It was one of those things that began simply, only to become rapidly and unnecessarily complicated. I blame the Council.
It started when the Council decided to scatter its IT staff to the four winds, leaving people to work at home, hunt for hot desks in cold, dark corners of County Hall or negotiate the use of dedicated desks (6 desks to 10 people) at Unipart House.
Unipart House is a splendid modern office building with a capacious car park and a fine view of the neighbouring gasometer. It’s also not near anything – not near a bus route, not near any other Council offices, not near shops and, most importantly not near anywhere that you can have lunch. In short, it is a false economy which takes organisational inefficiency to a new level as well as playing havoc with my social life. No more popping into town to have lunch with ex-colleagues, doing a bit of essential shopping and then catching a gallery talk at the Ashmolean.
Anyway, I’d arranged to meet up with A., a victim of this unwieldy arrangement for a spot of lunch and we had identified a local hostelry, “The Original Swan” as a suitable venue. I’d just reached “The Swan” (as it’s known locally), when A. hailed me from her car – we agreed to meet inside the pub, but it turned out that the door was locked and we quickly realised that the premises had a distinctly closed look about them; so, in a quick change of plan, I hopped into the car (the lights take ages to change at that junction) and we set off to find an alternative.
Fortunately, I’d done a bit of research earlier in the week and was able to suggest “The Three Horseshoes” in Garsington. One detour round Blackbird Leys and a drain clearing lorry in a very narrow country lane later, we found the pub, which turned out to have a good menu and a pleasant garden.
I plumped for a healthy salad with a side serving of toasted sausage sandwich and chips.