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Friday, August 6

I Went Home / To My Parents...

...depending on how you look at it.

I had a few days off work at the start of the week beginning 20th July, and decided to pop back to my parents' house in my home town (Melksham, AKA The Sham) for at least a couple of nights.

I packed a suitcase full of things that I knew I wouldn't be taking to Germany, put some clothes in a backpack, and headed to Victoria Station on the Sunday evening to catch the coach home.

It was fucking hot, and I was sweating like a bastard (i.e. a lot) by the time I got on the coach. My bottle of water lasted a matter of minutes, I was that hot.

I managed to read a good deal of my book (Bill Bryson's Short History of Everything) on the way back, as well as listen to a shitload of tunes. I love my iPod!

When the coach pulled into the Market Place at Melksham, my Mum was waiting for me (I'd phoned to say we were 5 minutes away), and she gave me an almighty hug. It'd only been a couple of months since I'd last seen her, but evidently she was glad to see me.

Almost as soon as we got home, I settled into the old routine of having meals cooked for me and having 700 channels on the TV. Much better than 5...

I don't remember anything of note from Monday daytime, save for watching Old School on DVD again. My parents have recently entered the modern age by getting a DVD player, but they cannot leave the past behind, as it is combined with a VHS still. Old fogies...

In the evening, I managed to get hold of a few of my mates and to drag them up the pub for a beer or two. It was good to see them again, and to catch up with what is happening in a few of their lives.

One of them, Mace, slipped the idea into my head of staying in the Sham until Friday, so that we could re-experience the joy that is Thursday nights at Buds. Damn him for that.

Although I wasn't due to work again in London until Friday night, I was planning to go to a bloggers' meet-up on Wednesday night in a pub just off Piccadilly Circus. Admittedly, the last one had been a bit of a damp squib, but I was hoping for a better time this occasion.

He says, eventually deciding not to go at all. Yes, my weakness for getting pissed resulted in my staying at home for a few more days. That and seeing my parents for a little while longer.


On the Monday afternoon I was in the supermarket with my Dad, buying some stuff for an impromptu barbecue, when I happened to bump into not just one, but two of my very closest friends from the Sham.

I've probably mentioned this before, but back in Melksham I had very two distinct groups of friends. There are the guys, my typically blokey mates, who I've seen more of whenever I've been back from university.

Then there are the girls and guys from my other groups of friends. We found each other when we were about 14 and were put into the same classes based on ability. We used to do absolutely everything together, but I've mostly lost touch with them since we went on holiday to Newquay almost two years ago, immediately before dispersing to universities across the land.

As I said, I'd already seen most of the 'boys' on Monday, and had half-planned to go out with them on Thursday, but I hadn't built into my rough plan for the week any time to see the latter group of friends.

This all changed when I bumped into a couple of them in the supermarket. One I hadn't seen for a good 9 months, the other for over double that amount of time. We were all in a bit of rush, so I arranged to meet them at our old local pub on Tuesday night, along with as many as could be contacted by then.

I texted a few people that evening, and found out that a good number of them had already planned to meet at the same pub that very Tuesday evening. Half of my job done for me: result.

There were indeed a good number of us there on Tuesday, some of whom I'd seen in April, but others not for over a year. It was a little weird how quickly we fell back into the old routine, referencing old in-jokes and past events. I guess people don't change too much. They're still the same people I remember from our school days, just with a little more experience of life and a touch more world-weary.

One of the few of them that lives in my area of town was kind enough to give me a lift home, back to a house with all the lights off. My parents and sister were obviously in bed.

I was feeling quite drunk, which is unsurprising considering I'd had a good 6 or 7 pints (possibly more, I don't remember). Strangely, though, just as I was about to sit down to watch some TV, I felt very ill.

I rushed to the toilet, and promptly threw up.

I fucking hate being sick, and I'm only sick due to alcohol on extremely rare occasions, often accompanied by paralysis or blindness. Oh, and a runaway tongue.

My sister came down the stairs to see what all the fuss was about, and I remember clearly one sentence I said to her: "Don't tell Mum."

That would be as my Mum was standing behind her, then.

It seems I'd even woken her up with my retching. I told her, with slurred speech, "Don't worry, these things happen."

I was reminded of this over and over again on Wednesday, and no matter how much I tried to explain that I hadn't drank all that much, everyone in my family thought I'd got absolutely lashed. Meh.

I swear it was something in the beer, or possibly even something I ate, because I didn't feel too special in the car on Wednesday morning. Not in a hungover way; this was more of a feeling-really-bad experience.

