Friday, June 29, 2007

Now that's just below the belt

Now - trains, planes, buildings, oil platforms, etc, I can understand why terrorists would attack them, but trying to blow up Tiger Tiger in Picadilly has really pissed me off. Where else am I supposed to go to pick up drunk Polish and Ukranian immigrants?! Huh? Damn terrorists.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Slovenia - the land that breakfast forgot

Oče jaz didn't slovo to pokrajina brž jaz hoteti življati poročen a 13 leto star.
With the wettest June on record setting in on the UK, dams bursting, people drowning and tornadoes touching down (shit you not) Coomba and I decided to go West; as life is peaceful there, go west, to the cool mountain air, go wes.. okay enough of that. So strapping on our travelling shoes we jetted off to the central European country of Slovenia.Arriving in Libjuana on Friday night we wandered the streets before setting our bags down and going for a little wander. Many things caught our eye in this city – well it’s more like a big village – but mainly the dragon statues (Slovenia ‘invented’ the dragon myth), every second shop is an ice cream shop, everyone roller blades and there seems to be no one above the age of 20 or below the age of 32 in the country. After a fair bit of walking, drinking and Coomba’s ice cream eating we decided to hit a club.

Cast of characters

Located next to Zvezda Park, the Bachus Centre promotes itself as ‘a popular hangout for late night partiers’. And I do agree. If you are in a bar before 1am in Libujana it’s dead. So about 1.30am the crowd starting building. This is when we realised quite quickly that jail bait is a popular dish in this town. Leaving later in the night wondering if half the crowd even knew that George Michael was actually in a band before a solo career and Michael Jackson didn’t always like 25 year olds (because there are 20 of them – bah boom cha) we made our way back to the hostel. Coomba ate another ice cream. Arriving back we found two American girls and an English bloke (who since January had cycled from Gloucestire to Istanbul). He said it was a challenge, whilst I recalled my last flight with Ryan Air and thought his mode of transport was apt.

Site seeing the next day made Coomba and I realise that there weren’t too many sites to see. What we realised further was there is no such thing as breakfast in this country. We walked for hours and could not find a meal. We found a market that sold nothing but blueberries – billions of them!!!! Coomba found a chocolate doughnut - it shut him up for a little while. I was still hungry through, and the selection on offer didn’t really appeal.
Thinking this was just a one off, the Stallion steak and Horse fillet in the next place told me the Mc Mr.Ed was not a once off. Taking a look around the Three Bridges (it’s just three bridges next to each other), a look at Dragon Bridge, and then I realised that they really liked their bridges. So making our way up the mountain, which is smack bang in the middle of the town, we had a little peek through Libjuana Castle. There wasn’t much in the castle – except for two ice cream vans – and only took us 30 mins to get around it. We did find much amusement in the term Pentagonal entry tower as a name of one of the buildings so spent the ten minutes on the way back down giggling like school girls. Then Coomba got an ice cream.
Hungry after our massive ‘site seeing session’ we sat down for our well deserved late lunch. Sitting down at a pizzeria we placed our order. Well, I placed my order, Coomba was ordered for. With three sizes – small, medium and family – I ordered a large beer and a medium pizza. Coomba struggled a little here. Ordering a family size the waiter said: ‘No, too big’. Fair enough medium then. Ordering a bottle of beer, the response; ‘No, pint’. Okay then. So waiting for mine and the waiter’s order, we realised why Coomba was dissuaded from ordering the family (seeing it later is was the size of a truck tyre).

In fact we had to go and have a little granny nap about 7pm to prepare for the night. Going out and having the usual drinks before the club.

