Grow on Trees – 11th February 2018
“Mum, can I have some new trainers please?”
“Why do you want new trainers? You only had a new pair a couple of months ago, and you had other new pairs for Christmas and your birthday not long before that. How many pairs do you need?”
“I need a new pair as everyone else is getting them.”
“If everyone else was gluing their mouths shut, would you want some glue so you could too?”
“Don’t be daft mum, no one glues their mouth shut. It’s only a pair of trainers.”
“You’ve already got lots of pairs.”
“I don’t have all of the ones you think I do.”
“Why the hell not? Do you think they grow on trees?”
“Yes, trainers do grow on trees.”
“Don’t be so stupid boy, of course they don’t.”
“They do and I can prove it.”
“No you can’t.”
“I can, I can show you the tree they grow on.”
“I very much doubt it.”
“Honestly I can, it’s next to the skate park.”
She glared at her son, unable to believe what was coming out of his mouth, but despite that, she went and put some shoes on, grabbed a jacket from the rack and followed him out of the door and up to the skate park. When they got there her son pointed at a tree and her mouth hung open.
There was a tree with no leaves on any of the branches with it being the damp period before spring started populating the trees with their new year’s leaves, but every single branch on this one tree had a pair of trainers hanging from it. One foot each side of the branch, hanging from the tied together laces.
“See? I told you so.” She heard the voice of her son, but she was looking more closely at the tree.
“They aren’t growing on the tree; kids are just throwing their old pairs up there. This is all your skater friends isn’t it?”
There was no reply, and then she spotted the bright purple trainers on one of the branches.
“Hold on, aren’t they one of your pairs on that branch up there you little sod?”
There was still no answer and she turned around to find her son had disappeared. There was no way he was getting a new pair of trainers now.
A Drive To Work – 19th July 2017
I swear to god that there must be a special secret news network that spreads the word the second that I get into a car to drive anywhere.
After the lunatic driving experienced on Sunday with people cutting me up left, right and centre, I ventured out in the car this morning to complete the relatively simple task of driving to work, via the petrol station.
I pulled out of our cul-de-sac on to Southgate Drive, not a car in sight either way, only to find a few seconds later a numpty right up behind me, flashing their lights and beeping, just because I had the temerity to be driving at the thirty miles an hour speed limit. So with the numpty behind me, I carried on down the hill towards Southgate Avenue and the daily delight of the school run. Sure enough an overly long estate dived across the road in front of me to get a parking space so they could drop their precious little charges off for school, causing me to brake, and therefore in turn the numpty behind me to brake and use their horn again, before they parked up in the bus layby to drop their own kids off.
A relative period of calm followed, which was shattered as I turned into St Mary’s Drive only to come face to face with a moronic cyclist coming towards me on the wrong side of the road, who shouted obscenities at me as he bumped up onto the pavement. Obviously it must have been my fault he was on the wrong side of the road.
At the traffic lights to get under the railway bridge I was behind a large white Audi Chelsea tractor, which when the lights changed, went under the bridge and got nearly as far as the turn off to Hazelwick school, only to stop on the bend. This stop in the middle of the road to hold up traffic was to let their daughter out of the car to go to the school. The Audi pulled off, and I restarted to follow, only for the stupid girl to decide to run in front of my car to cross the road.
After avoiding hitting her by centimetres I pulled into the garage, drove up to the second row of pumps, sat behind a Transit van. I put the fuel in and went inside to pay, the van driver was paying at the pump, and when I came out he was gone, behind me was a BMW, whose driver was using their horn, before they leant out of their window to converse with me.
“Why didn’t you use the front pump, instead of this back one, blocking me from using it.”
I assumed they were joking, and tried to ignore them.
“Oi, I’m talking to you.”
“No, you’re shouting in my general direction, and for the record, when I got here, there was something in front of me.”
“Why didn’t you move down when they left?”
“Because I was inside paying, and as yet, the technology to enable me to be in two places at once doesn’t exist.”
“Just move your fucking car.”
“I will, when I’m ready and sorted, and if you’re too much of an impatient twat to wait for that, move to another aisle where there are free spaces, which is all of them.”
I tuned out the stream of obscenities as I got back in the car, and deliberately took a lot longer than I needed to. As I moved forward, he drove and stopped in the space I had vacated, oblivious to the irony in him doing so, and then proceeded to drag the fuel hose across the car to the far side of it to start filling up.
As I made my way out from the garage, I was cut up by another Chelsea tractor coming from the car park side opposite the garage, by someone who was obviously unaware of how roundabouts and their priorities worked. Then they pulled up short of the exit back on to the road to let their little brat out of the car. At least he had the good sense to wait for cars to pass him by before trying to cross the road.
The Chelsea tractor was unfortunately going the same way as me, so I had to witness him cutting up other traffic on the next two roundabouts we encountered, but finally he was out of my way, and I made it into the work car park. Only to be met with someone telling me that I should be parking my car in the small spaces on the other side, despite the fact it blatantly doesn’t fit.
Only eight hours to go before I have to drive home.
