In the never ending pursuit of finding poor shops in Cambridge, yesterday brought up a new candidate Marks and Spencer. Of course I was already frustrated as I had already been into another store, only to be able to browse (as English law dictates that shops can only sell goods for 6hrs maximum, shops often open early - but can't sell you anything !).

So, here's the carnage...

Having to pay a deposit for a shopping trolley
I remember this in poor areas in Glasgow in the 1980's - surely Cambridge hasn't got that bad that a £1 deposit will actually deter people from stealing a trolley ?

I think it might deter you if your average weekly income is something like £65.46 (my guess at what statutory benefits are these days since I don't read the Daily Mail I don't believe the unemployed live in castles). But surely not in Cambridge ?

What really annoyed me was that I didn't have the necessary change and so had to ask someone at the checkouts to break a £20 note. He obliged, but then some silly supervisor (clearly someone promoted based on time served) gave him a hard time for doing so (something about forged notes). I wasn't in the mood to give her a dressing down (with the benefit of hindsight something to the effect of a schoolchild having a better concept of customer service would have sufficed) so just walked off cursing.

No onions in sight (or in stock)
And of course the obligatory out of stock item....

This time, stable British produce - Red Onions. How can you be out of stock something like that ? Well, I guess I should be lucky they had potatoes. It never amazes me how utterly crap this Marks and Spencers is though (actually if I recall it is earmarked for closure). What I find funny about the UK is that you always have plenty of junk food in stock (like crisps, chocolate etc.), but anything remotely healthy is always subject to being out of stock anywhere apart from Tesco's. You often feel like you are trying to buy a Pineapple in a Moscow Corner shop in the 1970's !

People often question why Tesco is the market leader in supermarkets and have such a successful business. Part of the answer is simple - always have what people want to buy in stock !

A rather busy week this week. Too many late nights (involving nightclubs and alcohol)- I've vowed to be good for another year..

Tuesday I ended up in Oxford for a meeting for work. I'm not a great one for socialising at work (as I usually am too busy, rather then just being plain ignorant). However, I had already finished my slides on the train down and I arrived a little late so ended up meeting up with the group for dinner.

Of course, a couple of glasses of wine later and I ended up being dragged (well not really !) out to a couple of pubs. A couple of drinks (beer and scotch/soda) later I ended up in some bar/nightclub (funny that a bunch of 30/40 professionals were all having around hands stamped after we had paid to get in). The night after that is rather vague, apart from one incident involving Red Bull/Vodka with one of the sales guys, then some further Scotch/Soda. I have this issue where I can be very very sensible, but after a few drinks I end up being one of the people trying to coerce everyone to end up staying out.

About 1AM I decided I had enough (read common sense got the better of me) and left. Of course I had forgotten where I actually was going to (hadn't really paid attention to the hotel name), so had to wait for 10 or so minutes for someone else to come out and show me the way home !

The next day ended up going quite well (even though I was feeling a little tired). Although the journey back (via Slough) was a bit prolonged. Got to Kings Cross to see the headline in the Evening Standard '50% Tax' - great even more money to pay to the government now :(. So I cheered myself up by heading over to St Pancras Station to grab some food. The good thing about St Pancras is that the Eurostar to France goes from there - so of course there are a number of good French sandwich/cake shops.

Bizarrely, Jennie Bond (former) Royal Correspondent was in my carriage on the train back. The highlight of my journey- a minor celebrity on the train back home !

Friends from School and I usually meet up somewhere every year. Favourites are Newcastle (equidistant from London and Glasgow/Edinburgh) and Aberdeen (where a number of people we know live).

I like both places. Aberdeen is a bit of a pain to get to (about 8hrs train journey, flight possible but involves going to a slum in the South East which I refuse to do)- although the train journey is very scenic. I know it well as I used to go there a lot as a child. Newcastle is a real party town and the Newcastle people are fantastic friendly.

I'm not a big person on accents, but there is something I really like about the Newcastle accent (very distinctive).

Highlight of the trip was a queue at 11:30PM outside an ATM machine, talking with a bunch of students and timing how long each persons ATM transaction took and commenting on it- it was actually quite funny (though you probably had to be there).

9AM train Saturday morning from Newcastle to London to go looking at Kitchens (after leaving nightclub at 2AM, kebab on way back to hotel).

Of course I could have gone to look at kitchens in Cambridge - but that would be a pointless exercise. Metaphorically, a kitchen shop in Cambridge would be the equivalent of a Belling Cooker 2 ring cooker stuck on a table, whereas London would be a large Aga in a country estate. I prefer the latter myself.

