a trip to bangor
The website’s been down for a week or so now, but I’m still updating the diary.
I’m settling in at work quite nicely now, it’s pretty great to be doing web-design and getting paid for it too :lol That said, I’m now making a solemn promise not to talk about anything work or web-design related in the diary. I’m sure it doesn’t interest too many of you, so I’ve created a new section to house all my techno-waffle. The diary is now to be a little more focused and a little less geeky. Those of you who want a dose of Web Development chatter can head over to the Dev Blog section and have a read, as well as giving your own input on what I’ve got to talk about.
This last week saw Mike, Kate and myself out on Thursday night, sitting in the car ‘chilling out’ at Croxden Abbey while the drizzle pattered on the roof and made us all sleepy. The week before Mike and myself had gone out to Hollington Level and chilled for a few hours; looking at the stars and the extremely low moon, which kept getting half obscured by the type of clouds you see in old horror movies. It was really nice to just sit back on the car bonnet, under the stars and talk about life and the future and things like that. It made me realise how much I miss doing that. There was a time when such outings were regular occurrences. Time moves on however, and people have jobs and more important priorities. We’re no longer all students with armfuls of spare time to kill.
Even so, I think I’m going to try and remember to take a break more often, just get outside and let go of the day-to-day thoughts that swamp everyone. There’s a world out there beyond the immediately obvious. I tend to live in something I refer to as ‘head space’ far too much. It’s like an abstract layer of existence where you’re constantly thinking but never really taking note of the here-and-now. My book on meditation would say I am awake but not truly aware that I am awake. It equates the ‘head space’ experience of life to that of driving a car to work; you go through the actions but are not really aware of them. You might find yourself at work and remember almost none of the journey that got you there. You were awake, but not really aware.
Moving on, this weekend Matt, Kath and myself went to visit Ben at Bangor, where Ben now owns a shiny new house. The trip down took an hour longer than predicted due to monstrous traffic, as did the trip back home. Saturday was really sunny, and far too hot to be in the car, so once we met Ben and had been to the pub for a quick pint and meal we shot off to the beach. Andy, one of Ben’s uni mates (and lodger), joined us too. He’s from Kenya and is well travelled and cultured; a genuinely nice guy too. After soaking up far too many rays we went to Java for some food before going to the Greek bar for a social sit down and drink. It was while I was in there that I really clicked on what I had been missing out on by living at home while I was at university; I’ve missed out on a lot. The people were friendly and the atmosphere was great. Something I liked in particular was the fact that there was a bit of culture around. People were in there playing chess, there was live music playing. The place was very well themed and the people were all having fun and being generally open and friendly. You don’t tend to get that where I live, in Stoke. If you go out somewhere ‘big’ like Hanley or Newcastle or Stoke itself you get far too many morons and, frankly, I’m always watching my back. Your other choice here is to go to one of the pubs in a village…which, though nice, doesn’t have the same atmosphere or clientele as was at Bangor. Frankly I feel gutted I let myself miss out on meeting and interacting with a big group of smart people my own age. Of course that’s simply one side of the coin, and the other side was I got to live a relatively easy relatively in-expensive life at home and I got to see all my friends all the time. Would I make the same choice if I had it to do again? I don’t think I would, but then that’s the benefit of experience and hindsight…
Saturday night we returned to Ben’s and sat on the balcony watching moths kill themselves by flying into the torches (flame torches, not electric ones) and looking at Bangor lit up at night. We also saw a ridiculous number of stars, spotted three shooting stars, saw three satellites and what we think was the International Space Station go over. All from the balcony. If we hadn’t been so tired I’d have loved to have taken Ben up on his idea of going into the mountains to get where the sky is really clear and free from light pollution. It’s at times like this weekend that my Canada dream takes on new urgency and believability.
Sunday we picked up Vicky, another friend of Ben’s who also happens to be very nice and went for a brief stroll around some mountains. There’s something about educated people who’ve grown past the ‘weyhey, student out to binge drink’ stage that I like. I feel much more at home with these type of people, plus they’ve generally been out and done things which is interesting to hear about. Walking around the mountain was cool, but extremely windy, to the point that my glasses were twice blown clean off my face, and each lens now has a few scratches where they hit rock. Oh well.
When we got back Ben cooked us a very nice pasta dish, just to prove the point that his culinary skills are on the up, after that it was time for home. I had a great time, as did everyone else I think - so cheers Ben! With most of use having weekends off these days, you might well see us again sometime soon(ish).