Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bliss in Bristol (Pics)

I'm listening to my favorite song of the moment (Blister of the Spotlight by Ashtar Command) and know I've got some serious typing ahead and I'm excited to dig in. This is the kind of entry that is a total joy to relive and I'm kinda spent talking about Sunday.

One of the many glorious things that DID come from that biz was my new friend at Walgreens making me a new disc of my England pictures (no charge!) to replace the one that was stolen. Which means I DO have new pics from my adventure last week! I know they may not look like much but I would have been significantly more upset by the whole shebang if I'd really lost these. I don't know why, I just know that's a fact. Carrying on.

When we left off, I had just left my best friend in Birmingham with a delightful friend of Jaimeson's. Questionable on my part? Well, probably. Still the right move? Only in this instance was it the right thing to leave best friend in seedy foreign city with a singing stranger.
Woulda been a little tight with four of us in here.

And where was I rushing off to? Well, the tourbus of course. The big red, double-decker tour bus. This is where I need to make something very very clear because it could get a little blurry. While my dad thinks it is HIL-arious to call me inquiring "Is this my daughter the groupie?" that is not in fact the case.

I did not meet Jaimeson as a musician, when I met him I thought he was on the management side of things (which he was at the time, in addition to everything with strings). While I like him an awful lot and that definitely includes that he's good at and passionate about his career (in an industry I have a passion for as well), there are other things about him that I find to be more attractive.
  • Like that he looks up at the sky and classifies the exact variety of clouds present and what the weather will be tomorrow as a result. Dad does that too.
  • Or that he was a national Judo champion. And a serious equestrian. And there are pictures of him in a wrestling onsie in all of his Greco glory.
  • Or that he volunteers to watch the Neverending Story at 3am and concurs that Falcor would be an excellent name for a puppy.
  • Or that he gives the biggest, longest hugs I've ever encountered. Like me going into the kitchen for 10 minutes was the equivalent of 3 weeks in Jaimeson years.
This is getting very mushy and I think you see where I'm going. Music is a beautiful part of whatever is happening here but it is not the why. Thus you can hold onto any commentary that involves being a groupie, band-aid or anything else that means "traveling gypsy music hooker."

That doesn't mean I wasn't excited to go roaming the English countryside in a red double-decker tour bus. I mean COME ON.

We made it back to the bus just in time and wound up the stairs to have some whiskey and be further entertained by the playing of Grand Theft Auto. I'm not kidding when I say this is a traveling frat house. Poor Catherine. The most entertaining part was listening to the boys narrate the game as they crashed ambulances and picked up chainsaws.

From there, we headed to the front of the bus. There is a small sitting area directly above where the driver sits that is one huge window. It looks out over the road ahead and as it is one story up and dark in there, it is a very cool feeling. Suspended above all the cars below and watching them pass. Beautiful. And romantic. And a little more private than the rest of the frat house.


Eventually things in the rest of the bus started to quiet down and we set out to fit 12 ft of human into a 6x2 ft bunk. Ha. As much as you might enjoy someone as an excellent spooning companion, there is such a thing as not enough space. Around dawn I rolled/tripped out of bed and back to the front lounge to read/write because I quite simply could not move/breathe/get a sip of water with any kind of grace.But when I got there, I was beyond pleasantly surprised. Because I was expecting Bristol to be a lot like Birmingham. And what I found was the sun rising over a line of pastel rowhouses on the river. Boats lined up and down the port. It looked like Holland. Or maybe Holland looks like Bristol. At 5:30am, the front lounge was filled with sunlight and I was quite content. For the next 2 hours I watched the town wake up from my little perch. I saw a troupe of bagpipers heading to a gig, I saw Cary stumbling out for a morning smoke break (drunk and feeding the swans), I saw people on houseboats with their coffee and I even got some writing in. Around 7:30, Jaimeson wandered in looking confused and offered a walk to go find a hotel bathroom (the bus is like camping- brush your teeth with bottled water etc.). So we wandered around these empty English streets on a sunny Sunday morning.

And thus began what was essentially my perfect day. We had a nice walk, got some air and it was then easier to crawl back into the bunk for a nap. Got up for good around 11 and did two serious laps around this new little town, stopping as often to read the sailors' prayers on old shiphouses as we did to read menus. I think J would have been content to wander this way for hours but we've been doing this little dance long enough now that he knows I need to be fed. "You're an eater- it's one of your most attractive qualities." Oh good, he gets it.

Which is how we found Hole in the Wall. With it's open french doors and wood, Provencal tables and casually elegant menu, this is the kind of place I'd have a mind to open, let alone eat in. And they were playing Zoe Keating when we walked in- done and done.

