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What is the purpose of your journey?

  Fri 5th September 2014

One of the pasty-faced anoraked band of believers that are to be found in Lancaster of a Saturday gave me one of their little booklets the other day. I suppose my dress and demeanour suggests that I'm convertible, so they always give me the latest cartoons.

As I mentioned last time, my uncle died recently, so I had to get to Lewes, where my mum's family are from. I spent hours trying to get the fare down from the £300 it offered me on the National Rail website, before a much fuckier and drinkier option suggested itself. Donna lives near Milton Keynes, which is on a line between Lancaster and Lewes, and after some emails I managed to arrange to stay with her for two nights.

Outside Milton Keynes station, there were two beggars sociably drunk, glad that it was warm, probably. As I gave them a fiver, I said "I'm giving you this on condition that you spend it on drink." "Have you had a good journey?" "The best bit of it is this part," I said, kissing her open-mouthed.

After dinner and some chat, I went over to kiss her. "No, not yet," she said. "Wait there." She reappeared in some gorgeous shimmery grey satiny underwear and stockings. "Fancy a change of scenery?" she said, after a while, and turned onto her hands and knees; the curving lines of her arse, her hold-ups, and the memories of her psychedelically powerful texts a day or two ago about "control" (i.e., her relinquishing of it). I find her sexually exciting, a state which is enhanced by the right amount of emotional and geographical remoteness.

We can't meet up for a few weeks now, and I am wanking myself so much thinking about her, that this morning I can feel a stomach ache with the tension of it.


Next day she drove me to my brother's, from whence were going to Lewes. It was the first time I'd seen my Dad since he broke his femur about six months ago. He can hardly move, taking tiny, slippered steps everywhere. He accepts everything that is done for him only with resentment. After breakfast my Mum was giving him his insulin injections. He turned to me and said "Left up to me I wouldn't bother with it." Later, I told my sister this and she said "Well, die then."

At my uncle's funeral, my mother was delighted to see her relatives again. My Dad, shuffling for about twenty minutes on the same number of yards to the toilet, turned round at one point and snapped at her "Never mind other people -- think about me!"

After another inching struggle to get him to the wake in the upstairs room in the pub, he was delicately shunned by my Mum's family, who offered the merest polite forumulae before rejoining their own. I sat with him and fetched him the endless tea that he drinks. He said that he didn't like the food, the caterers having provided a challenging menu of egg and cress sandwiches, roast chicken legs, and mini pizzas.

It was an event of surprising brevity. I knew my uncle hardly at all, but he was popular with his family and was remembered affectionately. But no sooner had I finished my second pint (the first one hardly touched the sides) than people started standing up and doing the farewell rounds.

We got back to my brother's, where we were all staying. Mum and Dad go to bed about nine o'clock, and it was heaven to hear my hosts suggest that I could take a stroll out for an hour and perhaps call in for a pint if I liked. All my family are teetotal and I think are a little frightened of pubs.

In the pub garden, there was a serendipitous accident with a misdirected text. Intended for Kim, I told Donna "Just had a lovely half hour on the phone to Donna. Even just talking to her turns me on. Classic situation, high-powered job by day but wants to be ordered about in sex. For me it's the opposite, so we just click. I can't fucking wait to see her again."

I realised my mistake. "Well there you go Donna, at least you know how I talk about you to my best friend." I've been somewhat evasive about it all to Trina. I've told her I stayed at her house, but thought it kind to omit some details. She sent me an email today saying she loves me.

Next day my brother said he could drive me as far as Sheffield. I settled down in my favourite pub with Isabelle and a pint of stout.


Me and Kirsty and the girls went to Dieppe on holiday. It was done on a budget, and we took a ferry from Newhaven which arrived at Dieppe at 3am. We tried, but had very little sleep on the corridors of the ferry. They let you sleep in the terminal at Dieppe until 6am, and then, rucksacks on our backs and bags for life in our hands, we walked to the gare, which we imagined our best bet for somewhere to have something to eat. The station was empty except for a few drunks. The girls slumped back to sleep as I went out to scout for a cafe which according to Trap Incisor was open at 6am.

We strapped the girls back into their rucksacks and walked them another fifteen minutes to the cafe. Where there was nothing at all to eat. We sat there till about 9, then got two taxis, at 16 Euros each, to the campsite, where we slumped in the bar over ineffective coffee as the morning aquafit classes started in the adjoining pool, to a soundtrack of Europop.

At half past one, almost delerious with lack of sleep and hunger, I went in to the campsite reception and shop, where there was nothing but baguettes. I bought two. The gorgeous receptionist--natural black straightened hair, scooped-necked black T-shirt--to my relief, said we could have our caravan a bit earlier than our official check-in time, in an hour's time. We sat on the grass outside, ravenous, and ate the bread and drank some bottled water. People stared at us.

