Monday, 25 October 2010

Wot I did on my 'olidays, by Bill Sticker

My body clock is still set to mid Atlantic time, and that's why I'm wide awake at four in the bloody morning, typing this post. No doubt it will catch up shortly.

It's good to be home. The dog is glad to see me at least, and I was treated to a thorough washing when we arrived around midnight on Friday / Saturday after thirty hours of travelling. Well, when I say travelling, I mean sitting around trying to read in uncomfortable seats lined with other people's elbows. At one point my shoulders were so compressed they almost got cramp. Didn't quite need painkillers, but it was a close run thing.

I am very glad to be out of England. Coming back to Vancouver was blessed relief to see clean streets and decent(ish) public transport. Although I'm not too happy with the antics of BC Ferries, whose decision to charge Taxi companies for the privilege of transporting customers to and from their Departure Bay terminal left me with no other option than to walk two miles in the rain at the end of a thirty hour trip. I was steaming. I mean what is the point of having a taxi rank on your premises if there are no bloody Taxis? Don't know what BC ferries are up to. It doesn't make sense. You don't shut the shop door when you need every punter you can get FFS!

Anyway, that's beside the point. Next time we fly in to Nanaimo Airport. At least you can get a cab home from there. Lesson learned young Bill. Don't do it again.

Right; Blighty. What can I say about it? What a Curate's Egg of a country. While there are some wonderfully scenic places and welcoming faces I'm afraid that these are overshadowed by the grubby damp officious greyness of the rest.

In some ways modern urban Britain reminds me of a suburban student party long since over. The furniture is covered in cigarette butt choked glasses, the bathroom and kitchen are trashed, the place reeks of stale booze, smoke, and bodily fluids, there are discarded undergarments in the toilet, the last of the drunks is scavenging the tables, and there are strange bodies in half the bedrooms.

The whole place needs a thorough clean out, fumigate and redecorate to be fit for decent human habitation. The damp course could probably use some work too, and then there's the neighbours, who are also having to face up to the long dark economic hangover of their collective souls, even though some are noisily protesting that the party isn't over until they say it is, despite the drinks cupboard and larder being empty. Oh, and no-one's got any more money to go down the shops for any more. Yes, and you've found out that the ravishing beauty / muscled hunk you shagged last night is just as big a saggy minger as the face currently greeting you in the mirror. At least economically speaking.

The party is most definitely over, and unless someone decides to clean up properly, the whole neighbourhood will go downhill faster than a Teflon coated pig on glass.

On our twelve hundred mile road trip, we avoided London, stayed near Falmouth, whisked past Bristol, skirted Birmingham, stayed in Leeds and Manchester. Falmouth is very Olde England with it's tight windy streets and wind whistled granite. The centre of Leeds is quite pleasant with all it's late Victorian brick built grandeur. As for Manchester, ahem, well, how do I put this gently; I've seen cleaner portaloos on a building site. It's almost as bad as I remember Brum. And everywhere we went the walls were peppered with 'To Let' signs. In almost every town we went to, there were whole streets of boarded up premises in the more economically depressed areas.

Well, that's all I care to remember from the trip. I think I need a couple of weeks off to recuperate.

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