Tuesday, July 31, 2007
An autumnal slick of rain and spray filled the night sky - this was November in July.
We were supposed to be striving with a full crew to blood, glory and treasure to sink, burn or take as a prize the fleet of bloated galleys departing the Isle of Blight to cross the chops of the channel down to Weymouth.
We were supposed to be racing.
I shall avoid the details, but we lost a full third of our crew even before first muster - one for work reasons - the other for a reason so awful - he could not be expected to deliver his duty and compliments to his slot aboard.
Our fourth and remaining crew member arrived to find us in ale and decided she should join us.
Now, we are normally chaps of resolution - we can certainly serve out the equipment aboard with only four of us - but we had complications stacking up like writs from your tailor for payment.
Firstly - crew member number four - whilst a Chappess and more than capable of handing, reefing and steering confessed to being of a somewhat more delicate disposition than normal. She too had seen our forecast.
Second, the forecast - to make it back to home port to get me to the hamster wheel on Monday we had to chase a tidal gate known as 'The Anvil'.
This meant we needed to slip at the sort of hour one is normally only just getting warmed up in a lock-in at the Belgravia gaming tables.
This meant sailing in watches - or in this case - two handed. Not a prospect we relished especially when one looked at what they met chaps were offering.
The forecast for this time was 'alarming'.
Selsey Bill to Lyme Regis SW veering W later 5-7 Occ 8, heavy rain. Rough to Very Rough.
In non yachtie speak - Blowing a full gale - with a following sea of waves 4-meters high.
We concluded by pint four, that we would rather be in here cowering in ignominy, than out there in a blue funk faced with the horrors forecast.
Democracy reigned and we voted to scratch the race.
With the pressures of racing off our mind, we set our heads straight for a loon about the Solent.
Now, Arch Chap has not been float for a couple of years and his influence on the barky has been sadly lacking.
His influence is largely on myself and the demeanour of the boat - rapidly transforming it from fragrant racing yacht to foul tub smelling strongly of recycled curry and goats. However - he means well and despite ongoing scatalogical references, it is all done in the 'best possible taste'.
Our Dear Lady Honorary chap soon smoked this and was able to present a humorous outlook on affairs. A chirpy bonhomie, even.
This was to be eroded so suddenly and with such vigour that I feared for her fortitude - and her spirit was so sapped that she was hampered in her duties the following day.
The events that caused the mental disturbance occurred in the Saloon - a communal sleeping area - as it were.
A misconception that many have of yachts, is that they are vessels of luxury.
The reality? Try and imagine a caravan with the electrics of a Skoda and the furnishings of a 1973 Mk2 Ford Cortina and you get close to it. With a hand pump toilet.
They smell of Sea water, diesel, urine and seagull poo.
Now - many Chappesses wrinkle their noses at such privations and are never seen again - this is why I salute any fragrant or high minded young filly who sails. They can take such privations with fortitude and they are oft to see off a challenge from the French or the like with alacrity.
Such 'gels' are made of stern stuff - and two generations ago would have been on the veranda with a Martin-henry seeing off the natives. (I think nowadays one might be a blogger of some note)
So what caused the turn of fortunes you ask?
It was the Commodore and the Arch chap's snoring.
A harmonic not unlike pigs trying to sing the halleluiah chorus to an air-raid siren is the closest we come to describing it.
They complement one another to form a continual tone similar to the cutting of stone….. And when they snore together the resonant harmonics make the hatches rattle and one's ears pop.
When we arose and shone, she appeared pinched, worn and troubled. Lines cut into her visage like the Corinth Canal and she had the haunted look of one who has faced phantoms and ghouls.
Needless to say - her spirit was broken. The horrors had clearly filled her head with most terrible visions - and her wits had been discombobulated such that she could barely sit upon the rail and balance the boat.
We took a simple decision.
We shall eat a hearty breakfast, potter about in the lee of the Island, moor up for some luncheon then repair to our favourite hostelry for fortification then a stiff curry - and so rest with the hatches ajar, lest we slide further into a silage like aroma.
