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Round Round Get Around I Get Around...

Last weekend was the most hectic and travelled I've had for quite some time. And it was great! And this is going to be one of those long posts I stubbornly refuse to put behind a cut. Thrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrpt!

Thursday evening - left work and drove to Mum and Dad's in Wales. Driving to work (and from work) in itself is something of a rarity now... I've now been commuting by train for a year. But that's by the by.

Friday during the day was a slow and frustrating working day, but then at 4 the weekend began.

First thing was to drive to Cardiff. Mostly easy. I was worried I was gonna end up running late when I hit the M4 traffic around Newport, but it was fine in the end.

The purpose behind the Cardiff trip was to take my Nan out for the evening. My Christmas Present to her was taking her to a Concert at St. David's Hall. The London Symphony Orchestra were playing an assortment of Scandinavian pieces: Nielsen's Aladdin Suite, Sibelius' Violin Concerto, and Grieg's Peer Gynt suite.

I took her for a meal first, we went to a place called Giovanni's (no prizes for guessing the type of food) which came highly recommended... and it was very nice. Or, put another way, OM NOM NOM.

Then on to the concert itself. The conductor was Kristjan Järvi, and he was quite a character. He looked something like a cross between Guy Pearce and John Travolta (although that's probably a quite unflattering way to describe anyone) and he did enjoy making odd gestures at the Orchestra.

The soloist for the concerto was also very expressive - he started pulling silly faces at the audience while he was tuning up, and carried on doing so on and off throughout his performance. The soloist was supposed to be Julia Fischer, but she'd had to bow out due to injury, and Roman Simovic stepped in to take her place.

The Peer Gynt suite was my favourite bit of the evening. Apart from the two famous bits I hadn't really heard it before and it is quite atmospheric.

Nan seemed to enjoy it - hard to tell if she was just saying she enjoyed it, but I'll take her at her word.

Then back to Mum and Dad's. Quick bit of Pokémoning on the DS, then sleep.

Woke up what felt like too early but wasn't really, given what I needed to fit in.

Up quickly, apologised to Mum and Dad for not seeing much of them, then back on the road.

First stop: Home. Quick lunch, did some laundry (yeah, fascinating right?) then repacked stuff and headed on to...


It took longer to get to Leeds than I remembered from last time (when I met up with sentience in September). I navigated to the Travelodge by instinct mostly (it was a different one to last time, just to keep things fresh), the spiralled in with the assistance of my lovely lovely iPhone. Total laps of Leeds City Centre: 0.75. Total times circled Travelodge: 2. By the time I'd got parked up, checked in, and played Pokémon White a bit there was just time for a quick shower before heading out to meet up with EVERYONE else.

I navigated to the other Travelodge (the one I did stay in last time, where everyone else was staying - I booked too late to get in) mostly by smell. As it happened I didn't get the most direct route, but I was close. Just as I was walking up to the Travelodge I got a text from rougeforever saying "You're late", so I walked into the foyer and greeting everyone with "No I'm fucking not", once again proving my ability to make a classy entrance. And Cali asked me for a "sweaty welcome", which was a bit forward, especially in front of everyone else, but I obliged.

Once the rest of the cats had been herded together, we set off for Bar Burrito, there to eat, well, burritos. Well, actually, I opted for Nachos, for possibly the first time ever. Given that I'd had pizza at Giovanni's the night before, and then (accidentally) pizza for lunch also, this was starting to up the weekend's cheese quotient to dangerous levels. But do I care? Do I? Go on, ask me if I care! One of the menu options was "Burrito in a Bowl", which mrhig and I both decided was crazy talk (because obviously, it can't be done).

There was a side-trip to a pub, where a number of us managed to get a bit of narrow-alley action, and there was talk of things that had and hadn't been given up for Lent. Anal sex featured heavily in this conversation, for reasons I can't entirely remember but which were hilarious at the time, as you would expect.

Finally we made for the gig venue, and discovered that we hadn't got there as early as we maybe should have. The queue was already quite extensive. As we stood waiting to get in (to Holy Trinity Church, Leeds) we watched the numerous Stag and Hen parties drift past, orbiting each other in a dance of mutually-assured divestiture, and were occasionally asked what we were queueing for. When someone was told we were queueing for a gig the reply was "Does that mean I need to be trendy?" I can only hope not, I've never been trendy in my life and I wasn't about to start then. And since I now realise that I haven't yet mentioned what gig we were queueing for... we were waiting to see Tom McRae perform, accompanied by a String Quartet rather than the more usual backing band.

Churches don't entirely lend themselves to being gig venues. While seated gigs aren't out of the ordinary, ones where you squeeze into upright, awkward, and uncomfortable pews do tend to be more unusual.

I shall write up the gig in a separate post, which in time will be linked here. For now I shall just say that it was awesome. I came away with two more Tom CDs, and a McrApron, which has the words and Uke chords to I Still Love You on it. That'll be my first song to learn to play on the Uke then. Yes, I have a Uke. Got one for my birthday. Don't think I've mentioned that before on here.

