I recently got a new computer to play games on, and filled it with all the games I like to play. The games I most like to play are the ones I used to play when I was about 15. This includes one of my all-time favourites, SimCity 3000.
SimCity 3000 is full of silly jokes and unexpected references, and when I was 15 I didn’t get all of them. Coming back to the game in the last month or two, having not really touched it for perhaps the best part of a decade, a joke popped up that made sense to me for the first time, and it made sense thanks to one Kevindo F. Menendez and one Ian “Hotter Otter” McIver, who had kindly introduced me to a song the teenage Chris had never heard, and my life was all the better for it.
As the weather slightly improves in the British Isles, with varying degrees of success, so I am more inclined to leave the warm confines of the office and stretch my legs in the outside world. It’s a bit of a shocker at the moment. If people aren’t panic-buying soap and toilet paper they’re worriedly moving along the street, covering their mouths and greeting everyone with the level of suspicion they would normally reserve for an old man in a trenchcoat.
I remain a flurry of activity in myself and have no concern about these matters for the moment. All I care about is what I’m putting in my mouth (and also how it affects the shares of Greggs, what with the dip of people decreasing the amount of wares sold during the breakfast and lunch period, of course).
With my recent increase in eyes I can now see more than I ever have done before and you will not believe what I came across the other day. There is a house near to the office with the most unusual of… how to describe, well take a look yourself:
At first I walked past, had to stop, turn around and go back to see if I had actually seen what I had seen.
Are they the tops of baby bottles? Are they nipples? Are they sand castles The colour doesn’t even try to match the brickwork underneath. They stand out an absolute mile. What on earth was the designer going through to concoct such a bizarre structure?
The good news is that the property is on the market so if you’re looking for a beautiful four bedroom detached house with luxurious stone boobs to greet you as you come home every evening then this is the house for you!
We’re all on the lookout for a flexible workspace these days. Somewhere you can just sit down, maybe order a latte, open your laptop and, I don’t know, edit a podcast or grow a hipster beard or something.
The other day, while exploring an area I hadn’t visited before down in the sub-basement of the 1930s part of the building at work, I found an excellent flexible workspace and wanted to share my find with you. Here it is.
As you can see, it’s pleasingly raised above the general floor level, offering a sense of superiority and a view over all the people working nearby (or water heating machinery; I think it was mostly water heating machinery and sewage pipes you could see from here). It also has many useful features:
A light, so the workspace has excellent all-over lighting levels
A railing, so it’s very safe
A calming white/grey colour scheme
A red pipe
Obviously I’m claiming first dibs on this, and will be moving in there first thing Monday with my laptop to grow a podcast and edit my beard. But if you want to book a slot yourself, just get in touch.
Once there was a man who lived in his house with his wife and two kids.
It was a happy home, mainly because of the love shared between everyone but also because it had about five thousand rooms and was kept constantly up-to-date because of the man’s obsession with DIY. It had more bathrooms than your average B & Q megastore.
One day the man went to work and when he came home there were some unwanted visitors. It was a flock of bees, wanting to come and stay in the mansion because there were no rooms left in the Travelodge up the road. The man considered their proposal but ultimately had to turn it down as he had heard that bees have a bad reputation and sometimes leave wet towels on the floor rather than putting them over the side of the bath or on a radiator.
The next day the bees were still there, refusing to leave from the garden. Everyone stayed inside the house to keep away from the bees. They built their own bee house in a tree and laughed at anyone who dared come near their keep. The man ran to his car so he could still go to work, putting together dib-dabs in a computer. When he came back in the evening he discovered that the bees had bought a crowbar and forced their way into the house. As he dialled 999 he heard them upstairs, possibly nibbling crackers and spraying the crumbs all over the carpet. He called a bee man, Mr Bee as he is known to his fans, who drilled a hole in the wall and threw BBQ sauce in to drive the bees out. Everyone knows that bees hate barbecues due to their jealously over not being able to use metal prongs.
The bees left the house yet decided to hang around so they formed the shape of a strawberry and hung on the corner of the house. It did look pretty, from a distance. Mr Bee also dropped some crates in the garden with the intention of scooping all the bees up and putting them in ice cream to sell to pensioners down on the South coast of England. One by one, the bees formed an orderly queue and went into the box as the film ‘Cocoon’ was being shown. Popcorn was passed around. A jolly time was had by all. When all the bees were sleeping off their sugar bender the bee man snuck up, took the box and disappeared into the night, and was never seen again. Some believe that he knew so much about bees as he was actually a flock of bees taped together, using some sort of pulley system and intense paper mache skills.
(Picture supplied by the very generous Emily McIver)
A few months ago, my department was moved downstairs as we were merged in with another similar department. Now we all sit in the same place. Our new surroundings are in the basement, as befits our status. Engineers do not need daylight, and are not to be allowed to have it. We are so deep in the basement that Bakerloo line trains cause an audible rumble through the walls every few minutes. We’ve calculated that they might actually be slightly above our floor level.
