Fuel For Thought

Very few of us actually enjoy shopping, least of all me, and of all places a petrol station has to be the worst. The new dynamic of shopping for groceries whilst filling the tank up has always been a bit alien to me, although beginning to appreciate the concept, so much so, I also shop at one of these “Express” type places regardless of my need for fuel. And it was on such an occasion that I encountered a very unpleasant individual, and the events of a few seconds screamed volumes of the kind of people who are employed to deal with the public.

Foolishly, I had chosen a time in the afternoon that is dedicated to Mums up and down the country to collect their offspring, and although I am fully aware that many do this on foot, you can not argue that our roads fill substantially during this period, and I make no jokes for the need of a 4×4 vehicle at all.

As with most forecourts, the general flow leads you to a pump, although you can normally bypass the area and proceed to the parking spaces for the supermarket, while preforming this manoeuvre I saw an opportunity to park in a soon to be vacant plot in an otherwise busy car park. Pausing briefly to allow a young mother and small child to reverse and leave the space, my attention was drawn to a heckle of abuse aimed in my direction. For it was completely without my knowledge that I had intentionally caused the momentary delay of someone who had more rights on the highway than a lowly shopper, The foul mouthed torrent of abuse was coming from a van emblazoned with company name and logo, and from it’s drivers window the occupier was publicly sharing their displeasure in front of an audience of parents and school aged children, I was further surprised that the culprit was a woman, who could have quite possibly bore children of her own years previously.

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Although I initially calmly sailed through the mire of English vocabulary, I was aghast at the thought that this person was not only representing her employer sat in the van, but was totally unashamed of her actions and said employer was equally unsurprised when I phoned to report it, to this end, shame on them!

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Something For Nothing

It was my great pleasure to meet two individuals, both from “backstreet” businesses, who were a massive help to me this weekend, providing realistic and free advice on a problem with my car. Although unable to help me practically, it was refreshing to see and perhaps a little humbling, and I have no doubt that their multi million pound competition would have charged for such a privilege.

mecTransversely, I had a similar experience with a sales assistant, but with a cruder effect. Do not misunderstand me, she was neither impolite or disrespectful, but her whole manner and sentence delivery came directly from the corporate training manual (verbatim). And quite apart from thinking that my money was well spent, I came away feeling as though I had inconvenienced the next victim of the “Headmistress” waiting behind me in the checkout queue, but really had no real cause to complain about my sturdy patroniser.

baqSo while my faith in humanity is momentarily restored by professional courtesy of tradesmen, I wonder that perhaps humility should have a box to be ticked on the B&Q training check list?

 

Travellers Rest

Two hours, yes 2 painful hours, that is what it has taken me to travel my usual six miles into work for my night-shift. An area that relies on the motorway to free up local traffic burst in to complete chaos when it was closed for the best part of the day and night.

carnMy emotions were thrown into survival mode, so while creeping along at a snails pace, planning to circumnavigate the countryside in order to be smarter than the guy behind me, I began taking stock of any supplies I may have in my temporary home, mints, chocolate or any liquid available since the last event? Hoping my full bladder holds out, whilst looking for any utensil that would make an emergency potty and realising it would be a very public affair had I have to use it. Not to mention my ageing car and the new smells and noises coming from it, praying all the time that I will be saved the humiliation of a steaming or smoky breakdown.

And in the ongoing furore that resembled a scene from the pages of history and the evacuation of a large City, you are reminded that a life has been lost in the carnage that preceded, and that I was able to return home or work, a little late, but alive.

Emergency Costs

Leaving the house to take the wife to the Doctors to have her painful wrist looked at, I was unaware of the events of the next 6 hours or the further education into human behaviour I was about to receive. It was 10.40am and I had barely risen from mid holiday slumber when I was throwing on clothes before leaving the house with a mouthful of coffee as my only sustenance. Typically the surgery was running behind, but of course you try to remain as calm as possible, although being the one not seeing the G.P. is slightly more frustrating, but we were seen 40 minutes later than planned.

