Thursday, September 01, 2005

This week and the week before that

I arrived here on Friday evening last week and, until a couple of hours ago, I hadn't left the house/garden since then. Not even to go to the village shop, 20 minutes walk away from the house! Not even though I'd run out of rolling tobacco yesterday morning! Rolling tobacco? But you smoke Marlboro Lights, you don't roll your own! Um, yes, that's what it's come down to. So, I had my first 'fag' in over a day just over an hour ago. It's been a long time since a few puffs on a fag have given me such a head rush! Quite a nice feeling, actually, even though I was left with a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth. Maybe the time has come for me to consider giving up this evil, nasty, unsociable (yeah, right!) habit?

Anyway, sitting out there in the watery sun, buffeted by an early autumn breeze, I got thinking about this past week in comparison to the one before. Talk about chalk and cheese!
Two weeks ago:    
  • Friday:

  • Diet in the very early hours of Thurs/Fri: chips with garlic mayo (served by the cute Moroccan)

  • Diet during the day: Coffee, cigarettes, a bowl of pasta at 8pm

  • Met A at Lord Roberts, had a few pints of Stella then joined some friends of his at the club, NG1

  • A wouldn’t leave me all night, getting unhappier as the night wore on, left me at about 2am telling me it was ‘goodbye’

  • More chips and garlic mayo served by the cute Moroccan.

  • Fell asleep on the couch watching Trisha or something equally unspeakable.

  • Saturday:

  • Dragged myself out of the flat at about midday to buy some fags and the Guardian.

  • Diet during the day: Coffee, cigarettes, more pasta

  • D arrived at about 8.30pm, bearing two bottles of red wine

  • Both of us went to get served by the cute Moroccan; Chicken burgers and chips this time.

  • D spent the night

  • Sunday:

  • Woke up at about 10. More coffee and fags

  • D left for work just before midday.

  • Dragged myself out of the flat late afternoon to busy some fags and the Observer.

  • Fielded calls from A who eventually popped round, ostensibly to check his email. He didn’t stay long – he was unhappy.

  • Diet during the day: Coffee and fags

  • Joined A for a drink at Lord Roberts later. Met up with N and R. N was beaming….his second Internet date of the week had gone well and he hoped to see her again soon.

  • Chips and garlic mayo served by a cute Moroccan, different guy this time.

  • Fell asleep on the couch watching something or other.

I think that a pattern may be emerging so, at the risk of boring you, I’ll skip most of the common activities/factors for the rest of the week.

  • Monday:

  • A popped round during the day; met him for drinks at Lord Roberts that evening.

  • Tuesday:

  • Tried to turn R down for drinks as my cash resources were severely depleted but she insisted on paying for me. Met up at Lord Roberts then wandered down to Central. I really do have some really good friends!

  • Wednesday:

  • Started tidying up the flat, throwing out rubbish, packing my bags.

  • Met Mike for a few drinks after he finished work.

  • A dragged me out for a drink at about 11pm then took me off to the club. More unhappiness from him; after an hour, he left saying, again, that it was ‘goodbye’.

  • Thursday:

  • More tidying of the flat.

  • D popped round at midday and stayed for a couple of hours.

  • Met Michelle and hubby for drinks at Saltwater. Joined by Mike and James.

  • Mike, James and myself went off to Central for a while then to Bar Schnapps. Those shots of vanilla schnapps are delicious!

  • Friday:

  • Last bits of cleaning and tidying.

  • A popped round at about 10.30am; he left an hour later.

  • Got a taxi to the coach station at midday; Coach left at 12.30

  • Arrived at Gatwick at 6pm

  • Less than 10 Marlboro Lights to my name; bought some rolling tobacco and Rizlas.

  • Picked up by brother-in-law 15 min later and arrived at their (sister-in-law and brother-in-law) house some 20 min later.

  • Total sum of money in my pocket: £3.86
Last week:    
  • Friday:

  • Took my stuff up to the ‘pink room’; usually I stay in the ‘green room’.

  • Chatted for a while then sat down to dinner – Meat and two veg

  • No alcohol. 2 cigarettes (smoked outside)

  • Watched a bit of telly

  • Retired to my room by 11pm

  • Saturday:

  • Choice of cereal, fruit or toast for breakfast

  • Salad and cold meats for lunch

  • I made dinner using the supplied Weight Watcher’s recipe – pork fillet served with mashed potato and 2 veg.

  • No alcohol.

  • Smoked all but 2 of the Marlboro Lights during the day.

  • Watched telly; in my room before midnight.

  • Sunday:

  • Choice of cereal, fruit or toast for breakfast.

  • Salad, bread and cheeses for lunch.

  • I made dinner using the supplied Weight Watcher’s recipe – chicken breasts with rice and 2 veg.

  • No alcohol

  • Finished the Marlboro Lights; resisted opening the rolling tobacco

  • Watched telly; in my room before midnight.

You will notice that there has been a radical change in pattern from the previous week. Like before, I’m going to omit what’s common. Actually, there’s no point in continuing as each day is exactly the same apart from a few minor differences. Some days I don’t make dinner but the type of dinner is much the same. I got to open the rolling tobacco and finished it yesterday. Oh, by the way, I’m talking about a small packet of the stuff, something that costs half the price of a packet of Marlboros. So, not only have I been smoking the rolled stuff, I’ve also smoked much, much less.

Let me empty out my pockets now – a virtually full packet of rolling tobacco, some Rizlas, a lighter and about £1.30 in coins. Just in case you think that I’m asking for your sympathy, I’m really not. I’m just trying to contrast my situation where I was earning in excess of £350 a day just a few months ago with my current situation, that of being totally skint. ‘Skint’ – now that’s a word I didn’t know, let alone use, until a few years ago. No, not because it described a state foreign to me but it is a word foreign to the state, as in country, I come from.

Of course, had I not been so reluctant to move here, had I been sensible about saving my dwindling resources, had I been less prone to hiding my head in the sand, I should have moved here weeks and weeks ago. But, I didn't so there's no one to blame apart from myself.

Oh, I forgot the one highlight of the week, something that would certainly not have happened to me the week before. Two nights ago, when I went outside to smoke one of my rollups, barefoot as usual (you can take the boy out of Africa, but you can't take the African out of him!), I kicked something hard, prickly and round on the garden path. It was a poor, unsuspecting hedgehog, minding his own business. My foot felt a bit strange after that but I was more concerned about his well-being. He just lay there, curled in tight ball, no sign of life for at least 5 minutes. Just when I thought that I'd inflicted some serious damage, he uncurled himself and scuttled away into the bushes. No damage done. Phew!

By the way, I was going to entitle this post 'How the mighty have fallen' but someone said that sounds a bit sanctimonious. It's not, is it?    


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sanctimonious? Definately, and contrived and all that. Current title is much better, very 'now' darling...maybe with a comma somewhere *GRIN*

PS I like the article...I'm all moist.

5:40 pm  
Blogger Miss Mish said...

Better title would have been: 'TW3'

Poor hedgehog. i hope you're not al=king up animal cruelty in your boredom...
Now shall I send some books over for you?

10:28 am  
Blogger Ben said...

Hi Alan

Sorry to hear you've now left Nottingham for good, but thanks to Mike I've been pointed in this direction. I can see myself becoming a regular visitor. Keep up the good work!

Best wishes


1:05 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Good to hear from you Ben. Being suspicious about tempting fate in the wrong direction, I don't like mentioning these things but there is a sort-of/maybe/possible chance of a job in Leicester. So, hold thumbs for me - to translate: keep your fingers crossed. :-) Thanks

1:17 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home