Friends Aren’t Always Forever

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Part of reason I wrote my recent post ‘Friendship Can Be Fleeting‘ was because I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the friendships that have dropped by the wayside over the past year or so.  And some of these friendships were ones that I had expected to last the test of time.

Growing up I didn’t have a lot of truly close friends.  Or at least nobody I could really call my ‘best friend’.  It was usually more about groups of friends all hanging out together, with some hanging out together more than others but I wasn’t always included in that.

But since moving to London, I’d met two different guys that I thought would be there until the end.  We’d talk almost daily about all sorts of shit, even if it was just to bitch about something stupid at work.  And it’s been the relatively recent loss of each of them that has been playing on my mind a bit.

Obviously when I say ‘loss’, I don’t mean that I misplaced them or they’ve passed away or something disastrous happened between us (at least not from my perspective).  They’re just not around any more.  The calls, texts, and messages have withered up and dried up.

And in one case, their profile has suddenly disappeared from my Facebook.

Man And Woman Help Silhouette In MountainsThe first guy is the one that hurts the most, as we’d been friends for over 8 years.  We’d always promised we’d be there for each other no matter what, even if one of us started a new relationship.

We’d been super close for many years and used to go away on weekends together (he lives in Scotland).  We even used to spend out birthdays together each year (2 days apart).

The last time we saw each other was on our birthday weekend in Brighton almost 2 years ago, and he’d been a bit out of it.  He finally told me a few months later that he’d been distracted as there was someone at his work he really fancied… and it was a woman.

I’d only known him as gay, so was a bit shocked initially but it didn’t change anything.  I didn’t care that he was suddenly interested in a woman instead of guys. I was just as encouraging regarding his feelings towards this woman as I would have been if it was a man.

Love is love, after all.

And all through the initial dating bits, I was still there as normal.  I listened to his insecurities and gave advise where I could, and so forth.  And I waited for details on how their first date went.  As normal.

But once they actually started dating, the messages from him slowly started to petter out until the point where a general message went unanswered by him for months. At one point when things were a bit rocky between them, suddenly he was there again to chat.. but then it was back to silence once they got back together.

20130206112854socially-awkwardOh, and they’ve come to London together twice since they got together, and I only found out after the fact or once I’d seen it on Facebook.  There was no suggestion of me meeting his lady friend.

One of the last actual conversations we had, he was trying to get me to become Facebook friends with one of his mates up in Scotland (that I’d met once years ago).  Because his mate needed other ‘gay friends’.

Riiight…

He’d recently promised to be in touch on a certain day to chat.. but that was over a week ago and I’ve not heard anything.  It’s almost seemed like he’s tried to distance himself from all his old gay friends…

As for the other guy, well… I kinda saw it coming to an extent, as he’d done it before.

We’d first met over 5 years ago when I lived in Vauxhall, and initially we were casually seeing each other for a bit before he cooled things off because ‘he didn’t want a boyfriend’, and then ended up with a boyfriend within a couple months.

A year or two later we had a bit of a blow up after a night out at a club where he ditched me to head home with his ‘neighbour’ (he was single again at this point).  I wrote about it in a fit of anger at the time (click HERE to read), which he subsequently read and blasted me for.

That was the first time he’d ‘dumped’ my friendship.

Then a couple years ago he’d messaged me out of the blue, and after awhile we ended up being just friends again.  In fact, during a quite low period of mine he was one of the few people that had stayed by me, allowing me to rant and rave about my feelings.

39th-birthday-cheaters-250But then things started to change once he started working from home, as he stopping hanging out socially with me.  In fact, he wouldn’t even come out for my birthday last year because he wasn’t feeling ‘social’ and had too much work to do.

Communication between us started to become less frequent, and when I did hear from him, it was like he was completing a chore. Like he felt obligated to check in on me or something.

And when we would talk, he would always try to deflect any discussions about his life.  And would seem like he barely listened to what I was saying based one his responses.  It was odd.

In the last conversation we had end of July, he briefly mentioned that he’d started a new job and had moved flats to a different part of London.. over a month prior! And when I asked why he hadn’t told me sooner, he said ‘I’m telling you now’ as if I was prying.

During that conversation it was clear he wasn’t listening or interested in what I was saying, but when I’d said something about being unhappy at work, he responded ‘that’s good’. I’d called him on it at the time, but it was brushed off once again..

And that was it.  It wasn’t too long after that I noticed that he’d either deleted his Facebook profile or had blocked me.

Ummm.. bye?

