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Avon logo.svg

No, it’s not Avon calling, since no one has rung the doorbell.  Sadly, neither

is it an envelope bearing an address from the Indyref#supporting city of

Glasgow on its rear flap, indicating a life-changing Premium Bond re-

invested win of twenty-five quid.  Nor is it a tax rebate.  No, it is one of

those annoying red and white cards from Royal Mail which commands you

to rise, take up your bed and walk to the local office to pick up your parcel,

which was too large to be shredded through the letterbox.

Wait!  I struggle to put on my shoes with their orthotic inserts and race out,

subsequently hoping I have put my door on its latch.  Where is the wretched

Postman Pat?  There’s no sign of a baseball cap, nor unseasonable Bermuda

shorts.  There’s no sign of Jess, the cat, or Mrs Goggins.

There is a red trolley parked a couple of doors away, standing like an Anish

Kapoor sculpture in a sea of loom bands..  Hey!  Maybe the parcel is still on


Apparently not.  Don’t be stupid.  They never had any intention to deliver it.

Did I detect a smirk?

No, the nuisance package is awaiting my collection at a local office which

has restricted opening hours.  And it won’t be available till the next working

day after the non-event.

That will be Saturday. There is absolutely zero chance of The Husband’s short-

term memory system kicking in at the weekend.  He is unable to simultaneously

hold the concepts of mail retrieval and FT purchase.  Maybe it’s something to

do with his hippocampus. (I think that influences short term memory, but I

can’t remember.)

Anyway, forget seven items’ recall, plus or minus two.  He struggles to

remember two.  He seems to struggle to process what I’m talking about.

Naively, I expected him to follow my simple instructions to buy some carrots

and parsnips, along with his newspaper.  But then, mentally over-loaded,

he wouldn’t have remembered to fetch the package, would he?.

I know that is a total of three things, but he could have grouped both

edibles under a superordinate term, such as ‘root vegetables’ and then he

would have only had two purchases to recall.  You surely don’t have to be

Derren Brown to think of coping strategies.

Probably The Husband’s hippocampus shrank and re-absorbed itself, like

the Edinburgh panda did with its foetus, when he was faced with multi-


I bet male hippocampi don’t function like their namesake sea-horses, who

at least have the decency to share the female workload more equitably.


So, I get to go for the parcel and the parsnips.  He’s already deep in The FT

‘Money’ supplement.  He reminds me of that man who had to be rescued from

his bubble in the Atlantic.  Except The Husband doesn’t want to be rescued.

He loves his bubble.  And sometimes I like it too.

There’s a queue and the woman in front of me is being asked for ID.  Okay, I

think smugly, I’ve got some bank cards and a National Trust card:

out-of-date- but nevertheless..

Zut alors!  The parcel is addressed to The Husband.  I don’t happen to be

carrying his passport, or driving licence on me.  Do I have the STD card?

Supposed Time of Delivery?  I think of Andy Murray and his novel

utilisation of the acronym.  He was laughed down for texting his

terpsichorean mother to wish her good luck with the ‘STD’.  I believe

he meant SCD, but he wasn’t being ‘Strictly‘ accurate.

Just keep serving!

Judy Murray Olympic Games.jpg

Anyway, I digress..

It’s okay, I remonstrate. The postie knows me.  We talk nearly every day,

mainly through the letter-flap, when he fails to close it and a howling gale

like a Boson particle zooming round a hadron collider whooshes down my

hall.  He could push the vast wad of junk mail completely through, if he

feels that he really must burden the planet with it.  Why doesn’t he just

dump it like some of his colleagues are wont to do?  In a Black Hole,


This woman is as immoveable as a post-box.

No, we need proof of ID for the addressee.  Names are very important

to us.Just like your custom.

Right, but that works both ways, I parry.  You’re not so particular

when it comes to stuffing any old person’s correspondence and bank

statements through my front door.  Anyhow, I can tell you that the box

contains a replacement fridge shelf.  Not many people would know that.

So, it must be ours.

She doesn’t pick up on the Michael Caine reference.

Okay, you can have it just this once, she concedes, but next time I need

a couple of utility bills in his name.

Not Michael Caine’s then.  I’m having fun.

I return to find The Husband still wading through the pink newspaper.

I picked up your parcel, I say.

(He’s not listening.)

You did get the carrots, didn’t you? I persevere.  I can’t see them in my

fridge.  No, our fridge. When I can’t see them in the first person

possessive plural’s fridge it means they are not there.

Sorry, I forgot, he confesses lamely.

And it’s then that I look in my bag and have to admit to myself that

I have forgotten to buy parsnips.  But I don’t tell him.  I just sneak out

while he reads his way through the rest of The Weekend Section.

I’m not infallible.  But not many people are allowed to guess that.