15st 8lb, 3.8 units. To Newcastle again, this time for lunch at Café 21 with a colleague from The Journal and one of the local masters of PR. It made me realize what I am really missing in my life at present, viz lunch. Or, to be more precise, a really delicious lunch with a certain amount of booze and some stimulating gossip with intelligent people. It used to be the centrepiece of my day when I worked in financial PR in London; I think it needs to become so again, if I am not to sink further into hopeless despondency about the futility of my existence. Obviously having lunch is an equally futile way to pass the time, but at least it is thoroughly enjoyable.
It was probably just as well that I had had the foresight to go and do my shopping before lunch. I had been charged by Mrs H to invest the £50 one of her uncles had given us for Christmas in some sharp kitchen knives for our establishment in Cheshire. The “Can I help you?” I got from the shop assistant at Bainbridge’s was charged with suspicion even when I was stone cold sober at 11.30. If I had been smelling of drink as well, I expect she would have called the police first and let them ask the questions later. Not that she proved to be much help, as my budget did not afford much choice, given that most of the branded knives I had heard of cost more than £50 each, and £200-plus for a set. I did the only thing I could do and bought a John Lewis own brand set, muttering to myself the mantra of the HR department in every firm I have ever worked for (“They may not be good, but they are cheap”).
I also treated myself to a Corby trouser press, and went to pick it up from the store’s Customer Collection Point after lunch. “Do you have a car nearby?” they enquired and I airily assured them that I did. After all, I have owned Corby trouser presses for years, and cheerily moved them around between flats and houses without the slightest difficulty. Yet by the time I had conveyed this one the few hundred yards to the Dex Garage multi-storey car park, I felt as though my arms were going to drop off. Another sad reminder that I am by no means as young as I used to be.
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