Friday 12th January 2007

I am watching Neighbours. Something I can never do, because I would normally miss the 5.35pm edition as I’m still at work. I had a day off, to sort out the car situation. Everything came together and I can quite happily tick everything off the “to do” list. I live for days like this, although perhaps, today was a day from one of my nightmares. So, let me kick off the action. Last night I noted down the postcodes of all the specific locations I had to stop at over the course of the day and took this light blue Post-It note with me when I loaded the car. I dropped off my sister at school, but that was the familiarity of a normal standard day ended. I headed onto the bypass and towards my first destination, inputting the post code of the regional DVLA office, which thankfully is in Reading. Thanks to the TomTom I got there perfectly. Just before 9am, which meant a few minutes wait outside with a few other early risers. While I hate most government offices, there was a fresh approach here. A ticket system, similar to that found at your local deli counter in Tesco (or other supermarket chain). My number was 106 and I had a approximate fifteen wait, but it was more like ten. I requested the papers and asked how long the process took. Seven days. Great. I headed out, happy that my primary objective of the day had been completed. There were still a few more pending.

Next stop, The Oracle, in the town centre. My main reason was to book tickets in person for the cinema this evening but it was closed and would be until around 10.30am, too late for me. I headed over into the shopping mall itself. It was deserted with only a handful of the shops actually open, with late commuters making their way to their offices. I walked down to HMV and walked straight to the counter, to find out how much credit I had on my Gift Card. £20 was the reply from the assistance. I then asked about Firefly and Serenity. He was the man to ask, as he had seen both the movie and television series (in that reverse order). I suppose this part of the post goes out to Peter and Hussein. I have wanted to see the sci-fi movie for ages but turned down the DVD from Peter at work on the notion that I must see the television series first. This was on the suggestion of Mighty Mouse but I agree with him. In any case, this helpful sales assistant went off looking for the box set but it was nowhere to be found. It had apparently been a hot seller over Christmas. No joy, but I bought Serenity and would head over to the Friar Street store, the other side of town to check if they had it. I thanked the gentleman for his time, he had been extremely helpful. Even if he had dropped the minor bombshell that the movie was just the ‘best bits’ of the television series. Let me be the judge of that.

Next stop on the trail was Boots. I had been sent a replacement card over Christmas and had to get some points transferred across. Then I headed through WH Smith, to HMV. It was dead, there were three sales guys and absolutely no customers and classic Kylie from twenty years ago (yes, it truly has been that long!) playing on the PA system. I asked the girl at the counter about Firefly and straight away she took me to the TV drama section, F. It was the last box set in the store. The Oracle store had 52 on order but with no due date for delivery. I bought it. I have done it. Well not really, I am only half way there. I have to get around to watching the series and then movie.

Heading towards the car, I picked up some Chocolate and Vanilla danish pastries for Nige. I saw that the Vue cinema looked open (the show times for movies as screenings on the big red LED display behind the counter. However, as I headed towards the door. It was shut. Never mind, online booking as normal, not a major issue. I headed towards the car park. In another reply of Thursday lunchtime, I miss placed the ticket for the car park. Searching my wallets and pockets, only to find it eventually in my jacket pocket. Then I had to find my car, which was on Level One, not Two, Three or Four. This old age must be getting to me. I headed out into the dull grey Berkshire morning, inputting the next destination. Swallowfield.

I called Nige, just before I got to the magnificent Madejski Stadium, he was on his way and five minutes way, I consulted the TomTom, I was 15 minutes away. Result. The traffic was quiet and I made good progress. I was at the garage around 10.30am and we left some fourteen minutes later to head to Slough. This was never the way I had hoped for my Italian love affair to end. I must remember, that all is far, in love, war and motoring. Ironically, there was a foreign film on BBC4 last night. I did not watch, just noted it on the Radio Times web site.”The Long Goodbye”. How apt! The farewells would begin now.

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