Friends Aren’t Always Forever

Standard

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.

New Year Blues

Standard

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

Escapada de Madrid

Standard

Sometimes you just need to get away from your daily routine and do something different.  And sometimes it’s more about getting away from your surroundings and seeing somewhere new.

I was starting to feel the usual urge to get out in the world a bit and do some travelling.  I’d come to the realisation that I hadn’t really been on holiday since last June when I spent my birthday in Rome.

Well, other than when I went home to Canada to surprise the family back in October.  As lovely as that was, it was less a holiday for me as for them if that makes sense.

Anyway, my decision to go to Madrid last weekend was fairly spur of the moment as I happened to find a super cheap flight online so decided to go for it.  Once that was booked, I found a simple little room that was quite central and walking distance to the Chueca area (where the gay bars are).

20170127_104721What also helped the decision was I have a friend that moved back there from London about 6 years ago and we hadn’t seen each other in at least that long.  We’d talked several times about me coming over for a visit, but I’d never gotten around to it.

Plus surprisingly I’d never been to Madrid before.  Any other trips I’d taken to Spain over the years have always been in the South or to Gran Canaria (where I’ll be visiting once again this coming April..).

Interestingly, unlike other trips I’ve made in the past, I didn’t really have a plan for once I’d arrived.  I’d kinda looked online at what there was to do there, but instead decided to just wing it and see where the weekend took me.

I just wanted to have a nice fun, relaxing weekend.  And that’s exactly what I got.

20170129_140357Unfortunately, my friend that lives there was going to be in Seville for most of the weekend and wouldn’t be free until Sunday afternoon/evening.  So that meant I had from Friday afternoon until then to keep myself entertained.

After checking into my little room (when they said small single, they weren’t kidding!), I grabbed a map and started wandered around the immediate area to get my bearings and to find a bite to eat.  It’s definitely a walking city (with an extensive Metro system) and I found my way around easily.

Once back in my room to relax a bit in the evening, I logged into the usual social/dating apps to see what sort of guys were in the area.  I had a few messages from a couple guys but one definitely caught my eye.. a tall, fit, sexy guy who clearly liked chubbier guys.

After a bit of online chatting and flirting, we decided to meet up for a drink and he even offered to meet me at my hostal to walk to the bar together.  Such a gentleman.

We spent a lovely evening together in a couple of bars chatting about life, drinking, and yes, flirting like crazy.  We seemed to get along quite easily and it felt quite comfortable spending time together… so much so, that I stayed at his place that night and we spent most of the next day together cuddled up on his sofa.

Such an amazing way to spend the day and get to know each other a bit.  I’d originally planned on leaving around midday to play tourist, but the day completely got away from us.  Next thing we knew it was about 6pm and he had to get ready to meet some friends for dinner, so I leisurely walked back to my hostal with a promise to meet up later in the evening for drinks.

20170130_122102What I hadn’t expected was to get to meet a couple of his friends when we went out for drinks that night.  And one friend of a friend turned out to be a guy I used to run into occasionally at the bear bar in Soho.  We weren’t friends so I didn’t even know he’d moved to Spain.

Anyway, it was a fun evening but I chose to be a ‘good boy’ and go back to my hostal for the night so I could get up and do the touristy thing on Sunday.. though I could have easily spent the entire weekend with him.  He was that easy to get along with, and it seemed like the feeling was mutual.

The rest of the weekend was spend wandering around, seeing the sites as planned, and then meeting up with my mate Sunday evening for a couple of drinks and a catch up.  He took me to an area I hadn’t explored yet but was quite close to when walking back from my new friend’s place.

All in all it was an excellent weekend away.  And as glad as I was to get home Monday evening, I could have easily stayed a couple more days.  I found the city to be quite comfortable to walk around with lots to look at. And yeah, lots of handsome Spanish men to check out.

It’ll definitely be one of those cities I’ll want to return to in the future.. maybe even to visit my new friend. 🙂

madrid-collage

Collage of pics taken over the course of the weekend

I’m 51 Days Late…

Standard

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

Happy (Belated) Pride

Standard

Happy belated Pride to everyone, both near and far.

I know this is late for most people, as like in London, Pride celebrations would have taken place last weekend or possibly this weekend depending on where in the world you’re living.

For myself, Pride can sometimes be a bitter-sweet time as it usually falls around or on my birthday, but luckily this time London Pride fell on the weekend before my ‘big’ day.

