Well I’m well and truly back in the big schmoke and have been for about three weeks. How do I feel? Well can be honest? SHIT SCARED! and basically not sorting anything out. I’ll explain from when I arrived back in December, and how strange the whole experience was. I got off the plane and was collected by E and N in E’s new blacked out Range Rover Vogue. Nothing changes! Except the car! The recession seems a distant world away. Is there really one going on?. I’ve missed E desperately whilst away and have vowed to let him organise my return shenanigans. I’m being whisked to Shropshire for the weekend and have been told that it’ll be just two of us. I’m sort of looking forward to this, because it all just feels so weird being back, and I’m not sure how I’ll cope with all my friends at once.
A number of things become clear over the weekend I spend in relative seclusion, in the deepest darkest corner of Shropshire, away from the maddening crowd. I’m staying with girlfriend S, in Barnes on my return, as my lovely flat is still rented out to my two flat mates. I’ve unfortunately come back to WW3 going on in the flat, and decide to put off the flat visit till next week. I just can’t cope with two friends who hate each other so much they aren’t talking. Who gets to that point? So it’s Friday morning and E and I set off once again the Range Rover with Pet heading west to Shropshire. We fly out of London and along the M40, past High Wycombe, through the ‘gash’, past the dreaming spires of Oxford. E takes a number of work related calls along the way, which I don’t worry about. He’s already explained that he’d tried to gather a gaggle of girls and mates who would have liked to come along for the weekend, but it’s the second last weekend before Christmas, and everyone is busy with parties and family stuff. There is a change of plan about lunch all of a sudden, and E suggests we stop at the pub after we’ve left the motorway in Shropshire. A light-bite of fish and chips, a pint for E a tasty bloody mary for me. Back on route we decide to stop into Much Wenlock, to pop to the butchers to get some dinner. E says we need four steaks (he’s feeling hungry)…I’m the most gullible person ever. Not a hint of suspicion. I can’t tell what a strange experience it is, standing in a village butchers in a queue of about six old fogies. They’re all in there, ordering their Christmas fare, turkeys, ducks, rolled beef joints, black pudding, sausages, bacon, pigs livers and chickens. I’m freezing and waiting my turn. “Ten rashers of smoked bacon and four sirloin steaks please”. I run back to the car and we head off. Finally we’re turning into the familiar drive and up towards the house. I open the gate over the cattle-grid, we glide past the duck pond with E's floating duck house (which has remained un-ducked since he built it, something to do with it not being moored). We stop at the front of the house and E rushes round the back to let us in. Again I notice nothing strange. There is a short delay. The front door opens and I drag myself, and bags into the house. It’s freezing. E wants me to see some new additions to the house upstairs. Some beautiful chandeliers from the Oratory (opposite Brompton Oratory), E and J's local restaurant, it has now closed. The Venetian glass sparkles in the winter light coming in through the attic windows. E opens the door to his bedroom, there acting as if it’s totally normal are S and R sprawled on the bed!! It’s a surprise! I’m totally gob smacked. I had no idea?! What a fool, four steaks indeed. Apparently the girls had left in the morning, but forgotten to leave S’s son’s clothing bag with the dad. So had gotten half way down the motorway towards shrop, when they had to turn back. This was the work call E had taken whilst we were driving. Which is also why we’d done the surprise lunch. It’s a fab surprise and I’m very happy to have such great mates. I am officially a dumb blonde.
The weekend turns into a total bender. After some dinner and lots of wine the night really kicks off with the fancy dress, more wine and beer than you can shake a stick at. We have a lack of ipod so we end up in the Christmas shed (flashing Santa’s sled and reindeer mean it’s always Christmas in the shed!). We have two gas heaters and my lap-top listening to classic old school. In, out, up, down, dancing badly to old school, and doing what we like best, which is more drinking and missions like E taking me to the loo in the potting shed, where he has hold me like a child so that I can pee into the gutter. I’m 34 years old. Why I don’t use the loo in the house is anybodies guess? Finally I slither into bed. The girls are neatly tucked up up in the spare room under about a ton of fancy dress, curly Cher wigs, and Tammy Wynette white tasselled leather jackets.