The mooring was a fine exercise in some advanced seamanship for which I was forced to congratulate even myself (cross-tide ferry gliding donthcyerknow) and luncheon stood us until tea time of cake and biscuits and ale.
Cowes greeted us with congestion and we were forced to establish a cat's cradle of mooing lines in the second harbour. I am delighted to report that we provided no spectacle in the Internationally renowned hobby of 'watching other people make a hash of their moorings'.
I brought the barky in and gently kissed it alongside a visiting Frenchman, no doubt spying.
Ale soon ensued, and a thumping good curry.
One to write about no less.
News which delighted our ears was that two thirds of the race fleet retired due to heavy weather citing gear failures aplenty - spars and sailcloth carried before the winds.
We congratulated ourselves on our wisdom, wit, choice of curry house and all round greatness and settled to a night of rich loamy aroma and autumnal marbling smells - while the gale howled and the rain beat a tattoo on the coach roof.
Our Dear Lady Fourth Crew member took a wise option and slept in the forepeak - with double bulkheads and ear plus.
Hubris before nemesis, as always in this column.
Annoyingly chirpy chap leaps aboard bashes his halloos and requests and requires we move the boat so he and his papa can catch the tide home.
Fiend. My sweetest dreams of home comforts and a dear friend shattered by the grey chill and a witless grin of the interloper.
The rest of the evolutions are technical, involve warping out of the basin and a reluctant sail home in the early morning gloom.
One crumb if comfort.
In our efforts, we woke the entire marina up, especially the Frenchman next to us.
We congratulated our selves on our efforts, and set off for home with vim, vigour and verisimilitude.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Welcome to my twisted world, a gentle satire on the gritty reality that my life has become.
To get that accolade - does anyone know anyone in the British Antarctic Survey they can forward a link to...?
I bet you chaps are never wanting for ice in your G+T, are you.
Another one of my chappist predictions here - I would pay to see a doctor for a routine requirement in a time that suits me, not that suits them. I am a customer, they would therefore compete for my business and serve me according to my needs.
There is a gaping hole in the market (Are you listening Tesco...?) for medical care at a reasonable price in a time bracket that suits me.
£18 for a consultation between 05.30 and 07.30 and £15 for one between 17.30 and 21.30
Pay in advance, by card. People would turn up, on time as they have an incentive to do so.
In other words - a bit of market pressure might liberate things.
Not being a NEET / useless / student / unemployable / pensioner / interminably lazy - I am required to work for a living.
I therefore have to take half a day off - how else do they expect me to be available in their 'office hours' (09.30 - 16.30)
But why the urgency to see a Quack?
I need an Epi-pen.
I have a specific allergy to a specific nut, and my dearly beloved has become insistent that I carry said item, lest I be laid low while we are harrying the sea-lanes.
I tried to facilitate the acquisition by speaking to a Doctor (His call to me - charge £15 - you see where this is going, don't you....)
I spoke to him, but I received no satisfaction. He will need to see me.
But, I cried, 'am I not registered on your database as suffering from an anaphylaxia.?'
Indeed I am. And the doctor can see it. And when I was last hospitalised with said needle into the heart.
'So - why can't you issue the prescription and I can collect it at my leisure - without losing half a day's most precious leave?'
He insists on seeing me before he will prescribe this potentially lethal injection.
'Why?, I asked, 'Short of giving me a patch test - which the Nurse would do to ascertain the accuracy of my claim, and that I am who I say I am - is there anything you could discern about my condition by observing me in the flesh that would preclude the provision of said gadget'.
'No, Mr. D.' He said coolly - 'It is so I can be instructed in it's use.'
I thought about this.
'Listen Sawbones, old chap' - quothe I, 'If I need it - I am already about to throw a seven, and it would be my compatriot who would have to administer it, Pulp Fiction stylee through my sternum. Not I. '
'Yes, I appreciate that - but if you administered it to yourself incorrectly and died, your estate might sue us.'