Sitting at a bar along the River Ljubljanica we were entertained by some live DJs for some Bacardi Breezer promotion. Aware that we both had testicles we quickly refused to drink the Breezers. Speaking with some Americans from the Air Force – and recently back from Iraq - kept us entertained for a little while. After an hour or two we called Patty, a friend from London who was in town with his missus. Having a few drinks with them Coomba and I headed to Global, which advertises itself as ‘wait in line at the glass elevator outside Nama with the other late-night partiers for your chance to strut your stuff with the in crowd.’ Now don’t get me wrong, the people there were quite an attractive bunch, but I wouldn’t call bopping along to the Macarena the ‘in-crowd’, but that’s Eastern Europe for you. After ascending in the glass elevator to the top of a 6 storey building (no line’s when you earn pounds in Eastern Europe) the view of Libjuana was amazing. Chatting to a few locals, the night ended quite amusingly and boozy, until I finally found my desired meal at 3am: Slovenian kebab!Next morning we got up early for a trip to Lake Bled and white water rafting in the Bovec Valley in the Italian Alps. After a stop at Lake Bled, a stunning valley with a huge body of water in it, I recognised a castle on an island in the middle of the lake from a Disney movie when I was young. This is one thing I love about many places in Europe. You don’t know where something is or expect it, but all of a sudden something that you saw in your childhood is right in front of you and you didn’t even know it was there.

And with this we drove through a forestry valley and spotted helipads and tents. A quick word from our guide and we were told that the valley we were crossing through was were they filmed the first Nania – Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe movie, and all the tents is where they are filming the second one. Passing through and ascending in to the Italian Alps we reached the top and were greeted by a freezing breeze – great time to wear wet shorts and a singlet. Descending down in to the Bovec valley we got to our launch site. Changing and off to the river we pushed down the rapids with two other crews. With the other crews crashing and flipping we ruled the river. At one point a crew dangerously flipped in the larger rapids which meant our crew – the fastest one – had to power our way down to rescue paddles and people. Now I know how Superman feels.
Coomba and I were pretty wrecked after the rafting, so we spent most of the night sitting in a bar and people watching. The next day was a national holiday but the town was dead. Everyone had gone away for the weekend, so an earlish night. The next day spent walking the city again, out to the airport, stuck on the tarmac for an hour and we were back in sunny England to news that the country has received a months worth of rainfall in one day – welcome back. Coomba got home and had ice cream.

More photos of Slovenian action here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Day 29, 30 & 31: The end is nigh!

Well, it’s coming to end of this four week stupidity that I called 31 blogs in 31 days, and I’m pretty tired of it all. So with that in mind, I’m going to give you a quick run down of the past four days in one hit so I can get out of here.

Monday – recovering from the weekend, got out of bed early, went for a morning run and off to work. Drinks after work and Rocky 3 was on. Coomba and I watched it and decided we were going to take up boxing training. We haven't spoken of it since.

Tuesday – Gym first thing. In to work early for a press conference that went off with out a hitch. Tuesday night I was due to have a drink with an old Uni friend, Sarah Obst, who was in town for a few days, but she decided to spend an extra night in Paris, so that was out. Football training in a storm of biblical proportions and then steak club!! Numbers at steak club are getting a little ridiculous. What started with four became six and is now 11, with more wanting in. Home late with a few bevies under the belt and off to bed.

Wednesday – Morning run, work, cocktail party. The final documents came through from Aus for my visa, so now I can lodge my application for the Highly Skilled. Basically, when I get this it gives me another year in the UK if I want it, and then they check to see if everything is peachy, and after that you’ve got four more years. Basically it gives you the freedom to leave when you want as opposed to being kicked out. So mid-afternoon I ran down to send it all off. That evening I ended up going to a City of London financial executives cocktail party. Interesting evening was had; however, I spent most of my evening talking foreign politics with the Russian Consular General, sipping fine wine and feeling very haughty taughty. That was until I left, stumbled to the tube, fell asleep on someone’s shoulder looking all so classy. Why should I pretend?

Thursday – Gym in the morning to sculpt my guns!! After being away from the gym for about three months and getting back in to it for the past two weeks, I’ve finally passed that crucial point where I don’t lament getting up questioning the logic in picking up something really heavy (well not that heavy because I’m a pussy) only to put it back down with out moving it anywhere?? Then off to work. My last day in the office today until Tuesday, so things were hectic. Off to another drinks/party in the city for about an hour. Leaving that it was back home, changed, sandwich on the way out and across to The Alex to meet all the boys for team selection. With nothing to do on Friday except catch a plane, the night finished up at 2am.

So that’s it. As you can see the last few days after doing this for a month have been done without much enthusiasm, but I feel I've let you see a basic month.

