Tomorrow Mr B and I are off to London on a theatre trip to see Twelve Angry Men. It was our Christmas present to each other and we have been looking forward to it for so long. Well, since Christmas at least.
Unfortunately, as you may have read, heard, or seen on TV, there happens to be a tube strike tomorrow. Mr B has taken this as a personal affront. Never mind the negotiations
going on about ticket offices, threatened jobs or union power – as far as Mr B is concerned the whole strike has been called to make life as difficult as possible for him and his Nearest and Dearest. That’ll be me, then. Some engine
driver, or ticket collector, or shop steward rallied the ranks and declared: “The Balls are on their way up to London on Thursday – let’s make life as difficult as possible for them.” I don’t know about the Twelve Angry Men, but
I can certainly introduce anyone who wants to meet him to One Very Angry Man.
When faced with potential disaster, Mr B and I each have our own way of dealing with
the situation. My approach is to assume that everything will come out alright in the end. It is the Pollyanna in me. OK, I don’t just leave everything to chance. I have been checking on bus routes and numbers, for example, and making tentative
plans for what else we can do on our Up Town Day which doesn’t involve too much walking because (i) Mr B’s poor old legs are playing him up again and (ii) the weather forecast seems to be suggesting it will be wild, wet and windy. No change there,
then. Think positive, that’s my motto.
Mr B refuses to be categorised a pessimist and prefers the label of “Realist.” He does have a point: there
is no getting away from the fact that tube travel will not be as easy as usual tomorrow. But we can’t be absolutely stone bonkers certain, can we, that the buses will be over-crowded, that we won’t get a seat, that we will get soaking wet
walking from A to B? On the TV, however, there are pictures of what the presenters are calling “misery for passengers” with people ten-deep crowding the pavements. Mr B doesn’t actually say “See what I mean”
but you can feel it emanating from every bone in his body.
We managed to get a really good deal on our rail fares to London – just over £19 return
for the two of us by paying in advance with our Senior Rail Cards (Yes, folks, I have finally persuaded Mr B to buy a Senior Rail Card – a minor triumph of persuasion in the face of obstinacy.) However the downside is that we have to travel there
and back on specific trains which means a bit of planning has to go into What To Do before and after the theatre. I am sure you have got there before me – the tube strike will possibly limit our options somewhat.
I say, no problem, we will be just round the corner from the National Portrait Gallery where we can go and look on Vincent Van Gogh’s two paintings of sunflowers and play Spot the Differences. We
will be careful not to draw large circles round each difference we spot in felt tip pen, as we do when we are helping the Little Wels Boys out with the puzzles in their magazines. There’s a lovely cafe there as well, I point out. This argument would
always win the day with any one of the Darling Daughters, in fact it would be a Trump Card - but Mr B just points out that I am, as usual, Always Thinking About My Stomach.
We can’t travel back until the 8.47 train – which gives us plenty of time for a delicious post-theatre meal to round off our Up Town Day in style (I know, I know, I’m thinking about my stomach again – but I was planning
just a very light lunch so that we don’t fall asleep in the middle of the Angry Men.) Mr B says he hadn’t realised we were travelling back quite so late though I am (almost) positive I checked this with him when we booked the tickets.
“We will be back very late,” says one of us. “We will have a lovely, full day out” says the other.
We are, of course, both quite right.