The end of my 20's

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

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, July 4, 2011

It was officially my birthday week.  There were four more days until I would be forced, kicking and screaming, to kiss farewell to my 20's.  The road trip with Mum and Geoff helped serve as a distraction from this inevitable fact, and so after spending the weekend in Cornwall we took to the road again and stopped on Monday afternoon at our B&B at Hayling Island.  A quick drive around the island left us all wondering where the hell we had ended up.  Sure, it was to be an overnight stop to break up the driving between Cornwall and Brighton, but it was evident that I hadn't done my research into the area very well, for even Portsmouth up the road failed to deliver.  We drove around for a while and walked out onto the pier, not very impressed with the sight that lay before us.  I did have a recollection of someone telling me it was a shit hole, and it didn't take long for me to realise that they were right.  So we wandered a bit more before stumbling upon the Portsmouth marina where we had tapas and a couple of sangrias and retired back to the B&B to watch the tennis and get whatever sleep we could in our steamy hot rooms.  Sure, the hostess said we should "make ourselves at home" and that we didn't have to stay in our rooms, but when we saw the fat piece of lard guest that had made himself at home sitting in an armchair in the lounge, legs spread and bearing his fat belly for everyone to see, we decided that we'd leave him to it.

We got up bright and early on Tuesday and took the short drive to Brighton where we were slightly more impressed with what was on offer than in Portsmouth.  After Geoff had his obligatory swim in the beach, he and Phil spent the afternoon in the pub while Mum and I looked around the shops and tried to stay dry as the rain pelted down.  When we met them in the pub a couple of hours later Phil was on his way to Drunk Town.  We decided that Brighton would be the venue for my birthday dinner, and I chose a Chinese restaurant not too far from the pub.  We didn't expect to be overcome with chilli fumes while we were waiting for our meals, but at some point (after we opened the Veuve that Phil bought?) everyone in the room started coughing as the chilli from the kitchen wafted up the stairs and into our nostrils. 

Afterwards, Mum and Geoff retreated to the hotel, weary from their travels, and Phil and I went back to the pub for a few more Cheddar Valley ciders.  Before we got to the pub the allure of the 10p machines were too much for Phil to bear, and so we went into the fun parlour and poured some of our hard earned into the machines, hoping that those 10p pieces would drop over the edge and into our hands.  It was not to be though, and nor was the stuffed Smurf that we tried to win on the claw machine.  There was another game machine at the pub, and Phil spent plenty of time trying to beat it, failing dismally, sulking and displaying aggression towards it.  I decided it was time to go and had to hold Phil upright the entire way home, convinced he was putting on his drunkenness, but then realising further down the road that he was actually shitfaced.  I pushed him up the countless flights of stairs to reach our room on the very top floor of the hotel and took his shoes and socks off.  He was all but passed out, and I was being all responsible trying to look after him and make sure he got into bed to sleep it off.  But my requests for him to take his clothes off and get under the doona went unanswered, and eventually I left him on top of the bed, fully clothed.  In the morning when he woke, the funniest thing was watching his reaction as he realised he was still in his clothes from the night before.  Priceless. 

So it was safe to say that in light of Phil's skin colour (green) I was going to have to drive the four of us to Windsor.  Sure, I felt a bit seedy too (I had a power spew right before taking to the wheel, putting my ability to drive in question as well!) but took the wheel and got us to Windsor safely, albeit tired after sitting in traffic jams for the best part of an hour.  We took a walk through the castle, the home of Her Maj, and got ourselves ready to open the bottle of Moet that Mum and Geoff had carried with them all the way from the Champagne region of France. 

Ben had agreed that he would come and have dinner with us that night.  I didn't realise, however, that I had inadvertently given the impression that we were in Brighton, and not Windsor.  It was lucky then that Ben text me when he got on the train, letting me know that he would be in Brighton at 5.40pm.  My heart stopped when I realised what had happened and that I had made a slip up and put Brighton in a previous message instead of Windsor.  It was then that we thanked iPhone and the internet, because we were able to work out a way for Ben to get to Windsor without too much hassle.  Well, a 3.5 hour trip as opposed to 30 minutes isn't so bad, is it?!  He turned around and went all the way back to London before boarding another train to get to Windsor and met us at the pub for dinner.  Kudos to you Ben - not many people would've accepted a mistake like that so graciously.

When Thursday dawned Mum and Geoff packed their luggage and prepared themselves for the flight to Kuala Lumpur and we were able to drop them off at the airport which was only 15 minutes up the road.  It was sad seeing them off, knowing that it would probably be another 12 months before I see them again, but I was grateful that they'd been able to spend so much time in the UK and spend some time with me and get to know Philo better. 

