Thursday, August 31, 2006

But last night....

I met Reidski and we had intended to go and see Volver.

First we ate at what has to be the best value and tastiest Italian in the West End and admired the waiter's holiday snaps of him with a camel....far better if I leave further details to the imagination!

But oh dear, the film was fully booked so what to do? Reidski decided he was going to take me to another beautiful pub which was just round the corner but we walked in to what he said was the wrong room...not the one with the amazing decor.However, he went to the order some drinks with the intention of taking me through to the other bar just as soon as I got back form a much needed trip to the loo.

Now I want to emphasis that I really was only gone two minutes at the most but by the time I got back he was already 'bessie mates' with the landlord plus half of the regulars, and had been coerced into a darts game. He confided in me that it must be 15 years since he had played darts in a pub and I feared he faced humiliation. I watched him as he scored 100 with his first three arrows.

You know when past half remembered conversations suddenly drift back? Well I found myself wondering what exactly it was he had told me along the lines of 'nearly playing darts for Scotland' before he left there and came to England. Anyway, it was pretty soon apparent that he was not going to be exactly humiliated; the jaws of the other blokes were falling rapidly. Reidski is in fact a brilliant darts player. He won the first game with his partner with embarrassing ease.

When we had planned our night out I have to say that the idea that I would come down for an evening of darts was not in my top ten of suggested activities so I was not completely overjoyed to be told I had a partner...poor Tom must have wondered what he had done to deserve me...and that I was playing next. Not only had I not played darts in a pub for well over 15 years, but when I last did I didn't exactly get close to an international call up - might have been upsetting had I not known perfectly well how absolutely crap I am at darts. But as someone not unaccustomed to showing myself up in public I took a big sigh and started playing darts.

And we carried on playing darts...all night. OK - I can't recommend this pub highly enough. I did get to see the amazing decor as the landlord gave us a guided tour later but that isn't why it is so good.It is one of the friendliest places I have ever been in. We had a simply fantastic night there and I can't wait to go back again.

As to my dart playing, well, I am still fairly useless, however......

Reidski only lost two games all night, one to a double 19 and one to a double 4 and modesty does not forbid me from telling you that I got them both. Who says miracles never happen!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

So Jane, did you have a good night yesterday?

I was so looking forward to my first home match of the season and seeing people I hadn’t seen since May. I had heard good things about how we were playing and although we lost at QPR last week we looked promising there too.

So, I park in my usual place (ie the place I have parked for the past ten seasons) (yes, where I parked IS important!) and go to the match.

It would not be accurate to describe the match as incident free. Before half time we had taken the lead, seen them equalise with a penalty that was not , on examination of television replays, a penalty, and watched in amazement and mirth as one of their players got sent off for attacking one of his own team mates. We just KNEW that we were going to be ‘all over them’ second half.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Second half we were simply useless and conceded a soft goal to them, missed umpteen golden opportunities to score ourselves, and in injury time sod me if the referee did not give them yet ANOTHER penalty which was never a penalty in a hundred years. Even the player who dived for it will surely be embarrassed when he sees that replayed? So anyway, we lose a game we should have won easily 3-1. I was not happy. I return to my car, parked as anyone who is still awake reading this will recall in the same place that I have parked for the past ten seasons.

I have a parking ticket informing me I owe the private parking Nazi’s £100, but if I pay up within 21 days ONLY £50.

Now I very rarely lose my temper. The last time was when the cat did not wet my bed about two years ago when I did in fact - having only very recently purchased a brand new mattress - go completely berserk when I saw the patch on my bed which I identified as cat wee. Had I managed to catch the cat on that occasion the cat would have been toast. It was lucky all round that I did not catch the cat that time. Especially so because having failed to catch the cat I flew back into my room to strip the bedding off and then noticed two pertinent points. 1) The bed was not wet. 2) My bedroom light cast a shadow on to my bed which from a distance resembled a wet patch. I digress.

When I saw that parking ticket I went completely mental with rage. Had I got hold of the parking attendant responsible I would have been facing a murder charge this morning. I went running round the car park looking for a sign saying that there were now charges for parking there. It took me a good five minutes to find one and when I did it was like the ones newspaper sellers have…only with smaller writing. I was so mad I am ashamed to admit I actually kicked the thing over. I was swearing and shouting and generally acting like a complete moron…but I really was ‘awfully cross’.

