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Michael’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 03 Apr 2007

Location: Southampton, England

MapHey guys,

Another year and another Gator victory. Two back to back NCAA victories is pretty impressive, all the more so as everyone told Joakim Noah that he was a fool for not making himself eligible for the NBA draft last year, and he managed to do what he said he would after their first title - come back and win it again. Has his draft stock dropped? Possibly, he won't be going ahead of Oden, but he's proved himself a winner, and done it twice. Good work. And Dad, I hope this means you won the Red Room bracket comp, and knocked Bobby D's cat from top spot.

So, back to more real world (or at least my world) topics of discussion. Life has been pretty good of late, and I'm not entirely sure what has brought about the chirpy mood... but there are a few contenders.

1. Daylight saving means longer daylight hours. In fact, the longest day of the year is still almost 3 months away, and it is bright enough to kick the footy around at 8 pm already. As such, midweek football training will be starting next week, though the lads can be seen a couple nights a week having a kick in the park in the middle of town till 8 pm already.

2. With daylight savings, we have actually had some good weather. In fact, somewhere in England yesterday it got to 20.1 degrees (yeah, they were so impressed, it just wasn't enough to say 20). I don't know what it was down the south here, but the sun was out all day and it was very pleasant. Today is back to 13 and cloudy, but I see potential written all over the summer weather here at the moment.

3. Finished the task that I have been working on (and losing my hair/mind/sleep over) at work for the last month or two. It was only a couple weeks late, but it is done (till the review gets back to me and I have to fix it). So I'm onto other items and don't mind if they are mindless clerical work for a few days!

4. It's a four day week this week and next - come on, how could you not be excited?

5. This whole football team thing might actually work. I have had my doubts, and thrown a whole lot of time (and a significant amount of £££) into it. But after last nights meeting at the Walkabout (where we watched the Blues trounce the Lions in the NAB Cup Grand Final, thanks for sending that Mum) I have faith that this thing will work. We have got the team costs sorted, and everyone seems pretty happy with that. More guys are putting their hand up to organise stuff, and I think we'll have enough players to ensure we have a team on the pitch each week. If there was a main stress in my life recently, that had to be it. Oh yeah, go Carlton!

6. Had one of those weekends, where despite knowing that you stuffed up at work, and weren't looking forward to Monday morning (didn't finish the report in item 3 till late Monday), managed to keep it off my mind entirely after Friday about 8 pm.

7. Two weeks in a row free entry into the strippers?

So yeah, I am pretty chirpy at the moment.

In a little more detail, what happened since I spoke to you guys last.

Snoop and Diddy concert fell flat and they pulled the entire show after Snoop was denied an entry visa into the UK. Seems they figured the stadium would be rather empty with Diddy performing on his own. Despite being a little pissed about the whole situation, I got my money back, and saved £35 worth of train tickets to get in and out of London. All up, I'm £75 better off. Plus, I had other concerts up my sleeve.

On Saturday Nat and I went to Hedge End and met up with Cari. Those two are looking at moving into a new place (yeah, really nice too) and they basically have the run of the show as they were the first people to look at it, and have decided they want it. If they get approved, it's theirs. Afterwards, we headed down to Bournemouth to make the most of the Sun. Bournemouth is about 50 km west of Southampton and also on the water. We sat in a cafe looking down the street to the beach and waited till the clouds rolled in and wind picked up before heading inside. A late lunch and a few drinks (mixed with games of Jenga and Connect 4) made the avo slip by with ease. Next thing it was after 6, and Nat and I headed to the main reason we were in Bournemouth - Fall Out Boy concert.

With an hour to kill, and absolutely no intention of lining up for the mad rush into the standing area, we headed for cocktails in some corny American surf bar looking over the beach. Funniest (disgusting-est) thing I saw for the night had to be the 16 year old girl squatting in the garden on the main road to take a piss in front of the concert venue. Absolute shocker. Around 730 we headed in to the concert hall.

I don't know much about the group, or their music, but I tried my hardest to learn their music before the concert. If you've been around me before a concert you know what I mean. Nothing but the person/group gets played leading up to the concert. Well, same goes for Fall Out Boy, once I downloaded the entire back catalogue. Once the 2 hour wait was over (they didn't come on till 930 pm) it became clear pretty quickly that all my listening endeavours weren't gonna pay off all that much! They only played for 60, maybe 75 minutes, but in that time I managed to pick out 4 or 5 songs I'd recognised... and 1 that I KNEW. It made it worthwhile. Standing in a standing area, and despite being 30-40 meters from the stage, having an unobstructed view because the average height of the crowd was 5 foot tall was a novel experience! Anyway, good show, even if it was a little short, and I didn't know half of the stuff they played, was till worth the trip.

Drove home (yep, me driving, man I miss it....) and got in around midnight. Next thing I know I'd come to the decision to head to the Walkabout (I'd got a phone call on the way home telling me to come down) and grabbed a lift from Meg. Chatted with Llyal on the way in, and listened to him get abused by some young punk that was too drunk to get in. Then came the punch line - "Do you know who I am?" the kid asks. No.... "I'm the assistant manager for Morrison, and you're banned". Morrison's is a cheap supermarket (not that I'm knocking that, I shop at the cheapest) but I couldn't even tell you where the nearest one was... nor could Llyal for that matter. Anyway, after we stopped laughing so hard, we headed in and an announcement was made over the PA that Llyal was no longer allowed at Morrisons and that entry to the club in future would be by frozen food donations. Ahh, funny stuff.

Anyway, a few drinks there (my Fijian friends were there, but I managed to avoid them most of the night - wasn't up for their drinking games this week) and next thing it was 2 am and closing time. Llyal kept me around and again, we found ourselves crossing the road to the strippers. More free entry and a couple beers there then Llyal disapears to do end of week banking. Next thing the DJ from the Walkabout is chatting to some girl, she's grabbing my arm, and giving me a lap dance. As if by some means of magic ESP, Lora (my ex for those not in the know) just happens text as she starts the dance.

Anyway left FYEO and headed for the taxi. It was freezing out, but all taxis were either booked, or waiting in the taxi rank with 80 odd people waiting in line. I set off on foot for the half hour walk home, and 5 minutes from the house realise I didn't have my keys with me. Shit. A 4 am wakeup call to Nat, and was in debted for most of Sunday. Finally get to sleep at 7am (spent a few hours on the net at home Sunday morning) and by 10 am Nat's waking me up asking what was for breakfast. Payback is sweet...

Full cooked 'English' breakfast (we are in England) and then I set about getting raedy for training. After training (good sunny session) I headed home and Nat and I went out to the Toby Carvery up in Eastleigh for a roast dinner. A half hour wait meant a beer in the beer garden along the river... but it was worth the wait. Damn that was some nice food! Heaps of roast meat, HEAPS of veggies, and so many gravies! On the way home (after dessert - where the hell did we find room for that?) we dropped in at the Southampton Airport and I got to gander around the airplane hanger that Nat's company has, taking a bit of a look at the planes. Cool.

So that about sums up the weekend... and most everything that has happened since the last entry. I will get some pictures up from the Fall Out Boy concert in a few days if any of them come out good. Will have to sift through them.

Coming up? Easter weekend that will probably see me in London at some stage to say goodbye to Kristy who is headed back to Oz on Thrusday next week. Prague weekend is set for the 15th -22nd April. Definitely looking forward to that one. All is go for Pamps Round 2 with Milo, Karla, Richie and Nath. That one will be taking place 5th-9th July, with our own serviced apartment just 2km from the bull run in the heart of Pamps... BRING IT ON!