As usual, London was a disaster zone in terms of travel with a good chunk of the tube being closed. It's worse when it's mid afternoon and the city is so busy. At one point I was in Heals (large home shop) and I just crashed on one of the sofas in the showroom.

Cambridge on Sunday. Usual pain of trying to buy things and them not having stock (blog entry to follow).

Kitchen Planning
Spent much of Saturday night sketching out kitchens. Thankfully the broad curriculum dictated by the (excellent) Scottish education system dictated that I studied a non-academic subject for 2 years at school, so my time invested studying Craft & Design finally did come to some use sketching plans with multiple elevations. However, I won't be giving up the day job just yet !

This blog comes from a winebar in Newcastle. Now of course many people would think of bars in Newcastle as being full of 50 year old men, drinking Newcastle Brown Ale and smoking like a chimney. Well actually there are some fairly nice bars here. Although I did find it funny that I actually had to ask a policeman where a decent one was. It's strange but in the city centre there are actually proper banks (as opposed to banks that are now bars like most of the UK).

I did laugh as I stepped off the train earlier. Within about 10 seconds, I spotted a large number of fake tans as well as obvious Hen parties. It will be an interesting night out (thankfully I arrived before everyone else so get to have a wander about and eat some decent food/drink before the carnage of Friday night that ensues).

.. on the the booked train to Newcastle. Of course I hadn't figured that my morning would be plagued with mishaps (some good and some bad). Day wasn't off to a good start when I realised I didn't have any cash to pay for the taxi to the train station. However, that problem was solved when I called to book the cab and they indicated I could pay the driver. I called at 8:11 and the office told be it would be about 10-15mins (the usual time).

Decided to wait outside, 8:26 came and went, then 8:35 and I started to get nervous. Called and the guy clearly had a problem finding me ! Eventually he turned up at 8:38 and it wasn't looking good to catch the train (especially peak time and also that I still had to buy a ticket at Cambridge to get to Peterborough to catch a Newcastle bound train). I managed to convince the taxi office to take payment over the 'phone to save time.

Well after lots of cursing from me (and of course stopping at every red light possible and every cyclist on the journey) I arrived at Cambridge Station at 9:01 (rest assured a raft of expletives had been used in the preceding 3 minutes). Of course the queue for buying tickets was massive (and the automated ticket machines were a right-off). Eventually I managed to buy a ticket and catch a later train. Trouble was that would get in at 10:25 - my connection was 10:21. I just decided to relax, knowing I'd likely have to purchase a new ticket :(.

Well, what I didn't bank on was the British Railway system at it's true best ! Yes, of course my connecting train was late !! Thanks to 'National Rail' - a great app for the iPhone I was tracking its (late) progress. For once I'm not going to complain about punctuality ! I arrived at Peterborough Station to this notice board:

Note to readers- all of the intermediate stops (save for Durham) are some of the worst places in the UK. Newcastle however is an excellent place for a weekend away (especially when late nights and alcohol are the way).

Of course I'm just in Newcastle for the day/night - catching a 9AM train back to London tomorrow to wander around Kitchen shops. Somehow I think I will be regretting my actions at 3PM Saturday afternoon when I'm hungover and choosing kitchen cupboard styles. Thankfully earlier in the week I had a few too many drinks and have sworn never to drink alcohol again !

Anyways, overall a lucky day so far, topped off by the nice breakfast courtesy of National Express....

Of course the service on the train is excellent due to the crew being from Newcastle (or at least sounding as though they are from the accent).

Today has been a hectic day. Firstly, dealing with the new house (picking out flooring, kitchens, etc.) then estate agents, solicitors, etc. Then lots of ongoing work and yet another long day.

Thankfully a short week with travel to various parts of the UK (Oxford, then Newcastle).

I've always been a fan of these cakes- not by any means fantastic quality- but there is something about the taste of them. Actually, when I was a child my parents would always buy me a box for Xmas. I have fond(ant) memories of waking up at 6AM, opening each present until I got to the box that was obviously French Fancies. Each year, after finishing present opening, I'd sit and scoff at least half the box (actually more like a box) and always feel sick afterwards. They are 2 things which I really enjoy eating with a glass of milk (the other being salt and vinegar crisps),

Mr Kipling is quite a famous cake brand in the UK, particular specialities are small individual apple pies (which Americans absolutely love).

Anyways, some more pictures (and no I didn't bite into the cake, it was split open with my fingers)...

