Saturday 24 August 2002

The Adventures of Richard the Second

I was woken this morning by frantic ringing of the doorbell and knocking on the front door. I wasn't going to answer it because I could hear Richard's music on loud. I thought he was just being lazy, or couldn't hear the door. Eventually, I got up and, to my surprise, found McCaig at the door, eager to see "Whalen" i.e. Richard. I didn't know where he was because I didn't hear either of them come in last night after they had been out on the town. It turns out poor McCaig got separated from Richard during the night and couldn't find him again. Having only been here for two days, he didn't know his way around; he didn't even know our phone number, let alone which street we lived on or the area of town that we stay in. He walked around from 1.30am till 10.30am trying to find our house. He knew that a no. 17 tram would take him to our "platz", but he got on one in the wrong direction, which took him out to Nymphenberg, which is a big palace at the other side of the city. In the end, he found his way here, but not without getting some serious blisters on his feet.

We found Richard asleep in Sandy's bed; the music was on because the stereo had been set as a wake-up alarm. (Richard and McCaig were supposed to be sleeping in the living room.) Richard was soon woken up because McCaig wanted to find out what had happened last night. Richard had got mogered and had wandered out of the pub, but didn't come back. Apparently, he had downed four pints of Guinness, one after the other, and had got into one of his stupid drunken moods. He can remember asking people to punch him: that would explain the fat face and black eye that he had.

I give McCaig a lot of credit for managing to find his way home in a foreign country. He should get an alternative Duke of Edinburgh's Award. The skills he demonstrated were a lot more relevant to today's youth than being able to carry a tent across a moor at night, pitch it and sleep in it. Maybe I should write a suggestion letter to Buckingham Palace...

Laura phoned in reply to my text message, asking her to call me when she was free so that I could wish her a happy 22nd birthday. I passed her on to Richard when I was done, but he accidentally hung up as I gave him the phone. He then pressed redial, or the first number that showed up on the phone, and ended up calling Moira at Vernon's house, who Laura was just about to call to enquire about whether Moira was going to come down to see her. So I sent Laura another text message to explain that mess-up.

Laura was well-chuffed that Dog was home; so was her flatmate, Vicci, who has never even met Dog. Sandy had noticed too that he was home and mentioned it to me just before he went off to bed.

I wrote a letter to Kara today and popped down to the post office to send that off, as well as one of Laura's birthday cards from Tom and Nancy, who had mistakenly assumed that she would be staying here instead of in Brighton. Speaking of which, Laura has just moved into her new flat above the pub. I'll probably see her there between the time when I come back from the U21s rugby tour and the start of Freshers' Week in Oxford.

I went to rugby training again. It was quite hard work, but the fitness stuff will do me good, especially the twelve 50m sprints, followed by two 100m sprints. The warm-up was quite long too, and sure got me sweating. It took ages for my schnitzel to arrive in the clubhouse afterwards, and I have tasted better too. Got home quite late: after 11pm. On my way home, I paused on Leopoldstrasse for a Strawberry Häagen Dazs milkshake, costing 5 Euros. Just like the $5 shake from Jack Rabbit Slim's in Pulp Fiction, it was a fucking good milkshake.

Watched Menace II Society when I got back in. The two Richard's had hired out some more videos, all of which I had seen before. I only got the time to see the first 20 minutes or so of M2S before I had to get ready to leave for rugby training. It's a good film: the screenplay is smooth, the dialogue very naturally delivered (as much as I know about black ghetto culture) and it ends in predictable tragedy. Tragedy is all the more emotive when it seems inevitable.

I had a missed call on my mobile while I was out. It's a good job that I missed it because it would have cost me 60p per minute to receive it here in Germany. Roving with with a pay-as-you-go phone just doesn't add up. I tried calling the number back from the house phone, but I couldn't get through. I'll try again tomorrow. I don't recognise the number. I wonder who it could be.

Gregory left for Italy this evening. He's going on holiday with some of his German friends to the same place that he went last year. I hope it does him as much good as last year's experience did.