That’s it, I’m off to Slovenia. See you around.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day 27 & 28: Cambridge - a place where the smart go, while Bart and Luke follow

With my Friday ending at 7am Saturday morning, I thought I should be fine for the 2.15pm train to Cambridge. I was wrong. Waking up at 1pm I managed to shower, pack and get to Clapham Junction in 30mins. Now, I can handle the stupid tourists during the week, as they are so shit scared of the aggression and rush that the peak hour tubes has, they cower in the corner and only get in your way on every fifth step. Plus, they walk average, only stuffing up when they stop, albeit this is often. The fuckwits on the weekend are the worst. They take up entire hallways limping along and, unlike the weekend stoppers, they never actually go fast.

Tube traffic was chaos on the weekend

Getting to Waterloo, I missed the first train, which only gave me 20 minutes to get to the other side of London and on to Kings Cross platform 13¾ (put your hands up if you know what I'm talking about - no really put them up and watch the people in the office that think you're working look at you like you're a escaped lunatic).

But alas, after getting on the tube I was met by the younger cousin of the slow walking tourists, the retarded Northern Line maintenance team. One stop out of Kings Cross, the northern line was shut. So, back to Warren Street to jump on the Victoria Line. Finally getting there 20 minutes late, I met Luke – my regional England partner in crime – and it was time to set off. But first, Kiwi Rhys had lost his wallet the night before and had to go and collect it, so, with his tickets in my hand we had to leave them somewhere. Now, there were two places – the window that clearly said ticket collection and reclaim, or the Swatch Watch booth with the hot brunette.

Sulturing up to the Swatch booth, I left Kiwi Rhys’s tickets there, had a little bit of a flirt and the world was good again. Boarding the train we picked up the compulsory beer travellers for the journey and kicked back with excited expectation. What stories would we come back with? How many people could Bart insult without realising he was actually doing it? Where would Luke end up and would he remember? It all was so familiar, but all so exciting.

Arriving in Cambridge there were a lot of bikes. Shit loads of bikes. Resisting the urge to steal one and refusing to wait in the taxi rank for 15 minutes, we decided to walk the 20 minute. Arriving at Emma’s there were a few faces we didn’t recognise, but Em was there and looked like she was ready to show us the town. Carrie was there as well, ready to show the town her.

Carrie being Carrie

A few drinks and a rained out BBQ and we headed into Cambridge and started the bar hopping. A quiet, then funny, then dancey, then funny, then totally unexpected night but enjoyable ensued. A mixture of cocktail bar, bar, club, kebab shop and sitting around a lounge room ended the Cambridge night tour with a bang. Good times.

Luke's BBQ being tested by the British 'summer'

All up I had a good time. With out Kiwi Rhys (who got to King’s Cross around 7pm and said the Swatch Watch booth was shut but the ticket claim booth was open – oops – couldn’t get on a trains) it was simply Lukey, me and the rest were girls.

A standard trip with the boys usually leads to a competitive binge drinking weekend, so a bit different from my usual regional UK jaunts.

Cambridge itself is a lovely little town, which is very cultured of course and seems quite quaint ole’ England. Luckily we had Claire with us who has a law degree from Cambridge (which automatically is a Masters in Law if you get it from one of the ivy league schools) – I felt sub-intelligent talking to her. Anyway, Claire gave us a quick tour of her old college, Queen’s, including the tip that ‘one never walks on the grass, as one can be severely disciplined for this’, who can resist.
So after a quick wander around the time, Luke and I bid farewell to the girls, who we had affectionately titled ‘our bitches’ and back on a London bound train. Half way through I got a phone call from Dany (yes, sweety, I spelt it with one ‘n’) asking me if I wanted to swing by for a BBQ to watch the football. Of course, what else is one to do on a Sunday evening?

Walking from Liverpool Street, as the Northern Line was still shut, I looked up with surprise as half a dozen helicopters passed over head. My surprise was compounded when a dozen more went over and then I shat myself as six fighter jets buzzed over, basically skimming the roves. This didn’t stop. Wave after wave of Hercules jumbos, small fighters, large fighter, acrobatic planes, bombers and whatever else crossed over on my walk from Liverpool Street to Old Street, and they were low – damn low. It wasn’t until I got to Dany’s and he said he saw tank upon tank upon tank rolling up Lower Regent Street that we realised it was the 25th Anniversary of the Falkland’s War that day (the aircraft carrier in the Thames should have given it away). There went my theory that Britain has finally realised Peter Andre should be destroyed and were taking care of business. So scoffing down dinner off the BBQ and watching the football I had to leave early as I was a very tired boy. Home, showered and in bed by midnight to face another day. Bring it on.

