Tuesday 10 April
Two treats: the mortgage adviser came today, and I had a wisdom tooth extraction. The mortgage adviser was lovely and pointed out that buying our own home was actually going to cost us money; something I think Jim and I had kind of overlooked in all the excitement of potentially becoming homeowners. Now we have to decide how much we actually want to borrow (mortgages are all well and good until you realise they are staggering amounts of debt) and think about finding a house. As gloomy as I make it sound, it’s actually very exciting!
The dentist was not so exciting. Having never had anything more than a filling in my life (I’ve never needed anything stronger than a local anaesthetic, touch wood), the prospect of having a tooth pulled from my skull by a man with a pair of pliers was reasonably daunting. I lost count of the number of times he told me to “calm down” or “relax and breathe through your nose” as we waited for the novacaine to kick in – he replaced my fillings in the meantime. When it came to it, the extraction was the easiest part: yes, the cracking sounds were a bit disconcerting, and the size of the pliers gave me pause but, to his credit, it was all over in a flash and he didn’t need to kneel on my chest or anything! That said, as I write the drugs are still well in force, so things might be different once they’ve worn off. The dentist seemed optimistic that I wouldn’t feel a thing, but I wonder whether they’re taught that demeanour along with how to use scrapey tools and the big drill…
Wednesday 11 April
Amazingly, my teeth are virtually painless. My dentist is a miracle worker!
In other news, the car went in for its repairs today. Not before time, but the courtesy car is a joke. Gone is the (relatively) sporty number (well, it does have a turbo) and in its place:
Seriously; what is that? It’s like a bubble on wheels. This car screams ‘pensioner’. Owners of this car all, without exception, over fifty. They probably drive around with The Carpenters, or Enya, playing at a respectable volume. They have cushions in their car; usually with pictures of kittens printed on and some witty bon mots about “travelling in style”. There will definitely be a travel blanket in the boot. This is not a car driven by 27-year-old men and yet for the next week, Jim and I are the proud custodians of an up-turned pram with a metallic paint job.
Thursday 12 April
I had my first drive in the OAPmobile today. How to tell this car was meant for old people:
1. The seats are REALLY high up. I have to say that this is something of a bonus for a man of my height (6’4”) but I would imagine they were not designed for really tall young men, but rather for aged persons that can’t drive from a seat two inches above the tarmc.
2. The speedometer is digital and enormous. Designed for the driver who can’t change his glasses every time he wants to check his speed.
3. The petrol warning light. Observe:
THREE WARNING LIGHTS!! Not content with the enormous chart on the driver’s display (so you can watch the petrol burn litre by litre; how thrilling!) there’s also the driver’s display warning light. In addition, there’s an earsplitting beep to put the wind up you: “YOU REALLY ARE RUNNING OUT OF PETROL!! STOP NOW, YOU OLD DUFFER!!” My favourite petrol warning is the additional light on the centre information console. This is so that Deirdre can start nagging Maurice about how low the petrol is running, because we all know that pensioners travel in pairs. Poor Maurice, all he wants to do is drive his car and Citroën have ensured he will get an earful of “Petrol’s running out, dear. How far can we get? Do you think we’ll make it to Kwik Save or should we stop at Tesco? How did you let it get so low? We got the pension last Thursday. And you haven’t cleaned it for weeks, and it needs a bloody good hoover.”
Friday 13 April
Today we took the pension wagon camping. For a silly little car the boot is actually a reasonable size. Despite the date, nothing disastrous occured and we all had a thoroughly pleasant time taking it easy:
Saturday 14 April
Kara’s birthday. The main event was Go Ape! so we were all up early and harnessed up by 11am for a few hours of outdoor pursuits. Thankfully it was a beautiful day which made swinging around in the shade of the trees twenty-five feet off the ground all the more fun!
It was like the ewok village up there! I could have spent all day climbing up nets and balancing on logs and racing down zip slides! Amazingly, it wasn’t as physically challenging as it looked; either that, or I am fitter than I thought I was and that’s unlikely. Dragging yourself up a vertical net is quite a test of upper body strength, but the rest was more a challenge of will: play it safe, or go all out and tackle the most extreme routes? Naturally, I was all up for the toughest stuff (crossing a 20ft gap on a series of foot-stirrups felt pretty perilous) but if you’re going to go, you might as well do it properly
After all that hard work, we rewarded ourselves with a barbecue and an afternoon in the sun. What else are you supposed to do on a beautiful hot day like that?
See how relaxed we all look? That was before the morning after: oh, sweet ignorance! All the other photos of the weekend are here, and if you get the chance, you should do it: it’s the best way to spend a Saturday morning!
Next week: After all that physical exertion, Jim and I have booked ourselves a nice day at the spa. Well deserved, I’m sure you will all agree!