Archive for October, 2009

A Quickie From The Hotel Lobby

Incase youve been on Mars, Wil and I have come to Oslo, Norway to celebrate his 30th birthday over a long weekend.

Thursday night we drove to the hotel at the airport. Despite having found a great deal at a hotel next to the airport, their website neglected to tell us we would have to shell out 10 quid (where is the pound sign on a Norwegian keyboard?) for parking. Room and sleep great, left it a bit late leaving.

At the airport we pull into the long stay carpark. Id already prepaid for parking online in order to save a bit of money. Not sure we pulled into the right place, if I have to pay again and lose the money I already paid out Ill be cross. Ran from our car to the shuttle bus just as it was pulling away. Forgot to take note of what section we left our car in. Carpark roulette on the return then!

Airport was rammed. Wil found out where we were going after I walked him around Air Iceland, Virgin and several other desks before standing in the line at the Norwegian Airlines. He was made up.
Something to do with there not being any checked baggage claimed on our tickets meant they made us pay 10 quid to check the sodding bag. We pulled that out of our arses and went off to wait in with the huddled masses yearning to breathe free in security. We joined the line at 0810, our flight was at 0840. At 0846 we left the line and ran like our asses were on fire to get to the gate in hopes the plane would be waiting for us!We were stopped dead as we approached a screen stating our flight had been delayed until 10am. Sigh of relief.

Got on the plane and got sat in between screaming kids and snot hacking fucktard who must have unloaded every germ in the book into the back of my hair. I hate him. Got off the place without having contracted the Aids.

The limo I had booked to take us from the airport to the hotel was not in the arrivals lounge holding a sign with our name on despite my having called to tell them the new flight time. I called the organiser and they told me to go to the taxi desk and there would be someone waiting for me there. There was and he led us straight outside to a dingey taxi cab. Not quite the glamour I thought Id paid for. On the way to the hotel he stopped for a shit at a garage. I shit you not! We sat in the car in disbelief. He spent the rest of the trip on his mobile phone handsfree talking crap with mates and at one point he got himself and someone else into a conference call! Surreal.

We arrived at the hotel which was finally everything Id hoped. The room was the same as the photo and we have a fantastic view. The bed literally swallows you up and after a great evening at a spa where we both got massaged and a gorgeous meal of sushi, that bed swallowed us both whole.

Until 0245am when we were rudely awoken by the hotel fire alarm. After sitting bolt upright thinking, “its a drill, itll go off in a mo” it didnt and we began hearing sirens from the street below. We jumped up, got dressed and bolted down the 7 floors of stairs along with masses of other bleary eyed travellers. As we gathered on the street the firemen piled into the building.

We think the coffee shop grill place next to the hotel had raised the alarm but all was ok and we were allowed to return to bed.

What a day!

Today we visited sites and shopped till we dropped. Oslo is a great place and the people are great. Ive never known people to be so happy to live where they live.

Right, I only popped down to the lobby for a coffee… Wil will be wondering where Ive gone! See you all soon..

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Hello, My Name Is Dave…

We popped into town today to sort a few things. Wil has a penchant for parking in the NCP Car Park which wreaks of piss. Knowing him well I preempted his choice of parking locale by asking him to park in another car park which also happened to be closer to where I wanted to go in town. He grumbled and refused ‘because it would be full’. I grumbled back that I wasn’t happy about parking in NCPiss. Not only is it where the lowest forms of life gather to relieve their bladders but you have to step over half of them, lying around drunk on the pavement begging for money on the way in and out of the building. A minor domestic broke out in the car where we argued over the preference of car parks while Cameron interjected randomly with off topic blips which went something like this:

Me: Can we park at the Buttermarket please?
Wil: No, it’ll be full
Me: Oh don’t go to the NCP
Wil: Ren, the others will be full
Me: They won’t! I always park in the Buttermarket
Cam: I really liked those hotels you used to stay in in Wokingham Wil
Wil: Why can’t you just let me park at the NCP
Me: Because it stinks of piss in there, it’s filthy
Wil: All car parks are filthy
Me: Yes, but they don’t all stink like a thousand tramps took a piss in them
Cam: We should get a Bose stereo, why don’t we get one with an iPod dock? We could all listen to our music all over the house
Wil: Here we go.. Buttermarket Car Park – OH LOOK
Me: OH LOOK… IT’S FULL – what on earth gave you the idea to park here on a Saturday eh? You MUPPET
Cam: HA HA you’re a muppet Wil, YEAH WIL you MUPPET
Wil: Shut up Cameron
Me: Oh what about…
Wil: NO.. we’re going to the NCP

