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Tuesday, July 18

Damn This Airshow

When I was a kid, my dad brought me to Farnborough to see the air show. It was an exciting trip and I only vaguely remember it. I have two key components to the memory. I remember having a good day out with my father and a sort of cousin of ours. I say "sort of", not because he wasn't a cousin, but more because he wasn't exactly the straightforward cousin people usually class as cousin. If I have a baby, then my sister's baby and my baby will be first cousins. Simple. However, this cousin was my mother's first cousin and, therefore, some sort of cousin to me. I'm not sure what.

That's not really important. It is sort of important, in that it has a certain type of importance, but it's not helping the narrative here, so I'll quit the whole cousin bit of the story.

No, dammit. I can't. My cousin is an important part of this tale. Thinking about it, he's someone who was a key comedic influence in my life. When I was born I was jaundiced - as in the yellow Simpsons-like skin, rather than a general sense of cynicism about the world. As my family sat around miserable, it was this cousin whose jokes cheered them up. Perhaps he set the ball rolling, as I recall being put on a step at some point in my early years and encouraged to do some sort of party piece which involved creating laughs. In those days, I don't think I necessarily understood the reason why the combination of words and music was funny, but I knew that it was funny and I used to experiment with the art and craft of combining things in unusual ways which made more laughs than sense.

So, to the down side of the original Farnborough trip. Bear in mind that I was with the funny cousin who I tended to feel like I wanted to be funny around. As we dropped him off at his house, I think I had to remove a jacket from the back seat of the car. Unbeknownst to me, the jacket had his camera on it. So, as I removed it from the car, the camera fell on the floor and maybe broke, or maybe threatened to break. I was obviously going to be feeling guilty about this. Nobody wants to break someone's camera... at least not someone they like's camera. So, in the moment and trying to distract attention away from my embarrassment, I cracked a joke:

"Oh dear, you'd better send us the bill for that. When we get it we can have a good laugh at it."

Not the most sympathetic of lines to come out of the mouth of a child. I thought it would be funny. I was wrong.

A bad memory of the Farnborough Air Show.

Now, I work in Farnborough and the memories are different.

Over last week, while we were trying to have meetings to discuss the forthcoming work, we had regular interruptions by the jet-engines of pilots practicing for displays of flying which are, apparently, going to happen this week. The interruptions tended to coincide with the key word of a sentence or the moment where things really needed a bit of clear thinking. Annoying.

That's nothing.

This week, it's all about traffic. Farnborough is, basically, a tiny little backwater. It hasn't got immense roads and, although near the M3, it's not that well connected to the rest of the country. There are lots of little roads to nearby places and a few dual carriageways. As a result, I'm spending this week pondering the various alternative methods of getting into the office to avoid the key traffic jam in which I spent about 30 minutes on Monday, over the distance which usually represents the last 5 minutes of my route into work. Given that the roads in this part of the world are already fairly busy of a morning, this is not a welcome development.

Annoyingly, in order to get up earlier, I set the alarm for a very early time and then I wake up about 20 minutes before it goes off, panicked that I may have missed it. Even more annoyingly, rather than set off for work at 6-something, when I could go any way I like and face no traffic, I go into lazy-mode and snooze my way through an hour or so. So, I'm getting the worst of all worlds.

Having said that, I have been experimenting with the art of using the local roads inventively. Some of this has involved guesswork, some sat-nav, and some local knowledge. I've learned a bit this week.

Other Sat Nav News
On two occasions in the last week I've been stopped and asked for directions - once in Farnborough and once in Reading. On both occasions my answer has been - "I've no idea, but I've got a sat-nav, hold on a couple of minutes". Am I becoming a sat-nav junkie? or has the sat-nav allowed me to be the friend of any lost person in any part of the country, whether I know it or not?

Who cares!?


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