Tag Archives: Wolves


 Well, I went to the Wolves v Arsenal game!


It didn’t go well! 3-1 is not how I envisaged it going at all! However, it was fun, and it was nice to be at a game again, albeit alone. I was impressed at the stadium atmosphere…not so much by the performance lol




One month on.

So, I’ve managed to survive my first month back in the UK. I’ve worked a lot, eaten a lot, slept very little, and spent too much money on things like food and drink which I could’ve done at “home” if you can call my bedsit that. But… I’ve given myself a break on that front. I’ve done more than survive, and as there’s no-one else to reward me,  I’ll damn well do it myself!
So, how am I? I’m not sure, is probably the honest answer. I don’t miss Holland in the slightest. If I ever set foot back there again there will have to be a massively good reason for it. Esther? I suppose I miss her in some ways, but not many. Of our interactions since we’ve been in different countries (of which she’s instigated none) there is nothing to indicate that she’s changed. She lets things happen to her… no.. she ENABLES things to happen to her.. and then tries (and will doubtless succeed cos when she sets her mind on something.. she’s good at it) to blame herself for it, rather than taking responsibility for herself, and taking charge of a situation. It’s a pernicious way to self harm, insidious in it’s own ease of execution. She’s not the woman I either created in my head, or the woman she was. I miss that woman, but she either never existed, or has been so long gone that, much like a death, you learn to live with the passing.  

As for here.. in Sunny Wolves… it’s actually good to be back. I’ve seen David, who I made the effort to see, and Chris, who popped up out of the blue and spoke, much to my surprise! It’s as grim as ever in terms of, people scowl rather than smile, but.. it’s just far more accessible than Holland for me and what IS me. There are several local pubs to pick from. Match-days pints are £1.80 a pint instead of over 5euro for 500ml so it’s viable to go out and watch the game and have 3 drinks and come home with change from £6! That makes social interaction, viable for the common working man. 3 different days.. 3 different games.. for under £20 expenditure! That would be about hmm… 57.60euro in the North End in Leiden. It’s actually cheaper in the one pub to have a full meal (big burger chips etc) and a pint than it is to have a guinness in the sports bar in Leiden, and it’s a 12 minute walk away! 

Work.. is grim. Finally I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing but lack of sleep and a stupid set up there is impacting upon my performance. Stupid errors caused by lack of concentration might ultimately cost me. There is an argument that although the pay is good for the 4 day week, I’d be better off somewhere where the expenditure fiscally and timewise were less. But it would eat my Thursday and Friday..
And me? How am I doing?  I’ve adapted. Only once have I thought “I can’t do this” at work, and not once have I thought “I can’t do this” re: the whole being divorced and continuing. I’ve found support in places I expected, like the Giff and it’s music.. the energy it gives me, and made new friends there already. Greeted by name.. means something. Danny coming over and saying “It’s good to have you back.”.. means .something. Si and Emma going out of their way to include me.. means something. But I’ve found it from other things too. A friend at work talking time out to talk most days. An old friend resurfacing and the startlingly easy way that our interaction just slipped back to what it was. The walk to the local shopping place can be done down a scenic route much akin to my old walk to the shop… heck there’s even a real canal if I fancy it. As of yet.. no herons.. or Ringnecks.. but lots of hedgerow birds, finches, siskins, chiffcaffs etc.. I need to take the camera one day while the weather still holds.


I’ll not lie. I miss coming home to someone. I miss physical contact. I’m hugely tactile and being in a house alone, let alone a bed alone, is not something I’ve done since Bright Street in 1995! It’s strange. It has it’s own pleasures… l don’t have to justify the pint on the way home I had. I don’t need to buy a TV. I can play the 28 min version of Child in Time without hearing the silent protestations of “Hells teeth is this STILL the same song” (and that goes out to everyone i’ve lived with. lmao) but.. I miss closeness. Lonely isn’t the right word. It’s an absence of something I want. Not require… but want. And it’s very very rare I want .. anything. 
But for now, it is how it is. And it’s nowhere near as bad as what it could’ve been. And for that I thank me, you, and whoever rolled the dice that’s made it so. 

