Monday, October 31, 2005

Home is where you get your meals cooked for you

I love nothing more than the feeling of travelling somewere new, be it thousands of miles away or five miles up the road. But there's one thing that I can't stand about people that travel, tourists. They get in the way.

Growing up near the quite tourist-y town of Llandeilo in West Wales we get exposed to them in the summer, meandering along the roads and walking slowly down the pavement - just generally getting in the way of us locals who have things to do today thank you very much. On the other hand, I'm so proud that they're visiting our part of the world and I'm always more than happy to help with directions or suggest things for them to do and see.

Whenever I've gone away, I tried to strike a balance between these two things that make me so angry but so proud at the same time. I try to see the things that need to be seen, and do the activites that need to be done but I rarely look in the guide books so there's no ambling along in the wrong direction while angry locals queue behind me. I prefer listening to the locals opinions of what is good and what isn't. I also love seeing how the locals live, learning about their cultures and traditions and usually seeing the places that tourists wouldn't get to see. I've met some amazing people this way and seen some wonderful sights.

Recently I've been toying with the idea of visiting the localities of some fellow bloggers to help feed my hunger for travel. I'm thinking of visiting some places next year sometime and I was wondering if you could suggest things to do near you? I realise that this could be a giant task so I'm only going to limit myself to the places that finances allow for. I'm hoping to meet a few bloggers too, but I will understand if it seems too weird meeting a random bloke off the internet.

I've already had a few takers, which is awesome. Let me know, it could be quite an advnture!

Over the last year I've put together a few pictures of the place that I grew up, a small village in West Wales. If anybody is ever visiting the area, I'll be more than happy to find you things to do and show you around.

Welsh traffic Jam

I'm meeting with some bloggers already this Saturday hopefully. I'm going to Cardiff where I hope to run into Owzy and Po (who I know anyway) but there's also a chance that I'll see Aarti and Gav. Should be cool.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

When it's raining it's raining

Damn me and my refusal to pay for buses.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Get Around

It's been almost a week and for fear of Texan style beatings, I'm back.

To be honest, not much has happened in the hip world of Swansea. In my last post I was whinging about how I felt after another weekend booze fest. I still hadn't recovered by Friday - I think that I may have actually been ill. The other three lads in my office were slurping up the Lemsip all week, as they had all been struck down with a mystery flu. I wasn't nearly as bad as them and but all the same, I was ill. I was extremely happy about discovering that the others were poorly, I couldn't blame the alcohol anymore!! Hooray!

Friday night was the beginning of the Heineken Cup - European club rugbys' premier competition. I watched the first three games in a row, which took me nicely from 17:00 until 23:30. I was so tired that I just went straight to bed - it felt rather odd for a Friday night.

Saturday was more of the same, I slept until mid-day then watched more rugby. I had to catch the Scarlets v Toulouse game but it was different this time around. We were expected to lose to the French anyway so I didn't mind when they finally beat us with a score of 50-28. The most infuriating thing was that I wasn't watching it with friends in a pub or with my little sister at home but I was in my flat in the company of my landlord... I was extremely tense as we started falling behind, and was shouting at the TV. My landlord seemed oblivious to my heightened state of tension and continued to talk to me about first world war heroes or the Victorian pipe-cleaner he'd picked up in an auction today. I was livid and was on the brink of snapping throughout the game, a mammoth effort was required to stay calm, I constantly recited "Don't F**ing distract me, Don't f**ing distract me" - I didn't enjoy the match as a result.

The instant the final whistle blew, I went up to my room. Played the most soothing music I could find in my collection (The music of Robert Johnson did the trick) and got on the phone to Eirian Evans in Cardiff.

Curly: Evs, fancy a drink tonight?
Eirian: Whaaay! Chris! Get down here, we're playing drinking games round Lewis' house.
Curly: See you in about 90minutes...

