Saturday, July 29, 2006

Leaving the party before it is over!

The Post-Benoit Era begins………..
A sad time to leave, but nothing I could do would allow me to stay. The powers that be had their two poence worth and cast me adrift. All for speaking out and being myself. The controllers of the programme dont like my individualism and my fun loving hedonistic approach to life. They say that I scare the Indonesians, but a sparrow makes them run for the hills and the sight of bare Glasgow flesh makes them cross the road to escape. By sending me home they have shot themselves in the foot bif time. Thye have sent home and banished someone who can make a difference and has the courage to do so. The project supervisors cant see the wood for the trees and strive to create sopmething that they know they cant. They flog a dead horse. They never liked the fact that I speak my mind.

Its now back to Essex and then a few trips away before the big one beckons.

The other day it would have been the first ‘teamtime’ session In the post Benoit era (I am not trying to sound dramatic), it hit me hard! It hit me like a plank of wood well aimed at the knee caps. It sent me spinning and I feel dizzy.
I wish I was still up there in Bonnie Scotland with you lot. I miss it, I miss all the randomness and the friends that I have left behind. It feels like I am coming pout of a Coma down here. Being back in Essex is doing my nut in, I am so bored. All the old things seem mundane and no one has moved on.
Even though I am away from the randomness of Indonesia the surreal ness of life never seems to amaze me. I was walking through London after meeting up with an old Friend and going to Camden and somehow we ended up in the Weatherspoons in Whitehall. As we were walking back to the tube station we past Trafalgar square. Low and behold who should I see? Bloody Bruce Forsyth in the flesh. It was some strictly come dancing bollocks and he was being mobbed and through his microphone which was audible through the massive speakers he was sternly saying to these sprogs running at him ‘back off’. Oh what a ledge!

Back in Essex after being thrown off from the VSO global xchange programme creates a feeling of tremendous loss. I am away, absent gone into the mists of time disappearing until only Smokey fragments of memory exist.
Its odd to be thrown back into a life that you were so easily forgetting. To return to rubbish jobs, warm beer in the local and the thudding of Essex boy cars as they roar past with their chav music up to top whack.

Since being shown the VSO door I have kept myself busy. My hair is now short and brown, my beard trimmed and rather rascalish, my room is full of carved masks and I have driven my Grans car illegally.
Life is slowly getting back to some shape again. But I have another trip next week to Look forward to. Yes I am off once more. This time I am off for a 4 day jaunt to Amsterdam. Copius amounts of weed await me, amstel beers, goos Dutch company and meeting some old mates whom I haven’t seen for quite a while.

I argued every angle in the most polite and calm voice. But I fear that this decision to send me home was made a long time ago and not by Bex. Tom officially kicked me off and left the room to phone the head boss of the GX programme. When he left the room Bex broke into tears and said that she didn’t want me to go. But if that was the case then why did she keep her mouth shut while Tom was kicking me off and I was fighting my corner like a caged tiger. Therefore I can only assume that she wanted me to go from day one. We have never seen eye to eye before and have always crossed paths on opinions and the like.
It was so cloke and dagger of them to kick me off like that. Call for me to come in and then do it. I wasn’t given pre warning and the chance to defend myself. Nothing. I was ill equipped to fight the battle, which lay awaiting in ambush for me.

How do you change suddenly and without warning?
One moment you are working like a trooper in Bonnie Scotland happy as Larry, meeting friends going to the gym and having a great time. Then suddenly you get the news most dreaded and completely out of the blue that you are going home. Being outcast, ostracised, cast into the void that it time and space. The feeling of emptiness was too much for me to bear.
The train journey was long and gave me too much time to dwell. I know that I have to keep busy and write all my experiences down like I am doing now. This is therapeutic and also creates a record foe me.
The train didn’t get into London Kings cross till 12.30am the Saturday morning. I loaded up my bags and went to the underground station. But when I was on my way to Liverpool street we stopped. A poor sole had taken their life by throwing themselves under the train. This hit me because I could not stop thinking about loss. In my case it is not loss of life but loss of precious time and experiences spent with people who are up in Scotland still. The place I loved and should still be.
While travelling down I thought about getting off at York to see Fae, but the train only stopped for a minute and by the time I was perusing the idea in my head the train pulled out and the automatic door locked.

