It was now Thursday 1 st November but slightly warmer than it had been of late. Even so it was only 8 deg C as I stepped out of the house on my way for my early morning walk. I was wearing the new Wellington boots just to break them in though I doubt they will become my regular footwear for walks but I may just wear them occasionally. They are more suited for wearing when working in the garden though E says they are too good for that as they are fur-lined and fashionable. I do have basic Wellington boots which have steel toe cap protection and they do get used when gardening in wet weather. It rained constantly whilst I was out and I didn’t expect to come across anyone for that reason. However as I walked along The Promenade a guy wearing only trousers and shoes crossed over to my side of the road ahead of me. He was soaking wet and probably cold though he also probably couldn’t feel it because he was drunk. He approached me to say hello and broke into a one-sided conversation. He told me that he had just been ‘mugged and threatened with a shooter’ but I doubted that was true. Why is it that drunken people think they know you? He told me that he knew me and had seen me in a certain supermarket a few times. I told him he was mistaken for I didn’t shop in the supermarket he mentioned, which I don’t. Then he invites me to his flat (apartment) for a cup of tea! Just then a police patrol car stopped to question him and I took the opportunity to walk away. There had been many patrol cars passing by along the route I had taken which was unusual for usually there are none. I thought they were looking for someone or a group of people as they circled the area. The rest of my walk was uneventful as it normally is when I am out that early. A couple of hours after breakfast found me shopping again but only for the weekly food stock. This time I was wearing knee-high boots of a more fashionable style though I suppose I could have worn the new Wellingtons! It was around ten-fifteen when I decided to put on my overalls and do some work in the utility room. Actually I spent most of the time in the garage cutting the plywood sheet for it was too large to get it into the workshop. A couple of hours later I had finished for the day as I was too tired to carry on but I managed to fit some sheets of plywood…..
The alarm went off at two in the morning and woke me up when usually I am lying there waiting for it to ring. I must have been just that bit more tired on Friday evening. What happened next sometimes happens after I switch the alarm off though not often, I dozed off again but woke fifty minutes later. Saturday was a day for my walk and I was ready to get out there and take it but it was very windy and cool. Would it be too windy I thought? When I had gotten dressed I skipped breakfast opened the front door and braved the elements as they say. The wind wasn’t as bad as I had thought it might be but then again I was sheltered close to home. As soon as I had reached the first street pointing west toward the coast I could feel the brunt of the wind but it still wasn’t as bad as I imagined earlier. The walk this time took me along The Promenade which runs parallel to the seafront but a quarter mile inland. It passes behind the town’s clubland and being a Saturday morning I was half-expecting to see some alcohol-imbibed people staggering about as sometimes happens if it isn’t pouring down with rain. I wasn’t disappointed. The first person I came across was a middle-aged man leaning on the frame of the shelter he was beneath. He couldn’t do otherwise it seemed as he looked a little unsteady on his feet and his eyes were glazed. ‘Good morning’ I said. He seemed taken aback, well he would wouldn’t he being in the state he was? No reply. I repeated my greeting and with a look of disbelief I guess he responded. I carried on with my walk. Across the road ahead I saw four younger guys dressed in shirts and trousers who were walking away from The Promenade back into town through a passageway. One of them stopped to relieve himself against the small wall there. There seems to be no shame with people today in what they get up to. You would think anyone wanting to urinate would find somewhere a little more discreet. Further along I saw four children walking aimlessly on the sidewalk. They were about the age of eleven or twelve though one appeared to be older, say fifteen. What were they doing out so early (or late) I wondered? Lack of parental control no doubt. Finally all that was behind me and I had reached the point for me to turn back homeward along the seafront.
Here the wind was at its strongest and my eyes became glazed too in the face of it. I decided not to walk the entire way back along the seafront leaving the last mile and a half or thereabouts to turn into the built-up areas where the wind wasn’t as bad. According to the weather forecast the day ahead would be miserably wet and windy. I would stay indoors and out of it .
