Friday, August 14, 2015


Awoke long before dawn yesterday.  How quickly the darkness descends upon our northern land.  Only a couple of weeks ago we were up at four am to go on holiday to Italy and the sun was already shining happily above the horizon, yesterday I crawled out of bed a half hour earlier and it was still pitch black.  At least I seem to be better at sleeping before a journey these days, I’ve always struggled when I know I’m up early to catch a flight.  I must have had four hours on this occasion though, not a lot, but enough.  Johan picked me up around quarter to four, Jon already sat in the passenger seat beside him.  Johan tells me he’s slept an hour, if that.  

We pick up Andy in town and are out at Arlanda by four thirty.  Even being that we’re still in holiday season and the summer in Sweden has been pretty shit, I thought that we would be early enough to beat the mania.  But I was wrong.  The queues for the charter flights were throbbing.  Just looking at them filled me with anxiety.  Airport anxiety is something that has grown in me this last few years, like a steadily rising river.  I wish I could shake it.  We’re stood in line for the Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt anyway, where understandably there are nowhere near as many holiday makers, and everything seems fine.  But then the baggage belt breaks down and all of a sudden we’re checking in with only ten minutes to go before boarding is due to begin.  We joke about the irony of missing this flight since we cancelled this very same festival last year, which cost the guys at Brutal Assault a few quid since the flights were already booked.  Of which they’ve reminded Andy during correspondence a few times already.  Andy laughs, saying that if we don’t make this flight they’ll probably sue us.  We’re finally sorted anyway, we drop the gear off at oversized baggage and head to the short line at security check.  Except Jon, who instead walks off towards the exit for a quick cig.  Unbelievable.  I do a quick run through in my head of our set list as a trio and decide that I could probably pull it off.

The journey down to Prague via Frankfurt goes smoothly enough, I think I sleep a little but not sure, it’s hard to know sometimes.  We have a quick coffee at Frankfurt airport and then I have another on the short flight to Prague.  That was the plan, sleep first flight, coffee second.  There will be no more sleeping now though until we get back to our hotel after the gig, so from here on in it’s coffee, or beer.  We arrive into a wall of heat at Prague airport.  Thirty eight degrees.  The bridge from the plane to the terminal is like a fucking greenhouse.  We’re met by a guy from the festival in a shuttle van that we share with some other band, grindcore or death by the look of it.  Nice guys though, from all over the place, Portugal, Ukraine, somewhere else.  

The journey to the festival site takes around two and a half hours.  It’s pretty good motorway for the best part but the last forty minutes or so are more like the roads you’d expect from the old East, winding and terrifying.  We stop at a garage along the way and we hang about in the heat eating crisps whilst the other band sit down to a meal at Burger King.  The heat is too much for Jon’s heavy metal pride and he quickly whips off his leather jacket, vest, hoodie and t-shirt and replaces it with a sleeveless Mercyful Fate t-shirt/vest effort that has seen better days.  He’s chuffed though.

We drop the other band off at their hotel before we get to the festival site.  They’re staying at some golf resort about thirty minutes away in some village.  Johan’s eyes light up, I can tell he wouldn’t mind staying here.  Thing is we’re actually staying in a hotel at Prague airport and we’re driving all the way back tonight.  We figured that since we’re not flying home until late the next day we may as well have the whole day in Prague and do some sightseeing.  As we whiz through a few more villages I say to Andy that if we were staying around here and driving back tomorrow then there is not a fucking chance I’d be getting pissed tonight since these roads, in the baking sun, on a hangover, would be about as much fun as a kick in the penis.  As it happens, I’m quite looking forward to a drink tonight…

We arrive and sort stuff out with the production people and the first things you notice are that a) there are a lot people working behind the scenes here and they all seem really nice and helpful and b) the venue for this festival is amazing!  It’s a 19th. century army fortress, Josefov, built to defend the citizens against attacks from Prussia.  There are large stone walls all around with tunnels piercing through them, leading to all sorts of cavernous rooms which the festival uses to house different things.  There are two main stages in the middle of the complex which stand side by side and alternate quickly between bands and then a third stage in a tent at the other end of the fortress where we’ll play.  It’s a really beautiful set up, if not a little arid and dusty.  It has the looks of a pretty unique festival.  