So D and I finally get in the car with me swearing blind that I will go to hell before I pay that fine and the local radio is on. There is an interview with the leader of our Borough Council who is announcing that a decision about the much needed expansion of our football ground, a decision we were promised in 2004 will actually not be made until 2009. TWO THOUSAND AND NINE. Back in the 1980’s our club nearly went under and some of us supporters got together to campaign to try and save the club (though why we bothered given displays like yesterday’s god alone knows.) We set up the first Supporters Trust which has since been copied by many other clubs threatened with closure. I suppose that partly explains my emotional attachment to the club. Move forward 15 years or so and we have a chairman who is actually putting money into our club but if he does not get the expansion plans approved we seriously fear he will walk away because it is costing him a fortune at the moment and he needs to see some return on his investment. So suddenly hearing this w****r saying no decision for a further three years when I was already incandescent with rage…well, I think D was afraid I was going to have a coronary. I was screaming my head off at the flaming radio and using swear words I didn’t know I knew…like that would make any difference???

By now I just wanted to get home and have a stiff drink. So needless to say, the council in their wisdom had decided to do road works near the stadium which meant they closed the road I needed to drive down, created massive traffic jams, and gave us all a ridiculously long and convoluted diversion.

So did I have a good night last night?

I’ve had better.


I have just been to ‘see about’ that parking ticket. After I put my case in an entirely reasonable way – ‘See here you complete bastard….’* it was cancelled.

* No not really. I tried the ‘I will burst into tears if you do not cancel this ticket and embarrass you’ approach. It worked.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Weekend

Reidski’s interesting approach to introducing me to his son for the first time…. “This is Jane. She is the one responsible for splitting our family up.” Like I wasn’t nervous enough about this particular meeting?? I guess after that it could only get better, and his son is great. He told his dad later that he was glad he was going out with me because I was so nice. Excellent! That’s him fooled into a false sense of security leaving me safe to adopt my ‘wicked step-mother role.’ Cue evil laughter….A –Ha- Ha -Haaaaa!*

So anyway, apart from that traumatic encounter of the first kind we had one of those excellent and laid back weekends with good company- Mr and Mrs TNR and others, good food, good wine, and erh, some other good stuff of a personal nature, details of which have no place on a family blog.

We also listened to a lot of music. Reidski has a great vinyl collection and thanks to Jim’s diplomatic suggestion that we four took turns at choosing a track to play we got to hear a very diverse selection of music in the evenings without arguments about who was dominating the turn table. Well, just the one argument as to whether R having selected a Dead Kennedy record lasting just 60 seconds was therefore entitled to play the next track straight afterwards. Answer: ‘No of course not- rules are rules.’

He took me to the most beautiful and amazingpub yesterday which is thoroughly recommended to anyone who finds them self in London EC4. I got very excited because I read it was on the same site that the Papal Court formally dissolved the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. I was very ‘in to the Tudors’ back in the olden days when I was intelligent. If it wasn’t for that one decision by the Papal Court I would never have written the dissertation I wrote when I was at university… which thinking about it would have spared me a helluva lot of time which could more usefully have been employed by my social life. All that research and writing on the Tudor Rebellions…and it only ever got read by one person - my tutor**. Reminds me somewhat of this blog!

* I shouldn’t joke about that really because to be honest I was absolutely thrilled to bits he said what he did to his dad.

**Who gave me 79% for it. One flaming percent off a first. You would have thought he could have somehow scrapped up one more tiny little percent for me. Not that that still causes me distress after 25 years of course but I’m going home to kick the cat now.

And then I am going to the football. Look out for me on Sky Sports as we are on the tele tonight. No doubt you will all be staying in especially to watch Northampton Town play Bristol City in Coca Cola League One?

You won’t???

Nowt so strange as folk ;-)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

To London

for my bank holiday.

Jim and his wife are down to stay with Reidski, and a boozy weekend beckons. Hope you all have a relaxing traffic jam free few days...and no rain for those of us mad enough to risk a holiday under canvas .

Friday, August 25, 2006

Action to take if you are directly involved

in an international sporting row, but only if you are completely and utterly without shame.

