In the course of my work, I find myself travelling to see customers from time to time. Sometimes this is because they are old and infirm and unable to travel themselves, and sometimes it’s because they simply never drive into Edinburgh these days, dear. One has some sympathy for those not wishing to drive in Edinburgh these days, given that its streets are liable to be blocked off, made one-way, or simply disappear in a puff of smoke at a moment’s notice. Perhaps tomorrow’s election will finally confine our Labour council to the inadequate recycling facility of history. But somehow I doubt it.
Today I have travelled slightly further than usual to see a customer, and find myself in the land of my birth, dear old Norn Iron. On departing the plane at an unseemly hour this morning, I was momentarily tempted to pay homage by kissing the tarmac, but I refrained from doing so. You just don’t know where that tarmac’s been.
After negotiating a lengthy rush-hour traffic jam and some more roadworks, I find myself in The Original Roast Coffee Co. on The Lisburn Road. As a momentary aside, is it purely a Northern Irish thing to preface almost all the country’s roads with ‘The’? Nobody lives on Malone Road in Belfast, they live on The Malone Road. And don’t you forget it. Anyhow. My original plan was to breakfast at Ruby Tuesday’s, a little further along the Lisburn Road. However, shaking that ass along said Road in my hired Megane, trying to spot Ruby Tuesday’s, having not done sufficient research on t’internet last night, was proving frustrating for the local drivers queued up behind me. I daresay they thought that my mother was in town, such was the plodding pace of the procession. And so I stopped somewhere near the first place I saw, which is here. And a fine place it is too, as any place that has free wireless internet and serves pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for breakfast must surely be. Now, technically, since I have been up since 4am, and had some toast at the airport, this is Second Breakfast, but they didn’t have a Second Breakfast menu, and so I kept very quiet and tried to look malnourished, in the hope that I would qualify for something from the Breakfast menu.
This is the second place I have found recently which provides free wireless internet without even hinting at, never mind advertising the fact. I find the clandestine nature of using the internet thus only enhances the experience, as it gives me the impression that I’ve stumbled across a great secret that nobody else knows about. Especially when someone comes in and has to pay for an internet code at the counter so they can use one of the terminals across from me. Victory to the laptop user.
Later today I will meet up with an old schoolfriend for lunch, last seen five years ago. As it happens, on Friday evening I am reuniting with an old university friend, last seen 11 years ago. He was a regular squash adversary of mine, and since then I haven’t managed to play squash much, never mind regularly. However, in a curious and mostly uninteresting twist of fate, I played a fairly competitive late-night game (of squash) against Colin Eye (currently saving up for a deposit to put down on a Blog Character page) on Monday night. That is to say, I was competitive in the first game, after which he stepped up a few gears and demolished me. Following that up with a very competitive late-night game of football last night, all this after the first cricket outing of the season on Saturday, and it’s no great surprise that all of my muscles, but most especially my buttocks, ache. Makes ‘getting purchase’ a painful experience.
I leave you with the news that a blogging rulebook currently being touted as a Good Idea, contains the suggestion that anonymous comments should not be allowed. Something that some of you, dear valued readers, and most especially my dear valued shy commenters, might like to ponder… 🙂