Friday, 5 August 2011

Coping with the unexpected

I'm sorry not have posted for a bit but I've been having a bit of a technological crisis here in my lovely village.  I did have a beautiful black shiny new laptop, perched on the edge of the kitchen table on which I was intending to write my blog updates.  Then I entered some sort of debug hell and instead I had a malevolent black inert lump taking up space on the kitchen table.  It had got stuck in some part of its start-up menu and although George assured me via the phone that it would be fine, it wasn't.  I called him back.
   "The screen's still blank apart from the cursor," I wailed down the phone at him.
   He was no use.  "I'll be home in a couple of days, Mum, just leave it."
  I was hardly in a position to do anything else - the OH would have been a little cross had I done what I felt like doing, i.e. thrown the thing across the kitchen, but of course George's couple of days turned into two weeks, while the beast just throbbed blankly at me on the table.  And also of course, when George did drop in, with an airy "Oh, yes, I forgot I was going to sort that out for you" as he disappeared up the stairs to retrieve whatever it was he'd really come home for, it took him all of two minutes to sort the wretched thing out.  I'm pretty certain that he just held one of the buttons down for a bit longer than usual, but I could be wrong.  Anyway, it means my anger with the futility of modern technology has dissipated, much as I wish the humidity would, and I can catch up.
   First of all, Chloe made good her promise to get me along to the Race For Life and we had a lovely day.  There were half a dozen of us, all Chloe's charges, but some of them had been training rather more seriously than I had i.e. they'd been training.  Chloe had decided that in order to get the fitter ones running while allowing the slower ones to walk and yet still keep an eye on us all, that she would run between her various suckers.  Since there were over a thousand racers there altogether, that could have been difficult had it not been for the pink helium-filled balloon that Chloe attached to each of us.  "There," she said, looking around to admire her handiwork, "that's better.  I'll be able to see all of you from miles off!"  We looked at each other a little dubiously, but as it happened, it worked.  Partly because no-one else had balloons tied to them, but it meant that Chloe was able to work her way back through the joggers and walkers and find me trudging along near the back, along with two women with pushchairs.  "Come on, a bit faster, you're doing great!"  Having got me to power-walk a little way down a slope, she jogged off to the next nearest balloon, weaving between the various groups of walkers.  I saw her again, near the end of the race, looking a little less chirpy, but still encouraging me.  "Come on, you can go faster than that!  It's only a little hill!"  It wasn't *only* a little hill, but she is difficult to resist - hence my presence there at all - and I sped up briefly, heading for the level that led to the finish line.  Most others had finished long before and were preparing to pack up, but the atmosphere was still congenial and I am not ruling out entering myself next year.
   More locally, I have to report a successful Summer Show.  Despite the number of my friends who have already deserted the village, there were still enough people left to perform on stage, sell a couple of halls-full of tickets and require a front of house crew.  Which was where I came in.  Bunty telephoned, she of the late Major.
  "Got your number from Isabelle.  Doing anything this weekend?"  That was the conversation after checking she had reached the correct number, word for word.  "Need some chaps to do refreshments for the Summer Show.  Do some of your biscuits.  No nuts."  Still word for word, punctuation mark for punctuation mark.  So I got baking.  You don't argue with an instruction from Bunty, and besides at that point the weather was not so hot that I minded dealing with an open oven.
  And the show was good.  I listened through the hatch in the kitchen at the village hall rather than actively watching it, but the audience were appreciative and laughed at bits that I couldn't see but which were obviously entertaining.  Slightly less entertaining was the moment when the steaming urn set off the smoke alarm in the kitchen, and all the flapping with a tea towel that we could manage wouldn't stop it.  After a few moments of sheer panic in the kitchen and pure professionalism on the stage, Bunty's grandson, who had been drafted in to help sell raffle tickets in the interval, grabbed one of our tea-towels and clambered quickly onto the worktop so that he could reach the smoke alarm and muffle the sound with the cloth.  It squeaked indignantly a couple more times and then subsided, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.  And by the time the interval began, it seemed everyone had forgotten about the interruption already.
  One curious thing to report.  The phone rang at about 11.30 a couple of nights ago.  My heart leapt, the way it does when the phone rings late at night and your children are elsewhere, particularly overseas.  Mummy-mode kicked in and I leapt out of bed to grab the phone.  "Yes?"
   "Mon cher, tu es..."  There was some more French that I didn't quite understand, but I recognised the voice, even through its seductive tones.
   There was a brief pause, and then she muttered in a more normal voice, "Oh, I'm so sorry," audibly blushing, "must have pressed the wrong number on speed-dial," before hanging up.  So I don't know who she meant to call but it sounds as though she's having a good time down in Nice.  She didn't even phone back the following morning!

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