I am told by friends that not only was Elaine confused by the young gay couple in the pub on Friday night but that later that evening a positive flock, if that’s the appropriate word, descended on the late night watering hole of the town. I have nothing against those women that enjoy the company of women over men, hell in some instances its a positive service to mankind after all, but I have noticed a trend among younger ‘converts’. Friday night was a good example, we have a young couple, one of which has moved from opposite to same sex relationships which I am sure was a big moment in her life but you know what? It’s not that big a deal for the rest of us. In my quiet local pub this couple did not make a significant impact by holding hands so they moved up to wrestling, embracing and all out tonsil battles, none of which garnered any more attention.
The thing that confirms my theory is that the couple were later ejected from another pub because one of them was trying to pick a fight with some local lads. It seems to me that, like young children, they want to shock, they need to see that look of disdain around them because it marks the momentous choice in their life. Here the theory branches somewhat as I am not sure of why they actually need the attention, is it because they want to be able to berate the ills of society for not accepting them? Do they want to confirm that they are special and different? Or are they just baiting men with the ‘look but don’t touch’? I would like to publicly declare that there isn’t a man on earth that has not, in some studious capacity, observed two women together and to be fair the educational material normally provides a more aesthetically appealing demonstration, were not bothered ladies crack on.
Friday’s later exploits bring some very interesting observations that I feel are worthy of publishing. The first is that when you bring several all girl couples to this sleepy Essex backwater and add alcohol, they don’t turn upon each other they direct their anger at the guys, is this a macho thing?or do they implicitly trust other gay women? The second observation is one for the guys to keep in mind when their partners are bemoaning their discomfort around homosexual men, after all every girl loves a gay guy and they can never understand If a guy finds that uncomfortable, well the straight girls weren’t dancing and were ganging up to go to the toilet, turns out its only non threatening when its the other team.
It’s really odd to wrap up in a heavy coat for a trip to the store only to find that the town is full, in one week we go from tumbleweed to busy. Every parking space is now hotly contested and the narrow streets mean we spend most of the time walking in the road to avoid tourists who are excited to see what they can’t buy in this backwater of Essex, hey that’s just what it is.
Often in life we ask ‘is it me?’ Well today I think I had that answered and it most definitely is. I left from the back of my building and had cause to pass an elderly couple who were having some difficulty with their car, not my business so I took little notice until they accosted me. What was the service that they required from me? What assistance could I offer? Perhaps the use of my cell phone? Knowledge of a local garage? Or perhaps assistance pushing since neither of them looked capable, oh no I was asked “could you break into this for us, we have locked our keys in the boot”. My first feeling was sympathy because I have had those heart stopping moments when you use the auto boot release, slam it then pat the pockets with a cold chill creeping down your spine, but this was quickly suppressed as other thoughts crowded in. Was it their car or some police sting? These people were tourists which means they were from a more urban conurbation so do they really put their self preservation skills to the side when they enter town? If so I must print my wallet inspector card out and laminate it, but seriously would you ask a stranger to break into your vehicle?
Then the real issue hit home, why on earth did you select me, apparently at random, as the most likely to agree to help? The manner in which they asked seemed to presume that I could achieve the task the only question was whether I was willing to assist them. Needless to say I declined to assist them and exited stage left as quickly as possible but I have been thinking, I am not young anymore, what made these people think I was a master car criminal? Surely if I spent my time ‘boosting’ cars then I wouldn’t have been walking past them? But really that’s quite offensive and I think a more appropriate response would have been “well I could but clearly your too old to drive” after all we can all judge by appearance can’t we? Perhaps I’m just the wrong generation, if I was younger and wilder I could have said ‘why no problem at all’ before launching a brick through the window and walking off.
This morning, at some point when I was not looking, somebody ‘wrote’ a 3′ high tribute to Team GB in the sand outside my flat, well nearly, they actually missed the B off so I saw ‘Team G’. I cannot tell you how proud I was of the support for team G, if you guys read this then your kind gesture made my morning there may only be one of me but its good to know your out there rooting for me – Gav
Many thanks to Jenny for pointing out the thing that I was missing with the god awful rise in “onesies”, it’s not because the world has gone mad or because some modern foodstuff is causing mental regression. The reason that I keep seeing adults wearing the bloody things is much simpler, they can’t get them off! This is so obvious when I think about it, after all that’s one of the advantages that they have for babies, they can’t undress themselves, so the same must be true for these poor unfortunate adults. Much like a cat stuck up a tree or a child with its head in railings these adults have crawled into the “onesie” and are stuck, they need our help not our derision.
Never one to mock the afflicted I have now altered my attitude to these poor unfortunates and in future when I see them I will respond more appropriately, I intend to treat them much as a small child so will wrestle them to the floor for convenience and then attack the fasteners. It will be harder to control their struggling limbs as they are larger but my memory tells me that one arm and one leg at a time is the way forward and always make sure the head is supported. Imagine the joy on their faces when, rather than laughing at their misery, I actually help them and release them from their shackles, I shall be held up as a saviour. If you want to share in the gratitude and adulation then just remember next time you see a “onesie” on an adult set them free, together we can save them all.
