Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nottingham Proud

So I keep seeing this tagline around town; it riles me.

I've lived in Nottingham pretty much all of my life; clearly I approve of it as a place of residence; I'd like for Nottingham to be proud and, in turn, to be proud to live here.

That isn't happening.

It is probably a sign of my increasing years, policemen getting younger and all that, but I see failures and weaknesses everywhere.

Now I live in the Meadows; some people think of this as a 'bad zone' but we're adjacent to a couple of large fields by the river and it's a perfect location for us for a variety of reasons. Actually, that being said, it is a perfectly amicable area and I've never witnessed any problems, although 'Big J' does get very defensive about me walking about in the dark.

Recently some graffiti appeared on the wall outside our estate; it's an odd little complex, isolated and civilised; I was annoyed.

On the walk into work I noticed another poster carrying the aforementioned tagline 'Nottingham Proud'; this poster carried the declaration towards cleaning up the city and getting rid of graffiti; I called the number.

I spoke to a moderately confused girl; I couldn't see her but I do now have a picture of her in my head. She eventually recognised the address and location I had described to her, and then, the questions started. She needed to know the size of the graffiti; she needed to know the content of the graffiti; it all smacked of 'we'll get rid of it if it's nasty enough'.

Nothing has happened in response as yet, but I'm feeling ranty so will, no doubt, be burbling on about Nottingham having nothing to be proud about until they remove it.

And another thing...

Sunday, March 23, 2008


So I had to fly to Manila with KLM.

I don't like flying to Manila with KLM.

I don't mind flying to Amsterdam with KLM, but that's about it.

This time the first half of the trip went as follows...

Catch a very, very early train to Birmingham...
...in the freezing cold.
Catch a bus to Birmingham International Airport...
...in the freezing cold.
Wait for a delayed flight to Schipol Airport.
Mull over the pros and cons of actually taking the flight to Schipol.
Take the flight to Schipol Airport.
Arrive at Schipol Airport with moments to spare.
Mince at high speed to the departure gate for Manila.
Confirm viability of flight to Manila due to my lateness.
Confirm that luggage will be on board (key point - read on).
Fly to Manila, with KLM...
...which I don't like doing.

So there.

Upon arrival I was greeted by a very attractive young man who told me what I had suspected all along, that my luggage would not be where I wanted it to be. I was told that I would pass a stand where I was to complete a form and return tomorrow for my luggage.

I went through passport control.
I may have made some snide remarks whilst waiting in the queue.
I definately vocalised the significance of queuing behind a nun.

Eventually I arrived at the luggage collection point; there was no indication of a stand of any sort that would be pertinent to my form filling needs; there was one man waiting to check me through with my luggage...and that was all.

Now I understand that my situation was slightly different to most; I've been there before and had people beyond the borders to assist and support; I certainly didn't feel the need to hunt around and yabber with the locals to the ultimate end of finding a form to complete; I left for my hotel, with a view to fixing everything in the morning. After 24 hours of travelling I do believe that most sentient beings would opt for the same solution.

I bought some pants and socks (Marks and Spencers, huzzah!), a couple of shirts, some toiletries and that was that; about £40 all in all, not bad, and not a break in the bank; I went about my business and made a heap of phone calls to KLM to arrange collection the next day; not an easy task if you were wondering.

The next day, upon finally receiving confirmation that my luggage would be available at a particular time, SW very kindly drove me to the airport...in the scolding heat...and waited for me whilst I played the KLM / Manila version of the Crystal Maze. I'll try and summarise the experience as best I can...

