Monthly Archives: August 2010

Things have an odd way of turning out good.

This is a short recitation of the last 36 hours and how seemingly bad things have an odd way of turning round to end up being really rather good.

It all started yesterday morning, I was due to go on an evening out straight from work and as that usually means drinking it would not be a good idea to drive. I had every intention of catching the 7:12 train from Barnsley to get into work on time, Jo had given me a lift to the station and we set off in plenty of time, but by some odd quirk of fate as we pulled into the car park, the train was just pulling out of the station. Score one for the bad things.

So I set off for work 20 minutes later by car as usual, not sure by this point whether I would be drinking and coming back for the car, or sticking to the Pepsis and driving home. I found an answer an hour later when I got into work. As is usual for where I work the people who are on the frontline know whats going on and so know the repercussions if, say for instance, someone asks for holiday at the last minute. Little things like, will we have enough people to open up? will there be enough people to cover lunches? will there be enough people so we can do the little niggly things like the weekly cash? Unfortunately anyone not on the frontline doesn’t automatically ask these questions, and so when one of our number had asked the person in charge the day before for holiday (which was granted without question for reasons I will not go into on here, but it rhymes with Mepotism) no regard was given to the fact it would leave the library short off staff, not enough people to run it, not enough people to cover lunches….you get my drift. My decision was made there and then. Come 5 O’clock when i left the library I just knew I would need a drink. Score 2 for the bad.

The day, as it progressed was not all bad, thanks to the help of the Librarian and the IT bod we managed to cope and thankfully it was reasonably quiet. 5 O’clock rolls around and I’m off to the pub ready for an evening of beer, fully aware that I will be unable to drive home and so will have to come back for my car somepoint in the future.

Skip forward to this morning, I awake in my own bed after a wonderful evening of beer, laughter and curry, followed by an hours train journey. No hangover. No Kids. No car. Score 3 for the bad.

Choices lay before me:

  1. get a train to Headingley, drive home – 2 hours off the day gone.
  2. Leave the car there until further notice – I’m on holiday for a week and I’m not sure how much of my car would be left after that time.
  3. Drive with Jo to get the car and maybe make a day of it

Needless to say 3 was the prefered choice. Now it just so happens that there is a charity event happening in Morley (my old stomping ground) which is kind of on the way to Headingley (sort of) so we decided to drop in there on the way. GPS on standby we set off and get to the location….but it’s all a little to quiet, a quick check of the Facebook events shows we are a little early, by about 2 months. Score 4 for the bad.

We were in Morley so what the hell, we’ll trawl the charity shops whilst we are there, see if there’s any bargains. They used to be so good, but I don’t know whats happened since I’ve left. Now they are crammed with junk, over flowing with overpriced crap 10 shops we looked in. 10 opportunities to find something of interest. 10 opportunities for a bargain. 10 chances to be shoved out of the way by some old dear reeking of urine as you browse a selection of curios that wouldn’t even be considered by a kleptomaniac. It was a disappointing haul, only one shop was pleasant with friendly staff and stock that wasn’t dubiously stained, broken, or just sheer crap. That was the ARC shop, we did manage to pick up a couple of Amaretto glasses, an unopened Mancala set, a nice little trinket box and another couple of bargains. All in all, a disappointing visit to Morley. Score 5 for the bad, but 1 for the good.

We set off for Headingley feeling a tad peckish, but that’s ok, I know Headingley, I know some decent places to eat….or so I thought. We parked up and headed straight for Dare, a nice little cafe that I have eaten at a few times without problem. This time was to be different though. Looking forward to a soup and a sandwich we had already decided on the panini’s we were to order when the waitress came over. “Whats the soup today?” we gleefully asked looking forward to finding out what we had in store. “Carrot and Coriander” was the reply. Erk!. Those three words, simple as they may be, had a profound effect. Imagine if you will the concrete slab on the train tracks, the slowly reversing bin lorry in the car chase, the unexpected power lines in the aerobatic display. Carrot and Coriander? why? Coriander tastes like washing up liquid. If I wanted a bowl of used dishwater I certainly wouldn’t be paying the prices they were asking. Score 6 for the bad.

