Weblog entries for December 2002


Full of Christmas spirit and good cheer

Christmas shopping isn't fun at the best of times. Unless, perhaps, you do it all in August. I might try that next year to see if it's any less horrific.

I was fortuitous enough to be able to do my shopping on a weekday, and outside London. I pity anyone who'll be trundling up and down Oxford Street tomorrow.

So. It's a week before Christmas, the goose is getting fat, and I'm sitting at the barrier of a car park which is full. I've been in the queue for 15 minutes, which was moving fairly quickly, so I'm not too concerned by this. Another couple of minutes and I should be in.

That would be the point at which Murphy came along and invoked his Law of things going badly. I was stuck there for another 15 minutes before any more cars came out to leave space free for me. Ho ho ho.

Then I got to play that really fun game, 'Find The Last Parking Space'. That's right kids, there are 699 cars in this car park and one empty space. See how long it takes you to find it!

Eventually I saw two women getting into an Audi on Level 7. I figured this was my best chance to find a space and so I sat waiting for them to leave. What fun that was. Where were her keys? In her handbag? No. In her jacket pockets? Nope, not there. Did her friend have them? Of course she didn't. Oh look, they were in her handbag all along.

I don't wish to be branded a male chauvinist pig, so I will refrain from commenting on her ability to reverse out of the space. You get the picture.

After my escapades in the car park, the shopping itself was relatively uneventful. I managed to get all but one of the presents I needed within about three hours and even managed to spend half an hour in Waterstone's and emerge without having bought any books for myself. Thank you, thank you.

The only problem is that one remaining present. I am back in London now in order to go to dinner tonight, and having dealt with the stack of bills which awaited me as I arrived home I now don't have enough time to buy that last present.

So it seems I have no choice but to brave the perils of central London shopping tomorrow. On the last Saturday before Christmas. Oh dear.


A napkin is not an optional extra

Beards. Aren't they?

There are many advantages to having a beard, not the least of which is having an extra five minutes in bed each morning which would otherwise be occupied by shaving.

As a responsible web site owner, I feel I have a duty to you, dear reader, to ensure you are appraised of all the pros and cons in order that you can make a fully informed decision.

Take eating, for example. No really, take it. Despite one's best efforts, a napkin is no longer an optional extra. Food gets caught in all sorts of exciting places.

I would like to commend Pret A Manger for their excellent levels of service to bearded gentlemen (and women — let's not be sexist about this) which include but are not limited to providing at least five napkins with each order.

While it is true that a napkin is not an optional extra, five napkins is a bit much. I have a pile of surplus Pret napkins on my desk at work. Actually there are two piles - the first pile got so big it wouldn't stay upright.

Pret are great. However I think one of their New Year's resolutions should be to start providing slightly fewer napkins. It's the only way to avert the napkin mountain which is taking shape on my desk.

Today I bought, amongst other things, a coffee. Normally with Pret coffee they give you yet another napkin to wrap around the cup to stop your hands burning. I declined their offer of an extra napkin this time because the hot cup helped keep my hands warm, and I could do the environment a favour at the same time. Yay, me.


The weather outside is frightful

It's about that time of year again…

outside is frightful,
the fire
is so delightful. Since
no place to go,
let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.



I've coined a new phrase

Just got back from Sainsbury's. I shall spare you the minutiae of the experience: all you really need to know is that beef mince was on special offer and I forgot to get any milk.

But as I was walking home, I realised a fact about the contents of the bags I was carrying, and (I think) coined a new phrase in the process.

“Ready Steady Shop”. To return from the supermarket with a selection of products from which it is extremely difficult to construct a meal.

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