The torture of language, the torture of language

Fifty unrelenting minutes of the mindless tedium that is rural middle-age. It reminded me of a scenario from school, where on the first day of a new year, the sixth form would attempt to persuade innocent first years to write essays on the sex life of a ping pong ball, or the geography teacher would ask a particular numpty to fetch the black chalk from the store cupboard. What larks! There’s a lot to be said for an English education. Actually, on reflection, there isn’t. There’s a market out there for tweenie fiction and endless tales of boarding school hell, but nothing comparable to the entire genre or high school fic that there is in the UsofProm. That’s what having Grange Hill on the television does for you.

But I digress. Unlike this particular woman on her way to a training seminar or similar. If only. A little digression. Some gossip. Any kind of insight for me to squirrel away in a notebook and vainly claim to have made up thirty years later. But no. Satan could use her to set crosswords. Twenty whole minutes on the inner workings, settings and efficacy of her new boiler system. Stabbing with bent spoons was too good for her. Several hours later, I can still recite the temperature of her bungalow for any given point during the day. Her travelling companion, on offering advice (God help me but he had the SAME BOILER and thermostat. Wireless apparently. Naturally – that’s to save their respective spouses from strangling them with the wires) was rebuffed with the simple yet deadly, ‘oh yes the man who installed it said that too’.

Hells’ teeth! What connivance was this? Not only is this woman killing me softly with her dial settings , but she’s also not taking the advice of a qualified engineer. All male particles in a three metre radius were beginning to oscillate. ‘I suppose I should have read the instructions….’ Now. I’ve read enough Dilbert and seen enough Scots mechanics in black and white WWII films to know that this is Never A Good Idea. Although I did just assume that the installer was qualifed. And we should never assume things. Assuming makes appointments with disappointments. Or is that cheese?

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