Thursday, August 25, 2005

A small dilemma

Andrew Gregory, aka The King, is a very good friend of mine who's well known for having lapses of reality every now and then. One of his outstanding moments was accidentally getting onto a TERMINATED train in Cardiff which went about a mile down the track and parked up for 4 hours!

He's got himself into a bit of a pickle this time round...

The King and I were due to travel up to Hartlepool (about 7 hours and 320 miles away) for one of our best mates, Jims, wedding on Saturday 3rd Sep. The King, Ginger Geordie Jim and myself all shared some great times in Cardiff and we are all looking forward to the wedding very much.

The King had also bought tickets for the extremely rare event of Wales v England football in the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff. These two countries have only met once in football in about 20 years despite being next door neighbours. £400 (US$720, 588 Euros) has been shelled out for a single ticket in Kings case. But as it's such a rare occasion, it's easy to see why the prices are so high on ebay.

Guess what's coming next? Yep, They're both on the same day yet 300 miles away from eachother...

This is a very tough decision to make for my foolish friend. It's possible to make both, if we leave Hartlepool as soon as the ceremony starts.... we MAY make Kick-off in Cardiff.

I'm unable to help him at all in his decision, as much as I want him to go to the wedding. I'm not a football fan but you can totally see his point of view, if you substite 'football' for 'your favourite sport'.

Poor lad.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Yes, I do talk to letti occasionally.

I know the plural of lettuce is lettuces. I just don't want it to be
Blatantly stolen from Marshall

Well, the weather surely is fine today! It's nice and warm, yet it pissed down this morning and there's a nice cool breeze blowing around. It's the kind of day that I like to spend on top of a mountain pretending to be an eagle... maybe not eh?

Wasn't it Bill Bailey that said that he likes to paint his feet like talons and pick up mice with them, pretending to be an eagle?

Me on top of a Scottish mountain a couple of years back, being all bird-like. Should have sent the film to 'Bonusprint' for 50p instead of taking it to a specialist shop and paying through the nose - I would have got better quality pics.

Things that have happened recently:-

Friday evening, slept after work as Old Rosie had gone to my head. Andy rang, we walked all the way from Swansea to Mumbles (yes, it's a real name) to get some chips to eat by the sea, the chips were crap. We walked back again, full but unhappy.

Saturday - Enrolled in Uni, I've managed to get the company to pay for me to get a degree in Civil Engineering. Tuesdays from October will now be spent studying rather than working in a crappy office - hooray! I celebrated by purchasing some socks - I've never done that before, quite a fun time really!

Sunday - Wore my new socks, swore at my CD player for not working and almost bought a new one. I miss my CD collection - all the CDs are sitting in my room doing nothing, a huge emotional rollercoaster of tunes unable to affect my mood at all.

Which brings me onto my next point, I'm going mad a teeny weeny lot. I think it's the hours spent in the evenings kicking around the house. The bulk of my friends all live in Cardiff and it's really beginning to piss me off not being in their company. I'm noticing that while my live-in landlord, and the other two housemates are great people (well one isn't but that's a different matter), I have absolutely nothing in common with them. Going through the living room (where they constantly watch TV) is akin to bumping into an acquaintance on the way to the toilet in the pub, you don't really want to stop as you're desperate for a piss but you come out with all the pleasantries anyway. It's getting a little awkward. The culmination of no decent conversation, no CD's to play and having my friends over 40 miles away has led to me talking to myself quite frequently as a source of entertainment! As I was making some lovely salad sandwiches yesterday I had the following conversation with my landlord:-

Landlord: Chris, are you okay?
Chris: Er, yeah I'm fine - why?
L: It's just that you were talking to that lettuce
C: Oh shit, was I?
L: Yeah, going mad?
C: Must be, what was I saying?
L: I couldn't figure it out, you were mumbling
C: Maybe I was telling the lettuce how it was going to meet it's end, accompanied by some ham and mustard
L: ...Er...Right
C: Maybe I was singing?
L: You were definitely talking
C: Oh well. Nevermind. Just make sure you lock your doors at night when I'm around. (grins)
L: ....Okay... (pulls worried face)

And I carried on, then I did it again but I caught myself - I had just verbally abused a cupboard for no reason whatsoever. I'm worried. Friends would quite happily tell you that I've got a bit of a screw loose anyway but this scares me a little.

