DON”T FORGET: The birthday event of my year is on! See you there!
8 acres of maize
2 stuffed marrows
a selection of tyres, brake discs and pads
cook on a slowly increasing heat, peaking at 31ºC
How things change! Last week I was helping sixteen to nineteen year olds with no formal academic qualifications get jobs: this week I have been the Executive Assistant to the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol. Whilst last week I was sat on the reception desk taking calls from despondant teens, this week I was ringing up the President of Ireland, the Office of the President of the Senate of Nigeria, and the High Commissioner for St Kitts and Nevis. The outgoing Pro Vice-Chancellor was trying to “tie up a few loose ends”, so of course, just an average day’s work for a chap like me. Exciting though!
This week hasn’t been all big names and fancy titles though – the brakes on the car failed on Monday. Thankfully we spotted it early before anything could go really wrong, but still; the only rainy day of the whole week and I had to drive up to Kwik Fit and drop it off for repairs, walking back home in the cold and wet. Driving up there was entertaining. It’s only takes about five minutes but when your brakes are graunching and wailing all the way up the hill, you’d be surprised how far away it can seem. Still, things could certainly have been worse and we should think ourselves lucky that we didn’t discover the fault at seventy miles per hour on the M4 (can you believe there’s a link to a site about the M4?! The internet truly is a wonderful thing!). As is the way with all things motor-related, what started out as one thing ended up as a host of wheel/brake repairs, all of which we really could have done without right now. Never mind, at least we can still keep on rolling.
I also managed to commit the worst faux-pas conceivable this week, too: calling your friend’s new girlfriend the wrong name. Oh yes, even Sven – a relative stickler for propriety and etiquette – gets it wrong sometimes. As is our wont, James and I have friends around for dinner all the time and this week Mike bought his new girlfriend, Kerry, to meet us all. I cooked stuffed marrow and a warm summer salad; I had expected to ruin both but they turned out to be surprisingly simple and tasted quite nice. All was going swimmingly and everyone politely looked over my calling her Kelly, at full volume in a quiet moment. A simple mistake to be sure, especially after a few glasses of wine but still, you feel like a fool when you cock it up like that, don’t you? I don’t even think it was that big a deal, but when you shout it out like I did; well, you’re asking for a piss-taking next time you see your friends, aren’t you?
The weather this week has been simply glorious and as the weekend approached the sunshine didn’t disappoint: it was amazing! Friday, Kandise came to stay (below: Kandise and James pose at night by James’ first car – make unspecified for fear of embarrassment) and we were forced to spend all night out in a pub garden drinking cold cider and making small talk. It’s a hard life. I did offer to help her find material for her latest tv show (she works for a production company), but in Bristol there’s no shortage of “Pissed and Pregnant” young girls. She didn’t need my help finding them – she can fall over more than she can count without any assistance whatsoever. Sad, but true. We spent Saturday morning lying in bed watching forward episodes of Lost (I know I was going to try and wait for them to come on television, but James convinced me that we needed to watch them all immediately. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) The afternoon we popped around to James’ aunt who has returned from a round-the-world trip, and then watched more Lost in the evening.
Sunday we had a sunny, riverside lunch with my family before they head off to Ireland for a fortnight (away for my birthday: can you believe it!?) and then James and I did the Great Western Maze! They open this “maze of maize” down the road from my parents’ house every year and this is the first time I’ve been around it (this week’s photos are from the maze). What could be more fun than spending a couple of hours getting lost in a cornfield in the blazing sunshine with free ice pops at the halfway marker? Not much, that’s for sure! I love the summer!
Next week: James’ university re-union! I will need to spend all week deciding what to wear (I have to be the best looking person there). And I will need to do my hair, and nails, and moisturise my eyes…