Just another Thursday evening…
How is it, I ask myself, that I am sitting on a Thursday evening eating a remarkably unsatisfactory supper (oven-baked salmon, boiled potatoes and a fairly revolting creamy, mustard sauce), watching Ian Hislop, of whom I’m generally fond, discussing the Beeching report of the 60s, about which I care not a jot, and what it did to the railways? More of that later.
The day has been slightly irksome: three loads of assorted washing and a great portion of time spent attempting to tackle the mysteries of Facebook marketing. Social media is not my natural milieu. In fact, technology, hard or soft, social or otherwise, leaves me cold.
However, needs must, what with our resident expert currently being on the slopes in France, and an upset BF needing my support. So, I boldly strike out with £11 committed to increase our number of page ‘likes’. And by golly, after several tense hours, it seems to be working! I even decide to investigate further by means of computer analytics, but the small obstacle of a forgotten password stops me in my tracks. Can’t blame Beeching for this.
So, slightly relieved that I can do no more for now, I turn to the matter of dinner, always a delicate question of timing and content chez nous; who’s in, who’s out, who will eat what and when.
The oven is on and I turn confidently to the fridge for veg inspiration. Sadly, on inspection and without exception, every last item is light years past its sell by date. I have a therapeutic clear out, and revive just enough salad potatoes to attempt the rudiments of a meal.
For some reason, I cannot bear to open a slightly dented can of sweetcorn and, disappointingly, the freezer offers me nothing of use; cheesecake by the pallet-load, ice-cream of all varieties (including kosher) but no vegetables. Hey ho. We will eat 10-a-day tomorrow.
The phone rings and a pleasant lady, from Mumbai or Delhi I suspect, asks me if I’ve used my M&S Money credit card today and requests various personal details. Conscious of warnings about scams, I ring them back and, after countless ‘press three for more information, then hash’ instructions, I enjoy nine-and-a-half splendid minutes of Vivaldi.
I like Vivaldi tremendously, much as I like Ian Hislop, but music is all about context, and this is decidedly the wrong one.
The mobile rings – youngest daughter needs a lift from the station in 20 minutes. My evening is falling apart fast. Consummate juggler that I am, too many balls are now in the air, even for me. Mobile, meal, taxi service and fraud – this signals defeat.
He, for whom the meal is primarily being cooked, has enjoyed a large scotch, so no chauffeuring on offer there. In the nick of time, Sunita from M&S takes me through the hoops of personal identification required to be sure I’m not defrauding myself. It appears that the money paid to Facebook is the cause of my troubles, although last month’s hefty whack to John Lewis caused no such problem.
I hurl the dinner into the oven (whatever chance it had of being passable is now totally lost) and drive at speed to the station. Of course this weekend has been chosen for a total revamp of the Reading to Maidenhead line, and a ‘replacement bus service’ – a phrase that strikes terror into the heart of the train-travelling public and their mothers – is to be provided.
A 20-minute journey will now take an unbelievable one hour and seventeen minutes, with two changes. The entire weekend flashes before me in the certain knowledge that the M4 and I are about to become close acquaintances once again.
So, all that remains is to wish Dr Beeching, Ian Hislop, the rail revamp manager at Reading and the lovely M&S fraud detection squad in India a lovely weekend. And to beg our social media chap to come home very, very soon please. Him indoors has gone to bed with indigestion.