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The big deal this week was the fire alarm at work. Like all other businesses large enough to have fire wardens we regularly have fire drills, but nobody expected the alarm to go off fifteen minutes before the end of shift. Even after hearing the noise I still didn't realise a real fire alarm was happening , right there, right then. Finally somebody remembered that a fire alarm sounded like that and we were supposed to exit the premises by the nearest convenient exit. So we did. It wasn't too cold, but none too warm either. We spread out across the car park aimlessly before the management began herding us in a quiet corner, and just in time, because the fire engine turned up, blue lights flashing. Looks like a real fire then. Rumours were spreading. Something had burst into flames. A few firemen loked busy but there wasn't any smoke or signs of heroic fire fighting. Everything seemed quite calm and businesslike. Then a second fire engine turned up. Oh hello... Is this a serious fire? Rumours began to spread again. Apparently a forklift battery charger had ignited itself. By now the more curious of us were brandishing mobile phones with the vain hope of videoing the end of the warehouse in glorious high definition. Now a third fire engine turned up. Only this one stopped at the entrance to the car park and then reversed away. "Put that fag out!" Yelled a manager. For the unenlightened, 'fag' is British slang for a cigarette. A startled warehouseman did his best to look innocent. "I'll see you tomorrow" The manager warned. And then, a fourth fire engine turned up. It didn't even stop, turning around to go home disappointed that the building wasn't burning to the ground, or more likely, that the naughty warehouseman had put his cigarette out as ordered. The 'All Clear' was given so we went home. Didn't even miss the bus. The Importance Of Doing Nothing Of late I've been pretty busy at work collecting wooden pallets and related tasks. It gets a bit physical, even on the days when I can get a powered pallet truck to use, which isn't so easy because another section tends to nab one sooner than me. One of their team doesn't like doing manual labour. On one day the manager told me pallets were an emergency because no-one had left any from the previous shift. I was lucky to get a truck that day, but as compensation for the forthcoming 'headless chicken' duty, I was to be given the help of Hamster (not related to a certain Top Gear presenter). There's a number of youngsters in the warehouse who form a social clique all of their own. Basically they do all the things the managers don't want them to, but because there are two senior youngsters, Baby Face and Hamster, they pretty much get away with their shenanigans. I was just preparing to shuttle lots of pallets in 'rush hour' when I spotted Hamster walking past. Usually he drives a powered truck of a different type, and seeing him walk is a rare event. I asked him where he intended starting pallet collection, only to be told that he didn't have a truck. I see. Well, how about grabbing a hand truck and manually stacking pallets so I could wheel them to their destination? He walked away. Hamster doesn't do manual work. His job is to look important driving pallet trucks. Oh, and laugh at Baby Face's jokes. Very important duty onbviously. It Happened Again Apparently there was a solar eclipse last friday. I wouldn't know. Partly because the sky was cloudy, partly because I live too far south, partly because I had dozed off watching a dull episode of Star Trek, and partly because I seem fated never to see a real astronomical event ever. Almost time to go back to work. Welcome to my life. Cigarette Of The Week At last the working day has come to an end and warehousemen in various stages of tiredness and disgruntlement amble up the road to catch the bus. Many of us face very long walks home if we miss the last one. One of my colleagues has become quite popular with the managers, mostly because he comes across like Paddington Bear with a midlands accent. He's not as cute and cuddly as the managers think but since when did a manager ever assess someone correctly? Anyway, once at the bus stop Bear felt the need for a smoke before the bus arrived. Suddenly there was a desperate need for a lighter, because he didn't have one, neither did I, nor anyone else, so he took to waylaying colleagues on bicycles as they rode by. Finally he managed to get one to stop and help him out. Just as he was about to take that first puff on the wretched cigarette a passing lorry blew it out. His midland accent remained, but where was the Paddington Bear demeanour all of a sudden?
There's an election in the wind. My first clue was that piece of card posted through the dor telling me I can vote. The second clue was a couple of coaches parked near the library with signs telling me that our local minister of parliament was in town talking to citizens, promising them the Earth, and asking for their vote to make it possible. Makes a change from the Jesus brigade I suppose, even if the preaching isn't much different. I don't know about you, but I find the Promised Land is something I've heard about all too often. We never seem to get there do we? Maybe that's because if we did we wouldn't need ministers of parliament any more and they'd be out of a job. So get those votes in now and join in the nail biting television coverage of the vote counting to see who will lead us into the next round of Prime Ministers Questions and all those arguments about whose policies are whose. As to who this MP was I have no idea. Apparently he's already representing Swindon North. Guess that explains everytthing. Thing is though there was a gentleman talking to a couple of burly security people who bore an extraordinary resemblance to Ed Millband, the Labour Party fuhrer. Couldn't have been of course. Ed Milliband is a charismatic leader of men, a giant of politics, a fearless reformer and visionary, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and crush men's skulls with his little toe. Ed Millipede then. To be honest I couldn't care less who he was or why he was there. I did notice however he took great delight in poking fun at my expense in public. Twice. Well, it's only fair then that I poke fun back. In front of the entire Inter-World-Wide-Web-Net in glorious broadband. Oh how social media haunts us all.... Nice cardie Mr Millipede. Looks like genuine unwashed Hebridean yak wool. Birthday present maybe? Or is that the uniform a party leader wears in covert missions into enemy held rural towns? I only mention the cardie because it genuinely happens to be the most impressive thing about you. Not very tall are you? The second item on my lambasting itinerary is confirmation that my anatomy is indeed fully functional. Laugh all you want, but I got a friendly smile from a rather attracive female receptionist that day and I'll be seeing her again shortly. You had to make do with two burly policemen. Takes all sorts I guess... Online Dating Of The Week Some people think I'm childish. Playing trains, at my age? The men wonder why I'm not out there every night shagging women. Women complain I'm not breeding enough babies for them to go gooey over. Admittedly I do behave a little bit less than calm and businesslike sometimes, but then, why would I want to be a stereotypical cardboard cut-out living in miserable mediocrity? Ye gods what a dull world you people live in. No wonder you all want to get blind steaming drunk. Let me tell you something World. As James May showed scientifically on television (he does things properly you see) model trains are without doubt the one thing that adults will forget football for, although he did neglect to factor in the influence of copious amunts of lager. As for shagging women, I really don't mind putting aside the model trains for the odd bonk or two. As it happens, I discovered the other night that there's a rule of thumb for finding the perfect age of your prospective partner. Apparentl;y the ideal woman's age is half the man's plus seven. That means I really can still shag a woman of child bearing age safe in the knowledge she's perfect for me and that my anatomy is still expected to function as expected. It comes fully tested after al, as Mr Millpede kindly confirmed for us all. So ladies, if you're 33 years old, single, want to breed little Caldrails, and have a benign attitude toward model trains, Roman history, supercars, and military surplus trousers, why not get in touch? I only bite if asked to.