I had to take a Sype call from The Pilot the other day. He wont use traditional methods as he says he likes his calls to be encrypted. Well you cant be too careful. Secret Squirrel and all that…
Sssh… careless talk costs Pilot’s their lives.. allegedly )
He said that he had been having chats with Peeps in Washington and for now he thinks it would be better if we kept hold of the diamond. He says that it will be a more secure commodity as it is and in times of trouble, remember The Jews.
He feels that having diamonds or gold will bring a ” better return” ( his words, not mine) than dollars and thinks we should hold on. As it needs two bloody signatures to release this stone I can hardly disagree. I am now avidly watching the price of diamonds against dollars to see if he is right. So for now I have to accept my fate and leave it there, giving, as The Pilot would have me believe, more return for my retirement than if I cashed it in ( on the Black Market, naturally) and brought the money to the UK under my petticoat. The Pilot also puts a lot of store by his friends in Washington, but I do think its only because they have the correct post code. Most of them are simply sycophants of those that actually wield the power, and if photocopying Bank Statements on the quiet for the CIA does it in exchange for Green Cards, then that’s fine with me. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be found beside a photocopier at 10pm by my employer or worse, his Henchmen, but if they want that risk and blood rush, then who am I to question?
I still wouldn’t do it, however much I wanted a Green Card.
Talking of doing untoward things, Mr Wu bought in 144 travel soaps for our Homeless Cause the other day. We had been doing a Campaign amongst our Host Families asking for unwanted coats; hats and gloves for the local Homeless and whilst they were about it to donate either a bar of soap or a tin of soup. Donations had been well under way when Mr Wu turns up at the office with a large box.
He plonks it on my desk and smiles. Its a very endearing smile with a hint of smugness. He looks at me and then the box and points at it. ” Inside for your campaign. Soap for homeless people”
“Oh Mr Wu, thank you so much” and I move to open it.
So imagine my horror when I see a whole box ( yes, 144 ) of small bars of toilet soap inside. All wrapped and all with ” compliments of Mandarin Oriental Hotels” stamped across the front. And not any old soap but, apparently, ” fine milled aloe vera soap with oils from the Orient”
Mandarin Oriental. Unknowingly helping our cause.
” Mr Wu, did you take the whole box of soaps from a hotel?”
” Its ok, its ok….” and he waves his hands and smiles.
” How is it ok? Isn’t that a bit like stealing?”
” No, no, its fine. You see if I go there once and take soap, they expect it. No one cares. Everyone is happy. So I said to Hotel Manager, I am esteemed customer and I come to you many times. I never take soap before so please add up the number of times I have stayed here before and give me that amount of soap”
( I admit to being stunned into silence at this point )
” So the Manager he went and counted and said 12 times”
” Okay, Mr Wu, so if you stayed there 12 times, shouldn’t you only have 12 soaps?”
” No, because I said he had to include my wife, my son and my daughter. A bar of soap for each of us!”
” Okay, does that come to 144 then?”
” So how did you get a whole box”
“Oh easy. We worked it out and sometimes, we all come together and sometimes just me and my wife and sometimes just her and daughter and sometimes me alone. So it got to about 87 times. I asked Manager to double check because I wanted to have all of the soaps I was entitled to”
“…and?” I cautiously asked
” Oh, its fine. He looked at me and said would I be happy with a whole box just to make sure we didn’t forget any visits there. And I said, yes, a box of 144 soaps will be A-OK. See, everyone is happy” and he pushed the box nearer to me, clapped his hands and smiled. Don’t you just love that man’s logic!
