The late, late show

The late, late show

Here's the funny thing - although, in the end, I was only about fifteen minutes late, the rest of the day was a complete write-off

Friday, 29 September 2023, 17:29


In The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Frank Ford - who, let's face it, sounds more like a New York car dealer than a Shakespearean character - says, "Better three hours too soon than a minute too late."

Frankly, Frank is right - in fact, punctuality should really have been the subject of an eleventh commandment: "Thou shalt not waste other people's time, bowling up whenever the whim taketh you."

About twenty years ago I missed a flight to Madrid because I hadn't set the alarm properly and ended up taking a very slow train which got me to the capital about an hour before I was due to play a couple of songs on national radio.

Needless to say, it wasn't the greatest performance of a less than sparkling career and I shuffled back to my hotel afterwards feeling chastened and angry with myself in equal parts.

Ever since then, I've always set two alarms just in case. Well, except for last Monday, that is.

It'd been a very busy weekend at the pub and I got home at about 4am, knowing I had to be up at nine to meet a chap who was going reupholster our bar stools to (the excitement around these parts is off the scale).

For the first time in two decades I set just one alarm owing to being overcome by a very powerful tiredness/laziness combo.

When it sounded what seemed like a couple of minutes later (it's one of those square plastic ones from the Chinese shop), I gave it the good slap it deserved and, instead of then leaping from my pit in the manner of Rudolph Nureyev in his pomp, promptly grunted and gurgled a couple of times before falling back to sleep and resuming my endless, yet consistently fruitless, search for a dream about a date with Liv Tyler.

Next thing I knew, I was jabbering some incomprehensible nonsense on the phone to the reupholsterer who'd called to see where the hell I was, although he phrased it rather more politely than that.

Here's the funny thing - although, in the end, I was only about fifteen minutes late, the rest of the day was a complete write-off.

Everything that could possibly go wrong did so, as if the gods of punctuality, with all their niggling punishments, were making sure it will be at least another twenty years before I dare to be similarly tardy.

It will.

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