I therefore had to load myself up and loads of commuters all going back home all-beered up and I had to walk from Moorgate station to get to Liverpool street. Its not a long walk but we had 5 minutes to do the ten-minute walk in and there was one last train. I also was loaded up like a bloody packhorse and the surging drunken crowd really didn’t want to let me get there on time. I ran like a wobbling wind swaying with my bags under my arms and on my back. My capeng bouncing on my bag and my lacrosse stick dangling. I got their just in time to push through the barrier hurdle with difficulty the rail run down the escalators and jumped on the last train to Epping. But it wasn’t the last train to Epping. It was a bloody Hainault via New bury park one so I had to change again at Leytonstone.
On the train some youths took a liking to me and shouted things like’ Hey Jesus can you turn this into wine’, and then tried to carry my bags, but they were so drunk that they couldn’t lift them. They must have seen the non expression or some sort of fire in my eyes as I didn’t say a thing but they left me alone after I gave them a calm stare.

Finally I got to Epping station at 2am and my mate was in his car waiting for me. The trouble is he had hardly any boot space because of his stereo system and speakers so it was a cramped ride home.
That night I slept in a strange bed and then in the morning I awoke to find myself back in my town.
Unable to get into my house as the oldies are in Menorca. Unable to go anywhere as my car is uninsured and declared off the road at my Grans and she is in Italy.
What do I do now?

Well the Saturday I went to my other grans and started to wash my clothes. Everything looked different. My granddad was thinner than ever, my gran looked tired and the dog was too sore to move because of her hysterectomy but she wagged her tail and I lent my head against hers as she licked my cheek.

So lets me tell you this. Adjusting suddenly back to a life you almost cant remember is a strange thing. I am at home alone as I got the spare keys off my grans, but the house has no water and therefore I have to piss in the garden. Nice I know but true? Therefore I have to go to my grans to wash. I am unpacking at home and putting my masks up on the walls and reading my post. I am listing to music and trying to put everything away without making a mess.

I decided that I was not going to mope. I could mope and sit there and get rip ragingly drunk and wallow in my own self pity. But I am bloody not going to. Fucks sake man I am not dead. I have just been sent home. I have made the greatest friends that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, many of which I have given permanently rooms of residency in my heart. So I am going to sort my self out.
First thing was I had a few people round and we had a small BBQ at mine. There hardly any food in the house but a few mates came round and we polished off my little brother ‘s (he is in Ibiza, what a chav) and cooked a bit. We sat in the scorching sun and talked.

The I popped down to my local pub which is now over 21’s as someone crashed into the front of it and it is a listed building. Therefore as the person who was driving was 18 that must mean that all 18 years old can damaged the pub. The logic behind the whole thing is reminiscent of VSO’s decision to create more trouble for themselves and send me home.
Sunday I continued to methodically unpack but had visitor after visitor of friends all popping in to see me. I have missed them and each and everyone said I needed to shave.
So guess what when I went up the road to play football as my football team needed a goalkeeper I got my old job back.

I walked up to the sports centre where I used to work and they are crying out for staff. They couldn’t believe how I looked they were shocked. But the conditions of the new employers are that all long hair must be tied back, only one earring per ear and staff must be clean shaven. So what I have done is sculpt my beard from jungle mass to rather dapper creation. I look like I have a jaw line again now. I can see the definition of my face. I look much better. But still a wee bit hairy. Well they got the shaving out of me but the rest they wont bother to complain to me about.
Playing football was a great feeling. I was in goal and a bit rusty but my team are pretty poor at the moment sop I got in a lot of practice. We lost but I was like Ben the cat again. But a bit more restricted in movement. It’s coming back to me though.

So I have a job and some shifts, I have unpacked, I have bought some hair dye but haven’t used it yet and my first shift is tomorrow. Therefore I have sit down to write my diary and conclude my Indonesian and Scottish adventure. It ended prematurely, but not all stories have an idyllic ending do they. But my bar where I worked in has gone and the gym I go to have been demolished. So I can continue to run, but I was really becoming a gym freak again!