Speak with security about accessing the KLM office.
I need to get a security pass.
Locate the relevant distribution desk...
...miles away, down some stairs, through some zig-zag bars.
Request security pass and leave credit card as deposit.
Request location of KLM office.
Not there.
Request location of KLM office.
Locate the KLM office...
...up a flight of stairs, on the other side of the building.
Request luggage retrieval form.
Head back to the main airport.
Access Denied!
Return to the relevant distribution desk...
...miles away, down some stairs, through some zig-zag bars.
Request security pass for different zone.
Return to the main airport.
Locate customs luggage storage room thingy.
Present my retrieval form.
Identify luggage as mine (security issues galore).
Call SW and apologise for leaving him sweating in the intense heat.
Wait some more.
Speak to some 'bloke' with a cigarette who tells me I can go.
Head off to car-park to meet SW.
Remember that 'relevant distribution desk' has my credit card.
Return to 'relevant distribution desk'...
...miles away, down some stairs, through some zig-zag bars.
Sneer at anybody daring to queue incorrectly.
Queue some more.
Return security sticker thing.
Obtain my credit card.
Head back to car-park with luggage...
...through zig-zag bars, up some stairs, down some stairs.
Damage every security guard in view with malicious stare.

All good fun of course.

That afternoon I emailed the lady at KLM about compensation, you know, just the usual enquiry about what I was entitled to; not sure if I would normally do this when I only bought things I was going to use anyway...but after that hideous, heated, hoo-harr I was buggered if I was going to let it lie.

The response...
...I was not entitled to any compensation as I didn't complete the required form upon arriving at the airport.

If you've read this all the way through, apart from being owed a medal, you'll recognise that really...the form thing just wasn't relevant at the time. The organisation, the communication, the situation in general was all entirely lacking.

I don't like flying KLM; I've since spoken to a surprising number of people who don't like flying KLM...which is nice; I think they need to get their act together however, I won't have to test their Progress.

Monday, March 17, 2008

China and Tibet

Here's to Tibet, making their stand during the build up to Chinas 15 'Olympic' minutes.

And here's to China, playing the same old tune of superiority and moral incredulity.

Come on now boys, the Chinese people may be lovely...but everybody knows you're talking BOLLOCKS.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


So I returned a document to JR, updated with a few comments.

'...the comments are very swish' he mailed by return.

'Swish is too gay' I replied 'think of another word'...

'Hmmm...I don't have much to go with'...

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Oh my goodness!

I've always been a dog person, but I'm generally opposed to live-in pets on the grounds that there's so much effort involved with 'keeping house' when there's a dog about.

I recently caved on the 'Can we have a dog?' front as Big J had a business need to pursue a different angle in line with the development of the security company he works for.

Now we have a 'sniffer' dog named (aptly) Charlie.

I've never been happier, although sadly...

...we don't get to keep the drugs!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dortmund Delights

So I've just got back from a training course in Germany; I'd never been before, asside from an overnight stop en route to Austria (first time I pissed in a sink if memory serves); the experience was unexpectedly pleasant.

Now the trip wasn't without issue; we weren't going and then...BANG we were; late approval left us with five minutes to arrange e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g; travel and accomodation arrangements made at high speed were fraught with error; bottom line...a tonne of extra effort for BB and unnecessary expenses here and there. Not very professional in execution but the job was done, which is what matters.

Half an hour prior to the take-off of our return flight though we hit more problems; the flight was cancelled due to fog and back to the Dortmund Airport Hotel we shuffled; we ended up spending two nights here, including Valentines Day; naturally there was comedic banter from the office but I think RG suffered more than I did...he's a heterosexual you know.

I started this article with the view to gushing about Germany and I seem to have gotten off track. Germans are polite, very polite; the buildings around Paderborn were beautiful, and clean and the architecture was crisp and bold...and I clearly don't have the vocabulary to discuss it. All the restaurants we tried had great selections, served good quality food and were reasonably priced; the beer is cheap; and there's more.

The best bit about Germany, from my perspective, is the toilets! The toilets in Germany are clean, sparkling clean...and I loved them; the urinals are flushable; the urinals (and I love this bit) are separated in cubicles...they're private...it's so civilised, I could cry.

I accept that I may have stumbled onto two or three toilets that just happened to be perfect, and I don't care; the experience was a good one for me and, as is the norm, leaves this land somewhat lacking upon return.

I just caught the BBC Breakfast show feature this morning on UK public toilets and how shit they are. The bit that had me laughing was the close-up of a graffiti'd cubicle bearing the message 'I love James.S'.

"Lucky James" they said.