Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Week in Brief ... Again

It appears that the need to spend a day away in Europe seems to totally screw up my ability to maintain The Journal. My last entry was a week ago and I would go with a variant of the Catholic Confessional " Forgive me Father but it is seven days since my last Journal entry" but I am most definitely not Catholic and The Journal is definitely more record than confession.

So here I go with a round up of the last week. The main theme seems to be travel and transport problems but other shit happens too.

I woke with that nasty scratchy feeling at the back of the throat that presages a cold. Great, that is just what I need this week.

The morning was filled with the usual trip to the Rugby Club so that TP could train. We took T&M and 30% and I walked the dogs while TP did his stuff on the practice pitch. We congratulated ourself on avoiding the rain which held off until the drive home and transport problem number one raised it's head. A couple of miles from home in the middle of a downpour the Defender's windscreen wipers gave up the ghost with a noise that would make even the most mechanically insensitive wince.  It is due for a Service and an MOT and now the wipers need fixing too. Bugger!

The wiper failure messed up my afternoon's plans as I had intended to drive round to Bad Man senior's house and take a redundant Freezer over to the local Tip. The frequent storms meant that this was not going to be possible so I spent the afternoon caulking cracks and filling holes on the Landing and the evening saw me packing a case for the trip to Zurich.

My flight out to Zurich was at lunchtime so I did very little in the way of work before driving over to The Nearest Circle of Hell where I met up with one of the Account Executives who had kindly offered to drive down to Heathrow. He is is a good few years younger than me and is probably best described as a Belfast Boy done Good. He has done very well for himself and the drive down was my first inside experience of a Porsche 911. As a rider of motorcycles I was prepared for the brutal acceleration and high speed but I must admit that my age has tempered the aggression in my driving whilst his is most definitely still there. I think it is fair to say that if we had had bionic hearing "look at that wanker in that Porsche" would have been a frequently repeated phrase from those we passed.

The main activity on Monday seemed to be drinking lager as we started in the Departure Lounge at Heathrow and continued through until a little after midnight in Zurich. After the trip to Luxembourg where I had seen nothing to suggest that I had left the UK I had intentionally planned my Swiss itinerary so I had the chance to see a little of Zurich and actually get a sense of Switzerland...

... after checking in to the Hotel which was just over the road from the Zurich football stadium we took a tram ride down to the Old City by the lake shore and spent a few hours taking in the fine architecture, imbibing several more lagers and tucking in to a beautiful but very expensive Thai meal.
 The trip home involved a compulsory visit to an Irish Bar where I switched to G&Ts before we poured ourselves in to another tram back to the hotel for a nightcap or two before retiring to bed.

I woke on Tuesday feeling much less shabby than expected and after a shower I climbed in to my suit and took the lift down to breakfast. The lift paused on the second floor and the Exec climbed in on his way outside for the first cigarette of the day. He looked absolutely dreadful and made me feel much much better. I was going to describe him as looking like death warmed up but road kill better described his appearance.

The day with the Swiss team was long but productive. They were a reasonably good natured bunch and they seem to be focused on getting their local contract signed and starting to deliver the necessary services. I picked up a few actions but nothing that couldn't be cleared over the next few days.

Surprise, surprise we finished the working day in the Zurich departure lounge with a lager before boarding our flight back to Heathrow....

... and that should be it. I should now be typing "after a short flight back to the UK I was chauffeured up the M40 in the 911 and was home by half past nine". How fucking wrong was I? The fuck wit baggage handlers at Heathrow couldn't get the luggage off the plane and we spent the best part of two hours waiting for our cases at Carousel 2. The end result was that it was gone ten thirty before I finally walked through the door at home.

I met up with Golfy at our Nearest Circle of Hell on Wednesday and we started the day being shouted at by Germans. I have to say that they were most unfriendly and I took some persuading to change my tack from taking an armoured Division across the Rhine to sort things out once and for all.

The Senior Account Exec took a slightly different approach and basically said "Oy Sausage Munchers. You can moan all you like but you are already on the hook to deliver this stuff and if you don't sign the local agreement you still have to deliver but you just cant bill for it. Lets see if her threats sort this out.

The rest of the day was filled with meetings, chat and failed attempts to clear the e-mail that had accumulated since Monday Morning.

Thursday started with a trip over to Bromsgrove to drop the Defender over at MP Trading for repairs, servicing and MOT testing. Mark is up to his ears in work and it will be early next week before I can collect her and I am expecting a rather large bill.

The rest of the day was spent catching up on stuff and swearing at the utter, utter bastards who attempt to drag me in to stuff that is nothing to do with me or ask me for responses on matters that are quite clearly not in my area of responsibility. I bent poor Tigger's ear quite few times with my ranting.

The working day finally finished and I took a walk around the Three Miler enjoying the heat wave that currently has the UK basking in Mediterranean temperatures.

Friday was very much a case of "more of the same" and after finally completing the week's objectives I reached the mental nirvana that is "Fuck them all" and booked a couple of days off next week with the very real expectation that they will implode without me. I appreciate that this will not happen but after the arse wiping that I have had to do this week one wonders how some of them will find the coffee machines without me!

The evening saw 30%'s brother and his girlfriend visit for dinner and a very pleasant evening was spent catching up on their news and seeing how much lager/red wine I could drink without falling asleep*.

Saturday started WAY TOO EARLY with 30% throwing two kittens at me while I still slept. These were followed in very quick succession by two standard poodles that leaped on to the bed to join in the fun. Just to make sure I was fully awake, 30% then started to chastise T&M for being too enthusiastic at full volume.

I was now most definitely awake and threw on some clothes and wandered downstairs in the vain hope that coffee would drive away the fatigue.

The morning saw me take the Ducati over to Moto-vation in Cheltenham for some some scheduled maintenance and 30% kindly followed me over to provide the necessary transport home.

The rest of the day has been spent in the garden mowing lawns and starting the Autumn tidy up. This looks like it could well run through to the Spring as there is a long list of jobs that need to be completed.

* a litre of the former and two glasses of the latter thank you very much

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