A favorite date as those go- by the end of it (2 hours) we'd polished off mezze (think really really good appetizer sampler with olives, goat cheese with pesto, peppers etc.), lamb shank(Christos Anesti!), salmon cakes and a delicious bottle of sauvignon blanc. Now full and happy we got out into the afternoon to find a hotel room. Not that the bus wasn't fun.

The original plan was to find a place, go back and grab our bags and check in with the team but once we got into the lobby, the sky opened. It is now a rainy Sunday afternoon and we are bus-filthy, buzzed, have no plans and now have a small hotel room overlooking a rainy English village. Like I said....my perfect day. A few hours later it had stopped raining and it was appropriate to emerge.
We decided to be tourists. J in the Queen's Square.

By the time we got back to the bus, a group was heading to the movies to see a little indie called Happy-Go-Lucky. Seriously, I could not have written my favorite day better. I loved the movie. It's a quirk film about choosing to be happy and how the world is full of people who've made that choice or the alternative. It's also got some wicked funny parts. I haven't seen it over here at all but look around or wait for Netflix, it's TKTC approved.

After the movie, Tom goes "You two wouldn't shut up about how great your lunch was so we're going for dinner, you fancy it enough to go twice?"
Obviously. So we had more mezze. And a fat bottle of cabernet. And a lot of lively dinner conversation about heavy things and stupid things and music and the like. And the perfect day rolled into night in that warm way with fuzzed edges only red wine can provide.

Back to the bus to be social for a bit when Jaimeson figures out that neither Feeny no myself has seen the movie Slap Shot. This was not ok and needed to be rectified immediately so now there are 9 people side-to-side-to-lap-to side in a very cozy back lounge, all chattering about "the Hanson Brothers" and it becomes apparent no one means MmmmBop. Paul Newman circa the late 70's appears onscreen and I know pretty quickly this is going to be good.

I haven't laughed that hard at a movie in a really really long time. To the point that my stomach hurt and I had tears running down my face. The bus was shaking because I was not alone in my reaction and they probably could have heard us across the river. Eventually though, we were ready to get back to our room and leave the bus to its case of Jack Daniels and limited power supply. Whiskey literally flows like water.

We caught the first 10 minutes of a BBC special on James Bond but eventually got distracted and in the end, slept for 10 hours like the dead. It was delicious. And I'm sorry this is so long but I figured good things warrant the bulk of conversation and there it is.

Single for me, Double for you...like Goldilocks.

We got up and to lunch on Monday at another cute cafe. I had a beer and an espresso and a fantastic grilled halloumi sandwich. Where has halloumi been all my life? It's like the grilled cheese (Butterkase) that they always serve at the farmer's market! I'd be lying if I said I weren't a little sad.

If I hadn't had Kate to look forward to in London, I might have just stayed. But that's a slippery slope and I'm not always one for the MOST responsible decisions (not when I'm stupid giddy anyway). Had I not left then, I might be broke in Stockholm right now with a bad bunk backache, for instance. And I keep repeating to myself that that isn't supposed to sound like the preferred alternative.

No more clarity on what's happening with me and J but it's happening all the same. So much has changed over the last few months that it does scare me. It's not a traditional set- up, that much is apparent, but it feels like a good thing and I'm just going to keep trusting that and see where it gets me. I had to let go sometime:)


Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

I loved this post! So happy!


it feels like a good thing and I'm just going to keep trusting that and see where it gets me.

= my new mantra

nicoleantoinette said...

I find it so hard to just trust my gut and go with how I feel. I so, SO wish I could do this.

Nilsa S. said...

I love how happy and at peace you sound as you recount your travels. As far as things with J go ... you're young ... it's the time in your life to have these kinds of relationships ... plus, you just never know what might come at the other end!

L Sass said...

Oh my god, this is like the MOST romantic post ever. Swoon. I love it. Just keep being happy and you'll end up in the right place, I am sure of it!

Cheryl said...

Love it...and I love your idea about trusting. I have been trying to trust too.

ToKissTheCook said...

Overcoat: It's tough man...I'm a pretty laid back girl and it's still hard to free fall. I just really want to.

Nic: You'll get there. I'm a work in progress too. The good news is that we both have people in our lives who love us just as we are and I'm pretty sure that accounts for Steps 1-7.

Nilsa: That is my exact rationale. If ever there was a time to be a little reckless and just live a bit...this is it. And I am happy. Happiest in a new place with great company (+ food & wine, of course:)

L Sass: I like it. You're my case in point that sometimes the least CLASSically romantic beginnings can lead to the great things and make for even better stories. We'll see!

ToKissTheCook said...

Cheryl: I want to start hearing about your "trust" trials...I'm getting bits of it but we should do wine again so I can get the good stuff offline!