Once we’d wedged our car in a space conveniently sized like a toilet cubicle in the NCP we exited the building via the piss smelling stairwell which wreaked of, unsurprisingly, PISS. I used my foot to shove open the heavy red double doors leading out on to the street. Wil caught the door with his hand to hold it open and Cam remarked that he’s probably just touched someones wee.

When we returned from town and after clambering over the drunken people on the path Wil produced the parking payment ticket and inserted it into the machine in order to pay for the parking. Only, upon taking the ticket and taking payment from our debit card it then spat our bank card out (onto the floor) and kept the parking ticket so we had no way of getting our car out of  the building.

With no on site staff to help with the problem and now having taken over one of only two available payment machines in the building we were a bit stuck. A long line of people waiting to pay began to form behind us and watched as we stood pushing buttons and looking around for help. Then I spied a button on the machine labelled ‘HELP’.

I pressed the button and it began to make a phone call which everyone around us could hear bellowing from the speaker. The payment screen was replaced by a little cartoon character looking confused like he needed help. We could identify. After a short stint of cheesy elevator music and a soothing womans voice telling us we were ‘being held in a queue’ a deep voice broadcast out of the speaker grabbing the attention of several people still stood around using the other payment machine.

‘HELLO, THANK YOU FOR CALLING NCP, YOU’RE SPEAKING TO DAVE’ said the voice in a tired broad Essex accent.

Wil glanced around the lobby and everyone watched to see how he was going to react. Was this crazy man about to talk to a machine? He was.

“ER.. Hello Dave” he replied with an uncomfortable grimace… and then in true Kitcher overdramatised style he gave a long winded story about how he’d parked in the piss smelling car park – the one we’d chosen over the cleaner Buttermarket option, had been and done a bit of shopping, returned, arrived at the machine, was reminded of the time when, as a baby his legs were really skinny and his mum was embarrassed so she kept them covered up with a blanket which somehow has resulted in his debit card having been charged and his ticket failing to reappear from the paid ticket slot which meant WE MIGHT NEVER LEAVE THIS PLACE with our car and er, so, “Dave, can you help?”

There was a long pause wherein I thought Dave either pondered an identical tragic story that his own mother had embarrassed him with in front of people a thousand times over in his life or where, like the rest of us do, he just had to filter the pertaining facts out of the story he’d just been privy to; and then he spoke.

“So you paid for your ticket, got your bank card back but not your ticket?”

Wil, quietly impressed at the way Dave cut straight to the point agreed and then began a small episode whereby the machine carried out a lot of whirring and ticking. Slots lit up and went dull again and Dave appeared to be tapping around on a keyboard, then he spoke.

“How much was your ticket?
It doesn’t look like it’s charged your debit card..
Your ticket is stuck inside the machine…. right, lets see here”

Dave’s voice was rumbling very clearly from a small round speaker just above the screen. The whole thing became slightly surreal as suddenly a white ticket shot out of the slot and into Wil’s knee before landing on the floor.

Wil picked the ticket up and inspected both sides of it.

“Did you get that ticket?” Dave asked

“Yes” said Wil

“Throw it in the bin” instructed Dave

Wil looked perplexed, turned and threw it in the bin on the wall next to the machine and awaited the next instruction.

“Have you thrown it in the bin?” asked Dave

“Yes” replied Wil looking pleased with himself.

Dave went quiet and the machine clattered about a bit more. Wil began looking around the sides of the machine and over to the line of people who were queuing out of the door of the lobby waiting to pay. One lady had begun videoing us with her phone. Wil inspected some of the slots on the front of the machine more closely and while pointing at the machine mouthed in a loud whisper

“Is he actually sitting INSIDE the machine?” which was funny but altogether a possibility we couldn’t discount.

