UK Tour 2002
Friday 22 March 2002
We'd decided to take it easy today, so the plan was to lie in, relax, and prepare the packing. A fire in the lift shaft of our building put that idea to rest. So at 11am everyone from the block strolled out nonchanantly. I was half asleep when I heard the siren and at first and thought it was a car alarm. Helen then came in and told me to get dressed and out. I did so, grabbing only my bag, I left everything else to the mercy of fate. After the fire engine had left and we were told we could re-enter a building that showed no signs of any pyrotechnic activity Colin murmered something about it being a bit of an anti-climax.
I spent much of the early afternoon in a computer shop talking to Matthew the owner. We shared computer dealer stories. Meanwhile Colin wondered around Looe and Helen and Nikki rested at the flat.
A thick mist drew around Looe, and stayed there throughout the night. A fog horn blew out frequently while small fishing vessels silently slid in and out of the harbour. Later in the evening Colin and I stood out side of our building and watched a boats light slowly fade in to the misty distance, trying to work out when we could no longer see it.
We decided to go to a pub near our building, the "Tom Sawyer", it turned out to be a fun evening where we realised that this place literally and metaphorically was right up our street. It was a shame we discovered it on our last night.
The landlord, John, who, was let's say rather jolly, came up and spoke to us and after last orders he invited us to have a few drinks with him and some of his friends. John had been a professional footballer as a young man, then after an injury he moved in to the publican game, and at one point he owned a club in Cardiff called Jackson's. He then packed that in to come and live in Looe with his wife, Judith, who's a head teacher.
At one point John came up to Colin and rubbed Colin's stomach for about a minute while telling him that it wasn't the drink or food that filled it, but merely hot air and he wasn't to worry about it. Colin, who is a very gentle soul in general, (except for the occassional psychotic turn) has a very hard look to him, and to those who do not know him he looks like he's just about to perform a mafia style hit. After the stomach rubbing incident John's wife said they could do with someone who gave off a hard man attitude to deal with awkward customers. We told them that our nick name for Colin is "Odd job", as in the James Bond character who can kill people with his sharp rimmed Bowler hat. Within seconds John had a metal rimmed hat on Colin.
One of the other guys who'd stayed behind , Mike, spends most of his time travelling around the world as part of the Formula 1 racing entourage. He'd bought a hotel in Looe just so he could have somewhere to bring his friends when he wasn't working. He'd invented a special dynamic tyre pressure system that lowered tyre pressure as the petrol got burnt up allowing the car to remain as low to the ground as the rules allowed. It's amazing what you get to find out in pubs.
John asked me what I'd like to drink and when I answered "A snowball" Colin said that he'd be keeping his back against the wall from now on (don't know what he means by that). I have a hard time if I go into a pub because firstly I'm normally asked what I'd like to drink and when I say a Coke I get loads of hassle for not drinking alcohol, (very unmanly) then I get asked what football team I support. I say I don't like football, this is almost as unmanly as it's possible to get in English culture without having "the operation". So when I relented to having an alcoholic drink and chose a Snowball I was even more immasculated because a Snowball is a "girlie" drink.
"Now who ordered THIS!"
A Snowball mainly comprises of Advocat and Lemonade however when I mentioned my choice of drink John's eyes lit up, and the rest of the guests rolled theirs. Apparently Snowball's are his speciality, cries of "Oh no" came from every body. I knew then I should have stuck to Cokes. I realised why when John spent the next ten minutes explaining his recipe and why he couldn't tell me his secret ingredient (a bit worrying as I was already halfway through the drink by then). Fortunately Nikki distracted me from my concern about the secret ingredient by coming to inform the regular guests that one of their party had fallen asleep on the toilet, she was snoring and had had obviously dropped off on the job. No one battered an eye lid, and said they'd pick her up on their way out. That's what happens if you spend all your time in the Looe area!
Eventually we all made our way home. I hadn't packed still and was too tired so I left it for a mad rush start tomorrow.