Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Special Hair Service


So there I was, sitting in one of my least favourite places in the world, staring at an amorphous blob in the mirror.

The place was my barber shop and the reason that I was staring at a pale blurred alien-type creature was that it was the time when I had to get my hair cut.

I hate having my hair cut – worse I hate my hair full stop (regular readers will know this).

One of the reasons my hair gets into the sorry state it was in on this particular occasion is that I delay and delay having it cut until I can’t bear my hair any longer and having it removed is better than it taking over my entire head.

Even when my hair is short, it is unmanageable. It is like a wild sentient mop of curly spaghetti that refuses all attempts to get it to behave itself.

When I get up in the morning, I dread looking in the mirror because I wonder what shape it has assumed overnight. A lot of the time, Mrs PM will just smile and say:

“Look at your hair.” 

She will chuckle because that is usually my cue to start a humorous rant about how awful it is. She will watch as I try to tame it with a brush before going into the shower to get the big boys on the job (shampoo and water).

However, there have been occasions when I have been in such a hurry that I have showered, towel dried my hair, got dressed and left the house without having brought it under control.

I arrive at my destination (usually work) and wonder why people are sniggering at me.

 “Is that a wig, Dave, or have you picked up an alien on the way to work?”

Worse, I then have to go to the bathroom and try to tame the mess on my head with a little water and my fingers and usually I end up making it ten times worse – and this is even when it is bloody short!

You would think that I would be used to it after 56 years of pain – but no! I’m not. Every day is a challenge – every day my hair finds new ways to hurt and surprise me by mutating into something inhuman and horrific.

I can sense your next question, dear reader.

“Why don’t you just shave it off?”

Believe me I have considered it. The problem is that some people actually like it. These strange people are members of the opposite sex who on occasion have actually said things like:

“Your hair is lovely and thick!””

“I wish I had hair like yours!”

Mrs PM will not allow me to have it short – she prefers it as it is (for some crazy reason).

So why do I hate having my hair cut when in reality it makes my unmanageable mop more controllable?

Several reasons:

(1) I hate waiting for anything. My local barber does a pretty good job and I feel loyal to them but if I time it badly, I end up having to wait behind quite a few people. The magazines available are all men’s magazines full of cars, weight-lifters, pictures of semi-naked women or all three so I have to read my phone.

(2) While waiting, I have to check every bugger who comes in. If the place is really busy I have to make sure that none of them queue jump when one of the hairdressers says “Who’s next?”. So I can’t really concentrate on my phone at all.

(3) When I finally sit down I am throttled by the gown they make me wear. I see pictures of handsome men with magnificent hair and super trendy hairstyles and I know if I asked for one of those I would look nothing like them – just a stupid old git with a mad haircut. So I ask for my usual style – which is a bit dull but it works.

(4) When I am asked what I want, I have to take my glasses off – hence staring at an amorphous blob in the mirror. I can’t see myself at all – in fact I am so paranoid that I am not 100% convinced that the person I am staring at is actually me or somebody in the building next door peering at me.

(5) I can’t see what they are doing with my hair. I have asked for my usual style and then he or she has set to work lopping off my locks. First my hair is so unmanageable that it has to be drenched with water which, despite their best efforts always ends up in my face or running down my neck. Even if the barber were to shave all of my hair off, I would have no clue. If I ended up with a weird Mohican I would be oblivious.

(6) I have to have an inane conversation about holidays, work, football or all three. That’s not so bad but when I talk to somebody I like to look at them and without my glasses the barber is just another amorphous blob wandering around me. I can’t even tell whether the barber actually has eyes.

(7) When he or she has finished, I will be asked what I think and no matter how bad it looks I will invariably say “Perfect!”. To be fair, they usually do a grand job but I am still haunted by the memory of the mad woman who cut off my mullet in the 1980’s – I still have nightmares about it.

At least when my hair has been cut I have a couple of weeks when I can jump out of bed and mock my hair telling it to do its worst.

That’s right, dear reader – I talk to my hair.

My next visit to the barber will be in a couple of weeks when I have to queue up with everybody else wanting a wonderful style for Christmas.

It’s either that, or spend the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year doing battle with my mop armed only with wax and a lot of patience.

What a choice!

I really hate my hair!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Skinny Jeans


So there I was in the changing rooms in a men’s clothing establishment about to try on a pair of jeans. This is something I have done  many times before, usually with great success because I am average in every way – average waist and average regular trouser length.