The great weather entrapment is going full swing on the coast today with probably the largest flakes of snow I have ever seen gently drifting onto the ice cream signs. If it keeps up we could have tourism by default because those that are here wont be able to get out.
Honourable mention to Elaine for yesterday, when faced with a young gay couple she took it all in her stride despite their youthful lack of self control and very public displays, only after a few hours did she think to ask one of the couple how her boyfriend was. It was a sight to behold as she was slowly walked through the storyline of breaking up, changing paths and making up, the woman is a legend so much so that I am going to buy her some peppermint shoes on account of the amount of time that they spend in her mouth!
Book quotes are coming thick and fast this week, the latest being ‘I would trust that man with my wife’ if that is a mark of trust then I am indeed honoured because there isn’t a person I wouldn’t trust with my wife! Alright that may have something to do with the fact that she is in fact now an ex-wife but hey I am going to use that the very next time the debate comes up ‘dude I would trust you with my wife’.
This morning saw the weather making a special effort to tease some tourists into visiting the coast, we started the morning with a threat of snow but that gave way to glorious sun just in time for the Mums to start thinking a trip would be a good idea and hopefully badger Dads into the drive. It’s scary to see just how reliant so many businesses are on the weather and how many are stretched at this time of year as we head into the ‘season’, good luck to all. The weather must have worked to some degree as the local grocery stores look like they have been under siege all day and I have been treated to the view of chip eaters in their natural environment. Directly opposite my flat is shelter arrangement with seats all of the way around it, the sort of thing that is commonly found at most UK coastal resorts, if you sit on any of three sides you can see the sea but the fourth looks at the road. It is the road side seems the most popular, now I would understand this if people were waiting for buses and the like but no they sit there eating their chips and, in so far as I can see, watching me. I haven’t let the fame go to my head though, I still wander around my flat in various stages of undress and I have even managed to overcome the natural urge to wince when I look down and spy somebody biting down on a sausage.
If the weather really is able to plot and twist to tease us then this supports my theory that time also is not inanimate, I know that I am encroaching on Mr Paynter’s territory here but stick with me. If time was a simple and linear measure then how would it be that on leaving work yesterday with a sensible allowance for making my train connection I ended up just missing the train? I didn’t miss my train of course but I missed the one before it, just missed it actually, by seconds and I believe this was time playing with me. For the first part of the journey time passed extraordinarily quickly, stations whizzed by and the miles were consumed voraciously, hence the early arrival at the interchange, but then just as we approached the momentum was lost and time started flowing like road tar. How many times does this happen to you? Your racing ahead, everything is looking good and then it just slows down and frame by frame you miss your target. Paul once tried to guide me through a book that was way beyond my intellect, we used to have mornings at work around a whiteboard so he could explain such seemingly obvious concepts as bending time but unfortunately they were lost on me, that is until now. I think that time can bend itself and I think it does it to spite us, I may even venture that I detect the workings of Ms Nature in this somewhere.
If you imagine that we are travelling down a road that we shall call ‘time’ and we can only ever see a fixed distance in front then when that path is bent we are mislead into thinking that we are travelling faster because we can see further ahead. So at this point I can see my connecting train, the grocery store still open or the cab waiting but because I am looking to the left or right (because of the bend) I am tricked into thinking it is within grasp when in fact I still have the long road to travel. Are you still with me? If it helps, imagine a very large roundabout and you are approaching from the 6 o’clock junction and heading off at 7 o’clock, although you can see 7 o’clock you actually have to travel around the whole roundabout to get to it.
In summary, time is against us it is trying to confuse us and it is making us late, I haven’t figured out why yet but I am working on it and will report in due course.
Its funny how reading a silly throwaway line in a book can make you think, does it make me think more because of my age? Perhaps, but there are many give away lines, not plot critical but more page filling, and they seem to be the ones that generate the most thought. Today’s pearl was the line:
“I married way above my pay grade. That stuff never strikes twice”
Is it true? Is there one chance in everyone’s life to punch above their weight and to wake up with the A list? Is the marriage part critical? I married once you see and I was certainly not punching above my weight, does that mean that my chance has passed? If I should ever make a ten now is it doomed because I will never marry again? I am not quite sure if its a good or bad thing to think that we each get one chance to look up in a partnership, on the good side its not happened yet but on the bad side the sand is always running through the glass. . . .
In the news, I managed to whack my ear with the door on the way to work on Monday and its resulted in that horrible swelling that ears can do. Its times like this that you wonder why anyone in their right mind would put flappy pieces of cartilage on the outside of a large solid box but there they are, flying in the face of good design sense. Well I can say that the benefits of sea salt are not exclusive, having no access to such material I have used Sodexo catering sachets of salt to bathe my ear this week with some reasonable amount of success, save your money people table salt can do it!
