Mr B tells me that what he really, really wants for dinner is a generous helping of Kentucky Fried Chicken. There is an unmistakeable note of challenge in his voice as he makes this apparently innocuous request.
He knows, you see, that I will be inwardly heaving a deep sigh. He is well aware that I am not myself that keen on KFC (no matter with what blandishments Colonel Sanders may try to entice me.) Most of all, however, he
accepts that I won't really want to drive down to the KFC this evening on account of the difficult car parking.
I know, I know - how can somebody who has been driving for some thirty-five years or more be
so rubbish at parking the car? It's just the way I am. I will park quite a long way from my destination if it means I won't have to parallel park, or squeeze into a narrow space or back into almost any space. Forward, ever forward! that's my battle cry. What
does it matter if I have a short walk from the car to where I need to be? It's good exercise. That's my story and I am sticking to it.
Nowadays I gather it is possible to buy a car which parks itself. I think
I may have invented this. Many years ago, driving My Boy and several of his friends to a bowling alley for a celebratory Birthday Bowling Party, I had left the car parked across the road at a ridiculously jaunty angle while I took the party guests inside.
Mr B, following behind me with another group of party-goers, was disgusted at my poor parking and, jumping behind the wheel, straightened up the car with a few choice moves and even more choice words.
to the car at the end of a happy and successful bowling session, I explained to the lads travelling with me that my car had righted itself while they were busy trying to score more strikes and spares than any other party-goer. They believed me implicitly and
were all Awe and Wonderment. Now, as I say, my prophecy has come to pass. Though it's fair to say that my Grand Old Lady is just too old to be taught new tricks.
Anyway, back to Mr B and his request. I can't
say no, not really, not when I have been gadding about in the company of two of the Darling Daughters, including what I believe the young'uns would term a "sleepover." I wouldn't exactly go as far as to say it's payback time - but a trip to Finger Lickin'
Chicken Land seems the least I can do to make up for my absence. "It's so good to have you home!" comments Mr B, as I collect purse, bag and car keys ready for my sortie to the shops. If this is sweetening the pill, it is certainly working.
It's not a long drive to KFC but all the way I am indulging in some special pleading inside my head: "Please let there be a free parking space. Please may there be no other customers, taking up precious parking space outside.
Please, if there are other customers, may three of them leave, just as I arrive, leaving a massive space outside into which at least three cars could park with ease - in other words, just enough space into which I can manouvre with relative ease. Please, if
I do manage to park outside, don't let any other KFC aficionados double park, blocking me in on the grounds that it will only take them a minute or two to pick up a Bucket Meal and four fizzy drinks. Yes, it wouldn't be the first time.
Then, Hallelujah! All my prayers and pleadings are answered in the most unexpected of ways. There, right next door to Colonel Sanders' abode, in the space where an empty garage once stood, is a Sainsbury's Local. Complete with a neat
row of eight parking spaces, generously marked out in front of the store. I park with ease, thanking Sainsbury's for its foresight and my Lucky Stars for rescuing me.
I do feel honour bound to call into Sainsbury's
to buy a bunch of bananas (bargain at 20p a banana) as it doesn't seem quite right to abuse its hospitality by parking up and immediately going next door. I wonder how many Impulse Buys the new store will attract from people like me.
I return home in triumph, bearing aloft a three piece meal (not to be mistaken for a three piece suite) and an over-large cardboard cup of Diet Pepsi which, being free, I could hardly refuse even though I worry all the way home that
it will slop all over the car's passenger seat.
Mr B is extremely grateful and thanks me for my attention to his request. "No problems!" I reply, airily.
moreover, completely truthfully - thanks to Sainsbury's Latest Local.