Thursday, 28 May 2009

Road rage

I took the children to a local country park yesterday for an organised treasure hunt.

As we left in the car a lorry was manouvering and blocking our exit.  We waited until he stopped and then I waited again.

The driver had stopped in such a way that the only way we could get around his vehicle was to drive on the wrong side of the road. 

Where this occurs and there’s great visibility of oncoming traffic this would be fine, but it was right near a junction.  Traffic on an A road could pull into the road I was on without either driver having visibility of the other.

The lorry driver indicated I should pull round his vehicle.  I didn’t because I was always taught to check myself before taking anyone else’s word for the safety of a situation.  In this case I couldn’t, so I got out of the car.

I didn’t meet with a particularly co-operative or polite response when I asked the driver if he could park the lorry elsewhere.  I explained why it was dangerous for him to park there and he explained that was why he had waved me around his vehicle.

All very well except his next move was to get out of his cab and walk over to a roadside cafe.  Any other park goers would experience the same problem.

I had no choice and risked driving around his vehicle.  I encountered two vehicles pulling off the fast A road.  Luckily a collision was avoided, but it was definitely not safe.

I was furious but didn’t know what to do.  So I seethed all the way home.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Out of the blue

I met Alice when I was first pregnant.  She and I went to the same ante natal classes.

I discovered that Alice sometimes struggled to get to or from the classes because she didn’t drive.  I offered to help by going to and from the classes via Alice’s house.

As the ante natal class due dates approached the group had started to meet socially.  As babies arrived the group was a mixture of bumps and babies.

Alice wasn’t as lucky as the rest of us.  She had a midwife visit just before her due date and the midwife couldn’t find a heartbeat.  Alice had to give birth to her dead baby.

That is such a tragic and terrible thing to happen to anyone and, in general the group didn’t know how to respond.  I was probably closest to Alice because of the car sharing but I didn’t know what to do either.

I imagined that the last person she would want to see was someone who was still pregnant with a healthy child.

I can’t remember exactly how I kept in touch but I did.  We did talk about her loss and how she was feeling.  I remember broaching the subject of meeting the other mums.  I was honest and said we had hesitated to invite her along because we didn’t want to get it wrong, but I made sure she knew that when, or if, she was ready to meet us she would be very welcome.

We did meet a few times but we didn’t have much in common.  We drifted and became people that send Christmas cards.  Until yesterday.

We hadn’t spoken for years, but yesterday she called, out of the blue.

Perhaps I should have asked why she called, but I didn’t, so we just started talking in a very stilted fashion through lack of familiarity.

She’s become a grandmother (her first child, a daughter, has started her family) but has also suffered terribly with cancer.  I got the feeling she just wanted to talk to someone, anyone.  So we talked.  I listened and shared.

Today, out of the blue, a bouquet of flowers arrived from Alice.  Whilst this is lovely and kind and sweet, I don’t understand it.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The trigger

I looked at our kitchen on Saturday morning and hated it.  There are a thousand things that irritate me about it but the one thing that hit me in the face on Saturday was just how grubby it looked.

It wasn’t the kind of grubby that a bit of cleaning could fix, although there was a bit of that (particularly cobwebs and dust).  It was mainly the paintwork which had just deteriorated over time.

Somehow damp has made its way into some plaster on one wall which gave it a crazed effect akin to a paint crackle effect.  Added to this there was a small gap between the coving and the wall.  Every time anyone walked around in the bathroom above the gap released plaster dust over the kitchen work surface.  This meant that no sooner had the kitchen surfaces been cleaned they would need cleaning again.  It also meant that food couldn’t be stored there.

Also, and this is something I’ve not seen in anyone else’s kitchen, whenever I’ve peeled vegetables the walls have been sprayed with the juice from the potato, carrot or whatever.  I haven’t noticed this when it happened but, over time, this has made the wall look grubby, and it’s impossible to clean.

And then, of course, we have had children since the kitchen was last painted and there are grubby finger marks everywhere.

Something needed to be done.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Unplanned exposure

On Sunday both children had been invited to a swimming pool party.

This was a party in a public swimming pool and my presence was required in the pool.

After lots of splashing around, the swimming part of the party was over and everyone headed towards the changing rooms to get changed.

I’d worn a dress that day, new but not expensive, and as I popped the dress back on I hit a problem: the zip broke.

The zip ran up the side of the dress from hip to underarm and it wasn’t broken just a little bit, it was broken completely.

I didn’t have a jacket or cardigan and I had just one safety pin.

In Who wants to be a Millionaire style, I phoned a friend.

Mel, still in her swimming costume, came and found me.  She may have laughed a bit, but she quickly sprang into action to help me.

We acquired two more safety pins which, although not a neat solution, served to cover most of my embarrassment.  When Mel had dressed we nipped out to her car where she leant me a lovely cardigan that complimented the dress perfectly.

We eventually caught up with the rest of the partygoers and I think I got away with it, just.

The dress is going back.  The question is refund, or replacement?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Brand strength

I had a doctor appointment this morning at 8:30.

I turned up at 8:25 and after using the patient self check-in via a mounted PC screen, I took a seat.

My doctor is wonderful and the surgery is very well run.  I don’t enjoy a visit to the doctor but because my doctor is so lovely and because the surgery is efficient, the process is not as awkward as it could be.

Whenever I’ve made appointments for myself or the children we’ve never had to wait more than five minutes past our appointment time.  How many people can say the same about their doctor?

At 8:40 I frowned.  8:30 is the first appointment of the day so I assumed that there must have been an emergency patient squeezed in ahead of me, especially as I had heard my doctor’s voice over the tannoy calling someone else’s name.

At 8:50 I started to think the surgery was squeezing in too many emergency patients and I became fidgety.

At 9:00 I wondered if I’d written down the wrong appointment time.  Maybe my appointment was 9:00.

At 9:10 I checked my diary and decided I couldn’t possibly have written down the wrong time.

At 9:15 I went to the reception and explained that I wasn’t used to waiting and I asked her to check my appointment time.

My appointment was 8:30.  It transpired that, for some reason, the patient check-in hadn’t worked.

My previous experience with the brand “My Doctor” was so strong that it took me 45 minutes to doubt the brand and, before doubting the brand, I doubted myself.

I think that’s amazing.