The first person we bump into is Tompa Lindberg from At the Gates, who are headlining tonight.  Tompa is an old friend of the guys and a really nice bloke.  I met him once a long time ago when he played with Disfear at Kafe 44 with Nasum, in which Jon played.  We hung out afterwards and had a good chat but haven’t really met since then.  It’s good to meet him again anyway, we spend a good half hour hanging out and chatting, hiding in the shadow of one of the tunnels, resisting the urge to grab a beer.  If I start now I’ll be fucked by the time we go on at eight pm.  It’s only three…  

We get stuff sorted and then go to check out one of the only bands playing today that I’m interested in, Ratos De Porao from Brazil. the legendary hardcore band that started back in the Eighties.  We actually met twice randomly in New York last year when we were both there for Maryland Deathfest.  From where we’re stood side stage it looks like they’re having a great show, and the sound is really good.  Chuffed to see them since we missed them last year.  It makes me think of Lucas, who knows the bass player.  He’d love to be here I’m sure.  

When Ratos are done we head back to the artist area to get some grub.  This turns into a bit of a fail.  They have a sign above one archway saying Vegan Food/Bands, so we head there.  They have a sauerkraut tempeh soup which is all broth and tepid and a bean chili which tastes okay, although it’s not a touch on my speciality dish.  Still, free food, always appreciated.  And the Band Chill Out room where we sit down to eat has fans cooling the air.  When I take the second course back to the kitchen they tell me that cake is in the other room.  Other room?  I go back in search of cake but find nothing.  I sit back down with Johan and Andy and tell them there is cake somewhere.  I really want cake.  A glance about the room reveals nothing.  There is an open packet of McVitie's Ginger Nuts on our table, so I help myself to a couple of them.  The first one is soggy, the second more acceptable.  This won’t do though.  I go back to the kitchen and enquire again, Johan and Andy laughing at me, calling me by one of my many nicknames, Snacks.  I’m told then that there is another room in the building where they have the cake.  I go back again and fuck me, not only do they have cake, they have a whole vegetarian/vegan buffet!  And there is Jon, sat gabbing away with Tompa, stuffing his face!  Nice one, mate.

We have our gear taken over to the tent stage we’re playing by a quad bike pulling a trailer, or rather, a square piece of wood on wheels.  The guys taking the gear motion for us to hop on board but we fancy the walk after the three course meal we’ve just consumed.  It’s a bit of a walk and the sun is raging up there and you know this is going to be one hot fucking gig.  When we get to the tent there is some rubbish black metal band on stage.  I’m not anti-black metal, far from it, I own most of the classic records, but there isn’t much new stuff from today that stands out in my ears.  These guys crack me up though.  All dressed in black PVC pants and silly shirts/fish net tops, the corpse paint melting off their faces in the sauna that is the tent they’re playing in.  It doesn’t really look that “evil” in the light of the afternoon.  As I stand there watching them, looking at the packed crowd inside the tent, I’m so hot it’s stressing me a little.  I’m stood completely still and even so the sweat is pissing out of me.  Pissing.  The black metal band don’t seem to mind though, and the stage crew have to gesture to them a couple of times that their slot is over.  I crack up when they walk off, right past me.  The last off stage is this bulky guitarist guy, he stares at the crowd with a menacing expression, evil to the very last, despite looking like a melted clown, and then at the very last second before exiting to the back stage he passes me stood by the ramp and looks up, “Hej!” friendly smile on his face.  They’re soon kitted off into their civvies and drinking beer with their mates behind the tent.