Saturday. I got up this morning and my hair was all over the place. I suddenly knew I should have called this 'Bad Hair Day' but also knew that one of the tabloids will inevitably have beaten me to it...sigh.

A Nightmare One Christmas Pt II

... We had spent a few days in London with mates and when I eventually
checked my phone for messages there was one from my next door neighbour
saying he thought he should warn me that two kids had been up my house
asking about their cat. To say that that was unwelcome news is the
understatement of the year. I had a dreadful journey home in heavy
traffic with my eldest giving me the 'I told you something like this
would happen' line over and again, and the other two fussing away at me
about what was I going to do now? Like I knew???!!!! It seemed I had
two options and both involved causing huge distress to a child and ruining
one child's belief in Father Christmas into the bargain.

On arrival back in our village my first stop was the village shop for
some milk. Where my sign asking for a good home for a young ginger cat
had been there was now a sign saying 'Lost, one young ginger cat.'
Bizarrely next to that sign was another sign saying 'Lost, one young
ginger cat.'

The explanation for the two signs as I found out later was as follows.
Marmalades owner had placed the sign in the shop window but as she was
by now living elsewhere - Cornwall - she had asked her friend in the
village to be the contact person should anyone find Marmalade. This
friend, Caroline lived two doors away from Linda (hope you can keep up
with all this). Some children saw the sign and then saw a young ginger
cat, picked it up and took it along to Caroline. Caroline took in the
cat. Meanwhile, a couple who lived near the shop realised their young
ginger cat was missing and therefore placed a sign to that effect in
the by now somewhat crowded shop window.

Later that same day Caroline put Ginger Cat 2 outside to do what cats
must do. Shortly afterwards Linda arrived home from work and was
surprised to see 'Chivers' outside her front door as she had thought
she had left him inside and took him in. Come feeding time she was doubly
surprised to find not one but two young ginger cats at her feet.
Mystery solved when Caroline came to her door asking if she had by any chance
seen a young ginger cat.

Returning to my role in this cat fiasco, I asked Sue at the shop about
the two signs and so when Linda told me about the two ginger cats I was
at least able to sort out the return of Ginger Cat 2 to its rightful
owner. I warned Linda about the search for Marmalade.

Caroline told me where Marmalades owner was staying so that was my next
stop. This is where I am ashamed to say I told a tale of half truths
about how Marmalade just couldn't settle and how he had disappeared,
but how I felt really quite sure (for 'quite sure' read 'certain') someone
must have taken him in and feed him because we had had no reports of
'road incidents involving young ginger cats'. She was pretty cool about
it and said 'To tell you the truth, I am not too bothered as he always
was a bit of a pain in the arse, and I have promised the kids a dog.'
This made me feel slightly better.

The story finally concluded with one further episode. There was a knock
at Linda's door and she opened it to see the older of the two kids who
had brought Marmalade to my house in the first place. He wanted to play
with her son. As Linda is calling her lad Chivers picks that moment to
stroll down the stairs in full view of the boy at the door. 'Oh' he
says, 'We had a cat looked just like him but he got lost.' 'Oh dear'
said Linda who by now has decided that although as a general rule she
doesn't like cats she does in fact like this cat very much indeed,
'What a shame'.

And I saw Chivers this morning. The sight of him brought me out in a
cold sweat.

A Nightmare One Christmas

Apologies for this as it harks back to three Christmas's ago, but I just saw a Certain Ginger Cat and the nightmare came flooding back. It is quite a long story so bare with me.

To set the scene, in the October I had come back with a very cute tabby kitten who from my observations was being tortured in her previous home so I rescued her. My kids were all totally besotted with her. We had another cat, George, but he was (still is) big and tough, and doesn't take too kindly to 'this pampering nonsense' but little Sophie just loved all that and the kids all loved her.

About a week before Christmas two kids come to my door who I knew slightly. Their parents had a certain amount of local fame having appeared on The Trisha programme talking about the horror of crack addiction, which was followed two days later by a drugs raid on their home. Who says the police don't have their ear to the ground ehh?
So anyway, the youngest says to me that they are goinga way over Christmas for a few days and desperately needed someone to look after their beloved kitten whilst they were away. At which point any sane person would have said 'Away to F**k with you' (as indeed I later learnt many sane people had already said when asked the very same favour) but I looked at this piteous child and said 'Well, if you really can't find anyone else - I will have him, but please keep looking.' They promised to do this and I forgot about it.

