Happy New Year!
Salutations and congratulations, it's 2014 and it's a wonderfully sunny morning. The storm that has menaced most people (including myself) seems to have subsided and now all we have to do is wait for the snow. I should mention that despite being nearly 30 I still enjoy snowfall like a little kid. I would throw snowballs at people if it was still cute, I'd probably just get charged with assault nowadays. I digress.
The matter of the title is not blithely used for comedy or Hollywood reference, last I wrote I had yet to decide on my plans for Christmas and was about to get on the off to start my celebrations. If you remember I had been working every night and conquering TMA02 by day for a week. I say that, yet to see if I actually passed. I finished work on the evening of the 20th of December, finished decorating the cake I had prepared and went to bed excited for the Holiday season.
I was as prepared as I could of been, realistically, getting the cake done was of paramount importance because I had no way of knowing how long it would take in the new kitchen. On the morning of that Saturday I got up around 8AM to wrap the necessary presents and send off the cards I had written out for my family. Still unsure of what I was going to do, tentatively I was planning to spend the weekend with friends, work Monday and Tuesday, then go with my Dad to my Brothers on Christmas Day, work Boxing day then go to my other Brothers for my nephews birthday before rumbling down to Devon to see my Mum before coming back to work New Years Eve.
I had presents for all my friends from korean plushie dolls to champagne receptions for two. I was happily sat in my bed wrapping presents until I came to open what was meant to be a copy of a graphic novel. Quite a specific present. Instead there was a comic I had ordered for myself two days earlier, somehow I had managed to pick up the wrong package and was a present down. Quite angry I phoned the local comic book shop to see if they had a copy (at 9AM) and they did not, so with lightly muttered frustration I conceded to give it to him belatedly. No matter, I told myself, I had a case of champagne and a cake, I was still in the black as it were. Frustrated, but excited, I opened the door from my now decimated flat to get on my travels. Howling gale and sideways rain. Which go fantastically well with three tiered chocolate cake. A little more frustrated I made my way to the bus stop, into Brighton then hopped quickly to the off licence. Where I bumped into my Dad, who had already lectured me (after I locked myself out of the house) on over-spending this christmas. I had in my hands a bottle of vodka and two large cans of red bull, I felt that fate had at this point been a little unkind. So the lecture began, then the bus came past and I had to run for it. With the cake, which I had cunningly wrapped up inside two tin roasting trays because I couldn't find a cake box anywhere, I got on the bus. It was before 10:30 which meant I wouldn't be more than half an hour late for lunch. I'd say I was less than jubilant on boarding but as the journey (the two hour journey) went on I gathered more and more christmas spirit as people came on the bus to see me carrying a hold-all full of presents and champagne, and what appeared to be a turkey. I was in a good mood by the time I got there and when the evening finished at some early morning hour, I had enjoyed a fantastic day, completely forgetting the misdemeanours I had encountered. The cake had also mostly fallen apart, but had been well enjoyed by all, so that portion of the day balanced out for me. Strangely I had a bit of an asthma fit when I woke up, woke everyone up as I flapped about looking for my inhaler with a hangover before eventually finding it in the bottom of my bag with painkillers. Winsome painkillers. I snoozed thinking it was endemic of Christmas so far, bad luck coming good in the end. I should also mention I got a great christmas present that I was never expecting that I will talk about another time.
To the morning proper, we woke around 10AM and had a cup of tea. I got a call from work, letting me know my hours for the rest of December, for the production of Scrooge, had changed. They now included the entire period between Christmas Eve and Boxing day. I called my Mum to tell her I wasn't going to be able to make it and she seemed a little down, so I made a decision to make it to Devon before Christmas instead of waiting until after the New Year. Not least because we would be back studying by then. I said my goodbyes and left to get the train to Exeter. Even managed to get a lift to the station, had my phone charged then was able to relax on the train and enjoy the sunshine rolling over the countryside. Even though I couldn't get a seat at all between London and Exeter. Yeah.
£87 and four hours later I arrived in a little village just outside of Exeter. My Mum was delighted, as was the puppy. I will eventually get a photo of her when she grows up enough that she stays still for more than about three seconds at a time. Spaniels are very lively creatures. We went to the local pub for a lovely dinner, I went to her shop the next day and had a walk around the village, had some more great food from a local farm shop that evening when I got a call from work. I had been taken off my Christmas Eve shift when I got the call on Sunday, which was part of the reason for the trip down, it turned out that they did want me in. At 12.30. I figured it was a bit like everything else, seemed like a spot of bad luck but I agreed to it thinking at least I would be busy Christmas Eve rather than getting home to an empty flat late in the evening. Checked the trains, I left at 6AM Christmas Eve morning.
There were some quite funny, potentially dangerous shenanigans at the local station where I had waited on the wrong platform (or so I thought) and realised just as the barriers dropped. With no over-pass I had to quickly jump the road barriers and go up the otherside, the train then started to arrive on the other side of the tracks. Fortune struck, the driver saw me getting a little cross and slowed down so I could jump down off the platform and cross the tracks. Christmas cheer 1 Fate 0.
