January 23, 2013 by benmblackman
I took the day off. An excellent plan, except somehow I agreed to go on a Radio Breakfast Show too (work stuff, y’know).
Not a problem unless, of course, I had taken the day off to look after the Calpol Kid so that Mrs B could attend an important client meeting for her own business. Worry not – I’d be in at 8.45am and out again by 9. The radio station was based in Blackburn, the client meeting in Liverpool.
We don’t live in Blackburn. Or Liverpool.
We only have one car. So, in a fox, chicken, grain, river type scenario we agreed we would all go to Blackburn and then onto Liverpool. What could possibly go wrong?
The alarm clock went off at 6.30am (sleeping’s cheating) and I sheepishly went about cajoling Mrs B into getting ready to leave the house by 7.50am. She had a headache. The Calpol Kid had a tummy ache. She always says that though, until you give her ice cream, which, somehow seems to miraculously cure it. At 7.30am, she got wheetabix. If she was only eating wheetabix at 7.30am we were behind schedule.
We left the house at 8am (10 minutes too late) and hightailed it to Blackburn. With 3 minutes to air time we turned into the road the radio station is on (the wrong way, naturally). I kissed the family and strolled up to the building looking, calm, collected and in control. The consummate professional, this is probably why they asked me to go on air, live.
(In reality I shouted, ‘we’re going the wrong way, this is NOT the way.’ I then swung into a bus stop, slung the car keys at Mrs B and sprinted up the hill back to where the building is. I banged on the door and arrived in the studio, breathless (not ideal when a microphone is being manoeuvred close to your face and you are being introduced on air).
Of course, nobody listening at home would have noticed (or at least that’s what I told myself). All done, we were off again. Liverpool was now our destination and it was Mrs B’s turn to be late. It didn’t help matters when we opted to leave Blackburn via a complex 540 degree route. But Lady Luck was shining on us (as was an average journey speed I am not at liberty to divulge) – we made it on time, just.
Mrs B slung the keys at me and shouted, ‘don’t buy her anything from the Disney Store,’ as she ran to her meeting.
We were there within 15 minutes. The Disney Store is to children what the all night rave was to drugged up yuppies in the early 90’s. Kids everywhere, there were thousands of them, off their heads on Disney. Dolls; Action Figures; Clothing; Bags; DVD’s; CD’s; Books; Lunchboxes; Stationary; Hairbrushes; Tattoos (the water based ones – or at least I think they were)? When I finally escaped I was at least a stone lighter (half from sweat, the other taken from my wallet).
We got to the checkout. ‘Would you like one of our special edition bags?’
‘Oh, yes please.’
‘Oh, no thank you then.’
‘As you’ve spent more than [insert price I pretended to Mrs B was the price we spent: £8 – ha ha, yeah right] today you qualify for a drinking cup for just £3.99, would you like one?’
‘No thank you.’
‘How about one of our special edition Mickey figurines?’
‘Let me guess, £3,99?’
‘No Sir, these are special edition, they are £7.99.’
‘Oh, no thanks, I think I’ll just make do with the overpriced guff my daughter has managed to conn me into buying.’
‘Well thanks, you have a swell day.’
She actually said that. In England.
I’d like to have seen her have a swell day whilst she endeavored to activate a new debit card at the front of a growing café queue (after her other card had been declined – probably due to the swell amount of merchandise we had just purchased) via telephone banking with one hand – (press 4; press 6; enter your date of birth; enter it backwards; tell us how many sisters you’ve got; how old will you be on your next birthday minus 3; lastly, please enter the 6 digit pin code you set 15 years ago when you opened the account). I might have, just, managed this (as the queue continued to grow and tut loudly behind us) had it not been for the added task of opening a Little Mermaid with my other hand (minus scissors) whilst the Calpol Kid incessantly asked, ‘can you open Ariel, can you open Ariel, can you open Ariel, can you open Ariel…’).
I could do with a day off I tell you!