River Wissey Lovell Fuller


February 2010

Ian and Higher management visit the great Metropsis with surprising results

The parallel universe.

A week or two before Christmas, Head Office treated me, for my birthday, to a Christmas concert at the Royal Albert Hall. We parked our car in the park underneath Kensington Town Hall (£10 for 8 hours - very reasonable) and, as we had a couple of hours to spare, we decided to visit Harrods. Now, neither of us has been there for well over 15years. In those days, it was frequented by Londoners, who treated it as an ordinary shop, and by housewives from Greater London the Home Counties, known to me rather disrespectfully as "Wah Wahs", who liked to show off at home with goods bought from "H.A.Rods" as they called the store. The place was always a bit pricey but, if you were careful, there were bargains to be found.

Well, this time, it was like entering a parallel universe! There were very few of our indigenous population to be seen; the place was awash with folk from the oil-rich Middle East, hijabs (let's call them headshawls) and prominent noses everywhere. Deannie and I realised very quickly that the prices were set to match the market. We fancied a cup of tea (don't we always?!) but we were unable to find a table at any of the restaurants, all of which were full of headshawls and noses who had apparently taken root, so we ended up in a small cafe known as a chocolate bar. Deannie had a cup of tea (£3.50) and I splashed out on a cup of real hot chocolate which, for £5.00 was most inferior. Rather stung by the prices, we decided against any food. We were sitting there, licking our wounds about the price but telling ourselves that we were, after all, on a treat and that we must enjoy the experience, when a very plump headshawl aged about 20yr sat down beside us, took out a children's book to read and casually ordered hot chocolate (£5), a piece of chocolate cake (£9.50), a single scoop of ice cream (£3.50) and a small bottle of water (£3.97), all without looking at the menu. I suspect that, for her, this afternoon snack at £21.97 was an everyday occurrence.

Next, we visited the foodhall, where turkeys were available at £15 per kilo, fancy hand-sewn tea bags at £24.50 for ten tea bags (a woman came up and bought 2 packs) and Deannie bought me a tiny box of chocolate ginger, my Christmas favourite, but she still refuses to tell me what she paid for it!

Enough was enough - time to escape back to the normal world. On the way out, we passed through the fountain pen department. I needed a bottle of ink; I have used Parker Quink fountain pen ink for about 50 years so I asked for a bottle. "Oh no, sir, we don't sell Parker ink" "Well, what ink do you sell?" "Oh sir, we only sell Cartier ink". "And how much is that?" "£12 a bottle, sir" (patronising-like). I am still in need of a bottle of ink!

Management and I had booked for a meal in the Royal Albert Hall restaurant before the performance. There was one door open for the use of those attending the restaurant. I heard a youth shout "Let's see your tickets, Mate". Me "MATE?!!!" Him "Yes, you can be my mate" Me "I have no desire to be your mate, thank you" Him "Well, bu**er off then" while inspecting our tickets. Oh Dear!

Happily, the meal and the concert were fantastic and the evening was a great success.

The Garden: Those of you who have followed our garden exploits for years will be pleased to hear that the resident pheasant has returned, looking very chirpy. No doubt he will set about setting up this year's harem (7 hens last year) and, by March, he will be haggard, careworn and nagged to death by his many wives. The moles are being kept at bay by my row of 6 ultrasonic mole movers and the bluebells are taking advantage of the thick layer of snow to keep warm and recharge their batteries in preparation for their attack on my flowerbeds in the Spring. We have been discussing these thugs (especially the Spanish upright terrors) for many years now and many of you have told me in private that you share my views but are unwilling to say so in public. Over the years, we have agreed that English droopy bluebells are fantastic in bluebell woods and other people's gardens and I had thought to leave it at that. However, the RSPB has now declared that a 2degC rise in world temperature would wipe out bluebells completely. You bluebell lovers should look at www.rspb.org.uk/letter to the future to find out how to hug a bluebell. What am I going to do? I shall install underground heating through all the flower beds, sit back and smile!

One problem of growing older is that sleep becomes fitful and various problems spring to mind:Can an atheist buy insurance against an act of God? What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Whose cruel idea was it to include the letter "s" in the word "lisp"?

Who on earth coined the phrases "Civil War" and "Friendly fire"?

What was the best thing before sliced bread? What's another word for synonym?

Would a fly without wings be called a walk? The good thing about egotists -they don't discuss other people

There is a "Deer Cross Here" road sign near us. They are going to have to move it as several deer have been killed by cars at that spot and the deer must be directed to cross somewhere safer.

If you pick up an oriental person and spin them three times, do they become disorientated?

Best wishes to you all

Ian G. Nisbet

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