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Omar's Diary to 31st October 2023

Another dodgy hotel, Man Servant walks in the steps of Bond and public pressure makes a change

By Alan RussellPublished 4 months ago 5 min read

The Servants returned from a brief sojourn to somewhere called Abingdon on the River Thames in Oxfordshire. It was where William the Conqueror stayed for an Easter break in 1084 away from building castles, suppressing the locals and inextricably linking these islands to Europe, again.

The hotel they stayed in for just one night was apparently the closest they had ever been to experiencing a real life episode of "Fawlty Towers". The tills didn't work, the service was slow and what food was available was not befitting of a hotel chain with such a premier name. I said about "what food was available" deliberately. They are convinced that the hoisin sauce that was doused on Lady Servant's noodles with some vegetables was the same as the sauce swashing around Man Servant's prawn linguini. At breakfast the next morning the restaurant had run out of ingredients for the Continental as well as the English breakfast.

And all of this in a hotel in a premier site that had only been open six weeks when the Servants stayed there two weeks ago.

Man Servant has, quite rightly, raised a letter of complaint to the hotel chain involved and has yet to receive any response beyond "We are experiencing a huge volume of correspondence and will etc". I wouldn't mind betting, if Ticker weren't away in the Caribbean again, that most of that correspondence is about the hotel in Abingdon. Or, the company is palming disgruntled clients off in the hope they will not follow up their original complaints. They have not dealt with Man Servant before.

I have a very strong feeling that William the Conqueror had better service and food that Easter 939 years ago.

In Country Life in May 22 there was an article accompanied by a sketch map of London. It was about a walk in London starting at Somerset House. used for scenes in Goldeneye and No Time to Die, and ending at green Street near Marble Arch where the heroes creator, Ian Fleming was born. Man Servant and a friend did the walk at Green Street as they felt it was a more logical place to start.

I wish I had known more about the route as it went past Boodles and the Reform Club in the St James's district. With my connections I could have arranged for them both to be admitted for a small libation such as a Vesper cocktail from Casino Royale.

"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until its ice cold, then add a large slice of lemon. Got it?"

For those of you who do not frequent this sort of establishment, "habitues" I believe is the word, Kina Lillet is a liqueur made with white wine blended with fruit liqueurs and flavoured quinine.

To be honest if Man Servant had even a sniff of that cocktail his friend probably would have abandoned him in Pall Mall holding up a street lamp for support rather than illumination which is how politicians use statistics.

Towards the end of the summer there was a sneaky announcement that the railway companies were going to close all the ticket offices meaning they could only be bought online or from machines at stations. Once again another attempt to digitise even further an already over digitised society even more devoid of personal contact.

Take Man Servant's trip to London. He tried to buy the tickets online by buying a ticket from the local station to Waterloo at a fixed departure time. The price for that with his senior's discount was about £20. As he did not know what time he would be returning he asked the system for an open return ticket. The price quoted was nearly £100.

The next morning he went to the station and saw a railway servant there who did both the outbound and inbound, open of course, for a little over £40 for both. There was no way that was shown as available on the impersonal and digitised system.

The proposal was met with fierce objections. 750,000, including Lady and Man Servant wrote or emailed the correct authorities. This was a well organised campaign. It goes to show that when the ire of the public is raised and focused properly concentrated things can change. There is a rich irony here in that the rail companies wanted to digitise the ticket system yet it was emails that played a large part in thwarting the plan.

"One person can make a difference and everyone should try" John F Kennedy

Or, 750,000 should try.

Yesterday, 31st October 2023, it was announced that the Secretary of State for Transport had turned down the proposal. On the basis that it was not a very good idea and would result in exclusion for some members of the population. They did a very nice spin on making it sound like they had done a big favour and had listened to the voices of what I am sure they consider "the great unwashed". What was conveniently omitted from the Secretary's of State statement was the fact that it had been a previous incumbent of that office who in asking the rail companies to reduce their costs had suggested that closing the ticket offices would be a good way to save money.

Underneath the gaslight?

Even the servant who is referred to as the Prime Minister, that is Larry the Downing Street cat's own servant, said months ago it was a good idea as it would save money and update the rail system. I hope that he is reminded of that comment at the next election. If none of the electorate or journalists do I am sure that Larry will drop a freshly killed rodent on the Cabinet seconds before there is a meeting.


Go for it Larry.


About the Creator

Alan Russell

When you read my words they may not be perfect but I hope they:

1. Engage you

2. Entertain you

3. At least make you smile (Omar's Diaries) or

4. Think about this crazy world we live in and

5. Never accept anything at face value

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