Saturday, January 19, 2008

DSC_9989 - Male Taking PicturesYay me, I've done it again. In addition to the flyer for the Village (yep, the one on Ambridge Street; and yep, people talking about the Village always wants to make me ask which one - Chid? And yes, it's the one where they insisted on searching my bag on entry, only to discover much dirty washing, Belgian chocolates and the outbound Eurostar tickets; I had said it didn't really seem like a suitable place but my companion at the time was adamant or possibly just train-[and other things]-lagged) this evening I returned home with a pink chit. Section 44 once again. Oddly POTA didn't get mentioned, despite the stop being written up as such [technically it's just the TA: Terrorism Act 2000, I think]. But then he wasn't a real policeman and didn't have have the short sidekick to remind him of the procedures.

So that was a fun 6 minutes, according to the report, but I think it was longer given the guy's chalkboard writing [or for non-unexpectedly-faux-Americans "blackboard"]. I suspect when one is stopped by the police one shouldn't really be leaning on the window one was taking photographs in, but in a blatant bit of plagiarism which I was watching... oh, bugger, can you tell the paragraphs aren't being written chronologically? But then again I did manage to be laconic enough that I found myself saying 'yah' in response to questions. I suspect next time I may just ask if they'd like me to fill in the paperwork on my own; it'd be quicker as for a start I know how to spell my own name (peculiarly he checked whilst radioing it in, and being prompted by the other end to extract more information, hence the reference to middle names in the middle of the 'other' section; 'other' presumably being 'miscellaneous forgotten').

Anyway, I got stopped by a hobby bobby* while taking photographs at St Pancras International (i.e. that big new shiny thing that still smells of wet paint). The reason for stopping me was given as "SEC 44, Male Taking Pictures", which is just sexist and suggests I'd just broken into one of the antique shops over the road (whose windows I'd been photographing through in front of a van full of real police entirely unhindered, except for the windows shaking with passing trains).

* The plagiarised phrase alluded to above. As spoken by 'a real policeman' in Jam and Jerusalem. Yes, I know the last post probably mentioned the same programme, but it is horrifically familiar - to the extent that Dawn French's character's alter-ego is disturbingly similar to GA's mother in phrases and tones of voice used - and wantonly amusing.

Laptop in the kitchen, legs entwined round a stool (which probably sums me up somehow). Admittedly the laptop has to be in the kitchen because my brother's bizarre notions of good housekeeping means he has no microwave, hence I actually have to pay attention to what I'm doing when I'm come back slightly too late and remembered eating, and its prerequisite cooking, might actually be a good idea at some point.

And this is far as I got before cooking distracted me. There now follow some notes of what has yet to be said:

vodka has more taste than this. I should know; I've just tried the three I took out of the freezer to get the bread in.
I'm feeling guilty for not doing something I had no reason to do.
JJ - Rosie - Magaret: GA's Mother.
umbrella boy
funeral of hearts
Male Taking Pictures.

All of which basically means that an alter-ego in Jam and Jerusalem reminds me very much of a friend's mother [yeah, I so read the old part of the post before writing this bit], that while loitering in Soho (the smiles are an ego boost - I know half the people passing would make eye contact with an advert for contact lenses but they don't turn away when they realise I'm not a poster) a guy was wandering past idly swinging his folded umbrella as he chatted to his friend, which connected with the back of his head as he drew up to me, "Owwah". Fleeting amusement flashes across my face, shortly stifled. A slightly camp Northern voice whines "I think he's laughing at me" thus spurring me to bite my lip to ensure I didn't, gaze held aloft. "He is laughing at me!" the voice protests as the guy wavers between flouncing off, trying to ignore me completely and bursting out laughing. He opts for the former, not quite convincingly carried off as the shoulder shudders betray him and several steps in he realises he's flouncing the umbrella too, and that's he started this whole thing. I continue to lean on my bollard, repeating to myself "I must not laugh at the misfortune of others" which was about as effective as saying "I will not think of orange penguins", eyes flitting down from the safe zone above some shop to check umbrella boy's progress and thereby catching him turn by the junction, looking back with a face that mirrors my "I-shall-not-laugh". He fails before vanishing round a corner. I suddenly become aware that I'm grinning loonishly at the passing crowd, thereby making one third of the passers-by every variant of attire. So that was umbrella boy, the daft 'ape'th who clouted himself round the back of the head with his absent minded umbrella flailing.