For pictures of Cambridge. click here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 25 & 26: Cocktails take you up, morning brings you down

The cocktail party hurt my head as I got to bed at 1am on a school night, but at least the weekend was around the corner.

An early rise to take advantage of a lovely morning had me going for a 6am jog. Arriving back at 6.30 I got down on the floor to do some sit-ups….and fell asleep. Waking in my own sweaty clothes on the carpet at 7.30am, it was a rush to get ready and in to work. So much for the early rising.

A bacon and egg roll before work and I was ready to hit the day again. Football training on Thursday night was a hard session of lawn bowls and beers on Clapham South bowling green, and was just what I needed instead of an early night and wholesome, healthy dinner!!!
The Thursday night once again startled to disappear in a jumble of laughs at the team selection – but what did I care about team selection – I was off to Cambridge for Emma’s going away, so I was out anyway. I managed to get home at a reasonable hour of 11.30pm ready for the Friday.

Let me tell you, writing a blog a day is tricky work, mainly keeping up with everything. So I guess I’ll incorporate a quick Friday in here too.

Feeling a little refreshed due to not having a huge night the night before I managed to make it to the gym in the morning. This session was better than the previous, which resulted in me not being able to move for three days. Diligently ploughing away at work the week was coming to a close. A few choices started to present themselves for the night ahead:

- Go out with Dany for drinks in Shoreditch
- A house party in Battersea
- Drinks with old work colleagues

Out the door at 5.30pm I headed down to Clapham South to have those drinks with Marie, Georgie and Brian and catch up on old work gossip. The usual bitching session about things ensued and at 10pm it was off to the house party. The only problem I had was that I couldn’t remember the girl that invited me to the night. So after making some calls from outside the house for 15 minutes, I found out who was in there that I knew. Striding in confidentially I made a be-line for the people I knew and I was fine… until the host came up to talk to me and it was abundantly obvious I had no idea who she was.

Jumping on Longey’s coat tails I ended up jumping around to several house parties in the area until finding my way home at 7am. So much for the quiet night before the train ride to Cambridge.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Day 24: I'm on top of the world

Wednesday was a typical day apart from the hamstring blowing up and feeling like I’d been shot. A massive steam followed by drinks and a late night meant the morning was another spent pondering what on earth I was doing awake. But then I understood why I had to get up. I have a mission. To destroy Tessa Heal.

Know thy enemy - Tessa on my left

Now Tessa is an ex-Sunday Times journo from back home and we are going tit for tat on how man y times we can get ourselves or our writing in to TNT (the antipodean rag that I mentioned in a previous post). Now my number one way is to write postcards from where I’ve been. My tally now stands at three – Croatia, Berlin – and now New York:

Funny story though; the guy on the right hand side of the page mentions a big house party. I was actually at that – no idea who the guy is though.

Anyway a busy day and then off to a summer party for work. These things pop-up very frequently between June to early August and it seems near every night you heading off to another corporate drinks. So about 7pm I found myself on a rooftop bar in Trafalgar square with Nelson’s Common on my left, the London eye right in front of me and Westminster on my right – pretty good view (although everyone else got to look at me so their view was better).

A very, very drunken Bart fell home at 1am and was in all sorts falling asleep. I actually though at one stage I might need to do the old bucket by the bed. Serves me right for not eating and mixing drinks.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Day 23: Pain in the arse

Fresh from my large run on Monday night, I woke early and went to the gym.

Now I gave myself an hour in the gym as I’m on a new fitness regime, and running in a team triathlon in August is forcing me to go through with it. After 30 minutess and not having seen the inside of a gym for a good few weeks, I could barely life my arms, sorry, sorry, I mean my guns.

Showering was difficult as I could barely soap up I hurt too much, and for some reason when I asked a shower full of naked men who wanted to soap me, everyone seemed to look at me funny; although some didn’t. Hobbling to work I wondered why on earth I just did that - but I did feel good.

