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She's like me, but without the hassle

  Fri 3rd December 2021

Last weekend's edict from the Department for Anxiety scuppered my plans for my European Tour.

I was going to Lancaster. The cheapest way was to fly to Manchester via Venice on the way out and Riga on the way back, which was £22 return, plus £12 to get from Manchester airport to Lancaster and back. Had I gone on the train, it'd have cost me £120. Instead, I hardly paid, mostly bunked the train.

The best blag was the Birmingham to Bristol bit on the way back, which saved me £60, by saying to the guard that I'd been seeing my daughter in her student digs "and I distinctly remember putting my cards -- and my train ticket -- on the windowsill in her room. I've got my booking reference, and I..."

"It's OK. Just sit down and ignore me when I come through. It'll get me through the carriage quicker."


Before then, on Friday, me and Mel flew to Newcastle to see my mum in Middlesbrough and to go to a house do a friend of mine runs in Glasgow. Cider in the airport at 8am.

Storm Arwen roughed my mum's house up a bit. Roof tiles clattered to the front garden, and her fence, erected by my late father, whose ability at using tools was as poor as mine, was wrenched off in two long sections. The fourteen-foot-wide trampoline in the back garden went AWOL, and, at the time of writing, has not been found.

We couldn't get to Glasgow. We turned up at the station for the first leg of the journey and everything was cancelled in both directions. Instead, we had a pleasantly drunken couple of days in my mum's house and Wetherspoons.

I felt for my mum, in her eighties, stuffing cotton wool balls in the gaps in her windows and old birthday cards folded up in the front door. Heating turned up, expensively but necessarily. I took several photographs of the gappy frames, to use against a rich landlord who needs the prod of litigation before he'll do any repairs.

Mel was a bit irritated that I couldn't fuck her. "You haven't asked me to keep my bra on all the time we've been here."

I took her down The Astronaut, a pub which refuses anything internetty. As I thought she would, Mel settled into a proper working class pub, complete with shouty but harmless men, to whom Mel endeared herself by choosing an old Hawkwind track on the jukebox; and fifty- and sixtysomething women chewing over various disgruntlements, laughing. People talk in a collective way, which I encounter less often in Bristol.


The storm abated on the Monday and we flew back to Bristol. I got the train to London to meet up with Trina, who several weeks ago had secured my agreement to accompanying her to a gig by MOR jazz-lite crooner Myles Sanko at Ronnie Scott's. His neediness made me cringe a bit, as he repeatedly asked "is there love in the house?" Love for him, it meant. £37 for a bottle of the house red.

We slept in the same bed, her in her red slinky nightie. With her head on my chest and my arm round her shoulder, she said, "no, I'm getting a bit turned on," and went to sleep a few inches away.

This morning, she sent a text saying that she wanted to cancel our week at a house music event in Tenerife next February. She loves me; I can't reciprocate it. "Mel's like me, but without the hassle."

13 comments

Comment from: exile on pain street [Visitor]

Laughed at the Hawkwind reference. A bunch of old stoners. People gravitate towards the music of their youth and rarely anything contemporary. It’s a fact. That, like dreams, are for the young. Speaking of dreams…I’ve always wanted to spend an evening at Ronnie Scott’s. I can’t see it happening but I suppose you never know.

Sat 4th December 2021 @ 20:01 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Hiya Exile, yes, Mel grinds to a musical halt somewhere around the end of the 70s. Some of us oldies are still on the modern groove though, man.

Ronnie Scott’s always feels special. It’s a classy venue. The wine’s on me if you ever make it over.

Sun 5th December 2021 @ 21:46 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Fucking Exile beat me to it… Hawkwind that is, lol! Mel seems absolutely fabulous…

and that last two paragraphs mate… fuckin’ ‘ell… the beauty and sadness and truth, it buckled my knees.

Sun 5th December 2021 @ 02:52 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks kono, that’s nice to hear. Look after your knees though.

It was great how Mel blended in with everyone there. The Astronaut’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Sun 5th December 2021 @ 21:47 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

The 14-foot-wide trampoline in the back garden went AWOL
I think it’s probably in Devon. most of them are.
Sx

Sun 5th December 2021 @ 15:12 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

I wouldn’t be surprised, Scarlet! I thought my mum’s front window was going to be blown in at one point.

Sun 5th December 2021 @ 21:48 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

I woke up in the night and thought I was reliving the ‘87 storm. In the morning we found that we’d lost one tile and two gates were damaged - not quite the same as losing Seven Oaks.
Sx

Mon 6th December 2021 @ 06:58 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Seven oaks? Have you a particularly thickly wooded garden Miss S?

Mon 6th December 2021 @ 09:31 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Haha! No! I’m originally from somewhere nr Sevenoaks, and during the 87 storms the oaks were dispersed!
I suppose that sort of thing sticks in your mind if it’s close by.
I come from the area that used to be thought of as Sevenoaks’s dumping ground.
Anyhow, enough about me…
Sx

Mon 6th December 2021 @ 09:50 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

It’d be difficult to have enough of you Miss S x

Mon 6th December 2021 @ 10:27 Reply to this comment
Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

Hoping ‘22 is treating you well Mr Loob!

Mon 3rd January 2022 @ 21:03 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Yes - Happy New Year!
Hope all is good with you.
Sx

Mon 3rd January 2022 @ 21:17 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Hello Monkeyman and Scarlet and everyone who lands here – Happy New Year to you all and let’s hope for a sunny 2022.

Tue 4th January 2022 @ 11:01 Reply to this comment


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M / 57 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

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