I had another completely different kind of blog post planned for today but something happened that I just had to write about. Life and the things that get in your way when you’re not expecting them. I’ll start with the day before. I drove down to Manchester to my mother’s house. I like to write there and make some bits and pieces of video. It’s nice to be alone just for a while, to eat when I want to eat, eat what I want and to just generally sit back and open my laptop and create stuff. Sometimes nothing happens and I spend quite a lot of time watching DVDs and mowing the lawn. Actually, I was planning on one of those last lawn mowing efforts before the winter but alas, it had rained during the night and the lawn was soaked.
Arriving at mum’s I made a brew and started making some food. I sat down and waited for things to be ready and made a second brew. I’ve got a great mug at mum’s house. It’s big, bigger than a normal mug but not a giant one. It’s not too big and not too small, just perfect in fact. I ate my dinner, drank my tea and watched a little TV.
As it happens, not much was happening on terrestrial TV so I broke out the DVD box set that Liz had got me for my birthday. It was McMillan and Wife, one of my favourite old TV shows which surprisingly has not been repeated on British TV. Back-to-back episodes of Columbo are shown every Sunday and as much as I love Columbo you’d think broadcasters would like to mix things up and perhaps show the other elements of what used to be Mystery Movie: McCloud, Banacek or even McMillan and Wife.
McMillan and Wife starred Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James as the McMillans, a husband-and-wife detective team. Hudson plays the Police Commissioner of San Francisco and he and his wife go about solving various mysteries. It’s not quite as good as Columbo which for me has to be one of the greatest ever detective shows on TV. The series ran for 6 seasons but Susan left after season 5. She later gave up full time acting to concentrate on her family. Rock Hudson as we all probably know was a closet gay who died of AIDS in 1990. Susan Saint James once said he was ‘the sexiest man alive!’
Anyway, let’s fast forward to the next day. I got up, washed and dressed and came down for breakfast. Soon I had sausages and bacon sizzling on my George Foreman grill and an egg all ready. The kettle boiled, the teapot was ready but where was the cup? You know the one, my favourite cup, the one not too big or too small. It wasn’t in the lounge and it wasn’t in the kitchen. It wasn’t on the drainer or in the sink with the dirty pots. In short, it had vanished. There was no other choice but to use another cup. I went for a slightly smaller one but, being a different size, I ended up with too much milk and not enough tea.
I had a feeling then that this was an omen, that this day wasn’t going to be good. Oh well!
Breakfast scoffed, I went out and walked into the civic centre to do some business. On the street just a few minutes walk from the centre I spotted a man approaching. He was about 30, tall and clearly under the influence of something, drink or drugs I wasn’t sure what. He was wearing flip flops and a pair of denim shorts which was a bit of a surprise as it was pretty cold. The top he was wearing looked a little like a sort of plastic mac only a very small one, a good three sizes too small for this guy. The buttons were all fastened but were straining a little. His belly was showing, not a particularly big belly but clearly there was nothing on under the mac. I made to walk to the other side of the road and this guy did the same. I nonchalantly turned back to my original side but the guy looked a bit confused by this and he decided to change direction also. Maybe he wanted to ask me something, I don’t know but to be fair, I just wasn’t in the mood to chat to a drunken idiot, especially as this was only about 10:30 in the morning.
A white van came down the street then going far too fast and the guy lurched back to my side but, anticipating this I ducked behind the van to the other side. As we passed on opposite sides of the street he gave a friendly wave and I waved back. He nearly fell over then but managed to keep control and despite nearly walking into a tree carried on.
My business that day was with my mother’s banks. There were two both side by side. My mother, for whatever reason, had split her money between the two banks and I had a court order enabling me to take control of her funds.
Bank number 1 was closed despite showing on their web site as being open until 5pm. That was annoying but I went into bank number 2. I spoke to a staff member and explained everything. Did I have a copy of the court order? Yes I did as well as a copy of my deputy certificate. Now this is where things get tricky. We live, as you know, in an electronic email internet age and my documents were saved on my phone, ready to be sent electronically to whoever needed to see them.
That’s no good explained the lady. We need to see a hard copy. Well, I can email them to you I said. No good she answered, I haven’t got an email address! Don’t give me that I thought. Everyone has an email address, especially people who work at big institutions like banks. No said the lady, you’ll have to phone our special hotline. She jotted down the number and sent me away.
OK, look on the good side. I’ve had a bit of exercise and taken in some fresh air so I went home and started again.
I called the number given to me by bank number 2. The conversation was a little difficult but they gave me a link to their website and I was eventually able to upload my documents. I still haven’t heard from them a week later but at least I’ve got somewhere….I think.
Bank number 2 was a little trickier. It turns out mum’s branch was in the process of closing down so I was advised to contact another branch. No problem I thought, there’s a branch near Liz in St Annes. Wrong! Turns out that branch has closed down too. There is a branch in Blackpool. I gave them a call, explained the situation. They too want to see a hard copy. Can’t I just upload the documents? No, they want to see the actual document. OK. I made an appointment to see them. I went to my solicitor and she had made me 6 copies of the court order. I passed them to bank number 1. OK? No, we want the original, not a copy. We want to make our own copy!
I knew it was going to be a bad day.
Back home I put the kettle on. Another search for my cup and still no sign. This is it. I knew it would end like this, losing my marbles. I made another cup of tea in another mug. Once again it was too strong and I had put too much milk in. Oh well, I’ll have to get used to my new mug I suppose.
What’s for tea? I’d not made a chilli for a while so I chopped the onions and garlic and fried gently. In went the mince along with cumin and chilli paste. Later, in went the tomatoes and stock. I transferred everything to my slow cooker and left it to gently bubble away. After a while I became concerned as no chilli aromas seemed to be forthcoming. A quick check and I noticed that I hadn’t plugged the slow cooker in!
I’m trying to think of similar days. There was the time Liz and I went to a hotel in Folkestone. We were getting dressed for dinner and I realised the black shoes that I’d brought were both left shoes. Yes, that evening I don’t think I cut quite the figure I wanted to cut with my smart jacket, trousers and trainers. Then there was that other time, the one where I went for a night out wearing a white suit and came back with beer and kebab stains all over me. Oh well, these things happen.
The next morning, I had breakfast and then a few ideas came to me and I started tapping away furiously on my laptop. After a while I reached out for my tea. I had hardly drunk any and it had gone cold. I was going to throw it away but then thought I could easily warm it up in the microwave. I opened the microwave and what was there? My favourite cup and some old cold tea!
Today was going to be a good day!
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