After a fairly large day at work on Monday and getting only 4 or 5 hours sleep due to this new god-awful fitness kick, the day was a struggle and football training on Tuesday night wasn’t the easiest either. Although Steak Club was. Formed by Coomba, Crowey and Stevey, steak club is an excuse for blokes to talk bloke stuff and drink beer and eat beef! Held after training on a Tuesday night, it's glorious.

A few Moosehead beers (a beverage I haven’t touched since first year University) a 14oz steak and baked potoato and I was happy again. And in all honesty it was the best steak I have had in the UK and close to the Top 5 I’ve had – I could actually cut it with a fork (which was good as it took forever to get my knife)!

About 10.30pm we left Bodeans. Coomba went left at Clapham Junction, and I went right up Lavender Hill to the Tasmanians' house. A few drinks to say goodbye to Kasi – who is leaving to Aus for three weeks – a discussion with Luke and Ash about rugby league being up there Tibetan yodelling in terms of how many supporters it has, blinded by Leah’s pyjamas and trying to recall if I had actually spoken to Adrian on Sunday night – and it was time to go home.

Limping home (tweaked my hamstring at training) and I was in bed by 12.30. But that wasn’t before I read the football match report I wrote for three games I didn’t even see – amazing the bullshit I can make up with a few statistics, 60% of people know that - read it for yourself.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Day 22: Early bird gets the worm

Rising early on Monday it felt good to be up before everyone else. An annoucement that had to take place before 7am got me in to work at 6.30 - which isn't as bad as it sounds. With the Tube and National Rail being as congested as your average American's lower colon, a sense of space was good.

From then on in it was work, work, work all day, with only a few breaks to take a look at the 80-odd inch plasma TV that has been installed hanging from the roof right in front of me (streaming Sky News).

My Mondays are usually pretty boring - on purpose. It's my evening to rest, do my shopping, iron my shirts, etc. Even though I'm out every other night, when you spend a night at home you invariably feel like a loser.

Staying at home - it's the cool thing to do

So I couldn't do it. A long jog around Battersea Park to clear my head after the weekend and at least I felt I had achieved something.

Day 19, 20 & 21: Quiet weekend

Correction. I must print a retraction for Nadia. Not only is her ex-boyfriend Anglo-Indian but her knowledge and appreciation of fine sub-continent food should not be mistaken for ‘hoovering’. In fact, on Sunday night as she barely ate her pasta I was finishing off other people's meals. Shame.

Friday morning rolled around differently from most. I had left team selection on the Thursday night after only a few drinks so wasn’t feeling too bad. A pleasant trip in to work where I bumped in to someone I had met in Croatia and I was perky for the rest of the day. A busy day had me heads down, bum up until leaving the office at 6.45pm on a Friday night. Going home, there had been no plans laid out for the weekend ahead, so I thought bugger it, I’m going to have a quiet one.
Getting in to bed at 5am on Saturday morning I wondered what happened to that idea.

A few hours sleep and Saturday saw me go to Notting Hill and explore Portobello road. With no other takers – and Leah completely forgetting to call me to tell me where I was supposed to meet her for breakfast – I went alone. There’s something quite satisfying about plugging in your iPod, wandering the streets and then sitting down with the paper for a late breakfast by yourself. Own pace, own plan and own speed.

Later that evening I was due at a party at Artesian Well in Battersea. Luckily my mate, Kiwi Ian, lives next door to the bar I was due at, so I showed up there late in the afternoon to have a few drinks and watch out the window until the line got big, then headed in. Only planning a quiet night due to football the next morning, my self-discipline left me again, resulting in a home time of 7am. With football kicking off at 11am I thought I was going to be in a bit of strife. But all was good – I slept completely through it - no trouble from my end.
Showing up at the ground at 4pm, some 5 hours late, to help with the bar, I was met with all the usual ‘big night?’ comments, but I guarantee nearly everyone there has done it before, and many will do it again, so I didn’t feel too bad. A quick beer at The Alex after the game and it was off to Vino’s in Battersea for some quick pasta.
Not really in the mood to eat – my taste buds tend to disappear between Friday evening and Tuesday afternoon – I had a few drinks before heading home. Quiet Sunday evening as I had to be in a work at 6.30am.

