Easter weekend in Keswick

Apparently when I get my holidays like the Friday and Monday around Easter, it’s costing the economy billions (according to the politicians on the magic box). I’ll remember this next time I go to make a beverage during work hours. They obv don’t call it Nestcafe Gold for nothing.

We went to Keswick over the weekend, which was a much needed escape from city life (although I did become homesick and find myself intrusively closing in on people’s personal space, just for comfort). Even though it rained the whole time, we still managed to get lots done, such as jumping off waterfalls and kayaking around small lake-islands.

At one point we arrived on a deserted island and ate a packed lunch. An overly protective duck spent half of its time pestering us for food and the other half chasing away another male duck from its lady-pal. I’m frankly a little offended that it didn’t consider me as much of a threat — I mean, she wasn’t much to look at. It just thought of me as some over-sized food vendor. When we went back to our kayak, some obnoxious family had anchored a motorised boat right in front of our kayak. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we weren’t on a deserted island, in the middle of nowhere, with ‘prime anchor-able beach’ in every direction. Anyway, I hope they were eaten by black smoke and hunted by a polar bear, over an unnecessarily long, drawn out period of time (Lost reference).

It was overall a very enjoyable experience with a couple of restaurant experiences, stunning-scenic walks, hippie multi-coloured sheep and ‘No likey — no lighty’ Take Me Out entertainment over a bottle of wine and a B&B room. For reference, the B&B was called Amble House in Keswick and was absolutely worth every penny, the owners are lovely people and go the extra mile.

We went down to breakfast each morning and were brought pre-ordered hot food such as full English, ommlettes, toast etc and were provided with fresh fruit, teas, yogurts and more choice than you would ever need. I’m curious as to why the sign stated an award of AA breakfast. What do you need for AA+ or AAA? Is your food brought to you by those dancing waiters from The Polar Express? Maybe Bruce Willis takes down a global terrorist in front of you and then finishes off with a well aimed bullet through the middle of your bagel? I have no idea.

We made it to the station on the way home, for a train first to Crewe and then down to London Euston. Following a confused wait in the customer service queue, we were told that our train didn’t, in fact, exist. Our 44 mins passed the hour train we had been sold tickets for (which we now held in our hands), had never (and more importantly, would never at 44 mins passed the hour) existed. What is this, the freak’n Hogwart’s Express?

After standing in a cramped corridor in a train that looked similar to our mythical one, we made it to Crewe. After getting on the train there to London Euston (which thankfully existed this time), someone was typically in our seat. A large, digital sign above the person’s head clearly stated in all its Virgin Train glory, ‘Available’. After an understandably short tempered lady went off to find another seat that was available until otherwise dis-proven (digital age, my arse), we got to enjoy the Virgin experience. It’s probably quite similar to the virgin experience that many a sacrificial altar of olden days would have seen, but at least we were almost home.

We came home to a hose-pipe ban in the p***ing rain. Not only can I not afford a London garden, flowers or a hose-pipe, but if I had plants that were still thirsty after 3 days of rain, I’d be well prepared to point a finger at the likely route of our water-shortage problems.

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The Olympics Comes To London

My attempts to pass my own first hurdle regarding the Olympics, failed – to get a ticket. I probably won’t be alone in remembering a time when you handed over cash, in return for a piece of card that allowed you to enter an event. A time when life was simple, when nobody thought that cannon-balling into a pool on holiday was a sport and watching people throw things was free, just by hanging around Clapham junction in August. Now, apparently, you have to apply for things that you may want and have money ready for them while someone goes, “maybe, maybe, maybe… BAM! Sorry, not this time”. Someone, like myself, won a total of zero tickets because we were hesitant of the negative consequences of signing up for 150 tickets at a limb-a-pop. “Good news is that you get to see everything from running into walls, to the elastic band flicking competition. Bad news is, you’ll have to sleep there ’cause we now own your house as a down payment.”

It has recently been announced that the Olympic torch will be paraded through most of the country, especially the parts filled with people who missed out on tickets to foreigners, sponsors, celebrities and the lucky few ‘normies’ that we’re assured are out there somewhere.

