Here we go once again into another year. This looks set to be significantly busier than the last one, in particular because my best mate from Guernsey is getting married, and I’m going to be one of the two best men at his wedding, alongside his cousin.
So these lengthy, detailed entries to start the year are all about my recent trip to see my friend on the island, where I got to meet some of his family members and relatives, had nice walks, ate lots of nice things, watched various TV shows and films, played video games, and even had my first experience of getting properly drunk. And I’ll be travelling over there again a couple more times in the months ahead. So I hope you enjoy reading about it all!
Tuesday January 27, 2015
Today I went to Guernsey, where I’ll be spending a week with SM. I still had a few weeks left of my holiday allocation at work, and so needed to use some time before financial year-end (and before our new system went live, which still hadn’t quite happened when I left, unsurprisingly). So I’ve booked two weeks off work, of which this is one (I’ve then got one more week off at the end of March). And as SM & I had been talking about when I’ll be able to go over and stay with him, this was the ideal time. It’s also the most cost-effective way to do it – had I flown yesterday, it would have been £50 dearer, so it made quite a difference! It’s been 4 years since I last went, back in 2011 shortly after Dad died, and had we moved to London in that time I probably would have visited sooner. But as we haven’t moved yet, going to see him has been the priority now. And it’s good to see him after all this time.
The road where SM lives is a hill, and quite narrow too, so it’s only one way. It’s not a main road, but it seems to be a shortcut, as there’s always traffic going along it. So it’s a bit of a rat-run. If any particularly wide vehicles come along, it’s useful to stand right next to the wall or even on somebody’s steps, to make sure it goes past without any concern about it clipping you. Which is thankfully rare. There’s barely any lighting in the street either, so we have to be careful when walking along it in the dark.
He’s been in his flat about 2 years now, which has certainly gone quickly. There are a few stairs up to the door, with no railing so you have to be a little careful there too. It’s not a communal flat either – i.e. you don’t have to walk down a corridor past other flats to get to the door. You just enter from the street.
It’s a very nice flat too. You enter into a spacious lounge, where he has his sofa, dining table (which folds away into a corner), desktop computer, TV, exercise bike, and shelves with DVDs and games. He goes on the bike for 45 minutes every couple of days, while listening to an audiobook or a football commentary.
His Panasonic TV is a nice size – not as a big as mine, but still reasonable. And it has audio description built in, so SM has that permanently turned on in the settings. Not every program has audio description, but it is available on the shows he watches regularly. We watched The Big Bang Theory tonight, as well as an episode of a drama called The 100. SM gave me a brief overview of what The 100 was about, but I’d obviously need to watch it from the beginning to follow it properly.
He’s got a nice collection of DVDs too – a lot of Star Trek, of course, as well as 24, some stand-up comedy (Michael McIntyre, Tim Vine, etc) and various films. He also has some games, for Playstation and the Nintendo 64, both of which are on the desk in front of his TV. He has been selling a few games on eBay, mainly those that his fiancée’s parents gave him for Christmas (they said he could sell any he didn’t want). And he’s been selling his Family Guy DVDs too. He likes the show, but he’s seen them a lot and they’re always being shown on BBC Three, plus the money’s more important to him right now.
The lounge is also where I’m sleeping – he has a nice springy mattress that I can place on the floor each evening, with a blanket and a pillow. It feels comfortable, so I should get a good sleep each night. The traffic going by won’t bother me, even though it’s quite noisy sometimes. And he’s got blinds over his windows of course, which will keep the light out. The lights in the lounge themselves are energy-saving ones, which take a few moments to come to full brightness, but they’re very good when they do.
Through a doorway from the lounge there’s a hall, which has a bathroom to the left, bedroom on the right, and kitchen straight ahead. The bathroom has a small shower cubicle with sliding doors, a sink, toilet and a cupboard for the storage tank for heating. And his bedroom’s a nice size, with a double bed of course.
The kitchen’s nice too, with lighting under the cupboards above the worktop, as well as lights in the ceiling. He’s got a washing machine, oven, cooker, microwave and fridge freezer in there, so he’s got all the key things he needs. There’s a door to a small courtyard out the back, and steps that go between the other nearby flats, though I’m not sure where they go to exactly.
The fridge is turned up a little bit high, as things start to ice up a little bit (so you get slightly slushy bottles of coke for instance), but he doesn’t know how to fix that at the moment. He likes to drink coffee and Diet Coke for non-alcoholic beverages, but he got in some fruit squashes and regular Coke for me.