Alive and kicking

I’m aware that some of you will be thinking, “Simple Minds, Alistair? But.. you’re not plural!”, however… moving swiftly on…

Yes, I’m alive, and yes, I’m well, give or take the sort of muscle ache which comes with some serious usage of bits of me that had forgotten they are required when doing energetic stuff.  After a whopping 4 nights at the Myers residence I landed in Wolves with a bedsit and a job at Amazon. Never let it be said that I sit on my arse and mope. Wallowing is for hippos and pigs (peppa’d, peppered or otherwise!) and while I hear a rumour that there’s nothing quite like it for cooling the blood (possibly in combination with mud) I’m a single man! My blood has to be hot! Like a curry! Hang on no… the Flight of the Conchords analogy doesn’t work in this instance. Drat!

Anyway, so, I landed in Wolves on the Friday (18th), with two bags in tow as my worldly possessions, only to find that I can’t get into my new bachelor pad until 6.30pm, and I have… no sheets, no duvet, no cutlery, no… you get the idea! It was bereft of anything other than a desk, some draws and a wardrobe. So, I dump my things and using the gods of Google navigate to a reasonably new (i.e. it wasn’t here when I last lived here) shopping complex and buy a duvet, pillows, sheets etc only to emerge from the shop to find the light had died, my battery had died, and … within 100 meters of leaving the shop.. the handles on the bag had.. yes you guessed it.. died. Marvellous! 

However, I made it home.. and then promptly collapsed on the bed and zonked out, I believe the expression is. Saturday was going to (and did) consist of getting to Rugeley to Amazon for induction and I needed to be sprightly! How right I was! Getting there was a nightmare! First the bus driver had a personal issue and had to leave the bus! Then, google led me on a wild goose chase, making me walk for nearly 2 hours in the midday sun around the perimeter of Amazon to get to the entry point. Fortunately I like to get to places early to scout out where they are, but I arrived looking and feeling more than a little bedraggled. 

I suppose the rest is history. I’m working 4 on 3 off Sun-Wed 8-18.30, but travel is making an already long day into a veritable marathon. Leaving the house at 5.30am and returning at about 20.00 sucks, but needs must. The morning walk along the canal has been kind to me. As of yet, no rain and lots of wildlife. A water-vole gave me a surprise as they’re reasonably rare and being “BIP!!”ed at by territorial coots made me smile and remember the good things about living in Leiden, and then realise that maybe they’re transpose-able if you look in the right places. I even hear whispers of Ringnecks having made it this far north.

I still cry on occasion. Things get to me. I know what I’ve given up, the undertaking I’ve, well, undertaken! Leaving an easy way of life, and a pretty home, and let’s not forget, a wife who loved me unconditionally, to come to this : Hours of toil, a grotty bedsit, no-one to lay next to, cold mornings and evenings, barely a weeks worth of clothes, all to the back drop of the words to “Another suitcase in another hall” and a mind which ponders “Did i try hard enough? Did I give enough? Is this now what and who I am? A bastardised version of the man I want to be, defined by my own selfishness because of my own selfishness? And as I type.. my music decides to throw “Hurt” at me by NiN! Thanks for that. 

But I know all of the above passes. I know I should be, and for the most part AM proud of what I’ve done. In something like 19 days in the country I’ve secured a job and done 2 weeks and one half day of work, moved from Holland to Tony’s to Wolves and acquired accommodation here,  made new friends and caught up with old ones, partaken of real beer, real *coughs…. o.k. I’ll concede this is my version of real* Chinese and Indian food, and sat in the Giff, spending money earned by me, for me, and feeling home, and at peace. I was never at peace in Leiden. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: For me, there is something pernicious about the way of life there. I willfully ignored it for years but it didn’t ignore me. It ate at me. Leaving me bereft of anything other than anger and resentment. I’m free of that now, and the weight off my shoulders is literally allowing me to breath again easier. The chest pains have gone, the stress has been replaced with a different kind, but one which is manageable.  
And so it dawns on me. The basterdised version of me is not the me sat here, typing, but the me in Leiden. What I can at times perceive as selfish me, was in fact, my own self preservation instinct which in a last ditch effort to save me, gave me the strength to do this, before I was consumed utterly. The me sat here, is in recovery. Finding what was buried, rather than lost, and rediscovering it. I remember the person I was, waking every day bouncy, daft, jokey, irrespective of if I was due on a 12 hour night shift later, or cleaning a toilet in the Civic at 4.30am.

