Thursday, 28 February 2008

Bags of Nonsense

Well done Marks and Spencer. You are doing the right thing by charging us for plastic carrier bags. And how predictable the reaction of other retail giants who are not following suit. A couple of years ago the French government outlawed the free issue of plastic carriers in supermarkets and there has been no violent protest (apart from the Rambling Nappa who repeatedly arrives at the checkout of his local Shoppi with a laden trolley - having forgotten to bring his reusable, hard-wearing 3 euro bag with him - again, and again).

Wales (and I hardly ever agree with anything Welsh) is likely to issue a similar ban. Why, for heavens sake, can't we?

Not so boring - Jonno

I'd got this image of Jonny Wilkinson as an admirable, but terribly boring English sportsman. A dullard in the mould of Tim Henman. The sort of person you'd find it terribly difficult to strike up a conversation with unless it was about the intricacies of playing backhand volleys off the baseline using multifilament stringing at max tension, as opposed to catgut. Then I read Wilkinson's piece in Monday's Times in which hardly a mention was given to Saturday night's victory in Paris. Instead he wrote entertainingly and interestingly about having a rather splendid lunch the following morning with Toby Flood and Mathew Tait (irritatingly "Taity" and "Floody") at Yves Camdeborde's Le Comptoir off the Boulevard St Germain.

I guess that if you can slot penalties like Jonny, then you have little difficulty in getting a Sunday lunch table at a place like that. But it was a surprise to find a likeable-sounding human being lurking behind the grim facade.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Singing in the Rain

Many apologies for my enforced absence. Orange Broadband failed my household on New Year’s Eve, and after four weeks of expensive and entirely useless phone calls to Mumbai (Orange technical support division) I still had no broadband service. Accordingly I left Orange and am now a happy Pipex customer with full blogging facilities to hand. My phone contracts with Orange will also cease shortly and I’ll cheerfully and insistently find an alternative supplier. I recommend all my readers to take note and to steer well clear of all Orange products unless they concern fruit.

So what’s been happening? Personally only two news items to report. The first is that the Rambling Nappa managed to ramble last Sunday from his front door in Rowlands Castle to the town of Petersfield ten miles away. I didn’t ramble back again (preferring a lift home from the long-suffering wife), and was left both blistered and knackered from the sudden surge of activity. Heaven knows how people get the stamina to run a 26-mile marathon (or my senior cousin the oomph to cycle from London to Paris - repeatedly.

The second news item concerns a brief conversation I had yesterday with my Managing Director. We agreed that a parting of the ways was a sensible course from both our points of view - so I’ll be unemployed by Easter.

Fortunately I’m not the least bit despondent about this turn of events. I had become dispirited by book-selling and the seeming impossibility of competing profitably with Amazon. I have a backlog of things to do – which includes writing two works of fiction (one for adults, and one for children) and the clearing of the final debris of fifteen years running bookshops (yes, I still own shelves, cctv cameras, tills, stacks of books, and accumulated junk). I have volunteered to bake a christening cake for the latest grand-daughter (this requires an educational process as I’ve never baked a cake before). I need to lose weight and get fit. There’s the prickly issue of selling the house in France. It would be wonderful to sort out my finances so that I could take the long-suffering wife away for a proper holiday. There’s some good cricket coming up this summer (okay I did get up at 5.00am today, saw very quickly how badly things were going for England in New Zealand, and went straight back to bed). In other words I’m rather looking forward to having time to do a few of these things.

I also vow to blog more diligently…