We had to have a major rethink, but now we were lacking the gusto from before, we ummed and ahhed, ruminated and cogitated and eventually decided we’d just stick to the paninis and call it quits. Quick and easy. You’d think wouldn’t you. What can be so hard, take 2 ciabatta, slice, on one but strips of chicken, roasted red peppers and pesto, on the other parma ham, mozzarella and rocket, the put in the grill till nice and toasty and plonk them on plates. 20 minutes later we flagged down the waitress and asked where our “quick and easy” lunch was. She returned to say the chef had lost the check and that it would be 3 minutes till we were eating. Chef didn’t need to know what we had ordered so I can only assume their definition of “lost” differs to mine, but hey, we got a complimentary cappuccino each.

20 minutes later, cappuccino noting but a smear of froth on the bottom of the cup, stomachs rumbling, and a rather bitter taste in our mouths we gave up. Not a member of waiting staff in sight. 40 minutes waiting for a glorified toastie! 2 overpriced thimbles of coffee to keep us amused? nah, we were off somewhere else. If they expected us to pay for the coffees they had another thing coming. We did tell them we were leaving and that 40 minutes was ridiculous time to wait, and so off we stormed to find something else. Score 7 for the bad.

Pickles and Potters next door. They do lovely sandwiches, and also soup, woohoo we are saved…and soup of the day? I bet you think I’m going to say Carrot and Coriander don’t you? well no, we were saved that disappointment. Todays special soup is……. Cauliflower with Cumin and Turmeric. So……that would be…….waterd down cauliflower curry then. Time to move on, score 8 for the bad.

Time is pressing on, we are still hungry but there is a glimmer of hope, the shining beacon of salvation that wonderous red glow outlining 3 delicious letters that raise the soul in times like this, that make you realise that you may strive for fancy soups and poncy sandwiches but when all else fails there is somewhere you can go, somewhere that will gladly feed you with delights. Those three little letters and a cheery face looking down upon you, welcoming you to…..KFC. Bollocks. queues out the door and no chicken in the warmers. We’d be there all day, score 9 for the bad.

Sainsburys! at least we could get a sandwich, and whilst we’re there maybe pick up something for dinner. This is where fortune starts to change, Dine for 2 for £10, bottle of wine, lasagna, tiramissu all in the basket…the only side dish though is garlic bread. Nothing wrong with garlic bread, but seems a bit odd seeing as one of the main courses is roast pork, so I ask one of the staff if there’s any alternatives, she tootles off and returns a minute later (that’s 39 minutes less than we were sat in Dare) and apologises for taking so long, before advising that they only carry that one side at present as they are only a small supermarket but the larger ones do carry a bigger selection and they are trying to expand theirs. So very polite and helpful. So we pick up a garlic bread and head off in the search for Biscotti (having an espresso machine and amarreto glasses it’s silly not to have the biscuits too) we get to the biscuit aisle, we scour the shelves, but to no avail. Just as we are about to concede and head towards the sandwiches to sate are starvation we espy another orange clad denizen of the shelves and pounce on them to find out where the Amoretti biscuits are, looking a little startled she scurries away and a moment later a young lass approaches. She very apologetically advises us that as they are a small branch…I admit at this point my mind started filling in what she was saying with Yadda Yadda Yadda…..until, quite unexpectedly, she tells us that there is a little italian cafe/deli just up the road that sells biscotti, and that it’s worth trying the coffee there too. I was a little stunned that someone of the orange cloth would even dare to suggest and alternative to their own store. We were impressed, and so assuming a cafe would carry some form of at least biscuits and cake, we forewent the sandwiches, paid for our £10 meal and headed out in search of a little italian cafe. Polite Sainsburys staff, score 2 for the good. £10 meal for 2, score 3 for the good. Suggesting an alternative place to shop than their own store, score 4 for the good.

