Friday, August 28

An Awesome August

In a warehouse in Ascoli Piceno, eighteen boxes contain all of my worldly possessions.  I say all...I've still got a lot of stuff loitering in my bedroom on the Isle of Wight, waiting for it's moment to be once again in use...but all of the stuff I've deemed useful from my four years in Pescara is now in storage.

So.  August.  What a busy month!  I spent the first 7 days in Pescara, rounding up the last bits and pieces one does when leaving somewhere.  After a breakfast here, a lunch there, a Catan game and a lot of arrosticini and gelato I'd managed to see the majority of people I wanted to see before leaving.  I also sold my bicycle and electric piano before declaring myself no longer the resident of my flat to hopefully avoid any more bin tax.

The second week of August I was on the Island.  One whole week on the Island!  I saw friends and family; revisited tourist attractions and did a little bit of shopping, all with my piano teacher's 18 year old daughter in tow!  She stayed with my parents and I as her holiday between high school and University.  It was great to have her company as I did my rounds of usual 'Island' stuff.

On to the third week of August which consisted of: 3 nights with an awesome friend in Gloucester, 1 sushi lunch with a bride and groom to-be near St. Pauls cathedral, a catch-up cuppa with my housemates from my London days at Marylebone, an overnight stay in Aylesbury to see my fantastic girls, 3 nights in Thetford with my best friend and her family and 1 night somewhere in the Wiltshire countryside.  Surprisingly everything went smoothly: I had no transport issues nor days where I forgot where I had to be!

That leaves me with the last week of August: if you need me, I'm on a boat plodding along the Kennet and Avon Canal somewhere between Bradford on Avon and Crofton.  But please, I want to enjoy this calm before the storm ahead so I'm being slack on communicating with the outside world.  I'm enjoying pretending to be 'Captain Laura' having navigated our boat through a flight of 16 locks in tandem with another boat.  And that was after getting drenched to the point my lips really did turn blue.

It's rained every-single-day.  I have been wearing the same clothes for five days in a row only to change for the evening meals at the pub.  And today, my 29th birthday, is no exception.  The rain, however, isn't with us yet so we're enjoying a bit of natural warmth from the sun itself.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes.  As usual this day marks the end and beginning of me so I'll continue enjoying the peaceful sound of the water lapping against the side of the boat while I can.

As a result of an amazing month, I thank God for friends family scrabble, cups of tea, Hobknobs and sunshine.

Sunday, August 2

Jug Avoidance

I'm nearing the end of my time in Pescara, less than a week now...

I've been the Assistant Organiser of the English Speakers of Pescara Meetup Group for nearly 4 years. It's meant that when the awesome organiser, who founded the group in 2009, isn't in Pescara, I am the host of the fornightly aperitivo. It doesn't take a lot but at the same time, it is a responsibility I never imagined I'd ever have.

Since I started attending the Meetups in 2011, the group has grown to be consistently have 30-40 people participate: some people are 'regulars', others come and go depending on their work/home lives, others come once and that's it. I've ended up making a very active social life thanks to Meetup, the amount of people I've met and befreind in the last 4 years is truly incredible. One thing, however, is for sure: no Meetup is ever the same.

The reason for explaining this is that on the 5th August 2015, it will be my 100th Meetup. At least, it would be, if I was going.

...

Every year my brother's cricket team go 'on tour'. There's a schedule of 'friendlies' arranged with teams that sometimes also tour to the Island to play too - by Island I mean Isle of Wight, where I'm from - and the weekend is always the first weekend of August. One year I joined on the Saturday, half way through, other years I've managed to go for the whole thing. In particular, since residing in Pescara, the 'Cricket Weekend' has been my first stop on my return to England for the Summer.

Each Tour is themed, thought out by the team themselves in the run up to the tour. Every player and spectator has to buy the 'tour shirt' that is designed according to the theme, and if it's not purchased then you will be fined. The shirt needs to be worn to every game, if you don't wear it you will be fined, and even as a spectator it is assumed you will attend every game, and yep...you'll be fined it not. There really is a sense of community within the players and spectators during each tour and it can be a catch up with people you haven't seen since the previous tour.

The reason for explaining this is that this weekend it's my 10th Cricket Tour. At least, it would be, if I was going.

...

In the world of cricket, at least within my Brother's world of cricket, there's the term 'jug avoidance' which my Bro defines as:

Getting out before you score 50 or 100 runs so you don't have to buy a jug of beer for everyone!

I guess that would be the same as attending 99 Meetups when you're able to attend the 100th.  Or perhaps the same as choosing to fly back to England a week after finishing work so there's time to pack instead of going to your 10th Cricket Tour.