Yesterday I did a stupid thing. On the way out of the door to vote, head full of To Do list and Impending Divorce, I grabbed what I thought were my house keys, only to discover half an hour later that they were not…I had got the car keys instead. No matter, neighbour has a set of keys for feeding the zoo that lives at our house when we are away. Unfortunately, she was about an hour away, and not back for six hours. Ok, thinks I. Someone I know will be in…. No. So I went to a supermarket, stocked up on bread flour, used the loo, and had a cup of tea. I had unfortunately got my oldest jeans on and no make-up. Not a good look. I went and got the car washed, which was long overdue. I wandered round the local village. Then I went home, with about an hour to spare before the return of the neighbour. I sat in the car, listened to the radio, familiarised myself with the sat-nav handbook. Went in the garden. Wound the garden hose round the wheel it is meant to live on. Flattened the car battery by a combination of underestimating how much battery the radio used, and the neighbour being an hour longer than her earliest estimate.
I was enormously grateful to get back in the house. I had a very small taste (not experience) of what it might be like to be without a base, and an easily accessible toilet for six hours. But with access to a car, and money to go and get a cup of tea etc. I am not suggesting that in any way that this mimicks the experience of being homeless, because it doesn’t, but it did give me pause for thought. Rather like George Orwell in Down and Out in Paris in London, it did make me grateful for what I have.