For the rest of the night our little group kept fragmenting and reassembling. Eventually we all ended up in a pub called The Hourglass, a Wetherspoons type place (wasn't actually a Wetherspoons), where in contrast the experience in the church, we were overpowered by loud shite music where we struggled to hear what each other were saying. That is, until their Skybox or whatever crashed and the music disappeared.

Eventually I retreated back to my hotel, once again navigating by luck and smell and not needing to resort to using the iPhone to navigate. It was about midnight by the time I got back to my room, and once I was in bed I played Pokémon (spotting a theme here?) for half an hour or so before putting the light out and going to sleep.

I was woken up at one point by some rowdy fucker in the street sounding either a car horn or an air horn repeatedly. In fact, it may even have been two rowdy fuckers, I'm sure that at some point there was a second horn sounding. Cunts.

I was not woken up at one point by some rowdy fucker banging on the door of another room further along the corridor from mine because in his drunken state he'd let himself into the wrong Travelodge. Or, if I was, I wasn't woken up enough to realise I'd been woken up. Yes, one of the people from our party had managed to a) gain entry to the wrong Travelodge, b) successfully get a lift to the third floor, and then c) find his way through the maze of corridors to 'his' room without realising that it was a different maze of corridors to the one he should be finding his way through. Such are the perils of binge-drinking, kids!

And then I woke up. It was a bit on the early side, I could tell that much. After lying around for a while trying to fall asleep again I got up and looked at the time, only to find it had just gone 7, meaning I'd been awake since before 7. Having gone to sleep sometime around 1. Urgh.

After a while I decided I didn't want to go back to sleep because I didn't want to miss any texts/twitter DMs/whatever concerning meeting up with others for breakfast. So I (guess what) booted up the DS and played Pokémon again. Last night just before quitting for the night I found what must be the UGLIEST LEGENDARY POKÉMON ever, and after a few attempts this morning I managed to catch it, YAY! The Pokémon in question is called Kyurem, an Ice Type that looks a waxwork model got caught out at a coathanger factory during a heatwave. Seriously, what the fuck?

I met rougeforever and mrhig for breakfast, and we ate at Riveresque, a cheeky little greasy spoon (unsurprisingly) sited by the river. I say greasy spoon, lightly oily spoon may be more accurate. Breakfast was huge, and rather intimidating. Even so, I finished it all. OM NOM NOM, again. After a bit of sneaky Pokémon trading with rougeforever back at their hotel we said our goodbyes and I headed back to my hotel to check out and get on with the next bit.

For me the next bit was a trip up to Harrogate to meet up with Paulie and Trevor. Given that Paulie is one of my bestest buddies I really don't see enough of her and since I was in the area it would've been rude not to take this opportunity to meet up. Since when have you known me to be rude, eh?

As I was getting to Harrogate I had an important issue to address. Calvin was getting exceptionally low on petrol and I needed to fill him up toot sweet. To complicate matters, I had no cash, and I wasn't going to pay by card at any old petrol station where there is always a risk (albeit a small one) of the card getting cloned and me finding I've suddenly spent £500 on questionable purchases on the other side of the world. This left the options of either paying by card at a Tesco Garage or similar, or even better, using Sainsburys Vouchers at a Sainsburys one. I'd lucked out on the way out of Leeds in that the Sainsburys I'd detoured to turned out not to have a petrol station. So, now I was in Harrogate and I was running out of petrol and options I made one last great attempt with the help of the Yell app, and as luck would have it found a Sainsburys with a petrol station. It's the little things...

By the time I actually worked out where I was supposed to be meeting P and T I think I'd done three laps of Harrogate town centre, if not four. We met outside a Starbucks (no change there) and had drinks while yabbering and generally catching up. As always, it was great to see them, but there really isn't much else I can say about our meet-up, as that's really all we did.

Finally, at 3pm, there was only one thing left to do. Go home. This was no mean feat in itself, given the amount of sleep I'd had all weekend, but making a stop for cake and extra tea helped in this respect.

By the end of the weekend I'd racked up about 500 miles in Calvin... around 12 hours of driving time. That's certainly the furthest I've done in such a short space of time since before I started getting the train everywhere.

I've had two nights back in my own bed and I'm slowly starting to feel human again, but it's a gradual process.

All in all, it was awesome, and I'd like to thank everyone who helped make it so.


( 2 Bitches — Bitch, Plz )
12th Apr, 2011 22:31 (UTC)
Good weekends are good.

I knew of Tom McCrae from a compilation CD and the song "You cut her hair" which I really like.

Am I cool now?

13th Apr, 2011 08:04 (UTC)
Apart from spelling McRae wrong, yes :p

That'd be one of the 'Acoustic' compilations then? I think that was where I first heard of him from. It's only really the past 12 months or so I've really got into him.
( 2 Bitches — Bitch, Plz )


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