The poor are blamed for everything

It’s been very quiet on the blogging front since Christmas but now I’m back, dragged unwillingly from the delightful torpor of Christmas afternoons by the fire into the maelstrom of ‘sorting the house out’. This is because Mr Mason has taken the bit between his teeth and is going through the house like a tornado. This means particularly sorting out our bedroom which is, I admit, long overdue. Taking a break from my sorting of books, I check my email and am find a delightful missive which makes me smile and wonder. Yesterday was Mr Mason’s birthday and I ordered him a tweed jacket and some very smart trousers but they weren’t delivered in the time frame specified, even though I had paid extra for the service. Luckily, they arrived the day before his birthday but the email was an entertaining extra. This is what they said. “Please accept my apologies for the delay. There were a few issues regarding power cuts related to the poor which send our systems offline for an entire day.” Hmm, those damned poor people again, interfering in my postal deliveries!

So, Mr Mason’s day begins with a skype call with Miss Mason in Bangkok and continues with an exciting viewing of the latest Hobbit offering in 3D. We did not expect the 3D addition so it was quite a thrilling addition. Yes, we are easily pleased. The film is the usual serving of elves, hobbits and dwarves battling with orcs, silly jokes and lots of things being killed. The best line in the film is “Dad, why are there dwarves climbing out of our toilet?” Sorry if that’s spoiled the whole trilogy for you. Blame it on the poor. Mr Masons’s day gets better and better as Master Mason and Ms Atherton appear as if by magic and we whisk him away to a local sushi bar where we are served with lavish portions of fabulous food and then given a free dessert followed by tea. It’s a nice little restaurant that hasn’t been open long so we have tried to patronise it as often as we can and the owner tells me friends we rook there recently have since returned to eat which is great.

Christmas was lovely. We all wear reindeer antlers to show just how jolly and festive we are. Some of us wear them with pride, others under suffrance but we have a really good few days and Dog is ecstatic to increase the number of his pack while Master Mason stays with us. The present to Miss Mason and her fiance is a bit of a disaster. Posting it on 10th December we feel we have plenty of time, particularly as Christmas is not an event celebrated much in Thailand so postal services will not buckle under the weight of a million cards and parcels. The parcel still does not arrive so eventually Mr Mason, swearing loudly at the automated voice, gets though to a real person at Royal Mail. They are able to track our parcel to Belfast where it has not been able to fly as it contains ‘something’. The parcel is not going to Miss Mason nor, it seems, is it being returned to me. It is just languishing, having a rotten time of it. I now have to go to the Post Office to claim it back by listing everything it contains and how much it cost. Presumably they then convene a ‘contraband party’, open all the presents in a festive flurry before hopefully returning the parcel to us so we can repeat the whole expensive performance over again. Meanwhile, Miss Mason is left with one slightly dodgy party whistle and no gifts. What a let down. At least the poor are not blamed for this fiasco although I have yet to enter into written dialogue with Royal Mail so I wouldn’t count it out just yet.

As for myself, I have found my energy to have deserted me in a big way for the last few days. Sleep has become an annoyingly rare commodity, despite waxing lyrical about the benefits of sleeping under a wool duvet and on top of wool pillows. The wool duvet is, I have to say, supremely comfortable and I would highly recommend it. It still doesn’t lull me to sleep and by day I don’t like to sleep for fear of missing something or waking up grumpy and still not sleeping through the night. All this culminates in an extreme exhaustion which requires me to do nothing except sit and wait for it to pass. Yes, we have been here before and I know there is nothing to do about it but it still drives me nuts. If only I had the energy I would go and find some poor people I could blame my situation on.

The one where my hat blows off

Oh, blast karma and all its repercussions. Having been very bad last week, I make amends by Doing Good Things but it doesn’t seem to help. My good deed is to rescue someone’s phone as it lies forlornly in the middle of the road. Luckily it hasn’t been squashed and I slip it into my pocket with the intention of going through its contacts in order to locate the owner. When I get home I find that it is sensibly password protected which means I will have to take it to the police station in the morning. Sometime in the afternoon, the lost phone rings and I find I am speaking to its owner. She agrees to come to the house the following day to collect it. In the evening, we go to meet friends at a local Indian restaurant. We used to throw lavish dinners for friends on the Saturday before Christmas with every course specially sourced, from the smoked salmon at the beginning to the specialist chocolates at the end. Sometimes they were vegetarian extravaganzas, sometimes they were carnivorous feasts and sometimes it was a bit of both. After last year’s trials, we did not throw a dinner as I was just getting over my final chemotherapy treatment. This year we decide to go out with friends and very lovely it is, too. The restaurant is bustling and we receive very good service and excellent food amongst some of our most beloved friends. The waiter even gives us a Christmas card each and no-one says Bah Humbug!

On Sunday, the lady of the phone comes to the door and I hand it over with a smile while she is extremely grateful and insists on giving me chocolates to say thanks. I am just glad to reunite them as I know if I lost my phone, I would feel bereft as it contains so much information. Having done A Good Thing, I am hopeful that karmic balance will have been restored, but no. The parcel we sent to Miss Mason in Thailand has not arrived. Mr Mason calls the Post Office who are tracking it internationally and to whom he has paid an extravagant amount. I am Skyping with Miss Mason when I hear him swear loudly and slam the phone down. It appears our parcel has been sitting in Belfast for the last week, neither going to Bangkok nor coming back to London. I now have to go and get a special form. We are not sure whether we will get the parcel back or whether we have to claim insurance for its contents and start all over again. This is very bad news as we know it is already difficult to have Christmas in a hot country while the rest of the family sits by the fire opening Christmas presents. I gear myself to go to the Post Office and get the said form. To quote, the weather outside is frightful. It rains hard and the wind blows so that it whistles through the front door but I have to go out. I get soaked and the wind blows so hard it blows my hat off. Luckily I catch it before it blows away. At this point, Miss Mason will be sorry as she thinks the said rain hat makes me look mad but I am glad I caught it.

