Ladbrokes Syndrome, double-trouble, Clunk change and Victor Meldrew says…

Ladbrokes Syndrome, double-trouble, Clunk change and Victor Meldrew says…

Good morning folks

I trust that you had a superb weekend.
Quick round-up from the city of chaos, a brief resume, under the cosh a bit today :-/

Ladbrokes Syndrome

Although I am generally a very positive person, like most folk, I do have a darker side. Up until the age of 25, on the whole I had jobs that I enjoyed, with great people: Little Chef (still remember the menu from 1-145, taking up valuable space upstairs), John Smith’s Brewery Canteen (used to spend my wages in the Brewery shop on cheap Holsten Pils, put on 2 stone in 9mths, feared I was pregnant) & the British Library (first of 2 stints, one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, with brilliant people/perks/conditions. At times it felt like somewhere between Secondary School & Youth Club, happy days).
I also had umpteen part-time jobs: Argos (twice), Sweater Shop (don’t mention Family Fortunes), Texas (a mystery as I had zero interest in DIY), Next warehouse (sorting out the Christmas Jumble Sale clobber) & William Hill’s (more of an interest than a job, I used to be a huge fan of the turf & a luckless punter too).
Then I saw a job advertised at Ladbrokes, the Magic Sign. It was working at Elland Road. The pay was minimal, but I used to get a free ticket to watch the once mighty Leeds United. Football punters are different to horses/dogs/two flies on a wall punters. Mainly backing with their hearts & not their heads, so most of the brass was on a one-way-ticket to Ladbrokes bulging bank account!
It was a steady number & used to pay for my beer on a Saturday night.
I was then offered a position as a Cashier, I snapped it up. It was at the time when night racing was in its infancy & numbers betting (Irish Lottery & 49s) was just starting. In short, I was getting paid to take bets & watch the racing.
As it was completely forbidden to bet in Ladbrokes shops, in effect it was keeping me out of the Bookies, which was good. It did however give me access to infinite information on odds/prices of long-term future events, so whilst I was betting day-to-day, I used to have ridiculously optimistic ante-post bets.
I worked in one of the biggest offices in the North East, in Leeds Market.
Not an easy shop, but I settled in ok. Then I was offered a full-time post as a Trainee Manager, I had delusions of grandeur & took it. From the start I realised I had made a mistake! Many, many more hours (on a salary rather than a wage) at the time when evening/Sunday racing suddenly boomed. I also had less time to watch racing & used to get it in the neck from every disgruntled, impatient punter going. Betting shops are a bit like prisons! Managers get moved around, so that they don’t get too friendly with the customers. Leeds Centre, Moortown, Otley, Elland Road. By the time you used to get to know the quirks of your clients, you were moved. In a short space of time, my (up-till-then) limitless patience, snapped! I grew tired of punters trying it on (not in that way!) I just got fed up with the complete lack of any kind of manners/courtesy. I didn’t expect punters to doff their cap to me, but when one night an angry punter flashed a knife (more of a meat cleaver, he was a kind of chef & a hopeless punter, but I didn’t put the pen to his betting slip, he was just a clueless punter!) Enough was enough.
A few months later I left the company & jumped at the opportunity of a return to the bliss of the British Library :-)

I’d always had a lot of patience, all my life, until then. I did think that when I left, it would come back, & to a point it did, but just this last month, Ladbrokes Syndrome has returned with a vengeance, here in Lima.
The traffic & the constant, daily battle to go about ones business in a tranquilo manner. I guess it was just what happened to Michael Douglas in Falling Down, (or to Phaedrus in the classic “Zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance”).
Riding the Clunk here doesn’t help, as it’s a war on wheels & inevitably two wheels will always come off worse than four…
It is definitely a case of putting things in perspective & that is probably what I need to do more. Tired from lack of kip, stress (one zillion sources) & frustration (lack of time & complete absence of any logic, at times).
I publicly apologise to my nearest & dearest (Lina & her Mum), for my moodswings. Not sure if I am going through the change, but I promise I will try harder/take a chill-pill/grow a pair/count to ten!
The life is beautiful :-)

Clunk swap?

