I left the house in a rush this morning. The rain was hammering down and I had an appointment in deepest darkest Derbyshire. It was only when I was several miles into the hills and already late that I realised that I only had a vague idea as to where I was going. I mean I had looked it up on the map the previous night and it all seemed straight forward enough, but then that had been several hours ago and at my age…………..
I stopped at what looked a likely looking farmhouse. It was still pouring with rain. I got out of the car, somewhere in a out house a fierce sounding dog began to snarl and growl warning of my presence. I walked confidently up to the back door, we BW’s know our place in the grand scheme of things, and knocked. And waited. Nothing. Water was dripping down the back of my neck. I moved round to the front of the house. The lights were on in the kitchen, so I tried the front door. Nothing. There appeared to be nobody there. I squelched my way back to the car. As I was getting in a little old lady emerged from one of the barns and challenged me. I explained what I was about and she explained tersely that I was at the wrong place and that the right place was further down the road on the right. I thanked her and set off.
Later that morning a colleague suggested that a Sat Nav would have been just the thing. I explained that there was nothing wrong with a good old fashioned map and that anyway the Sat Nav would be worth more than the car, and anyway I hate the bloody things, and I get irritated enough when I drive as it is with out another thing to wind me up.
I lunched at the local sandwich shop. They had hot roast beef baguettes. I ordered one. I had to wait several minutes, but that was no problem, they obviously made everything fresh to order. I was a little bit taken back when a large sweaty man in a discoloured vest and a lot of hair emerged clutching in his greasy hands a package, which he then thrust at me and muttered something. “Hot Beef cob” he uttered a second time and I got the message and took it from him. Back in the relative sanctuary of the hot desking suite at the town hall, I sat in the quiet area and unwrapped the Hot Beef Baguette. It was to say the least a disappointment. It was slightly warm, but the beef had been shredded and then mixed up in gravy and then spread onto the baguette. A man from environmental health was at one of the desks having an earnest conversation on the telephone about foul water and the solid content of the discharge. When he suggested that what they needed was a grease trap, I decided that maybe I was not hungry after all and that nice cooling refreshing walk in the rain would do me good.
The afternoon was uneventful (so you might say by the sounds of it was the morning, but we take our excitement in nice easy to digest pieces up here in Derbyshire). Except that my mobile phone, which for several weeks has refused to make any noise when someone rings me, started to talk to me. It warned me in a voice sounding somewhere between someone who had inhaled a large dose of helium and a foreign Sat Nav that I had appointments pending or that I had a missed call. No amount of fiddling with it or resetting it will make it behave, so now every so often a strange voice can be heard from the depths of my suit pocket. People have begun to stare at me. I think they think I am odd.