He has a small radio on the windowsill there too, like a walkman really. It’s not a digital radio, so the reception can be a little fuzzy sometimes, but Island FM, the station he listens to, has a good selection of music from across all the decades. They also have a ‘Top 3 At 3’ segment at 3pm each weekday, where you get played the top 3 songs from the chart on that day in a particular year, along with a brief snippet from a movie. If you can guess the year and the movie, then you get entered into a prize draw for that coming Friday. SM texts into that sometimes, but hasn’t won yet. So we might listen to that some days, if we happen to be in the flat when it’s on.
The shops are a short walk away in a collection of cobbled streets. The biggest shop is the Co-op, which has quite a variety of stuff – not just food and drink, but other home essentials too, and a branch of the Post Office. There’s a also a big HMV store there. There aren’t any other really major chains, though it is possible to get some Tesco products from the Co-op. There’s also a bar called Harvey’s not far from him that he likes to hang out at.
As for his Mum and Dad, they’re finally moving over to the UK in a couple of months time, to Cumbrian in northern England, as they’re hoping to make money from the places they’re renting out there. So it’s a major change, and it’ll be strange for them and SM to be so far apart from each other. But I think they’re looking forward to it.
SM’s fiancée TB is doing fine as well. I didn’t speak to her while we were there – SM spoke to her on the phone, or on Skype with headphones – but the wedding plans seem to be coming along fine. She got the invites I arranged to have printed for them, and will be sending them out with dinner menus soon. SM’s told me that those of us on the top table will have a slightly wider choice in one or two respects e.g. when it comes to steak, we can choose fillet or sirloin and how it’s cooked, whereas anyone else who chooses steak will have sirloin cooked medium rare by default to keep it simple.
TB’s also settling into her new job well, and she’s still having viewings on her flat she’s trying to sell, albeit not always with much notice – on one occasion this week, the estate agent phoned her just 2 hours beforehand, and she was still in bed at the time! So she wasn’t able to tidy everything up fully. Nor did it help that the couple were foreign and often spoke in their native tongue when looking around, so it was hard for TB to judge their opinions. But they’ve expressed a possible interest in a second viewing since, and they’re not the only people to have viewed the place, so hopefully she won’t have too much problem selling it in the end. There’s clearly interest in it, which is a good sign.
So that’s an overview of SM’s situation at the moment and where he lives. As for my journey to get here in the first place, the flight to Guernsey from Exeter was 45 minutes late in departing, but the actual journey was fine, and the assistance I got at both airports from Flybe was very good, as the staff were very friendly and efficient. The flight took an hour and a half as it stopped over at Jersey on the way (the only direct flight was far too early in the morning to get). Each passenger gets a complimentary chocolate coin at the end of the flight too, which seems to be a relatively new thing, as SM doesn’t remember them doing it in the past. He hasn’t used them for ages, as it’s a different airline that goes to London City Airport, which he flies with to visit TB.
SM and his Mum were at the airport to meet me and take us back to his flat, which was about a half hour drive. SM then cooked me fish, chips and peas for tea, which was nice. The peas he gets are presented in their pods, so you have the whole thing. He had soup, because it was the second of his ‘fasting’ days for the week. For 2 days each week he eats less than usual, so it’s not complete fasting, but it’s a limited number of calories. He’s lost a good amount of weight since he started that diet, though he still wants to lose a bit more. It’s something a friend recommended to him, and it’s not just some fad like other diets. I’ve never considered him fat anyway, he always looks slim enough to me, but it’s good that it’s working for him.
After our food we watched The Big Bang Theory and The 100 as mentioned earlier, then I relaxed while SM did his 45 minutes on the bike before we called it a night.
Wednesday January 28, 2015
We had to be up fairly early today, as SM had a lady coming around at 10am to do a quick assessment as to his living status, which helps them determine the benefits he gets to support his living costs (e.g. rent and electricity). They don’t pay completely for everything of course – for instance, they don’t pay the entire water bill, but he can still bring it in to the office, as they can still pay a bit towards it.
The only slight confusion SM found was regarding having people over to stay, and how that would affect the money he’s paid. When he had been down to the office the previous week, he had been told that they only needed to be informed when TB was over. That’s because, as his fiancée, she’s classed as a coinhabitant and thus contributes to the costs of running the place. Whereas, because I’m just a friend visiting, I don’t affect things. But this lady said that, even if that’s the case, they still have to know if I’m there.
