Had a really nice time today busking with my new friend Lilly in the gritty area of Leyton. The area was a busy shopping center – where, to liken to something similar in the US – would be one of those large shopping centers scattered across the nation where both a Walmart and Home Depot would be within the same proximity. This was s first time busking for me in a couple of years. The last time I busked proper with someone else was with a Scottish Ukelele player named Graeme, who has long since moved to Australia. Anyways, Lilly and I had a great time. As a first time jam with one another, it was a great exposure to one another’s playing style and I think we will only get better over time. It was also a lot of fun, and, we each made a cool 2.50GBP – just enough for a budget pint of swill at the local Whetherspoons.
Yesterday the boys and I made some Jack’o’Lanterns in preparation for Halloween . One of the kiddos went above and beyond with his pumpkin interpretation of Captain Jack Sparrow. We needed a beard so we cut my hemp bracelet in half to complete the look, using magnets for the beads. In all it was a lot of work and a lot of fun. We played Halloween music on my phone as we carved. \m/
Btw, the random etch’a’sketch photo is of Davy Jones form Pirates of the Caribbean. I drew it for the kiddos and was so damned impressed with myself I had to snap a pic!
Celebrated four days of no smoke or drink last night by heading to the Village square with smoke and drink. Jammed some tunes and had a nice time despite some frosty weather.
Met a Romanian fellar named Andrew. “Im from the place where Dracula was from” he said, with a heavy emphasis on the “u” in Dracula, Like ‘Drag-EW-lah’.
Really nice guy. Liked the Texas jams that were emanating from my phone.
That is the one and only time Ill ever run into that chap however, as he was enjoying his last beer in England that night before hitching a ride with a friend the following morning for a move back to Romania.
From what I gathered – his accent was tough to follow at times – he moved to the UK about two or three years ago after spending a decade in Italy.
Here, he worked at a restaurant called Wagamama1 at the Gatwick airport2. I think he said he was moving due to work drying up. He was excited to see his family, and looking forward to the beautiful country drive through Western Europe.
1 Wagamama is supposed to be a really nice noodle restaurant 2 located South of London
Met a bloke named Sam at the park a few weeks back. Turkish fella with 4 kids, problems with the wife, but a sharp eye on fitness and wealth. We met Tuesday for a boys night out. A native of the area he filled me in on some of the good places to grab a kabob and showed me some interesting sites. One of which was the largest street market in England – a mile long strip located near Walthamstow Central – that at the time was closed and half full of the day’s rubbish blowing around the street.
We then went to the Walthamstow village square, which is one of my favorite places to hang out at. The square was mostly empty at the time save for two fellas casually bullshitting at a bench near ours. We ended up striking up a conversation with them. One of them was Italian, the other was some smartass from Venezuela I think. Not a smart ass in a provocative kinda way, just one of them folks that doesnt get basic social decorums. One of those folks that you half respect and half dislike for their lack of thought-to-speech filtration.
Sam is 42 years old, and ripped like a godamned Roman statue. How do I know? He was all too happy to show me pictures from his workout session that morning. I had already suspected he was in good shape during our meetups at the park, but its cold ’round these parts so ye really cant tell to what degree. Hell even I look pretty stacked with my coat on. Anyways, the dude is movie star material.
Actually on that note, Sam used to be in a boy band back in the 90s. Travelled up and down the UK doing concerts and festivals. Knew one of the Spice girls as well. Told me about all the crazy times he had back in the day.
Sam doesn’t really drink, only eats during the last 8 hours of the day, and works out 5 days a week. He’s inspired me actually. I really didn’t think you could have a washboard stomach in your 40s. You sure can. I will never have one because I like beer too much – but it is a nice reminder that one can still look like a spartan at this age.
Glasgow is my new favorite town in the UK. Although it was in full shutdown the entire time I was here, it still managed to charm me smitten. I am hoping to come back at some point and give it another go. Although the shutdown literally started as I was on the train to get here, I really lucked out with just about everything else.
My flatmates were extremely nice, quiet, and we all got along very well. One of them – the landlord – named Keira, picked me up from the train station and just happened to have a vehicle that was just large enough to stow two massive suitcases, a guitar, a large backpack, and me. Somewhere toward the end of her twenties, Keira is a beautiful young lady, a devout Christian, a workaholic, who loves the show ‘Friends’, and loves her cat even more.
My other roommate’s name was Kris. A Northern Irishman who has lived in Scotland for half his life, and long enough to sound like a proper Scot. Kris is the polar opposite of Keira in man ways. He loves Death Metal and grind core, he drinks like a sailor on a Friday night (we really hit it off there), and he cusses like one too. But he is also a very mindful and respectful fella, smart too, and he belts his words out when he speaks. Good guy.
Friday we had a little champagne to celebrate the good times we had together, and I gave a toast, thanking them for the hospitality. Saturday Kris made me haggis with mashed potatoes. Im glad I tried it, but Im not sure I ever will again. “Whats in it” I asked, “Oats and Awful”. Oats and what? Awful, like all the awful bits of the animal. Right.
My last day in Glasgow was supposed in involve one last walk around the town, the botanical gardens, etc… But Kris and I spent all night on Friday listening to jams, bullshittin’, playing poker, and more, all while cracking beers. When the beers gave out we moves onto wine, and then liquor. It was fun at the time, but the resulting hangover got up at around 1pm on Saturday, and I still had to pack and clean the room. So no grand departing voyage. I did go to Morrisons grocery store later that evening to pick up some ‘square’ sausage for Graeme.
Oh wait, one other reason I couldn’t go out is that I had some voiceover work to tend to. Must always nurture the income stream.
