January 13, 2017

Really bad timing. Really, really, really bad timing


I’m supposed to be at a concert. Right now.*

It’s snowing.

It was Mitsuko Uchida. Possibly my favourite living pianist.**  AND THIS IS NOW THE SECOND TIME I’VE HAD TO BAIL ON A BOUGHT-AND-PAID-FOR TICKET TO HEAR HER.  The first time was years ago—it may have even appeared in the blog as another very bad day—she was at the South Bank which is just a hop over the pedestrian bridge from Waterloo Station which is where trains from around here check in.  And I can’t remember now who fell ill—Peter, me, or some hellhound or other, but somebody did.  And I didn’t go.  ARRRRRRRRRGH.  Also, whimper.   Tonight was going to be more or less the high point of my non-opera classical-music season. WHIMPER.

At least I didn’t have a late Sam duty tonight. Well, I wouldn’t have booked one for tonight, because I was going to a concert. However, I do have a Foibles of Transport story for you.  I staggered out onto the street at 3 am or so recently, after one of those late Sam duties.  You’re kind of on autopilot at that hour even if you are a late bird.***  Now when you turn a car on—I assume this is still true even of modern cars—every red light on the dashboard flames on and glares at you while the car checks itself over for presence of working chipmunks† and absence of cacodemons.  And I hauled the brake off, let in the clutch and hit the road . . . because it took me a minute or two to realise THAT ONE OF THE RED LIGHTS HAD NOT TURNED ITSELF OFF BUT WAS IN FACT BLINKING IN A DETERMINED AND OMINOUS MANNER.

I pulled over to the side of the empty, deserted road. I got out my frelling manual. I did at least manage to find the weird little symbol in question, which told me Wolfgang needed coolant. What the frelling doodah is COOLANT?  I mean, something that cools, but WHAT?  Whatever it was, I didn’t have any in the boot or under the seat, and I was twenty minutes from home and tired. I climbed out of the car and felt Wolfgang’s bonnet.  Cold.  I managed to unhook the insanely uncooperative latch†† and had a look under the lid.  Not that I have a clue what I’m looking at, but I’d probably recognise smoke.†††  No smoke.

I thought about it. It was a cold night and a lot of the way home is downhill.  I went home at a cautious 40mph and threw the clutch out when I could, and freewheeled, which may or may not have been a good thing, but we got here. And I felt up his bonnet again and he was still cold.  So.  Yaay.  Tentative okayness.

Next morning I rang the garage.‡ And they said, oh, you need antifreeze.  ANTIFREEZE?  IS COOLANT? DOES NOT FRELLING COMPUTE. Don’t worry about it, said Paxton.  Add some water and we’ll sort out the antifreeze the next time you’re in.

So I added water. And yes, I added it in the right place, witness that the little red flashing light went away.‡‡  Wolfgang has a lot to put up with, with me as his owner.  Herb Robert in the windscreen wiper bed is only the beginning.

. . . It is now later. And it’s stopped snowing. Siiiiiiiiiigh . . . ‡‡‡

* * *

*Instead I’m mournfully eating broccoli in some really excellent goose stock. The hellmob and I finished the stripped-off meat a little while ago^ but since so far as I know you can reboil stock forever to keep evil bacteria at bay, I’ve been keeping it going.  Only about half a serving left, sigh.^^

^ and the hellhounds, having been moved to some slight interest in food containing roast goose, have lapsed back into total apathy.

^^ But that’s okay! I have my first oxtail of the season percolating in the slow cooker!  If you have to be a carnivore you might as well embrace it.  I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions—it seems to me a set up, like the evil concept of ‘will power’, to beat yourself up with about your failure later on—but I have been thinking I am going to make ANOTHER ATTEMPT (a) to talk about other people’s books I have enjoyed more and (b) to use the resource that your forum comments are, by, um, er, like, responding to a few of them?!?!?  Good grief, McKinley.

