Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Leicester - a very Happening and Vibrant City

15 December 2014

Today I begin the M1 part of my Grand Tour.  I have decided I like the M1 much better than the M4, because everywhere really is on the M1.  Like Leicester, for instance, and Nottingham, and Derby, and The North.

I arrive in Leicester.  It seems to me, having conferred with my sat nav on the issue, that the streets of Leicester were designed by Escher, so that wherever you start from, it is impossible to get to where you need to be without violating the fundamental laws of physics, not to mention quite a few parts of the Highway Code.  By the time I meet Mr Davies at the station, I am in an epically bad mood. 

Together, we tramp through the rain to meet some nice CIPA members.  The nice CIPA members tell us that CIPA has been basically totally rubbish about helping with money laundering regulations, and now IPReg says we must all have client accounts but the HSBC’s computer says No because patent attorneys cannot be trusted with client accounts and CIPA have not issued us any guidance about how to deal with all this.  And I cannot help thinking they are right and that my apology will be scant comfort in the circumstances so I ditch my epically bad mood for a moment and ask if they would like some more regional meetings instead.  And they say if by regional you mean Birmingham, no thank you, because Birmingham and Leicester might look close on the map but they sure don’t on the train timetables. 

We return to my car and violate several more parts of the Highway Code on the way to our hotel.  Unlucky Gary has booked it for us.  Obviously it would not be right to spend CIPA money on luxuries, especially during December when most of the budget has already gone on the Christmas lunch and the pipe cleaner Christmas tree, so Gary has found us the cheapest possible hotel without it actually being a refuge.  This hotel hands us a leaflet saying welcome to Leicester which is a very Happening and Vibrant City, but the hotel cafeteria does not appear to be very Happening or Vibrant; even the vending machine looks unsure of itself.  I want to borrow a hair dryer but the hotel has run out of hair dryers because its other guests are using them for company.  Mr Davies wants to borrow an iron and some wi-fi but it is clear these are not going to happen either.

To cheer ourselves up we venture out into the Happening and Vibrant streets of Leicester for a drink.  Mr Davies finds us the smelliest possible pub without it actually being a public convenience.  The pub serves me gin with essence of diesel oil.  Mr Davies practises darts and I go and sit in the ladies’ toilet which smells marginally better than the room with the dart board due to the presence of a bucketful of pot pourri.  I admit to being pleasantly surprised that the concept of pot pourri has reached Leicester; this also appears to be violating one or two fundamental laws.

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