'Will I have to sign a disclaimer showing that I have received these instructions?'
'Of course not.'
'Ah, but would the person administering it have to sign one on receipt of it?
'No, but it should only be used by someone with correct medical training.'
'A device designed to be used by an amateur in a first aid situation should only actually be used in a hospital with a doctor present?'
'Well, not strictly...'
'Don't tell me, if it is used by anyone other than a trained medic, all liability is excluded?
'Even so Mr. D - you will need an appointment.'
'Very well - You can see me at 06.45 on Friday morning'
'That's not our office hours'......
'Your office hours, correct. It is when I am available. When can you see me?'
'I'm not permitted to make appointments, you will have call reception separately.'
Fucking marvellous. £15 to be told to come back and see them all to get something they know I need, but so they are seen to tell me that if I use it it is at my own risk.
This is a bit like writing on a life jacket : 'This is not a life saving device and should not be used in water by someone who cannot swim. Using this device excludes the manufacturer from any liability. ' (I have actually seen that on an American lifejacket)
My cool has departed me. Not a happy chap, now.
The image suggests that a little bit of practice with biro would sufficient, anyway. Bloody thing is intramuscular, not even intracardial.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
They are a form of high humour and an ironic look at the modern popular culture of music.
I have seen their work on a number occaisons....
Last night I took My Particular Friend in hand and introduced her to the delights of these Fellows., dispensing their Teenage Kicks to the audience.
Believe me - I am indeed just a teenage dirt bag, baby. It has also been known for me, on some occasion, to listen to Iron Maiden, maybe.
Gosh, I am rather with-it what?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The excellent feast in the kitchen was actually prepared by her and I am duty bound to point out it was delicious, healthy and very welcome.
It must be pointed out that other facts regarding the infestation, my domestication and over-running of my defenses still stand - at least until I realise what is good for me, and withdraw the whole damn thing.
Nicodemus E Chap, esq.
No one would have believed that in the early years of the twenty-first century that my ablutorial facilities were being considered by the fairer sex. Few could have conceived that across the timeless whorls of London that minds immeasurably superior to mine regarded my toilet with envious eyes.
As some of more my astute readers will know - I have been waging the most terrible war of attrition.
The frontline has been my bathroom, the shells have been bottles of unguents unknown to mankind and the prize complete domination of my house itself - for fripperous purposes.
I drew attention to the horrors of this recently - when I had noticed candles and bottles appearing like magic in the clean minimalist bathroom.
I predicted that it was the 'Thin End of the Wedge', 'The Shape of things to Come' - and a harbinger of my doom.
However - because I had confronted the terrors, I had told myself that it was a mere border incursion a few stray rounds in a cold war of lavatorial simplicity.
I could not have been more wrong.
The infestation stepped up a gear after I had been lulled into the falsest sense of security by my particular friend whilst away playing yachts on Friday. A pincer movement of Rommelesque beauty was being carried out under my unsuspecting nose.
I was merrily taking her through 'evolutions' - you chaps are aware of the sort - flag drill, copious saluting, salt horse and dried peas, weighing anchor, more saluting, mooring up to buoys, running the great guns in and out, divisions and dog-watch skylarking. All in all a healthy day of maritime training and healthy outdoor fun.
I heroically drove us home lantern jawed, betwixt flooded roads and swollen rivers in the Alvis and returned to Chez-Chap in some style.
We merrily set about preparing a dinner together and running a bath of fresh-water to wash away the salt of the cruel sea and relax.
Hubris comes before nemesis - but the hubristic never see it coming.
With dinner bubbling in the galley-stove I trundled upstairs - only to be greeted by a sight grim enough to chill a man's heart to stone.
Now - Chappism takes many forms - from the anarcho-dandy through the louche cad to the austerity of the Colonial planter facing down the natives and protecting the memsahib with the 'Gatling unjammed'.
