Mar. 16th, 2008

Blenheim

Mar. 16th, 2008 06:27 pm
peterbirks: (Default)
A visit to Blenheim Palace yesterday, which began with a train journey to Oxford. As usual, the world seems to thing I am omniscient (that, or an information booth). A girl asked me in halting English how she could get to Windsor. This was a tough one because, basically, the genuine answer was "I have no idea", although I did have apunt on saying "look for trains to Slough". As it turns out, I was on a train to Slough, but how was I supposed to know that?

We went wandering around Oxford afterwards, finally finding a pub that wasn't packed to the rafters with people getting drunk because it was St Patrick's Day. Oxford, of course, is well known for its historical connections to Ireland, dating back as this does for its support for King Charles against Cromwell.

Although the pub we found (a rather cool Youngs pub, with lots of separate bars) wasn't packed to the rafters, it was fairly crowded. After about 15 minutes a collection of middle-aged Eastern Europeans entered. The nine of them found two tables, pushed them together, and then went round the bar looking for spare chairs. After about five minutes, they had managed this complex manoeuvre, and they all sat down, and started chatting. I thought no more about it, until they all got up and left 10 minutes later, without having bought a drink.

Weird, I thought.

It was Jan that spotted that perhaps they had been sitting there waiting for the waiter to come to take their order. When no-one had arrived after 10 minutes, they left in a huff.

A, the vicissitudes of drinking in English pubs.

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Later in the evening it was still pissing down, so wwe went to the pictures. Oxford, I wish to point out, is not only not cheap (the only place to have parking costs rivalling London), it also does not have London's range of cinema choice. As a result, we watched Vantage Point which started out promisingly (attempted assassination of US president, shown from five or six different viewpoints over a half hour or so period) but then the director clearly had a change of heart (or the backers did). So, for the last third, he felt obliged to put in a car chase and some duff "appeal to middle America" lines that actually had the audience laughing out loud. Not recommended.

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Oh well, Bear Stearns issues statement on Monday that it is fine. Bear Stearns issues statement on Friday that it is up shit creek without a paddle (or, in business speak "exploring strategic options").

Meanwhile, my own company appears to have lost its CEO. Since we lost our finance director last year, the markets are, in the vernacular, "spooked". Given the statements of our soon-to-be ex-CEO over the past few months ("know of no reason for fall in share price". "in line with market sentiment" etc etc) while all the while being in talks about leaving I feel that a certain amount of cynicism from me about pronouncements from the top is justified. Trust and respect, as they say, has to be earned.

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