Let me begin this week’s column by saying Happy Anniversary to Mrs The Thamensian. It is cheaper to write 500 words in the paper than buy a card, so well done Mrs TT, the years have flown past quicker than you flying past this page to get to the houses section. I believe the kids of today have an expression for my marital status, and that word is ‘punching’. (NB: this is fine, old people, don’t go phoning social services just yet. It means my marriage is sick. Tell you what. Just leave it). Anyway, back to the story; 20 years ago today we were in Thame Sports and Arts Centre surrounded by family and friends and celebrating the greatest day of our lives. Or rather, Mrs the Thamensian was; I sneaked off to the Rising Sun because I didn’t like being the centre of attention. With hindsight, rather than setting down a marker, I was simply storing up problems wasn’t I? As a result of my reception deception I have now spent two decades failing to make amends. This week saw a perfect example. “Dad,” said one of the many smaller Thamensians, “can you pick me up at the airport when we come back from holiday?” Well, obviously I said yes because that is the caring, sharing father that I am. “Great” she said “Gatwick at three o’clock.” Hmm. Thame residents know the problem. Heathrow is 40 minutes on a good run and we all happily give airport run lifts don’t we? But Gatwick at three in the afternoon means playing the M25 Bingo game. It could be clear, it could be busy, but most likely it will be closed. So you either arrive way too early or you get there to be greeted by scowling suntanned returnees, sitting on suitcases outside arrivals with duty free bags clinking at their ankles and “we have been waiting 45 minute” looks on their peeling faces. “Oh, don’t worry about that you silly old thing” said my lovely daughter. “There won’t be any traffic at that time. It’s three in the morning that we arrive.” And so, dear reader, here I sit in arrivals on a distinctly uncomfortable steel sofa with my laptop open and the Board of Doom saying ‘delayed’. I can’t have a coffee because I want to go back to bed when I finally get home, which at this rate will be after fighting the morning rush hour. I thought I would pen my weekly notes for you right here, and see if anyone detected that I wrote them, for once, in a not very happy mood.
I have loved every single hour of every single day of the last twenty years. But surely someone might have mentioned nights like this in the small print?
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