It’s great to learn from twitter and facebook how much fun other people are having and how fantastic the weather is, where they are.
Life can be quite exciting here too. Unlike Saturday’s upcoming Inferno race in Mürren, yesterday’s school run was over the full 15.2 mile course.
By the time my daughter had de-iced her car enough to get the L plates to stick, we were too late to catch the bus. The 90 minute return trip to Abingdon gave me the chance to enjoy this gorgeous view of sunrise over Didcot and a stationary line of cars, moments before we joined it.
While I was out my wife set off for Gatwick, using the direct train from Reading which takes the M25 out of play. Our gateway to this useful service is Wokingham, which is about 50 miles from us and has a big and inexpensive station car park. The nine forty eight would get her to LGW in good time for a midday flight.
At nine thirty five I was nursing my first cup of coffee when the phone rang. It was one of those calls when you soon find yourself holding the handset at arm’s length, and the gist of it – expletives deleted -was that the station car parks were all full, the car was parked illegally and would I kindly rescue it before it got towed, clamped or ticketed.
At Wokingham I found the car in a space marked Staff Only, replaced it with my daughter’s car and set off to find a legal parking space in walking distance of the station.
Two options: a car park reserved for visitors to a graveyard, or a lay by at the entrance to a nature reserve known for its noctule bats. That would do for the day, but not for the duration. I would have to come back at the end of the day, when the station car park would have space.
I got home at one o’clock and had a full three and a half hours of down time before driving to Abingdon to collect my daughter from school and take her to the tennis centre on the other side of town.
This weekly fixture gives me two and a half hours to kill in Abingdon. Having no local sex partner to call on, I pass the time in a variety of ways: emailing or checking facebook for my friends’ latest holiday pictures, going to the pub, loitering in Waitrose, listening to the Archers on my phone. Yesterday I reckoned two and a half hours would be about right for a return trip to Wokingham.
It might have been, but the car was low on fuel and I had no money on me. When asked if she could lend me a tenner for petrol my daughter angrily replied ‘No! Of course not!’
So I went home, fed the dogs, picked up money, filled the car, drove to Wokingham, moved the other car from the noctule bat lay-by to the now empty station car park, remembered to leave the key in a secret place and got back to the tennis centre only half an hour after the end of my daughter’s tennis session. We were home by 9.15.
The phone rang. It was my wife, calling from France. “It’s beautiful here. How was your day? Get much done?”
Eight and a half hours in car; 295 miles driven. No speeding ticket, no parking fine. Sense of achievement.