We were still hungry though, and as we strolled down the road we spotted a noodle bar on the other side of road, we looked at each other, and there was the instant approval. Noodles for lunch! it was not to be. The road in question is a busy one, and the crossing were at either end. There was no way for us to get to the noodle bar without risking life and limb and the brainless drivers of Leeds, or going on a route march. Score 10 for the bad.

We made it to the Italian cafe, an unknown to me extension of the Salvo’s restaurant, I will freely admit it was not what I was expecting. I was not expecting the very friendly welcome from the staff, score 5 for the good. The delicious sounding specials and soup that was appealing were a pleasant surprise, score 6 for the good. The decent sized cappucino that was more coffee than froth, score 7 for the good. The openness and honesty of the staff, score 8 for the good, The sheer glee of a plate full of food so sumptuous that is almost matched that of Jo’s cooking, score 9 for the good. Finding a well stocked deli and amazing menu only 5 minutes from where I work, score 10 for the good.

Bellies full and bags packed with goodies, we headed off home. A long day, full of highs and lows, pretty much evenly, so many bad things that ultimatley led to some very good things.

Sitting writing my blog, and posting restaurant reviews on tripadvisor with an espresso coffee, ameretti biscuit on the side and a small glass of ameretto…..score 11 for the good.


Holey Roads Batman!

So everyone hates potholes in roads, don’t they?

Leeds city council are never one to shirk away from trying to be the best at everything, but I think they may have gone a little too far in the latest venture.

I work in Headingley, and the road that runs from Leeds through Headingley is one of the busiest in the city…but at the moment it is closed!

Last monday some workmen were digging up the gas mains when they discovered a “cavity”. Being workmen they instantly stopped work (I dare say a kettle was put on) and scratched their chins. Within hours the place was crawling with council officials and police cars as they argued over who was going to make a decision about what to do.

The facts as we know them and as have been reported are:

  1. There is a cavity of undisclosed dimensions beneath the A660
  2. The roof of the cavity is roughly the depth of the road
  3. There is danger that the cavity could collapse with the weight of traffic (especially since one of the walls of the cavity has been breached and so the structural integrity is now compromised)
  4. For safety that side of the road has been closed indefinitely until the hole can be filled or the road made safe
  5. Every Tom, Dick and Harry will be making up their own versions of what is happening and they will get more and more fanciful!

So far I have heard that it is some form of air raid shelter, that it’s a tunnel from a botched bank robbery and that it is a void created by earth washed away by a broken storm drain. I’m sure that at some point there will be rumours that it is some sort of Soviet Spy base, maybe the crash site of an alien spacecraft, perhaps the latest test of the Large Hadron Collider has created a Blackhole singularity and the earth is being sucked into it starting with Headingley (make you own judgement).

I’ll stick to what I know. There is a chuffing great hole under the main road through Headingley, which means that all the traffic is being diverted around it, right onto the road I use for work. It took me half an hour to travel less than a mile this morning, I was not impressed. I actually saw someone I work with walking along the same road (albeit in front of me as I joined the queue) she soon disappeared from sight as she raced away at walking pace.

It did make me wonder though, given that all of these people were being inconvenienced, we were all sitting in the same traffic and we were all being delayed…..why were people being arses? inching forward so they were bumper to bumper with the car in front so no one could get out of side streets? Running red lights just to get 5 foot ahead and then block the junction? seriously do traffic jams stop certain neural senses? is there some physical condition of still air in a car that turns the forebrain to mush? Please people, turns your air con on, get a breeze going and chill out. Theres nothing you can do about it so you may as well sit back and relax.