Anyway, she wasn’t there long, she just had a quick look around. It seemed to well though, as it sounds like he could be getting a few arrears payments. so he’s happy about that.
After that we went down to the corner shop, as they do bacon rolls and baguettes down there. So I paid for us to have a baguette each, and we went for a walk eating those, which was very nice. SM showed me the church where he’ll be getting married (just from the outside, we didn’t go in). It’s just around the corner, so only a few minutes walk from his house. TB likes the idea of them hiring a car to get there, but SM doesn’t see the point for such a short distance given the cost.
We then continued our walk to the reception venue, which took about a quarter of an hour as it’s a bit further. We didn’t go in there either, but it’s a nice building, and the view from the grounds towards the sea is great. There’s a plaque on a balcony telling you how far different places are in each direction – from local islands like Sark and Herm to international places like London, New York and Paris. It was a bit of a cloudy, grey day – it had even tried raining a little bit at one or two points – but the view was still impressive nonetheless.
We then went down to the harbour area and into a cafe called The Boathouse, where we had a hot chocolate and toffee sponge pudding each, perfect for a cold day. We popped into the Co-op briefly on the way back for a couple of things, including Wagon Wheels, as we haven’t had them for years and felt tempted when we saw them (they’re basically 2 round layers of chocolate with marshmallow in the middle). We got one Original pack and one Jammie pack, which includes jam as the name suggests. We then went back to the flat and played Trivial Pursuit on his PC, which I won, though it was close. He had 5 wedges out of 6, and I had a lucky guess on the winning question!
For tea, we had chicken with Maggi Seasoning to accompany it, which I’d never had before, but is very nice. SM had some cider called Rekorderlig, which comes in different flavours and which I’d never tried before, so we had some of that each with our meal, and it was very nice too. We followed that up with a trip down to Harvey’s Bar. They had a vintage music channel on the TV there, so we had music by people like Elton John, which was better than the music you get in some pubs for sure.
There weren’t many other customers, but it was fun to meet the people who were there, including the lady behind the bar. A guy we were chatting to told us a story about one of his relations who got an electric key about ten years ago (i.e. a key for their electricity meter). He had told her that, when it’s raining, she should wrap the key in a plastic bag first, as water and electricity don’t mix, and she believed him! It was only some years later that her husband noticed what she was doing and asked her who had told her to do that. And he’d then gone to the guy who was telling us the story to ask what he’d been telling his wife. So that was pretty funny.
SM and I had 5 pints of cider each, so – when you also bear in mind the one we’d already had back at his flat – we were both tipsy on our way home afterwards (and at that point, it was the most tipsy SM had ever seen me). We had been offered another drink, which SM would have taken if I’d wanted to, but I knew I’d had enough at that point. As it was, apart from going to the toilet fairly regularly as cider makes me do, I’d also managed to get hiccups. The lady behind the bar kindly gave me a cordial shot of some sort, which stopped them for a little while, but after I’d got back to SM’s flat they started up again. We did go to bed straight after getting back, and my hiccups did stop after a little while. But it was a good night, that little frustration aside!
Thursday January 29, 2015
Today we got up just after midday, and had ham sandwiches for lunch, as SM had some wafer thin turkey ham, which was nice.
We then went down to the church for SM to have a brief chat with the vicar about a wedding prep course he and TB are trying to arrange. It’s some kind of course that prepares you for married life, which is perhaps a good idea. But it’s a case of deciding when to do it, and where (i.e. if SM has to go over to England or if TB can come to Guernsey – SM going to England seems much more likely now). It sounds like they’re quite difficult to arrange, as if many churches like to get them out of the way before the spring weddings start, so they’re all clumped around February and March. But I’m sure they’ll sort something out.
We then went down to the Post Office desk in the Co-op for SM to post off one of the games he’d sold on eBay. We also got some Maoams (it’s the fruity chew that sponsors The Big Bang Theory on E4, yet we’ve never tried them), plus Haribo Tangfastics, and Pringles (one BBQ flavour tube and one Salt & Vinegar), ready for when his cousin SP would visit in the evening.
