Thursday, December 02, 2010
As we wait for the Eurobollox to unravel in a new load of Eurevelations, the UK is under a coating of Eurosnow. This is a special type of snow that is denied by officials right up to the moment of its unplanned arrival and then turns the infrastructure of developed countries into that of Third World states. So today instead we will step back from Europe themes, take a break and offer a little glimpse into the heady lifestyles we lead (hoho).
Well, it's all glamour in the life of a macro man. Yesterday started with a leisurely awakening on the country estate, followed by being driven to the office for a pleasant day profitably saying "yours/mine", a long lunch and an early departure for a night spent mixing with the rich and famous at a private art show hosted by a famous actress (and close friend, of course) at her palatial house. Of course, wit and repartee positively dripped from the tongue and all present were wowed and dazzled by the stream of intellect and insight offered on any subject they wished to raise; the evening ending with a very famous billionaire whisking said macro man off for a night of very classy debauchery... No names, of course.
Well that would have been a great day, but here is the REAL day in the life of...
5am - Awaken to read that the Eurosnow has resulted in no trains from the countryside running into the City. Start to ring colleagues in similar situations to coordinate actions (you can't be seen to be pub-lunching it at home when your treacherous colleagues have managed to struggle in). Drive to local station to find, indeed, "no trains". Drive to mainline station to find the same. 7.30am - give up, go home and start to ring office/log on to Bloomberg, which then intermittently dies on the home PC, making work impossible, as all the local broadband electrons must have been canceled due to the snow. Get a bit gung-ho and decide to break out the ancient Landrover, reserved for just such occasions and drive in to work. Spend an hour prepping the car with de-icer, water, oil, tow ropes, shovel, overnight bag, arctic clothes, drink and food supplies to the point that it's fit for a trans-Siberian expedition. Meanwhile wifey suggesting that, if it needs all that, then the trip probably isn't worth it. But it's become one of those man-missions and MUST be achieved. Set off finally at 11.30am. 200 yards down the road, wonder why the wheels don’t do what they are told. Not the ice and snow, there is something seriously wrong. Limp home and face wifely "told you so's". Not to be beaten ring the local friendly mechanic for an over the phone diagnosis. Nope, bring it round. Frustration now becoming palpable as the mission is losing direction, the vehicle is limped to said mechanic who does one of those air-intake-through-clenched-teeth and shrugs "Oooo, I wouldn't t be driving that. Leave it with me for a week". Ring wifey who kindly turns up to do the lift home. Decant all the survival kit, and then find that the Landy's rear door catch is now frozen and will not engage. Door now flopping around open in a public car park... Arrgghh... Lash said door closed internally with the stashed tow-rope (see? TOLD you it would come in useful), return keys to mechanic and go home. Can't find house/other-car/everything keys. Work out they must be in Landrover... Drive back to mechanic, break into rope lashed car and don't find keys. Ring wifey, who says she's found them in her handbag... HER HANDBAG?? Well I didn’t friggin' put them there. Oh, they were being untidy, were they? So you must have just tidied them up? Get home, apologise for unfair rant and now, adamant not to be beaten, turn down pub-lunch invitations from other strandees and load stripped down version of survival gear into small VW, whilst placated wifey fusses over the bad "man-packing" of the overnight kit and insists on repacking the lot in a "nice" way. FINALLY leave. Now, can someone please sue those people that sell 5 liter containers of blue piss that you put in your windscreen washers? I can assure you it is just blue dye with absolutely NO anti-freeze properties, as the squirties froze up soon into the trip resulting in staring through a screen worthy of a "Help get me out of here" Swamp Trial. But the good news is that after a journey worthy of an episode of "Ice-Road Truckers", mission was accomplished arriving at work at, trumpet fanfare..., 4pm. Just in time to leave at 5pm.
Book into local hotel that is "just a short taxi ride from the office" to save any repeat of above type of trip again. Leave office to find the local tube line is down and hence no taxis . Walk for 20mins through the snow to the Hotel. Check in and walk off to find the light railway station following instructions from the receptionist, armed with a "local map", which turns out to be just a schematic of the UK rail network. Risk life and limb running across a rush-hour highway and scaling a 5ft wall (are you sure this is the right way?) before arriving at the station. At this point the story gets so convoluted in its bizarrity that only regular London Transport sufferers would understand, so the next period shall be blanked over other than to say that a 40 min trip to get to the above mentioned art show ended up taking 2 hours.
So, the witty repartee and intellectual discourse? To hell with that, I need a drink. Lots of drink. Too much drink...whooops.
5am - Awake in hotel. Where's wash bag? It was definitely packed in the "man-packing". Oh, remember? - It got turned into neat "girl-packing" that involved leaving the washbag on the kitchen table. Oh noooo... And what happened last night? Did I really say that at the show? "You must have run out of blue doing that one. It's very...err...Blue" is hardly the cutting edge of critique and "Do you price them per square foot like wallpaper" may not have been the most enamouring question to ask hostess (who was indeed a famous actress). Oh nooooooo... Did I really make the taxi driver back to the hotel pull into a drive thru McDonalds at 1am to then have an argument with the janitor over how a 24hr restaurant could be closed? O, I did? .. Oh noooooo...