Last night in the restaurant, mid way through a right fucking nice roast dinner (English cliché, roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding) IC and I ruminated on how, of late, weekends are the equivalent of stuffing a year into a month. The one past was of no exception.
It began on Friday evening following another day of ex-flat-based horror, I had a bit of time to relax before popping off to Sue’s to meet IC, Jo, Swineshead and his missus for some wine and a catch-up. I wasn’t on form as I was shattered but the evening passed pleasantly enough, though I was dead chuffed to see my bed.
On Saturday morning after some breakfast IC and I took the bicycles out of Hackney and clipped the edge of the city before dismounting in Brick Lane. The shock of physical inertia was nauseating, my legs were like trifle and I felt faint for a good 10 mins, though I kept this to myself as IC wasn’t even out of breath and I’d pedalled like a fucking twit just to keep up with her. We drifted through the sunshine and nipped into Rough Trade to meet some friends visiting from Italy. The trio were hungry but didn’t fancy curry, finding any other sort of food in that neck of the woods isn’t easy so they were forced to make do with (above par I have to say) burgers from the confines of the knowingly trendy Vibe Bar. The afternoon slipped by nicely with a pint or two and at 4pm IC and I cycled back to Hackney (it was much worse on the way home) to my garden in order to undertake some 18-certificate work on IC’s velocipede.
It’d been a long time since I’d had to remove and change headrace bearings, so, armed with a couple of pints, I attacked the job in hand with aplomb. First problem was not having a big enough spanner for the main nut, I popped by the pound shop for a £6 adjustable which was a gnat’s cock too small, so I visited another in order to procure a larger adjustable for another £6 for fucks sake. Dismantling the front end following this was a breeze, even drifting the old cups out of the frame with a metal rod (an ex-spotlight support) and a hammer was relatively easy. The new bottom cup was tapped home in seconds but the top cup wasn’t having any of it. Every time it started to lock into position an encouraging belt home would lurch it free. After an hour of this I was almost in tears. I knew I needed a wooden block to distribute the weight of my maniacal blows but I had nothing to hand. In addition the freshly mounted lower cup -with its gleaming greased bearings- was covered in all shit from the pea shingle in the garden.
I paused, took some time out to clean the gritted bearings and noticed a spare chopping board in the kitchen, I broke this in half and used it as a buffer and with one targeted whack the fucking cup went home. Five minutes later the bicycle was re-assembled and the job granted the status of complete success.
Mary and IC had some friends over from Sweden so it seemed rude not to pop off to the local and meet them for a few well-deserved drinks. Indy and his missus, Paul from around the corner and the former two protagonists and I spent a marvellous evening drinking cheap cocktails, though at some point I opted for beer, I think I’m off cocktails for the while, they’re too fiddly.
When we finally got home IC was too exhausted to eat despite my rustling up a sensational dish of smoked haddock, fried potato, onions and tomato in 20 mins. I had hers in front of F1 qualifying with a splash of wine. The hangover on Sunday wasn’t too bad which was fortuitous as we had a big ride to the countryside to visit my nieces, one brand new.
It took a while to get out of Hackney as there was a huge parade passing through the junction by Hackney Downs and the traffic was being held back by police. It was lively, loud and colourful, the antithesis of the sort of thing you’d get in my former hell-hole, made me feel rather proud if I’m completely honest. As we waiting at the front of the queue of traffic one of the cops invited me to gently cut through the parade and I was waved through with a beaming smile. Lovely.
It took a while to untangle ourselves from the London traffic and we stopped near New Malden so I could get IC a new crash helmet as the one she had, a hand-me-down from my sister, wasn’t only unsafe and elderly but made her look like she needed help going to the loo.
IC doesn’t like wearing crash helmets, which isn’t ideal; she finds them claustrophobic, I can sympathise with her to an extent, being a sufferer of that particular phobia, but I’m blessed with a helmet caveat. I knew that she’d need some encouragement to ensure that what she got fitted correctly and didn’t say ‘yes’ to the first thing flung on her head. It’s been a few years since I bought a new lid and I have to say technology has leapt forward. These days one can purchase a lid that opens completely at the front with a switch but looks as if it’s a regular full-face helmet in its languid state, this was ideal. Better still there was a black one for under £100 that fitted. After 30 rather tense minutes the job was done and off we set for the final leg of the trip.
When we arrived my sister had one of her enormous tits stuck in junior’s mouth. My new niece is tiny, much smaller than her sister at that age. Said sister was pegging about the place clearly not overly chuffed at the attention being bestowed on her sibling. I know how she feels. When her mother was born I was so un-impressed I tried to knack it with greenfly killer in the shed but was caught red handed. Not dissuaded by a severe bollocking and a fortnights Mr Benn curfew (my sister had to go to hospital, incidentally) she ‘fell’ down the stairs a month later… accidents will happen yeah.
IC and I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon with the family, mum and dad showed up with cake sending my eldest niece into sugar frenzy. Lovely afternoon but at 4pm we were forced back onto the road to head London-wise without a ton of traffic. We stopped on Waterloo Bridge for a fag and I suddenly realised that this was pretty much last orders for the Black Bitch who, come Wednesday, will be taken off the public roads to retire and await her lucky new owner. I feel a bit sad about it actually but this is somewhat off-set by the gaining of a shiny new Husqvarna SM610, here on known as ‘The Loud One,’ this week.
Home at 6, quick brush up and straight out to the restaurant cited at the beginning of today’s subdued crap. We had a great big fat time and waddled home with the prospect of a weeks work to take the shine off things.
Right, this band were hyped for greatness that never happened. I saw them unsigned but already tipped at Kingston Poly in 1990. The bands parents were there too. Bless.