A Trip to Marlborough, the Grey Hound Re-Opens and Another all American Kid to Make me Vomit

Posted on December 5, 2011

After our September trip to recession hit Dorchester, this week-end Diane and I went to visit the other end of the British economic spectrum in Marlborough, Wiltshire, a picturesque market town that is home to the stinking rich who care little for the Euro crisis or the financial meltdown, they are far too busy counting their cash. This Tory heartland is the home of Harris tweeds, Barbour jackets, yellow jumpers and pink corduroys. It is also a dream place for women (such as Diane) who like craft shops and men who like good food and beer as fortunately, there are pubs and restaurants aplenty. We booked in at the rather nice Ivy Hotel, but when we got there, they could not find our reservation. Oh bugger, or as Mario Balotelli says: “Why always me?” Of course, such is the general nature of customer service in England, this would normally spell bad news, resulting in the manager gleefully asking us to depart. However, such was this particular manager’s good nature, he put us straight in to the honeymoon suite as a way of compensating a confused booking where no one could be quite sure who had actually messed it up. Given my track record it was almost certainly me, though this was not the time to let on that I am an imbecile of the highest order.

The Ivy House: A nice Hotel indeed

What really struck me about some of the little independent shops (of which there are many) in Marlborough was their apparent reliance on blizzards arriving this winter. It is as if though the owners have been given an accurate forecast that from December onwards we are going to be under several feet of snow. This gamble is a gamble of course, one that comes off the back of a few bitter winters in recent years, but, let us not forget, all the snow we had in the south fell before Christmas last year and January and February were in fact as they are normally are, cold and damp, but essentially grey and green not white. Many children who got sledges for Christmas presents last year got to use them on Boxing Day and that was about it, historical meteorological facts indicate that they could remain in the shed for years to come. One shop in particular seemed to have spent their annual profits on shovels, de-icer and sledges, they had so much gear it was spilling out of the front door. They must have been viewing MetCheck, Britain’s number one bullshit weather website that is written by a total fantasists who make Jeffery Archer look like an honest kind of bloke. The genuine Met Office are probably sick of saying it, but even the most up to date technology can only forecast patterns of weather to maximum of a week ahead. In the normally mild south, loading up your shop with gear fit for Norway is a big risk I think.

Anyway, it didn’t snow yesterday, it rained and it was cold rain too, so shortly after I had smashed a bottle of perfume over the floor of Laura Ashley we left Marlborough and headed off back to Broughton to have a nose around the re-opened Grey Hound public house. What a pleasant surprise that was, rather than being charged your children’s inheritance for a pizza that has been served by someone who doesn’t want you in there in the first place, the Grey Hound suddenly finds itself in the unique position of having a management team that actually thinks customers should be more than just a sitting duck for open wallet surgery. During the period we were in the pub, more and more local people started drifting in to experience the unfamiliar sensation of a warm greeting from the new young landlady, thus offering very real hope that Broughton will once again be blessed with a pub that is not only walking distance from Diane’s house, but full of the local customers who had become an afterthought to the previous owners whose only intention was to exploit the prosperous. Unfortunately for them, they forgot the common law of the wealthy, and that is they don’t get wealthy by allowing themselves to be ripped off. This, inevitably resulted in a reduced number of customers, rich or poor, just the daft or desperate, a classic example of reaping what you sew. Pubs are traditionally a great leveller in society, where a solicitor will happily chat with bricklayer, they are meeting places for people who otherwise do not cross paths for weeks or even months. To neglect that in a village like Broughton is or was, a disastrous error. The people of Broughton now need to back the new owners with their custom.

I finished my weekend by doing something at Diane’s house that I have never done before…. and before you say it, it was not the washing up…..no, it was far worse than that……… I watched about fifteen minutes of X Factor, a programme that I always thought was dreadful and couldn’t get any worse until this kid called Justine Beeker or something like that came on to do his new Christmas single. Oh my goodness me, I have not seen anything worse than this, not ever, he actually made the X Factor medley that was on beforehand look good. Dressed like some sort of Michael Jackson love child, this freak whined his way through a pile of utter dross as the maniacs in the audience screamed the house down, it was so bizarre I am at a loss to what it was all about. Apparently this kid has sold 25 million albums, it must be me getting old, because I couldn’t decipher anything bordering on talent anywhere, I honestly could not get it at all…….who is going insane, the world or me? What sort of life this boy must be leading Lord only knows, but it is pretty obvious that we are just a few years away from witnessing yet another fucked up wholesome all American kid in the mold of Britney Spears and Macauley Caulkin. One day someone is going to wake up and realise that this exploitation of American children is child abuse. Hasn’t anything been learnt by the tragic life of Micheal Jackson?

This left me temporarily depressed, but this didn’t last long, as afterwards I watched Have I Got News for You, the satirical quiz show which featured a gag about the worst CV in Britain, produced by the uniquely named Benedict La Gauche, an unemployed man from Manchester. This is a CV where La Gauche has decided to be honest about his career past, it is so brilliant that if I had a position available, I would probably employ him.

Read the Full CV here it will make your day.

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