Yesterday, Preston council decided to have a road census. I managed to avoid it on the way to work, but on the way home, a policeman stood out in the road in front of me and the two cars in the front, and directed us through a coned area towards three men in yellow fluorescent jackets.
I don't really know why they wanted to ask questions of a sample of road users, I just wish it wasn't so fucking difficult to do it in more than 30 seconds. The two people in front of me seemed to be able to answer everything required within about a minute. I got the guy who could hardly speak English. I don't know if it was my accent, yet he found it immensely difficult to understand me. I, in turn, found it impossible to fully comprehend what he was asking.
It went something like this…
'Hello, I'm from Preston city council. Can I ask you a few questions?'
'Where have you come from?'
'Can you give me postcode?'
'Er, it's PR4 or PR5. I'm not really sure. It's in Warton.'
'PR4 or PR5, I'm not 100% sure.'
'What should I write?'
'I don't know.'
'What is the name of the place where you work?'
'Where is that?'
'Er, it's in Warton.'
'What should I write?'
'What is the company called you work for?'
(flick of recognition) 'Ahh, BAE systems. How do you spell that?'
'No. BAe Systems.'
'How do you spell that?'
'Okay, where are you heading now?'
This was a mistake, as me being sarcastic just confused the guy.
'Err, where are you going now?'
'Home. Home. Now. Home.'
'Will you be leaving the car there?'
'Okay, thank you.'
The whole thing, coupled with the pauses and blank stares, lasted about 4 minutes. A big queue had built up behind me.
I then drove off slightly annoyed, and promptly got stuck behind an ultra-timid lady who managed to get me caught at a set of traffic lights, as she obviously didn't know what the little signals meant. Then a succession of people held me up by taking right turns (and only informing me of this at the very last moment). I got home in a slightly edgy mood.
I think the CNPS gods had been testing me, as they had just delivered a 57 and a 58 in the work car park. They also knew that I was going to write a blog about this today, so contrived to ensure that every light was on green when I came to work this morning.
The above was written yesterday (Wednesday), but because of our companies nazi work policy, I still have it sat open in Word. So I'll add some more today.
The drive in this morning was the antithesis of that yesterday. I hit every light on red. I also spent a worrying amount of the journey acting like a vigilante, and trying to annoy people who were driving in what I considered a 'twattish' manner. I shouldn't do that, even though it's kinda fun…
I've just returned from a trip to Woodford (south of Manchester) to "celebrate" the first flight of Nimrod. Everyone who works on the project was plopped on coaches and driven for 2 hours to the site. A cramped and dull journey was only enlivened when Chris shouted out 'Look a number 60!' and scored me my next CNPS number.
The plan for the day was for a few brief speeches, followed by a tour of the aircraft still in production, followed by a flypast by the Nimrod that has flown (which isn't allowed to land at Woodford because a man refused to chop some trees down).
As usual though, things didn't go to plan. The speeches were done as scheduled, but due to fog and bad weather, we didn't get the flypast. The tour of the aircraft hangars and the planes in production (including the almost complete PA02) was brief and didn't allow us within 20 metres of any of the planes.
If I'd paid to go and view this then I'd have written a letter of complaint. However, I was actually being paid for this and we'd also been given access to a never-ending buffet. I have stuffed a sizeable amount of vegetarian quiche, sandwiches, cake and orange juice into my face.
On the way back we were also given a "goodie bag". This consists of a T-shirt (which will be given to my dad), a commemorative mug, and a DVD of the actual events surrounding the first flight. A bit rubbish really. I wanted a bottle of vodka, or at least some Nimrod shaped crisps.
The whole event was held in a giant marquee, with one whole side of it made of glass. Highlight of the day was when Dave walked on two separate occasions into the glass, to come and speak to us outside. Another guy did it as well, at frighteningly high pace. The glass window had doors in every fourth or fifth pane, so Dave and this other guy must have thought they were walking through one of the gaps.
Hmm, it's no wonder this plane took so long to make.
As we left, there was tea and coffee running slowly down the glass from where Dave and the other guy had spilt their drinks when walking into the window.
And now it's Friday. I forgot to post that yesterday. So it now catalogues three days worth of events. Well, nothing much has happened today so far. I'm in work early because we have to get to t'midlands for 8pm. Thoughts of Thelwall viaduct already rest uneasily in my mind, in the same sort of way that Sauron infected the thoughts of Frodo Baggins.
Worst analogy ever.
I've put on weight. I didn't notice at first until I tried to put clothes on this morning that I last wore about two weeks ago. The scales back up this fabric evidence. I'm not surprised, based on how much food I've stuck in my face over the past couple of weeks. Hopefully when we get back to normal eating habits, my weight will return to a level where it doesn't threaten the structural integrity of my trousers.
I should have chucked a sickie today; it's going to be dull.
Actually, there is a burning smell downstairs. So, fingers crossed…