I’m surprised to find a bottle of Jack Daniels in the fridge of our porta cabin dressing room, which we’re allotted between five and nine pm.  It’s not my drink at all but Johan and I look at each other like we’re thinking the same thing, that it will be perfect for that two hour journey back to the hotel tonight.  We leave the gear in the room and the other guys head back to the main stage to watch a bit of The Haunted, I stay in the room and restring my guitar, supping on an ice cold can of Budvar from the fridge with the rotating fan set to still, right in front of my mug.  Never has changing guitar strings been so relaxing.

When I’m done I head back over to the main stage, grab a cold draught beer from the backstage bar and watch the rest of The Haunted’s set.  Tompa and Jon are stood side stage so I join them there.  The beer tastes fucking wonderful, even if it is in a plastic glass.  I’ve never been a fan of The Haunted really, I’ve always thought of it as a downgrade on At The Gates with really boring vocals.  They don’t seem to be having a great gig either, at least from what I can tell from Adrian the drummer’s constant head shaking and grimacing.  Seems like he’s struggling a bit.  The singer Marco is a bit of a strange one too.  Looks like a Djurgården fan, says Johan.  I don’t know, he’s this big guy with a shaved head who just looks aggro.  Before one song he announces, “This song goes out to all the ladies here.  It’s called, My Enemy!!!!”  Wow...

Our stage slot is just before eight pm.  I head back a little while before and find Andy setting up the drums side stage whilst some bizarre band called Rome are playing.  Jon hates them because the singer introduced a song by saying, “This is a deep song”.  They play this kind of melodramatic slow rock and the singer quivers out the lyrics.  Andy says he was pretty glad to have them playing whilst he set up as opposed to thirty minutes of screaming.  Thankfully the sun has dropped a little in the sky and the tent doesn’t quite feel as hot as it did whilst the black metal band were on a couple of hours ago.  The stage hands are really nice people and this one guy is telling me how he’s really looking forward to seeing us play, that he thinks it’s great that he finally gets to listen to a bit of hardcore this weekend.  

It’s always a bit daunting setting up and line checking in a big empty tent, you never know at these festivals if people keep a check on who’s playing where.  Thankfully the place fills up a little by the time we start and by the end of the set the tent is pretty full.  Indeed it isn’t as hot on stage as I’d previously feared it would be but it’s still a bit of a struggle.  I’m going for it as much as I can but by the time we get to Who The Fuck Are We? I find myself looking at the remaining six songs and wishing it was over already.  Lots of water between each block of songs required.  It’s fun to see Tompa stood side stage enjoying himself the whole set, even more fun to see the big singer from Ratos actually down front in the crowd, big smile on his face, banging his fist into the air.  And then there’s our old mate Boulty who puts shows on at the studio in Nottingham, stood by himself in the middle shaking his dreadlocks.  I wouldn’t say it’s one of those magical festival gigs, the likes of which we’ve had at Fluff Fest or Hell Fest, but it’s still pretty decent.  There is the obligatory circle pit when we end with This Is The End.  I think in general though people are just too fucking exhausted from the heat to give much more.  There is a big cheer as we leave the stage and I’m happy enough with how things have gone.  Now I need to sit down, relax and open another one of those cold cans of Budvar.

We hang out for a while by the porta cabin, tops off, cooling in the evening sun which is now accompanied by the slightest of breezes.  It’s rewarding just sitting there.  There isn’t really much more we want to see today except At the Gates so we’re in no rush.  Oddly enough we have a meet and greet session booked in for ten pm. which seems a little ludicrous, but all the bands on the bill are obliged to attend.  I have no wish whatsoever to participate, I used to hate doing this kind of thing with Speedhorn.  The others don’t seem to mind though.  Jon is banging on about how he went to check out Dödheimsgård when they were signing, hoping he could meet them, but there was a queue of about a hundred people there.  “They aren’t known by anybody so I think it’s gonna be a lot of people there when it’s our turn!”

