Archive for May 9th, 2008

Are your trains overcrowded?

I returned to my Staterooms at 9.00 tonight to watch Have I got News For You, and then repaired to the bunker to visit the blogs.

Ineluctably (my word of the week), I found myself on Geeklawyer’s blog, as is often the case on a Friday evening when I am over refreshed. Tonight, it may interest you to know, I have not taken so much as a drop to drink. I have, however, now poured some Rioja into my new Bohemian glass vase, purchased when I found myself wondering uninvited onto BBC’s daytime television programme Bargain Hunt yesterday morning. It matters not why I was wearing a blue tracksuit top – but… I now realise that the seller of said vase may have mistaken me for a contestant on that programme – because of the blue tracksuit top.

Why was I wearing a blue tracksuit top and wandering around at a car boot sale? I don’t really know to be frank. I am over 50 and I had a phonecall from a call centre asking me if I’d like a conservatory. The blue tracksuit top came free with the conservatory.

As soon as I received the blue track suit top I felt a need to go to a car boot sale to see if I could buy some rubbish to recycle and get my money’s worth for my council tax when the binmen call next week.

I did explain to the call centre telephonist that I lived twenty feet above the ground in an apartment in West London – but this did not seem to trouble him. He took the details down and told me that a designer would come over to see me between 7.00 am – and midnight. He could not give me a more precise time. The blue tracksuit top arrived by courier as promised. I do hope the conservatory company are not too pissed off when they arrive next week to ‘price up at no obligation’ the conservatory and discover that I do, indeed, live twenty feet above the ground. I suppose that I will have to return the blue track suit top. What will be, will be…. perhaps it was all a dream?

I shall ask the Police Community Support Officers, who have now got a 24/7 surveillance team in the house opposite me watching my overgrown hedge, to ask the conservatory people ‘to move along’ if they cause trouble.

Well… there I was… on Geeklawyer’s blog and he has a new competition…. Geeklawyer introduces the matter with: “Master Cantrell has alerted Geeklawyer to National Rail’s hilarious experiment with Artificial Intelligence for train information. It/She is called Lisa.”

I have read, of course, Geeklawyer’s questions to Lisa. I just had to have a go. I asked Lisa some questions:

Charon: Lisa, you seem to have a lot of friends, judging by the picture of you. Are they all your friends?

Lisa: I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean. Could you please rephrase it for me? I find it easier to understand short sentences and keywords.

[It occurred to me that I may be trying to ‘lead’ Lisa – so I asked her a very simple question]

Charon: Who are those people in the picture?

Lisa: The lady in the picture above is me … I’m Lisa, the National Rail Enquiries Linguabot.

Charon: And what do you do? [I should explain that I was trying to arrange an inappropriate liaison. Needs must for the over fifties.]

Lisa: My job is to answer your questions as well as I can. [Most commendable. Even the most difficult judge could not complain about that answer]

Charon: Do you like doing this work?

Lisa: I think you’re asking me about service alterations or engineering work, but I’m not 100% sure I know what you want. Please choose from one of the following:

1 Current Engineering work or service alterations
2 Planned engineering work or service alterations in the future?
3 Engineering work or service alterations which occurred in the past and are now cleared?


It was at this point that I realised Lisa was not going to be a hot date… no matter how patient and subtle my questioning…. and that I should pursue my wish to meet Mrs C in more conventional ways. I am going to hold a “Britain’s Got Talent’ competition and see if I can meet the future Mrs C that way…..

And… on that note. I must go. Hat Tip to Geeklawyer for drawing my attention to Lisa…. I could have done something more useful had I not seen his post. It is quite possible, but improbable, that I may have written a sonnet, composed an aria, designed a building, written some music, painted a masterpiece or…. have finished building that bloody temple that has not been finished after all these years…. . Just can’t get the staff these days… all the masons have become police officers, judges or gone back to Poland.

Buona notte. 🙂

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