the bonny experience …….

life is tough, so much so that its proving difficult to smile, and that’s how i know that things aren’t right … smiling has always been an enjoyable pastime for me, but right now, i can’t seem to pull any out of the face

even when this was on offer, a welcoming gesture upon arrival at my wonderful baby sister’s home

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admittedly, it was a sunshine moment at the height of despair and it was definitely cheering.
But so soon afterward, more grey troubles presented themselves.

I’m thinking there’s just something de-motivating in the energy down South, having lived so long and pretty much happily up North for over a decade…

I’m here to find a motorhome, as nothing so far has presented itself as ticking the boxes to my requirements.  Am i too fussy? do i want too much? obviously so

there’s no internet at my sisters so i head for the parents house, having to get the timing right because there are a couple of monsters (siblings) amidst and they definitely require the widest berth you could ever imagine …

so i gets on the internet and i commence yet another lengthy search via e-bay, preloved, gumtree, and any other google search i can think of ….. suddenly a Winnebago Brave presents itself and the pictures look pretty good, the number plate is enchanting and its only been up for sale for 59 minutes .. i dial the number

the bloke on the other end talks very very fast so i ask him to slow down, and it’s quite funny that he slows down to a very strange and warped ‘grave’ tempo … (this, i should have taken into account as an omen)

anyway, we manage to understand each other and i book a viewing for the next day, out near Wembley …

from the parents house me and my sister go off to do some errands together, i’m feeling a bit sick because my life is an upside down mess, my possessions scattered around Merseyside, my home is currently my van with a suitcase and guitar and dog food in it … one of my dogs is with me, one is with a friend up North … my head is battered and bruised – i’m usually an organised, neat ‘place for everything and everything in its place’ type o girl .. and here and now, it looks nothing like the calm and tranquil lake in my mind – in fact it looks more like the landfill experience i had two decades ago where all the shit and rubbish from all over Essex, Middlesex and Hertfordshire was dumped …

anyway, we find ourselves in Hertford, both hungry and thirsty, so we decide to treat ourselves to lunch and our feet take us to a nice little number in what is called ‘Saloon’

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and so on a personal selfish level, i get an hour reprieve from the monsters in my head, and i feast on good food and wine (but of course, over indulgence comes back to kick you in the head, as you will find out as you read on)

thus, being in the mood to continue drinking and dining, the mother parent wants to spend time with her daughters and granddaughter so that very same night, we prepare to go out for a meal … and this we do, to a rather posh and nice restaurant

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another glorious break from reality, an expensive meal, but that’s what expensive taste buds do for you ……..

and then we get home

and then we drink another two bottles of red wine, and a rather rotten white!

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it was off! uurrgggghhhhhhhh, took it back to the late night off licence and advised them that it’s shelf life was most certainly over

and then the next morning, there’s a density in the air, or is it in our  heads?

and i have to meet up with the female parent to go and view a motorhome that i am to potentially purchase and travel by car to a place outside of Wembley …. i pull myself together as we pull into the farm where the motorhome is parked.  we meet the seller, a gypsy looking man with two gold bottom teeth and a large scar from top lip cross ways, looking like at some point in his life he may have taken a baseball bat to the mouth (possibly?!) … anyway, this man chats away, using coin of phrases over and over again … i’m in a part desperate position (cos i’m homeless) and i’m pinning my hopes on this motorhome …. and it looks pretty decent

it has almost everything i need (other than a kennel for the dogs!) … it even has a full on bike rack on the back, for a scooter to be carried.  we agree a price, shake hands on it and i say i’ll be back the following Wednesday to collect … so now i’m beginning to feel hungry so me and the parent make haste toward a feeding venue, we’re in a little place outside of Wembley so unknown territory to us, and then i catch sight of a garden centre and there’s a cafe within its grounds – quicker than you can say ‘full english’ we’re in the wonders of the tinsel lined aisles and into the cafe…. we order salmon and scrambled eggs on toast and tea and orange juice whilst we wait … i’m waning, feeling pretty empty, thirsty and deflated from the adrenalin rush of looking over my potential new home.  Breakfast is served and it looks fantastic … i tuck my fork into the scrambled egg and savour the first mouthful, next forkful in includes the salmon, and then another polite mouthful, alas, my nightmare continues as the blood drains from around my mouth and my lips begin to tingle … i feel like i’m going to fall off my chair and within seconds i’m doubled over, my parent still merrily stuffing their food and then looking on in distaste and weary shock too.  I feel as if my world is crashing in and i just want to get out of the place and curl up featal like somewhere under a rock or a stone.