And God knows what the funeral of hearts thing is - the song presumably, but it must have turned up somewhere odd. Oh, that's it. Gang of hideously young gayer-than-thous walking down Old Compton Street (presumably having squeezed past the blood doused crime scene), singing Scandirock. Nice to know they weren't entirely conforming to stereotype.

Best be it.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

[No pic because no Flickr. Earlier hiccups, now massage, which is daft as everyone knows you have to drink out of the wrong side of a glass of water]

The enigma returns.


And I'm not sure maintaining radio silence counts as being an enigma. I've just had a backlog of posts I still haven't finished and the lingering PSB-ish thought "is it all worth it?" All this isn't helped by wondering who, if anyone, still reads this thing. The main readers of days past either email [incessantly] or have drifted away. It's faintly ridiculous, and incredibly dispiriting, to realise the reciprocals section of the sidebar is scarcely troubling the plural and seems to consist of those who haven't yet met me.

So before I lapse into more maudlinism (partly induced by garishly sweet Smarties Christmas tree decorations given to me because someone found them cheap in Sainsbury's - it's got the stage where I haven't even bothered breaking them open to find out what colour the mini-Smarties [a pure aberration] within are - although cheap in Sainsbury's has also accounted for my first hot cross bun of the year (for God's sake, he's only just been born)), go and read the now published part of the backlog posts - they start on the 4th of last month.

So why so miserable? Because my car is now a batten-down-the-hatches-back. The parcel shelf looks like a set from either a Monroe or a Bond film. I thought it was condensation at first, then was surprised there seemingly was ice ferning across the rear screen. Doing the traditional opening of the boot to use the scraper to skim the water out into the road from the inner surface (it's quicker than trying to boil it off using the three remaining working bars) I realised all was not well. Carefully lowering the crazy glazing back down, I gently shut the boot whereupon the centre of the glass popped up, disappeared down and the next ring out flicked up, leaving a perfectly circular aperture band in the middle.


Or possibly, O.

Trying to start it once more for good measure (the battery helpfully recently hasn't been holding its charge) I then abandoned the thing while I tried to work out what to do. Cue helpfully people appearing to come and inspect, drape empty bin bags over the hole and open the boot again to see what the inside looks like. Can we guess what happened next? I only saw the after effects and heard the immortal line "I realised it was a mistake after I did it". Not so circular anymore. But wiper seems to have dampened the shock wave, so the driver's side was still there. Hmm, manky Nestle chocolate in the name of Smarties obviously has more effect than I thought as I seemingly can't remember which tense I'm used.

Sometimes sighing isn't enough. So off for a trip round anywhere that might sell either thick clear sheeting or Perspex. Including the joy of being asked, while seeking alternative suppliers in a flummoxed Homebase, if I have a car. I do, it's just convertible at the moment. And a non-starter.

So after an exhaustive search, managing to completely ignore a friend's sister's boyfriend, although I did talk to the sister who completely neglected the introductions and by a cruel twist of fate was buying a chamois, and having pondered ground-sheets and shower curtains I resorted to cutting a strip off a [plastic] dust sheet. Much duct taping later (shamefully it doesn't match the tape already on the rear wheel arches) it becomes apparent that what was transparent when laid over any pattern is translucent for any light source beyond 5 cm from the surface. Um, that's legal surely? In terms of visibility it's just like turning the car into a van (or a car as it would appear at the end of summer term). Gorgeously soft light though, but I suspect the liberally scattered nuggets may interfere with any potential photo-shoot.

So having weather-proofed adequately for the current conditions (sunny, still) I went off to research replacements. Having checked that the insurance won't cover it (well, the fully-comp premium was more than they'll admit the car is worth, so I kinda didn't do that) and neither will the AA (they do breakdowns; it is literally broken down; the bizarrely useful girl in Homebase thought the RAC covered windscreens), I scavenged round websites, including the really helpful one that claims I want a BMW door mirror regardless of what I actually put in, found one place that had a rear windscreen in stock, and would deliver despite being near Gateshead, and who when rung discovered they'd got the year wrong so it would only fit a later model (can't they bend it?).

