Yesterday wasn’t the most perfect of days back in the office. The letters with the school-fee invoices landed with disturbing predictability on our door mat. I had chosen to fast away my ‘ledge’, so it was, perhaps, unwise to join Child Two on a quick run. It isn’t so much the physical pain of exercise, so much as her look of gleeful ‘concern’, which hurts.
On my fast days (this was my first), I allow myself a supper, and this one was as delicious as a meal should be if you have spent all day dreaming of food. I had fried up a garam-masala base with oodles of garlic and ginger, and was busy browning off the lamb mince in the pan when the call came from Sarah.
She had left the office. She had a puncture.
Leaping like a salmon into the car, I had driven for ten minutes before Sarah called again. Could I return home and pick up the air compressor which was in the back of our other car? ‘No problem’ says I, as I do a 15 point turn at the narrowest part of a lane to return home.
I pick up the compressor.
Leaping back into the car like an increasingly hungry salmon, and with a surprisingly wide vocabulary, I drive back towards Sarah. When fifteen minutes out, I give her a call. She is a bit busy. She has found a wonderful fellow who is currently changing the tyre for her. No husbands necessary. Please return to base.
And I was very nearly at home when the new call came through. The spare tyre is very low, now that I had the air compressor, would it be possible if I could…
At this point, I was past speaking, acutely conscious of the lamb congealing on the hob and having spent the best part of three quarters of an hour yo-yoing between Sarah and home. It was, perhaps because of this, that I missed the turning to the office from the dual carriageway and had to take a twenty minute detour to get back on track.
I arrived with Sarah an hour and a half after she had first called me. Beyond hunger, not quite beyond speech.
Tyre inflated, we drive a sedate, tyre-mandated 50 mph home.
It shouldn’t have surprised me to discover, on our arrival home, that the Knight in Shining Armour had pocketed the locking wheel nut and the spare was as good as welded on.