Monday 20 April 2009

Anti-social behaviour

14st 8lb, 5.0 units. So yesterday’s moderately vigorous exercise clearly worked, albeit at least 2lb of the difference is down to the fact that I have a kinder set of scales in Chester than in Northumberland.

I am sure it will make me feel better if I confess that this morning I did a dreadfully anti-social thing. We had an early appointment at the maternity unit and I strode into the hospital shop immediately after it had opened, and bought its one and only copy of the Daily Telegraph. I thus condemned the sole middle class patient in place to 24 hours of newsless misery. In fact, it could be worse than that; she might be a crossword addict. I only did it because I thought that we were going to be kept waiting for ages for our routine ante-natal appointment, but the good news was that we were shown almost straight in. The bad news was that after a couple of perfunctory checks by a nurse we were advised that there were “no consultants on the unit today” and left hanging around until a bloke turned up who might have been a doctor but could equally well have been a handyman or a passer-by who gets his kicks out of fondling pregnant women. He certainly did not seem any more well-informed than I am about Mrs H’s hereditary iron deficiency, to treat which he suggested that she might like to try taking an additional iron tablet every day if she felt like it, and stop it again if it caused any unwanted side-effects. This man is a grievous loss to the world of PR, where stating the bleeding obvious is a way of life, though he may have to do a bit more work on his English before sending in his CV. I only grasped what he was saying after Mrs H translated it for me.

After this I went out to support our local shops, as I always endeavour to do, spending over £14 each in both the butcher and the greengrocer. I could not help feeling that I got rather better value in the former (two lamb neck fillets, two pork steaks, a pound of ultra-lean mince, six slices of bacon and a quarter of cooked ham) than the latter (a few green things). The weather was so lovely that I was able to eat my lunch outdoors in Mrs H’s back yard, though the pleasure of doing so was mitigated by the Spring sunshine also bringing out the DIY enthusiast across the alleyway, who kept frenetically hammering long nails into timber. The words “Oh for f***’s sake” sprang to mind, and he must have heard them because shortly after I had uttered them he stopped the thing with the wood and turned instead to striking what sounded like a corrugated iron sheet with a lump hammer, presumably on the calculation that it would be even more annoying. In this he was 100% correct.

In the afternoon I drove to the cattery to collect the cat, vaguely wondering why its companion premises are not called a doggery, and called in at Tesco to pick up a recycling bin. I was charged £10 more for it at the till than I thought had been specified on the shelf price ticket, but these days I consider myself so senile that I don’t like to make a fuss about these things. Nevertheless it niggled enough for me to go back to check, and I found that I was correct. My subsequent conversation with the Customer Services person yielded not only the £10 I had been overcharged but an additional £10 compensation, making this my most profitable day’s work for some months. I wonder if there is a living to be made out of spotting retailers’ pricing errors?

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