Taken for a Ride

Well, its been a few days since I made a post that wasn’t a rant. So, I’ll try not to rant today.

Well, I’m back @ Chez Spen this week. Manchester was good to visit, especially as it didn’t rain the whole time I was there! Yes, you heard me right. 5 days in Manchester and no rain!


Apart from the rain, the high levels of gun and gang crime, the excessive number of students, the Manchester City fans (as everyone knows the Manchester United fans live in London), the high levels of immigrants etc., I quite like Manchester.

Although I have been to Manchester many times since the IRA terrorists bombed the place on 15th June 1996, I have rarely been over near the Victoria Station side of town. I did go there last week and was disappointed to see that the Virgin Megastore no longer exists. It will live on in my memories as a result of that 1980 classic record by The Freshies “I’m In Love With The Girl On the Virgin Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk” which had to have the title and lyrics changed to delete the reference to Virgin before the BBC would play it. The BBC had strict rules re advertising in those days. I can’t find online the original version, only the doctored version.

What is perhaps makes the Freshies more special is that the lead singer Chris Sievey  later went on to be a cult comedian with his Frank Sidebottom character. Sadly he died in June 2010from cancer  at the young age of 54.

The song brings back memories of my student days in Manchester. I have to confess to not using the Virgin Megastore too often however, I  much preferred to use Piccadilly Records which was far more trendy. The perfect place to get the latest Smiths Album.

There are plenty who know me now who would argue that I’m still a miserable git now!

Right, anyway, I’ve digressed enough. Back to the exciting tales of life being Spen.

On Friday last week, I finished my onsite work in Manchester and headed to Newcastle for the night. Yes, I drove 160 miles North East instead of the 200 miles South to London. Nothing unusual about that you say, a weekend in Newcastle is reasonable. Well, it would be if I was there for the weekend, but I headed back to London from Newcastle on Saturday morning!

So, Friday, I got to Newcastle about 17:30 and went straight to Michelle’s. We went out for a drink in Ponteland after a bottle of wine or two at Michelle’s. We then went to Fratellis restaurant. The food there is excellent and it would be a shame not to visit it when I can. fortunately, there was just the two of us as Michelle’s boys were away.

I did however get regular interruptions from my son Tom who was wanting help preparing his case for his Bar Mock Inter School criminal trial the following day. Not sure how much help I gave him after several drinks! Still there were several phone calls, emails and Facebook messages between us. Poor Michelle not getting my “undevoted” attention. The lady is a saint to put up with me.

Still, Tom won his trial. He was defending in an assault case – the defence skills have obviously been passed down from me to him. Nothing like blowing my own trumpet eh? NO, not like that – you are sick, and besides that extra rib makes it impossible- so I’ve been told.

Saturday morning brought a drive from Newcastle to London, just getting down to Leyton in time for the football there. I drove the 288 miles from Newcastle to Leyton in 4 hours.

Now, if the speed limit is between 50mph in some places  and a max of 70 mph, then clearly officer I was lying in my blog when I said I did it in 4 hours. I obviously being such a law abiding chap would never drive over the speed limit.

The football was a pleasant surprise. I’d not been to an Orient home game since the end of November. They were playing Sheffield Wednesday, probably the biggest club in the division and won 4-0. The best home result I’ve seen in years there.

Highlights are online here O’s 4 Sheffield Wednesday 0

The rest of the weekend was spent in riotous living. Yes, I went to the supermarket on Saturday night, before heading home and chatting to Virgin Media. See my earlier post at Virgin Media Woes.

Sunday was spent cleaning, and cooking. I actually made my own soup, and it was edible! I’ve never made soup before. I’m not sure why as its incredibly easy. Next time I will decide what type of soup I am going to make before starting cooking. I wonder if there is a market for “carrot, onion and potato” soup?

Hmmmm, I’m still waiting for Heinz to get back to me on this.

Monday however brought me back in the office at work. I cycled in, for only the 3rd time this year, and the first time in about 17 days. I noticed my lack of fitness. I need to start getting back into cycling if I am going to do the Police Unity Tour in May without suffering too much. Still, I got to and from work safely, so that has got to be a good start. It is however disconcerting to see Grannies on their gas pipe framed shopper bikes leaving me for dead as they pass me.

Still, it was a start and I’m doing it again tomorrow. I will have to leave early though as I am going to see Orient tomorrow night. Think I’ll be on my own though as everyone else seems to have got other things to do Sad smile Billy no mates AGAIN.


Me: “Can I have a shag?”
Girl: “No!”
Me: “Wait! I don’t think you heard me correctly…”
Girl: “Oh, I think I did…”
Me: “Fine then, what did I say?”
Girl: “Can I have a shag?”
And that, Your Honour, is why it wasn’t rape!


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