...but I will be back again in April so never fear. I've been getting things ready for the trip: planning this, booking that, printing maps, etc. I'm also wondering where I can train to understand the British rail system (see what I did there?). The public transport system is some confusing shit. It finally clicked when I realized that's its just like travelling in Guatemala: each bus (train in this case) is independantly operated, charging variable fees, and providing extrememly different services. Once I approached it with that mentality it all became clear though I'm confident the military won't board the train and demand my passport.
What an age we live in though huh? I've already got my boarding pass for two of my flights, and a train ticket is waiting for met at a machine in Dorchester. I hope it's not too lonely. I've also got my tickets sitting right beside me for the British Museum exhibits I'm seeing. In addition I have the pubs I'll be visting all picked out. My CAMRA (which is a real ale association which points you to friendly pubs with good ale) app tells me that currently, the closest pub to me with real cask (English) ale is 3200 miles away. Hmmmm.... a bit far to go for a birthday drink.
Oh, and yes, it's my birthday! Ya, happy birthday to me. As luck would have it I'm extremely busy today as well and have no time for goofing off or leaving early. Ah, well, in fairness I am leaving early but it's to see the lawyer to get my will finalized. Come to think of it, that may be the worst way to spend a birthday- contemplating your own demise and what should happen to all your worldly possessions. On the other hand, though, it may be the perfect time to grow up and get it done. Of primary importance now, of course, is what would happen to New Mouth To Feed should a 'common distaster' (Lawyer talk) befall me and She Who Will Be Named Later. For some people that would be a no-brainer: off to the Grandparents with her. In our case, however, we would like to avoid that so a Will was necessary. Life..... so complicated.
Right so, I'm 43 then and it appears my Irish accent is coming back as I contemplate my trip home. I'll likey return with a Northern Irish accent from my time in Belfast (I'm a horrible mimic) which will mean I won't be able to understand myself as it's a tough one to follow. When I talk to my mate on the phone I can only understand about half of what he says. The only accent I've encountered that was as tough was Essex.
As far as 'the south' I'm only going to have enough time to stop in Dublin, and since Dublin and Ireland are in fact two different places I'm not really going to be seeing Ireland. I will get to re-visit some favorite people, pubs, and places (She Who Will Be Named Later and I met in Dublin) however so all is not lost. It's going to feel strange, I think, being back. I was last there before the big crash so I wonder if much has changed? I'm assuming Dublin won't be all boarded up but it has to have slowed down some, at least outside the Temple Bar area which hosts the vast throngs of tourists who could have saved some time and money by visiting any tacky 'Irish' bar in their own city. True story (designed to make any of my Irish readers cringe): in my old city the 'Irish' bar (Green McPaddy or something equally awful) had a leprechaun door beside the main door. It worked and everything as the drunken idiots who all crawled through it at the end of the night could attest to. Fucking North Americans. Why do they have to ruin every culture they adore? And stop drinking green beer- it's just wrong.
I'm assuming London, on the other hand, will be exactly same. Busy, grey, and frownie. Ahhh, a humid place full of grumpy, bastards. My kinda town. I sometimes like putting on a thick Canadian accent and smiling cheerfully at everyone I encounter just because I know it makes them very unhappy inside. That's right, I'm off to grief Londoners. (It's fun in Bloomsbury, but dangerous in Kilburn so I'll have to pick my battles). When She Who Will Be Named Later and I were travelling in Calgary, AB, Canada on the public train system a guy next to us starting chatting. It was a brief exchange of nothing in particular but when we got off She Who Will Be Named Later was appaled. 'What's wrong with him? Is he mentally ill?' I had to explain that in Canada, sometimes we talk to each other whilst in public. How very odd, these colonials.
Right, so that's my rant for the day. It's my birthday and I'll babble if I want to, babble if I want to, you would babble too if it happened to you, da, da, da, da, da da!
Back in a few weeks.