We then got on the bus to go to the bowling alley. It doesn’t stop near the alley as such – we had to walk down a long road to get to it, which took about 10 minutes or so – but it was as close as it could get. SM has a card which is like a season ticket for the buses, in that you pay in advance for 50 journeys at a time, so by including me on that I don’t have to pay for any bus trips this week. We played a couple of games at the alley, which SM won of course. He got just over 120 each time, whereas I got just over 80 the first time, and just scraped past 100 on the second game.
After we got back to SM’s flat, he made lasagne for tea – which took a bit longer than he’d anticipated, because the mince meat hadn’t defrosted as quickly as he’d expected. But once it was all done, it was very tasty indeed, with grated cheese on top, accompanied by peas and garlic bread.
SM’s cousin SP came over after that, so it was good to see him again. It made sense to see him too, as we’re both going to be best men. We talked a bit about the stag night, which will probably happen in July with some of their friends, when I come over for the suit fitting. Generally speaking, the plan seems likely to involve bowling in the afternoon, a Chinese meal or a curry for tea, then drinks in a few pubs, before coming back to SM’s flat for more drinking while we hang out and play video games. Obviously SP and I won’t be able to get too drunk, but SM can do as he pleases then, in the comfort of his own home.
SP’s still working as a driving instructor, and plays snooker in the local league too, though obviously most of his time is taken up helping his wife look after their 2 children. So he seems pretty happy with life right now. One of the kids is having a birthday over the weekend, so he’s making a cake based on the film Frozen, which is a big thing among kids right now, the big song from it having become very irritating to adults given how often children want to hear it!
After chatting, the three of us settled in front of the TV to have drinks and the sweets we’d bought, while playing Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64. The former I’ve played before with them of course, the latter I don’t think I’ve ever played, though I may well be wrong. In any case, being the less experienced I was dying by far the most, and being the most sighted SP was winning easily. But it was certainly good fun. In Goldeneye we ran around trying to kill each other, and we started that way in Perfect Dark too.
Then, in Perfect Dark, we got into a Capture The Flag game against computer characters, where at least one of each team has to get into a designated zone (which moves around the level periodically), and defend it from the other team (assuming they let you get anywhere near it). The more times you capture the zone, the more points you get, simple as that. And we did quite well. I quickly learnt my way around the level too, so as we got used to where the capture zone was each time it moved, I was getting better at finding and reaching it. Still died fairly quickly, sure, but there ended up being a few occasions when all three of us managed to get into the zone at once.
That went on for a while, while we ate the snacks that we’d bought earlier. Then, after SP left, I helped SM write some envelopes for some Family Guy DVDs he’d sold on eBay, before we turned in for the night.
Friday January 30, 2015
Lunch was again the first meal of the day today, as we went to the café next to the church, where SM meets his Dad every Friday. We each had a bacon panini, which is basically a grilled bacon sandwich, and after that I had a chocolate brownie while SM and his father had a coffee. So that was a lovely lunch.
SM’s Dad is doing fine. They’re putting in a major new computer system at work, so I know how he feels when it comes to the effort involved. Though it sounds like they’ve got more staff working on theirs than we have on ours. They’re having to do long hours though, including late evenings and weekends. Indeed, this particular weekend was when they were due to go live, so it was a big time for them.
It’ll be quite a change for him to leave that job when he moves to England with SM’s Mum in a couple of months time, but they’re hoping the money they get from their rental accommodation will make up for it. It sounds like they’re happy with the builder they hired to do work for them over there too – he keeps sending them photos to keep them up to date on his progress, so he’s always in touch.
They have had a couple move in to one of their rental houses as well – which seemed fine at first, only for the builder to recognise them from a Neighbours From Hell show on TV, which had mentioned problems with noise and lots of dogs. And the couple did indeed have a couple of dogs with them. So there’s been some negotiations going on and agreements made, including a restriction on the number of dogs they can have. They had been paying their rent promptly for the first couple of months, but now they’ve fallen behind with that too. So it’s all a bit awkward, but here’s hoping they sort it out amicably.
So it was good to see SM’s Dad again, and I’m sure it’ll be strange for both him and SM when they can’t meet regularly on Fridays any more. After he’d gone back to work, I went with SM to the Post Office desk in the Co-op to help him send off some more eBay items. His address has to be written on a label that gets stuck on the package, in case of non-delivery, so I wrote each one out as the cashier passed it to us. Then we went back to SM’s flat and had a game of Monopoly on the computer, which he won, largely thanks to very lucky dice rolls!
