Some days are better than others. Some days work well and you ease through them without pain or effort. Angst seems a distant memory. Other days require, a sucking of the teeth and a modicum of patience. Yesterday was one of those ” latter” days.
It all started with a visit from the Transport Police. I had to admit I was rather startled and as I was still on my first skinny macchiato I didn’t feel particularly sharp. Tomasso buzzed them in and Alaedene went and busied himself in the kitchen. Even though he is here ” legally” and on a Tier 4 Visa, he still fears, very much, contact with any Official.
“You responsible for them ( tut, tut, poor use of grammar !) students at the Station?”
He asked without any preamble or Good Morning. That was enough to set me off….
” Good Morning Officer, how are you?”
” So, yes or no?” I could see this wasn’t going to go well.
I sighed and noticed that my coffee was going to get cold ( which makes me cross, cold drinks that is, unless of course they are Fluffy Ducks, the recipe of which is linked below )
” What have we done wrong?” I tried to smile but I could feel that chilly imperious tone in my voice creeping in. Well when you are only five foot tall, an imperious tone is al you have as a choice of weapon.
” Taken all the “Metros“. That’s what you have done. And not just today, but every day. None left for commuters. Take one. That’s fine, but not the whole bundle. What’s your game, then?”
I sighed and pushed about a dozen Metros further under my desk, hoping he wouldn’t notice. Especially as I hadn’t read any of them! ( for those who aren’t familiar, the Metro is a free newspaper readily available, most of the times, (!) at local Railway Stations for commuters to read ) …..and if you thought reading the Daily Mail was intolerable, flick through a page or two of this, and suddenly it becomes more like the rather chi chi New Yorker and people may not be so sniffy about it!
Bruno, excited by new flesh in the Office gets off his bed in the kitchen and comes and looks. He glances up at the Transport Copper and gives him a sort of half smile or maybe that was just a predatory stare. I wasn’t in the mood for caring.
“Blimey, shouldn’t you get those teeth looked at? They could do someone a lotta damage!” Yes,I did resist the chance to say,….” hopefully it might be you!” Tomasso tried to coax Bruno back to his bed with a Kibble, but Bruno wasn’t haven’t any of it and continued to sniff around his feet. I was in two minds wondering if Bruno might just bite him, and not sure if I would have minded or applauded him. I mused on the better things he could find to do, such as quell the Commuter Uprising on the Brighton concourse due to the constant cancelling of trains and striking of railway employees which now, in my very humble opinion, has been on going for far too ( bloody) long.
They drone on about Passenger Safety and having more Guards on ( hence the strike) but lets face it, herding people into carriages like this is way beyond Health and Safety. Poor Commuters have no other option but to ” take it up the backside!” and travel like cattle – and pay for the privilege into the bargain – whilst the Railway Employees are flexing their vocal cords outside most train stations along the South Coast. The words ” Bomb” and ” Arse” come to mind… but I restrained myself. JUST! So yes, probably they could do with something to read whilst waiting for a non existent or suddenly cancelled train.
To explain….. Mr Wu had this brilliant idea that he would give each student a Metro each morning to read on the coach. It probably seemed a good idea at the time and of course it does assimilate them into British culture as well as improve their reading but in truth, it doesn’t work. He makes them line up just as they are scrambling onto the coach ( enough to irritate them as they always want to make a bee line for the back seat ) and gives each of them a Metro. But when you think that most of our coaches hold between 53 and 75 students, that is a lot of Metros to ” lift” from the Station concourse. He nips around there first on the way to seeing a coach off; grabs a couple of armfuls of papers; throws them into his car and speeds off to the meeting point. Then they are duly distributed to the students with great aplomb.
Worse though, ( yes there is worse!) he has now decided that this kind gesture of his should cascade down to office staff. As I cycle to work and usually past his meeting point, he had got into the habit of throwing said papers at me…… rather like they do in America. I cant say I was overly amused. Throwing the morning newspaper at me, when I am on my bike across the morning traffic is very dicey. Of course he isn’t throwing the newspapers directly at me, but trying to get them into my basket ( which is usually full anyway so there isn’t a lot of room for manoeuvre) as I speed by. You can imagine that at the beginning his aim wasn’t the best! I am still undecided whether I should speed up so he cant throw them quickly enough. Slow down and enable him to get them into my basket, or better still, find another route to work. Anyway, the first time he did this, he so took me by surprise, I swerved and nearly went into a parked car. ” what are you doing Mr Wu?” I shouted at him. He didn’t seem fazed. Par for the course…..
