Had lunch with Glenn and Anna last Sunday. Their oldest daughter, Maria, who’s four and feisty with it, once the main course was over, removed herself from the table and installed herself on the sofa, where she declared she would take her dessert. Anna made it quite clear that unless madam returned to the table, improved her mood and began to behave herself, there would be no dessert at all. I reflected on how it isn’t all bad being a grown-up. After all, you can be grumpy and still have your dessert.
It’s Thursday night, and I’m in a Leeds hotel. DC and Wiseman are in the adjoining rooms. It sounds like Wiseman has just smacked his head off the wall, but I’m sure there’s a rational explanation. We’re here for a couple of days of the Second Test between England and South Africa. DC, being a rabid Scot, has adopted South Africa as his favourite cricket team for another month or so, or whenever their series against England ends. He refers to them as “our boys”. I, of course, am supporting England. Wiseman is along for the opportunity to drink beer, hopefully in the sun, and listen to the TMS commentary via a 15 second delay on his portable digital radio.
Having left straight after work, we were looking for somewhere to eat shortly after the halfway mark. The distance between Edinburgh and Leeds is 222 miles, which makes Leeds a superstitiously perfect cricketing destination for us. Almost bang on 111 miles into the journey, a sign for services appeared. Genius. We veered off the A1, hopping from foot to foot inside the car. “It’s a Little Chef, it’s a Little Chef – look look!!” cried Wiseman excitedly. He had already declared that wherever we stopped for food must have peas. Garden peas. Because he was in the mood for peas.
Little Chef fits the bill. Being a British institution, it must have peas on the menu. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a Little Chef, it was a remarkably dodgy-looking Indian restaurant. Right in the middle of nowhere. It says something for its dubious appearance that three lads not averse to a curry immediately turned the car round and headed back to the A1.
(The next services was only a few miles further on, and it was indeed a Little Chef. Wiseman was beside himself.)
Wiseman stayed in this very hotel two months ago, while on a university-funded course being taught how to hack into wireless networks. Between him and the sat nav, we arrived safely and without undue fuss. I landed in room 34, my age, which I took great delight in pointing out to DC and Wiseman, for whom the thirties are a distant memory. They may have the last laugh in the morning, however, as my room is the only one with what appears to be an ancestor of the Velux window. I also have a normal window, with a quirky triangular window above it, both of which have efficient-looking curtains. The skylight does not have a curtain of any description. I note with some trepidation that the sun is due to rise at 4:56 am.
Here’s to an early wakening…