So to remedy my problems, Sunday night Andy came round again - we walked halfway to Mumbles again but this time we took a small detour to the pub and after much deliberation, we got very drunk. We had a great night, just chatted to various people all night. No dancing was done, Swansea isn't ready for me just yet. I used to come out drinking here when I was in school (aged 15) but I moved away when I was 19 - I've got to get used to it again.

Today I'm a little hungover - my housemates were woken at 3am when I blasted my current favourite track (check the sidebar) from the computer.

Mad I'm telling you.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I had another 'I love being Welsh' moment the other day. I escaped the house and walked to the top of Kilvey Hill, which overlooks Swansea and the whole of Swansea Bay (gorgeous). The sun had just gone down and the light was fading - it was so nice sitting up there. Then all of a sudden, chants of "WALES, WALES" came drifting up from the stadium. Wales were playing football against Slovenia but it just brought back memories of winning the Grand Slam this year. I couldn't help but break out into a huge smile!!

Friday, August 19, 2005

I have the best boss ever!

Friday lunchtime - a new guy, Wyn has started here. He's been living in Sydney (Aus) for the last year but decided to move back to Wales and get a job with us about three weeks ago. On Wyns' first Friday here, he said "Usually in Sydney, we would go for a couple of pints at lunch and just relax for the rest of the afternoon"

My boss said "That's a fucking good idea!". This has been our third Friday in the pub, we had an extra-long lunch break so we could sample some of the Ciders on display in a local bar. As we all got up to leave (after 2hrs in the bar) my boss said "Right, it's time to go back to work, but you can stay here if you want, I don't care"

Could you ask for a better boss?!

We've all come back to the office anyway but no-one is doing work at warp speed. The sun has just come out again too... the world is looking great again!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Jazz Hands

Another weekend back at the folks house, nice and relaxed as usual! My youngest sister, Elinor, was celebrating her 13th birthday on Saturday so she organsied a few mates together and headed off to Pembrokeshire. Brilliant. My parents had gone with them all to make sure they didn't get into any trouble (Boys, weed, alcohol - or whatever 13 year olds get up to).

I got home on Friday to find my brother Jon kicking around, with nothing much to do. He's on a break from Uni at the moment and the transition from the hustle of uni life in a big city back to a small farming community is never a good one.

The Jazz

Saturday it rained, hard. I had planned to go for a good hike somewhere but didn't fancy braving the elements as the majority of my hiking gear was back in Swansea (a lot of good that's doing there then).

Andy came around in the evening, we grabbed Jon and we got into the car to go straight to the Brecon Jazz festival. Although the BJF is only 30 miles away from home, I've never actually gone along. The BJF is held annually in the small Welsh town of Brecon (unsurprisingly) but is a world renowned event. Although the focus is mainly on the Jazz scene, acts such as The Super Furry Animals and Van Halen have previously opened the weekends festivities.

I was quite keen to see Norwegian trio EST but I was struck down by a nasty case of broke-itis and ended up just looking at one of the programmes for about 5mins! We hit the town and followed the sound of music drifting around the streets. The whole place was pretty busy, there were only a couple of free-to-watch acts still going at that time of the evening (about 7pm I think), one of which consisted of a rather scruffy bloke hitting an oil drum with a stick (I think he may have been a very clever tramp, squeezing money out of the gullibe tourists).

As the street music died down, the pubs filled up and the beer flowed even quicker. We though we'd better join in the fun...