I don’t want to scare you all by getting into too much detail but suffice it to say I had to take off my shoes and trousers in order to try on the new pair (try not to picture me in my shreddies, dear reader – you can’t unsee an image like that).  After all, it would be pointless trying to haul a pair of jeans over another pair wouldn’t it?

Not even I am stupid enough to do that.

The exercise was supposed to be straightforward; I pull on the new jeans, check that they fit my slightly expanding waistline, check that they are not too long or too short and see if they actually look good on me, rather than making me look like an abnormal alien creature.

It all sounded too simple – until I actually attempted to get the things on. Being an old coot, I didn’t really check them well enough. There seemed to be an extra dimension – a “fit”.

I had heard of things like “boot cut”, “loose”, “straight”, “tapered”, “slim” and “skinny” and I knew my limits.

Sadly, a malicious, evil and possibly incompetent buffoon had mixed up the jean “fits”. I can imagine the evil sneaking satanic swine swapping the trousers, putting the “boot cut” on the “tapered” section, the “slim” on the “tapered” section and sniggering as his victim took the wrong pair.

The jeans themselves had no warning of what was to come – no sign that said “wear these jeans at your own risk”.

I had picked up what I thought were “tapered” jeans. There was no sign to tell me otherwise – only the price tag, the waist size and the leg length.

I thought I would slide my leg in easily.I was wrong – horribly wrong.

My pushed my foot in expecting an easy slide to the hole at the end of the leg and it got stuck so suddenly that I stumbled and almost overbalanced, hurtling forward towards the curtain before I managed to reach for the wall.

Imagine if I had lost my balance completely and fallen out of the room in my underpants?  No – please don’t do that.

I was so relieved that I managed to lose a little more common sense.  I know that new jeans can be a little stiff but I was determined to win. Part of me thought that my leg had grown so thick in my old age that even tapered jeans were a struggle to peel on.

Reason gave way to more stupidity. I was overcome by a sense of competitiveness that is unusual for me; I would pull these jeans on if it killed me, if nothing else to prove that I wasn’t just getting bigger in my old age. The denim would slacken as I wore them, I figured. I didn’t consider that I would look ridiculous in tapered jeans that were too tight.

I had to sit down.

I have fairly big calves anyway (I do a lot of walking) and once I had got my foot past further in, I had to apply immense force to peel these bastards onto my leg.

“Stop it,” screamed an inner voice. “They don’t fit.”

I ignored this inner voice of reason and persevered, groaning as I hauled the leg of the jean over my knee and upper thigh.

“Are you okay in there?” came a voice from outside.

“Yeah,” I said thinking that I sounded nonchalant.

I tried the next leg and the struggle was possibly worse. I found myself standing there with a pair of jeans halfway up my upper thighs. With more crazy resolve, I pulled the jeans the rest of the way, somehow managing to slide them over my arse.

I looked at myself in the mirror; I was bright red and sweating like a pig that had just run a marathon.

I managed to fasten the trousers at the front and button them up – but it was hard, dear reader. I could feel my circulation being cut off and I won’t even describe the feeling around my nether regions.

I turned around and I looked like a sack of potatoes perched precariously on two thin branches.

At least they weren’t those low slung jeans that don’t cover your underpants; that would have been far worse.

There was enough room to walk around a little in the cubicle and I tried, dear reader, I tried. These bloody jeans actually squeaked as I moved and I let out at least two involuntary high-pitched squeaks of my own.

The pain of walking around in these satanic jeans focussed my mind.

“What the bloody hell are you doing?” I asked myself.

With much relief, I sat down to take the things off but in a moment of manic madness I realised I had forgotten to unfasten them.

How I didn’t squeal is a miracle to me. I had to stand up again.

It took me ten minutes to peel the bastards off – it felt like they had been superglued to my legs.

Eventually I got them off and with much relief I put my old ones back on again. I left the changing room, still red with the effort of extricating myself from their clutches and, as I handed them back to the man looking after the changing room, he smiled knowingly.

“A bit too skinny for you?” he asked.

“Skinny?” I asked. “I got them from the tapered section.”

He looked at me as if I had gone mad. “Can’t you tell?” he asked sniggering.

I was so embarrassed that I left the shop in shame.

As I wandered around trying to recover from the humiliation and assault by a pair of skinny jeans, I noticed that a few young lads walking around the shopping centre were wearing them.

These things had nearly castrated me and here were young 20 year old males with skinny legs walking around in jeans that were around four times too small for them.

