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Grimsby & Corsham |
You may well ask 'what the heck happened to the report from UK?' Well, here's a quick update: got home on the 20th June (or thereabouts) swapping the 45 Degrees of Dubai for a nippy 14 Degrees in London at 6:00 on a Friday morning. I took the National Express coach straight up to Grimsby, getting in around 8:00 pm and met by my parents.
For the first few days I did the rounds with my family, seeing my grandparents and my li'l sister, Tracey, and her li'l boy, Jamie, and met for the first time the new man in her life, Neil. Jamie is only two years old and surprises everyone with his ability to speak in complete sentences with vocabulary that leaves some kids at the starting post. His 'magic' trick is to take a handkerchief and a penny, wrap the penny up in the hankie and pick the whole lot up saying, 'Da-da! It's gone!', then he shakes the hanky and the penny falls out, to which he cries,'there it is!'
I had a great day out with my Mum, Nan, Tracey & Jamie in Cleethorpes (yes, believe it.) We took Jamie to the outdoor swimming pool near the beach and played around in the pool for a few hours before taking a stroll along the seafront. In the local park center I'd seen that there's a breed of duck called the 'Ruddy Duck' and there was too much temptation in indicating to little Jamie, "Can you see all those Ruddy ducks?" only to get the reply, "Yes, they are ruddy ducks, aren't they!"
Again I spent a few nights drinking beer, catching up on the latest jokes from home, hearing about his flatmate's love woes, and just generally hanging out with my good buddy Mark Devan - who at time of writing is trying out for the Royal Marines. Good luck, mate. He's now working with one of our old schoolmates, Helen Billingham, who gave him a bunch of photos from our schooldays together, who then passed them on to me for scanning.
Also spent quite a bit more time with Steve Goodman and his girlfriend Carole as I helped design a new web-site for his telecommunications company, Telecom 2000. Glad to be of service and thanks for all, guys! Had a few nights out after long hours in the office with Steve, more beer and takeaways. Doh! there goes my health kick (but am I complaining?) Talking of 'health kick', I'd already started a bit of running whilst in Thailand (Dubai was just way too hot) and I'd planned to continue this trend in the UK. This, however, was not to be as from the second or third day I started to suffer badly again with hay fever. For the first week or two at home, even after taking anti-hystemines, I was coughing, sneezing, and not able to breathe well at all. Bang went that plan.
For the first time since I started travelling, I had a couple of international friends stop by Grimsby. Soo ja Yu, who's now studying in Sheffield where she lives with her boyfriend, Rod, came by for a couple of days and ended up coming to a family party held for my cousin, Laura, who's now engaged. She left people astounded with her limitless energy on the dancefloor, and my cousin Helen was more knocked back by 'Isn't she little?' Sorry Soo ja. I reciprocated the visit by going over to Sheffield and was invited to a barbecue. Maybe I outstayed my welcome there by test driving one of the new gat-guns that fires the hundreds and thousands-like plastic pellets. I did prove, however, that it is possible to shoot cockroaches from across a room. Sorry, did I say I wouldn't mention that? Anyway, I helped to put together a personal web-page for Soo ja which can be seen at http://www.welcome.to/KOAUK .
About a week later my friend, Suzanne Palm, from Göteborg (now I know to be pronounced Joterbory. By the way, did you know that for decades we'd been mispronouncing Byorn Borg, as Borg should be pronounced 'Bory'?), anyway, Suzanne stopped by London on her way back to Taipei. Neither I nor any of my friends could believe that she'd travel all the way from London up to Grimsby - but yes, she did. I'd been at Steve's office that evening, so Steve and I left with a bit of time to spare in Wetherspoon's (used to be the Yarborough Hotel) just by the train station. Whilst waiting there I bumped into Mark Hornby (known to everyone else as 'Slim' but we won't go into that) and Kev (who's last name I couldn't remember.) It just goes to show how small Grimsby can be, that I know both from two different circles of my life, Mark from my involvement of the Grimsby Fantasy Society, and Kev from Grimsby College. Co-incidentally Mark went to school with my uncle, Terry Burns. Now, both work alongside my mum at Asda's in Grimsby. ("This town ain't big enough for the 100,000 of us!")
Around about 10:00 pm, I went outside to check whether Suzanne had turned up and lo and behold there she was, complete with luggage, waiting outside Grimsby Town station. So, Suzanne's first introduction to Grimsby was with a couple of pints in Wetherspoons with a small group of friends. Cool. As it was Tuesday, and time was of the essence, there was little choice but to take her to Gullivers, one of the first nightclubs I'd ever been to (when I was 18 I'd design paperwork for the club whilst working at Dial Printers.) First we took a taxi to my parents to drop off her luggage and for Suzanne to say hi to my parents, and then we went back out into town. Gullivers is, or at least used to be, the alternative night-club in town. There are still one or two Gothic horrors around but the majority seem to be regular (ish) students. We stayed and danced and had a tipple or two until just before chucking out time and then headed for home. Since my sister's room was now the computer room and there no longer is a bed there, I was down in the living room on sofa and chair cushions on the floor. Luxury!
