My mother Elsa would have been 90 years old today, had she not died 10 years too soon. Here's to you, mother, wherever you are! You gave me a lot, including a love of words and a deep hatred of fish. And I have never stopped doing the dishes properly like you taught me.
And: 20 years ago today, Norway beat Brazil in the World Cup. So I'm celebrating my mother's birthday in absentia and fond memories of her 70th birthday when all the birthday guests sprinted back to her house after a hastily eaten birthday dinner in a nearby restaurant, to watch this momentous victory on TV, by going to Three Lions to watch Korea versus Mexico. And with some cerveza as well, although I normally drink white wine now. I owe my mother some celebratory football today.
This happened yesterday:
I had ordered three books on Amazon: Maps of Meaning by my new hero Jordan B. Peterson, Chinese Characters, their origin, Etymology, Classification and Signification (I WILL get to the bottom of this!) and Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and The Final Solution in Poland (how we would all be nazis if we lived in nazi-times), and yesterday they were delivered after only four days' waiting.
Cool! Because another parcel I was waiting for was being held at ransom by the customs in Madrid for more than a month. I am wary of deliveries now. And unlike hong Kong where they call and call, here they just turn up at, say 2pm, expecting you to be home. So, anyway, I glanced at the label, it had my name and address on it, I signed.
This is what I found in the parcel:
What the? Oh Amazon! How could you, etc. I got on the old customer service, they said they would refund my money but I could keep the books and here's a US$5 coupon. Awwww, excellent. Great service! Then I got on Facebook to find "hey did you get my birthday present? I bought it on Amazon!" Oh crap. By an amazing coincidence my friend Cathy in the US had bought me these books. And right enough, at the bottom of the parcel was a little wrinkled-up note: I know you will revel in all the delights of your new home, especially culinary. Can't wait to visit".
What I learnt: Never think something I ordered four days earlier can be here already. Oh and always look at all the things in a box before I sign.
This is the kind of thing that happens to me.
I bought a bottle of wine. It was a very attractive bottle, blue. Or so I thought.
Reader, it was the wine that was blue.