With the scene slightly akin to the beginnings of a Derren Brown trick unfolding, two more white cards shot out of the machine and Wil took them from the slot. According to Dave one of these would get us out of the car park. He continued “it’s what we like to call ticket roulette”.

With a sinking feeling of helplessness that in a few minutes time we’d have shoe-horned our car out of its shoebox space and would be staring at a stern barrier across our exit which was refusing to budge with our roulette tickets,  we left the machine to the next group of people stood waiting to give Dave a go.

I felt wholly fulfilled by our experience at the NCP. Park in a cubicle the size of a room you’d use for a piss, enjoy the aroma of piss on all 9 levels and when you pay, the ticket machine takes the piss. At the press of a button you get to speak to a bloke  who sounds like he couldn’t give a shit.
(my phone cut off – Dave’s final words are “one of them will get you out of the car park”

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Continuing On The Angry Theme

List of people to push off the edge of the earth when I find the edge:

Those who refer to their iPhone as their ‘iPhone’ instead of calling it A PHONE. Because that just wouldn’t make you sound important enough would it?

Don’t get me wrong – I like iPhones and let me also partially excuse Wil out of this equation since he has no less than 3 phones on the go (it’s hard to keep up with a harem of women with one line of communication). Until now he called them ‘work phone’/’home phone’ but now the iPhone has arrived ‘work phone’ and ‘home phone’ have been added to by ‘iPhone’. Using it as a description to differentiate it from others of the same ilke, acceptable. Pointing it out just so you can mention you have one = FAIL.

For a good example of what I’m urking about, see here: http://www.dooce.com/daily-style/2009/10/22/small-clutch-and-wristlet

I know, I’ve just stooped low enough to slag off another blogger. I apologise – I like that blog and that person… it’s this name branding fad thing and she happens to do it a lot with her PHONE.

Anyway, as soon as I’ve finished my Scotts I’m rockin’ the Mazda down to Ipswich for a meeting. Catch me on my Blackberry you muthas.

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If Life Was A Dryer, I’d Be Stuck In The Lint Trap

Uh.. feeling weird these days. Dwelling on things a lot, I don’t know why.  I started going through old photos the other night (a continuation of my closet clear out) and I got warped back several years. As great as those old photos are seeing yourself grow old does nothing for your self-confidence. Suddenly it feels overwhelming because there’s nothing you can do to get back to that time and do something differently. As fantastic as my surroundings are I feel like I’m not making the most of things – possessions whilst giving me kicks do not fulfill something much deeper.

It feels like what I enjoy is forever just out of my grasp.. I’ve spent nearly a year now with niggling sports injuries and lets face it, I can do without the sodding hurdles – keeping motivated and fit is hard enough the older you get without a virtual spike strip being thrown across your path every time you move.

Still it’s not the first time I’ve been here.. I guess everyone visits here from time to time. It’s a bit like a trial run mid-life crisis. Where’s my sports car?

Off to Thetford today for a meeting. No idea where I’m going, I’ll leave half hour early so I have time to get lost. Feels wrong to go to Thetford without my Mountain Bike in the back of the car – I’ve missed a trick here, why didn’t I book the afternoon off?

Something I heard on the news this morning wound me up. I laid in bed, alone and actually swore out loud. Apparently more teens are getting in cars without insurance because it’s become too expensive. “You fuckers” I breathed, still laying with my eyes shut. How can you be so angry when you wake up in the morning? Normally Chris Moyles takes care of that for the first 5 minutes that I allow the radio to play with him on it. But he’s off this week – Scott Mills is great. New’s reports are not.

But yeah, WHAT? It’s become too expensive to pay for insurance, so you get in a car without it?. Ok – how did you afford the car? The MOT, The TAX? IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT WHY DO YOU HAVE IT?

I’m going to say something old people say here but ‘in my day’ being able to afford to run the bastard thing was a pre-cursor to whether you bought a car or not.

