A World of Missing Things – or the latest episode in the diary of a scatty historian

Today a fisherman of my acquaintance requested help with collecting his car from the garage. Today was also the first frost of the year, that would be a very hard frost. I donned as many layers as possible, allowing for the fact that I had to be able to move my arms. I broke the ice on the muddy puddle that passes for a pond in case the resident frogs, Fred and Freda, were struggling to breathe. F & F were sensibly conspicuous by their absence.

074 23 January 2013 Me at Samiland 2

Not Actually Today But You Get The Idea

Inevitably, the car windscreen was iced up, although bizarrely this was on the inside not the outside. De-icer. De-icer, hmmm. I was car-less last winter. I haven’t needed de-icer for more than a year. It must be in the boot. Can I remember how to open the boot of this car? This is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Oh, ok, it is ridiculous but here is my excuse. I have to park with the back of my car hard up to a wall so there is no room open the boot. The back seat is my boot. The boot however does have things in – like de-icer. I debate prizing the parcel shelf off to gain access to the boot from inside, then opt for moving the car forward (despite not being able to see where I am going) in order to open the boot, which, it turns out, is accomplished by the conventional method of turning the key. No de-icer. Then it dawns on me that my de-icer is in a car graveyard somewhere on the south coast. I take out a second mortgage and burn up half a tank of petrol so I can leave the engine running while the windscreen gradually defrosts, aided by some judicious rubbing on my part. This leaves delightful smears through which I peer as I negotiate ice and blinding sunshine on my journey, the sun also creates migrane inducing flickering as I travel between the trees.

Other adventures today include becoming an Amazon seller. I have been heavily publicising my books in the hope that they will make suitable items for Santa to slip in stockings, not just of friends of friends but folk in the world beyond. I am therefore keen that my magnum opii should be available on the site of a well known online bookseller near you at the proper prices, not three figure sums. If you want a thing doing …….. so following a suggestion from a friend, I began the process of setting myself up as a seller. Step 451 ‘enter your passport number’. Sets off to get passport. No passport in the place where passports live in my house. Minor panic ensues. This rapidly develops into a major panic as I rifle through every folder in the box of official papers, tossing bills, bank statements and guarantees around with frenetic abandon. Stop to think – you know, that ‘When did you last have it?’ thing. Light-bulb moment, when I nearly used it to renew my driving licence online (gory details of this saga are available in an earlier post). This means my passport has not yet reached the top of the ‘to be filed’ pile upon which it was tossed after this abortive mission. Passport duly retrieved.

Several steps further on and an automated telephone call requires me to put the number I can see on my screen into my phone. I kid you not, this number begins 999 (quick translation for US readers – this is the equivalent of 911). Are they having a laugh? I do this and ‘verification has failed’. I am to try again or speak the number. There do not seem to be any blue flashing lights at my door but I opt for the latter and there I am, an Amazon seller. So you can now buy my books on Amazon at the prices that they are meant to be. Sales direct from me are still preferable but all sales are welcome. Did I mention that it is only 25 days to Christmas?


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