It’s beyond me why some people think it’s reasonable behaviour to listen to a downloaded Radio 4 programme on Fairtrade chocolate production without the aid of earplugs. Two chaps sitting in front of me on my unexpected train trip into London seemed obsessed with the minutiae of cocoa bean distribution from Kenyan farmers to Britain for use by such companies as Cadbury’s.
It seems there’s a fixed price for Fairtrade crops so the farmers will only trade with them. On the surface, this seems to defeat the name ‘fair trade’ but, as one of the chaps, loudly explained, it means the farmers get all the money rather than the government taking a big slice of it.
It’s important to note that I didn’t want to know any of this (as interesting as it possibly is) but had little choice given the volume of the smartphone it was running on. It was loud enough to give a Fairtrade chocolate education to everyone in the carriage (of which there were lots). When the pair, eventually, decided to move to a carriage nearer a toilet, my fellow sufferers breathed an almost audible sigh of relief.
The reason I was on a train to London was in order to wrap the damned fridge freezer from last week in an adequate covering of cardboard. After the fiasco that was my dealings with the awful Appliances Direct, it came to pass that they wouldn’t pick up an item for return if it didn’t have it’s original packaging. Never mind that it was their guys who unpacked it and took the original packing away.
I managed to find a courier who would take it up north for a reasonable price but I needed to wrap it in order to ensure it’s safe journey and arrival. I had also ordered some corrugated cardboard, ‘fragile’ tape and some protective felt from a reliable company who said they’d deliver it to the concierge at the flats yesterday. Bob wasn’t convinced that it would arrive but I was in little doubt.
And Bob’s fears were totally unfounded. Sitting in the flat was a little white slip telling me there was a parcel for me and it was just a matter of collecting it. Which I did. I then spent a couple of hours, drenched in sweat, cutting and shaping and generally turning the fridge freezer into a big cardboard box with fragile taped all over it.
I stood back, admired my work with pleasure then had a shower. It was a long trip with a hot and bothered job to perform but it was rather nice to have the shackles of Day-z removed for a day. It was also pleasant visiting London for the first time in ages.
The visit, however, was all too soon over and I was quickly on the train back to Farnham where Mirinda, Bob and Day-z met me at the station. They had been over to see Waverley Abbey (our wonderful Cistercian ruin) and the chapel at Compton. And it seems that Bob really doesn’t like abbeys very much. (Perhaps one bit him as a small child.) Even ruined ones. He didn’t mind the chapel.
Back at the hotel we had a short ‘quiet time’ in which I snoozed on the bed, before meeting in the bar for an evening drink. It was here that we were served by one of the worst hotel staff members I think I’ve ever come across (I’m ignoring the guy in Marrakech because he was in a league of his own).
The bar at the Farnham House Hotel specialises in tasteless beer. It’s all lager (apart from a lone John Smith’s pump which I won’t have because of an ongoing spat I have with them) of the worst kind.
When it comes to having a cold beer on a hot day, I rather enjoy a Peroni. It’s Italian, refreshing and has a pleasant flavour. Though, to be fair, I like most European lagers as long as they’re cold. The beers I don’t like much (mainly because they’re tasteless, making them pointless) are Becks, Heineken, Budweiser and Fosters. These are four of the most successful breweries in the world. It goes to show what a big advertising budget can achieve.
As I said to Mirinda, it’s amazing how human beings can be so easily duped. Tasteless food like Macdonalds and equally tasteless beer are the most successful. Talk about selling rubbish to idiots. We sometimes look at the Chinese and think they’re slaves to the state, doing whatever they’re told while we, in the free west, are convinced tasteless food and drink are the best things since tastebuds evolved. Very odd.
Anyway, Mirinda mistakenly asked the barman for a Peroni. He suddenly went off on one saying they had never sold Peroni and never would sell Peroni. This was very odd behaviour. All that was required was a simple “I’m sorry, we don’t have any.” And while I wondered why he had such a problem with Italian beer when he sold German, Dutch Australian and American, I really didn’t want him to go off again. I had a Budweiser.
He then listened in to our conversation, interjecting unwanted information along the way. I mean he was on the other side of the room! Even so, he decided to tell us that the Farnborough Airshow was on this weekend, that we could catch a train into London tomorrow morning at 8:58 and how to get to Greenwich (“I’m a Brixton Boy,” he proudly told us).
His inappropriateness resumed as he bought our food out to the garden with stupid observations and suggestions. He even made a snide comment about the three pots needed for coffee, herbal tea and normal tea we ordered. While the hotel was very comfortable and the food was good, this guy has definitely put me off ever staying there again. Mind you, it was very handy for Day-z.
We didn’t let him put us off our last night, though and we sank back on the bed, for our final night.