And I swear, dear reader; every one of them squeaked!


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Useless


Sometimes I feel useless and when I do, I try to think of things that are more hopeless than I am to make myself feel better.

For example, a Tyrannosaurus Rex is a fearsome creature that was King of the Dinosaurs but this terrifying giant lizard with huge claws and ferocious teeth had a major design flaw – tiny arms.

When I feel useless, I just imagine this horrific creature trying to make a bed.

In fact, it’s worse than that. With those tiny little arms, the Tyrannosaurus Rex would be quite limited if the species had thrived, gained intelligence and managed to fit in with society.

Sorry to bring the subject matter down to the toilet again, but a T Rex on the toilet would have a problem trying to reach the loo roll, wouldn’t he?


How crossing a river? I don’t know whether a T Rex could swim but if he had to use a boat, he would have a big problem with the oars.

What about fashion? How would he mange to put on a hat? Or a pair of trousers?

And what if he wanted to keep fit by doing push ups? Those tiny arms would be a massive hindrance, don’t you think?


In fact, something as simple as drinking a glass of water would prove a little too much for this terrible lizard.

Okay – so I’m picking on a long extinct reptile, but you get my drift, I hope.

I certainly wouldn’t want to meet the one that would be offended by what I have just written.

I think I’m safe though because even if a T Rex could read, he would struggle to find my blog on the internet because he wouldn’t be able to type on the keyboard -  even if he were far more intelligent than I am.

Nor would he be able to use a smartphone because it would be so far from his head that he wouldn’t be able to use it.


I think I’m safe.

I no longer feel useless.

I just hope I never meet one.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Let's Do Europe



“Let’s do Europe!” is a phrase I have heard quite a few times, mainly from Americans but also from other nationalities, including people from my own country.

Last week I was in a restaurant in Porto, Portugal, and I heard a variation on the words again from a young American couple on an adjacent table.

“I can’t believe we’re in Europe,” said one of them. “I’ve always wanted to do Europe and here we are.”

I’m not criticising them, far from it in fact. I am delighted that these young people have taken the time to leave the confines of the United States and venture out to, in my opinion, the most exciting and varied continent on the planet.

The only minor quibble I have is that it is pretty much impossible to “do Europe” unless you are very wealthy and spend many years travelling around each country in turn and within each country visit as much of it as you can.

I have lived in Europe all of my life and I have barely scratched the surface – and I have travelled a lot. In fact, I can also say that I have not “done” the UK either – and I live here.

My travel map for Europe looks impressive to people but the truth is that is isn’t really.

For example I have never been to Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden or Ukraine.

When you compare the list to the places I have been (Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and Vatican City) it looks like I have seen less than half of the continent.

One of the countries I have spent a lot of time in is Spain and I have barely scratched the surface of that vast and wonderful country. I have had conversations with people in the past who claim to know Spain “like the back of their hands” and yet base their knowledge on a few two week package holidays to the Balearic Islands (having never even been to the mainland!).

“So do you speak Spanish?” I have asked.

“No – there’s no need. They all speak English!”

Wrong.

Try travelling on a train from Seville to Madrid and see how many people speak English. In fact, just wander around either of those two cities and see how far you get without a few basic words or a phrase book.

It’s a similar story with other continents of course. For example I have been to the United States and Canada quite a few times and I simply cannot claim that I know either of those countries. Sure, I can speak English and have been to a few big cities like Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC and Toronto but if I were to tell an American that I have “done” the United States he would, quite rightly, laugh at me and tell me how wrong I am.

I’ve been to Australia too but I would need two decades at least to fully explore that huge place – I was there for just over two weeks!

Similarly with Asia – the biggest continent of all. I have spent eight weeks of my life in China yet every time I have been back, the place never ceases to amaze me with its wonderful quirkiness, beauty, customs and traditions. I learn something new each time I visit.

What I would say to anybody who wants to “do Europe” is this:

Yes – I agree – you should do Europe – again and again and again! 

Keep coming back and seek out new adventures. 

Eventually you will get to know the place. 

Mind if I join you?

Monday, 3 September 2018

Stan and Ollie - Top Ten Laurel and Hardy Shorts


Last week, Mrs PM and I were sitting in a small cinema watching a short movie. The rest of the audience were a mixed bunch; a middle-aged German couple sat just in front of us, to our right was an older couple and to our left were a young family with two young kids aged about 12 and 10. There were others too but the one thing we had in common  - we were all chuckling and laughing.