Old Town Hall Square, Praha – view from the Tower
Having returned from a weekend in Prague ( F **KING FREEZIN’) I took myself off for a Literary Supper in Brighton to continue with the culture. Prague was full of culture and I loved the way you could turn on a sixpence and find Concerts and Operas and Ballets on every corner. So many wonderfully sumptuous places to experience them, that I almost forgot I wasn’t living in the Austro Hungarian Era. Anyway, off to the Literary Supper and I was obliged to take the Unaccompanied Minor. ( More about her another time. I think she is going to be rather tricky) Anyway, I took her as I had two tickets and no one else could come. She turned up in a ridiculous hat with at least a six inch brim all around it. And a black one. F F S…. why Black? As we entered the room I reminded her to remove it otherwise it would hack off other people around us. It would surely block their view of the stage. She shot me a witheringly look but in fairness did as I asked.
Its a Literary Supper, not a Funeral. Please dress appropriately!
I have to say that there is a huge element of Bull Shit there as well. I cant be doing with it and when LM asks me why I persist in going, I say its entertainment value and so I can come back and tell him about it. He doesn’t seem convinced and says I am really a Voyeur looking into a land I will never be invited into. What rot!
So there we were in the toilet queue afterwards. Well, not me, but the Unaccompanied Minor was. I was merely standing there, to one side, talking to her when a rather shrill voice piped up at me ” I hope you aren’t thinking of pushing in!”
” No, I am merely standing talking to this lady who is in the queue” I point to the Unaccompanied Minor.
” Oh that’s good then because I don’t like people who push in”
” No, I am not pushing in, I am merely standing here”
” I shall keep an eye on you… I wont forget you aren’t in the line”
There was a lot about her I didn’t like. Firstly, she had on a dress which was far too low for an informal evening. Secondly, she was also far too old to wear something in cheap cotton. If you intend to arrive with chutzpah, at least make it a decent piece of cloth! Thirdly, don’t wear clinging clothes if you are vastly overweight ( she was and did or should that be she did and was) and finally, and the worst sin of all, don’t forget you met me the last time and so speak as if we hadn’t met before
” Do you know what? ” I turned to her and said ……. but before I could finish the sentence she said ” Oh is that a Lulu Guinness bag?” and she lifted my bag up to inspect further.
” No its not” I replied rather loftily and pulled my bag and hand back.
She stared again. ” Well it looks like Lulu Guinness. Are you sure?”
Our eyes locked.
” You had better move down or you will miss your slot for the Bathroom!”
She looked and shuffled along. By this time the Unaccompanied Minor was already in there and taking an inordinate length of time. What could she be doing?
“Look, its a Bloomingdales one. Not the usual Brown Bag but one of their special editions”
“Oh a Bloomies, a Bloomies.” she shrilled and clapped her hands and did a little jig. ( I promise you I couldn’t make this up) and she lifted my hand again to inspect it further.
“I can see it is now. How fab! Did you buy it here”
” No. New York. Please keep moving otherwise you are going to be overtaken”
“Do you want to go in before me? I don’t mind. Oh Bloomies Bags, that takes me back. I used to be a reporter there you know.”
” No, I really don’t need the toilet, however many times you ask. A reporter? Really? You don’t say!”
” Yes, I write for the Evening Standard now and that lady behind me was the Editor for the Sunday Express. Who do you write for?”
Suddenly I had broken through her barrier. Whether it was because I didn’t queue jump or because I had a Bloomies Bag, I truly don’t know, but there you go.I was her equal and because I was her equal, I had to be a reporter. What better way to forge a friendship that in the Queue for the Ladies holding a Bloomies Bag.
The Unaccompanied Minor took forever. I was tempted to knock on the door and shout
” hurry up!” She was playing with her hat again and adjusting the ridiculous veil which was attached to it. As she came out, so did a man behind her.
” Did you just share a toilet with a man?” I asked her in astonishment
” Well I was bursting to go so he said I could use the toilet and he would do it in the sink!”
I took her arm and led her out of the building.
PS – Word on the (Praha) Street is that the electing of Donald Trump has met with much excitement. As one resident said dryly, “at least he knows where the Czech Republic is” ( thanks to Ivana!)…. not many of his predecessors seem to !
The new American Ambassador to the Czech Republic