Monday 13th March 2006

I parked up on my drive just before 8pm and my Monday was finally coming to an end. Throughout my journey home on the motorway, I was thinking of how I would fit everything into an entry. I have so much to write about, so much to report that I might as well stop wasting time and get on with it. I actually have quite a substantial backlog, so have picked up from Saturday night. Now with entry finalised, checked over and complete, time to devote to what remained of the weekend. The weekend was already up there as one of my greatest (sorry that makes it sound like some great achievement like a collection of my best goals, but it is far less important than that, I suppose) as I drove back from Henley-on-Thames to Wycombe. I got in around 2.30am and my first decision after getting changed was to switch on the computer. It was at 02:45am on Sunday (consulting the event log) that I logged in and was online. As he had promised, Chris was online via MSN, having eaten his burger and chips and waited eagerly for the photos from the evening. Perhaps by being online I was prolonging the memory of the night (which will stay with me forever). To my disappointment, I had only taken four, which by my standards is extremely poor. Never mind, the final picture of the evening, (which perhaps puts the words that I could not find late last night while blogging) encapsulated the story of the night. Cheesy grins all around! Chris had already e-mailed me photos from his camera phone, the stylish Nokia 6270. While it boasts 2-mega pixel capability, and Snake 3D, use in practice is limited, particularly trying to capture questionable dance moves on the dance floor. I should not complain, it is my only lasting memory of the night and I will cherish it (until I get a better photograph next time). I transferred across the file to Chris, which took a while as I had to transfer the files from the camera first. My colleague was very impressed with the quality of the pictures. Only then did I go and read his e-mail. I was rather taken aback by the comments in his e-mail but the prize were two photographs. Sure the quality was poor but you could not dispute the beauty of the subject. I’m not talking about myself here (I’m only in one of the photos).

My next decision, instead of getting into my warm bed, was to start watching The IT Crowd. Only because I knew that I would not have much time for what remained of the weekend. The strange thing was I had seen the last fifteen minutes or so, last weekend but without having seen the beginning the jokes were diluted in their punch. It was well past 3am now and I should get into bed. I watched the first half and then decided that my tiredness was getting the better of me and retired to bed. Saturday was over, but Sunday promised more.

I woke up around 8.30am, great considering it was less than five hours sleep. After a great cup of tea and some toast, I watched some music television, only to decide that the best place for me was back in bed. Eventually around 11.30am, I got myself out of bed and then it struck me that I had plenty to do before I headed off to the East Midlands in the evening. CDs to burn, work to prepare for Monday, bags to pack. As always it was a bit of a last minute rush but I expected it to be that way. Yet, this perfect weekend was about to hit the ultimate level.

A colleague at work is a diehard Liverpool fan and on Friday we made a bet for a mere £5 on the results of Sunday’s game. Personally, after reading Lawro’s weekend predictions, I was convinced that it would be a goalless draw, yet my heart told me to make the wager and never deny Arsenal at Highbury. I shook hands, to the utter amazement of my colleague. Now, let the record show I am not a gambler. In all honesty I do not believe in gambling, it is after all a Mug’s Game. I do not agree with throwing my money down the tubes, but that is my opinion. Was my fiver safe? For part of the afternoon it was questionable, but in the end the Frenchman made it so. I love watching Arsenal, even more so since Arséne came to North London. We still play the most attractive football in the league and perhaps only shifted up a few gears. Henry was magnificent along with Cesc in the middle of the park. We should have killed the game off early in the second half and although Liverpool came back out stronger, they were made to pain for a silly mistake by their captain. The team is growing and showing promise. Bring on Charlton, bring on Juventus and Paddy. We will prove all your doubters wrong.

