The first weekend of the month was a write off, as I spent most of it working. I never want to see a sickness reason code again in my life. (And to be honest, I never wanted to see one in the first place, but such is life.) I racked up a lot of time, so took an extra day off on the Thursday of the next week to make it a four-day weekend. Helen was off too, but she was off to deepest darkest Somerset with her mum to visit other family members. Something I politely passed on, and so I was left to my own devices.
I didn’t spend the whole time playing solitaire on my laptop (though the draw to it was real), and I was up and over in Horsham before midday, full details of that trip out are in a piece I’m writing on my Medium page.
I’d let the furry fussy pest out before going out, and when I returned, Sniffles was laid between the plant pot and the meter cupboard to the side of the front door. It is a good snoozing spot for him as he’s protected on three sides. On hearing footsteps, he lifts his head and looks around to see who it is coming before he recognises it is someone who will let him in, and he lets out a welcoming whine. Well, I’m not sure if it’s welcoming, it sounds more along the lines of ‘where the fuck have you been?’
He did the same thing when I got in from wandering around town on Friday. There is something about the way he does it that makes me laugh. It reminds me of Brad Pitt playing Mickey the Pikey in Snatch when Tommy and Gorgeous George turn up to buy a caravan and he’s squatting down having a crap and his head bobs up to see who it is that has arrived. Sniffles has mastered that action.
Anyway, on my way out on Friday I was aiming to stop and sort out physiotherapy sessions. Helen had bought them for me for my birthday and after some unsuccessful phone tag I was still no closer to a session four months on. The physiotherapist is only around the corner from where I live so I thought I’d knock on the door. So, I ambled down Southgate Drive and knocked on the door. I did think it was odd that there was a big Volvo estate blocking most of the drive that I had to squeeze around to get to the door. And when the door opened it is hard to say who was the most confused about me asking about physiotherapy sessions; me, or the old Asian woman who answered the door.
The actual house I wanted was on Southgate Road, not Drive, so I went there on the way back from town. I walked past it once because I though the blocks in the large driveway were all saying number 10, but it turns out they were all the physiotherapist’s logo marking out parking spaces. I knocked but that didn’t sort out a session. They were going to give me a ring on the Saturday to sort one out. Two weeks later and there has been no contact.
The confusion stakes carried on later in the evening. Sniffles was curled up on the blanket in the corner of the sofa when Helen rang me. As I was talking to her, Sniffles got up, looked around, and then wandered over to me and looked up before heading back to the corner. Only to come back and end up with his paws on my chest staring at me all confused. I put him down and he got the hump and went to sit on the box of Halloween decorations in high dudgeon glaring at me. He eventually came back and investigated what I was doing, but it would seem he was confused that he could hear the voice of the nice lady who usually feeds him, and fusses over him, but couldn’t see her. He was looking at me as if I had somehow imprisoned her in my phone and was wondering when she was coming back. As when the phone call ended, he curled back up in his corner of the sofa and went to sleep.
After writing group on Saturday, which went quite well considering I was winging it big time. I headed for another afternoon of walking. I got a bus to Turners Hill and meandered back to Tesco’s at which point the walking boots I’m still breaking in were making both feet and knees scream at me, so I got the bus home and vegged on the sofa all evening.
Sunday saw a bit of cooking (well, chucking bits in the slow cooker for a chili, so cooking might be stretching it) and sport watching. The GP was odd, the football mildly entertaining, and the American football very entertaining. The 49ers eased to an easy win and top the division after five games as all the other teams in the division lost. And this win despite more injuries to key players (which came back to bite us the following week as we lost to the Falcons of all teams).
Crawley meanwhile lost whilst I was out walking on Saturday. 3-0 away to Grimsby Town. I had considered going to that game and had scoped out travel times for trains and hotels for overnight stays as there wasn’t much to do with Helen being away, but I decided against it. It was a wise decision by the look of things, as another poor result saw us ending up as the strongest team in the football league – bottom – holding all the other teams up. And it saw Kevin Betsy being sacked.
I still want to go to Grimsby. Well, Cleethorpes really, as I want some photos for other pieces I am writing.
Work was still shit when I went back, but it was only four days before ten days off. Although most of that time was going to spent with relatives of mine or Helen.
When work came to an end on Thursday evening, we went and picked Helen’s mum up and headed north. We were heading for Lichfield, as an overnight stop on the way to North Wales for a seventieth birthday afternoon tea.
Three times on the journey to Lichfield the ‘smart’ motorway signs signalled to move over for workmen in the road ahead. After there being nothing the first two times it was tempting not to move over the third time in a boy who cried wolf fashion.
We turned on the sat nav for the last stretch, only for it to immediately to yell turn left, only for that to be the exit to the south and a nine-mile detour to the next junction and back before we were on the right track again.
When we got out of the car at the Holiday Inn Express at Lichfield Helen’s mum asked where the cardboard box was. What box? The box that was in the porch. Well, at a rough guess, it’s still in the fucking porch, as it’s the first we’ve heard of a box. (A neighbour was rung, and the box retrieved).
Between Lichfield and north Wales, we were told of how Helen’s mum likes to stroke bees. Which both of us found a bit bonkers, but no one else we spoke to at the party batted an eyelid at. Who knew stroking bees was a thing?
Breakfast in the pub was interesting, as the coffee was served in a cafetiere, but appeared to be instant coffee.
The invites to the party did not have a standard start time on them. Some had midday, some 12:30 and others one o’clock. Most of the relatives going to the party were in the pub first, seemingly delaying the going to the party until the last possible moment. This included Bob whose party it was. In total there were thirty-five people invited, and a miraculous thirty-one of them turned up. But there was a mini exodus from the room just before the party games started. Strategic absences involved to avoid playing feed the baby and blind makeup. Packing up only took a few minutes compared to the hours setting up the room did, and most of the relatives headed to the other pub in the village straight after.
When it comes to it being time to leave the pub to drop off a couple of people at Joanne and Bob’s and to pick up Helen’s mum, we find that the room key to our room is still in the village hall, and there is no one there for us to be able to get it. Fortunately, there was a spare so we could get into the room and get the car keys. We may also have left some tweezers behind, as before dinner Helen’s mum asked if we had any tweezers as she couldn’t find hers, and she needed to screw the curtain rail back up. I still don’t know what the hell was going on, but our rooms didn’t have any curtains, let alone rails to hang them off.
There may well have been a spare key to our room, but it wasn’t fully legit. It allowed us to lock the room when we retired for the night. But it would not open from the inside in the morning. We had to get one of the staff to go into the crawl space outside the other end of the room for us to pass the key out of the window for them to come around and open our door from the outside. And that wasn’t even the worst part about breakfast.
We get out of the pub and drop Helen’s mum off at Joanne and Bob’s and head north to Morecambe for four nights at my mum’s. Despite the attempts at force feeding and the horrendous driving conditions over the next three days out, it wasn’t a bad stay. There are lots of write ups from those days out on Medium (or will be depending on which order I post things).
We met up with Joanna and Bob at Lymm services on the way home for a handover of Helen’s mum, and after dropping her off we were more than happy to collapse on our sofa and do nothing.
I know work is rubbish, but sometimes having time off can be more tiring.