Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Drove to Kent in 'pirate car'. English people ignored the car's strange appearance, if anything looking in the other way. As we were about to board the train with the car we met a couple of other crappy cars, one of them started doing doughnuts while showing off what their £75 ride could do. The police with big guns turned up and were a bit angry with us (the car reported to be messing around was a Volvo too) but we were polite and explained it was for charity so they let us go, because we were 'clearly good people'. Sadly they wouldn’t pose for a photo with us for security reasons.
Arrived in France, go to car park full of strange cars and vans, drank litres of beer and talked crap with random people thinking things are a bit strange. We didn’t really know what to make of it all but it was jolly friendly, when bar closed we went back to hotel to drink more with team of Scots. Scots get very drunk and end up SHITTING on team-mates car, Yes SHITTING.
Met in car park with 45 other cars lots of admiring crappy paint jobs etc. Got supplies and the rally began. The start was like Wacky racers with people driving all over the place. Oh and we got given little hand held radios so we could talk to each other (if we were within 3 miles). At first we went on back roads through tiny little villages in France until we realised it took forever, so we went on the toll roads, managing to hit 103 miles an hour at one point.
Enter Switzerland under cover of darkness, slight trouble at border as the toy telescope spooked the guards. They were very friendly and soon waved us on into Basel which is a horrible town, especially in darkness.
We checked into the hotel (very nice 4 star place with awfully powerful showers) and started drinking, lots. One of the Chaps in mini was told to move car or it will be towed, so he gets in car and is instantly done for drink driving. More drinking. Crap food (chicken and beef with tinned fruit served with rice) and then to bed for sleep.
Wake up on set of Sound of Music, so zoomed up and down mountain passes admiring amazing scenery. Stop for coffee and meet convoy mates, make a couple of new good friends. Cars start to drop out at this point, one of them ‘glazed’ their breaks due to them getting far, far too hot. Stonked along passes in the afternoon (top driving fun, nothing like a sheer drop on one side to focus the mind). H takes over as we are about to go on the Infamous Stelvio pass. Decide to time section for extra fun.
The timed section starts at 6.02, breaks fail at 6.02 and 30 seconds, H stops us from going off cliff (picking up cow on the way) by ramming car into verge, car goes on two wheels for a bit. Team mate J goes into shock. Brakes gone, everyone a bit shook up, but then we realise that if the brakes had gone on any other corner in the day we would be dead.
We spent 30 minutes trying to fix them (the fluid had boiled off due to the hard day). Sadly we couldn’t fix it and H's RAC cover doesn't work because we aren't returning in car too.
Some other rally people in a Merc offer to be our 'emergency break'. So we decide to tackle pass using engine to break only, it gets dark and fog descends. 2 hours of PURE TERROR as we go down pass. I can't stress enough how close we were to dying, for about an hour. I found this section the most trying as surving was out of my hands (H was driving) and about an hour of constantly being on the edge of death does start to get to a chap.
48 hairpin turns later the pass is thankfully over so we go to Aprica have pint and be happy not dead. Pints taste amazing, everything tastes amazing. Then Drink even more beer, crash out in apartment thingy.
Wake up, still not dead (V. good start). Waking up and not being dead, even if you have a ringing hangover is a good thing. Feeling renewed with life and very good coffee we bleed the brakes and then top them up.
After everyone is ready we set off to Southern Italy stopping at Verona to visit one team member’s family (And get Italian hospitality at it’s best) and then at the Ferrari factory to gawp at very expensive cars on a track day.
Manage 105mph with ‘troubled brakes’
Arrive in small town in Italy where EVERY woman is beautiful, drool. Drink, eat and smash up our car a little bit for fun, the car managed to break a plank. Still not dead.
Final section, racing around country lanes in SUPER RAIN road becomes river, so end up doing rally style driving on country roads (3 hours of pure pleasure) a car following us offers me a place on their rally team after seeing me in action. More driving and fun. Super rain turns whole of Italy into sea.Arrive have hotel malarkey (Three rooms later we have somewhere to sleep) and then go to prize giving, drink eat and I go paddling in med. Only a month ago I had been paddling in the med and having a rather less pleasant time, it’s amazing how much things can change in a month.
As the car has finished we thrash it around wasteland near beach and do everything you are never allowed to do with cars which was lots of fun, I managed to make fire come out of the exhaust, and yet the car still ran. H ended up beaching car on the top of a dune. More booze and food. Still not dead.
