Thursday, November 02, 2006

On The Wagon / On The Razz

On The Wagon (Thursday, 2 November 2006)

Leamington Garret I am off the booze and have been for a week. The point of the exercise is to recover my health which has been getting steadily worse over the past two months. I want to be better by my birthday - 22 December.

I have a terrible cough and chest infection for which I do not want to take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. My back injury is also showing little sign of improvement.

So I have been stuffing myself with vitamin tablets to try to bolster my immune system, and doing pilates back exercises. I feel a bit stronger and healthier, although this week has been very bad for sleep.

It has been a miserable time overall. Last week my holiday was wiped out by having to move all sorts of stuff between addresses while feeling tired and poorly.

This week, the personal stress has mounted up.

The Landlord, Rigsby, is threatening to send bailiffs into the Leamington Garret (don’t ask) and the lights have gone out on the eight flights of stairs up to the Garret (so it is back to using candles).

The prospective tenants who phoned up about the soon-to-be spare room in the Garret have either been appallingly rude. Why are there so many total scumbags in Royal Leamington Spa? What has gone wrong with this attractive little Midland town?

I am having big problems with the London Garret; and bicycling back from work is like peddling into a black hole - even with lights you are as blind as a bat.

Talking of the blind, the people from the blind shop on Leamington Parade have - with the aid of their enormous metal bin - been blocking access to the yard behind the Garret where I keep my bike, despite a massive notice that reads: 'Keep Clear!')

I wrote them a note which started: ‘Dear Blind People!'

Part of the reasons I have gone on the wagon is that things have been going badly wrong and I want to get a grip. It is only partly working!

The problem with not drinking is that the evenings seem to stretch endlessly ahead of you. It is so tedious.

I have had a crystal clear head through not drinking and enjoyed the mornings far more than usual (there was also an amazingly beautiful sunrise, pictured above and below).

I have been thinking faster, albeit not as creatively, and do not get my words twisted up when I speak. My memory is more retentive and generally I am more together - if less happy.

Tonight in the Leamington Garret I have been trying to write two poems – one about being On The Wagon and the other about Lewes’s Southover Bonfire Society – called Advance Southover Advance.

I am struggling with both (that lack of creativity while sober). Seven lines have been written of the latter (and some research done).

Nothing has been achieved on the former.

I gave up eventually and went down to the Jug and Jester. Without the benefit of copious quantities of lager or cider, I cannot say I felt comfortable at the jam night.

Knocking back cola and orange juice and lemonades, I took a few photographs but quit the joint when the music got a bit modern jazzy. I do not dig modern jazz, man.

Outside, it was brass monkeys, without my beer overcoat!

On The Razz (Flashback to Sunday, 23 April 2006)

4.31pm. The Lansdown Pub, Lewes

My back has been murder. I suffered such a massive spasm a few minutes ago at the house that I feared I would have postpone my return to the Leamington Garret.

I am holed up here in the Lansdown with a large, medicinal whisky until my train is imminent.

Yesterday I went out drinking with my old neighbour who is currently renting a dinky little house in Sun Street, Lewes.

I embarked on a mini-trawl of the licensed premises of Lewes to find him deep in conversation with an ex-militaryman/skinhead-cum-builder at the Brewer’s Arms. The three of us had a good old chat.

My intrinsic fear of military personnel of the shaven-headed variety turns to enthusiasm and admiration when I am in drink.

When time was called, my friend suggested we adjourn to the Lewes Arms for a late drink. My arm around him, we hobbled over there and sunk another three pints of loopy juice each.

It was great night with a great guy.

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