I’m healing. The cathartic therapy of a hard day lugging things about, mixed with support from Tony and Sadie, Paula, and the energy gifted me from the Giffard, will see me through. I’m not whole yet, but i’m no-longer broken. “Under construction” is probably accurate.

Which suggests… perhaps… at least for a while.. anyone venturing too close.. should wear a hard hat as a precaution. 

Wiseman out!

A pretty view of Paris and the Louvre

Paris, Reunion, and a general update

I seem to be perpetually starting my blogs apologising for the lack of posts. I really need to work on that!

So, what’s new with Wiseman? On the surface, nothing much. I have resisted the urge to slice and dice my hair, Leiden has gone from what was supposed to be summer, into an autumn that, if it were to be converted into a musical medium, would sound like a dirge played on an old, slightly out of tune, violin. Sure it has moments when “pretty” could be applied, but for the most, you just want it done and dusted. I kicked a few leaves up in homage to Julia on the way into town the other day, but other than that, Leiden and life remain unremarkable.

However, it has not all been like that since my last soliloquy. “Really?” I hear you cry, wild with anticipation of stories which positively dance within your unbridled enthusiasm for a good yarn to be gifted to you by these words i sculpt so lovingly. And, it is just so, for as the title implies, I have been out, and indeed about.

So, lets begin with Paris. Now, I have never really been one to believe all the stories extolled by people I’ve encountered, or indeed the various travel reviews hurled at me from my TV! I think from an early age, the line “I’ll be buggered if I’ll go to gay Paris” from the immortal Rowan and Angus cassette, has tapered my expectation into something not especially pleasant. However, the wifey had been promised Paris before, and never actually made it, and it was her birthday, so, off we trotted, on the bus! Silence your cries of derision good people, for this was no ordinary bus. This was a coach, with WiFi, which cost… €10! That’s right! Less than 2 pints of Speckled Hen, to get from Amsterdam to Paris… and back! You just can’t knock that, and so, it meant, we could throw in a little extra on the hotel. Groovy! Everyone’s a winner baby! (Etc etc.. insert joyous anecdotal phrase until appeased)  

A pretty view of Paris and the Louvre

To be fair, I have to say, Paris itself, was/is pretty. As cities go, it acquits itself admirably! It ticks all the boxes for monuments, views, museums and shopping, and was architecturally fun to browse, but alas, the people and the service and indeed the hotel, were all floating somewhere betwixt dire and poor. 4 evening meals I ordered, all of course without sauce, or cheese, or anything. Simple food for a simple kind of man. Hmm there’s a song in there somewhere!  And yet… each meal invariably came back wrong, and was sent back, and still came back wrong. I survived on cake and McDonalds, but it made mealtimes something to dread, rather than to look forward to. The only good that might have come out of it, is that maybe, just maybe, Esther gained some understanding as to why I hate eating out. “It’s like they’re doing it on purpose”, she stated. Now multiply 4 days by the last 30 odd years of my life Es, and you’ll get a rough idea what mealtimes are like for me. Thank you Mum and Dad for your legacy! But, enough of such digressions, the hotel… ah the hotel, my trip advisor review can be found HERE but suffice to say, tiny rooms, awful air conditioning, and generally no redeeming features. Hotel de la Porte Doree is the name of the establishment, and if you stumble across this blog, please, pick a different hotel! 

Heading up the arc de triomphe. Look from an angle and you can see the depth of the staircase

Still, overall, I actually enjoyed ambling around the city.  As mentioned there were some nice views, and I think for all of the issues with me, Esther enjoyed herself, which i guess was the point!