” Metro. Metro. Daily newspaper. For everyone in Office. Please give one to Mr Dick. ( I have to say when he says “Dick”, he really means “Dec”, but I don’t know if his accent is just poor pronouncing it, or he hasn’t heard us properly when we introduced “Dec”. Either way, Dec isn’t happy being called Dick, as you can imagine. I have digressed.
So there I am on day 2 coming along the road and Mr Wu has me in his sights. I don’t know what to do. I can see him and he can certainly see me. I just keep going. There we go, newspapers in hand; arm up ready to chuck them in my basket. I smile and keep cycling. He misses and 8 newspapers float in in the wind across the morning traffic and all over the road. I have no option but to stop and help. Safely collected for fear of a Litter Warden reporting us, I snatched the screwed up mess off him and shove them in my basket. ” Thank you Mr Wu, but in future please don’t bother.”
“Ah, no bother. No bother. See you tomorrow” and he bows as I cycle away
Tomorrow comes and there he is again, but this time the newspapers are rolled up with an elastic band keeping them in place. He comes over to my side of the road, stands just on the edge of the pavement and as I glide by, he leans over and throws, successfully, the newspapers into my basket. I smile and he salutes. Mission accomplished.
So now every morning, I have to play chicken with the Metros and he feels very smug when they plonk in my basket. I almost feel like one of the Mule trains, so laden up am I by the time I get to the office and for what? Absolutely nothing, as sadly, no one in the Office wants to read them or cares a dam about feigning to. Hence the pile at my desk when the Transport Police arrive.
Oh yes, back to the Transport Police. ” I am very sorry. I will speak to Mr Wu and ask that he doesn’t take any more Metros from your stand” He seems pacified by this and wanders off. ” Check that dog’s teeth. They don’t look healthy to me” I smiled and nodded.
Now I have a valid reason to ask Mr Wu not to throw newspapers at me each morning and as he also is of the same mind as Alaedene where ” authority” is involved, then I can safely ask him not to do it, in case the Transport Police pay a visit to his house. He certainly wouldn’t want that. The downside of course is that we wont have any more newspaper piles for T shirt painting. Oh well….
Back at Mission Control, aka ” home!” we are decorating the sitting room. LM seemed pretty happy about this in the first place but now seeing that it is encroaching on his Golf Time has become pretty pithy about it. Currently he isn’t speaking to me on account of my having gone out yesterday and bought a dresser for the dining room. Actually, it isn’t a real dresser, but a wonderful old desk that has been slightly restored and has a beautiful patina on it that you want to stroke every time you walk by. Well I do anyway. I tried just after breakfast to take his hand and get him to stroke the top. He whipped it away and said he wasn’t rubbing any wood regardless of how soft and shiny it was. It has a wonderfully deep drawer I shall line with velvet and put all my cutlery into. The cupboards either side I shall fill with my dinner service and the top can be a platform for my “tat” I have collected from my various travels. Oh it will look divine, fear not!
LM prefers more of a look from Ikea or Harvey Nicks, sad to say……
.” Does it have woodworm” he asks. I shake my head but it has got me wondering.
” Oh well if we get short of firewood, I know where to come”
“You don’t like it, do you?”
” Not really, Its ok. ” and he wandered off.
The word “OK” is never fine with me. It’s a sort of “dammed by faint praise” kind of word. And I don’t like it. As I write this it is stuck in transit between the hallway and the dining room. He wont offer to carry it in and he knows its blocking the passageway. Every time he walks past it, I hear a huge sigh as he is breathing in, quietly complaining about the lack of room to get by. I am hoping that he will finish painting the ceiling and come and give me a hand. Otherwise, it wont look very tidy for our Annual Curry Luncheon which is taking place in two weeks.
He has just poked his head around the corner and asked me to nip out and get some more paint. As I am hoping this could be the start of a thaw, I shall leave you now and seek supplies…
I will let you know how it ( all) goes…..