By the time it comes around me and Andy have gotten stuck talking to the Ratos guys backstage and have absolutely no lust to leave to go do this thing, but we feel bad that Johan and Jon are there on their own and we’re already five minutes into the twenty minute slot so we decide we better go and give them some backup.  We make our way into one of this vault where the signing sessions are taking place.  To our amazement there is indeed a long queue of people and there at the top, stood in front of a big table and getting their photo taken with a couple of people is Johan and Jon.  Smiles on their faces look a little awkward.  We head on over and it turns out these four people are from Bulgaria and really like Victims.  We hop in for a couple of photos and sign some stuff.  They’re very grateful and stoat off chuffed afterwards.  I look at the rest of the queue with the bouncer at the head of it and wait for the next people to come forward.  Nobody moves.  Johan starts to laugh.  He tells me that those four were the only ones here to see Victims, that the bouncer was ushering others in the queue forward but they all just stood still, shaking their heads.  When Johan and Jon first arrived and walked past the queue they received a big cheer, to which they waved to acknowledge the appreciative crowd.  It soon becomes apparent that the punters had seen Jon’s long hair and thought the guys were in Vader, the band booked in after us who everyone here is waiting to meet.  Not us.  Just those four Bulgarians.  That’s it.  Fucking humiliating!  The bouncer gives us an apologetic glance and then turns away.  We stand there like a right bunch of fucking muppets.  There is a fridge behind the table with a note on the glass door that reads, FOR THIRSTY BAND MEMBERS.  I suggest to the guys that we fuck off to which Jon answers, “Come on boys, we’ve got another fifteen minutes to get through those beers, we’re not leaving!”  As if we don’t have plenty of other free beers available to us.  I piss myself laughing at Jon’s sincerity though.  We do indeed stand there for the rest of our time, grinning to ourselves as we get through as many cold cans as we can manage whilst the line of people patiently wait for Vader.  Eventually the bouncer issues for us to fuck off and we do so, gladly.

By the time At The Gates start we’ve all had a few more beers and I’m in jovial mood as we stand side stage watching them play to the big crowd in the moonlit fortress.  Me and Jon spend the majority of the set laughing at fuck knows what.  ATG are good, they deliver what is expected, it’s always fun to see Tompa singing live, but in all honesty I don’t remember a great deal.  We’re all too involved in our own little party off to the side. 

We have the shuttle booked for eleven pm which is just about right, as soon as ATG are done we’re due to head back to the hotel.  Of course, it doesn’t quite go so smoothly and it’s closer to midnight by the time we eventually leave.  Some other band who are sharing the ride are missing two members.  We’re right outside the backstage beer tent so we just carry on drinking until they’re found.  When we eventually hop in the van that bottle of Jack Daniels rears it’s head.  When it comes to me I have the tiniest of sips, fucking disgusting and warm, and then fall asleep.  I awake once during the journey back, when we stop at a garage and rat crisps, but otherwise I’m out.  Before I know it we’re at the hotel.  Magic.  The bottle of Jack has barely been touched.

Of course, things don’t go smoothly at the hotel either.  There is this tall, skinny blonde sap of a man on night duty, having to deal with all these bands checking in at all hours, and he looks totally pissed off by the time we approach the desk.  He asks me who we are to which I reply, “Victims.”  

“Of who?” he asks.

“Of a bomb raid…” I say, almost laughing before I get it out.  Me, Johan and Andy all stand there sniggering, chuffed.  Not so Night Shift.  He tells us that he can’t find our name on the list.  We look for ourselves and sure enough, we’re not on it.  Night Shift tells us the hotel is full and all. Fuck this.  Now I really just want to go to bed.  It takes a phone call back to the production manager and a bit of fucking around to get things sorted but thankfully it turns out that we can stay.  Johan and I take the room with the double bed leaving Andy and Jon to the twin room.  I shower and then crawl into bed and I’m gone.

