Pascal, our friendly Sparky, has come straight from the dentist where he has had a filling.
He apologises if he dribbles when he speaks (he doesn't) and if we can't quite understand him (we can) and turns down a cup of coffee, with great
reluctance, because he isn't allowed to eat or drink anything for two whole hours. Mr B advises him to use a straw. He's always ready with a Helpful Suggestion, my Mr B.
One of Pascal's attributes which I admire enormously is his sketching. I
still remember, fondly, the day he came to give us an estimate for a new electricity control board. He sketched out the whole board, in all its Wiry Intricacies, in a handy sketch-pad which he apparently always carried in case of such Leonardo Da Vinci Moments.
It wasn't just the excellence of his sketching (not being well-versed in Matters Electrical I wasn't qualified to pass judgement) but the passion he clearly felt for wires, trips and switches.
I am not a good artist, but I do admire those who
have what I like to call the Doodling Gift. My god-daughter Pip is, perhaps, the Best of Doodlers, her scribbles turning into dragons breathing fire and other mythical monsters. I used to attend weekly meetings with one such fella whose printed agenda, by
the end of a long session, would be decorated with such excellent doodles as to turn it into a veritable work of art. I could never quite work out whether he found an interesting meeting or a boring one particularly inspired him.
I did once attempt
to doodle during a meeting. My default position, you see, has always been to take copious notes, partly as an aide-memoire, partly to keep myself awake and (more or less) alert. However notes can be seized and used against you, if you are not careful what
you write; a doodle, on the other hand, is indecipherable to anyone but the artist. My efforts were, I am afraid, quite exceptionally pitiful. I didn't doodle again.
Anyway, back to Pascal. I rather think he must have heard about our New Year's
Resolution to make life easier for ourselves. We show him our bathroom and explain that we want to replace our ceiling lights with something a little more, well, modern. It's important, moreover, that the light bulbs are easy to change. Over the last year
I have gradually taken over various responsibilities from Mr B - exciting tasks like putting out the rubbish bins and bringing them in again. In fact, he is delighted to note, I have turned into him - even to the extent of sticking a post-it note on the banister
reminding me "Bins Out Tuesday Night." Mr B nods approvingly when he sees it: "You know it makes sense!" he says.
Pascal has whipped out his sketch pad and is drawing our bathroom ceiling, complete with four replacement lights. I look at his drawing
sceptically, wondering aloud how I will change the bulbs. Which is when our Sparky lets me into a secret: he will fit lights that come with a five year guarantee but will last perhaps twice as long, without ever needing changing! You have probably heard about
this awesome development in the lighting department but it's news to me. My life has just got a little bit easier.
Mr B and I decide to have an afternoon out. Getting out anywhere is a long-winded business for my poor Mr B these days but we have
cinema tickets, courtesy of the Eldest of the Darling Daughters and her family. So it's laughing at the antics of Dad's Army for us, followed by a late lunch at Frankie and Jerry's where we sing along to all the songs of our youth while devouring our meal.
Mr B tries out several of his oldest jokes with our waitress and, bless her, she laughs. I give her a tip and tell her that it's for laughing at my fella's jokes. "He's very funny!" she says. Mr B preens himself.
We drive home with the sun setting
behind us and Chas and Dave blaring out from the CD player. It might not be everyone's idea of a Perfect Afternoon Out but, hey, it's Our Perfect Afternoon Out.
If I were an artist, I'd capture it in a doodle. If I were Pascal, I'd be scribbling
in my sketch pad. Being me, I will just consign it to the Daily Blog and let you decide...