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Beginning again

  Mon 9th January 2012

When we begin to fuck, we begin to live

A 5am alarm, and to Kendal for Melanie's eye operation, after which I was to go to see Mary-Ann in Leicester. Her recovery took longer than expected. I was relieved to see her dispose of a cheese sandwich disappear without incident, since the hospital had said that she could leave once she had had something to eat. I rang Mary-Ann to say that I'd be three hours late.

On the train down I read her Christmas present to me, from which the quote from 1690 above is taken. "I must confess," she texted, "to feeling extraordinarily nervous about this evening." I wasn't until we were in her car. A red light seemed to last a long time and I felt unsure if I ought to put my arm around her.

We arrived at her house. Walls of books, the TV knowing its off-centred place, well-tended cats wandering about. We had some English wine in those thick handmade blue-green glasses used indifferently for all drinks by left-wing people who don't drink much. No-one there but us. We stood together in the middle of the room. I felt bashful; but not for long. My fingers, lips, my eyes, and all of the clothed me, were conduits for the relief that at last we were being able properly to enjoy each other. "There's a bed upstairs if..." "Yes, I do, very much."

Midday, we drove to collect her daughters from their Dad's. "Have we got to have a story ready?" "It's OK, they won't ask, but just in case, you're a researcher I met at a conference." The daughters were easy company; driving lessons, the instructor's funny foreign name which sounds scatalogical, A-level exam stress, feline social relations.

Mary-Ann drove me to the station. A hasty, illegally parked farewell. At the train station I saw that I could go home two hours later. In the real ale Pub of the Year I started chatting to a lively Northern Irish and Midlands couple on a crawl and it seemed natural for me to join them navigating round the real ale highlights of Leicester. The last one was the best, a listed early 60s building with an beautiful original interior: an orange-yellow light through mottled lampshades reflected by curtains of a similar colour, the fussy lines of Victoriana straightened into Modernism, and a pint of local Mild for under two pounds.

I'd missed my last train. I explained the situation to Mary-Ann, trying to sound sober, and thinking I might have to throw myself on the mercy of a reader of this blog who lives not far from Mary-Ann, worried about turning up pissed to hers too. "Don't be silly, of course you can stay here." More chat with the daughters, almost feeling familiar now; a bed of propriety downstairs this time. Another, slower farewell, 6.30am in the local station's car park, no coyness of hands or mouth this time.

"You can't use that ticket before 9.30 I'm afraid," the conductor said. I paid the fare as far as Leicester, stretched out a coffee, then went into Wetherspoons and taking advantage of a pre-apologised day of cancelled arrangements, I ordered a pint at half past nine. I was not by any means the first in the pub to do so.

Sod this I'm going on a SAGA holiday next time

Back home, and thirty minutes to get some clothes together, before we went to Blackpool for the Soul Weekender. Three of us in the double room together, which involved including an airbed and a huge pump in our luggage, circulating the keys and a certain amount of dissembling in the hotel.

Getting breakfast involved them going down to the dining room, giving our room number, then me wandering in half an hour later and placing myself confidently at their table as if I'd just nipped out to the loo. We were gently asked if we had nearly finished our breakfast at midday. We had spread the papers out and were playing The Age Game, where you take the names of the people having birthdays and guess how old they are. It went to a tie break so John and I had to guess the temperature in Oslo the day before. John got it spot on: -2.

I love dancing; it's the thing I most enjoy doing in the world. I deliberately exceeded the stated dose on my prescription codeine for the dropsy on my knee, taking advantage both of its painkilling properties and its recreational potential. I liked the getting ready together on the big Saturday night, drinking, fiddling about with clothes while our subcultural soundtrack played on the iPod. We lined up some Pepsi Cola on the hotel's hyperbolic brochure in which the restaurant was described as "world class", and Blackpool as "exciting".