Time Dilation and Relativistic Anomolies

Some chap called Einstein once mad an observation that time was not fixed and measurable and that how you observe time effects how you perceive it. For instance in the Special Theory of Relativity two independent observers travelling at different velocities, each with their own clock would observe the others clock to be running at a different rate to theirs. In General Relativity it would be gravitational forces that made a difference and so clocks closer to the centre of the gravitational field would appear to run slower.

So special relativity explains why when I set off from home with plenty of time to get to work, everyone else seems to be running in a different time frame that is slower than mine…..this in itself is not a problem, so long as they don’t sit in the bleeding right hand lane on the motorway when they do it.

General relativity would also explain why people at work are so bad at keeping time, obviously the nature of the building we are in means that break times are taken upstairs and the majority of the work is done downstairs, so obviously General relativity would explain that there is in fact a difference in the observed times between the 2 floors which explains why certain people seem to have problems telling the time. Amazing how so-called intellectuals can misread a clock by 5 minutes early when it comes to break times and going home, but read the upstairs clock by 5 minutes late when it comes to actually doing some work.

Of course my highly trained mind can automatically compensate for the effects of relativity and so I can tell the correct time.

Alas I seem to have wondered from my original posting intention. The saying goes “time flies when you’re having fun”, surely that depends on the kind of fun you’re having….clock tossing for instance….would definitley make this ditty true.

Generally speaking though, perception of time alters depending on the state your mind is in. If you are enjoying what you are doing and endorphins are being released then your subconscious loses the ability to measure time as well and so time seems to pass faster. Conversely, boring situations seem to drag on forever.

It is an odd thing then, today seems to have lasted for an age, which you may surmise means that it was boring. Nope, it’s been a full day, and I am surprised I have fitted so much in to it. We got up, I cooked breakfast, we got the boys ready, we went out to the shops, we dropped the boys off to visit their dad (I have yet to blog about him, but I may do), went shopping again, had coffee, picked up some tables, came home and made the tables, tided behind the sofa, went shopping again, had a Maccy D’s, picked the boys up, came home, tidied up some more, washed the windows, tided up some more (the boys had been home for an hour by this point so there was a mess) and then sat down to blog.

I can only assume that either I have been traveling in some form of time bubble moving slightly faster than everyone else, or I am carrying round some form of gravitational anomaly in my pocket.

Meh, so long as the evening of drinking fruity cider, watching DVDs and snuggling on the sofa with Jo seems to last a long time I’ll be happy.

I have no excuse

I really don’t. I can access wordpress on both my home and work computers (ahem, just at lunch and breaktimes of course) and I also have it on my iphone, so I can type a new post anytime I like.

It’s not like I don’t have things to post about either, anyone who follows me on Facebook will know i have mini rants on there, so this is the perfect platform to get rid of that tension.

So why, I wonder do I not post more? Well, to be honest, I really do question why anyone would want to read the nonsensical inane witterings of a library assistant from Leeds.

I know that Jo likes my posts, but she does have a kind of have an obligation too ;o). Just recently though I have received some very nice comments about my blog (also some dubious components as well).

So with bolstered pride (and a slightly swelled ego) I have decided to blog more often, at least once a week, maybe more, who knows.

You may live to regret those kind words ;o)

A mug of tea and a crossword

For some reason I have been thinking about my dad a lot lately. For those that don’t know he died of a combination of lung cancer and heart disease a few years ago. He was a heavy smoker and he loved his fried food (he was Scottish afterall) and he never let things like cholesterol and cancer put him off his favourite things. Good on him I say, life is for living and enjoying, not for worrying about what may be.

My dad was a quiet insular type, not big on words unless it was to tell someone to put the kettle on for another mug of tea. I know he was proud of me whatever I did, and even when I was making mistakes he would back me up. I know if he could see me now he would be fit to burst, and I wish he were here to be able I see how happy I am.

Somepoint soon I’m going to sit down with a bucket of tea, an egg sandwich and a crossword book and just think back on the good memories I have. I’ll always miss him, but he’ll never be truly gone, so long as I have my memories.