AC/DC Tour – Manchester to Birmingham..

Little Dick and I cycled to PC World last night. Computers, like the misused apostrophe, seem here to stay…and so the bullet must be bitten – laptops with cracked screens must be replaced.

Within seconds we’ve had enough. For a start it is airless inside the store, and, secondly, that bloody annoying voice keeps chanting “PC World” over the Tannoy. Neither of us wants to spend much money – we both own cars bought at around the £400 mark – and so our pimply attendant has only to explain the difference between the two cheapest models.

Great, that was easy – we’ll have two of your crappest laptops then, please. Ah, obviously they don’t have two in stock. Our teenager begins a spiel about other stores in Greater Manchester where they might have the same hardware. He utterly fails to notice that Little Dick is holding a detachable bicycle saddle, thereby unlikely to be travelling by car. However, as luck would have it, this store does have two different crap laptops.

“Spotty” wants our addresses at the checkout, and then tries every line in the book to encourage product care and support packages as extras. We mention that we leave the country again soon, making cancellation of one-month policies a trifle awkward.

‘When are you back again?’ he asks. We mention a figure of about three months, and he asks, in the manner of a boy knowing only PC World and the occasional disco, ‘Where are you going on holiday together?’

Talking of holidays, The National Exhibition Centre, situated romantically off the M42, would make rather a poor vacation spot. Granted, it has a train station and an airport, but it otherwise heralds little of interest.

Accordingly, at 11.30 sharp this morning, my mate Woody rolls up – ooh, in a BMW with a personalised plate – and whisks me away. ‘Alright. shag?’ he asks. They talk a bit funny in Worcestershire.

Back in his village, obviously after a pint and a pub lunch, he pretends to work – he organises double-drivers for the rock n roll touring industry. Protein supplements and energy drinks lie discarded alongside ashtrays. I suggest that these body-building stimulants are probably not designed for people intending to spend an idle afternoon checking Facebook.

‘They say not to do it every day,’ he says authoritatively, gesturing down the stairs to his personal gymnasium. As he lights a roll-up and sips a coffee, he maintains that, ‘It’s just a question of toning up a bit.’

On the way back to the truck we call in at Chateau Impney Hotel, a grand, incongruous edifice on the Worcester Road.

A little while ago – well, 1875, if we’re going to split hairs – a chap called John Corbett fell in love with a ravishing French Governess. Modelled on Versailles and the Loire Valley chateaux, he had this house built for her.

3000 men toiled on its construction, creating 155 acres of parkland. I can hardly wait to look inside. Ah, it is shut until tomorrow morning. Outside, however, a lazy, trickling waterfall in the manicured garden does its best to drown out the rumble of the nearby M5.

We can’t loiter too long, though, because Woody is meeting a girl for last orders. Oh great, that is, don’t worry about me..