As some of you know, I have, in the past, worked as an IT consultant of sorts attempting to bring all kinds of chaotic data to peace and understanding. Much of this activity took place in a galaxy far, *ahem*, a county far, far away from West Wales and when the project finished in 2010, I decided to become a best-selling author instead.
I became a selling author – the ‘best’ is yet to come!
Two weeks ago, I was asked by the same Reading-based company I left in 2010 to go back and fix all the mistakes, *cough*, help them with a new project involving the migration of data of the most unruly nature. Naturally, I cancelled all my book signings (in total, zero) and all my guest appearances on “The Graham Norton Show” (in total, go on guess) and jumped at the opportunity.
After proving to the company that I was who I said I was (or rather, I was who they thought I was when they ‘phoned me in the first place), I embarked on finding a flat to live in. Last time, I had found a place to live for the final two and a half years with no real bother – I looked round a place I liked, I signed a form, paid a massive fee for apparently being allowed the privilege of signing the form, and that was that.
Naively, I thought that the process wouldn’t have changed much.
Having ended up having to go down to Reading because I can’t just stump up a couple of month’s rent via a BACS transfer and move in without the letting agency actually seeing me, I decided to use a local hotel rather than a big chain one for my visit. The big chain hotels in the middle of the town are uber-convenient, sure, but boy don’t they charge you for every little thing – parking, wi-fi, water, air etc. I found one on the edge of town (it took me about 10 minutes to walk into the centre), which had its own car park and free wi-fi and was cheaper (well, I booked very last minute and had the last room they had left). Not only that, but when I asked on the day I left whether cheekily I could leave my car in their car park for a few hours until I was ready to leave, they replied that there was no cheek required and to take as long as I needed.
The hotel had already impressed me though because of their policy, attached to the fridge door:
How great is that?
It is heartening to think that amidst the global corporation take-over of our lives, sustainable communities are still thriving, albeit in unlikely places!
Of course, the march of the all-encompassing consumerist monsters continues everywhere. As I walked to one of my favourite places in the country – the cemetery that gives the junction its name – I passed the old shop I used to use for emergency biscuits, milk, chocolate and other essentials such as chocolate. It was about 50 yards up the road from where I lived back in 2008/9/10.
Sadly, for whatever reason, Tesco have now taken it over and it will no doubt destroy any of the local businesses in the vicinity that try to compete.
Happily, the Muntjac deer are still sustainably grazing the cemetery and still avoiding my lens. Some things never change!