Reading Station was filled with hairy young people with rucksacks this morning. Slightly bewildered, a bit bleary but all smiling. The Festival is here finally. One of the principal plusses to us moving to this corner of Berkshire in te first place, and this time tomorrow I will be in a field with the people I saw while waiting for my train into work this morning, enjoying the music. Knowing that if i need to, I’m a twenty-minute walk from home, shower, bed, Clare.
The sun, hopefully, will be out. The beer, without a doubt, will be cold. I will come home, starry-eyed and raving. Hopefully, I will have at least one new favourite band. I’m really up on the idea of the happy accident, of some random discovery blowing your hair back and plastering a grin across your face. However, I will be most miffed if I miss any one of the following:
The Pixies
The Killers
Queens Of The Stone Age
The Arcade Fire
Kings Of Leon
The Foo Fighters

How dreadfully XFMTV2 of me.

I’m missing the metal day this year due to mismanagement on my part. That’s something I regret now, as some of the smaller stages are at their strongest on the final day, and seeing Iron Maiden would have been a blast. Especially bearing in mind the crap they got put through by the Osbournes on the last date of their stint at Ozzfest, (Full story eye witness account here) I would imagine they are going to be greeted as returning heroes. Which is of course, as it should be.
Remind me to bore you with my Iron Maiden connection someday.
Up The Irons!

Found my new favourite drinking hole on Saturday night, during one of our all too infrequent weekend nights out into Reading. The Hobgoblin is crammed into a tiny site on the main Broad St drag. There are always people outside, which led me to suspect that it was tiny inside too. Not so. The place is a labyrinth of woodlined corridors and cubbyholes, the ceiling encrusted with beer plaques from the 4000 guest ales they’ve served since 1993. One nice feature is that the graffitoes on the walls, tables and chairs have been left to accumulate, and they have a bit more class than the usual “John Shagged Jane ere 2002” tags you get in most pubs (although there are plenty of those too). Love stories, cryptic sayings and rude jokes jostle for your attention. The music is the right side of gothy, and I was even feeling mellow enough to forgive the odd burst of folk. What’s more, they’re selling old vinyl for a quid a pop (some collectable stuff too, no I’m not saying what, too late sucker) and all in all a mellow vibe that is light years away from the Yate’s and All Bar One’s clustering on Friar St. If you’re a lagerhead you may as well forget it (however, Budweiser Budvar on draft? not too shabby!), but speaking as a beer bore, I had a fine time.
In other alcohol related news, this was introduced to me earlier in the evening by a very nice man at Santa Fe on the Waterside. Beats Jack and Coke into a tipped hat. Won’t be trying this in a hurry, though.
Hangover report for Sunday: heavy, overcast, thundery in places.

That’ll teach me to blog. Running for a bus last night, some wag yelled out “Everybody off! He’s got a bomb!” Highly amusing. This is in Reading, by the way, hardly terrorist central. However, I’m now seriously contemplating changing my bag, which at least should have the effect of cutting down the amount of crap I’m lugging around with me these days. For example, today I’ve got my iBook, iPod, associated chargers, library books to go back, writing implements, assorted bits of paperwork, for some reason a tube of Krazy Glue, and this is before we talk about my phone, keys, wallet and travelcard secreted about my person. It’s a good workout, but starting to tire me on too many different levels. Maybe I should just invest in one of these.
On a related note, apparantly a girl toting a big rucky on the tube yesterday had a note pinned onto it saying “Don’t shoot me, I’m going camping.” Made me laugh, anyway.

Back in England, things aren’t quite so rosy. Coming into London is of course a jolly experience. There are signs at both Reading and Paddington listing bus services for those too un-nerved to travel by tube. If you are brave enough, try not to be dark and in possession of a rucksack, unless you’re prepared for a journey filled with sideways looks and uncomfortable shiftings from your fellow passengers. I suppose I should be grateful I didn’t get more of a tan on holiday. Meanwhile, the weather continues to disappoint and the jet lag from the flight back still has it’s claws in. And I haven’t shaken the cold I caught on the plan. And I cricked my neck at work last week and the bloody thing’s still twingeing.

Hi ho. Post-holiday grumpiness makes for poor blogging. I will get me some happy and write again when smiling.

Last day blues. I get up early for one final swim in the pool. I’m the only one there, and I luxuriate in the feeling, peeling off long, lazy lengths that take up often the whole width of the pool as well. It’s kind of like star-fishing in bed when you’re on your own except, well, wetter. It’s warm. The air is fresh and coolly scented. The sky is a delicate, flawless blue.
Then back for a shower, and a cup of tea. I pad around the apartment in shorts and bare feet. Everyone else is in bed. All is silence and calm.
The last day of a holiday always has a certain feel. We’re not flying out till 8ish, so we have a whole day ahead of us, but I know it still won’t feel like a holiday. There’s that knowledge that, no matter how early you check in, you can feel your passport and tickets home in your pocket. All day, you’re half on the plane.
Still, doleful don’t get diddly done. We’re going to try to fill in some of the gaps in our holiday plan, maybe one more whiz round the shops, before Big Bubba goes back in his kennel at about 4.
It’s been a brilliant two weeks. I can’t really single out any one moment as the best. The whole experience for me is already merging into one big fuzzy hug. I’ll muse more on this over the next few days, and try and compare it to the feelings I get about flying back to my poor beleaguered country. It’s gonna be a strange week, that’s fur shure.
Anyway, there’s movement now, and packing to finish. In Ian and Sandi’s case, there’s bags to be bought to pack all the stuff they bought that won’t fit in the luggage they bought with them. Land of the free? Hardly!
Time to be gone. With joy and best wishes, we have been the Orlando 5. Thanks for listening.