Obviously I’m well aware that changes happen in all of our lives, and sometimes people do drift apart.  But regardless of how it happens, it still hurts when you’re the one left behind wondering what happened.

It can make life quite lonely when it feels like there’s nobody to talk to on a regular basis.

80 Days and Counting

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November 22nd, 2016.

That’s a day I’ll keep in mind for awhile.  For most people, it’s just a day like any other.  It’s not a holiday or someone’s birthday or anniversary.  It’s just another day really.

Only it’s not for me – It’s the day I quit smoking.

Well, sort of.

Some might say that I’ve just swapped once vice for a new one, as I’m now using a Vape e-cigarette instead of actually smoking.  But to me, it’s just a stepping stone to actually becoming smoke-free in the future after about 25 years of it.  I hope.

It hasn’t been a walk in the park, to say the least.  I really loved the act of smoking (though not necessarily the smell of them).  That first drag off of a badly needed cigarette was absolutely bliss, almost orgasmic.  And the cravings for the act of smoking itself has been almost frenzied at times.

But I’m getting there, one day at a time.

For some reason, after the weekend previous to the above date, something in me snapped.  Just the thought of having a cigarette made me cringe with disgust.  For the first time in my life.

smoking12This change was two-fold as far as I could tell.

Firstly, like most people, it easily had to do with money.  Since April, I’d mostly been smoking duty-free cigarettes I’d purchased from abroad or friends had picked them up for me on their travels.

Basically, the thought of going back to paying UK prices for cigarettes made me cringe.  And with recent/new regulations, it meant things were just going to get more expensive.

But mostly I think it had to do with a (naked) house party I’d attended that weekend.

At one point during the party, I was chatting with a few guys near the garden door as I faffed with the host’s bathrobe (garden was overlooked, and it was easier than finding my clothes upstairs).  And perhaps it was just my imagination, but there seemed to be a sense of pity from them about the lengths I was going to have a cigarette.

I suddenly felt desperate and slightly pathetic about it all.  And I suddenly wondered why the hell I was still doing this to myself after two and a half decades… and just thinking about that length of time really pulled me up short.  It was quite jarring to suddenly realise I had been smoking for more than half my life.

Fucking hell…

So that Monday morning, I only had 1 cigarette left in my pack which I smoked on my way to work.  And I had absolutely no desire to buy another .. though I did bum a couple smokes off of a colleague that day to get me through.

Instead I’d decided I’d give vaping a try for a bit, and went to the local vape shop near my flat to see what options there were.  I’d heard of many people who’d turned to vaping and seemed to be doing quite well.  The model I’d decided on was out of stock, so had to come back the next evening.

So I bought my last 10 pack of cigarettes on my way home, purposely choosing a brand I didn’t normally smoke or enjoy.

vape-penAnd so far, after just over 80 days of not smoking, I’m still going strong and have only had 2 cigarettes since – one Christmas Eve, and one on a night out with colleagues when we were quite drunk.

And interestingly, neither cigarette made me want to buy a pack or start smoking again.  That alone is a good sign.

But there has been a down side as well… I’ve been gaining weight like crazy since quitting. And as a bigger guy already, it was something I didn’t need.

I had hoped by switching to the vape that the weight gain could have been prevented, and that perhaps I would start getting a bit more active.  But unfortunately, the on-and-off-again foot/ankle/knee issues I’ve been having since coming back from Canada in October haven’t helped at all.

In fact, it’s made me quite lazy.

So now here I am, more than 80 days later, and I’m having to work on my health issues alongside my pseudo non-smoking habits (I don’t really use the vape that much some days).  I don’t necessarily eat that badly most days, but it’s more about the quantities and the lack of exercise.

And I definitely had a shock upon weighing myself last week… I’ve topped out at almost 21 stone (that’s around 300 lbs or 130 kg… fuck 😦 ).

So… now I’ve started to watch my caloric intake and make myself walk a bit every day, even part way to work/home a few times a week.  And I’ve signed up for the free ‘gym & swim’ card at my local council’s leisure centre that will allow me to use the facilities in the afternoons on the weekends and any time on Fridays.

Hopefully with these little changes, things can improve somewhat.  I’m sure a part of my recent lack of feeling social has a lot to do with this, and each have impacted the other.

