Clueless in London

Why is it that when the slightest things goes wrong with the signals or other lame excuse (usually at London Bridge) passengers (with the exception of me) and Bob Crows army run around like chickens with their head cut off having no clue what is happening.

Last week your truly bowls up to see a MASS of people staring skyward (no not at some apparition of the second coming) but at blank timetables and listening to garbled messages informing the masses that Gordon Brown is the second coming (no that’s not it I meant what we are supposed to do where we should go to catch a train).

Now I can be a little forthright (now you probably mean your arrogant, rude, impatient, irritable self we all know and love ed.) but I know where the train usually stops so in my true welsh rugby star way jinked through the crowds (as we should have done this weekend in Auckland) past the prop forward that was this immense lady jammed in the automatic gates to my train and jumped on. I must say there were a few ‘excuse ME’s’ and ‘how rudes’ on the way but sorry you have got to get on the bloody train. So there I was listening to the announcements: ‘the twain at platfoam one is the 17** to graveyard calling at ??????, ?????’. Crap am I on the right train? – now to cut a long story short I wasn’t – so off to platform three as it happens through the mass of humanity coming the other way – ask a guard on the way was this a train to East Croydon – no idea guv – (maybe if I’d asked what the fundamental theory of algebra was I might have had more success) – and jumped on with fifty or so other sweaty passengers on another train – yes the wrong one again – so we all piled off to the next platform for the right one.

Of course dear reader by the time I got to East Croydon I had missed two connections to sunny Lingfield and had to wait for a while for Southern to take me away from all this. Now why is it when a small engineering fault happens, no one knows what’s happening, the staff haven’t a clue, the commuters (me excepted) stand around like cattle with foot and mouth waiting to be chopped, no feedback or info available, and no prospect of the second coming to cap it off either (eh!! Ed.)

When are we going to get organised in this country!!

Christmas Spirit alive and well in East Grinstead

It’s that time of year again when itinerant panhandlers (i.e. carol singers) appear on my door-step attempting to sing a few strangled verses of some long forgotten carol before being sent away with a flea in their ear and a recommendation for a few singing lessons by yours truly. Last year some group of lads came around and made a vague attempt at Silent Night (oh I wish it was when they started). Now it happened they started up just as the Tele was playing up, her in doors was having a moan about my lack of Christmas spirit and that mutt of a sheepdog of mine was attempting to bark the bloody house down whilst attempting to get at said carols singers.

Actually in hindsight it may have been better to let her out … anyhoo in amongst all this cacophony I answered the door just as the second line … holy night … was tailing off into oblivion and a hopeful carol singer put out his hand for what I assumed was some act of supplication. WE DON’T DO THAT HERE CLEAR OFF I said (now RoyMogg readers may wish to know that this in fact is an entirely accurate description of events that occurred that fateful night ed.) and closed the door and turned around and saw my stunned wife and daughter telling me I cannot say that, lack of Christmas spirit etc etc. To my astonishment they run after these erstwhile vagrants apologising … ‘he’s a little tired, worked long hours, miserable git’ and so forth… giving them money for their efforts and wishing them merry Christmas and all that. Shocked I was – I thought I was being very reasonable but ho hum I guess it takes all sorts

In the Christmas spirit an alternative carol:

Good King Wencelas last looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about,
Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night,
Though the frost was cruel,
and When a poor man came in sight,
Wencelas set the dogs on him …

Merry Christmas to RoyMogg Readers

Meet the Southern Rail Managers

Big Cat Diaries goes to London Bridge

I was in the first class cabin of yer Southern Rail for the daily commute idly glancing through an article ref David Attenbore and his long career of wildlife programming when over the Tannoy our Guard pipes up – “Ladies and Gentlemen I thought I would let you know that today is ‘meet the managers day’ hoorah! and starting at 0730 at London Bridge Southern Rail have arranged some victims to talk to you about your experiences with the service”. “If you have any difficulty with finding them just ask one of the station staff (AKA Bob Crows Army) and we will point them out for you – however they should be easy to spot as they will be the guys quaking in their boots somewhere close to the front of the station – enjoy!!”.

