Friday, April 29, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Check out my new photo.
Discuss 'Camera for a 9year old' with me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I sometimes wonder if weirdness follows me around on purpose. A little while ago I blogged about being in London and coming across a woman being "chased" by a man. Well, yesterday I decided to take the daughter to Drayton Manor. She's now over 1.3 metres tall and a new set of fast rides are therefore available. As a speed freak and adrenalin junkie, at eight and a half she wants to go on the fastest rides possible. Problem is that J doesn't want to see junior on the fast rides! So as I was in charge yesterday and J was working, it was an ideal opportunity.

Up until lunch all was normal (if you count an eight and a half year old girl enjoying "G Force" as normal). We had lunch, short walk around the zoo to let the food go down (and I can't go there without seeing the tigers) then decided to go on the Bounty (pirate ship that swings back and forth until you are hanging looking straight down feeling weightless). Standing in the queue Junior gets to taking to this other eight year old girl. That's fine, happy to encourage her to socialise. We are let on to the ride and they rush to the back. There isn't room for me and I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of sitting in the row in front but hey, she's made a friend and the parent is in the back with them so it can't be too bad. Ride over and we walk out. The two girls say they want to go to Stormforce. No problem. But where is the other parent. It is at this point it dawns on me that the "other" parent was completely unrelated to this girl, instead we seem to have adopted an 8 year old who is wandering around the park by herself. Apparently her father is building a new ride and she is just left to herself for the day. So somehow I end up in loco parentis. What could I do? I wasn't comfortable with her being left alone in the park so it seems better that she comes with us. At one point she's supposed to be back with her father but he rings her (a plus is that she has a phone) and tells her she doesn't need to go back. I end up buying her tea (she did have money and was very polite but I couldn't take a twenty pound note off a child). And she stays with us until the park closes. When I still can't just leave her so walk her back to the ride being built and then spend half an hour getting the attention of her father, who appears more irritated at being disturbed than grateful that I have kept his daughter safe all day.

Of course what I now realise is that there is hours of CCTV coverage of me walking around the park with a girl who I only know by her first name. Anyone seeing us would have assumed she was my daughter as she was hugging me and playing just as "A" was.

All very strange.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hotels and all that

After so many years if travel, hotels in London still manage to surprise me with the ridiculous prices for hovels of rooms and poor service. Brought into even mire sharp relief today because I have just spent two nights in the MacDonald Spa Bath Hotel before coming here, to the Strand Palace.

The MacDonald in Bath is a wonderful hotel. Set in lovely grounds, it has rooms that are a pleasure to stay in, and staff who could not be more friendly. What's that sir, you're going to London for a few days, well of course you can leave your car in our car park, no bother at all sir.

So today is a rush over on the train. The meeting has already started so I join that thinking I'll check in later. 1830hrs arrives and I'm standing in a long queue. Not enough staff to cope. Finally get to the desk, give my name and the company I'm with. No sign of my booking. OK, well the others are booked in because they arrives last night. No they didn't need a booking reference and we don't have one. First man is particularly unhelpful, not least because he can't speak English. I leave the queue. Fire up the computer. Check and no booking reference. Back in the queue which is now even longer. Another man walking along the queue asking people if they have stayed here before. This is the wrong question to ask because my answer is "unfortunately yes, and i swore I never would again and if I'd known we were booking out meeting here I'd have got them to book elsewhere.". This does at least get his attention. I sit down while he goes to find out what is happening. After 10 minutes he comes back and tells me that he needs to speak to the conference manager. Finally returns. Yes they have found my booking but they had thought it was for two nights and booked menin last night. Si now it seems to be my fault that I was only ever coming for one night while the others were booked in for two. But this still doesn't explain how I got checked in when I wasn't here. Oh well it was a group booking. Hang on, yes a group booking but everyone turned up separately and I HADN'T CHECKED IN LAST NIGHT. My argument that surely they knew who was in a room or not didn't seem to make sense to them.

To paraphrase a famous man - never, in the field of accommodation, has so much been charged for so little.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


A wall
A window
Dim light
As flames