I had a lovely day celebrating Pride with some friends, watching the parade (from what I could see past the taller people standing in front of me lol) and then drinking the afternoon/evening away at the usual bear bar in Soho.

But this year Pride has a special meaning for me…

That’s right… my own little blog-space has once again been listed as one of the Top 10 UK LGBT Blogs!!!

This listing comes via a marketing and communications provider called Vuelio.  Along with their corporate work, they also maintain Top 10 Blog Lists that change weekly.

Vuelio is Europe’s leading provider of software for communications, public affairs and stakeholder engagement.  Vuelio offers an unrivalled portfolio of products and services to serve the modern public relations and public affairs professional throughout the UK and Europe.

Here’s the full list:

  1. Fagburn
  2. Pink Wedding Days
  3. The Guyliner (I actually follow this blog!!)
  4. Sarah + Laura
  5. Pink Therapy Blog
  6. Indefinite Adventure
  7. Ramblings of a Supposed Disease Free Mind (that’s’ ME!!)
  8. Yet Another T-Girl Blog
  9. Trade Blog
  10. THE LONDON UNICORN

 

As amazing as this is (and it’s pretty freakin’ amazing hahaha), this isn’t the first time this has happened…

Two years ago I was placed on this same list, when the blog listings were done via a company called Cision (see previous post HERE) and I was understandably gob-smacked this had happened.

love is loveHell, I am again this year.  LOL

To be honest, I hadn’t noticed the email notification or the Tweet (since I don’t go on Twitter that often).  It had only come to my attention when someone had retweeted the posting and it popped up on my mobile notifications.

Admittedly, this all happened a couple weeks ago, just before Pride.  I’d meant to post about it but between Pride itself and then my holiday in Rome, it kinda fell to the wayside.  Oops.

It’s always amazing to get recognition from other bloggers, but to also get it from an outside source that I’d never submitted my blog to is very humbling.  Especially when you take into consideration my sporadic postings over the past year. 😉

But whomever compiled the list clearly enjoyed what they had read, and for that I am extremely thankful.

And I’m thankful to all of you who regularly come by to have a read, leave a comment, share a post, or even just give a like to whatever you’ve been reading.  It’s thanks to all of you that I’m still here and keep coming back regardless of whatever has been happening in my life.

So.. here’s to another year of my little humble blog (which will be turning 8 years old in the Autumn!!), and to all of you for sticking by me through it all.

Love,

Martin x

Making a Good Impression on a Date

Standard

Dating is never an easy thing.  Meeting someone new for the first time can be quite daunting, and the desire to make a good impression can be high.. sometimes to the point where you can try to hard.

Dating should be a fun and exciting part of life, so why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to ensure we connect with our date?

Here are a few things you can do to ensure things end on a more positive note.

To drink or not to drink..

Probably the easiest thing to do on a date is to meet for a drink in a bar, pub or restaurant as they’re meant to be social places.  The problem is sometimes guys will tend to drink to much as a way to relax or loosen themselves up.. and nobody wants a messy date.

A date is a social engagement, and if you’re pissed off your tits, then you’re more likely to be jarringly obnoxious as you waffle on like some aging party boy instead of being your truly interesting and personable self.  There’s no race, so don’t try to down your pint in one go.  Keep it to a drink or two, and only if the other person is having one as well.

gay-dating-headlineChoose a mutually beneficial location

 

The best thing to do when setting a place to meet on a date is that it’s both convenient and beneficial to you both.  For instance, if one of you lives in North London and the other in South London, the logical thing to do is to arrange to meet somewhere in the middle, and not one that only benefits one person location-wise.

And as important as location is, the atmosphere of where you meet is super important as well.  The last thing you want is to be in a popular crowded pub where you can’t hear each other, so why not pick a more out of the way place that’s quieter.  As well, you don’t want to pick somewhere either of you might be likely to bump into someone you know.  The last thing you need is someone trying to edge in on your private time together.

Know when to make a (sexual) move

two-men-kissingThere’s nothing less sexy or enticing than a guy who goes in for a kiss or a grope in an inappropriate location or too soon into the date.  There’s nothing wrong with a bit of a public display of affection, but don’t be going in for a deep, wet snog right away.

Oh and as for those roaming hands of yours?  How about you keep them to yourself while we’re just getting to know each other, especially when we’re in public.  There’s more to meeting someone for a date than sex, so no need to go into intricate details of your sex life or what positions you enjoy or even that thing you did on holidays that you probably shouldn’t have.

