Saturday, July 19, 2003

Everybody's Happy Nowadays

Someone clever once said "a change is as good as a break", but since a break all I can think about is a change. Someone else once said "Well, you walk into the room/ Like a camel and then you frown/ You put your eyes in your pocket/ And your nose on the ground/ There ought to be a law against you comin' around/ You should be made to wear earphones", so I don't know what to think.

Anyway, on with the show, where were we? Ah yes. I'll try and do this chronologically, and in time-order aswell, if you're feeling plucky, punk.

Fri Jul 04
I spent most of the day trying to contact those wonderful people at IBM. Like oil from a tanker off the Spanish coast, time was running out. I was off to another country the following morning. Had my computer left Scotland yet? This was turning into an international drama. I was told it had, and I would hear from the courier that afternoon. Afternoon came and was on its way out, when I phoned again. Different person, different answer. It hadn't left Planet IBM® yet it. "It might be at Telford depot the following morning (Saturday) I could pick it up on my way to Aber. Probably, possibly, maybe, perhaps". Added to the missed pub-lunchtime opportunity, I was not in the best of moods. So I skated home on my bottom lip, to find sticking out of the letterbox a postcard from those lovely chaps at the courier service. They had tried to drop off my PC at 9.15 am, and could I collect it from the depot tomorrow morning! With that sorted, well in a sense, I was relieved.

It was time to drink. And that's just what I did, as we gave Dave G a send-off in Ironbridge. It must be humbling to have somewhere else to go, another place to call home. Even if it is Yorkshire.

Sat Jul 05
Saturday morning should have been a welcome moment. A time I had been envisaging all week. It was more hectic than an MDMA'd-up Wile E. Coyote (ever wondered what the 'E' stood for?). I had to pack my stuff, pick up my computer, restore everything back on it, and stave off an attention-seeking hangover. Once the road was hit, it was all better, especially after a buttie in Newtown that shut the hangover up. The caravan was a bit modern for my liking, but smart and homely. I got pissed that night on Brains SA from Safeway.

Sun Jul 06 - Tue Jul 08
Walked around town on Sunday, not a lot has changed. Still felt as if it should be home. Had a couple of pints in the new Wetherspoons on the Train Station. Very smart, though not a night-time pub I imagine. Sunday roast at Carlton too. Monday was hot, and Aberaeron looked a picture. If little had changed in Aberystwyth in two years since I was last there, time had stood still in Aberaeron. I hadn't been there for about five or six years. Can't remember what I did on Tuesday, I think it was just relaxing in the sunshine with a book and a shoulder free of weights.


Wed Jul 09
Martyn came up on the train. We waited for him in the Wetherspoons, his train was late so I was half-cut and hungry by the time he arrived. A huge lamb shank later and the world was mine for the taking. Well, the settee/bed in the living room as I drifted in and out of a sunshine and booze-fuelled kip all afternoon. Bliss.

Wednesday night was for more drinking. So we tried the bar on the caravan site. Not an experience I would recommend to anyone. As we walked in everyone stopped talking (I don't think anyone had been talking anyway, but we weren't to know) and stared. I expected some duelling banjos. It seemed as if it were full of people who had just come in to watch the TV in the bar. People were sitting next to each other, but never a word was uttered. There were about eight of these silent partnerships, all dotted around the fringes of the establishment. To add to my despair, there was no Brains on, or even any premium lager. That pint was swift. But with the taste of alcohol on our lips and a feeling of superiority in our minds there was only one thing for it. We would walk in to town, over the bridge and catch the last couple of hours in Rummers, a cosy pub by the riverside that had been a favourite of mine from student days. This we did, and me and Mart got well plastered, drinking in the trusted 'pint-double gin-pint-double gin' formation. I can't remember getting home.

Thu Jul 10
Wandered around Borth in this morning. It may not be the prettiest of seaside villages, but it has bags of character in its peeling paint and ramshackles. And I discovered the best non-alcoholic cure for a hangover: a walk along a desterted beach in the slight summer drizzle and bracing (but warm) winds. Absoultely perfect. I felt refreshed, invigourated, revitalised. I went home and went to sleep! Thursday night was the pub crawl me and our kid had been talking about for the last few months. We managed the walk up the hill and over the bridge, and down Mill Street and along Alexandra Road to the Cambrian Hotel. This place is [in]famous for its bizarre cocktails. A particular favourite being the 'Ewok', which I have tried to recreate at home many times with varying rates of success. Sitting in a half-empty Cambrian just the two of you drinking a cocktail with a straw, with not a student to be seen, made us feel... well gay! So we necked them and after the brain-freeze that half a pint of ice gives you we stepped out once more. We sauntered down North Parade and Queens Road to Scholars. It was pleasant but too warm in there, but we sank a few and lost track of time. It was half-ten. That meant only one more pub, before Rummers (we had decided to finish off there as it was open till one and was halfway home). So it was right up Eastgate to the Acadamy, which is one of the best looking pubs you will ever fall over in. Hosted inside a former Methodist church, with ornate ceilings and windows (and a huge screen showing MTV Dance, not sure if that was an original Presbyterian feature or not). Also, it was £1.50 a pint... bingo! So off we staggered towards Rummers. It was pretty busy in there, busier than the night before, and probably not wholly unassociated there was a band playing. A loud band. A loud band doing spot-on covers with show-offy guitar solos. They were great actually, especially the Jimi Hendrix covers, he couldn't hold a note in a bucket mind, but he didn't care and we didn't care he was an axe-man of the highest calibre. I mean ROCK, man, ROCK! I can't remember much after that, apart from the fact that the river was still.

Fri Jul 11
Didn't do much this day. Had a chinese and some beer and some wine. I was thinking about whether I was staying in Aber after Saturday or not. The original plan was to stay in a B&B for a few more days after Mom and Mart had gone home. I also saw a pretty girl on the site. Didn't know where she was from, she seemed to speak an Eastern European language, and she had a nice smile.

Sat Jul 12
Packed and emptied the caravan. Walked around town looking for accommodation. Couldn't find any. Went to the Varsity to think it over out of the heat. I decided to go home with the family. I had a couple of pints, and with Mart commented on every single person who walked past the goldfish-bowl like windows of the pub. Fell asleep in the car on the way home. That was it, break over. Much needed and thoroughly appreciated, and I had the next five days off work aswell.

Sun Jul 13 - Wed Jul 16
Probably the laziest few days I have ever had. The weather didn't help, it was just too hot to even think about doing anything. I did download some music (Gorky's, Dylan and Goldfrapp if yer interested) and wathced a film (Le Souffle au Coeur - one of those great French coming-of-age films where incest is never far from the surface).

Thu Jul 17
Went down the Crown for the first time since being back. Only me, our kid, Fella and Fulla. Uneventful but rewarding in its own way. Got drunk. Went home.

Fri Jul 18
Went down the Crown for the second time since being back! Got more drunk than Thursday night. I won 35 pence playing cards with Archie and Mart (who says vices don't reap rewards!). Had a chinese again. I like them now.

And there we go, fifteen days in the life of your humble host. Like a under-worked locum, thanks for your patience. Ta-ra