Change of plan

15Jan14

Ah, the new year. So fully tanked with good intentions. Unfortunately, my intentions are running counter to those of Her Majesty’s revenue commissioners, who have issued me with such a whopping tax bill that I saw stars for a minute or two after I’d pressed submit. The year might have opened (and the last one closed) with vague plans of spending more time cantering about between ancient market towns and/or relatives embarrassed into putting me up for a night, but now the Treasury abacus beads have clacked and it’s going to be weekend wanderings until late spring. This was triggering the blues somewhat, until last Sunday and a very jolly walk with friends along the Beverly Brook Way, which took us from the fleshpots of New Malden to Putney Bridge.

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Here we are early on and relatively unmuddied. In fact, I’m already fretting that I’ve got us lost and, although it looks as if I’m staring at puddles in horror, I’m actually asking Conor whether he has managed to get the compass app to work on his phone.

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The compass doesn’t work on my phone; that’s why I’m carrying sheaves of paper. Instead, I am texting another chum, Jane, who should have been with us but couldn’t manage a walk owing to a not-entirely-eradicated virus. I’m asking about where to meet her for lunch, although that happy event was still some hours away. The answer, incidentally, was Carluccio’s. God, I love London.

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And this is Brendon the cameraman being dead artistic with his phone. It’s good to know that if I want to make a crap 1960s concept film there’s a cinematographer with an eye for portentous oddities in the vicinity.
But I’m not the only one with good intentions. A housemate has signed up for a course of Spanish lessons for the bargain Amazon Local price of peanuts. Or it might have been a song. She’s only had one lesson so far, and apparently the teacher was so nervous she spent most of it jigging about the room. Still, I’m hoping that the phrases have come on a bit from the laboured chit-chat about chairs and colours and siblings’ ages that scarred my childhood. Useful stuff like ‘Forget it! You’ll never transit via Madrid in less than three hours’, or ‘I don’t care if you love him – we are NOT carrying his mate’s bag through customs’. The teacher’s nerves have not as yet carried them much beyond ‘Hola!’ Though that’s got me through three holidays in Ibiza and one in Sierra Nevada, so what the hell.

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