Like many chaps - I have many aspects of this within me - but the nautical chap knows there is a beauty to simplicity in his facilities. Lounging in the velvet brocade bordello pants in one's fully fitted Indonesian sitting room is one thing. A chap's bathroom should only ever contain Dettol, a wire brush, Euthymol toothpaste and - if more hirsute than this fellow - coal-tar shampoo. Not for I pommade, brylcreams or other unguents. No - they compromise my simplicity.
I didn't mind that cushions and other things have appeared in my house.
The Bathroom was the final frontier. My last stand - one round left in the Martini Henry with my back against the mealy bags and bayonet fixed.
The line in the sand.
My Imjin River - the Kidney Ridge to the Afrika Korps of fripperies invading my house.
There is a time to fight to the last-man-last round and a time to salute your foe, declare that 'this will no longer do', run down your colours and hand-over your sword with a bow - and hope that you are treated with respect, your parole accepted, and you can live out until the peace in luxury in Paris.
This was such a time.
My Particular friend had not only filled the bath with unctuous steaming hot bubbles, but warmed the towels, lit the candles and was waiting within with a glass brimming with iced Gin and Tonic.
I crumbled - my resolve weakened beyond hope.
Knowing that this was the last stand and after this my house was no longer mine - but the preserve of women - my bottom lip trembled and my eyes misted.
'Get in then', she said from within the bubble bergs and flashing a heart melting smile.
How could I resist?
I can only work with my conquering heroes now. I can only look forward to reorganising my bedroom, decorating the hall and replanting the garden.
I fear I am now domesticated.
There will be a short memorial at the Castle, Gosport this Friday at 10pm.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Normal service will be resumed shortly, chaps. I have been afloat and things for the last few days. Also somewhat distracted. When the old hamster wheel is back up to speed - I will let you know the gruesome details shortly.
Doff of Fez to the The Devil. for the cartoon.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Whilst it is nice to have a Lady Caller and Donna-Da-Lodger about, they have achieved their beach-head and are setting about the wholesale take over of my domicile.
Not just candles, now, either.
Like Lionesses marking their scent - other things crop up.
Four different types of fruity shower gel.
Make Up remover pads
Shampoo and other haircare products
Several types of towels
A set of trolleys containing I know not what.
I even came across a magazine which chilled my blood to ice. I cannot even utter it's title - suffice to say it was about coordinated interiors.
I know I'm doomed.
I know it is cushions, pot-pourri and wooden salad bowls to come.
I shall be making my last stand by the Electric Laundry device.
Fabric Softener? Just say NO.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The challenge about going to any kind of event where one is required to be attired in anything other than a smart suit and tie, is the amount of exposure where one has to travel with the Underwashed and Overscented and they are wont to stare and fail to understand the cut of one's jib.
I took my Particular friend to the Chap Olympics on Saturday.
The cut of the jib on this particular day involved presenting one's self in one's colonial attire. I drew upon my deep DNA memory of the steamy plantations of the Cameron Highlands, the sweat soaked gin dives of Wanchai and the dusty front lines of Kipling's Great Game. In other words, khaki shorts, pith helmet, Sam Browne belt and brogues.
My Particular Friend's attire said Twenties Tennis party with associated freshly steamed Panama.
And such that it was we found ourselves strolling (I said Marching - but apparently that's crass) through the Bloomsbury district of Londinium towards the site of the Chap Olympics this year.
Bedford Square Gardens on a July afternoon. Sun dappled lawns. Cool, white pavilions of calm to entertain the troops and a brass band to provide a musical accompaniment to an afternoon's athleticism.
We passed through the formalities at the gate and presented ourselves to the popsies handing out Gin vouchers. We duly identified ourselves as competitors and had a christian handful of free G+T tickets thrust into our eager mits.
We beheld the scene momentarily and then reviewed our appearance. Until now, we had felt confident we were quirky and unusual enough.
The scene before our eyes was somewhat remarkable.
