Oct 11

Love, Maps, Spotify, Headphones and Heartache

What an interesting week.

This week I learned several things.

  1. My wife buys me the best birthday presents in the world
  2. www.airbnb.co.uk is an amazing service
  3. Android has some things pretty well worked out
  4. London is quite pretty
  5. Swansea is not the arse end of the world

That’s a lot of things to learn in a single week.

Well, let’s unravel what went on.

Firstly, this week saw me stop booking my accommodation in London in the corporate hotel.

For 4 years I have been living in hotels and always within a few minutes’ walk of the office. There was a break for 18 months where I stayed in the company flat which was nice but then I lost my housemate to Boston and our offices moved from Kings Cross to Moorgate so we terminated the flat as it was too costly for only one tenant.

So the hotels have been fun but I am bored stiff. I never get to see London, I seldom see my friends, and no-one wants to come back to city centre after work so the place is a wasteland.

I was chatting about this with a friend at the office and he recommended using a service called airbnb.

I checked it out, people renting their spare rooms, whole flats and shared rooms for low rates but all over the place. Seemed like a chance to get out and about a little more so this week I stayed in my first airbnb booking just outside of Whitechapel (and yes, walking to the flat I went past a guided Jack the Ripper tour… Exciting stuff.

My flat was lovely and my accommodation cost me less than a single night at the hotel I usually stayed at, so the business is happy…

I had no idea how to get there… enter my Samsung Galaxy S3 and Google Maps…

I figured, no problem, I will just plug the address in and walk over there following Google Maps. Easy as pie!

I then thought a 30 minute walk cannot be done without banging tunes so I fired up Spotify, set the radio to start off of Electric Hellfire Club and donned the beautiful Bluetooth headphones Emma got me for my birthday, cranked the volume and set off.

About 200 yards into my journey, the music stopped and Google Maps told me to “Turn right on whatever street” and then Spotify carried on as if nothing had happened.


Maps talks to you while you have a headset connected!

So I kicked it up a notch and carried on walking all the way to the flat without once having to fiddle with my phone to look at maps, without having to look for new music, without having to do anything but look at the sights…

That was pretty awesome and exactly how the next 3 walks went – loved it.

Yesterday I left the office and headed home with a detour to Stonehouse near Gloucester to go and look at a second hand seven seater 4 miles out of Stonehouse.

The detour cost £51.50 and had me add several hours to my homeward journey.

I got to Stonehouse and discovered that there are no taxis at the station. In fact, the station is nothing more than a ramp.

So I drag my wheely bag and my sorry ass into town looking for a cab, walk up the high street and ask a few people and all I get is blank stares.

After 10 minutes of this I phone the dealership. They tell me there is a cab office near the post office so I head to it and lo and behold the fucking place is shut with a note saying “call this number if the office is locked. I call.

No answer.

I call again. No answer.

I call again, voicemail.

I leave a message “Help, I am standing outside your office and need a ride to Claypit – call me on blah blah blah”

I phone the dealership and tell them the cab is not there so the dealer tells me that when the people he is with leave he will come get me if the cab hasn’t pitched.

45 minutes later the cab driver phones me.

During this time I have established that there are no other cabbies operating in this little town.

The 3 cabs I did see drive past me that didn’t stop despite me waving my arms like atman learning he can’t actually fly. Turns out this is because they don’t “work” the area.

So the cabbie calls me and says she is 5 to 10 minutes away.

10 minutes later she arrives and as she is pulling up the dealership calls me to tell me that they have just sold the car to a couple that arrived 15 minutes ago.


That wasn’t my finest moment.

I then had to walk back to the station and wait for an hour and a half in the cold for the train to come and get me out of this little hick town.

Stonehouse, you can gern, gern fuck yerself.

So, instead of getting home with a nice new car, I am getting home several hours later with no car, no patience and a packet of “I can’t be dealing with a diet right now” M&M’s.

All in all it’s been a weird, wonderful and totally shite week all wrapped into one.