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Tuesday, May 5

Back On The Road Again

Another Monday morning - well, Tuesday morning, but with a Monday feel to it - and another 90+ minute commute to work from my girlfriend's place. It's a trade-off - an extra night together versus a long drive, and I'll definitely take the drive, please. I like driving. And time together too, obviously.

It's not all about the roads.

More metaphorically, I was back on the road in other ways. There was the general getting back into work after the bank holiday thing, which feels a bit like being back in the driving seat, even though I was a bit wrong-footed by the fact that I'd forgotten to take my work trousers with me over the weekend, so had to go to work in jeans. But most importantly, I was back on the road in the sense of getting back into the show. Ah, the show.

"The Show" is a strange term that's used by people to describe some work or other that they're concocted for the purposes of foisting on an unsuspecting audience. I remember the amount of conversations that a co-writer and I had about a musical we were writing. We would always refer to it, not by title, but as either "The Show" or "The Musical". In the end, it came as no surprise to either of us that we ended up creating a new show, called "The Musical!", which accurately and stupidly captured the mood of making a show together.

Touring a show, which I suppose is one way of describing the various performances that will happen of The Seven Deadly Jokes before the year is out, is another metaphoric hitting of the road. Generally having a show date looming does feel like a journey. An inexorable unstoppable progress towards a date. The show must go on, the date will be met. Aaaagh and eeeek!

I met my co-show-colleague type last night and we did a couple of read-throughs of the show, noting the bits which we'd rewritten last time we met up, and also noting how little of it seemed to be in the front of our brains. This is concerning, but perhaps not the end of the world. We have managed to learn the whole thing in about 3 sessions before, so it's not beyond us to learn it again in time for our next performance, which is in less than 2 weeks now. It's something I don't want to get too stressed about. We love our show and we're going to have fun doing it.

In addition to the show rehearsal, I was in a bit of a spot. I had a lot of mess in my house and no actual spare time to deal with it. A principal source of disruption was the sheer number of laundered but unironed shirts hanging (literally) around the place. I had to deal with it, so agreed to multi-task with the rehearsing. Could I remember my lines at the same time as ironing a shirt? Well, in some cases, I could.

We're going to have to up our game in the next rehearsal - perhaps balling my socks will have to wait.

Monday, May 4

Three Days Three Hills

It was a day in three phases. Today we did the three hills walk, and a lot of things came in threes. We had a bit of a later start than originally intended, almost missing breakfast until a late sandwich stop found us three sandwiches each (the breakfast triple pack) and got our systems ready for the walking that was to follow. The walking in this particular case involved three hills around a village called Brailles, near Banbury.

It cost £3 for the walk - a pound a hill.

It wasn't the quickest of walks, we also didn't run out of steam entirely or lose our cheer. We had a big enough group that we could keep random conversations going and not bore each other with the same information on a loop. More positively, it was fun. Walking is a great leveller - you can be whoever, but you've still got to get over that stile, or up that long incline.

That was phase one - the early morning, long walking, stopping for barbecue, further walking, challenge.

Then phase two - an afternoon and meal at my girlfriend's parents' house, prefixed by a suitable pre-meal visit to the local pub. A very nice pub indeed, I'll add. Food is always welcome after any form of effort, also during. Basically, food is always welcome. Full stop.

Phase three was time alone together. This took a couple of forms. There was the bit where we walked back to the car talking about nothing much, but talking about it effusively in such a way as led us to laugh so hard that we had to hold onto each other in order to avoid falling down in the field we were walking thorugh. Then there was the bit where we drove home and couldn't really be bothered to prepare any food, so had maltesers instead - I ate some plums (and some maltesers). Then there was the watching of a classic Doctor Who episode, all curled up on the sofa.

There's the rule of three in comedy, which says that things are funny three times over, or that the third of three things is the funniest. This is not a patch on the rule of three which involves three hills, three days in one, and saving the best for last - curled up, comfortable and happy.

A pretty good use of a bank holiday if you ask me.

