WHAT WE’LL MISS
As frustrating and mundane as I feel Britain can be at times, there really is no place like home. We’re off to see how other people live. I’ve got no doubt that some of their practices will be better, some will be worse, and some of them will just be plain wierd to us. There are inevitably things that we’re going to miss about home and I decided to share a few thoughts with you about things that I’ll personally be pining for when we’re in some remote corner of the Thai jungle without the trappings of western life.
Some things go without saying – we’re lucky enough to have the most amazing family and friends. But there are less obvious things about being away from home that I will miss…
I was always more of a dog person. I refused to be sucked into the whole “Cats love you for who you are and not just for the food you provide them” argument. Hollie however is the archetypal “Crazy Cat Lady” and after looking after five kittens that had been abandoned in a ditch for a few weeks, she managed to “persuade” me to keep the runt of the litter, whom we had dubbed “Grotbags” (See photo below for an explanation of this name)
I have no idea how it happened, but that… thing… that you’ve just witnessed in the photo above blossomed into the creature you see below.
We renamed him Lou in tribute to the late Lou Reed. Both the cat and his namesake have a reputation for being hairy hellraisers, though our Lou is shit at guitar and to our knowledge has never taken drugs.
By the process of Hollie’s forced cat indoctrination program and the fact that he is actually alright really, I have to hold my hands up and say I have grown to love the furry little moron and will miss him in the time that we’re away.
No Saturday in the Tommy/Hollie household would be complete without Hollie covering her ears and me shouting at the radio or telly because the Rams are either winning or losing. Since I was young I followed Derby County and it’s typical that we’re buggering off on the cusp of what looks like being the season we go up to the premiership (fingers crossed)!
A lot of people will probably read this and think “It’s only bloody football”, but to me it really is more than that. Picture the scene – you’re eating a steak and kidney pie on the terraces whilst the wind blows through the buttons of your coat. You’re 1-0 down to Rotherham City and it begins to piss it down. You’re sat in one of the front rows and the rain drives in at such an angle that it’s impossible to watch the game anymore. That’s football to me – the most romantic, miserable, dissapointing and frustrating pastime that Britain has to offer – and that’s what makes our national sport so unique. You can take your Ronaldos and Peles and Messis and give me a massive, overweight English centre half any day of the week.
In order to stop myself from feeling completely lost without the Rams, I have opted to take my legendary EDS Derby County shirt with us on the trip. Me and that shirt have been through a lot – two Playoff finals, a League Cup Semi-Final, and every single music festival I’ve ever been to. Once I was walking the streets of Barcelona with two of my mates and my EDS top on when a gruff Derbyshire accent came out of nowhere to say: “We’re 2-0 down to Forest you know”. I spun round to see a fat bloke with lobster-red skin and a Rams shirt on staring at me. “Oh. Cheers for ruining my holiday mate.”
THE CONVENIENCES OF WESTERN LIFE
Covers quite a lot doesn’t it, that title. What I mean by conveniences is the ability to stroll into a supermarket at four in the morning and buy a sandwich, should I so wish. Or to be able to order a pizza and have it delivered to my door. Mostly though, I’m going to miss being able to sit down to have a poo.
In much of Asia it is the norm to excrete in a squatting position into a hole in the ground. According to experts, this is a more natural way of doing your business and allows for the bowels to be evacuated more efficiently and thoroughly. One squats on the balls of one’s feet over the hole and simply lets rip. In order to prepare myself for this ordeal I attempted to assume the position that I will have to take to perform this bodily function. I just can’t balance! I am about as supple as a breadstick and the stress of forcing my body into the appropriate position to use the lavatory may very well end up forcing whatever I am attempting to evacuate back up there. To avoid being caught out I have gone into training for this eastern lavatorial procedure. In the last few months it has not been uncommon for Hollie to walk into a room and find me in a very unnatural looking squat position.
No doubt I’m being melodramatic and once we’re out there I will adjust quite quickly to this new way of doing things. But I can’t help wondering if Asian visitors to Britain have similar teething problems with using the standard British kasi. An image forms in my mind of somebody placing their feet upon the seat of the toilet and squatting as they would in their own country. Perhaps this is where the term “Shitting from a great height” comes from.