AS you may have guessed, I'm back! It took more than 27 hours and brief visits to the airports of Bangkok and Dubai and I am still feeling jetlagged five days later.
The plane journey back was torturous, and there was so little room in Emirates Economy Class that it was fairly uncomfortable. I did manage to see a few films that I wouldn't have otherwise, however, and the choice was quite amazing. The Designer will not be surprised to hear that I also watched seven consecutive episodes of The Simpsons.
Best of the films, for my money, was The Devil wears Prada which may sound like a chick flick but is actually very good. Meryl Streep as boss of a fashion newspaper magazine named Runway, makes my Management technique appear very touchy, feely. Also saw Little Miss Sunshine with Toni Collette and the bloke who plays the boss in The American Office, which was funny, and The Da Vinci code, which was pretty poor when compared to the book.
The Fat Kid and the Vin Man picked me up from the airport - though they nearly missed me - and were delighted to have me back. Cannot help thinking the Fat Kid knew I had bought her a Gucci bag from a shop in Perth for her Christmas present. The Vin Man kept asking about his presents - and was a little disappointed when he realised they amounted to a jar of sweets and two T-shirts (well I AM skint and no pay for another month - ouch!) Got something for the Big Boy, too - a giant Koala that sings a rather modern version of Waltzing Matilda - and NOT the one the Barmy Army sing which involves the said Matilda being wooed by a number of Englishmen and then receiving something "Up the Billabong".
When we got back to the Fat Kid's house in Southend it turns out her little sis, Lotty, has moved in with her and is in the process of starting at a new school. It means the house is now pretty full and I had to make do with the sofa, falling asleep by about 5.30 in the early evening.
Next day could be best termed Bad Car day. Having taken the Fat Kid's to the garage on the basis it cuts out every two minutes I then drove her around to do some chores. When she returned from paying her bills I turned the ignition key - nothing. It was pouring with rain and I didn't have my AA card with me - welcome back to Blighty. In the end managed to get through to them from a telephone kiosk in the street and, fair play, they turned up within 30 minutes, only to tell me that my alternator was b*ggered.
Back to the garage for it to be replaced, leaving the Fat Kid and I carless. We decided to catch a train home (one stop) and bought our tickets, only to find that no train had been sighted at Rochford station for two hours. Something had wrapped itself around the electric overhead cables, apparently. In the end it resulted in more expense, getting a taxi back to her house.
We picked the cars up the next day - another £500 on the new credit card, or near enough. God, I'll be pleading to return to work soon. That night I met up with the lovely Evans and her work colleague Matt in the posh part of Southend known as Leigh-on-Sea. We went to a pub called the Mariners which was absolutely chock-a-bloc, and the Fat Kid accompanied me, for no other reason than to show off the Gucci bag.
At the end of the night there was a bit of a dispute over taxis between us, a Yankee lad and his mate, and the compromise was we would share a cab and they would pay. Fair deal, as the Fat Kid would say.
Returned to Cardiff in the newly-fixed car, which handled beautifully, on Saturday, listening to the footie on the radio on the way back. The Gas, by the way, have somehow sneaked into the League Two play-off positions since I've been away. Perhaps I should leave the country more often.
Had a quiet night in but delighted to find out they are screening "An Aussie goes Barmy" on ITV4. In Sunday's episode myself and the Designer were clearly pictured standing on the Adelaide Hill. Oh, how I love fame.
Sunday afternoon I went for a quick drink with Scooby to catch up on things and there in my local, fresh from his starring performance for Liverpool at Watford, was Craig Bellamy, quietly enjoying a pint with some of his Cardiff mates. Wonder if Rafa knows.
It was great to get back to cooking last night. I made a quick trip to Sainsbury's and cooked up a standard chilli with rice, but it still tasted great.