Debit Crunch

Well, last time I let you, my avid fans, know what was going on in my world – I had to run off to go play pool.  And get stood up.  Still – a good excuse to spend nearly an hour in a big soulless plastic neon awful building drinking beer.  And then – a horrible horrible week of being on-call.  Absolutely nothing went right during that week.  Problems which resulted in my receiving an SMS message every 15 minutes throughout two nights running – and me not being able to turn them off or do anything about it.  Great fun.

Of course, none of this was helped by the fact that my local closed down over the weekend.  So – Saturday night was the last ever night at the local.  And this turned into pretty much what you’d expect.  Lots of me behind the bar, pouring myself drinks, until the wee hours.  And then – cooked a roast on Sunday, and shared idle chit-chat with Chook & Katie.  Then – I headed back down to the local – the owner let me in, and I helped him pack up some stuff.  All rather sad, actually.

So – I grieved for a few days, and have slowly started shopping around for a new local.  The logical one, due to location, was generally scoffed at by the regulars of my old local.  But – I’m thinking I’ll have to give it a go soon.  The second option, which involves an extra 10 minute walk – seems alright.  Lots of sports, which would be nice if I didn’t live in a country obsessed with football.  And it has an amateur theatre out the back.  So – it’s a rather odd mixture.  Old men muttering into their pints – then a crowd of theatre-goers waiting for the show – wo disappear suddenly.  Then – just old men muttering.  Intermission – a sudden influx of theatre-goers ordering white wines.  Then – a bell rings, and just as suddenly it is back to old men & pints.  (I am including myself in the old men muttering into pints category, of course).  And then – I went down there this last Saturday – to watch South Africa play England.  Fairly soon, I was wondering if the pub was a front for a drug den, or something.  All these dodgy people came in, stood about nervously, then this guy came out from the back – and handed them wads of cash.  The money seemed to be flowing in the wrong direction – but it all looked rather dodgy.  The chap from out the back wasn’t a big bloke – but he looked like the kinda guy you don’t mess with.  Like the head gangster in some Guy Ritchie movie.  So – I kinda didn’t want to be seen watching, but I was of course curious.  Eventually – I saw a transaction in it’s entirety.  Chaps came in – handed a piece of paper each to ‘Atchet ‘Arry – who then took these, looked at them – looked at the chaps – then went out the back.  Chaps had to wait – and weren’t allowed past a certain line – as the room through which ‘Atchet ‘Arry disappeared was marked “Ladies Only”.  A cunning ploy to stop these dodgy characters from getting close enough to a doorway to slip through to the office unseen, I assume.  Anyway – 15 minutes later, ‘Arry comes back – hands a big wad of cash to each person.  I still didn’t get it.  Then – it all clicked.  I remembered reading somewhere that one of the features of this pub was that it cashed cheques.  So – these chaps are getting paid by some bastard boss using cheques – and this is the only place they can get instant cash.  I assume ‘Arry is taking a sizable slice.  So – everybody’s happy.  The bastard employer is earning a few extra days interest, the employees are getting cash anyway, ‘Arry is getting an ‘ealthy percentage – and I got to watch England get throroughly thrashed yet again.

And then – I was off to Stratford.  Pen’s last night in the country – so I went back to the old flat, and joined Pen, Mike’n’Skye, adn Bibby to eat chinese and watch movies.  Zombie Strippers was particularly good – fully recommended.  Sunday night – a roast at Chook’s place.  Polite chit-chat, etc.

And then this week – I set out to prove that a credit-crunch doesn’t mean you can’t spend – it means you can’t BORROW.  So – if you usually spend money you actually have, absolutely nothing has changed.   So – this week I have been going through the major categories of purchases.  Overpriced sporting event ticket – check.  Got myself a ticket to watch New Zealand vs England on Saturday.  Sweet – walked with a bounce in my step all the way back to work.  Shiny electronic goods – check.  Held myself back from getting a projector or laptop – but did get a stupidly big external hard drive.  Regretted it before I even paid for it.  Overpriced unnecessary clothing – check.  Got myself a new suit, isn’t it? Then realised there were several stores just next door where I could have probably found one I liked a bit more.  Considered buying a second.  So – the only thing left I can think of is travel.  I’m considering Spain for Nicky Osborne’s birthday – but none of these goddamn lethargic people in London respond to any emails when I ask if anybody else is keen.  I get responses from Arsetralia, and the Czech Republic – but none from right here.  I understand though – this place is draining my soul as well.  Which is why Espana would be a good idea for a week or two.

I also considered Ecuador – but then saw it was about the same price as New Zealand.  But – I would very seriously consider going back to NZ if I had tickets to every single night of Neil Finn’s new Super-Concert.  Balcony seats – I’d probably book the flights tomorrow.  Although I have left it far too late to actually do anything at all – as I believe I am now booked in to do on-call up until the 23rd – and the deadline to change this has gone.  Should be able to get a few days off anyway – and maybe do a quick jaunt to Spain – paying stupid prices for airfares close to the 25th.  Worth it to see some sun, maybe some nature, and maybe the sea.

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