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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Southwell goes all Monty Python

The following picture hightlights very well my previous post. Latin grafitti? What next.

        My drinking companion, Becky, and a strange silhouetted me

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Things to do in and around the Shire . . .

Ah, Southwell. To the unknowing outsider, this historical market town is a beautiful little snippet of rural England. Populated by nuns and old people, the mighty Minster (a cathedral) takes centre place of this pretty, old-fashioned town. The Minster School too, has a reputation that precedes it - a good church school, headed by the almighty Blinston, parents fought, lied and deceived to get their brats through its doors.

Like most rural idylls however, Southwell is not all it's cracked up to be. The youth - and yes, there are a few knocking about - are by necessity an inventive lot. The lack of diversions means that we had to make our own entertainment - the old fashioned way. If the seasonally appearing, and much anticipated, fair is to be believed, Southwell has the worst drink problem of any of the towns it visits. And to be fair, at every night the fair is on at least 2 teenagers leave in an ambulance. Drugs are rife also.

Too many kids with too much money leads to some memorable nights out; and against the backdrop of some pretty(ish) countryside, rural adventures abound. Descriptively named meeting places such as The Africa Tree (looks like a tree in Africa), The Overhang (a tree with a, yes, you guessed it), The Swamp (a biggish, deepish muddy puddle), and - slightly less predictable - The Borrowers (a tree down a lane that has a small door, windows, and a washing line - where children, smokers and passer-bys leave presents . . .) made up our social lives, and I wouldn't have wished for it any other way.

A recent winter walk reminded me just how little things had changed; we met up at the Hearty Goodfellow, and I was gratified to see that everybody had a little something interesting in a hipflask. We wandered passed Elves Forest (do no piss off the fairies), through Teletubby land (home of organic mushrooms) and over towards Brackenhurst College. At some point we summited a small hill to see a mass of Elephant Grass - no consultation was needed as we plunged without hesitation into the lovely labyrinth. We had a good wronk about, did a bit of pushing over and had a ball, before we all realised we were quite quite lost and we had to locate each other by shouts as we rounded up the troops. Just as we had all finally recovered from the excitement of it all, we passed a 3-foot penguin sitting on a bench. Cue Hennerz, our photographer, cataloguing this happy accident.

                                      Happy walkers

                                                  Lost in the wilderness?

                                      Horse gets some intensive stroking

                                      Into the Elephant jungle . . .

                                      Where did you come from?

We reached our final destination - The Reindeer in Edingley, and tucked into a roast by the fire, before getting stuck into the booze. After bewildering the barmaid by ordering After Eights (she did not know quite how to apply Baileys to Creme de Menthe, bless her, but it tasted alright even if it looked a bit shit), we made our way back to The Hen House where we gate-crashed Barbara and Marcus' party (Hen's long suffering parents - aka The BabaCus). Sophie stole two bottles of champagne from her parents' house, which promptly got lavishly spilt all over the kitchen floor, and then Hennerz and I proceeded to get political and opinionated all over the place - I cringe when I think about this part. We do it regularly I'm afraid to say.


                                   Look Mummy, Rudolph's come to a horrible end!

Last night I also indulged in a spot of Southwell tradition – with little else to do, Becky and I decided that attempting the Fury would be a good idea. The Fury is a pub-crawl of Southwell’s 10 pubs. I’m sad to say that we made it to only 7 of these; we got distracted by weird locals in 2 of them, which left us very short on time. We did have 2 bottles of cider to help us with the long walk between establishments. We also confused a barmaid in the lovely corner pub, The Coach House; on asking for Jeigerbombs (a request that was always going to raise eyebrows – indeed we heard our order echo through the pub in politely hushed tones) we received shots in coke – the Redbull didn’t get a look in. Regardless, good times were had by, well, us. We seemed to be accompanied for half the crawl by a gorgeous yellow Labrador puppy, who ran around each pub causing mischief. 

I must say that kids who grow up in busy, fun places, with real entertainment, are actually missing out; some of the best and most amusing memories I have, are born out of a need to entertain ourselves. Perhaps then it is no coincident, that there is a large population of thespian types in the area - and I imagine there is an even larger population of swingers.


Please help! Only a few days left to savethe cows, country, and ultimately the world

Animal Aid: Please Act Now to Oppose Plans for Super-Dairy

It takes 2 minutes . . . do something good this year (*cheesy wink and smile combo*)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy New Year boys and girls!

Happy New Year, all and sundry! I saw it in with Sten at La Scala by King's Cross. Don't ask why - it was a hideous sounding night, 'Power Ballads'. Generally speaking I detest power ballads, in fact I'm not even too sure of what they are, except they seem to be: from the 80's, cheesy as pizza (goes without saying really), overly emotional, and they all tend to involve a key change. From my more power-loving friends (Si, Jonny, Hennerz, Keeley - named and shamed) I have also gleaned that the genre includes the likes of Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper and Bryan Adams. When this sort of music comes on, I usually go to the bar for shots.

In spite of the above, it was a rather good night. Admittedly it began with Sten and me bickering over the printing out of tickets, and a last minute dash to the Internet cafe (still owe the bloke a pound for that, come to think of it). This was followed by an incident at King's Cross station - and do allow me a rant here: Sten and some of the boys raced each other up to the top of the 'down' escalators - to much cheering might I add. At the top they were greeted by the frowning, yet secretly excited and semi-erect, community support officer/ copper (they all look the same to me - racist!).

The said nobhead then chased Sten out of the ticket gates. To give Sten credit he immediately stopped to talk, but the teenage bully then decided to assert his pimply-faced authority and force Sten backwards until he was backed up against a wall. He imbedded his inquisition with comments like "I saw you fall over - trust me you looked like an idiot" (incidentally he didn't actually fall over at all - he won the race so up yours), and sniffling lickle jibes of a similar petty nature. Sten was made to get out his various forms of ID, and whilst he apologised and politely requested that the process be completed asap, the female officer jumped in with the grave collar grabbing comment of "it'll take as long as it needs to" boy, sonny Jim, lad. It was 11.45pm on NYE. All right, rant over. Suffice it to say that I have long held a low opinion of police types - and these two just reinforced the stereotype: well done you power hungry pair of pricks.

New Years hugs, kisses and toasts were made, and I must have coped fairly well with all that power blowing out of the speakers, for it were well nigh on 4am before I dragged Sten off to get some remarkably good chips - remarkable given that they were kebab shop chips from the bottom of Cally Road. We then made the short wander up the road before dancing the rest of the morning away to some excellent tunes courtesy of XFM - what a station. Oh, and my first 'meal' of the year was a Walnut Whip - which I think bodes well.

                                       A powerful night at La Scala