Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Back Home At The Novotel

Ah, things are back to normal. Yes, I'm back in the Novotel in Port Harcourt!

As I calculate it, the Novotel has been my home for the year more than my actual home in Edinburgh has. It has assumed a grim familiarity, which ranges from my intimate knowledge of every choice from the menu to being greeted by name by most of the staff. The identikit rooms - I must have stayed in about seven different ones by now and the only thing that varies is the number on the door - I could easily navigate blind.

I am here again with The Mountie, and this time we're digging in for the long haul. The majority of March, April and May were spent in the Novotel so we know what to expect, and are now armed with chess, whisky and cards. Of greater concern is the table tennis table, now missing two bats and a net. We have brought this issue up with reception, but if you know the Novotel and you know Nigeria, you can be assured this will not be remedied very soon at all.

With a little luck though, it will be only a handful of weeks here, and I can return to enjoy a little of the festival in Edinburgh, and resumption of a normal life enjoyed for almost a month since I returned from Norway in late June. Having been practically away for almost four months by that point, I was feeling a little jaded but have been suitably refreshed by a pleasnt few weeks that included:

- The World Cup. Not a classic one, in the end, and a rubbish final, but it still overtook my life for the couple of weeks after I returned from Norway.

- Whisky. I have acquired an expensive taste for whisky and boast a respectable little collection. On the plus side, it means I am drinking less beer; on the minus side, it means my alcoholism is getting pricier.

-Golf. I played a round of golf with my grandfather and my cousin. It was the first time I'd played golf in 18 years, and I was actually not too bad. It was very enjoyable, and I intend to play more, with the ultimate goal of one day getting one hole on par.

-York. I went to York with a brunette. I heartily recommend it.

-Film. I'm supposed to be writing a film with BBC documentary film-maker Mike. It's been slightly hampered by him being in London for weeks and now me being in Nigeria. Despite that, we've still done about a third. It's awfully good.

-Mother House. My mother bought another house. In the country this time. She bought it because it was the only way to combine her solitary cat and her manfriend's five lively Labradors. It appears to be working, but I give it less than a month before the cat gets torn to pieces in a fit of canine enthusiasm.

That's all. I'm going to finish drinking my Old Pulteney 17 Year Old. Myself and the Mountie drank half a bottle of Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old last night and it somewhat hampered our enjoyment of today, but I'm recovered now and as I may be going offshore tomorrow I need to savour what could be a last evening for whisky for up to... a week!

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