I have just a few minutes ago, got in from Reading (well technically Henley, but that would be splitting hairs). What an afternoon! I really do not know where to begin. For some reason, whenever I spend time with Chris outside our office environment, strange and stupid things happen. The plans changed late last night, I was originally going to get over for before 3pm, but it was switched an hour early so that Emma could do some shopping before she started her job. No problem, I had a few jobs to carry out in the morning. Perhaps that is a good place to start. I went to sleep relatively early last night, for a Friday night. I am usually up until at least 1am, but I was out cold by 12.30am, that I can remember. I got up just after 8am and after breakfast, got ready and headed into town. I had been considering coming back home after getting my haircut but decided it best to head direct over to Binfield Heath as soon as I was done in town. Parking my car, I noticed that Jerry’s Street Styles was closed, with one customer waiting outside the door. I took a walk around the block, considering that if the saloon was not open on my return trip, I would go to Chaps just next door. As you can imagine, when I came back to the store, it was open but busy, a customer waiting with his son. No issue, I was happy to wait, it was a few minutes after 9am and I had plenty of time on my hands. So after my cut, I headed back to car, plugged the TomTom on and punched in the postcode provided by the car insurance company. Off I drove to Henley-upon-Thames. I was taken into the town, over the bridge and through the outskirts of the town. Then it took me down a road, which was had two way traffic but with residents vehicles parked on both sides, only one vehicle could pass in either direction. Thankfully I was able to get through without any problems. After a clearing I was headed into a single track road and the scenery had changed to farm land. Where was this garage? Looking at my ETA, it was still a good fifteen minutes to go. The journey, looking back was not that bad, but I was driving across country, through dirt tracks and it was no doing the cleanliness of car any good. I pulled up into a farm and my TomTom proclaimed I had reached my destination. This was wrong. I had reached the postcode as entered but the location was wrong. I was a stables, with many young girls taking out their horses to ride on this Saturday morning. I asked someone for help and he confirmed the postcode was correct but I was in the wrong place. He went to ask his daughter and then gave me clear directions, it was a couple of miles further down the road. I thanked him for his time and headed down to the garage, which I eventually found in the middle of nowhere. Trust me to be involved in accidents where the closest approved garage is in Binfield Heath, somewhere out in the sticks.
I wanted to get back to Wycombe by 12pm. A record I made within ten minutes, but I was under the foolish impression that Football Focus was on at 1pm, but instead it was live FA Cup Fourth Round action from Luton versus Blackburn Rovers. I was shocked to hear Gabby Logan and thought I had tuned into ITV1 by mistake but it was the Beeb. She had moved over recently but I had not noticed until now. I went for a shower, had some lunch and then got ready to head out the door again. What can I say about yet another “Rock n Roll” weekend! The sun was shining, I had my sunglasses on and I was listening to music in my car. I switched the radio on, for some strange reason I wanted to listen to KISS. I had a CD on my passenger seat, waiting to be loaded but something, some force wanted me to listen to the song being played. It had just started and it was a gentle, soft affair in comparison to the rest of the playlist on the premiere London Urban station. I picked up the chorus so had a title but did not know the artist. I would check the website as soon as I got home and get hold of the tune. I have now and I’m addicted, as the recent played list on Last FM will show you. The artist, is the faboulous Fergie. Now as now become the rule (not the exception) I was not a big fan of her debut solo single but this single I have become absolutely hooked on. Glamourous, perhaps this is the song I have been waiting for to kick start 2007. Maybe, just maybe it is vision of things to come, in the fast lane in my A3.
I arrived a little bit early to Chris’s house but decided to kill some time finding out which oil goes into the A3. I noted down a VW code, hoping to be able to decipher it in Halfords later in the afternoon. So while Chris and Emma had breakfast, I tried to explain all the jobs I had completed while they were still asleep. We then headed over to Reading, the scenic route via Caversham. There was a slight argument on the direction to take to the Oracle carpark. I agreed with the other passenger that going around and back on yourself and avoiding the bridge and roundabout would have been the wiser choice. Our driver decided he knew better and we got stuck in quite heavy (but nevertheless moving traffic). I think it was more for sentimental reasons that Chris took us this way. It was to drive past the ‘spot’, so I grabbed onto the rear ceiling handbar at the precise moment of impact.
