Thursday, September 07, 2006

What I Did On My Holidays

Recently went on Holiday to Llandudno. Here's the brief diary...


Saw a hedge dolphin
Sea trip on a boat called the ‘Gorgeous Gusset’

I knew it was going to be a good week on discovering that the previous residents (self catering)had left tins. Tins of: tomatoes; potatoes; Bigga Processed Marrowfat peas; washing up liquid. The real prize however was a large tin of Pek Chopped Ham with Pork. Checked for injection marks. No trace. It doesn’t get any better than this. Am definitely on holiday.


And on to a ‘Family Funday’ in Llandudno. Mainly unmarked marquees with people sitting at trestle tables. No hint as to what any of them were doing. Signing people up for the gymkhana was a possibility. Didn't ask, just whistled and moved away. Chain smoking man on bouncy castle. Paid for 5 minutes, discretion better thing of velour at 9 minutes. Ironically the length of time taken off his life for each cigarette - Karma or something.


Feeling rather let down recently by the level of entertainment value of the nutter on the bus. Either that or I’m learning that there are no ‘nutters’ but only those with ‘mental health issues’ or ‘learning difficulties’ (and the King of Africa obviously - will tell you about him sometime).

On the bus a man was making a series of statements:

‘How much have you got left to spend?’
‘You can take a picture of me if you like’
I’ve got to get to Rhyll to send my best friend a postcard’
‘They say it’s £6 to get in York Minster. I wouldn’t pay £6 to buy York Minster’
He also explained that he worked as a military advisor to Colin Powell - ‘ It doesn’t pay much, but its something’

I say hats off to the traditional British nutter – long may he sit next to someone else on the bus (but in earshot of me, obviously)


Professor Codman’s Wooden Headed Follies. I demanded sausages as one clearly would. I got them (and a crocodile) but they weren't fully integrated into the story so a bit disappointed. Why doesn't someone apply for a grant to send Mr Punch to an anger management workshop for those defining themselves a violent pychopath? I live too close to Gipton to be scared.

Later on a shopkeeper was offering advice to an elderly nun - purse securing, that kind of thing. Like nuns don't have training in this sort of thing. Everyone knows that muggers go for nuns. Good on you Ms shopkeeper!


As freedom is taken away by right wing authoritarian governments and corporate rules, I’ve noticed a small niche of comparative freedom being seized by ordinary people. This is in charging for 5 year olds. Never say ‘2 adults and one child please’ because the rules will say everyone gets charged. Say ‘2 adults and a small person please’ The person selling the ticket or whatever will smile and probably not bother charging – hurray. Luckily, there’ll be fingerprinting babies soon and checking them against the database so you won’t be able to get out of it.

Have I mentioned that Birmingham station has a 'revenue protection barrier'. Built by the Israelis to keep rockets out I'll be bound. They check tickets - a bit like at a ticket barrier, though with a ludicrous name obviously.


Spent most of the day avoiding Christians. The tenacity of the needy and deluded eh? The ‘Beach Team’ promise 'games, quizzes, songs, prizes and bible stories' - and an unhealthy dose of irrational medieval belief system I'll bet...Saw them raring to go in red sweatshirts. Was also invited to a ‘Free 20 minute audio visual presentation’ of 'amazing stories from the past' including 'Mary Jones and a long trip to Bala for a Bible' by the 'United Beach Missions'. Sorely tempted obviously. If I became a Christian I’d probably start a mission to lap-dancing clubs where I’d be sorely needed (or sorely kneeded if I found the right club and paid extra).


Given a lift back from a farm by a laughing Czech with a car floor full of bottles swilling round the floor. Close encounter with a gnu.

Have spent the week doing what the Brits do best – reaching for a cardie. This reminds me that in Leeds 6 you can find the Cardigan Centre. Just next door to the Scotch Wool shop I assume.

Went to get my hair cut before coming home. 2 women on. Must be age or something. I make for the older one (as she probably knows how to cut hair) rather than the young pretty one (who is young and pretty). Mind you, the young pretty one turned out to be from Hull so decision well made I guess.


Usually my puns are pretty lame ‘you’re all Toksvig’ (meaning ‘you’re all sandy’ as in 'you've got sand on you' rather than thinking everyone has somehow turned into Sandie Shaw) would be a typical example. However, you could buy a ‘Damsel Costume’ in Conway / ‘Conwy’ castle. This allowed me to pick it up and say to a young female companion: ‘you look like a damsel in dis dress’. Classic.

Here's a Good One! - Parcelforce

I ordered some tapes from Florida recently to keep the old Tascam 688 portastudio going.

Parcelforce are taking care of delivery 'this end' which is why they decided to return them to sender rather than actually delivering them to me or telling me they had them. Or telling me anything in fact. In order to check what's going on you need a 17 figure 'Parcel Reference Number'. This appears on the letter they send you which tells you you have to pay import duty etc. If they don't send you this letter you don't have the number. This means that when you call the depot you can't use the phone system because it asks for the number - that you haven't got.

Next stage is a 'Clearance fee' of £8. Did I mention that I've already paid the postage?

So, so far I've waited since May for the package. They wouldn't give it to me, they wouldn't tell me they'd got it, they wouldn't let me speak to them and now they want £8 to release it.

Following a website search and calls to their call centre I now have a letter (which is how I know about the £8). If I call them today (a Thursday) they can deliver it the next day. I won't be in on Friday. Luckily you can get them to deliver on Saturday.

The charge for this is an extra £12.

I'm not making this up. Anyone want to set fire to the depot? My arson fee is £25.56 + VAT.