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When hope looks like ham and eggs instead of liver

By Peter Reeves

What is it about human beings? We’re a mixed bunch to say the least. We’re all built more or less the same, but our wants, needs and ambitions are different.

Our skills, abilities and talents are the tools to get us where we want to go, but without one, very special component, we probably wouldn’t get there.

That component is, hope.

Hope is the driver. Hope is the ingredient that must never be left out of the mix. That’s because, getting to where you want to be, may take, more than just the one try.

Let me illustrate.

I’d gone to the Doctor with an ear thing. The sound of someone inside my eustachian tube “soft-shoe-shuffling,” through corn-flakes had been distracting me for days.

It was an early call, so I bypassed breakfast, in the hope of something long and lazy on my return.

The fact that there was no interminable wait at the surgery, put a certain zip in my step. Even the fresh-faced medico, managed a little humour when he prescribed the pills, “For swallowing rather than insertion,” was the general hilarious gist.

Oh, how we laughed?

Outside, the heavy rain didn’t dampen my spirits as I walked to the car. In fact, they soared at the thought of roast ham, from the butcher, with a couple of fresh eggs.

A youth, with chewing gum and a delivery van, brought me crashing down to earth. With no apparent reversing skills, he’d managed to wedge my ageing Focus between the truck and the wall.

So I waited and waited, noticing, as if for the first time, how dusty a dashboard can get. Perhaps I should alert you immediately, in case you’re thinking of tackling a similar problem, that those annoying motes of dust, in awkward corners of the instrument housing, are almost impossible to remove, even with a small coin, or fingernail.

Eventually, this “housekeeping,” was interrupted, as the young man, discarded his chewing gum into the surgery’s ailing azalea bush, before driving off at ear-bleeding speed.

A couple of circuits round the village, told me that there was no parking to be had easily. I found something between two mud splattered four-wheelers, that no-one else had taken.

The euphoria was only temporary.

I soon realised, the Focus and the parking space, being of equal proportions, would mean I’d have to smash through the windscreen to get out, or be incarcerated for the duration.

I was close to giving up on the whole thing, but ham and eggs were calling. I decided to take drastic action, and park outside the butcher’s. Feigning insanity, if accosted by an official Gilet Jaune, with a mission and a notepad.

Inside, there was no queue. Only a stout woman, in a green hat ordering liver. She turned out to be a “humm-er” and “haa-er.”

Every question about type, weight, cost and so on, lead to interminable “humms” and “haas,” before a decision was made.

Timing, as we know, is everything in life and mine at this point was best described as bad. The warden was lurking, looking over my car, with a dewy eye and incipient cold. He sniffed audibly, and pinged the end of his biro.

Rashly, I took my life in my hands and cut across Green Hat to demand, rather too loudly, a quarter of ham. This was greeted with frosty silence from Green Hat.

Hurriedly, I paid, apologised to Green Hat, grabbed the ham, and stepped out to face the enemy.

Sorry, seems such a feeble word on occasions like this, especially when weakened by constant repetition. Even so, it seemed to pay off. With one last superior sniff, the warden, turned on his heel, leaving me with a derisory, “That one’s flat!”

I became as deflated as the tyre.

On second glance though, it appeared not so much a “gonner,” but rather, something in need of resuscitation.

With the ham settled in comfortably in the passenger seat, I set out for the local garage, to calmly take on technology that demanded a knowledge of tyre pressures.

This mean’t consulting the handbook.

The book, turned out to be a work of genius, describing in detail, every in an out of the vehicle, from Airbags to Wipers. Tyre pressures, apparently, were set out on a sliver of plastic, mounted somewhere near the front by the accelerator pedal. At least, that’s what it looked like in the diagram.

After ten minutes I found the fuses. After another five, I discovered something sticky and unpleasant under one of the floor mats.

My brain sent hunger messages to my stomach.

I eventually found the tyre pressures next to the door hinge. Why I hadn’t thought of looking with the door open, I’ll never know.

I searched my pockets for pound coins, then grappled with the snake-like, air hose.

The mobile rang. Madam was sorting dinner.

“Glad I caught you, can you get some things…?’

“But I’m trying to…”

“Carrots…”

“I need a pen…”

“Don’t go to the corner shop they’re always old and bendy there…”

“ I might be able…”

“Cheese and Marmite…”

Dinner started to sound experimental.

“Oh..and a couple of bottles of that Chilean.”

The “some things” turned into “quite a few things,” by which time my pound had run out.

The phone beeped again, but I ignored it. This tyre was going to be inflated if it was the last thing I did.

‘It was only when I dumped the groceries in the kitchen, that I decided to respond to the beeping mobile. The text read ‘We’ll need eggs as well’.’

I arrived home some time later, completely “shopped-out,” but happy in the knowledge that I had a fully functioning tyre, a shopping bag bursting with non-bendy carrots and enough cheese, Marmite and other bits and pieces to feed half of Chile, if they turned up to try out their wine.

The fact that I had now been away from my desk for nearly three hours, instead of the thirty minutes I’d intended and that I’d forgotten to get my prescription, was of no consequence.

Ham and eggs were the priority.

It was only when I dumped the groceries in the kitchen, that I decided to respond to the beeping mobile. The text read “We’ll need eggs as well.”

Not entirely in a state of despair, I opened the pack from the butcher to find myself staring at Green Hat’s liver.

See what I mean, after a day like that, I have to live in hope.

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