I was in the car because we were having a Family Day™ on Wednesday. It was just about the last time for 12 months that all 4 of us would be together, and my Mum was determined that we should do someTHING together, rather than lazing around the house in various rooms.

We ended up going to the Fleet Air Arm Museum, about an hour away from Melksham. I'd been there years ago, probably whilst still at primary school, but I had no problems going again.

The museum is full of aircraft from the Royal Navy, including some very old ones, and makes for an interesting day out, especially if you're as into planes as my Dad is. I am too, to some extent, but my sister definitely isn't.

She was bored out of her mind within 5 minutes, but thankfully didn't moan (too much). My Mum showed willing towards the exhibits, but I think she was quite happy with the fact that we were all together. As I mentioned, it's probably going to be the last time for at least a year...

I spent Wednesday evening trying to arrange lunch on Thursday with another (female) friend that I hadn't seen in a while. I was doing it by text whilst in the living room with my parents, and I playfully wound my Mum up a bit by mentioning that it was a girl.

My Mum is overly inquisitive, especially where my (lack of) love life is concerned, and I knew that giving her the smallest morsel of information to go on would annoy her greatly, especially if I refused to give any further details.

I'm a git like that. I wind my Mum up in a jokey manner all the time when I see her. She knows I'm doing it, but still can't stop herself from creating the situations from which I mock her / wind her up a little. She'll learn.

That lunch on Thursday didn't happen in the end. She had too much work to do and couldn't get away from her desk to meet me. Meh. I'll catch her at some point.

Instead I watched Matrix: Revolutions for the first time since its opening day in cinemas last November. I won't go into it here, but suffice it to say that it's still jaw-dropping.

My parents had decided to have another barbecue, and to that end had also invited my Granddad over. He arrived whilst I was still upstairs watching the film, but was in the kitchen with my Mum by the time I got downstairs.

Whilst I do enjpy spending time in my Granddad's company, there are times when I'd rather be doing other things. He can talk the hind legs off a donkey, and the subject matter is always negative. For the past few years, his major bugbear has been "druggies".

I think my Mum must have mentioned to him a while back that I knew a few people who had smoked / did smoke weed, and that I'd been around them as it happened, since he tends to bring up the topic every time he sees me. I have very little new to say on the subject, other than such things as "Yes, they are normal people. No, they are not permanently spaced out. No, I've never tried it", etc, etc.

This time, however, was different. The big local news story (and national if you read the right-wind newspapers) was of the squatters who'd moved into an old lady's home in the city of Bath, because she had moved into an old people's home elsewhere.

Both my Granddad and Mum were up in arms about this, seeing it as yet another blow against an Englishman's right to protect / keep his home.

What followed is what Mrs Merton would term "a heated debate" on the whole subject. I was defending the squatters' position somewhat, mainly by explaining the state of the law properly, which the sensationalist news stories tended to leave out.

I was also having a massive go at Tony Martin, again having had the benefit of reading the actual Court of Appeal case, rather than the Daily Mail version of events.

The conversation got very, very heated at some points, with exasperated faces all round when certain points were raised. Before it could erupt into physical violence (surely only a matter of time?), we agreed to disagree.

The barbecue went off without a hitch, if you discount the fact that we held it during a torrential downpour. Only the British...

And then it was off to get pissed!

I'd spent much of the day frantically ringing and texting as many of my mates as I could get hold off, trying to get everyone to our local pub before heading into town.

In the end only 5 of us made it there, but we had a couple of swift beers before starting the 1½ mile walk into the town centre.

What we needed was sustenance for such an epic journey.


It's 1am, I've finished typing up what was in my notebook, and it's time to go to bed. I've got work tomorrow, don't you know?

Thursday, August 5

In Response To...

Further to the somewhat helpful comments in the message box to the right, I've decided not to carry on with the final couple of days' worth of writing-up from work a few weeks back.

As it was pointed out, if I'm not 100% interested in writing what happened to me, it's not going to be particularly interesting to read. When I write about shit that has happened, it's normally because I want to and sometimes even need to.

Recently, however, it's been more of a case of writing for the sake of completeness. I've got behind in my writing here, and I want to fill in the gaps. I guess it's because of my desire to publish my entire life, even the boring bits. Yes, there are indeed boring bits in my life, just as there are in every single other person on this planet's lives.

