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August 2002, Niseko, Japanprevious month
The Daily Mumble September 2002 Archive
next monthOctober 2002, Milano, Italy
 
September 2002 Highlights:  return to Europe: Italy, The London and Fred Budgieman, Bows and arrows in Herefordshire, the Jubilee Maze, My little sister's wedding, illegal knickers, a fantastically large credit card bill...

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Wednesday 25th September 2002 - 18:29(GMT+1) Herefordshire, UK

What a rough ride it's been!

The last month has seen me go as high as a kite, and as low as a very low doorway (the type I'd hit my head on).

I won't bore you with the details. It's all a bit personal anyhow. Relationships heah...

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The 26th of August 2002 saw me leave Milky House, northern Japan, where I'd been living and working since April this year, and fly to Milan to meet up with Kae again after 4 months apart.

I had a really bad case of culture shock once back in Europe. So many foreigners! Still, after a week of me being there we'd sorted out a new apartment and I gradually settled into the Italian way of life, that is, not getting up until about 11am and generally being lazy!!! (oh come on, you can't deny it! You even have a three hour lunch break!!!)

Fortunately we have a huge field right opposite our apartment.

Unfortunately there's a big road between our apartment and the field.

I was in Milan for three weeks before returning to the UK on September 14th. In that time I met a few of Kae's friends, including Kurichan whom I know from my Tokyo days. Here's the three of us.

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London.

Big.

I've only ever been there a few times in my life. Kae had been there once before. We decided to stay for a couple of days for a bit of fun. One of our first stops was the Tate Modern (art museum). Hhhmm. A grand piano suspended upside down from the ceiling with a hydraulic lid and keys that fall out every few minutes. Is that art?

The London Eye

Coming out of the Tate modern we found ourselves faced with a crowd of folks gathered round a very loud man. I soon found that his was no ordainary man, no, this was Fred. Fred BudgieMan.

I must admit, his budgies were VERY well trained. However, I was a little surprised when, having picked out a few 7-year-old children to help him, he started to hand out long cardboard tubes and the such like for them to hold. He went on to explain that the budgies were UN weapons inspectors and that the children were holding scud missiles aimed at a US air base! His mobile rang several times during his 15 minute routine - it was Tony Blair telling him to collect taxes to pay for George Bush's birthday present - some very sexy lacy underwear.

That evening saw the end of the river Thame's Festival. It started 15 minutes late to make us feel at home (i.e. in Italy)

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Thursday 26th September 2002 - 18:57 (GMT+1) Herefordshire, UK

After a couple of days in London I felt the pull of the countryside, so off to Hereford it was. Mum and Dad behaved themselves when meeting Kae - I was most impressed.

How does one entertain one's friends in Herefordshire? A difficult question!!

Back in Japan, Kae and I had visited Emmie Nakamura and her boyfriend Russ (Emmie went to the same school as me), so we thought it would be nice to see her parents, Niki and Shinji. Shinji had taught me archery when I was about 14 years old, something I'd really enjoyed. I was very happy to take up his offer of trying my hand at it again - I wasn't bad after a break of 10 years - even if I do say so myself! Kae also proved to be a natural archer, she said it was because she's Sagittarius!

Just like Robin Hood

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In a desperate bid to prove to Kae that Herefordshire is not as boring as we were finding it (in its defence, it surprises me every time how beautiful it is), I remembered going to a maze near Symonds Yat some 14 years back. It was there that I discovered another of kae's hidden talents - that for the unicycle.

The Jubilee Maze
Unicycle Pro

Kae has since left England, returning to Milan for school. That leaves me in Orcop. Alone. Well, I've got a few friends in nearby fields to talk to...

Moo


Click here for the Wedding Website

Saturday 21st September 2002 saw my little sister Jessie Tame marrying Danny Taylor.
CONGRATULATIONS BOTH!!!

For more photos click here

I must admit to being on a different planet for most of the day. This was not due to drugs or alcohol, but rather due to a kind of culture shock. Despite having been in Italy for three weeks, and the UK for 6 days, my heart and mind were still in Japan. I had not spent a day in the past 11 months without speaking Japanese, or being around Japanese people (a situation in which I feel very at home). Coupled with this was the fact that I had no base - I have no home in the UK, our apartment in Italy is only temporary, and there is nowhere in Japan that I can truly call home. All of this left me floating in a bubble, seperated from those around me who were busily arranging food, clothes and beds.

Anyhow, at about 11am it was off to Ferndown Registry Office. A simple ceremony - it was lovely (check out www.jessie-and-dannys-wedding.com for all the pictures). After that it was photo time, before we all headed off to the pub.

Pork Scratchings. Boy have I missed them!