After the game, I had hoped I would been able to quickly check my e-mail, but there was no time, I had to leave as quickly as possible. I changed, threw some clothes into a travel bag, grabbed my toothbrush, razor and headed out to the car. Loading up the food, I reset my trip counter and looked at my watch. It was 18:11, I was hoping to be in Nottingham before 8pm to catch Mayo. Although if I missed it, I doubt I would really care that much. As I hit the motorway, I put on the CD which I just baked freshly a few hours earlier and felt great. There is something about the reaction to winning. I would lie and say I was not singing, while I was winning but it was the only way to let the jubilation of beating Liverpool, particularly after the cruel defeat at Anfield a month earlier. I was running on pure adrenaline, put my foot down, switch out to the outside lane, hit a cruising speed just over eighty miles an hour and looked forward to the next couple of hours on the road. Just me, my music and the motorway. I made fantastic progress up to junction 10, where I came off to catch the A43 past Silverstone to the M1 at junction 15A. I joined the first motorway of our beloved island at 7pm exactly and wondered how I would make time for the next nine junctions to Nottinghamshire. I pulled up outside my sister’s student house, almost exactly two hours after leaving Wycombe. Perhaps taking the M40 -> A43 -> M1 route was a mistake. Never mind, I was here and that was the most important thing. I had already preplanned to get pizza takeaway, but my sister’s (with their expensive tastes) wanted only Pizza Hut. This meant a small trek into town. They tried to persuade me to take my car, but I was not having any of it, there would be nowhere to park and we opted to go in the tram. Quite a regular service for a Sunday, might I add. Natalie came with me, after a mess with her order on Friday, we hoped to get our order at a discounted rate. Heading over to the Cornerhouse, which is just three stops down the line, we were greeted by the manager, who quite quickly decided to give us the full order for free, to make up for the mistakes made on Friday evening. Fantastic, I put my credit card away. As we headed back, we opted to walk down to the next stop, as the next tram would take another ten minutes or so to get to us. As it happened, it was the same tram, with the same conductor, whom on this occasion was slightly more vigilant and asked us to pay for our tickets. Holding the pizza box, I felt I had stepped back to my days as a student (not that long ago) and found the whole experience much better than in my University city, Leicester. We headed back to the house and had our pizza while watching Planet Earth on BBC1, there was nothing else on worth watching, and reception was limited. It was my first time back in Nottingham since January, so we spent most of dinner catching up on things. The topic of conversation quickly switched to soaps, being a diehard fan of Eastenders and religious viewing of Hollyoaks. This was when Gemma, my sister’s house mate finally started talking to me. Although she had not seen the late night episodes from the middle of last month. It was then I had to mention my name being shown on the show, and knew I could provide the evidence by showing this blog. Talking my sister’s laptop upstairs I linked up to the wireless network nearby. The owner had made only one change since I last reported hijacking the 8mb broadband connection. He had renamed the wireless ID from the default belkin54g to ‘ThrasherNet’ but still no security in place. I logged onto my blog and showed the image from the September 2005 archives. Of course, as usual, to the uninitiated, the questions came about what is this, why do you keep it, what is the point? Having had to explain my site, on a regular basis I rattled off the standard definition and full explanation. My sister Samantha, informed me that Gemma was doing her disertation on the paperless office, so perhaps I may discuss her paper over on my work log at some point. Gemma was so inspired, she called for the girls to start their very own student house blog, although there was less enthuisasm from my younger siblings.

It was getting late and I had to settle down for bed. My sister bought her television up and put on MOTD2, showing the highlights of the Arsenal game. I went onto MSN and chatted to a few people, but with the clock fast approaching 11pm, there were very few people online, and those that were did not really want to chat. The driving was finally catching up with me with a busy day on Monday, I had to get some sleep, so packed away the laptop, switched off the television and drifted off to sleep. Wondering in my final thoughts what tomorrow might bring.

I woke up a bit later than I planned, got ready, had some breakfast, had a shower and then headed towards Mansfield to meet up with my colleague. In the end we opted to go in their X5 the remainder of the journey to Bradford. A productive day, even if somewhat unplanned for my work of the week. As I got back into my car to drive home, I switched on my mobile. I had a text from Hussein, he had finally blogged after a break of 8 months. I was shocked but glad, it had been a long wait. I looked forward to reading the entry as soon I stepped inside the house. It was quarter to 6pm and I hoped to get back into Wycombe before 8pm, so adjusted my journey to take into account the roadworks on the M1. I have not seen any new reg, 06 plates or the new Punto Grande on the road. I was hoping to kill two birds with one stone and see a 06 reg Grande Punto, but it did not work out. I did however see a brand shiny new Mercedes that overtook me on the M40. Yet, I had suspected I would see many more. The prestige of buying a new car has been diluted in recent years, with the advent of the bi-annual new registration plate, instead of just once a year in August. Overall I enjoyed my car journey, it gave me the time to enjoy and listen to the a selection of new and varied tracks. In particular, The Upper Room – All Over This Town and Lonestar – I’m Already There (which was recommended to me by Pooja on her blog). Plus a select of tracks from Artic Monkeys and Hard Fi. There was even the Sunblock dance mix of I’ll Be There, which originally I hated, but having heard Chris play it at work, I really liked the sound of those big drums at the beginning, middle and end. Even if it is no match for the original, only repeats the chorus and has a video starring busy blondes, pretending to rush to a drowning victim out at sea in the video. Perhaps the most appropriate song for the whole weekend, was Living For The Weekend.

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