The NEXT day I am at work and H rings me. It is a very upset and angry H demanding that I come home AT ONCE and get rid of 'That horrible cat'. 'What horrible cat?' asks a distracted mother, but it soon becomes apparent that Christmas has come early for the owners of Marmalade (for that is his name), they have delivered Marmalade along with all his worldly belongings into my house and gone off on 'holiday' themselves. And the answer to why is he horrible is that he has immediately set about world domination by beating up our beloved Sophie.

I go home and it is like entering a war zone. The kids are furious with me for inflicting this monster on their lovely sweet kitten and there is the sound of hissing and meowing for help in the distance. I decide 'I Am Not Having This' and chuck out Marmalade figuring he can find his own way back to his house which was only a couple of hundred yards away to my right*, and I would leave food out for him. Cats are of course notorious for their homing instinct. Unluckily for me, after a mere three hours or so in my house, Marmalade's homing instinct was informing him he now lived at my house. Cue pathetic and insistent crying at my kitchen window which eventually lead to his readmittance into the house. Which was when the fighting recommenced.

That first evening consisted of Marmalade being evicted and readmitted at regular intervals and me deciding I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I thought that there was No Way I could put up with this over Christmas and resolved to try and find another temporary cat sitter for him the next morning. That night I did put him out but he sat outside the front door and made such a terrible noise I was afraid for the neighbours (the neighbours int he next village two miles away) so it was after a sleepless night that I went to the village shop to implement my get rid of this bloody cat plan.

NOT GOOD. The woman who owns the local shop in whose window I planned to place a card saying 'Please look after this cat for one week only, thank you' lives in the same street as Marmalade's owners. I told her the story. She looked at me with a cross between pity for the inflicted, and disbelieve at the depths of my stupidity. 'You do know' she said, 'that they are not coming back?' She had watched them move all their furniture out the day before. The card that went in the shop window was altered to read, 'Good home for life wanted for young ginger cat.'

Days ticked by towards Christmas and no one had come forward for the cat. I had rung the rehoming service who could help, but not till after Christmas. I was becoming resigned to a Christmas from hell as the bullying of our Sophie had continued without respite. (George meanwhile had moved in next door for a few days in protest but the kids weren't too bothered about that.)But then on Christmas Eve, about 6.00 in the evening, a Christmas miracle occured. A woman called Linda rang me. Linda lives about 200 yards to my left**. She said she was feeling really bad because all her daughter aged 7 wanted in her Christmas List to Santa was a kitten. Linda admitted to hating cats but..... I felt her weakening. I pulled out all the sales spiel I could about what a truly marvellous cat Marmalade was and three hours later Marmalade, henceforth to be known as Chivers, moved once again with all his worldly belongings to be the much loved cat of Linda's daughter.

And so it came to pass that the little girl awoke on Christmas morning to find her wishes had been answered and she had the kitten of her dreams. And they all lived happily ever after.....

Until ten days after Christmas when Marmalade's original owners turned up on my doorstep to fetch him back to his new home in Cornwall.

To be continued..........well I did warn you this one was a bit of a saga!

* Important local detail.
**Another important local detail.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I hope these oranguatans have more luck with internet dating than my poor sister is having.

Footballing and other results

On Tuesday I finally got to my first Cobblers match of the season. We played at Queens Park Rangers in whatever the League Cup is called this season and a match report can be found here but assuming no one out there but me could ever be bothered to read it I will summarise thus : First half crap. Second half exciting and we pulled two great goals back but conceded in the final minute. Final score – lost 3-2. Reidski came with me and gave a reasonably convincing display of ‘quite enjoying it really’.

We went to a good bar first, but somebody please tell me, what kind of a name is The Defector’s Weld for a pub? It must be one of them there trendy London names like. Me being a simply country lass finds the Red Lion rather adventurous as far as pub names go -red being such a racy kind of colour don’t you think?