Oh and hopefully I can lose a few pounds before my next holiday in Gran Canaria.. I’m fairly comfortable in just my skin and all, but not when I’m feeling like a beached-whale. 😉

Close up of bare chested man holding scissors and squeezing stomach

Close up of bare chested man holding scissors and squeezing stomach

 

New Year Blues

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On New Year’s Day while driving back to London from Essex with a couple of dear friends, one of them asked me a fairly innocuous question regarding my plans for the year ahead.

“So, you have anything exciting planned for 2017? Anything you’re looking to accomplish?”

And for some reason I really struggled to answer him… and that alone threw me for a loop. Even more so than my seemingly lack of an answer.

For whatever reason I was already feeling somewhat ambivalent about it all in the lead up to the holiday season. I could have easily stayed home instead of travelling to my mate’s place in Essex for their Naked New Year’s party (which really wasn’t as exciting as it might sound lol), but I forced myself to go. It was an alright party, but not as exciting as previous year’s celebrations.

Here’s the crux of it all – Over the past couple of months, I’ve been feeling fairly anti-social.  I’ve been spending entire weekends at home alone, rarely talking to anyone let alone actually leaving the flat.  It’s happened a couple of times where, because I’d picked up groceries on the way home Friday night, there was kind of no need to go anywhere.

This is something that has continued into the New Year. And all it does is make me feel like I’m wasting my weekends.

I do genuinely go into most weekends with a basic idea of what I’d like to do, even if I don’t have anything planned ahead of time. It could be something as simple as taking the laptop to the local coffee shop to do some writing (which we all know has been lacking these past few months), going to a museum, or maybe just going out for a couple drinks with mates.

But instead with groceries in the fridge (or enough cash for take-away), I end up having several Netflix marathons.  Or on the very rare occasion, have a mate come over to hang out for an evening.

Basically I boils down to the same feeling I’ve had repeatedly over the years.  That if I don’t make the effort first to keep in contact with people or to suggest doing things, then it’s quite rare to hear from them. That could be somewhat simplistic or overly pessimistic, but hear me out…

truly caresThere are a few friends that I used to hang out with regularly (if not weekly), but this seemed to only happen when I’d message them to see what they were up to.  So when I’d stop messaging people to see what they’re up to, I kind of stop hear from them.

And that feeling of ambivalence towards my social life has clearly spilled into the rest of my life, especially when I try to think of where I’d like to be at the end of the year. What progress I’d like to make, what accomplishments, and so forth.

And that’s not a great feeling, especially after I was so driven during the latter half of 2016 to complete the Microsoft Office Specialist (expert-level) Excel 2013 certification exams. It wasn’t easy, and I had to retake them after failing the first time, but in the end I powered through and aced the exams as I knew I could.

Maybe my ambivalence towards 2017 has to do with this ‘waiting pattern’ it feels I’ve been in since those exams. I still have 2 other exams to complete to achieve my Master certification, which I have until the Autumn to complete, but I’m also waiting for the approval through work to get my Prince2 Foundation & Practitioner certification.

And that’s a great thing to be able to say is happening. I’d initially spoke to my old boss about doing this back in April, but there didn’t seem to be any movement regarding it. But once the new boss started back in October, things really started moving. And not just about the course.

This new boss is all about getting things right and is quite geared towards pushing forward those that work hard… not those that seem to flash certain attributes and turn on their gender-specific charm or get all emotional in order to get what they want.  Hell, he even pushed for me to get a raise back in October after he’d been there 2 weeks, and he wants to expand my role into more of a divisional overall one over the next year as I complete the course.

But yet I still sometimes feel that despite things actually going sort of ok at work at the moment that I need something to change?  Definitely doesn’t help any that the regional office I work in is quite lad-ish and unprofessional, which gets on my nerves at times.

Or is it more my dissatisfaction regarding other aspects of my life (ie: social and/or love life)? Could that be spilling over into my work life and tainting something that’s actually going alright?

Is there truly an answer to any of this?  Probably not, but most likely that’s down to my own pessimistic outlook at life at the moment.

*shrugs shoulders*disappointed-man_slider

The Ankle Fracturation Issue

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After my return to London a couple weeks ago, things haven’t been the greatest.. But it has nothing to do with my personal or works lives, but more about my health.

I twisted my ankle two weeks ago, only to be misdiagnosed at the hospital with a mild sprain when it was actually a mild fracture.

Basically, I’d gone to visit a nearby friend the Sunday after I returned from Canada, and when I was leaving that evening I was too busy checking my mobile for the bus times to pay attention to where I was walking.

I came down the front steps to take the path to the street, only to step off the path right into the edge of the garden, with my ankle twisting inwards.  My own stupidity really.. but damn that hurt!!  OUCH!!!!