Ladies in forties dresses, veils and seamed stockings.
Gentlemen dressed as 18th century parsons, explorers and Victorian hunters.
Fortitude was clearly going to be required and I fled to the refreshment tent.
I handed over the Gin voucher to the young lad behind the bar and demanded Military Strength sustenance.
He promptly half filled two high ball glass with Gin, then with ice and topped up the last inch with tonic and cucumber.
Military strength indeed.
I returned to find My Particular friend perusing the programme with a slight furrow in her brow, and a flare to her nostrils. She was concerned.
I read her thoughts quickly and summised we needed to re plan our attendance. No plan, after all survives contact with the enemy.
'I say, Ms A, let's view this as a recce?' Said I adjusting the Sam Browne belt and adopting a slightly rakish angle to the pith helmet.
She pondered this for a moment, while a relieved smile played across her lips.
'Splendid Idea Mr. D. Let's check out the situation, enjoy what appears to be unlimited Gin, and plot our return next year.'
'Quite, my dear.'
'We can review the crowd and think of a unique theme....'
We discussed many thoughts that day. As they are likely to be employed on various chappist activities, I am not at liberty to discuss the nature of the schemes we hatched.
Consequently, we thus devoted the rest of the day to enjoying the Gin to the full force of the liberal behaviour of the staff - I was pouring my own by the end of the afternoon - and some serious people watching.
The events were hilarious, the people delightful and the atmosphere terrific. After all - in the words of Max Boyce - 'We Were There'.
We finally took the public train home and reviewed the experience. It was a delight and it was certainly worth blogging about.
This was our first official engagement, and I rather think it was a hit. It doesn't count as a cultural exchange, as you may recall it was rather her idea.
I was emailed this by my particular friend and when I had ploughed through the impenetrable yoof-speak it was rather amusing.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Their courage is beyond our comprehension - for my generation have been spared the horror. Have we a land fit for heroes - or one where those who seek to risk everything in the name of their country are sneered at by their paymasters.
Sleep well, brothers in arms.
Their name liveth for evermore.
A number of factors have been trying my sang-froid of late - that being one of them.
I have also been feeling under the weather too. I am pleased to report that it wasn't Malaria this time, merely some blighter who has taken up residence in my stomach. Clearly this character has had enough of machine coffee and finally fled to freedom leaving me lighter, refreshed if not a little flushed and much in debt to Mr Andrex.
It is only when one is free of such protozoan devils does one realise it has been bothering you a while.
My working day culminated in a 60 mile round trip to collect a front door key as my lodger had neglected to remind me that I ought to take my own keys to work.
(I shall wreak my revenge though - the candles in the bathroom shall be the first victims of the fight back - you watch.)
So combined with feeling peaky, somewhat stressed and worn out by recent exertions - and despite a piece of personal record breaking aviating at the weekend with another cultural exchange (Yachties) I arrived home last night feeling like a brown study was upon me.
Possibly even a swoon.
I searched the house in vain for suitable matters to cheer me up. The Laudanum was dry, so no precious respite from the panacea.
My post merely revealed the usual nonsense and blackmail letters - so nothing to bring joy there.
There were not any parsnips in the fridge either - so I could not indulge in parsnips and sprouts with toasted cheese.
The evening looked grim indeed.
There was, however, a large parcel for my dear lodger.
Donna-da-Lodger is planning on attending one of those outdoor music festivals - and the theme is one of pirates. To that end she has procured what can only be described as a 'Carry On Buccaneering' costume from a purveyor of said items on the interweb. A brief glance at the site indicated that their purpose wasn't really outdoor, nor for that matter all-weather - but judging by the accessories and the rather ostentatious hat - it betrayed a slightly more animalistic intent and were perhaps more suited for indoor entertaining, possibly for the negotiation of affections or the other onanistic pursuits.
