Category: Blogs

Old man in Skyrim – Part 11

The Premise
Skyrim is a vast sprawling game, you can pretty much do anything you want, so I decided to live in Skyrim, to see how an old man coped with the harsh environment and bizarre folk that inhabit this land. This is my tale!

The Rules
80 year old man in Skyrim.
Only doing what an average 80 year old can do.
No constantly running, using shouts (special powerful magics), magic or fast travel.
No murder or stealing or anything unethical, should always try to run away from a fight.
Read part ten here – https://radiothax.com/2013/11/05/old-man-in-skyrim-part-10/

Previously on ‘An old man in Skyrim’
My only friend and protector is locked in mortal combat with two giant mammoths, I can’t stop him fighting them but they cant kill him, he’s stuck in an endless loop of violence.  I had two choices kill both mammoths and their giant protector or abandon Meeko forever, leaving him to fight for ever!

Very bad dog!
Very bad dog!

The story continues….

There is no way on earth or Skyrim I could kill both mammoths and the giant, if Meeko can’t do any damage to it, what chance do I have?

I have to apply some cold hard clinical logic here, I do the only logical thing I can do!

I make camp 20 meters away from the mammoths, it takes 3 days but eventually Meeko snaps out of his blood lust and comes running back to me. Tears fill my old eyes are he jumps into my arms, he is weak and shaking, I take him into my tent and feed him the last of our meat and wrap him up warm while he sleeps. Silly boy, had me scared there!

Bad boy, dirty boy, in your bed!
Bad boy, dirty boy, in your bed!

Day 17
Meeko is once again by my side and we continue our journey. Ahead I see a group of three humans, my heart leaps for a second, I think it’s my original drinking buddies, but it can’t be them, they were beaten to death in front of my eyes. I sneak up close to the new possible new chums, It’s the wedding party! My silent grumpy friends! I re-join them, they totally ignore me, just like old times. Soon the guard disappears again, like last time, I stick with the husband and wife, maybe the guard needed a plop.

Silently walking, the good times are back!
Silently walking, the good times are back!

Minutes later the guard re-joins us, and we continue our slow walk. I’d forgotten just how slowly they walk, I’m 80 and I don’t go this slow, even when I was freezing to death I walked faster than them! We reach the point in the road where I had killed two wolves, the couple stop and look at the wolves then at me, it clearly dawns on them what I am capable of, fear fills their blank faces and they continue on their walk, but now I think they have slightly more respect for me, more respect and a lot more disdain, if that were possible.

Then our path intersects with the happy group of prisoners and guards I met before near solitude, they harvest meat from the dead elk, I knew it would belong to someone! The two groups pass without a word!

Just like that scene in Shaun of the dead! JUST LIKE IT!
Just like that scene in Shaun of the dead! JUST LIKE IT!

The our journey comes to the section I was most afraid of, we’re going passed the fort!
Suddenly there is a deafening noise, a roaring, I look up, fire is filling the sky, smoke and flames tearing over my head, I’m sure I hear a loud scream, then a ball of fire, smoke and light come crashing down out of the sky onto a nearby house, reducing it to a chard burning mess of wood and debris.

Get Bruce Willis quickly!
Get Bruce Willis quickly!

I cannot wait for the wedding party to slowly amble over, I rush ahead (read, walk slightly faster than snail pace) and investigate! I make it to the house, no one from the fort has come out to have a look, there is a pit in the fire place with a twitching white sphere in it, it’s talking! It’s obsessed with ‘space’, there’s lots of space all around, what could it mean? It has an orange glowing eye as if fire has been captured and held within a metallic white sphere. I carry it out of the burning building and show it all the space around, then all our eyes fall upon this huge structure! What is it? Where have we come?

Fireball?
Fireball?

Old man in Skyrim – Part 10

The Premise
Skyrim is a vast sprawling game, you can pretty much do anything you want, so I decided to live in Skyrim, to see how an old man coped with the harsh environment and bizarre folk that inhabit this land. This is my tale!

