Monday, 31 December 2012

The Good, the bad and the ugly

After 4 years I finally had the opportunity to exorcise the ghost of my worst gig experience ever – when  Roddy Frame finally returned to Cadogan Hall in  London.  I had horrendous flashbacks when a choral choir moved through the audience and took to the stage.  I started to panic, was history about to repeat itself in the most cruel of ways? I daren’t look at the tickets, I didn't even want to look over at Mrs B.   Gulp…..What self respecting pop star has choral music as support ?

Well Roddy Frame apparently –

It came as a huge relief when Roddy made his way onto the stage, just a guitar in hand.  What followed was a couple of hours of musical perfection.  The audience was littered with pop stars – Tracy Thorn and Ben Watts (Everything But The Girl)- were sitting directly in front of us, while Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice) was just below – testament to the high regard that Roddy Frame is held in by his fellow musicians.

On the way out we stopped by Soho Square to get some pictures of the Christmas Lights. Seeing The Beast, a Spanish Lady asked if I would mind sending her some pictures as she did not have a camera with her. I happily complied but I am disappointed that she has not even bothered to reply and thank me for sending through some pictures….I didn't think the shots  were that bad…..

Mrs B had dreams of a skiing in a nice picturesque Swiss or Austrian village just before Christmas. We deliberately left booking late, to make sure there was good snow. A reasonable plan, apart from when we went to make a booking - anything even half decent in Switzerland and Austria had gone. So it was back to France – This time Alpe D’huez – Loads of snow but it is certainly not the most attractive of ski resorts. 

Disaster –
While Mrs B has always been a more stylish skier than me – I have always won the speed battle and sure enough on 5 out of the 6 days I managed to win this time…..However on the other day Mrs B not only posted the fastest time of the day (Using Ski Tracks – an app for Smart phones – which I suddenly have doubts about the accuracy of) but managed to post the fastest time of our holiday 60mph….while I only managed a pedestrian 58mph….Aaaarrrggghhh.

Oh the shame.

I would love to report that my style improved enough to make up for it but I doubt it very much. My only victory was my two falls to Mrs B’s three. Mrs B seemed to get taken over by the spirit of a mean golfer who manages to conveniently forget to count a number of duff shots. She admitted to 3 falls but I think there were probably more as I saw a couple of ones that did not match the descriptions of the three she admitted to. I think her best fall – a face plant and 20 foot slide was a deliberate attempt to prevent me beating her week’s speed record…. clearly her cunning plan worked.

For the record, my first fall was when a mountain restaurant jumped out in front of me with no warning.  It took me out in a puff of snow and a manly scream (Mrs B claims it was more like a little girl’s high pitched squeal – without recorded evidence I’m going for a manly roar – it was probably the cowardly restaurant that squealed . And the second was an ill-advised drop into a snowy bowl which ended in complete disaster, leaving me stranded for long enough for Mrs B to whip out the Mega Mini Beast and record my shame ….

While this may not look like a victory I'm taking it
2 falls to Mrs B's 3 (probably more)
Always check for small imprints in the snow….
These days we tend to book catered chalets, a very civilised way to ski….We met a couple on the slopes who confirmed to us that we need to avoid staying in Chalets which have young children at all costs – after we booked we were advised that there were children already booked into the chalet we had selected and did we want to move to one of the alternative chalets that they had for adults only – we most certainly did.  As it happens the couple were staying in the very chalet we had originally booked  – one night we ran into them in town and after failing to get into a local bar for a drink (it was closed) we went back to their chalet.  While their kids had gone to bed their Nanny sat in the Chalet surrounded by what can only be described as Armageddon – The only thing missing was the hoof prints from the four horsemen of the apocalypse…….

The nightmare before Christmas
 Christmas Eve turned into a complete nightmare – Mrs B had gone to work and left me with a list of last minute bits to pick-up for Christmas Day and Boxing Day. No pressure other than the shops (including supermarkets) were closing at between 5 and 6pm. I spent a good hour looking for my wallet and then realised it was in Caruthers (our BMW) that Mrs B had driven to work…..yes, the wallet which included all my cash and credit and debit cards….

The postman saved me as a new bank card for Mrs B flopped onto our door mat. I rushed out to get cash (don’t worry it was for our joint account, I wasn't robbing Mrs B blind) and in my haste forgot to activate the card – back home and half an hour of frustration as I first tried to phone through to activate the card– only to find the system overloaded. Next step was the internet and more frustration as the only message I could get from the site was – “Error with card please call through to activate”…..Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock….time was running out…. I then got a break as our friend Joe called to wish us a Merry Christmas. Once he found out about my plight he immediately told me to get in the car, meet him in town and he would get some cash out for me…. Phew…..

First stop the Post Office to pick up a couple of parcels … this went surprisingly well – no queue..
Waitrose didn't have everything so it was off to Sainsbury’s and M&S – a good hour in hand. This last minute shopping was a breeze…

I had time for a quick pick me up coffee – only just as I entered my favourite café they were exiting – early closing…Doh!