We meet Andy for breakfast at ten thirty, Jon nowhere to be seen.  To be honest, we hadn’t expected him.  Andy says he was really surprised when he woke up at ten this morning though.  He opened his eyes to find Jon walking about newly showered.  This is surprising in itself.  Andy then observes Jon as he goes about the business of packing his bag, folding up his clothes neatly and making sure everything is sorted.  Andy then gets up himself and hops into the shower and when he comes back out he finds Jon passed out in bed, snoring.  Turns out the fucker is only just going to bed!  He’s been up all night partying with Dödheimsgård in their room.  The bottle of Jack is now done.

We’re checking out at eleven thirty and heading into the city.  Johan and I wait down in the lobby and are shortly joined by the other two.  Jon walks out of the lift first, Andy behind him grinning like a Cheshire cat.  Andy says it took him a while to stir Jon, he actually had to shake his bed with force, and when he eventually did manage to knock him up the first thing he does is open a beer.  Jon looks a fucking wreck.  We head to the bus stop across the road and wait.  It’s hot, must be around thirty degrees, we’re all dressed in t-shirt and shorts except Jon who has about three or four layers on.  He can barely keep his puffy, red eyes open.  The four of us sat on the bus, I look at my buddy rocking back and forth to the sway of the road, his eyelids as heavy as concrete, and I feel a rush of gratuity that it’s him and not me.

By the time we’re on the tube into the city center Jon is showing the first signs of life again.  Fuck knows how after only an hour’s sleep.  If he was I then I’d be heading to the nearest park for a kip.  An empty advertising placard on the train that someone has drawn a stick man version of Obama hanging on a rope has sparked Jon’s interest though.  We get off at Staromestska station by the old town and make our way up the incredibly steep escalator to the sunshine.  The first thing we see upon exiting is some girl in a loose fitting dress posing hideously for pictures in front of the Rudolfinum auditorium.  Next thing you know she whaps out these big plastic tits and the outcoming crowd stops still in shock.  I look immediately to my right to find Johan smiling, slightly confused and Andy with his camera at the ready, “Documenting the idiocy” he says.  We’ve obviously walked into the middle of a public photo shoot for some scud mag or something.

We walk along towards the famous Charles Bridge and cross the Vltava to the other side of the city.  It’s quite an astonishing bridge with it’s portals at each end and gothic statues flanking either side, but the sheer number of tourists meandering across it, in the heat of the sun, makes it a little unbearable.  Johan is annoyed by it, whilst Jon is stoating behind counting the selfie sticks, loudly cursing humanity every time he spots one.  When we get off on the other side we come into a small bottleneck of a street filled with small touristy shops and cafés.  Jon almost jumps out of his skin when he spots some guy with a huge snake draped around his shoulders, accepting money from saps willing to pay to touch it.  We pass this shop selling rubber masks and Andy looks at me and says discretely, “Don’t let Jon see that..” Hanging there amongst the latex faces is a mask of Adolf Hitler.  Fucking weird.  They seem to draw a fine line between irony and political correctness in this country,  Or else they just don’t give a fuck.  Andy’s right though, if Jon spots this he’ll be wearing it.

We walk into a quieter area looking at the architecture and the surrounding sights whilst all the time keeping an eye out for a bar.  The idea today was sightseeing but in this heat the craving for a cold pilsner is too much.  We find a cool place just sat above the river, it’s basically a shack bar in a parking lot that has been cozied up with tables, deck chairs and parasols.  There’s a table tennis table in the corner and a view of the water from certain parts.  The place seems to have just opened, the bartender looks like he had a few after work last night as he stands there making himself an espresso.  I can imagine this place is packed at night.  We take a table and pilsner each, except Andy who sticks to the Club Mate.  Sitting there I kick my shoes off and enjoy the cold brew.  It tastes like fucking heaven.  I could easily have a few more but feel a bit bad for Johan who is obviously thirsty too but has to drive back from the airport tonight, so I refrain from another beer and make the most of the one I have.  Next time I’ll have to do the driving.