On her arrival home, I indicated said gift whereupon she squealed with delight and promptly started to get changed in the living room while i drew the curtains. It being Wednesday - I feel it is my duty to encourage her as such, as I am still eroding her resistance to the Nude Wednesday Paradigm. (That did not go unremarked either - so I fled to my kitchen to secure some wine, while she slipped into her cossie.)
With the pink frilled hat and pink skull and cross bones, my sombre mood broke at once. I began to giggle.
I was duty bound to try said hat - ensuring further hilarity and wheezy old jokes about where is one's buccaneers.
She then set about her laptop to procure various accessories along the more fripperous line - items of a world unknown to a chap. One does not quite know where the wonderment ends and puzzlement began - either the fact that she was furiously picking lacy and similar foundation garments to accompany the costume, or that she would think that my opinion in such matters was worth a bean.
I am pleased to report, dear reader, that after that I felt better than James Brown and will be partaking in my outing this weekend as planned.
The one reader who has actually been reading me for a while may recall that myself and a certain journalist have elected to take part in the Chap Olympics this weekend.
'What?' I hear you cry - 'Energetic work, from you? Never!'
I shall be attempting to draw a wry smile by whispering Rabbelesian filth into her ear, whilst plying her with Gin. For this, I can win a prize. My talents lie well in this area.
If I do not draw a smile, I can then at least elicit a slap by indicating anatomical peculiarities I posses and how we could apply them with the assistance of the Moroccan house boy.
All this, with free gin, has taken my mind off the dreary world of coaching skills I am supposed to learning.
Still they have a well prepared croquet lawn, if an indifferent cellar here - I shall be occupied.
As soon as I am back I will tell you all about Donna Da Lodger in her pirate costume, why Sigismund is obsessed with Brighton and steal a rather natty image about Alistair Campbell from the Sultry Journo.
I may even have a revolutionary song about tractors.
Friday, July 06, 2007
I shall dash off a letter at once - but only if they can provide their equipment in XXL.
Ironically enough the manager of the shop where I had my first Saturday job 23 years ago said I would end up doing something 'ludicrous' and he stated the example given above.
A prophet no less.
A fine example is ordering a 'Grand-Gourmand' meal in our favourite restaurant in Cherbourg and eating every single morsel of the 9 course feast. With bread. And a bottle of Burgundy each worth the price of the meal.
We leave the throwing of bread rolls and loud miscreations to Mockneys, Grammar School types and Champagne Socialists.
I am effecting another cultural exchange with the Sultry Journalist - by taking her to a Cricket Match at the Oval. It's only 20/20 so warming her up for the total wonderment and nail biting tension of first class Cricket (5 days of terror!).
I eagerly await her return stroke - I have a terrible sinking feeling it may involve installation art or even worse poetry.
Actually poetry isn't that bad - not this modern beat rubbish - but the sort that requires 18th Century costume and looking consumptive whilst experimenting with horse tranquilizers.
My breath is baited.
She goes her on her way to a function in South London on Saturday……...However, I shall be entertaining some of my loyalest shipmates with Mr Grill.
King Prawns, Squid in turmeric and kilos of sausages shall grace the table.
The fragrant garden will be further enhanced by my inspired dog-ear-scented candles to keep the Bluebottles off the meat.
Sigismund has pointed out that Bluebottles are a good substitute for Moths, should none be available. He has requested I reserve some for his visit, keep them fed in a Jar, which he will take home amend the jar and apply to his sordid purpose.
When fed, we shall attempt to drink the cellar dry, dissuade the others from wearing the lodger's underthings on their heads (calling Tokyo…calling Tokyo…) and collect our urine in a flagon for the amusement of the local constabulary.
The weekend is rounded off by intense avaiting activity and a guided tour of the local Indonesian sitting room.
The Lavatory paper is in the fridge chilling as I type.
She will doubtless be glad of the respite. Might miss the aviating though. I have pictures, and I am NOT afraid to use them…..
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
This sorry tale starts on Saturday.
'Hello, I would like to reserve a room, please. It is for myself and I require the room on Tuesday and Wednesday.'
