Sunday, February 21, 2010

Waiting for launch

I got up early, and it was raining. Despite this downpour, I headed over to Lincoln's Inn Fields with my father for a game of tennis. The weather didn't let up, so for a last proper taste of London, we went to Starbucks. After half an hour the rain abated, so we got in nine games of tennis, and then packed it in. It was the first game of tennis I've played since probably April of 2008, so I was more than a little bit rusty, but I still made a few odd shots, curving the ball just into the tram lines with the occasional very lucky backhand. Maybe I should spend the cold evenings in wintry Hong Kong practising my service game – currently I'm lobbing them in, with the implicit hope that my opponent will have gone to sleep before the ball lands.
Then home for a dinner of roast beef (everyone else) and aubergine (me, ten minutes later – but I'm not bitter, I got to eat Yorkshire puddings, freshly baked by my mother, and lots of roast potatoes, before a Christmas pudding made a surprise entrance and we got to set that on fire – a second incendiary experience after New Year's Eve. Just as on the 31st of December, far too much brandy was applied and it burned for an interminable time.

This left enough time to teach my sister and mother how to play Shithead, and then do a little more slightly panicky packing before being driven to Heathrow.

This was probably the only stressful part of the whole holiday. My parents don't believe in the M25, or in the possibility that there might be snarled up traffic on a wet Sunday night in London, with the result that we spent over thirty minutes moving a hundred yards on the North End Road. Gradually my mother began to witter ever more ineffectually, the sat-nav eventually joining in the Greek chorus of unhelpful road directions as she, my girlfriend and I all yelled faintly contradictory instructions to my father, who drove everywhere in second gear. I suppose that the constant bopping of our heads against the headrests of the car was meant to get us reaccustomed to Hong Kong taxi drivers – for that thoughtfulness I am of course incredibly grateful.

When we finally got onto the M4, I hoped he'd floor it, but instead we trundled along at exactly 50 mph, while I gritted my teeth and tried not to explode in rage after the stress of being trapped in an incredibly hot car for two hours. But if that was the only difficulty that I encountered in ten days, then I really don't have anything to complain about. My parents' irrational terror of the M25 may be an occasional bane of my life, but since they drive me to Heathrow Airport at most once every year, it doesn't add that much to my blood pressure.

Those roast potatoes probably do though.

Also, I have these chest pains at the moment, like something is clenching inside me. I'd assume it's the cold weather, but I had no problems all the time we were walking in Wales, and it's come on while I've been inside in the warm recently too. No numbness in my extremities, so … so what, exactly? I'm not medically qualified to tell if I'm about to drop dead on the spot. The thing to do is to go straight to a doctor when I get back to Hong Kong. Then they can give me the universal panacea – fifty antibiotic pills – and everything will be alright.

Perhaps I should add 'freely available antibiotics' to the list of benefits for living in Hong Kong. No matter your ailment, whether it's a virus or a broken leg, they'll foist some penecillin on you. I'm allergic to the stuff, although telling doctors this provokes various expressions of disbelief. You'd think that either I was being incredibly pretentious – no common or garden antibiotics for me, thank you, just the very best, or that I'd claimed I didn't need antibiotics because I could use the power of my mind to heal myself. It's not that, it's just that I don't like adding to a feverish infection an extra fever. As electricity becomes more expensive, I suppose it could be convenient to light my apartment by the reddish glow from my face, but I've got a feeling that might not work out for the long term.

Anyway, enough of such thoughts. I'm sat here in the Tin Goose in Terminal 1, a wonderful pub-cum-bar with no more than one member of staff on duty to service ten bored, waiting customers, but I have nothing to complain about, because I've got my girlfriend a pint of shandy, we have a comfortable sofa, and there's a fresh copy of Viz for me to read.

As long as she doesn't get violent drunk on half a pint of Carlsberg, I can't see anything going wrong.


Post a Comment