A One-Handed Clap
It was a few years ago, just after a disaster somewhere far away.
My memory fails to recall the details but it was a holiday location
and a great many vacationers were having to be brought home. Inevitably
the press and television were at Heathrow to gather some soundbites.
Prior to their repatriation these sufferers had been waiting in
a football stadium, not a very pleasant experience. One man was
being interviewed and his account illustrated a nightmare scenario
of sardines in a tin. The interviewer asked him "What were
conditions like in the stadium?" to which he replied "It
was really awful, so many people! You couldn't slip a piece of paper
between any one of them!"
You could hear the faint applause of a one-handed pedant!
Years ago, when I lived in the Midlands my business partner, Harry,
and I would go out for a pint at Ye Olde New Inn at Pound Green,
near Bewdley. We chose that pub because it was run by a customer
of ours, a chap called Malcolm Gee. Malcolm was quite a character,
very much a one-off and enthusiastically obsessive about the accordion.
At his pub he never seemed to call time, he never needed to, you
see towards the end of the evening he tended to become a little
maudlin and would pick up his accordion, sit in a corner and immerse
himself into a rendition of Old Shep. That always did the trick,
many a car bore the marks of the rush from the car park!
Anyway that is very much by the by. What I wanted to tell you about
was an incident more towards the beginning of an evening rather
than at the end. Harry and I were at the bar admiring the heads
on a couple of pints being prepared for our consumption when a group
of young people came in. The young lady was the proud possessor
of a new car, and was asked by one of the lads "What do you
think of your new car, Emily." It was clear that Emily was
most impressed with all the virtues of her automobile for she replied
"Oh great, absolutely brilliant, it can literally turn on a
sixpence!" My recollection is that she was not a particularly
large girl, even so I was perplexed as to how she could have got
into such a tiny car.
A note to my younger, or not so much younger readers - a sixpence
is a very small coin and was worth half a shilling! Often found
lurking in Christmas puddings! Does that clear things up?
Mole at the Bar
And still on the subject of what people say I am reminded of another
occasion when Harry and I visited a pub, this time it was the Mare
and Colt on the outskirts of Kidderminster. I hasten to add that
we only went out once a week and was done purely to enable us to
have a quiet period free from the hurly burly of business life to
discuss our next ploy to advance our business (yeah, right!).
Anyway, in those youthful days it seemed that the bar was plagued
with grousing grumblers and grumbling grousers, uncannily in equal
numbers. You know the sort, always complaining about their lot,
'this country is going to the dogs', 'I remember the old and better
days', 'mumble grumble, grumble mumble.' One of the grumblers after
successfully blasting us into despondency admitted that there was
light at the end of the tunnel - literally in fact as it was a time
of great excitement, the Channel Tunnel was under construction.
He concluded his rave by informing his dwindling audience that "Once
that tunnel is built, mate I shall be under it like a shot!"
at least if he had decided to go under it he won't be bothering
those of us who choose to go through it!
Yodel and you can Whistle
You may have noticed my attention wandering in mid flow back there,
I must confess that a little window popped up to say that I had
had an email so I stopped to check it out. It turned out to be from
Yodel, you know the parcel delivery firm. These days parcel delivery
firms are very enlightened, they keep you informed about the progress
of your parcel. I tracked the parcel first thing and discovered
that it arrived at the Wednesbury hub at 20.59 and miraculously
left there at 20.59 on its way to the local depot at Llanelli where
it arrived at 04.07. At 08.57 it was on the van to be delivered.
Today is Wednesday 26th March. I was quite excited, it's always
nice to receive a parcel, not only that but modern technology means
that you don't have to stay in all day. But wait! I look for the
estimated delivery time and it merely states that 'Delivery will
be by Friday 28th March.'
while Yodel may yodel I have to whistle for my parcel until any
time between now and close of play on Friday.
country is going to the dogs mate! You wait I shall be under that