Personal Stories - 2/55 - wibbler.com

I’ve packed flippers

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FlippersMy job, as close friends know, involves a rather large amount of travelling. I clock up over 20,000 miles a year in my poor car, and that’s not including the very regular flights to Scotland, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland. Many of my colleagues do double that. It’s great at my age to be able to see the sights and explore the places I go to – the only downfall is that it’s usually on my own, which makes social events kinda out of the question.

By the end of this week, I’ll have taken in Swindon, Camberley, Southampton, Northampton and Skipton in five days. Last night, the news of torrential rain and floods greeted my evening meal, and the locations – Leeds, Rotherham, Sheffield, most of the Midlands – were unfortunate. They were all the locations I’d be travelling through on my next trip to Skipton in Yorkshire. Visions of my car floating down the M1 filled my mind, and as I set off for the trip I prepared myself for a long and arduous journey. Friends and a fiancée phoned and wished me luck. I headed unto the breach.

As it happened, despite the increasing images of rivers of water and mounting water-based deaths I barely saw any floods. There were a couple of fields looking a little damp, but it seems that if you’re on a normal motorway journey you’re as safe as houses. However, I can hear the patter of rain on my hotel window – who knows what tomorrow will bring?

We will never drink again.

Posted by | Diary | One Comment

I’m very lucky to have several great friends. I’m also lucky that as least some of them are close enough to go drinking with. Last weekend, Nick and I went out into Guildford, put the world to rights over a few pints of beer – and then ruined our bodies and our memories in Harpers nightclub, drinking for England and dancing for Britain. We were so drunk, in fact, that we got a taxi the 25 miles back to his house in New Haw and then remembered that Nick had left his house keys back in Guildford. That was an expensive taxi ride, let me assure you.
And then, last night, Jac and I painted the town a slightly mauve colour. Again, I have declared I an never drinking again – at least until next time. Our bodies are wrecks, our heads are pounding. On the upside, we met a very nice guy in a hat – who turned out to be Galileo from the hit West End musical We Will Rock You, out on the town with his minder and tearing up the dancefloor. However, that’s one of very few memories. Jac has just summed it up nicely in an email to me, titled “Never Again”:
“Dear Simon,” it begins.

“Just a quick note to let you know that I am never EVER going on a night out with you again. Not only do I have barely any recollection of being in Harpers at all and absolutely no idea of how we got home, but I have felt decidedly awful for the entire day. It was all I could do to not vomit on the platform at Guildford station and the smell of Burger King fries on my half eight tube journey made me so close to vomiting that a fellow passenger asked if I was feeling ok.
To make matters worse, I appear to have given my phone number to a stalker. Assuming it is a she, she is probably an ugly stalker too. I have had eleven text messages and two calls this afternoon. I didn’t answer the calls and only replied to the first couple of texts. No doubt I am going to have to get Orange to block her number. Just great.
Next time we are going to sit in my flat in Putney with cups of herbal tea and discuss carbon footprints, the wispiness of Boris Johnson’s hair and the LBW rule.

Jack”

Raunchy Revelations

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A horrifying piece of news flashed across my bow the other week. Searching for “keycracker” on the internet – no, best not to ask why – I stumbled on a site with some rather raunchy adverts for flesh-ridden videos. And as I looked closer – well, it would be rude not to – my heart quickened. I thought I’d actually recognised one of the scantily-clad women staring back at me. Surely not?
I casually mentioned this to my friend Adam a couple of weeks ago – and after he purchased the advertised video “for research”, he can confirm that the adult actress Rio is actually an old college friend called Tallulah, who I always remember as being good-looking and knowing it. She went to a convent school, which figures. There was never a skirt short enough for her, and frankly we didn’t mind too much.
Adam has offered to send me the video, but I’ve politely declined, on account that such a freaky experience might make me a little ill.
Still, the news will certainly prove a nice icebreaker down the pub…

Your choice of colour…

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So, dilemma time. I’m not good with decisions – I analyse every conceivable option and check I’m getting the best possible thing, which annoys the hell out of Michelle. My company car choice is always a bit of a groaner – there are so many options, so many things to thing about. And so, dear reader, I’m enlisting your help this weekend. I’ve settled on the Lexus IS250. I’ve even settled on the spec, which was no mean feat.

