A week for all things British

Trip Start May 27, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, November 15, 2010

A week for all things British:

Rubbish weather
A train trip to Birmingham and a hellish train trip back to London
Top Gear
Fried chicken

Let me start with the weather, a topic that seems to appear frequently in my blog.  We were warned by the country's finest weathermen and women that we should expect extreme weather conditions until the latter part of the week.  Two inches of snow fell in Scotland.  Rain lashed the country and the mercury dropped to around 8 degrees celsius for most of the working week.  It truly was freezing.  But it's weather that is characteristic of Britain, weather that I am going to have to suck up and put up with.  And it's not even technically winter.  Yet. 

On Monday night after I'd showed my face at the gym, I jumped on the tube and then got the 266 the rest of the way home.  On the short walk between the bus stop and my house, I turned off my iPod and stowed it away in my bag so as to hear any bad guys should they try to creep up behind me under the 7pm cover of dark.  Panic set in when I heard dainty footsteps behind me, and turned around only to see what I first thought was a really big cat.  Or a small dog.  And then I realised it was a dirty little fox, which then caught up to me and ran beside me for a few paces.  I walked out onto the road, afraid of being bitten by the mangy little thing, and did an old lady's "shoo, go away you pest!", and watched as sly Mr Fox ran into a front garden of a house.  Phew, it was gone.  Further down the road though, I encountered three young boys wielding a broom, running down the street screaming "where are you, you little c---".  I presumed they were hunting foxes in the street, as you do.  It was quite funny actually.  I'm not sure how funny I would've thought it if I'd walked past while they were clubbing a fox with a broom end though.  Foxes seem to be everywhere.  Just on the weekend there was one that jumped over the fence and sauntered through the yard as I was on the phone to Mum (and given that it was Guy Fawkes night, I thought I'd make the "clever" remark "Guy Fawke off" while throwing empty cans at the fox).  The following day another fox was apparently standing at the back door peering in, not perturbed by the two housemates bashing on the window and trying to scare it away.  The foxes aren't scary in size or stature, but the fact that you don't know what they're going to do and how unpredictable they are is what's worrying.  At home they will break into a chicken coup and kill all the chickens but not actually eat any of them.  They're cunning little killers and there's nothing cute about them at all.  I can't wait to buy some winter boots and give one a bit of a kick.  Is that cruel?  Hmm, it's debatable. 

I was lucky enough to have Friday off work so I got the train up to Birmingham on Thursday night to visit old mate Philo and to collect Leticia who had been under his care for the last three weeks.  She needed a good feed so I took her down to the nearest KFC and fed her up with wicked wings (she calls them hot wings - apparently that's what they're called here) and poured a 400mL can of Coors Light down her neck.  She passed out after that, so we were able to put her back into Phil's bag and zip it up, knowing that she'd be obedient and stay put until her tan faded and she needed some more sun. 

On Friday after Phil finished work we went to see Saw 3D.  Hands down, this would have to be the second stupidest movie I have seen, after Paranormal Activity.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I can never quite seem to understand why we put ourselves through such torture.  Scaring ourselves senseless and sending our minds into overdrive.  Nup.  That's the last time I'm purposefully putting myself in that sort of position.  I mean it this time.  No more scary movies.  Especially an afternoon screening when there are no other patrons present in the theatre apart from a scary looking middle-aged man who walked in and sat in the first seat he saw, and worried us slightly when 5 minutes into the film he got up and left.  We were a bit worried for a little while, concerned about where the man had gotten to, and imagining all sorts of scenarios in our heads.  But he was not to be seen again and, I feared, nor would I have been if I'd let Phil go to the loo halfway through and left me in the cinema all alone! 

We'd already planned to go straight to the pub after the movie to calm our nerves, and I'd put in a special request to return to a pub we went to last time which serves icy (literally) cold cider.  It has a topping slushy ice, and it's delicious.  In truth I didn't really have to make a special request to go back there, because Phil was of the same thinking.  The bar has Banksy pieces on the walls that are securely attached so that fiendish drunks like me can't steal them.  So we had a number of ciders (we can't remember how many) and a few Jagerbombs as well and giggled all the way home. 

It was fairly safe to say that after an effort like that a sleep in would be warranted, and so after said sleep-in we headed to the local for some lunch and then on to the NEC for the motor show featuring Top Gear Live.  It was a fun show, lots of laughs, lots of lights, lots of cool cars and crazy stunts.  Lots of burning rubber and (pointless) scantily clad women.  Lots of kids in the audience saying "wow did they really just blow up that car?" - a young chav, clearly not smart enough to work out that the sparks and flames were just part of the show and that the same car had been "blown up" 3 other times that day.  Top Gear was really good though and provided us with lots of laughs, and also provided me with three more names to add to my growing list. 

Number of famous people I've seen since I've been here:  6

Saturday night was fairly quiet, we tried to watch three different movies but couldn't be bothered with any of them.  Even Toy Story put me to sleep.  So X Factor it was.  Sadly, I think I'm starting to get into that show even though it's absolute crap.  Wagner (apparently pronounced Vagner) is such a tool, and so are the English public if they continue to allow losers like that to stay on the show.  Are they serious?  He reminds me of an alien from Men in Black with his wiry hair and big ugly eyes.  Urgh.  I can't even think about it any more.  

Sunday was another day of rest, and a trip to KFC where I'd threatened to buy a bucket meal and devour the lot.  I have undertaken to do it one day.  Buy that bucket of chicken and sit there and eat until it's all gone.  I have no problem with that.  As long as I have a side order of chips as well.  And a Pepsi Max (there has to be something low fat in there somewhere!).  I think I will have to lock Leticia away though so that she doesn't get her dirty little hands in that bucket and nick the chicken.  Philo washed down his KFC with a VB which we found in the off licence the night before.  He reckons it wasn't all that bad.  Is that saying something about him, or is that saying that the beer is actually ok?  I can't decide.

Then when it came time to head home to London, I found that my train had been delayed due to signal faults or some such rubbish and I was annoyed because I'd booked the earlier train so I could get home and do some washing and stuff to prepare for the week when I got home.  The trip should only take about 3 hours door to door.  This time around it took almost 6 hours.  Painful.  So so painful. 

The coming week brings with it more monotony of the work-eat-sleep variety, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. 
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Joanne Bayles on

Ummmmm can you actually count seeing 'famous' people in a show? I'm thinking not Heidi. NOT!

kimba on

So effing jealous you got to see top gear live!

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