Sorry, but all this Popery has put me into confessional mode. As the grim-faced 'Memsahib' acknowledged, I cannot be trusted out on my own. However, today I had to go to Yeovil (such fun!) to get the car cleaned - well, you don't expect me to dirty my hands, do you? Fortunately, and entirely co-incidentally, just down the road is an excellent 'greasy spoon' café which serves a superb English breakfast - even at 1.00pm!
Suitably fortified, well, the thought of all that work on my car made me feel quite tired, I then marched into Cineworld, our local cinema complex. A young lady with a permanently open mouth blinked at me slowly when I demanded re-imbursement for my computer and my window. At that her mouth actually opened even further but, alas, she was unable to conjure up any words. So I explained that last night I wasted several hours of the fast-vanishing number of hours left to me on this earth trying to book two tickets for the 'simulcast' of Henry V from Stratford. It was impossible and in my rage I hurled my computer through the window - so where's my money, I asked? Slowly, very slowly, a slight smile softened the 'O' of her mouth as she realised - or hoped - that I was being ironic. She even nodded in agreement when I suggested that all the Cineworld sites, and there are at least half a dozen of them, are utterly useless and were obviously designed by the 14-year old son of the Chief Executive! Anyway, bless her cotton socks she sold me two tickets over the counter - no probs! By the way, on the 21st October, if there is a cinema near you, or even far away from you, then book some tickets and get your idle arses over there because these 'simulcasts', in which cameras move into the auditorium and film a live performance as it happens, are terrific - and they are broadcast simultaneously all round the world. This Henry V has only just opened at Stratford but has received some rave reviews.
Next, and ever so casually I wandered up the main street of 'downtown' Yeovil - yeeeeeees, quite - and, heavens to Betsy, what did I find but a Waterstones bookshop. Now I am forbidden to enter any bookshop unaccompanied by the 'Memsahib'. But, hell, I thought, I'm a grown man now and I am more than capable of resisting my book-buying compulsive disorder (BBCD, the psycho-babblers call it). So in I went just to test my steely resolve and guess what? Inside five minutes it melted!
The first thing I spotted was Volume One of a new history of WWII written by James Holland. Now, I need another history of WWII like a hole in the head not least because I have been reading the damn things since the early 1950s. But then, opening it at random, I read this:
Intellectually, the British Army was also stymied by a somewhat insouciant and deeply entrenched regimental system, which laid great emphasis on both loyalty to the cap badge and tradition, and which encouraged a culture that frowned upon too much talking shop. In the Mess, one discussed cricket, polo or pig-sticking, not how to effectively co-ordinate tanks and infantry. (*)
Right, I thought, that's good enough for me, obviously this man knows where-of he writes and I have got to have that book and I shall just have to take my punishment like a man when I get home! But then, just as I was going to the counter to pay for it, I spotted a very slim, slender volume with a most attractive hard cover. I don't know what the bookbinders technical name is for this size but it measures about 7" x 4". The title is Seven Brief Lessons On Physics written by a terrific Italian science swot called Carlo Rovelli - and no, me neither! Now I have been buying these sorts of books for years and each time I read them I smite my forehead, shout, "EUREKA! I've got it, I've really, really got it!" Unfortunately, the next morning I can't quite get my head round it again and I'm back to square one. Still, this little volume only has 80 pages so it's the sort of thing I can slip into my jacket pocket and dip into on those tedious days when I sit in various chairs in various ladies' shoe shops as the 'Memsahib' tries on every bloody shoe in the place!
OK, I'll be on short rations for a week or two but at least I have plenty to read!
(*) The War in the West: Germany Ascendant 1939 - 1941 by James Holland