Gigs, swigs and guinea pigs

This past week and a half has been quite busy. Although I prefer to have work to do, it’s nice when I have time free to do what I want, too, and I had plenty to do, recently.

My folks went to France at the end of last month, for just over a week, so I had the house to myself for a while. In the meantime, I went to stay with Laz for a bit, training on Saturday armed with a pot of food he’d cooked the night before. I’ve been pretty skint, so couldn’t do much, but we sat writing together on Monday, both of us getting quite a bit done, and we went to the writers’ meeting as usual on Tuesday night, but it was only us and Maggie there. Hmph. It was a giggle, anyway, as it always is. Later that evening, we went to the Fiddler’s Elbow pub off West Street, as his neighbour was having a few drinks to say goodbye to friends before she moved out to be with her boyfriend. It was good to talk to Tessa. I’d got to know her cat Ollie quite well over the past couple of weeks, as he would often wander into Laz’s flat for a cuddle and to curl up on his bed. We’re both allergic to cats, but I’d been less exposed, as it were, since my cat died four years ago (so long???) so had more of a reaction than he did. A pity, as the cat, a ginger tom, was adorable and friendly and purred a lot, and I really did want to make a fuss of him. Still, I did get some nice photos of him in Laz’s arms, as a little memento before Tessa took him with her.

Wednesday was a quiet day until the afternoon, when we left Brighton to stay at my place for a few nights because we had a gig to go to on Thursday, so we went to Portsmouth early that day so I could show Laz around. We started in Commercial Road, but there’s not much to see there, so we went along to the Hard via Victoria Park (though the guinea pigs had just been fed, so had far more interesting things on their mind than saying hello to us). Predictably, perhaps, considering I used to work there, we went into the Historic Dockyard, making our way to HMS Victory. I didn’t know the two tour guides who were outside, but I really wanted to show Laz what it was like onboard. Having namedropped three or four people I used to work with, one of the guys said, ‘Do you want to get on?’ Yes please. ‘How many?’ Two. We were on.

After the dockyard closed, we went into my old haunt, where a few of us girls used to go after our shift had finished: the Ship Anson pub. While Laz was in the gents, I noticed three or four matelots pass from the lounge to the bar and each one of them clocked me sitting there. It was rather nice, to be honest. I’m guessing they were something to do with HMS Illustrious, which was in port, but whatever. When Laz came back, I told him, pointing out the matelots at the bar (since working at the dockyard, I find them pretty easy to spot). I suppose when you’re newly in love, you glow or something, but maybe I’m just hot and the sailors were simply checking me out as they would have done anyway (why didn’t I remember that place while I was single?!). Who knows? After a drink, we went for chips, then walked along to Gunwharf Quays for a wander and to kill time, before going back to the Hard to grab a taxi to the Wedgewood Rooms, where my sweet friend Joe was opening for Duke Special. He wasn’t visible when we got there, so I asked one of the security guys to let him know we were there. He was fully made up by then, so we expected to have to wait till after his set to speak to him. But then Laz said to me, ‘There’s Joe,’ and I turned round to see him with his bright red hair and full make-up. We greeted, introduced, etc, then he had to slip back into the dressing room, as he was due on in about half an hour. We didn’t buy drinks at the Wedge – too expensive – but had come prepared. When Joe was on stage, he asked if anyone else had a drink, and when he got no response, turned his back on his piano and said, ‘Fuck you, then,’ and took a swig from a half-full bottle of red wine. It was a great set, one of the best I’ve seen him do, and it was really funny, as usual. (I’ll blog about it in more detail later.)

After his set, he said he’d see us in the lobby where he was selling merch. I’d got a pocket mirror earlier, but then bought a tote bag, as they’re fabulous. While Duke Special was on, for which Joe joined him for a couple of songs (then took over for a few moments with the drummer, while Duke Special took a pee break), I fished out the little bottle of red I had in the rucksack. No way were we paying venue prices for drinks. So Laz and I swigged from that until it was empty.

Train timetables are a pain in the arse, sometimes, and the last train back from Fratton was at 23.23. So we said goodbye to Joe and called a taxi, to make sure we got to the station in time to catch it. As it was, we had plenty of time, but it’s better that than missing it and having to shell out for a cab all the way home.

On Saturday, we were supposed to be meeting my friend Julia and her new man in London, but she’d forgotten she’d already committed herself that night, so instead we went back to Brighton after my folks got back from France and we went out with Laz’s friend Martina. It was good to meet her after hearing so much good stuff about her, and I knew we’d get on. On Sunday, it was just him and me. We stayed in watching DVDs, drinking wine, eating the food Laz had cooked (man, he can really fucking cook) and generally chilling out. I went to see Mo yesterday after I left, while I was still in town, as I hadn’t seen her for ages, and now I’m back.

I contacted my editor this morning to ask if there was any news about work, and I have another week or so before it all starts kicking off in the publishing world and I have to fill my head with proofreading marks once more.

It’s all good.

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