Getting Your Minutes in a Twist

Getting your knickers in a twist is one of my favourite expressions. It’s so British, so Victoria-Wood, so down-to-earth and domestic. It’s a sort of equaliser: if we can talk about Boris Johnson getting his underwear in an uproar (as Basil Brush used to put it) we can bring him down a peg or two. And let’s face it, when don’t we talk about Boris Johnson getting his knickers in a twist? It happens on a daily basis.

Computers, too, are well-known for getting their long-johns in a log-jam. But what’s puzzling about my desk-top is that it has its minutes in a twist. The clock has been persistently five minutes slow; this has now crept up to six minutes and counting. Nothing can be done about this, since although you can change the time zone you cannot change the actual time; the computer, it seems, is deemed to be infallible in this area. It ain’t. What’s even more amusing is that somewhere inside its workings it knows very well what the time is. If I write a blog post and hit ‘publish’ the system will inform me simultaneously that the post is ‘live’ and that it will be ‘published in six minutes.’ Very weird.

Last night I finished watching Episode 1 of Life, the Doctor Foster spin-off I mentioned yesterday (are you paying attention?) Alison Steadman is completely compelling in this as a woman whose husband continually belittles and mocks her and is slowly coming to realise the fact. But this is only one of several stories involving the occupants of a block of smartish flats; there’s a young woman having a baby with two fathers, a teacher who’s in denial about his wife’s death, a divorced woman (the only character from Doctor Foster) who takes in her niece while the mother is in hospital – and in none of these cases can I begin to guess what the outcome will be. Compelling stuff. Unfortunately all episodes are ‘streaming now’ so I’ll have to ration myself.

Is it Thursday already? How the hell did that happen?

Kirk out

Leave Means Leave Episode 4

She’d given up so much for him; her degree, her hobbies, her friends – what had he given up? He talked of sacrifices, but the sacrifices were all hers. He talked of working hard but around the house he did nothing, except the odd repair job. Mostly he got someone in to do them – so long as he was inconvenienced by the problem. If not, she could live with it. She’d lived for years without hot water in the kitchen, boiling the kettle for everything because he wouldn’t stump up for a new boiler. He wouldn’t let her pay for it either, said it made him feel emasculated. Then there’d be another row.

Well, Ruth would be happy now. She’d maybe give her a call. It was Anna’s fault they’d lost touch – well it was his fault really, but she’d gone along with it just as she’d gone along with every theft, everything and everyone he’d taken from her. She could phone Ruth, arrange to meet for a coffee. Why not?

Fear clutched her heart at the thought of walking outside alone but the thought of leaving the town where she’d spent most of her life made her feel faint. She hadn’t been outside it for ten years; they’d never taken holidays because he’d say we need to save money (though he never said what for) and what’ve they got abroad that we haven’t? He probably didn’t want her having her own passport. He wouldn’t let her learn to drive either; she had to get the bus to work.

Work! She could do better than that miserable office. Go back to university, get a degree, do what she’d always wanted, have the future he’d stolen from her. Move down South… little by little the plans were hatching. And then the next day coming back from the shop with Michelle she saw his car in the street, just sitting there with the engine running. She looked to left and right but too late, he’d seen her. He climbed out and stood between her and the shelter.