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9:12pm on Sunday, 17th August, 2008:

Weekend Chore


We went to Newmarket today.

We go to Newmarket every other Sunday, unless something crops up to stop us (eg. our holiday). The reason we go to Newmarket is because that's where my mother-in-law is in a care home (her savings have now run out but there's a move by the authorities to charge her care to my father-in-law now).

I detest these trips to Newmarket. It's the grinding, inescapable regularity of them that does it. It takes us 75 minutes to get there, we spend an hour at the care home, then it's an hour to get back. They mean Sunday is pretty well a write-off in terms of doing anything. Want to see a movie or mow the lawn or visit the computer shop to pick up some HP 92274A toner for your ancient but still solid Laserjet 4L? You can forget it. You're in the car to Newmarket, like it or not.

The reason we take 75 minutes to get to Newmarket and only 60 to return is because my wife drives there and I drive back. She goes up the A134 and I take the A12 (20 miles further but you don't get stuck behind lorries, buses, agricultural vehicles, caravans, cyclists and people who haven't discovered their car has more than 3 gears). Given that it's my wife's mother we're going to see, and that I never say a word when we get there, you might wonder why I have to go along at all. So do I. All I know is that if I make any hint that there's no need for me to be there my wife goes into a glaring defensive mode. If I press it, she makes up excuses on the fly (she stuck with "it's too dark" for several months, but that doesn't work any more). So, I do it for her.

Because we've been away for two weekends, today we had to visit. Nothing short of a meteor strike would have provided an acceptable excuse. So it was, laid low by this ghastly cold, I got into the passenger seat and slept to Newmarket, then stayed in the car and slept for an hour while my wife visited her mother, then woke up and drove home. I went through 6 paper tissues on the way back, which was actually quite good all things considered. I don't know why my wife thinks being driven home by someone who woke up this morning with eyes so gunked up that he couldn't open them is more preferable than if she drove home herself, but for some reason she does.

And two weeks from today, we'll be off to Newmarket again...

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).