Saturday 24 May 2008

Badly missing Billie

Still not a clue on the weight front, but 12.0 units of alcohol yesterday, which is Very Bad. When I die, maybe the Government will be able to publish extracts from this blog as an Awful Warning, in the way that parents sometimes allow pictures of the corpses of their drug addicted children to be used as a deterrent to others. Actually, the really depressing thing to me is that the wild excesses of alcohol were consumed steadily throughout the day, rather than in a single, joyous binge, so I did not have the satisfaction of getting even mildly inebriated. There are 1,350 days to go, apparently, and I’m en route from London to Morpeth, which thinks it is the county town of Northumberland, but isn’t, since any fule kno that that honour rightly belongs to Alnwick.

My GNER Time loyalty card expires in a week, and National Express has decided not to have a replacement loyalty scheme as part of its wide-ranging “improvements” to the service. So I made maximum use of my privileges today by visiting the first class lounge at King’s Cross for what will doubtless be the last time, before boarding the 10.00 “Flying Scotsman” (you’ve got to laugh) on a free travel voucher. How on earth I managed to secure a reservation on this particular train I shall never know, as it was absolutely packed. A plump, curly-headed, middle-aged man with a nasty cough occupied the seat opposite and selflessly shared his germs with me almost throughout the journey, until he hastily gathered his belongings together and bustled to the end of the carriage to alight at Durham. Along with a surprisingly large number of other people, considering that the train did not actually stop at Durham. This cheered me up no end. As I alighted to change trains at Newcastle, I overheard the guard providing a summary of the journey so far to the person taking over from her: “Gross overcrowding, seats double booked, carriages overheating – just the usual, really”.

As well as no doubt contracting an unpleasant respiratory infection, I had managed to write two columns in the course of the journey: one for myself and one for a client. After doing some light shopping and walking the dog, I therefore felt entirely justified in spending a relaxing evening with a perfectly grilled local lamb steak and some salad (undressed because, in this context at any rate, I am not a tosser) and various slices of television recorded on DVD during my absence from home. I enjoyed Coronation Street and Have I Got News For You, saving to the end the week’s high point of one-handed viewing: the first two episodes of Billie Piper’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

Imagine my disappointment when, in place of the first, I got the end of some European football match or other; and, in place of the second, News at Ten. And I had activated that “PDC” facility, the whole point of which I thought was to ensure that you recorded the programme you wanted, rather than what the channel was actually showing at the time. I have not been so gutted since I missed one of the last episodes of Blackadder as a result of an extended news thanks to the resignation of Nigel Lawson. I tried to visualize that bird off News at Ten as a call girl instead, and Sir Trevor as one of her punters, but it failed to do anything for me. Just how surprising is that?

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