Yesterday I had a rehearsal for what is to come. The remote control on the tv ceased to function. Those who never look at television should leave now. I do. Mostly old films, often unexpected discoveries, nature programmes, documentaries. The main themes of programming are shamefully bad and I shouldn’t be surprised if the whole enterprise imploded like William Hill. There is much the same unreality, chance and marketing involved. You watch Love Island ? I watched The Looming Tower. One we cannot escape and the other nobody’s heard of.
Out of time I know, his new book is about Dracula, but I had just read the masterfully well written if depressing Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor (£2 in Oxfam) so a little light relief in the form of an old favourite like A Touch of Frost would have been welcome. But it was not to be.
Speaking to Bunslove, he recommended “whisking” (I quote) a cloth across the head pointing to the tv in case there was fluff or dust or a hair or something. And it worked. I watched something insubstantial for an hour, tried to change the programme and it went into a funk again, which is when I chose a book from the fire shelf, my all time favourites, and settled down. Worse, I had begun the day feeling defeated (continuing brexitisis), overcome the mixture of anxiety and annoyance, risen above it, gone shopping, got home and now – like the brat I am – I wanted what I wanted and I couldn’t have it.
But once I’d got over the stamped foot, I didn’t miss it. There wasn’t a darned thing yesterday to miss. An hour into the book, I wandered out into the kitchen and looked at the dish drainer, a quietly camp arrangement of black wire, definitely the worse for wear. I spent some time trying to rally it to respectability but it looked like I felt.
There are men and women who will tell you that they bought a jacket or a pair of shoes that were so outstandingly comfortable/becoming/whatever, that they wish they had bought a second. Far fewer are those that will tell you that they did buy a second time around, usually without due care and attention, duped by earlier success.
Unlike love (the song says it’s lovelier, the second time around) the second go at this wonderful whatever it is, is rarely so successful. It’s a different job lot – the cut varies. It’s a different colour – the dye affects the material differently ie you haven’t thought that a black shoe and a beige one are qualitatively different – they may look identical – but they will wear differently. Twice in my life I have bought successful duplicates of things to wear and I can’t count the mistakes I have made. But three or four times I have bought duplicates for the kitchen. And they WORK.
I climbed the short household steps the wonderful Linda gave me because she thought they would be helpful – they are. And I took from the top shelf of the storage cupboard the wrapped box of a replacement dish drainer, opened it, smiled and ditched the elderly one. It owes me nothing.
I doubt that I shall find a third without difficulty. When I bought the second the woman very civilly told me that, for personal reasons, the business wouldn’t continue. I said thank you and wished her well – what else ? Waitrose no longer stocks my preferred stain remover, nobody stocks my favourite skin care. There are more and more units and less and less you want to buy. I live in a rotten tooth, drowning in rubbish wrapped, unwrapped and dumped. There are murmurs of disquiet on the business pages of the newspapers, this concern faltering, that one holding out for the future, fingers crossed behind the back. Change is supposed to be for the better but in the present climate I am not sure. It will probably all get worse first but I shall acquire a new remote and day to day life will resume . I’d still rather be me than them and here than there.