Once I'd gotten myself ready, we checked out and drove into London, stopping at the services for Phil to put some air in the tyres.  I laughed my head off when he expressed his disgust at having to pay "1 for air!!", thinking it was a strange concept to have to pay for air, whether it be for your tyres or to breathe.  Accepting the charge, the air flowed through the hose and into the tyres, allowing us to drive safely towards London and again getting stuck in traffic due to another broken down coach. 

We were to meet Ben and his friend Paul at the Theatre Royal for a matinee showing of Shrek the Musical, and with only a couple of minutes to spare we met them on the steps of the theatre and found our seats in the nosebleeds from which to take in the show.  We all enjoyed the show, but really our minds were all on the cocktails that we were looking forward to devouring when we got to B@1 to celebrate my birthday.  Chris, Dave and Kylie came along too, and when Kylie dropped us off at the restaurant that served up some of the best pizza we all agreed we'd ever had, it was just me and the boys.  We took some more pints on board at another couple of pubs before ending up at a gay/lesbian/bi/transgender/straight/whatever bar.  They had some entertainment in the form of drag queens and dudes wearing gimp masks, and also some amateur entertainment by moi, falling up the stairs in a not-so-graceful way and then claiming to have broken all my toes.  No one paid much attention to this though, accepting that it was just another of my stacks and that I would be fine in a couple of minutes.  By about 3am Phil's eyes were getting heavy, and when the bouncer told him there was "no sleeping inside", we decided to hit the frog and toad and check in to our hotel to sleep it off.  I thanked all the boys for a great night and headed off into the night, via KFC. 

We had to check-in to our hotel, and given that the check-in time was the same time as Shrek started, we left our bags in the car and decided to grab them when we were back from the night out.  The guy at the desk checked for our reservation and couldn't find it under either my name or the reservation ID, and then suggested that we were actually booked in at the Travelodge down the road.  A slight mistake!  So we grabbed our bags and trudged up the road to the other Travelodge (there seems to be one on every corner in London) and put our heads down until I woke up and realised I was officially 30 years old

30 years hey?  Where has the time gone.  Apparently as the years go by you say that more and more often - "where do the years go?", "where does the time go?".  It's terrifying really.  But as we drove back towards Birmingham and in my semi-conscious (hungover) state, I got to thinking about how happy I am that I'm out here doing the things I want, spending my money on the things I want and letting time slip by being happy and enjoying myself as opposed to being tied down to a mortgage or a life-stealing job.  Whatever floats your boat I guess, but basically I'm satisfied that if time flies, it really is because I'm having fun. 

So my birthday itself was quite a quiet day.  Phil gave me my presents before we left the hotel room and proved just what a good memory he has when he gave me the Swarovski bangle I'd seen when we were in Chester a couple of months ago.  What a good egg!  I got home to find a couple of birthday cards under the door, and a massive pile of washing from the trip away to get through, and so I had a quiet night of reflection and sobriety.  Who would've thought I would ever be sober on my 30th birthday! 

The rest of the weekend followed in a similarly chilled way, Phil leaving me with the house to myself while he went out to watch the boxing with some mates.  I decided to make a massive bowl of spaghetti bolognese for myself and eat the whole lot, together with garlic bread, and even dessert afterwards.  So I spent the night on the couch and in bed, eating and watching back to back episodes of Offspring, my current favourite Aussie drama/comedy. 

I was grateful on Sunday morning for the fact that I hadn't drunk anything the night before when I got up to Skype Brooke and Milner  By the time I called, or they called (minor technicality) they were on their way to a wine headache and hadn't yet eaten the lasagne that Brooke had slaved over a hot stove for four hours to make.  It was ironic that they were having lasagne, given that Milner was the one who turned us off the dish with her story about a placenta being cooked into and fed to an obstetrician unknowingly.  Shudder shudder shudder.  Thoughts of the lasagne subsided though, and we have all come to terms with this story now and are able to once again eat lasagne without thinking of that horrid story.  It was great to chat to the girls and give them a tour of my new home and to give them an idea of where I'm living. 

Phil dragged himself out of bed later that morning (or was it afternoon?) after getting in at around 3am or so.  He got out in the sun and cleared up some of the junk in the back yard, mowed the lawns, and inspired me to pull the weeds out of the garden, making the back yard look so much neater and tidier. 

And then it was time to get ready for work again after having a bit more than a week off.  And what a great week it was. 
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Kylie on

Glad you liked the pizza, it's great there

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