Hmm. So basically, while I haven't tried Autoglass et al yet, mostly because their websites only instruct visitors to ring them (after asking for details of make and model) and because I know it cost £150 to replace a Fiesta window several years ago, I have a hunch I may be a bit screwed. If the place that deals only in Vauxhall spares can't think of where to get one and called the screens are really rare, and I know my uncle had to ditch a Saab after their neighbours put a skip through the rear window [an event they still deny] one that turned out to be impossible to replace save buying a whole new car, well, that's not looking particularly good. I like my car. It's nice to drive (except on corners, but that just means one has to drive properly). But now it's got a diaphragm. And a flat battery. And an apparently jammed starter motor. And a fan that only works if switched from 0 to 2 and only then if it's in the mood. And has to be driven with the window open to oust the damp (and keep the screen clear because I'm not convinced 2 is what it used to be; it's fine moving, but heavy, cold rain while stuck at Wandsworth was not what the internal humidity needed, though fortunately the one way system there is so vile the condensation had dispersed by the time I reached the bottom of the hill; it's fun to drive solely on the handbrake). And decorative rust that occasionally goes its own separate way. And a choke it hates. And a great deal many other quirks. But it's still nice to drive, when it can be driven. Hmmm. Hmmm hmmmity hmmm.

As for what did it, we believe it was either the estate agents putting up the 'Open House' sign next to it (ooh, open house, open car) - incidentally, how much does having a car with a smashed windscreen outside knock off the asking price? We saw a Mercedes of latecomers draw up, peer up at house, drive further up the road to examine it more (the access to that house is labyrinthine), come back down, pause once more, notice the people knocking the remains of shattered glass out from the windscreen of a car and suddenly accelerate hard away. Of course it doesn't help the house is grossly overpriced (or the market really has lost all sense of propriety). For over a half-a-million I think most people would expect the garage to be somewhere near the house and some form of vehicular access to the bulk of the property, rather than an extra-slidey concrete path and the steps of doom - or a passing recycling bin. Given smashed bottles had to be swept out of the road earlier in the week due to the recycling box they were in cartwheeling down the road (and helpfully being aimed at by a hopefully now multi-punctured Metro - I've just had a hideous thought; how long till Tesco make cars?), that we had more bins scattered outside than were left there (cursed neighbours who simultaneously claim to be missing a bin and deny it could have been theirs once the connection to damaged cars is pointed out - I suspect I would have different opinion of them had their not-Cava not been clinking) and the knowledge that my brother's car suffered deeply at the hands of an errant wheelie bin (this is the one after the one that got written off and parked on the pavement by an anonymous dustcart), I think, or rather hope this is the more likely explanation. Carried on the wind carries a greater degree of fluke which is more forgiveable.

So today was going to be about trundling off to try on Levis (brother America exchange rate) and taking photographs while it was sunny. Instead my only consolation for hours spent taping and tapping and sweeping and swiping was that collapsing indoors when it was too dark to work happened at five to five. Oh, and I found the mostly unopened bottles of wine dumped in the boot which are a testament to just how bad GA's parties tend to be.

So not a great day. Had I not seen it last night I might have just given up entirely and watched Jam and Jerusalem on the BBC's newish iPlayer (warning on the latest one: don't watch with anyone to whom you might have explain why you just laughed at that tampered-with marine confectionery based line). Instead I settled for the Toksvig's News Quiz.

At the moment I'm still not happy enough that I've completely ruled out repeat viewing J&J. Might just watch some BBC4 thing instead (they seem to have a lot that isn't quite BBC4, such as the Steve-Wright-less version of TOTP2 called Brits Can't Dance, which essentially was a chance to point and laugh at Pan's People while revealing that all Cilla Black songs contain the word 'coffee'. Told you it wasn't BBC4 enough). Actually, the iPlayer thing does mean one gets to see things that would otherwise linger in tedious backwaters, like the BBC Scotland soap River City (or City River or Rice Civet or something), which is on a par with that strange ITV thing whereby they write the show in the show before (the programme before, Moving Wallpaper, is reasonably good for an ITV comedy [DWFP?]; the attendant soap is essentially a donkey sanctuary for soap stars, to let them live out their lives chewing the scenery. Beguilingly pointless and plotless).

Ah, that's sweet; cute boy Dan* just asked me for a coffee (hopefully not 40 cups). Except there appear to be timetabling problems (bloody globegalumphers). But for the message, perfect timing, Mr Unexplodable.

* I have to call him that because I know he'll blush, thus getting cuter.

I suppose I really ought to reply to him.


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