I merely choose to include those parts in my blog, not just the interesting / exciting parts. Sometimes the boring parts can be interesting to read, in that a reader can compare my boring sequences to those in their own lives. We all have them, but how do we escape from them, even for the briefest of moments?

I like to explore that area, even if it is only through detailing what does happen to me during these boring times. Maybe through these writings, I can avoid similar periods in the future, by recognising the symptoms and avoiding the causes.

Well, maybe. Let's see how things develop.

Anyway, with that in mind, I have indeed decided to skip the last few days of work from whenever it was, and instead am going to write up something I wrote in my notebook during the last few days. I've been taking my notebook with me on the Tube, which gives me time to write (between sweating...). Hence I've ended up with 13+ pages on my trip home, which now follows. Enjoy.

Or skip it, whatever. Praise be to apathy.

Monday, August 2

Two Weeks Back

Righty, let's start with this catching-up (another compound word. Dammit I'm becoming Americanised in my writing style. Bad Rob) by going through the week I had at work two weeks ago. Actually, shit, that was three weeks ago! I really am very behind in my writing.

So, cast your mind back to the evening of Tuesday, 13th July. Can you remember what happened to you that day? I can, because I took the precaution of making a week's worth of notes on what happened at work that week, with the intention of typing it all up before I went home the following week. Of course, I didn't get round to doing it, but at least I now have something to freshen my memory. Organisation: it's important.

Just a quick reminder as to the two pubs I work at. Y is a great little drinkers' pub just off Goodge St, full of Young, Hip and Trendy™ media types, as well as office workers. I spend most of my time there, but I also work at X, a bigger, blander food pub at Oxford Circus. That pub has two floors, with the downstairs section being smaller, more cramped and more intimate. I prefer working the downstairs bar, because the clientele are more interesting, and also because it is air-conditioned, a godsend in recent weeks.

My note for Tuesday reads "7pm - 11.30, V. quiet, LIT, London Eye."

Not particularly helpful, it must be said.

I think I've written about taking my relations to the London Eye during the day, so I'll skip that bit. I guess the evening's shift must have been deathly quiet at work, with nothing of any note occurring. What a good start to my catching-up...

"LIT" stands for Lost In Translation, which my housemates were watching when I got back that evening. I still can't believe that I haven't seen that film yet, especially since I've ripped the DVD onto my hard drive. Again, my laziness / preoccupation with minor matters has prevented me from getting on with converting it to a viewable .avi file. Shame on me once more.

Wednesday's note makes much more sense, and I can remember the details of the evening very clearly. "6pm - 11.30, other pub, not supposed to, Cavendish Sq, Polish girls, many fit girls, should have given number"

I started at X at 6 in the afternoon, but before I got there I stopped off to grab a sandwich, since I'd skipped dinner at home. I was probably doing something meaningless and pointless (Champ springs to mind) which prevented me from finding half an hour to eat at home, and I knew that there are a number of sandwich shops in the vicinity of X, so an al fresco snack seemed the ideal choice.

I'm telling you this fairly pointless and non-eventful story because of where I ended up eating my al fresco sandwich. I found another little idyllic piece of greenery in central London, quite literally around the corner from X. I didn't know Cavendish Square existed until that evening, but now I adore it.

It's truly amazing how you can be so close to Oxford Street and Oxford Circus (less than 100 yards), but hear so little of the hustle and bustle. The world suddenly stops, sits down and relaxes for the briefest of periods. I was only there for 15 minutes, eating my sandwich (ending up with my face being covered with mayo, if the truth be told. Stupid, mayophile sandwich-maker) and listening to random tunes on my iPod, but I felt thoroughly relaxed before heading into the maelstrom of work.

I've been back to Cavendish Square a few times since, and I still fall in love with it anew each time. I can't get over how close it is to Oxford Circus (the third circle of hell for shoppers, as I've seen it described somewhere), but yet is so far from it in terms of its tone and atmosphere. I swear that the air even feels cleaner.

And so it was with this relaxed attitude and free of stress that I went to work. It lasted about 5 minutes.

It turned out that I wasn't supposed to work that evening, you see? I'd got my days mixed up, and wasn't due to work until Thursday. Thankfully, one of the other bar staff had phoned in sick merely minutes before my arrival, so I quickly became the saviour, rather than an inept and unorganised barman.

I worked downstairs for the entire evening, watching soundless TV and trying to keep cool, aided by the blissful air conditioning. It was fairly quiet, and I spent some time chatting to one of the Assistant Managers at the bar, about anything and everything. He is one of the few other staff there who is English, so it is a lot easier to talk to him than many of the others there.