can’t believe how ill i have become so quickly

i spend the rest of the day doubled over, trying to sleep, knowing that i have to make a three and a half hour journey back up the motorways to Liverpool, to no home, to have to collect my other dog …. feeling sick as a dog …. can life throw anything else at me?!

yep, it sure can, it comes gratuitously by way of torrential rain for three hours (200 miles) of motorway driving, by this time i haven’t eaten or drank anything for almost 24 hours and i’m battling nature, arctic lorries, speeding cars and mile upon mile of cats eyes ……….

the after bubbles ….

waking up four hours after falling asleep constituted another safe bet that hard partying had occurred…

with everyone going their separate ways it was just me n Jo left as we returned to Liverpool

and for every drop of fun you experience, there’s always a hard hitting back down to earth waiting in the wings – mine being a last minute call in to go for a pre-op appointment, couple of bloods, few questions, blood pressure being taken etc etc … a day before last minute check in!

turned out to be pretty painless, lovely nurse, lovely private hospital where i received a very dignified assessment … still doesn’t take away the fact i don’t fancy going in for the operation tomorrow …

anyway that aside, the appointment was done n dusted n then me n twoeey were back on the road heading her homeward bound – no homeward bound for me, i still don’t have a home

we stopped off for a quick drink at the White Horse and then headed to the ‘Bubble Room’ for a scran …

lamb hotpot was on the menu for us both

bubble room 1 bubble room 4 Price = £10

at first we thought it looked a bit weird, arriving in a cup! but under the mash (dumpling) there were huge chunks of lamb and it was very very tasty!  8/10 compliments to the chef – The Bubble Room, Woolton is definitely worth a visit …………. then,

we went back to Hobson’s thereafter and had a couple of swift scotch’s and a smoke and then turned in, with sweet dreams of a gig gone good – roll on the next one!

wednesday wednesday …..

So i wake up Wednesday morning under the warmth of my trusty parka jacket on my mates’ faux leather sofa and i’m feeling better than i did the night before! well, the full moon eclipse has well waned by now and i’m on the other side of its effect.  My good friend makes me a lovely strong coffee and gives me his spare keys so i can leave any time i want.  His chauffeur arrives and then he’s off to work.

Meanwhile i try planning the day ahead. Not got much to do today really, it’s the day before our big gig in Manchester and because i was such a disaster last night at rehearsals we’ve decided to get together again tonight at the Lomax, and put in another session. So, i decide to go into town, do a couple of errands and then maybe pick up something to wear for the gig.

My mood is still a bit of a damp squib, until i pop into Soho and, staring me in the face is the perfect item of clothing for the gig – a ‘psycho ward’ bright orange hoody!!  until that is, i turn 94 degrees to the left and spot something better, something even more purrrrrfect!

Shopping done i treat myself to something from Bold Street soul cafe!  my appetite’s down but definitely not out ………..

soul cafe

from here on things can only get better….. marshmallow and creamed up to the nines i get back out on the street and smile.

I’m off to meet the rest of the futurejack pack @ the land otherwise known as Lomax and we get on with it and put in a good rehearsal session. After that, me and Jo head on back to Hobson’s for a bit of our a la carte, no messing about, late supper which consists of  :

two pints - cheese n marmite

a very artistically pledged assortment of cheese and Marmite, a couple of glasses of Jamesons and a sneeky rolly or two ….

JO also presents me with 2 gifts, finely wrapped by her very self, i gets a bottle of JD Honey Whiskey and a James (My Ma) CD …

the chester fields ……….

For the first time in possibly about nine days, i put on some make-up. My mate was dressed up and ready to go. My fashion styling right now has taken a turn into the realms of ‘alternative strange’ because it really is a test to one’s ability to ‘dress out of a suitcase from the back of a van’ on a day-to-day basis. Anyway, my friend said i looked okay and i can trust her on that one because she is a smart dresser herself and i know she’s not a ‘yes person’ just for the sake of it.

She drove me ten minutes up the road to her ‘semi-regular’ haunt of a ‘high-end’ restaurant/bar. Half past seven and already it was pretty busy. We sat off in the bar area for pre-drinks, mine a bombay sapphire and soda, hers a gordons and tonic. Then comes the time to get our table. Once seated i take a look around and there is some great quirky artwork, trinkets and china dog ornaments (one of which had his photograph taken with another diner).

