Archive for December, 2008

‘Come to join us for the last waltz?’*

As Statto has said, the mass closing of Woolworths is something that really doesn’t come across in words, so if you still have the rapdily-dwindling chance wherever you are (Newport and Aber, I know, are now out of the running, since my watch says 17:38 [in analogue, obviously]), go have a look.

I’ve been to two branches of Woolies today; Telford and Newport, and the experience had two very different effects on me.

In Telford, I was mostly going “meh,” at both the produce and the experience in general. But I never spent much time at Woolies in Telford (I would be surprised, in fact, if even today’s mooch about brought the time I’ve ever spent there to more than forty minutes). Woolies in Newport, on the other hand, is used to be right opposite the bus station, so in the days when I was catching that Godforsaken No. 83 back to Hadley on a daily basis it was a good place to go and shelter against the wind.

In point of fact, it was just such an excursion that prompted me to buy the first ever Little Red Book, because it felt wrong to mooch about for half an hour and come away without buying anything…

I wandred into Newport branch at about 17:00, half an hour before they were due to finally close to the public. There was pretty much nothing left by then, and most of the shelves were empty, but the whole place was crammed regardless.

Disjointed impressions:

    • People literally scooping things off the shelves into bags
  • Two middle-aged women having a tug-of-war with the last standard-size A4 binder in the shop
  • An old lady getting shoved to one side by an old man trying to grab at four remaining 100 w lightbulbs
  • Shop assistant giving me a carrier bag and saying ‘Anything you can fit into this, it’s £3 a bag’
  • A grey-haired but youngish looking woman getting tearful as ‘Take on Me’ came onto the radio
  • Girl manning the till to passing manager-type: ‘You’ve seen “Shaun of the Dead,” yeah…?’
  • Man to woman who didn’t know him, as they both wrenched 5-packs of blue ballpoint pens from the shelves: ‘It does make you feel a bit bad, doesn’t it?’
  • Woman hustling children towards exit: ‘I don’t care what else you want! We’re leaving now!
  • Managers smiling at everybody. I have absolutely no idea how they can do that; I rarely bothered to smile at anyone in T— Stores, unless they’d previously been nice to me.
  • Girl at till telling me it’s been really creepy all day, but trying to smile anyway.
  • Man grabbing piles of 40-pack ‘Worth It’ value file dividers, and then dropping all of them because there were some on offer two shelves along.
  • …It actually left me feeling kinda mournful. Probably some passing psychologist could give me a reason for this, but I’d advice ’em to shove off rather than trying.

    I have a roll of Woolies Clearance Sale stickers. This pleases me, and probably nobody else.

    That’s it, I guess. Lame.

    * This one is so obvious you get no points at all. Anyway, it’d just be ghoulish.

    Quick notes

    1. Am leaving today. Miriam is filled up and has had her tyres re-pressured; they were all 4-5 PSI below where they wanted to be, but that was because I assumed the ‘220’ they wanted them to be was the equivilant of ’22’ on the scale Morrisons was using, and it turns out that the Morrisons pump was working in PSI and the sticker I was looking at was working in BAR.

    There’s apparently some manner of significant difference between the two; I’d dismissed it as being a decimal point or, failing that, an Imperial Vs. Metric thing, but it seems to be more like the difference between feet and stone. Whoops. Fixed now, though.

    2. I was described today as ‘an antisocial, dissolute, borderline-sociopathic Bob Cratchit for our times,’ which is the most Awesome since ever.

    3. Played some Left 4 Dead online yesterday, with some really fairly decent players. Connection was pretty chuggy at times, though, which counted against me, and we did get repeatedly slaughtered all the time (to the extent that the Director started leaving enormous piles of explosives about in the hope we might get out of the subway and move the plot on at all).

    That was kinda fun; the ability to be on Almost No Health and still use my medkit to patch up the only guy in the squad who could shoot straight and didn’t go shout “SUPRISE!” in the Witch’s ear appeals to me. (For added Win he then shouted ‘Use yer pills mate, an’ I can chuck yer mine,’ in a slightly Scouse accent, which was nice and sensible on his part). A mate of his turned up shortly after and we got considerably further on before we all died again, opening the stupid horde-summoning garage door, and shortly after that my connection fell over again, so I left ’em to it.

    4. Been finishing things off at work, these last few days, to make sure I don’t get split over two sections for the sake of tidying up loose ends. Not entirely sure that it’s working, so far, but never mind, I expect it will in the end. I skipped lunch and will owe an hour and so am going to vanish away at something more like 15:00, which is much better because I’m damn tired already.