A quiet London weekend really.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Day 18 - The morning after the night before

Sickie over I felt a little bit better. Well actually I didn’t really, but I couldn’t handle another day at home, so I went in to work. Now the hard thing about having a sickie is getting up the next day. You struggle to go to sleep the night before as you’re not tired, and then you don’t sleep too well as your body is already rested and doesn’t need the extra. That’s when you play the sleeping in game in the morning.

You know the one. It involves some random logic in your mind about how 2 minutes extra will refresh you, a snooze button and then blind panic when you play for too long and are running late. But my game has two players – me and Coomba (my flat mate). We both set our alarms for 7am. The shower is on the second floor near our bedrooms. Now, Coomba has started setting his alarm for 7.05am. This means that now I stay in bed until 7.06am. Here’s why.

When my alarm goes off at 7am, I wake up and lie there for a little while. When I hear Coomba get up for the shower, I make a pathetic effort to do the same thing – allowing him to beat me to it every time. Then, defeated, I admit to myself that he’ll be in there for at least 20 minutes so I better go back to bed for another 20 until he gets out. Everyone’s a winner. I don’t feel like I’ve got no self-discipline and Coomba gets the first shower. But something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Lately Coomba has been doing the same thing.

Coomba - can sleep anywhere (including couches in loud Polish nightclubs)... crucial!

Anyway, work was a busy, busy day. Highlight was that after finding out where my boss was sitting for a formal dinner in the building, I did toy with the idea of leaving her messages under her seat, but thought better of it.

Went home at about 7pm with the idea of slowly heading down to the Alex to catch up with everyone after football training. Getting in the door I was accosted by several shrieking South African woman and I remembered – Gill and Holly’s book club. Shit. I was out that door with Road Runner-esque grace. The usual session after training ensued, although not as druken as usual. For the weekend I was named forward pocket, asked to run the bar on the day, and write a match report for all three grades by Tuesday. I volunteered to stick a broom up my arse so I could sweep the floor while I walked as well, but I had too much else to do.

Got home and tucked up by midnight.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day 17 - Sickie

Got up this morning and got ready for work. Halfway to Vauxhall after I sneezed on a strangers' (and yes I meant that as plural), I thought fuck this, I'm going home. There's no way I'm going to pass this on to the whole office - I'll hear about it for weeks. Now I could tell you about my day, but it would basically be about using my laptop and Blackberry to continue work from home and going to the supermarket. I don't like being alone. I get bored.

I even started to talking to the cat....we don't even have I cat, I just pretended to talk to one I was that bored. When the maid came (yes we have a maid come in) I started speaking to her. She actually told me she had to stop talking to do her work - and she barely speaks English! I don't know how my ex-, Naomi, did it. When she used to come home for lunch when I was working at home and she was working locally, I would've been like a ADHD 3 year-old on speed.

Anyway, for the next two hours I couldn't turn away from the TV. On Sky they have FHM Music TV. Basically any hot girl film clip is on there. After two hours I could not take anymore Girls Aloud (if any severn year olds are reading this, Sarah's my favourite I don't care what you say!) or Pussycat Dolls, I needed to turn off, they were killing me.

Damn that Sarah Harding and her hypnotic moves!

This is when I turned on my facebook. Now come on all, tell me you're not on facebook yet. If you're not, apparently you're a loser. There's nothing more satisdying than seeing your little ticker go up when you get a new friend (I'm about to get 100 - yay me). People go on about how it brings them in touch with their old friends, etc. Now Dr. Bart is going to get on his high horse and analyse. Stand back:
Bullshit. Are you seriously telling me that the person who you went to primary school with who found you over facebook is anything more than a name in your directory right now? After catching up briefly, asking if they know anyone from school still and saying you much catch up - have you made an effort to? No. Facebook and these sites are the modern day equivalent of bumping in to someone in the pub who you used to know and having the awkward: 'hey, we should do this again'.

If anything it limits you socially, as you start 'meeting' so many people (by meeting I mean simply adding them as a friend) and still catching up with the same people you usually do. If you do make the effort to catch up with them, most likely you won't see them again after that, and you've fobbed off your real mate to see an old one to make yourself feel like everyone has this connection and you'll be friends forever. It's not Degrase Junior High people. You know why? Because that's life. Plain and simple. If you wanted to stay in touch with others, you would have.