Ode to Train Blues
To the guy attempting to run a coffee bar at Cambridge Station... When the price of something is £1.90, why would you charge someone £2.00 for it ? Then make some stupid remark when questioned about it ?

To the 7 Dutch (Belgian ?) people on the 8:45 express train from Cambridge to Kings Cross (first destination carriage)... I'd like to personally thank you for making my journey as unpleasant as possible by holding a conversation at the level I've expect during a packed PSV Eindhoven Cup Final match, such that I could hear it from the other end of the carriage. Thanks, yet another journey ruined. I managed to travel for school/University of years in Scotland on a packed (but low noise) train - how I'd love to go back to those days (so that at the very least I could listen to the Iron Maiden track pumping from the headphones of the guy across from me).

Internet Irony
There is something a little ironic about sitting a Starbucks in London around the corner from Europe's largest Apple Store and only being able to get Edge reception (no 3G) on my iPhone. Things have gotten better over the past few months - but the UK still has a far way to go compared to Europe.

Are Starbucks Staff on Commission ?
I'm wondering if Starbucks staff are paid commission ? I was buying coffee this morning and the guy was really pushy trying to sell me muffins, sandwiches etc. My reply to him was simple "Don't I look fat enough ?" - that level of being blunt with people usually hits them...

As an aside, they are playing the strangest choice of music for a Starbucks (although better than the usual 45minute CD drivel). So far I've heard Roxy Music and right now the Sugarcubes 'Birthday'.

Nonsense Banking
Really simple task - pay cheque into a bank Saturday morning. No ! Went to the usual branch in the West End, only to find that the staff (likely due to staff shortages as people are on holiday) decided on the fly to change the opening time. I really love the professional way they have changed the opening times - using what looks like Tipp-Ex ! Of course there's absolutely no way to actually figure out an alternative branch that may be open !, tried to call and got put through to someone in Newcastle (who clearly had never been to London - though come to think of it plenty of people in Cambridge have neither !).

You may recall the last posting on broken machines here. Well, one week later (okay 6 days and 21 hours) this is an up to date picture of said machine...

I really would like to think it hasn't been broken for the whole week. Then again, it is Easter School holidays and it wouldn't at all surprise me if the (likely) single person who can fix the machine in the whole South East of England is on holiday in Spain with his kids ! (he of course flies to his destination as the trains aren't that reliable these days!).

Dinner at Vietnamese restaurant in Cambridge. I like the food in this place, although the noodles/soup isn't quite as appealing since I started to make it at home myself (of course my own home recipe has the magic ingredient of blood from cut fingers trying to chop beef into fine slices).

The only trouble is that the atmosphere is absolutely awful. I can't quite put my finger (excuse pun) on it. The best description I can come up with is that during your visit as you eat you feel you are a British tourist (from some lousy village in the North with 95% unemployment) in solitary confinement in a Hanoi prison being held on remand for drug offences.

This reminds me of another restaurant (Spanish) in Cambridge that I've visited (for work dinners) several times. I didn't like the place very much, then realised why: no air-con, dark, red-lights - yes it was hell in disguise !

So, that begs the question "Is there the equivalent of Dante's Inferno, but a dining experience in Cambridge ?". Forget the Kings Street Run, I'm heading for the "Dante's Inferno Dining Experience" - the last circle being a city centre kebab shop ! (or is that a nightclub ?).

Every morning on my way to work I pass this scene. I've tried to capture it with the iPhone - but the quality isn't that good. Anyways, this pic is courtesy of my pocket Leica - this won't win any photography competitions, but if you click on the pic you can see the large number of rabbits if you look close enough.

Actually, I tried to take some pictures earlier enroute in the grounds of the local hospital. However, I decided that might not be too sensible an idea given it was 7AM and I was in the grounds of a mental hospital !!

Continuing with the theme of Easter weekend being the worst holiday weekend, today was as uneventful as the whole of the weekend thus far. This post comes courtesy of MarsEdit (finally managed to sort out an offline blog tool).

I just created my to-do / project list and as usual there is far too much to get done in the following week and things to chase so I'm expecting it to be a hellish week full of late nights.

Broadband Blues
Arrived back home at noon to be met by the guy who arrived to 'fix' (term used loosely) my broadband. I'd had a number of conversations over the weekend with Virgin concerning problems I've been having with my broadband connection. I ended up calling to cancel the service (so irritated), but ended up giving them another chance (quote 'put me through to someone who knows what they are talking about, not a retard reading from a script). Eventually got put through to someone in Wales.

