Friday, 11 September 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

On my way to the shops with the children yesterday, to look for a dolls house for Honors 2nd birthday, I had a little car trouble.
Coming on to a very busy 'A' road from a small slip road I had the nose of my van poking just into the lane of fast moving oncoming traffic while I waited for my chance to move in.
Seeing a juggernaut bearing down at great speed, I decided to pull back a bit. I hit reverse and...horror of horrors, the van moved FORWARD! Eek! Thinking I hadn't engaged the gear change properly, I tried again. The same thing happened now leaving me even further out into the path of said oncoming juggernaut.
When I shouted "Jesus!" I wasn't blaspheming. My mouth was so dry it was the only prayer I could make.
The juggernaut swerved into the middle lane parping it's big bully foghorn long and loud and angry as it went past me. My van rocked with the wind as it flew past.
Then there were the cars. All of them were forced to take evasive action and swerve away to avoid hitting me while I sat helplessly wincing with my useless hazards flashing away.
In 20 years of driving I don't think I've ever been so scared.

When I got going again I noticed that the van was labouring heavily in 1st and 2nd gear, and I thought I could smell burning.
I pulled in to an IKEA car park and called my husband, who, in true shining knight fashion left the office and was with me within 10 minutes.
My hero.
He is THE single most welcome sight in a crisis. I almost swooned in his arms.
He phoned the AA, gave Colmcille, who was crying, some money for an ice cream, gave us all a kiss and a hug, and suggested I go into IKEA for something to drink and a sit down and said he'd meet me back in the car park with the AA man in 1 hour.
Then he went off to get his ducks in a row.
I heart my husband.
Because I was in IKEA I thought I might as well nip in and get those magnetic notice boards I'd been after. Might as well make the most of the oppo when it presents itself I thought.
Two magnet boards, a storage basket and a playmat later, I found myself tottering through the lighting department feeling very strange, and then awful.
And then I got sick. Yes. In the lighting department of IKEA.

It was a day that will live in infamy.

Back in July I had an appointment with the Prof regarding my ante natal care in which several issues came up and several new tests were ordered and in which I cried a bit and then my blood pressure was elevated which gave rise to more tests.
I used to work at this maternity hospital myself, but it has since moved site to the grounds of a much larger general hospital where car parking enforcement has been contracted out to a private company.
At my last appointment I had been ticketed and I had no intention of letting that happen again.
My appointment over ran and over ran and over ran some more. I had already left the department once to put a new ticket on my car. But when that was about to expire, and I was still nowhere near being let go, the prof said that I really needed to stay in the department. They were phoning up for blood results, and arranging scans both of baby and my liver, and taking more blood, and getting me to drink more water so that I could wee in a pot for them again, and simultaneously trying to be sooooothing so that my BP would come down and they could rule out blood pressure weirdness at least.
So the Prof said I really needed to just sit down and not worry about my car and she would write me a note to say that I was remaining in the hospital under medical instructions.
So of course I did.
And when I got the inevitable ticket I confidently appealed, presenting my trusty professorial letter.
And then was flabbergasted when they turned down my appeal, on the grounds that my reason wasn't good enough and I could have returned to my car.
So...THEN I upped the ante, formally complaining to the hospital for the behaviour of their hired goons and copied my rant to a whole host of other notables collectively known as 'Big Wigs'. I get another letter from the 'Car Parking Partnership' demanding an increased fine of £100 with the threat of County Court action if I don't stump up.
So...In high dudgeon I fired off this missive at lunchtime:

Please see my previous reasons for appeal.
This is now the subject of a formal complaint to H******* Hospital for harrassment from your company.
I have the full support of Professor W***** in pursuing this complaint and if a letter from her is deemed as inadequate support for appeal then you may take me to court with pleasure.
It is beyond belief that my care has been blighted by the frankly lunatic application of your arbitrary decisions.
I have no intention of paying you a single penny. On the contrary, you should be paying me compensation for the distress this has caused me.
And now you threaten me with county court action and debt collection.

I find it hard to believe that H********** Hospital have contracted out their car parking enforcement to such a gang of unscrupulous, money grubbing thieves

I felt a bit better after that. Let them meet me in court.
Have these people never heard of the Fighting Irish?

I'm rubbish at doing quick takes. I realise these are long takes but there's not a dang thing I can do about it. I can't ruthlessly edit to save my life.

My friend Edith came back from Zurich again last week for a brief visit, and to sort out her visa ( she used to live in London and she has a house here and a house in Germany and she's lives most of the time in Zurich at the moment, but she also nips back to Florida from time to time to visit her mother. It's complicated. She's a citizen of the world, like Madonna, or Gwynneth Paltrow, only with more impact)
Anyway, after paying £1200 for a Home Office approved agent to handle her application ( it's called a 'Premium Service') the Home Office arbitrarily decide to take a longer look at her application and they have kept her passport.
This happened 2 years ago and she was stranded in Zurich where she knew no one. She eventually lost her job in London and was left in penury while waiting 6 months to get her passport back.. The upside was that eventually she got a great job in Zurich and is now speaking Deutsch and generally bringing Edithness to that rather staid and correct corner of Europe.
So, in a bit of a flap, she phones the agent, figuring that after pocketing £1200 they might be a tad interested in delivering some sort of aftercare to the traumatised client. But they didn't want to annoy the Home Office and anyway, aftercare wasn't what they meant by 'Premium Service'.

And thus came Edith to be marooned once again. Only this time in London, without benefit of lake or mountain view.
So, along with the Car Parking Partnership, the Home Office is now on my little list of Complete and Utter Morons.

I think that straining for brevity is making me sound a bit 'ranty'.
I'm better when I'm rambling and loquacious IMO.

Following my 15 year old sons confirmation a few months ago, Gabriel, my 11 year old, has been expressing a keen desire to be confirmed ASAP.
I'm thinking that it may be a good idea to go for it while he is as keen as mustard, so we are considering the possibilty of a November confirmation for Gabes.
Dominic took the name Peter. Gabriel is still undecided.
When he was half way through the book we read on Saint Maximilian Kolbe he said "I was pretty sure I was going to go for St Francis, and then I thought about St Jose Maria. But now St Maximilian Kolbe is giving them both a run for their money".
I could imagine the three saints looking on urging "Pick me! Pick me!"

Here's a picture of Dom, with his friend Conor and their sponsor Andrew.
I was very pleased that they were confirmed in the school chapel in their uniforms, which avoided all the awfulness of gelled hair and kipper ties ( I am a sartorial snob)
I meant to post it back then, but well, better late than never.

It's the 11th September.
I still can't watch this without crying.
The evil and inhumanity on the one hand, the heroism and true humanity on the other. The suffering, the loss, the sheer tragedy of the human condition is all summed up and represented somehow in a single day. It's still too much to comprehend.
Lord Have Mercy on them.
Lord Have Mercy on us all.

(For Quick Takes done properly, visit Conversion Diary )


  1. What wonderful quick takes! I'm not the best at keeping my takes quick - there's so much to be said! - so I fully appreciate your wordy takes :)

  2. Sometimes brevity isn't warranted. Your quick takes are great.

    Hope everything goes well with baby... I've had my share of BP problems myself and they aren't fun. There's nothing you can do and thinking on it makes it worse!

  3. I laughed aloud at Take 3, having noticed that the first two "quick" takes were anything but! Of course, being a huge fan of your writing style, it was not a complaint, merely an observation. Sorry about all your frustration with parking situation and the car troubles. That sounded scary.

    I will be keeping your family in my prayers as you await your newest blessing.


  4. Hey Jessica!
    Thanks for visiting.
    And thanks for your prayers!