COLUMN: The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster - Credit: Archant

• One of the reasons I am so bereft over BREXIT is my fondness for and identification with our European neighbours. My core sense of identity is resoundly English but I feel proud to be British and much as it is an alien concept to some, a European. I celebrate the French attitude of bemused detachment (and their cheese, and wine), the barely contained madness of the Italians and the friendliness of the Dutch.

• However, I have a particular deep seated and long standing affinity with the Germans. I possess a strong atavistic sense of “Anglo Saxon-ness”. If HG Wells would be so kind as to give us a lend of his Time Machine, I could see myself standing shoulder to shoulder with Harold at Hastings, Aethelred at Maldon or Alfred at Edington.

• Some of the greatest words on the planet are German. 50 syllable monsters designed to tongue-tie the most determined of German language scholars. My favourites include dampfschifffahrt (steamboat journey) and best of all, schadenfreude. Now I accept it is wrong to revel in the demise of others, but where the case in hand is a person who has previously got you the sack, I feel there is a tiny slither of justification.

• A month back, I found myself unwillingly rubbing shoulders with my old management consultant bête noir, Peregrine. I like my team and am enjoying my project, so I was less than impressed to see his £500 brown brogues march into one of my meetings. But things took a positive turn last week. The boss took me to one side. “I gather you worked with Peregrine before. What do you think of him?” I sensed a trap. “He is ok” i responded cautiously “but very expensive”. “My thoughts entirely” he replied. “These consultants are costing us a fortune and I have somebody internally who can do his job for a third of the money. I am thinking of rolling him off”. “I agree 100%” was my response, my face battling not to break into a million smiles.

• Well yesterday was black bin liner day. I couldn’t help grinning at him as he forlornly chucked the contents of his pedestal into his sack, facing the ignominy of losing his client and very probably his pay rise and bonus. “Can I have your pencil sharpener old boy?” He didn’t reply. If he had, I suspect it would have been unprintable.