I had to go to Stevenage (though it's a tautology to phrase it like that, as no one would choose to go there) to get my damaged tyre replaced. Would it explode on the way there and cause me to crash and die? Stay tuned to find out.
No, it wouldn’t. I got there fine.
A friendly but slightly scatty young man on reception at Kwik Fit (he gave a customer the wrong keys when I arrived and me the wrong keys as I left. I was prepared to take the chance and leave with the mystery car, but he didn’t let me) was clearly a bit flustered and reception was quite full. He told me it would be at least a two hour wait. it turns out that you can get Kwicker than a Kwik-Fit fitter. I only came here on the off-chance that Lou Sanders would be working here today (she’s on the adverts). But what choice did I have but to wait for the slow Kwik-Fit? I had luckily survived one more risky journey, but the forest sprites only had to be lucky once.
This was an essential job to be done, as my wife needs the car tomorrow and I don’t want her to die, mainly because then I’d have two kids to look after on my own (and also even more mainly, because I love her with all my heart). But this was great for me as it meant I had no choice but to sit around all morning doing nothing. And there was nothing anyone could do to complain.
I walked round the corner to discover Stevenage Leisure Park was right in front of me. It’s a huge American-style conglomeration of restaurants, a cinema, a gym and stuff like 10 pin bowling and soft play surrounded by a huge car park. We’ve been here a few times and as the kids get older I am sure we will much more. It’s essentially a living Hell, but this morning, it was an oasis of at worst Purgatory. I was going to sit down for two hours, drink coffee, surf the internet and have nothing else to distract me. It was like I had been allowed to go on a holiday or at least a spa break. Admittedly the holiday was in Stevenage, but buggers can’t be cheesers.
You know I pretend to be annoyed about being a dad, but you also know that it is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life (along with meeting and marrying my best friend - don’t tell my wife), but as great as it is to throw myself into the whirlwind of two ill kids crying at the same time, it’s also great to have a valid reason not to be in that whirlwind. Not for long. Just long enough to relax a little. And then have a Nandos when the Kwikfit guys turn out to be slower than predicted. Perhaps it is spelled Kwik so that they can argue it has nothing to do with speed. And being Kwik could mean anything. Just invent a word for your business and no one can argue.
I was conscious of not leaving my life in the lurch for too long, so once I’d bought my Nandos, I walked back to the tyre shop so I could pick up my car as soon as I was ready. I ate my messy chicken like an animal or dead-eyed zombie. It was disgusting to look at, I imagine. But it was best thing that has ever happened to anyone in Stevenage.
I realised that the forest folk had not cursed me, but planned a retreat for for. At the cost of just £150 for the tyre and realignment and four pounds for a coffee and marshmallow treat and ten pounds for a Nandos. It was the best £55 an hour I have spent for a break.
I was rejuvenated and the blues washed away and I rushed home to muck in with the arse wiping (mainly my own, but it still goes on to my chart) and house tidying and crying myself to sleep due to exhaustion with renewed vigour and joy.
And what I mainly did with my downtime was write this month’s newsletter
. Lots of Christmas ideas, but mainly if you insist on having something Richard Herring themed.
I’d noticed that Yeovil had been spelled wrong on the tour leaflet, and was surprised no one had picked me up on it. But when I put the leaflet up on Twitter, the proof reading obsessives there found so many more mistakes - see if you can spot them all.
It's like a little Christmas quiz that you'd get on a selection box.
Those other 12 fuckers must be doing a lot of stuff that I haven't heard about!