Thursday, 13 September 2012

In the bleak mid-winter

Whilst we were in Edinburgh to watch the teens perform at The Fringe, I chatted to their headmistress.  She told the tale of how in the last term, one of the mums drove up to the school to drop off her child at the school gates.  They arrived in a very flashy, very shiny very expensive Aston Martin.  With the offspring safely through the gates, the mum got out of her car and walked over to Bill, the school maintenance man.  I'm not sure, but I suspect that bill earns thirteen or fourteen thousand pounds a year, if he's lucky.  She asked if he could  reverse the car for her as she had no idea where reverse gear was.

I shall leave it to you to draw your own conclusions; good or bad.

Having seen a very, very, very unique version of Richard III at the Globe this weekend (Shakespeare goes pantomime), it's interesting to see that they think they've found the real man's bones in a council car park.  The bones they may have, but the mystery of whether he was good or bad and just demonised by history is a long way from being solved.

I have learnt that phone calls in the middle of the night are not going to contain bad news....they are just a nuisance.  The important news always seem to wait until the dawn has broken.  When my father died, the phone rang at 7.30 in the morning, when The Boy's Mother died it was six o'clock in the morning.  So although my heart leapt and there was a bit of a panicky feeling, I knew that when my mobile and then the home phone rang, at 3.00 am, it was just 'a pain in the arse'.  A recorded message told me that there was a problem with the office alarm.  As I put the phone down, I realised that there was no way I would be able to get back to sleep, so I threw some clothes on, jumped on the motorbike and headed off to the office.  I can tell you, if you haven't ever done it, getting up at that time of the day is wonderfully exhilarating - the sounds, the smells, the light is so different than at other times of day.  There is a sense of freedom that can be found only when the normal hustle and bustle of the city is in abeyance. Obviously when I got to the office there wasn't a problem, so having checked everything, I jumped back on the bike and headed home, arriving at 5.00am.  I did get up and head into the office at around nine-ish (on the tube as I didn't think another bike ride was a good idea), but I don't know why as I spent the day in a daze, nodding off in front of the computer screen.

Even for a geek, it must be difficult to get excited about central heating.  It comes on when you want, makes you warm and goes off when you don't want.  It's usually only of interest when it goes wrong.  But yesterday I got very excited about the central heating for the Brighton flat.  British Gas came along and installed a remote control system which means that I can use my computer, or better still my mobile phone, to switch it on and off when I want.  I can turn the thermostat up and down at will...and I can tell you the temperature in the flat at any moment, night or day (19.2 degrees centigrade at seven o'clock this morning).  I realise this is sad, and remote control central heating is definitely the solution to a first world problem...but for me it's truly awesome.  And The Cat's Mother likes it too - it means that we can switch it on a few hours before we travel down so it's nice and cosy and snug for when we arrive in mid-winter.  In a small but significant way our lives have improved.