We then went to Harvey’s Bar in the evening for the meat draw. This gets held every week, with the local butcher supplying various cuts of meat, plus there are a few bottles of wine too. It’s £1 per entry, which gives you a numbered cork, and the barman makes a note of who has which number. He then draws corks out of the bag, and whoever has a matching number comes up to pick whichever prize they want. SM tends to win something most weeks. On this occasion, we bought £5 worth each, and ended up winning once each. When I won, we chose a nice big bit of gammon, then when he won he chose a breakfast pack, which contained some bacon, sausages and black pudding.
We were sat with the two ladies from the corner shop and a couple of their friends, and ended up having a few pints of cider while chatting to them. One of those rounds was bought for us by a guy called Nigel, who filled up our glasses out of the blue, which was very nice of him!
SM and I then went to a local Chinese restaurant for our evening meal, which was very nice. We had one of their set menus, so we got a variety of different things one after the other. And we had a pint of cider each with that. So that was 4 pints we’d had by that point – which then went up to 5, as we popped into Harveys on the way back for another drink.
We then went back to his flat and had a can of Strongbow each while watching The Last Leg, which we both enjoy. This week Nick Clegg went on the show to try and persuade Alex Brooker to vote in the upcoming General Election. It was enjoyable car-crash TV for sure. Nick Clegg was clearly out of his depth, but seemed to have fun anyway. He probably hasn’t persuaded many more people to vote for him in the election later this year – it’s hard to see how the Lib Dems will get back in power any time soon given the promises they broke e.g. on tuition fees – but there seems to be a general respect, including from SM & I, that he went on there, especially as no other politician has even offered to.
SM then offered some Jack Daniels whiskey for me to try – with lemonade so it wasn’t too strong – and that was quite nice. Though that’s probably because I was quite tipsy by then, I wouldn’t drink that kind of thing normally. But at that point it didn’t matter – as we were in SM’s flat, we didn’t have to go anywhere or worry about our parents seeing us in a merry state, plus we were enjoying ourselves and I was in the mood to try something a bit different. So while we had a couple of glasses of that each, we watched a couple of comedies on E4 – Brooklyn Nine-Nine and 2 Broke Girls – neither of which I’d ever seen before.
The last thing SM offered was a glass of vodka, as we decided to watch a bit of Rocky Horror that had come on. It was nice too, but probably a drink too far, as I definitely felt drunk after that. It’s actually the first time I’ve been drunk, and thus the first time SM’s ever seen me drunk. I wasn’t noisy or rowdy, I just felt strange, like I might be sick if I moved around too much.
So SM got the mattress out for me, and I ended up sitting on the side of it, facing SM who was sitting on the seat of his exercise bike. I just kept my head down and breathed in and out continuously, as I rode out the ‘wave’, as it were, SM keeping his hand on me or rubbing my back and talking to me, being very patient. He got me a drink of water at a couple of points too – even if one did get spilt, thankfully not over me, given that he was quite merry as well. But he’s obviously more used to it than me. He also brought a bowl over in case I wanted to be sick, and I nearly was. I retched a couple of times over it, and felt the need to spit into it a few times, but I never actually threw up, which I was glad about.
When I did feel ready to lie down, I did so without getting changed, and SM made sure the blanket was over me. He then decided to sleep on the sofa next to me, just to make sure I was alright during the night. I did get up to go to the toilet a couple of times, inevitably, and I did get hiccups for a few brief moments, though thankfully not as long as I had on Wednesday night.
Being that drunk was certainly a weird feeling. It’s not something I’d want to repeat – I much prefer being just merry and tipsy to being fully drunk – and yet I’m very glad I did it. It was the first time I could ever have done it really – with my best friend in the comfort and safety of his flat, with none of our parents around. I was still conscious enough to remember what had happened, recognise my surroundings, go to the toilet, not be sick and generally not make a fool of myself. So it all worked out very well, and I did enjoy the night.
Saturday January 31, 2015
Unsurprisingly, we weren’t up early today! SM did get up early in the morning to go back to his bedroom, as by that point it was clear I was fine and he needed somewhere comfortable to sleep. It had been very kind of him to stay on the couch for that long. So we both took turns using the bathroom before going back to bed for a few more hours.