So, after returning, I had a school reunion to go to, along with a night in the Giffard in Wolves. I was not at all certain what to expect from a reunion. I was resigned to the fact that I would be the only guy there with  a pony tail, and my memories of school are not good. Bullies, band, and i’m told there were girls there too, though i don’t remember noticing many! Well.. maybe one or two. But i was young and naive back then. I’d’ve not known what to do with a woman when i was 16! “You still don’t”, I hear the skeptics among you shout, which I suppose I had coming. So, ensconced on a sofa in a pub I’m not that familiar with, I waited, having done a Sheldon and arrived at the exact time that the meet was supposed to happen. “At least I had a real pint of bitter”, I told myself, employing Rule 32: Enjoy the small things, and savouring the fact that I could get beer I actually like, at half the price of the rubbish back home! After a while a few faces appeared that I recognised, though it seemed sat where i was, no one had spotted me, so I bit the bullet and wandered over. 6 hours later I found myself stumbling out of a kareoke, suitably lubricated, having had one of the best nights I’d had in a long time, with a collection of people I’d’ve never imagined I’d survive an hour with! I guess we all grew up! I exorcised a couple of personal daemons that night, and I suppose, I got out of the night, exactly what I hoped for. Which, as they say, you can’t ask for any more from!

So then Wolves and the giff called. Caught up with an old friend beforehand who was, full of beans, I believe is the best expression, while trundling around the area in a double decker! Mr Silver, resident DJ, in his wisdom, had decided to bugger off to see the Beach Boys again, much like the last time I was floating around Wolves on the weekend, but, his stand in did us proud. Had a good waffle to Si, while sober and later when slightly more guninnessified! A good time was had by all and I headed back to Leiden on Su’s birthday, fully recharged.

So, that’s pretty much that. My search for a simple non-dress black shirt goes on, any everything else is as it probably should be. I will leave you, dear reader with a final picture!

Cor… i really was there!

Lessons learnt.

Ah I think I’ll be glad to see the back of this year. The trip to Crewe went, I believe the expression is, tits up. Having had a message from Mr Myers saying I wish you were here, flights were booked, hotel sorted, permission grated from milady *rolls eyes lol* and I was up up and away.

Flight was sound, as ever, and I hit Crewe before 12pm! I have to say that the Crewe Arms Hotel sucks. Anyone catching this blog by accident from a search for Crewe, grab a room at the Waverley instead.  After having asked several times when he was working I dropped my stuff at the hotel and took an amble into town, after having dropped a couple of mails and texts to say “I’m here”, albeit not in the voice of the little girl from poltergeist. I got a text back saying “I’ll ring you later”, so I assumed he was working and farted about in town. Good to catch up with Dave n Shaz, and Mchorny (Ric for clarification…. not someone from Greys Anatomy!!), and time passed, so I thought, lets take a plod over to Broad Street, tipping a hat to the old man as I walked past the grave yard accordingly. Got there…. no answer.

So, having killed the afternoon, and now presuming maybe he’s on 9-5 rather than my guessed 6-2, I head back to the hotel expecting a call as my battery is trying to die! Still no call, so eventually at about 10 am I head up to say Ello to young sir Richard at the corner bar, where some surreal conversation ensued. 

Now… the plan of attack as to have been, speak to Tony on the Thurs, then I’d prebooked a hotel in wolves, (two single beds.. we were always close but not THAT close),  and pay for him to have a night away from Crewe either Fri or Sat evening, depending on when he was working. But, with no call, no text, no email and no reply to any of my enquiries for when he was working, I got up and headed off to Wolves, thinking that, if needs be, the plan could still work. He’s bound to get in contact, and in truth at 20 quid for the room it was cheep enough for me to sod it off… and head back up to Crewe if needs be for the night. Still nothing. 

And so I went out. Actually I had a great time in the Giffard in Wolves, as I always do. A waffle to Tim, his lady, a swift chat about games with Riki, a chuckle with John about some idiot pulling his beard, Yeti being yeti.. etc etc. It was all good.