Initially, it didn’t feel like anything was wrong, so off I went as planned thinking the most I’d have would be a slight tenderness the next day or so.  Unfortunately that turned out to be an understatement.

I spent the next couple of days trying to take it easy on my foot when possible, keeping it popped up on the sofa and in bed, and using an anti-inflammatory gel along with the usual over the counter pain medications.  But by the time I left work on Tuesday evening, I could barely walk.

My foot had swollen up a bit, the inside of my ankle was bruised, and walking felt like someone had driven a hot poker inside my bones.  Not a fun feeling to put it mildly.

So come Wednesday morning, I called in sick to work (something I hadn’t done in well over a year..) so I could go to the hospital’s A&E (emergency room) to see a doctor.

I’d already expected that I wouldn’t be seen that quickly, as it wasn’t anything urgent like an obviously broken bone or something bloody, so I made sure to take my Kindle with me so I had something to read and pass the time.  And it’s a good thing I did too, as I was there for about 3 hours.

After getting x-rays done on my foot, the doctor I spoke to said it didn’t look like anything was broken, but was instead just a mild sprain.. which was a relief, as the last thing I needed was to be on crutches or having to get a plaster cast on my foot.

So off I went with advice on how to treat a sprain.. most of which I was already doing, so I was hopeful that I’d be able to walk fairly normally within a few days to a week.  That’s doable and fairly realistic I thought.

fracture-patternsAnd after over a week of self-treatment, I was walking fairly normally and had mostly stopped the pain medication, saving it for when I really needed it…

Only to receive a letter from the hospital’s radiology department stating they’d reviewed my x-rays, and I needed to re-attend to the A&E asap as they’ve determined I actually have a minor fracture (medial malleolus) in my ankle.

Yeah.. I wasn’t impressed.  That basically meant I’d been misdiagnosed, and according to the results I found on Google, I might have to get a plaster cast or possibly even surgery… and I really couldn’t afford a couple weeks off work to recover from ankle surgery.

So off to A&E I went once more, only to be seen by a nurse practitioner instead of a specialist (as suggested in the letter) and then referred to the ‘fracture clinic’ for further investigation… which, of course, was being held on Sunday morning.  At 9am. 😦

Definitely even less impressed at this point, as I was going to a Halloween party that night, and was looking forward to nursing my hangover in bed the next morning.. not traipsing to the hospital once more.

And get this.. after all THAT malarkey and worrying on my part, it turned out it was such a minor fracture that the only treatment for it was exactly what I was already doing!!!  Which was why it had been getting better already, without splints, casts or any such stuff.

riceYeah… all that for nothing and a waste of my time this weekend.  Sure, it’s always better to be sure when it comes to health issues, but damn.. I really wanted that lay-in this morning.  LOL

Now here’s hoping that it doesn’t take too long for my ankle to get back to normal.  The pain fluctuates daily, with some days being worse than others depending on what I’ve been doing.

Fingers crossed it’s sooner rather than later.

I’m 51 Days Late…

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I’m a bad, bad blogger sometimes..

It’s been almost 2 months – 51 days, to be precise – since my last post of any sort on my poor little neglected blog.  And that last post was a filler type (you know, when I’m not writing anything lol) with a few sexy, semi-naked guys showing off their wares.

I know.. you’ve just hated looking at those semi-clad, Adonises in my absence, right?  😉

So where have I been,?  Well.. mostly I’ve just been home being a lazy twat during the week trying to catch up on the lost sleep from the weekends.

busy diaryThis has probably been my busiest summer in many many years.  Between late June and early August, there wasn’t a weekend where I didn’t already have something planned.  And I barely spent a weekend home in my flat in July.  LOL

And no.. I wasn’t out being a dirty slag or anything quite so exciting.  Dammit. 😉

Let’s see.. how do I update you on a summer’s worth of adventures without writing a dozen pages.. I know, everyone loves a list!  🙂