Walking back into the waiting area my wife of 25 years informs me that we were required to go to the emergency unit of our local hospital, the obvious “but why” questions followed, but it was not in any doubt we would be going. A detour to a newsagent to pick up supplies for this appointment with the unknown, the long wait was prepared for.

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Thankfully the kindness of a friend close by meant that we did not have the parking costs of today’s modern cash poor NHS, which we are all aware of. Strolling in to a mid-week accident department with a note from our Doctor in hand, I noticed a distinct lack of of the bustle you might expect, but this was no Friday night out on the town. We take a seat and prepare for our ears to be pricked by the sound of our name being called, and it was surprisingly short, not in time for me to spend the equivalent of the national minimum wage on 2 cups of vending machine coffee.

I stay behind in the waiting area, so the medical team can prod and poke unhindered, and this is where my journey into the world of humanity began. Using a people watching skill that I have only recently discovered, the next hour was about to be entertaining to say the least. A steady stream of “spot the diagnosis” came through the door, the hopping on one foot, the tea towel being held to the head and the sporadic vomiting teen were all in attendance, all being watched by the glare of the patient that had been waiting the longest.

When all of a sudden, from the wards appears a hospital gown clad, gaunt and painful female figure heading for the exit, and being aware that smoking is obviously not allowed, assumed that is where this skeletal figure was heading. It was at this point that I realised that the only piece of material protecting what was left of her modesty, wasn’t, and she wore an awkwardly placed dressing bridging the buttocks, and she could not have cared any less who was seeing it, and it was the same moments later when she returned. This pattern continued for quite some time, however it quickly became evident it was against the wishes of the medical staff and shortly thereafter she was dressed and leaving for the last time, well, for today at least.

I returned home through rush hour and roadwork traffic at 6.30pm without my spouse, who it appears had to be given treatment overnight, although, when I returned to collect her the following day, I was better prepared for what I was about to or may have seen.

 

Going Underground

It has been proposed that the unused portion of London’s historic underground railway system known as the tube would become an area that cyclists could ride around the capital in relative safety. An idea to revitalise an area not in use and to improve a congested road network you may think, but is this the start of human subterranean living that we have seen in so many Hollywood films?

subw Horror, action, mystic or romantic, most of us have read or seen a story such as this and maybe that is enough to forget such a scheme before it has a chance to be fabricated into a world missing natural light and fresh air for those who choose to use it.

Any solution to a problem creates another, and I assume that wherever a community exists so will the social negatives, such as crime and the rest of poor human behaviour will have to be regulated, perhaps by Ninja turtles.

Pave The Way (2)

First contact

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In the first part of my campaign (almost a social experiment) to make a local area safe underfoot for all pedestrians that I have embarked upon myself, I have contacted the local council. Not being sure at what level I should start, I began with the parish/borough department that deal with repairs, and found a website quite easily, and although I should have left my personal details, I raised a concern for the area.

hccThis point of information also gave a telephone number and name, of which I should probably contact to give my details, in the interest of fairness.

After taking my pictures to document any issues, a local councillor (but not a borough councillor) appeared on Twitter, the micro blogging site, with a picture of a pothole and asked if anyone could better this, I replied, but sadly have had no answer.

rwdSo, look out for the next update in the quest to make our world a safer one.

Autumn Driving

As the UK government asks its tax paying workforce to continue and retire later, it is at the same time forcing drivers to remain on our already bustling highways  for more years than perhaps they would have done. Our present public transport infrastructure is not capable of supporting communities or the working population as a whole, and having your own transport is almost essential for the average man or woman, even in suburban areas.

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Under the current law at 70 you must reapply for the license and at 75 take a medical to prove you are able to drive, but, this is only if you wish to carry on behind the wheel.When retiring at 65, some of us may choose to slow down a little and maybe take up a hobby, and it is fair to say, use a vehicle, but not necessarily needing it daily to commute into work at 67.

So, while trying to improve the countries debt problems and reduce the dependency on the state pension benefit, we create a new issue, one that could potentially have far wider consequences than purely just busier roads.