I was sat with a lad of about 18 on my train home last night. He asked me where the train stopped. When I said Northampton he said, ‘Oh, I want to go to Crewe.’ Well maybe he did want to go to Crewe but I had to tell him his chances of getting to Crewe last night were slim going on non-existent. Then I spent the rest of the journey worrying about whether I should offer him our sofa for the night, but I didn’t because how could I be certain he wasn’t an armed and desperate criminal? I am becoming way too cautious in my advancing age and am left feeling quite guilty about the poor kid.

My own lad of very nearly 17 gets his GSCE results today. My mind keeps drifting back to the exam period but no matter how hard I try, I can not seem to conjure up any memories of him actually revising. I just hope he has at least got C grades which to my old fashioned mind will mean he passed the things. He came back from his first exam – a Maths paper -and announced it to have been ‘Easy’. He then told me he had finished it in 45 minutes but it was a 90 minute exam. Whilst I would love to say that that would be because he is a Maths genius, the realist in me has to worry that he was slap dash, didn’t take proper care over reading the questions, and very probably couldn’t be bothered to double check his answers.

I won’t know until late this morning. Until then, ignorance is likely to be bliss, although hearing half hourly news reports about how GSCE results are likely to be higher again this year is not exactly helping my peace of mind.


Well he passed them. I don't think we shall be troubled by photographers from the local press who at these times seem inexplicably to be more interested in pretty girls who got straight A grades but he got 4 B's and 6 C's so I am relieved. I shall have to start referring to 'My son with the ten GSCE's' at any opportunity and learn to swiftly change the subject when questioned about grades.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Helpful tips for the rabbit owners amongst us

as sent to me by Reidski...the fount of all bunny knowledge.

I think I need more practice judging by the extent of the injuries I sustained trying this trick on Houdini* this morning.

* So called because she can escape from anywhere.

Monday, August 21, 2006


My sister has been on one of the internet dating sites with somewhat mixed results, but she has just showed me what can only be described as a disaster.

She has received an e-mail through the site from my friend P's (as mentioned just yesterday) second ( of three so far) husband. He MUST know it is her because her photo is on the damn thing. He lives in the next village to us. And what is rather creepy is that he was at the same village b.b.q. as us only yesterday and was chatting away to her. Why on earth didn't he say something given that the e-mail was sent on Saturday?

Of course it wouldn't be a total disaster if she fancied him.

But she doesn't fancy him so it is officially a TOTAL disaster.

No true supporter should be without

a Smeg fridge in your club's colours.

I do believe that the Cobbler's 'Super Store' is missing a great sales opportunity by not selling these. Strangely however, when I tried to suggest to the shop manageress that she might care to order a few in claret and white - well- Honestly! If I was a more sensitive soul, her howls of derision may have caused me some distress. Granted two of them would take up ALL the floor space in the store but a club such as ours needs to show more ambition in the marketing department or how will we ever compete with the Barcelona's of this world?

Oh god- sorry, I do get rather carried away at times but even I can't quite believe I just managed to type that last sentence with a straight face.

Scary stuff

I DID go on a water rollercoaster when I was away. That was offically fun and not scary at all.

I did NOT go on the eight looped roller coaster at Port Aventura - not because I was a wimp but because I never actually got as far as Port Aventura. We were on the platform at Barca railway station en route to Port Aventura and the train was actually pulling in when J announced he felt really really sick and could someone (me) please take him back to the hotel. So that was what I had to do. That was OK I thought. I could do some shopping later, and a bit of sun bathing in the park, but no. The shops round where we were staying were all closed that day and the early sun which had been so promising buggered off and was replaced by heavy rain. That day on holiday I mainly read books. (J was fine after about an hour by the way.)

But these scary rides are as nothing to what I have had to face on my return home.

Truly terrifying.

Spine chilling.

Makes me skin crawl on sight.

It is in fact that time of the year again when the damn great big house spiders move in - uninvited and en masse - to my home and I really really really HATE them.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I know I am going on a bit this morning

Even more than usual but my flaming laptop...possibly the worst purchase I have ever playing up again.

I have lost count of the number of times it has had to go in for repairs of one nature or another. Yesterday it took something like nine hours to condescend to operate. When we switch it on we just get a rolling and unreadable screen until eventually it decides it will settle down, but even then it won't let us use the DVD drive, and it has also decided unilaterally that it will change its font size to about 50. Even I wouldn't need my contact lenses in to read what I am currently is ridiculously big print.