Once we did get up after midday, we didn’t feel too bad, all things considered. I didn’t have a headache, which I was very thankful for – my head felt a bit heavy, sure, but that was about it. My stomach felt a little bit strange still, and I think SM felt much the same, so we only had a drink to begin with. But after a couple of hours we did have bacon sandwiches, using the bacon he’d won in his breakfast pack the night before, while listening to the football. The stand-up comedian Al Murray has a routine about bacon being proof of God because of its magical qualities, and it certainly does help very nicely. You can’t beat a bacon buttie at any time, and it was just as true today!
We then walked down to the Co-op, which gave us a bit of much needed fresh air, to get a stuffed crust pepperoni pizza for tea, and some Haribo Supermix for nibbling on later, and we then watched The Big Bang Theory while eating our pizza, a very welcome big meal by that point. SM’s Dad also called round on his way home from work to pick up the gammon I’d won at the meat draw – SM had soaked it in water for a few hours as he’d been told to do, and his Dad was now picking it up so his Mum could cook it on Sunday.
We followed that up by watching a film called Ted on Channel 4 while having some ice-cream and our Haribo sweets. It’s a film by Seth MacFarlane about a boy’s teddy bear that comes to life thanks to a wish, but it causes conflict when he tries to get a girlfriend as an adult, despite being so attached to Ted, along with kidnappers who want Ted for themselves because he’s been so famous. The humour is quite crude just like other MacFarlane productions like Family Guy. It’s nothing exceptional and is a bit too long, but it does have some funny moments and was a good way to kill a couple of hours. We then finished the evening with Match Of The Day on BBC One, and then a bit of Family Guy on BBC Three, before going to bed.
Sunday February 1, 2015
We got up after noon again today, with SM doing another 45-minute bike session while I showered and got dressed. We then had turkey ham sandwiches for lunch and watched The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.
We then got the bus to SM’s parents’ house (his gran’s old house). His Dad wasn’t there, as he was having to be at work to help get their new system live. But his Mum was there, along with various family members and their children, including his sister. The kids were noisy and playful, either playing on their tablets or other toys. The card game UNO also came out at one point. SM and I didn’t play, but it’s a game we’ve both played in the past. I used to play it with Mum and Nan as a kid, though this seemed to be a modified version called UNO Attack, with a dispenser which you hit a button on to get a random number of cards out. If you’re lucky it won’t give you any of course, the idea being the first to get rid of everything in your hand.
Once they’d gone SM, his Mum and I had tea together, which consisted of the gammon I’d won at the meat draw, with roast potatoes, carrots and peas. That was very nice indeed, and SM and I had a bit more gammon for seconds, before then having apple strudel and ice cream for pudding. So that was a very tasty and filling tea. SM’s Dad then came home shortly afterwards, before SM’s Mum then drove SM and I back to the flat.
There wasn’t anything on TV, so we eventually settled on watching SM’s DVD of Cars, while drinking Strongbow and having the Salt & Vinegar Pringles that we hadn’t eaten when SP was over a few nights ago. Cars is a computer animated film by Pixar and released by Disney, about a rookie car that dreams of winning the Piston Cup. However, his ego’s a bit too big, thinking he can do everything himself. But when he gets stranded in a remote town, he has to learn to make friends and understand how important they are. It’s a kids film really, but it’s still good for adults as well, just like other Pixar films are (e.g. Toy Story), and we enjoyed watching it.
After that, we watched The Simpsons, as Channel 4 were putting on a Super Bowl related episode before the big match itself. Then we put on BBC Three to watch Family Guy and Backchat (a chat show with Jack Whitehall and his dad Michael). Then we put the Super Bowl back on, purely to see what Katy Perry would be like in the half-time show. The actual game of American Football itself makes no sense to either of us – there seem to be so many breaks and time-outs that each quarter goes on forever, and it’s not clear how points are scored or what’s going on in general.
When it did get to the half-time show though, Katy Perry did a good job. I knew a few of the songs a little bit, as you do hear them a lot on the radio or TV for one reason or another. And it was a very elaborate show, as you’d expect from such an occasion, with her riding in on a big tiger-like structure, then singing on a mock desert island surrounded by beach balls, surf boards, sharks and trees that were smiling and dancing (yes, it is as weird as it sounds), and also having guest appearances from Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott. We didn’t watch the rest of the game after that though, we just went to bed.