Oh well, enough time to drop in to the O2 mobile shop – to remonstrate that my 3G had not worked since I changed my account (to upgrade the amount of data I could down load ) 2 weeks previously.  Apparently I now had unlimited use, just as long as I didn't try to use any of it…..  

O2 member of staff  - “Can I help you Sir?”

Me – “Probably not,   I'm a little unhappy with your service,  I've not had 3G on my mobile for over 2 weeks”

O2 member of staff  - “Can I look at your phone?”

Me – “Sure, not that it ever seems to help”

O2 member of staff  - Pushes a few buttons - “You do realise that you don’t get 3G everywhere?”

Me -  “Yes but I expect it to work in the same areas as my wife’s phone….”

A few more taps

O2 member of staff  - “There you go Sir, the 3G was turned off”

I decided not to argue*, just muttered about it being a bad day, thanked him and slunk out of the shop…..

* OK I should have checked that I had switched it back on before going into the shop but  I can assure you that after spending an hour previously in the same shop (with a different member of staff), a couple of hours on the internet and another hour on the phone …..One sim replacement and both sims having been checked in the phone shop’s model  - 3G had definitely not been working on my account….

As I was heading for home I  discovered that I had lost my VW Key (our Golf never really had a name – but after 13 years and well over 120,000 miles I guess “Old Reliable” is as good a name as any) – I've had to keep the VW key separate from the rest of my keys for some time now as it kept slipping off my key ring and attempting to escape - Perhaps it is the “One Key” and it is attempting to return to its evil master ….

“One Key to rule them all, One Key to find them,
One Key to bring them all and in the darkness bind them”

Since I spend half my life looking for keys, basically as a break when I get fed up looking for my wallet.  Perhaps the Key has the power to render itself invisible rather than the user ….

Unfortunately the key managed to escape from my pocketses  (This makes me sound a bit like Gollum – if you had not guessed it we caught up with the Hobbit just before Christmas..),  while I was fishing shopping Gulp… at least I had the emergency plastic key that allowed me to get back into Old Reliable and get home.

Not being sure what to do about lost keys I called the local Police station.

They were closed, apparently no crime takes place in Bishops Stortford after 6pm…. Hmmm

I was put through to a central number – I explained my dilemma and was informed that I needed to report it to Hertfordshire’s central lost property office.

They put me through….

The central lost property office were not interested and told me to go to Bishop’s Stortford Police station when crime resumed play after Christmas….

It’s a tricky issue, losing a car key in your local area – If someone of a less than honest nature gets hold of it just getting a new key is hardly the sensible approach.  Every time Old Reliable  gets parked in the town centre there would be a good chance it would be the last time we saw it ..... Still, I clearly had a few days to risk it as the police had given crime a couple of days off….

Once the shops were closed I decided to go back to town to see if I could find the key in the now empty car park…. Stupid as that sounds, with very little chance of finding the key, it turned out to be a good decision and I found it a couple of bays away from where Old Reliable had been parked – Phew, a good ending to a troubling day…

So 2012 ends in typical BlackLOG fashion – not exactly my fault but fairly embarrassing all the same.

Have a good New Year, hope your 2012 was as exciting and fruitful as ours….

Photo Finish

Roddy Frame
"Deep and wide and tall"

I'll leave you with some festive pictures from Sloane Square
I thought they were at least worth a thank you.....


  1. And a Happy New Year to you Scarlet Blue - You will probabaly be delighted to find out our New Year adventures made Christmas Eve look like a walk in the park....

  2. Roddy Frame is great live, I've seem him a couple of times. Happy New Year mate.

    1. Hi CS glad to see you are still around. Hope Down Under is treating you well.....

    2. I'm still around and reading (no motivation to write or post in the past few months though - apart from last couple of weeks). Down Under is treating me brilliantly. I love it here.

      What gigs are next? Thinking about going back for Glastonbury..are you brave enough to go yet?! In 2 weeks I've got The Killers in a small bar place and Band of Horses at the end of the month. Top Trump me...

    3. No Glastonbury and I don't think I can beat the Killers in a small bar - that sounds incredible... The only things booked so far for next year are Paloma Faith, the Kaiser Chiefs and who ever turns up at V-2013....

      Glad Australia is treating you well, otherwise I was going to have to drop in and sort it out....

  3. I quit trying to ski a couple of years ago when I fell down (I lost track of how many times I've done that). I figured that, at my age, absolutely nothing good can come of trying to maintain my balance on frozen water. I could break something or "Sonny Bono" my dumb butt into a tree.
    So, I brushed myself off, removed my skis and walked down the slope to the lodge, dignity intact.
    Those six-year olds didn't have to be so hurtful, though.

    1. I've found accidently bashing said six year old with my skis does wonders for hushing up the cheeky little blighters .... As for Sonny Bono'ing into a tree I’ve always blame Chastity Bono – how was poor Sonny to know that his own daughter would one day produce killer wood…..


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