We were in the Laurel and Hardy museum in Ulverston in the Lake District. As is usual with the Lake District, the weather outside was horrible which gave me an excuse to persuade Mrs PM to visit this small homage to Stan and Ollie, after all this time, still my favourite comedy double act.

The previous day had been glorious and Mrs PM and I had climbed the Old Man of Coniston the twelfth largest mountain in England! What a shock that was! I was still aching! Part of me was pleased that the weather had taken a turn for the worse on our short break to Coniston for the holiday weekend and it gave me the opportunity to tick something off my list – visit the birthplace of Stan Laurel.

The museum itself is quite small and gives an overview of the life of the dynamic duo, focussing slightly more on Stan. My father loved them too and he introduced me to them as a child. As I walked through the door and started reading about their lives, I felt a light twinge of emotion, remembering my dad guffawing over their stupid antics.

The museum was quite busy and also had props and souvenirs from their many memorable films as well as merchandise, copies of letters and lots of other interesting information.

And, of course, they were showing and endless loop of their amazing films.

As we left back into the pouring rain, I thought I would pay homage to these funny guys by offering you my ten favourite Laurel and Hardy talking shorts. Their silent films were amusing but when sound was introduced, it opened up a whole new level of comedic opportunity to the guys, which they took to like the proverbial duck to water. As well as their usual slapstick, they were able to use sound to enhance their humour even further.

I still love it today.

So, without further ado, here are my top ten Laurel and Hardy short films.

10. Scram!

Stan and Ollie are vagrants and are ordered by a judge to leave town. On their way, in the pouring rain, they help a drunk who offers them a room for the night. Sadly, it isn’t his house - it belongs to the judge. Inevitably, mayhem ensues when they inadvertently get the judge’s wife drunk.

You can watch it here.

9. The Chimp

When the circus goes bust, Stan and Ollie are left with a flea circus and a chimp. Confusion reigns when they try to sneak the chimp into a boarding house.

You can watch it here. 

8. Any Old Port

On shore leave from a whaling voyage, Stan and Ollie get a room in a boarding house, run by a pure thug played by Walter Long who tries to force a young woman to marry him. Stan and Ollie thwart his plans and in the aftermath, Ollie convinces Stan to enter a boxing match to raise the money they left behind. Guess who Stan’s opponent is?

You can watch it here.

7. Laughing Gravy

In the middle of a terrible, cold dark and snowy winter, Stan and Ollie try to hide their dog, Laughing Gravy, from a landlord who doesn’t allow pets in his rooms. Of course, their attempts are totally unsuccessful.

You can watch it here. 

6. Dirty Work

Stan and Ollie are chimney sweeps who end up at a mad professor’s house. As Stan and Ollie do their best to wreck the house, the professor invents a rejuvenating potion. Of course he wants a human guinea pig.

You can watch it here. 

5. One Good Turn

A kind old lady offers vagrants, Stan and Ollie, a meal. They offer to do a favour in return and overhear a villainous landlord threatening to throw the old lady out of her home and onto the street. Stan and Ollie decide to raise money by selling their one asset – a car – but things don’t go quite according to plan.

You can watch it here. 

4. Helpmates

Ollie wakes up after throwing a wild party in his wife’s absence and has to clean up the mess before she gets home. There is only one man who can help him out of his predicament – Stan! You can guess what happens.

You can watch it here.  

3. The Laurel and Hardy Murder Case

The late Ebenezer Laurel has left a lot of money and Ollie sees a chance to live in luxury by convincing the executors of the dead man’s will that Stan is the heir to his fortune. Of course, there are dastardly shenanigans afoot involving murder.

You can watch it here. 

2. Them Thar Hills / Tit for  Tat

Two films, one a sequel to the other, where Stan and Ollie come up against Charlie Hall in two tales of escalating retaliation. The first tale involves Stan and Ollie accidentally getting Charlie’s wife drunk (played by the ever-present Mae Busch). In the second movie, Ollie tries to make amends but fails and a similar bun fight occurs.

You can watch the them here and here. 

1. The Music Box

Stan and Ollie are delivery men who have to take a piano to a house. Sounds simple, eh? Not so – the house is at the top of a huge hill accessible by a long staircase. Stan and Ollie won an academy award for this hilarious movie.


You can watch it here.

And finally …

I hope you agree with my choices. These two funny guys were way ahead of their time and still make me laugh today.

