Sunday, 12 April 2009
A Tale of Two Halves
Well, I've had a stonking few days away. Chester is, I think, an excellent place to visit, with a compact centre and a lively but not too aggressive social scene. The medieval setting of the centre seems to help a great deal, as does the fact that there appear to be several thousand pubs serving nice beer at reasonable prices. We went to a Samuel Smith hostelry called The Falcon, which was packed, though this was hardly surprising as we obtained five pints of some real ale or other for the princely sum of £7.15. That works out less than £1.50 per pint. Needless to say, too much alcohol was consumed and not enough sleep was obtained - especially as I lost my bearings on the way back to the hotel and ended up walking around in circles for about an hour until I could retrace my steps sufficiently to navigate my way back. But it was a 40th birthday celebration, so that's OK. Among the topics of conversation was the correct pronunciation of margarine - which we were told confidently should be with a hard 'g' because the word derives from the Ancient Greek for 'pearl-like' and the aforesaid Greeks would have pronounced it that way. We remain unconvinced.
We also discussed the phenomenon of the disappearing white dog shit. Something which used to be commonplace in the 70s and 80s is no longer seen anywhere (though we were informed that it does still exit [sic] in Manilla) and several bad science explanations (such as dogs eat less bones, so their excrement does not turn white in the way that it used to) were laughed out of court, and we think we reached consensus that the disappearance is simply down to better poop collection, and that the stuff is not allowed to bleach anymore. I still have some minor issues with this, but am prepared to go along with it for now. We also played travel Ker-Plunk. The hotel I stayed in was a time warp sort of place, friendly enough, cheap enough, quiet enough and clean enough, though one of the towels was frayed. And it was hard to find after drinking 12 pints of real ale.
Oswestry - where my mini holiday started - has been hard hit by the credit crunch as I've said before, but it was incredibly depressing to walk around the town on Good Friday with what seemed like every other shop closed down. The indoor market could almost have been a pisstake of what an economic collapse would look like, and even the Scope charity shop had gone out of business. Nonetheless, I was as always buoyed by the humour and craziness of the people (those I know and those I don't) and enjoyed some good beer time and excellent weather. There was a fire (or gas leak, or something) at the old Woolies and the streets were all cordoned off, though nobody seemed to notice.
Of course, whatever bubble of joy I was in was instantly popped when I got back to the Smoke by fucking City screwing up again. To cap it all, that bastard Clempsey bagged a brace. Fuck City. Up the arse.
Two more days and it's back to work, and it looks like I picked the wrong economic cycle to re-consider my career path, but I can feel a crunch of my own coming on. Maybe I should take up football management.