What’s more from Stanford they were being sent to the estate in the north of Abingdon. It was obviously more an administrative blip! Well, to err is human. Not surprisingly, our (former) local MP, Ed Vaizey, managed to make political satire at the Lib Dems’ expense out of the 40,000 mistakes. Not immensely logical but all’s fair in love and elections, I suppose.
You may remember I got a bit heated a year ago with Mark and Sparks about the lack of imagination of their delivery men when we ordered a wardrobe. A nice troubleshooter in the big boss’s office had said we’d get a ‘goodwill token’, but it never arrived. Then, out of the blue, last month I received an email explaining that for some reason my order hadn’t been recorded as complete on their system but to ignore their next notification which do the business. I thought, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained. So sent an email back saying, ‘Perhaps it’s incomplete because I never received that promised goodwill gesture!’ To my surprise, one came back from Victoria C. of Customer Services and due course a £50 store token followed. Which is what took us to Newbury on Friday last week.
Another warm sunny day - we drove over the Downs, passed Snelsmoor Common with its primroses and down into Newbury. Previously we’ve gone round and round the houses to park. This time we reckoned following the disabled shopmobility signs was a good bet. And so it proved. We ended up in a multi-storey, next to the main shopping precinct. But even better, it lured us into Shopmobility for the first time. This is where you can hire out mobility scooters to go round the shops. I’ve avoided it in the past as I didn’t trust myself with a scooter weaving in and out of display stands in the shops, but we discovered they also lend out powered wheelchairs, which I’m used to. So we signed up and the very jolly man brought a wheelchair from their extensive store - and off we went. For the first time, on a shopping expedition, Jane didn’t have to put up with me whinging, like Smallweed in Bleak House (‘Shake me up, Judy!’), every time I wanted to see a different rail (‘No, over there, Jane!’).
We enjoyed spending Sir Stuart’s money - and more, regrettably, and then sallied forth to Waterstone’s down the road. They were a bit short on Trollope, but I found The Last Chronicle of Barset and Sathnam Sangheera’s Boy with the Topknot (which I’ve wanted to buy for some time). This time it was thanks to a book token from the clergy of the Vale of the White Horse.
Altogether an excellent expedition. As was Saturday’s. What an incident-full life we lead! It was the AGM of the Oxfordshire Branch of the MND Association, and the first time we’d managed to get to it. It was at the Holiday Inn on the edge of Oxford. It’s an impressive group, many of them having lost wives, husbands or parents to the disease, now devoting themselves to caring for others and raising money for the association. For example our friends, Jan and Joanne (who’s doing the Great North Run in September, in memory of her father, John, whom I wrote about last year : www.justgiving.com/forpops). After the business meeting, there was a sandwich lunch, and then a talk by Professor Colin Blakemore (who’s now president of the MNDA, and one of our top men on the brain). He’d a few weeks before given the Ferrier Prize lecture of the Royal Society, on ‘Plasticity of the brain: the key to human development, cognition and evolution’! We didn’t get a rerun of that lecture - quite - but we did get an incredibly comprehensible insight into the marvels of the human brain, and then into some of the advances in research most of which have been made recently. He wasn’t focusing on MND, but I don’t think anybody nodded off in the traditional graveyard slot. It was fascinating. I thought, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
It was also nice to meet up with a number of friends whom we don’t often see, like Peter Durkin, the seemingly endless source of jokes, such as:
A woman walked into the kitchen to find her husband stalking around with a fly swatter.
‘What are you doing?’ she asked.
‘Hunting flies,’ he responded.
‘Oh...! Killing any?’ she asked.
‘Yep, three males, two females.’
Intrigued, she asks, ‘How can you tell them apart?’
‘Easy. Three were on a beer can; two were on the phone.’ !!!
Peter writes his jokes now, as he finds speaking much more difficult than me. But we’re still able to laugh together.