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Finding Remo (or Not)
By Richard Lutwyche
- The conversation in the car
“No!” she shouted, “I said ‘second left!”
“Oh, why didn’t you bring the satnav? You’ve never been able to understand a map. You simply have no idea where in the universe we currently are, have you?”
Silence hung in the air.
“Joan will be furious – you know what she’s like…. She’s probably made a soufflé.” She tried to lessen the tension by maintaining a calm voice.
He didn’t appear to have heard. Looking out of his mirror, he commented: “That’s the third time we’ve passed The White Horse,” and then turning his attention back to the road ahead, “Could we have some directions relating to the map you’re holding, PLEASE!”
“It’s a common enough name,” she said defensively, screwing up her eyes to try and identify where they might be. “There’s probably dozens of them in a town like this.”
“Maybe,” his tone was deliberately neutral. “But the chances of all of them having a lop-sided sign due to a broken bracket must be pretty remote even in your tiny world!”
“Oh, I don’t know why they had to move anyway. They’re old house was perfect – you should have turned off back there – quick, turn round. And why did they call it ‘San Remo’? It’s so 70s…”
“If I turn round here, we’ll be really late because, my dear, it’s a one-way street and we’ll be up before the local beak in the morning! And I don’t know why they called the house San-bloody-Remo but you’ll break the iceberg by asking her and then listening to an hour’s lecture…”
They drove on in a tense atmosphere, completing another circuit to bring them back to the junction she had identified. Still staring at the map, she murmured, “I think that’s the turning. Be prepared to act quickly though if I say ‘straight on’.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be prepared to act quickly all right.”
“I’ll phone them and tell them we’ll be a little late.
“No! Phone them and tell them the truth – we’ll be very late. Ask her if she wants us to bring a takeaway!”
- The thoughts in her head
I knew he’d cock it up. He always does! He’s so impetuous – doesn’t listen. Claims it’s all my fault – that I can’t read a map. How difficult is it? I can read a map perfectly… when I want to. But if he goes so fast that he’s past the turning before I can get the words out…
Actually, I don’t really mind. I’d rather we just went home even with him in a foul mood. Another ten minutes and he’ll lose his temper and that’ll be it.
Joan’s insufferable. San Remo will be like a centre spread from Country Living. The food will be inedible and Teddy will be half cut by now and his paws going everywhere as soon as I walk in the door.
Just ten more minutes. One more mis-direction and I reckon that should do it!
Richard is just finishing his fifth non-fiction book which is due to be published next year.