It was with a feral glint in the eye that we got off the train and as a mass trooped off to see who these half wits were. It was then we spotted the herd of Southern Managers the young and inexperienced in the centre safely surrounded by wizened old gits veterans of countless fob offs and excuses hiding just behind the ticket barrier close to the relative safety of the coffee shop. Prowling closely by the predatory commuters look for their chance to cut out one of the youngsters and give him a right rollicking. One of the younger sub-managers paws nervously at the ground looking down and glances around for the escape route wondering why he’s here and thinking that if he had revised more studiously for the McDonald’s degree in Burgerology (BBu(Hons)) he would be safely inside worrying about colony forming units of bacteria and not here facing this angry mob. Ah look a diversionary move by one of the older females ‘can you tell me which platform is for Victoria’ – oh over there platform 13 Luv responds the Alpha Manager. Too late he spots his error and two predators move quickly in and split up the herd isolating one of the newer managers who immediately cut off from the safety of the herd is pounced upon by a gaggle of ferocious wildcats. One cannot but admire the team working of this experienced pack – from an early time in the management training school of yer Southern Rail junior managers are able to divert complaints and back peddle at a rate of knots, but under the relentless pursuit of this angry crowd he is quickly worn down and soon becomes an exhausted sniveling wreck. One particularly stern lady caught my eye, and caught the guy she was laying into by the ***** as she gave him a right dressing down about over-crowding especially when he asked her to ‘calm down madam’ – which I always think is a marvelous way to up the temperature (needs to revise his ‘Handbook for Conflict Management on Southern Rail’ (10th Edition) notes) and drew the response ‘what do you mean calm down you little oik’ – ‘ I’ll have your b***s on a stick’ you talk to me like that!

She walked off obviously set-up for the day and cheerily responded to a request to take a sample of a chunky chocolate bar as a free gift on the station concourse – ‘No thank you’, she said, ‘I’ve had my quota of protein for today!’

World Toilet Day Celebrations in Chipping Norton

World Toilet Day Celebrations in Chipping Norton

As we all know the 19th November is the celebration of world toilet day – I know ‘what another crap day’ – well yes actually. As we know a visit to the bathroom is a regular ritual for all of us and a person will go to the toilet about 6 to 7 times a day and with all that flushing that takes place will use around 30% of the 60 gallons of water used by an average person in the UK daily. It is something we all take for granted and is a luxury quite unique to the western world – well over half of the world population especially in the developing nations use private dry facilitates i.e. they crap outside into a pit latrine or on the floor. Even in the UK flush toilets are quite recent (end 19C) remember Lord Black Adder (TV series in the UK) when he was trying to sell his house in Elizabethan times boasted that his house had all the latest in ‘open air facilities’ to which the prospective buyer said ‘ah good you crap out of the window then much more hygienic’. This latter technique being similar to the method known as the ‘Narobian Flying Toilet’ (Trade Mark applied for). Where if caught short in Nairobi you crap into a sandwich bag (available from the local Tesco’s) and throw it out of the window.

Now I am drawn to these things by a recent foray into the world of commodes and toilets as we decided to give a rather special birthday present for my Mother in Law (who sadly is now deceased since this article was original published) who now well into her dotage is having difficulty in managing the ten or so steps to the lavatory just down the corridor. So my wife had this hare brained idea to buy her a commode – a crap present in every meaning of the word. Anyhoo we ordered said commode and were assured that it would be delivered well in time for the birthday celebrations due in just over a week after the order. Suitable arrangements were made for the launch party and first use – We had in mind a ‘strapping in party’ where we would tie the old bird into the chair while we all went off down the pub – so having done the order we settled down and waited for said commode to turn up on the wicket. Needless to say nothing happened and the birthday arrived with no commode in sight to the disappointment of all – we still went ahead with the party you’ll be glad to hear but had to make do with strapping Ma-in-Law in the normal loo before going down the pub.

Another two weeks pass and sister in law had been waiting in, as one does, for the toilet men to appear. During this time whilst faffing around upstairs a far away whisper is heard from below … ‘oh there is a big white van outside do you think he is coming here’ … ‘have you answered the bloody door?!!’ … ‘what?’ … ‘crap Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! – as sister in law turned around at the top of the stairs stumbled and fell ‘A over T’ from top to bottom of the stairs landing in a crumpled heap on the hallway floor. After confirming she was still alive although with a near broken ankle she crawled and dragged herself to the front door and managed to open it to just in time to catch a glimpse of a white van disappearing into the blue yonder. She shut the door and crawled in a way my old army chums would admire to the phone, pulled it to the floor, and rang up the toilet company – ‘your bloody men just cleared off without dropping off the commode!!’ … ‘oh it wasn’t one of our delivery men your order won’t be ready for another two weeks from next Tuesday’. What do you mean I have been waiting in for the last two weeks ‘ … ‘oh you needn’t do that our delivery men will call back if you are not in’. Well we all know what a great sport it is for white van men to park up just down the road and with a pair of high powered binoculars spy out the land and wait for the five minutes that one pops out to the shops for a loo roll or to pick up the kids from school – then they pounce and drop that annoying little card through the letter box that says something like ‘missed you unable to delivery a parcel’.