The strategists will have to prepare for four main groups of people during this tour, as laid out below:

1) The patriots – a friendly group of people who will work to protect the flame and its representation of a great nation. These are good and shouldn’t be shot at.

2) The drunks – communication is limited as their sensory patterns have been temporarily disrupted. Their toxin-enhanced emotions, mixed with their constant need to urinate, will inevitably result in attempts to put out the flame. Due to a numbing of their nerves, blunt objects will unlikely hinder them. These must be tackled using methods of distraction – 400 million letres of no-frills vodka.

3) The hoods – a large group of youths, bound together as brothers/sisters through a shared love of hiding their own faces and talking in text. Communication is likely to be one-sided in understanding and they will no doubt be attempting to increase the flame-to-non flame ratio using cans of deodorant (full as these creatures are not accustomed to using them for anything other than anarchy). Suggested tactic – give youths vodka to distract them and allow the drunks to counteract their own flames.

On top of this, the torch will be taken to Scotland to face some of the world’s toughest weather conditions and even some cave-beings who have not yet experienced fire.

4) The Scots – likely to make an attempt to steal the flame and make it their god. Suggested tactic – more vodka.

If the flame makes it around the country and back down to the Olympic stadium… then I think it should be awarded all the gold medals and then we just call it a day.

Our roads are for sale?

Looking at this article: http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/roads-may-be-run-by-private-firms-3 on MSN news, or similar on BBC etc. David Cameron wants to sell off our roads, but what does that even mean?

These companies have to make a profit somehow, so either that’s higher taxes to do the same job or it’s from things like toll booths. Will that mean there will be a toll booth every 4 metres or so, asking for a hard-earned 20p? We’d be quicker walking. Maybe that’s what he’s hoping for so that he’ll finially reach the ‘greener’ Britain that he promised: http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/roads-may-be-run-by-private-firms-3

What happens if we stop using that road, will they hold an auction at the side, with a banner stating, ‘road for sale, get your piece of genuine road. Why are you standing there, not having a bit of road… when you could be HAVING A BIT OF ROAD?’ Can I then take my road home with me? Stick it in the back garden and run over it, making car noises? Will they get jealous that they’ve lost their ‘hard-earned’ road and come after it, exclaiming “MINE”?

Will there be a charge for crossing the road? If you’ve accidentally spent your last pennies on a Mars Bar, that Mars Bar may be the last meal you ever eat, if you can’t afford the walk home.

I swear that one day I’ll come home and Cameron will have sold off my slippers – some suited, fat man from his tower has come down for the day to charge me comfort-by-the-minute.

David Cameron’s got such an innocent looking baby-face as well, it’s hard to look at him and think he’s being naughty. Picture that face running around on tiny legs, being chased by his mother, screaming “Wanna wanna run a cooouunntttryyyy”.

Mum – “not until you share your toys with everyone, David”

Cameron – “MY TOYS!”

Anyway, all I’m saying is, say goodbye to ‘privatisation’ – cause the word will soon be privatised and you won’t be able to use it for less than a quid.

Selling games

Okay, so there’s a building site by our house (a new Leisure Centre). We’re a little worried they might get carried away and bulldoze our house (step in Arthur Dent and your towel). Anyone who knows Streatham will tell you that it’s as dirty as Paris after a sand storm – as much as I also love it of course. However, the posters surrounding the site show a computerised version of what the structure will look like once it has been completed.

Although the building looks impressive and contains an ice rink, 5 tennis courts, a pool and many modern-day wonders (apparently even a vending machine that doesn’t mug you and leave your hard-earned Twix dangling on its gripper), the building also promises to make the entire street clean and bring out the sun. Do they think that people will say, “I was going to drop my half-empty can of liver killer but that building has touched me in ways my wife couldn’t, so I will instead place my can in the bin that’s obviously off shot, clean myself up, wear a suit and become one of the very few people using the facilities in the pictures. And what’s with the sun? Is it a ‘build it and it will come’ scenario?

There are pictures of a couple of people enjoying a light swim or a game of tennis. In truth, I’d imagine that the water would be yellow from urine, the receptionist would be smoking crack and two youths would be whacking a third to death on the floor with their tennis rackets.

