Saturday, 22 September 2001

I have no idea why I'm doing what I'm doing. On a scientific level it's interesting to watch my actions and emotional responses change over time, but I'm worried that actually I'm just a bit emotionally sub-normal.

I met up with her last night and we talked. I've never had such an emotional talk, never been more honest with my feelings, and never used so many cliches in open conversation (just going to prove that they're generally only cliches because they're true).

And now we're going to go away on holiday together.

I'm making it feel like the weekend I took her to Marlow, when I knew it would lead to failure, but I could walk away with my head held high and be proud of my actions. I want to spend the week with her because she's someone I love, and I want it to be spectacular, soaring, elegant, romantic, sexy, exciting, fun and beautiful. Then next Sunday I will walk away, and my year of dalliance with her will be over. Then this week will stand in my memory - and hopefully in hers - forever, growing in perfection as it recedes through the years, a testament to how wonderful we were together and all that will never be.

And if all that feels like a load of romantic claptrap then I don't care.

There other possible explanations for my motives that are less pretty, namely

1) Such is the Hollywood-like enormity of her betrayal and deceit, I'm still in denial and just haven't come to terms with it at all

2) My self-esteem is so pathetically low I'm prepared to put up with anything and anyone

leading to a possibility that I'll attack her with a large, sharp knife during the week. She's prepared to accept that risk and so am I.

I like to think that the real explanation is

3) I'm the nicest, most noble person ever to walk the earth

I'll update this again on my return.

Friday, 21 September 2001

I've been quite comprehensively fucked over.

She got back from her two week holiday in the US last night, I hadn't heard much from her because she was apparently on a farm in Washington and had no internet access, I hadn't had any phone calls, but I'm an easy-going guy. It was great that she managed to get back on the right day so we can go on our holiday together to Corsica on Sunday (two days away fact fans).

So we went down the pub ready to get a bit of food, and for about the fifteen billionth time this year she said

"Simon, there's something I want to say"

Cue, yawning, churning stomach feeling and brain feverishly working out the various possible things she could want to say to me.

"I haven't been in the US for the last 2 weeks, I've been in Georgia [as in European country] visiting the diplomat I had a fling with at Christmas to see if I still had feelings for him. And I still do".

How in the name of sweet Jesus am I supposed to react to something like that? Apparently one method is to storm out of the pub, throw the profered cheque (to cover the cost of the Corsica trip) back in her face, and spend the night failing to understand why and how.

12 hours later I'm no nearer the answers and guess I won't be. I'm currently scheduled to go on holiday with her on Sunday morning and she's said she'll do what I want with regard to the holiday and wants to pay me for it.

Words are currently failing me.

Wednesday, 19 September 2001

Time for the lovelife update. I'll make this relatively brief.

After the romantic weekend in Marlow mentioned below, I was very, very ready to move on and put it all behind me, so I did. Although it was difficult, I stopped phoning her, stopped inviting her to things and even told her I didn't want her to come to a family wedding I had previously invited her to.

I did the thing that I've seen various of my friends do when they go through a breakup and started contacting people I hadn't spoken to in months. I also went through all my belongings and chucked away loads of things that I no longer needed (anybody want an old personal CD player, or a slightly worn pair of Doc Marten shoes). It was all very cathartic.

I did feel guilty about cancelling the wedding invite on her at such short notice (I'd never make an evil dictator) so I suggested we go to the cinema one Sunday afternoon, she leapt at the chance. When we met up I was weak for about 1 minute and invited her to see me in Nottingham during the week (I was to be alone in the hotel for the week). I knew I shouldn't have invited her, but...well I was crap. Anyway, we watched the film (Tomb Raider - absolutely dreadful) and went our separate ways.

The next day I got a phone call from her saying she had booked her ticket to Nottingham and I was to see her on Thursday. Hmmmm.

On Thursday she turned up and we went to a bar and started to make slightly forced conversation. After about half an hour, she put her glass down, looked at me and said

"There's something I want to say".

Never a good thing to hear, but I asked her to continue, and she said

"I've been stupid over the last year, I think you're great and if you'll have me I'd love for us to give it a try".

In response to which I remained speechless for about 20 minutes.

Of course, I'd had lofty imaginings of this conversation, but never expected it to actually occur. Anyway, most of those imagined dialogues had included lofty ideals on my side which saw me say things like

"Well, I should think you've left it a bit late for that haven't"



but I couldn't say anything like that at all, and am still really rather chuffed all in all.

So, being a bit of a bastard seems to work.

I ran the Great North Run this weekend. With a mere two weeks training and a gut as big as Croydon I managed to drag my sorry ass round the half-marathon in a time of 1hr 56 (although our official time was 2 hr 4). I have no intention, repeat loudly, NO INTENTION of running a marathon. EVER.

My legss have only just stopped aching, three days later and I got a cold. It hurt a lot, and I didn't even do it for charidee.

Monday, 3 September 2001

Lovelife update to follow...

Went walking in Snowdonia at the weekend, Wales revealed its damp side to us.

Standard late night London escape, Gus and Baz driving way too fast up the motorway and A5, weaving between cars, swearing at all other traffic, and in one unforgettable moment (in the always having nightmares about it sense) Gus overtaking down a long straight and then appearing to simultaneously forget the location of the next bend and how to work a gearbox - a feat made even more amazing by the car being an automatic.

Arrived in Betws-y-Coed (a small Welsh town, not an American style university) just after midnight only to find an array of campsites loudly proclaiming

'No pitching of tents after 4:30pm/midday/10am. None at all. NO EXCEPTIONS. THIS MEANS YOU FATNOSE.'

A little bit more driving found a suitably damp field and we bedded down for the night.

Saturday saw us get the train to Conwy, and embark on a planned two day, 25 mile walk across the Carneddau. After a 6 hour slog, my right heel was a pink and sore mess and we had found a spot to pitch a tent, at a small lake at the foot of some mist-wreathed cliffs, with a (crashed?, junked?) plane propellor sticking eerily out of the shoreline. Despite the nourishment of some Super Noodles (they really are Super) and the heartwarming effect of listening to England roundly thrash Germany on a small transistor radio (that's listening to the commentary on the radio rather than 23 men and football running around on the radio, oh never mind), my previous enthusiasm to forgo the luxury of a tent for the confines of a brand spank-me new Gore-Tex bivvy bag was being slowly subdued by the howling wind and torrential rain (note to fellow campers - all rain sounds torrential when you're in a tent). Nonetheless, I bravely ran the five yards from Baz's comfy tent and zipped myself into my new toy.

Two hours later, still awake and discovering that when the fabric of a bivvy bag gets blown around it gets blown into MY angelic, semi-asleep face, I heard some voices. Icy fear gripping me I unzipped the bag (thus revealing naked flesh to the cold Welsh wind) and saw two headtorches picking their way down a deserted mountainside in the murky gloom. Close inspection of the facts lead to the inescapable conclusion that a Deliverance style experience was about to unpleasantly force itself on (and presumably in) me, so it was with some trepidation that I switched my headtorch on and said Hello in a tremulous voice.

An equally fearful sounding voice replied and I discovered two lads wandering around in the gloaming, looking for a bothy that they claimed was nearby. I professed innocence, wished them luck and zipped myself back in to the bivvy bag. How foolish did I feel when I woke at 6:30 to the sound of rain roundly thrashing the outside of my bivvy bag and discovering that the bedroll I lay on was in a big puddle of condensation.

We swiftly packed up our rain sodden kit, took a look at the mist-wreathed peaks around us and walked off the mountain to the comfort of a pub.

My heel still hurts.