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We ordered Rioja (purportedly with hint of vanilla and coconut!) from Spain – could grasp the vanilla but unsure as to whether the coconut was there or lucidly longed for because it had been mentioned.  My friend went for the beef, i chose lamb shank .. and we didn’t have to wait too long for our dishes to arrive. Absolutely beautiful food. I had mashed spinach, broccoli spears and green beans too… all of which were cooked to a superb standard and worth the £16.50 price tag.

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With dinner done we returned to the bar to carry on with our drinking. The bottle of wine having been happily swigged and opened the taste buds for some further glugging.

My next choice was a ‘Countryside Old Fashioned’ a deep bourbon with a spoonful of sugar (a special blended sugar of cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and some other secret spices) and plenty of ice, which, the very chatty and knowledgeable Gareth (our bartender) whizzed round and round with his long-handled spoon, the result of which was an amazing tasting ‘cocktail’.

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My friend played it safe to be honest and stayed on the Clavijo Rioja (@ £7.95 per 250ml glass!) …  My next choice was a regular glass of ‘safe’ Prosecco…

and then Gareth, seeing that we were having a good time, edged us toward trying a favourite of his (and easy to make he stated) .. The Hazel Espresso, and yes, it was the perfect ‘cold coffee liquor’ (without the mound of fresh cream that can leave a heavy floating feeling in the belly), instead, it was a concoction of sweet strong smooth easy (far too easy) drinking cocktail.

I’ll have another thank you very much.

Then i tottered off to the little girl’s room.

Five minutes later i’m back sat at the bar.  Gareth made his way round and was heading through the thinning crowd, and me being the jester that i am, said ‘oh you needn’t have bothered’…. cos he was carrying what looked like a cake for someone …  turns out it was for me, my friend had quickly pleaded them to do something toward a birthday gesture for me …..

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Continuing with the wonderful hazel espresso, i was bought another by a regular (Phil), who, by this time had started conversation with my friend and kept up being part of our late evening at the bar (right til the end in fact as we were the last to leave).

My nightcap at the bar was an Evan Williams Honey which absolutely laughed all over the JD Honey which has recently hit the supermarket shelves. My well-informed bartender imparted the fact that the Evan Williams was a lot harder to purchase – else you go to Amazon where you can find it in plenty.

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Me and my friend changed out of our kitten heels into our snugg boots and walked the B road curbside back home.

I chose to sleep on her plush cream sofa for the first couple of hours until realising that i was bent double, internal thermometer rising, and having very strange dreams about being bitten on the arse by a dog whom i knew was going to bite me and which i was a bit fearful of but my love of dogs had made me less able to move away from it…  and then there were other vicious dogs too but who turned out to be harmless … and there was a big house with a room in which when i touched a tap on the wall, the plaster all fell away and crumpled into a neat pile to the right of where i was standing. After which, several men, some of whom i thought i knew, some i didn’t, all begin to congregate in the house.

I sat upright, picked up the high tog duvet (must have been that causing my hotness) and snuck upstairs to grab another couple of fitful hours on a ‘princess’ mattress size bed.