I made plans to meet up with Symes today, since he lives here and it would be stupid not to hook up with friends when you’re in their city.  In all honesty having to make plans and meeting points feels like a bit of a hassle I can’t be doing with but I know I’ll feel bad if we don’t make the effort.  I get a text saying to meet up by the square at the National Museum in town at three, which should work well since we need to be back at the hotel for around four thirty.  The guys are up for meeting him too, so we drink up and decide to grab some lunch and then head over.  Before we leave we spot a photo booth and take some band pics, and then we watch Johan and Jon play table tennis whilst we wait for the development.  Jon is still in three layers.  He’s pretty nifty on the old ping pong though, fucker is full of surprises.

We grab some fried cheese at a restaurant beside the bar, which looked cosy with it’s shaded courtyard but is in actual fact uncomfortably humid, and a big plate of fried cheese, as good as it is, feels like the wrong choice.  Jon is on another beer now and fully back into the flow of life.  We walk back across the Vltava, via a different, less crowded bridge and make our way to the rendezvous point with Symsey.  It takes us longer than expected, the streets around Franz Kafka Square are swarming with tourists.  This coupled with the fact it feels like I’m wearing the sun as a fucking hat starts to stress me out a little.  I feel bad for dragging the guys on a trek in this heat but I’d feel really bad if I didn’t catch up with Symes.  On the positive side of things we get to see a bit more of Prague.

It’s almost four by the time we get to where we’re supposed to be and I’m wondering if Symes is even going to have bothered sticking around.  I haven’t heard back from him since he texted the first time.  If after all this he’s pissed off I can’t imagine the guys being too amused.  And then all of a sudden he appears, wearing shades and a large white Envy t-shirts that drapes on his skinny frame.  He almost walks right past me until I grab him and give him a hug.  “Eehhh!  How are you guys?  It’s so fucking hot!  This is insane.  How do you guys find it?  Was it like this yesterday?  Was it a good gig?  Was it killer?  Was it worth the trip?”... You have to make an effort to stop the fucker.  We walk in the direction of a café he has in mind and I hear Jon saying to Johan behind me in Swedish, “I love him already”.

We take a couple of high tables at this cool little café in a gallery just off the main square and Symes orders the drinks in, the only words he seems to have mastered in eighteen months of living in the Czech Republic are those for beer and thank you.  Two pretty important words, granted.  We get chatting away and the guys all take to him, he’s in good form today.  Jon spots that Symes has a Dag Nasty tattoo, just like his own, and from then on it’s best buds.  Jon and Symes are on the beer, the rest of us take ice coffee.  The coffee comes as a large glass of milk with an aluminium can of espresso coffee beside it that you tip in yourself.  Pretty interesting.  We talk for a good half hour or so, Jon tells Symes about three times that it’s a pleasure to meet him.  Symes’ girlfriend turns up a little while later, turns out the phone I was replying to earlier was hers, not his.  Explains things.  She’s really nice anyway and I really enjoy being sat there, chatting away with them.  Symes tells me that  the big Irish singer left their band and he’s hoping this girl is going to replace him.  We talk about getting them on at the show we’re playing in Prague in January.  He knows the venue and says it’s the perfect place for a Victims gig.  Hopefully we can work that out, will be fun.  

Time defeats us and all too soon it’s time for us to head back to the hotel at the airport and pick up our bags.  We say goodbye and make our way for the tube, this time not bothering to buy a ticket.  Symes told us that the inspectors on the trains are all civil clothed but they only ever appear on the trains during the days leading up to payday, which was two days ago, so we’re safe.  Good system.  We get to the airport with a couple of hours to go before flight time and are greeted by a really friendly woman at the check in desk.  She asks for the name of the band and says she’ll check us out.  Then she looks at Andy and says she’ll put us by emergency exit seats so we’ll have more leg room.  Chuffed.  Even if it is only for the first short flight to Frankfurt.  She then tells us to just leave our gear in front of the desk and someone will come along and take it to oversized baggage.  Johan and Andy joke that she’s probably only being that friendly because she’s going to steal our gear.  They sound like they’re from Corby.  We head through security whilst Jon goes outside for a fag.  He’s spotted the Dödheimsgård guys, his party bros from yesterday. We tell him we’ll meet him at the gate.  Andy jokes, “At least we’re on the way home now.  It’s the same with Jon as it is with the gear, you hope they’ll turn up on the other side but the main thing is they arrive when you’re on your way to the gig, on the way home it’s not as big a deal, they’ll get delivered home at some point”.