    • Last weekend of June – London Pride on the Saturday, then rest of the weekend hung over hahaha
    • 1st weekend of July – After arriving back from Rome, I met some friends for a belated birthday party.. then spent the weekend hungover and cat-sitting for my old flatmate.
    • 2nd weekend of July – Spent the weekend with a ‘friend’, going to see the new Ab Fab movie, sleeping over, and then driving around the Kent countryside on Sunday.
    • 3rd weekend of July – NAKEDFEST!!  A naked camping weekend with about 200 other men.. was interesting, but very uncomfortable (note: buy a bigger tent and an air mattress haha)
    • IMG-20160723-WA00034th weekend of July – My dear friends M&B got married!!! I’ve known them almost 7 years, so was lovely to spend their special day with them.. and drinking with M and his best man until 5 am 😮
    • 5th weekend of July – M&B’s NAKED Wedding!! They had a 2nd reception for all their naturalist friends, and it was a laugh.. especially the exchanging of the cock-rings hehe
    • 1st weekend of August – I actually had a whole weekend in London and was able to catch up with a couple of friends on the Saturday night, before heading to another naked house party Sunday afternoon in West London.
    • 2nd weekend of August – Don’t think I did much all weekend other than helping my ‘friend’ with some DIY at his flat on the Sunday and then taking another drive into the Kent countryside.
    • 3rd weekend of August – A well-deserved quiet weekend, mostly spent at home. Oh, and more cat-sitting on the Saturday night.

And that brings us to this weekend, the Bank holiday weekend in the UK.  I’d originally wanted to go away for the weekend and spend it on a beach somewhere, but I never gotten around to arranging anything.

JulietaSo instead, last night was a few drinks with some mates in town, with possibility of more of the same tonight, and then tomorrow I am meeting friends to go see the new Pedro Almodóvar film ‘Julieta‘ at the BFI Southbank near Waterloo.

I’m also trying to update my laptop to Office 2013 from 2007, as I’ve started studying to get my Microsoft Office Specialist certification in Excel 2013.  I’m already well-versed in the software, so once I’ve gone through the official study guide I’ll be taking the exam (hopefully) in the next month or so.

It’s amazing how quickly this summer has gotten away from me.  I haven’t been to a beach since my trip to Rome, and that’s surprising for me!  Most summers, I’m usually down in Brighton a couple times (at least) to spend an afternoon sunning on the nude beach.. but I haven’t been once!  LOL

I’d considered going this weekend, but sadly the weather has dipped down to the low 20’s and a bit overcast after a super hot week.  So definitely not beach weather.

So all in all it’s been a damn good summer, and here’s hoping the upcoming Autumn is just as fun.

Ciao Ciao for now 😉Brighton Beach

Striping Away the Insecurities

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Like many people, I tend to be quite self-conscious when it comes to my body.  I was always the chubby or fat kid in school, and have continued to be of a larger size well into my adult years.

I’ve spent many years feeling bad about myself, putting myself down and generally beating myself up emotionally or psychologically whenever I felt I had let myself down regarding my weight.  I’ve repeatedly tried to restrict my diet, deny myself the food I’ve always enjoyed eating, and to get more active.

But of course, despite brief periods of weight loss here and there, I’ve continued to watch my weight rise year on year.  And my own feelings of self-worth fluctuated about as much as my weight did.

Now don’t get me wrong.. I don’t necessarily eat as if I’m running out of food, or am so inactive that I’m beyond lazy.  It’s like anything in life – I know what I need to do, but don’t tend to do it.

cute bums on beachOk, maybe that is my laziness talking there. LOL

I’ve tried several things over the years to help myself to accept my own body image issues, but it’s only been recently that I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin.  And just my own skin.

Over the past couple years, I’ve discovered a love of naturalist beaches, especially after my recent trips to Gran Canaria.  I found on the beaches there that nobody cared what you looked like, and all shapes and sizes were welcome.

On top of this, a close friend of mine convinced me to join a naturalist social website well over a year ago (Nakedmates.co.uk for those who’re interested lol), but I hadn’t done much with it other than poke around, looking at the guy’s profiles and pictures.  And reading about the events some put on, wondering what it would be like to go to one.

Well… all that changed back in April, just before my most recent trip to Gran Canaria.  My mate was hosting a small gathering at his flat in town, and I decided to finally take the plunge and attend.

That’s right.. I went to a naked house party.  And despite my initial nervousness, I absolutely loved it.  It literally was just like any other house party – some laughs, lots of chatting, a bit of flirting, and maybe a bit too much wine haha.

Only difference was that everyone was naked.

The whole ethos of the website is ‘No Clothes. No Attitude’, where members organise parties at their homes, in bars, saunas, and such.

beardy threesomeOne reason I’d been so so hesitant about these parties was it felt like it was so sexualised.  My mate had told me plenty of naughty stories of things that had gone on at these events, and that really isn’t my thing.

But what I found after attending that first party was that it isn’t really like that at all for most of the guys.  It’s just a different outlet to meet like-minded guys in a comfortable and non-judgemental clothing-free environment.

