Friday, January 27, 2006

Ignore the first paragraph of this post. It's shit.

I'd love to have some big skies to drift under, just for a while. The great thing about going away the weekend before last was the freedom from city life. The feeling of relinquishing responsibility and meandering through mud-soaked fields, chatting with friends old and new and gazing out over rolling English countryside. Feeling exposed to the elements, to the wind hurtling over the hills and the damp sunshine filtering through the scudding clouds.

I think I'm perhaps trying to over-poeticize (is that a word?) the experience, but the escape was real.

From the stress of rushing back from work on Friday afternoon, trying to pack for the weekend, pack my suitcases and boxes for the move to my new flat, shower and make sandwiches for the journey, and be ready to be picked up at five thirty, the escape tasted all the sweeter. Waking up in the top bunk in a dorm room of a hostel, surrounded by the other girls on the trip, and getting up to the heady aroma of sausage sandwiches and coffee. Wandering out into the kitchen to find people sitting around the trestle tables, chatting and laughing, and finding myself some coffee and joining them. It was quite startling to look out of the window and see countryside. Real countryside with hills and trees and grass, and livestock. In London the only livestock you get is the odd, disillusioned-looking squirrel.
People had parked their cars about half a mile from the hostel, so to get there we had to tramp through the mud along the path through the woods, carrying bags and wearing head torches, and then laden down further with what seemed like WAY too much beer, even for twenty-something twenty-somethings. You'll be shocked to find out that we coped, and that we even eventually had to switch to tequila.

By about ten thirty we were fed and caffienated, and ready to embark upon our walks. Now, there were two teams. Um.. I haven't told you of the Friday night and how the teams came about and what we did, because I am a bit thick and also tired.

On Friday I travelled up in Nick's (inexplicably flashy) car, with Andrew and Pippa. I had spent WAY too long making WAY too many rolls with fillings that were WAY too fancy for us. It was mainly because I need approval in any way that I can get it, and if somebody compliments me on my sandwich filling ability then, hey, what the hell, it's a compliment, it'll do me. We also had chocolate, a kick-y compilation CD that ranged from Guns N Roses to Goldfrapp, and beer (except Nick, who just got drunk on the fumes) (or so he claimed).
After one million and one toilet stops, some very loud singing and one exploding can which I imagine is still on the side of the M1 somewhere, we made it to The Countryside. I can't remember who it was that spotted the first cow, but that was an exciting moment, I can tell you.

After walking the half mile of mud to get to the hostel from the car park (a journey that caused Pippa to seriously question her decision to pack her gold slip-on shoes) we got to the hostel, to be greeted by people, beer, and a roaring (albeit gas) fire.

When all had arrived in a similar fashion (muddy and demanding beer) we sat around, chatting and catching up, meeting some of those people we hadn't met before and establishing sleeping arrangements. Pippa and I, because we're twelve year old school-girls, immediately grabbed two top bunks, only to later regret the decision the next two mornings when it dawned on us that perhaps, when hungover, a gymnastic feat involving ladders is not the first task one would necessarily like to contemplate.

After we all had beers on the go and were chatted out, we were put into teams. Now, you'll remember that this was a weekend arranged not, as you might assume, by fifty year old scout leaders with a dubious attachment to their eleven year old charges, but by early twenties-year old men. This was a METICULOUSLY arranged weekend, and it was all the better for it.

We got into teams and did a quiz. I am... sometimes quite competitive. Um... by which I mean that when my team came (A VERY CLOSE) second, there is a small chance that there may have been some sort of crossness on my part. Luckily someone had a strong enough desire to live that they quickly distracted me with a glass of Champagne, and a good thing it was, too.

Yes, there was Champagne. For the winners. Thankfully they did not have the temerity to try and prevent me having a small glass of it for medicinal purposes (read: downing half the bottle).

Anyway. The next day we were in walking groups according to our teams, teams one and three on one route and teams two and four on the other.

Teams two and four ended up walking about ten kilometres. Teams one and three did about twenty. JUST GUESS which team I was on.

Go on, guess.

Yes, of course. The latter.

It was great. We hiked and hiked, people fell over, we played games, we gazed wistfully at the scenery. We saw pigs and cows, and imagined what would happen if you made a hybrid of a bear and a dragon. (For the record: You would get a Beargon. Ferocious, if imaginary creatures that have fur and can breathe fire. Oh yes.)
We went to a pub for lunch, then continued walking until about six, when we joined the other teams in a pub nearish to our hostel. WHERE THEY HAD BEEN FOR HOURS, NOT THAT I WAS/AM VERY, VERY BITTER.

Then we got taxis to the hostel, because we were tired, and apparently walking from the tube station to work does not constitute training for this sort of thing. Don't judge us for getting taxis. We had walked for ever and then had beer, and my legs had turned from jelly to concrete in a very short amount of time, which just feels odd.

Then there was the evening. There were jacket potatoes with chilli and cheese, and salad. There was beer and wine, frolicking and high jinks, high spirits and high-time-we-had-more-beer-episodes, and it was Very Fun. I remember having tequila poured into my mouth from someone standing behind me as I knelt on the floor, and then I remember feeling very, very sleepy about half an hour later.

I woke up the next day with a chest infection, but it was SO worth it.

It was great to get away. The people were awesome, and it was so wonderful to get out of London.

I was feeling a bit melancholic when I started this post, because I am still knackered. Now I'm feeling a lot more upbeat. This weekend will be the first in my new flat, and I am looking forward to it. Tonight I'm going out in Angel with my flatmates for someone's birthday, and tomorrow I'm going to a houseparty in Brixton, just around the corner from me. During the days I will loiter around Clapham and perhaps write some more of a song I've been working on this week.

I am steering clear of the tequila, because it gives me infections, but if anyone has any Champagne I will be your friend.

I am perhaps in an update-y kind of a mood, but primarily because I can't think of a good way to end this post.



Blogger Dancinfairy said...

That sounds like such a perfect weekend. So much fun! I would not like to meet a Beargon in the countryside though. They sound quite scary :o/

Have a great first weekend in your new flat.

12:48 pm

Blogger Adz said...

Have a lovely weekend, hope your new flat in Clapham brings you much joy and delight.

Clapham is nice, I went to a pub there before Christmas, right by the common, and got got very very drunk.

Sadly I like nearer the scummy part of Clapham, the Junction, but we have some nice pubs, just not with common views out the window!

1:14 pm

Blogger Adz said...

"Sadly I like nearer the scummy part of Clapham"

I mean live, the Junction isn't a likable place really.

1:15 pm

Anonymous number1hypocrite said...

Hope your new flat is better than my current one.

My downstairs neighboors are doing some sort of light construction (albeit almost 11:00 at night), that includes loud hammering, pounding, laughing, whistling, more pounding, stomping, and crashes. This has been going on for about 3 hours now and is starting to get on my nerves.

Glad you are feeling better!


3:53 am

Anonymous Paul said...

Er, as well as wishing you well on your first weekend in the flat, and being glad you had such a fabulous weekend, I thought I should point out what a particularly-well-written entry that was. A joy to read, even more than usual (which is, of course, a lot).

2:01 am

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Everytime you go out in Angel.. I feel dirty for some reason..

Sounds like you had so much fun. And I'm so jealous. I do have champagne tho.. just a thought.

8:44 pm


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