Last Thursday I was privileged to have a glass of beer with many of the great and good of the railway industry. This was a further reminder of the unique world that is railway engineering, the great people in that world and the significance of the change. I won’t name everybody here but special thanks has to go to Martin Bright for an appearance in his new-found role as poster boy for retirement. Ignore those adverts for potions that take “years off you” Martin has somehow lost ten years in two weeks, well deserved and reassuring as I too take to the exit.
At home I am continuing the ‘pack one, throw one’ technique that I have always used when moving home. I have not yet left living out of a bag behind as I return to the apartment next weekend before final move on Monday so I have to ensure that whatever I leave here fits in the bag (or the bin). Negotiations for beer supply are still confounding both me and Andrew as we compare notes on the relative performances of our brewery reps. For some reason my paperwork is taking longer than it does up here in Essex but I am sure that is just a reflection on the slower pace of life further South……..
Plumber is now engaged for the Tuesday which is great news as it limits the time that I will be without hot water. This is a significant achievement for me since I have passed a job that I could do myself, at least in part, to a professional trade and also cut a neat, but fair, discount on the job. With the mantra of ‘Return On Investment’ ringing in my ears I have opted to replace the boiler rather than repair. As good as all this progress is it also reminds me that with the stonemason, roofer and plumber engaged the rest of the tasks reside on the list that has my name at the top and time is not my friend. Keep an eye on the blog and you can watch my progress I may even find a tracker to link progress with my slow decline into insanity!
I went for a meal at the old place on Friday and it was a good example of what not to do. She is without doubt a stunning little pub and continues to look great and trade well but the food offer is confused and misplaced. Coupling a very good bar menu with a weak restaurant offer in an environment which cannot offer a restaurant is indicative of somebody in the business pushing too hard for something that isn’t right. This type of prescriptive offer is exactly what I won’t do, and didn’t do when I was there, the pub knows what it wants to be and as landlords our job is to facilitate that. The old girl is doing well but its a shame to see some basics missed that would step her up a level; I know that it is of no impact to me but this is how we view pubs that is just how it is. Imagine going past the house that you used to own and finding that they had painted it pink and made it an eyesore* well we feel the same when we enter old pubs and see inverted 70cc bottles of spirits or cluttered fridges.
For those who are still seeking out the excitement in my posts I can assure you that you are still too early. There is no excitement just a creeping dread as I look at invoices and CapEx plans. Don’t be mislead this is very much what I want to do and I am convinced that I will make it work, but looking beyond the works is an effort in itself. I guess it is similar whichever side of the bar you are on, my days of looking for excitement are long gone and I now drink where I am comfortable and around friends. This is the pub that I want to create and the environment where I want to live, it isn’t excitement that I want it’s the comfort of wandering downstairs to work.
*Any similarities to ex marital homes that are still being paid for are entirely coincidental
As you all know I love living in a small coastal community and can find seemingly endless reasons why; today I have another to share with you. Out here our GPs haven’t been criticised by overly sensitive patients or sued by ambulance chasing no win no fee crooks they are as nature intended. Today I had to see the GP to see if we can work out why I seem to be finding ever more reasons to flush, I thought it good to check before I get mistaken for a 12-year-old in a lingerie aisle! We started out with a sociable hello and then moved to the reason for the visit. I explained that the flushing is becoming more common and that I have ruled out alcohol (thank god), food and laundry detergent so I can’t actually associate it with anything it seems random. My exercise level was discussed, my blood pressure was taken and then my GP summed up his thoughts.
“You’re probably changing into a girl” said with a straight face to a patient that he has seen once in 8 years. I laughed and said that would I would need some fashion help if that was the case and the response was “are your balls shrivelling up?” having assured the doc that this was not the case he conceded that this was a flawed diagnosis. He explained that it was probably nothing, reeled off a couple of things that were of no concern and then threw in that it could be some long sounding word ending in tumour. I suggested that the latter didn’t sound like something I wanted and he emphatically agreed. Symptomatic treatment would be achieved by beta blockers whilst he ordered up blood and urine tests. Doc went on to explain what beta blockers do and asked again if I did any sport because “I play table tennis and darts, I am OK but with a beta blocker I am a winner” I assured him that there were no drugs that he could prescribe that would result in me taking up a sport before he sounded a caution “if you were to get chased by a lion then you wouldn’t react quickly and the lion might get you” This last warning was offered with a sincere look of concern and I almost expected him to produce a lion before I assured him that I had no plans to visit the jungle.
