For various reasons, I spent the tail end of last week in a bit of a pickle.

It started on Thursday. Or was it Tuesday?

Cue ethereal strings and that wavy visual effect that you get in old Hollywood movies…

Tuesday am. Met C. at the golf range. Discover to my horror that I have come out without my bag and therefore without any money. C. v. understanding and lends me the price of a basket of balls. One hundred golf balls, ten frozen toes and a cup of coffee later, we stand in the car park of The Perch discussing arrangements for lunch with remnants of the Programming Team Survivor’s Group (PTSG) at Abingdon on Thursday.

As we haven’t heard from the one member of the group who still has one of those job things and in whose honour the venue had been chosen (so that she could fit it into her lunch break), we wonder whether the arrangement is still on. C. promises to investigate. As it is an emergency, I promise to keep my mobile switched on.

Wednesday. We remain in this third state (neither off nor on – a particularly stressful state for people who have spent much of their lives in the unambiguous world of Boolean logic) until mid-evening on Wednesday. C. finally tracks down S. (our industrious friend) and confirms that she is still very much on for lunch.

Thursday am. Facebook message from E., a cultured friend, about a tentative arrangement to see a play. Can I do this evening if her son can get off rugby practice?  I can. Mental note to check Facebook for updates when I get home. Also note a tentative arrangement to go into the day centre where I volunteer to help sort photos for their 30th anniversary display.


Thursday midday. Get to Abingdon. Find a public car park and, after getting stressed out over concept of free parking, head off to the pub.  Explain that I am waiting for friends and do they have a table? They don’t. Send C.(sporting friend) a witty text about there being “no room at the inn” and wait outside. After about ten minutes, S. (industrious friend) turns up, so we go into the pub anyway. Meanwhile, C. has snuck in and managed to get a table, but hasn’t read my text. I spent ages typing that text. After lunch, S. returns to her labours and the rest of us stay and chat. Pay C. the money I owe from Tuesday.

Thursday 3:30.  Decide that there’s time to go to the day centre to sort photos. Sort photos, but finish at 5pm rather than 4pm and then get into conversation with fundraiser, so don’t get home ’til nearly 6.

Make tea and start watching today’s repeat of The Bill (RIP). Suddenly remember to check Facebook for an update on the play. The play is on – it starts at 7:30 – best to get there by 7:00. It is 7:15. Apologize to cultured friend.

Saturday. Collect jams and chutneys from the day centre for a fund-raising sale the following day.

Sunday am. Unpack jams and chutneys. There aren’t any chutneys. After the service, Jez (charitable friend) stands up and gives a witty notice about how everyone should buy cake (for the charity he supports) and jams and chutneys (for the day centre).  About how cake, jams and chutneys are part of the real meaning of Christmas (which suggests that he may not have been listening to the talk as attentively as he might).

“Jez!”, I cry, with the fervour of Richard Mason objecting to Jane Eyre’s nuptials, “Don’t tell them about the chutney! There isn’t any chutney!” OK, maybe not. People are very understanding and comfort themselves with jams (and cake). Just not chutneys. Or pickles.