Anyway, to get to the point, it is going in AGAIN for further repairs on Tuesday so it won't be so easy to write anything till it gets back so here I am waffling for England whilst I can before yet again having to rely on my sister's good nature for further blogging. Life was mush easier before I ever bought the laptop, but the very sad truth is that I am struggling to remember what on earth I used to do before I had it.
Possibly I had a life????

What rich people worry about on holiday

My friend P who married the millionaire (previously mentioned in this bit if you can be bothered though I wouldn't really recommend it) was on holiday in her villa in France whilst we were in Catalonia. She sent me a text from there which read - "Hi, hope you are having a nice holiday. I thought I should tell you that I don't think I will be able to take part in the village quiz this year because I am afraid I may not be able to fulfill my commitments."

I don't know where to begin with how weird that text was. For one thing why on earth was she thinking about our poxy village quiz when she was on flaming holiday? It doesn't even start till November! And as for fulfilling means a maximum of five Friday evenings over five months. She doesn't even have a job so how can anyone be that busy? And if she doesn't want to do it, why not tell me when she saw me, it is hardly urgent. Mad.

Truly the strangest text message I have had since one expressing a wish to lick one of my female relations. (I will leave you to work that one out for yourselves ;-) )

News from the home front

did eventually reach us on the Thursday regarding the terrorist alert.

Looking back, the level of security at Luton airport was the highest I have ever seen it with one in five bags being searched and checked for traces of explosives so I think they knew something 'was a foot'or should I say something was'a drinking bottle'.

Anyway, it was all very disconcerting - a whole week or worrying about the big issue....Would we or would we not be allowed to take duty free wines and spirits back with us?

In the event Barcalona airport seemed surprisingly relaxed and we could take hand luggage, phones, I-Pods and- phew- duty free spirits on board with us (although travellers to the USA could not). However, this did not mean I escaped being involved in an International Incident at the airport.

My daughter is 12 and thus just qualiifes for a child's air ticket. When we checked in the woman asked her how old she was and when she said 12 to my surprise she gave us priority boarding passes. I came to wish she hadn't bothered. Priority boarding was announced and lots of families pressed forward. I was letting those with little ones and babies go first, but when they had all boarded I went to the front only to get a right telling off from a Spanish woman whose English was far far better than my Spanish (hard to believe I know). I did weakly protest that we had got priority boarding but she replied that so had her family, and we were all in the same boat, except she meant same plane, and they were ahead of us. An awkward and embarrased silence settled on my family and hers save for the outraged mutterings coming from my 16 year old. Then the Easy Jet rep asked if there was anyone else with priority boarding and the other family handed in their boarding passes. The Easy Jet rep looked at her passes and shook his head. Seems she did NOT have priority boarding. I gave in ours and we were nodded through. Victory was mine. But I am such a wimp. I just hate scenes of any nature,and the public nature of that one was horrendous, especially as it was impossible to silence my sons triumphant reaction as we boarded ahead of her and hers.

Going back to the terrorist alert. I read in the paper when I got back that the pilots are complaining that they are not allowed to have their contact lense liquid in the cockpit with them. Well thank God I didn't know that when I was flying. I can just about cope with the thought that a passenger might have some toothpaste about their person and be 'not afraid to use it', but the thought that the pilot may be unable to see properly as he can't put his lens in...well that would really worry me.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It's following me

the rain I mean.

Taken from my bedroom window.



We won....

at last!

(Gillingham 0 - Northampton 1. Sorry Cookie!)

''Faus pax's' ''

I am not too gifted in the linguistic department.

Worst example of this holiday was my attempt to explain about a traffic jam which started at a place called Platja d'Ajo, when I to the bemusement quickly followed by amusement of my friends called it Plat de Jour. Errh, wrong. But not as badly wrong as my request in France for that well known dessert, Tarte aux Pomme de Terre at which even my daughter then aged only 7 cracked up.

Remembering that still makes me blush.

Friday, August 18, 2006

London today

I'm going to see Reidski for the first time in a fortnight.

It was strange visiting places in Catalonia where I know he went last summer, and reading books there that he had lent me. On the subject of which, has anyone read 'We need to talk about Kevin?' by Lionel Shrivner? I ask this question as I need to know if it is just me who is extraordinarily dumb and did not see the quite glaringly obvious (on reflection) conclusion coming? Anyway, a great book. I also read loads of Lee Child books which are my latest obsession and 'A Homage to Catalonia' which was depressing when you knew how the Civil War was destined to end.

