Odd pairings


So last week-end we had a busy old schedule; a drive up to Northwich, Cheshire on Saturday for the marriage of C’s neice which was designed and entirely produced by lovely G and her top husband M on the theme of a retro afternoon tea party – brilliant. Then a blast back down to Colchester in Essex on Sunday to my lovely cousin K and cool husband A’s place as they were hosting a barbie for my dad Bob, who happened to be having a holiday in Westcliffe. It was a bit of a surprise do as Bob wasn’t aware that we and all our daughters and grandkids were attending as well as my cousin C and her daughters. It was a real gathering of the southern and rapidly expanding section of my family. I have to say that at both events, separated by hours of yet more week-end motorway traffic,  we had a really super time. Both events were bloody fab.  

So what’s this posting about then? Well it’s do with unconnectedness. Ooh. You see we were staying in a hotel in Northwich on Saturday night near to the venue for the wedding celebrations (G&M’s cool lock-side home). However the 3pm wedding ceremony itself was to be in Crewe some 20 miles or so south.  As Saturday was forecast to be a really warm day we figured it would be wiser to brave our delightfully crash-happy motorway system by driving up in our sweats, ignoring the Crewe turn-off on the M6, as we bombed up to J17 then headed over to Northwich to check in to our hotel. We’d pre-booked an early check-in in order to change but as it was a Premier Inn the girl on the reception desk was about as welcoming and helpful as a Ryanair stewardess with period pains, so we got the room by the delivery entry. Hey ho.

No worries we were out of there shortly upon changing, then headed back down to Crewe for the wedding ceremony which was very informal and cool. However en route we passed two things; rural Cheshire’s weirdest traffic directional system which sends you everywhere but through the most direct route through the centre of any hicksville town and then past a series of roadside farm/produce places advertising all manner of fresh goods and garden products. But one sign caught my eye in particular. I was happily getting used to ‘for sale’ signs for logical combo’s like logs and sticks or eggs and chicks or peonies and hanging baskets but I wasn’t prepared for the sign which advertised Sandstone and … rabbits. And there was even an etc at the end. It seems highly unlikely that you would ever think to yourself, oh today I’d like to re-lay the patio as well as get some pets for the kids. If only I could buy some natural-looking paving and a cute baby bunny in the same place. Hang on there is a farm shop near Northwich which sells the two – probably at a combo discount! It’s bonkers. And what do you imagine the Etc covers? Pork scratchings? You could eat a bag when you’ve finished laying the patio and fed the rabbits maybe. It’s such a random concept it could be bloody anything.

That’s Cheshire for you.

Then when we were heading home on Sunday evening I was listening to Talksport on the car radio. Now as the name suggests it’s a radio station dedicated to non-stop chat about sport. Well mostly about football and betting to be honest. And its presenters are largely drawn from a pool of ex-players who are too witless to go into something challenging like coaching or management. There’s the odd presenter who comes from a media or broadcasting background usually with extreme views on things and then there’s Mike Parry  who is just an imbecile. Oh and one presenter Paul Hawksbee who is genuinely funny. It’s knock about stuff but because I’m a fan of football I put up with the wild statements, incoherent thinking, mispronunciations, language mangling, cliche-ridden expressions and redneck points of view. Just to give you a flavour of the intellectual content on offer, today’s lunchtime show hosted by Max Rushton had segments inviting the listeners to respond on which footballers they’d seen naked and to find out how many toilets the footballer Robert Snodgrass has in his home. It’s not like listening to the Today programme.

I don’t think I’m the typical listener to be honest. The demographic the station is probably chasing (and bear in mind it has recently been taken over by News Corp the people who brought you the News of the World and Sun newspapers) is the West Ham-supporting London cabbie and assorted truck drivers.

I’m being a little unfair but you’ll get the point I’m making. Now bearing in mind the typical listener I was a little surprised to hear an advert for an MBA course at a London business management college. Eh? I’ve heard the ad several times since so the college is clearly spending heavily to attract new candidates. But I can’t help but wonder how many people amongst the Talksport listenership would, as one London college describes its Master of Business Administration course, be interested in…

being rewarded with a life-changing learning experience and untold career options. Develop an international mindset, build a global network and take yourself to a market eager for your skills and outlook. Leave this transformational programme as a well-rounded global leader ready to thrive and succeed in today’s business environment.

Call me crazy but I think it might be a pretty low number. Is it just me or is there a pretty obvious disconnect here. Taxi for Henley College…

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