Apparently, sometime this week, this blog had its 10,000th visitor (well, since I started counting, anyway) so I thought I'd better put something mildly interesting on it! I've been busy the last few weeks, not updating as much as I'd like, so I thought I'd give you a brief round-up of what I've been up to. I'll leave out all the boring day job stuff that's taken up most of my time, as a post which just says 'I've been working harder than Janet Street-Porter's toothbrush' isn't very interesting. So anyway, here's part one of 'The stuff I've been up to':
A few months ago, whilst out drinking with my dad and brothers on my birthday, we all drunkenly decided we were going to go on a big walk around Kinver Edge. My dad's other main hobby, besides drinking and passing wind, is hiking, but he hadn't gone on a walk for ages and talked me and my brothers into going with him when we were all pissed enough to say yes.
This was against my better judgement as I spent quite a big chunk of my childhood traipsing around canal towpaths behind my father. That's the thing, you see, my dad didn't really do the pretty walks, he liked walking along 'the cut' (that's what canals are called around here. You know how the Inuit are supposed to have four-hundred words for snow, because they're surrounded by it? That's a bit like us Brummies and canals; We've got a whole two words for them!) and subsequently knows how to get anywhere in the West Midlands by towpath. This isn't so bad these days, because Birmingham has been regenerated like Doctor Who, and the council has spent money cleaning up and renovating and prettifying a lot of the canals, but when I was a kid marching alongside the cut with my dad (this was the the early Eighties) it wasn't so groovy. Walking along a muddy towpath dodging overgrown nettle bushes alongside a canal full of shopping trolleys and used johnnies looking at the backs of semi-demolished empty factories in Thatcher's Britain wasn't really my idea of fun. But, my brothers and I all agreed to go on a walk with our dad because it sounded like a great idea at a quarter-past pint number seven.
Anyway, we decided to go for a walk on August Bank Holiday. That got changed as it was my brother's wedding anniversary that weekend. We didn't go to Kinver, we ended up going somewhere else in Worcestershire. (I don't want to put where we did go in case the guy that owns the B&B we stayed at happens upon this blog. You'll read why soon enough.)
My brothers, my father and I, my dad's mate and his son had a nice walk along the river Severn in the pissing rain, (it was torrential, most of the time) stopping in every pub along the way and taking the piss, swearing (mostly at the weather), talking football (mainly about how shit Birmingham City are) and swapping jokes and funny stories. My dad and his mate are very scatological in their humour; anything to do with farting and shite are incredibly amusing, so much so, every anecdote I heard from either of them during the weekend tended to be about all the amusing al-fresco shits they've had in years gone by. So, among the stories I heard were: Slices of bread being used as emergency toilet roll; bread which was subsequently eaten by a dog. I heard about the time my dad's mate accidentally shat in the hood of his cagoule, and the time he was dying for a crap but couldn't go because his wife's sister was using the bathroom, so he went and did it in a bucket in his shed, but he missed the bucket and crapped all over his lawnmower. These stories are base, not very clever, and yes, disgusting, but I love them! I also found out, from my dad's mate's son (who's a soldier) that, despite Hollywood telling us otherwise, people make a lot of noise when they've had their throats cut. Nice. We finished our walk in good humour, especially after seeing my brother Matthew go arse over tip in a muddy puddle, and avoiding the escaped cow that was running at us along the riverside.We ended up sitting outside a pub in the rain sinking a few more pints. Although hiking isn't really my idea of fun, I did enjoy it. It was a good craic, and all the other hikers we met were nice, always saying hello, and the views were great. It's just a shame, because of the rain, I had my head down for most of the walk and didn't really appreciate the scenery as much as I should have.
We headed back to our B&B to get clean and dry and to change into nicer clothes so we could head into the town centre for more drinking. My dad and his mate left us to it at about half-ten, but my dad's mate's son, my brothers and I carried on into the wee small hours. I've subsequently realised we drank something like sixteen pints that day (we started drinking very early and finished late), and we moved on to spirits at the end of the night. Staying out late was a bad idea, because we realised when we got back we couldn't get back into our digs. We weren't given a key, and we all tried phoning up our fathers but to no avail, they'd gone to bed and turned their mobiles off. Bugger. we ended up having to break in through a small open window on an upstairs floor. Let me tell you, trying to scale walls and run along rooftops like a staggering Matt Murdock when you've had sixteen pints is both difficult and, in hindsight, bloody stupid. Anyway, we got in and after me and my brother Marc stopped giggling like twats about the ridiculous situation we'd just found ourselves in, finally got some sleep.
We got back to Brum the next morning via the Severn Valley steam railway, and ended up in a city centre boozer (more drink; bloody hell! My liver was aching until at least the following Wednesday) putting the world to rights until we decided to go home and get some proper kip. All in all, a good weekend.