No no, not penultimate ever, just of this year; or should it be of this decade? Eleven years ago there was a debate, as if it mattered, over whether a decade commenced with the year numbered zero or the one numbered one. If I ask you to count up to ten, I'll bet you'll start at 1, not 0. So it's arguable that the noughties are about to end, rather than having done so twelve months ago. Do I care?
No, but it's got me through to 8.43. Only another 197 minutes to go, minus the three it took me to do that calculation and type this sentence. Time-filling project going well so far. Next?
The phone rang at about 2.30 this afternoon. I should explain that I've recently become the co-co-ordinator of the local Neighbourhood Watch, a role which seems to consist of forwarding messages from the police about local crime, organising six-monthly meetings and the odd social gathering (next one 16th January, mulled wine to be project-managed), and being unaccountably popular for doing all that. Anyway, the phone call was from A down the road, who'd noticed that a suitcase had been dumped in the Close, next to a white van which had been parked there for a couple of weeks and had a flat tyre, and should the police be notified? I gently pointed out that they might be a bit busy today, but I would monitor the suitcase.
How're we doing? 9.07. Not bad. Just checked - the suitcase hasn't moved. Yet.
3.30, the phone rings again. It's C from next door. She's having lunch in town with a friend, but has just spoken to her frail 91 year old dad, H, who lives with her, and it seems he has a bit of a problem. I find the keys and dash round. H has fallen out of his chair, trying to get up to retrieve his stick, which he's left in the next room, and is crouched down facing the chair, unable to move. I try to haul him up, but he's too heavy. "Keep still, keep calm," I tell him. He grins up at me. "Yes, that sounds like a good idea," he says. He's not in pain, just distressed: as much by his own stupidity as anything, I think. The amazing paramedic arrives within ten minutes of the 999 call, during which time H has managed, with my help, to get himself back up into a seated position. Paramedic embarks on an exhaustive series of questions, examinations, tests. C has got back home by now. H seems to be fine; I decline the inevitable cup of tea (I think I need a drink) and head back next door. [At this point, I'd like to pay tribute, not for the first time, to our fantastic emergency services, and pray that this skinflint government doesn't manage to completely fuck them up.]
Unusual day so far, no? (And I haven't mentioned the morning, also unusual but private.)
Wow, 9.27, doesn't time fly? And I know my watch is 5 seconds fast, so there's a saving.
Well, actually, that's about it, except for my dinner, which was, for the occasion, haggis, tatties'n'neeps, washed down with my patent onion gravy and a dusty bottle of Cote Rotie I found lurking at the bottom of the wine rack. (Bottle not yet drained, I hasten to add, it's only 9.33 for goodness sake.) The haggis was interesting. Stop yawning please. I couldn't get a whole one (sold out, just as well, I'd never have finished it) so settled for two microwaveable vacuum-packed slices - genuine Macsween - which were delectable. As you know, I'm a connoisseur (there's another 45 seconds gone looking up the correct spelling of that word) of comical food labelling, so I'll share this one: "Be careful removing pack from the microwave, as it will be hot."
9.54. So little time, so much to do. I still have another blog, about resolutions, to write, and Jules Holland starts at eleven, with Kylie, Wanda Jackson, Toots of the Maytals, Captain Beefheart (only joking about the last) ... Later.