Thursday 22 August 2002


Felt a bit stiff this morning after yesterday's rugby training, so I took a 45-minute cycle ride and then had a bath. Went to the post office to buy a stamp for that returned letter. I accidentally said 41 pfennig instead of cents, but the guy behind the counter still knew what I was talking about. That always happens when I try to rehearse what I'm going to say. Bought some toiletries and got some lunch from the baker's.

Had pizza for dinner because Sandy and Gregory were going out to the cinema to see About A Boy, which Richard and I have already seen. (Sandy didn't enjoy it, but I thought it was Hugh Grant's strongest performance so far. It was a shame that the film cut out most of Ellie's character; she was the best thing about the book, reminding me a lot of my sister, Laura, who turns 22 tomorrow.)

Went out to the Englischer Garten with Richard and McCaig after dinner to play frisbee and then have a drink at the beer garden underneath the Chinesische Turm. We finished off by playing this game where we stood in a triangle and had to stay still without flinching while one guy tried to hit the other guy with the frisbee. (We've been watching way too much Jackass, methinks.)

The guy who injured himself at rugby yesterday actually did break his leg. He has already had to pay 2000 Euros for his treatment, so our coach has suggested that we have a whip round to help him out. I'll probably contribute about 20 Euros.

Bonus notches, me amigos.

The Sensible One

Weird dream this morning, and not a very nice one at that. I was in an exam at school and was constantly distracted. I had two essay questions to answer in an hour and, half-way through, I had written nothing. I was raging. Whenever I dream about school, there's always a mix of all the people who I ever went to school with, from different schools and at different ages, all in the same class.

Got up around 3pm. It could have been earlier if I had got out of bed after the bad exam dream, but I went back to sleep to see what would happen. I was in another class, watching my first crush (Caroline) pilfer pencils from some kid who came round all the classes asking people to sign up for something or other. She signed up, but kept the pencil. It was one of those orange ones with the gold tip for the rubber on the end. (Methinks she used to have one of them when I sat next to her in primary school.)

I was going to go out to do some bitty shopping today: toiletries, stamps (for the letter which has been sent back to me twice now because it doesn't have enough postage on it), and to take the videos back from last night. It started pishing it down with rain, however, so I took, as they say, a raincheck.

When Richard arrived with his friend McCaig (pronounced McKay-g, but spelt ::?::, who is also called Richard), Richard (that's my brother) gave me a parcel that had arrived for me in the post. I was stoked because I knew it would be my long-lost Dog, who had been on holiday in America at my ex-girlfriend's house for almost two years to the day. I also got some other stuff back, including my beloved Ayr United top. (Just you watch the Honest Men storm up the league, now that I'm wearing my lucky top every superstitious Saturday!) She can still be a top gal, can my KBO, when she tries. Alas for her taste in men these days!

Went to rugby training and got through a rather tough fitness gruel without spewing my ring. I felt like choking chunks at times, but declined to partake in barforamic grass decorating. Some poor bastard snapped a ligament or tendon or summink right at the end of the sesh when we were playing rugby league. I was right next to him when he did it (though it wasn't my fault). It went "smack" and must have been a tad painful. It will hurt his pockets worse than his legs, however, as I am led to believe that he didn't have medical insurance, which puts him in big doo-doo in this country (Germany).

I was talking to a Zimbabwean guy called Chris (great name) after training, while I was eating my schnitzel and chips and drinking my spezi. He told me about what it's like for the white people in Zimbabwe, but he feels sorry for the black people because they are the ones who go hungry. Mugabe gives all the land that he reclaims from the white farmers to his cronies, who keep all the profits and produce to themselves. Some of the white farmers actually paid for the land that they farm on and did not just inherit it from their colonial ancestors. To be eligible to buy their land in the mid-eighties, they had to rescind their British passport and pay for the land at the going, commerical rate, so now that they are in trouble and need to leave the country, they can't come to the UK because of our shitty asylum laws. It's a bunch of fubar.

Watched another Eddie Murphy stand-up video called "Raw", which he did two years later than the one we saw last night. He did a nifty impression of Bill Cosby. His stand-up is so much better than his films, although Coming to America was kinda cool.

