Monday, February 27, 2006

Weekend Blues

And so... another weekend draws to a close.
If you're in the UK, you'll be savouring those last few hours of freedom, but it's now 9 AM on Monday morning. Not that I've got work to go to yet, but you get my drift.

In fact, it's getting to be a little frustrating not to have some routine in my life. Never thought I'd be saying that, but it's definitely exacerbated by the fact that I'm in a new country too, and need some permanence, some roots. Something I can call my own.

Friday, as Claudine had already mentioned, we went for a meal in St Kilda, which is such a cool place: a bit grungy with a distinct seedy underbelly, but that somehow adds to its charm. It's Melbourne's version of the seaside [although technically it's a bay - Port Phillip Bay - but it has sea in it, so... it's the seaside].

Saturday was spent food shopping and preparing for Stephen's birthday party. It was a weird sort of Melbourne day, overcast to start with, some sun, and then intermittently bucketing down with rain. So much so that the kitchen window gave up and let the flood in. Fortunately, the rain eased sufficiently in the end, but others in Melbourne weren't quite so lucky. It continued overnight too, as we woke up intermittently to the sound of what appeared to be the roof [or the sky] falling in.

We're on a slope, so thankfully the water drains away onto the road pretty quickly. Though when I say road, I mean "creek", as the road is largely an unsealed dirt road, and the rain makes a series of channels as it seeks lower ground. It all sounds very exotic and hillbilly, but we're actually only about 200 metres from a main [tarmac] road.

The party went with a swing, although Claudine and I "piked" about 11 PM, as they say here: "A person who does not participate or unreasonably stops participating is known as a piker. A piker, by definition, pikes." We both simultaneously realised that, as welcome as we feel, and settled as we are here, it's not our home, not our space. Yes, there's an element of control-freakery about it [in that we couldn't tell people to bugger off as we wanted to go to bed], but we'd not met anyone before, it was Stephen's party, and as nice as the guests were, they weren't our guests. Having re-read that, it sounds pretty ungrateful, doesn't it? But I hope you can see what we mean.

We retreated to our bedroom, a little grumpy and fed up, yearning for a place to call our own. Realistically, that's some way off as we have not a bean to throw at a deposit, and renting would delay the buying process considerably. We were feeling a little claustrophobic, a little trapped.

So we did what all good people do in this situation: we looked at the ceiling and told each other what we could see in the knots in the wood. A sort of indoor-nighttime version of cloudwatching. We ended up pissing ourselves laughing, and felt considerably better as a result. Aaaaaaaah, siiiggghhhh, as the serotonin kicked back in. And, in case you're wondering, we have ducks, a giraffe, fish, aliens, and one or 2 other creatures. Our toilet has E.T. and Jar-Jar Binks.

Sunday started with another melancholy, homesick moment, as I checked the football scores and discovered that QPR had beaten second-in-the-table Sheff Utd 3-2. Great news turned to much rumination on the fact that my footy mates would probably now be in some pub in Sheffield or Manchester [The Lass! Maybe even in The Lass!], toasting the victory, revelling in it,
and by now suitably toasted.

I thought of the journey over to Sheffield by train, which, although not one of the world's great train journeys, holds a special place for me. Going through the Pennines, into tunnels and out into glorious green and brown hills and dales, woodland and scree; never knowing whether the sun would show itself or not; and / or whether the brooding, ominous clouds would deliver a torrent rain... I so love the hour or so it takes to get there!

It was also the scene of QPR's last great moment, the city where we got promoted 2 years ago [albeit at Wednesday on that occasion], a highlight amongst a catalogue of ignominious events over the last decade. I remembered that great day, the train over, the beers before, the amazing atmosphere as 7000-plus QPR fans took over the Leppings Lane end for a party. Forget the fact that the Wednesday fans were less-than-welcoming, it was such a memorable and great day, and one, I realised, that I don't think I'll ever experience again.

Sure, if we were, by some quirk of fate, to get to the Premiership or FA Cup Final, I'd negotiate my way over to the UK. But I wouldn't have shared in the anticipation, the build-up, the 40-something often ragged and frustrating games with the occasional spark of brilliance. And I'm missing that already somehow, dammit. The great news of our win lost its shine, appearing lacklustre by the mere fact of my absence.

I managed to pull myself [kicking and screaming, it must be said] out of my fug
of melancholy, and spent the rest of the day chilling out. We knew Stephen & Lisa were going out in the afternoon, so Claudine and I were left alone in the house for a few hours, some space together at last.

So we did what every married couple does when given some time together, free from distraction and obligation. Yes, we watched TV for 3 hours.
Battlestar Galactica, in fact. I'm not a sci-fi buff [as Claud & Stephen both are - I call it one of nature's amusing little genetic tics], but this is one show [actually, there's also Firefly - yikes, what have I become!] that I enjoy, and that we can both share, two spods in a pod. Bliss.

And so, now we're now back to Monday morning. Yin is happy, yang is happy.


Anonymous jammy said...

Nice read there :D

Thought you might like to know that on Saturday morning, Clare and I walked from Hope (on the Manchester - Sheffield Railway line) up Lose Hill, up Mam Tor and then up Rushup Edge before dropping down in to Edale to catch the train back to Hope.. however, there was a rail replacement bus service between Chinley and Sheffield, so getting to Sheff from Manc would have been a right pain in the derriere!

Needless to say, I thought of you when watching final score back in Sheffield to see that the mighty Rs had beaten Utd at home, would have liked to have been there to see that (cf my previous QPR match) but hey ho!

PS The blimmin bus was over an hour late as well, grrr!

Tuesday, 28 February, 2006  
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