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Going down to the water, but not drinking …

Being – to coin a phrase – an old age pensioner who necessarily lives somewhat hand-to-mouth, I have to confess that sometimes I have been less than sympathetic to the type of Brit who complains bitterly that they don’t have enough to live on, have to visit food banks etc. and then put the entire blame for this state of affairs at the doors of the billionaires and geo-dominant internet giants who – by paying very expensive lawyers and accountants to find ingenious ways of doing it – “don’t pay their fair whack of tax”.

This when – in some cases, upon further inspection – a significant proportion of those complaining have not had a job for several or many years, but merely live on benefits and yet seemingly assume their entire extended family are entitled by birth to own the latest smartphone and attendant social media apps; own a car to get about in; have subscriptions to the latest Sky TV, Virgin Media, Netflix and Amazon premium entertainment and sport channels; attend all the not-inexpensive concerts/movies/events they desire; and, of course, holiday on the Costa del Sol a minimum three times per year with their family and friends.

In addition – both because I tend to operate exclusively via logic, reason and fact, plus I have gained from my own life experience no impression to the contrary – I am an avowed atheist.

Against that background it is therefore somewhat ironic that – about 0.00001% of my existence, i.e. whenever I have a particularly bad run of misfortune or instances of ‘things not going my way’ – as, it so happens, is currently occurring at the time of writing – is also the only time that I find myself starting to believe in the possibility of something.

Ordinarily I live my life by the simple rule that I wish to do nothing to actively cause harm or offence to anyone, not least in the hope that, in turn, nobody will do either to me.

However, I do begin wondering whether someone, somewhere – whom I know in this life – has for some reason ‘got it in for me’ and is somehow deliberately engineering these mishaps in order to get back at me for something I’ve done previously to them; or, alternatively, whether ditto is happening because – in some past life or lives – I did something wrong to someone who is now ‘paying me back’; or (thirdly) whether – contrary to all my learning, leaning and observation thus far – there might just actually exist some Supreme Being out there who is making known His (or Her) displeasure at my intransigence on the subject.

Last November I ‘signed off’ on a financial matter which – I was assured at the time – would thereafter only required the obtaining of two bits of straightforward factual information from a third party before it would come to fruition, which could be expected in a matter of days, or a week at most.

That was ten weeks ago now … and counting. I am still waiting.

Rusters may perhaps understand the frustration that builds over time as one wakes up every day wondering whether “this” is finally the one upon which everything will finally go through … and then it isn’t.

However, that is not the point of my post today.

Which is to report that the strength of my belief in a Supreme Being – and a vengeful God at that – is increasing by the hour as a result of what befell me yesterday.

Having as per usual burned the midnight oil – well actually the oil I habitually use between 0030 and 0830 hours in the morning – I had some breakfast, abluted, read my newspaper and then settled at my computer in order to begin what was going to be a pretty concentrated day in my ‘metaphorical office’ (28 emails in my inbox waiting attention, plus about a dozen other semi-urgent calls to make or tasks to accomplish).

At which point, shortly after 0930 hours, I discovered that my Virgin Media broadband internet service had “gone down”.

After two hours of re-booting my computer and/or the wi-fi box repeatedly, without success, I rang the Virgin Media customer-line and received a taped voice message to the effect that they were aware of the problem in my entire area, the engineers were attending to the problem and my service would be resumed “at 1405 hours”.

It wasn’t. It did not resume until approximately 1630 hours – which in total meant that, to all intents and purposes, I was without internet access yesterday for six hours.

How frustrating was that when I knew I had 28 emails awaiting my attention but could do nothing about them?!?!

Secondly, I was ‘gifted’ a beaten-up old hatchback car about two months ago as a temporary run-around.

Since then it has done me sterling service, albeit that – due to having been royally “thrashed” just before I came to own it – the speedometer had a tendency to stop working after about 30 minutes’ driving due to general “over-heating” and universally-received motor-savvy opinion had it that the vehicle was not long for this world.

When I once told of having driven to London and back in it, the person who gave me the car (he’d bought it for £200 to participate in an event to see who could drive a £200 car the furthest round a motor race-track in 12 hours) had smiled, shaken his head in wonder and said that he personally wouldn’t have attempted to drive it more than twenty miles on a single journey.

Last Sunday, however, I drove for about a total of four hours in it, all around Greater London and also to the coast. By the end, to be honest, it was clearly feeling and sounding a bit “crook” as I  finally made it to my gaff about 6.30pm, went inside, poured myself a stiff drink and went to bed within an hour.

On Monday morning – and each day thereafter until yesterday – I went out to see how the car was. It would “turn-over” but never burst into life.

So yesterday I called out the AA man.

After examining it, he told me that it was effectively a terminal case. Almost certainly the head gasket had ‘blown’ – a very expensive repair to do, and one that might cost twenty times what the car was now worth.

In short it was a “dead” car – fit for nothing but the Great Car Scrapyard in the Sky.

All I’ve got to do now, apparently, is “SORN” it, research online for a ‘man with a van’ who does ‘scrap takeaways’ and then pay for the service.

Which I cannot afford at the moment.

So now I’ve got a “dead” car clogging up my car park space – without the wherewithal to dispose of it – and now also no wheels to boot!

Over to you, God … !

About J S Bird

A retired academic, Jeremy will contribute article on subjects that attract his interest. More Posts