Today Helen and Bill, and Shelly and Ron came for the afternoon and an evening meal. One of the underlights had blown, so we made another trip to Homebase at Edge End, for replacements. It seems that we need replacement bulbs or strip lighting on an almost weekly basis at the moment, and, although we always buy some spares as well, the next one we need is invariably of a different fitting or length from those we have in our expanding stock. This particular light was so old, probably thirty years, that the holder was stiff and brittle, and kept cracking and shedding bits. After unscrewing and taking it down, because we are both too tall to bend and peer underneath the cupboards, we were still at a loss. I was all for asking the agent to have these fittings changed. But Jackie wanted her kitchen today and was determined to see the job through. I left her to it. She fixed the tube in place and only needed my help to screw it back.
Before we left Shelly had phoned to check when they were expected because Ron, a cub master was taking his boys on a hike this morning. This led me to reflect on my own brief sojourn in the cubs. I hadn’t really wanted to join and only did so to please Auntie Gwen. It seemed to me that weekdays at school were where I experienced enough regimentation. So I always arrived late and mucked about a bit. What finally earned my expulsion by Akela, was chucking bits of screwed up paper at other boys when we were sitting round in some kind of circle for some purpose which I cannot remember. That was definitely a result. I must have been about nine.
But that was not quite the last of me and cubs. The Rowe family were friends of Dad’s. Dickie had emigrated to New Zealand after the war, but we still kept in touch with his sisters. One, Ivy, was an Akela. The adults had the bright idea that I might like to join her pack on a camping holiday. I remember three things about that trip. One was cherryade; a sweet, sickly fizzy drink that everyone was addicted to. The second was that I was so homesick that Mum and Dad had to come and take me home after three or four days. I think Dad used his furniture van for this, but I can’t be quite certain. Last, and most definitely not least, was an even more embarrassing experience than having to be fetched early. There was a cricket match. I had never played the game and knew nothing about it. There was no place for me in a team. ‘Never mind’, said the organiser of the event. ‘You can be umpire’.
I was placed behind the stumps at the bowler’s end. I stood there vaguely looking interested. My reverie was soon shattered by an awful cry, something akin to ‘aarwozeeee’. I stood there definitely looking red-faced and nonplussed. I did nothing. I said nothing. I saw nothing. I wished I’d heard nothing. ‘Put your finger up’, said one of the fielders. ‘Which one, and where?’, I thought. The other boy helped me out by indicating the correct procedure. So I put my finger up. Nervously. And got a tirade of tearful abuse from a batsman who then trudged off to the edge of the field. I cringe now as I think about it.
Early this afternoon I decided to tackle the internet problem once more. I turned on the iMac and phoned BT. There was a twenty minute wait. I made good use of this by reading the booklet that came with the Home Hub. This spoke of a ‘Wireless Key’ needing to be used. When speaking with Apple yesterday I realised I may be engaged with someone in America, who was not familiar with BT Hubs. He confirmed that it should be the BT Password that we had been using and had been reset. The word on the screen was ‘Password’. So what if I entered the Key instead of the password? I was in the process of doing this when an assistant became free. It worked. That must have been the quickest call she’d ever made.
Now I can’t even get e-mails on my laptop, being told my own account password is incorrect. I wasn’t going to start all over again today, so will ring BT tomorrow.
The purpose of the sisters’ visit was the grand rugbyfest. The three men watched the afternoon’s rugby while the women played Scrabble, with Jackie periodically attending to the meal. Jackie, Helen, and Shelly had realised they were each going to be rugby widows for the afternoon, so they decided it made sense to do it together.
We then spent an enjoyable evening centred around a tender roast lamb dinner, followed by apple and blackberry crumble. Various red and white wines were drunk.