18 June 2010

This week I have been mainly in places starting with the letter B...

...Bergen - Bradford - Barcelona

Flew to Leeds on Thursday evening to sort wedding stuff and attend the wedding of Katharine’s father who is marrying an Asian lady who is younger than his daughter, but who was categorically not a “Thai Bride”. Note to self, her name is Anita not “Tin-Tong”.

The wedding registration for us was more complicated than it should be, all sorts of crap about where you have to register, where you have to be, where you have to live etc. The people were helpful but this system is clearly a through-back to past days that is trying to cope with modern problems. Eventually we got it sorted.

Saturday was the wedding, which was fine. It was nice for Katharine to catch up with that side of her family. It’s a huge tribe and they all seemed friendly enough. The speeches were interesting, Anita’s farther was too sick to travel from Singapore so he entrusted the job to a 12 year old nephew. I was somewhat skeptical at first but he did an amazing job. Very funny and confident and just managing to stay on the right side of precocious. Katharine’s brother Rick was the best man and he did an excellent job of the unusual task of being best man to his own father. Especially since he was still trawling for ideas over dinner the night before.

The only down side to the day was that one of the guests got clamped for being 2 minutes over in the car park. When Richard gave him a lift to get cash and go and pay the fine a couple of thugs appeared and tried to clamp his van while he was waiting. He started to drive off and they threw the clamp under the wheel then claimed he had damaged it. Then they called the police who were worse than useless and just told him he had to pay 150 quid or face charges for criminal damage. Being a person of high principals he refused – watch this space.

It transpires that the owner of the car park is notorious, he has been on Watchdog (UK consumer affairs TV show) and has also been voted by the RAC has Britain’s worst clamper. The owner a Mr Evans has clamped a bus for disabled children, pensioners going for change, disabled people and even Betty Bothroyd. The man is an utter scumbag and worse he is apparently a JP, which probably explains why the police were not interested. He obviously makes his money from persecuting tourists, Haworth is the home of the Bronte Sisters, but I can not understand why the locals put up with him. It can’t be good for trade, if peoples memory of their village is being clamped for being parked with their car over the white line and then being intimidated by a couple of thugs. Why don’t they club together and do something about it? There are some fuckin horrible people in the world and the only way to deal with them is to stand up to them.

Next day we went for breakfast with some very nice people, just to get some balance. Katharine’s cousin Laura who had Pete and Caroline staying. Much hilarity and a damn fine breakie and then it was off to the airport to fly to Barcelona.

The flight from Amsterdam was delayed waiting for 52 people from China. When they finally arrived it was a riot. Screaming kids, people shouting at each other, barging into the other passengers – total lack of awareness of personal space. A guy sat behind me shouting into his mobile phone and the guy next to me, who stank, spent the whole flight clearing his throat loudly ever 2 minutes. Hideous. We finally arrived about midnight.

On arrival my bad mood immediately improved, When you arrive in Spain it has a very special smell that isn’t nice but isn’t unpleasant – its just Spain and it felt great to be back. Taxi to the hotel then up until 2am finishing talk for the next day. First day at conference went fine, talk well received. In the evening I went out for beers with an old Spanish friend and we wandered the old narrow streets by the main cathedral before sitting under an awning outside a bar watching it pour with rain. Good times.

Next day was more meetings and conference action. Spent the evening with Roy catching up, again no big drinks, just a pleasant relaxed evening. Then flew back to the big B on Wednesday. Busy times but great to be in Spain and great to catch up with folk.

It’s now almost mid summer and the weather in Bergen is shitte, as it always is at this time of year.

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