I have finally got round to blogging. My weekend was spent gardening, washing, shopping and tidying (four ‘ings’ I won’t be dwelling on). My journey to Birmingham last week was enhanced by the purchase of a satnav and there will be more about this later. However by sharing some of today’s events I am hoping to clear my mind of them so I will record those first.
D2 is back home for a few days with her boyfriend, Rodney. This morning a fun filled day trip to the seaside lay before us. Tonight a day of mixed emotions and family disagreements lies behind us. Everything was going well, sun shining, a walk along the seafront, pleasant conversation over a fish and chip lunch (including bread and butter and a pot of tea). Then the disagreements started. It was one of those situations where each person feels their wishes are paramount and they get so caught up in the pursuit of achieving what they want, that they try to influence those around them into supporting their quest. Personally, I resorted to pleading and manipulation which led Frodo to accuse me of being selfish and irrational (not in those exact words but that’s what he meant). D2 refused to listen to any reasoning and took full advantage of her superior financial position to continue the tense situation we’d created. It began with a kind gesture from D2 who gave Frodo and I a handful of 2ps so we could join in the thrill of trying to win more 2ps and the uber-thrill of winning a fridge magnet! Immediately Frodo thought he knew better than me and wandered off to find a machine that showed more promise of success than the one I’d chosen. D2’s 2ps were insufficient to push the fridge magnet over the edge but it was closer. 10 maybe 20p would do it. I managed to locate Frodo, dashed across to him and through begging got a few 2ps before dashing back to my machine. 2ps fell and were recycled with a carefully timed action but to topple the fridge magnet more were needed. My joy at seeing Frodo appear beside me quickly turned to despondency when he informed me that all his 2ps were gone. There followed a heated debate on whether we should change a pound coin into 2ps. I was at Frodo’s mercy – I had the cash but needed to guard the machine. A little girl had been playing the machine next to me and I was sure she’d have no hesitation in jumping in and taking the prize that I’d spent time and money setting up. Frodo at first argued against changing the pound and questioned my judgement about how likely the fridge magnet was to fall. I pointed out that I can make my own decisions and he must have sensed that his continued refusal would put me in an unpleasant mood so he finally went and changed the pound. We shared the 2ps and to my delight the fridge magnet fell after about 20p. I was convinced that this had unsettled the collection of 2ps and so played on. Frodo, who was trying for a fridge magnet opposite me, was getting frustrated because I wouldn’t help him and then suddenly we were both out of 2ps and both on the verge of a big windfall. Frodo put up less resistance this time before changing another pound. We both got our windfalls and proceeded to plough them back into our money making venture (money losing venture as it turned out). By now another fridge magnet was creeping close to the edge which made it very hard to turn our backs on the machine but without any cash left the chance of even one 2p dropping was pretty remote.
Meanwhile D2 had been having a field day. She had two wristbands, a keyring, a badge and a fridge magnet all for less than a £10 stake. She wouldn’t divulge exactly how much she had put into the machine but when asked if it was £10 she responded ‘not that much’. Prompted by this success she had moved on to a 5p machine and had an ‘exchange this for £1’ disc in her sights. I found myself repeating Frodo’s lines “You’re wasting your money” “It’ll take pounds to fall” “Come on, leave it”. D2 was triumphant though and with a resounding clatter the disc and lots of 5ps fell. Rodney, who had taken the role of neutral observer throughout the whole episode, was given the task of taking the disc to the kiosk. Disaster almost struck as he returned minus the disc and without £1, not realising the disc had a monetary value. Luckily the cashier handed over the pound when he went back. It appears he has less experience of seaside amusement arcades than my family do.
So is my mind clear now? Yes, I think it is. I wouldn’t be noticeably happier with another fridge magnet and now I am away from the arcade I know it is not the place to make money. Despite the differences of opinions, Frodo was there when I needed him and doesn’t appear to be holding a grudge that I wasn’t there when he needed me and a good friend of mine will be getting an unexpected gift that she can display on her fridge : ) I can move on.
Back to the newly aquired satnav. It did the job of providing directions to our destination perfectly and by some technological wizardry it gave lots of other information too. In fact I spent much of the journey informing Frodo what shops, petrol stations, attractions etc etc were within 5 miles of whatever location we were in. I felt I’d found a soulmate as it bleeped whenever Frodo went over the speed limit. My usually lone voice ‘you’re doing 75’ was preceded by a confirming bleep. Satnav wasn’t quite up to speed in every department though. The claim that it would detect traffic congestion and recalculate the route was true but this function didn’t kick in until after we’d been stationary in traffic for five minutes. Sometimes human eyes are better than modern technology. I should have had more faith in my senses the following day when they told me it was sunny and very hot. Instead I chose to dress for the cloudy 18 degrees predicted on bbc weather and the walk around Birmingham was dominated by the search for shade.
The hotel lift was another example of technology v human in the ‘which is best?’ competition. Here is the scenario – hotel entrance on ground floor, hotel reception on 3rd floor, our room on 6th floor. Shall we walk up or use the lift? We chose the lift and pressed to go up to 6. A man asked if we were going up or down and when we said up he stopped and said “I’ll wait I’m going down“. The lift actually went down to the ground floor so we pressed 6 again and it went back up to the 3rd floor where we were confronted with the same man about to get in again. We had to admit that we had been down and were now going up. He waited again. The lift went down to the ground floor again! I frantically pressed 6 several times in an attempt to bypass another stop at the 3rd floor but it was to no avail. The lift stopped at 3 again! We were saved the embarrassment of meeting the man again – he may have taken the stairs or may have been going up and down in the adjacent lift. This experience didn’t deter us from using the lift again and we met several other people in there who had been up and down randomly before reaching their destination floor.