In an email exchange I recently had to do with bus services and new year, I was addressed for the first time as ‘Madam’. What a wonderful world. Apparently no bus services on my particular operator run on New Year’s Day but I was advised thus: ‘You may wish to try National Express Coaches on [number]’. I may wish to try that indeed, Mr [Bus Company Public Service], I may indeed.
Somehow this random seam of old-fashioned manners has made me very happy. So let’s not even talk about the ridiculous boy who, on my way back from town, didn’t even get off his bike when we were walking towards him down a very narrow walkway beside a building site. I shouted at him, he swore lots at me, our blood pressures inched a little further towards the ceiling. Great fun. Or not.
And meanwhile I went into town for the third time since getting home today and on only one of those three occasions have I actually bought any of the presents I was looking for – first because I was helping my mother buy a new handbag and the usual bulk buy-in of Christmas novels to go in stockings; second because I was helping my father buy a coat, and this time because I was helping my sister buy herself various things with the Christmas money she’s already got. So I got all the joy of shopping for things without actually paying for or agonising over almost any of it. Good times.