Not a case of new bike lust (although who doesn’t have that, especially after the recent “Lima Expo Moto”), more like damage limitation!?
In a nutshell, the (Honda) Clunk is not very well. It is not going to die/explode but it does need an operation/bra$$ spent on it.
A simple equation:
No money + poorly bike = limited options.
Keep Honda: Invest = (£100-£400, quotes varied!) = hopefully fix problem
Sell Honda (now) = Lose shedload of bra$$ on value + pay seller fees
Fix Honda = No seller/buyer fees, (but 2 more technical issues to fettle)
Buy new (2nd hand) Clunk: Sellers fees on Honda + buyer fees on new Clunk + could be buying a duffer.
roncomotosA short man serenades his outsize dirtbike!
In short, I paid around £700 for the Honda, its worth around £600 (fixed) or £500 (current state). There is a 2nd hand market, but it is so s-l-o-w.
A shop has offered me £400 :-/

The only good thing is that my conscience would be much clearer selling it to a shop, than an unsuspecting punter!
Peruvian law dictates that the owner’s name needs to changed in the Notaria.
This costs about £40-£50 & just who pays it is a very grey area, so I could get stung for both buying & selling. SOAT (compulsory 3rd party insurance) weighs in at around £100 & second hand bikes never have it!

I am thinking about dipping my dirty toes into the murky waters of the Chinese copy world!
leggingsThey said they’d chuck in a free top & pair of leggings if I bought the bike today!

Temptation/close proximity/bargain seeking instincts have led me back to the Ronco emporium. The Ronco Demolition (hoping its middle name isn’t “self”).
At around £800 new, alarm bells should be ringing, but it may be worth a punt.
Have seen a 2nd hand one for £500, (if I can ever contact the owner, there definitely seems to be a relaxed attitude to selling out here), watch this space!
ronco 2
(Watch out for future blog entitled “Ever bought a Chinese Lemon???”)

Victor Meldrew says “Who mixed this concrete?!”

Lima is a great place for anybody obsessed with the weather. Although the seasons are much more defined than in Blighty, it is a constant talking point.
In summer it is bloomin’ hot, in winter it never really rains & it never really shines, it is grey personified! (Whereas if you drive one hour out of Lima, the sun is shining happily). A direct result of the Humboldt Current, which creates a condition known as “Garua” (drizzle). People in denial will tell you that it hasn’t rained in Lima for 1000 years, as they refuse to use their windscreen wipers, whereas others will talk of the heavy “rain” they experienced.
Both (or neither) are right, as it is somewhere in between.
Victor’s moan this week is about the pavements…

I remember when I worked at the Brewery, some Contractors were contracted to paint the floor, they did a grand job, bright red walkways & grey everywhere else. All was well until the surface was exposed to water, (like a gremlin!)
Slippery as a bar of soap.

I spend most of my time walking (in smooth-soled shoes) or running on the pavements of this fair city.
When they are dry, no problem. When a single droplet of water touches it, it is like ice covered in Vaseline! I’ve taken a comedy tumble a number of times, picking myself up & hoping that nobody noticed (slim chance in this busy beehive). The other day I was on the Clunk, outside work HQ, parked on the pavement & just gave it a bit too much gas, to get over a speedbump & back onto the road. Big revs, me doing the splits & almost dropping the bike, just as the CEO walks around the corner. Helmets are great for hiding blushes!

I’ve asked a few people, “Whenever it’s wet, do you slip around on the pavement like an idiot, or is it just me?” & they responded “Yes”.
When I entered full Geek mode & asked them if they’ve ever wondered why, they generally walk away. I’m no concrete expert, but I’m sure there must be some kind of Peruvian Concrete Testing Centre, where they lay a test pavement, chuck a bucket of water on it & make a crash test dummy walk on it.
It seems this step was skipped when pavements were first laid here.
Surely folk must have been slip-sliding for fun & surely people must have grumbled, or even complained? Surely they must have looked at the concrete again?
If so, it seems that the 2nd stage of QC was skipped & they carried on with the same batch!
Victor Meldrew says “Change your concrete. Piense Varon! ”

Double Trouble!

I mentioned last week that I had passed a (very unfortunate) bloke in the street who genuinely just looked like me. I’ve seen loads of folk who look like other folk, but never somebody who looks like me!
The thing is, I saw him again on Monday. We both chuckled & looked away quickly.
Then I saw him on Tuesday & Wednesday & Thursday & Friday.
I’m not sure what the protocol is here?
Clearly the look-a-like works near where I work, & finishes at the same time as I start. As I walk to work, the only possible detour would mean walking 3 miles further. It’s becoming a bit embarrassing.
A mask (or a trip to one of the many Plastic Surgery Clinics I pass on my way to work, but that would mean putting the Clunk on hold & having to get all my ID photos re-done!)

Good news!

The Nipper loves her new sofa!
Big THANK YOU to Auntie Lou.
Just worried that she may turn into a Junior Jim Royle (or even worse, start watching trash TV like “Combate” or “E-E-G”!)

That’s all for now folks.

Have a spectacularly brilliant week :-)
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper



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