'Oh sorry sir, reservations only work weekdays.'
Pause. Gather breath.
'You are a hotel are you not?'
'In which case - I would like to reserve a room, please.'
'OK sir, I will have a go....(muffled giggles)......Which Nights was it sir??
'As I said, Tuesday and Wednesday.'
'Remarkable that isn't it - I request a room for two nights, and I would wish to stay for both of them, that must never happen.'
'Sorry sir, but you want both nights?'
'Just yourself is it?'
'Indeed. I mentioned that before too.'
'And you want the same room for both nights?'
'Just yourself - no one else on the booking?'
I am now starting to think she is making game of me.
'Yes please. Me. Myself. I want a room for two nights, being Tuesday AND Wednesday.'
'I see sir....'
'Right sir what name please?'
I tell her my name and the firm and our corporate rate. My usual hotel 'The Strange', know me by now, and merely the sweetest tinkling of my voice normally suffices. They were full this week, however, so I am denied my well kept cellar and decent menu.
Instead I am having to rely on one of these bloody chains.
'What address please sir?'
'I can see no earthly reason why you require my address. Every time I have stayed with you, you request it. If you stored it, you would no longer require it, merely confirmation of my postcode. If you did not store it, then you would have no use for it at all.'
She read my post code back to me.
'All booked sir - can you send a confirmation from your work email please?'
'Why not sir?'
'I am not at work. It is Saturday.'
'Oops sorry silly me.'
'Good afternoon R--J-- York.'
'My name is D- and I have a reservation.'
'No sir, no reservation for you, when did you book?
'Ah well reservations aren't on duty on Saturday.'
'She did seem a bit hard of thinking.'
I proceed to recount the highlights of my fun from Saturday.
'I'm terribly sorry sir, I have reserved you a room, may I have your card number.'
Financials were transacted.
And so it cam to pass that I arrived at the hotel.
Chirpy individual of smiling ability greets me.
'Good evening sir!'
'My name is D----. I have a reservation.'
Furious tapping ensues.
'Ah sir, there doesn't appear to be one here. What's your address please?'
Count carefully: One thousand, two thousand, three thousand, check canopy.
I thus regaled the young lady with the woes previously recorded here.
She apologised and tapped furiously. Again,
A quick check on my post code, and I did exist and had two reservations.
No I only need one room.
It is only me.
I am only staying for two nights.
I do not need the second room, it is their fault it has been booked.
No, no one else is joining me.
She gives me a particularly vapid smile.
'Would you like a free copy of the Independent, sir?'
'Not if you paid me.'
I trundle up to the room.
The Door is ajar...so I enter and behold a couple sat on the end of the bed, chatting merrily to one of the liveried running-girls.
'Sorry sir - we are using this for demonstrations'
'You need to demonstrate what a hotel room is...?'
'It is our open day.'
Oh, closed normally are you?'
'Do follow me to reception sir...'
The woman at the desk sensed my impending ire. A single raised eyebrow produced a bottle of complimentary wine with my dinner. The second raised eyebrow produced the porter for my dunnage and a free newspaper. (Telegraph, natch.)
Surprisingly the severe matron who runs the restaurant recognised me, and placed me a goodly distance away from the children. (Why do people with children take them to hotels - can't they afford boarding kennels?)
I appear to be in my very own situation comedy. Nowadays, the staff are Polish, not Spanish.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Alas - the monsoon hit the north rather hard this year - so what to do?
Well given the view from my window in the first class compartment as I trundle my merry way T'North - traditional arable agriculture is obviously waterlogged. Mile after mile of soggy field.
I have had a thought. This should be seen my our enterprising chums in T'North as an opportunity!
What wisdom can I - Chap 'o' T'North impart on my comrades?
As they are as a rule a bunch of unmitigated socialists - who somehow believe in the inherent nobility of toil in fields, mines or the like, then my suggestion will suit them down to ground.
What are the benefits...?
