Well hello strangers. It's been a while, hasn't it?
Not because nothing of note has happened, either. No, it's been more of a "not getting round to sitting down and writing" thing. Also known as either "laziness" or "procrastination." I prefer the latter. It sounds as though I was busy doing other, more useful, stuff instead of writing.
A mate suggested recently that once I finish work I'll be much happier, and will have more things to blog about. I am actually wondering if I am already happier (in fact, I know that I am) and therefore my ranting and whining on here is less of a necessary vent, so happens less often.
What have I been up to? You may well ask.
This week has been a week of new things, in part. A while ago, a mate asked me if I could help her out with a party she was catering, which sounded like fun. I took the day off work, and agreed to meet her at the party venue. Bear in mind that the party venue was in a small town/large village about 12 miles from where I live. I had been asked to be there for 11am, so allowing for traffic (tractors, flocks of sheep in the road, pheasants dive bombing the car etc) I planned that by leaving home at 1030 I'd be there in plenty of time.
Come the day, come the hour. I was ready to go by 1000 so thought "I'll get there early, it'll be fine."
That's me. Punctual. Well-prepared. Willing.
Except - and it's a big except - in the map department. I had checked the route on Google Maps the night before, so was confident that I knew how to get there. I am aware that everyone who knows me in real life is by now slapping their forehead in despair, knowing all too well what is coming next.
Google maps did their best, I have no word of blame for them.
West Wiltshire roads and signposts department, on the other hand... Fuckers.
I have prepared a helpful visual aid to accompany this story.
1010 - leave house, spirits high, sun shining. Set off along road through village, turn down smaller road and then immediately experience twinge of self-doubt. Continue along road, certain that a signpost will soon tell me whether or not I am on the right road.
1020 - no signposts. No junctions. No indicators of any kind that I am n the right road. No helpful passers-by, or indeed any other traffic. Wonder briefly if there has been a huge natural disaster in the night and I am the only person left alive for hundreds of miles*. Try not to panic about this.
1030 - only junction seen so far was to a dead end with an "unsuitable for motor vehicles" sign. And a ford. Decide not to go down that road. Still fairly relaxed that I have plenty of time to get to the party venue by 1100.
1035 - see a junction signposted to the Village of the Damned. Recognise the name, and decide to take the turning, determined that I am on the wrong road, and need to take an alternative direction.
1040 - drive drive drive. No traffic, nothing. No signposts. Enter the village of the damned, take the (wrong) turn at the only junction, continue along the endless road to nowhere. Fuck. Am now lost. And likely to be late.
1050 - arrive mysteriously on a busy dual carriageway with signposts to many places, none of them where I need to be. Head back towards Longleat, swearing copiously and fluently. Am definitely going to be late.
1055 - Ooh Longleat. Consider throwing myself to the lions, but decide to wait until after the party.
1110 - arrive at the party venue town, and then realise I am unable to find the actual venue location. Stop in the middle of the street and hail the postman, who is very helpful and kind. Abandon the car in nearby car park and walk the rest of the way.
1115 - arrive to help at party, only 15 minutes late. Hurrah. Am given glass of Champagne and a pinny. Things are looking up.
The party was a 4 course meal for 60 people, to celebrate an 80th birthday. It went very well, the food was praised, the atmosphere was lovely, and we more or less stuck to the timetable.
Look how nice it all was:
The only slight glitch was the dishwasher. It failed dramatically on first use, pissing water all over the kitchen floor, and we ended up having to wash everything by hand.
Aching back, dishpan hands and wet feet aside, it was great fun.
Plus we got to have some cake...
I was KNACKERED when I got home though. I can't remember the last time I spent a day actually doing physical stuff, rather than just dicking about on computers.
One of the highlights of the party for me was being introduced to a lovely German chap, who, when he shook my hand, did that heel-clicky thing. Excellent.
Other news: Yesterday I went to Bath to meet a friend, and spent a few hours very agreeably wandering the shops. I found another lion. Remember the Elvis lion? Yeah you do.
I spotted a mini version of the same shape, different colouration, in a cafe where we had a cup of tea and a nice sit-down.
Also took my phone to the Apple store there, to get it looked at by a professional. It's been playing up lately, failing to shut down, or to restart, or to backup when I synch it with the PC. Not every time, just often enough to be a pain in the arse.
The verdict of the Apple Genius I spoke to, after 20 minutes of careful examination and cross-questioning?
"Yeah...it's broken. You need another one."
Well, glad I brought it in to you, Dr Obvious. You've saved the day.
Oh - if you are looking for gift ideas for someone you dislike, perhaps an irritating colleague, or an unloved family member, I recommend this:
It's an alarm clock that plays birdsong, or so it claims. But look at it. LOOK AT IT. I bet you anything that when the alarm goes off, there's a sinister red light in that eye slit, running back and forth. It looks like a cross between Darth Vader and the Iron Chicken.
I'd never sleep again, with that mere inches from my head all night long.
It comes in several colour variations.
Flesh pink, to match the colour of your vulnerable, sleeping body as it bides its time and waits.
Or bright red, the colour of blood. BLOOD.
*I often wonder this. I have a whole contingency plan ready for when that day comes.