The Rules
80 year old man in Skyrim.
Only doing what an average 80 year old can do.
No constantly running, using shouts (special powerful magics), magic or fast travel.
No murder or stealing or anything unethical, should always try to run away from a fight.
Read part seven here – https://radiothax.com/2013/11/05/old-man-in-skyrim-9/

Day 12
I try to leave the inn in Rorikstead, but the son of the inn keeper take me to one side and begs me to ask his father to let him move out! He wants to be an adventurer like me, I try and tell him I’m a bard first and adventurer second, and adventuring is an horrific and violent past time which will very drastically shorten your life’s expectancy. He’s not interested. I get the feeling the term ‘adventurer’ might have a double meaning, I’ve never been very good with the youth and their lingos.

I'll make you an offer you can refuse
I’ll make you an offer you can refuse

I speak to the chaps father only because he’s stood about 12 feet away from us, he tries to give me some sob story about his son not having protection and would I mind buying him a set of armour. The cheeky bastard! I tell him my patronage has given him enough coin to buy his son a fancy hat like mine, he’s not interested. Why does he expect me to fund his kids gap year? Has he never heard of a savings account? In the end the inn keepers story becomes so sob based I give him 75 gold to shut him up, I’m an old softy at heart. I go outside and tell the son he is free to go ‘adventuring’ with whomever he likes, he even has ‘protection’, he asks about the horrible things I’ve seen, so I try and direct him to this blog but he just carries on harvesting cabbages, I’m not sure he’s ever heard of the internet.

Probably be dead in two hours
Probably be dead in two hours

Now I’m leaving, one more step and it will be the furthest I’ve ever been!

Within 2 minutes of my travel I seen another band of guards and a prisoner marching across the land, have these people never heard of cars? In the distance I can see some very interesting rocks, but my ankles are giving me some jip so I ignore them and walk on.

About a mile down the road I start to hear voices, not the usual ones in my head telling me to put on another cardigan, but rather two men and woman arguing, being a true gentleman I feel honour bound to go and make sure the little lady is ok. By the time I stagger over to her the men have left and she’s hiding in a bush, she’s very racist, I leave her and her small minded opinions.

Things I never expected to see on this journey number 1: Racists bush lady!

Only people born in this bush should live in this bush!
Only people born in this bush should live in this bush!

I can see a very tall phallus in the distance. How can I pass up and opportunity to check it out? Well, I couldn’t and what do I find at its base? Not stone testicles, no a sword and a shield, ahh symbolic!
I head back to the road and spot this giant chap lumbering along, he doesn’t seem to want to talk so I leave him be, then further down the road I find this odd cow, it looks like someone’s had too much to drink and gone a graffitiing!

Urban James Herriot
Urban James Herriot

I’m contemplating how the cow could have maybe done this to herself then realise it’s very quiet! Far too quiet, for you see, Meeko is a very noisy doggy, he often barks for no reason, I like this, it lets me know he’s alive, but now no barks are to be heard, I search around for him but to no avail, where’s my Meeko? Then a wolf springs out at me from a bush, is the wolf racist? I’ll never know because as luck would have it another guard/prison group appear and leap to my aid. They dispatch the wolf and walk away. Then Meeko bounds up to me as if nothing’s happened. No indication as to where he’s been, probably chasing rabbits or pooing. I chastise him for leaving me, it was a good job I didn’t have to defend myself because I’m struggling with all this exercise, I’m in my 80’s I really shouldn’t be walking across half the world like this!

Eventually I reach a point where I have a huge decision to make, I can either continue on the path im walking on which will take me through a snowy pass with mountains, or I can take the southern path which has a nice lake but gets even more snowy than the other path. It’s either snow and hills or lake, snow and very steep. I will make camp and sleep on it, a decision this big cannot be made lightly.

It's a sign!
It’s a sign! A sign of things to come! A sign of our time! And so on…

Day 13
I wake up early, around 6am, I lay in my warm fur bed roll for 3 hours contemplating the two paths, this is such a huge decision, one I cannot rush into.

Come 10am I toss a coin to decide my fate.

It’s heads, I go North, I wish I had bought a warm tunic.

