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Friday, 27 September 2013

Chapter 19 (Part 2) - A story about birthdays and the pitfalls of voicemail

So here we are. It's been a week since the first part of this chapter and my crossroads has taken an interesting turn - in the fact that my initial excitement has now changed a bit into fear (maybe perhaps because I really don't know what's going on).

If I'm completely honest about it - it's worrying me slightly - because I feel like I'm at this crossroads but each path and each route is blind and there are no obvious choices that I can think of or see that would turn me in a certain direction (aside from really obvious things like egging the cast of Twilight) - so I'm in a very very interesting place and I'm just waiting really.

The other thing that I'm kind of experiencing at the moment is the need for "a win". Let me just explain that slightly as this is the first time that I'm actually really processing it. In my day to day life I'm lucky to say that I have lots of little wins and things that I love doing and people that I love seeing and spending time with - and don't get me wrong - that's great and I'm completely blessed to have what I have in this regards so please think that I'm not grateful! But it's been a while since my Feb 14th big win (and despite of how it turned out - it definitely felt like a big win at the time) and I think that I'm probably due another one (I should probably point out that there are about 5 things on the list at the moment...not just "that" one). Maybe that's what the crossroads is all about. Or maybe it's about realising that what I thought (and think) are big "wins" really aren't at all. So maybe I'm being refocused? I don't know - as I said - I'm just processing all of this now and you dear people are the ones that I'm talking it through with. 

Another way of putting it is that I'm getting excited about lots of little things - but I'd love for something massive and exciting to happen for me to get excited about. Or maybe it is already happening and I haven't realised. Or maybe something amazing has already happened without me realising at all or I perhaps haven't realised the weight that something has carried? It's fair to say that this is making my head hurt....and I didn't mean to start this half of the chapter by rambling like a crazy person so I'm sorry...and shall we move on? How are you anyway? (He says with a not so subtle change of direction)

What has been your favourite holiday?
I’m lucky enough to have gone to some amazing places, been on loads of great holidays and met some fantastic people along the way, but my top 3 holidays of all time (and in no particular order) are probably:

The Cayman Islands
Our friends Dave and Vicky lived in the Cayman Islands for a while so we decided to go out and see them for 10 days. And we had an amazing time. Snorkling, constant BBQ’s, cocktails, wine, sandy beaches, brunch, amazing blue seas, swimming with fish (and having them eat food off my back). It was beautiful, relaxing and stunning – and it was all with great company.

Any one of our trips to Finland to see Liam and Hanski (more on them at a later date) could be a highlight as we have always had an amazing time. But I think my favourite trip over was our most recent one where we also spent a night in Estonia (and nearly missed the ferry). I’ve got so many great memories of Finland (and some stories involving Strawberry wine) - It’s such a beautiful country with loads of nice people, and if I bought a holiday home – it would be there. 

Germany & Lithuania
Who is this man????
Last year my Dad and I went away for a week on a bit of an adventure. We got the train to Berlin (where I’d also wanted to go) and then got the ferry from Germany to Lithuania (I’d already been to Latvia and Estonia so wanted to cross off the Baltics).It was a fantastic trip – and think we did more bonding in that trip than we had done in years previously and it was a great experience to do so.. I also met a celebrity (more on that story at another point) and had an allergic reaction to nuts (followed by various toileting and vomiting issues……)

Have you ever split up with someone by text message?
Absolutely. I’m not proud of it. I might have even had a message template saved at one point (is that worse than the song?). I’d love to say that ‘that’ was it though and that text message was the full extent of my previous crimes against commitment - but I would unfortunately be lying. I’ve changed my phone number, I’ve plainly ignored someone and I’m fairly sure that I’ve got Dan involved to help me get rid of someone as well. Yes – I was an asshat. But stop groaning (especially female readers) for it gets worse than that……
FYI - mine were better than this......
About the age of 15 there was a girl that I had been with for about 2 months. We’d gotten to the point (as far as I was concerned at least) that we weren’t going anywhere. It wasn’t even fun anymore. So I tried to split up with her (but for a number of reasons it didn’t work). What could I do? All of my normal methods of “ending” had failed so I started to think out of the box and I came up with a plan.
You know on your voicemail you can change your message to say anything? Well I changed mine to Hi it’s Andi. Sorry I can’t take your call at the moment so please leave your message after the beep. Oh – and if it’s *****, I don’t think we should be together anymore so it’s over. Bye! So message recorded. Next up…get her to hear it. So I called her and said Hi *****, my phone is running out of credit, so can you call me back please?As soon as I hung up, I turned my phone off happy with the knowledge that ***** would call me back and go through to voicemail. A couple of hours later, I turned my phone back on and a text from her simply saying “ok”. What a result! No screaming voicemail either. I did however also have to explain to my Nan why I’d split up with a girl over voicemail and she properly put me in my place! From that point on – I stuck solely to face to face (and a few impromptu) break ups. On reflection (and I do seem to say this a fair bit…..) – not my finest hour.