I'd been to the pubs around Brecon a few times before, it's only a small place but my god are there a lot of drinking establishments! Brecon is a typical Welsh farming town though, the locals all dressed in the same garb (mainly rugby jerseys) as they stumbled around the pubs yakking about how they crashed their lorry or something. To be fair, these were the louder of the locals - Only keen eyes and and ears could pick out the rest of them, most had hidden for the weekend.

We hooked up with a lad called Martin who used to be my manager when I worked in Cardiff. Mart had brought his girlfriend Ffion and another mate (whos name escapes me, another nick name situation I think).

A few more drinks and as Jon had kindly volunteered to not drink for the evening, he drove us back home. Jon had shouted "Get a tape for the car" earlier in the day, I delved into my tape collection (all about 7/8 years old!) and picked a random couple of tapes. The soundtrack to the drive home therefore consisted of Belinda Carlisle, U2, Salt'n'Pepa, the Pet Shop Boys and Color me Badd....

I had a bad head in the morning, not sure if it was the beer or the singing on the way back.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Fat Band Names

Mark Radcliffe had an interesting feature on his Radio 2 show last night. It started out being a feature about Good band names (ie The Rolling Stones) and Bad band names (ie Coldplay). But that ended up going off on a tangent when Mark mentioned that he had been to see a Fat tribute band to the Beastie Boys named the 'Obesity Boys', the e-mails piled in as listeners came up with more throughout the show - bloody hilarious!

Amongst the many that appeared:-

Dire Weights (Dire Straits)
Half Biscuit, Half Biscuit (Half man, half biscuit)
Bio-Mass inDexys midnight runners (hmmm)
Fat Boy Fat (Fat boy slim)
Expanded Ballet (Spandeau Ballet)
Lard Zeppelin (Led Zep)
Portlyhead (Portishead)
The Blubberhood of Mann (indeed)
Soft Cellulite (Soft Cell)
Deep Fried Purple
The flaimng Liposuction (The flaming Lips)
Girth, Wind and Fire
Shawaddlewaddle (Shawaddywaddy)
Fleetwood Big Mac

Lacking in fun.

Isn't it crap not having any money?

I've been stuck in Swansea all week with absolutely nothing to do as I try to get a little bit of cash together. It absolutely sucks. I've not been out (drinking) with my mates for a whole 9 days now it's definitely getting to me. That's a lie actually, played a round of golf last Friday with a couple of lads that Andy knows, we played real golf (ie. with Carling) and then had A drink in the town centre afterwards.

See, it's a funny situation that I'm in. I live in a house with my landlord (who's 52 years old), his son Gareth (200% "Trekkie") and a fat kid called Owen (who has now started stealing my food). The company in the house means that I don't really have much to talk to any of them about. I moved to Swansea to get this great job but unfortunately I don't know anyone else that lives here. Usually I head to either Cardiff or St.Davids to hook up with all my mates but a lack of funds has prevented that happening recently. On top of the lack of social activity, my CD player has decided to break after about 12months of threatening to. SO, I can't even sit in my room and listen to music all evening - which is very bad indeed. Although, this has forced me to listen to the Radio more, Kiwi Zane Lowe, Canuck Mike Davies, Manc Mark Radcliffe and the legend that is Huw Stephens have been great fun once again - providing loads of new and interesting tracks to listen to.

Boredom Catching

Last weekend I went back to visit my parents up in the hills of West Wales, at least there's nothing to spend money on up there, apart from the pub of course. All weekend I did absolutely nothing, other than kick around the house and sit in the garden quite a lot.

The pub back at home - old, but nice

Something had better happen soon or I'm going to explode out of sheer boredom. And yes, I've already tried making models of Swedish families using toilet rolls and yellow wool.

A Bear Funnel

I'm heading back home again this weekend specially for the World famous Brecon Jazz festival. I'll be up there on Saturday night no doubt, soaking up the atmosphere. Should be a good laugh.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Invigorated by the appearance of the sun and a rather tasty slice of home-made cake, he takes to the blog-waves again...

