Morning Shift on the Coal-Face

Saturday morning I paid for the bottle of red wine consumed during the previous evening’s tutelage. Husband was in the same boat and so we spent much of the day sprawled in front of the wood burning stove watching television, with only the occasional outing to the market square for supplies.

On my first of these I bought an FT along with some chocolate biscuits and Coca-Cola. The former contained advice from a newly published volume by Kingsley Amis on coping with a hangover, my favourite of which was, “Go down the mine on the early-morning shift at the coal-face.” Having no such resources at my disposal, Chinese takeout and episodes from the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm would have to do.

Despite my hangover, I was cheered by the outcome of another stop on my morning errands. Having realized my cash card had gone missing, I dropped into the post office where I had used it the day before. From behind her perch at the cash register, dreary postmistress greeted me with, “Cold out there.”

“And it’s started to rain,” I said, figuring I might as well join in.

“Well, it is Saturday,” she said, summarizing her defeatist life view by way of the weather. How exceptionally British.

Thankfully, my cash card was there, tucked safely in a drawer behind the counter and demonstrating a more redeeming feature of rural British life.

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