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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lisa's off work this week for the Cheltenham Festival (or maybe that's just coincidence), and with me due to start work sometime this year, we're keen to make the most of our free time, so we had a packed programme of events planned for yesterday. My plan for the morning was to wait in for a new mobile phone which was being delivered sometime between 8am and noon. My previous one was bought for me by Lisa in July 2005, so in mobile phone years it's almost prehistoric, and doesn't have either bluetooth or the facility to record your happy-slapping in HD, which is obviously a major inconvenience. As is the fact that it stopped working a week ago.

BrickSo I ordered a new one. To me it's very modern. To your average teenager it's an abomination and should be in a museum. But with the loyalty discount I've accumulated by spending... oooh, about £4 a month on texts, I was able to get it for the reduced price of £25, which included a voucher for £30 of free texts. Even with my maths ability that seemed like a good deal.

Anyway, when the doorbell went at 9am I naturally assumed it was my phone ringing. It wasn't. It was actually a team of painters and decorators who seemed to think I'd be expecting them. I wasn't. I e-mailed my brother. He said:

"Oops – sorry – did get another letter from PS&B [the building's maintenance company] last week saying they wanted to start this week and that doors would need to be left ajar to allow the paint to dry."

Excellent. Lisa and I were planning to be out all afternoon, and the thought of leaving my front door open and my flat at the mercy of a team of monkeys in overalls (although to be fair, one of them looked more like a gorilla) didn't really appeal.

Fortunately the weather came to our rescue. It transpired that Lisa's mother was trapped in her flat on the hill by a force 11 gale, with no TV reception, and no means of getting to the newsagent to buy a copy of The Sun. Under those circumstances, she seemed like just the sort of person who'd be willing to sit on her own in my flat for five hours, guarding my computer and trying not to let my cat escape. Naturally she agreed.

Unfortunately I couldn't go and pick her up until I'd had a shower, and I couldn't have a shower until my phone arrived, because by this time Lisa was sitting in the bedroom in a bin-liner, dying her hair, and seemed reluctant to answer the door. Needless to say, the courier didn't turn up until 11:40am, I answered the door, got paint on my hands, jumped into the shower, from there into the car, and drove up the hill in a storm to pick up my future mother-in-law.

Having got her to the car without being sucked into a tornado, she asked if we could stop at the newsagent, so we did, I walked across three feet of grass, got covered in mud, cleared the shop of tabloids, and drove back down the hill. I was naturally careful to take off my muddy trainers at the front door, to avoid soiling my lovely cream carpets which I'd only shampooed on Friday, so imagine my delight when I walked into my living room in my socks, only to discover that the bottom of my jeans were covered in mud and I'd left a 12-foot trail of filth down my hallway.

Sadly there was no time to clean it up, as Lisa and I were already ten minutes late, and I needed to show her Mum where I keep the tea bags. But if you're going to have a morning like that, I suppose the best place to go is an AA meeting in Hove to hear a man talk about tolerance.

From there it was on to a bakery for a medicinal pie to calm my nerves, before heading over to Portslade to visit Lorraine. Her baby's due in twelve days time, and she still doesn't know what sex it is. Though Lisa can tell it's a boy from the way she's bulging, and the fact that the baby arrives in the room two minutes before Lorraine does.

So we spent two and a half hours on Lorraine's sofa, hearing about Braxton Hicks (I think that's the father) and learning how to avoid damaging your milk ducts with an ill-fitting bra, before returning home via the rush hour traffic to rescue Lisa's Mum and reward her with fish & chips. Whereupon Lisa went to have a lie down, and I chatted to her mother about the state of the country for two hours.

On the downside, the decorators are back today, and have already banged on my door asking for a bucket of water (I hope they haven't set something on fire), but on the plus side, my new mobile is very nice. Don't phone me though, because I have no idea how to use it.