The last week in brief.
Saturday = Big Gay Department Store = Big and Gay.
Sunday was The Boy's birthday shenanigan, a Fear and Loathing themed barbecue/drinkathon. My giant lizard outfit was in the wash, so I settled for a powerful Hawaiian shirt, of which there is sadly no photographic evidence. On the plus side, there is also no photographic evidence of Sam in his incongruous creepy scout master outfit. I was Nice Uncle Ben for a while, whilst I helped four year-old Poppy with some very important colouring in; then a little later I was Bad Drunken Uncle Ben when I dropped her on the kitchen floor and she started crying. My first reaction was to look for my drink; I am beginning to regard Bernard from Black Books as a kind of role-model.
Grown-up work was infinitely better last week than the previous three. I now have a computer with AutoCAD installed on it, which means that I am able to do stuff; and the other Ben has now left, meaning that I can take over all of his bits of work. Also, I am no longer part of the collective known for a short while as Ben Squared (engineer humour, ya can't beat it...). Coincidentally, it is also the week that an insane new project has kicked off, requiring the complete re-organisation of an entire department. Each morning, I arrive at work to discover that someone else has thrown in their two cents and the layout I drew the previous day needs to be re-done; I amend it accordingly, but by lunchtime it's all obsolete again; and then again by the end of the day. It's keeping me busy, which I like, but now all my dreams consist of me doing CAD layouts of plant equipment. It reminds me of last Christmas, when I was consumed by The Almighty Blue Orb of Engineering Maths.
I took a break from the Big Gay Department Store this weekend, and headed back to the ghettos of Surrey in order to hang out with my old chum Dave for probably the last time before he and his girly Cheryl emigrate to Canada. We bimbled around Guildford for a bit, and trawled through some very used CDs at Ben's Collector's Records before heading to The Royal Oak (my old local from when I used to work around the corner as a professional nerd/toy soldier guru). Whilst there we spilled drinks over one another, and marvelled at the prodigious quantities of urinal cakes lavished on the gents porcelain.
It's little things like this that really let you know you're in a posh town.
We got back to his house, drank some more, watched a rubbish film, drank some more, played computer games, drank some more. At some point I got a text out of the blue from Charlie Cat, who revealed that she had the next day off. Being somewhat inebriated, I invited her to Sunday lunch at my parents, forgetting that also in attendance would be Dr Sister and Neil, and Dave, and Cheryl, and my Grandma; but my mum is nothing if not a resourceful and persistently cheerful host, and took it all in her stride. For her part, Charlie coped admirably with a mild interrogation from mum, some slightly racist rhetoric from my drunk and confused grandmother, and the usual frantic squabbling over the last Yorkshire pudding. Good times.
And then a frantic dash back to Bristol for the Inn on the Green pub quiz, where our team ("A Luncheon Club Dedicated To The Destruction Of Bolshevism") was carried to a creditable fourth position by Matt, who has just returned from a lengthy business trip to the US, and is not a nazi.