Category Archives: world

Thank you, kind lady

I just wanted to publicly thank the kind lady I briefly met at Newcastle station yesterday afternoon. I had to go to the station to get a refund as GNER haven’t yet arrived in the 20th century, with refunds processed by way of triplicate forms, huge British Rail clipboards and giant rubber stamps…

Anyway – I arrived at the ticket machine to find I only had a £2 coin – and the ticket machine being owned by GNER, hadn’t yet been upgraded to accept these…

A lady approached the machine to buy a ticket, and I asked if she had change for a £2 coin. She hunted a bit, and then said that she was very sorry, but she didn’t have £2 worth of change. But she did have 50p I could have, which was enough for 40 minutes. I tried to give her my £2 in exchange for he 50p, but she was having none of it. What a kind gesture. Of course, I thanked her profusely, and then I purchased my ticket.

So, thank you kind lady.
I hope I would do the same…

Call me irresponsible?

This is a long story, but I’ll try to keep it brief…

I ordered the new Michael Buble CD for Caroline a number of weeks ago from amazon… It didn’t arrive, so I contacted Amazon’s customer service people, and the said they’d send a replacement… that arrived in a couple of days – fantastic!

Two weeks later, the original arrived – presumably having been stuck in the back of a Royal Mail sorting office in the interim…

Anyway, being an honest and responsible kind of bloke, I thought I’d better contact amazon to let them know, and then return the extra copy… should be easy, you would have thought…

Amazon arranged for the CD to be picked up from work – except they turned up on the wrong day!

I phoned again to arrange another pick-up – they didn’t arrive at all!
I phoned again. They arranged to pick it up yesterday. They actually came. Fantastic, I thought!

I arrived home this afternoon after work. Imagine my surprise when I found the self same parcel, which had been picked up yesterday from work, sitting on my doormat at home!

I have since phoned amazon again (you’ll be glad to know the calls are all free!). They told me to keep the CD, and give it to a friend…!

So if you get a Michael Buble CD from us, for your birthday or other occasion – you’ll know where it came from!!

Flybe v Easyjet

I’ve been having some discussions recently with my friend Lynne about which airline is worse…

Fly (may) be
or
Easyjet (why do they wear orange?)

I reckon flybe is the pits, following a disasterous journey to Southampton recently.
Lynne reckons Easyjet is worse, following her stressful journey to Belfast recently, coupled with her frustrations over scrumming for seats.

I thought I’d give you fine people the chance to vote (Joseph / Big Brother style).
Just add a comment, and let me know which you think is worse, and why!
And if you have any nominations for a worse airline (is it possible?), please feel free to vent your spleen!

Over to you…
(ranting is allowed!)

Fly Maybe?

Well, here I am back home again after a fantastic weekend in Bournemouth / Poole / Christchurch celebrating the impending marriage of one of my best friends, Stu…

The sun shone every day from the moment we got up, the skies were blue, and it was scorching hot – perfect weather for a spot of golf on the Saturday morning (yes, I know I’ve never picked up a golf bat / racket / club before in my life) and a private cruise down the River Stour in the afternoon with strawberries and champagne, followed by lunch at the Beach House on Mudeford sandbank, at the end of Christchurch Bay….

Then out in the evening for a curry and some drinks – the perfect end to a perfect day!

I came second in the overall golf challenge (a score of 37 against a par of 18), although we only made it round 6 holes in 2 hours… and I won the high score competition too (12 on the first hole!)

What number bat do I need for this one…?


Who’s going to eat the last strawberry?

Mudeford sands – where the beach huts go for more than £100k each!

But the whole weekend could have been a disaster before it began… thanks to Fly Be.

I was booked on the 5pm from Newcastle to Southampton, so pitched up at the airport at around 3.45 to check in. No problems there. Through security. Easy. Check the boards. 30 minutes till we go to the gate. Time for a coffee.

The time counts down to zero. Go to Gate 6. So I stand up to go to Gate 6. Then It changes to 25 minutes again. Fair enough, I thought. A bit of a delay. Counts down to zero again. Then the flight disappears from the board… Then 135 minutes appears. What?

Chos then ensues. Announcement – apologies on behalf of Fly Be… technical problems on inbound flight… still at Southampton… delay of 2.5 hours…. go to desk and get a meal voucher… Fantastic!

So I found a corner and read some of my book… then went to get something to eat… looked at the board – only 45 minutes to go now, but only 30 minutes since it said 135 minutes – something strange going on with the numbers – they must be flybe minutes…

Looked again at the board – 3 minutes to go – brilliant, we all thought – except no plane has arrived for us to get on…. 20 minutes passed – display still says 3 minutes – definitely flybe minutes…. or should that be flymaybe minutes?!

Looked again after another 10 minutes and the wait time had jumped back to 59 minutes… was somebody having a laugh?

And so it went on… and on… and on… Eventually I found a group of other irate passengers in the same situation as me…. all trying to find out what was going on – but there was nobody around – and when somebody did turn up, they left sharpish, promising to return in 10 minutes with answers – they still havem’t turned up!

