "Sorry?" I replied. "You've missed you chance. You should have taken one when they were on stage." And with a sweep of her arm they were led away through a door. Gone! Gone? Gone!
I was stunned. I can't begin to describe my lividness - there you see, that isn't even a word! That's how cross I was, am! For what possible reason could I not have a photo of my own two boys in their Christmas play costumes? Of course, it would have been totally inappropriate to make a scene - so I just walked out, fuming. Bemused. No photo for the album! How rubbish is that!? Not happy.
And then onto stress number two. I drove down to Camborne to pick up a Christmas pressie for Fin. No. 40 was the house number, how difficult could it be to find number 40? Anyway, I find the street, no. 33, 35.. getting closer, 37, 39 ... yep, 41! 41, okay I know the system - these are odds, 40 is an even. Other side of the road - a brick wall about half a mile long. Still, no big deal. Get to the end of the wall - 42, 44, 46. Turn around, back the other end. Get to the other end of the wall, and there's a road and then some shops, and the some more houses, 38, 36, 34! Oh now come on! It took about an hour to locate number 40! and that was after knocking on doors, and asking in the post office.
Picked up Fin's pressie and headed to Truro for stress number 3. To 'the' Music shop. Now many years ago (this is a long story) I bought an expensive acoustic guitar. When I took it home one of the strings started buzzing. I took it back to the shop where they serviced it. Took it home and it still buzzed! Argh! Took it back again. This time the bloke comes out of the repair shop, "You've changed the nut on it. It's not the original. The Yamaha one is cream, this is white. I'm afraid that's going to invalidate the warranty." "If anything's been changed on it, you did it when I brought it back last time. I don't even know what a nut is." But the young man was insistent - it was totally ridiculous. It is rare that I raise my voice ( okay hands up to the Carphone Warehouse incident where I threw the defunct mobile phone into their paper cup bin (cups flew everywhere) as I made a hugely dramatic exit from the shop. Janey rang them later to ask for my phone back "I think my husband left his phone in your shop earlier today?"), but I did go a bit to town and no doubt became something of a legendary figure within the said music establishment (and the Carphone Warehouse!). But we settled on me walking away with a new electric guitar by way of an apology and as a replacement.
So I entered the music shop, how shall I say, invisibly. I needed a jack to jack lead. Go to the front desk, and, ask ... OH NO, it's him! It's the same young man! Ten years older and clearly lacking in ambition as he stood only about 2ft from where I last saw him in 2000! Despite the passing of time, he remembered. I could tell. He didn't serve me though, no. A lady assistant, probably on commission, dived in first. He stood and watched as the sale proceeded. Perfect, she knew her stuff and I had the lead I needed. I would be out of here in seconds. No further embarrassment necessary. Best Christmas wishes all round. I handed over a £20 note that I'd just been given over the counter by Lloyds TSB - fresh as fresh could be. Crispy fresh. So crispy fresh in fact that she suspects a forgery - she begins her investigation, all this feeling the note, putting light through it and wiping it, presumably to check for smudges. "I'm sorry but I'm going to have to call the manager! I won't be a moment." she said. Within seconds, potential good will to all men turned to Bar humbug! I'm now stood across the counter from the 'man', in silence. Just me and him. It's an eternity. Forget the shiny grand pianos, the impressive digital drum kits and the racks of guitars, the only thing drawing attention of the other staff and the shoppers on the shop floor, is Moi. Zute alors! After what seems like an eternity, the manager descends the stairs. He appears at the counter with his half moon glasses, takes his place next to 'the man' and gives me a school teacher, up and down appraisal. He takes the note, he feels it, shines light into it (have I just walked onto the set of CSI Truro?), smiles kindly and says "It's just a very new one isn't it!" Oh just give me my change!
And then to the queue in M&S. Pick the shortest one. I'm in a hurry. Only two people in front, Nice moves, ha, I'm laughing! Oh what now? There's this old man, in his 90's and with the aroma of an NCP car park stairwell, that has only gone and bought his kids, their kids and their kids, his neighbours, the postman, the butcher, the baker and the candle stick maker.... vouchers to the value of one pound each. The process of filling in the vouchers and exchanging cash is so painfully slow. Too late to change queues - I'm penned in. Next in line, behind incontinence man, is a lady with long hair. She too smells, but of Lavender. And her products lined up on the conveyor? - 60 small bottles of pineapple juice! You couldn't make it up. It must have been the cold weather that had forced her away from her tree and made her put some clothes on!
By rights my mood really shouldn't be any lighter today. Ladies, if you really want to find a way of bringing out the worst in your fella, take him to Trago for a few hours. The only redeeming feature of our 'day out' today was that this random lady had this Owl perched on her wrist by the shop exit. All slightly surreal and quite frankly, unexpected. It was a real one. And you could stroke it. Ever so soft. Eleven years old apparently. And it has an IQ three times that of the entire staff of the home furnishings department!
"Another glass of sherry, Vicar?" "Oh thanks Janey, I think I will!"
Oh dear, it's all quiet back home. Billy's footie team lost their first league match in 4 years! With a squad decimated by sickness and no subs on the bench, it was always going to be a tough one. Sounded like a bad day in the office all round. Janey was at that match, I was at Fin's (they won and he scored a hat trick) - it's a wrench when they have matches at the same time but in different locations. Anyway, we met up post match down at Truro and cheered the mood by going to Tregoonan where they've got 10 acres of Christmas trees. You go armed with shovels, pick a suitable bushy number and dig it up. Brilliant!
The mood was somewhat lighter yesterday following the derby at Plymouth Argyle against Exeter. It's the first time Janey's been to an Argyle game where they've won. Great atmosphere. And no fisty cuffs. In the cup game a few weeks ago apparently all broke lose in the car park. But there was no trouble to report, except for an Exeter fan who got on the pitch and then was chased down by the stewards. It was like key stone cops with everyone sliding all over the place. A very proficient rugby tackle brought him down after a few false lunges.
The fire's lit, Gammon's in the oven, the Monopoly is out. Time to buy some hotels.