The next day I had to go into Steve's office to carry on working on his website, seeing as I only had a week to finish the project. Fortunately I could go into work a little late, so we went for breakfast in town. After I'd finished a hard day at the office (no comments, please!) I met up with Suzanne, who told me about the interesting day she'd had at the seaside of Cleethorpes, playing pool with it's tattooed inhabitants. She'd enjoyed her day here and was tickled by the local pronunciation of 'fudge'.
In the evening we returned to my parents house and Suzanne took a nap while I went to visit my nanna (grandmother, for the uninitiated) as it was her 80th birthday.
A trip to Cleethorpes isn't complete without a visit to The Winter Gardens on a Wednesday night, dubbed 'Grab a Granny Night'. So, Suzanne, Mark and myself ended the day tripping the light fantastic at the Winter Gardens' Bag's Ball (don't laugh too hard, please!)
The following Monday, having completed my task for Steve (near enough) I set out hitching for Wiltshire by thumb. The day didn't bode well, with a late start I only made it to Lincoln by about 1 in the afternoon. Not only this, but today was the day that the unfortunate Englishman had been abducted by a hitcher in Australia. Of course it wasn't a good day to hitch, but I hadn't heard the news until I'd already started.In the afternoon I was picked up by a lady trucker and we chatted for a good while about Thailand and travel until she dropped me by Coventry. Thankfully, I'd gotten as far as Coventry, however the spot that I'd been dropped off at wasn't ideal for hitching. It was a minor road that doubled as a Motorway, so people were speeding by with no real room to slow down. I had a brief lift for about two miles and then nothing at all. I ended up walking about ten miles to Warwick. Doh! From Warwick I caught a train that would take me to Leamington Spa, then Oxford and finally Chippenham. The best laid plans of mice and men...
On arriving at Leamington I found that there was a delay with the train to Oxford. I was told I could transfer at Banbury for Oxford. I'd miss my connection but they'd pay for a taxi to Chippenham. This I did. Unfortunately when I got to Oxford, the driver had no real idea of how to get to Chippenham. He was a nice, friendly Indian guy who's dad had served in the British Army in the time of the Raj and he told me a lot I hadn't known. However he didn't really know where he was going and we must have passed around several roundabouts three times at least while we got the directions from my bro in law, Mitch. I eventually got into Chippenham at the wrong side of the station at about 1 in the morning. The metre, I'm ashamed to say, read GBP91, which when considering my train was only GBP24, goes to show how the price of trains are pushed up through inefficiency etc... That wasn't the case with this train however as someone had, apparently, thrown themselves onto the track up North. Kim and Mitch were still waiting up for me, well, they were still up as well because baby Catherine was still awake. After a cuppa and something to eat, we retired from a hectic and rather bothersome night.
Catherine is a gorgeous one, she has a cheeky smile and to my surprise wasn't cautious at all, even though at one year and something I'd only seen her last year as an ickle lickle baby. It was great to spend time with my family down South. I stayed with Kim and Mitch and saw a lot of my brother, John, my sister-in-law, Tracy and Jacob, 9, and Lucie,6. Jacob has been watching the James Bond season so now he wants to play James Bond. He does a convincing Blofeld by pulling his eyelids on his left eye up and down at the same time with his hands and says, "Goodbye, Mr. Bond." Lucie was very huggy this time and did cry a little when it was time to say goodbye. I guess that this was also due to the fact that it had just turned Lucie's birthday and she'd been a very excited little girl all that week.
When it was time to go back North there seemed few problems getting lifts and after leaving at around 8 in the morning I got back to Grimsby about 4:30 in the afternoon. I'd planned to stay in and do some webby stuff but that was not to be. My dad had asked his friend at work to sort out a problem with the computer and unfortunately he'd thought he was doing us a favour by upgrading our computer to Windows 2000, however the computer was a couple of years old and actually too old to handle it. Doh! There were quite a few programs I couldn't use because they came up reading error messages. Half my time at home was without using my own computer. Double doh! Anyway I had to call Steve to ask if he could help with some drivers as my CD-Rom drive seemed to be having trouble. This ended up as a night watching movies and eating take-away. Well, I am on holiday (of sorts.)
Stayed in Grimboland until the following Tuesday, celebrating my sister's, Tracey's, birthday on Sunday (blurred photo - lack of light) and saying ta-ra to Mark on Monday night. Mark was due to go down to be tested for the Royal Marines From Tuesday for four days. As I read my e-mail last night, 2nd August, he passed the course. Well done, bro. And, as I jokingly wrote in my reply e-mail, it's a sorry sight for the Marines' standards to slip so much.
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Last updated 25/11/2001- Created using Tripod Freeform by Rob
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