I got to the station, in good time, expecting to get back to Brighton before 11AM with loads of time to get ready for work. At first, the 7AM train was cancelled but the 7:25 was still on. I knew this meant I would miss my connection but the next train was only an hour late and I would probably only just be late for work. Which I had warned them might happen. So I went to ask a lady on the station to make sure. This was the first time I heard that the storm had affected almost all the trains in the area, there were no trains to London or Brighton at all. There was a review at 10AM and measures would come into place after that. I was like, the internet didn't say anything helpful, how will I know? She told me her name was Nikki, gave me her phone number, telling me to call her and she would let me know what was going on. Christmas cheer 2 Fate 0.
I called work then went back to the little village to my Mums, walked the dog, had a shower, bought Nikki a little present and gave her a call. She told me there was a replacement bus service to a place called Tiverton where trains to London Paddington would run. I was victorious, I'd be back home in time to go to work and apologise in person, then be there for work on Boxing day.
This was the queue for the replacement bus service. I felt a little discouraged but I figured I would endure it. Eventually I would get home, surely, it couldn't be that bad. I got chatting to some people in the queue, they had further to go than me, we had a little drink and almost got on TV. The time passed pretty quickly and soon I was on the bus organising my spotify playlists for the train ride.
I got to Tiverton, went up to the ticket office and asked them how long it would take to get a connection to Brighton. I also told them, after he asked me what time I had to get back, that I could go to a friends in Exeter for Christmas if there was no way. He checked all the routes and there were no trains, no buses and nothing until 5PM at the best. I asked if he could be certain that I would make it home, he said that there was no guarantee because there were just so many people waiting that even if there was services they could fill up quickly. So I text Mum and said I was stuck for Christmas, then got back in the queue to go back.
Christmas Cheer 2 Fate 2.
Got back to Exeter and then found out I would need to wait an hour so for a lift to my Mums friends house where I'd be spending Christmas. Went in to get a coffee and chill, where I noticed the lady ahead of me was struggling with a box. I'd seen her on the bus, offered to help and she kindly bought my coffee. The box was full of home-made chutneys and jams. We waited outside for her bus for a while, so on and so forth, she eventually had to go back and get a train because as soon as they began running all buses were cancelled. I got my lift and was able to enjoy a fabulous Christmas. All the usual cheer, drinkings, presents and so on. Christmas Cheer 3 Fate 2.
I then had to cancel work the day after boxing day, as well, meaning I had bailed on them Christmas Eve, Boxing day and one more day. I felt they were probably not happy. I simply couldn't get to the station early enough, as it turned out even if I had got a cab I wouldn't of made it. By the time I said my goodbyes and got the train it was about 2:30 in the afternoon. In transit there were problems with some connections and although I had had to go on a route to avoid London it turned out we (Brightonians) had to go all the way Basingstoke, then London and then onto Brighton. I imagine because trains had started again. The wait at Basingstoke was almost an hour, so I went to the ticket office to check. Another fantastic human told me I could get a train in two minutes to somewhere then get a connection onto the Brighton train I had been expecting. It all worked out but we were held up over and over again on both services, I eventually got back to my place at about 11:30 at night. I had grabbed a takeaway, was ready to have it and go to bed ready for work at 10:30 the next day. Sadly I had managed to leave a heater on in the melee of leaving for Kent with the cake and champagne. The electric had run out and the emergency card I had in the letter box had got wet and wouldn't work. Christmas cheer 3 Fate 3.
So all in all that was pretty eventful, work were not too angry with me although some people had had to work a lot longer hours than they wanted because of me. I think you could say they were understanding. The reprisal was that I lost my NYE shift. Which was ok, I found out the day before and made plans with a friend to meet up.
Although the first three places we tried were sold out, we ended up going to see two time DMC champion JFB. Which was funk-dub-hoptastic for me but less so for my friend who is a bit of a house head. Good night, I realised the morning after that the people we ended up dancing with were in fact some of the DJs. So that was pretty cool. I even managed to get to work yesterday without a major hangover and got through the whole shift without any major problems. Other than I cut a slice out of my thumb instead of the lime, which was pretty stupid. Regardless Holiday Cheer 4 Fate 3.
I now don't have a shift at work until, well, until ever. So I'm not sure what to do about that, other work continues on Match Days at the stadium. So I have some monies coming in as term is about to restart, I have resolutions. Get fit without the gym, organise and save some money, continue collecting comics. Thats all well and good but I have another mad weekend planned, out Friday, work Saturday, down to Kent that night then home Monday morning or Sunday evening. I also am going to miss Vadim and Krush on Saturday, but I've made peace with that. There are always more gigs. I must contemplate whether to bar work or look for some sort of job that might lay me in better stead moving towards the legal world.
Looking forward to my TMA results too, lots to think about and more to do. Hope the New Year is kind and all your resolutions come good.
Oh and I also watched series of unfortunate events again on my phone, you know, for some reason it actually scares me. I must finish reading the books.