Yet more of the same as I board the good old 6.46 to Paddington - late by a mere 5 minutes - as is the way with Last Poor Western trains. It's a bright start insofar as there is daylight and I'm getting used to what it's like to not travel in the dark now that summer has finally arrived. You can tell its summer because I'm not wearing wellingtons - other than that, you'd never know.
The Stroud valley is resplendent in the spring green and browns making for an enjoyable trundle on the way to pig-town to join the mainline. I often think I wouldn't mind living out here - but then I see the state of some of the places and think again. Stroud is "artistic" in that its full of people claiming to be artists. On a more down to earth note - the ageing ex-hippies of Stroud like making tie-die t-shirts and wind chimes using the traditional Glastonbury methods of being stoned out of their heads during the manufacturing process.
Fair enough - that is a gross generalisation of the people of Stroud and I apologise to many of them - but it's accurate enough for you to understand the "vibe" of the place. It's a disused textiles town - with many a mechanic / furniture retailer / used-car salesman / pizza deliverer operating from ex-warehouses which are themselves, ex-mills. That's not to say its not a "vibrant" town. There's certainly enough entertainment to keep the local police fully employed, it's just not the brightest button in the box, shall we say. Don't get me wrong - the valley is beautiful - the town, less so. In summary, you're not missing much.
By the time we reach Swine-town, the train is fully laden and the hard core commuters are joined by those taking the short hop to Reading. It's days like this that I'm glad there's no wi-fi on board - a chance to clear my head (by writing this) before it becomes full of the whys and wherefores that the week will bring.
This week sees all four of us located in the red coloured hotel chain which will make a pleasant change from the grey. We have a plate load of things to do - starting today with some executive "help". Always interesting - and usually not quite as bad as you imagine it will be - but I'm not counting any chickens this time. We're in a pickle and whilst this is not a pickle that we have made, were still expected to find a way out of the jar. Challenging.
The Hedge has also persuaded me to invest in some new Bluetooth headphones. I've been looking for a set for a while, but on Thursday he discovered that the cost of a pair of stereo and very lightweight with integrated microphone for use on the telephone, had come down a fair bit and we both merrily parted with about 45 quid. The annoying tangle of headphone cable is nearing its end.
The interesting part of this transaction though, is the delivery method. They are to be left at a "drop box" in the city for us to collect. This is an Amazon feature service for when you're travelling and not able to accept delivery at home. Assuming we can find it, and assuming the drop hasn't been compromised by those behind the iron curtain, the collection should be made later today. "Zee Red Fox is sleeping in zee woods" - to which the obvious response is - "but only while zee Blue Badger hunts in zee springtime" - or something... All very cloak and dagger.
In other news - well, the isn't much other news actually. I got home on Thursday, managed a beer on Thursday night. Slogged through a mahoosive spreadsheet in between conference calls for most of the day on Friday. Cooked a curry. Played Taxi driver for daughter, Mrs G and the Lodger. Failed to win the lottery. Re-painted the middle bathroom. Watched the Hobbit in 3D. Helped with various hangovers on Sunday (not mine I might add). Reviewed some numbers ahead of today's meeting. Got out on the bike for a bit. Saw the Chinese Grand Prix and some of the Masters Golf. Cooked a Lasagne. Saw "Endeavour" - "Inspector Morse" when he was young and that was about it. All pretty quiet really.
The Hobbit - much better than I'd expected. I think all the reviews of it being long in the telling, and stretching the story to its limits had put me off the idea, but actually I really enjoyed it. The 3D version is split across 2 discs (which is unusual) but then at a running time of 3 hours, to be expected I suppose. This break perhaps makes it more digestible than a single 3 hour stint - but to be honest, I barely noticed. Magical landscapes of New Zealand and nice story telling work all round. I wish I didn't have to wait for the next "instalment" but Peter Jackson has clearly been to the George Lucas school of Film Farming, having learnt how to really milk-it. Still, it's more than worth a watch - 8/10.