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Sunday, 21 October 2007

Z's hospitality

My neighbour Z has just sent a lovely welcome message to my Iraqi friend to assure him of our attentions to his approaching arrival in England:
Dear D. I am forwarding the good news to XY as well, whom you talked to, when we all did so from Simon's house. You are coming on a Sunday. That seems to be just right by Allah's mercy because X might be able to instruct you how to get to Birmingham over some 150 miles away or more than minimum of 4 hours' journey from any main airports there. Talk to X at 0207xxxxxx, using London Code for that when you arrive, or at his mobile number 079xxxxx he just allowed me over the phone to give to you, or e-mail him at the address you were given by him, originally, as I don't have that one. X as I know, will be on a full-time course from this Monday till Friday, starting from tomorrow for 3 weeks so it is very important you sort about your transport to Birmingham either with Simon or X as to which of them will help you out from the airport, to Birmingham arriving either to Digbeth Coach Station here, or by any of the trains to, New Street or Snow Hill Station. Both of them know about this and could help you out by instructing or e-mailing. I shall be speaking to Simon this afternoon at 4.00pm in an hour's time as he was off to some work on Sunday today, nothing surprises me! Once you arrive at any of these 3 destinations, by coach or train, I can pick you by my small car to bring you home at any time of day or night. As for your luggage, can you arrange for it to be sent to my address at xx Rd, Handsworth, Birmingham? We will somehow have to find space in the house hoping, it is not too big or heavy to be transported elsewhere later via a Nissan Micra 3-doored car wherever you want it later. Simon was thinking of selling his own car but has another in his family. You are welcome to stay in my small room in the small house even for a month or so, if that is what happens as if my own family member as I have all these small things: the room, house, car and a brain, too, Allah-given! Also only a small heart to fit in a small body, He gave me as it is all his doing! Al-Hamdulillah! You will get the key to the house, so brush up your cooking skill if you have any as you will do this for both of us, lovely Iraqi food! I warn you, I have a big appetite! See you soon, I send this as priority message to all, requesting them to reply! Your Sister, Z
The work Z was mentioned merely my visit to the 'concierge' desk at Apple in the Bullring in town to clarify why I can't show films from Parliament on my laptop. It's not a machine fault. The UK Parliament video site is not yet Mac compatible - but will be. It's frustrating because it's useful to be able, in class, to jump to a speech or a debate in the Commons or Lords relating to what we're discussing. When we had a session on the European Union the other day we were able to explore the intriguing ramifications of the 'European Chocolate Directive' which is such an enjoyably emotive example of how the EU works. How we managed to be allowed to call our milk chocolate 'chocolate' I can't imagine. It contains a very small proportion of cocoa in its fatty form - but many British people felt that barring 'our' milk chocolate from being called chocolate was insulting. I was not among them. Most milk 'chocolate' is a bar of fat that has been briefly introduced to a lone cocoa bean and then whipped away from such sultry company. Cycling home via the main post office on Walsall Road, to catch the 5.00pm last post on Sunday, I heard a car horn beep and the passenger of a smart silver saloon car shouted out the window 'Great bike!' I waved and smiled back beatifically. * * *
Kathimerini 20 Oct 07: Bicycle riders will be allowed to board trains with their bikes for free on the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) tomorrow so they can take part in the 17th Athens Cycle Tour, which begins at Kotzia Square at 10 a.m. and is being organized by the City of Athens. The operator of the Athens metro also said yesterday that bicycle stands will be installed outside every metro station, space permitting. Meanwhile, dozens of cyclists are expected to take part in a protest ride through the city centre today. They will start from Alexandras Avenue at noon, head down Vassilissis Sofias Avenue and on to Athens University to demand the construction of more cycle lanes in the city.

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