After two pints of Stella I was very drunk, but thankfully my bubble was beginning to dissolve so I felt quite comfortable. In the early afternoon everyone made their way back to the bride and groom's beautiful thatched cottage, where endless amounts of food and drink added to the wedding atmosphere. My brother's partner Louise had to nip off to the hospital at one point as her son William had fallen off a rope swing and was suffering from a suspected broken arm - thankfully he'd only damaged the muscle. Oh, and dad gave his speech. I'm told by friends that it was actually very touching, but I had a huge reaction and found that I had to leave the premises. Why? I don't know really. Embarrassment? I don't know. It was strange.

After the opening of the presents and the cutting of the cake (supervised by mum who'd made it!) I felt absolutely exausted. It was all a bit much for me - my first proper day in England, and I'd been up since three in order to take Kae to the airport. I think I was in bed by about 8.30pm! Weddings are always funny occasions, what with two families who are complete strangers to one another suddenly having a strong connection.

I'm very happy for Jessie and Danny. I think they make a great couple - they remind me of mum and dad in a way!

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Saturday 28th September 2002 - 23:19(GMT+1) Herefordshire, UK

I'm absolutely knackered! And I thought I was going to be spending a nice relaxing weekend with my big sister...

Not 5 minutes after I arrived in Bristol Friday she handed me a garden strimmer, and sent me off to the schools wild allotment with instructions to Tame it's overgrown grass. Then, I had to wrestle a wasps nest with my bare hands (although admittedly they were inside a pair of gloves, and I was armed with a nasty white wasp-killing powder), THEN she had me carting box upon box of books up and down 3 flights of stairs! Kuh! Sisters!

Well, that's not quite true. I'd actually offered to do the strimming as I used to do it on a weekly basis in Japan over the summer and always thoroughly enjoyed the break it gave my mind. As for the wasps nest, well, I'd volunteered to deal with that too - you should have seen me run from the angry swarm after I'd applied the toxic powder! And yes, I'd also volunteered my services to help her move house. After being a lazy so&so for the past month it felt really great to do some hard physical labour!

Emma's new flat in Bristol is really nice, situated on the top floor of an old Elizabethan terraced house. Cynthia, the landlady is just great - the complete opposite of the crazy woman who owned Emma's last rented place.

Crikey, with her holey tights and incontinence pad she really was mad. And you should have seen her wig: a crazy grey riot of horse-hair, it always looked as if she'd put it on backwards! Her favourite pastime was to come up with bizarre complaints. One afternoon, a couple of hours after Emma had hung a pair of knickers up to dry in the back garden, a letter was slipped under the door. It read:

 

27th July 2002

 

Dear Miss Emma,

It has come to my attention that you have been using my washing line. At no point in the tennancy agreement does it say that you may use my washing line. If you look you will see that none of the other tennants in this road is provided with a washing line either.

Kindly remove your washing immediately.

Yours Sincerely,

Mrs Barking.

Landlady.

When I was in the bath, I noticed that Emma's brand new shower had no head attached to the hose. Why? Apparantly, Mrs Barking had not approved of the curtain rail installed by the plumber, and had taken it down, before telling Emma that she couldn't use the shower.

"If you get a speck of water on that carpet, you'll be out quicker than I can say 'Jack Rabbit'!"

Mum and dad visited Emma a couple of months back. When dad was in the process of putting some screws into the wall for a set of shelves, a knock came at the door. It was Mrs Barking, who informed Emma that two screws were allowed, but three would result in her being thrown out! She went on to repeat one of her favourite phrases:

"Prince William would love the room upstairs, really and truly!"

Mrs Barking scared the hell out of me the first time I met her. It was late at night. I was going down the steps from the front door when suddenly my left foot spoke:

"Hello Joe!" I jumped out of my skin - there lurking to the side of the steps was a horse hair wig, from under which a pair of eagle eyes scanned me up and down. Emma tells me that that's her favourite pastime, lurking by the doorway tut-tutting at anyone she sees. Apparantly she said "Hello jeer", or, in English, "Hello dear". Well, whatever, there's one woman who would never lure me into her house made of sweets.

Thank God we've seen the last of her! I hope I can sleep tonight. I might have nightmares about huge talking wigs and rabbits called Jack removing shower heads...

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Sunday 29th September 2002 - 23:38(GMT+1) Herefordshire, UK

I just wanted to say a special thankyou to you, Roni in Orpington, for your support. It's not often we're in touch, but I feel your support at all times no matter where I may be. Thankyou for your understanding. My hope is that perhaps next time I visit, you will have the opportunity to meet the reason for the past couple of months of mad activity in my life!

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Monday 30th September 2002 - 12:18(GMT+1) Herefordshire, UK

Got my credit card bill this morning.

£3867.37

Minimum payment £96.00

Next month's estimated interest £80.08

5 weeks ago I had £2000 to my name.

Today I have over £5500 of debt to my name!

I don't regret it at all. I did it for the best possible cause.

Love. The most powerful force this world has ever seen.

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The Daily Mumble September 2002 Archive
 

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