Unusual weekend

Blimey, all kinds of great and unusual things happening over the weekend (although not for the Lovely Melanie who’s currently into her sixth day of flu – and proper flu, too, not just a bit of a cold).
Let’s go through them all in reverse levels of greatness, shall we?

First (or, by level of greatness, last) is my not feeling the least bit hungover on Sunday morning. I went for a quiet drink down my local with some friends on Saturday night; had one of those really nice nights down the pub, just chatting away for a few hours, and had four pints (and a tinnie). Ordinarily I’d feel at best a bit “dry” next morning, and at worst I’ve had a full-blown hangover, but Sunday saw me up with the lark and playing five-a-side football by midday…

Which segues neatly in to the second great thing, which was me scoring a hat-trick of goals, and setting up a couple of other good ones, too. This is so great because I’m rubbish at football – rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish. In fact, let’s be honest, I’m rubbish at all sports (except swimming – I’m quite a good swimmer). And this is not me being modest about my sporting prowess, oh, no; I genuinely suck at anything involving physical co-ordination, far more so than any normal person. I’ve always sucked: I can’t catch, can’t throw, can’t control a ball with my feet, can’t hit things with a stick… so it was nice (not to say “unheard of”!) to genuinely play “quite well” on Sunday, if only to see the amazed looks on other people’s faces!

And so onto the third great thing, which is that I’ve managed to wangle a place on Thames Water’s annual sewer tour!

I’ve always been inexplicably fascinated with underground tunnels, hidden places and the like, and it was always my dream to go on a tour of a bit of the London Underground at night when the trains had stopped (obviously!). In 2004 we managed to get on the Open House tour of the abandoned underground tram tunnel/station on Kingsway in Holborn, which was pretty cool, but this is much much cooler than that. This is even cooler than a tour of the Underground, and that’s pretty cool – on a scale of one to 17 it comes in at around a 15 (17 being “living on the moon”).

Thames Water don’t advertise the existence of these tours anywhere, as far as I’m aware, don’t make any kind of fuss about it and certainly don’t encourage people to actually come on the tour. However, a little fact like that never stopped an intrepid fact-hound like yours truly, and I’ve been following the trail of the mythical sewer tour for a couple of years now.

It may seem like a pretty weird thing to want to do, but I’m SO excited by the whole prospect of seeing somewhere you never ever normally get to see: a whole strange new world just under your feet. And, trust me, it’s usually very very very difficult for members of the public to get down into the sewers for a guided tour of Bazalgette’s remarkable creation. I just hope the smell isn’t too awful.

And you know what’d be good? It would be if I could do the sewer tour AND use my voucher for a microlight training flight in the same week! To see a different view of above and below within hours of each other…

OK, that’s all of the really great and unusual things. Elsewhere, I’ve now seen a list of the Clarke Award books that the other five judges liked…and in some ways it’s very different to what I’d expected. There’s a meeting at the Science Museum this coming Saturday to narrow the list down to just six books, which we then have to re-read before we meet again in April, and choose a final winner. Personally, I think we’ll be able to pick about four books for the shortlist fairly easily, but the other two may turn out to be more difficult. It does at least mean the meeting on Saturday should be interesting. 🙂

And what of Millie…? She’s very well, thank you for asking. Still coping with the solid food (the Lovely Melanie’s already making noises about trying carrots and apples, as well as rice).

She also seems to have made one of those quantum leaps in her development that she periodically does. It’s quite a subtle change this time, but she now relates to the outside world more than she did, or more enthusiastically, I should say. She’s beginning to want to touch things she sees, and although this may not sound like a big thing I think it’s quite important because it means she’s conscious that she can move herself and can influence the world.

That awareness of yourself as a being who isn’t passive, but can do things and interact with your environment, that’s quite a radical change of viewpoint, if you think about it. And that seems to be what Millie’s just realised.

And my god does she talk! Not words, of course, but endless streams of syllables and sounds punctuated with laughter. On and on and on and on! It’s lovely to hear… 🙂


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