Friday and the Weekend. Metal, Beer and Cake.
Ye Gods! What an epic, sleep deprived, food indulged, cliff walking, headbanging, beer swilling weekend that was. If that’s what is involved in “having a life” then I don’t want one. Far too exhausting.
Let’s get the boring stuff over and done with first and talk about today’s workout. As I was going to be heading of to London later on I met Rhod at half past sparrow fart for the last training session of the week. It was another great one. This weeks training has been amongst some of the best that I’ve ever done. There is a magical aura of pixie dust that surrounds a good workout. Nothing feels impossible and the weights seem to lift themselves. A lot of this has to do with the fact that we’re in the three rep week of our current 5/3/1 cycle and it’s here that all the good stuff occurs. Some of the credit also has to do with being somewhat fitter. When you’re fitter then you recover faster between sets and can train at a higher intensity for longer. Don’t just come to the gym to lift lumps of metal, you also need to work on your conditioning. It will help you to get bigger, stronger, tougher, faster sooner.
Anyway here’s me and Rhod doing our stuff:
After we had caused the gym to melt with our shear awesomeness it was time for a road trip. My good mate, fellow rock devotee and enthusiastic beer quaffer met me at the gym and we made for Old London Town. London is about 2-3 hours of furious driving away and so, therefore, deemed close enough to be worth braving the horrors of the M4 – Providing that the band is good enough. And they are, because tonight we were going to be seeing 1980’s thrash metal titans Testament! Testament are a great metal band that have never strayed too far from the tried and tested formula of massive riffs played very quickly at bowel loosening volume. No jazz fusion concept albums from these boys – Oh no.
Check them out:
But before metal nirvana we had the mean streets of Camden to negotiate. Camden, specifically Camden Lock is one of my favourite parts of London. It’s a melting pot of Goth clothing shops, tourist tat, pubs, record shops and amazing food. Much of it is given up to a labyrinthine market that sells every ethnicity of food available on Earth. For two trenchermen, like Simon and I, wandering around the food stalls is as big of an attraction as the gig. We decided, after much sampling and deliberation, that a colossal steaming tray full of fried potatoes, onions and a Polish sausage the length of my arm was to be the first of several meals that we managed to cram inside us in the few hours we were there. After sausage there could only be beer. It was at this point I decided that Science Fiction has become Science Fact and I’m living in a Phillip K. Dick short story. Both Simon and I like a proper pint of real ale. The sort of stuff that looks like it has been brewed with mud, filtered through a tramp’s string vest and tastes of wet Labrador. But faced with one of the World’s most meandering and serpentine cities how the hell do you find a decent pub? Bring forth the iphone! Now, I know that younger readers of this blog will find using your phone to find a list of London’s best pubs and then using it as a Sat Nav to take us to the nearest one common place. But come on! I used my phone to track down beer in London. If I had said to someone 10 years ago that my phone could help middle aged men get drunk I would have been burned as a witch, or warlock, or whatever.
We both wandered around like slack jawed country hicks carefully following the phone’s directions as it took us past this:
and then on to this:
The Euston Tap is a former gatehouse that has been cunningly transmogrified into the home of 28 beers on tap and about 1000 in bottles. We walked in and just gaped agog at the bewildering choice. Where do you start? What do you try first? If only we had a well renowned and famous wine and drink critic to hand to offer advice.
Which is precisely what happened. There, sat on a bar stool and polishing of a pint of something brown, was Oz Clarke who took us under his wing, gave us a swig of his drink and then offered up wise council on all things related to ale.
Unfortunately because I had to be in a state fit enough to drive us back after the gig I couldn’t have more then a couple of pints but they were epic. While we were sat there, propping up the bar and discussing deep intellectual matters, we got chatting to the chap sat next to us. His name was Alex and he knew his way around the pubs of London quite well. After more beer and in depth talk Alex decided to come along with us to watch Testament. He mentioned to us that he played a little jazz clarinet and would it be much different to that? Err . . . a little bit, yes.
The gig was brilliant and Testament sounded far angrier then 5 old men have any right to sound. We were spewed back onto the streets of Camden and, after one last meal, we said goodbye to everyone and headed back to the car.
I didn’t get back home until some unholy time in the morning and my head had only just hit the pillow for, what felt like, five minutes when Jocelyn exploded into the room. Today my daughter turns seven years old and is hell bent on making sure that everyone knows it. The whole morning was spent in getting the house ready for Joss’s party and the whole afternoon was spent recovering from the havoc that can be wrought be 8 screaming seven year old girls. Zoe did amazing work on the cake and Joss had an absolute hoot.
I don’t think that I was up to bed much later then the kids and when sleep came it was as instant oblivion.
Zoe was at work all day, which left me stuck with the kids and the dog. My approach to child care is simple and yet effective. Rule1. Exhaust them. Rule 2. Feed them a large amount of complex carbohydrate. Rule 3. Repeat rules 1 and 2 until all children slip into a mild coma. This approach also works on dogs.
Today’s dashing, bold adventure was to navigate the wild, Jurassic coast of South Wales and explore caves and cliff tops. We walked for miles. Clambering over boulders and splashing in rock pools. Caves were investigated for smugglers and pirates. Fossils were examined and collected. Cliffs were scaled and peered down from. We stayed out until it was dark and then ate pizza. It was a good day.