Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Higher Ground

Okay, so we've just had four days off due to Bank Holidays on Friday and Monday - it makes for an easier working weekend. The psychological effects of only having to work 4 days in a week are tremendous! It certainly makes for a happier Chris! I spent most of Friday walking along the Brecon Beacons with me Dad. We drove up to the mountains separating Brynamman and LLangadog and just decided to walk to about 3 or 4 peaks before going back again - the sun came out for the second time in two weeks and it's so satisfying once you get the top of the hills. We sat and had lunch at one peak and you could see for miles - Caldy Island and Tenby were visible on the right, and you could see all the way along the coast, Llanelli, the Gower, a small part of Swansea and Port Talbot (That's about 60 miles of coastline!). We got back in the afternoon where Mam had prepared a lovely ham-salad pick'n'mix snack - lush! The walk inspired me to go for a run that night too (Not done that in a while...).

Me on the Brecon Beacons

So, I've started going for runs every other day in a vain attempt to recover some sort of fitness, it's nice getting outside all the time too. Until you get stuck in an office all week, you don't appreciate how amazing the outdoors is! I'm trying to give up tea too.... a bit of a wierd one I know. The girl I was staying with in Calgary, Kelly, had suggested that I might be addicted to tea, "Rubbish" I replied - but I think she may be right! Since I've stopped drinking tea (about a week ago) I've been having so much trouble getting out of bed and I've been groggy and bad-tempered all the time! I've been drinking water all the time instead but I'm getting annoyed with that as I have to keep dashing of to the toilet every 2 seconds (should see the doctor about that! ha!). I've also been eating loads of fruit and making sandwiches instead of buying crappy sandwiches from boots - sure that's a bit healthier too. But, despite all this 'better eating' business, I still love getting plastered at the weekend. Although, I didn't over the bank holidays because I was at home and didn't really think that my 12yo sister would be too much fun to get drunk with!

Watched the Ospreys beat Edinburgh 29-12 on Saturday night too, Henson scored all but 5 of the points for the Neath-Swansea outfit but the Scots gave everything they had and captain Chris Paterson did his Lions hopes no damage whatsoever. My mum (not a rugby fan at all) even made me record the game so she could watch Henson and Shane Williams play again! She didn't even care that it over-ran into the new series of Doctor Who!! The power of a Grand Slam I suppose!

Ospreys captain Barry Williams lifts the Celtic League Trophy after squashing Edinburgh 29-12

It was good to see a Welsh team lift the Celtic League trophy for the 2nd year in a row but it wasn't my beloved Scarlets - they'd continued their average form with a loss to Irish side Leinster 31-25. Not really a bad score considering that Leinster half the Irish international squad back playing after the 6N, the difference between the two sides proved to be 2 Holwell penalty kicks, nevermind. At least we're in the Heineken cup next year (sigh). Also signed Alix Popham from Leeds Tykes, the Welsh no.8 is coming in to replace the legend that is Scott Quinnell who retired earlier than expected due to a hand injury - sad to not see him play at Stradey Park since November.

Scott Quinnell. Lions v Australia 2001

Didn't do much else over the weekend, just played Colin Mcrae 2005 on the x-box and carried on reading a couple of books that I'm on at the moment - JPR's autobiography and a Psychology orientated book titled 'How the Brain works' quite interesting. It's taken me since early January to read them both though after being too tired in the evenings and too busy watching Rugby/getting drunk/visiting places at the weekends!!

Welsh 3 Time Grand Slam winner (back in the 70's...) JPR Williams

Ho hum, work pretty usual today - just been down the beach again. I like having a beach about 5mins walk away from the office - can't wait until the summer! I'll be skiving like a mutherfucker once the sun comes out!!

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Playing down on the beach in Swansea when I should really be in work.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Grand Slam!

Was I there? No, at this point I was in a pub in Cardiff - crying...

What more can you say about the weekend?

Quite a bit actually...

