Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mixed Emotions

I’m in a quite frankly terrible mood.

I’m writing this from a bar imaginatively entitled as “Bierodrome”, it’s 1:15 local time, the Sun is shining & oh yes, I’m in Vienna!

Let’s be honest, I should be in bliss right now, and I’m sure once my mind gets active, I will be happy again. Right now however, three things are bothering me.

1) I’m homesick

What I mean by this, is I just miss the English. I miss familiar faces. I miss my normal life.

Last week I was in France for my Dad’s 60th. This in itself was great, but exhausting. Sometimes relaxing is exhausting in it’s own right, and whilst I did shut off last week, it was socialising. It was communicating with people, and occasionally it was accepting my own linguistic limitations with the realisation that aside from ordering a beer, I know little French (the same is true of German too by the way).

This week, I’m in Vienna for work. Whilst I’m obviously proud and happy to represent the company here, I’m tired of German. I’m tired of sitting around and occasionally being involved in a conversation, only for someone to check the subject and the language. I want to be somewhere where everyone speaks English as their first language. I want to be able to walk into a coffee shop and know that we’re talking in English as a default, and without effort.

I’ve had to change that text. Waiter just served me with perfect English. However it justifies the explanation when he walks off and the conversation in the background is between his boss & another waiter in German. God help me, I enjoy eavesdropping. I enjoy listening. Talking is tiring, sometimes it’s nice to just sit & listen to a conversation in English.

I can’t get back to British soil fast enough.

2) I’m feeling like shit

I’m spending lots of time in a Casino. Whilst I was able to check out Vienna on Friday & it was beautiful (I think I used the word “Wow” about 100,000 times), most of the time, you need to be in or near the Casino.

This in itself is okay. I find the sound of poker chips actually unbelievably soothing. It’s like one of those rain stick things. It’s just nice.

The problem with a casino, especially over here, is the smoke. Everyone smokes. I’ve taken to getting out of the casino at every opportunity. It has to be done. I need to be able to breath, and I swear that if I see one more cigarette, I might stick it where the Sun doesn’t shine. It’s a disgusting habit, and this weekend has reminded me just how much I hate it.

I feel like utter crap because of it,  how the hell must regular smokers feel. It raises serious questions.

That sided by late nights, a few too many beers and a bit too much weiner schnitzel and my body is screaming at me to stop.

Maybe later today I’ll go back to the hotel & work out. I think that’s the key. There’s a gym and I’d be an idiot not to use it. That’d sort out the physical side of problem anyway. Besides, in theory healthy body, healthy mind.

The other thing I need to do is accept my situation, and this brings me to number 3.

3) Harlequins

I must be mental. Harlequins are my rugby team. I follow them across Britain and Europe. This season alone I’ve been to Bath, Wycombe, Leicester, Galway, Toulouse, Toulon, Northampton and many many more. I worked it out that for the 1st team, I’ve been to 71% of their games home AND away in all competitions.

Yet what was yesterday? It was the Final of the Premiership. The best two teams in the League. Us & Leicester. And we won! We actually bloody won 30:23. We’re Champions! We are officially the best team in the whole of England. For a team that was in the Championship (the 2nd tier) in 2005, that’s nothing short of amazing.

So my team, a team that I’ve seen on a regular basis through the past 12 months (consistently for 6 years if I’m honest), wins the League. Where am I?

I’m in bloody Vienna!

As a VIP summed it up yesterday, “I’ve never known someone more pissed off to be in Vienna”.

That does sound unprofessional, but it’s worked out well as they all see you as a normal person and that connects you to them. You need the personal touch. So I’m not concerned by their view.

Anyway, I’m actually unbelievably gutted. I feel terrible. I’m really, really fed up that I’ve missed it. To sum it up, I watched the following video and almost could have cried earlier.

I can’t believe that I actually missed it if I’m honest.

I knew this would happen. Farcically, part of me even wanted them to lose yesterday to make it easier on myself. You should never want that. Never.

Still, I’m only writing this so that if anyone says “why’re you so down” I can give them the link to explain it.

I honestly don’t want to talk about Quins anymore. I’m done. I’m finished. I’m tired of seeing them on Twitter. I’m tired of seeing them on Facebook. Blanket ban, now in force.


I’m in a bad mood.

It won’t last. I’m getting happier just be writing this. I believe it’s called venting. 😉

I’m just done with Vienna now. I’m done with Poker. I don’t really care who wins the tournament anymore (although it’d be nice if it was one of my VIPs, or the one remaining English player).

I’m ready to go home.

Danke schon. Auf wiedersehn Vienna.

The Slow Life vs The Fast One

It’s Monday lunchtime…

I won’t lie, normally I hate this time. The first day back from the weekend, everyone is knackered & doesn’t really want to be there. Yet, come lunchtime, productivity has been variable to put it mildly, and subsequently lunch is sometimes seen as a sort of undeserved, guilty pleasure.

Yet this Monday, it’s different.

Probably helps that I’m sat on a sofa in France watching the cricket.

Yep, yesterday May 20th 2012, the old man turned 60.

It’s a good age, a dignified age, one he saw in with a hangover, and one which has left him drained.

Well… saying that, he’s playing with a toy helicopter right now, so he can’t be that drained.

Anyway, it’s got me thinking about the nature of how we spend our life.

The way I see it, there seems to be two ways of life:

The Fast Way (also known as “London Life”) – Where everything is savoured at break neck speed & everyone has to be consistently busy.

In London, nobody takes their time. Whether it’s rushing for a tube when there’s one a minute later, or throwing yourself into work, or simply drinking at pace because you know that in a few hours the last orders bell will ring and the drinks will stop.

People thrive on the fact that in a short space of time, something new & interesting will happen and subsequently a lot of the time, it does feel like the joy of an event, the gradual savouring of a moment, it is lost.

There’s too much to do, so you need to rush, you need to fit it all in.

The Slow Way (also known as the “France Life”) – Where there’s little to do, so you spread out the smallest task over the maximum length of time.

It’s true actually. Over here, everything takes longer. Normally because there’s nothing else to do. You don’t feel the urge to rush anything because you don’t need to fit it all in.

In London you might have 5 tasks on a daily goal list, in France you might have 1 (if you’re lucky).

It means that even the most basic task can actually take on a greater significance.

Hoovering the pool? Well that’s a 30 minute job that you can squeeze into a 4 hour slot. Finish that? Take a swim & then relax for the rest of the day.

Things just take longer, and are savoured. That’s why lunch seems to take 3 hours. Why rush it? Just take your time, savour a bottle of white with your hearty meal, then go for an afternoon kip.

I suppose when all is said and done, the fast one has major benefits. With so much available to you, it’s good to be kept on your toes. Sometimes though, it’s amazing to just have little to do.

It’s a hard life… 😉

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