You find me stranded in the Herefordian outback, a long, long way from civilisation, broadband and mobile phone signals. The only way out of here is by donkey and trap (due to the passing of a law last month aimed at helping alleviate the pressure on the local donkey sanctury …which is now empty, resulting in permenant residency being the only option for those of us still here). Passport control, which can be found all around the rim of this picturesque valley, demand that anyone entering strips themselves of their Levis and Gap sweatshirts, and replaces them with calf-length hesian sacks. The electric supply comes and goes; Channel 5 is not available, although I’m unsure as to whether or not this is something to be upset about.
Mum and dad are being remarkably tolerant. I find being around people with high-anxiety levels immensly stressful, and unfortunately, when I am comfortably familiar with such people, my reaction tends to be one of avoiding-eye-contact-and-running-away. I don’t feel good about having permenant PMT. It’s not all bad though; dad and I spent a very constructive day together in the back garden, smashing up concrete, digging a trench and pouring concrete in it. The foundations for the mini-extension have been laid. I had promised them that I’d help all week, but the kanji are pressing: I’m up to about 1850 now, and want to cover the remaining 200 before my MacBook arrives, as I know after then I’ll have trouble concentrating! It’s been terrible this week, cranking up the old pay-as-you-go dialup internet connection 3 times a day to track the package as it makes its way from Shanghai. Apparently, it left China at the weekend, although checking the status today it sems to have decided that it didn’t like the West, as the “Truck has arrived at final destination: Shanghai”. The delay in delivery really is a blessing though, as it means I can concentrate on my studies. Heaven help me, I really am Gadget Boy.
I can’t quite get over what a busy social life the folks have. They seem to be invited out almost every day of the week. Mind you, they don’t always make it. A couple of weeks ago dad borrowed a book from the local vicar, and it was agreed that he would return this important hardback last Friday night, when he and mother joined said vicar and husband for drinks and nibbles. Friday night came, dad went swimming, mum watched a film – they clean forgot. The following morning a phone call came through from a rather agitated vicar, wondering what had happened to my parents, and when the book, vital for her sermon the following day, would be returned. Dad, being somewhat like his youngest son, was mortified at having let them down and causing such bother. Thus, he immidiately jumped in the car and drove to the vicarage. He rang the doorbell, got down on his knees, and put his hands together in the manner of one asking for the Father’s forgiveness.
The door opened.
It wasn’t the vicar.
It was the vicar’s husband who was not in the least bit amused, having cancelled an engagement the night before specifically for my parent’s benefit. Dad tried to weedle his way out of the horrendously embarrasing situation through the employment of humour. Vicar’s husband remained fuming. Father left quickly.
That wasn’t the only incient of its kind of late. Three weeks ago dad forgot to go to the Much Dewchurch Gardening Club AGM, despite the fact that he was the only one who had been put forward in the committee elections to be held that night for the position of Chairman. He was informed on the phone the following day that the entire club had waited about twenty minutes for him to turn up, before voting him in as Chairman in his absence.
Tonight they’re off at a BBQ down the road, and will no doubt return rather drunk. As lomg as they don’t try anything funny whilst I’m in the house. There may be two walls between my room and theirs, but sound does travel.
In I’m-Going-To-Japan-in-OH-SHIT-12-days news, I can report that everything seems to be proceeding smoothly. All paperwork is now in place, still waiting for confirmation on housing though, and haven’t yet figured out how to distract the air-hostesses in order to gain entry to the mile-high club yet. Textbooks are in the post. I hope all the money I sent to my Japanese bank appears on the screen of the ATM when I get there. Recording has begun for AYearInJapan.com (the podcast), and the website / feeds are almost complete. I’ll be adding an email notification service to it as soon as I get back onto the internet proper. I’ve had a bit of feedback from a couple of folks in the year below me at uni, both of whom have just spent the summer WWOOFing in Japan. Their reports are pretty positive, and I’ll be meeting up with one of them upon my arrival in Tokyo; have to find the loyal mumbler a shag before he returns to the UK mid-September. He needs to know about the extra muscle.
Spent the weekend with *Twinkle* who has now finished her 14,000 word dissertation on intercultural marriage. Boy oh boy was it great to be with her when neither of us were stressed. Caw blimey I’m a lucky lad, despite being the target of silent abuse by her neighbours. Probably. In addition to proof-reading and ‘appreciating one another’, we spent a fascinating evening learning about the huge benefits of financial cooperation, something that had never even occured to me before. We also had an equisite Sunday lunch with someone towards whom I will always feel utterly indebted (identity withheld for reasons involving an olympic swimmer’s bid to represent England in 2012).
My little sis visited yesterday with my two well-groovy nephews. I was mighty proud of Jamie, now almost three years old, when he marched into the bathroom where I was washing concrete off my hands, and proceeded to do a proper grown-up wee standing in front of the loo. I wasn’t so impressed when he later wee’d on a chair in front of me, but I suppose it was my fault for being so funny. He’s really talking now, which is well groovy. Conversations about socialism and all. Amazing. Edward, at 15 months-ish, is also ultra-coolio, with his scowls, co-ordination and chucking matchbox cars on the floor. Jessie’s going to be getting broadband soon too, which means video chats with my nephews from nippon! I look forward to the day that *Twinkle* and I have children. As long as it’s not for another 5 years.
So yeah, life is good.
Anyway, food is calling. Till next time