I am writing this under considerable mental strain, as all I can see when I close my eyes is mountains upon mountains of cardboard boxes. I went to work yesterday, for the first time in Six Fucking Weeks, to help out with a huge delivery of produce housed in a 20-foot container. What should have been about an hour and a half's work turned into a whole afternoon, as the lorry carrying it was too large to get into the self-storage facility where we intended to stash its contents, so we had to hire a smaller vehicle, fill it with guff from the lorry, drive it to the storage place, unload it, go back for more, lather, rinse, and repeat. Today, I am aching in every part of my body, including some bits that I've never heard of before. I do not miss the boxes. Neither do I miss our new work-experience boy, a posho boarding school friend of my boss' son, who is an haw-hawing upper crust rugby shirt type. You know, the kind who will probably grow up into a banker or something, and finance his private yacht (which is crewed entirely by naked women) by precipitating genocides in South America. Like... so he can sell genocide insurance or something. Look, I don't know how these things work. I'd be doing them if I did.
A few weeks back, Claudia and I braved the floods to visit Evesham, where our little friends live. By chance, our visit coincided with the annual river festival, which featured people's boats done up like pirate ships and strung with Christmas lights and a flyover by a Lancaster bomber. There was also a market which included several stalls selling awful books where the author's name is printed in gold embossed capitals ten times larger than the book's title, a guy selling miracle spectacle-cleaning fluid, and various craft stalls staffed by gentlemen previously seen gracing the sex offenders' register.
WE ARE HAVING A GREAT TIME
After perusing the market for some time, we repaired to a Rough Local Pub and attempted to carry on a conversation over the noise supplied by a gaggle of uproariously drunk fortysomething gentlemen, whose number included, bizarrely, a very quiet and dignified-looking Sikh gentleman with a spectacularly well maintained grey beard and blue turban. We named him Captain Nemo, in honour of the famed science pirate.
"Tell the Gods that Nemo sent you!"
Returning to the river as dusk fell, we were treated to a parade of all the lit-up boats, with musical accompaniment from a child-friendly pop act whose lyrics made heavy use of the word "funk". It was all "let's get funky!" and "Evesham... funk!" which quickly became a catchphrase. They were the sort of band I thought only existed in the universe of The Beano.
Matters concluded with a superb firework display, and then we ambled home among the hordes of stumbling country chavs. Little over a week later, most of Evesham was underwater.
I must have left a tap running.
Hey, get this - this time next week I will be in the most freedom-hating country in the world, also known as France. This is very exciting, as it will be my first visit. In fact it will only be my second time going to another country (not counting Wales, which is a swamp, not a country), because I am a pathetic shut-in. Mrs. Benneth and I will be going by Eurostar, which is great because A) it leaves from Waterloo, which is a twelve-second tube journey away, B) it terminates right in the heart of Paris, and C) it's not a plane. As much as I like aeroplanes, I am never too comfortable travelling in a vehicle which is effectively a thin metal tube full of extremely flammable gases, suspended thirty thousand feet above the world. Of course, I'm fine with travelling in a thin metal tube that hurtles at an obscene speed down a tunnel carved out of the bedrock beneath the god-damn sea.
Anyway, it will be great to see the City of Lights for the first time, in the company of my female accomplice. And it will be interesting to finally find out if French people really are the assholes they are made out to be. Not that I ascribe to the idea of boiling down the identity of an entire nation of people into a cop-out stereotype. No, I prefer to work on an individual basis.
You, for example, are a mingebag.