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Sunday, January 27

Family First

A Family Day
Well, first was the sleeping. Lots of sleeping. I'd been up late the previous evening on MSN and writing scripts and generally being online. I needed to catch up on the Z's. There had been a fair amount of not getting much sleep all week, and I cannot be woken unless it's an emergency. Though I was vaguely aware at a few points over the morning, I was pretty much waiting for a cast-iron invitation to be awake, possibly in the form of a series of demands from my niece. Unbeknown to me, she'd taken one look at my sleeping form and decided that I should be left alone. This might have been fear, disgust, or pity. I doubt that the two year old mind can ever be understood enough to determine which.

After I eventually surfaced, I had a few moments to compose myself before we went out to a family event, which was the union of various cousins, uncles and aunts. I was definitely an uncle during the event, but I was also a nephew and cousin. It was getting tricky to keep track. I chose simply not to worry about it. I would definitely recommend this course of action. If in doubt, try simply not giving a shit, while simultaneously giving it your best shot. This is a great paradox, but it can work wonders.

Anyway, the family occasion ran its course when my niece's behaviour prompted a return to her home, where my parents are babysitting her while her parents (one of whom is my sister) are away on holiday. Does this make sense? Does it matter? Well, it matters enough to be remarked upon, but we'll stop there in case it stops being interesting.

Back at the house there was some food, there was some computer action and then the magic hour of 4 o'clock arrived. We were in Finchley. I had a bus to catch from Victoria Coach Station. Correction. I had a MegaBus to catch from Victoria. Apparently the most effective way to get to Victoria from Finchley is to take a number 82 bus from the end of the road. So, we went off with 2 hours to spare before the 6pm bus so I could be transported to Victoria, which takes about an hour, to be there in plenty of time for my coach, even if the bus there proved unreliable. There was also the factoring in of the waiting time for the bus to take me there.

As it was, I arrived at the bus stop, ably escorted by father and niece, as a bus arrived. I got on it, and the long journey to Leeds began.

I was going to Leeds in order to stay with a friend so that I might more easily make it to Rotherham to appear at the Magistrates Court to receive the necessary speeding conviction that I could not receive by fixed penalty since I'd managed to achieve 9 points on my license already and you can't get to 12 without a court appearance and a mandatory 6 month driving ban. Woohoo. The court appearance was to be 2pm in Rotherham and I didn't fancy my chances of getting there by that time from the South. Better to do it in plenty of time from the North. So, Leeds I needed to go to. I chose to go by MegaBus because it is cheap and because I would definitely arrive in the North feeling sorry, atoned and, more importantly, broken enough to be a sympathetic guy in the courtroom.

I suspect it was parsimony and atonement at the forefront of my decision.

I arrived in the Victoria area of London in plenty of time. This gave me time to get to the coach station and assess the arrangements. It gave me time to seek out a Costa and have a coffee. I had time to stand around pondering the meaning of life. I also had time to read some of the very excellent God Delusion by Richard Dawkins while listening to my mp3 player. All of this happened before the coach started to be running late.

Then I had time to queue as the coach didn't appear and then queue after it had appeared. Thankfully it was a coach. I've heard stories of old fashioned double deckers being used for the London Leeds run. This was a real coach. It was cramped, but it was worth the virtually nothing that the ticket cost.

Then began the slow journey up north. After about 40 minutes, at around 7.15, we were in... yes, you've guess it... Finchley - the very place I'd left 3 hours fifteen minutes previously. I love public transport.

No I don't. But the purpose of this trip was to go up North to face having my private transport right revoked, so I had better get used to the idea of using public transport and adjusting to the vagaries of it. You can't get everywhere by bike and even if you could, it would take longer than even the MegaBus.

To Leeds
I'd like to tell some hilarious story of the difficulties of economy M1 travel (damn that M1 and its infernal speed cameras). The truth of the matter is that, aside from the drived making sarcastic pseudo-witty comments, we just travelled to our destination and, without any particular incident, got there.

There wasn't much comfort, and there were some people yattering a bit, but it was quite peaceful. I had Dawkins and instrumental jazz to listen to. Everything was tickety boo.

Moving In Together
Unknown to me was the fact that I would be staying with my friend in the first ever night of his living in his own house. I assumed we'd stay at his Dad's place, where he's lived for the lion's share of the last 12 months. No. We actually moved in together that night (I was to move out straight away). We celebrated this fact with a curry which we got from the takeaway, oblivious to the absence of cutlery in the house. Never mind. We ate our takeaway with chopsticks. This worked remarkably better than can be imagined and, though possibly never to be repeated, was a totally brilliant way of devouring a curry.

The new fridge was employed for bringing beer to an appropriate temperature and we shot the breeze until very late. I didn't want Sunday to end. After all. Sunday was the day before I had to go to court to face the music.

The day ended.


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