Monday February 2, 2015
We got up after midday again today, this time having gammon sandwiches for lunch, as we’d brought the rest of the meat home after our tea at his parent’s place the previous day. Just goes to show what a nicely sized joint it was, and it did taste very good.
We then took a walk down to the breakwater at the harbour, which I remember walking along the last time I visited, but it is a nice view. It was a bit cold perhaps, but still tolerable. We watched a Condor ferry go out, then had an ice-cream from the kiosk there on the way back – I went for toffee, while SM had rum & raisin. At least in the cold weather they wouldn’t melt, and they were a nice treat.
After getting back to his flat, we played another game of Monopoly on the PC, while having The Simpsons on TV in the background. Instead of keeping the default names for the computer players on this occasion, I decided to rename them Sheldon, Amy, Leonard and Penny from The Big Bang Theory, just for the fun of it. They all lost of course – the computer characters are easy to beat, as they’ll gladly give you everything they have just to get a complete colour set of properties, including all their money so they can’t build on them. So you can complete property sets quite easily that way. I won the game on this occasion.
We then had chicken fajitas for tea, the ingredients for which come in a pack, and you just add chicken pieces. So essentially you take a tortilla, spread a bit of salsa sauce over it, then add the chicken pieces (which have been cooked with peppers as well), followed by a bit of grated cheese on top. Then you fold the tortilla over, pick it up and eat it. And it’s very tasty too. It’s a little bit hot and spicy, but as long as you don’t overdo it with the salsa, it’s fine. We had University Challenge on in the background as we ate, as there was nothing else on TV at the time. There were a couple of questions we knew, but that was it, naturally. I watched Only Connect after that, as SM washed up, again a very difficult quiz show. SM then watched a drama called Revenge on E4 for an hour, which sounds pretty complicated.
His cousin SP then popped round, as he’d been playing snooker for their league just down the road. So we just sat and chatted for an hour, talking a bit about the stag night plans and other things. He said there was even a light dusting of snow on his car roof, so it must have been pretty cold by then. It certainly felt cold when he front door was opened! Then, after he’d gone, SM and I finished the evening by watching a bit of Family Guy before bed.
Tuesday February 3, 2015
Again we got up after noon today, and had turkey ham sandwiches for lunch. SM followed that with a banana, while I had a Wagon Wheel and an apple. We then went down to HMV, so SM could spend a voucher he’d been given. He bought the latest season of 24 (Live Another Day), the film Taken 2, and Radio 1’s Live Lounge CD, which has live sessions by various acts, some doing their own songs and some doing cover versions. I then got a box of chocolates to take home from a local chocolatier called Ben Le Prevost, with a variety of flavours from praline and vanilla, to passion fruit and mango, to beer and peanut butter on toast!
SM’s Mum then picked us up from the flat at about 4:20pm to take us to the airport, waiting with me until I was taken to the departure lounge by the lady assisting me, at which point we said our goodbyes. The next time I see his Mum will be in September for the wedding.
The flight home was fine – in fact, it took off 10 minutes early and arrived in Exeter 15 minutes ahead of schedule! By all accounts that’s quite a miracle, as SM and his Mum know that flights on that route are often delayed. Not that it made any difference to my overall travel time – after getting a taxi back to Exeter St Davids (which took about half an hour and cost £27), I still had to wait another 50 minutes for my train home. But I got home at 8:45pm in the end, and had a nice big dinner (boiled bacon, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and vegetables), which I needed after all that. Mum was fine while I was away – we had done a bit of shopping just before I left, so she had enough bread, milk and other stuff for the week.
And that’s it. I thoroughly enjoyed my week, as did SM. It was great to see him again properly after all this time. The last time we’d met, it was at AB & DB’s wedding a couple of years ago (seems strange to think it’s nearly 2 years already for them). I’ll be going over again in July for suit fittings and SM’s stag-do with his cousin SP and some of their friends, and then in September for the wedding of course, for which I need to book somewhere to stay. So I’m looking forward to all of that.
It’s nice to have a few more days off before I go back to work on Monday as well. I expect there’ll be plenty to catch up on. Our new system should finally have gone live in theory, but I’m not betting on it. But hopefully we’ll get through financial year-end one way or another, and then we’ll have the election work to look forward to, after I use up my remaining week’s holiday at the end of March.
So I don’t know exactly when my next entry will be. But as this will be a somewhat more eventful year than previous ones, hopefully I’ll end up posting in here a bit more than I did last year. Time will tell!