The Last Hurrah

With the World Cup over (feel eet, eet is gone), it’s time to move on to other things and I need a project to keep myself occupied now that there isn’t live football available 24/7 (at least, until the new football seasons start in a couple of weeks).

So I’m turning my attention to my little end of year jaunt to the Northern Hemisphere and I have decided that this one will be entitled The Last Hurrah: after a-ha’s final single and in keeping with the bittersweet purpose of the trip. There will be tears.
Given that there will be just 180 hours between my outbound flight touching down at T5 and my inbound flight leaving the same – and with approximately a million people to see in the UK plus 3 blokes in Norway – this will be no holiday and organisation will be key.

There are some obvious items that are set in stone and flights and hotels need to be booked for those (cough, Big Ant, cough), but the rest is all just in my head. The only issue is that in there, it finds itself competing for space with thoughts of lobsters, christmas trees and external hard drives (don’t ask) and thus requires documenting here in some sketchy form or other.

Cape Town | Sheffield | (Newcastle) | Sheffield | Gloucester | Oslo | London | Cape Town

Obviously, these are just the bare bones. You can’t fly directly from Cape Town to Sheffield (nor from Gloucester to Oslo) and there will be no overnight stop in Newcastle – but it will be visited.

The emphasis (indicated above by the use of italics) in the case of Newcastle is important because it will be my first trip back there since leaving University back in 1995. I’ve often promised myself that I would get back up to The Toon, but either money, time or (now) distance has prevented it. On this trip, I’m determined to make a day of it up there – if only to see what remains of my old haunts.
Sadly, as far as they go, I suspect there won’t be much left to see: 15 years is a long time when you’re considering cities in Northern England and the throes of rejuvenation.
I hope that green bridge is still there.

So anyway – there they are – the best laid plans of me.
And surely the only things that can ruin them are a BA strike or an errant Icelandic volcano.

Foot of the Mountain

Those of you who follow me on twitter will already have heard about my run in with an allegedly incompetent doctor at a local A&E department last night. While I am feeling much better this morning than I was yesterday evening, I’m not anywhere near 100% just yet, so I’m lying in bed, watching football and listening to my iPod.
And when I heard Morten Harket’s dulcet tones, I was reminded that there are only 249 days until I see a-ha live in Oslo.

This one, complete with a million blobs of multi-coloured – and, it later emerges, magnetic – ink, is the title track from a-ha’s ninth, latest and last studio album, in which Morten describes his ideal escape from busy city life to his ideal rural retreat with his ideal partner.

Right now, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Oh Emm Gee

Those of you fortunate enough to know me will be aware that I am rarely lost for words. Any potential struggling around in difficult social situations can usually be avoided by my finding some witty or pertinent remark, about 5% of which land me in trouble. But it’s worth taking the chance. Usually.

Mrs 6k hit the speechless nail on the head with her Christmas gift for me this year, though.
In fact, speechless was just part of the reaction. I was stunned, overwhelmed, overcome and speechless. All at the same time.
It took a strong brandy or eight before I could even react at all.

Of course, those who are fortunate enough to know Mrs 6k will be aware that she has always been known for her imaginative ideas in the field of gifting.

But this time she completely outdid herself with a couple of tickets to a little farewell concert in December 2010.

In Oslo.

Just 341 sleeps to go. Oh Emm Gee.