Having been told they'd send someone who could do a full analysis of my connection (not simply stick a signal strength meter into the cable on my wall) I had my usual skepticism - but decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Well, as usual I was disappointed. The guy arrived with said signal meter, plugged it into the wall and replied "good connection", to which I replied "I could have told you that". Complete and utter waste of by Monday afternoon :(. After he left, I stewed for a few minutes and decided to 'phone and have a moan. We left that call with the technician indicating to me that unless someone could see a fault on my line, there was nothing I could do.

I could have moved to a 50MB service with Virgin, likely I will have to downgrade to something like a 1MB service with BT. There's progress.

Scottish Clans
I'm watching a television show that is about Scottish Clans. Why do they always have people in Scotland in the shows who speak with an English Upper-class accent ?!

The show about Scottish clans has finished and I'm watching every mans favourite cooking show 'Nigella Express'. As usual dominated by great looking food and lots of takes of Nigella's real life. She's just dropped her daughter at school. I wonder what it's like to be at school with Nigella's daughter ? - packed lunches must be interesting..

What do you have ? Cheese Sandwich... Me ? Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry, followed by Chocohotopots...

Weekend Food
Probably the highlight of the weekend was lunch as Asadal in Holborn. I love Korean food and as usual they didn't disappoint. It does worry me how well they are doing though as we were the only people in the place the whole of lunchtime.

The world has officially decided to go crazy. I recall speaking to someone who I had studied with a few years ago who told me that the last time she was up in Glasgow they had security tags on bottles of whisky. When she told me the area of Glasgow, I wasn't too surprised. Also given the high value of bottles of Scotch, coupled by the fact that I'd be willing to bet that your average common thief likes a tipple, it didn't surprise me.

However, it's clear that not only does your average store thief like a glass (bottle?) of whisky, they also have a penchant for steak ! I was at a supermarket in Cambridge yesterday (not one I usually go to) and picked up the above package. The large pink sticker didn't really register, until this morning when I opened the package (to cook Thai beef salad) only to realise that on the back of the sticker there was a large RF security tag ! A sad fact of society today - they have to put security tags on £2.13 packs of steak !

Reminds me of a funny scene I observed at a hotel reception in Israel. This German guy had come down with a pair of trousers and asked for assistance. He had one of the security tags you get on clothing (the huge 30cm wide things). He obviously had bought a new pair of trousers for his business trip, thrown them in the suitcase, only to discover on arrival in Tel Aviv that the security tag was still on ! I saw the smirk on the lady at reception's face !!

Heading home from London today I saw this - it makes carrying a decent camera (rather than the iPhone) around with me all the time worth it.

British service at its best ! Great idea to have a customer service telephone on the platform (in lieu of trolleys). However, it does help if you actually connect the cabling up !

I was considering missing my train and heading over to the bookmakers on Pentonville Road and betting £1000 on the 'phone still not being connected by the end of 2010....

A quick post from London from a crowded Starbucks in Knightsbridge.

London is so busy today - the busiest I've seen it for years. I guess I'm not used to being here on a Bank Holiday weekend. It's crazy. Of course the usual protestors (fur trade etc.) are out in full force. I do find in the shops the staff are very eager to sell you things (for a change). Been looking at furniture and people are offering me a discount before I even ask (changed days).

Cambridge Station Car Park
London abound today. Of course the usual stress that involves parking at Cambridge Station Car Park (or is that Taxi Rank, Cycle Shop, or anything else random they decide to put into it). I'm actually surprised they don't have some horrid car boot sale/market at weekends there (since people seem to like that thing).

As usual the Mensa genius level test that involves purchasing a ticket for parking failed two thirds of those who tried it so ended up storming in a huff to the other side of the car park. I must confess whoever designs the interface on these machines must be related to those who build photocopiers !

Cambridge Station
In a mood as s result of the above, I got into the station to buy tickets - or so I thought. Got to the machines only to discover they were out of order. Apparently too many people had bought tickets today and the machine had ran out ! Now that one almost matches up with 'leaves on the line causing delays in Autumn'. Did nobody think that a bank holiday weekend would result in lots of people wanting to travel ?- I guess that's a novelty (maybe we should all just sit at home eating Hot Cross Buns and watching Songs of Praise ?).

