Great enquiry today from a middle-aged American lady today asking if we had a list of ‘that 100 books you should read thing.’ I asked if she meant the shortlist 100 for the BBC’s Big Read and she thought this was it. As it had just been announced late on Saturday evening I obviously had no list to give her on a Sunday morning but helpfully informed her that she could find it in its entirety on the BBC’s webpage. Oh no, she shakes her head, she’s from America and so she couldn’t receive the BBC web there… I tried to point out that a web page isn’t like a TV signal and that it was called the World Wide Web for a reason… She nodded but from her expression she obviously thought I was talking nonsense. “New technology baffles pissed old hack” as they used to say in Private Eye.
And the peak of the Dumb Tourist season is still to come (sighs theatrically). Already we’re getting the bloody annoying ones who won’t leave when you are trying to close late in the evening, no matter how many times you tell them you’re about to close, you’re closing, you’re actually closed, you closed several minutes ago and the staff standing glaring at you in an otherwise empty shop and pointing to their watches are not performing some quaint Scottish custom for your benefit… The tour companies are parking their over-sized Volvo coaches in the cycle lane during rush hour and blocking the bus stops so the folk who work here can’t get to work on time. And as the European coaches are all left hand drive their passenger door is on the right. This means piles of fat, geriatric Germans and Italians embark and disembark on the traffic side of the road, not from the pavement and no they won’t move out of your way when you are on the bike… Each spring I am a cosmopolitan man and by the end of a summer dealing with tourists I am a rabid Xenophobe who thinks pulling the UK out of the EU isn’t going far enough and we should invade them all again… Oh, I love my job