One interesting feature of the sub-basement where we have been hidden away, as though we are some sort of embarassment, is the shortage of toilet facilities. It’s almost like this floor was designed for apparatus rooms and storage areas, and the idea that teams of people might spend their lives down there wasn’t considered by the architects.
That leaves me with a choice of three sub-optimal toilets, as follows.
Toilet One is a single cubicle, self-contained with a sink and hand dryer, located a short walk from our room, but close to other rooms where people work so it’s often busy. If you flush the toilet the sink tap stops running, so you have to wash your hands before you flush or (more often) you forget to wash your hands before you flush so you then stand there for several minutes waiting for the cistern to slowly refill before you can get a trickle of water on your hands.
Toilet Two is another single self-contained cubicle, not much further away, but located at a little kitchen area where people come to make tea. From inside the cubicle you can hear everything people say and do at the kitchen, and I know from experience that people in the kitchen can hear everything that happens in the toilet cubicle. I don’t like that at all. Once I sat in there for the whole time it took someone to make a round of tea because I didn’t want them to hear me having a poo.
Toilet Three is yet another self-contained cubicle, and technically a disabled toilet with one of those seats that feels a bit higher up than it should be. The automatic tap makes a massive noise when you wash your hands, like a siren going off to alert anyone nearby to the fact that you’re using a disabled toilet. It’s a long walk away from the room where I work on the other side of two security doors. Someone once came out of it when I was approaching to go in who gave me a really angry look.
I haven’t yet decided which of these is the least worst, but please keep me in your thoughts as I struggle to find somewhere satisfactory to go for a wee at work.
Just in time for Kev’s annual Whole House Redecoration (start date 1 November 2018; completion due 25 October 2019), Pouring Beans Chemicals Ltd. are delighted to announce their new home decor paint range.
All our new paints are lovingly hand-made at the large chemical refinery down by the docks.
Neither too yellow, nor too sad, Whimbrel is the colloquial name for the traditional butcher’s apron which this haughty colour embodies. It’s the perfect contrast to our slightly lighter Musty White and Smoky White, creating a trio of colours that sit perilously close together in modern and traditional homes.
Third Degree Burns
The deep blackened pigmentation gives a smug burgundy finish with a wonderfully sore feel. This, our most angst-ridden red, reads almost like a disingenuous purple if you compare it to our more painful looking Internal Bleeding Crimson.
This quietly desperate blue feels wonderfully hopeless, and could be suitable anywhere from a service riser to an airy frotting room. The exact shade is rooted in a despondency palette. Like denim, its blue hue is ultimately worthless and yet always feels tipsy.
This takes its name from the old English expectorations of simple peasants with a poor diet. With its highly pigmented yellow base, this mid green creates a totally unique look by not actually being green at all. It’s a statement colour when contrasted with shades as repellent as Titchmarsh Brown. It is also fabulous when used with furtive glee.
This rich teal takes its name from highly fashionable show-drowning in pre-revolutionary France. Sitting between Punitive Green and Biliousness, its subtle blue undertones work particularly well in modern aquatic spaces. Slop onto industrial processing units alongside Huguenot Fishwife on pipes and valves for a clean finish that is conducive to modern industry.
Other shades are also available. Please ask your stockist to mix two cans together and see what they get.
In my new job, I work on the third floor of an old building that has many useless architectural accoutrements and doodads. They’re all things the architect thought would look nice back in 1932, but which now serve no purpose at all, and perhaps they never did.
One of the useless things is a balcony that runs all the way along our side of the third floor, just below the windows. It only seems to be there because someone decided that this side of the building would look a bit more interesting if there was a balcony on it. It’s a very long balcony – perhaps as long as two or three double decker buses parked end to end, or maybe as long as a fireman’s hose, if the fireman’s hose was the same length as two or three double decker buses parked end to end.
It doesn’t look to me like a balcony that I was meant to go and stand on. It’s not very wide, for a start. You could stand on it, and walk along it if you weren’t planning to swing your arms about too much, but you couldn’t put a chair of any kind there, at least not in such a way that you could actually sit on it. The wall along the edge is only just waist high, so you’d feel a bit exposed on it as well.
None of that means that I don’t want to stand on it. Unfortunately, I can’t, because none of the windows open wide enough and the doors – we have two sets of double doors that would open on to it – are locked. The doors are also blocked by some furniture and other piles of tat.
I don’t know why I want to stand on the balcony so much. It would be cold and unpleasant and dangerous, and there would be nothing for me to do once I was out there. There’s no good reason to stand on the balcony. It’s not even a balcony for standing on. That’s why the doors are locked. They aren’t doors for walking through. But none of that changes the fact that I want to stand on it, just for a little bit, just to say I did.
One day it will get the better of me. One day I will climb out of the window. And on that day you will know I made it because you won’t hear from me for a long time, and it will be because I got stuck on the balcony you’re not meant to stand on, and had to be rescued by the fire brigade. And it will be worth it.