For the rest of the holiday, it mainly rained. We discovered a dial-a-ride bus service that could get us into Dieppe, otherwise it was an energetic thirty-five-minute bike ride that only me and Fiona could manage.

There was an open-air gallery, which turned out to be an alley onto which people has posted their art; it was down by the docks, and to get there, we were directed by a burly shipyard worker. There was an exhibition about the history of skateboarding in Dieppe, and a more conventional one in the Maison des Avocats.

In the hypermarket, we found the largest pack of loo roll I've ever seen.

12 comments

When you go on radio silence for a long stretch, I always assume the worst. I envision you hanging upside down by your ankles in some cold, stone dungeon. There you are in Milton Keynes having a grand old time. I need to stop worrying so much.

Your father is the epitome of the stoic Brit. I didn’t think they actually existed. I thought it was a cheap stereotype.

I love the misdirected text. That’s such a modern problem. It could have gone horribly wrong. Best be more careful in the future. Are you certain that the declaration of love is not one of HER misdirected communiqués? Wouldn’t THAT be funny!?

I hate camping. Any form of it. Getting a weak wifi signal is as close as I like to get to roughing it. If my family is ever sleeping in a tent, something went horribly wrong.

That pic of you by the painting is so funny! Which came first? The shirt or the Modigliani rip-off?

Your hypermarket her in the states is called Costco. Everything is GIGANTIC. You go in there for some paper towels and end up spending $300 on crap you didn’t know you needed.

Good to see you post again.

Fri 5th September 2014 @ 14:19
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Thanks – I’m not out of the legal woods yet, by any means though.

It’s not camping as such – we were in a wooden chalet. At the place we normally go, well, it’s paradise. It’s not roughing it at all. You’d never find me under canvas in the middle of a field . I can’t understand why people do it when there are things called “hotels” and “friends’ houses".

You mean Mondrian rip-off, surely :)

All the best, you skiver!

Fri 5th September 2014 @ 14:42
Comment from: gossamer beynon [Visitor]

Blimey !
Am I in print?

I’m afraid I have to disagree with you and EoPS; camping is great, if you do it right.

Sat 6th September 2014 @ 15:34
Comment from: [Member]

Yes GB, I print your blog off – for one thing I can’t read your dark-grey-on-light-grey colour scheme, and even if I could, your blog is much more something to be enjoyed in a pub or a train journey, on paper, than to be sat to attention at a flickering screen.

Camping takes place in the countryside. So it’s gone wrong already for me. And when you get there, there is not a single drug-strewn nightclub playing Central European Panzer Advance Techno between Keswick and Ambleside. What sort of a rubbish place is that?

Sat 6th September 2014 @ 15:57
Comment from: smallbeds [Visitor]

I wondered where you’d got to. All hell broke loose while you were in France, you know:

http://www.lancasterguardian.co.uk/news/eagle-eyed-resident-spots-leaning-lamp-post-of-lancaster-1-6819636

France is always terrible for not selling anyone food when they need it. On a recent trip round the Loire we were once panicky from hunger - all the small boulangeries close on Monday - and found a little local cafe open. Do you have anything to eat, we asked? Well, no, they replied: the boulangeries are closed and we buy from them.

Sat 6th September 2014 @ 17:30
Comment from: [Member]

Yes, it’s been an action packed week in Lancaster.

France does a six day week very well. You have never seen a place so closed as Dieppe is on a Monday.

Sun 7th September 2014 @ 12:13
Comment from: smallbeds [Visitor]

Apparently the bigger supermarkets are required to close Sunday, and that kind of gives the boulangeries a chance. Hence the latter all then close on Monday, which is actually the slowest day anyway. It still drives me crackers, though.

(Your image link is broken. I do hope it’s going to be worth the wait.)

Sun 7th September 2014 @ 15:11
Comment from: [Member]

I should have remembered from the last time we were there. Me and Fiona cycled into Dieppe looking forward to loading up on nice things to eat and there was absolutely no food shops open at all. By Tuesday we were going round the twist with a diet of bread and wine. In our usual place, in Brittany, the small Carrefour is open on a Monday.

The link’s repaired now. It’s a ropey picture but we have a very entertaining headline writer around here.

Sun 7th September 2014 @ 15:29
Comment from: PendleWitch [Visitor]

“Fuckier” and “drinkier” are fabulous words, and I shall be adding them to my vocabulary forthwith.

Sun 7th September 2014 @ 19:12
Comment from: [Member]

Thank you! I also like Miss Underscore’s coinage: “cunting” or “cunted".

Mon 8th September 2014 @ 09:13
Comment from: Furtheron [Visitor]

Milton Keynes is taking on a completely new appeal for me - always hated the bloody place up to now

Tue 9th September 2014 @ 16:39
Comment from: [Member]

It’s a weird town, certainly not designed by, or for, humans.

Wed 10th September 2014 @ 14:57


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