“You fellas might remember that I was sent over to the IBM facility in Croydon, south of London” I began, as the customary reprobates were sitting around our usual table in The Scruffy Dog. Today there was Little Joe, still hiding from the sheriff, Lois, our guardian angel who helped keep the tone polite, Shortie, who worked at the Bar None ranch out of town and who was sloughing off when he was supposed to be bringing a load of feed for the goats, and Nils, our token Skanda-who-vian, who hails from somewhere north of the Arctic Circle.
In the 80s and 90s I flew into London several times a year. I usually had a hotel booked in Kensington or even Croydon, so it was taxi time. There were, however, those occasional times where I needed to stay at an airport hotel and it was fairly easy to step outside the terminal and wait for the Hilton bus or the Radisson bus or whatever. They ran quite frequently.
I was in the Army in the mid-60s, stationed in Berlin as a telephone repairman / switchboard operator. Our outfit was a Signal company, which included any job pertaining to communications – telephone, radio, microwave, crypto, whatever. Our sergeants and officers were not the the strict gung-ho types you see in war movies or accounts of life in the Infantry. We bunked three to a room. Each of us had a tall closet and a footlocker, where all our worldly possessions were kept. Every Saturday morning we peons headed to a movie theater for a couple of hours of training in some obscure military course. During that time the outfit’s sergeants would go room to room and inspect our gear and the general cleanliness of our quarters. The basic idea was that nobody’s perfect, so each room would get a demerit for one very minor infraction or another (such as one sock was gray from too many washings). You get the idea.
From ’85 to ’89 I was frequently heading to London to work with British Telecom on equipment that we were developing for them, including a 911 switch for Scotland Yard.
Another tale about the folks who gather for coffee and grub at The Scruffy Dog Cafe somewhere in the Midwest. This time Little Joe's latest money-making scheme runs afoul of the law as he tries to fleece tourists out of a buck to park in an empty field.