In a day a I probably average about 2km in trips to the water cooler at the end of the corridor, not only to quench my thirst but to break up any monotonous work and to meet some new and exciting people! I love chatting to people as I make my trip to the kitchen, I don't know anybodys name but they are all very nice I can assure you. I'm not sure if it's just me that does this or not but I'm quite happy giving people names that I deem appropriate, rather than finding out what they might be called. For example, the bar staff in our local pub had names such as Smiley Girl, Cutie, Kevin Bacon, Ed Fishguard, Sister no.1, Sister no.2, The Predator, Isle of Wight Girl (who just looked like she was from the Isle of Wight..) etc. Theses names are still in use today, despite me knowing them all really well after about 2 years!

I've started giving new names to people around the office, which I find very amusing. It's something to break up the day eh?

It could be related to the Welshness though. For those not in the know, in Wales there used to be many families with the last name Jones, Williams or Evans (amongst others). They are still popular names but they have been diluted in recent years. As there were so many people with the same names, it was hard to distinguish them so they were often named after their professions.

ie the Postman might have been called "Jones the Post", while the Bank manager would have been "Jones the Bank"

It's all very interesting but I wonder if this was just confined to Wales? Hmmm.

It'd be cool to find out if YOU have any cool names for people or whether you are sensible enough to ask them their real names. I know that some girls do this towards other girls who are generally prettier than them, but that's just horrible, isn't it?

**Ah yes, the title of the post. My bottle of water states on the side "Designed only for Volvic natural mineral water - DO NOT RE-FILL" I've refilled the bottle lots of times today, and not noticed any ill-effects? Perhaps a fairy dies every time I re-fill?**

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Curly is...

Results from Googling "Curly is". Meme from Chris' Blog to fill in time while I think of something to blog about...

Curly is a smaller unregistered liver curly type dog in Australia that has been around since the turn of the century
Curly is moderately angulated front and rear
Curly is the rebel, the artist, the bohemian, the clown, the outsider, the mystic: God's Holy Fool
Curly is a brave dog not willingly to back down from fur or feather.
Curly is the only likeable one, a truly rare human model
Curly is an original folkfunkcountryrock Australian three piece band
Curly is located at the former site of La Cocina
Curly is both sturdy and elegant
Curly is also an outstanding upland
Curly is a rare breed, not many litters are whelped each year
Curly is potent and powerful; he is part of society and turned toward wholesome things

Monday, August 01, 2005

Oh Dear.

I'd been really looking forward to another fun-filled weekend all of last week but after eating some dodgy potatoes on Friday evening, I have been very ill and have spent the entire weekend house-bound. Yuk.

Friday night I went out and about in Swansea, met loads of cool people and generally had a good time. I had prepared for the evening with some lovely bangers'n'mash (which I haven't had for years), the potatoes used didn't look 100% good but they certainly tasted okay! I woke up feeling not too good on Saturday and by the afternoon I was all sweaty and horrible so I took some paracetamol to try and make myself feel better. I don't usually take any medicines or tablets as I've always been of the opinion that a nice cup of tea can sort out all of your problems! A few hours after taking the Paracetamol I still felt very bad, I went to take some more but as I reached inside the packet, I noticed the expiry date - Februray, 2002!! Oh crap.

Bangers'N'Mash -Nice

So, Sunday and Monday I felt even worse, I'm a bit annoyed as I don't like taking days off from work for being sick - I get so BORED sitting around in the house. I tried writing a song about being ill on my guitar but I kept laughing too much which made me feel even worse..! I haven't taken a day off from work when I've actually been ill EVER in my 7 year working life (self-inflicted illness doesn't count) so I'm a little disappointed.

I'm still feeling pretty bad so any funny jokes/stories would be very much appreciated - not so funny that my head/stomach hurts though, just enough to make me snort like an old man!