So I’ve been meaning for months now, because it dates back to the last days of trying inadvertently to kill myself by malnutrition, I mean, the last days of being vegan+, to say to whomever it was posted about this, I’ve never had a philosophical problem with meat eating. When I was a kid I ate what I was given++, and by the time I got old enough to think about making choices I’d been hanging out with people who bagged their deer or their moose every year because that was how their families got through the winter.  Not everyone can afford enough supermarket food.  I’ve tried being vegetarian three times now, for various complicated reasons including I like the airhead buzz it gives me, but it doesn’t suit me. And I’m not going to try it again unless I get an air mail letter from God, and it’s going to have to have bulletproof provenance.

+ People who do well as vegetarians or vegans, that’s great.  But if you are really trying to do the meat-free thing and are being careful about your vitamins and your proteins and all that stuff, and you’re not doing well, remember that not everybody is built to live that way, okay?  If for example your hair is falling out and your legs barely work any more . . . um.  A steak or a large platter of chicken liver may be the answer.#

# And my hair is growing back in.  At least somewhat.  It has to grow in a little more before I find out how much there is.~  But meanwhile I am in a Permanent Bad Hair day and probably should not be allowed out in public.  It is a symptom of how badly St Margaret’s needs singers that they let me on stage without a bag over my head.

~ Fingers crossed. I know I’m old and haggy and it doesn’t really matter, but I would really like to go on having hair.  I feel you can be a much more interesting hag with hair.

++ Remember how old I am. Fast food hadn’t really been invented# when I was a kid, although we did have ‘family restaurants’, which by mostly being cheap and nasty were precursors to fast food.  Microwaves weren’t even a fairy tale unless there was a tame dragon involved, or a fire witch.  I mean, we didn’t invent microwaves, but someone invented a box that cooked food by microwave.##

# although McDonald’s was spreading insidiously like a virus.

## And I still won’t have one in my house. They seem like a spectacularly bad idea to me.  I’m old and cranky. I’d consider a tame dragon though.

** Although Joanna MacGregor is close

*** Robins sing all night, you know.^

^ I was talking a friend recently about ways to deal with anxiety. With Turnip and Penis due into the White House any minute now us wet knee-jerk liberals are having palpitations and panic attacks.  The conversation had been through hard drugs (no) and meditation and yoga (yes) and I said that something I found weirdly calming, dead easy, and always available is singing.  Granted you have to be careful when you’re out in public+ but I find just singing under my breath works better than not.  My friend said dubiously, well it’s probably different for you, you’re a trained singer.

::falls down laughing::

Okay, technically, yes, I am.  I am a trained singer.

::falls down laughing some more::

+ Especially when you’re suffering from Permanent Bad Hair Day. I sing a lot when I’m out with the hellhounds#, and, you know, hag with hellhounds = nuts.  Avoid.  Mostly I do manage to keep an eye out and shut up when anyone comes in what is probably earshot.  I missed today, and swung round a corner to see a woman I know slightly grinning from ear to ear, who said, Someone’s happy.  Well, I wasn’t too bad this morning.##  Before the snow started.

# Herself not so much. She needs more supervising.  Not to say dominating.~


## At least I managed to shoot off to Mass at the abbey this morning since it’s going to be yaktrax only tomorrow morning. But I was still hoping the rough stuff wouldn’t settle in till after the concert.  More whimpering.

† I’m not sure what small furry creatures they use over here to run the crucial machinery. Voles?

†† I’m sardonically a bit pleased that even proper garage persons have trouble with Wolfgang’s bonnet latch

††† We had the engine catch fire on the old car once. Belting down the M whatever at 70mph and suddenly there is black smoke billowing asphyxiatingly out of the front of your car.  Garage person had failed to put the oil cap back on when they added oil.  Oops.

‡ And rang and rang and rang AND RANG AND RANG. I was late to see Alfrick because I couldn’t go anywhere till someone told me what COOLANT is.

‡‡ And we bolted off to see Alfrick. Because I’d wasted so much time ringing the arglebargling garage the hellhounds hadn’t had a proper hurtle so I took them with me and afterward we had a fabulous hurtle in the dark under the biggest moon you ever saw.  A snow moon, of course.  Sigh.

‡‡‡ I have been nursing a small venal hope that perhaps the concert was cancelled, but apparently not.  SIIIIIIIIIIIGH.


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