Such was my anguished outburst that Marcia flew out of the bedroom ready to tackle any armed intruder and save her little boy, for only such could have occasioned my impassioned plea to the Almighty. As soon as she realized it was only me spilling a drink over my beloved laptop, she returned disgusted to her rudely interrupted slumber.
I had the laptop stripped down in seconds flat and mopped it out best I could. As the adrenalin leeched out of my system I started to consider the possible consequences and became, with each passing moment, more and more depressed. The information was safe, the hard drive would remain unaffected but I would probably have to lash out on another identical laptop and swap the hard drives over. That would be the best solution but would the supplier still have one in stock two years after selling me this one? I doubt it. The other alternative would be to buy a caddy drive and a new laptop. I could then put my old hard drive into the caddy drive and use it as a simple storage device but at least I would have access to all my files. That would mean, however, reinstalling all the software, assuming after two house moves, I could find it all again, and reconfiguring the new laptop. Either way, I was going to be offline for a very long time. Bugger.
‘God, Dominic, I really need a whisky now.’ And I did. I was trembling and my heart was racing.Dominic switched his iPad on and started fiddling with it while I wrestled my demon.
‘You won a silver medal skiing, didn’t you Daddy?’‘Yes’
‘You must have been very good’
‘I enjoyed it, Son, I really liked skiing. The silver was for downhill but I wanted to do langlauf. I was a runner, see? So it was a hell of a way to keep fit in winter. I was also a bloody good shot, I started competitive shooting at your age at Whittingdon Barracks near Lichfield, HQ Prince of Wales’ Division. I had a notion that I could be good enough to get onto the Army Biathlon Team and then, who knew? Maybe the British Olympic team.’‘Why didn’t you?’
‘Because some careless sod blew himself up in Northern Ireland and I was posted out there at 24 hours’ notice to replace him. When I got back I was offered the chance to go for a Commission so I took it. I was hoping to be posted back to Germany but they sent me to Belize instead for two years. Can’t get much further away from snow than that, Son!’‘You raced motorcycles as well, didn’t you Dad?’
‘Yes I did, but not very well. It was great fun though’‘Micky told me that you rode like some Italian, I forget his name. Micky said you either won or crashed’
I realized what Dominic was doing, he was trying to calm me down, take my mind off the booze.‘Giancarlo Fallapa,’ I said, ‘he rode Ducatis on the World Superbike series. The trouble with me Son is that I got the ratio wrong. Instead of three wins to one crash, which would have made me good, I had one win to three crashes, which made me crap. I met Fallapa, you know?’
‘Did you!’‘Yes, I was a Ducati dealer in Germany and won best dealership so the importer invited me down to Hockenheim to meet the team and then I was offered either Doug Polen’s helmet, he won the championship that year, or Fallapa’s. Everyone was very surprised when I chose Fallapa’s. Up on stage accepting the helmet, I had to make a little speech so I said, “I know many of you are wondering why I should prefer Giancarlo’s helmet to Doug’s but at least I know Giancarlo’s has been crash tested!” that provoked a huge roar of laughter and Giancarlo laughed loudest.’
‘Do you still have his helmet?’‘No. I highsided my Ducati at the Nurburg Ring and did what Giancarlo never managed in all his crashes’
‘What was that, Dad?’‘I broke his helmet, cracked it wide open, trashed the ‘bike and broke both ankles’
He paused his interrogation to consider that awhile and then asked, ‘Did you do anything else that was dangerous?’‘I married your mother’
‘DAD!’‘OK, I once had an affair with the Mexican Ambassadors girlfriend’
‘DID YOU!’‘AND pinched his car for a spin’
I could see he was more impressed by this than anything else I had done.‘I did loads of things. I liked the excitement.’
‘You must have been very fit’‘I was. I could run three miles in fifteen minutes when I was in Belize’
‘Wouldn’t you like to be fit again, Dad?‘Yes Son,’ I sighed, ‘I really would’
Evidently satisfied, he shoved his iPad in front of me.‘Take a look at this, Dad’
Look out for the guy in a wheelchair and the motorcycle being ridden across a swimming pool!
Suddenly, I didn’t fancy a whisky anymore.
It has been seven days now. It would have been a shame to spoil such a good start last night over a laptop which, as you can see, has been reassembled this morning and isn’t stuffed after all.