Monthly Archives: July 2019

Where are my keys?

It strikes me – thanks, self-awareness – that I might be having senior moments. Apologies to those of a sensitive nature: perhaps folk could enlighten me as to the correct term these days for being a dumbass?

Of course, the disappearance of a set of keys is a frequent, fleeting affair:

“Where are my keys?”

[Rummaging noises.]

“Found them.”

[Carries on with day.]

On this occasion they are remaining stubbornly absent. So much so that I have retraced steps and whatnot. Having turned the house upside down and drawn a breadcrumb following blank, the next move is to ask in nearby facilities who might receive hand-ins of this nature. Favourite caff? Nope. Supermarket? Likewise. FaceBook Noticeboard? Nada. Then the more offline world.

[Cut to scene at the library. Set is charming rural English small-town fayre, with staff straight from central casting.]

[To librarian] “Hello, do you nice people have any keys that the public might hand in?”

“We don’t do lost property.”


“Except large sums of money, valuable single items…

… and firearms.”



“Get many of them do you?”

“Never received one. Although someone put a knife in our book-return letterbox during an amnesty once.

The police station is open on Wednesday morning, you could try them.”

Blinking, slightly boggled I emerge from the illegal deadly weapon depository and realise it is indeed a Wednesday morning.

[Thin Blue Line set, bulletproof glass partition, WPC seated.]

“Good morning officer.”


“I don’t suppose you have any keys handed in?”

“We don’t do lost property.”


“Let me have a look.”

[Disappears backstage with loud rummaging sounds, looking for the lost property they don’t deal with.]


You could try Waitrose, they are very good with lost property.”

“Thanks. Bye.”


Back to square one.

Key Learnings:

  • Nice customer experience at the cop shop on a Wednesday morning in Marlborough if you’re passing.
  • Waitrose are the new (4th? 5th? Xth) emergency service.
  • Any hot items/laundered cash/dirty hand cannons? You know where to go.
  • Key [ahem] learning? Keep an eye on your darned keys Beer!

PS: You haven’t seen my keys perchance?

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The most beautiful words ever spoken…

Folks, put aside your existential angst, environmental woes, earthly struggles and daily grind by joining me in savoring that moment upon the blissful utterance:

“…sir, you’ve been upgraded.”

As the departure board showed an ever increasing delay hours before we even knew which gate, I bought another ruinously expensive coffee and hunkered down for a grumpy wait. Having checked in via an app’ – so 21st C’ dahling – the updates in the airport proper were arriving more slowly than the ones direct to my pocket. I noted a seat row/letter discrepancy betwixt static downloaded ‘pass and live flight status’. Hmm.

Whence the gate was announced I nipped along smartly. Stealthily moving to the front I politely mithered the gate staff (who were busily avoiding eye contact with a hoard of irked travelers). I gently explained my confused data and offered the phone to illustrate. Cue audible sigh with oh-so-nearly-out-loud eye roll to match. Then the flatly delivered:

“…sir, you’ve been upgraded. And you’ll need to join Group 2. Here’s a new boarding pass.”

[Excited squeak]

Group 5 was my preassigned lot. An enormous snake of fight wearied, delay scarred long haul cabin warriors who board their flights last and hard. Group 2? Ah, that’ll be the panama hats and flowing dresses in the bijou queue-ette who board after the dusting of royals in Group 1. Group 3 & 4? Pah! Tsk. Wannabes, the lot of ’em.

Trying hard to wipe the brand new grin, no, smirk off my chops was tricky as I sauntered to the appropriate line. One must appear as if this is one’s place in life right? Delay? What delay? It just doesn’t matter anymore. Four words have taken away my stress, the tension in my shoulders has gone as I await patiently the sweet embrace.

Club World: Business Class.

Until this point it was a grim coming to terms with a lost weekend on a long haul flight. Not to mention delivering a challenging week’s work in a far off land. Now? Right now I’m wondering what Champagnes they serve these days?

Not wanting to forgo this golden chance for opportunism, be advised that I really caned the in-flight service with gusto. (If not some style.) By the time we arrived – still 45 minutes behind what was expected – I was well fed and comprehensively versed in the Champoo, Cognac, Vino Tinto, G&T and even water – hydration baby – that was generously offered. It didn’t seem to matter that we were late. anymore. Luggage, taxi, check-in, bed: I can still manage these tasks pickled.