I have a hideous hangover. Which turns into Esther's thirsty lunch, I'm so thirsty I end up drinking about six pints of water. E reminds me of Leah Betts. I have to go to the loo to be sick, I’ve drunk too much water. The pub has been sympathetically restored since it flooded last year. No more pink ladies loo. Manage one mouthful of my lunch. Rather disappointed. God I feel too weird. The house behind the pub has not been knocked down. During the floods it fell down. It split in two and half fell away into the river. Leaving a perfectly preserved 60’s bedroom on the first floor exposed and in view of all traffic coming into Ludlow. The bed was all made up with a frilly bedspread and the pictures were still hanging on the flowery wall paper. Hilarious, and desperately sad all at the same time. The couple who the house belonged to, didn't have any insurance. We cut our losses and head into town to meet up with A and W. They’re in the Thai bar further into town. We head up the road past Zany Lady and the Feathers to meet up. We pass a brand new very cool shop called Material, which we pop into later. A and W are very well, and it’s lovely to see them. They will be joining us later for dinner. A quick drink, another pint of water for me. OMG what is going on with me? A fantastic book by Charlie Harper, which I covet. Red wine in glasses the size of double FF boobs. Speaking of boobs, A is all new and svelte! She looks amazing.
We head back to the house. S and R have driven the Boxter to Leominster to a thrift shop. They get back just after us, and have bought some very cool stuff. The party gets started. There is fancy dress in every corner of the house (from the night before). So you cannot escape the temptation of: leather chaps, gold hot pants, punk trousers, mermaid wigs, pirate trousers, tattoo sleeves, Elvis trousers, nuns whimples, the list is endless. Delicious dinner. The disco. Stumbling up and down the stairs of the basement. The Chinese paper lanterns we light and let fly into the night sky. A few crash and burn. We all end up in the front room, I live in the RAB puffa jacket that’s been up Aconcagua, it’s so cold. Finally I head to bed. I feel really ill, but have had a brilliant weekend…my friends have broken me in Shropshire. THANK YOU :o) !!
So I’ve been neglecting my duties and haven’t put finger to keyboard for too long. What have I been doing? Well exactly?! Back in London I have a few issues I need to sort out. I have the flat situation. Seeing M is very emotional after all this time. Last time seen = very hung over on way to airport in Buenos Aires in March! We end up going out, David D is playing in the east end I want to go. We head over and spend a cool evening rocking to his music. Then as a finale we end up in Favela Chic on Old Street and round the evening off with a last wasted boogie. Two guys approach us as the lights come on and ask if we want to join them at an after party? We’re too drunk so say no, but I exchange numbers with Will, who is apparently a brain surgeon?! M asks him for ID! Obviously he doesn’t have any.
I get over the hedonistic blur that pre Christmas London is, and head to Brussels for a reunion with the parents and sister. How lovely to be home. I love seeing mum and dad and S. God I’ve missed them. Wonderful Christmas, even the disastrous Christmas lunch of bleeding rib of beef, which has to be put back in the over for half an hour, warms the cockles of my heart. Then a ridiculous Danish Boxing day, where we drink far too much (pattern emerging?!). We all wake to monstrous hangovers. Which then turn into some kind of tummy bug. M and D are struck down and are properly poorly. I seem OK. Guts of steel from travelling? The imminent departure to the snow is delayed by a day, so we head down to Switzerland in the A6 on the Monday after Christmas. A neat 8 hour drive. Me sitting in the back feeling right at home. I love long car journeys? Why? There is tonnes of snow in the Alps and I love being here. The flat is its normal cosy self and we spend a super few days snowboarding and farting about. I head down to Geneva to see P and M for New Year. A fantastic gourmet knees up! I have a week back at home in Brussels to sort my head out, before I head back to blighty and my flat.
The thing which becomes apparent in this first month of being home: ON THE WAGON for me, welcome to sober 2009...
Hair report: Curly Cher or Stanley punk
I've missed my friends, I love them very much.
I'm still living out of a bag.
I seem incapable of hanging clothes in a wardrobe.
DOUBLE BED in my own room.
Bath Bath Bath.
Can't cook anymore.
Head lice from India (don't ask)
esthersroom on its way.