Finished work on Friday at 5:30pm and walked to Swansea train station to meet my mate Andy from Llanelli. We had a while to wait for the train so had a pint in the hotel opposite the station. Finished that up and then met Eirian and Greggers in the station again, they'd got the train from Haverfordwest and were nursing the remaining half of a slab of Fosters! The train to Cardiff was delayed by 70mins! So we all decided the best thing to do was to go back to the Hotel for more pints. The under 21's game was on, as was the Ospreys v Dragons game, which was handy.

Finally got onto a train to Cardiff, ran to the boys flat as soon as we got there. Can't remember if we went to the George or not (probably did) but we went to the students union pretty quickly after. Got inside to discover we had an absolute army of us in there, Me, Donkey (mate from Reading), Andy (Llanelli), Greggers, Eirian, Bleddyn, Ali Bowen, Ryan Bowen, Dave Greggers, Simon and Paul (All Haverfordwest / St.Davids), our numbers kept growing as we bumped into more and more people we knew! It's great when that happens, you just feel like you own the club!! Dancing was done, alongside drinking and then some pizza was eaten afterwards. Crashed out in the little available room back in the flat.

Woken up very early in the morning (9am) by the smell of hungover blokes. That smokey, drinky, alcohol, cheesy feet, farty smell. eugh. Just about made it off the sofa and then just about managed to pick a beer from the fridge to start the day off! Donkey was nowhere to be seen, Eirian said he last saw him at about 4am going outside for a cigarette! Andy had to run off to pick up his ticket and to get a place at a bar in town, the population of Cardiff was going to increase by 50% today (about 150'000 extra bods) and he didn't want to lose his mates at all. We were all extremely excited about the rugby, even Greggers, who doesn't even like rugby. All went to the Sugar Shaker for breakfast, I say all but only Eirian, Greggers, Ali, Bleddyn and myself had made it out so far. Bobby and Paddy met us in there, but we didn't stay for long as the Crwys had just opened! Off we went for more beer then, Glasgow Dave arrived to give us some extra support. Donkey turned up after about half an hour - he's only ever been to Cardiff a couple of times before so the girl he ended up with had drawn him a map off how to get to the George, nice of her I thought! The old pop wasn't going down too well, I had to down mine too as everyone left. Oh yes, the sun was out too!! Wasn't that pretty amazing!? I love being hungover when it's sunny, everything just seems to improve tenfold! Into the George where we set up camp to watch the game, the French game started after a little while.

Rather than stay in the pub all day, I decided to go and watch the French game down at 'Henson Hill' outside the Museum. It was already heaving with about 15'000 people sitting atop slabs of booze and generally enjoying themselves in the sunshine. Went into Incognitos with Donkey and a guy called Fergie but it was nigh on impossible to get near the bar, back outside I decided to ask some students if we could buy beer off them at £2 a can, they happily obliged! Think we were the lucky ones, heard that people were selling 4 packs for a tenner!! Sainsburys and Tesco had run out of beer, every single corner shop or newsagents had queues of people outside. Heard on the radio that they had to get "Emergency Beer" into some of the pubs, they simply didn't have enough! Enjoyed the game, finished our can of beer each and headed back to the George. Donkey had to get back home, something more important to do back in Reading than watch Wales win a Grand Slam... Howells and Osian had turned up though, two more St.Davids boys living in England. The match started, the pub wasn't packed but it was pretty busy - we were getting served quickly which was more than can be said for people in the town centre!

The rest, is history.

Before I knew it I was jumping up and down on the table, spilling beer everywhere and generally being loud! I did cry a little bit too, although it hadn't quite sunk in until Monday morning when I read the Western Mail - I cried loads on the train back to Swansea - people were laughing but they understood! What a belter, the game wasn't top quality but that was obscured by that Grand Slam thing that we won... the festivities continued well into the night, dunno what really happened. Think I stayed in the George all night (which closed at 10:30, probably a good thing as we were all pretty worse for wear). Went to another pub after with my Irish mate Conor, had a few more drinks with him and got back to the flat at about 4am, there were still people running around screaming then! One or two people passed out on the streets, still with a grin stuck on their faces. Got locked out of the flat again, a common theme for Saturday nights these days, so wandered round Cardiff until about 5am maybe and found Eirians house open. Crashed.