    5. Got paid today, which is a) good, because it means I’ve been able to clear my credit card already, and b) bad, because it means I’m going to be in a right bind by mid January. If you’ve yet to buy me a Christmas present, a large suitcase full of used £50 Bank of England notes will do me fine.

    Hokay. Final push…

    *After year 10 I just stopped doing games because it made my knees hurt. And was pointless.

    Decrepitude update

    The doctor told me it would clear up in a bit, and gave me a prescription for some drugs.

    On the plus side, he gave me some halfway decent codeine – the 30mg / 500mg paracetamol mix, which actually does something (as long as you take two tablets), rather than that gormless placebonic 8/500 mg nonsense that they put in powdered baby milk.

    Got some of my old-style pink 400mg ibruprofens, as well, but I’m keeping off those as much as possible on account of how ill they (eventually) made me.

    I have a mild trismus, is what is wrong with my mouth; I’ve done something to sprain a muscle in the jaw, although I can’t think of anything [Pat Woolton Quote Goes Here]. On the plus side, Easton explained all of this for free, which was damn nice of him. (And how nice, too, for me to experience free dentistry at the hands of someone competent, and without needing to lose a tooth every eightmonth and a filling each six).

    There is a limit to how fun funerals can be, but it was good enough, and I’ve been to worse (or, rather, I have been to funerals at which I felt worse).

    O, hey. Time I got back to work. I’m less informative than I used to be, I fear. I put it down to lack of sleep, but I’ll fix that after the, uh, New Year…


    If this damn doctor doesn’t give me some proper bloody painkillers that actually do something, I’m going to swing a punch at him.

    And then collapse in agony because I can’t bend that way, either.

    I don’t know why people bother making Codine at 500/8 mgs, they might as well give me a sherbert dip for all the effect they have, and appartently Anadin Ultra need to be done under the Trade Descriptions Act.

    Slept awfully. Kindly add Nytol to the list of medicinal products which Do Naff All.



    This isn’t shaping up to be such a good week, I think.

    I was on my way down the hill at lunch, to fork over £410 for the poxy Council Tax.

    Then my back went. Quite how it went, I don’t know, but it did something, and now standing up hurts like blazes and sitting isn’t much of an improvement. Ow.

    On Wednesday, I’m going to a funeral.

    Then I’m going to the dentist, to see if he knows why it hurts if I open my mouth more than half an inch.

    And now it looks like I might be going to the doctors tomorrow in a bid to get my back kicked about a bit, although they’ll probably just tell me to take two asprin.


    Good timing that bottle!

    So it’s been an up-and-downy sort of fortnight, full of peaks, troughs and, apparently, feathers brought on by the failure of my keyboard to hyphenate on cue.

    I’ve been ill, which was horrible, since I was actually asleep for the whole time (I’m really bad at being ill; after the first couple of hours I get fed up of lying down and want to get up and do things, which tends to leave me being more ill than I was to begin with, but never mind). Still not sure I’m entirely fixed, to be honest, but never mind.

    Drove to Shrewsbury for a dentists appointment, which was much better than taking the train. It used up half a tank of petrol, which means I spent about £5 more by driving than I would have spent on a train ticket, but on the other hand, I was able to arrive at the actual dentists, ten minutes before my appointment, have the appointment, and then leave again immediately, so I spent an entire three hours less time hanging about waiting for the trains to get their collective DEMU arses in gear.

    Well worth a fiver. Encountered ice on Plynlymon, by the effective, though inadvisable, method of discovering my left wheels had gone crazy while skirting a hairpin a mile or two past the George Borrow hotel, and again in the valley of the Elvis Rock.

    Came home via Mach. A pigawful road, but with less chance of finding a ton or two of expensive metal slip[ping] below me… and then drop[ping] with an almighty smash fifty feet to the bed of the stream…*

    Shared whisky with Matt at the weekend, over House of Cards. Rather enjoyable, and there was splendidly good timing on the part of the bottles of alcohol various, because they contrived to get opened about twenty minutes after I found out that Peter, an old family friend, had died.

    Currently awaiting information on the date of the funeral, so I can book time off to get back for it.

    As I say, a pair of weeks with ups and downs. And now, apparently, I have to go show a work experience girl the cataloguing program. She wants to know about LC Classification, apparently, which I’ve never been called on to do, and it seems odd for me to be the one explaining actual cataloguing procedures, too (especially since I’m only upgrading very basic old records that got stranded by a system change in the late ’80s) but there you go.

    I just wish I wasn’t obliged to miss out on my tea break for the sake of it…

    *A tricky one. A full pint (or bottle) of beer in it this time.