Since Mr B more or less handed over driving duties to me, he is rather enjoying being a front seat passenger.
He likes being able to gaze out serenely at the passing countryside
and being the one to say: "Just look at that!" knowing how much it will annoy the driver who can't take her eyes off the road. Yes, I used to do that quite a lot when I was in the front passenger seat. He is good at reporting from the scene of Accidents We
Have Passed, satisfying my curiosity by letting me know the precise number of police cars, ambulances and fire engines in attendance. He never fails to say "Clear left!" at difficult junctions. In fact, he would claim to be a Model Passenger.
He does, however, admit to more than occasional frustration caused by the fact that I am, in his eyes, an over-cautious driver. Especially at roundabouts. And when turning right. Or when over-taking tractors, buses and / or
cyclists. Indeed, just driving along our road, with its road bumps and its lines of parked cars on both sides of the road.
This morning we set off in plenty of time for our Meals and Wheels Club lunch with
friends Ian and Sallie. Regular readers will recall that the Meals and Wheels Club has just four members who meet up once a month with each couple in turn either cooking the meal or using their wheels to travel to the venue. The Club has been meeting for almost
three years now and is still going strong. Long may it live and thrive!
About five minutes from home and we are caught up in a major traffic jam at Arundel. "And they say we don't need a by-pass!" laments
Mr B. At least on this occasion he can't blame me for being too cautious. Nobody is moving very far, fast. Except - what is this vehicle, a large white van, overtaking on the inside and sweeping out in front of the car in front of us, causing the driver to
jam on the anchors, swerve and shout rude words out of his window. I point out to Mr B that the name sign-written on the side of the white van is "Creative Spaces" - obviously the driver is a Company Man through and through. Even on the A27 he managed to create
a space where none existed.
We are now running seriously late so I suggest that Mr B rings our friends on his brand new mobile to explain that we are on our way and to apologise, in advance, for our delay.
I am pleased to note that he has brought his mobile with him, tucked safely away in the top pocket of his shirt. (When Mr B buys a shirt, the colour, style and comfort of the garment all rank in importance well behind the existence of a top pocket. Shirt manufacturers
take note: he can't be alone in this idiosyncrasy.)
Mr B fiddles about with his phone for a bit then asks me for the number to ring. He takes a bit of time over tapping in the digits, so much so that the phone
keeps locking him out. "What's happened now?" he wants to know, waving the phone in my general direction. Having listened to a piece on the radio this morning about a local police clamp-down on the use of mobile phones while driving, I decline to look. He
will just have to work it out for himself, I tell him. It would be just so unfair if I, Mrs Cautious, were pulled over by the police just because Mr B couldn't make his phone work for him. My front seat passenger mutters under his breath. Something about useless
mobile phones that don't work when you need them to. I am, of course, paraphrasing.
Once we arrive, the tortuous journey is forgotten in the warmth of our friends' welcome. Two of their grandkids are
with them and four year old George immediately takes my hand and leads me off down the garden to see the truly amazing tree house which his uncle is building for him. Six year old Niamh reads me a story about a boy called Master Money who becomes a millionaire
by dint of finding chests of buried treasure hidden here, there and everywhere. I determine to redouble my efforts at the bottom of the garden this weekend. If it works for Master Money, why not for me.
eat steak pie and orange brioche ( no, not at the same time, don't be silly) out in the garden and the children's Grandad teases them by saying that we are eating Hamster Pie. Niamh and George treat this information with sweet nonchalance. I somehow don't
think they believed him.
The journey home takes almost as long as the journey there but Mr B, in the front passenger seat, is sleeping off the effects of a couple of glasses of red wine so I enjoy the company
of Andre Rieu via the CD player.
As front seat passengers go, Andre takes a lot of beating.