Rant over. Next week, digital cameras in nightclubs/bars!!!!

So with no one to talk to all day my flatmates finally got home, I was like an excited puppy - I nearly peed. Coomba didn't know what hit him, Gill and Holly were a little taken a back, but I really felt sorry for Coomba's missus, Maria. As she has only been seeing him for a month or two, she has yet to a) hear all my stories and b) is too polite to tell me to shut up. Poor girl, didn't know to do.

I took myself to bed about 10.30 so her ears would stop bleeding.

Day 16 - Feed a cold, starve a fever

Tuesday the cold caught up with me. On Monday I thought I had licked it. Some warm whiskey with lemon, a shit load of vitamin C and a sleeping pill put me out like a light for about 10 hours, but alas it didn't want to go away. But with too much work on I went in anyway. About midday I knew this wasn't going to happen, as everytime I sneezed my screen needed window washers.

Why, after putting my body through the ringer for at least 2 months, I get a cold now. I tell you what it is - as soon as you stop, you fall. On Sunday night, rather than continuing my weekend bender, I went home at 9.30pm. School boy error. Should have continued on until late.

So about 3pm I left work. On Wednesday I had an appointment with the immigration adviser, so I thought bugger it, kill two birds with one stone and go in and see them today. I'm sure there are parts of the application that may be difficult, but I was pretty much telling this guy what I needed to supply as opposed to him telling me. I guess if you have read the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme legislation you probably know it as good as the advisors (it's only 24 pages).

'But Bart, not everyone reads the legislation.'

If you're applying for something titled Highly Skilled you better be highly skilled enough to know to read the legislation and not leave it to someone on a pittance wage to do everything for you and you not to have a clue. And they charge you 750 pounds for it.

Anyway, after the interview I went home and watched Spiderman 3 on a pirated DVD.

Whinging Spiderman, get over your woman issues - if you've got 8 hands you don't need a damn woman.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Day 15 - Monday is funday

Tell me why I don’t like Mondays indeed. Sunday night I slept like a baby – waking up every 5 minutes crying and looking for a tit. So come Monday morning I wasn’t in the best of conditions and thoroughly contemplating a sickie. Compounding this is, is the fact that the past month of go-go-go has put a bit of a strain on me and I think I’m coming down with a bit of a chest infection.

How come certain people tend to get the same thing when they catch a cold? For example, mine always turns out to be a chest infection. Some people get the throat, others get blocked up, while some have a fever. Some poor saps cop the whole lot, but mine tends to only be the chest. So struggling through work I actually managed to get a lot done, because me moving from my desk was as likely as Iranian knowing the lyrics to Jingle Bells.

I met up with a Leah, Kasi and Nadia at Hot Stuff after work, a pretty tip top Indian restaurant in Vauxhall for a ding dong smash ‘em down curry to burn out the little blighters who are trying to make me sick. The curry wasn’t very hot but damn it tasted good. And with Nadia having gone out with an Indian man in her past life and Leah an expert of all things Hot Stuff, the menu was selected with great precision (although for a little blond girl, Nadia really did a good impersonation of a hoover).

Getting home at 9.00pm there was only one way to cheer myself – international travel. So after a previous morning discussion with Coomba – we decided to booked a trip to Libijuana, the capital of Slovenia

Bed by 10pm, and with the help of Mel’s glorious sleeping table (Mel’s a flight attendant so has some good knock ‘em out supplies) I finally got the first 8 hour sleep I think I’ve had since coming to the UK. However I had some fucked up dreams and woke tired. Come on Tuesday, bring it on you bitch.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Day 13 & 14 - The sport of kings

After the horrors of Friday it was good to go in to the weekend. A friend of a friend had just bought into a bar in Wandsworth – my town – so off Cam and I trotted to celebrate the dawining of a new weekend. Severla pints and philosophical discussions it was bed time at 3am.

The Saturday morning I had to be awake and down at Clapham Common at 9.30am to get the bus to Epsom with the rest of the boys. Suffice to say at 8.30am there was confusion in the house and I had to power through my morning routine to get ready. At 9.46 Coomba and I showed up to the bus we were ready to head to Epsom for the Epsom Derby – one of the richest horse races in the world.
A 1.5 hour bus ride which involded much drinking and we were in the field. Parking next to all the party buses I realised we were in chav central, with the descitpion: ‘I’ve never seen to many fat burnt people with English tattoos in my life’ bandied around by many.