I begin down the northern pass and spot the painted cow, it try talking to her, she can’t talk, she’s a cow, I try riding her but she’s too tall and I can’t lift my legs high enough. I join her on her journey, she’s heading my way, with her and Meeko I’m kind of like a Pied piper of Skyrim, I knew being a bard would come in handy.

Out of a bush a lizard man jumps out at me, what is it with people in bushes in these parts? He demands all my monies, how does he know I even have money? Who am I kidding with a hat as fancy as mine, how could I not have wealth? He again demands my money, I try persuading him not to rob me. He isn’t convinced and would be very keen if I handed over the cash asap. I say no, he gets angry, Meeko leaps to my defence, the thief dies! As is my custom, I loot his dead evil corpse, he tried to rob me, it’s only fair I return the favour, he doesn’t put up a fight, I love it when a corpse stays dead!

Mr Lizard, taken too soon because he's a bastard!
Mr Lizard, taken too soon because he’s a bastard!

It’s been a long days walk so I make camp in a nice quiet spot. I make a point of checking all the nearby bushes for people!

Day 14
I wake up early again, I thought I heard a rustling in a nearby bush, but it was just Meeko weeing. In my haste to get some sleep last night, I didn’t notice I had made camp right next to a huge rib cage, I don’t want to meet the creature that is comes from, it’s massive!

Meeko, tent, giant rib cage!
Meeko, tent, giant rib cage!

The air is crisp and clean, the sky is speckled with cloud, birds are singing, the day looks like it’s shaping up to be lovely, so why do I have a grown sense of dread? Probably something to do with being able to see a huge fort in the distance, from my experience they contain either skellingtons or murderous bandits, I sneak forward to have a look.

I climb a small hill then spy another strange collection of stones, they look unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, I sneak forward, there is no one around so I have a little investigate.

Skyrim postcard 4282
Skyrim postcard 4282

There are strange pillars with symbols on and a lever, I can rotate the pillars and pull the lever but nothing happens, I spend five minutes playing around then it dawns on me I might be trespassing, so I quickly hobble back to the road.

I’m instantly set upon by two wolves, Meeko and my arrows make them less alive, I skin them and continue my walk.

In front of me, just lying on the road is a huge dead elk, it seems a shame to let all this meat and fur go to waste, I get my dagger out to skin and take some meat when it dawns on me, someone else may have hunted and killed this, it doesn’t belong to me, what was I doing? My moral compass has gone askew recently, looting thieves, trespassing, playing with pillars and harvesting flesh of dead animals I’ve not hunted. What have I become? No, this isn’t me, no more will I steal from the dead, if I want food or items, I have to buy the, I have to earn my own money by working for it myself and not just picking up what I find, which ironically means I go about picking up what I can find, in that I go picking every wild flower and herb I can see!

No Meeko, you can't eat it!
No Meeko, you can’t eat it!

Later in the day I bump into a farmer who is leading the graphitized cow, I press him for some answers. Apparently the cow is an offering to some giants so they won’t eat his livestock. I can’t resist but to offer my help, he politely tells me to go away.

I don’t go away, I sneak after him so see what happens, how often are you going to see something like this in your life? I follow him, he keeps looking back at me, but doesn’t tell me to go away, we’re basically best friends now. The cow seems hesitant almost as if she knows what fate is about to befall her. When we get to the giant camp there are mammoths! I bet they are the ones with the giant rib cages.

Like meals on wheels, but this meal is on legs!
Like meals on wheels, but this meal is on legs!

The mammoths do not like this farmer’s presence at all, they both trumpet at him angrily, this alerts the giant who comes running over and with one almighty thwack from his club, turns the farmer into a human pizza of guts and smush! Thank god I’m far enough away to not incur the wrath of the giant or mammoths! I look round to check on Meeko. He’s nowhere to be seen, I walk all around the giants camp, I can see 2 wolves in the distance but no Meeko!

You turn to jam in 3..2..1..
You turn to jam in 3..2..1..