My mum bought me driving lessons for my birthday – when I failed the test, I paid for the next one myself. When I passed I bought my car MYSELF and when I asked Mum if she could help me pay for the insurance she told me ‘No’ and rightly so because that was a valid lesson I needed to learn right from the start. Once I’d learned the value of forking out for things out of my pocket she always helped me if I needed it. But by that time I’d also learnt a bit of pride so she’d have to offer help, I wouldn’t ask. I appreciate that now.

So yeah – I digress. Point is – glum and whingey.

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Wanted: Paula Radcliffe’s Hamstrings

running_legsI dropped the boy off for a swim last night whilst I went running with the club for an hour. We did 800m laps of a street with a slight hill on it and I managed two and a half before my hamstring made a funny sensation and then tightened from my ass to the back of my knee. I stopped and stretched while I waited for everyone to come back to the starting point.

I don’t know how I’m meant to be training for this duathlon we’ve entered on the 29th Nov. Every time I put some effort in my hamstrings react like a plastic bag in a hot oven.

I imagined my hamstrings to be like the elastic pulled out of the waistband of a pair of saggy old knickers from 1970 that belonged to a size 24 lady (who was a size 12 when she originally bought them). But I’m changing that opinion for if they were that loose they wouldn’t keep pulling. Pirate legs – that’s what I’ve got – wooden pirate legs for hamstrings.

Is this what you get for a lifetime of ‘keeping fit’?

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Guzzlin’ Up The Countryside

My Moto Guzzi V7 Classic - 750cc

My Moto Guzzi V7 Classic - 750cc

Back in August I passed my motorbike test although I was never intending on actually buying a motorbike. If you remember I de-restricted my scooter which then rendered it more powerful than my licence allowed me to ride. Without a licence to ride the scooter the insurance became invalid. I then only had 2 choices – restrict the scooter again OR take a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training Test). If you’re wondering, yes I thought about some of these implications before I de-restricted it, but didn’t think it through fully.

I opted to take the CBT and when I’d done that I found out it was only valid for 2 years at which point I would have to retake the test again. At a £100 per time and on the knowledge it’d probably get more expensive and more difficult each time, I thought sod it, and booked up the full test so I could ride whatever I like, whatever size engine, whenever I like. Only I was planning on keeping the scooter.

Something takes a hold over you when you start learning to ride a big motorbike. That big heavy bastard that you can barely prop up with two feet when stood still turns into a featherweight that floats around corners and weaves around cars on the dual carriageway with the tiniest twist of your wrist. Liberating to say the least.

Once I had that Pass certificate in my hand I wasn’t desperate to go and get a big bike, although suddenly it felt like there was a little clock ticking away the weeks of good weather left before biking wouldn’t be much fun for the winter. And if I left it the whole of winter before riding again perhaps I’d lose confidence and not be able to ride as well as I could before. Fortunately Wil has a motorbike which he brought back from his weekday lodgings in Watford so that I’d have something to keep my hand in whilst he gave it a much needed service. But then came the time when he needed to take it back and he suggested we get me my own bike. And there it was – the sinking realisation that my little clutchless, gearless scooter was not going to cut the mustard in terms of scratching big biking shit itches.

The only bikes that took my fancy were pre 1975 Cafe Racer style bikes which were altogether too expensive, unreliable and too much trouble for a non-dedicated non-fancier of bikes. Gently coaxing carburetors for hours on end after the bike has been stored all winter is not on my list of crap to mess with, neither is having my leg kicked off its swing joint by a punchy kickstart attached to a larger engine. That’s when I stumbled across a modern replica of an old bike. A Moto Guzzi V7 Classic.

Having just passed my test, buying a brand new bike is possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. I have no justification for this other than what I should do clearly takes a back seat to what I want to do and with a boyfriend who just about scrapes through every day fending off two-wheeled addiction like Amy Winehouse struggles with coke – there’s no one here telling me no. When I finally come to a shaky stop at a traffic light or stall whilst just about mid-turn around a corner and send the shiny awesomeness scraping down the road on its chrome the world will come to a halt whilst I cry my eyes out at the side of the road. It’s gonna happen, until then I’ll just enjoy it.

For the record – I kept the scooter. If I took that out of the garage, it’d only give Wil space to put another in it’s place!

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You’re In My Mind..

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