Jaqui's Daily Blog

Travelling, Equations and the Art of Changing Direction

It’s a misty, moisty morning and I am once again in training.


I wasn’t supposed to be in training, I was supposed to be driving to Hook for my Jolly Weekend Away but my car, the Grand Old Lady, was having none of it, showing her feelings loud and clear by displaying a bright red light on the dashboard in the shape of a battery while I was driving home from my crafty group on Wednesday.


Well, I was onto it straightaway, ordering on-line (please see previous blog re my Impatient Pointy Finger) a battery and a home call for the following afternoon. I was so very proud of my decisiveness.


The trouble was, when the lovely fella from the RAC turned up at the given time, he gave me the bad news that the battery was absolutely fine - but the alternator needed replacement. Such a kind man, he was, even though he was passing on bad news. He was happy, if I wished, to follow me to a garage and drive me home, made sure I had numbers for nearby garages when I declined his kind offer, and advised me to contact customer services for a refund of the money I’d paid out for the Battery I Did Not Need. It’s not easy to give bad news but he did it so well.


If you are wondering why I didn’t immediately accept his first offer then you have to know that I find it tricky to change direction on the spur of the moment. I needed time to think about (i) how this new problem would impact on my plans for my Jolly Jaunt; (ii) where and when it would be best to take my Grand Old Lady for her surgery, given I’m away until Monday afternoon; and, not least (iii) how much the alternator would cost me. The one thing I was certain about was that, come hell or high water, I would not miss the Twinkles’ fifth birthday party...


So here I am in training. Mr B has been consigned to the tender, loving care of the Wonderful Rosalie (she tells me they will probably have a wild party while I am away - Mr B seems well up for it.) Our regular carer, Donna, gave me a lift to the station so that I didn't have to walk there in the rain carrying my bags and baggage (including the Twins’ birthday presents; what a good thing those splendidly large styling heads are for Christmas and not their birthdays!) - and the station master informed me that the train travelling direct to Southampton was running three minutes late so I could catch it if I hurried. This would save me three changes of train - so I hurried.


The young lad sitting opposite me has his head drooped low and despondently over an A4 notebook in which he appears to be scrawling equations of a kind I have never seen before. I only know they must be equations because there are equals signs dotted haphazardly across the page. I really, really want to ask him what he is doing, even though I know full well that I will risk him thinking I am a Mad Old Bat - then he answers his mobile phone speaking in something which sounds like Polish. My command of the Polish language is limited. Okay, you are right, my knowledge of the Polish language is non-existent, so I keep silent. Until he bows his head right to the table in some distress and I simply have to ask him if he is okay. He looks up with the sweetest smile: “It’s only a nose bleed,” he tells me, in perfect English, tissue held to his face. This is not the time, I feel, to quiz him on the sums which have clearly brought him to this Sorry State.


I have time to kill in Southampton station until my next train arrives so I buy a latte and a newspaper and settle myself down in the café. This is one of the things I love about travelling - making the most of the journey. Here comes the 11.56. It’s actually 11.59 but, hey, that’s possibly the same three minutes which enabled me to catch a direct train instead of going all around the houses. Or stations. It’s a simple equation, and one which my one-time Polish companion could easily solve, I’m sure.


The Middle of the Darling Daughters is at the ticket barrier waving at me. I head straight for her. She is calling out: “Mum! Mum!” The member of staff at the barrier joins in: “Mum! Mum!” he calls. Which is when I realise I need to change direction and head for an open gate not the one adorned with large red crosses. I have arrived! In my fashion in my way...


The whole weekend stretches out in front of me. “I’ll be doing a lot of sleeping,” I had told my niece, Sweet Caroline, when she messaged me to wish me a happy time. “And laughing!” she responded quickly. 


How right she was! Darling Daughters, the Rascally Trio, the grown-up grandkids and a Birthday Party to boot. Now that I have belatedly mastered the Art of Changing Direction, we are all going to have SUCH fun!

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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