Doing battle with daily dragons

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Homward Bound

The M4 stretches out before us like the long slog through the week ahead. The Rock Star is listening to Poison's Native Tongue to maintain enough of a grip on consciousness to keep this vehicle on the road. According to our tom tom, we're still 75 miles from the M25 and all I really want is a cup of tea. It's been a long two days.

The Rock Star has the constitution of a rhinoceros; lurgy and other things that are "just going around" tend to bounce off of his toughened hide like so many pestilential ping pong balls. But when one does get through, he goes down harder than King Kong from the top of the Empire State Building. Friday was one of those occasions. He woke up feeling fine and by early afternoon he was doing his best shivering-puddle-in-the-middle-of-the-bed impression causing him to miss a Mis-spelled Band gig. He instead stayed home, being plied with tea and we watched “House of Flying Daggers” in which there is much gorgeous cinematography and people sitting on horseback being indecisive, but not much else. We also discovered the daddy of all ice-cream flavours; Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie. The memory of it still makes me quite emotional.

Saturday morning dawned like the proverbial new day. The Rock Star seemed to be feeling better, which was just as well as we had a rather long drive down to Somerset where The Mis-spelled Band was playing a wedding. The Cheerful Idiot, in a stunning display of loyalty, had pledged the band’s services, at a discount, to an old mate from school but rather forgot to ask where the event was being held. Henceforth, the long drive.

Unfortunately, half way to our destination, aforementioned lurgy awoke with a vengeance, having forgotten to set it’s alarm clock and got to work with a vengeance, rendering the Rock Star very unhappy. Upon our arrival at the picturesque Shapwick House, he collapsed upon a bench under a shady tree and tried to forget that he was alive for a few minutes until the van containing all of the equipment showed up 20 minutes later.

The reception itself was nice. I inevitably attempt to make myself invisible, which is probably unnecessary, but conspicuousness is not in my nature. (which is probably why I failed at the whole performance thing) Where better to blend in than in a room full of people who don’t know eachother? No one, including the bride or groom, even thinks to ask who you are as it’s assumed that you’re the partner of one of the guests. Crashing weddings (although I was actually invited to this one) would be a piece of piss.

These particular nuptials shared very little of the chaos of the ones of the previous weekends. No standing on tables, no vodka loge, and in general, an older crowd full of dotty relatives rather than drinking buddies. The only amusement of the evening came from the fact that the groom had elected to wear an entirely white morning suit and due to his extreme lack of hair, drew some comparisons to Dr. Evil. I also encountered the mandatory mad auntie that told me that I looked like the bride. I could see her point. We looked remarkably similar except for the bride’s dark complexion, heavy build and at least a foot and a half in height difference.

Thankfully, we had booked a room at a nearby Holiday Inn so after the festivities; we were pleased to have a nearby bed to crash into. £90 was rather a lot to fork out, but with the way The Rock Star was feeling by the end of the gig, I think he would have paid twice that just to be able to curl up and sleep in the wedding marquee undisturbed. Plus, we got a shower that could output roughly the entire annual rainfall of the Amazon and that, in itself was worth paying for. We also got a really decent spread at breakfast and discovered Tetley’s amazing new self squeezing tea-bag, The Drawstring, which really made our morning. Any technological developments in the field of expedited tea-delivery are alright with me.

Being in Somerset, it would have been rude not to pop in to see The Rock Star’s nan, who lives in a little cottage in a lovely village called Roadwater. (Very Little Red Riding Hood. Although, if a Big Bad Wolf showed up at The Rock Star’s nan’s house, she’d probably tell him to piss off. She’s a tough old broad) Nan was well, having a fish supper and watching telly, so we had a nice chat, lots of tea, some ginger cake and a generally nan-ish kind of time before we headed out to see if we couldn’t find something pretty to sit in front of for a few hours.

The sea (or The Bristol Channel, anyhow) wasn’t too far away, so we went to look at that, which was very brown and very far away, as it turned out (low tide) and yet, somehow all of the merry makers on the beach were still behaving as if they were at The Med. The British are born to make the best of a windy mudflat. Although the crash of the surf was not to be heard, we did enjoy the nice air and some amusement at the expense of those who were attempting to fly trick kites only to have them spiral out of the sky and hit the ground with a rustly crunch.

The Rock Star particularly enjoyed the old stream railroad with the beautiful old locomotive that chuff-chuffed gently through the countryside; a bit of a boy-thing, but nice nonetheless. A much more civilized mode of transportation than the diesel juggernauts that shake our boat at all hours of the day and night.

After a cup of tea and Cornish ice cream, we decided we could no longer put off the inevitable; we had to brave the roads and get home. Holiday traffic in South is legendary and we could only imagine what horrors awaited us around Bristol, where traffic often comes to a complete stand still. But, touch dashboard, we’re moving along at a good pace and hope to be home in a few hours.

A weary Potamus, over and out.