Catching up with the past
I’ve mentioned before that this is the year that loads of my friends and I all turn 30. Well the first one (in my school year) to do so was Simon Hall (more on him in a minute) and on the 7th September - Dan and I returned to the Homelands (with wives and baby Amelia in tow) to attend Si’s black tie birthday bash. I’d moved away the week after I finished college (when I was 18) – so this was a really good chance to catch up with people that I hadn’t seen in ages and to see what everyone had been up to.  It was also a chance to see Si have loads of fun as (in the not so distant past) he had been quite ill and (despite our best efforts) he didn’t want to do anything too crazy on Dan’s stag do last year. This time however...he had an accident (that I had nothing to do with)......

Simon Hall
From the moment I met Si (we were 12) we have been friends. We sat together on the coach to school, lived 11 doors away from each other, played football and hockey together, we were in the same form as each other, we swapped SNES (and then playstation) games and then when we grew up (slightly)…went for beer. As you can probably tell - we spent loads of time together growing up and over the years he has become a really close friend. I’ve seen his confidence grow substantially and I am so proud of the person that he has become. He’s loyal, friendly and 99% of the time up for a laugh (I don’t say 100% because no one really is are they….). But most importantly on the other side of that lies someone that you can really open up to (as long as you laugh at his jokes). Si is a great friend and has been a real blessing to me. 

Steve Dobson
Ahhhh. The illusive Steve Dobson. This is one of two men who are “ushers that got away”. People who I lost contact with before we got married (to be fair, Steve has had about 9000 numbers since we left school) that I would have loved to have had as part of our wedding. Still, no matter – for at Si’s birthday I met Steve again – and it was brilliant! A leader in every sense of the word, Steve is one of the rare people who bridged the sport / academic line at school by being good at both. He supports Arsenal, we’ve always got on well and I’ve got a great memory of sneaking into the girl’s dorm with him whilst on a Ski trip to Austria to see our ladies (whilst our headteacher was mindbendingly drunk downstairs). Steve is also very softly spoken - in the sense that he doesn’t need to speak loudly for people to pay attention and he also comes across as a man of integrity and heart. I’ve genuinely missed having him around – and hopefully I’ll see him again soon. 

George Taylor
George is the person who I ask if I ever want to know “what happened to…..” He is also I think one of the only people I know that can get on with anyone and overall is one of the friendliest people I have ever come across. George can be a joker yet can also flip and have an (actually quite refreshing) honest sincerity about him. Confident but not cocky and calm unless he is on a football pitch – George did an amazing job of sorting Phil’s stag do in Latvia (despite me ending up alone the back of a taxi down a dark alley one night – but that again is another story).

Honourable mentions here as well here for Mel, Alex, Will P, Will N (and his AMAZING stag do story), Rich, Kev, Dan, Dave, Christian, Dru G…….(and I’ve probably forgotten others as well). But thankyou for a great evening and hopefully see you a bit sooner than the last gap? Whose birthday is next?

Now because I know how big Chapter 20 is going to be, and because I’ve got to learn how to iron and because I’ve been left in charge of packing for our weekend away (and I don't even know where the washbags are) – I’ll leave you there. There is probably much more to speak about…but I’m going to process lots of things first. In other brief news very quickly though:
2. After “liberating” a bottle of Port from Banwell’s stag do last weekend (more to follow), I’ve reached the conclusion that I’ll be doing a Stoptober booze detox until the 25th.
3. Please check out this video:

Catch you soon and God Bless.

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