What’s the most impressive part is that the church next door seems to have been polished up in these pictures too.  Undoubtedly God couldn’t quite do it but they will. There’s not even a bus driver peeing on its wall (I swear that I have actually encountered this – it was next door to the bus terminus as well, not sure why their staff have no toilets. Unless this guy has some weird, anti-protestant fetish). Let’s see how it turns out. I’m hopeful that it will be a great investment, however, playing ‘leg-it-home before someone steals your pizza’ provides all the exercise I need for now.

Welcome 2012!

Ok, so festivities are done for another year and once again, it’s January, arguably the dullest quarter of the year except for the weather. Went to Edinburgh this morning to get my train home and was hit by winds of just over 100mph. Waverley Station was evacuated, trains were cancelled and the coke machine was out of diet.

I carried my heavy bags to the bus station and managed to get an overnight ticket for tonight’s coach to London Victoria, getting in at about 6.40am tomorrow morning. On my way back to my parent’s home, my bus was stopped by police and unloaded its only passenger – me – in the middle of a field, halfway to our home town.

Covered in mud, ignored by the lucky car owners and struggling not to be ‘delicately’ placed inside the field over-fence, one of my parent’s friends was kind enough to come and collect me from under the cover of a bridge (like the troll in Billie Goats Gruff, except with the grass and goats flying along the motorway overhead alongside an Argos van). All transport was off for a few hours. It seems that the only things that weren’t flying today, were the planes. 

It fills me with great pride that while our bus shelter was at the brink of collapse, the sounds of the Scottish pipes were still coming from around the corner somewhere. Although I could argue that in those conditions, the pipes practically play themselves and it was also likely that they were flying around unbeknown to their owners as well, it’s a nice feeling all the same.

A couple of people at the stop were discussing Scotland’s attempts to fulfill their energy consumption needs with 100% renewables by 2020. One was trying to work out whether the wind would be a good thing for turbines, or act like motor rotors, sending our country even further North to the arctic, if not sending them spinning into the sea on fire. The other was trying to work out what the country would need energy for, with the wind providing an answer for drying needs, light (house fire across the road), travel (a sail on a car), entertainment (watching old people fly past) and even music (sound of glass hitting concrete) – which, let’s face it, is a heck of a lot better than some of the crap out there today.

Eyes Eyes Baby

Had an eye test across the road from my work. There was a queue of people waiting at the reception, one by one they were helped until it was my turn. “I’m here about my eyes,” I said. They gave a knowing nod. I was directed to a small table where a young gentleman quizzed me about my details. I’m sure if someone wanted to become me, they’d have left my eyes,  a dead weasel can see better than me.

Afterwards I was led to the second stage, I had succeeded in obtaining the right to pay for my eyes to be tested. As I sat patiently, I noticed a poster on the wall which claimed, “Are you blind or visually impared, over 60/ under 16 or 19 in full time education? You could be entitled to a free eye test!”

Now wait a minute. I get all the rest of it but blind people? That just raises a whole load of questions. For starters, the advert isn’t very ‘blind friendly’. Even if they had managed to ‘stumble’ across the poster somehow and understand its meaning, what would the eye test be like?

“Can you see this one?”

“no”

“Can you see this one?”

“no”

“Can you see this one?”

“no”

“Better or worse?”

“Much the same really”

“Better or worse?”

“A little bet… actually no, pretty much the same really”

Maybe they just visually threaten them and hurl abuse at them to determine whether or not they’re actually blind or stealing benefits.

I was called into a little room. I have to mention that my first name’s Alexander and my Uni messed up my date of birth and I still have to remember that for some things. It means that some of my medical details are under different names and I often get mixed up between my date of birth. There’s nothing more dodgy than someone who can’t remember his name and date of birth, trying to get some prescription meds.

Anyway, the door was closed and I was ushered into a chair by a young lady, about 30. She was very large in a specific private female chest area and was wearing an obscene piece of clothing that barely concealed her. I think I confused the lady when she turned on the slide and asked, “how much can you see?” to which I replied, “too much”.

