Travels of 2014 – Trip 1b(?) – well it wasn’t for work and wasn’t abroad

Following my week in New York, I had a week off booked. This was my first week off since September last year, however I didn’t feel like I’d had any time off for a lot longer. Work has been hectic and with a lot of deadlines and difficult project work to complete. My week away from my mobile and laptop was to be spent tidying up the house and then taking a trip to the North to see some old friends.
Thursday morning I hopped on my train and headed up to Durham. Frankly this was a trip that I shouldn’t have bothered making. N, was due to meet me in Durham so that we could have a bite to eat, a drink and a catch up. He’s been working hard on building his own business and I did have a sneaky feeling that our catchup wouldn’t happen. Sure enough, at midday, he asked if I would be able to meet him a little further North. With a serious lack of funds due to waiting on expenses (and the fact that I was already travelling for 4 hours) I declined and we had to cancel. I was very disappointed, however understanding that he has been putting his heart and soul into trying to get his business going, I sadly conceded that there was nothing to be done or gained from being too upset.
However, emotional and still suffering the after effects of jet lag, I found myself, watery eyed, staring out of my train at London Kings Cross, contemplating what I could do with my short time in the Durham. In fact, I spent most of my journey trying to work out what to do. And there was a lot of journey. I left my house at 10.30am and at 3pm I was still sat on my train, just outside Grantham staring at the fields. At 5pm, I arrived at my hotel. Slightly worse for wear due to enjoying one too many glasses of wine.
Tired, emotional, tipsy and feeling generally rubbish, I headed for the hotel bar and had a meal there before retiring to bed early.
Friday morning I woke with excitement as I was to head to York to meet an old (and very close) friend. As I departed the hotel I looked across the River Weir and realised that my last trip to Durham had also been very short. It had centered around the building opposite, as I was there to train some staff joining the BBC (well, it had become Siemens) Technology team. It was at this point that I also remembered the steps that you have to take up to the train station.
After too many steps to count, a big hill and lots of regret over bringing spare shoes in my luggage, I arrived at the station. Frozen, hungry and a little hungover, I awaited the packed train heading to Manchester Airport, which would see me arrive at a slightly warmer York.
When I arrived, I walked through the City, aiming to locate my room for the night. My usual hotel choice had been spurned for this trip and I had booked myself and 3 friends (joining me on Saturday) into a pub in town.
The Roman Bath was a place that I had only ever walked past and glanced in before. It had been chosen primarily because it would allow one night stays on the weekend and secondly for its central location. When I arrived I was greeted in the most cheery and upbeat manner by Chris. His bright conversation and quick wit was welcomed after my dismal Thursday and I looked around to see several people enjoying a drink and food in the bar. I was shown to my room and I must confess to being pleasantly surprised. A small, but functional double room with an ensuite shower, TV, wardrobe and a proper key. None of this swipe card fun and games which usually results in being able to access your room at 3am and waking up everyone around you!
When I re-entered the bar later in the day, following a walk to my favourite Tea Room (Chloes, near the Last Drop Inn), I was greeted by Paul (who runs the Roman Bath), as if I were a regular. By this time of the evening, the place was buzzing, every table occupied by diners and drinkers. I had a swift half (of very good beer) and then proceeded to meet my friend, V, in the pub down the road.
The night was a lot of fun. We had a meal and then went back to our meeting place, where we sang along with the pianist (sorry Ali), before then heading to watch a band perform at the Golden Fleece. Much fun (and beer) was had but I must confess to being glad to get back to my room for some much needed sleep.
The room was perfect. Quiet, comfy bed and in the morning a good shower awaited me, followed by an even better full English breakfast.
Ready to start Saturday, I walked around York and then went to the train station to meet one of the party due in at 11.30. I ensured he could check into the hotel ok and then we took a walk to a pub to catch the Liverpool match. By this time, my other two friends were attempting to navigate their way into town from their parking position. This should have been fairly simple, however D, has never been the best with maps. Or directions. Or instructions.
Then, while we were in the pub, the heavens opened. It rained so hard that when my friends made it to the pub, D’s jeans were soaked through. They both looked like they had just stepped out of a power shower.
Once the game had finished, we agreed to take a walk back to our rooms so that we could all get changed (and that D and S could dry off/warm up!).
When we met up again we walked back to the pub in order to watch the Stevenage game (as D is a life long fan). The beer and company was brilliant… The football, not so much. V met us (once her hangover from the night before had settled down) and we went off in search of food. The rest of the night was brilliant. We talked about old times, old friends and faces that we hadn’t seen in years and of course caught up on some gossip.
We called it a night fairly early on and V headed home while we went back to the Roman Bath. We were just in time for a swift pint, so sat on the corner and continued our chats. It was at this point that I realised just how much some people have to deal with on a day to day basis.
S (who is D’s wife) went through a lot last year. My blog isn’t the place for detail, but I have the upmost respect and admiration for her. She’s a beautiful woman, tall, slim, blonde and walks with a confidence that few have. But every hour of every day she battles with anxiety and worry. So many people would hide away or let it drag them down, but she copes brilliantly. I’m so pleased and proud to be able to be considered her friend. I just hope that we all get to spend more time together soon. Never easy when you don’t live near to each other, but it’s a sign of true friendship when you can meet up after a few months (or years) and pick up where you left off.
As for D and S finding their car on Sunday morning, well… What should have been a 15 minute walk turned into nearly an hour. In the pouring rain. All due to D’s map reading ‘skills’.
It must be love.