Thankfully staff were on hand to sell tickets the old way (i.e. person replacing a machine). I often wonder where these people normally are when I'm stuck in a queue. Probably sitting with their feet up in the back office with Tea and Eccles Cakes reading this weeks' copy of the RMT newsletter I guess. I was just about to buy the ticket when the guy replacing the machine I was using indicated he had to go off (no doubt to have a cup of tea...). Therefore I was left facing the following:

I was tempted to write something above the sign like 'Totally' (or perhaps a little stronger).

This got me thinking. Why is the UK so backward when it comes to vending machines ? There doesn't seem to any standard machines around which I'm sure is part of the problem (therefore a fleet of service technicians are needed). I recall in Japan every machine I ever used working (as I don't know the Japanese for 'Try another selection', 'Out of Order', and other common phrases needed in the UK). I guess it's just another example of where the UK is backward in the area of customer experience. Even Europe can do vending machines well...

Today I had to visit one of the company offices in the UK (Maidenhead). Thankfully with the improved transport system in the UK nowadays it is possible to get there at a reasonable time via public transport (albeit via 4 journeys). Anyways, door-door in just over 2 hours - with the added benefit of being able to catch up on e-mail during the journey.

During the wait for the train at Cambridge station, it occurred to me just how soul destroying a daily commute would be (even though I did it in the past for school and also University). I noticed people line up along the platform (I'm sure the same place) and I'm so glad I don't have to do it nowadays (although the social aspect is nice). Managed to get a seat on the train (very unBritish way of getting onto the train by people I must say). Entry into central London was good also- remarkably quiet for rush hour.

Arrived in Maidenhead. It has that ambience/smell of London Commuter belt- difficult to quantify exactly, but feels strange (probably atmosphere and also quiet compared to London). Finally made it to the office (despite the map I had bein awful and also Maidenhead having no street signs).

At lunch I was again surprised by how friendly and efficient people are compared to Cambridge. People gave me directions this morning (nice). However, at lunch I was surprised with the service in Waitrose. No forks at the salad bar. Now, if that had been Cambridge they'd probably have said "sorry we are out". However, the girl serving ran off and a few minutes later returned with a box that they'd normally have for sale (picnics) and apologised - how pragmatic (I had to pinch myself that I was in the UK!).

So far everything has gone well- I'm worried about the commute back !

I've never been a fan of smoking (save from when I'm very drunk where for some reason cigarettes and Gin & Tonic - two things I hate - seem to be a good idea to try). Therefore I am highly supportive of the ban on smoking in public places. Actually, being very against a devolved Scotland I am highly sceptical of anything the Scottish Executive does. However I give them full credit for what is easily the health initiative of this century - banning smoking in public places. It really boils down to consideration for other people - something few people actually have.

So, this morning I was waiting for the bus into work (being good and using public transport) and this guy was smoking at the (enclosed) bus stop. Even though it was outside he was puffing away- creating a horrible environment for all of us. It was Monday morning so I wasn't in the mood to give him a hard time (besides, he looked mentally ill given his dress sense and what he was carrying). Do people actually need a 'No Smoking' sign in order to apply common sense.

Of course I'm now frustrated with myself for not saying anything (hence why I have wasted peoples' time by writing this !).

I've never had an addiction so I can't really imagine the craving you have for cigarettes. However, it really can't be that bad can it ? I've been on trains before that have been halted due to someone smoking in the toilets and that really irritated me. Makes me think of the most bizarre times I've had on public transport:

  • Train stuck due to cow on the line
  • (Several times) delayed train due to someone threatening to throw themselves under it. Always makes for interesting times on a train in South East, where if you listen to the comments people make on their cellphones (frustrated calls to family), the conversation usually goes something like "Why can't they just get on and do it, inconveniencing all these people is terribly rude !"
  • Had a large stone smash through the glass as I was sitting at the table.
  • Delayed trains due to points being cold (note to train operators: temperatures do reach freezing in the UK)
  • Delayed trains due to leaves on the line
  • Going to loo on a train, only to find two people already there - shooting drugs

The above lists sounds awful. However, I've also had some pleasant experiences on trains (albeit not in the UK). For example, packed Japan Shinkansen one Fridat night, bad mood, only to be greeted by young lady carrying a bucket of beers on ice bowing down....

Craig (not) the Estate Agent

So, 10 sets of people to view the house this weekend. Strangest mix of people (well it is Cambridge) - religion, academics, medics. Living near Addenbrookes Hospital (one of the largest in the UK) has its benefits in terms of pulling in a certain mix of people- namely young doctors (I got bored with discussions of oral medicine).