I like to think I had the last laugh when he mentioned that a very common side effect of beta blockers is cold hands “so it will make raynauds worse then?” he checked the notes and asked how bad the raynauds was nowadays, I assured him that it was much better than when I was younger. Did I still get the colour changes he asked, oh yes and the spasms but not like when I was younger. The raynauds itself was not a concern because “if it makes it too much worse we can stop the beta blockers” but what foxed him, and hadn’t occurred to me, is that raynauds is the reverse of flushing. Raynauds is a vasoconstriction condition that results in loss of blood flow to the extremities where as flushing is caused by vasodilation. That both conditions exhibit at different times pointed to a control issue but unfortunately that particular circuit is located at pretty much the centre of the brain so kind of difficult to recalibrate.
I left him to his musing and returned to the reception, made blood appointment and collected the urine sample bottle to fill over the weekend, the last part was not what I expected. No small sample pot for me oh no they want a couple of litres. Apparently this is a 24 hour deal where you have to collect everything for said period, given it is the weekend I nominate Sunday so that I can deliver the sample on Monday. Luckily I live close enough to the pub to pop home so wont have to hide the bottle up somewhere!
On Monday decided that commuters should get a discount on their season ticket if they do something crazy. Not all the time or altogether, that would be daft but maybe each ticket could have a crazy day printed on it. On this day you would have to do something odd, wear something strange and just generally stand out. The world would be so much more fun and you would start every day with a smile. This is not just random thinking I know it for a fact. Thank you to the lady on the metro for coming to work on a hobby-horse today and leading the way.
Seriously, in the middle of the morning commute this lady was stroking a horse’s head on a stick. Sadly I got off before her but I was sorely tempted to stay on and see if she ‘rode’ it off. How can you be angry with the world when there are people like that in it? Perhaps we shouldn’t stop at commuters though. Would there be any wars if somebody turned up to the crisis talks wearing a pink stetson? Would big business meetings not be brightened when the coffee was brought in by a woman riding a hobby-horse?
Another observation from Monday’s travel was that some people use too many words. I see this all of the time in reports and letters but it was brought to the front of my mind by the departure board at St Pancreas. Apparently a portion of the sign was under test and this was indicated by it displaying the text “sign under test disregard all information”. Surely the test is just about illuminating pixels so why would they send fake information? The warning message took up the entire screen so it effectively made itself redundant. If one was to take it literally then you would disregard the message itself, you wouldn’t know it was under test but would it matter? If there was ‘information’ on the screen there would be no room for the message so nobody would be any the wiser. I was always taught that it is not the use of big words that makes you clever but the appropriate use of all words, was nobody else?
In other news the stand that I ordered for my new television has arrived at my friend who has kindly taken it in. It was considerate of him to suggest that the stand would look good with a vase of flowers on it, given the ineptitude of the delivery service. Having previously asked for the delivery to be put out I sent a request over the weekend to switch it to my friends address. The request to change delivery address has been ignored because the item must be delivered to the cardholder’s address, I wait with bated breath. Apparently the need to deliver to my address is part of the security issues with buying electronics on credit card.
I had no idea that electronics retail was awash with criminals, I had always considered them to be more interested in drugs, guns and prostitution. That there are arch criminals moving televisions around the country is quite a revelation but I think that it shows our criminals are not as bright as they once were. Surely it is far harder to smuggle a home cinema system than its value in cocaine? Are there ‘surround sound mules’ out there; actually that is an entertaining thought. The sheer inefficiency of the process must be off-putting to the criminal classes. I have seen drug deals on the television, they take mere seconds, to get a television delivered on the other hand seems to take weeks!