I am pleased to say that everyone watching the film in the museum agreed with me.

Are you a fan of Laurel and Hardy?

What are your favourite short films?

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Shiny Happy People


Usually when I am on a flight, I hear from the captain and the flight crew during the course of the flight. These fine people speak to the passengers in a professional and informative manner and we all understand what they say and are happy, informed and reassured.

Some flight companies adopt a slightly different approach. I recently returned from a holiday in Croatia with one of them (I’m not saying which).

Rather than letting the flight crew speak, we were subjected to messages pre-recorded by what I can only describe as “shiny happy people”.

The messages alternated between a man who seemed high on euphoria and a women totally immersed in rapture. I can kind of sense why these recordings exist and what they are meant to achieve but I get the feeling, looking around at my fellow passengers, that their goals weren’t quite met.

The airline is a budget airline that is striving to get people in the mood for their holiday while at the same time trying to raise their spirits about the two and a half hour flight ahead. It worked better on the journey out but not so well on the journey back.

I heard one guy say “What do they mean welcoming us home as if it is the best thing since sliced bread? I don’t WANT to come home! I was on holiday and I want to STAY THERE!”

It didn’t bother me too much because deep down I prefer happy people to miserable buggers (even though I can be a bit of a miserable bugger myself sometimes).  However, it got me thinking – always a dangerous thing.

What if the plane had a fault and both engines failed? What would happen as the aircraft started to dive towards the sea? Do they have a pre-recorded message for that?

Happy Man:  “Hey holiday makers! We hope you are enjoying our AMAZING flight but we do have a slight problem. Nothing to worry about but the aircraft is now plummeting towards the Atlantic Ocean as a rate of knots.”

Happy Woman: “Yes – the water is REALLY WARM at this time of year and to make sure that you fully enjoy it, please BRACE now! If you don’t know how to BRACE, our WONDERFUL flight crew will help you. IF you hear your fellow passengers SCREAMING, rest assured that they are screams of EXCITEMENT at a plunge into the warm wonderful water!”

Happy Man: “And after impact we will do our very best to get any survivors out of the aircraft as quickly as possible!”

Okay – that’s a bit extreme, I admit, but there are a lot of shiny happy people around, particularly on the radio and our telly boxes.

I no longer listen to the radio, apart from the news channel when I wake up, but in the past I recall overly happy DJs laughing at – well – nothing - in such a forced way that I thought they were all having a seizure.

I know things haven’t changed because this morning I saw an advert for the breakfast show on a local bus with pictures of demented looking DJs guffawing at something that was out of shot with a line that explained that their show was a mixture of music and “banter”. 

I assume that "banter" means lots of in-jokes from the DJ team that result in bouts of hysterical laughter at their own expense that the general public don't really find funny at all, especially while stuck in traffic, driving to a mundane job on a miserable, cold, dark Manchester Monday morning in the middle of January.

Similarly light entertainment programmes on TV are full of presenters who seem to have taken some form of drug to make them laugh hysterically at dull items and equally dull celebrity guests that I have never heard of as they try to plug their latest projects.

I am sure that you are now reading this thinking “You miserable bastard! Why don’t you just lighten up?”

The truth is that I provide my own form of entertainment on a daily basis at work by ranting mercilessly about things like reality TV, music, politics and shiny happy celebrities, causing joyous merriment amongst my co-workers as they realise that I am just a cantankerous old git who doesn’t understand modern culture.

And they are right.

But at least their laughter is genuine.

I’ll leave you with the song that inspired the title of this post.

I’m the grumpy git peddling at the start of the video.

Please don’t laugh.


Monday, 16 July 2018

Bull in a China Shop


So there I am sitting in a quiet place, minding my own business, and enjoying the silence as I read, contemplate life and take a nice quiet journey around my weird and wonderful imagination.

And then you hear something approaching in the distance; the Bull in the china shop.

Note - I use the word “bull” just because the phrase sums this person up perfectly but it is not necessarily male.

Let's call this person Bull.

First the voice – either a shrieking high pitched cackle or a deep booming laugh – before Bull appears and shatters the tranquillity in the noisiest way possible.

Bull shouts rather than speaks.

Bull laughs so loud that windows shake and glass struggles not to shatter.

Bull sits right next to complete strangers and invades their personal space even when he has never met them.

Bull slams doors.

Bull orders noisy food to eat and slobbers and crunches his way through the food.

Bull finds it impossible to stay still.

Bull finds it impossible to stay quiet.