"Hello." Karen from Chester was in a below-the-knee pinafore dress made of cheap artificial fabric which nonetheless curved appealingly around her tits; thick, touchable black hair waved to her shoulders. "This is my friend Heather. I'm a bit drunk." "How are you doing? Having a good weekend?" "Yes, it's great. She's my best mate." "Do you know Karen, we had an identical conversation to this a year ago."

The man in the subheading, like several others, took the mick out of himself as he returned hot from dancing.

Here's 1:40 of what we were up to on the final session on Sunday afternoon (it's I Really Love You by Norman Hutchins, from Where I Long To Be, 2006).


Comment from: [Member]

a glorious weekend, it seems!

like you, i can get deeply lost in dancing. i can do it for hours on end, by myself within a group… throw in some drums? possibly forever…

Mon 9th January 2012 @ 20:08
Comment from: nursemyra [Visitor]

I know what you mean about those thick blue-green glasses. Awful to drink out of.

Tue 10th January 2012 @ 00:59

Sorry, but it sounds like you deliberately by mistake missed your train to spend a night with Mary-Ann. It sounds like something is subconsciously brewing towards a permanent relationship.

Don’t be afraid.

Grasp the opportunity.

We’ve all done the “extra breakfast” scam, so I wouldn’t worry. Just don’t get caught.

As far as the dancing goes, if that’s your thing then more power to you. Personally, I’d rather have a vasectomy without an anaesthetic.

P.S. Did Karen or Heather show a more appreciative attitude later?

Tell all.

Tue 10th January 2012 @ 01:24
Comment from: ISBW [Visitor]

I love Leicester. It’s been a City of Adventurous Romance for me too. Don’t be fooled by that redbrick Victorian facade. And no wonder you just HAD to dance after all that.

Tue 10th January 2012 @ 04:43
Comment from: [Member]

DF: Wind me up with some appropriate starter solution, put me on the dancefloor with the right kind of music and I’ll not bother you again until you get a call from the hospital.

Nursey: Those glasses are useless, even for water. They’re as thick as my lip, they’re not translucent, and they are an awkward wobbly shape. Was thinking I could get her a decent set of Bordeaux glasses for her birthday but probably not a good idea to draw attention to the differences in our drinking habits overmuch.

TSB: Honestly, I was enjoying myself so much with my new pals and the real ale I just forgot the time. Re a “relationship” - “permanent” is a big word, and I’m not great at monogamy, but just for now, I find it quite exciting and a bit teenagerish. The quote from 1690 is only slightly an overstatement. I can get very down if I’m not enjoying physical closeness with a woman I like.

Karen and Heather were sloshed (just as they were last year). Karen’s pretty, but once she starts hitting the Malibu, it’s all just drunken non-sequiters, and I wasn’t drunk.

ISBW: Maybe they could use that slogan for the tourist board. Not quite sure about Leicester myself - bit rough in parts. Preferred the Labrador and gastropub territory of the hinterland where M-A lives, but as the phrase goes, “further research is required".

Tue 10th January 2012 @ 04:53
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

With the kindest possible meaning, glad you didn’t have to throw yourself on our tender mercy. We are 17 miles out!

Leicester’s ok. I used to hate and resent it for not being “home” but after 16 years in or around the place, I’ve come to admire how racially harmonious and laid back it is. That said, I used to live in a shitty flat in Highfields, where I found a tramp pissing up the wall, the car stereo got nicked 3 times in 6 months and my ex was propositioned by dealers or prozzies every time we went for a curry. Those were *not* a good two years.

Tue 10th January 2012 @ 12:52
Comment from: ISBW [Visitor]

Hmm, actually, Highfields has always been a bit grim. When a friend of mine lived there and went out to ring her Mum from a phone box one night (it was a while ago), her conversation was interrupted by a man outside ejaculating over the door.

I think I tend to let the Adventurous Romance memories take over sometimes…

Wed 11th January 2012 @ 01:36

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There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
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