And so tomorrow, that elusive creature that's worth fighting wars over and remains a distant dream for mankind's majority, for me, ends. November has been a month of freedom, delicious and rich with succulence; December, alas, promises not to be: it will be rotten to the very festering core.
November has been wonderful. The first full calender month of being home for 14 months, and it's been a packed old fandragon of a month. What have I salubriously squeezed into all five parts (Tabasco, Soy, Brown, Mayo and a petite Honey) of our beloved eleventh month? Well, I've lived in three different flats, and possibly against the odds have got two of these now ready to rent. I only just finished Justin's old flat today, at 8pm. The only flat not ready to rent is my Market Street one, which is my long term project and the new love of my life. I moved in there a couple of weeks ago and have set up camp in the attic. Every time I am there, which is only really to sleep, I am filled with a sweet sense of happiness.
Market Street isn't the only contender for the new love in my life though: Van Nev is a grunting, rumbling brute that has transformed my life so marvellously I can no longer imagine how I coped without. Having a van makes life so easy. It may not be much of a speed pony, but it's a workhorse, grinding away like a filthy rutting stallion. It's currently packed solid with all kinds of random items. Off the top of my head, these include: a single mattress, cognac, books about popular Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, two radiators, a large plastic owl, and some blue carpet.
So, flats and Van Nev have been the dominating headline stories of my Month Of Glorious Freedom, but there's been plenty of other moments to savour and relish, like a dirty dog enjoying a warm sudridden bath of soapishness. I've been privy to the company of the ever-enchanting foreigners about town, Kitchen Mark and French Claire (who, unbelievably, continues to grow ever more beautiful... oh, baby, baby!), and enjoyed foie-gras and red wine with them. Of course, when it comes to matters of food, I am not only kept alive but kept unstintingly stimulated by Green's culinary marvels. Apart from pouring water into a Pot Noodle, I have not cooked for myself once this month, but am fortunate enough that Justin has better kitchen awareness. I've also been adapting to evening life in his new flat (as that is where I spend most evenings) in the upmarket West End of the city. "If I'd never seen such riches, I could live with being poor." That's how it feels when I have to skulk off home to one of my many properties in the grotty East End.
I've seen my family, had many drinks with my sister, viewed a house with my mother as she's hoping to relocate after 25 years in the house I grew up in, taken my (Aberdeen) grandfather for lunch and tried not to get involved in the saga of him trying to get Broadband, and eaten vast curries with my brother. I've phoned friends, been phoned by friends, been visited by Emily and her allegedy Marxist boyfriend and stumbled into a pumping club of live hard-edged ska music with them. I've met the Cheesmans (Cheesmen?) and discussed matters of grave importance with Mr Cheesman. I've even spent time in the company of the mullet-maniac Varwell, despite the fact he deletes almost every comment I ever put on his blog.
I have a rather amusing tale involving a repellant small dog that is unfortunately not fit for public consumption. I've electrocuted myself. I've played poker well and lost, and badly and won. I've become 29. I've squeezed a king-size mattress through a small attic hatch all by myself, a feat I still believe is impossible. I've DJed like a spastic. I've drunk plenty of beer, red wine, coffee, and three flavours of Aids/Adez, but strangely, no gin. I've argued with furniture delivery men, and then tried to get them sacked. I've been to Banchory - and back. And how can I possibly forget buying the entire contents of someone's flat for £450 and getting him to take it all to two of my flats - and having him thank me profusely for it?
I've only been to work twice. Once for about an hour, to sort out my wages, and the other time yesterday, for some essential training. For it is work, naturally, that is the cause of my imminently ending freedom. It is 11pm, Saturday, as I write. By 11am Sunday I will be in a helicopter to my next prison rig, in the worst imaginable place on God's dear Earth: The North Sea.
The North Sea. Where weather and Scots combine to generate pure misery. Grey, dour, bitter, without joy or hope. There Will Be Only Pain.
It's a big job, a full four man affair - the first time I've done something on this scale since my very first job. And with samplers too, the details of which I might bore you with on a later date. Fortunately, it's a good team - Mr Calm, KD and some new boy who I've not yet met, but for now we'll just arbitrarily call Mutton Balloon until a more appropriate nom de guerre becomes available.
So, November has ended, but left me with good memories and with a definite sense of achievement. After months before stranded in Brazil, I feel I've caught up with my life a little, and am refreshed for future excursions after being thoroughly worn out and concerned for my sanity towards the end of October. Freedom ends therefore, regrettably, but leaves with a sweet kiss that will linger on and keep me going until her fresh face again brightens up my doorstep.