I'm off to sleep with my darling Dog by my side for the first time in over 730 nights. Seeyallsoon.

Wednesday 21 August 2002

Mr Grumpy

2pm was a little better today. Watched Billy Connolly for breakfast: always a good way to start the day. Then Sandy came home from work and was in a bad mood. He hadn't slept well the night before, his bike wheel wasn't ready because the people in the shop were still waiting for a part, he came home from work early and wanted an early dinner because he had work to do, and, to make things worse, we hadn't emptied the dishwasher! ::Oh no!:: He said, "Haven't you got hands?!", which I thought was a rather clumsy observation. (I declined to point that out to him, however.) I avoided him by putting out the washing to dry (which I should have done before he came home) and then had a shower and got dressed in time for dinner.

Richard and I went to the video shop in the evening. We got out a weird-ass film called Gummo, by the same director who made Kids. ("I have no legs...") This one was a bit too weird and fucked up. Sandy might have enjoyed it, however, because they went around killing cats. The other video we got was an Eddie Murphy stand-up gig in Washington D.C. in 1983 called "Delirious". Methinks Richard enjoyed his other one, "Raw", more.

I'm going rugby training (if I'm up in time for 5.30pm) tomorrow. I won't be surprised if I puke. I have a tendency to do thus during my first proper fitness session of the new season. (I wonder if I'll see any carrots...)

Monday 19 August 2002

Can't Get No Credit

A strange one today: woke up after 5pm. A bit bewildered throughout the day. Didn't do much as a result. Barbecued for dinner. Sandy accused me of being lazy for not wanting to cook the barbecue (I did it anyway). Little did he know that earlier in the day, as well as hang the washing out to dry, I had put the clean dishes from the dishwasher back in the cupboard and fetched up all the drinks from the cellar to restock the fridge. Even though he was quite justified (I really couldn't be bothered helping out before dinner), it still put me in a sulky mood. I dropped a beef burger from the grill and spilt most of my Coke while I was cooking, but at least our friendly hedgehog, Tim (because he's so timid), will have a nice midnight feast.

Sunday 18 August 2002


Woke up in time for lunch today. Richard was too tired to do our weights session together. We'll do it tomorrow. Began reading Empson, as I had planned.

Moira left for the UK to look after her brother, Vernon, who has just been in a nasty car crash: he joined the motorway in the wrong direction and swerved off the road to avoid the oncoming traffic. Both him, Dawn and the girls all have broken bones. Anyhews, so she'll be gone for another week. Sandy's back at work tomorrow.

Watched the special features on my Stand By Me DVD. It's such a great film; a real coming of age story; supremely acted, cast, directed and put together. It was a real bargain at only GBP 6.80. Tried to watch Wag the Dog with Richard, but the DVD kept skipping, which got really annoying after a while, so we gave up.

The best thing today was talking to Gregory after dinner; or to be more precise, I was asking all the questions. He had been drinking beer since breakfast time, so he was far more talkative than usual. I found out that he's going back to Scotland in September to complete the fourth and final year of his Film and Media Studies degree at Stirling. He's more concerned with the American Football, however, which he really got into last year. He's meeting his old buddy, Gunnar, in Belgium, and then they are driving over to Scotland together from there.

Don't really have too much of note to report, other than that. Book and bed, methinks.

First Forays into Blogs

Today I slept in again. It's nice being on holiday, methinks. Didn't have too bad a phlegm attack this morning, so I had no reason to get up straight away to "wash this [gunk] down with a tasty beverage". Methinks I was first woken by my brother, Richard (or the sounds himof), taking out the recycling. I had agreed yesterday to help him, but as I was still in bed, he didn't disturb me: shame. He was getting the house ready for the return of my parents from their fortnight's holiday in Alsace (where they make Alsatian dogs, although that's no way to talk about their mother-in-laws). I've done my fair share of house work this week (well, clearing the dishwasher twice and doing a load of washing), whereas my other brother, Gregory, has done Jacques Merde. I bedlogged the first part of the day, reading Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue. Had a lazy brekky, and was just having a shave (electric variety) and about to pop in the doosh when my parents arrived (at 4pm-ish). (They always seem to come back from wherever when I'm in the bathroom, making me feel rude for ignoring them till I make myself decent.) Anyhews, then had shower and joined them for a late lunch, for which I'm never much in the mood. German food always tastes so bland. I had some Alsatian cake and Coke, though. Not one dog hair did I have in my mouth afterwards - a tribute to Rhine Valley baking. Although, perhaps, they could have removed some of the dog bones...

