My middle name is John.
But sometimes I think it’s Stupid.
This is best illustrated by the following story:
I’m sitting at home about 2 months ago wondering whether Monday evening is too early in the week to ‘reward’ myself with a glass of red when my wife says:
‘remember those chairs we saw in Italy?’
Her: ‘they’re for sale for ‘only’ £350 each in London’
Me: ‘they can stay there for than price’
Scroll on a few hours later and the glass of wine is working it’s magic and I’m surfing the web for all I’m worth. Googling and e-mailing.
I ended up e-mailing the Dutch agent for the chairs (they come from Italy) who broke the news to me that they, like an up-Market gay gigolo, were too expensive for my ass.
About a day later he e-mailed me to ‘offer me a proposal’ -(his words, not mine) where he could offer me the chairs at a 55% discount if I was willing to accept them as 3 day old chairs.
I’m not posh where I put my ass (or who has been there before) so I agreed. All I had to do was arrange delivery from his shop to my house.
Research proved that shipping of chairs was not as simple as I thought. So in an instant I decided I’d drive over to Utrecht to collect them.
Piece of piss.
So I agreed to bring my 2 eldest (7 & 4) with me. They would stay with their cousins in London while I nipped over to clog land. That would make a challenge of it.
Just to make it a bit tougher I scheduled it for 3 days after a marathon.
Despite what google maps might lead you to believe, from Cork, Utrecht is a long way away.
I set out at dawn from cork last Friday, hit rosslare around 08:00, and after hitting the M4 at rush hour, got to Shepperton at around 19:00.
After a quick pizza and dumping my kids on my sister I struck out for harwich in east anglia. After over 800 km since dawn I boarded the stena hollandica. A brand new boat full of all things Dutch (herring, beer and rolling tobacco). I decided to opt for an exotic beer and 1 pint of 7.1% beer later I collapsed into a coma.
I left the hook of Holland at 08:00 and rocked up in a place called Zeist outside Utrecht at about 09:45 where I met Eric the chair man.
45 mins later I was back on the road with a hole in my bank balance and a people carrier full of chairs. I had to make a stop in a Dutch DIY shop (that would have been a porno shop 15 years ago, now, alas, it is a Dutch Bn’Q) for some electrical accessories (long story – another post) but then I was back on the road to Calais.
I got lost in Antwerp and went a bit mad in Calais buying cardboard boxes of wine. I rolled onto the train and after a novel but boring trip across the channel I was back in shepperton at about 18:20.
I was now starting to get the light headed feeling that is specially reserved for people who refer to bonking as a sporting hazard that can befall you if you don’t suck enough GU. (double entendres abound, I know).
Still, I sat in to watch the Englanders play as only they can and sucked down 4 beers too many (none would have been the right number!)
The next day was Sunday and this involved a trip into London town to visit the Finsbury park sister. She of the new baby called Richard.
As an aside, baby Richard was diagnosed with familial in-utero enlarged cranium. That would be a big head to you and me. I feel proud that he has my name and big head!
Anyway, we trooped into London and passed within a whisker of The Subversive One as we rolled through clapham junction on the train. (my kids think he is great – I filter the stories)
My sister took us to the London eye and down the south bank before catching the tube up north to the Borough of harringay (home to baby P)
I took advantage of the adult to child ratio and settled in for an afternoon of passive parenting and let my children roam the streets of London while I sat in a breastfeeding chair nursing my coffee.
The last leg of the journey began this morning as I was woken by the kids at 05:45 (must sign them up for the army or send them down to Thomas’ house). We didn’t leave until 09:00 and arrive in Fishguard at 13:45 with the car reading 1,800 km.
I had to go through the by now normal interrogation about whether I was abducting my kids. (I was the car they took into the ‘special’ shed) – the half drunk case of polish beer in the back window was not helping my situation. 10 min later and an Interpol scan of our passports proved it was just bad parenting as opposed to anything more sinister.
And here I sit, on a Stena boat, watching Mama Mia on the TV with only 200km to go.
As I said, my middle name is John, but sometimes I wonder.