Friday, September 11, 2009

Random samples

I got the train into town much later than usual today, because I could. It's been a warm, sunny day after a clear, cold night and the neighbours have had their washing out from first light. Actually, some of them have their washing on the line 24x7 regardless of the weather. I've never understood the point of that. Even less do I understand the point of somebody firing up a barbecue underneath their washing line. Your typical English barbie with a few cubic yards of damp white smoke and the smell of burning fat from the time it was used last Easter. If you're going to do that why bother with the washer and the spin drier? Just chuck the laundry in the chip pan and have done with it.

I'm lucky lately on the trains. Perhaps my film star looks are putting people off telling me their woes; or else perhaps I've trying too hard at being a national treasure and scaring the buggers off. Whatever. I get peace. Which is more than could be said for the poor wretch who sat down at the table beside mine. We can't often pick our travelling companions, you just have to hope for the best and not give them any more opportunities than you have to. Once he told the old bloke sitting next to him that he is a professional driver travelling over to pick up a car he was doomed. A twenty minute monologue on the toll road practices of Europe, the vehicle taxes of the cantons of Helvetica and the pros and cons of being an Italian lorry driver was more than flesh and blood could stand; and I had the advantage of being able to pretend to ignore him and stare out of the window. As I left them to it the conversation had turned to the topic of the petrol taxes of Belgium. I really couldn't tell you how: each component of the tirade was bolted inelegantly onto the next with no particular passing logic.

Leaving the station I walked past one of the building sites that litter Manchester these days. This one's still being worked and the crew are much in evidence, moving blocks of concrete from one pile to the next and shifting the safety railings as far as they can get away with without the public having to invade the site to use the footpath. I overheard an exchange between two of them, one very obviously a senior (he had his hat on and his boots were brown, not orange). Nodding at a departing body the junior said:

"By gum, he looks rough!"
"You should have seen him when I picked him up for work this morning. He looked like a pissed-up puffin."

Crossing the pavement on Peter Street I was nearly knocked down by a middle-aged bloke riding a five-gear tricycle. I almost stopped him to see if it still had the "Triang" label stuck on it.

Getting the bus home we were delayed a little in the city's business and hotel quarter. We had to wait while a couple of businessmen got out of the way. The pavement at that part is eight foot wide but these two guys just had to stand in the middle of the bus lane to have their conversation and nothing was going to stop them. I suppose we should count our blessings that they didn't have their mobile 'phones to their ears or that would have been the whole weekend gone for a Burton.


Red Squirrel said...

People still ride tricycles? Wow, not seen one of those for ages....

Kevin Musgrove said...

I was gobsmacked myself.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I know the tricycle men - they have lots of other annoying habits too,wearing stupid clothes is one of them.

savannah said...

take a picture of the tricycle men next time, sugar! please! xoxox

Gadjo Dilo said...

How encouraging to hear that our building workers these days - whether they hail from Poland, Bulgaria or Romania - have learned to say things like "By gum, he looks rough"!

KAZ said...

I had the problem of people in the bus lane last week. They were Americans outside the museum who couldn't cross the road but wouldn't step back onto the footpath (or sidewalk).
I was late for my train so not amused at all.
I missed it.

Madame DeFarge said...

I'm with Gadjo. Impressed that there are any workers who say 'By gum'. Unless, they were saying 'bye Gum" in a fond adieu to a friend or 'buy gum' as an exhortation to purchase minty chewing gum to alleviate the stale breath as evidence of his roughness. My mind is alive to these possibilities.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Lulu: I did wonder about the crushed raspberry kagool.

Savannah: I really should have done. Though I fear the consequences if I do.

Gadjo: it's local contractors on this one, which could explain why it's been over-running a tad.

Kaz: perhaps it's a Facebook game like the lying down game.

Madame DF: I'm constantly amused by the Czech and Polish girls in the coffee stalls. They have lovely lilting English but every so often some of the local argot intrudes incongruously. My favourite is: "Oh I'm sorry. I've right buggered up that coffee. I'll make another."