It sometimes occurs that extraordinary events can accompany even the least important and mundane aspects of everyday life.
The above statement is an appropriate preface to my post today, which comes straight from the folder marked “Things you couldn’t make up”.
For no reason that I can identify or explain, at the moment I seem to be in the middle of a run of extraordinary events connected in some way to travelling – either by train, or as a passenger in a car because of my ongoing six months disqualification for reaching 12 ‘current’ speeding points upon my driving licence.
Yesterday, after some domestic chores and an hour-long “Zoom” conference phone call with my lawyer, I had a sandwich for my lunch and (to be honest) had been expecting a fairly quite afternoon.
It did not turn out that way.
When my Better Half returned from work at 3.00pm she announced that by arrangement she was going to set off in ten minutes in order to drive to a village just beyond Petworth in West Sussex to collect a desk that she had bought over the internet.
It didn’t take much to persuade me to accompany her: we could chat on the way there and back, plus I might be helpful as an assistant or “muscle” for the project.
As we set off, the car’s sat nav advised that it was going to devise a route to allow us to take best advantage of the prevailing traffic conditions.
Shortly afterwards – following said lady’s instructions – we found ourselves just beyond Chichester on the A27 but not travelling on the obvious route towards Petworth (the A285) as we had expected.
Accordingly, thinking she was misdirecting us and/or had “lost the plot”, we therefore began ignoring her instructions and instead, cutting across country, made for the A285.
It wasn’t long before we appreciated that our sat nav girl might have known what she was talking about.
A series or large road-side notice boards began indicating “ROAD AHEAD CLOSED”.
Initially we ignored them, but then subsequent ones began repeating “ROAD AHEAD CLOSED SOUTH OF SEAFORD COLLEGE AT DUNCTON”.
Eventually the Better Half drove into a lay-by and rang the gentleman from whom we were on our way to collect our new desk. He confirmed that there was a “road closed” problem at Duncton and suggested an alternative route.
This we followed – and (as if to confirm its authenticity) our sat nav girl “picked up” the direction we were travelling and resumed “telling us the way”.
Eventually the “collection” took place without incident. During it we asked our seller of the desk about the road closure on the way to Duncton.
He said that, about two months ago, there had been a massive landslide on Duncton Hill and a significant section of the road had been “lost” – and his understanding was that it would take several more months before it would be restored.
After several successive rail journeys I had made recently which had been disrupted, I found it somewhat ironic that – even on a simple road trip of about 20 miles – random external events (or, alternatively, perhaps God) had conspired to bugger up what should have been a straightforward errand.
However, once we had returned to the sanctuary of Chez Nous, I was then informed that we were now about to set off (again) on a similar quest: to drive less than five miles in order to collect a bed that the Better Half had also bought online.
As by now it was the best part of 5.30pm, I was a little disappointed at this news as – after the desk collection – I had been looking forward to making my usual massive gin & tonic in advance of settling down to relax and catch up on what was happening in the world by watching BBC One’s TV News At Six.
In fifteen minutes we had collected the bed concerned and my Better Half had taken out her purse in order to pay the balance of the purchase price (£45) to the seller.
Dear Rusters, she only had £44.60 in her purse(!) – even taking into account the last £5 note I had in my wallet at the time.
[She will be returning to the vendor’s house today in order to render him his “missing” 40p!]