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
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!
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.