They get to do back breaking toil bent over in waterlogged fields bare foot in freezing water (loads of scope of whining about the toil)
They get to go back to their classical agrarian roots
They get to wear the same black Viet Minh pyjamas and coolie hats - loads of revolutionary cred and solidarity with their Viet worker brothers (if somewhat 30 years out of date)
Lots of trudging nobly behind water buffalo
The return of decent illnesses like Dhobey rot and Trench foot.
We can even set up speakers at all the corners to play stirring revolutionary songs to them while their children denounce their parents for harbouring bourgeoisie tendencies.
Loads of red flags everywhere.
Gordo gets to wear a Chairman Mao suit while telling even more outrageous lies of how glorious everything is under him while his cabinet of muppets bark on about how their own slice of the cultural revolution is perfect.
AND….the final boon - price of basmati falls to reasonable levels - it's practically extortion in Waitrose.
So - I ask you….what's wrong with a bit of Maoism? It could be what we need in this country. Just so long as in a few years the benighted squad of onanists in Downing street get toppled in a very bloody counter revolution and we embrace Singapore / Hong Kongesque ultra capitalism, then it might be worth enduring the appalling tailoring and the water buffalo crapping everywhere.
Stoney (The Dog, not the Friend) is a delightful mastiff. An amiable, if somewhat odorous brute - who is totally hand tame, but has a taste for soft furnishings and is bright enough to remove most obstacles placed on the sofa - thereby allowing him forbidden luxuriation.
As with most large dogs, they tend to have a weak spot - and Stoney's is his ears. He is a sucker for having his ears rubbed. He will snuffle, snort and generally drool on one for a rub of his large velvet ears.
Friend was playing with said ears, when he was seized by a motivated to clean them. They needed doing, and he also felt motivated to comment on their state whilst he and dog frolicked on the quarter deck.
'I'm most concerned for his ears', he said with a worried look.
'Indeed.' I responded, pouring the chilled Sancerre into a large glass which I had inspected for spots, dead insects and other detritus one expects from taking supper Alfresco.
'There is so much wax- seems such a waste of resources - is there any use we can put it to?' He asked.
I pondered the prodigious wax-like effusions and it stuck me.
'We could make particularly disgusting scented candles.'
I have since pondered what to do with a dog-ear scented candle. Other than for the purpose of attracting blue-bottles, I can think of no other practical application.
The only purpose of attracting blue-bottles could be a morbid desire to experiment with maggots - betraying yourself to be desperately unpleasant - or have a liking to catching Tench. Neither pastime of which is suitable for a gentleman of style and panache. (Barbel - maybe, but Tench, never.)
I shall add them to my useless inventions list. I may return to that theme at other points. In my various conversations with my chap-orientated chums, one often dreams up such odd juxtapositions which makes one smile to oneself on the train - and it is high time I recorded them for posterity.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Sasha was the pin-up DJ of the 90's with a backstory that summed up the experiences of the DJ route to glory - from early days at the Hac, through Shelley's and on to the world stage with Renaissance alongside John Digweed - and becoming a global player.
His sets are fantastic - and he is, to put it mildly - a bit of a legend. A north welsh lad made good and following the whole gamut of the acid house movement from the first raves, the Ibiza explosion and today's newer more epicurean and grown up tastes.
My companion at this do was Donna-da-Lodger - an accomplished photographer for one of this social networking sites that I am very much of the wrong generation to understand.
We reviewed her photos the next day, as she was regaling us with tales of being chucked off the stage because some snotty DJ had his security to take her off. She showed me the photo of the offending fellow.
My Jaw dropped.
'You know who that is?'
I pointed at the chap in his later thirties possibly even Nearly Forty, plenty of middle aged spread, balding (like me) and remaining hair cropped back (like me). All in all a fellow looking like a dad.
Oh, he doesn't look like his publicity shots anymore. That's cos they were taken in 1994.
John Digweed doesn't look a day of 30. Still.