An example of the unreasonable man who makes all the progress

Archive for the category “Travel”

Slowing Down – Allegedly

Last week, I wrote about how things were slowing down a bit at last from the madness of January. And that’s true – well, kind-of.

As it is, before the end of February I’ve got scheduled (in no particular order)…

  • A very fancy meal in London, which I’m looking forward to (and for the faffing about I’ve had to do, had bloody better be worth it)
  • A birthday event in Oxford  (it’s hard to call them birthday parties when the person isn’t a child!)
  • A gig in Manchester (another mid-weeker, I must be fucking mental)
  • A gig in Oxford
  • The final bit of work on the car for this session (I hope)
  • New glasses to collect
  • A full weekend break on the South Coast

So yes, not really all that quiet after all…

Healthy Car

Following on from the car’s various issues over the last month, it now appears (touch wood) to be all sorted.

However, it means that in the last month it’s had

  • MOT (Passed with no problem)
  • Two separate broken pipes to the turbo, on different occasions – but weirdly, at the exact same location. (i.e. while driving, both times the engine management light came on at the same junction)
  • 150,000 mile service, which included a couple of other small fixes too

Thankfully, it’s not been massively expensive, and the fixes have been small ones. But still, it would’ve been a nicer/easier month without having to do them. (as well as the hire of replacement cars while it was being unreliable) Such is life.

There’s one more bit that needs doing, which is booked in for a couple of weeks time (a bit annoying, as I thought they were doing it at the same time as the service, but such is life) but for now it seems like all’s well again.

Since the main bits of work, it’s had another 1,000 miles added on, so it all feels like it’s settled in again. But as always, time will tell.

Slowing Down – Sort of

For the first time this year, I’ve got a weekend that’s being spent primarily at home. It’s about time.

As I’ve written before, it’s been a chaotic start to the year. I don’t regret a bit of it, and it’s all been my choice, but at the same time I’m definitely knackered and glad of a pause.

The last couple of weeks have involved mid-week concerts – one in Manchester, one in London – which have made for late nights (well, early mornings) so having a weekend without a lot of mileage is definitely a boon.

I’ve still got more stuff booked in, but it shouldn’t be quite as manic for the next couple of weeks, at least.

Final High-Mileage Weekend

As per previous posts, January has been a busy month, with a fair amount of travelling every weekend. That’s not a complaint – hell, I kind of planned it that way (well, events combined to make it all into busy weekends, but I allowed it to happen, so yeah, that qualifies as planned) but it’s definitely been busy.

This weekend was the last weekend of high mileage for a couple of weeks. (The week itself is another matter, but we’ll gloss over that for now)

Yesterday, I took my dad in to London to see Billy Connolly at the Hammersmith Apollo – and it was a really good day. We got in to Hammersmith really easily (despite a large number of tosspot drivers etc.) and parked, had food, and enjoyed the show. (I’ll write more about the show itself later in the week) Once that was done, got dad back home, and drove home myself. As usual, getting back around 2am. (I don’t know how that’s been so consistent over the month, but it really has)

Today was a far dafter plan, involving a blast up to the outskirts of Manchester and back.  Basically, I’m up there on Thursday for a concert that I’m going to with two friends, and it’s been spiking my brain that the tickets are with me, and I don’t want them to miss out on the concert if there’s problems on the M1 for me on Thursday.

So I took the opportunity today to blast up there, drop their tickets off, and come back. It means that whatever happens, everyone’s happy – I’ve got my ticket, they’ve got theirs, and we don’t have to go through hordes of organisational stuff for meeting up, getting everything sorted, and that if anyone’s transport screws up, it doesn’t fuck things up for everyone.

All told, it’s been the best part of 600 miles this weekend.

I must be a complete barmpot…

Barbican, Rollins and Mileage

Yesterday was another Rollins gig, this time at the Barbican in London.