Chinese New Year
How many eyes does a lion have? A strange question I know, but seriously even with there being two lions, it really shouldn’t have taken nearly an hour to dot the eyes of the lion.
We had arrived near Trafalgar Square at just before midday. We couldn’t say we were in Trafalgar Square as they weren’t letting anyone else in at that point. No matter how many people were coming out, the marshals couldn’t deal with the simple one out, one in principle that nightclub doormen had been using for decades; and so thousands of people were stacked up on Charing Cross Road straining to see what was going on via the big screens either side of the stage. Straining to hear them as well, as the PA system was less use than a chocolate fireguard.
Chinese New Year was being given the full treatment in London, with lots of cordoned off, pedestrianized streets for the day. Lots of stalls, barriers, various stages and events over a reasonable sized area of Central London. Yet they couldn’t get the sound system right.
There were a lot of the usual London suspects there, you know the ones, those that would turn up for the opening of an envelope if they thought someone would give them a microphone for a few seconds.
The dotting of the eyes was supposed to take place at 12. By the time all the talking heads had finally deflated the dotting actually started at twelve minutes to one. All the time it was going on I had the thought going through my head about the fact I’d obviously missed the crossing of the teas ceremony. I found out that came later as there was a mix of Earl Grey and English Breakfast on the table as we stopped for cakes before heading home.
Wandering over to Chinatown through Leicester Square was like trying to wade through treacle. Most of the small side streets were barricaded off by little Hitlers in Day-Glo blousons shouting no entry at anyone who had the temerity to try and walk along an un-crowded street. They were forcing everyone into the same tightly packed thoroughfares.
With lots of people, there was lots of pushing and shoving, loads of people coming the other way too. It wasn’t a case of the little Hitlers stopping people from entering to make foot traffic one way; it appeared they only wanted to keep the un-crowded side streets for themselves.
Various stalls and performers were dotted around all over the place, and wherever they had set up, the squeeze to get past was worse than ever. Too many people pushing you, trying to get through to a non-existent space in front. Too much impatience. If I had received a pound for each time some halfwit had trodden on me, or some prat with a pushchair had rammed my ankles, then I could be sat here writing this as a retired man.
We were looking for somewhere to get food, and wanted to try for Chinese, considering the occasion, but we would still have been queuing now for it. There were queues around the block for the takeaway buffets, and the restaurants were all bulging at the seams. We found a little American bar style diner in Soho and got various snacks to share. The food was lush, as were the cocktails, but the cocktails cost a damn sight more.
Once refreshed we fought through the crowds again and made it back to Trafalgar Square where we were actually allowed back in. Typically there were street food stalls within the barricades, and without long queues, but we walked past and found some space in a line with the stage.
The presenters had the kind of chemistry that made you hope they weren’t providing the powder for the firework display later on. The acts weren’t a great deal better. The Chinese dancing was interesting, but I couldn’t understand why they were using a backing track of what appeared to be a medley of cowboy theme tunes. I was expecting the Deadwood Stage to come crashing onto the actual stage at any second.
As for the magician, well he certainly wasn’t a dynamo, in any sense of the word. The only way he’d have got a cheer if was if he’d made himself or the presenters disappear. Instead he just made us disappear, out of Trafalgar Square and for cake before getting the train home.
The first part of the journey was fine, a couple of stops to London Bridge from Charing Cross, but then on the Southern train, we had an on board supervisor who appeared to be playing a game of one station, one shot. There were a lot of stations.
The longer the journey went on, the less sense his announcements made. After the first stop at Norwood Junction, he started on a long winded, rambling announcement that went on so long the train had pulled into East Croydon before he had finished and he had to open the doors.
At Purley it was just gobbledygook. At Mersham he cut himself off about a dozen words in. At Redhill it was a slurring, rambling mess, and at Earlswood, the bing bong was followed by thirty seconds of fumbling and heavy breathing noises. Out of Salford he stopped halfway through what appeared to be the word Horley, or we assumed he said Horley, though to be fair he could have said anything and we’d just assumed he meant Horley because we knew where we were going.
Which was more than could be said for him, having come from London, when we got to Gatwick, amongst the various messages for taking care of your luggage when “in the platform, or on anywhere else”, he was advising people to change there for stations to London Bridge and Blackfriars. At Three Bridges he advised us to change for Brighton, Bedford, or any other stations in Sussex.
He was also now advising us to listen to the on board announcements which may occur from time to time. From time to time? Are you joking? They were nonstop. He’d only just finished saying that when he bing bonged again and told us we were approaching Three Bridges.
Mind The Gap he wittered at one station, which left us laughing, thinking the biggest gap was between the poor bloke’s ears. In fact we were laughing so much that some bloke wearing headphones had tutted, looked at us in disgust and got up to find another seat further down the carriage to get away from the laughter.
His last announcement before we got off at Crawley was to say to listen to on board announcements as the electronic customer screen was faulty, and so were the automatic train announcements. To be fair, we hadn’t heard any automatic train announcements; they couldn’t get a word in edgeways. The main fault appeared to be with the very human announcements as the stops went past and the shots kicked in.