Welcome to your weekly GL musing – whoops, what am I saying? 

We’ve entered the new era, haven’t we?  ‘Life in Laytonia’ is now appearing once a fortnight.  Goodness, those 2 weeks have flown by.

Maybe you’ve been missing me?  I hope so.   It does occur to me though, that you may share the feelings of my life-long friend and valued proofreader known in previous blogs as ‘Mate’. 

Those of you who read last week’s ‘L in L’ – oh dear, there I go again.  Apologies.  Force of habit.  Those of you who read the lastL in L’ may remember Mate’s comment when I told him that my weekly bulletins would henceforth be appearing fortnightly. ‘Thank God for that!’ he riposted.

Mate denies this, which is why I have repeated it!

The reason for the change, if you recall, is to allow me to concentrate on other literary projects.  So, how have I been doing?

Hmm…

Before going into detail, it may be worth reiterating that before embarking on these weekly musings at the start the first lock down, I was a member of Couch Potatoes Anonymous.

My name is George and I am an indolent couch potato…

Sympathetic murmurs from fellow sufferers.

One year on, following a year of weekly postings:

My name is George and I am an indolent part time couch potato…

Generous approval at how far I have come these past 12 months.

There are pitfalls in going fortnightly, ergo not being under that weekly pressure.  The major pitfall being that this newfound freedom, ostensibly to concentrate on additional work, merely offers up couch-potato opportunities. 

Have I been tempted?  Have I fallen off the couch potato wagon?  Have I regressed to full time couch potatoing?

Hand on heart, I can hold my hand up and say – well, with one hand on my heart, I guess it’s the other hand I’m holding up…Look, it’s an odd image but what I’m trying to say is that during the past 14 days my couch potato quota has NOT increased! 

I hear your applause, thank you, thank you, but it is sadly misplaced. Neither has my creativity output. 

That said, there has been a good deal of thinking going on.  Some good ideas.  I think…

There comes a time, however, when thinking becomes procrastination. 

Rather than talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.  Or in writers’ parlance, rather than think the thought, you have to write the thought.  Easier said than done. 

Putting something down on paper or rather opening a new document on the computer is for me the start of a relationship.  As with any relationship, slowly comes commitment.  And having committed oneself emotionally and in hours, if the relationship sours, if things don’t work out, breaking up can be painful.

That is the reason why I spend a great deal of time thinking/procrastinating/ procrastinating/ thinking before putting pen to paper or forefinger to keyboard. 

That’s my excuse anyway.

There have, in my defense, been extenuating circumstances.  I have been hugely distracted.  No, no, not the usual dishwasher, washing machine, vacuuming every inch of the house procrastinatory sidetracking that you have become acquainted with. 

No, this is a genuine, somewhat distressing, distraction that seriously affected my concentration and ability to work.

This week we had to say farewell to a much-loved and treasured member of the Laytonia family.

What??  No, not the dog!  Oh my G…you’ve made my stomach turn a dozen somersaults.  No, Woody’s fine – as you can see:

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No!  I’m talking about saying goodbye to our beloved 20 year-old car.

Not just any old car, our 20 year-old sports car.  Not just any old sports car, our hardtop convertible sport car.

When the last of our kids left home some 15 years ago, Moya and I decided to fill the void in our lives by treating ourselves to this sexy, red, 2-seater that had come our way at a price we could afford.

The thinking was, as we attempted to recreate our car-less teenage years, that if we were going to buy a show-off car like this, we should do so whilst we were limber and agile enough to climb in and out of it.

Actually, it wasn’t a bad deal.  Whilst the upkeep of this petrol-guzzling poseurmobile was somewhat costly, it turned out to be a darn sight cheaper than having the kids at home.  All in all, it has been a win-win situation.

15 years on, whilst we were still able to climb in and out of her, limber or agile was not the best way to describe the awkward entry & exit process.  In recent years getting in, and especially getting out, had been imperceptibly slowing down. 

That was not, however, why we had decided on a parting of the ways, there were a myriad of reasons.  ‘Petrol guzzling’ being one of them.

For what it cost to satisfy this seductive little lady’s thirst, we could have supported an Uber driver and his/her family for a week or two and still had some dosh left over.  Environmentally Friendly and Saving the Planet were not in this young lady’s vocabulary. That, dear reader, is why she is being replaced by a fully electric mode of transport.

Did I say ‘young’?  The two drivers were not the only ones getting on, the Lady in Red was no spring chicken and her demands to maintain her young looks became increasingly expensive.

And forget the ‘two drivers’ reference.  With Moya’s on-going shoulder problems (see ‘L in L’ 15th March “Ooh Matron…”) in recent years there has only been one driver. Another reason for saying ‘Au revoir’ to the ageing girl.  Or since she was Japanese, perhaps that should have been ‘Sayonara’.

Another Sayonara clue is the ‘poseurmobile’ soubriquet mentioned earlier.

When we acquired her some 15 years ago, whilst driving – especially with the top down – I would to will the lights to go red so that I could stop by an adjacent shop window and admire the reflection of the cool dude at the wheel.  I even used to try and catch a glimpse of myself whilst on the move, which with my driving record was sheer lunacy.

Boy, did I love myself!  And whom was I kidding?  Back then I already had my bus pass in my wallet – I just never let on!!

It is at this point I should disclose that as some actors have stage names, I have a stage age, hence the secrecy with regard to my bus pass.  Ssh!!

Back to the catalyst that was to decide the fate of the old girl.

A couple of Saturdays ago, on an uncharacteristically sunny spring day, I was preening my way up Hampstead High Street in the poseurmobile. 

The cleverly designed electric roof was stowed snugly in the boot, the sun was shining down on my flowing lockdown locks and I was willing the traffic to slow down or stop at a red light in order to facilitate a springtime reunion of the mutual admiration society in a nearby shop window.

Ah, a zebra crossing.  Alongside Waterstones’s.  Perfect!

The Silver Fox graciously waved the pedestrians across and turned to admire the reflection of the Cool Dude in the sporty red convertible…

Arrghh!!

There was no cool dude.  What I saw was some diminished grey-haired old codger barely able to see over the steering wheel!

It is at this point I should disclose that as some actors have stage names, I have a stage height. If you Google me you will find I am listed at a generous 5 feet 7 inches.  In my dreams.  Ssh!!

I stared at this pathetic-looking stranger gazing back at me from Waterstone’s window, desperately clinging to the hope that it was 20 years wear on the leather seat that was giving the driver that sunken look rather than a further loss of height. 

A sharp blast on the horn from the car behind brought me out of my reflective Dorian Gray moment.

London CabbieC’mon Grandad!  Never mind posing.  Get a move on!!  

The old ‘Grandad’ raised an apologetic wrinkled hand, mercifully as yet liver-spot free, and slowly drove the old lady home…