Bull has to talk to people in his vicinity even if he doesn’t know them.

Bull thinks he’s the most popular person in whatever room he is in.

Bull moves things around with so much noise that he disturbs everyone and everything in his path.

Bull is usually a clumsy oaf.

Here is an example of Bull:



I don’t mind people who are talkative and funny and loud sometimes, but Bull is something else entirely - always loud, rarely funny and totally annoying – the kind of person who comes into a room and wants to simply take over, even when the room is quiet – for example a restaurant.

When Bull sits on the adjacent table in a restaurant, your enjoyment of the meal plummets.

Even when total privacy is required, Bull can invade your space.

Take for example if you are in a public toilet cubicle and Bull comes in. You hear him march in, slamming the door and cringe as he goes into the cubicle next to you, slamming the door of course. There is no subtlety – he groans, belches, farts throws himself onto the toilet as if from a great height, snorts, groans, makes as much noise as he can and in the worst case, starts talking on his phone.



Worse – he starts talking to YOU!

I have had the misfortune of sitting next to Bull on flight from Europe to Manchester.

The conversation went something like this:

Bull: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

PM: I’m sorry? 

Bull: I SAID WHAT ARE YOU READING?

PM: “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson.

Bull: OH – I LIKE BILL BRYSON BUT THAT BOOK IS BLOODY SHIT! I DON’T KNOW WHAT HE WAS THINKING WHEN HE WROTE THAT GARBAGE. HOW FAR THROUGH IT ARE YOU?

PM: I’ve just started it.

Bull: WELL IF I WERE YOU I’D LEAVE IT ON THE PLANE. WAIT UNTIL YOU GET TO THE PART …

PM: I’m sorry – I’m enjoying it so far. I’ll make my own judgement. Do you mind if I carry on?

Bull: YOU MUST BE A BIT WEIRD IF YOU LIKE THAT BOOK. IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY!! 

PM: Thanks for that. I’ll be the judge of that.

Bull: NOW HERE’S A GOOD BOOK!

PM: I’m not interested really – I just want to read this.

Bull: WELL THIS ONE IS MUCH BETTER THAN THAT PILE OF CRAP! HERE – TAKE A LOOK!

And so it went on – and on – and on – and on! By the time I had left the plane (the longest two hours of my life) he had told me his entire life story, why he was so great and why I was so weird and had no decent taste in books. Not content with bellowing in my ear for the entire trip, his elbows kept nudging me as we both ate and most of his meal ended up on the back of the seat in front of him.

I’ve seen Bull on a train too – thankfully annoying somebody else. In the UK we have quiet carriages where people are asked to be quiet so that others can read or work in peace. Personally I don’t travel in them because I listen to music and the noise of the headphones can annoy others. Bull shouldn’t travel in them either – but once I saw Bull thrown out of the quiet carriage because, unsurprisingly, he was making far too much noise and totally irritating everybody else. Bull then sat in a seat close to me and told the entire sorry tale to a perfect stranger who wasn’t interested at all but was being polite.

“I JUST STARTED TALKING TO THIS WOMAN AND SHE TOLD ME TO BE QUIET! I KNOW IT’S MEANT TO BE SILENT IN THERE BUT IT WAS LIKE A BLOODY LIBRARY – HOW BORING! ANYWAY, SHE COMPLAINED AND THE GUARD ASKED ME TO SHUT UP AND LEAVE! I DECIDED TO JUST GO! I LIKE TO TALK TO PEOPLE – DON’T YOU? THEY SHOULD CALL IT THE BORING BASTARD CARRIAGE! ANYWAY – WHAT’S YOUR NAME? I’M BULL AND I’M A REALLY FUNNY GUY. OH SORRY - I'VE SPILLED MY DRINK ALL OVER YOUR  BOOK. IT 'S SHIT ANYWAY!"

And so he went on – and on – and on! Thankfully, I could drown his voice out by listening to some rock music. I pitied the poor guy he had inflicted himself upon.

I don’t mind friendly people and I am willing to chat to anybody as long as they are pleasant, quiet, interesting and stop talking when I have had enough and want to read or listen to music.

Bulls don’t do that – they are relentless – they can’t take a hint even when it is blatant. They enter a room like a Bull in a China Shop!

Have you ever met anybody like that? 

How do you deal with them?

I think most British people are too polite and that is why Bull thrives in the UK.

I’m too nice to tell them to just SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Maybe I should do just that.