Beforehand, 100% sober, back at Heathrow, I plonked down in my rear facing – most odd – deluxe seat and started chatting to my neighbours. Naturally, they were horrified. One of the great paradoxes in travel is that those whose carriage terms come under the banner “super-lucky-to-be-here” – as far as the 99.9% of other humans might see it – also have the demeanour of folk whose collective dog has just died. Where is it written that when you are in pamper-class you have to be all miserable like? Perhaps it was the lightheadedness brought on by my luck, but there was a temptation to shout “smile dammit.” Are there classes at crushingly expensive private schools where one learns to look decidedly unimpressed when one must have an instinct to punch the air?

Then I was handed my first glass of booze and the feeling passed. I pretty much necked it. [Classy.] I got a refill. And repeat.

Ooh, this glass isn’t chilled properly my brain automatically thought. Moments later: there’s not much storage space is there? You see: that’s what happens. Passing through a new level of expectation and you are not automatically delighted. It’s merely the next level that beckons.

But being upgraded. It’s all about the feeling and emotion that the very whiff of indulgence gives. A touch more space and (quite a lot) more booze is really not worth £000s more than a boggo cattle class seat that gets you there at precisely the same speed. And yet…

Then there’s the naked truth: I shouldn’t be flying at all. None of us should. And yet… to be upgraded. Wow, how about that!

It doesn’t make sense does it? What contrary, frivolous creatures we all are.

(You can add downright childish in my case if you like. I was sooo excited.)

On a practical, selfish level, it also helps to join the loyalty scheme and travel alone on a busy flight: it makes you ripe for being squeezed up a class. (Or off the flight altogether perhaps?)

Next flight is Friday 19th. Does lightning strike twice?

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Space cadets look up and go oooh.

Dear Elon,

Should I call you Mr Musk? No, too formal. Anyhow, stop changing the subject.

Now look here my man. I’m really quite irritated, possibly slightly cross with you and your SpaceX people.

The boy and I planned our trip to Florida months ago. Months! And we were deliberately pretty baggy in the itinerary department apart from one date: 22nd June. IE: The date you said they would be sending a fat Falcon rocket – whoosh! – out into space. So we booked a hotel in why-the-hell-else-would-you-stay-there-ville, NW Florida on the “Space Coast” with the primary intent of watching an enormous firework go fizzing into the sky (and – pinkies crossed – not going bang) at midnight or thereabouts.

Here’s the trip:

  • Arrive in Florida? Check
  • Drive a free-wheeling 1,200 mile road-trip? Check
  • Avoid getting comprehensively sunburned? Check.
  • Get bitten half-to-death by bugs? Check. (Click here.)
  • Gators? Theme Park? Manatees? Dolphins? Rays? Burgers? Thunderstorms? Clear Blue Skies? Check, check, checky, checkedy-check check-arama.
  • An amazing day at the Kennedy Space Centre on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program? Big fat check.
  • T minus a few days for the night-time Falcon Heavy launch? Er, Elon, we have a problem.

Yes, yes, yes, I know safety, getting it right, leaving nowt to chance and whatnot is critical/no laughing matter, but delaying the launch by two days? Er, hell-oh? That’s only the 24th. Aka the night we fly back to Blighty on a blummin’ non-refundable-amendable BA flight.

Do you see my problem? We turned up on time. And your rocket was where exactly? Hmm? No, no, I’ll wait… _______? Precisely.

Not on my good man. Not. On.

The chances of me being on the Space Coast with my son for a launch again are more remote than Cape Canaveral is from civilisation. (Although I’ll grant you the vast coastal wilderness location makes it an amazing accidental nature reserve. Plus a generous oops-there-goes-m’rocket blast zone… c’mon you are fooling no-one: it was envisaged/zoned off  so the Reds-under-the-beds of the cold war USofA couldn’t peek at your tech’. America was a by-word for paranoia back then hey? These days that’s a thing of the pas… oh.)

And we missed the Apollo 11 Duran Duran gig.*

Seriously, to borrow your former-colony parlance, duuude.

NB: I’ve used italics and bold by way of emphasis in this letter which is as close to pure rage for us buttoned-up Brits let-me-tell-you. If I don’t get a handwritten reply within 10 days I might just write to The Times (“of London” as you Americans insist on saying as if there might be another “The Times”). Don’t underestimate how bothered we are here: we are talking DEFCON somewhat peeved.

Yours really rather miffed-ly

Ian & Mog

PS: Well done SpaceX on a successful mission.

*  Duran Duran? Is it me or is that a slightly random band choice?

Notwithstanding “Concert tickets are $300 and include parking. Ticket offers admission to the concert only and does not permit early admission to the visitor complex.”




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