I am on Southampton Central station. My train is running late and I am trying to telephone Mr B to update him on the situation. I can hear the phone ringing at the other end, over and over again. No answer.
I assume he might have nodded off - but then our friend Penny is keeping him company and she would surely hear the persistent ringing. I try again. And again. But answer
comes there none. I scrabble about in the contacts list stored on my mobile phone to find Penny’s number but when I ring it, I am told the number is unobtainable. My fertile imagination has gone into over-drive as I conjure up all kinds of reasons why
I cannot make contact. It is excruciatingly scary.
All this at the end of a splendid afternoon with the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her own Darling Daughter,
known to you all as Hazel Bagel (for no reason that I can remember all these years on since I first afforded her the Bagel Label.) When my daughter messaged me to ask if I would like to join the two of them for a pre-birthday treat in Southampton I immediately
accepted the invitation without even considering what show we would be going to see. I was, you might say, just going for the company.
It turned out we had tickets
for The Band which features the music of Take That and numbers, in the cast, five lads who won a TV competition to star in this show, one of them a friend of my granddaughter. The story of The Band begins in 1993 and, while waiting for the show to start, the
audience was entertained by a large screen showing Ceefax information from 1993. This, in itself, was an education for our Hazel, child of the Age of Google.
for those of us of a Great Age, for whom screen shots of Ceefax induced a warm, fuzzy feeling of reminiscence for Days Gone By, a long delay in the start of the show proved disconcerting. There was much muttering about the possibility of missing trains on
return journeys - but then, half an hour late but better than never, the curtain lifted and the show began.
I loved the story of the young Rachel who surrounds
herself with the music and imaginary presence of her favourite boy band to shut out the distressing sounds of her parents’ fighting; who grows up turning down proposals of marriage from her long-time love because of the searing loss of the friend who
was always to be her bridesmaid; who wins a competition to see the band in concert in Prague and reunites with friends from the past - who have all grown up, too, but in most surprising ways. Sentimental stuff, I hear you say - but you know me; I am the only
person known to have cried during the film Hotel for Dogs....
Like the adoring fans we are, we went round to the stage door afterwards where Hazel’s friend
was surprised and delighted to see her. He made a pretty good job of appearing pleased to see Hazel’s mother and grandmother too. That lad Will Go Far.
brings me back to Southampton station and my efforts to contact Mr B. What I couldn’t know was that, back home, things were even more frenzied as our poor friend tried to find some way of contacting me to reassure me that all was well. Who would know
my mobile number? she worried, before ringing our mutual friend Delia (she of the cribbage and delicious biscuits) who didn’t know my number but knew a gal who would. Enter Kay, who helps to keep my home in order and who had been keeping Mr B company
earlier in the day. She couldn’t throw any light on the whereabouts of the home phone, except that she was pretty sure Mr B had it in his possession when she left him - but she did have my mobile phone number. Contact was - at last - established.
My journey home was badly disrupted but I couldn’t be mad, not once I knew it was due to a fatality on the line. Mine was a minor inconvenience; for some poor family,
life would never be the same again.
Oh, yes, the phone had slipped down the side of Mr B’s recliner chair and lodged itself in the lifting mechanism underneath.
Fortunately, thanks to the singalong at the end of The Band, I knew how to use my mobile phone to “shine a light” under the chair and locate the phone.