Thursday, February 25, 2010

The trials of eating on a train.

Every now and again I have to eat on the way home from work so that I can get out quickly to get to a meeting on time. The other day I picked up a Big Tasty Meal from McDonald's. Now, the key to eating a McDonald's on the train is to get your meal early, allowing yourself enough time to obtain a good seat.

By a good seat I mean one at the end of a carriage that has the back of the next seat facing you – not an open 4 seat space with another passenger facing you. The 2 seater space is perfect, because if you sit in the window seat, not are you hidden from most other passengers while you eat, but you can also wedge your coke or milkshake between the wall and your seat – freeing up a much needed hand.

However, due to McDonald's not anticipating my need for a Big Tasty (without bacon) I had to wait a good while and so only just caught my train. And so there I was, surrounded by passengers all wishing I wasn't unpacking my freshly cooked junk food. There was one window seat left and so despite the obvious annoyance and overspilling bulk of the large man sitting in the seat next to it, I squeezed myself into position and filed my drink in the aforementioned holding place.

I pulled out the fries and began to unpeel the ketchup. But due to the large man occupying more seat than he had paid for and the resulting awkward angles of my arms, the sauce somehow flipped out of my hand, narrowly missing my jeans and ended upside down on my cleverly concealed drink. This was not ideal. To execute a clean-up exercise was going to be tricky and embarrassing. So I took the option of pretending it hadn't happened - and thankfully so did everyone else. Bless the English.

And so I munched my way through my meal, desperately wanting a drink, but fearing the mess that would result. The Big Tasty itself was also tricky. It had been blessed with an over generous portion of lettuce and the sauce was belligerently refusing to stay in the bun. Such was the spectacle, that an elderly gentleman could stand it no longer and held his newspaper absurdly high in protest, using it as makeshift barrier to block out the eating disaster that was occurring in front of him. I felt bad, but what can I say? I was hungry, the food was playing up, I was squashed and my drink was disabled.

Still it could have been worse – the ketchup could have landed on the big man next to me. I'm sure his manners wouldn't have been so English then.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wishing the road was as flat as my tyre.

My sister's fiancé and I were on our way to the pub. It was an evening organised by my local church to go and eat good food and listen the story of a pastor from Kosovo.

After a short and uneventful journey we were just 30 metres from the pub when Jon spotted it – a large pothole in the road. I spotted it slightly later, about one second before I drove over (or should I say into) it. There was a muffled bang, followed by the unmistakable flap flap and hiss of my tyre deflating. It was dark wet and very annoying.

Thankfully Jon sprung into action and within about eight minutes we had the spare on. Phew. Feeling like true men who had triumphed over adversity we got cleaned up and settled down for a pleasant evening.

When we came out we noticed someone else parked nearby, boot lid open and a small crowd of men around the car – they too were afflicted by the hard-to-spot hole in the road.

Life can be like that. Just when everything seems to be going okay, bang something happens. And let's face it, much worse things happen than a flat tyre. But I think it's how we deal with these unforeseen events that matters. Stuff happens; sometimes stuff that we can't prepare or carry a spare for.

The pastor from Kosovo shared with us the stories of some people who had suffered badly and lost most of the earthly possessions due to the war. In their time of need they called out and found God. I wonder when the things in our lives goes 'bang' who/what in our time of need we call out to?

Monday, February 1, 2010

A strange occurrence

So there we were, my wife and I floating in the middle of a huge flooded square. We bobbed around beneath attractive, sunny buildings, struggling with what appeared to be our recycling bin. The thing simply refused to open - no matter how we prized at it, how annoying. Amidst our struggles to keep afloat and wrestling with the wretched bin, we found ourselves drifting into one of the surrounding buildings. We swirled through a doorway and into a rather dull room. The bottom half had been painted green with the rest a grubby grey. Despite the water being halfway up the walls, we weren't too worried, but we were becoming increasingly annoyed by the stubbornness of the recycling bin. An indistinct noise made us look as a stranger stepped in through the doorway. The water had gone, yet our bodies were still attempting to swim. We laughed at the stupidity of the situation.

And as I woke up I could not stop giggling. It was all very amusing, apparently. Claire was also now awake and feeling that she had missed something, enquired as to what was so funny. Needless to say, the dream didn't seem half as amusing when I tried to retell it through tears of giggles. An intense dream that even a few weeks later brings a smile to my face. Our minds are funny things aren't they?