It's been almost three weeks since my feet touched the warm ground of Aberdeen, and the nightmares of the North Sea, Equatorial Guinea and Brazil could be put behind me, and I could envelope myself in the arms of loved ones. In that time, I've been catching up with friends, family, my properties and life in general, though mostly on the beer missed while offshore. I could write an incredibly erudite entry, weaving deftly among topics, about all the events and happenstances that have occurred in this mega-jamboree of hometime - but as I can't be bothered including photos, I know nobody would read it. So instead, I'm returning to the old favourite - category headings in bold. This will, at least, make it easier to skim.
My New Flat
I acquired my new flat at the very end of May, but being hustled off to the North Sea prevented me having it ready to rent. Fortunately, it needed very little done and it is now on the market, and I'm confident will be fully out of my hands soon. The credit crunch - a necessity now the media are getting bored of terrorists - plays into my hands, as it means people are more likely to rent than buy, so the rental market continues to be extremely buoyant in Aberdeen. This means my tenants can hardly refuse when I insist on putting giant portraits of myself in every room.
I was somewhat upset when I missed Cohen play in Dublin by a day, because of North Sea shenanigans, and spent some time in a girly huff. But recompense was made, and earlier planning paid off. You see, I'd bought tickets to two different shows, knowing that I should at least get lucky with one, and so two weeks ago, on the 16th, I saw Cohen play Edinburgh - and it was the best gig I've ever been to.
My old friend, and one-time very bad influence, Emily came along with me, and we warmed up with some drinks and a meal. We discussed how civilised we have become these days, and reflected on many fun evenings of yore, when we would soak ourselves in red wine, cross-dress and behave in a manner that now shames us. But we now both cut fine figures of professionals, and recognise that all the fun and laughter is behind us, with only a steady decline into old age ahead. Hence a Cohen concert seemed quite appropriate.
In fact, despite Cohen's reputation as a gloom-peddlar, he's nothing of the sort, as anyone in attendance, or with knowledge of his music, would testify. There's some bitter reflection, there's some melancholy, there's some scathing damnation, but there's a lot of wit, and a very warm manner. With no warm-up act necessary, 73-year-old Leonard sung for two-and-a-half hours, and I have never been so enthralled at a gig before.
Even better, by chance internet meanderings, I discovered he's added new dates to his tour, and some very lucky timing meant I have secured a ticket for the Millennium Dome in London, in the primary A block closest to the stage. He'll be close enough to pelt with paper aeroplanes. It's in November, and I've already got the time off due to my 30th and a wedding.
On my first five days home, I was really quite sick. A combination of desperate insomnia, exhaustion and some kind of virus I think, but it was the sickest I've been in years. My PA wasn't even at hand to bodywash me.
Yes, I've hardly seen my PA since I got back. She's supposed to be waiting hand and foot for me, but she took a long weekend at T-in-the-Park, getting wasted, then a long weekend at a London dance festival, getting wasted, and for the last week she's been in Edinburgh because her step-grandfather died. In the time she's been around though, she's been very useful, as she's washed all my clothes. But she needs to start cooking more, and dusting and stuff. Or at least bring pretty friends round in the evening.
My PA's grandfather
His name was J. T. Mckintosh, or at least his pen-name was. He wrote about twenty science fiction novels in the 50s and 60s, and editor of the Press & Journal in the 80s. My PA described him as "cantankerous". I read one of his books, and really enjoyed it, but I'm not sure how well it would wash with modern feminism.
Varwell turns 30
Varwell turned 30 last week, and seemed morose in his lamentations about aging. I figure there's no need to worry as long as you still have your hair.
On the topic of Varwell and hair, I have now found the photo - taken 12 years ago - that proves Varwell once had a mullet, and I will be posting it up soon.
My sister has just a week left before she walks away from doctorhood and becomes a drunken waster for a year or more. My mother blames me. As a result of this, I have been helping her get her flat ready to rent, and have recarpeted it all as well as chucking out tons of rubbish. She had her official leaving night on Saturday, which culminated in an after-party at my flat, the first such party it has hosted. It went very well. My flat is now geared up for parties, with decks in the living room and a snooker table in the snooker room, as well as a nice, big, open kitchen. It was my first ever public DJing performance - I was bad, but not half as bad as Justin.
Since finishing my fifth flat, and sorting out my sister's, I am now in the joyous position of being finished. For the first time in over two years, my onshore time isn't a frantic race against the clock to redecorate, renovate or refurbish. For two years, when I've not beeen working, I've been working - but now it's all over. I almost don't know what to do with myself. There's still bits and bobs with paperwork, the flat I'm living in and lots of small personal projects, but essentially my days are now clear.
You won't be surprised to hear that I yesterday had to write a note to myself not to start drinking in the afternoon.
Hello Guys At Work!
Two or more years ago, during my time in Korea, my good friend Matt - the cheesily handsome Kiwi, that made all girls swoon - discovered my Korean blog. This was terrible news, as I'd been horribly indiscreet, and named him and others by name. Oh dear. It was a very regrettable episode. Thus, when starting this blog, I have been meticulous in keeping out all mention of my company and colleagues by actual name. But still, word has leaked out, and at least a few of my colleagues are aware of this blog's existence. So, hello.
Fortunately, I've not said anything too incriminating, and haven't mentioned my rampant and promuscious homosexuality, or the fact I'm regularly supplying rival companies reams of confidential information. And fortunately, I know the guys at work will just be looking at the pretty pictures, rather than reading the Queen's English, so they won't have noticed my cryptic messages of hate.
The reason I've been off for a few weeks is fortuitous timing and my official week's holiday starting on Saturday. This was taken for my old friend Becky, who gets married next Thursday, in Birmingham of all places. I never thought I'd take a holiday to go to Birmingham, but life throws all sorts of strange stuff at you.
To reward those who have read this far, I have included a photo. This was taken in Brazil, offshore, and is of a Brazilian's underpants. The Brazilians have a strong predeliction for leaving their underpants hanging conspciously on all available spaces.