I am sitting in yet another internet café, this time in Greenwich, London, England, UK.
The interview with Mooochel on Friday went extremely well and very...I mean very fast. It was all over in about ten or fifteen minutes, and before I knew it I was standing outside the building in a light grey and drizzly Hatfield, wondering what to do with the rest of the afternoon. The response I recieved from the interviewers was extremely positive, and their description of the post that they envisaged me in was interesting. The title of the post is 'Graduate Tunnels Maintenance Engineer', and there's an awful lot of science involved.
After staying the night in a B&B in Bayswater, I hotfooted-it over to Greenwich to help Allie move into her new house. The place is very nice, although you wouldn't guess it from the outside. It is the third house in an unpre-possessing terrace on a Greenwich backstreet, but there has been a lot of renovation inside.
The last person to have the house, whilst obviously a woman of taste in that the decór is rather funky, was, it would appear, either a skinflint or the kind of person that is prone to falling for the seductive quotes of cowboy builders.
On the rainy first night in the house, I had to take sandpaper, then a knife, and finally the claw-end of a hammer to the huge roll of paint on the underside of the opening pane, because whoever painted it (some time ago, judging by the flaking mildew) didn't include closing on the list of things a window should be able to do.
I am a live-and-let-live kind of guy. I think that if a kind of TV programme catches on in this country and a lot of people enjoy watching them, even if I can't stand them, I'll let things lie. I won't complain...I'll even...watch them, if the situation calls for it. Soaps are a good example, but on the other hand, DIY programmes have gone too far.
Uplighters are great things, if used properly. Indirect lighting can take away a certain harshness to a bright room, lending soft hues and a relaxing atmosphere. Conventional lampshades, well, I can see their merits too. What I fail to see is how anyone, even in the most crazed, Lawrence-Llewellyn-Bowen-and-Carol-Smilie induced frenzy, could put in a steel downward-facing lampshade, and then put a steel uplighter in underneath it.
Result: no light.
Then there's the kitchen...sexy, grey-silver surfaces and 1950s USA-style rounded fridge...and the fact that the panels beneath the bottoms of the cupboards and the floor aren't glued on, but rather resting against things in the hope that no one will knock them.
On the other hand, the house is cool, big, well decorated and quiet...no background London grind, which is cool. There's also a little garden, and Allie has grand plans.
It's a great place.
I walked to Canary Wharf today. From Greenwich, through the Greenwich foot tunnel, where a middle-aged Rasta was playing Bob Marley and got a fingerful of change for the performance from me ("Ja smiles at ya, Ja is smilin',"), through Tower Hamlets and Millwall into the bustling concrete and steel of Canary Wharf. I had a latte in Cabot Square, and sat and looked at the buildings. They were very big.
Inside I was a little surprised to find a shopping centre packed with people in suits and people in building site gear, in roughly equal amounts. There's still a lot of building work going on around the area...a new building's stairs and lift shafts are standing alone off to one side of the current cluster of towers. I wandered around quite amiably, watching everyone else rushing around in a make-the-most-of-lunch state of mind. I enjoy watching other people rush when I have nothing to do.
In a bookshop...Waterstone's, possibly, I walked in and was confronted with the largest Travel section I have ever seen in any bookshop anywhere. I was about to wheedle my way around to the Fiction (Authors A-Z) area (Travel books are bad for my health), when something struck me. Okay, so the shopping centre is underneath the largest office block in the country, and there is some serious money floating around the place, so Executive Types will want travel guides and books...more than most probably. They have the money to go to these places.
There was a strange customer arrangement. There were the shelves with the travel books on, arranged in a three-sides of a square. Inside this was a row of suits, heads on one side, or in a couple of cases, browsing through the pages of a book. Then there was me, in the middle. I turned to go and realised that the people perched on sofa chairs and at the low table all had travel guides as well, and one woman in a suit was copying out phone numbers. I turned again to the amphitheatre inside the travel section.
The suits undoubtably had the money to go to these places. One had enormous bags under his eyes. Another had bags under his eyes and severe coffee shakes. Everyone in the bookshop looked ill. To make the point, I had the sudden impression that the cashier and I were the healthiest people in the shop. Anyone who knows me ( Or the Canary Wharf Waterstone's cashier) will realise what a statement that is.
I am feeling uneasy.
PS My phone is now officially out of charge...sorry if anyone's been trying to contact me. I left the charger at home. Fool.