Sunday, June 29, 2003

We've just spent a very pleasant hour on the Common, sitting in the shade of a horsechestnut tree which made Butter's eyes itch, watching the local ragamuffins and simple folk playing with their balls. England bathes in sunshine this afternoon, Tim Henman is still in with a chance at Wimbledon, and across the country the clink of ice cubes in jugs of Pimms competes with the twitter of birds. And car stereos pumping out the Fast Food Song, possibly the greatest cultural crime of the 21st Century so far, the perpetrators of which deserve to be taken onto the common, put in the stocks and pelted with tomatoes and sharp-edged rocks. But I digress. We're spending the kind of lazy day that sunshine and a killer hangover demands. I should be working on my book but feel as hazy as the sky. Maybe in a minute...

Last night we went out with some of Butter's colleagues. I haven't been so drunk in a long time. Ooh... at least two weeks. I was practically convulsing with alcohol poisoning. Great fun. Woke up this morning feeling as if I'd been left out in the desert for a month, my head pulsating, my body crying out for liquid. Then my girlfriend made me get up and make her a cup of tea, which took about an hour (well, it felt like it).

Commuters across south-east England are rejoicing at the news that my former employers, Connex, have had their franchise taken away and will cease to exist before the end of the year. I have friends who still work for them (albeit indirectly) and although I'm worried about them and their jobs, I must confess that I shed no tears when I heard the news. Working for Connex was the unhappiest two years of my life. Travelling with them isn't much better. On Tuesday it took me three hours to get to work because of a bull on the line. It was attracted to the red signal. Eventually, the Connex matador was called in to remove it. Then on Wednesday I was an hour late because the on-train computer crashed. Better than the train itself crashing, I admit. The staff were unable to fix it. How stupid. Everyone knows how to fix a knackered computer: you just turn it off and on again.

British holidaymakers have voted Tokyo the third best overseas city in the world, behind Sydney and Melbourne. There's a report on how to visit Tokyo without taking out a mortgage here.