Jon and Johan head into some cheap looking Mexican fast food place whilst I decide to spend the last of my Czech cash on a beer at the pub beside.  Even in the Czech Republic airports are fucking expensive.  I head over to the guys when the beer is polished off, they’re just finishing up.  Tasteless apparently.  Glad I went with the beer, I’m still full from the fried cheese anyway.  It’s been about an hour since we left Jon and we haven’t seen hide nor hare of him.  Just as we’re discussing this he rings.  “Heeey.  Sorry for calling your phone. What gate are we flying from?”

I tell him that it’s gate C9, “Yes but on the boards it just says Gate C”.  

“Ok, but on the ticket it says C9 so I would just head there.”

“Yes I know it says C9 on the ticket but on the boards it just says C”.

“Ok, where are you?”...

“I’m by the gate”.

“Does it say Frankfurt on the monitor by the gate?”

“Yes”.  I’m completely baffled by this conversation.  I guess he’s been sat drinking since he left us.  

We walk over to the wing of the huge airport where our gate is situated and true enough we find him sat in an Irish pub.  The flight leaves on time and Jon and Johan are amongst the last onboard.  Johan said he daren’t leave him and he wasn’t in any rush to finish his brew.  Jon sits next to me for both the flights.  I have a glass of piss flat Coke and set it beside my book on the little table.  Jon orders a beer and spends the short flight chatting in my ear.  By the time we’re on the second, longer flight between Frankfurt and home I decide that if I can’t beat him I’ll join him, so I order a beer too.  Jon, not to be outdone, orders a beer and a red wine.  The red wine is practically downed.  We are engaged in a conversation about his current boss and my old one, who seem to be very alike in many disgusting ways, and from there we get into loads of other stuff.  I enjoy the trip.  As mental as he is I love the fucker to bits and I’m glad he’s in my life.  The world would certainly be a duller place without him.  We get talking about old age for some reason and he turns to me and says that he has no intention of ever being a pensioner.  This saddens me a little, mainly due to the fact that I know what he’s saying is true.

Beside us in the aisle seat is some young guy with his head rested on the table, doing his best to sleep through Jon’s infrequent howling laughter.  The guy has this perfectly combed hair, tan, neat clothes, and even in his tired state looks like he’s got his image together.  Jon has a theory that he’s one of these young kids that fly down to hip European cities for weekend trips to hang out at mad clubs and take loads of drugs.  He reckons he’s obviously on a come down and from there on in refers to him as C.D.  When the bar service comes back round Jon wonders if we should wake him and then jokes that he might have died.  

“We’ve lost one” I quip, which spurns Jon into a fit of laughter.  He starts imitating the pilot’s voice, “Do we have a priest on board?” and “Ladies and gents, a minute’s silence for 28 D.”  Jon is almost crying with laughter by this point.  As we come into land C.D. stirs to life and Jon embarks on a conversation with him.

It’s late by the time we land and after dropping Andy and Jon off, Johan and I sit for a little while in his care outside my flat before I head in.  It’s been a good weekend.  When I get through the door I find Bonz lying on the sofa, the sound of his tail wagging against it.  Polly is fast asleep in her room.  I check on her and change her nappy before heading to bed.  There I find Jen lying with a bucket.  Seems like she’s got a bad case of food poisoning.  She looks like death warmed up,  poor girl.  I take her some water and some pills and give her a kiss on the forehead before heading to Polly’s room to lie beside her for the night.  I lie there thinking about how much I love my family and how lucky I am.  

Polly starts back at nursery in the morning which means summer is almost over.   It will soon be time to return back to the reality of everyday life.   

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