Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Luton, the Most Magical Place on Earth

The title of this entry may surprise you. Particularly if you've ever been to the bus station which could be considered one of the most depressing places in England (and it's not without its competition there). Infact, the bus station itself is downright maudlin. Its full of empty shops, has very poor lighting and - despite being between the train station and the centre of Luton, is hidden away under a massive carpark as isolated from both, thereby becoming a haven for hoodies (see right).

But I digress. The magic in Luton is nothing short of miraculous. It is the pedestrian overpass (see it on the right, avert your eyes if you're, like, the son of the devil or something), which links the train station (to the north) with the aforementioned carpark and bus station (to the east), and provides a pedestrian link through to the shopping mall and on to the town centre and council offices (bottom left of the lower satellite pic - and there's a Nando's under that big white roof on the right which I've taken care of). As entry statements go, it's not that inspirational. Infact, it was probably ugly even in the 1960s. When I tell people in my profession that I'm working at Luton the most common response is "jeez, you've got your work cut out for you there - it could do with some improvement." But isn't that intrinsic in all magic?? You don't see it coming??

So how is it magical? Well, when it rains - even drizzles a little bit - the overpass leaks. It's not some small little dribble either - it pours through. And it keeps going long after the rain stops. So much so that the volume that leaks through the overpass easily exceeds the amount of rain that falls on it. So it disobeys the second law of thermody-whatever. **

And its not impressive or beneficial to anyone whatsoever - it's useless magic at best. Although I've often wondered what would happen if I drew the Virgin Mary on the roof of the overpass, with the leaks forming her tears. There'd be pilgrims coming from all over the place. And they'd probably burn me at the stake when they caught me re-touching it and figured it out. I'd probably need some sort of permanent marker.

Anyways, there you have it. Magic in the most unlikely of places: Luton.

** I'm certain that some of my nerdy friends will pick me up on that one

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Weekend travels and shenanigans omnibus

I've done a bit of cheeky travel in the last couple of weeks, which
has given me a very good excuse to be tardy with my blog.

A couple of weeks ago I headed to La Clusaz in the French Alps for a
wedding. Adam, my (3rd?) cousin, was getting married to the lovely
Ange. It meant a weekend in the French Alps. Ah well, the sacrifices
we make.

I knew ahead of time I'd have a hard time getting my passport stamped
in Geneva airport. Morgs couldnt get his stamped when he arrived. So
when I went through passport control, the bloke just looked at the
passport and looked at me. I asked if he'd stamp it and he just looked
at me. Ambivalent. Neutral. Bloody Swiss. I moved on.

It was midnight by the time I got to my room, so it wasn't until the
morning that I found out what sort of a view you can expect from a
two-star hotel in the Alps. I was extremely impressed! I was blown
away infact. It was probably helped by the incredible weather we had
that day - it was 26 and bright sunshine. It had been raining all the
previous week, and there was fresh snow on the mountains. And the
following day it was drizzling too. We were very lucky!

And I was lucky too. A big thanks to Tony and Sheila, and Adam and
Ange, for the invite. I had a fantastic time!

Another weekend, another country. Last weekend it was Ireland, with
Larry, Dan and Kate joining me to meet up with Eammon in Ireland. I've
been to Dublin twice now, and each time I've been too busy drinking to
get to the Guinness factory. Ah well, next time maybe.

I arrived back in town on Monday afternoon, and picked up my ticket
and morning suit for the Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Liz does a
mean cuppa, and the cucumber sangas were superb. It was a pretty good
afternoon, and again uncommonly sunny, but we waiting a long time for
the Queen to work the crowds, and she walked straight past the last
third of the cordon, which was a bit disappointing. Still Dan Barnao
(who came with me) joined me in the pub for "one" pint to drown our
sorrows. Of course this turned into about seven.

More of that to come in my birthday drinks. Its going to be wonderful
turning 29 again...

Friday, 6 July 2007


My world is upside down. Apparently my job is entertaining:

Well that's bureaucracy for you.

And what I've been doing on holidays is bloody boring:

I'm sure some of the readers of my old emails would agree with that actually.