Last year when Reidski went away for three weeks I missed him even though I had never met him. This year when I went away I just missed him. Life takes unexpected turns sometimes doesn't it?

Hope he hasn't gone off me in my absence.

P.S. I don't think he had. We had a really special day.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Proof that the sun did shine some of the time

Just a pity that picture was taken the morning we left the villa for Barcelona.

Whatever makes you think I am a little put out about the weather we had on holiday?

OK, no more moaning, and a few more pictures....

The coast where we stayed the first week.

Place called Pals

A nearby village

Bit of Gaudi for ya

But how annoying to get killed by a tram before so much as a single tower of your masterpiece was complete.

Most important place in Barcelona

Men wearing the national dress of the area

OK, I overstated that.

But it did rain a helluva lot more than I had expected of the southern Med in August. We had some beautiful hot and sunny days, but there was a lot of cloud, and when it rained, god almighty. I don't know....I go to Glasgow and it is scorching hot. I get on an open topped bus for a touristy tour of Barcelona and I get wet and cold. At least I am able to reassure people alarmed by recent newspaper reports that in a few years countries like Spain will be too hot for holidays!

Anyway, who cares about the weather. Catalonia was fantastic and I shall no doubt go on about it at some tiresome length.

Letter to the Catalan Tourist Board

Dear Senors,

Did I miss the part in the tourist guides where it says that between 6th August and 16th August the weather in Catalonia will be mainly torrential rain?


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Can't fail to mention that

the football season starts today for me and mine.

And I am going to miss at least the first four matches including as already moaned about here the match against Nottingham Forest. What a bugger. I can't go today as I have too mush to do to justify spending most of the day travelling back and forth from Crewe. (Note to self - so stop blogging and get on with jobs, you know you will regret it at 11.00 tonight when there are still loads of unfinished tasks. Reply to self - I operate best under pressure.) I then miss two home matches and the one away at Cookie's Gillingham because of a clash with an off spring's birthday. I am just such a part time supporter.

Since our promotion we have lost and gained a manager, signed four players of whom I know nothing except that Jimmy Quinn played in this horrific match when England managed to lose to Northern Ireland, and said goodbye to our two best players, Martin Smith and Josh Low. I don't have any high expectations for the coming season but know that as soon as I do finally get to a match this season I will be just as pathetically fanatical in my support of whoever our players are as ever. COME ON YOU COBBLERS!

Vacation, vacation.

From Sunday I will mostly be lounging around in the sun for a week building up my courage for this horror and also my strength for a few days sightseeing in Barcelona.

I am going with friends and family to Llafranc on the Catalonian coast near Girona for a week in what looks like a seriously luxurious villa. This is due to the generosity and wealth of my friends, either that or it because of their ardent wish not to spend another holiday with us on a campsite! They are paying by far the highest proportion of the bill for the week. I felt quite bad about that until a couple of months ago my friend received a pay rise which was higher than my annual salary, and since then I have been able to live with myself.

Having said that the last time we were on a campsite with them it was at what has to be the loveliest campsite in Europe: here. That was in 2004. In 2003 Reidski was on holiday at that exact same campsite. And last year Reidski was on Catalonia coast near Girona, and spent time in Llafranc. Both these two coincidences are just that, coincidences, but quite big ones.

For years I have been promising myself that I would visit Barcelona. I was so thrilled when I booked it. Is it so very awful that I am actually finding it hard to look forward to my holiday because I am going to miss Reidski so much whilst I am away? But I know that I am going to have a wonderful time and have something nice to look forward to when I get back....him! Please excuse appalling lapse into soppiness.

