Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Tales from Telford

In fact, I haven't got many tales to tell about Telford, but since I have an hour to kill before dinner, I thought I would sum up the story so far.

All went smoothly with the journey. I have said it before, but I do love travelling on trains. It is so relaxing to be able to just sit back without having to keep ones eye on the road, read a book, listen to music, do a bit of writing, sat at a train with a desk in front of me. And with lots to look at through the window.

It has to be said, not all of what I was looking at was particularly pleasant. Now I don't want to upset any West Midlanders but it has to be said, the view from the window of the train all the way from Birmingham to Wolverhampton is unremittingly grim. Crumbling buildings, industrial decay, weeds everywhere, abandoned sites full of rubbish, it looks like some sort of post apocalyptic scene in places. Perhaps it is just train lines that attract this level of decay, they do after all travel through a lot of industrial heartlands. I can't remember the view ever being this grim on some of my many business trips to this part of the world in the old days.

Thankfully once I got past Wolverhampton, the scene improved considerably. I had settled into my book by that time, which I have just finished. I am always on the lookout for diary or blog style books, there are not that many of them and I very much enjoyed this offering. It was called "The Virgin Student" and it was a book woven from the original blog written by an Oxford Student who offered her virginity on the internet a few years ago. Doubtless you will remember the news story. Anyway, I very much enjoyed this and may well post up a review later on, time permitting - which it probably will be as there is not a great deal for me to do this evening.

I always try and post up reviews for books I read these days, even if I did not like them that much. Even those I did not like I try to write positive comments and have never rated a book below 2 stars. I try to write the sort of reviews I would hope to receive myself - of reasonable length, well reasoned and thought out with plenty of detail about the book rather than just a brief sentence or so. Such reviews are like gold dust to authors, I should know, sadly the number of reviews of my new book have been somewhat lacking, I still have only one compared to sixteen for Fortysomething Father which is still outselling its successor.

The last book I read was called the Chirodiary by a guy called Clive Cooper which is an amusing diary style book not dissimilar to the kind of things I write myself. It's based loosely around his bad back and trips to the chiropractor, but with so much more besides. I recommend checking it out if you like my stuff, try his. It's encouraging to find such books on Amazon because far from seeing other writing in the same genre as competition, I see it as complimentary. If people like books in this genre, they will buy more of them if there are more available, and as you know if you shop on Amazon, the way many books are found is through the "People who bought this also bought...".

In the interests of Austerity, I thought I would see how far I could get on this trip without spending any money whatsoever and have done quite well so far, all has been paid for up to this point. I even got a newspaper on the train which had been conveniently left, so if I run out of material I can read that. The hotel itself is lovely, like a big country house, the sort of place I DJ sometimes when people hire the whole place out for the weekend for a wedding for several thousand pounds. Here is a picture so you can get the image.

My home for the next two days

I am writing this while killing time waiting to go in to dinner. I am dining alone tonight and it's a long time since I've done that (487 visits to Jenny's and Nash's don't count). The earliest I can eat is 7:30pm which seems very late to me, but is in fact, by the standard of polite society rather early, and laughably early by the standards of some Mediterranean cultures. Such is the nature of being a parent of young children, where 5pm is around the average evening mealtime, sometimes even earlier than that. I've been starving to be honest, so that little stash of food you saw in my last blog entry has come in very handy!

It's a little lonely to be honest. This is the first time I have ever left Claire and the children alone to go somewhere, and I miss them. Fortunately it is only for tonight, Claire will be joining me tomorrow morning. Tonight I shall eat my dinner and then retire to the room and have a couple of drinks. I mentioned before I had no desire to sit around in the bar. Unfortunately there is no fridge or mini bar in my room, so I have had to improvise. I am actually pleased that it is so unseasonally cold (9C or thereabouts) because it means I have been able to open up the window and put the drinks (and pepperami's) on the windowsill to keep them nice and chilled. Ever resourceful me, you know, especially when it comes to matter of food and drink!

A little addendum to the Radio Oxford thing - just had a message from BBC Radio Solent asking me if I will do the same for them, which of course I will - the more exposure the more chance I'll get that big break I am looking for. Initially the thought of a trip down to Southampton left me thinking of logistical difficulties, but the good news is, it can all be done from the studios at Radio Oxford.

I am very much thinking the next step is the National stations - if I can make the jump from Oxford and Solent up to Radio 4 or Radio 2, then things will really start to get exciting!

It's a little later in the evening now, and I am back from dinner which was very nice, though it was a little odd sitting in the restaurant alone. It was mostly older couples in there, I was the only one dining alone. I spent most of the time messing about on my phone to be honest, something I generally disapprove of in restaurants but since I was on my own, I reckon it is OK. I told my friend Chris about my window chiller, with particular reference to my bedtime Pepperamis and he was very impressed, I could tell. He was a big fan of mine back in the day and still dines out to this day on tales of how my executive briefcase at Nielsen did in fact contain nothing but crisps. Not strictly speaking true, I'm pretty sure there may have been a Racing Post in there too, but that bit got lost as the legend was passed down over time.

So, back in the room now until breakfast tomorrow. I think it might be wise to skip the sausages for breakfast tomorrow, I need to keep my palate pure for what lies ahead. Stand by a full report coming your way soon!

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