Stop 1: Watford

Here we go! My latest travelling trip which has no ending at the moment. The dream is that it will never end but realistically it will end somewhere in Europe where I’ll find teaching or hotel work, or going back to Thailand and teaching again as I have contacts still up there. Anyway back to the subject; My first port of call is weirdly enough back to where I grew up: Watford.

I stayed with a friend of mine who reads this blog and says he doesn’t want to be named in it, so I’ve decided to give him a pseudonym to protect his identity…

I got to Notdaryl’s place at 4 o’clock, it took a fair few hours because I had to get the London Underground to Liverpool Street, King’s Cross, Euston and then the slow train to Watford because the Liverpool Street train was late which had a knock on effect on all the other trains I got. I was greeted by his girlfriend Notkylie who went out of her way for me and let me treat the place like my own home.

Notdaryl had just come back from work and had jumped in the shower. We had a quick catch up and he asked what I wanted to do that evening. Being the assertive feather plucker that I am I replied “Whatever you want to do really, I’m not fussed…” So Daryl took charge and said that we can visit some of his mates that evening.

We first went to his dad’s house in Garston and I saw some people I hadn’t seen in years, plus some new random people who listened to me talk at them about my books until they slowly one by one left the room to drink more alcohol. They offered some to me and I thought it would be rude to say no, so I did a little jig and got myself McTipsy.

Next stop: Matt’s. Notdaryl was saying we were going to Matt’s and kept saying “You know Matt!…” Repeating his name until I panicked and nodded. When we got to his door he answered and confirmed that we’d never met before.

“OH, I KNOW SAUSAGE!!!” Shouted a voice from the kitchen. (Sausage being my nickname from school. Don’t ask…) turn’s out that his missus/wife/humanofoppositesexheschosentolivehislifeoutwith was none other than Sarah. A girl who means nothing to you as a random reader but trust me I’m getting there… Sarah was one of the girls I knew from around the estate I grew up in. I’d never had an actual conversation with her when we were younger but I played football for Everett Rovers with her brother (Back then at football I was – how can I put this politely? Fucking horrendous…) So I knew of her.

Fair play to them, showing how good Watford hospitality is, they offered me ample alcohol and treated me like I had been a friend for years. We then went into Matt’s mancave and he had some proper arcade machines and a fuseball table. We pretended we were teenagers again and played until we got bored, then it was time to say our goodbyes and go back to Notdaryl’s…

Notkylie’s sister Jess was staying as well, and me trying to show off about where I’ve lived and the places I’ve slept before, decided to brag that I could sleep anywhere, and took the smallest sofa to sleep on. Serves me fucking right really; five minutes into scrunching myself on the sofa I thought to myself “This was a terrible idea!”and slipped onto the floor. Fortunately for me the floor was pretty comfortable and I almost instantly fell asleep…

Saturday consisted of similar things, except we went to the pub for a few hours to watch Arsenal annihilate Chelsea (Notdaryl is an Arsenal fan, so he was happy!) then a few of us went back to his and sampled some Thai whisky that my students from Guildford gave me, we chatted about the finer things in life and then passed out one by one like some kind of bizarre Big Brother spin-off…

Sunday, roast dinner, Notkylie cooked it. It was bitching. That is all…

I’m lying, that’s not all, I met Notkylie’s daughters and they were so well behaved and polite. Notkylie was singing their praises before they came around and I could see why; she’s got some great kids there…

On Monday I went to Kings Langley School to drop off some books to my former teachers. I then went back to Leavesden and knocked on a couple of doors to see people. They weren’t in but I had a chinwag with their respective parents. Then I went home because it was time for my farewell dinner:

GLOBAL…..BUFFET!!!!! It was Ronsill quick drying woodstain; a buffet with food from around the world. I met more members of Notdaryl’s family including an uncle who jokingly mocked my size saying how I’d never eat twenty quid’s worth.

Challenge accepted…

If we were playing Mortal Kombat, you would have said ‘flawless victory’, if we were playing Street Fighter you would have said ‘perfect!’ if we were playing…well, you get the idea… I won his respect, and because of that I could sleep soundly for at least one more night…

And just like that it was time to go. I couldn’t thank Notdaryl and Notkylie enough for their hospitality. Seriously, words cannot express how grateful I am. Most of all, it was good to see them and catch up with them again. Maybe in a few years I’ll be in a position where I can return the favour, but for now it’s on to the next part of my journey…

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