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)
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!