Heard a great quote somewhere on Sunday and laughed, about the celebrations all over Wales:-

"Every day when I wake up I thank the lord I'm Welsh, I was surprised to find that I'd woken up at all on Sunday morning!"

Summed it up nicely, everyone was half-dead but still smiling. Went for a drink on Sunday afternoon in the Walkabout, which was still reeling from the previous night. Went on to the Prince of Wales (who'd run out of mayonnaise, the fault of those Irish on Saturday no doubt..) and the Yard (Where the Welsh squad were watching the Scarlets game upstairs) - that did nicely for me too, the Scarlets beating Cardiff - it was nothing compared to Saturday but I was chuffed all the same!

After food we went back to the George but were just too tired/pissed to do anything so slumped in a seat for a while before going to Gassy Jacks and then back to the flat.

What a weekend. I can almost guarantee that Cardiff is not going to see another weekend like that for a LONG time. Still dying now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Welsh invasion of Edinburgh...

What an interesting weekend that one turned out to be!

3 weeks ago, this weekend was my designated 'weekend off' from all the
Rugby, parties and other stuff. I was going to watch the Scotland game
at home, with my mam bringing me chicken sandwiches and cups of tea at
half time. But, I got a call from Owain... "book a room in the Castle
rock hostel in Edinburgh, we're going up to watch the game..." and I
'm very glad he did it!

As with all Fridays before the rugby, I didn't do any work at all
during the day - just checked up on the internet every two seconds to
see if there were any developments in the Welsh squad at all! Got the
train from Swansea up to Manchester at 6:30pm - finally arrived in
Manc at midnight - humph. Was really tired and bored senseless after
a long train journey and thought I'd be headed to bed, but Owain again
had other plans! Went straight to some bar or another to meet a
couple of people from his work (Was his name 'Backer'? - think I'll
refer to him as Tim for the moment!). Had a good laugh, a few pints.
Looked on in amazement at the 15yo Manc girls wandering around in the
cold-northen night dressed only in what seemed like dolls clothes....
am I getting old?

Back to Owains, briefly met Adam and Dawn then went off to bed, ready
for the short trip up to Edinburgh on Saturday.

Up at some stupid time (earlier than 8), had a cup of tea and headed
of about 8ish in Owains clio. Wanted to leave early to catch Ireland v
France, desperate to see how next weeks opponents were performing.
Drove for about 1 1/2 hours up the M6 and all was going swimmingly, we
were almost halfway there, Radio 2 was pumping and we had plenty of
supplies to nibble through. It was great fun waving at all the Welsh
cars/vans/coaches as we overtook them! It was all good anyway until
the smoke stared pouring out from under the car...

Pulled over as we had absolutely forward acceleration anymore... Turns
out the clutch had gone... and we were only as far as Kendal in
Cumbria. So, we sat on the motorway verge for ages, watching all those
cars/vans/coaches full of Welsh fans speeding past.. the RAC finally
appeared after an hour or so and he kindly towed us off the motorway
and into a layby, where he left us for another 2 hours. We were bored
shitless waiting for another tow-truck to appear. At least there was
a burger van nearby (no doubt making a fortune from people that'd
broken down - probably had an "arrangement" with the RAC!) and plenty
of bushes to piss in. Also indulged in a spot of Cumbrian Car
surfing...! Finally got picked up and got towed all the way back to
Manchester - got there almost 6hrs after leaving!! Adam quickly drove
us on to the train station where we sprinted to get to the last train
of the day to Edinburgh. Boarded the train, turns out it was going to
Glasgow... it was 2:30pm by this point and we'd missed the Irish game.
Balls. Only one thing to do on the train, Stella (at £2.50/can!) and
crisps. Was half cut after 3 cans but that helped me sleep a little!