At what point will Karma be satisfied? How many more bad things will happen before things become equal again? I shall obviously have to be on my very best behaviour rather than my usual Minnie the Minx persona as my friend Ms Marsden calls it. With this in mind, here is a festive photo to warm your hearts.


Dog is rather unhappy with the placing of the tree as in order to put it in the bay, we have to move his bed a few inches to the left which is not good, according to Dog rules. It does allow him, however, to take full advantage of the fire when it is lit.


Leaving you with that image, I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas, no matter which corner of the globe you find yourselves in and I look forward to sharing more exploits with you in the new year.

Talking turkey

I have a plan which is not so cunning but sound, nevertheless. Mr and Mrs Mason senior have been living on ready meals for a while as neither of them feels up to cooking. I have worried about this and tried to suggest many alternatives but none has been taken up. As we are in December, I worry about a decent meal for Christmas and then come up with a semi-cunning plan. We will cook a full-blown Christmas lunch here, package it up into foil trays and it will be transported into the Seniors’ freezer. We work out when this can be done and set off on our way to buy the necessary ingredients. We are at the traffic lights on a spur road which leads onto the A4 and, as they turn green, we start to move off. A lorry in the lane next to us suddenly brakes and there is a huge bang and we see a motorcyclist fairly flying through the air. There is a split second of apparent complete silence and then I am scrambling out of the car and running across the road to the man. There are a couple of other people there as well and the man is conscious and yelling and trying to get up. With another man, I am telling him to lie still, not to move and he shouts “I’m dyslexic!” as though this is the most important thing to get across. Understandably he is quite confused but in a lot of pain and wants to stand up and see what damage his bike has sustained.

Someone rings 999 and I crouch next to him, talking to him, trying to take his mind off the pain and to get him to breathe. He’s really too distressed to pay much attention although we do manage to keep him lying down. He wants someone to call his brother and, more poignantly, his mum but we all want to wait for the emergency services who arrive surprisingly quickly. As soon as the first paramedic arrives, I am asked to hold his head still which I do and he complies once someone in authority tells him what to do. He keeps asking why the man drove over the red light and I tell him I don’t know but that we all saw what happened and can tell the police. He is terrified someone will think it is his fault. He tells me his name is Jamil and I keep telling him how well he’s doing and that he will soon get some pain relief. An ambulance then arrives and there are sirens going off everywhere as police turn up. I can hear someone telling all pedestrians to get on the side of the road but I am still holding his head so I stay where I am. Another paramedic comes to take his head and I tell him the man’s name and then step back. The driver of the car is standing in the central reservation looking dazed and shocked. I ask him if he is OK. He can’t answer. He is just in a jumper and I ask if he has a coat in the car as it is really cold and windy but he doesn’t. I want him to get someone to come to be with him but he tells me he has a new mobile with no numbers in and can’t call anyone. I try everything I can think of but we can’t find a number he can call. I ask if he knows what has happened and he tells me he was in the outside lane and just jumped the lights without thinking. He is worried about the man on the ground. A policeman comes over and asks him to get back in his car which is a few feet on from the accident but no-one seems to mind about me. I wait for the lights to change and then cross onto the pavement to join the other witnesses and Mr Mason who has drawn up in the car and is waiting for me. A woman who was in front of us says “You were brave, staying in all the traffic” and I suddenly realise there were cars going all around us until the police came and blocked the traffic off.

From the pavement we count 10 police and 4 ambulance people have attended this incident. They have the bike up and out of the way in no time and after checking Jamil over thoroughly, including cutting his leathers off, they load him into the back of an ambulance. We give our details and short statements to the police but I doubt they will be needed as the driver has admitted liability. It has taken us an hour longer than usual to get to the supermarket but once we are there, we go round in a whirlwind, collecting all the things we need. As I write, it is cooking in the oven, courtesy of Mr Mason although I peeled the vegetables for him.

The evening of the accident, I head off to Waterman’s to see Frankenstein with 3 friends. It is a filmed showing of the NT production with Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch who swapped roles every other night. In the version we see, Jonny Lee Miller plays Frankenstein while Benedict Cumberbatch is the Monster (or Adam). It is stunningly brilliant and although BC spends quite a few minutes at the beginning writhing on the floor, we somehow don’t laugh and understand it’s his process of learning to use his ‘new’ body. I supply a little chocolate to my chums and we settle in for a fantastic ride. I am very much in favour of filmed plays being shown. I’ve been to the National Theatre many times but it would be great to see more productions and gain a wider audience. The filming wasn’t intrusive in any way and, in fact, enabled us to see some scenes from above which clearly wouldn’t be possible in the theatre. As it ends, Ms Marsden heads off to Kensal Rise and the Carter-Foots and I have a couple of glasses of red wine. They then walk me to the bus stop and wait for me to get on the bus which is very sweet. But where is Mr Mason? I hear you cry! He has to go to a dull business dinner and is home before me.

It has been quite a big day. I wonder how Jamil is faring and hope his injuries are not too bad. I also spare a thought for the man who knocked him flying. It has been quite a big day for him, too.