High days and holy days

express.jpg (10K)
in a fair world, first against the wall

I am, as has been pointed out, back from being on holiday. Not an awful lot seems to have changed. Sir Ian Blair is still an enthusiastically lying and propagandising political puppet; the Express is still a piece of shit. One of my locals seems to have decided that clichéd and badly-executed Warhol/Beatles paintings will improve the look of its walls – about ten years too late for the zeitgeist there, chaps, and it was crap then too – but I spend most of my time there either reading the paper or using my phone, so I don’t think it will make any difference overall.

Slightly concerned that the staff in one of my more local locals had noticed my absence, even over that short period – well, not too concerned, they’re nice people, but am I becoming a “regular”? Do I need to buy my own tankard? I’m a Londoner dammit, I expect impersonal service bordering on the rude. (Just in case any of them are reading this – please don’t take this seriously, I do actually like having people know who I am.)

Anyway. My major goals were to:

  1. See parents†;

  2. Get some sleep;

  3. Somehow turn into less of an irascible drunken internet-addicted bastard.

Goal 1 was easy. I know where they live. I sort of managed goal 2, except that, no matter how long I slept for, I was far more tired the next day than I’d ever thought was possible. Wake up, maybe in time for breakfast, dick about reading the paper or a book for a little then WHAM, hit by the fatigue train and smeared across the next six hours.

Because my parents’ flat was still full of builders and the smell of cats, I was not able to stay there, and instead booked myself into a holiday camp just down the road. They live in a seaside town; these places exist. I didn’t even consider “Hi-de-Hi” type jokes as it was really just somewhere that I could get a room with a bed and bathroom for less than thirty pounds a night, including breakfast (OK), dinner (hmm) and cabaret (~shudder~).

So at a bit past ten I’d usually think about popping down the road to say hello, have coffee, hang around and maybe get some lunch. The effort required to do this was phenomenal. It felt like I had some sort of unknown but critical nutrient deficiency – all I wanted to do was sleep. I would quite happily knock back caffeine to stay moving in quantities that, in my normal daily routine, would drive me into manic fits. The heat didn’t help, though I was being careful with rehydration, sunscreen et al. After lunch I would go back to my room and lie on the bed dozing for several hours. When the sun went down and I’d had a couple of glasses of wine I was a little more active, but that was only for a couple of hours, after which I simply wasn’t interested in activity any more.

To be honest I really did nothing while I was there. I’m not generally the sort of person who thinks that, say, lying on the beach is a good use of a holiday, but I have to think that maybe I’m fighting against my own metabolism there, not that lying on the beach in this case would have been very pleasurable, too many pebbles. I had my iBook with me (useful for organising holiday photos – no net access with it) and I spent a lot of time writing interactive fiction with Inform, including an almost-complete parody of Rapunzel which turned out, when I actually read Rapunzel, to have nothing at all to do with the original fairy tale in a few very important ways, so you’ll never see it.

I had some odd dreams. I drank less than I usually do; in the first couple of days I was still in London mode and knocked the booze back, but as the week went on I started not being concerned too much and being quite happy with a glass of wine with dinner and then back to the hotel room to listen to the Proms and read books. Oh, yeah, I started reading books again. After having gone to Exeter – my dad needed to visit the hospital there unexpectedly and I came along, wandered up and down the high street for a bit as I was no use anywhere else, and bought some paper-based products – I read Aberystwyth Mon Amour, a collection of German “decadent literature” and half of a Stephen Baxter novel called Coalescent, which I expect to finish in the next few days. After my past complaints this must have some significance. I’m too tired to explore what it might be.

And just as I was thinking that I might be getting a bit less irascible and drunken and internet-obsessed I end up back here, and the first thing I do is go to the pub with my laptop. But hey. It does occasionally do one good to be reminded that a job is not something that one has like one has mass and height, rather something that one does, even if that means that when one returns to it one spends the whole time thinking “this is another hour that I will never get back”.

† “Parents” in this case means my dad and my stepmother. There is no extant collective word for this grouping that I’m aware of and I can’t be bothered to think of one, so I’m just going to say “parents”. You can draw whatever deep psychological conclusions you like from this.

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