TuesdayWake up, unable to sell car to locals because of it being on the top of a dune and stuck, eat and then go to Naples to shop before going to airport, sadly traffic is so bad have to go straight to airport and end up delaying flight (get in). Still not dead.
The rally is amazing, for 5 days we were part of something really special, everyone was so accepting and they really cared if you made it. I made some friends on that night that I’ll keep for quite some time.
It was more than that, the cars were terrible, which was sort of the point. Because they were only £100 people weren’t sniping at each other over the cars, but they still had pride. I think we could all draw a lesson from the love these machines caused and yet gay abandon that the people showed while enjoying them.
Or put another way; enjoy what you have because it’s brilliant.
(I had more photos but blogger is being naughty so I'll try and upload them later)
I'll do a full report once I've caught my breath a bit.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I still haven't packed, which is almost traditional now. We don't set off till this afternoon so I have loads of time to pick socks and decide how to look dashing and yet English on the streets of France, Italy and Switzerland.
I have to go into work again anyway, to pick up my bank cards. Banks can be awful sometimes and my one has been so bad. It's taken 11 phone calls and 3 weeks to get something delivered that should have been replaced instantly so that I didn't have to do a moment without my card. Anyway, it should be sorted out now.
In other sorted out news, I'm giving A the broach I got a million years ago for her. With no strings attached. I just want to get rid off it so I'm handing it over. She asked me yesterday if I was still angry with her, because I don't give her as much attention these days. I said no; I'm not, it's water under the bridge now.
She said she wanted things to return how they were before. I didn't have the heart to explain they aren't going to ever be exactly the way they were before, that wasn't just mates. That was something else, something that is not coming back any time soon.
Anyway, I'm off to travel across Europe so hopefully things will sort themselves out when they return. Hopefully I'll meet some exciting Italian on my travels and have a thrilling affair, some of my work-mates think it will be a man for some reason.
Well it's not, it's going to be a lady. Considering the Interwebs managed to get me a raise, next I'd like it to make an interesting new woman appear into my life please.
Monday, September 18, 2006
We did some customisation last night. It's nearly ready for the trip now. I just can't wait.
It was my suggestion to give it the 'evil eye' lights, I think they set the tone nicely. It's a surprisingly good car for £100, especially now it has been customised.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I've been having a very relaxed weekend, Saturday was absorbed by a series of naps, I think I must have gone to sleep somewhere in the flat a dozen times, and I still really don't feel together. Exciting weeks are all well and good but they do take it out of a chap.
Today is going to also be lazy, I'm going to do some baking later, and make some bread but that is about it. Oh and some washing, I have to pack for the trip across Europe.
I would go for a walk on the Heath but I just don't fancy it alone today. I love my lazy Sundays, waking up fairly early to shuffle down to the shops to get good coffee and a copy of the papers. Then chasing sunbeams across the room while reading the latest on shoes and trips to far off places.
Afternoons spent walking around galleries enjoying the art and trying to spot the first dates. The delightful pace of life. So that you never rush to the shops for ingredients before it's too late, instead you take a lovely walk to pick up some artichokes or the almonds you need for the cake.
I like Sundays, I especially like Sundays with girls.
I remember the time we blew a whole afternoon drinking frozen margaretas out of jam-jars in a garden while talking about the Great Gatsby, or when we went shopping for the perfect silver shoes around Regents Street ending up in Claridges for cocktails. Or the Sunday when you came over with a sparkle in your eyes and we ate artichokes and then I showed you how much I had learnt about massage since we last met.
For all my moaning and complaining about woman-kind, I am hopelessly and utterly smitten. You might change shape every now and then, and look and act completely differently but I can still spot you. And even when something unpleasant happens and it all goes wrong. It's for a reason, if I look back on the less than pleasant moments I can see they all taught me something.
I'm not giving up on women just quite yet. I only need a few more goes to get it right, much like a good Windsor knot
Friday, September 15, 2006
The dinner party was very dull. On the plus side my cousins seemed almost normal but it wasn't really a 'fun' occasion as such. Still family commitments and all that, you have to be nice to Aunts it's a chap's duty.
The first thing my boss said to me this morning was 'I've given you a raise'. Hurrah! I would go and instantly buy something flashy but I have to actually wait till pay day for that so maybe as a treat I will allow myself a double helping of rice with my water tonight. Or perhaps one of my precious remaining potatoes.
