Lots to do today.
Youngest daughter has her GCSE results, so needs to register for a new school. Eldest daughter is returning to Royal Holloway (a university, not a prison) so needs to find a way to transport the contents of a small house within the confines of a medium-sized car. My medium-sized car.
With 600 miles ahead of us over the next day and a half I’m out early to do the whole fuel, oil, air and water thing and don’t have much time for photographs. The heavens are looking kindly at me and provide me with a nice shot of the North Pier which I spot as I’m driving along. No time lost there.
I pull into the garage, which like so many these days is also bank, supermarket, florist, newsagent etc., and knowing that I need to use the air compressor pull over to the pump lane which will allow me access. There is a car parked at the front pump, but I suppose by the time I’ve filled up they will have gone, allowing me to drive straight forwards to the compressor.
Seventy pounds later I have a full tank, a token for the air and the essential accessory for every journey, a bag of chocolate eclairs! Getting back behind the wheel I see an older man totter to the car in front, making eye contact with me as he does so, but instead of getting in he stands by his car and examines the contents of his wallet. Having found everything in order, he fishes in his pocket for the cash and card he has just retrieved from the ATM and slots them carefully into place. Ho hum, any time today will be nice I think.
He then reaches for the pump to begin filling his car. Where has he been all this time??? Surely not just at the ATM? I programme my Satnav for the journey to kill time, affix it to my windscreen and wire up the charger. He is holstering the pump, but then resumes examination of his wallet. Does he take any cash out? No. Instead he puts it back in his pocket, slowly walks around his car (taking the least direct route to the cashiers) and totters in the direction of the shop, though his journey is interrupted by the need to read the headlines of all the newspapers on display.
I have no way of getting past him and the other lanes are full of cars, this being morning rush hour, but when, on entering the store, he bends gingerly to pick up a shopping basket I know I could be here for the duration.
Instead, I reverse out of the garage drive around to the opposite end of the forecourt and pull across the front of his car to reach the air & water. I could have parked really close to block him in, but remarkably resisted the temptation. I would have been disappointed with the result had I done so, for as I replaced the last dust cap on my tyre valves I looked up to see him entering the second aisle of shopping!
Luckily Stephen was no bother in agreeing to be today’s portrait. Time to get moving then.