Anyhoo the conversation went down hill from there on in and the order for the commode ended up being cancelled (crap service etc etc.). My sister in law then collapses to the floor rubbing her ankle whilst muttering profane curses and running through the synonym list for faeces. Just then Ma-in-Law pops her head round the door ‘oh you don’t have time to do your exercises now I need to go to the toilet?’
‘Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!… Due to profane nature of the rest of the dialogue and reporting restrictions under the mental health act the rest of this blog entry has been deleted. However I am sure RoyMogg Blog readers will be glad to know that the ambulance team did manage to remove an antique porcelain potty (Alfred Meakin c 1900) from Mrs H senior’s head and I have also been successful in ordering a replacement commode as shown in the picture below.


The Loo

The landrover Diaries – the story of breakdowns

Last Time on the Disco Diaries

Breakdown on M26 with ‘teas up’ and no coolant and three separate parties: the breakdown man, the cops and the little man from the Crawley garage add to my woes by confirming my worst fears about my foray into Discos with lots of epithets about crap cars, unreliability and won’t touch that with a barge pole etc.

The story continues…

Anyhoo … I get a call from the garage next day, ‘Hello Mr Morgan I am afraid I have some bad news – we can repair your car (damn it!) as its only the cylinder head that’s cracked’ – ‘happens quite a lot.’ ‘Oh you must have forgot to mention that when you sold the car two weeks ago so what’s this going to cost me?’ ‘Oh no worries its on a six month guarantee and we can fix it for you no probs – take about 7 days before we get this crock of **** together.’ ‘OK cheers I guess we will have to be patient and I’ll have to get the bike out as that daft idiot ‘er indoors forgot to include a replacement car on the insurance.’ Any chance of a courtesy car? ‘Oh sorry mate more than my jobs worth’ (Arghhhhh! – expletives deleted ed.) … so we left it like that and I went down the pub to mourn the loss of my Beemer.

Two weeks later I take possession of Blue Disco – for the first couple of weeks I ventured no further than the local shops and station car-park. Unfortunately I had to get over to Reading Barracks for a meeting – couldn’t be avoided – so off I set into the sunrise on the M4 to Reading. And nothing happened! – well at least I got there in one piece – it was on the way back the problems started.

I was pootling along at sixty miles an hour in the outside lane when this impatient jerk bombs up behind me and begins flashing and waving his fist at me – cannot think why – anyhoo I put my foot down to pull ahead and over – and nothing – clouds of black smoke and I actually slowed down – I got even more waving fists and flashes I can tell you. I managed to get over to the middle lane and the power picked up again. And that’s was the way of it – if I put my foot down too much I lost power and black smoke – foot off power restored.

I made it to the reading services parked up and hunted high and low for the recovery phone number – yup could find the bloody thing – rings ‘er indoors. She was on the phone to her sister as I found out ten minutes later and I ask for the recovery phone number. ‘Why do you want that and isn’t it in the car? ‘If it was in the car I (expletives deleted ed.) wouldn’t be calling you would I – and I’ve bloody well broken down again!!’ I called the number and waited … about an hour later another little man turns up. I explained the fault and he pops the hood and stares at the engine. I start up the engine as commanded and he continues to stare at the engine. After about ten minutes of staring failed to shed any light he pipes up, ‘Well bugger me mate I have no idea what’s wrong’ – ‘I don’t know much about Discos’ – ‘But I have the special Disco recovery service and you don’t know much about Discos – why did they send you?’ ‘Can’t be helped mate there was no-one else on so it was me or nothing.’ ‘But if you want I can tow you back or if you drive slowly back you should make it – which in the short of it was what I decided to do.’