We spent most of the day having a drinking and eating fest. The sun was out and the chance to tan was there and the bets were a plenty. A special mention to Vice for picking every winner in each race and being the main reason that I ended up £30 ahead for the day.

Epsom is unlike any horse race I’ve ever been to. There are people everwhere, but not in the typical race style. Usually at races you get all dressed up, champagne breakfast, head to the races in style and get boozed on cheap champagne and sweat to death in your clothes. The Epsom Derby is a carnival. There are roller coaster rides, hundreds upon hundreds of tour buses, the course is not a standard racing track (with up hill and down hill stretches), the inside track is free of charge – with live music, rides, food stalls – while the outside has the same, plus more. Oh, and if you want to see a chav, this is the place for it. At least when you go to Royal Ascot the admission is £30 and you need to wear a suit. At Epsom the standard fare seems to be suit pants, belt, dress shoes, no top, burnt to a crisp and be covered in England tattoos.

The bus trip back has been removed for parental discretion – but the girl with the significantly larger right breast and Hoju’s antics will never leave me.

After the fun of Epsom it was back to The Alex to continue on. Now a bus of 80 people was a little too much for the Alex to take, so everyone pretty much stood outside in the still lovely weather. If it was a beer garden, that would be fine, but it’s the footpath, next to the bus station, so it was only an hour or two until we went our separate ways. Mine was to Bison Bar with Macca. The next bit is a a little hazy. However, two hours later I was at a house party in Brixton knowing no one and convincing people I worked for Radio 1 (think Nova FM) and my job was to go to house parties, find the best one and give the organisers a free trip to Ibiza. Went down a treat. About 6am I looked around at the remaining 15 or so people in the kitchen and thought, wait a second, isn’t there usually a random at house parties who doesn’t really know anyone…then I realised I was that random, so I quietly snuck away. I wonder if they think they are going to win that trip to Ibiza.
Sunday was a usual Sunday session. Kasi calling me at midday roused me from my bed and asked me what I was doing today. Bumming around the house until 5pm was the standard Sunday response. ‘Well we’re going to the Lighthouse in Batteresea’ was what I got back. That gave me three hours on my own before I had to go to the pub. So slipping on a DVD of ‘The Departed’ I relaxed for a few hours. Oh my god, what a great movie. Up there in the top three movies for me, behind Fight Club, The Game and now The Departed.

Another Sunday session at the pub followed on. These are great days. I usually have a sore stomach from the laughter at these sessions. The laughter and the red wine I guess. The barman usually seems a little confused when you walk up to the bar, ask for a bottle of red, and only one glass. I’m just ordering a straw next time.

Kasi and Matty moved on to Gigalum to continue the party, but I, making the smartest decision in some time, having not eaten all day and drinking ‘just a tad’ decided to struggle my way home.

Bed by 11pm and it was ready to face Monday.

Epsom photos and videos here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Day 12 - Move on, nothing to see here

No train problems this morning, although football training the night before was a pool session, but in a pool hall, not a swimming pool. You know when they say team bonding session you're always going to feel bad the next day!

After spending 20 minutes at work I had to leave for Australia House to get a few tid bits for my visa. This is where my day went a little pear shaped. All I needed was a stamp on a bank statement – that’s all. It took more than an hour! With four people in front of me I thought it would be speedy, until I noticed that all these people were carrying fairly large documents. The security guard saw my plight and said I could go in front of several people – then he went on break! The new security guard didn’t believe me when I told him the story.

So rushing back to work I sat down and started to get on with it. Until I realised I didn’t have my phone. Calling the number I found out I had left it at the High Commission. So back there I went.

So let’s recap. Two trips to the High Comission, all four times I just missed the tube (that's there and back twice for you smart cookies), finally getting back to the office at 2pm went to get my traditional roast lamb sandwich – but no lamb left – and to top it all off my current boss was out having lunch with old boss. Who knows what one said to the other!

Fuck this, I’m going home early and hiding until I have to meet Cam at a pub at 7 tonight. Bah!