I walk near the camp fire to warm up, the graffiti cow has the same idea, I can see the wolves approaching, without my canine protector I am doomed, there is no river to escape into here. I try and hide next to the cow, that’s when I spy Meeko, he’s stood by the mammoths, I try and get closer to make him follow me, but not so close I get turned into human jam by the giant, let’s hope I’m as sneaky as I am old!

Meeko?

Meeko what are you doing?

Meeko no, bad dog!!

No, Meeko stop!!

Meeko, nnnoooooooo!!!

Bad dog!
Bad dog!

Meeko starts a fight with the mammoths, it’s a fight he can never win! Every time I get near him, he runs away to attack the mammoths once more, the only thing I can do it stand in front of him, but no matter how much I try and block him, once he recovers a bit he takes off after the mammoths again. He’s stuck, the blood lust has got the better of him, he is determined to murder the mammoths but they’re so powerful he can’t do any damage to them, they just kick him away and I can’t talk him out of it! Meeko is lost to me!

I have two options
1. Kill both mammoths and the giant
2. Abandon Meeko, leave him to his eternal struggle with the giant beasts, leave him, turn my back on him, my only true friend and protector!

There is no way on earth or Skyrim I could kill both mammoths and the giant, if Meeko can’t do any damage to it, what chance do I have?

I have to apply some cold hard clinical logic here, I do the only logical thing I can do!

Very bad dog!
Very bad dog!

Next time – Parting is such sweet sorrow

Old man in Skyrim – Part 9

The Premise
Skyrim is a vast sprawling game, you can pretty much do anything you want, so I decided to live in Skyrim, to see how an old man coped with the harsh environment and bizarre folk that inhabit this land. This is my tale!

The Rules
80 year old man in Skyrim.
Only doing what an average 80 year old can do.
No constantly running, using shouts (special powerful magics), magic or fast travel.
No murder or stealing or anything unethical, should always try to run away from a fight.
Read part seven here – https://radiothax.com/2013/10/30/old-man-in-skyrim-8/

Skyrim

Previously on ‘An old man in Skyrim’
I’m an 80 year old man trying to make a life for myself, after finding myself plonked in the middle of nowhere, with no clothes, money or food I’ve had to use my wits, body and brain to make a living for myself, I’m now a fully fledged bard after an horrific ordeal in a cave system riddled with zombies, I only survived because a dog adopted me and has been saving my life ever since.

So old, but such a fancy hat!
So old, but such a fancy hat!

Last night I decided I would move to Riften, a warm looking town, half a world away!

Chapter 2 – The walk to Riften

Day 10
The Road to Rorikstead

I wake up from a sleep that felt like a life time. My back, legs, arms and skin all ache from my recent endeavors. This is no life for an old man, looking around the inn, the faces of the patrons are all haggard and worn, yet they must only be in their mid 30’s, this is a harsh place to live, not many folk make it to 80 and those that do, do not go venturing in caves fighting zombies.

I need to retire and as I decided last night in a drunken stupor, I shall move to the warm looking (it looks warm on the map anyway) town of Riften in the south. Meeko is sitting beside me looking ready for anything, he’s such a good dog, I owe him my life several times over, it’s only right I bring him with me and find us a nice restful home to call our own.

Dog, inn, Bard - A usual night for me
Dog, inn, Bard – A usual night for me

We get up, thank the barman for his bard filled hospitality and leave his establishment!

It’s pissing it down with rain!

We turn 180 degrees and walk back into the pub, I’ve got over 1000 gold, I’m practically a millionaire so I rent the room for another night till the storm passes. I splash out on 3 bottles of booze and some of the mystery meat I have become rather fond of. I make my way back to my usual room, which thankfully has been cleaned now, and I tuck into the foods I bought. The bard strikes up her wondrous enchanting drum music and I drift off to a long relaxing sleep.

Day 11
When I wake and go downstairs a man comes up to me and begs me to find a long lost drum, I tell him ‘not on your nelly old boy’, he tells me it’s priceless, I tell him I don’t give a funk and do my now customary manoeuvre and walk away, but as I do I accidentally ask him to teach me some speech techniques. I’m not sure how I agreed to it and I certainly don’t plan on making any impromptu speeches or sermons, but I accidentally agreed to pay him 250 gold to teach me, so I let him teach me. Minutes later im slightly more confident at public speaking but down 250 gold! Balls!

