This week I have travelled 206 miles without really feeling like I have been anywhere. Every single one of those miles has been within Wiltshire, or just over the Somerset frontier to Bath, and all for the sake of tending to the problems present on the pedal extremities of my punters.
But although I haven’t really been anywhere, the theme of the week has been travel as I have discussed trips past and future with the kind people who part with their hard earned cash in exchange for the tender loving care I give to their tender lumpy callosities which, in turn, finances my happy wanderings. And there has been a lot of callosities this week . . . twelve to fourteen hours a day of callosities, in fact!
I don’t know why but I’ve developed a bit of a reputation amongst my clientele for having nomadic ways. A few of my customers who, a couple of years ago, were shocked when I told them I was going somewhere as outlandish as Cuba or Iran for a holiday have recently sounded disappointed when my reply to their question, “So where’s your next trip then Terry?” has been Scotland. They’ve come to expect me to be globetrotting off to somewhere that sounds a bit more glamorous, mysterious or even dangerous. And knowing that these elderly, often housebound, people get so much pleasure from hearing about where I have been gives me enormous pleasure too. I almost feel that by going away somewhere unusual on holiday I am providing a service for people who have never been any further than Weymouth. Oh, the sacrifices I make!
The other big thing that people have been talking to me about this week has been the Queen. She’s been doing all sorts of stuff to mark the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of her accession to the throne. Sixty years in the same job . . . now there’s a woman that needs to get a life! And after doing the job for sixty years you’d think they’d have given her a day off rather than making her sit and listen to Robbie Williams all night in the rain. Prince Phillip, her bloke, went into hospital with a suspected bladder infection just a few hours before the gig was due to commence. A likely story! I reckon he just couldn’t face four hours of yer man Williams along with his cronies Paul McCartney, Elton John and Kylie Minogue and I can’t say I blame the man.
It’s all been a very strange and often uncomfortable situation for me to be in. I can’t help the way I feel about the Royal Family but being the only person I know in Wiltshire who didn’t put up any red, white and blue bunting, who didn’t have a Jubilee tea party and who was quite honestly bored shitless by the whole shenanigans, I can’t help but feel a bit of a freak. Actually there were ten or twelve other people who I met who said they felt the same way but they, like me, kept quiet about it and discretely simmered with rage beneath their fake appearances of toleration rather than upset the regal apple cart. The Royal Family is like Christmas . . . you are just not allowed to not like it.
There was one bit of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations that I did enjoy though and that was pointing out to 92 year old Kath in Bath that she had red, white and blue feet on account of her fungally infected toes, her impaired blood circulation and her varicose veins. How she laughed when I suggested sending a photograph of them off to the Her Majesty. I love it when elderly people laugh. They don’t seem to have to put much effort into it, but by doing so, they make everyone else around them laugh too. I’m determined to be still laughing myself when I reach 92. Kath has become my role model, at least from the ankles up.
Last night I travelled to Bradford on Avon to see my old mate Angela. Thoug when I say old, I don’t mean elderly. She’s not as old as me but she does make me laugh and she has done the Inca Trail. So it was wonderful talking about my recent trip to Peru to someone who understood what I was on about. And Angela is so good at convincing me that whatever I have done, or plan to do, in any aspect of my life was, or is, a good idea, with the possible exception of buying cider.
So now I’m going to travel to the Post Office in the fashionable Redland district of Chippenham to pay in a very healthy week’s business takings. The healthier the takings, the more active the cells in the travel department of my brain become. And the more that Robbie Williams’ existence gnaws at my poor brain cells, the more I feel the need to escape from England. So out comes my big fat list of desired destinations and the shiny pin of destiny. I wonder if Prince Phillip has ever been on an Exodus holiday.