He also mentioned the conditions for me to get another raise, so there is already another one on the cards.
Now, I mentioned money related things in my blog yesterday so perhaps if I write about things here they may come true? Sort of like a list to Father Christmas.
I just have to work out what I really want now, apart from more shirts and a new winter coat of course.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I realised something today, from the moment things were over with A she has started flirting outrageously with my direct boss. I thought this behavior was a bit weird considering she had previously had no interest in the chap (as pleasant as he is).
Of course the Ice Queen explained that it is one of the most ancient of tactics; first invented by the Aztecs - although recent finds suggest it might go back further.
A is trying to make me jealous, I did say when we had 'that rather heated chat' that I haven't tried to hit on her in weeks (true) and that it really wasn't on my mind (mostly true). This comment seems to have got to her more than I expected.
It's not really working on me; if anything it makes me think less of her.
In work related news I got the magazine today with my first piece in, it's a very silly one but it's mine none the less. Generally I've been getting an awful lot done recently, even though I am dog-tired due to lack of sleep. Last Friday one of the sales chaps said I should ask for more money, which I probably should but I like to feel I've earned it first.
My dad emailed me back, I might post it up here if people want to see what it says. I'm, content with his reply. It seems like a strange choice of adjective but it is the closest to how I feel about the whole thing. I'm not going to push reconciliation, I don't want to move too fast on that but at least I'm moving to sort things out at least.
I wonder what my big challenge will be today. Every night this week I've done something to 'move my life on'. Here is the list so far
Saturday - Go clubbing with strangers, take a chance again after the Ibiza debacle.
Sunday - Say yes to road trip with H.
Monday - Do some electronic related work for a friend, already is leading on to extra things.
Tuesday - Email Dad, call A and talk about the situation.
Wednesday - Go spider hunting with the intention of catching spider in hands. Sadly as I was unable to track down the monster arachnid I had to settle with working on the outline for my book.
Tonight I have a supper party hosted by an Aunt, from what I hear of the mix of people it doesn't sound like the best, but we shall see what adventure life has planned for me next...
I'm holding out for dinosaurs or a robot invasion.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Today was strange, not nasty or weird just a bit strange.
I made a point of not being frosty or anything really, A made a point of letting me know she had been talking to people about my behaviour.
I got a lot of work done, which was good and I was really focused on it for probably the first time in months. Gosh I got a lot done; I may run out of things to do at this rate.
On return home I engaged in a jolly good spider hunt. My flatmate spotted a huge one last night and he has a proper problem with them. I can’t say I adore them either. So in the name of spider relocation we cleared the area where it was last seen.
We managed to make each other jump while trying to clear out around old bag which looked exactly like the sort of place a very vicious spider might lurk in before jumping on someone’s face and biting them to death. This was a false alarm and after much cleaning and moving we now have a very clean and orderly front room but no spider.
I also cleaned up the now very dead plant I brought when things with A started to get a bit heated. I read somewhere that if you can keep a plant alive for a year you should get a pet, and if you can keep that alive for a year you are ready for a proper relationship.
Evidently I’m not there yet, or at least I’ve given up on something that was not to be.
As a side note, I’ve nearly got these slightly mournful emails out of my system so the usual fun and frolics will follow soon.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Well things have ended in a way. After a really busy day at work I cycled home on my newly fixed bike and decided to set about the rest of my life (this week has been a week jolly well ‘doing it’) and sort it out. I emailed my father for the first time in four months and then proceed to call A, and finally tell her how unpleasant my time in Ibiza was because of the way she acted.
She got very defensive and angry, but I think I would in that situation. I made things rather worse than they were by not telling her sooner about how I felt about the holiday. She did admit the first night was a bit weird, and that she had been a poor hostess, and then told me off for my rather frosty behaviour since we have returned.
It wasn’t that pleasant but then things like this never are, and if you leave something for this long it just makes it worse. That is probably what I have learned from all of this. I made a point of ending on a high note, in that the reason I was doing this is I needed to clear the air because I do like her. And that I’m learning about how to do things like this because she inspires me to be a better person.
After careful consultation from the Ice Queen, who was very impressed by me making the call, let alone making sure I ended on a positive and didn’t get shouty.
