But it always bloomin well is.
Last week I had tickets to a gig to see two bands play quite a long way away. I was taking Badger Girl. She had her outfit sorted and everything (I have a feeling of loss that I will never see it).
But the day before she called me (just as I came off a 12 hour shift and was stood in the neon glow of the doorway of the only Chinese Takeaway in town open on a Tuesday night).
Badger Girl: 'Stick?'
Me: 'Who else?'
Badger Girl: 'Stick you OK?'
Me: 'Yeah I seem to be losing my voice but it's OK - the world will rejoice'.
Badger Girl: 'Stick, I'm really sorry - there's something I've got to tell you.....'
Me: 'It's Ok, don't worry, whatever it is it doesn't matter' (I already know she can't come and it's fine, I'm really not worried, it's no big thing).
Badger Girl: 'I can't come to the gig because we've got to do the catering for a Hollywood Zombie Film being filmed somewhere in the countryside near Shepton Mallet. It's got Corey Feldman in. COREY FELDMAN! Though I've looked him up on the internet and he's gone downhill since I had him on my wall. I think it must have been drugs. It said he'd been through 'difficult times' - that'll be drugs right? I think he's demanding too. That's probably also the drugs. I think he actually will be demanding. Oh and also there is the kid in it who was the kid in Terminator. You know the one out of Terminator 2? The film with Arnie? Well anyway he's gonna be there. In Shepton Mallet!! Only he's a grown up now. Obviously.
Me: 'Hmmm (whilst eyeing the Chinese menu through the window and trying to work out whether chow mein or special rice is better value) that is kind of crazy'.
Badger Girl: 'Anyway we've got to do all of them breakfast, lunch and dinner and it's nuts and we have to get up at 3am every day and go to bed at midnight and it's a lot of sausages to prep....;
Door opens - anxious looking man asks if he can help me. I tell him I'll let him know.
Me: Erm, it's Ok. Really it is OK (thinking to myself - I love Badger Girl. I really do love her. For all she brings to my life and making me feel sane. Every single week. And who knew? Really who knew that Zombie's were running wild outside Shepton Mallet but still need 3 meals a day and prefer paella to human blood).
We hang up.
I go into the Chinese. Strangely drawn by the Formica and odd photographic calendars and pictures of pandas and bamboo and wipe clean plastic and the way it all attaches itself to several decades of 'life as we have known it'. Despite being supposedly foreign it's about as familiar to parts of life as you can get it. And it's not about to change. I appreciate that. The lack of change. When everything else changes, your bog standard local Chinese tends not to.
I order two random dishes and sit down to try and glean something interesting from the local free paper (a past time which we all know is fruitless).
And then I wonder what I'm going to do about the gig. I text my brother but he's busy with work. I deduce that the best thing to do is write it off and not go. Not much lost.
But then the next day - hours before my supposed departure I wonder what my dad would have done and realise he would have said 'book a last minute hotel, get on the bloody train and enjoy yourself'.
And so I do.
I stay in a rather odd hotel with curtains that appear made from the pelts of Teddy Bears and a 7th storey toilet with a floor to ceiling window looking over the city (which is great until you realise, mid-flow, all the other buildings are several storeys taller and people can, literally, look down on you as you go about your business).
I go to the gig and sing along and don't even get squashed or hit or molested or covered in Carling. This is a first. Clearly I should travel alone more often.
But then I wake up in the night and discover 3 things:
1. The Teddy Bear Pelt/Panoromic Poo View hotel room has no actual heating. Yup NO heating and it's COLD. Beyond cold. I'm shaking all over.
2. My throat has swollen shut and there is drool running down my chin because I can't swallow.
3. My throat really has swollen shut and I can only emit a feint 'eek eeek' noise - not unlike a hungry guinea pig. I can not talk. At all.
By the morning the situation had worsened. I check out via a series of clicks and eeks - like a Killer Whale informing his brotherhood to destroy a seal pup.
The receptionist looks highly alarmed and draws me a map to the nearest pharmacy whilst frantically pointing at EXIT.
And thus - quite some walk later - I find myself in a BOILING hot branch of Boots in a foreign city carrying a heavy bag and wearing a heavy coat and holding two bottles of coke and queuing at the pharmacy. There are a dozen very old and very frail people ahead of me and one pharmacist...... The wait goes on.....Sweat is running down my brown...... My head is fizzing.......People are talking about the weather..... I need to take my coat off but I can't work out how.... I need to put down my bag and this coke....but I can't seem to get there.....Wooo hhhhhhh oooooo aaaaa....
I hear a bang and see my coke bouncing across the floor. At eye level. Hmm I am on the floor. It appears I've fainted.
I try to get up, quickly, but hordes of otherwise bored and quite ill people have found their new distraction And the problem is - I can't speak. I can't just say 'oohh sorry folks! Oh how embarrassing! Let me get up a minute!!'.
So as I'm asked 'are you OK?'....'do you want us to call anyone....?' 'can you get up?'.... all I can do is 'eek'.
Gesticulating wildly I flap whilst people recoil in horror. 'Do you need an ambulance?' one of them carefully mouths.
It is by now clear that I am not just on the floor. I am obviously on the floor and have bigger problems than even that. And I might even be drunk. Or on drugs. Or foreign. OR a drunk, drugged up foreigner! Whatever it is I need to be spoken to VERY VERY SLOWLY WITH BIG MOUTHS. Coz that always helps. Doesn't it?
Anyway by sheer brute force I finally managed to make enough sense to say I'd got too hot and after an enforced 'time out' on a chair I'm allowed to skip the queue and purchase some throat medicine.
And a few hours later I'm home with one child watching freight trains on the internet and the other one sporting a face like raw meat where he's 'fallen over' at school to the point where he's had to be collected. Again.
And I sit there and think 'huh? Did that all really just happen? The Zombie Film? The chow mein? The curtains? The throat? The floor in Boots? The being stuck at a signal light somewhere outside Weston Super Mare?'.
But it did.
And if you see the grown up kid out of Terminator in a Zombie film any time soon you can at least say that you know someone, off the internet like, who knows the person who served him his bacon butty and that the friend (not the one who served the bacon butty) fainted the very same day.
Fame at last......but I think I'd rather stay at home with the freight trains.