Had a bit of a bender last night with one of my flatmates, Kris. The fella knows how to make a fine Old Fashioned. Anyways, during our escapade, we talked UFC fights (since Connor McGreggor is fighting), how to find Betelgeuse1, grind-core bands2, the Norwegian black metal feuds, and much more Im sure. We also played some nice rounds of poker. I came out ahead, and I fully attribute this to playing Waylon Jennings in the background
Fast forward to tonight. We planned on catching the McGreggor fight tonight via streaming service. The problem is that here in Glasgow, the main event is somewhere around 5AM, and now we are both too shattered from last night’s excesses to stay up.
1take the three stars that form the line of Orion’s belt, if you look straight up from the leftmost star in the line you’ll see a red star – that’s Betelgeuse. Also, the plough on the big dipper points to Polaris (aka N. star).
I lost a brother this month (Jan 12). Although not by blood, he was kin by just about every other measure. There is a certain level of rare friendship you reach with a person where time and distance no longer have much impact on the sum of the relationship. Scottie was one of those people. Over the past few years we didnt get to see eachother much, but when we did – up there in Merkel Texas – it was like the good ol’ days when we were together all the time. He was a mountain of a man with a heart of pure gold. Scottie had the amazing ability to light up a room wherever he went. Our friendship spanned almost 30 years.
He left a world that was truly better off with him in it.
Scottie was probably the biggest fan of an old band I was in from 10 or so years ago called 12 Gauge Strings. His favorite song was called “The Window”, which he would post periodically on social media. It is an existential tune that is hopeful that we all might meet up again one day on the other side. It is your song now buddy.
The Window – Lyrics by Kati (Weldon) Horton
It’s 3 am and I’m lookin’ out my window
I realize that this life is passin’ me by
This life is fadin’ fast, As I journey back
Down the road that I’ve come along so far
I used to think that I had forever
To do the things that I wanted to get done
But forever is snatched away, at any moment of any day
I’ll never know when my day might come
Will I see you when I get there
Will it be the same as it is here
Will we pick up with life
Where we left off
Will the pain go away that I try to hide
Will the end result be worth the ride
And can I be sure that I’ll see you on the other side
Will I want to go if I find out they won’t be there
Talk about a real pisser. For nearly 4 years I’ve been nurturing about 2k’s worth of crypto investing. I grew it to about $7k before having to finally tap into it. Just before moving here to Scotland I put all of my money into stable coin (maintains a dollar to dollar value), thereby effectively ending any further gains while mitigating any losses. Wouldn’t ya know it that the very next week the mkt swelled in a 3-year bull run that would have doubled my money. Oh well, a gain is a gain. And I know a few folks that fared much worse playing this game.
In fact, my Mother was telling me some fella cant unlock some crazy amount, like $200 million in crypto coz he forgot his password. Can you imagine?? Apparently the guy stated that he’s made peace with it all. I hope so. I wonder if a hypnotist could pull the password out of him? Of course then they would have the PW too. Probably wouldn’t be too hard to prove though if he ran off with it.
Went exploring today. Some beautiful parks that straddle the river Kelvin here. Everyone seems happy and content. The city is much cleaner than what Ive seen in London. But there again, rating parks in a city of 600,000 against one of 9 million presents a few hang-on-a-minutes.
Found a great place to pick up swill here in Glasgow. Place is called Valhalla’s Goat, and inside you’ll find labels from all over the world displayed proudly on the chests of a sea of perching bottles. From wine, to scotch, to beer, to cigars. I immediately went to the Belgium beer section and stood in awe at all the brands I had never heard of. Still though, it didn’t keep me from purchasing two old favorites, one Chimay Red and one Orval. Both are sold in the states and both are somewhat difficult to find, with the latter being more so.
One more thing, while I was in the store the BBC was streaming the presidential inauguration of the 46th US President, Joe Biden. I had completely forgotten that was today. “Everything been stable so far?” I asked the clerk. “So far so good”.
One thing I’ve discovered here in the UK is that, if you ever need to know how things are going in the US, ask any European.
AS well, I got to discussing Scotch with the man. He gave me some good brands to check out since I like Balvenie so much. Lets see, this one here…(forgot name/fuzzy pic) ignore the shelf, this isn’t a highlands, it’s a speyside. “All highlands want to be Speysides” he said.
Really liking Glasgow. A very friendly place. Went to a Starbucks today and ordered a hot drink for 5 pounds or so. The barista said they don’t take non-contactless cards (mine is the old chip style card from the States), and that due to covid 19 they couldn’t take my cash either. OK no drink then. But the man insisted they would make it anyways and give it to me on the house. Just remember us and bring a contactless form of payment next time. Sure, do not see that kinda treatment in London much. It was a good drink.
Well after considerable deliberation as to how to handle three weeks’ worth of radical living changes here in London, I’ve decided to move to Scotland for a minimum of 1 month. The house I am presently staying in is being remodeled to include a loft conversion, effectively making it into a 3-story home. Now, in order to add a third floor, you have to remove the roof from the second. This open-heart phase of the operation will last almost one month, and will dramatically cut down on the available living space for us all.
So off to Scotland I go on a wild hare journey to Glasgow.
Ill be staying with two flat-mates I met online, who seem to be very friendly and chill. It will be interesting living as a tenant in a sublet home, as it was just a year or so ago that I was on the other side of the table, renting out a third room in Denton (this actually gives me an idea for a future post Roomies: The Best and Worst of). Im looking forward to it, but to be one-hundred percent honest, Im a wee bit nervous, and a bit sad. Im going to miss the family here.
This might be the coldest time of year to be in Scotland, but I am very much looking forward to seeing as much as I can. As such, Ill be bringing along my camera, tripods and whatever else I can think of to preserve the moments.