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All the single humans

About 7 months ago, I was subjected to a harsh analysis of my life while I was in the pub.

Three gentlemen of later years, were drinking at the bar watching Spurs play one Sunday afternoon when I walked in. One of them enquired as to my health and was very polite. Another asked me where my boyfriend was at which point I said I didn’t have one and would be drinking alone. This prompted the man to question me in detail about why I didn’t have a man.

To all my fellow ‘single’ friends, have you ever found an answer to that question?

I informed him that I didn’t need a man in my life, that I had wonderful friends and family around me and that was all I wanted and needed.

He then proceeded to say that my family would die and my friends would marry and settle down with their own family. He stated that my friends would no longer have time for me and I would ‘die alone’. Thanks to that man by the way, you really made my day. That’s the summary by the way, the full version went on for a good 5 minutes.

Eventually one of his friend’s stopped him and apologised on his behalf. The man walked away, then came back a few minutes later and apologised himself.

I brushed it off, although it did bother me a little, until today. Now I’ve been thinking about this. Many a time I look at my life and wonder whether I should put more time into forming a relationship with a guy. But then I look at everything I have going on and wonder if I could find anyone who would put up with me being busy and working away, on a long term basis? I would need to find a similarly busy man who felt I was worth the wait and worth making time for.

But then why do I need to? What is it about life today that makes it so unacceptable/odd to take yourself out to dinner? Or to the movies? Don’t get me wrong, I miss the attention when I’m single, but why do we have to find someone to settle down with?

I’ve been drawn into the online dating world in an attempt to see if there’s someone out there who’ll take a chance on me. There is. My experiences were a little, erm, ‘special’, but it’s nice to know you’re attractive to someone. I think 😉

But I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not for me. It works for many, but I’m just not one of those people. I’d rather just be out and be approached by a guy (or be the one to approach a guy) and take it from there. That’s worked for me in the past so why not in the future?

I said to a friend of mine earlier that I may have missed my chance at capturing my ‘Prince’. That he may have already ridden off into the sunset with his ‘Princess’. But that thought doesn’t make me sad. Many people end up living their life with their best friend by their side. Sometimes their lover, sometimes nothing more than their confidant. But they’re happy. If I can find that happiness then what does it matter.

As a side note to this blog entry, I will point out that I have been, and do date, so it’s not that I’m some bitter, lonely woman who has never had a boyfriend, it’s just that I don’t understand some of the pressures of society and this is one.

Do we have to get married? Are we deemed a failure if we don’t find that special someone? Is it an unwritten rule of life? Why do people always ask if your ‘other half’ is ‘joining you today’?

I’m happy knowing that those I love and care about are happy. That I can be part of their life and in turn, they can be part of mine.

I just hope they remember to check on me when I’m old and grey to make sure I’ve not died while they’ve been busy with their own life 😉