She thinks this will be a changing point in it all, it could make it work it could be the final nail. I’m braced for the worst; I have been since the weekend when I had a long chat with the lesbians.
At least now I should be able to get a decent nights sleep, anyone for cocktails?
Monday, September 11, 2006
Serendipity is a marvellous thing.
I just got a call from H; he has been commissioned to do a project where he will drive a car costing no more than £100 to Naples completing various challenges on the way. The progress will be chronicled (in video and words) for the place he works for.
He just invited me to go along so I’m going to get a proper holiday, with a friend and I won’t have to pay for it, hurrah! I’m just required to be funny on camera and enter into the spirit of things; I can’t see a problem with that.
I’ve got about a week to get my extremely rusty French back up to speed and I should probably try and refresh my knowledge of mechanical maintenance. It’s been a while since I was up to my elbows in engine oil, possibly too long.
It should be a proper adventure, the likes of which I haven’t had for quite some time.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Well last night was not what I expected, but was all the more entertaining for it.
I strolled over to the bar, I do enjoy an evening walk in London. I think it's fun to imagine the stories of the people you go past, the two chaps with bags of shopping. The happy looking lady with a parcel. The old man wearing a tie and carrying flowers. I wonder what they were off to do.
London is so full of people it's often easy to stop thinking of them as actual personalities and just as things that occasionally get in the way on the tube.
The bar was busy and Mac was in very good if rather drunk form. He has recently married a lovely girl and he was marking the occasion of his birthday and a massive promotion at work, it's nice to hear of friends doing well. Present at the party was the usual mix of slightly smug London couples plus a few floating 'others'.
One of them was a member of a fairly well known band, who took rather a liking to me. With in about 5 minutes she was offering to come back to my flat to demonstrate her technique. Clearly I had been wearing the right scent in some ways.
After a while she got extremely drunk and took to lolling in a chair next to me kept saying I had a 'pretty mouth'. It's a new compliment to me, anyway I declined her offer, politely of course and she was escorted home by a friend as she really wasn't in any sort of state to be traveling alone.
I got chatting to one of Mac's old friends who I had met briefly at a party before but never really talked to. She was talking about her girlfriend who she has been seeing for year now, and then we talked about the situation with A.
I spoke of it in very much the past-tense saying it was something I wished could have been more but sadly it's over. I big step I think you will admit. Then S (as we shall call her now) started teaching me sign language, her partner is deaf and so she been learning it that way.
I had a marvelous time learning how to sign. I could now, should the need arise chat up a girl in very shoddy sign language, and even better I learned a lot of very rude signs perfect for saying offensive things about people in meetings.
Armed with this new knowledge I went with S clubbing to meet up with her girlfriend and her girlfriend's friends - who were an amazing collection of people. Her brother was a tall cross dressing chap who was prettier than most women I know, called Hamish. They were all extremely nice and had a really impish sense of humour. As they were deaf and it was fascinating watching them talk being able to pick up snippets about what they were saying.
The club was right in the centre of the West end, exactly the sort of place I never go to but it was a hoot with this crowd of very naughty people signing in the joyful knowledge that the people they were signing about had absolutely no idea what they were saying. Oh and the fact we had free booze all evening helped.
At about 3 I was a broken man and made my excuses and left, while I may not have ended up going home with a new special friend (which I'm not entirely sure I wanted really) I do have an excellent new chum in S and I can communicate in a new language.
Not bad for a Saturday night, really. Next weekned I'm going to try and meet the woman of my dreams and learn Dutch.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I've got a party to go to tonight, a good friend who was at one point the only person in London I knew is having a birthday. I have insisted on being sat next to at least one available woman at supper, it's time to see if I can still talk to strange women. I do hope the skill hasn't atrophed over the last six months.
Tonight my style is going to be a dark blue with lashing of velvet, and I'm not going to shave and thus affect an air of louche danger, I just have to choose my scent for the evening.
Now, what should a very sexy, yet tortured artisté smell like? Probably something with a lot of musk.
I always find it difficult situations like this, one simply has to ask oneself 'What would the Hoff do?'
I was going to talk about girl things that have been happening in the last few days, they are complicated and possibly worthy of mention but Barry Lindon is on the telly so I think we should all take a moment and think about how lovely wigs can be.
*pause for reflection*
I do wonder why chaps who do wear wigs never go for a lovely white one perhaps set off with a black bow. If you are going to wear a toupé, wear one with pride I say.
