Tag Archives: driving

I’m not there

No, not the film about Dylan which I hear is very good. Just me, not blogging. Sorry about that folks. Life has been full of Christmas preparation, writing, and driving. Especially the driving. Drove for 3 1/2 hours last Wednesday without ever going further south than Tottenham or further north than High Barnet (or further east than Woodford Green, while I didn’t go west at all, not being a young man).

Too long and complicated to explain, but essentially it was all about picking up church friend to go to cancer support group, encountering huge Christmas traffic jams so that what is normally a half hour journey was an hour and a quarter, then taking her mostly home (all of her went but she didn’t go all the way home), then picking up son from friend’s house, having an hour at my home to recover and get changed, then taking other church friend out east to see a Riding Lights play about Bethlehem – which I highly recommend.

Then Friday I tried to go shopping at the hallowed retail shrine of Brent Cross. Only they’d closed the entire North Circular west of the A1 because of an accident. What is normally 20 mins journey took 1 3/4 hours. Then I still had to do the shopping.

I slept a lot at the weekend. So did Genius Brat, who is certainly a real teenager now – he didn’t wake up till 2.00 pm.

The writing, by the way, was four pieces for Prayer for the Week in the Church Times. Plus a sermon which in the end I didn’t write at all as I decided to read the congregation a very long Austrian story. They seemed to like it.

Note to self

When listening to the Rolling Stones in your car, do not attempt to beat time with your right foot on the accelerator. No, really. Just don’t.

A strange experience, listening to practically the whole Stones back catalogue back to… er… back. I’d forgotten all about that psychedelic phase they went through from around ‘She’s a Rainbow’* till they got back on the good old hard rock track with Jack Flash. And yes, I know Lennon accused Jagger of nicking all the Beatles’ ideas, with ‘We Love You’ after ‘All you need is love’ and ‘Let it Bleed’ after ‘Let it Be’, but honestly, isn’t ‘We Love You’ a big bad beautiful song, in fact rather better than ‘All you need’? You can’t say Jagger and Richards didn’t make something new out of what they nicked.

Well that’s enough of the rock memories. I’m not at all sure what my nineteen year old passenger thought of it all, but she wisely kept quiet as I belted out the chorus of Honky Tonk Women (which, IMO, is a much better song than Brown Sugar which gets played all the time).

*actually on listening again, I think it started with the rather fey ‘Dandelion’ which was obviously an attempt to do early Pink Floyd.


Mostly owing to trying to drive The Grouch’s van on Sunday morning (because he’d taken the car to take son and friend and friend’s film critic dad to a preview), and not succeeding very well (stalled three times and nearly burned out the clutch), on Sunday night I totally blew up at him for not using air freshener spray in the toilet. This was not nice, either for The Grouch and Genius Brat, or for myself – the screaming made my throat hurt. I have a book on my shelves which I am meaning to read, called The Explosive Child. I think I need a companion book called The Explosive Parent.

It seems however that screaming can be therapeutic, since I’ve been feeling much better since then. There must be a less traumatic way, as Pooh almost said as he bumped down the stairs on his head.

Have not however been very inspired to blog. Can report that the Bodyclock is definitely helping me get up in the morning, and possibly to sleep better at night. Also, we had our second night out in less than a week, to see the film Pleasantville which was being shown by our local film buff who also happens to be the director of the Mennonite Centre. Interesting film – sadly the audience was The Grouch, myself and two staff of the place it was shown in. Otherwise life is the usual round of doctor’s appointments, osteopath appointments, child and adolescent mental health appointments, and I really must ring the dentist to get him to look at my excruciating tongue. I think I shall stick it out at him..

How to get to a psychiatric clinic

First, fall out of bed with difficulty, eat up porridge son left when he went to school, bath and dress as fast as you can manage. Look at watch and conclude you have 45 minutes to get to the hospital, which should be enough. Check A-Z one last time to make sure route is in your head, then forget to take it to car.

Drive along route as memorised – first bit fine. Manage unfamiliar left turn at familiar junction, start looking out for major right turn to hospital area, with snail-shaped junction (as portrayed on map). See no snail-shaped junction or right turn, eventually arrive at perfectly normal, non-snail-shaped junction with lights, right turn and sign indicating correct area but wrong road number. Decide to go straight on in case junction you want is further on.

Rapidly realize that you are in a shopping street you shouldn’t be in, and if you don’t turn off soon you will be up over a flyover and on the way to central London in completely the wrong direction. Take a left, discover it takes you back to the road you started your journey on, but heading back home. Start to cry and curse. It is now (apparently) 11.00 am which is your appointment time.

Calm down sufficiently to locate other A-Z in car, manage to find correct page while in queue, annoy other drivers by trying to consult it while edging forwards. Decide to take next left, then find the turning left lane is blocked by roadworks till the last 10 yards. Manage to turn left at last minute, consult map again.

Successfully find next left turn which promises to take you to a road which will take you to another road which will eventually take you to the hospital. Amazingly, it does. Come to end of this road without realizing it is the end, where you should have turned right and right again, instead of which you have got caught in a left lane. It is now well past your appointment time.

Manage to turn round in a side road, head in the right direction and up the road where the hospital is supposed to be. Go a long way up this road, over a roundabout which shouldn’t be there, and end up almost in an army base. Turn round again and head back the other way. It is now 25 minutes after your appointment time. Eventually find turning to hospital, next to the Tube station you failed to spot on the way up. There is no hospital name sign and no ‘H’ signs anywhere.

At some point in this whole farrago, switch from CD (which you have now heard all the way through) and to the radio. Hey – something’s wrong here – why is Woman’s Hour on after 11.00? Realise that the clock in your car has not been turned back, and that you are in fact *half an hour early* for your appointment! Must have looked at watch wrong on way out. D’oh!

At least the psychiatrist is sure you don’t have bipolar. Inability to read clocks disorder, now that’s a different matter…

Decide to take rest of day off, go to Brent Cross shopping centre and get new ‘best’ shoes and a new coat. Both very satisfactory. New brains unfortunately not available in M&S (it’ll come: ‘this is not just any high-quality brain, this is an M&S brain…’)