25 March 2008
Apparently we're supposed to be heading in to Spring, but this weekend not only did we have rain, hail and freezing cold wind, but it actually snowed! You'd think this would quite quaint and romantic but it wasn't. It was horrible, face-stinging, eye-blurring frozen rain. Ave, London!
On Thursday night I went out on the town with the lads. We went to Café Kick which is a foosball bar in Fo'Sho'Ditch and looks like some dude's basement, which just added to the allure. Then it was off to a Czech bar for shots of some weird cloves-based liquour which was actually quite nice in a medicinal kind of way. I kid you not, the bottle had a warning label which read: "Chiggedy-Czech yourself before you riggedy-wreck yourself." We talked long in to the night about all those things that sensitive educated men talk about, and arrived at the consensus that Paris is not, despite popular opinion, all about art and culture and romance and cusine and wine...Paris is, in fact, all about the arse-fucking. All in all a top night out, so hugs and smooches to Dr Phil Well'Ard for organising it. And if nothing else it gave me a chance to try out my new "Ernest Hemmingway meets the Fonz" look of jeans, black turtle neck and leather coat. Stylin'! Everybody thought so…
I went out to the moofies on Saturday night to see 'The Orphanage', a Spanish horror flick which was pretty good but very reminiscent of a number of similar recent movies: spooky location with a troubled past, strange events, creepy kids, crazy mum, exasperated dad, sceptical cops. So it was enjoyable in the sense that it delivered all the requisite chills and thrills but disappointing in the sense that you came away feeling like you'd been manipulated and had seen it all before. Mind you, even the worst of eurpoean cinema is still arse-loads better than the best Hollywood can offer up most days so worth the money at the very least.
When I got home I stashed some easter eggs in the kitchen for my flatmate Sarah and left her a note from the Easter Bilby under her Easter Tree, which is a German tradition or so I understand. She spray-painted some twigs silver the other night (which meant that all through the house we were chroming by proxy) and decorated them with some traditional easter trinkets and placed easter eggs underneath. I think I may have stolen her thunder somewhat as she was planning on stashing easter eggs as well, but she got me a Toblerone easter egg and made a wicked Sunday lunch of 7-hour slow-roasted lamb which we devoured with much gusto and red wine throughout the afternoon. Happy Birthday, Baby Jeebus!
Monday started off bright and early (which means not at all bright and way too early) at Marylebone train station where I met Dr Phil and the lovely Julie to go hiking in the English countryside. We took a train out to Buckinghamshire where we set off on a 10 mile walk through hills and fields in fairly attrocious weather with high hopes of using the word 'quaint' with annoying frequency. Of course the first thing you must do when setting out on such a venture as this is to pretend you're in an elite army unit and come up with nicknames for each other. I was Skippy, master of espionage and infiltration with a plentiful supply of Toblerone; Julie was Snowy with her amazing transforming mitten technology, who was either communications or demolitions expert, we could never remember which; and Phil was Chuck Slavakia our megalomaniacal leader with a 'Nam complex and a scary black thermos called 'The Sodomiser'. It was very muddy and the going was quite rugged in places, but that just made us feel more outdoorsy and legit as we were required to actually hike, unlike many of our fellow townies or 'bitch-hikers' who stuck to the flat ground and well-marked trails. The weather was quite erratic – sometimes snowing, sometimes raining, sometimes windy – which only served to enhance the mood of collective suffering and bon homie, and increased the calibre of the puns no end. It was a veritable pun-fest as we plumbed the depths of stile jokes which peaked with the creation of the imaginary head of the Stile Maintenance Department, a stern fastidious German man called Herr Stile. All in all we traipsed and trekked and traversed for about 5 hours before we managed to find a pub, and we only had to ask for directions twice. At one point we were walking through this quaint little village and were drawn to a public notice board outside a church. There was a notice pinned to it entitled "Spate of Burglaries!" and went on to detail about 5 incidents (does that qualify as a spate?) committed in recent weeks by "thieving scum" which mainly involved the theft of box mowers, candlesticks and lightning conductors whilst the owners were upstairs watching Deal or No Deal and the plucky intruders cut a hole in the side of the house: "The residents heard a noise but thought it was the wind." We checked out the notice board in the next town but there wasn't nearly anything as exciting: just an ad from the local general store about a sale on box mowers, candlesticks and lightning conductors.
It was a really awesome day, a little bit random and not at all what I was expecting, made all the more enjoyable for the company of my truly excellent companions. It's nice to do something you normally wouldn't and discover you like it, particularly when you're thoroughly shagged afterwards and feel like you've accomplished something other than eating easter eggs and watching dvds. I'm looking forward to our next outing which, at my insistence, is going to cut out the middle man and be a walking tour of country pubs.