So I crawled back around the M4 and M25 at about forty miles an hour tops and limped back to the Disco Garage. ‘Oh Hello Mr Morgan back so soon – anything wrong?’ Yes there is something (expletive deleted ed.) wrong – this absolute crock of s*** has conked out again can you look at it for me.’ No probs leave it over night and we will get it seen to first thing tomorrow.’ ‘Can you drop me back home seeing as I am carless again?’ – ‘Oh sorry (sucking through teeth) I have no-one spare at the moment but you can use the phone if you like and call up the missus to pick you up.’ Right … ten minutes later I get through … ‘sorry luv I was on the phone to my sister’ (grrrrrr!) – ‘do you want me to pick you up?’ ‘No I thought I would call you just for the hell of it to let you know I walking back in the pouring rain!!! ‘OK OK keep what’s left of your hair on I’ll be there in ten minutes.’

Man thrown onto tracks at London Bridge Station

Ever wanted to know the full details of an audit recently carried out on one of your competitors in the Crawley area – Its easy take the train – and listen to the person carrying out said audit – which I assume was confidential – broadcast the entire results to a full train load of passengers by shouting into his mobile – this time on the Three Bridges to Victoria service last week (incidentally the company failed the audit).

How many times do I have to hear about deals being closed, holidays planned, lovers trists being arranged (ok I made that one up) – judging by recent experience lots. Now I know some people want everyone else to know the ins and outs of a cats backside ref their personal business – but personally I could not give a rats arse. Take the guy talking to his mate on the phone so loudly the other day that everyone – and I mean everyone on the train – heard everything! From the details of his sex life including his rapid fire technique to the next date he had planned. If the results of the last were everything to go by he should not hold out his hopes too high.

Now psychologists know this phenomena well – if the line is a little unclear or the other person on the phone has just been declared brain dead as a result of listening to a load of crap – then the person shouts ever louder. We talk louder the worse the perceived signal/reception is. The English man on holiday syndrome I call it when the bloody natives can’t follow your drift you need to talk louder and more slowly to get home your point into the dim witted foreigners head. YES BRIAN I AM ON THE TRAIN WE’RE NEARLY AT THE STATION NOW – yes all 200 of us know and are plotting to push you out on the tracks if you don’t shut up.

We don’t want to know, get a life, we are not interested … (neither am I so that’s enough rant ed.)

Top Ten Woody Allen Quotes

1. “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”.

2. “I believe there is something out there watching us. (Unfortunately, it’s the government)

3. “There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?”

4. “Love is the answer, but while you’re waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty interesting questions.”

5. “A fast word about oral contraception. I asked a girl to go to bed with me, she said ‘no’.”

6. “Basically my wife was immature. I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats.”

7. “I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

8. “I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”

9. “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

And to sum things up, here is the last nugget of wisdom to go by… however, whenever, and wherever we may be.

10. “The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.”

Why get a car when you can get a Landrover and meet interesting people on the motorway hardshoulder

My love hate relationship with Land Rover Discovery’s

I expect most people associate Land Rovers with a robust off road vehicle capable of navigating the Sahara desert (see Ice Cold in Alice) or scaling the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro on a single tank of petrol. Robust rugged and ready for any off-road experience. Well the reality is other-wise and my experience of Land Rovers (specifically the series TD5) has shown them quite incapable of getting out of our gravel drive without conking out. Some years ago ‘er indoors had a hare brained idea that rather than pulling the back axle off the Mondey by dragging our half ton Ivor Williams horse box around we should swap out the BMW (yes you saw right) for a Disco. This idea was based on a recommendation from my brother-in-law (her side) that I should have treated with a pinch of salt as he used to work as quality manager for the bunch of idiots at Longbridge who manufactured this car. Anyhoo after I picked myself off the floor and following 24 hours of relentless female logic I found myself at the local Discovery people in Crawley South London.

‘Cor blimey mate your not thinking of getting rid of that one for one of these disasters are you?’ was the opening remark followed by a broadening smile when he realised he had a half wit before him and then turning to me he said, ‘oh you have my sympathies let’s have a look of what we have on the lot.’ We duly traipsed behind him and after looking at a couple of monstrosities they had on offer approached the triumph of engineering that was soon to clutter our front drive for the next nine months (that’s how long this one lasted). A week later it took three salesmen to prise me out of the driving seat of the BMW 523, my tears were for naught, and we were the proud owners of a shiny newish blue Disco – this was the high spot from there on in it went down hill.

