Saturday 25th March
I am on my way to
collect my daughter. She has decided to go to Thorpe Park with some friends and
one of the dads and I agreed on one of us taking them there and the other one
bringing them back.
The journey to Thorpe
Park goes surprisingly smooth. Too smooth. Just before the M25 meets the M3 I am
supposed to take the fifth exit at a roundabout and stay on the A308. For some
reason the route seems suddenly awfully long. I am sure it looked a lot shorter
on the Google map I consulted before setting off (I don’t use satnav). I keep
driving in what I think is the most likely direction. It takes me a couple of
minutes to realise that I am hideously lost. I go back to the M25, taking extra
care not to join the traffic heading to London. At the roundabout I perform a
similar manoeuvre as before. Again, I find myself back on the A308. Again, I get
Finally I pull into
a Tesco (future novelists should make that sentence their go-to cliché. There is
always a Tesco to pull into, just like “dusk” always “falls”). After a couple
of enquiries and suggestions I decide to use my phone’s built-in Google maps
app to guide myself to Thorpe Park. To be honest I feel I have no other choice. The two members of staff who help me out look at me as if I am mad after I say that I use neither a
satnav nor Google maps.
The voice telling
me to pull out of the car park cannot be described as robotic, but neither as
human. It is not warm either. But then, again, what do I expect? Coffee and a
chocolate muffin? I suddenly feel hungry.
quarters of an hour, during which I exhaust my year’s quota of swear words, I find
Thorpe Park. All this time my daughter has been trying to get hold of me,
concerned that I was not there at the appointed time. When I tell her what has
just happened, she just asks: why didn’t you use Google maps?
Sunday 26th March
The papers still
carry the Westminster attacker story. It is funny (both strange and ha ha) that
Adrian Elms (to call him by his real name) is called a terrorist whereas Jo Cox’s
murderer is being given the “lone wolf” label with mental health issues added
on to mitigate the effect of his evil act.
The house is eerily
silent. It normally is these days. Both my children have given up playing their
instruments. My son used to play saxophone first and then went for the guitar. My daughter,
on the hand, plumped for cello and later on for flute. There was nothing better
than the sound of him playing guitar and her playing flute mid-morning on a Sunday.
Now they both sleep
I set up the
ironing board and switch the telly on. I am being ever so careful and
considerate. I know the girls went to bed late last night. As the first goals
go in on Match of the Day, I hear the
sound of rushed steps on the stairs and eventually voices in the kitchen.
The silence is
broken (and that is another cliché for wannabe writers. No worries, I shall
invoice you in due course).
Monday 27th March
I am now convinced
that we have a birds’ nest in our bush in the front garden. Not being a connoisseur of tweets and songs, I am
unable to say what sort of birds they are. All I know is that they sing at
night. By at night, I mean, midnight. They must be fearless, too, because the
local cats still have not dealt with them in the way that only cats know how to
deal with midnight-hour-singing animals of the avian variety. Perhaps, although
they sing beautifully (and I can attest to that), they can all copy the Google
Maps voice, neither robotic nor warm. Enough to keep the local cats away.
Next Post: “London
Cycle Diaries”, to be published on Saturday 20th May at 6pm