I have decided that an estate agent is not my future profession (for one thing I am too honest). However, it's interesting how as you show people around (and hear their comments) you develop an interesting spiel. I'm certainly better at describing one of the bathrooms now (from 'it has a WC and a bath' to 'potential for shower, knock-through to create another en-suite').

It's also interesting to see the different in priorities that people have. Broadly speaking, nobody cares about the garden (nor do I). Men love the conservatory at the back of the house and also concerned about the garage. Ladies seem more concerned with the loo and bedrooms.

Cabaret Music
There's always been a style of music I've loved ever since I was young. My mother used to take me to this restaurant in Glasgow when we'd go into the city (still remember the smell of Lewis' food hall). I remember they used to play cabaret style music (at a very ambient level). In Hamburg there used to be a bar on the Alster (knocked down) that was nicely lit and when I passed they used to have similar music; also in Boston.

I was on iTunes earlier and for some reason decided to listen to some soundtracks and found 'Hors De Prix'. So, I ended up finding a track 'Une Nouvelle Journee' - absolutely fantastic - it's been going round in my head all day.

Cool Software
I think everyone who knows me knows I'm a huge Mac addict (and have managed to convert a lot of people over). One of the things I love about the Mac is the software base that exists for it (some very talented people).

One of my favourites is 'Delicious Library' - a great program for cataloguing all your media. It has a nice twist where it uses the iSight camera as a barcode scanner and then looks up all the details of the item you scan on Amazon. You then get nice pictures of the items on a shelf.

I came across another app today called 'Evernote'. One thing that bugs me about the iPhone is the inability to synch notes that you take back onto your desktop. Well, Evernote just replaces the normal 'Notes' app, and has a desktop/iPhone/Web version. Sat and played with it for an hour or so. It's free - but I think the developers are missing a trick here in not charging for it.

Everything in the world has an opposite they say and I've come to realise that includes supermarkets. In the US the other week I ended up in WalMart purchasing some items at the chemist - Melatonin for jetlag and stocking up on TheraFlu (the worlds best cold medicine aside from a bottle of Whisky/Honey).

Whilst walking around (Saturday afternoon), I realised how awful the place was (even worse than Carrefour in Shanghai). Noisy, too crowded, awful layout (think 70's cash and carry). I asked an assistant for help and she was rude to me.

Today I was in Waitrose and realised it is the complete opposite. The ability to scan goods yourself as you shop is efficient, as well as helpful staff, wide aisles. Generally a pleasant experience. Of course I bumped into people from work (as I usually do). Well, indeed everything has an opposite. I reckon Waitrose does social-class screening (like Marks and Spencers used to) - probably not formally though.

House Selling

Not content with the status quo, the house is on the market again. The result - me being in a stinking mood at the thought of estate agents, people viewing the house, and having to be tidy.

House went on the market Monday, had 4 viewings tonight. 2 sets of people turned up early (irritating). Thankfully nobody said anything bad about the place - well at least not in English. Two sets of people spoke another language other than English - so likely they were saying something like "these Scottish people, they live in such a slum you know".  Actually, the whole experience was much easier than I thought. One guy seemed most interested in the toilets - kind of bizarre but each to their own !

8 Bottles of Wine
Had a craving for cakes tonight (after pub for dinner), so decided to go to Co-Op and grab something (as well as bottle of wine). Well, the usual wine I had was on offer, so the Scottish in me decided to capitalise on the bargain and buy all the bottles they had. Of course I only had 2 hands, so walked up, put the bottle down and then made 2 further trips to get the remainder of the stock. The lady behind me looked in disgust - obviously thought I was an alcoholic. Inventory of purchases - 8 bottles of wine, pack of cakes, copy of GQ magazine (that's a perfect weekend in for many single guys). Of course the usual problem with Co-Op not giving you carrier bags and having to purchase them. Oh, and of course like any Friday night under-agers were serving (I call them the clesrasil brigade) so had to wait for an adult to ring the goods through. You'd think that they'd have adults serving on a Friday night (though come to think of it, they are probably out enjoying themselves rather than stuck behind a till !).

The episode of buying booze reminded me of once when my parents were on holiday. A group of us went to Makro (Dutch cash and carry chain) and bought the entire inventory of Lowenbrau on special offer.

Hot Cross Buns
Am I the only person that hates these ? I must confess that I actually find the idea of crucifixion more appealing than eating a hot cross bun with butter. I love the fact that the supermarkets here sell them on '2 for 1' offers - extra special value on religion !

Favourite Ad
Glad to see this add has come up again on TV - very simple message but very clever.. Of course I didn't buy the product (but did the music on iTunes)....