Then took a scursy into toon avec Vater with the hired auto. He filled it with petrol, which seems to be a bit cheaper over here than in the UK, not that I'm a hydrocarbon connoisseur (yes, I did have to look that one up, at this time of night). 'Tis a bit strange driving in Munich; we usually bus-tram-train it everywhere. The roads are pooty cool, though: very wide and smoove. Got the paper at Hauptbahnhof (Hbf - a rather nifty abbreviation): the central train station. Shootleboosed it home i.e. used the tram. Sandy (that's my father) likes to call it thus. I suppose because it shootles (shakes) as it crosses over the tracks. Although, the tramtracks also make the nice German car wheels, with smooth suspension, go shootle as they cross over them at carfax junctions. It's especially pleasing at night-time, whilst in a 4am taxi back from the double-feature at the English Cinema, when the big wide streets are empty and the blackness is cosy.

Back at the ranch, we were just in time for the important matches on Ran Sat. 1 (the Bundesliga highlights programme). Bayern won by some silly margin like 6-2. Ayr United, while I'm on the subject, beat Ross County 2-1 at Somerset Park today. Rather a bonus result, as Ross had started the season undefeated and Ayr had started the season unvictorious. Dayum: we even lost 3-0 to Dumbarton in midweek, for the sake of the son of whom some people consider to be the Almighty!

More book on the sofa before dinner: mingin' Schnitzel and chips, which used to be my favourite meal. It wasn't mingin' - just not as good as it used to be. (All part of mother Moira's menopausal lack of confidence, and my changing tastes.) Tea always does the trick afterwards, though. I'm getting more thirsty too: sometimes I need two cups in a row before I'm satiated. I can drink a mug of our guyses faster than anyone else I know. Hmm...

More reading, then I was kicked off to bed, so that Richard could sleep on the couch. Finished my book. Will start on William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity next. Looked up this blogging thing on the Guardian website. Don't know what drove me to it. Does seem kinda geeky, but I did keep a diary/journal when I was younger. It never had personal stuff in it, unless it was very encrypted. ("Someone very special" still doesn't know who she is, although my affections have since been focused on other girls, one of whom broke by heart so badly that I'm still trying to recover from it today, KBO. She was the first - and only one so far. The current infatuation is aware but not interested. I'm trying not to think about her [hello, Si!], and it helps, but the only way I will get over her properly - that could be a double entendre, I don't know...I might need to hear it a second time - is to fall for someone else.) I was wanting to write an email to one of my friends tonight, but my Inbox was empty. I don't like that feeling, especially if I have made the effort to write to people in the days preceding. (I have this nifty wee postcard, which I got free from a restaurant here in Munich, which looks like a pop-up warning message that you get on computers; it says, "You have no email, you have no friends, you have no life" and then there's a wee button at the bottom that says "Panic" on it. Not bad for the German (non)sense of humour.)

Anyhews, I've started blogging and if you've started reading this, then yaboosacks! (I'll send a brownie - not a young girl Guide, but a ten pound note) to anyone who can tell me where "yaboosacks" comes from. It must be the same source that I got it from as a kid. Thanks, Nani. You gave me my beloved Dog too - more about whom, you will no doubt find out as time slithers on.) I'm off to bedsted now maybe to do a bit of reading and most probs a bit of sleeping.

Oh, as this is a blog, I suppose that I had better give you peeps a peep at a Thomas Cook=hook, line and sink=link, shouldn't I? I came across this in a book called Doing English, which I finished a couple of days ago. The context was about cultural and moral differences, methinks. I'm on the side of the Indians, myself. Read about Kennewick Man.

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