Sunday, 14 November 2010

Friday to Sunday - 12th to 14th November

                You know how sometimes you just don’t seem to have enough hours in the day, no matter how well you try to organise things?  I’ve been having one of those times.  And it’s meant that I was just too tired on Friday evening and on Saturday evening to update the blog.  So for anyone who cares, my apologies.
                As I’m sure you remember, on Friday I was scheduled to head back down to the hairdresser’s, to have the colour put back in my hair and have the cut tidied up a bit.  That is a problem with short hair, it can look terribly untidy terribly quickly, but then my hair looked pretty untidy beforehand anyway, so perhaps I shouldn’t worry about it.
                Ronnie came with me to do a little pottering round town, which probably meant buy a magazine and then sit in a cafe for a couple of hours reading it, or so I thought, and we arranged that we would rendezvous at the salon two hours after the appointment started.
                Which would have been a perfectly reasonable plan had it not been for the power cut.  I had only been there for about a quarter of an hour, and this had enabled Shebnam to plaster my hair with the chemical concoction required to render it red again, when the lights in the salon suddenly went out.
                “Has someone forgotten to pay the electricity bill?” I asked, joking, thinking maybe someone had just leant against a switch somewhere.
                But within minutes the entire salon staff were rushing up and down the high street, trying to get information.  No electricity anywhere, it seemed.  The whole area was affected, which meant commerce pretty much ground to a halt.  No power meant no tills, no credit-card machines, no phones in many cases, no lights for shoppers to see what they were buying, no computerised stock-price system for the supermarkets.  I would like to be able to say that it brought out the good old English Dunkirk spirit in all of us, but there was rather a lot of bad-tempered swearing about cuts and the bloody government, as if they had anything to do with it.
                Finally, I caught Shebnam’s attention and asked how long I should have the gunk on my head before all my hair fell out.  She had had a severe sense-of-humour failure.  “We can’t do anything, there’s no power, don’t have a go at me,” she snarled.
                I tried again.  “I know all that.  I’m just a bit concerned about what might happen if we leave it in too long.”
                She pulled a face and semi-dragged me to a basin.  “It’ll have to be cold water,” she told me with what I thought was a certain amount of malicious glee.  “There’s no hot water without the electricity.”
                I winced at the thought, told myself I could bear and prepared to grit my teeth.  My god, gallons of cold water pouring over your head for several minutes at a time is COLD!  Then, not satisfied with my whimpering, she put some shampoo or conditioner or something to repair the damage done by the chemicals and poured more cold water over me.  I was going to ask for a cup of coffee or something to try and warm myself up from the inside, but remembered that kettles in this modern age would be electrically-powered.
                Naturally enough, without electricity the hairdryers weren’t working either, and Colin, who cut my hair this time, towel-dried it to the best of his ability, but it’s not the same.  And furthermore, it meant he wasn’t able to check the final cut the way stylists normally do, drying your hair and then trimming millimetre-long sections to stick to your cheeks and into the curls of your ear and to drop down the back of your neck.  So at least I missed out on the need for a shower immediately afterwards, but it was clear later that it was not Colin’s best work.
                Ronnie turned up part-way through the trimming. 
                “It’s a pity the electric’s off,” was all she would say.  Pity wasn’t the word I would have chosen, but we were in public.
                Finally we were able to leave.  Fortunately, I had enough cash to pay for the colouring and told Colin I would be back in a few days for him to finish the cut.  He blanched a little but decided not to argue.  I can be very determined when I choose.
                The power-cut had remarkably enough not affected the village, just the town centre.  Ronnie put the kettle on while I went upstairs and dried my hair properly.  When I came down again, she rather shyly presented me with a box of chocolates, the Thornton’s Continental mix.  “It wasn’t quite what I wanted to get you,” she said, “but they weren’t sure of the prices of things and they couldn’t look them up without the electrics.  It’s just to say thank you for having me for the last little while.”
                I gave her a hug.  “You really didn’t need to,” I told her.  “And for what it’s worth, these are my favourites!”
                You might have thought that was enough for one day, but we were in the middle of relaxing in a warm house with a working TV and working lights, when the phone rang.  It was someone called Sarah who had got my number from Jenny.
                “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but we’re desperate.  Front of House is at least as important as the backstage crew, because if people can’t get in, they can’t see the show, can they?”  She sounded a little as though she was trying to convince herself, rather than me, because the line was frankly rather feeble, but I let her off.  But the upshot was, a local singing group were doing a performance of Calamity Jane and were very short-handed in the Front of House department.   I assured her that I would be able to help, and managed to say hello to the OH as we passed on the driveway.
                The show was popular and Sarah had been quite correct when she said they were short-handed; moments of extreme boredom interspersed with minutes of almost sheer panic, we were so inundated.  But eventually the audience left the school hall and we were able to tidy up.  Which in itself took such a long time that I really didn’t feel like writing the blog when I got home.
                Which was a shame, because having spent Saturday morning trying out some new biscuit recipes and setting a casserole in progress, I was just about to take Ronnie to the station via Verity’s so that she could leave a note, when the phone rang again, and it was again Sarah.
                “You were absolutely fantastic last night.  I don’t suppose you’d be able to help out again today, would you?”
                Before I knew what I was saying, words of agreement were spouting out of my mouth, and it seemed I had agreed to do Front of House for a matinee and an evening performance.  There was in theory a long enough gap between the two shows for me to come home and cook tea for the OH, but in the end, there was some sort of catastrophe on one of the nearby main roads which meant that most of the string section of the orchestra/band hadn’t arrived by the start-time listed on the ticket, and a couple of cast members had only just sprinted through the lobby.  We delayed starting for a while, and a trombone player tried to keep some of the children quiet by taking requests and making generally silly noises on his instrument, but the late start meant a late finish and no time to go home before it would have been time to come back again.  I phoned the OH to break the news to him.
                “That’s all right,” he said.  “I’ll go down the pub for something.  There’s some football on that I can watch, see if Liverpool are onto something or not.”
                He seemed far too happy about that arrangement but at least it took the pressure off me.  And I got back so late and so tired again, that the blog was postponed again.  Apparently Liverpool are not onto something and Verity phoned, but at that time of night it didn’t seem appropriate to phone her back, and she hasn’t yet tried phoning today.  I’ve been having a quiet day, feeding the Christmas cake and tidying up Celestine’s room now that Ronnie has vacated it.  To be honest, I don’t mind not having to deal with the whirlwind that Verity can be and I’m sure she’ll call again.          

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