I don’t know what I will do. I have a few ideas but I will sort myself out. I may go away somewhere and meet some of the people I met in Africa.
I am definitely going to sell my car and get my motorbike license in a weeks intensive course and buy a classic bike with a sidecar. When I got to my house my mini is sitting there, all gutted out as she is being restored but a silver mini has appeared from no where in the drive.

One thing made me laugh. A mate said to me ‘Oi Ben I saw you in the times like’. I don’t know what was more shocking. Ennik and my article was also in the English times or one of my Friends actually reads it? Funny old thing life.
Since I have been back the phone calls (even ones at 2am) and the texts from the Scottish lot whom I left behind have been flooding in. They bring a smile to my face, I know I left an indelible mark. I still feel like I have lost a leg and think I forever will. But I am the last of the Whateley-Harris’s and by Jove lets bloody cat like one then shall we. Music up loud in the house, going out and enjoying life.

I left behind the greatest people in the world. The people who are my family. I love them all and always will do. I hold no grudges for the ones who complained about me and the ones who thought ill of me. I hope that they think the same of me.
Everything keeps reminding me off the times I have just had and been forced to leave. The masks I am putting up on my walls, the music I listen to. The music conjures mental images of people and times and activities we did. I feel like I shouldn’t be here back in Essex. I feel like a hairy impostor in my hometown. Essex eh. Oh what a place. You may have NEDS up in Scotland but here we have and its so delightful to reacquainted with those little fuckers known as Chavs. Oh I hate chavs!

This brings the final curtain down on my adventure. There will be an epilogue come September and I look forward to seeing them all.

But for now This is the major part concluded, I can conclude by saying that I write far far far too much.

I will end on some quotes which I feel are rather apt..

‘Fate shuffles the cards and we play’ (Arthur Schopenhauer)

‘The hardest decision you ever make is knowing that you have made a mistake’ (Art Brut)

‘So when your lonely, you know I am here waiting for you’. (Franz Ferdinand)

The last quite means that I am only a phone call away and that I am waiting for you. Waiting to see you all at the debrief.
Have a great time in Avey Bridge and make sure you do all the mad things I would have done.
I love you all, see you all soon!!!!!!

Remember whisper my name and watch me dance.


Holland extravaganza

Well I am back now after a great 4 days of hedonistic fun in the land of Clogs. Oh how wonderful it was to jump on the easy jet plane and shoot over the water for a bit of fun.

I was one night taken to a International students bar and we didn’t leave till 5.30am. It was crazy man!
Amsterdam may be the place to go, But I have been in Leiden a picturesque university town only 30 minutes by the train from the capital. There I have been staying with a friend and it seems like the token Englishman has been adopted by all my friends friends who made me dance all night and also lent me a bike to use.
It was so surreal as all the Dutch use bikes rather than cars. We should learn from this and outside clubs, bars, stations and cafés are hundreds of bikes all chained up to railings and they also have their own special bike parking areas. The bikes are really old granny ones too. No one cares what they look like out here. There is no materialistic idea about mountain bikes. bikes with baskets and breaks using the pedals pushed in the opposite direction are the rage!
Also I have had a day at the sea side. The Dutch seaside is very much like the British equivalent but much cleaner and with less chavs and arcades. Instead they have windmills and lots of cheese. Oh this place may be famous or infamous for porn, red light districts and drugs but the cheeses steals it for me. Also the Hertog Jam beer isn’t half bad either!!!

I have been staying with friends whom I met in Africa and also stayed one night in Amsterdam in a cool flat over looking the wonderful Vondelspark where I spent many an hour sitting drinking and smoking.
But now I am back and recovering after a night out in Chelmsford where I ended up staying out til 4 am again. Oh I need some sleep.
Night all.


At 11:16 AM, Blogger bully said...

Hey bully!

I'll leave a message for you here, from Greece with love..
Expect one back...hahaha



At 11:17 AM, Blogger bully said...

and did you know how much effort i put in this?? vHad to make a complete blogsite i don't even understand....
how nice of me...


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