Don’t be a Judge Judy

Part of getting to know someone new is learning what makes that person tick, as well as what they consider their limits to be.  And we’re not talking sexually either.  Some people hate certain words, especially the more derogative swear words, and you really need to pay attention when they say they hate that word.. not continue to work it into the conversation.

As well, if the conversation turns to politics, religion, or any other potentially explosive topic, don’t let it get your back up and judge them for their views on life.  We’re all different people so are allowed to have differing points of view.  Be willing to have an open conversation, not try to take them down because their view is different than yours.

Be real and keep your promises

If you’re truly interested after the first date and genuinely would like to see them again, then tell them.  Don’t leave them hanging, waiting for you to say something.  There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself out there, just be careful to not get too attached too soon.

As well, if they tell you they’re interested in seeing you again and you’re not, then say so (NICELY!!).  There’s no point dangling the carrot in front of them if you’re never willing to follow it through.

Oh and for goodness sake, stop trying the whole playing ‘hard-to-get’ thing.  It really doesn’t work.  If a guy doesn’t message back, it’s not a game move.  It means they’re not interested, plain and simple.

newgrindrlove_2606161bThis post was inspired by – How To Make A Good Impression On Your Date – GayGuys.com

A Dating Dry Spell

Standard

I’m not sure what’s changed, but I’ve found my dating life going through yet another dry spell these days.  I’m sure this is normal for most people, and it sure as hell isn’t the first time it’s happened to me, but I can’t help but wonder if sometimes there’s something I’m doing that causes these recurrent episodes.

Now I’ll be honest – sometimes it’s hard to separate my dating life with my sex life, because occasionally they’re not mutually exclusive.  I admit that a shag doesn’t necessarily constitute a date, and a date doesn’t always end in a shag.

But of course there are always exceptions to this.  😉

turkish kissFor me, things seemed to be going fairly well after I moved to my current flat, and they definitely picked up (sexually) once I returned from Gran Canaria back in November.  After spending most of a year of feeling sexually frustrated, it was a nice change.

The best part was that I was going out more often.  I was usually out on a Friday night (and some Saturday nights too), which is a huge help when trying to meet new guys.  Not that there were many of them, but at least I was meeting a few new guys here and there.

I only had a small handful of dates during that time, none of which lead anywhere other than sometimes the bedroom for a one-off romp, but at least it was something.

But something changed after the New Year.  Suddenly, I was spending most weekends at home alone.  The invitations to socialise died out, and any attempts on my part to drum up interest to do something were met with either disinterest (or so it seemed) or the classic ‘I’m busy’ and ‘I’ve already got plans’ responses.

And both my sex and dating lives ground to a complete halt.

I’m sure there’s all sorts of things that could contribute to this current dry spell, some of them my own doing and some from others.  Or perhaps there’s something I’ve been unknowingly putting out there that’s putting guys off.

I’m not saying that the past couple of months have been complete no-sex zones, but it’s been so far and few in between that it might as well have been.  There’s been many times where I’ve been chatting to a guy about meeting up, and just as it seems it’s going to happen they end up pulling out (no pun intended) at the last minute.

Annoying, for sure.

I have had a couple dates with one guy who lives locally to me.. and by dates I mean actual dates, where we met up for drinks or dinner and talked to each other.  And didn’t have sex (though there was a bunch of kissing and cuddles on the second date…).

IMG_0302But unfortunately that’s as far as it’s gone, and that was probably about a month ago.  There’s been no third date as of yet, despite us regularly chatting online.  I’ve tried suggesting things here and there, but he’s out of town a lot on the weekends and works long hours during the week.. meaning it doesn’t leave much time to meet up.

He’s a lovely man and I do want to see him again, but I’m unsure if it’ll actually go anywhere.  There didn’t seem to much of a mad, crazy, sexy, tear-off-your-clothes passion between us, but perhaps that was because I was purposely trying to take things a bit slower that I normally do and not jump right into bed with him.  For once.

You know, actually get to know the man before I got to ‘know’ the man.  LOL

I don’t know… Sometimes I wish I could just maintain that care-free attitude I had after my holidays and see what fun I could get up to.. even if it’s not ‘fun’ that I’m wanting in my life.

Or perhaps I need to stop hoping for more than what’s on offer at the moment.

Time will tell I suppose.

The Flat Disruption Issue

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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.