I'm struggling to think of a subject for my post today so have decided, randomly, to write about my brother and his wilderness years.
My bro, B, has a very successful career and a beautiful fiancée but it hasn't always been so. A few years ago, I moved back with my parents, post divorce, at the same time as B. My poor folks had finally considered themselves free of their kids but realised that they were mistaken when their 30-something daughter, 20-something son and four-something grandson moved back home.
The Parents coped admirably and tried to get on with their lives in the midst of their troublesome children. Part of this approach involved going on as many holidays as possible to absent themselves from the family home.
It was on one of these occasions that my brother experienced his Week From Hell, a week that has been committed to the annuls of family folklore.
B was working in Bristol at the time, 20 miles away from home. As he couldn't afford the tax and insurance for his car (and therein lies another story), Mum had kindly said that he could borrow her car whilst she was away, so that he didn't have to rush for the bus.
'Excellent,' thought my bro on the Monday morning, 'A few extra minutes in bed'.
Unfortunately, he took a few too many extra minutes and arrived late for work. In a rush to find parking near the office, B squeezed the car into a tiny space, (my brother is An Excellent Driver) and rushed off.
In his haste, B hadn't noticed that the back wheel of the car was parked a couple of inches onto a double yellow line. That evening, he left the office and walked back to where he had parked the car that morning.
With a sinking heart, B realised what he had done, made some calls and was told that the car had been towed. He was also told that it would cost £120 to release the car from the compound. Plus an extra £20 for each day that the car remained uncollected.
Did I mention that my bro couldn't afford car insurance? And not only could he not afford insurance, he couldn't afford to release the car from the compound.
In fact, he couldn't even afford the bus fare home.
He decided to hitch-hike and started to walk the 20 miles. It began to rain. It began to pour with rain. He had no coat. Strangely enough, not many drivers wanted to stop for a bedraggled and soaking 6 foot tall bear of a man walking along a speeding dual carriageway.
He was finally picked up 10 miles from home and, as soon as he was dropped at the house, made his way to bed.
B woke up with a sore throat and raging temperature. The stroll in the rain had done for him. He went back to bed.
After waking with a minor dose of the flu, B hauled himself out of bed. Late.
He had missed the hourly bus at the nearest stop, so decided to take a short cut across the fields to a different bus route. He was sweating and shivering and probably not in the best of spirits as he stumbled across a cow pasture.
I imagine that he wondered if the gods were truly against him as he tripped on a hummock of grass and fell, face first, into a large cow pat.
Covered in manure, he decided that the day probably wouldn't improve and returned home to bed.
Reader, I'm sure that you haven't forgotten that the car compound clock was ticking - Mum's car was still trapped and the bill for it's release was growing by the day. To make matters worse, our parents were due back on Saturday.
Something had to be done.
B called his best friend, Tommy T, and, with a rising sense of hysterical panic, pored out his woes. Gallant Tommy offered to lend him the release money and to drive him up to the compound in Bristol that afternoon.
All thoughts of work were pushed aside by this point - the day would be spent getting the car back.
The pair drove to the compound and Tommy paid the fine. B finally saw light at the end of the tunnel. His life was back on track, he thought to himself.
Until he realised that he had left the car keys at home.
The compound was about to close and there was no time to return that day. B went home and to bed.
Release Day. B found the keys, hitched up to Bristol and paid the car bail. As he drove home, he was full of the joys of a beautiful late autumn day in Somerset.
The clouds lifted, the sun shone, birds sang and it was Carnival weekend. B and his new girlfriend would be partying all night. The Parents would return home, unaware of the trials of the week and all would be right with B's world.
That night B's girlfriend dumped him for gallant Tommy T. The Parents returned the next day and bawled him out for leaving the house in a mess. The following Monday, he received a court fine for unpaid car tax.
The Week From Hell.
PS - I ran this post past my brother to check that he was OK with me using his sorry tale as blog material. His additional comments below:
'As a post-script, I'd probably add that on the Monday following 'Hell-Week', I was low enough to attempt smoking for the first time.
Having spent £1.35 (yes that really is how much they used to cost) that I'd managed to scrape from various coat pockets on a packet of 10 Embassy No.1, I opened the pack and (knowing nothing about smoking lore) held the packet upside down as I removed my first smoke. Imagine my surprise when the other nine came with it, and all of them sank to the bottom of the puddle over which I was standing......... '
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