I saw Sue this morning, walking Pippa and Dylan (who is apparently nicknamed Dildo). We were out early because Nicktor was picking me up for the trip north.
It was lovely walking along with her and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed mixing with dogs that they actually know. Of course Emma was a bit focused on her ball but Freya had a fun time. In fact, when we parted, Freya decided she’d rather walk with Sue and left us to head into the Queen’s Bottom. Rotten dog.
After managing to return home with all of us together and generally making the house tidy for Mirinda I waited for my lift to arrive…which it duly did just before midday. We set off for Colin and Frances’ place in preparation for our annual cricket day in the north.
Frank joined us this year. He went with Nicktor the year I didn’t go (to Trent Bridge, staying with Sleesy’s dad) and two years ago when we all stayed at the Travelodge in Huddersfield but didn’t last year when we stayed with Colin and Frances for the first time. I always enjoy Frank’s company but, sadly, the same cannot be said for Nicktor.
It started almost as soon as we left the house and tried to find the Hogs Back Brewery…not that it was lost. We eventually went the right way and bought a 20 pint box of beer and 3.5 pints of cider for Frank. These were for drinking at Colin and Frances’ place with dinner. Frank almost immediately started drinking his cider. This didn’t help.
I wasn’t that acquainted with squabbling kids in cars on long journeys but I’m fairly certain I am now. They did not stop. And it’s not like the fault was with either one of them. No, they were both to blame entirely. I felt like knocking their heads together they were so unruly. And it’s just not very good in a car driving up a motorway.
The problem is that Nicktor has a slight OCD (or CDO as he calls it) problem as I have mentioned before. Any long time reader of this blog may remember he was so offended by my different coloured socks that he removed them at a party one night, shocking the assembled guests to the point of speechlessness. His affliction (and I will call it no less) extends to his car where everything has a place and everything is in it. It might not be clean; it might not be perfect; but by golly it’s how he likes it.
Frank, on the other hand, is a sort of…how can I put this. He’s like flubber. He has the uncanny ability to take up all the available space around him with an orbit that extends beyond the normal bounds of an individual’s allowance. This extends beyond his extremities.
It’s fair to say that if Frank is going to sit anywhere, everything he has in his pockets is going to be placed within reach but not in his pockets. Keys, spare change, tape measures, his phone, all of it gets distributed into any receptacle.
Nicktor was not keen on this situation and it was this that started the arguing. The tape measure was the biggest bugbear but the squabbling reached a head when the tyre pressure light suddenly decided to come on. At first we didn’t know what it was but we eventually worked it out and stopped at a handy services to inflate the offending tyre. That was fine and no different to what happens in Max. The thing was none of us could work out how to turn the little indicator off.
Frank asked if Nicktor had the manual and started rummaging around in the glove box. This is one of the places that Nicktor keeps his CDs and it is organised very carefully with the sizeable and virgin manual sat at the bottom. When I said rummaged I meant that Frank roughly pulled everything out before settling back with the manual, starting to read it out aloud.
Poor Nicktor was flummoxed. He had a handful of CDs, a messy glove compartment and a mad kitchen fitter reading the first page of a 900 page manual, most of which sounded Swedish. He waved the CDs impotently around in the air, sputtering a few choice words regarding Frank’s disregard for normal social behaviour and starting to recite the rules that bind the common man with bonds that stop them killing each other. Frank kept reading.
I suggested that Frank look in the index for the tyre pressure warning light which, thankfully, he did and he flicked to the back of the book while Nicktor tried to figure out what to do with the CDs while he was trying to steer the car out of the services car park.
Eventually Frank found the correct page (200 and something) and directed Nicktor in how to get rid of the little light. Nicktor tried but, as Frank later read, the car had to be stopped. (The next time we pulled up to stationary traffic, Nicktor managed to get rid of the light.) There then followed a strongly distressed Nicktor repeatedly instructing Frank in the intricacies of repacking everything into the glove box in the correct order.
This episode was but one instance in a largely entertaining trip up the always undergoing roadworks M1 motorway. There were a few rounds of eye spy which wiled away some miles (Frank’s R for Railings was an excellent choice) until, eventually, we wound up driving over a hill and were confronted with the most beautiful scene. Nicktor just had to stop and have a look and naturally I joined him. It sure beat the stale atmosphere of the car and the traffic of the M1.
We then drove down to the Butcher’s Arms which was a delight (as all pubs seem to be in the north at cricket time) with lovely beer (and cider for Frank who isn’t keen on gluten), a bar menu and generally friendly staff. They were even friendly when the customers looked decidedly unhappy.
Even though we were being fed later by Frances (spag bol), Frank decided he was hungry and so ordered the biggest steak in the county. Nicktor felt peckish so he ordered a bucket of chips and mountain range of onion rings and I had mixed olives with bread (which I gave to Nicktor – the bread, not the olives). It was a jolly repast washed down with some excellent libations.
Eventually Colin and Sleesy turned up for a cheeky pint (they’d been playing racket ball or some other silly thing that involves grown men going all red in the face, trying to induce heart attacks in their opponent) before we all headed up to the house.
Frances had cooked up a storm and we all settled down to a feast on the patio table, warmed by the, expertly lit by Nicktor, fire in the outside fire thing that all trendy people seem to have in their gardens these days. I have to say that I was pleasantly amazed at Nicktor’s prowess with wood and matches. The fire was perfect and provided us with enough heat to have us sat there drinking and chatting well into the night.
Well, most of us did. Poor Frank was obviously worn out by the constant bickering and sniping (and cider) and put himself to bed early, leaving us squabble free for the rest of the night.