90 minutes later I had finished four beers (I love train rides) and was knocking on Lewis' door in Cardiff. Osian answered, gave me a drunken hug and we stumbled into the living room. The room was littered with bottles of Vodka, mixers, Rose and loads of bags of crisps - brilliant! I had walked in halfway through a round of "Bunny bunny bunny" (drinking game common to this particular group of people, I can't be bothered to explain it) so I tucked in straight away alongside Eirian, Osian, Paddy, Alun, Lewis, Tom and Maddy. The games carried on into the early evening and at some point we went into town. Incognitos' was the destination, we all piled in and carried on partying (I assume).

The next day was a struggle, but that was quickly given a quick start by a trip to the Breakfast bar with Maddy for a nice greasy fry-up. Maddy and Osian had moved up to Cardiff after three years in Bournemouth and a summer back in Pembrokeshire. They've moved into a house opposite the boys flat which is absolutely brilliant - more troops to party with! The rest of the day we met up with Dave, Osian, Charles, Chris, Gaz and Marv in the George.

The weekend ended with a drink and a smoke in the boys' 'sister' flat at 1am Monday morning.

Monday morning I felt okay (phew!), just a little tired and hoarse. I sat at the train station and chatted to my random train friend, Kiwi Claire. Claire worked in the same office as me a couple of years ago but I see her most Monday mornings at the station. She's always lively and ready to go to work, while I'm curled up in a ball on the platform - wishing that it was Saturday again. (Not really, the platform is quite cold to lie on)

It's Tuesday. I'm sitting on the computer at 11:30 while my lectures (that have been going since 9am) continue. I'll go in to college soon.

Next weekend is shaping up to be a good one... but only precedes a monster...

5th November, Wales v New Zealand. Cardiff is going to be a good place to party.

The Haka

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

They always warned me.

Remember when you were skipping round merrily at 17, drinking yourself senseless until four in the morning and then happily getting into school at nine? All the old people (those over 20) always said "Enjoy it while you can, the hangovers last for days when you get older". "Pah" was always my response.

I'm 23 now, and I've been the recipient of a couple of coma-inducing hangovers but nothing too bad, too regularly - unlike my friend Greggers who contracts worse-the-doctor-has-ever-seen cases of tonsilitis and/or glandular fever pretty much once a month. Last weekend has really damaged me though, neither Friday or Saturday nights were spectacular but my body is aching still, on Wednesday. The weekend was a write-off though, both nights we were up until 6am drinking whiskey and talking about nothing in particular. During the day we slept, about 3 hours in the evening were assigned to watching Rugby and scavenging (even venturing outside) for sugar fixes and food.

My eyes are bloodshot, I'm feeling extra fat, my muscles are aching and I can't construct sentences withougt thoroughly planning them out in my head.

I'm NEVER drinking again. For about a week.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Is this on?

I could take you there but I don't know how to get there
I could take you there but I don't know where to go

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I want to hear something I haven't heard before

Wow, almost didn't mention it today... that was a bit redundant seeing as this guy had such a large influence on my musical tastes.

It was John Peel day today, all day. Peel has been a friend of youth culture since ever since he took to the radiowaves with his trademark ability of discovering new musical talent ensuring that, whether you like it or not, you heard it. He played music as it actually is: an unholy mess, a mixture of old and new, some bands having sold millions and some who've never seen more than a four-track. It made a lot of sense.

Peel died last year and today marks the anniversary of his last broadcast on Radio 1.

He introduced me, and thousands of others, to a completely different world of music. It was on his show that I first heard punk rock, and I kind of liked it. While most other kids listened to Queen or New Kids on the Block at the age of 10, I was taking in the delights of the Buzzcocks, the Undertones and the Clash amongst others. Throughout the nineties, as I rather naively thought my musical horizons couldn't expand any further, I'd listen to his show and he'd produce a record that just refused to be categorised by anything I'd previously heard. A real talent.

John Peel - Sorely missed

Throughout the day, people payed tribute to the man by staging hundreds of gigs throughout the UK and beyond. The radio has been full of tributes and rightly so. I still miss his voice in the evening, a sure sign that no-one had a clue what he was going to play next, a great feeling!