Now don’t get me wrong.. there is a sexual aspect to the parties, but only if you choose to engage in it.  Most hosts when having parties in their homes will set aside a room away from the social areas for those who want to have a bit of fun.  And despite what I might have previously thought, it didn’t turn into full-blown orgies.

At this particular party, I was one of the first to arrive so was already naked when the rest of them arrived.  I think that helped me a bit, where I was only initially stripping off in front of a couple of guys instead of 20 or so. 😉

Of course, the bottle of wine I’d brought helped me relax.  The first half of the bottle went down very quickly. Hahaha

Anyway, the time flew by as I chatted to a gorgeous Danish guy in the kitchen, while some of the other guys drifted in and out of the play room.  Neither of us were interested in joining the frolics, so just enjoyed each other’s company.

Well things have sorted progressed since then, as I’ve been to 2 other parties since.  Including my mate’s naked birthday party last month… where I met a very sexy farmer from Suffolk.

And the parties continue next month.  I’ve agreed to a naked camping weekend up North with over 200 guys from around the country (the sexy farmer promised he’d make it worth my while if I went.. hehe).  And then a couple weeks later it’ll be my mate’s naked wedding!

I admit, it’s not a community I ever considered being a part of, but it’s amazing how friendly and inclusive most of the guys are.  And it’s great to meet guys from so many different walks of life all because of one shared interest.

The upside to all this is how much more comfortable I’ve been feeling in my own skin, and how I keep looking for new opportunities to spent as much time naked at home as I can.. though usually just in my bedroom or when nobody is home.

What I do know is this is a new adventure for me, and it’s one I’m quite enjoying.

Now to see what happens next.. and whether that sexy farmer will keep his promise when we go camping next month.  😉

naked camping

 

A Long Overdue Update…

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I’d love to say the main reason I’ve been so absent from my blog over the past month is because I’ve been too busy actually living life.  That I’m so busy that I just haven’t had a single moment to pop online to update my blog.

I’d really love to say all that.. but that be a load of shit.  LOL

Life has been slightly busy over the past month since I returned from Gran Canaria, but not so much so that I couldn’t jot something down quickly just to keep the site up to date.

sloth_lazy_tv_art_mloveizm_magazineThe honest truth?  I’ve been an absolutely lazy twat.  HAHAHA

Work never gets any busier than it already is, as there’s zero overtime or requirements to work on the weekends.  Most days I get home from work, lay on my bed playing on the iPad (which I could easily use to write blog posts..) and then plop myself in front of the television while I gobble up my dinner.

Real exciting life, huh? 😉

Ok.. so my isn’t really THAT dull and predictable.  I have gone out a couple times here or there, and one recent weekend saw me going to two different birthday parties.  It’s not all boredom and being social hermit, but it does feel that way sometimes.

I can’t even say that I haven’t had much to write about or even to say about my life and the world around me, cause there’s loads going on in the world that I have some definite opinions about.

threesomeAnd it’s not even that I’ve been dating someone, or meeting loads of new guys causing me to be too busy having fun to get my ass online.  Or that I’ve just been busy having loads of sex (I wish!! LOL).

Cause let’s be honest… like most people, I’m online all the time really.  Both at home and at work.  Especially after my mobile provider quadrupled my monthly data allowance recently.

For some reason it’s been weeks since I’ve turned on my laptop, even to just listen to music or watch a movie online.  Funny how things change, when before I used to literally live on my laptop… Think at one point last year I actually ran out of things to watch on Netflix. haha

Maybe it was just time for a bit of a break (again!), and I needed to gather my thoughts a bit before launching any new posts or rants about the world around me… but that’s just giving another lame excuse.

Like I already admitted, I’m lazy.  lol

And like most lazy guys, the longer you allow yourself to get drawn into the habits of laziness, the easier it is to just go with it and not break the cycle.  Having a quiet lazy day or evening after a busy day at work is absolute bliss.. but can’t be letting it take over my life, right?

lazy-monday-8So.. what now?

I’m not going to make some grandiose promise about how I’m going to do better about updating my blog, making sure I don’t go more than a couple days without a post.  That would just be setting myself up for failure, and life should be all about realistic and attainable goals.

I do have loads to catch up on, and so much that I’m just itching to write about.. so we’ll see how things go.