We eventually took off at 9.45pm, a full 4 hours and 45 minutes late….

Thankfully the return flight was uneventful, though they did thank us for flying with them, ‘The UK’s favourite low-cost airline’! How can this be?

So if any of you are thinking of maybe flying with flybe, remember, flymaybe could be closer to the truth!

Thanks to Dave, for organising the weekend, and to Stu, for giving us the excuse to get together, by getting married!

Free Alan Johnston

Free Alan Johnston

As a fellow former pupil of Dollar Academy, and fellow alumini of Dundee University, I thought it only proper that I should support efforts to release Alan… I hope and pray that our collective efforts will help to bring about his safe release.

If you would like to, please click on the picture above to lend your support and sign the BBC’s online petition.

Along with over 50,000 others, I demand the immediate release of BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston. I ask that everyone with influence on this situation increase their efforts to ensure that Alan is freed quickly and unharmed.

Dursley RFC

Having spent Thursday night in a Swindon hotel in readiness for a meeting yesterday, I was looking forward to getting home as I drove into the hire car return area at Bristol airport at around 4.30pm yesterday afternoon…

I had already checked in on-line (one of the marvels of modern technology allowing one to bypass the check-in queues as long as one only has hand luggage…) Making sure I had put all my liquids, gels and pastes into the small resealable plastic bag purchased especially for the trip the day before (I’m not entirely sure why all gels, pastes and liquids have to be packed in such a way, or why the limit is 10 containers of 100ml each, but I am told it is to reduce the terrorist threat (?!)), I went straight through to the security check…

And at that point I knew that the next 3 hours were going to be tough… for there, just in front of me in the security queue, was what must have been the entire membership of the Dursley Rugby Football Club… each one dressed in team shirt and tie…. each one donning a different type of silly head-dress, and each one having already consumed a large quantity of alcoholic beverage. My heart sank. My co-travellers’ hearts sank. We turned to each other and tried to give encouragement… ‘they won’t be going to Newcastle’ we said… ‘they must be going to Benidorm / Ibiza / Dublin’ we hoped….

Hopes were dashed almost immediately, when the collective DRFC started chanting…. ‘Shearer, Shearer, Shearer….’ We knew they would be on our flight… One lovely American lady, en route to see a cousin in Durham, commented that she hoped she would escape being covered in vomit.

The wait in departures was long – what was actually only 50 minutes seemed like an eternity… DRFC continued drinking in the bar, and then proceeded to announce, to the entire departure lounge, who was sharing which room with whom when they arrived in Newcastle… in case you were wondering, Jonno is sharing with Dave, despite his demonstrations to swap with Matty…

When we finally boarded the flight, we were all relieved to see that DRFC sat together at the back of the plane… at least we were out of vomit range…. but not out of range of the paper aeroplanes which periodically winged their way down the cabin, landing on the laps of unsuspecting passengers at the front…

This, coupled with the constant queue of DRFC members at the toilet (standing just too close to the aeoplane exit door and fiddling just a little too much with the buttons next to said door for our liking) and the non-stop singing of ‘Swing low sweet chariot’ and ‘Bread of Heaven’, interspersed with chants of ‘Shearer… Shearer…’ made for what could be described as an interesting flight!

The cabin crew did their best – stopping the safety demonstration twice to chastise the merry DRFC for not listening properly, and threating them with the Captain’s wrath should they not do as they were told…

But is was with some relief that it was all nearly over, when we touched down at Newcastle (to the applause and cheers of DRFC and more ‘Shearer’ chanting…)

Home at last!

Proper ladgeful, that!

I learnt a new word last night.

Walking the kids home after Kidz Klub, we were discussing the lack of confectionary available at the close of the party, meaning that a couple of kids didn’t get a box (although I think Shelagh had an extra secret stash so everyone got one in the end)… Anyway, I suggested that perhaps maybe the lack was caused by some children taking two boxes (I don’t believe this for a minute – just simply more kids than boxes!)… well, this was greeted by a shriek of ‘eee, that’s proper ladgeful, that!’

Us leaders looked at each other, looked at the girl in question, looked at each other again, and then enquired as to the meaning of the word just uttered… And so, the definition…

ladgeful (a): disgraceful, really bad, shameful

I believe it is a geordie word, probably most use by the chav population… but I think I like it.
So – task for the day: to correctly use the word ‘ladgeful’ in normal conversation.

Water water everywhere….

It seems that it’s been raining hard almost everywhere in the country apart from Geordie-land… rivers have overtopped their banks, lakes are brim-full and water is standing in fields everywhere (apart from here)… it seems to be particularly bad in Scotland and the north-west of England

The BBC website has some brilliant photos sent in by the discerning public…
Cumbria
Tayside

Details of flood warnings abound – such as those in…
Perthshire
Dumfries & Galloway
The Midlands

Unfortunately I am unable to post any photos as it hasn’t been raining enough here – plenty of wind, mind you… but not much rain…

I’ll just have to make do with the photos posted by my roving camera-man