Saturday, May 2


Retrospectively posted - this is from 2nd May - found on my hard disk

It's nice when there's a new baby in the family. Everyone immediately goes onto the cooing register. There's cooing to be done, and the trick is to organise into suitable configurations so that the cooing is paced well and doesn't scare the baby off. There's no retreat when you're a baby. The world outside mummy's insides is cold, and bright, and loud and scary, and smelly, and boomy, and spacious, yet unbounded and unsecure. The last thing you want as a newborn is to be confused by too much cooing. But no cooing would be bad too.

So, that was the central mission of yesterday. At the end of the cooing there would be a house-warming party to go to too, but what happens in the house-warming stays in the house-warming. There's nothing to report on the subject of the house-warming, to be honest, so don't think I'm holding out on you.

Before the baby shower, at my girlfriend's parents' house, there was the morning in Cheltenham. My girlfriend had to go to work. She wasn't due back until lunchtime, so I had a choice. I could get up and do stuff, or I could lie in bed to be awoken by a post-work girlfriend slightly impatiently telling me that I'd frittered my time away in the land of nod... OR, I could get up and do stuff. Surprisingly, I chose the second option.

Step 1: watch a Doctor Who serial - Resurrection of the Daleks - it was ok, not a classic in my view (and ooh: the story continuity discrepancies with the previous serial I watch - Destiny of the Daleks).

Step 1b: go on eBay and try to buy loads more Doctor Who cheaply.

Step 2: Stop with the Who-ing

Step 3: Go into town for general doing of things - including buying supplies

Step 4: Sit on the steps of my girlfriend's work, with a magazine, and wait for her to emerge.

Step 5: Go to a nice lunch with the lady in question - drinking lemon juice and enjoying it.

This is not a bad start to any day. Then, to follow it up, there was some getting changed, and then some going to her parents' place to meet family and friends and generally celebrate a new person in the family. The new person in question is so new that she doesn't know how to do much more than be hugged, be fed, make excretions, or complain about the fact that she can't do one of the above. When she dreams, you can see she's dreaming about one of these things - she mimes being fed, or being hugged, or pooing. Babies are brilliant. They're like a summary of the human condition in one cute wide-eyed bundle.

There's a lot of pregnancy about, as far as I can tell. The world around me is due to be filled with more and more babies. One entire half of the office seemed to fall pregnant around the same time. I was tempted to put a note on the desk of the only woman in that part of the room not to be obviously pregnant which read "You're next". But that might have come across a bit weird, so I was probably wisest not to.

The problem with my solipsistic view of the universe (i.e. the very Ashley-centric view I have of everything) is that the only thing I can think of that all these pregnant women have in common, is me. Surely I'm not the reason that it's a baby boom? I hope not. I would have remembered if it was.

Friday, May 1

That Friday Feeling

It's one thing feeling like it's the end of the week. It's an additional thing feeling like it's the end of a week which precedes a long bank holiday weekend. It's further even more of a thing when half your team, based in another country, are already on their bank holiday. Then when you add things like a long pub lunch to celebrate all of the above, along with the end of someone's induction week, to the early departure from work to take this person to the airport, well, Friday felt like a very unusual and relaxed day indeed.

That's not to say that nothing was achieved. It was quite a good day for catching up on the state of the union, and planning ahead for life after the major bank holiday to come. Still, blood pressure and other vital signs in a good position all day, excepting, perhaps, the effect of the pub lunch on cholesterol levels etc.

Then I was in my own space after work, and after the airport drop off, which had me foolishly doing a retake after following Sat Nav when I should have been following the signs - a retake is my way of describing having to go back and do a bit of it again, like my journey is a video that can somehow be edited before it is put into the YouTube of life. What do I do with my own space? I get packed and go to my girlfriend's space. She was right. She said I'd arrive at her place for 9pm and that's what happened.

It's strange that a couple of things, like an airport drop off, and the 90 minute journey between our houses, can make my early departure from work, turn out to be some 4 hours away from the start of my evening.

That said, we had a nice evening, so I have no complaints. The Friday Feeling is good!

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