A very enjoyable lunch with a past pupil friend, Jon Miller, chewing over old times, at that great little restaurant in Bishopsgate, Boisdale. Clearly it has some history as one reads on their cigar match box:
Dandelion Co Heritage Boisdale 1780
Fetch me a pint wine
Robbie Burns 1780
And on the other side:
Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter, sermons and soda water, the day after
Lord Byron 1845
On the way through Liverpool Street Station I had a meeting with Bill Godwin to agree on the division of lectures for the forthcoming visit to China. I was perturbed to learn that Bill has to leave Beijing at midday on Sunday and therefore I will have to manage that last day on my own. I just pray that I am up to it and do not feel totally worn out by the third day.
England got their comeuppance today in South Africa, being soundly thrashed in the quarterfinals, in the World Series, by Australia. England have some serious thinking to do about training their team for future one-day matches.
For those readers who are interested in the progress of my gadgets — an update.
You may recall that I attempted to enlist the help of three knights of the realm who, by virtue of the previous posts they held, were very well connected with the City of London. I say were, because they are now all retired and some of their contacts, no doubt, are only lukewarm if alive at all! My intention had been, that through these three erstwhile City giants, to try to get a personal introduction to a senior director or chairman of an appropriate company who I could try to interested in one or other of my ideas. Having had little or no success with that particular approach, albeit that all three of my friends could not have been kinder or more helpful with their suggestions, I decided on the direct approach myself. After all however â€˜importantâ€™ the person I contacted was, they couldn’t eat me.
I got onto the Web, found the contact details and telephoned the PA of one of the cleverest inventors in the UK who listened to me and kindly promised to try to get me a brief interview with the great man.
That was a couple of weeks ago. In a follow-up call yesterday she told me that I am still ‘on the listâ€™. So I don’t give up hope. That particular contact was in connection with the feeding frame which is in the most advanced state of all the three ideas — at least it is in its fourth prototype.
The second of my ideas, the bionic gloves, I have decided to try to find someone within the giant GEC organisation. I think that these will be just up their street if I can get to the right person. A big if.
The third idea and perhaps the best of all, I have told very few people about because it is the simplest and easiest to put into production and therefore the most easily copied. This I am pursing through my good friend Peter Southwick and one of his contacts.
So, I have not gone to sleep on any of these ideas. Watch this space!
Out for a pub lunch at the Barleycorn, Duxford, with my lovely today. Sunny enough to sit outside; so a cigar.
Shown below, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 86 year old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.
I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it.
I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only years.
You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.
My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.
I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, — when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.
From now on I choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.
My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.
Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact which I require your chosen employee to complete.
I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.
Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.
In due course, at MY convenience, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me.
I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Let me level the playing field even further.
When you call me, press buttons as follows:
IMMEDIATELY AFTER DIALING, PRESS THE STAR (*) BUTTON FOR ENGLISH!
#1. To make an appointment to see me
#2. To query a missing payment.
#3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
#4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
#5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
#6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home .
#7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.
#8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
#9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.
# 10. This is a second reminder to press* for English.
While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, music noise will play for the duration of the call.
Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.
May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?
Your Humble Client
(Remember: This was written by a 86 year old woman)
A man had two of the best tickets for the England v Wales final of the Six Nations. As he sits down, another man comes along and asks if anyone is sitting in the seat next to him.
“No”, he says, “the seat is empty.”
“This is incredible!” said the man, “who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the biggest sporting event of the year, and not use it?”
He says, “Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. My wife was supposed to come with me, but she passed away. This is the first Six Nations final we haven’t been to together since we got married.”
“Oh… I’m sorry to hear that. That’s terrible. I guess you couldn’t find someone else, a friend or relative or even a neighbour to take the seat?”
The man shakes his head… “No. They’re all at the funeral.”
My geriatric flu jab today but not swine flu. Apparently the vaccine will not be available until the end of this year. I just hope I don’t pick up anything in China or Thailand.
Now my hands are virtually useless, permanently at right angles to my arms unless I am wearing a wrist support, I have worked out how to take my pills by licking the frozen forefinger finger, on my left-hand, and picking them up that way. Things like pieces of chocolate or segments of orange, I nudge onto the back of my left-hand and eat them from there. It’s rather liked the action of taking snuff!
I braved the wind and rain today for my weekly geriatric golf walk. I managed 16 holes before my legs started giving out but that was around two and a half hours walking, so not too bad. I kept reasonably dry but what does one do about a soggy kilt? It’s also getting a little breezy so I have designed some flannel boxer shorts which I should try to get my Thai tailor to make on my forthcoming visit.
A Dinner was held at The Athenaeum in London on 30 July 2009 to celebrate Mark’s contributions to arbitration and to life, organised by John Tackaberry QC. Here is the video of Mark’s “anecdotal ramblings”, with thanks to Monti for the source DVD:
This evening I finished another long Chinese novel – The Brothers by Yu Hua – a strange story apparently shortlisted for the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize. Described on the dust cover as a highly spirited comedy of society running amok in modern China, which follows two brothers riding the dizzying rollercoaster of life in the new capitalist world. Well worth a read but not the China I have come to know over the last 10 years, but then this is not surprising considering the rarefied academic society in which I am cocooned, when in China.
My loo book was H.E Bates The Jacaranda Tree, which I’ve also finished. A cracking good tale about Brits in Burma fleeing from the oncoming Japanese during the last war.
Horror of horrors, wisdom tooth extraction day. Went to Addenbrookes at lunchtime to have it yanked out. Not a happy experience particularly as they managed to break the tooth and leave a small part of the root behind, which meant a lot of poking, a certain amount of cutting and the loudest drilling that I’ve ever experienced. However, all was well in the end and I suffered little discomfort. I have a good set of gnashers, thank goodness, as they replace my fingers from time to time, so to lose a wisdom tooth is a serious loss.
The relatively new Jokes section of this blog seems to gone down rather well. So much so that I invite any reader to send me their best joke and after I have vetted it in firstname.lastname@example.org, provided it is neither racist or sexist, I would consider including it on the blog to share with the other hundreds of readers who log in daily.