Monday, May 29, 2006


I have a terrible confession to make. On Saturday night, the Horse Doctor and I went to see The DaVinci Code.

Now, before you all throw your hands up in horror and refuse to speak to me ever again, please allow me to explain. Saturday night was the Horse Doctor's sister's fortieth birthday party. This splendid occasion took place in Ayr, and we were cordially invited. It wasn't hard to come up with a dozen reasons not to go, all of which were politer than 'I'd rather chew my own tongue off than sit in a room with a bunch of people who claim to be family but I really don't recognise and can't think of anything to say to.' The Horse Doctor left Ayr in 1985 and she very rarely goes back. And only then under sufferance.

So we didn't go to the party. But there was a distinct possibility the party might come to us. Indeed, so convinced was the Horse Doctor that her mum was going to call sometime during the party, then pass the phone around the assorted unidentified uncles and aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces and bidey-ins* who make up her enormous extended family, that she insisted we go out that evening and not come back until late.

Now there are not many things you can do in Aberystwyth on a Saturday night, especially if at least one person has to remain sober enough to drive home. Going to the cinema has to be highest on the list; but there was a problem. The lovely Commodore cinema was showing The DaVinci Code on its one screen. Checking with the other nearby cinemas (as in less than an hour's drive away), it seems that Dan Brown has a monopoly on West Wales. Builth Wells and Newtown were also showing The DaVinci Code and nothing else.

In the end we thought we'd go and see what they'd done at Roslin Chapel, since we used to live just up the road from the place. We headed out early, got in a curry before the Aberystwyth University Rugby Club took over the restaurant for the evening and then made our way to the cinema.

There will no doubt be many adjectives used to describe The DaVinci Code. The one that first came to my mind was daft. Then harmless, ridiculous, idiotic and dull. The credulous may well believe that there is conspiracy all around, but me I just got a numb bum. It wasn't so bad that I would leave halfway through, or demand my money back (though I did think about strangling the teenagers who spent the whole movie texting each other in the row in front of me.) There are better ways to spend and evening, and there are many worse - being surrounded by a crowd of people who never managed to escape from Ayr springs to mind.

But that's not the reason for this post. I shan't regale you with any more about Dan Brown's masterpiece. Instead, I will tell you what happened this afternoon, at about two o'clock.

The Horse Doctor has gone to a conference in Cumbria, leaving me, the cat and three dogs to fend for ourselves until Thursday. Whilst we were waiting for her lift to arrive, I mentioned that we hadn't heard anything from Ayr, and then, on a whim, picked up the phone and dialled 1471 to see if anyone had called but not left a message. The nice electronic lady announced 'telephone number blah blah blah called at twelve thirty-five pm on...' then there was a pause as if she was dredging the very depths of her memory. Finally she continued: '23rd of May.'

Tuesday. Six days ago. Nobody has phoned the house in six days. And that phone call was from one of the farmers whose sheep I was arranging to molest later in the week.

Now I'll be the first to admit I'm not a phone person. I don't just call someone up for a chat. I can never understand how people can talk for hours on end. To me, the phone is a tool - you need to find something out? You call, ask, hang up. BT charges me £120 a year for the privilege of having a phone, and I probably spend £10 a year on actual calls. If that. My last monthly statement was for 49p - six calls between the 18th of April and the 18th of May.**

Those of you unfortunate enough to have met me in person will know that I don't say much. I tend to hang on the edge of conversations, making annoying comments from time to time. It's partly shyness, partly an almost autistic inability to know what to say - I find other people quite baffling, really. I'm even worse when it comes to phone calls. Working in a call centre has to go down as my all time worst job, and I've plucked turkeys at Christmas - I've collected fresh sheep shit. I can communicate when I have to, but given the choice, I'd rather not.

But six days without the phone ringing once? That sounds like bliss to me.

Which probably explains why no-one came to visit us last year; they've all forgotten we exist.

Oh, and if you were wondering where I was yesterday, I had the day off. Computer didn't get switched on all day. I pottered in the garden and read a bit, then watched some episodes of Stargate Atlantis on DVD.

* ask Mr Stuart, he'll explain.
** only one of which was to my parents, and none of which were to the Horse Doctor's mum. Which is very bad, really.


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

"I tend to hang on the edge of conversations, making annoying comments from time to time. It's partly shyness, partly an almost autistic inability to know what to say - I find other people quite baffling, really. I'm even worse when it comes to phone calls. "

I want to phone you now just to find out if this is true.

I suppose it's going to be on me then to instigate chat when I meet you in July. Oh, but then, it's your birthday. Which means various interesting surprises. I'm sure that even if I don't hear you speak for four days, I'll hear you scream once.

May 29, 2006 7:32 pm  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I had some notion over the weekend that the husband and I would go to a movie, without the kids.

We didn't go. There wasn't one movie worth seeing, despite the plethora of movie screens. And I have a confession, I don't know what an X-man is and from what I can tell in the trailers I've seen, I don't really want to. The only real possibility was United 93 and I'll admit that I'm a chicken who fears being a blubbering mess through the entirety of that film.

May 30, 2006 3:10 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Sandra, you're building up Harrogate so much, it's bound to be a disappointment. Still, if you insist on Stuart and me singing karaoke together, then it's you who'll be doing the screaming.

Mindy, you don't know what an X-Man is? I'm disappointed. Still, having read the comic for over twenty years, I can tell you that an X-Man is very different to what appears in the movies (sad old fan-boy that I am.)

I don't much fancy United 93 either; not my idea of entertainment at all.

May 30, 2006 3:18 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

"Sandra, you're building up Harrogate so much, it's bound to be a disappointment."

Nah. I joke around, but I probably won't even talk to you the whole weekend. Chatting online is one thing - in person, I'm much the same as you. I have to feel comfortable with people and it doesn't take much for me to have that fish out of water feeling.

Well, I suppose there's a chance I'll meet you, since I might actually say hi to Stuart, since I have met him before.

Otherwise, it's dark corners on the fringes of conversation for me.

May 30, 2006 3:49 pm  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

Nope. No X-men. The only comic books I read as a kid were the occasional Superman or Spiderman, sometimes an Archie and Jughead, but only because they were lying around friends' houses. Beyond the newspaper daily strips, comics never grabbed my attention. The nuns disapproved them and my parents wouldn't have them in the house. Which is why I don't get all the movie-making of them now.

I'm a stick in the mud.

May 30, 2006 3:57 pm  
Blogger Simon Langer said...

Hi there, just wandering the blogosphere and I found your blog. I really enjoy how this all works.

This is one to watch.

Many thanks,

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June 10, 2006 6:21 am  

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