Next came the painful beam of light while close range inspection in a microscope thingy is done. The instructions to look up, left, right and straight ahead were fine (I’m well practiced). The problem came when she asked me to look down and I tried to do anything but. For about 20 long seconds I was unavoidably forced to look at them, which in my view is sexual harassment. She said, “this may be slightly uncomfortable” and all I could say was “yes, but it’s ok, the 20 minutes are almost up.”

The one place where you’re actually forced to stare at a lady’s breasts and you have to be visually impaired to get in, how amusing. So I’ve had enough embarrassment for one week, thank you world. Roll on the weekend where nothing can go wrong if I don’t leave the house… can it?

The Cat

I was walking to work and there was a large cat standing on the pavement. As I crossed the road and reached the other side, it decided to do the same after and very slowly at that. I heard a car coming around the corner so jumped back out onto the road but the cat had gone under a parked car and I was left standing like a numpty, shouting, “watch out for the cat!”

Once I had stepped back onto the pavement I saw the cat staring at me between licking its paw as it wondered why on Earth I’d bothered to make such a fool of myself. Cats are such simple and self involved creatures. If I’d been flattened then I can guarantee it would have come up to my lifeless body and asked, “food?” before leaving me to find somewhere warm to have a kip. Darn cute little bug*ers, we’re their slaves and they know it

News of the World Hacking Scandal

This is absolutely atrocious and makes me sick to my teeth. How can NOTW have the indecency to hack into phones and listen into other people’s private conversations?! Why can’t they just listen by doors and watch Big Brother style shows like everyone else?

I swear that they’re still doing it but under the cover of a different media outlet as whenever I’m on the phone, I’m sure I can hear breathing. You read it here first – if anything is leaked out about how I like my rice with my garlic chicken strips from Slurp takeaway, then I’ll be furious. It’s boiled by the way – I’m not all bad

So we approach the end of November and the beginning of December, it’s time to start the Christmas shopping. I like to do this from the luxury of my home on places such as Play.com and Amazon, avoiding the crowds of selfish people who are trying to do the same thing as me but are selfish because they aren’t me. Then there’s the opposite effect of goodwill called ‘grudging presents’, where you have to buy something back for someone which costs about the same as what they got you. Then they either lied and you’re out of pocket, or they’ve got you something super awesome and you feel like sh*t, standing there, watching them excitedly unwrap yesterday’s ok magazine and a kit kat.

I don’t think any present is truly fun to give when forced, like sifting over a million websites to find something useful because they’ve got you something and giving’s only really good when you’re also receiving. I do enjoy thinking it over though, spending the year mounting up ideas when something of theirs breaks etc. The problem is the people (like myself, I admit), who never have any money because they go out and buy anything they want or need which is within a present price range. One year I’m going to get an empty box, wrap it up and give them it saying, “I saw this and thought of you. It’s a box to put your present from me that you bought yourself in” or “here is everything you could want this Christmas. Nothing, you pain in the @rse”

All jokes aside though, it is quite fun when you come across something that you can’t wait to give them. Up until the point, that is, until they say, “great, thanks! It’s almost as good as the one upstairs.” F*ck you, Christmas people. F*ck you. 😉

 

The Fog

Our local community has been hit by three days of continuous fog. There are areas of Streatham which appear as if hit by planes, chaos and muggings on the streets, people going crazy and some of them appear to have been run over face first with a motorbike. Then the fog came and thankfully we can now no longer see most of it.

There’s a bit of a war going on over my floor at work. One half of the room say they are too hot and the other half say that they are too cold, so the poor guys in facilities are continually switching the air con/heaters on and off, it really is the definition of ‘four seasons in a day’. I’m in the cold half and being Scottish, don’t really care. They don’t even know cold! They’ve never washed in a  frozen lake after a night in a mud hut, comforted only by wild squirrels and throwing logs for warmth. This really happens.

I attempted to negotiate a balance between both sides  but they are adamant about getting their own way. It’s brilliant because you can see one half in t-shirts shaking a little from being too cold, and the other half with about 10 layers on, sweating and ready to keel over, just to make a point.

Not really much else to inform you about today, just the weather. I’m getting like Scottish television now