A few weeks later we decided to get a new dog (our old Border Collie had died in sad circumstances) so thought we would pop over to the Isle of Sheppey where we knew some good breeders (they have six kids) and picked a beautiful puppy now known as Tess. On the way back the missus was driving and along the M26 just past Wrotham … ‘Oh’er the temperature gauge is going up and down what does that mean?’ Well what it meant was in a little over a mile further along after dark on the motorway we had tea’s up and coolant all over the road. Completely conked out would not start and I had to wait until it cooled a bit so I could start the motor for a few seconds to get it fully on the hard shoulder. Anyhoo we called the recovery people and they said they would be with in about an hour – so we decamped from the dead Disco to the embankment just as it started to rain – yes you guessed it no coats or umbrellas so we got a soaking. ‘Oh this would not have happened with the BMW’er would it’ … Arghhhhhhhh!! You silly **@!!**!!! twit – just then the police dropped by to check the tax disk and generally hassle motorists in trouble. ‘You all right mate!’ ‘No I’m bloody well not alright this heap of junk has just conked out.’ ‘Oh I know terrible they are – we had to get rid of them because they were so unreliable – always conking out!!’ ‘Arghhhh! Why is it we find out now we have paid a small fortune’ (several more expletives deleted here ed.). The friendly cops gave the Disco a quick once over and although a little disappointed they could not nick me for anything then kindly dropped off the missus and my daughter off at the next service station leaving me to wait up on the recovery man.

After an hour nothing – so I decided to give the recovery people a call to see where they were. Now where’s the number – crap – she’s got it in her handbag. So I get the phone out and then notice I’ve only one blob left and getting nice friendly warnings that I need to charge it up. Calls Missus – ‘hello’ – ‘hello where are you?’ – ‘oh we’re at home now the police dropped us off’ – ‘oh that’s good.’ ‘Now get your arse in gear and find the number of the recovery people if there’re not here soon you might as well send for the coroner.’ ‘Oh OK just hang on a minute’ – five minutes later – ‘Hello are you still there’- ‘Well where else would I (remarks deleted ed.) be?’ … ‘now keep yer hair on the number is 1342 … Arghhhhhhh! Bloody phone went dead … fortunately just then the recovery man turns up lights flashing to help me search for the pieces of the phone on the embankment. When I had recovered my composure he turns to the car and says, ‘Oh a Disco is it, (literal words) we had these but they were so unreliable we spent most of our time recovering our own vehicles Ho! Ho! they’re a heap of ****.’ After giving the engine the once over – the verdict – cracked cylinder head – ‘What!! – We only got this a week ago’ – ‘yes they do seem a little prone to this problem’ – ‘anyway you’re dead in the water mate we have to recover it back.’ So he dragged the dead Disco onto the back of the truck (an event I will witness many times in the next few years) and we headed off home. Next day the little man from the garage called around with the truck to pick up the Disco to take him back for repairs – ‘oh its that one is it – I’m surprised they let that one out after the last incident.’ He drags off said dead car and that’s the last I see of it for two weeks while they fix it. Just to cap it all ‘er indoors calls up the insurance to arrange a courtesy car for me to get to work whilst Disco was laid up – ‘oh sorry when you changed the insurance over from the BMW you forgot to arrange that option – sorry!!!’

England fail again and now the search for the scapegoat is on

I am on my way to the trichologist today to see if there is any chance of sticking my hair back into the bald patches that resulted when I started pulling out my hair in frustration at eleven half-witted over paid Muppets again dismally failing at the World Cup. Yup this is one of those England dismal failure rants again. In passing did you know that a player such as Wayne Rooney is paid five centuries (500 years!!!) worth of the national minimum wage a year for this claptrap.

I feel for those who travelled out to see this debacle – most on benefits or on the national minimum wage – gutted I am sure by what happened but never-the-less I guess they will be back for more next time. Perhaps it’s the identification with the players who if it were not for the ability to kick a ball up against a garage door would also be on benefits and the minimum wage and alongside them in the terraces. Anyhoo that’s not the subject of this half baked rant today.

In period of national crisis our nation pulls together and takes stock before starting to look around for a scapegoat to blame. By way of a slight diversion (again ed.) the actual derivation of the word scapegoat is based on a ritual purification ceremony that actually took place during a king’s wedding in the ancient middle east. In this story a she-goat with a silver bracelet hung from her neck was driven out by the whole community into the wasteland. In such ‘elimination rites’, in which an animal, becomes the vehicle of evils (but not sins) that are chased from the community – and as a result the community can then carry on in the belief that it has expunged itself from all blame and evil.