But none of that was the reason for me being there. Landing back at the hotel I was pretty pissed in every sense of the word and vented a little on the ever handy Facebook. As you do! After what happened in Sweden, the last thing I wanted was to have spent a shed load of cash on doing something for someone and ending up feeling screwed at the end of it, yet, that’s exactly what happened. Tony has always been unreliable. Hell we used to arrange to meet up as kids and you’d pick a time half an hour earlier than you needed it to accommodate him being 30 mins late lol. But this was no real laughing matter. 

I suppose the fact is, in the space of the last 6 months, we’ve offered to buy Tone a passport, offered to fly him out here, and then subsequently I’ve gone over there for this. All of the above have gone tits up, when, with 10% of the effort put in by myself, all of the above could’ve worked happily. 

Add to what I spent to go over last week, to what I spent in Sweden in an attempt to look after my sister cos she said she wanted me there, and it amounts to nearly a grand outlay, with nothing good coming out of it, and still not having received my trainers back from Sweden! I put my trust and faith in people, I try and come through for them and instead I get treated like shit. In this case I am reminded of when my dad died. Tony said he’d come with me, and bottled it on the day, simply opting to not turn up so I had to bury my dad on my own. A few months earlier, when his mother had died, I borrowed money to get to Crewe so I could support him. I was the only one of his friends who bothered. 

And so leaving I have had a garbled voice message and two missed calls from him, missed cos I was on a plane so that dates them the monday after I arrived on Thursday. I replied to a text, but again, have heard nothing back. Such is life. 

The one positive I got from the whole thing, was that I got to spend an afternoon with David. Football in the shed, some food, and a good 3 hours of waffle. It was good to see him. Grown up, self sufficient, and far too much in mannerisms at times like a lad I used to know a few years back who looked a lot like me.  lol hmmm!

And so back to Holland I returned. Xmas was a snot soaked affair, colds all round. New Year approaches fast and I am pleased to see the back of this one. I’ve lost my sister, and the person I suppose I’ve always thought of as my best friend since I was 5. Next year needs to be better. Hammer the weights, actually put some effort into learning some Dutch maybe, and properly construct this book I’ve been talking about for years now. I suppose another tie has been broken to the Uk with all this, and I really hope he comes through this stronger, but my responsibility is to me and Esther, and I need to be chopping out of my world things which leave me in situations like last week. 

So, here’s to next year people. Slainte Mhath!

Travelling again!

Well I’ve neglected this for a while now… mostly due to being mildly fuming regarding my visit to Sweden and not having enough self control to bite my tongue while writing!! However, time has passed and although being still minus trainers AND money owed, I can at least refrain from wanting to get on a plane and strangle my sister. I don’t like being used. I don’t like being treated like shit, but I guess even from the day I landed there I knew it was only going to end badly. One day I will trust my instincts over my sense of loyalty, although last time I did that a mate ended up with a mangled nose. 

So what’s new? Well, I’m flying again, this time over to Crewe and then Wolves for a few days. It’s a pain to be such a distance from people but on the other hand it is good that the facility to just get on a plane is available. Quite how Esther puts up with me I don’t know! My last trip being Sweden, I have to hope that this one turns out more positive. I don’t mind the travel but the fall out and cost of Sweden can not be allowed to be repeated. However, some things require a friend to appear. Wolves will also be fun. The Giffard is always a good chuckle, and a return to the Shed could prove entertaining too. Booked a hotel with two single beds, so may manage to lure Mr Myers out of Crewe for a beer. If not… I’ll push the beds together and spread out! lol

Other than that… Download is booked. We’re going camping! Metallica and Black Sabbath and Prodigy, oh yes! Should be a giggle. 5 days in a field. Danny will be there too… so that just adds to chuckle that will ensue. No vegas for us next year.. but looking on including Ireland as a starting point before Download, and maybe heading north (or south) afterwards. All ways round it’ll be cheeper than Vegas lol… and with the expenses of the year just gone, who knows… Vegas at xmas 2012? lol 

Right.. woman on bus home.. so I should tidy!