Turkey Shoot

Yet more shit on the news

Well, if you believe all the doomsayers in the news, Britain is about to be struck with a bout of bird flu. It's cropped up in Turkey and probably Romania, so it's getting closer at a steady pace.

And now for something completely different

I suppose we should all be concerned that people are going to die when the virus mutates into giant chickens which plan to wreak havoc on the planet or whatever. But, like everyone I've spoken to about it, I find myself laughing it all off, how can you take it seriously when several news programmes have come up with Monty Python style diagrams of a chicken with a 'danger' area of 5km surrounding them with of course, a 10km 'caution' zone.

Right into the danger zone


As mentioned, it's taking over the news channels but strangely enough I've not seen a single person legging it down the street screaming "CHICKENS, 5 KILOMETRES AWAY, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES" which is a bit of a shame really. Any day now I'm fully expecting illegal gun stores to open up in the back alleys of Swansea, full of people arming themselves to the teeth ready to blow the shit out of any of our feathered friends heading their way.

As great a threat as terrorism?

Once the flu lands in the UK, it'll take approximately 12 weeks before the entire country is infected. Some places in northern Scotland will be spared, that's the shite bus service for you. Chickens probably couldn't afford the trip up from Dover anyways. Saying that actually, there are some pretty cheap flights around - group discounts still apply I think.


But it's simple really isn't it kids? LEAVE THE BLOODY BIRDS ALONE. They're happy, milling around, eating corn or bird seed. Besides if they get ill, they can always die and make soup out of eachother to get better again.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Disappearing Boy

Don't call me up 'cause I'm not home
My whereabouts are now unknown

My landlord must wonder why the hell I'm paying rent at the moment, I've spent the majority of the last month away from the confines of my rented house. I hadn't mentioned that I was going away for about three weeks at the beginning of September and after about a fortnight, my landlord checked my room to see if I was still alive - I wasn't there so he took that as a good thing. He said that he didn't really want to deal with a dead person in his house.

The last couple of weekends have been write-offs. My good friend Sud visited from Sweden from 29th Sep - 3rd Oct. We descended upon Swansea on the Thursday night, then took the circus to Cardiff for the rest of the weekend (Friday IS part of the weekend isn't it?). We usually head to the students union as it's our preffered venue for a good night. People dress how they like, the music is danceable, the drinks are cheap and it's also the closest club to the flat. BUT, it was freshers week and the Union had reached bursting point, no entry for us then. Unbelievable, students taking priority over US in their own bar?! Honestly.

We had a couple of cracking nights out anyway, good times were had in the George (goes without saying) and we had THE funniest taxi ride I've ever been on. Sud is Canadian and a couple of the boys felt like taking the piss a little, but unable to pull off decent Canuck accents, came out with top quality American-isms instead. The breaking point for poor Sud was when Charles asked "Hey, what time's the Superbowl on?"
"I'M NOT EVEN AMERICAN FOR FUCKS SAKE, I'M CANADIAN!" shouted Sud. It's a touchy subject, as is the whole Welsh/English thing, and I'm sure many other countries feel the same way when they get lumped in with their neighbours. Hilarious though.

Surfin' UNA!

The taxi ride took about five minutes but it was one of the most painful five minutes of my life, I was laughing so hard that it felt like I'd done 200 sit-ups.

Sud had a flight home at 5am on Monday, but due to some dodgy bus scheduling he had to get to the airport at 11pm on Sunday to catch the flight in time. 6 hours wait in Cardiff airport is NOT a fun thing to do. It's only small and everything shuts down overnight, all he could do was sit, or sleep.

This weekend I went back home to the folks house. It was me mams birthday so a few of us went down to the kitchen in the pub, where she was working, to surprise her. We did a good job of surprising but she hated it - she doesn't like being fussed over, my mam.

I also went down to the legendary Stradey Park to watch the Scarlets play Newcastle Falcons. Scarlets only just took the game, Jonny Wilkinson starred for Newcastle but it wasn't quite enough in the end. Our no.10, the USA Eagle, Mike Hercus produced a dodgy kicking display but he did get a try to make up for it.

