Thursday 16 October 2008

The axeman returneth

14st 8lb (which is a disgrace, to be honest); 8.9 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,208; Newcastle.

Another day, another stock market crash, with the Far Eastern markets plummeting overnight and the sheep who man the dealing desks in London naturally following suit as soon as trading started at eight. Marvellous thing, globalization. I reflected gloomily on (a) the steadily diminishing value of my pension fund, and (b) my ballooning weight, which really must be down to the beer last night as I counted the calories of the accompanying food and they were not particularly excessive. I felt so fat this morning that I was moved to dress in some of the clothes that would have been gracing one of Alnwick’s many charity shops by now if the LTCB had had her way: some baggy brown cord trousers, a checked country shirt with a brown tie, and a classic Old Bloke’s light brown cardigan. I was half tempted to light a pipe and be done with it. But at least I thought of the LTCB when I spent the morning revising my plans for the weeks ahead so that I could spend more time with her. I was particularly pleased with myself for cleverly booking myself onto the same trains as her for our next trip to London, until I realized that I had misread the Bearded Git’s website and had actually booked myself onto one leaving from Chester half an hour later than hers, and involving a tiresome change at Crewe. Knackers.

After this tiresome balls-up I put on the coat of my comedy green tweed suit over my nice warm cardigan and drove to Newcastle for lunch in the city’s top restaurant with the North East’s leading business journalist and one of its most distinguished PR men. Clearly it would be improper to reveal any of the confidences we exchanged, or the searingly brilliant insights into the current economic difficulties that we offered to each other. Mainly because there weren’t any. It was a jolly good meal, though.

Taking the dog for his walk on my return home, in pleasant if chilly late afternoon sunshine, I was shocked to discover that the Elfin Safety tree vandals have been back in action, felling a particularly fine looking clump of mature ashes. I had assumed that the January campaign of destruction marked an end rather than a beginning, but now it looks as though we are to be subject to a series of unpredictable guerrilla attacks with chainsaws until all the trees with yellow identifying tags (which is most of the mature trees hereabouts) are gone. A series of Baedeker raids after the Blitz, so to speak. A shame, I think, particularly as I see no sign whatsoever of the promised, extensive replacement planting.

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