Have you ever made a wish, and found that it came true … the next day? This happened to me yesterday. The previous night, I had been thinking about the legs on my bed – they are one-inch-square cross-section legs which bolt on. And they’re right near the edge, given that they have to attach to the frame. This causes me concern, as a couple of time last year, bare-footed, I caught my little toe on the leg, and suffered for weeks after with a bruise. So when I’m near the bed I take extra care that my feet are facing the other way. Having earlier in the day passed the house round the corner which had been surrounded by scaffolding, some of which had been covered with yellow foam to protect passers-by, it became obvious what the solution was. All I needed was some smaller-diameter foam insulation used around water pipes to keep them from freezing in the winter. Easy. Knowing that such materials abound in the world, and that odd lengths can usually be found discarded in skips, or at the edges of building sites nearing completion, I decided I would keep an eye out for some.
Yesterday, on my way to the French Conversation Group in Little Comberton, I took a circuitous rural route that I had not driven before. Approaching Kinnerton from the north, I suddenly noticed what I took to be a long pole lying across the road. Not wanting to run it over, in case it caused damage to the car, I stopped, got out and went forward to pick it up. At first I thought it was one of those foam ‘noodles’ that you play with in the swimming pool. Silvery grey – unusual colour. Then I noticed the hole down the middle. So not a pole, not a noodle, but a two metre length of pipe insulation foam. Just what I wanted. I laughed at my good fortune. I put the insulation in the car and drove on. A hundred yards on, a second length appeared. Fate had smiled upon me in abundance.
It had happened before. Last year, when I bought my washing machine, I found that it shook itself violently during the spin cycle, and physically moved around the cramped space it lived in. There was a gap less than an inch wide between the washing machine and the cupboard of the sink unit. All I needed was a strip of foam rubber – dense foam rubber this time – to wedge in between and voilà! All I had to do was to find it; I knew it would be waiting for me somewhere in the universe. The next weekend, I was on an early morning walk, out in the farmland beyond Shrawley, when I found my strip of foam rubber half buried in the mud at the junction of two fields. It was perfect. Well, it was once I’d cleaned it the dirt off. It wedged in really tightly, and now my washing machine must do its spin without dancing round the kitchen.
Is there something about wishing for foam rubber that makes your wish come true? I’ve been trying to remember the other objects that the universe supplied – I know they’ve come to me, many times – but I can’t recall at the moment what they were, or confirm that they were also made of foam rubber. Anyway, such a gift. I’m still smiling.
© Peter Young 2015