I realised once again, this is why I avoid city centres on Saturday’s (particularly the afternoon when the world and his wife is awake). My attitude (with Wycombe in any case) is to get in and get out as early as physically possible. Here we were, a few hundred yards from the Oracle but stuck in traffic, moving a snail’s pace. Chris was going to the ‘secret’ car park, as he refered to it. The Holly Brook Road car park is housed above (or is that within) the House of Fraiser department store. This backfired on him, as this car park was closed and the red dot matrix display was refered all drivers back to the Riverside Car Park. Great. Emma abandoned ship, as she was otherwise going to be late for work. Chris made some evasive maneouvers and we turned around and round the corner to try again. Sara Cox was playing on Radio One and as part of the competition to win tickets to see the PCD, she was playing their debut single. To kill the time and the frustration of the queue, we both sung along. After going through the barriers, we headed up the levels and I was requested to give my choice on the level. I chose level 3, as the first two levels looked both busy and lacked any free spaces at first sight. It was just a random guess but as we drove around, there was a lady packing in her shopping bags into a bright red VW Lupo but Chris was far too impatient to wait and as we drove up about 50 yards, there was a free space on the left. Result. Was it a case of the Teg magic working once again? Well, stick around, there would be one more dead of the day to follow.
We headed over to Sports World but their range of trainers were limited to say the least. So we headed into the town centre and more specifically JJB Sports. While we did find the trainers I needed, the customer services was appalling. Actually it was non-existant. I asked for the trainers in a size 9 and was handed over a box and the sales assistant disappeated. While I can appreciate it was busy for a Saturday afternoon, there must be some customer focus. Instead I was left to fend for myself to try on and check the fit for myself. Okay, I am not a ten year old buying his first trainers but this was the men section and you expected some level of customer interaction. Then when I explained I was happy with them, I began packing the box, the same sales assitant took over and said, “I’ll do that, they will be waiting downstairs for you”. Great. Slightly redeeming yourself there. Strange to see that they have rubbish sales assistance but a web blog. Chris bought a black Adidas top and we headed downstairs to the till. There was a long queue, stretching quite easily into double figures. While waiting we both noticed the music. At first listen, it sounded like the pop track you would hear on the radio or mp3 player. It was actually a cover version and extremely bad at that. Bad was not even the word, it was attrocious. Someone was trying to screech along to Promiscuous Girl by Nelly Furtado. Chris and I thought it might be some internal employee karaoke night. Personally I would rather complete silence than listen to this cheap tacky rubbish. I mean, if you cannot afford the licence for the actual music, why not have instrumental music like they have in Clinton Cards. Why get backing vocalists to record such a nightmare. Thank God I don’t work at such an establishment. We left and not a minute too soon.
We headed into another high street store and then to mobile phone retailer, where the sales man quite quickly talked Chris out of buying a new bluetooh headset as he already had a working Nokia one. We headed back to the Oracle passed the department store formerly known as Heelas. It was here we came across a gang of kids perhaps in their early teens having an argument. The only meaning message we could make out was “You went out with Smurf!”. While it perhaps would be great to be young again, I am glad that those years are long long behind me. It was strange to see these kids having such a pointless and in places explicit argument on the streets, while the public tried to make their way through. One name comes to mind – Vicky Pollard.
Now fast forward to us leaving the car park. After a light snack in Tootsies, we decided it was time to go home, it was nearly 6pm. We caught the lift up to our level. Only to find that the ticket payment machine was busted. Great. We headed upstairs to level 4 to find a long queue for at least eight people queuing. I just had to laugh. Afterall, the was not the first time we had trouble in multistorey car parks in the Berkshire county. I just wanted to laugh. Then I had to come to the rescue of the young lady ahead of us in the queue. Her £1 coin was constantly being rejected by the machine, so I traded her with mine and that failed too. She tried again and it worked. Super Teg to the rescue. Well, that is what Chris said, but I felt it was more of helping someone out, rather than an act of superheroism. I suppose the question is, “What would have Gary done?”.
On the drive home to Henley, Chris wanted to put his foot down in the Ibiza Cupra, which is fine. By all means, let it rip. Burn as much as fuel as you want. However he decided to be a joyrider, to the wonderful soundtrack of Leona Lewis‘ debut single, “A Moment Like This”. Talk about kill the moment. Chris, you have some amazing moves my friend, just such a shame in the musical tastes for the ride.