I wrote the above before going to see R yesterday. Whilst telling me he would miss me he also said that after the year I have had I need this holiday and he is glad I am going. Something pretty vile did happen to me earlier this year which I have never written about, nor will I ever write about, but thankfully that is all in the past now where it can bloody well remain. It is strange looking back on it that something so major has been put right to the recesses of my memory and when it gets mentioned it is like recalling a bad dream I had because of how hard it is to believe what happened really did happen. Sorry to be so cryptic to those of you who haven't a clue what I am on about. So anyway, thanks to what he said I AM now able to look forward to my holiday and yes, I shall make the most of my R&R in the Catalonia sun, and even go on that horrible looking ride at Porta Adventura...although I feel just the once will be enough for this lifetime.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


The dangers of swimming naked

So anyway

We went to a party in London on the Friday we left Scotland. Well after all, we had only been travelling for the nine hours in scorching heat so we were well up for a wild night out.

Imagine my delight when with something in the region of fifteen minutes in which to get ready he casually mentions one of his ex girlfriends might be at the party. And he didn't think that was anything to worry about!!???!!I hate book like Men - Mars, Women - Venus,but as he looked at me clearly genuinely astonished that I was thrown into a massive panic along the lines of 'I look awful'I had to acknowledge there just might be something in it.

Oh What A Night, early August, two thousand and six

We met Martin and John and John's lovely other half last night. I was a bit concerned by the arrangements
made with the aim of meeting up with them which I can best describe as 'bloke casual'. By this I mean Reidski suggesting we meet at the first pub we arrive at north of the venue - not that he knows any pub in the area let alone what they might be called or what they could be like - and no exchange of mobile numbers for use in the event of ending up in different places. I was more concerned when the first pub had just the four fire engines outside it having apparently just burnt down and the next one was so far away from the venue it was practically in Hertfordshire. Happily as it transpired there was a perfectly good bar downstairs from the venue itself and John and Martin had the good sense to be in there. And what great company they all were. And they knew EVERYONE in the audience for the band that had brought them to London which considering they live in Ireland and the Far North was really very impressive.

As to The Band - well, now I know why they have travelled to London to see them play twice in two nights. Absolutely brilliant stuff.

Incidentally, I spotted a couple of celebrities there last night. This guy was trying to appear incognito but I know him. He is the guy who keeps bumping in to me in the street and asking me in a strong American accent if I can tell him what the time is. And I am fairly sure that this guy is a porn star.

Thanks for a fantastic night John, Martin and M. And here's hoping the Mekons will be back in London again soon to ensure that you all are too.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Scenery and stuff

How great must it be to live in a vibrant exciting city but to have countryside like this half an hour's drive from your home?

We went up to Loch Lomond. The photo is taken from the grounds of the hotel where we had lunch. I can't remember having eaten in a more beautiful place. I hadn't realised just how big this Loch is...the largest freshwater lake (loch) in Britain. Nor did I realise before going there with a native that I couldn't pronounce 'Loch' which when said correctly sounds like the speaker has a cough.

To anyone who has never been to the Highlands of Scotland it is impossible to describe the grandeur of the hills and lochs. I remember on my first visit there thinking the scenery could not possibly be any more beautiful, only to come round a bend and see that it just HAD become more beautiful. Course, when it is misty you would never know. I did a hillwalk once when the person who had done the walk before kept saying 'If we could see anything now the views are stunning.' We could see sod fact I didn't even realise we had a fifth hill to climb before this bloody great shape loomed out of the murky fog and rain. That particular person was lucky not to have 'fallen' over a ridge en route. I digress.

We decided to drive further. I was vaguely aware I should put some petrol in but couldn't bring myself to buy from the local garage selling what must have been liquid gold at £1.05 for a litre of unleaded. I expect it would have been £1.05.9 but they hadn't got a space on their board for the 0.9 pence. Why do they charge that 0.9 pence by the way? And will we be overcharged by 0.1 pence a litre when the prices go above a pound if they can't advertise the 0.9 pence? These are the kind of questions that keep me awake at night. ANYWAY - being atight fisted git came back to haunt me and later caused a fair amount of stress of the 'Oh my god, we are going to run out of petrol in the middle of bloody nowhere' variety. I tell you what, I thought the scenery around Loch Lomond was beautiful, but the loveliest sight I saw that day was the ESSO garage we came across in the nick of time.

We came back towards Glasgow alongside the shores of Loch Long which blogger is refusing to let me download but is worth a look at for example here as it is simply stunning.

Our last night in Glasgow was spent having a few more drinks in the city and a great Indian meal before returning to the world's hottest hotel room. By which I mean that we were on the 11th floor, heat rises,and the window would only open three inches. Great views though.