Not Enough Snow

This morning there is the wrong amount of snow…

There is enough to make my morning commute long, slow, frustrating and treacherous – but there is not enough to justify that always anticipated and wildly celebrated “snow day”.

Let’s be honest, however old we are, our inner schoolboy always desperately hopes for mountains of the white stuff. Every worker, from the shop floor operative to the CEO secretly dreams of being wedged in, unable to make that long commute, so instead being forced to hold an impromptu day of festivities in a winter wonderland.

I remember those heady days, quietly listening to Radio Leicester, waiting patiently for that brilliant announcement that my school just couldn’t open. But not today kids, the dusting we got last night promised much at about 10pm…but it hasn’t delivered. Now any snowmen will be malnourished weak attempts and snowball fights will be more of a slight scuffle than an all out war.

Although a ‘snow day’ today would probably have been a disappointment. As my little boy is ill with a nasty cold and fever – he would have been confined indoors; and the days of long warm mornings under the duvet are far behind me. I would have been up and active at 6.30am regardless of what weather awaited in the outside world… but I suppose a day full of Cbeebies and hot chocolate would still have been a fun novel event in my working week.

But it wasn’t to be – I am faced instead with a slippery skate to the station, a slow, plodding commute and a miserable sniffly office.

Although I guarantee a handful of young singletons in my office will still find it ‘completely impossible’ to get in, despite living far closer to Central London than us dull, middle-aged parents! Lucky gits – maybe next week we will get a proper dumping *fingers crossed*.

Chavs vs. Toffs

This afternoon a shocking viral email hit my inbox – outlining the code of conduct for the G4…

For those of you who are still unaware of this exclusive group, and their “gunning” behaviour, I’ll give you a brief summary. The email outlined the ‘tour rules’ as laid out by four City twenty-somethings for their upcoming rugby sevens trip to Dubai. A quick google search will give you the complete breakdown – but their code revolves around bragging about daddy’s money, cheating on their wives and generally maintaining their wild, rich lad lifestyle when away. It concluded with a short biography of each member, stating their current insurance-broker employment, red brick university degree and public school credentials.

G4 is a brotherhood of privileged, well educated, rich-boys whose very existence is a stain on British culture.

But the email got me thinking – who would I rather be stuck in a hotel with – a disgusting group of stuck-up toffs or a nasty hoard of lager swilling chavs?

Quite a dilemma. The blight of chav culture is well documented – there are countless TV documentaries outlining the antics of Wild Brits Abroad. All seem to focus on Burberry clad youths taking over Magaluf and Benidorm – downing bacardi breezers, destroying town centres, and eventually rushing to a Spanish hospital for a quick stomach pump. The images of girls in stilettos and boob-tubes, passing out in their own vomit, shock and disgust the middle classes and most Brits do their best to disown this TOWIE generation.

But are they any worse than the G4? Not in my opinion. The privileged rich boy, spending a small portion of the inheritance on a hedonistic shameless tour is a much more vile image in my eyes. Maybe it’s because I feel closer to them; on the chav-toff spectrum I am probably closer to the posh-boy end, and many are only just outside my social circles. In fact I see some of them on a daily basis – they all live in Fulham or Kensington, wear clothes that display their public school heritage, take at least one annual ski trip to Verbier and loosely flaunt their daddy’s wealth with complete disregard for the wider society. At least the chavs work hard and save all year in order to booze it all away on their annual destructive vacation.

No, give me ‘Geordie Shore’ over ‘Made in Chelsea’ every time. For me the chavs have better values, better ethics and more fun. In fact I think I’d quite enjoy a chav holiday – although I’d probably be in bed by midnight, I’m just too old now for all that nonsense…

Transfer Deadline Day…in Lithuania

Many years ago, eight to be exact, I went on a memorable trip to Vilnius in Lithuania. This holiday will always stand out because it was my first as a ‘working man’. Prior to this every vacation had been funded either by my more than generous parents, or by a basic wage summer job. But this time I had money – I had been saving for months to supply a beer fuelled week in this Eastern European capital, and I had managed to put aside plenty of liquid capital, £700 to be exact – £100 of spending money for each day of the trip!

As five newly wealthy 23 year olds we set off with high expectations, and Vilnius did not disappoint. It was the perfect destination, filled with a gruesome cultural history (such as the morbid KGB museum), healthy portions of red meat, an endless supply of cheap premium beer and most importantly hoards of stunning European girls keen on ‘meeting’ young British men. We were in heaven.

And things kept getting better – our soulless executive hotel on the edge of the city had no history or heritage, but it did have a cheap accessible bar – the perfect place to start each evening. And it was in this bar that the most memorable event occurred…

As we sat happily preparing ourselves for that evening’s frivolities we noticed that an endless stream of beautiful girls kept parading through the hotel reception. When one appeared wearing a sash emblazoned with ‘Miss Malta’ our interested really peaked. Finally the most confident of our small group approached one, Miss Netherlands, and asked the obvious question.

“It is The International Miss Estate Agent awards,” she promptly replied.

We could not believe our luck – a beauty pageant in our hotel! But how could we exploit this, we didn’t want to watch it, tuneless Europeans belting out renditions of I Will Survive was not real entertainment – but we certainly needed to meet the girls!

Eventually after roughly five pints we hatched a full-proof plan. It happened to be International Transfer Deadline Day across all of Europe’s major football leagues. We could create an after party that would naturally link to each entrant’s home nation – we could host Europe’s most ‘rock-star’ event in our hotel room.

So we put this plan into operation. We wrote individual invites and asked the concierge to deliver them to each beauty queen’s hotel room. At roughly midnight we retired to room 308 and awaited the arrival of the the ladies…

…imagine my disappointment as I sat there for three hours, dressed as Silvain Wiltord, watching the deadline day news roll in on ceefax, with not an international beauty queen in sight. And now Sky Sports does its best to remind me of this distinct failure on a twice annual basis.

Too Reserved?

I’m currently sitting on a poorly air-conditioned, very packed and therefore extremely hot train back from Leeds to London. And the temperature is not the only uncomfortable element, passions are running high on this train. Arguments seem to be erupting at every angle – I have witnessed four already since claiming my seat.

And there is a clear central issue driving this passanger rage…reservations.

Maybe it’s the 35degree heat, but even I am starting to get frustrated here. This train is completely full – all the seats have been pre-booked and protruding from every headrest is a big white label emblazened with one bold word, RESERVED.

My ticket clearly states both my carriage and seat number, and I arrived early enough take rightful ownership of seat 16A. But unfortunately others on my coach haven’t been quite as lucky…

Most people seem to understand the very basic ‘code of conduct’ – you sit in the seat that you have booked… but not everyone. For there are some people who seem to use the Ryanair approach to every asset of life – if they see an empty seat they have every right to sit in it. And this set not only have a complete disregard for the basic rules, most also seem to take an arrogant, confident and confrontational approach to defending their position.

I have already witnessed two happy pre-bookers skulk away, defeated by the evil, aggressive and immovable seat squatters. Only the very brave seem to have the resolve to stand their ground and go toe-to-toe to claim what is rightfully theirs. But when the righteous are victorious every ticket holder on the carriage can silently share in their success.

However while I have been typing the atmosphere has relaxed. A new player has made his mark – the advance purchasers now have a new hero…

As soon as the ticket inspector shuffled in, the two remaining spongers immediately hung their heads. One then quickly bolted for the far door – the other at least kept in place, but when challenged he too silently slumped off. And now even the original ticket owners have returned…Victory!

And I think the air conditioning has just started working, everything is finally cooling down.