At one point in the evening, he came down to see how I was getting on, saw the amount of good-looking women that were downstairs in my bar (I tell you, I don't know how I do it!), and stayed for most of the rest of the evening., It was a strange one that night, since I don't usually attract that many pretty girls to my bar...

Two in particular stand out. I was leaning on the bar, chatting to Steve (the assistant manager), when this very pretty girl / woman came down the stairs, and came over to order a drink. She sat at the bar with us, whipped out her phone and spoke in some random language at a fair old rate of knots for a minute or two. It turned out to be Polish, as did she.

We got chatting for a while, mostly about her recent holiday to Barcelona. I've wanted to go to Barcelona for a fair old while, mostly to have a look at the cathedral they've got there. She said that it was incredible, truly inspiring and a masterpiece of architecture, and I have to agree, although my view is only based on photos.

We were chatting for a good while (yes, the bar was that dead), before her friend arrived. Dear God was her friend stunning?! The first girl was very pretty, but her friend was truly jaw-droppingly beautiful. Admittedly, she seemed a little cutting at first, but I still think she was very nice.

The rest of the night is a blur (well, it's a blank space on my notepad), but I distinctly remember the end of the evening. I'd done most of the clearing up downstairs, and had shooed the vast majority of the punters upstairs and outside, but the two Polish girls were being a little slow with their drinking-up.

They still had a tab going, which I needed to cash off, so I made numerous trips over to their table to hurry them along a little. Of course, I was polite as can be, even if I was probably drooling as soon as I got within ten yards of them.

Finally, I made the ultra-smooth comment along the lines of "As much as I'd love to spend the rest of the evening in your company ladies, I'm afraid it's time to go." See, I told you it was smooth... I'm always so very smooth around women. Ahem.

Their response was surprisingly positive. Some flirtatious replies came my way, as did they flow back from me to them. We threw these little comments around for a minute or two, before they started to get their shit together to go upstairs. I think they went to the loo as I did the final clearing-up, and then I went upstairs to see how everyone was getting on up there.

The two Polish girls came upstairs from the loo, and were just about the last ones out of the pub. We were still having a little bit of fun and some gentle flirting as they walked out of the door, but I didn't think too much of it at the time. It's almost the duty of a barman to flirt, have a laugh and be a bit cheeky towards female customers. That's the way I look at it, at any rate.

I was on the night bus on the way home, listening to more tunes and running through the night's events in my head, when it suddenly hit me:

Shit, I should have given at least one of them my number.

That was just about the furthest I have ever got with a random girl on a random night, and I was still unable to get or give a number. It may come as a bit of a surprise, although probably not to long-term readers, but I have never got a number from a girl or given my number to anyone on a night out.

And yes, I am fast approaching my 21st birthday. How depressing is that. Nearly 21, and I've never truly pulled on a night out. Of course I've pulled random girls on a night out, but never to the extent where I get a number.

Note to self: Must try harder.


Shit, this post has taken a lot longer than I expected. I've only managed to type up 2 days' worth of events in just over an hour. It has indeed become epic, as I expected. Tristan, see how I ramble?! I've got to eat (the first meal of the day, shame on me for about the 50th time today) and go to work, so I'll have to do some more writing later.

Note to self: Take notebook with you on Tube. Then when I get back, I only have to type up my writing, rather than create it too... A punning clan if there ever was one. Even more cunning than a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University. I need to watch Blackadder again sometime soon.

What Is Going On?

Hmmm, so I haven't posted for a little while. I don't know whether it's because I've been too busy, or have simply become disinterested in this whole blogging thing. I'm hoping it's the former, and I have been very busy recently. Honestly!

However, at the same time, I can't seem to find the enthusiasm to sit down at my computer and type. I want to, but I also don't want to. And as the backlog of events has increased, so has my apathy towards tackling it all. Thus the backlog grows, the apathy grows, and it results in my sitting here now, with more than two weeks' worth of writing to do. Shame on me.

I am going to do it though. I've got fuck-all else to do today until I go to work at 7, so I'm going to type until my fingers will type no more. I apologies in advance for giving you masses to read, but I will once again try to break it up into easily-digestible, bite-size (mmm, compound words) chunks.

Famous last words...

Such as "Kiss me, Hardy", come to think of it. Random trivia: Nelson's body was returned to England from Trafalgar in a barrel of rum on his ship, in order to preserve it.
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