I am so unbelievely hungover today, it feels like my face is about to fall off. If it does I think I will get one of those masks like the Phantom of the Opera and go and move into a theatre. Although not right a way, I just want to have a little nap first and take some more pain killers.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
It was not quite how I expected it to go, the chain on my bike shattered again, only 50 meters away from where it broke before, it makes me so very sad when my bike breaks. So I had to walk my bike back to the office and then get the tube home. I'm going to see if I can borrow my flatmate's bike for the rest of the week till I get things sorted out. I can't do without cycling into work.
But anyway, back to the matters relating to girls. A cooked for me, a very pleasant meal of mushroom and cheese. It wasn't exactly what she intended to cook but I rather enjoy the off the cuff recipes. We drank wine (an excellent white I had chosen earlier in the day that complimented the mushrooms perfectly) and danced in my front room to jazz.
It was lovely, we danced and talked and then when she did the final preparations on the meal we talked honestly. Honestly about what happened and where it went weird. She said that she was at fault for it going strange because she realised it was either going to head somewhere serious or it had to stop.
It was nice to hear her talk about it the whole affair in such frank, positive terms. It's rare for me, as in unknown, to talk about relationships and feelings in total honesty. So even if it goes wrong I shall walk away with that as a new found skill.
I said that what we had for a while was brilliant, so utterly perfect that I struggled to imagine another girl topping it. She called me amazing and we talked some more about the wonderful adventures we had together. It was good to hear her say it was great too. I left it saying it was a shame to waste something that special, something that felt, that right. And hinted, with out saying directly, that friendship wouldn't really work for me.
I don't mean that in a bad way, just that I would need some time apart to get some distance before we could at least pretend to be friends - which would be hard considering we work together. A chap needs to be able to catch his breath about it all before he goes wading back in.
After that we drank the rest of the wine and then danced in the street to some Nina Simone, it was the making of an anecdote.
Either way, I made my intentions clear, in a subtle way to not scare her off. I won't wait around forever, but if she is ready to take a chance and believe in something special then I am here, with my amusing adventures.
It was awfully good wine.
A is coming around tonight to cook for me. She has been a bit fighty today, but I think either way we shall have a chat about things.
How will it go? Who knows eh? Having chats with people is always dangerous as you might not get the answer you wanted, but sometimes that is good too.
Monday, September 04, 2006
It was a weekend of reflection for me, I made sure I didn’t have anything arranged so I could catch up on some much needed sleep and sort out a few bits and bobs. I do enjoy a restful weekend but by Sunday I was feeling rather agitated, so I took myself out for a walk in Hampstead and did a bit of food shopping.
It was a brilliant sunny day with a warm, yet firm breeze. The wind was strong enough to curl the edges of a coat dramatically but not so much as to get in the way.
I walked and thought about things, I remembered how it all started with A, and how we had so many brilliant weekends together. How our first kiss was in my mother’s garden, while my little brother had run off to fill up the water pistol so we could continue to play blind-mans-buff-with-a-water-pistol. A was blindfolded and I stepped forward and kissed her. It was perfect.
When you look back it’s surprising how many first kisses were wrapped in booze, the comforting blanket of alcohol was there just in-case the advance was turned aside.
This was a proper first kiss, it was a lovely summers day where the air is warm and if I think back I can still smell the freshly mowed grass (I had spent two days before A’s arrival making the gardens look presentable) and feel the slight chill of my damp clothes from the water fight mixed in with the nerves of taking a chance.
It’s not often you get to start something like that.
Friday, September 01, 2006
After only three days of the frosty treatment I have been asked out several times by A - every night she has invited me out to something. She has noted my general disapproval of her several times now, perhaps the message is starting to get through?
Now A has offered to come around to mine and cook me a meal. If this had been before the Ibiza debacle I would have been delighted, now. Well it's just a means to an end.
I'm not allowed to let it happen, not until I've had some explanation for her behavior on holiday. That's the law set down by the girls. Thankfully my flatmate has already furnished me with an excuse, it's just a matter of timing.
In other news, I'm wearing my super rugged shooting shirt today, it is made out of a thick material, that gives the impression of being stronger than iron and is covered in pockets for storing gun related bits and bobs in. It's deeply manly and the ideal thing to wear on safari or around the office when you want to be aloof. It also goes very well with stubble, so it is perfect for a Friday.