The One Ring

I can’t figure out why hotel’s kick you out at 11 but then won’t check you in until 3ish. What happens in the 4 hour interim? Sure rooms are cleaned, but does that take a whole 4 hours? I can clean my flat in about a quarter of that time. Yes admittedly, Layla would say I haven’t done it properly and I might not have hoovered but that’s because I am a busy man and have to be economical with my time. So I assume that they need maybe an hour to clean a room. Then the next three? I think they all have naps in the bed, watch the TV, parade around naked or let them out for sacrifices and other devious matters. I can’t figure it out otherwise. Our hotel we are in at the moment is a really really nice place, so I’d like to think they don’t sacrifice anyone here. Outside however, is Neath, in South West Wales and I’m fairly sure many die on its streets after pub closing time. Its quite odd just how nice our hotel is, and yet just mere footsteps out of its door is the sort of place humanity goes to die. Grey, miserable, run down and full of people that could easily be mistaken for Morlocks. Its sunny today and I’ve already witnessed several of them point up at the sky, shudder with fear and run away to dark shelter, to make sure they don’t lose their rickets. We have adopted the ‘if we can’t see it, its not there’ attitude and have mostly left the curtains closed during our stay.

I like pretty much all of the rest of Wales apart from Neath. And Port Talbot. And Newport. Ok, so I like some of Wales. Yesterday me and Layla trekked to an awesome castle on a hill called Carrag Cennen which was nothing less than great. I like going to ancient castles because I can strut around imagining all the knights that used to hang around there defending it and all the cool battles, whilst enjoying the bonus that they are no longer there and no one is firing a crossbow in my eyes. That’s the bit those with more careless imaginations forget. ‘How brilliant would it be if the knights were still here?’ I heard a small boy say as we walked around. What an idiot. If the knights were still there, he’d have barely made it up the hill before he’d been killed. Think it through loser. Then from castles to cultural bases or Arts Centres as some people call them, we travelled to my gig in Pontadarwe were whilst seemingly nice, the audience just stared at me for the duration of the show. Don’t get me wrong, some people were lovely, including a group of well bearded men, a headteacher and a man who purposefully sold the wrong car parts to old people, but generally it was the toughest gig I’ve endured for a while. Add to that the fact that after a few days of relaxing bliss in the West Country, I was sloppier than a sloppy Giuseppe. That’s the pizza, not a slovenly Italian man. Though I assume the pizza took its name from a slovenly Italian man. Why you would name a foodstuff after such things, I’m not sure. If I was to witness a man covered in various ‘sloppy’ bodily fluids, the last thing I would think about is food. On the plus side, it was ace to be gigging with Dan Nightingale, who I’ve not seen since he made me bash my knee sliding around on a wheely board in Bangor, and Henning Wehn, who superbly confused some of the locals who didn’t understand history.

Today we are heading the beach in Tenbury to freeze for a while, then off to Narbeth, which is a beautiful slow food town. This means, like Ludlow, there are no chain restaurants and shops, not that all food takes forever to get to you. We are however leaving soon to get there and order dinner in advance, just incase.

On a small side note, as I didn’t mention anymore engagement things yesterday, I am still confused as to whether to introduce Layla as my fiancee to people or not. Frankly, its easy to say girlfriend without feeling like a (for want of a better non-homophobic word) ponce (sorry), but saying ‘this is my fiancee’ rings of the sort of twat who over pronounces ‘jalapeno’ with a big ‘h’ and has more than one lava lamp. Yes, no one should even have one. That’s the point. What I need is a word that summarises we are due to get married, without sounding like I have to do a smug grin whenever I say it. Maybe ‘girlfifetobe’? ‘Wifriend’? Hmm that sounds like an internet accessory. Perhaps ‘ringbearer’? Yes it sounds like something from Lord of the Rings, but since I got Layla the ring she has gained traits that are scarily dissimilar to Frodo or even Gollum. It was, my fault entirely, one size too big for her, which we will change on Friday. So for fear of damaging it, we are keeping it in its box. This means on regular occasion she takes it, strokes it, calls it her ‘ring’ and grins inanely. While I’m hugely please she loves it, if Layla starts to eat raw fish and shout ‘my precious’ I will take it away from her. Couple that with the two wedding magazines she’s already bought and the fact that we have already looked at about 40 venues online as though they might disappear unless we look at them asap, and I realise I have created a monster. Bridezilla if you like. Still these are all things I should have expected and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited too. I’ve already decided that whenever we visit a wedding venue I don’t like that I’m going to ask all sorts of awkward questions to annoy them. Such as ‘are we allowed fire juggling midgets here? Do you have a licence for that?’ and ‘ so if halfway through the ceremony we sacrifice a goat, will that be ok?’ I will let you know my results.