I have been reading the excellent David Baldacci Christmas Train which involves a journey across the US, the journey is set in modern time indeed the traveller uses the train as the result of a falling out with airport authorities over their over intrusive checks. Our traveller is going coast to coast on sleeper trains and there is something so wonderfully evocative in the names of the trains, the railroad companies and the whole travelling experience. I have worked on the old British Rail sleeper cars and the experience described in the book is something completely and wonderfully different, a world of meeting people whilst travelling over the course of a couple of days and of lounge bars and twin level coaches.
This subject comes up quite often in books and certainly it’s a feature of Baldacci’s, every time I read about the subject I am moved to think that I shall have to complete such a journey for no other reason than to experience the magnificence of the countryside from these rolling caravans. I am, of course, well aware that on my train there will be no film writers or superstars and that I will be sandwiched between an oversized family and a snoring old lady, condemned to spend the time with my head under the pillow cursing the name Baldacci. In fact with my luck Spiderman or Tigger will be there for the duration, like some LSD fuelled commuting nightmare.
The wondrous sounding American experience may be a step ahead of the more mundane UK railways but we still have iconic buildings and journeys that will forever evoke emotions embedded in childhood. My entire UK dwelling has resulted in London Liverpool Street as a terminus station and I remember well when this was effectively to stations split by platforms 9 and 10, the longer Intercity platforms. As a child on family outings we would cross the footbridge between the low numbered platforms with their North London destinations and the high numbered platforms departing to the bucket and spades destinations of Southend on Sea and Clacton on Sea. Walking over the footbridge gave an opportunity to stop and watch the locomotives running around to pull the long Intercity trains to Norwich and, of course, to the Hook of Holland via Harwich. To a young boy there was something marvellous about watching the theatre of locomotives being uncoupled from the rear and fresh ones brought onto the front from the small shunt siding hidden in the dark between the platforms, a process lost long ago to an efficiency drive.
The station has long since been rebuilt an much of the rolling stock has been replaced although the grand old dames of the Intercity service are still plying the line, looking tired and outdated they seem to hark back to a golden age and still remain the stock of choice wherever possible. When I worked for Eurostar I commuted from Harwich and managed to time my commute to the ‘boat trains’, Intercity services timed to align with sailing times for the ferries; these trains provided a wonderfully eclectic mix of travelling companions and rich diversity of language. Even then you could see in the old buffet cars glimpses of the rich past of these services, long galleys equipped and designed for serving full cooked meals reduced now to pre-packaged snacks and cups of tea. There was an advantage for me in the provision of a buffet car, especially when returning from a night shift, in that the steward would kindly provide tea when I boarded and when I awoke both of which were made from his personal provision and therefore cost nothing, on quiet occasions we would sometimes sneak an elicit bacon roll in the galley as well.
For all the history and romance of transportation though nothing will ever come close to working one Christmas at Doncaster railway works, I was met there by my senior traction Engineer who was so happy to have fallen upon the ‘perfect Christmas’ a Casey Jones* turkey burger and a Christmas Eve nightshift in a railway works. They say that it takes all sorts and in this industry you sure do meet them.
*British Rail’s ill-fated challenge to McDonalds and Burger King
For the avoidance of doubt please be aware that some clothing is age limited, if you really insist on keeping certain articles they should be restricted to the privacy of your own home. Travelling today as a commuter on the public railway I saw two examples that led me to publish this advice, clearly it is not as common knowledge as I suspected.
The 40 year old woman who appeared to travel all of the way to London, the heart of commerce, in a baby-grow decorated as Tigger clearly had no concept of normal dress. I struggle with the whole concept of these all in one garments past the age of 8 months but as an adult? What was she thinking? If that wasn’t a wager then she must have been on day release. Its a shame that ‘Tigger’ didn’t travel with me to Hackney Wick where she could have met up with a 30 odd year old who chose to come as spiderman. I’m not joking, he had red leggings and an extra large red hoody resplendent with spider webs and spiders, even over the hood which he kept up, probably wisely. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was so overweight I would have been expecting him to spray webs from his wrist.
Is there a small percentage of the population that are incapable of maturing? That are forever stuck in the world of Barbie dolls and Action Men? Did they miss some key stage where everyone swapped from comics to newspapers? If that is the case then surely the manufacturers that are producing and retailing these over sized childrens outfits must be held accountable for drawing these social misfits into the public domain? If the government are seriously considering tax levies on high fat foods surely there is a strong case for a punitive tax on adult super hero outfits?
In other news I hear that Hertfordshire suffered very heavy snowfall over the weekend, I find the news oddly comforting. On the bitter east coast we have had a viciously powerful wind, as witnessed by the sand and seaweed distributed along the high street this morning, and this has prevented the snow from settling. Having spent all day Saturday watching snow travelling horizontally past my window I had been wondering where it would end up, logic told me that sooner or later there would be a solid object to stop its path, sorry Hertfordshire but hey someone had to have it.