It was a day that started in a quite surreal manner.
My first bus of the morning – a little vehicle, which plods through estates until meeting a main road, then plods though more estates before finally the big road to Islington – was, as it usually does, attempting to edge out of the first lot of estates and onto New North Road.
Usually, whatever traffic is around will allow it to do that. This morning, a vast lorry decided not to. The bus edged around the back of the lorry – obviously somebody else allowed way – and then managed to spin around to sit alongside the lorry in the next lane as we now waited together at the lights.
Now I have no idea whether the bus driver made any gesture at the lorry driver. I was sitting directly behind the driver, side on, so once we'd swung around, I was the one person on the bus with a full-on view of lorry and driver.
And the aforementioned driver had direct eye contact with me.
He was at least in his late 40s if not in his 50s. Bull headed and with a mouth that was flapping a tad like one of those stroppy bull terrier-type dogs, he was leaning out of his nice, clean, white lorry (with black, tattoo-like markings) and giving a bi-digital salte to our bus.
I mouthed back: 'Nice'.
He didn't like that, and leant further out of his cab to gesture at the lorry itself.
What? You've got a big vehicle? Is that a substitute for having a dinky dick?
Not, of course, that I was asking anything like this. I merely maintained eye contact and shook my head in a somewhat sorrowful manner.
He started to open the door of his cab and get out. Fortunately, at this point, the lights changed. He shuffled quickly back into his seat, slammed the door shot, and drove off, giving a constant version of the same bi-digital salute as he did so.
For goodness sake – what is it with some people? I imagine he'll have a heart attack shortly and either kick the bucket in almost Darwinesque fashion or sit around for years like more of a vegetable than he clearly already is, expecting to be waited on, hand and foot.
I hate to imagine what any possible partner goes through.
And honestly – would such a person be a loss to the world as a whole?
But let's move on.
My phone issue (or non-phone issue, to be accurate) continued – although I want to say here that Orange were (as always, to be fair) great. There's a reason I stay with them. Transport for London – which runs the general lost property service – were also helpful, but told me to expect no news before Friday at least.
The thing is, I go to Manchester on Saturday for a week-long conference (I'm working), so I need a phone. Amazingly, the company's IT contractor managed to find me a spare Blackberry before the end of the day. Thanks guys! Although an online manual for the model in question runs to over 200 pages, which leaves me feeling a tad queasy.
But I should also thank my immediate colleagues, who were quite wonderful when I got in this morning and relayed the story about the phone and the lorry driver. Indeed, they were, to a man and woman, more horrified than I was. I was simply still shaking my head in bafflement more than anything. Which is where I still am.
However, let's move on. What do you do after that sort of a day?
Okay, well the best thing to do, I think, is to cook.
It was a bit of an invention day. Or put another way – what's in the cupboard/frdge?
I took two big shallots and sliced them. Then four fat bulbs of garlic and half a red jalepeno chili and sliced them all too.
Everything went into an oiled paella pan (a gift from George from a visit to Madrid, so the real deal) and softened over a moderate heat for some time.
Next, add some ordinary rice. Stir. Allow the rice to pick up the rest of the oil.
Add some stock. Then some thickly sliced chestnut mushrooms and some fresh peas.
And then just let everything simmer until it's all cooked. Test to make sure it's all cooked.
It wasn't fancy. It wasn't expensive.
It was tasty. And as it happens, it was probably healthy too.
And frankly, it makes white man van seem even more of a surreal irrelevance than ever!