Captain Moonlight: More openings for Virginia

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The Independent Online
CAPTAIN Moonlight did not join in the general caterwauling which greeted the news that Marks & Spencer were opening early to accommodate the special needs of Virginia Bottomley. You have only to read my name to know that I would be sensitive to the requirements of important people whose vital work forces them to work irregular hours. I, too, have known the tyranny of conventional opening hours and doors locked on pleasures within.

So it was that I set out on a mission to help Mrs Bottomley. Clothes are taken care of, I reasoned; but what about furniture? Suppose the Bottomleys need some flatpack cupboards in a hurry? Not good news, I'm afraid. MFI were polite, but I wouldn't be too hopeful there, Virginia.

Next, DIY. Imagine the scene: back after a hard day over the red boxes, but there's still that spare bathroom to be tiled. I called B&Q. Sorry, Virginia: not keen. They open at 8am as it is, and are unlikely to open any earlier. But chivalry is not entirely dead in the world of mastic and angle grinder. Enter Texas Homecare, riding to the rescue. Same spiel as B&Q, but with this extra, crucial phrase: 'We would consider every case on its merits.' Just give them a call and let grouting commence.

Then there are those irritating, commonplace problems that can strike at any time, like the rattle and roar which means that you and Peter need a new exhaust and silencer. Take a bow, Kwik-Fit, who say: 'We would do our best to help Mrs Bottomley out.' Well done, lads.

Can't sleep? Need a video? Yogi Videos, of Acre Lane, Brixton, would be privileged to open specially for Mrs Bottomley. And what about food? Worry not, Bottomleys. I am instructed that Abdul Noor, proprietor of the El Amin Indian restaurant, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, would consider it a privilege to open at any hour to rustle up a quick biryani.

And not only that: I save the best until last. Spud-U-Like anywhere will open specially for you, providing you give them enough notice to get the ovens warmed up. Perhaps this isn't such a bad country, after all.

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