……I suppose. I meet all sorts of people in my capacity as an electrician. When I first entered the electrical business some fifty-three and a half years ago I was often engaged in domestic installations and repairs as well as industrial and commercial situations too. That work lasted fourteen years when I took a career side-step and entered into the maintenance field for a major bank at their large headquarters. The work was far more diversified than that which I had been used to but it was also far more interesting and I was able to gain experience and qualifications in many other things besides basic electrical installations. I spent a further twenty-one years working for the same company and was also able to gain promotion and a higher level of pay. Though there were many people working at the bank I had but only brief contact with most of them.
I became self-employed some eighteen years ago and I have since spent all my time working once again in the domestic field meeting different people each day as I did when I first started in the business. Most people are good to work for but I have met some who have not been so. Thankfully they are few and far between. I was called to help an old lady who had placed her freezer on defrost and couldn’t subsequently turn it back on. There was no logical reason for there being a fault and I expected as much when I arrived there. The problem was merely the fact that she had switched on the wrong switch on the twin wall socket so in fact hadn’t switched on the freezer. She had a good excuse though as she was over ninety-two years of age! We chatted for a short time over a coffee and then I had to leave to go to my next job. She asked how much it was for my visit and I refused payment. It didn’t matter, she kept insisting that she pay me something so in the end I felt obliged to accept for fear of insulting her. It wasn’t that she couldn’t afford to pay me, far from it for she seemed quite well off in her well-appointed apartment but she wouldn’t allow me to leave without something. I had done work for her and her husband in the past but he died a couple of years ago. My next job was a bit more involved. I had to re-arrange circuit breakers and fit a main switch in a supply panel/board for another old lady for whom I had worked before. She too was getting on in years and in her mid to late eighties and her husband had also died since I was there last a couple of years ago. She was very interested in what I was doing to solve the problem she was experiencing whenever she switched on her cooker. Essentially it had been supplied through an RCD unit which also supplied other circuits. Cookers are noted for tripping these devices and therefore should not be supplied through one. especially if there are other circuits connected to it. She was very thankful for my services and even more thankful that I had kept the fee as small as I could. Later I was called to replace a ceiling light for a young guy, well younger than me! He was very amiable and helpful too. It is people like these who make my day and my work enjoyable.
It will soon be New Years’ Eve and another excuse for a binge, not that many need an excuse. One thing I haven’t celebrated for more than forty years is New Year. I had plenty of opportunity but no inclination. Yes, I once drank and to my shame over-indulged on many an occasion but ceased drinking just over two years ago. In fact I once gave up the drink for more than thirteen years until I slipped back into the habit around 2002. The problem with alcohol and indeed many other forms of drug, yes it is a drug, is that it is addictive and when that addiction gains strength it can be destructive too. The body has no need for drugs except where they are medicinal but the mind is our weak spot. It is what we think that decides what we do, often to our detriment. So here we are just before New Year and many will be preparing for their celebrations, where to go or who to invite to their own parties. Of course the main activity will involve drinking alcohol and for many, excessively. The aftermath will be headaches, hangovers, injuries and even sadly, death. Some will still insist on taking to the road in their vehicles causing mayhem in the process and if they don’t kill themselves they may kill innocent bystanders or motorists. I think drinking any amount of alcohol before driving should incur the severest penalty, a complete ban on driving for two years. Some will disagree with that saying that small amounts of alcohol do no harm. I disagree, any amount of alcohol has an affect on the system. Most who celebrate of course will do it sensibly, though perhaps noisily. I will probably be asleep well before the midnight hour and will wake up feeling refreshed and free from the dreaded hangover. Out of interest the only real remedy for a hangover aside from not bringing it on in the first place is to drink plenty of water and continue to do so until the headache disappears. The headache, the hangover is simply caused by dehydration therefore the only solution is to rehydrate…..drink water! There are many supposed remedies but only drinking water works. There is no need to drink alcohol in order to have a good time, alcohol often affects memory anyway and whatever ‘good time’ that had been enjoyed is not remembered. What is the point in that? Whatever you do on New Years’ Eve. be wise, be safe and enjoy it. I will enjoy my day differently.