By the end of today I needed to be ready for my crack of dawn departure to Luton airport tomorrow. Actually, my departure will be about an hour before dawn. Never mind; the sooner I depart on my easyJet flight to Alicante the sooner I can be reunited with Carol for a Christmas that I had pretty much written off. I didn’t want any last-minute preparations hanging, like the sword of Damocles, over my head in its sleepy stupor tomorrow morning. So, I’ve got a list. The list is disturbingly long and I’m not certain today is long enough.
I actually made a start on my list last night, both by locking windows and doors I could do without today and by doing some laundry so I could at least pack clean clothes for Christmas. In the same way that Carol does not usually drive the barbecue, I do not usually drive the washing machine; fire is very masculine, water is clearly feminine. However, Carol’s Skyped instructions sounded simple enough:
- put coloured clothes in the machine and close the door;
- put purple coloured goop in draw tray #2;
- turn knob clockwise to 30° (degrees temperature, not degrees of rotation, he clarified).
After taking mother home following another of the flying chef’s dinners (Tuna with JC’s Thai Salad), I did so. Most encouraging: "1:02" appeared on the timing dial. Promising stuff!
I drove mother home and then returned expecting a well advanced load of washing that I would soon be able to put in the tumble dryer. This must be a very quiet washing machine, I mused, as I peered in through the utility room door. "1:02" still glowed at me from the timing panel. Surely that should be counting down? That’s when I spotted a crucial-looking button with "Start" printed beneath it. Oops!
Once finished and before retiring for the night, I put the laundry in the tumble dryer and turned the dial to 40 minutes (as further instructed by Carol); This time I was ready for a lack of action ‘cos I know the dryer is on a timer to run on cheaper overnight electricity. (That’s a laugh, it’s like saying a sapphire is cheaper than a diamond.)
Just to get some early-rising practice, I got up and made tea at 6:00 AM. Peeking around the laundry-room door I was met by another disturbingly silent machine with its timing dial still set at 40 minutes. Now, I know this one makes a noise ‘cos it’s got two knobbly rubber balls in it that are supposed to fluff up the laundry and they bounce around like a computer programmer mainlining too much Java. That’s probably why the timer is set to the very last portion of "over night". I found an override switch and the colourful rubber balls began to bounce around like a computer programmer mainlining too much Java. Much better – I’ll be packing clean clothes yet.
Down to Waitrose for the dawn patrol run (opens at 8:30 AM) where we usually drive straight into the car park which is mostly empty. Naturally, Christmas Mania was in full swing, the car park was already full and cars were queuing back to the main street, presumably assisting the Belisha beacons and zebra crossings in their task of gridlocking the traffic. Christmas and Easter both have a similar effect: they make people go mad shopping. I really don’t get it. We shop every other week of the year. At Christmas, people don’t need any more stuff, they just need different stuff. Why the extra queues? [Aside: It seems we don’t need beansprouts at Christmas. Searching in vain for them yesterday, I was told by a pleasant young man in Tesco that they had stopped selling beansprouts, just for this week, and that Morrisons had done the same so he thought I wouldn’t find any. Clearly, he hadn’t heard of Waitrose, which came to the rescue. Thank Darwin for decent shops.]
The clothes did dry and I got all packed ready.
Rounded off a generally busy day with a visit to my mother, a trip to Heathrow to deliver my mother-in-law into the safe hands of British Airways fro her Christmas and New Year trip to Australia and New Zealand, drove back, garaged our car chez ma mère and walked the 2 miles back home for a long awaited dinner.
Phew! España mañana!