TALES FROM THE ROAD 1:
I am on a train from the south coast back to London. Across the aisle, three elderly passengers, two women and a man, buy coffee from the trolley.
“What you do,” says the elderly man to his friends, “Is, you sip through the hole in the top of the lid.”
The two elderly women give it a go, tentatively at first, and pronounce themselves amazed and delighted at this technological breakthrough.
“I only found that out myself when I went to Hastings,” said the man.
What happened in Hastings? I wish I knew.
TALES FROM THE ROAD 2:
I am in a hotel in New York. Outraged by the mini-bar prices, I go out to buy a bottle of whiskey, and contrive to smash it to smithereens in the lobby, right by the reception desk. I end up raiding the mini-bar anyway.
Just as I’m pouring my drink, the phone rings.
“Mr Hornby? This is the concierge. You can take that bottle back to the shop and get a refund. The seal isn’t broken. You have the receipt?”
I tell him that, seeing as the bottle is in a thousand pieces, I wouldn’t feel good waving the neck and asking for my money back. I point out that the breakage was pretty much my own stupid fault.
“Up to you.”
Two minutes later, the phone rings again.
“It’s the concierge again. I’m sorry to trouble you. But do you have that receipt?”
“Why? I’m not going back to the shop.”
“If you’re not going to use it, could I have it?”
Only in New York, et cetera.