But the colour decision is the final hurdle – which do you like better? The left is Windsor Blue, the right is Cadoxton Slate – click them to expand…

Lexus IS220 - Windsor BlueLexus IS220 - Cadoxton Slate

Mentally acute, or acutely mental?

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Bored by my mundane travel to work, I’ve taken to doing things to pass the time. One thing that’s taken hold on my recent mornings in traffic jams is to memorise number plates. Sad, I know. But it turns out that I can take one look at a numberplate, look away, recall the image of the plate and read it off. I can do the same for phone numbers on shop windows. I can see something once and I know the home and mobile numbers of everyone in my company – that’s about so that whenever people need to dial numbers or want to find out who’s calling, they ask me. I know Pi to 16 decimal places.

So, the question I have is – is this normal? Am I just doing what everyone else can do? Or is this something quite clever? What constitutes a photographic memory? Are Mensa waiting for someone as clearly intelligent as me?! Am I over-egging the pudding, bigging myself up when I’m actually mediocre?

Tell me the score…

Little notes in anger

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One of my projects at work at the moment is an elephant of a job – amalgamate the 12 customer databases we have had for twenty years into one large one. It’s not a small task – each database held about 200 companies, with business-critical data in each one.
And, frankly, it’s not the most exciting task I’ve done. So to relieve the tedium, I mainly get off on searching the database for new rude words that angry salespeople have written about a customer on a particularly bad day – words that used to be private, and now aren’t. Here are just some that I found yesterday (suitably desensitised for the webby public):
– “Discovered particles of what looked like radioactive sh*t. Wiped shoes thoroughly on exit.”
– “Called to introduce myself –> He is an obnoxious little bugger and if he is that rude to every body I hope his head falls off. [email protected]
– “Still a tosser. Would like a quote, but I’m [email protected] if I’ll give him a cheap one.”
– “ISKA WAS HER NORMAL CANDID SELF. SHE WINDS ME UP AND I CANT BELIEVE THAT SHE OR HER BOSS PAUL WOULD WANT TO BUY THAT SH*T.”
– “WHAT A MISERABLE [email protected]

Another soldier lost…

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Chris JanawayAs I sat and watched the news this morning. munching toast and wondering what the day held, the major crash on the M25 caught my attention. As they detailed the horrific carnage, I thought to myself, “one of these days, it’ll be someone I know…”

As it happens, it was. Tonight, David B phoned to ask if I knew someone called Chris Janaway from college. I did – he was a cheery, aloof but very friendly guy, always smiling and sharing a joke. We shared jokes, nights out and even met since then by accident in the street or at a gathering. It turns out that he was one of the people in the minibus, coming back from a stag night that ended in horrible twisted metal.

And so ends another friend’s life. They seem to mounting up a little…

Update: Surrey Police statement, Family pay tribute to Chris

Jack’s on the (political) attack

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Captain Jack, as I’ve mentioned before, is a very good egg indeed who went to fight some very bad eggs in Afghanistan (his photos are here). Now, though, he’s moved back to Surrey and taken a distinct political turn. An email flopped into my gaping inbox a couple of days ago from a very excited Jack, letting me know that he is now Councillor Jack, a Borough Councillor for Englefield Green (West). Here he is, down at the bottom of the page, leaning very casually on a road sign, like the laid-back man he is. Well done Jack!

It’s a Wii-velation.

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To beef up the recent apologetically-late housewarming, Nintendo Wii
I bought a Nintendo Wii (get them here), which for the uninitiated is a games console where you actually move around to play (ably demonstrated by this rather racy video). Good party fun, I thought. And so it proved all night, with Shunta getting so into it he managed to break a ceiling light. But there are so many other benefits of getting one. It’s games are more fun than difficult, meaning you can pick them up straight away. You can browse the internet wirelessly (for this you’ll need a good router, I got mine from http://factschronicle.com/), read the news, buy things like these top games for Xbox, chat to people, all sorts of stuff. And now, having become addicted to the WiiSports game (boxing, bowling, golf, baseball and tennis all in one fantabulous game), a hidden benefit is coming to light – I’m burning a whole load of calories while having fun (and it appears I’m not the only one…)! It’s a win-win revelation, I tell ya…
Update: I’ve had a load of questions asking how I managed to get the console within a week of ordering, when everywhere appears to be sold out. I heartily recommend signing up at Wii-Consoles.co.uk for instant updates on stock.