Wilkinson plus two bring down Man of the match Regan King

I like this advert for the game last Friday. For those not in the know, that's the Severn Bridge and the border between England and Wales

The rest of the Welsh Regions got dicked on. Well, the Ospreys came close.

So, back in work. There's lots to do, but it's sunny outside and I'm blogging. Great.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Absence of Fear

The reason that I commenced employment with this company was the lure of a free college course in October of this year. I've been out of the education system since 2000 and, despite a brief foray into University in 2001, I've not studied anything at all since - apart from the floor most Saturday nights. Yesterday was the beginning of my 3 year part-time course in Civil Engineering....

I started off well, I only live 5mins walk from the Uni building which of course meant that I stayed in bed far too long thinking "Ah, I'll be in plenty of time - I only have to fall out of bed and I'm there". I of course wasn't, then realised that I didn't have a clue which room (or indeed, which building) I was supposed to be in. I felt vastly superior to all the 18 year olds running around, but then quickly found myself panicking a little and asking some of these 18 year olds where such and such a building was. I eventually found all my new classmates and breathed a sigh of relief. They were a scruffy bunch, the bulk of them were made up by proper Swansea boys - stupid haircuts with random blonde streaks and they conversed about how they would have "given one from behind" to the receptionist on the floor above. I'm sure that she would have been completely flattered by that remark and would have immediately ripped her clothes off ready for a rogering. Fuckwits.

I settled in pretty quickly, the lecture wasn't remotely interesting and I found myself drifting off after about 5 minutes. I only stayed awake with the help of the girl sat next to me with a sarcastic streak matching the intensity of mine. We both chatted and ripped the piss out of the Swansea lads and the lecturer for about an hour - I thoroughly enjoyed it. The remaining lectures were equally un-interesting. The low-light being an hour long lecture about bulldozers and other heavy machinery. Do you remember the bit in Top Gun where Maverick and Goose mention that they've seen the enemy plane that no-one else has seen before, and Kelly McGillis gets all excited? When one of the students mentioned that he'd seen a bulldozer pulling some other piece of machinery (generally not Bulldozing anyway), our lecturer jumped up from his desk, his speech sped up and I swear he was almost sweating - he was thrilled! "You'll have to tell me about it sometime" he purred.

I spent the rest of the day sitting with a lad called Dan and a girl named Gemma, both nice enough. We finally finished at about 8pm, I'm not looking forward to spending all my Tuesdays like this. I think I'm past the education thing, I wasn't designed for it and would rather just learn about subjects that interest me in my own time. Still, it may pick up and I may find myself enjoying it as much as I enjoy frolicking on the beach.

I saw the receptionist on the way out of one of the lecctures, I'd give her one.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Good news, for me anyway.

I was a little bit disappointed being out of the country right at the beginning of the rugby season but I've more than made up for the lack of games since I've been back. I'm fully aware that readers may not be fans of rugby, and almost certainly not fans of Welsh rugby. So, I wouldn't bother reading any further if you're favourite sport is Football, Greyhound racing, Cock fighting, Yodeling get the idea.

The Powergen cup kicked off on the weekend, the brand new cross border cup competition between English and Welsh clubs. Four games were played, the Welsh regions winning 3 of them. The Dragons, Blues and Scarlets handsomely defeated Leicester, Saracens and Leeds. The Ospreys unfortunately lost to an overpowering Gloucester side bit it's still a great result for the Welsh lads.

The talk of the town on the weekend though was that Rugby legend Jonah Lomu, the 19 stone (125 kg) winger that can run the 100m in about 10secs, had signed for the Cardiff Blues.

Mr.Lomu in action a few years back

This is HUGE news! Lomu was one of the first rugby superstars, emerging in 1995 when he played an integral part in the New Zealand team that destroyed England in the 1995 world cup. He's been out of the world of rugby for a few years with a rare kidney disease but he's now back, playing in Wales - Welsh rugby is truly great this year... I hope it continues to be.