Sunday, 8 January 2012

The real world and a small world once again.

We switched on the radio this morning to find the Sunday omnibus edition of the Archers coming to an end. As the dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum faded away, the radio announcer informed us that if we went onto The Archers’ website we could see photos of Will’s and Nick’s “going away” outfits. Hmmm?!

Now, I seem to have listened to The Archers on and off for most of my life. I remember listening to it with my mother back when it was described as “an everyday story of country folk”. Like all good soap operas, once you know who the main characters are you can go years without listening (or watching if it’s a TV soap) and still slot back into the story line without major difficulty. But we must not lose track of the fact that these are “soap operas”, a made up story, not real life, no matter whether they keep to a real life timeline or not. They may be slightly more real than so-called “reality TV” (now that’s a rant for another day) but they are, in fact, totally invented.

So why on earth would anyone want to go online to look up The Archers’ website and look at the “going away” outfits of two invented characters. Even though I seem to recall that Will was named after another William who has also recently got married, I still don’t quite get it. It’s bad enough that we are frequently reminded of how elegant the Duchess of Cambridge is and how well that young lady dresses. But who said that a gamekeeper from a fictional estate in a fictional bit of England in an "everyday story of country folk" and his wife were style icons?

And then, surely the whole point of radio is that you LISTEN to it. Each listener, like each reader of a book, can have their own idea of what the characters look like. A character could be played by an actor with two heads and it would make no difference whatsoever. In fact, I understand that two of the actors from The Archers are married to each other in real life although only vaguely related in-laws in the soap opera. What on earth does that do to the people who insist on doing things like sending presents when a new baby is born?

OK, rant over!

Back in the real world I have been working my way through a list of jobs that have needed doing for years. The kitchen has been repainted. Various piles of old rubbish have been taken to the tip. My grandmother’s old rocking chair has been repaired; an overweight friend sat down on it too vigorously years ago and went through it. I even persuaded my son during his recent visit to go through piles of old computer games, university notes, boxes of photos and other memorabilia and throw out unwanted stuff and take away with him anything left over. I still have to go through the wardrobe once more and get rid of clothes I am never again going to wear. We still have to do a major cull of books, of which we have far too many. But I am managing to tick items off the list.

One such item is mending a display cabinet given to us long ago by my husband’s grandfather. This rather fine piece of furniture had two of its glass panels broken when my Phil sat down on a dining chair which collapsed, catapulting him into the door of the cabinet.

It begins to sound as though we have a whole collection decrepit furniture which falls apart when sat on. This is not the case. The collapse of my grandmother’s rocking chair and the aforementioned dining chair are isolated and unrelated incidents.

When the cabinet door was broken I was too busy (and my Phil admits to being too idle) to do anything about repairs. And then we took ourselves off to Spain for a while, putting possible repairs and other such jobs on hold for a while.

Finally, the other day I got my act together, made templates of the sections needing new glass, parcelled up the door and took everything off to a local glaziers’ shop. My plan was to have them cut me some glass according to my templates and then with the help of a friend have a go at mending the door. The glaziers, however, had other ideas. I was, they said, naively misinformed and overly optimistic about my skills a furniture restorer. No way were they going to cut me any glass but they did give me the name of a retired cabinet maker who would almost certainly have a go at fixing it for me.

So, I phoned him and left a message on his answering machine. And then I phoned him again because I had neglected to leave my phone number. Over the next few days Mr Fogg, the retired cabinet maker, and I kept phoning when the other was unavailable and leaving messages. Eventually, though, we managed to speak to each other and arranged for him to call in on his way back from Huddersfield or some such place.

When he arrived yesterday morning he told me, in tones of some surprise, that he had been here before but hadn’t realised that was the case until he pulled up outside our door. It turns out that he has brought his grandson here for chess lessons on a number of occasions. Small world syndrome strikes again!!!

Anyway, Mr Fogg took a look at the cabinet door, ummed and aahed a little and eventually said that he had not yet come across a repair he had been unable to complete and declared that he was looking forward to the challenge of this one. Excellent!!

We now wait to hear from him, hopefully with a successful outcome.

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