And since I’m already on my laptop, maybe I’ll just have to get all those stories out while I can.  🙂

The Flat Disruption Issue

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It’s been close to six months since I moved to my current flat, and despite a couple little structural issues, I’ve loved living there.  My flatmate and I get along really well.  It’s been relatively issue free, and any little things that have popped up we’ve just talked about them instead of letting it bother us.

It’s been great living with someone who’s just as interested in ensuring we’re both happy living there as I am.  We’re friendly without being too much into each other’s lives, give each other space as required, and are always up for a laugh or chat. We’re both gay and have a few ‘friends of friends’ in common.

And we’re both adult enough to not make a big deal if the other has someone ‘special’ over for a visit.

Well that nice little bower of life we’ve made for ourselves was shattered this past weekend when the landlord came to town and announced he’ll be working in London for the next 3 weeks.  And that he’ll be staying at the flat.

Umm.. what??  Fuuuuuuuck!

Although small, our flat is technically a 3 bedroom, with the landlord keeping a tiny room for himself.  I’d always assumed that was just to store some of his things while he lived in Switzerland, and that we were renting the rest of flat from him.

In reality, we’re just renting rooms off of him as it’s still his flat.  He’s got the room set up as a little bedroom for himself, which allows him to keep a toe-hold in London while living and working abroad.

repair leakIt be one thing if he was staying there while he did some repairs to the flat, but the very few things he’s done over the past week have been more of a band-aid measure than actual repair.  And it be completely different if he was going out of his way to not disrupt our lives.

For instance.. he’s a musician (works in theatre) and he announced when he arrived that he’d have to practice his flute here and there.  What that actually meant was he’d be practising every evening after work, regardless if we were okay with that or not.  Loudly.

It was especially frustrating Thursday evening when I’d come home from work with a bit of a headache so was laying down before I made dinner, and he started in on his flute.  It pissed me off so much that I kinda snapped at him when he came down to the kitchen later on.

He ‘says’ if it’s bothering us to just tell him, but how can you really tell your landlord to not practise his instrument when it’s his livelihood.  It’s a bit difficult to tell someone to ‘shut the fuck up’ (nicely of course) when they own where you live.  That would just be asking for trouble, if you ask me.

I know it’s only for 3 weeks, but the timing of it couldn’t have been worse for me – my flatmate goes on holidays on Tuesday for 10 days.  I was so looking forward to having the flat to myself while he was away.  The lucky bastard is going to miss most of the landlord’s ‘visit’.

So this means I’ll be stuck alone with the guy for that time.  He’s friendly enough, but it’s not the same.  There just doesn’t seem to be much in common between us from what I’ve seen so far, and his tone can come across as a bit condescending at times.

landlordOh, and I definitely don’t feel comfortable having someone over, be it to hang out or for a bit of fun (something I was hoping to do while the flatmate was away… hehe).  The landlord is clearly straight and doesn’t seem to realise we’re both gay (How?!? LOL), so am unsure how he’d react if I brought a guy home.

I’m trying my best to not let it get to me, and to obviously not become resentful towards the flatmate that he’ll be away for most of it.  He’d booked the holiday months ago so would have had no clue the landlord was coming at the same time.

I suppose I just have to grin and bear it for now.  And hope my frustrations don’t get the better of me.

Midsummer’s Night Disappointment

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Sometimes life can get way too busy and before you know it, weeks and months have passed since you last chatted to this friend or that one.  Is it just a matter that you’ve gotten too embroiled in your day-to-day lives that you ‘forget’ to keep in contact with certain people?

I try my best to keep in contact with people, but it isn’t always easy.  I find it hard because no matter how much you try to keep in contact with some people or arrange to do things together, they’re just always too busy to meet up.  And in some cases, too busy to even return a simple text message.

From my perspective, it seems these people all have their close-knit group of friends and regularly do things together, despite some people’s insistence that they never ‘plan’ anything.  Or at least that’s the response I get when I ask I wasn’t invited along.

Yeah, right.

I admit, I’m horrible at making plans weeks or months in advance, unless it’s something big.  Generally I get to Friday afternoon and realise once again I don’t have anything planned for the weekend, so I send off a bunch of messages to see what people are up to only to get a load of ‘I’ve got plans’ replies.

I was told a few months back by one of these ‘too busy’ friends that perhaps people don’t include me because I don’t make the effort to invite them to things, to plan something for a bunch of people to do together.  Or perhaps they’ve just assumed I either wouldn’t be interested in what they’re doing or that I have my own group of friends to hang out with.

Ummm… what utter bullshit, huh?

