The Newspaper Dilemma

On days like this when I’m really busy playing Operation with my daughter I’m faced with a dilemma. Do I go to the nearest newspaper shop, where the head guy doesn’t really speak English (apart from ‘hello’ and ‘yes boss’) or go a bit further away – in fact, cross over the border into Hackney borough, on the other side of Mountgrove Road, to get my papers from Dursun. Dursun and his family are interesting talkative types. But his shop is about 30 yards further away.

I used to go to Dursun’s all the time but now I try to save time by going to the shop that’s nearest. What I think I’m going to do with this saved time I haven’t really considered. It’s only about an extra minute. And I only buy three newspapers a week these days. That’s three minutes a week, 156 minutes a year. Could I write a novel in the time available? Yes, in theory. In 156 minutes I reckon I could do around 1500 words. So for a shortish 80,000 word novel, it’d take me 53 years. So I’ll have finsihed it by the time I’m 93.

It seems ridiculous but I think it’s a worthwhile project and soemthing to keep me occupied when I’m an old dodderer. I’m going to give it a working title of The Newspaper Novel. One minute a day.

By the way, today I persuaded my wife to get the paper as I didn’t want to leave the house. Some of the plastic bones from Operation have gone missing and I needed to do a scan of the living room. I think they’ve been deliberately hidden because my daughter knows they are my lucky bones.

Running for buses

I’ve always prided myself on my ability to catch a bus. It doesn’t usually matter how far I have to run, I always make it just in time. But yesterday I was defeated. Near the Kieser Training gym, at Mornington Crescent, I saw a 29 coming down the road and started a slow jog in preparation for the big sprint to the bus stop. Maybe it was because this was a bendy bus that I got it wrong – but I left the sprint too late. When I got to the bus stop the doors had closed and the driver ignored my ‘palms out’ gesture of possible negotiation.

As the bus pulled off I suddenly felt old. This just doesn’t happen to me. Then I made a crucial mistake. “I’ll wait for a 253” I thought to myself. But the 253 comes down from Euston along the parallel road next to the tube. By the time I’d worked this out I’d been waiting for 15 minutes. I decided to run down to Camden High Street to the next stop. But my legs had gone.