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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Old GoatLisa went to a goat fundraiser on Tuesday night. There's a sentence I never thought I'd write. It was basically an attempt to raise money for Oxfam by eating copious amounts of pizza at Pizza Express. I'm not really sure how the logistics of that work, but apparently it was quite successful, and by the end of the evening they had enough money to buy a couple of African kids on the internet. It's a scheme supported by Madonna. I expect.

Anyway, Lisa was given a lift home by a friend of a friend, and during the course of the journey, Lisa mentioned that she has a two-year-old daughter. So the lady asked who was looking after her. Lisa said she was with her Dad. To which the lady replied "Has he got her for the night?". Apparently it never crossed her mind that we might all live together. When she found out we were actually married, she almost crashed the car. Lisa had to tell her I've got three other children by different women, just so she wouldn't think we were weird.

To be honest though, I'm glad I haven't. I'm carrying enough weight on my shoulders as it is...

Amelie's got the heavy eyelids of a girl with a heavy cold. And the smile of someone who has no idea what's about to happen to her.

Lisa took that photo yesterday afternoon, shortly before I took Amelie into town to pick up a couple of parcels from the Royal Mail sorting office. They'd left cards when we were out, and Lisa had arranged to have them both redelivered. But this is Royal Mail we're talking about, so naturally they never came. I wouldn't mind, but one of the parcels contained Mish, Moosh and Mogo, the three most endangered pandas in Britain, and if I didn't get my hands on them before Christmas Day, I'd be closer to extinction than they are.

So I volunteered to escort Amelie to Royal Mail HQ in the city centre to pick up her own Christmas present. As it turned out, it was an afternoon of shattered illusions, because not only did Amelie learn that a decent postal service is just a distant dream in this country, and that Santa Claus only makes it as far as the sorting office, but we also walked along Bond Street past the stage door of the Theatre Royal, where we discovered that the ponies which pull Cinderella's coach are not materialised out of thin air by the magic wand of the Fairy Godmother, but are, in fact, unloaded from a horse box at the back of the theatre.

That wasn't the afternoon's biggest disappointment though. That came five minutes later when we arrived at the sorting office to see a line of forty people stretching all the way down the road, and realised we were going to have to queue for forty-five minutes in the freezing cold with no gloves. I'm telling you now, after three quarters of an hour in sub-zero temperatures with a coughing toddler, you begin to understand where they get the phrase 'bitterly cold'. By the time we reached the counter, Amelie was in tears, and I had a lifelong grudge against Royal Mail. They really ought to refund the £2.50 I had to spend on a ZingZillas comic just to cheer up my frozen daughter. I'd send them the bill, but they'd probably never get it.


Phil's Mum said...

Oh dear - that's a very sad story!  And an even sadder indictment of Royal Mail, that SO many people have to queue for their Christmas presents at the sorting office!

I had some flowers delivered yesterday by Royal Mail, which should have arrived for my birthday last Friday.  When I said that to the delivery man, he shrugged his shoulders, smiled and said "What do I know?"  - obviously nothing!

Dave said...

Here in rural Norfolk, parcels are taken to the village post office.  Where I sometimes have to queue in the warm behind as many as two pensioners before I get served.

City life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Phil's Mum said...

You're right, Dave.  Brighton has everything (well, most things) except - like Hastings - a reliable postal service.  I suppose you have Postman Pat in his red van going round the countryside helping out all the little old ladies at the same time as delivering their letters. (or is that YOUR job?)