2008 — 4 January: TGI Friday

Time is now 01:06 (oops; make that 01:46) and sleep is finally summoning me. Oh, and if forced to opine, I'd opine that the latest AA Milne parodies from Christopher Matthew (see yesterday) are showing some signs of running out1 of "umph". On the other hand, watching Jools Holland introducing Pink Martini on the BBC's Hi-Def channel was very pleasant. More later...

Hark! Can you hear them?

Now that my chum Richard from Christa's bank has promised to do some digging2 into the inordinate delay of their solicitor in sorting out one page of A4 details, I reckon I've done enough work for one day! So, just listen to that... The waves crashing on a distant shore, I mean. Yes. The siren lure of Bournemouth is exerting its traditional New Year gravitational pull. I've packed a lunchette snack, and am snatching a hasty (he means "late") breakfast (what with it being 12:08 already) before setting off, Google Maps printout clutched firmly to my manly bosom and sat nav clipped stoutly to the windscreen. Besides, there's a very good branch of the Borders book shop chain down there, providing it hasn't gone into post-literate meltdown.

And I have a little portion of Christa's ashes to be scattered either or both from the end of the pier and as near as I can get to one of the squirrels it was always our habit to feed in the little park. Report(s) to follow. I did take the precaution of checking the Highways Agency weather conditions before setting out, by the way. There's a fantastic dip-in and dip-out again Traffic Radio service, too, that I've only just discovered. Now all I need is a DAB radio in the Yaris...

Now, where's that damn' mobile got to?

Me and my adversary... department

I'm talking about the lady in my sat nav box. She steered me nice and straight down the M27, the A31, and the A338 just as we always used to go. Naturally, I ignored her as I circled round the town (city?) to park in our usual spot by what used to be the Winter Gardens (until they demolished it a couple of years ago). I paid for the ticket, which I reproduce here as some form of proof lest the adventure be thought a dream...

At the seaside

... then munched my sandwiches, drank my juice, set off past the B.I.C. (a nice class of "Gents" in there, should you need it), and on down and out to the end of the pier. A young couple were there tying a floral tribute of some kind to the end of the railings, so I left them in peace. Did my ashy thing when they'd finished, texted Cathy to say so, dried my eyes, and walked somewhat meditatively across the little park into the centre.

I paused briefly in the Waterstone's in the Arcade to consider buying the Jessica ("Decca") Mitford letters now that the paperback is out. I can pick this up locally, of course, and I didn't fancy lugging it around in the driving drizzle. (Did I mention it was cold, wet, and grey? Not that that had ever stopped us going down to the sea in previous years.) I also briefly considered The ultimate iPod book but it would be a bit silly before actually acquiring one, and I don't like the sound of the replacement battery issues so far. Anyway, the Borders book shop was actually a little disappointing,3 but not a complete failure, yielding:

Tamara Drewe

Home again, home again,4 at about 16:20 (by the time I'd finished faffing around to get the Yaris back into its bedroom and out of the rain for the coming night). Said faffing entails folding back the left hand wing mirror and removing the radio aerial, as well as vaguely aligning the thing with the entrance gap. Still, mission accompli with some bits of Christa dust now in the sea off the end of the pier, and the rest of today's batch across a likely looking squirrel trail and rose bush. By the way, Christa, did you see they're knocking bits of the Pavilion down? You'd better keep an eye on them for me. Oh, and Dr Joey sent an email congratulating me on the driving test and saying you'd be proud of me, so that perked me up considerabubble.

Sudden nasty thought

I stopped at the Asda petrol shop, but failed to spot that the unleaded pump was padlocked "shut" before I'd plugged in my debit card and done my PIN thing. I hope that doesn't mean the next user was able to ride on the back of my £70 maximum spend while acquiring diesel (which was still available at that particular pump). That would be an expensive, and very annoying, lesson for me.

Still, as I just told Mike P in a quick email:

I really enjoyed myself today down in rainy Bournemouth. It was curiously cathartic, and yet another confidence booster. Oh well, shopping and plentiful other chores loom on tomorrow's agenda, I guess. Some b*****d keeps eating everything I buy in or, worse, the stuff goes rotten or mouldy or both. And stuff keeps getting mucky, or dusty, or worse, starting to whiff. (No, that would be me! Hence the upcoming ablution with the HDTV mag...)


I've really been enjoying BBC Radio 2 today — it's a slippery slope this old age lark, isn't it?! But at least I learned that Nat Gonella's nickname was "Joe Sex"!



1  In fairness, I should report they got a lot better after page 75. Could have been my mood playing some part, I guess.
2  The ansaphone stack when I returned, and an actual call from the blighters, indicated the blue touchpaper has, indeed, now been nicely ignited. Thanks, Richard! Let "renunciation" continue apace.
3  It has, indeed, gone a little further downmarket. Or, maybe, I wasn't quite in full-on book browsing and buying mode; as I say, I was in a bit of a brown study — indeed, I suspect I was probably scowling horribly from time to time. Grumpy old man? You don't know the half of it!
4  From the car park, I requested a calculated route "home" and then just did as I was told while Ms sat nav took me through many previously never visited parts of the suburbs of Bournemouth (presumably as payback for my ignoring her on the way in). I didn't really mind at all as a) it's all valuable urban traffic practice, and b) it's not as if I was in a hurry, but it's fair to say I didn't have a clue where I was for several miles. I ended up in Lyndhurst, from where, by ignoring her yet again, I was easily able to get back onto the M27. I can see that this is a relationship we're all going to have to work on, for those of you who remember Eddie, the onboard computer in the Heart of Gold.