Had you noticed how lost possessions sometimes turn up just when you have given them up as a dead loss and stopped looking for them?
It is an example of happenstance,
one of my favourite words. Along with serendipity which is more or less the same thing. Either way, there I was, in the garage, looking for a stout cardboard box in which to store the daffodil bulbs which have had to be removed from their long-time bed while
we are re-modelling the border which they have decorated for so long and so beautifully, for many a year. The only box of the right shape, size and stoutness appeared to be full of all kinds of junk, banished from our kitchen on the last Mammoth Tidy-Up. You
are doubtless wondering, if the contents were indeed "junk", why they hadn't been immediately consigned to the rubbish bin but here's the problem: I have to leave such possessions out of sight and out of mind for a while - say three years or so - until I can
be perfectly sure that my life is Fine and Dandy without them.
Anyway, I sorted through the box in a lackadaisical fashion, wondering whatever possessed me to keep two empty coffee tins, a couple of half-burnt
candles and a party tablecloth with a large tear in it - when I happenstanced across something small, black and remarkably familiar. It was Mr B's mobile phone which has been missing for simply ages. I could hardly believe my eyes.
There are those among you - in all probability the majority - who would feel bereft should you lose your mobile. You would doubtless sink into depression and possibly think that life was no longer worth living. Mr B, it has to be said,
never used his mobile phone anyway so it hasn't been exactly a major hardship living without it. Nevertheless he has been going on and on about his missing mobile to anyone who would listen and quite a few who wouldn't. His complaints were based on (i) his
conviction that someone must have stolen it (why would they? It's ancient! Practically a museum artefact) and (ii) that there was a goodly sum of money invested in Pay As You Go.
"Close your eyes and hold
out your hands!" I commanded him, much as I do the grandchildren when dispensing Easter eggs, magazines and other small gifts. He looked disposed to argue but eventually did as he was told. I set the mobile gently in his outstretched palms and awaited his
reaction. He was gratifyingly pleased to see it - though the immediate excitement eventually gave way to the Spanish Inquisition. Where did I find it? Why did I ever think it was a good idea to consign it to a box in the garage? There was no answer to that.
Well, there was but it was rather too incriminating.
I managed to find the charger in a kitchen drawer full of obsolete chargers and charged up the battery. The first thing I did after bringing it back to
life was to check how much money was still on the phone. Can you guess? The princely sum of 25p. What's more the last record of the phone actually having been in use was 2007. It really was worth finding, don't you think? Still, we could now go down to the
phone shop and have Mr B's old mobile number transferred onto a brand new phone, hopefully one he would use all the time so that it would never find itself stranded in a box in the garage, unloved and unwanted.
young assistant in the phone shop was extremely patient but somewhat patronising. It was while Mr B was talking to her about his requirements that I twigged there was another reason he had been so insistent that he needed to find his old phone - he was hoping
to have his ring tone transferred along either his phone number. "Call my number!" he implored me. The sweet sound of "Spurs are on their way to Wembley!" filled the shop. Our trying-to-be-helpful assistant raised her eye-brows heavenwards. Rescue was at hand
however: "Now that's what you call a ring-tone!" admired one of her male colleagues. These Spurs supporters always stick together.
So now Mr B has a brand new mobile phone and I am encouraging him to play
around with it until he has mastered the knack of at least some of its many functions. He takes a photo of me with the camera; I am grinning back at him happily, despite the fact that he has cut off the top of my head. He checks the Contacts List, transferred
from his old phone and tells me he will need to delete most of them. Presumably because none of them have heard from him since 2007. He texts the Youngest of the Darling Daughters. "Who is this?" she responds. I knew nobody would recognise his old phone number.
The Y of the DDs gets her children to text their Grandad. The texts arrive, announced by a tweeting sound, reminiscent of the Dawn Chorus.
I love it! It's far more tuneful, in my opinion, than "Spurs are on
their way to Wembley!"
Which is, let's face it, also hopelessly inaccurate...