Luckily, the train driver decided to split the train just after
Carlisle. One half went on to Glasgow but our half headed towards
Edinburgh... he hadn't planned to do it and he'd actually decided
halfway through the trip!!! Luckily for us though. Got into the
'burgh at about 7:40pm - almost 12hrs after leaving Manchester!! It's
only a 3hr drive!! Pretty much ran to the hostel, Owain ran off to
his dorm room while I had been upgraded as they had run out of Dorm
space. I ended up in a 4 bed room with 3 girls from Swansea, great!
The girls were all lazing about complaining about hangovers or
something so I sorted them out and dragged them out to find a pub
somwhere. With our new friends in tow, O and I set out onto the
streets of Edinburgh - who were the first people we saw? Gav, the
Turner twins and Perry! funny, they were absolutely stinking drunk
and ran off somewhere while Owain and I were getting cash out. Just
went to a random bar with our Jack girls. Later on we toddled off to
Edwards just off Princes street. In the queue, there were several big
bangs against the window from inside, I turned round to see Sion,
Bubba, the Twins and Steve Bosh from St.Davids! The pub was full of
Red jerseys, amazing! One particularly smashed reveller was the
Scarlets coach Gareth Jenkins - he was fucking wasted and kept shaking
our hands!! Had a good night in all!

Sunday morning, grabbed a fried breakfast - couldn't find any greasy
spoons so ended up getting into a restaurant that charged us £11 for
a breakfast!! What a fucking rip-off! And the mushrooms were hairy!!
Walked into town to look for pubs, found two that were open - and they
were rammed! Me and O squeezed through to the bar and ordered Guinness
- they charged us £3.fucking 20 for a pint of the dark stuff! We were
both very short of cash after our 'more expensive than we had
expected' trip up so ran to another bar to find cheaper drinks. Found
the Hogshead on Rose street at about 12pm but found to our horror,
that they weren't serving until 12:30! We decided to wait, the pub
quickly filled up with Welsh fans, all who stood there twiddling their
thumbs with no beer to drink. Finally they started serving (seemed
like a lifetime) and about the same time, a buddy of mine, Russ,
turned up with a couple of mates. I'd met Russ in Montreal, we spent a
couple of days kicking around with nothing to do. He's from Inverness
but now living in Glasgow - and had come down for the rugby. All had a
good chat and a catch up, the rugby being the main topic of
conversation. Owain belted out a spirited rendition of Delilah, and some of us joined in for the verses. He got a big round of applause from the (sober) crowd afterwards which was nice!

Had to leave that place as the beer was just too expensive, said bye to the Scots and headed back to a place called Subway where they were advertising drinks at £1.50 a go. Genius. Went to the pub next door for a little while, ran into some of the Llandybie rugby team - I knew some of them from school, think I actually used to bully one of them... he's 3 times the size of me now! Down into the Subway bar to watch the match then... the game was just breathtaking! First a Ryan Jones try, then Rhys ran the length of the field for another, Michael owen decided to let Shane get one a few moments later and Kevin Morgan had managed two before the first half was up! This was absolutely amazing rugby! I was just sat still in shock while everyone was jumping around celebrating! It then took 8 mins into the second half for Rhys to score his second, the game was well won though and we relaxed a bit - Scotland got back into the game and scored tries through Lamont, Paterson and Craig. I really felt for the Scots though, they outplayed us in the second half but just didn't concentrate at all in the first! Let the celebrations begin!

Haven't got a clue what happened that night, was off the ball a bit and didn't seem to gravitate around the main areas of interest. Owain was with the HBOS boys (Don't remember seeing them, vague memories of talking to Turner though) whilst I was at the bar getting chatted up by two men - wasn't happy, was so drunk I txted O's housemate Adam asking how to turn down a gay bloke, didn't think of just telling him to fuck off. Nevermind, attention shifted to hot Scottish girls after but the bad run continued, she had a 3 month old baby and wasn't having any of the cheeky Welsh charm. No idea what time we finished, remember getting a pizza though with Owain and wandering back to the hostel to piss off all the people there that weren't interested in Rugby at all. Loads of Aussies and Kiwis, Japanese guy called Tomo (nice bloke) and two Italians who kept chanting I-TAL-IA I-TAL-IA everytime I walked passed, funny. bed, chatted to the Swansea girls for a while before passing out.