Shakespeare son & lumiereSo I tried an experiment that ended with my own disappointment – I created a Facebook event over a month ago and invited a bunch of people to it.  It was to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, with a light and sound show at Guildhall Yard (event details HERE).

I thought it be fun and interesting, and something different to do on a Saturday evening (aka tonight).

Mostly people put themselves down as a maybe, with a few saying outright they couldn’t go and one friend saying they would join me.  Even if just that one friend came, it would make it worth it really.  And perhaps a step forward for me I think.

But fast forward to this past Thursday when I posted in the event suggesting where and when we could all meet, and asking everyone to confirm if they were coming or not.

And this is where the disappointment set in – not a single person could make it for whatever reason.  Some explained, but most didn’t at all.  And that one friend who said he’d come?  He pulled out as well, saying he was too busy this weekend (he’s taking a masters while working full time so spends his spare time studying).

Which left me with nobody to go to this thing with.  I even messaged a couple of non-Facebook friends to see if they were interested, but nothing.  So come last night I up and cancelled the Facebook event and now am not even going myself.  It wasn’t exactly the type of thing you go to alone.

man in bedSo what is a guy to do when all he wants to do is spent time with his friends and those friends are too busy to hang out?  I’ve barely been out of the house the past month and a half, and as much as I love quiet time at home, it’s really getting to me.

A person can only spend so much time by themselves before they start going stir-crazy.. or (over)thinking that perhaps he’s wasting his time on trying to get those ‘friends’ to spend time with him.

Life can be hard when you’ve tons of friendship to give and there’s nobody to give it to.

 

Ceremony of the Keys – Tower of London

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A few weeks back, a mate messaged to see if I was free on an upcoming Wednesday evening as he had a spare ticket for something that evening due to his partner being out of town for work.

Well as luck would have it I was totally free!  What a shocker!  😉  So I agreed to meet him and another couple they’re friends with (who’d arranged the tickets), though I was still a bit baffled as to what we were doing.

It turned out it was for something called the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.  I’d previously visited there a few years back with a friend from Canada (click HERE to read previous post), so was a bit surprised I hadn’t heard of this ceremony.  We’d definitely explored the entire place as far as I was aware.

Well it turns out this ceremony is actually only ‘performed’ at night (between 9:30pm and 10:05pm to be exact) and has nothing to do with the regular daytime tours.

About the Ceremony of the Keys

The Ceremony of the Keys is the traditional locking up of the Tower of London and has taken place on each and every night, without fail, for at least 700 years. The importance of securing this fortress for the night is still very relevant because, although the Monarch no longer resides at this royal palace, the Crown Jewels and many other valuables still do!

This meant we got to be in the Tower of London well after it normally closed to witness something that most people didn’t even know existed.  I know I didn’t.

beefeatersThe ceremony itself was quite interesting, as we were lead from the main entrance down the main avenue inside the tower by one of the traditional yeomen warders – also known as ‘beefeaters‘ – who gave us bits of history as we went.

All warders are retired from the Armed Forces of Commonwealth realms and must be former senior non-commissioned officers or petty officers with at least 22 years of service. They must also hold the Long Service and Good Conduct medal. (Source: Wikipedia)

Once we reached the gates leading to the inner courtyard where the Crown Jewels are kept, we were given more instructions and explanations on the ceremony itself. As well as very strict instructions that absolutely no photos were allowed.. something one of the women in the group got sternly reminded of when she tried to snap a pic of a marching guard.

Basically, a guard contingent will escort the keeper of the keys from the main gate after he’s locked it up for the night into the inner court yard.  En route he is challenged first by the aforementioned marching guard before entering the court yard, and then once again by a second guard contingent inside the court yard.  Once he’s confirmed both his identity and that the outer tower has been locked tight, he’s given leave to complete his circuit of the inner town and finish locking up.

ceremony of the keysTo some it may seem ridiculous to continue such an ancient and perhaps unnecessary ceremony every night for 700 years (one person joked, “Doesn’t the Queen have insurance?” lol), but I disagree.  I found it absolutely fascinating and enjoyed every moment of it.  It’s a hidden gem of a tour that most don’t know about.

Plus it reminded me of how much of this city’s history most of us take for granted or just outright ignore.  We’re living in one of the most historic cities in the world, and most of it’s residents have no clue about any of it.

Here’s hoping I’ll get some more opportunities to see more of these hidden gems.

To read more about the ceremony or to arrange tickets (minimum 6 months in advance.. they only allow a small group each evening), please go to the Tower of London – Ceremony of the Keys website.