Saturday, 31 August 2013

A Time Machine, Marty McFly And Trouser Insurance.

There is something that has bugged me now for many years. I hadn't thought about it for a long time until I caught a glimpse on the telly the other day of the hit 80's film, 'Back to the future.'

Now what's been bugging me all these years isn't the fact that they made a time machine from a Delorean, however implausible that it may be... No. What has been bugging me is what occurs when Marty travels back in time to the 50's and finds himself in his home town.

You see on arrival, he wanders down his street and is promptly knocked over by a car and is rendered unconscious. The next thing you know, he wakes up in his young mothers bed without his trousers on... Think about this a while...

This is not a logical response to finding a casualty in a traffic accident is it..? Just who was it that decided the medical response to an unconscious young lad with a head injury, is to abduct him from the street, remove his trousers... Just his trousers mind you... And put him in a young adolescent teen girls bed..? And for the love of humanity, why..?

Did they not have medical emergency response in 1950's small town America..? A first aider perhaps, who knows how to check an airway, stem blood flow or splint a broken bone. Apparently not...

What they do have is a maniac on the loose with a penchant for debagging young men without a care in the world for medical sensibilities and the well being of the patient.

I tell you this... Next time I'm travelling to the USA, I'm taking out some serious medical insurance with an anti abduction clause. Also, I shall be insuring against malicious trouser theft. You can't be too careful can you..?

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Carry On Starbucks.

You probably think that I spend a lot of time hanging around in various coffee shops and you would be right, I do. Being on the road and waiting around is part of my job so I have imbibed my fair share of arabica goodness.

Today though, i thought the baristas at a certain Starbucks, (I will mention no names, Farnborough.) had started to flirt outrageously with their clientele. Either that or they were in full dress rehearsal for their amateur performance of Carry On Starbucks. Having ordered my usual latte, I was asked by the charming young lady barista...

"Would you like anything to eat Sir..?"

"No thank you.." Came my reply.

"I've got a lovely muffin..."

I raised my left eyebrow, stifled a schoolboy giggle, and refrained from letting out my inner Kenneth Williams. "I'm sorry what..?" I said.

"I've got a nice muffin Sir, if you would like it..."

At this point, my inner Kenneth was replaced by a full on Sid James. Just what was she offering to show me? It was obvious to anyone who doesn't have a dirty schoolboy / Carry On film orientated sense of humour, but not me... Oh no...

"And I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts..." I retorted.

She looked at me perplexed.

"Sorry Sir..?"

"Nothing... Just the latte, thanks."

Some people just don't get it do they..? I bet she has never even heard of Kenneth Williams or Sid James.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Steamed Milk And Chocolate Sprinkles.

Yet again I found myself on the road and in need of refreshment. Coffee, that'll hit the spot. A large latte no less with foam and choco sprinkles in a plastic lined cardboard cup. I am nothing if not a connoisseur of fine coffee establishments of the roadside service station variety.

I took my place in the medium sized queue and noticed there was only one man at the till, in a row of five otherwise unattended tills, dealing with the customers, one at a time and very slowly. I waited my turn as the queue extended behind me. I could hear tuts, harrumphs and long, drawn out breaths of impatience.

Everyone in front of me was paying for fuel, but I, I was not. I only wanted a large latte, and this I knew, was going to cause him to abandon his till to make it. The queue in front slowly disappeared and it was now my turn.

"No fuel, just a large latte to go please..."

I heard a loud harrumph from behind me. Not a small imperceptible harrumph, but a fully audible, I'm going to let him hear my displeasure at being held up harrumph. No matter, this was not my fault and I wanted a coffee. The man abandoned the till and headed for the coffee machine.

Placing the plastic lined, cardboard cup beneath the spout, he pushed the large latte button and my beverage of choice flowed. The people in the queue waited. I watched the steamed milk as it slowly started to fill my cup. As it neared the top, before the foam was dispensed, the man removed the cup. Steamed milk still flowed followed by the whoosh of foaminess that was now going into the spill tray.

What he gave me was a medium latte in a large latte cup, with no foam and no chocolate sprinkles.

I wasn't going to stand for this. As he started to place the plastic lid on the cup, I reminded him of the order I had made.

"I ordered a large?" I said. "I'm sorry?" He replied.

"I ordered a large latte... Could you top that up please? You removed the cup before it finished."

He looked at me. I could see a dark cloud descend upon his furrowed brow as he mentally decided how he was going to deal with this pedantic troublemaker. A tut emanated from over my shoulder, as the waiting queue started to form a loose lynch mob. I was not to be distracted from what I saw as a crime of obtaining money by deception.

"I can't top it up, it's a machine... I'll have to make you a fresh one" said the till man, as he again walked towards the coffee machine. I glanced towards the queue. Around ten pairs of eyes bore into me with varying intensity from mild irritation to downright murderous thoughts.

"One LARGE cappuccino... Two pounds twenty please.." Said the till man, in a sarcastic manner.

Did he just say cappuccino? I think he did. He bloody well did you know. I was now in a quandary. I had a large drink, just not the drink of my choice. I really, really wanted to say something about latte being a close cousin to a cappuccino, but all of three to four minutes had elapsed and the queue were now starting to look for pitchforks in the BBQ aisle section. So I relented.

I paid and took my coffee to the sugar stand and gently removed the plastic lid... You guessed it... No chocolate sprinkles.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A Summers Day Sabotaged.

So the school summer holidays are upon us in earnest and I'm on the road having dropped No1 Son off at his adventure to the zoo, courtesy of the youth club. So I will quickly nip home and relax in the garden, child free for the next 5 hours of quiet bliss which incorporates a mandatory snooze in the warm sunshine.

My local authority and the highways agency have other ideas however. In the time it took me to drive through a small town, drop off the boy and return, 20 or so heavy set blokes in hi-vis vests, along with digging vehicles, dump trucks, pointy cones and traffic lights have somehow managed to cause a tailback from here to eternity.

They weren't there 30 or so minutes ago, and neither was the entire population of North East Hampshire, in their cars, patiently waiting to thwart my ambition of just a little bit of child free rest and recuperation. This is just not bloody fair. I manage to last a mere 30 minutes of crawling, stopping, crawling and stopping before my inner demons surface and I call the entire membership of the local roads authority a bunch of fuck witted, lame brained, moronic shit for brains dickwads, for ripping up the roads in summer time.

I felt better for my outburst, but also grateful that my car window was up as I did so, for the little old lady in the car next to me may have overheard some truly awful language not heard since the trenches of WW1.

I queued for a full hour along a dual carriageway before being able to turn round and go a different way. Knowing the back roads can sometimes be a blessing but also a curse, for today is also the day that every farmer with his tractor has decided to come out and cut the fields of grass for silage. Learner drivers are still learning, potholes the size of the Grand Canyon are in abundance and... No... For Gods sake, no...

The queue stretches ahead like a metal snake...

It seems I'm not the only one who knows the back roads and so it seems, do the local roads authorities, who have decided that today is not only the day to rip up the roads, but also the day to fit new roadside lighting along this particular stretch of highway.

I'm only 8 miles from home, a cool drink and an afternoon nap... But today, I may as well be on the fucking moon.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.