the burger saga ………

So i had a wonderful time just beyond three hours from room checkout at the Victoria Warehouse … sat in their wonderful reception/lobby surfing the more often than not less than glamorous realms of ‘motorhome/caravan/race truck’ search world. Then i had to leave – i couldn’t really sit there all day. I gave the dogs another fast paced stretch past the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and back again, by then the good-looking lads were erecting marquees in the car park (probably in preparation for the opening of the Science & Art Exhibition – is it really going to be that big? Zac Dingle is joining us …. are futurejack really going to play in front of a good few hundred peeps?) nice!    According to my notes, i’ve planned to head toward Lancaster, Lancashire – so i need to get back on the M602, M62 and then get onto M61  – where did i go wrong?   the rain started to fall, time was fast approaching ‘rush 3 hours’ – was probably about 4pm and the queues on the motorway were forming … i turned onto the M60 ring road toward Preston, should have waited a bit further along the M62 to get onto the M6 and then wound back up toward Bolton … ok, so i got it wrong and then it went pear-shaped from there – ended up roving between Warrington and Newton (A49) doing a round robin times two! and decidedly stopped at the B&Q and Burger King exit.  Was a fair bit hungry since i’d had nothing but an apple and two cheese cubes plus a wee marmite pack since breakfast, more than 7 hours previous …. this incited me to do something i’d not done for possibly more than 12 years – i entered the Burger King, and i had in mind the fact of eating a burger (i rarely rarely rarely ever eat beef) … i approached the till with an iota of hope and looked at the tempting tantalising photography on display – so i made a decision and ordered the ‘sandwich of the day’ for £3.99, a double cheeseburger, fries and drink – ‘can i get a coffee rather than cold drink?’ … ‘yes’ replied the overweight server.  I only had to wait about three minutes for the goods – because it wasn’t too busy i’m stood there anticipating some fresh cooked scran.  ‘You want any ketchup or mayonnaise?’ i was asked by the assistant, I declined.  I took my tray to a seat swathed in sun and sat down.  Already i was feeling a bit less trusting in the fayre in front of me – for one thing, it was a lot lot smaller than the photograph depicted … the fries kind of fell, broken, out of their shitty little cardboard box,  … and then i unwrapped the tightly squeezed burger king paper from around the squished squashed putty roll that purportedly encased a double cheeseburger and bacon … i was gripped with hunger –  i took off the top part of the roll to reveal, brown bacon, sloppy sick cheese and a deflated burger …. i got up, walked back to the assistant and said ‘i can’t eat that, give me my money back please’ … he looked astonished, perplexed even, went off to talk to someone at the back of the shop and then returned with till key and opened the till and gave me back £2.31, retaining the money for the latte that i had in my hand.  I returned to my van, over the next ten minutes, drank the latte, which i then realised was just sloppy slushy shit milky tasting crap which gurgled in my alimentary canal for the next half hour making me feel less than sporty … my parting words to the overweight server were, ‘it’s little wonder i haven’t been in an establishment like this for more than a decade’ – and i believe it to be true, i will never ever venture in one again. . . til the day i die, (unless of course i am in dire need of a shit – cos they have useable toilets). So i sat off in their car park and made use of their free wi-fi for another hour or so and then decided to head to Lancaster.  I took the wrong turning off the roundabout and ended up toward Liverpool again where huge motorway car park queues still equated … i’m quickly realising that being on the road well and truly reminds me i have no home, and i’m just chasing my tail … how long is this going to be my fate?  i took the next exit slip road (toward Warrington/Newton A49 for the 3rd time) and then done a quick zip back round to the services adjacent to that roundabout …. ahhhhhh, lovely, here, i find myself in the refines of a Starbucks Coffee Station and a KFC.  I let the dogs out for a brief respite in the kerb and then head in to the services to try find some food.  I use the toilet, so the pelvics are relieved after a good few hours exercise….  there’s a WHSmith and, according to my no/low carb diet I find some Pepperami and hey presto, lucky for me, there’s a New Pepperami ‘Wideboy’ … fatter than your usual Unilever pork sausage snack and certainly fills my gap!  i sit momentarily in a ‘life on the road’ haze … then i notice the KFC menu and their ‘Wicked Bucket’ and ‘Variety Bucket’ and ‘Boneless Bucket’ … wondering how many thousands and millions of chicks have had their beaks spliced at birth to stop the pecking habit of a lifetime … my eyes avert to the vendors of the said fast killed smothered in gluck, food, absolutely all of whom are grossly misshapen from their skeletal birthright – a disgusting and shameful indictment on the human being. Then i see the ‘Welcome Break Gaming’ and some petty gambling machines and a little bit of ‘Save The Children, Pudsy’ fund.  Grief strickens me as i walk back to my van.  I have absolutely nothing better to do than greedily take more of the free Wi-Fi from this soul destroying part of the earth and continue my search for a motorhome ….  and remember, this is a day of a full moon/eclipse .. a time of opposites, Aries (aggression and charisma) and Libran (indecisiveness and partnership), absolutely scattered!   and the rain continues to fall and the arteries of the motorway ease and i feel i’ve made the decision to drive through the dark skies further norther toward Lancaster and prepare for a searching saturday to secure a moving roof over my head ….

Alas, another wrong turn on the long winding cat-eyed road and i’m led back to Liverpool.  At the mercy of a friends’ sofa I retreat for the night with a cut price salad, some mixed feta/olives and a large bag of twiglets, and a bottle of Isla Negra Reserva (8/10) ………

I’m about to curl up for some fetal sleep, with the hope that i take the right road in the morning.

 

 

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