Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Eight things I loved about March

~8~ Jenn: One of the frequent lessons of the internets is that a fellow should be cautious when effusing romantic about his girlfriend. Words sometimes last longer than the emotions that formed them and often the person writing them is the only one who actually cares. There is the question of relevance. I am quite obviously an open-source type; so much of what I write and do comes from being open about myself and my life. But does anyone really need to know so much about the dark-haired girl who makes me swoon? Why does it matter how highly I think of a person? And in promulgating such aspects of my life, aren't I making a decision for someone else -- deciding for them that they, too, will make their lives available for all to see?
So, I've not really spoken much about Jenn on the blog (in part because I've not really spoken much about anything on the blog lately). I've simply enjoyed being in her company, enjoyed that she is in my life and that I am in hers. But sometimes I really want to brag. So, I will say here simply that Jenn is awesome.

~8~ My birthday I turned 35 years old on 20 March. The night before, Jenn invited me over and promised to cook for me. When I arrived at her flat I discovered she had stealthily arranged for my friends Jen and Dave to come out from London to surprise me. My birthday celebrations, then, began with my eyes welling up with tears of joy.
My friends were only able to stay the night, in Cardiff for less than 24 hours. After a big breakfast in the first-day-of-spring sun, I drove them to the train station. Then Jenn and I headed west to St. David's, where we spent a few days being silly and lazy and exploring the Pembrokeshire coast. The whole multi-day birthday experience was topped off when Jenn decided it would be a good idea for us to drink gin and tonic in a bubble bath. It was, unquestionably, one of the high points of my life.
In this picture taken on my birthday, you'll note I'm wearing the same shirt as exactly one year before, when I went out to Dublin to stay with Donal and Isobel. It is apparently my birthday shirt. Or the shirt of good birthdays. Though, I suspect my clothing has nothing to do with it; I am simply blessed with good friends.

~8~ Pancake Day: Mardis gras isn't quite as exciting in the Soggy Nations as it is in, say New Orleans. Rather than downing hurricanes and lifting our shirts for plastic beads we simply sit around and eat pancakes. Shrove Tuesday in Britain, therefore, is known as Pancake Day. As is the case with so many British things, pancakes over here are made oh-so-slightly differently than those found in the Land of Freedom. British pancakes are thinner, usually served only with lemon and sugar rather than the accoutrements usually seen in the U.S.
But (primarily because I don't know how to make any other style) Jenn and I celebrated with American-style pancakes. The highlight of the evening was when Jenn tried maple syrup for the first time, inspiring euphoric fits of laughter and the exclamation: "Oh! Why have we been dicking about with lemon and sugar?"

~8~ Vloggery: You might have noticed that in all the above items, I linked to sections of my daily vlog. Strangely inspired by a loud Mormon family from Idaho I've been recording a vlog since December. Those of you playing along at home will know what a vlog is, because they've been around for years. But, remember that I live in Wales; they're still suspicious of email over here. The other day I ran into a guy who had never heard of vlogging, so for his ilk I'll explain that a "vlog" is a video blog: an online diary entry via audio-visual medium. Throughout the day I carry around a camera about the size of a mobile phone, keeping note of whatever happens to be taking place in my life. Usually it's not all that amazing, but perhaps therein lies the appeal. To be honest, I can't really come up with concrete answers as to whether a vlog is all that special nor whether it should be watched. I know simply that I record one every day and strangely enjoy it.
Up until late March I was doing my vlog in Welsh, but then I realised: I have only two friends who speak Welsh. My family and the overwhelming majority of the people I care about are English speakers. So, now I record everything "en inglés," as the Norwegians say. Requisite self-promotion goes here: You can find my vlog on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/ChrisCopeful.

~8~ Southerndown: I vlogged that day, as well, of course. Not too long ago, Jenn and I drove out to the western edge of the Vale of Glamorgan, a regional term that I'm sure means nothing to you if you're not from Wales. Basically, the Vale of Glamorgan is the sticky-outy bit on the southern edge of Wales. Admittedly, "the southern edge of Wales" is a regional term that probably means nothing to you if you're not from Wales. Just imagine that I live in an enchanted and faraway land, full of castles and trolls. Some of the faraway land is really shit, and some of it is really amazing. Southerndown is one of the parts that are really amazing.
And one of the amazing things about it is that it doesn't feel like Wales. I don't mean that in a negative way, but simply in the sense that Jenn and I woke up in Penarth, drove 30 minutes and found ourselves in a landscape that felt so much different than the one we had woken up in. Britain often surprises a person in this way, so frequently packing such uniquely different things into tiny tiny spaces.

~8~ Remembering that I like Britain: Over the past few weeks I've been writing a number of articles for my erstwhile benevolent employer, relating to life on the Island of Rain and various aspects of that life as pertain to the royal family. This is silliness, of course -- similar, perhaps, to Britons who go to America and obsess about cowboys. But writing these articles has spurred me to remember that I did actually want to move here almost five years ago. I wasn't forced; I worked incredibly hard toward the goal of calling Britain home and daydreamed about it for years before making it happen. My experience within the tiny, conjugated Welsh-speaking culture has not turned out the way I'd have liked, but such is life. And that insular little world is far from indicative of Britain as a whole. And on the whole, this soggy archipelago is somewhere I still want to be.

~8~ Wonders of the Universe: One of the reasons, of course, to love Britain is the BBC. And the BBC is loveable because it produces programmes like "Wonders of the Universe," a series on physics and what we know about the universe. Each Sunday in March, Jenn and I would try to ensure we were in front of the TV just in time to watch Brian Cox walk around exotic locations in unflattering T-shirts and explain that the universe operates in such a way that one may need to lie down for a while upon contemplating it. You just don't get this kind of television in America.

~8~ Professor Elemental: You may have already heard of Professor Elemental, the steampunk-esque "chap-hop" performer who raps about tea and fighting trousers; he's been around for a few years. The basic premise of Professor Elemental is that of a Victorian gentleman who raps. Which is funny in concept and often quite funny in application. I mean, what's not to like about using, "I don't like your tweed, sir," as a diss?
As I say, I had heard of him quite a while ago. But Jenn had not heard of him until this month. So, the thing I've loved this month has been Jenn's amusement. Inspired by Professor Elemental, Jenn has taken to occasionally launching into her own monologues, adopting the persona of a heavy-drinking wealthy woman of the same era. Here's a section I remember from a roughly 10-minute bit she did in the car the other day:
"Ah, yes. Our brothers, the French. Do they know how to live? Yes. Yes, I say they do. Do they know how to wash? No. Most certainly not. Filthy, filthy people. Why, I saw one of them relieving himself in a public space. I was aghast, I tell you. Jeffery had to bring me some water. And a bit of sherry. Mmm. sherry always helps."


Annie said...

Yes, you should never have blogged about her, I already love her!

Great post and I am happy to hear you sounding so happy.

Now back to the cowboys.

Anonymous said...

I love Southerndown.......


(plus loads of Dr. Who is filmed there)