The Idiot Nation
On Thursday morning my girlfriend and I made the innocent mistake of trying to park the car in town.
More specifically we were trying to park in the disabled bays in between Tesco and Wetherspoons. The latter does a top fry-up until 12 noon. The problem was that there wasn't much space. It's unlikely that everyone was desperate to get to Wetherspoons for their egg, beans and sausage but whatever their business they were in town in their droves.
There were two cars on the road in front of us. The drivers of both could not find a space, so instead of driving through the one way system and going to look for another place to park they chose to sit in the middle of the road and wait. This left us with nowhere to go, and no choice but to become part of the problem by waiting in behind. Finally the dynamic duo in front gave up and we drove around teh one way system and started to look elsewhere.
Except that when we were on our way back in the other direction we noticed that a woman was arriving back at her car with some shopping;
"I'm not going." she said more than once. Almost triumphantly, as if she had taken some sort of sick pleasure in denying the genuinely disabled a parking space and what is more, extra eggs and tea and toast. Ok, so she's not going, but there was space between her car and the one directly in front, so I asked if she wouldn't mind moving forward to allow us to get in behind her;
"Ok love." she replied politely, having had her fun and at last seeming in co-operative mood. So what does she do? She moves BACKWARDS away from the car in front, so that instead of parking easily in behind we had to reverse park in between her and the car in front. Sometimes it is just the little things that get you, isn't it?
So Emma and I moved on to Blackpool on Friday night. We'd booked two nights at a place called The Ocean Hotel on the North Shore. On the first of those nights we were in a Wetherspoons (we should probably get some sort of commission) called the Litton Tree minding our own business, just chatting and having a few beverages.
At that point a young man came over and asked (or at least I thought he had) whether or not he could borrow a chair that was sitting unused at our table. Of course I agreed, only to find that in his own drunken and language-defying way he had actually asked if he could join us. We spent the next 30 minutes finding out that;
His name was Paul.
He was in the Army.
He was SAS, in fact.
He was hopeful of making MI5.
Potential MI5 candidates think wheelchair users don't have sex.
He could easily get away with shooting Gary Glitter and was considering it.
His mate used to be a good lad until he lost his legs.
There will be a World War within the next 10 years, and it will be caused by the Russians.
We made our excuses and left.
If ever you find yourself on a night out in Blackpool then I heartily recommend you visit Soul Suite. It's a bar in the town centre which plays all the best Mowtown, soul and proper R & B music (in other words not Rihanna). Not only does this sort of music make for a better night out in my view, but it also means that you get less of the under-18 population in there. The media has succeeded in persuading young people that soul music is less cool than Gordon Brown, which is just fine as it leaves us oldies to enjoy a bit of quality in an atmosphere that does not resemble a Brewsters Fayre ball pool.
A place in Blackpool I would discourage you from visiting is The Counting House. In fact, I haven't been to the one in St.Helens yet but after the weekend's experience I don't think I'll bother. Emma and I had been there for a meal on Friday afternoon, and they had been quite happy to benefit from our custom, only to refuse Emma service on Saturday night. She was asked for ID.
Now, unless the laws of the land have changed you have to be 18 to legally buy alcohol in a public house. Emma will be 29 a week on Friday, yet was still suspected of being 17 by what she claims was the very same girl who had served her the previous day. When she was around 20, she was asked to prove that she was over 16 when she went to pay for my petrol at a station in Barnsley. If they genuinely believed that she was under 16 then I am worried about what that says about me and my sexual habits.
Good job I didn't tell Paul the SAS man that story.