The Doncaster Blues

Yes, yes.  It’s been a long time.  Better than a month since I last published a new post for you.  Even the Facebook page has been conspicuous in its absence.  Well, I’m back, for the time being anyway.

Not to make excuses for the dead air, but here’s all my excuses for the dead air…  I’ve been getting my ass kicked.  I wrote you last from the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania.  Now I’m in the middle of nowhere in England.  Doncaster to be exact.  I had all of 3 days off last month, and I spent 2 of those days getting ready for my current 5-week stay in Nottinghamshire (I shit you not, I can actually see Robin Hood Airport from where I’m sitting), and the other was spent washing my clothes in an absolute hole of a laundrette in town.

The work has been tricky, even more so than normal because this entire project has been incredibly rushed to meet a rather arbitrary deadline given to us by our customer.  But the work is always tricky for one reason or another.

However, I think we can attribute most of this shit to the fact that my little corner of central England is absolutely atrocious place to spend 5 weeks of one’s life.  One thing I’ve learned from my travels is that if the locals call a place a shithole, a shithole it is.  If there are any redeeming characteristics about a town, the people that live there will sing their praises; it’s a matter of pride.  When pride has been forsaken by the residents themselves, you’re in for a rough stay.

Around here, pride has been forsaken by the residents themselves, and turns out they’re right.  The weather sucks.  A lot.  Cold and rainy and gray and shitty and sad.  And our hotel is in the boonies.  15 minutes from the closest restaurant, and there’s nary a proper pub for miles.  We’re at some little airport that’s a ways from town, the shitty town that it is, and better than 40 minutes to our worksite (a product of trying to book a 35-night stay on 4 days’ notice).  I spent my 3rd straight Halloween, and my 3rd straight birthday out of the country.  It just hasn’t been a pleasant trip.  And I’m better than 2 weeks in, and I’m maybe, maybe, halfway done.

Oh, and they drive on the wrong side of the road around here, and the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car.  That doesn’t sound like much but it’s stressful as shit.  The mirrors are on the wrong sides, cars come from the opposite direction, roundabouts go the wrong way, and there are about a million of them.  It’s tough.

And to be completely honest about it, to use what is apparently a quite popular parlance of the British, I wasn’t handling it very well.  It’s easy to start feeling sorry for yourself on a trip like this.  And I’ve been pouting.

But, I got just what I needed.  Ms. Müller, being as crazy and awesome as she is, actually flew from Dusseldorf to Leeds (the closest city of any substance) to spend my birthday weekend with me out here.  It was delightful.  Actually, it was a really boring and crappy weekend in a really boring and crappy place.  But, I had company, really good company, and it helped a lot.

This won’t be the first time I’ve sung this particular tune, but I suppose I’ll sing it again.  As far as I know, I should only have a couple of weeks left on the road before I start my preparations for the move to Germany.  I already have an apartment out there, so with or without the Company To Be Named Later my ass is gone in a month or two.  So I just need to do my best to handle the next couple of weeks with a touch of grace and a shred of dignity.

That means actually posting on a halfway regular basis instead of drinking my nights away at the bar.  Or at least combining the two.  I already had a few posts on the docket from a while back.  I’ve got a couple leftovers from PA, and a new post from beautiful Doncaster.  Anywho, I’m off to get a bite and call it a night.  Come back soon, and I’ll try to do the same.

Don’t be a stranger.

-B. Littleton

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