It was a bit more complicated than last week’s gig in Bristol, as it involved collecting another friend of mine from over by Oxford, then getting a train to London, across to Barbican, getting food, going to the gig, and then a similar journey for the return.

All told though, it went really smoothly.  I’d booked pretty much everything in advance, including the train tickets and reserving a table at the restaurant of choice, so it was as organised as humanly possible.

The restaurant in particular was a real success – the Jugged Hare, just round the corner from the Barbican itself. I’d seen it before, but never eaten there, so went for it when the chance came up, and booked for their pre-theatre menu. I am truly glad I did.  They specialise in game of all sorts – it’s definitely not a great place for vegetarians! – but there’s enough variety in the menu, if game isn’t your thing.

To be fair, there is a vegetarian option on the menu – well, it says “Vegetarian – £14”, so it could be a fillet of vegetarian, for all I know.

The three-course meal was great – particularly the venison haunch, and their sticky toffee pudding was amazing. (as was the accompanying mince-pie ice cream, which has to be tasted to be believed)  Knowing how easy it is for me to drive to Barbican in general, I will be returning. Several times.

The gig itself was great – Rollins spoke for three full hours, with no breaks. The show was about 50% the same as the one I saw last week in Bath, but I can live with that – it’s better than being entirely the same!

The journey home was OK – getting the trains back went smoothly, and then a drive through snow to drop off friend, and then another hour and a bit on motorways in heavy snow (though thankfully not settling) to get home, which happened just after 2am.

So a long day, but an entirely worthwhile one…

Booking Breaks

Having realised that I managed (yet again) to work all of last year without a proper break, I’m working on booking some time out this year. Taking a lesson from Herself’s methods from years back, if I book them now (or at least soon) then they’re a fait accompli, so I can present them to any new contract as “already booked”.

The first one is booked now. It’s ‘just’ a long weekend away at the end of February, sharing a holiday cottage with another friend and her dog, but at least it’s a break.

From there I’ll see how we go, but right now I’m definitely planning on a couple more breaks during 2016 as well – including, potentially, an Arvon break if I can find the right one.  It all depends on what’s available, and what I fancy doing, really. But breaks are definitely on the agenda.

That’s got to be progress, I’m sure.

Bath, Bristol, and Mileage

Yesterday was, as expected, very long, and had a hefty mileage total. But it was also bloody good.

I left home by 9am, and drove over to Bath to meet up with M, a friend of mine. We then spent the majority of the next 11 hours talking (well, except for the gig itself) and having a decent day.

We went for a late lunch at the Pony and Trap in Chew Magna, a Michelin-starred pub – and it was brilliant. Their Sunday menu is just epic, and we had a fantastic meal. Heartily recommended.

From there, we went into Bristol (via a very convoluted, dark and windy route – my satnav still wants to kill me, it appears) to find parking, have a drink, and then head to St Georges for the gig itself.

The gig was excellent – Rollins was on stage and talking for a good two-and-a-half hours, and as funny and smart as usual, although with a bit more melancholy than usual because of the recent death of Lemmy, who turns out to have been one of Henry’s real friends. All told, we thoroughly enjoyed it (as did everyone else, from the look of it) and had a great evening.

Having dropped M off at her house, I was still wide awake, and opted for Plan A, driving home. A three-hour drive, starting at gone 11pm.  I’m a bloody lunatic, it’s fair to say.

Actually, the drive went really well too – despite forgetting that SatNav wants to kill me, so it kept sending me on b-road ‘short cuts’ on pitch-black roads when it had been raining heavily.  But that’s par for the course, so not too much of a concern.

I got home just after 2am, wide-awake still – and didn’t really slow down for a couple of hours, so I think I ended up going to sleep at around 4am, then up at 8am and in to work. It’s been odd, because my brain thinks I should be a whole lot more tired than I actually am – I’m sure I’ll reap that whirlwind at some point this week, though.

But yes, a good day, having covered about 400 miles…

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