New Year gets off to a flying start (sort off)

Evening Bowling.

10 Pin Bowling

I’ve never really enjoyed 10 pin bowling. No, that’s an exaggeration, I hate it with such passion, that I imagine only languages which have died out, posses words to properly describe my feelings.

This mainly comes from previous visits. Typically, I have been invited out on “corporate” nights from many different companies. Put simply, I associate it with formal evenings, pretending to be social ones.

In any event, I am hopeless at bowling, and since I mainly have a couple of beers, I can’t help feeling that we should remove the bowling from the equation entirely, and simply have the beers.

The other evening was different. I was invited out by Claire and Lisa, and Chris met us later (so that I wasn’t the only bloke). We got something to eat, had a couple of pints, then headed to LA Bowl. I have to say, there wasn’t much about LA going on in there.

At one point, some Gypsies, had exchanged their shoes for the flat shoes used in the bowling alley. Since they preferred their “new” shoes to the old one, they had decided to leave wearing the bowling shoes. The intervention of a manager, resolved the problem.

Overall though, I was impressed with the setup. The scoring was completely computerised, they had lots of different sizes of ball, and you could order drinks and food at your “lane”.

After about 40 minutes, they dimmed the lights, and the alley looked like a sort of disco. Then a dj started banging out tunes from Now 77. There were a few different gatherings, including a coming out party (they were easy to spot, they were the best dressed men in the building !).

Back to the action. Well, amazingly, I won 2 games out of 3, and did pretty well in the 3rd. The company was interesting and genuine, and overall, I had a fab time, and I have changed my mind entirely, about bowling.

Old friends from Newton Heath come to visit me in Chester.

My old friends from Newton Heath.

I ran into my long-time friend Nick (middle of the picture), at my mums funeral. It wasn’t the best time to meet an old friend, so we arranged to meet up again afterwards. I had a pleasant evening in Newton Heath, so invited Nick down to Chester.

Nick brought another old mate, Gary Hilton with him (right of the picture) and another mate called Pete (for the benefit of the thick people reading this who haven’t worked it out by elimination, he is the guy on the left). I first took them back to my house, so they could drop of bags etc.

Unfortunately, I forgot to check if they actually had any bags, which they didn’t. I showed them around my house, and my recent DIY efforts, of which I’m proud. Problem is, these are all practical men, bragging about putting up a small shelf, was received with laughter (although they did like my mountain bike).

We head for the Mill Hotel, and I realise that Gary and Pete, are both Real Ale fans. They were very impressed with the Mill. Nick and I had our usual Lager.

Miniature Origami shirt made from a £5 note.

Next off, was Oddfellows. Not the poncy club on Lower Bridge Street, but the basic home of the seasoned drinker, on Frodsham street, near Iceland (Gary had visited Chester before, and knew his way around, quite well). The Frog has re-opened under new management, but its so big, that it always feels empty. We had 2 more pints, then headed further into town.

Turns out, Gary is really into Origami. Above is a shirt, which he folded from a £5 note.

I had told them, about the Albion, but when we arrived it was closed. Heading back into town, we had a couple of pints and something to eat at the newly done up Custom House.

A couple of pints in the Union Vaults, then the Town Crier, before its time to go, and the lads jump on the train. They stayed for several hours, but it felt like half an hour. It was really cool catching up on things at home, talking about old times, and stuff like that.

I’ve lived in Chester now, for 10 years, and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. That said, I’m from Manchester, and when I go home, it will always be there. Take care lads, and thanks for coming down.

Out of the blue email from Sonja an Jens.

Sonja and Jens, my German friends who I met in Australia.

A couple I met in Australia in 2004, and who I describe under the Friends section of my website, as probably the nicest couple I have ever met, got in touch again recently.

Sonja and Jens, what an amazing pair. Sonja, a charming, confident and pretty girl, and Jens, an openly friendly, genuine and resourceful man. They had been reading about the weather problems in Australia, and it had reminded them to look at and see what I’ve been up to.

Well, since we last met, they have got married, built a house and had a little boy called Lennart. Congratulations, I’m going to Munich sometime this year, I hope I can get over and meet them.

Other crap.

Its said that by the end of January, 60% of people have given up on their New Years resolutions. I have barely had time to start mine. Loads of exciting stuff happening at work, 90% of my plans for the house completed (plans for the whole year, and its only January) and several packed social weekends, havent left much free time.

Things have turned around a bit now. Instead of just using my mindmap, which I’ve used for the last 10 years, I also draw up a monthly to do list (otherwise, some of the easier tasks, end up slipping into the last 2 months of the year, I suppose thats the problem with a yearly plan !).

Couple of random thoughts that hit me recently:

1. Wouldn’t it be cool, if you could go camping, with a tent like the one in Harry Potter.

2. One of Akon’s songs begins  “nowadays seems like everybody want to be cooks”. For those that dont know, this isn’t an aspiration of joining Jamie Oliver and his friends. They are referring to “baking-up” crystal meth amphetamines !.

My brother gave me a printer for printing my own snapshots, which I can now frame, give away etc. Reminds me once, when I went to pick up some developed photo’s. The lady who normally worked around the back, brought the pictures out, and said “so your the pub photographer” turns out, she had developed loads of my pictures, and wanted to see which person in the photo’s I was.

I’m also trying to put myself out there (whatever the hell that means) as suggested by Susan Jeffers in Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.

I went to the Chester Film Society to see the Lemon Trees on my own. I really enjoyed the film.

I also went to a meeting of the Chester Globetrotters. Part of a world wide organisation, interested in Adventure Travel. There first meeting of the year, was at Chester museum. I went with Amelia and Tony, and we watched a talk by a guy who had lived in Japan for 7 years, and another on the Hill Tribes of Vietnam.

Just goes to show, instead of throwing away the free paper, you should look at the meetings and societies section, to see if there’s anything that interests you.

I am considering joining the Chester Ramblers (although its been pointed out, that I ramble quite well on my own, with no countryside in site !).

Tony and I are going to do the Gritstone Trail, in the next month. Amazingly, it stops of in a village called Rainow, where the excellent Lyndsay lives, so will be meeting her for a pint.

Talking of Lyndsay, she mentioned a really good Anecdote the other day, that I must pass on. People like Susan Jeffers (in  Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway) talk about metaphorically facing your fears and not running away from them.

What if your fear was a Tiger. Should you turn and face it ?. Having seen real tigers on several occasions, running away (if you can outrun it) is very good advise. Forcing a stand-off with the creature, will result in you die’ing a pointless death.

On a more practical note, I don’t like dancing, spending time with teenagers or being in the barbers a moment longer than I have too. Is there any reason why I should do/put up with any of those things if I don’t have to, just to prove something to myself  ?.

I always feel you should never walk away from an achievable goal, but only if its something that you actualy want !.

Its my birthday in 3 months. I’ll be arranging a pub crawl around Chester (this year has special significance, as it celebrates a continuous year of normality in my life).

Finally, I heard that the Student who threw the fire extinguisher got time. Good.

Near and far, the search for adventure continues.

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