We saw the lights. We went driving. And we did nothing.
By dotnetnutty | Monday, December 05, 2011, 11:21
It's like deja-u. I work right through my lunch break on Friday with the aim of leaving early and I don't. Tonight it's the Christmas switch-on at Corsham. I collect daughter from nursery and whizz around to the biggest car park. It's full. Good start. Plan B; find on-road parking. I do (and I'm not saying where). I kit daughter out with hat and gloves and we walk quickly to the town hall. We get there with about 10 minutes to spare. I have my camcorder with me. Gonna record it and put it on YouTube, that I am. I recognise a neighbour and happen to stand next to him. He looks. He says nothing. Neither do I. We're quits.
Daughter asks to be picked up. I oblige and have my camcorder in the other hand, poised to film. I do some intro shots. I look around trying to spot other people I know. I recognise one or two. I look to my left and notice a woman looking right at me as if she's trying to work out where she knows me from. She says nothing. I say nothing. We're quits.
I film some more. I look around some more. My daughter wants to be picked up some more. The woman looks at me some more.
At the designated hour, and after the speaker has read out endless "thank you"s that no-one is really interested in, the countdown begins from 10 and the lights go on. Well, not all of them. Technical hitch means half the high street is out.
With the main excitement over, a trail of people make their way to the church for the Christmas tree festival. I join the queue to go in, but am bored after one minute, so abort mission and go looking for food, stopping briefly to look at the reindeer. Daughter and I are both getting hungry. I try to buy some time by buying her a candy stick. I open the wrapper and give her the sweet. "I don't like that" she tells me. Incredibly, I decide to buy myself a cup of tea. The last thing I want is tea and it just serves to make me feel even hungrier. We pass various food outlets. None of it appeals. Too messy to eat on the go, too pricey or just won't hit the spot. A man in a dayglo jacket is looking right at me. This puzzles me as we head for the chip shop. The chip shop has the mother of all queues, so we abort mission and head back to the town hall. We pass some teenage girls telling Darth Vader they love him. We walk back past the man in the dayglo jacket. He's locked eyes with me again. I decide the best thing to do is to carry on walking. He says nothing. I say nothing. We're quits.
We arrive back outside the town hall to hear a poet with the impossible task of holding a disappearing audience. Sadly, no-one joins in with her audience participation routine; not even my daughter. It's painful. We do some further aimless wondering, waiting for the fire jugglers to appear on stage. It's got to be a good filming opportunity. Juggler appears. Just the one and I realise I've made the massive assumption there'd be plural. I point my camcorder at him. Big security man stands right in my field of view. Rubbish filming opportunity.
Saturday morning and woken at 7 am by my daughter. She opens my bedroom door in the dark. This always creeps me out slightly. I picture a demonic child from some American movie. Today, we're off to Birmingham. Daughter is going to meet her 2nd cousin. We are up, bathed and dressed by 8. We have breakfast. Daughter transfers the butter from her toast to my clean top. She asks for a yoghurt. She transfers yoghurt smeared around her mouth to my clean top.
Washing up, vacuuming, tidying, dusting, washing, drying and cleaning follows.
I check the map for the route and notice the M5 passes a near to a place called "Bell End". I check the route some more and suddenly realise I could do a station hunt en route at Thornbury. I trace the old railway line in satellite view. My eyes light up when I see it and read "Midland Way"; a dead giveaway. I am sorely disappointed when it appears the sight of the old station is now a school. I abort mission.
I pack a survival kit (AKA lunch box) and we get in the car. Just before setting off, I email the radio with the answer to a teaser question and am convinced I've got it right. We start the drive to Birmingham. About 15 minutes in, I get a mention on the radio. My guess is wrong (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00ltpqt - listen from 1h 28m 20s).
We arrive at our destination. Daughter is in her element as she plays the older girl role to her 2nd cousin. "She likes me" she tells us 15 or so times throughout the afternoon.
Sunday morning and I am woken at 5.30 am by daughter singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. She opens my bedroom door in the dark. This creeps me out slightly. She wants to get up. I have my limits. I put her back to bed. She sings. At 6.00 am, she calls for me. She wants her nose wiped. One nose wipe later and we both return to bed. A short while later, she calls for me again. She wants a wee. One wee later and we both return to bed. We are up by about 7. I have various appointments in my diary and as it's cold outside and I'm tired and I'm lazy and, well, whatever, I choose to do none of them. At home, I manage to fit my push bike with some new brake pads. I discover my old ones have worn down to the metal. It will be novelty stopping now.
Otherwise, nothing of particular note happens on this chilly Sunday. It's basically rubbish. And to cap it all, I manage to forget about a fayre I wanted to go to. You can't always get it right.
Single Daddy Neil (follow me on Twitter: @dotnetnutty)