Monday morning, the girls offered to give me a lift back to Swansea, which I thought was a great idea as I probably wouldn't get back home until Thursday if I caught the train. Owain went off to catch the train back to Manc, think he got back okay... The drive back was nice, the girls were all very chatty and very kindly dropped me off in Cardiff, where I got drunk, in the George. Brilliant.

Monday, March 07, 2005

How do vampires have such nice hair when they can't see their reflection?

Suspiciously nice hair?
I'm absolutely knackered - The last couple of weeks have been pretty tough on the old drinking muscles!

Couple of weekends ago I traveled down to Oxford to meet up with a couple of mates - Kelly, who I stayed with in Calgary last summer and a couple of other girls, Chloe and Donna who had stayed in the same hostel as me in Cairns back in '01. Woke up pretty late on the Saturday and had to peg it down to Oxford so that I could catch the rugby. Sped into the centre of town an panicked as I couldn't find any parking spaces, I eventually found one right in the centre of town, really didn't have time to look anymore as K.O. was in 10 minutes. I found a lovely parking ticket for £40 tucked into my wipers the next morning but I really didn't care as I'd just watched one of the best games of rugby in the 6 Nations of recent years... Like most of the Welsh people in the O'Neills in Oxford that afternoon I was shaking my head in "Here we go again" fashion. Halftime game, and went, I couldn't watch us get destroyed anymore. Off I went for a piss - through the door, down the steps, along the corridor, into the bogs and was just about to drain the dragon when I heard a HUGE roar from upstairs - Martyn Williams had just scored. I belted it back up the stairs and before I'd found my seat again, he was running in another! Game on!! Everyone knows that the game ended at 24-18 to Wales.. amazing. I'd watched the game with a lad called Clem (from home but studying in Oxfrord), he had to run off afterwards while I went to meet the girls in a pubs somewhere, grinning inanely. Had a good night in all, loads of people coming up to me and congratulated me on the win... shedloads of Welsh jerseys out! One of the nicest sights I've ever seen in Oxford!!

Drove home on the Sunday, almost crying with happiness as I drove over Offas dyke back into Wales - the Beacons were snow-capped, the sun was out, the road was empty and everyone seemed to have a grin on their faces accompanied by bags under their eyes... lovely!!

Last week, work took me down to Cardiff all week. Drove down on Monday and stayed with the boys. We were interviewing traffic in Cardiff for work so I had to get up at 5:30am to be on a roadside somewhere by 6:30am - outside all day until 7pm.... I was going to struggle so I thought the best thing to do was to get drunk in the George! Bledd and Ali came down with me, drunk we got. Got up on Tues morning dying. Somehow lasted all day Tuesday. Was fun, the police pulled people over and we asked them where they had just come from and where they were off to next - easy. Everyone was pretty good-spirited despite the shitty cold, weather and shitty drivers. Could have been classed as dead Tuesday evening, my heart rate was almost non-existent and I couldn't talk. George then... hammered. The theme continued until Friday, wake up early, get cold all day and go to the George. Friday, Sat were different as I just stayed in the George pretty much all day! Union on Friday night, had a cracker! Just had great fun dancing and chatting with everyone - it was one of those nights where everyone is your best friend!! (no illegal substances though...!)

My old housemate, Helen was in town after being abroad since October - was fun to see her again, but she caused all her usual trouble... (Owain remembers why) very funny!

Also fell down most of the steps on that rail bridge you walk on between Richmond road and the Gassy Jacks area.. was saying something really serious to Greggers when I stumbled and flopped/rolled down the rest of the steps... Arrived in Gassy Jacks limping, bleeding from my elbows, fingers, wrists, knees and chin! Don't know why I didn't pull that night! Was very funny but I still can't walk properly due to a dead leg. Ow.

Soldier on though - drove back to the scene of my crimes today with work again. Drove around visiting all the interview sites for this week - had a chat with everyone and then saw some of the boys back towards the George.

Only got home from work at 7:30pm tonight, have just eaten and I'm knackered. Must recharge batteries for weekend...