Everything was going well. I was all set for a night away. The girls knew to go to the afterschool waiting room. Spurs Fan knew to collect them. My bag was packed- pjs, toothbrush, iPod, Kindle, make up, wine. I was off to do praying in the parish Herself lived in.
Then I got a phone call from an aunt to see if I was coming to do praying a few days later, in the parish Herself had lived in for most of her life, and from where she was buried. And if I was coming to that, would I do a reading? Ah, grand, aren’t you great, now phone this woman, here’s her numbers, and get it all sorted. I hung up and stomped a bit. I wouldn’t refuse anybody, but, seriously, did nobody else die in that parish? How did this happen? Ah well, sure maybe there’s loads of readings and Herself is from a big family…
Rushing off to the bus, I realised I’d left the phone numbers behind. By the time I got to the depot I realised I’d left the phone behind. Over the next few hours I came to realise how much I rely on having a mobile phone with me.
First of all I had to find a payphone to call the auntie to ask her to call the other aunt to tell her I couldn’t phone the woman about readings after all. Did you know that the minimum charge for a call from a payphone is 60p? 60p in no more than 4 coins. 60p.
A few minutes after leaving the depot, the bus broke down. Luckily, we hadn’t made it far enough to be stranded on the motorway, so were able to get a replacement bus relatively quickly. At the first stop, I got off the bus to find another payphone to tell the auntie I’d be late. Another 60p in no more than 4 coins. As I was telling the news, my bus started to move off. Without me. My toothbrush, iPod, Kindle and wine were reversing out of the parking spot as I dropped the phone and ran.
The bus driver relented and let me back on the bus. I was, by now, totally freaked out.
Eventually we got to Omagh, and I hung about a bit, wondering if the garbled messages I’d been leaving all afternoon had made any sense. There was no sign of the auntie so I got a taxi to her house. There was still no sign of the auntie so I stood about another bit wondering what to do. We’ve established that I couldn’t phone her, or anyone. My plan B was to go up the street to the uncle’s mother-in-law, introduce myself and use her phone. But I’d wait a bit first. I buttoned my coat, wrapped the scarf tighter and pulled on a hat. That does look like the auntie’s car, but she’s not answering the door despite lots of ringing and knocking. She’s probably at the bus depot wondering where I am and trying to phone me…
Then the front door opened, and the auntie appeared, pulling on her coat. It’s hard to know who was the more startled. Her door bell doesn’t work.
We went and collected the reading for Sunday. There was only one reading, of course. We met others for tea and then did the praying thing.
You’ll not be surprised that I had some of the wine, and slept very well that night.
I first told you about this traumatic day, soon after it happened in November 2011