What will probably happen to poor old Capello now is he will be ritually expunged and sent off into the wilderness with a silver bracelet around his neck (and a big bag of money in his pocket) – and we all think that will solve the problem. Then it will be another search for another leader who can pull this rabble into some sort of shape – which will not solve the problem at all. We call this in consulting ‘faulty diagnosis’ by the client – when they come up with an irrational statement of the problem that avoids any sort of culpability. In this case the faulty diagnosis is that the problem is the question of leadership. The king is dead so long live the (new) king so the story will unfold.

What is surprising is that organisations such as the FA buy into this discredited leadership model that is so prevalent in western management thought. The idea goes that the players must be OK (we pay them enough for gods sake) so it must be a matter of discipline and charismatic leadership – ergo lets buy someone who has apparently had great success elsewhere so he can repeat it here – surely he can take us to glory based on his success from past times. But the answer from evidence is NO – and we are going to start another re-run of history in a few weeks.

There is no evidence that leadership has any real sustained impact on performance. Leadership does not make a great deal of difference to how organisations or teams perform or survive – it is in fact a myth and team dynamics is much more complicated than this. Most reports that extol leadership are attributions – an organisation is a success therefore in western management thought it must be due to something that is good at the top. And nothing to do with how well the people in the organisation work together. Now good stewardship is important for sure but the role of a single person in yielding success (or failure) is over exaggerated and it come to our minds due to a process of recency and selective recall in the way we make sense of the world. We remember only the recent successful outcomes – and block out inconvenient truths.

So in a few weeks another England manager is on his way – the guilt expunged blame allocated and we can get on with another build up to disappointment again. The problem is we have to understand that despite high salaries our players are on average about the same in skill as those across the world – team dynamics vary and what is more important is the drive to success for the players. Perhaps it has been all too easy for the England team – young men with riches beyond their dreams who are simply not hungry enough to play well for the glory of their country.

For them there is no value in it so there is no effort.



A day in the life of a stressed out House-Person

Would you like you roof cleaned?

I was there doing the washing up – yes I know this is unheard off – when that black and white idiot of a dog of ours starts the hound of the Baskervilles impression and begins to bark the bloody place down. I don’t know what it is with Border Collies but they spend most of their day looking at the entrance to the drive waiting for someone to turn up then proceed to bark their flipping heads off – she’s turned postie into a nervous wreak I can tell you – and when they do get out they proceed to pee all over the visitor as a sign of submission. Anyhoo – ‘shut up you black and white bloody idiot’, I shouted just as she disappeared out of the front door on a blood quest – crap I’ll have to sort that out else she do someone a mortal – so I quickly squeezed out the sponge and in so doing sprayed water all down the front of my taupe trousers right across the front so it now looked if I had had a nasty accident and p*****d myself.

‘Oh hello would like more information about our roof cleaning service?’, said this chirpy lady who was standing on one of our garden chairs whilst our dog circled menacingly still barking of course. ‘Roof Cleaning!?’ ‘What? – will you bloody well shut up else I’ll strangle you!’ ‘Oh there’s no need to take that attitude’ – ‘Oh not you I meant that idiot.’ ‘Oh, I see – yes we offer to come around and clean the moss off you roof – it’s a new service we have started in the area.’ ‘Oh I suppose ‘offer’ means you do it for free?’ Well no you do have to pay but its reasonably cheap for a roof like your its only about £250.’ ‘WHAT!? £250 to loosen up and crack all the tiles and remove the moss I have been faithfully growing over the last ten years – No Way Jose.’ ‘I quite like the moss really so can live with it and as you can see I rather distracted right now.’ ‘Oh yes, wet yourself have you?’ ‘Yes I have wet myself because some bloody idiot called by when I am doing the washing up and…’ (from there it went down hill a bit). ‘Oh I see can I get down? – ‘Oh yes she quite friendly really we only trained her to go after idiot salesreps who waste my time with useless offers.’ ‘Oh I’ll go then – can I leave you our leaflet should you change your mind?’ – full marks for persistence though – and I walked back in to find a dog biscuit to reward black and white idiot for a job well done, to load the dishes into the dishwasher and find the newspaper.