That's a very nice hat!
That’s a very nice hat!

I go outside, it’s still raining, I decide to leave before I accidentally sign myself up for life drawing classes or an accounting course!

From Solitude there are two main paths to Riften one via a northern pass which is covered by snow, ice and mountains or a southern path which is also covered by snow and mountains but less snow, however the path is much steeper. Both ways have advantages and disadvantages. I don’t have to decide which path to take yet as I have to travel to Rorikstead again as that’s where the road diverges into this north/south dichotomy.

As I walk I pass a few familiar places and faces on the way, the guard outside Solitude then the folks of Dragon bridge, who haven’t come back to life.

Bring out your dead!
Bring out your dead!

This journey is like a walk down literal memory lane, eventually I enter the bandits camp, just to check things are how I left them.

They are!

I will not search this bandit!
I will not search this bandit!

While looking around the camp I spot three strange tall stones in the distance that I’ve never seen before. I figure I’ll never come back here again so I best take every opportunity to see what I can while I’m here.

I make my way to the three stones and look at what they OH GOD!

1, 2, 3! How many corpses can you count children?
1, 2, 3! How many corpses can you count children?

There are three very dead people here, and watching over the very dead corpses is one very large and very alive cat or lion. I don’t waste time checking on its genus. Meeko the brave jumps in and goes paw to claw with it. The cat takes one swipe and sends Meeko about 20 feet through the air, I’m certain he’s dead and as the cat is bounding towards me, I will be following him to the afterlife very shortly.

I turn and fall off a cliff into the fast flowing river that has saved my life before, cats hate water, but this giant bruit doesn’t and dives right in.

That's one wet pussy!
That’s one wet pussy!

I swim over to an island, the cat luckily gets swept slightly further down river to another small island. Then something happens that blows my mind! A crab, a lowly crab pinches the cat with one claw and kills it! It didn’t even break a sweat, but then I don’t think crabs can sweat. The crab goes back to munching down it’s krill lunch and I make my way to shore, avoiding the deep fast flowing parts of the river.

That cat's got crabs
That cat’s got crabs

As soon as I get on land Meeko comes bounding up to meet me, he looks a little battered but mostly fine. I give him the best reward any dog can hope to get from a human, a pat on the head. We then make our way back to the road to Ror OH GOD ANOTHER CAT! Luckily for me Meeko must have done some damage to this one because it dies when I shoot an arrow at it, it probably also helps Meeko is attacking it too!

I go take another look at the scene of death I was looking at before the cats attacked us, yup, it’s horrific! I make my excuses and leave but not before skinning the cat we killed, its skin will make a nice pair of boots and a handbag.

We make it to Rorikstead by early evening and I do the only thing I’m good at, renting a room at the inn and buying meat and booze! I make full use of the facilities and sleep for 14 hours, the cat fight has really taken it out of me, literally, I think I’ve pooed myself!

Rorikstead, picture postcard lovely!
Rorikstead, picture postcard lovely!

Now it’s time to head out, onto the untraveled path, a new adventure awaits and it begins with one small step. I’ll just buy some traveling mead for the road!

Next time – The road less traveled

Old man in Skyrim – Part 8

The Premise

Skyrim is a vast sprawling game, you can pretty much do anything you want, so I decided to live in Skyrim, to see how an old man coped with the harsh environment and bizarre folk that inhabit this land. This is my tale!

The Rules

80 year old man in Skyrim.

Only doing what an average 80 year old can do.

No constantly running, using shouts (special powerful magics), magic or fast travel.

No murder or stealing or anything unethical, should always try to run away from a fight.

Read part seven here – https://radiothax.com/2013/10/25/old-man-in-skyrim-part-7/

Day 9

Yesterday was a terror the likes of which I never want to repeat, I vow to myself I will have absolutely nothing to do with tombs, crypts, graves, zombies or anything of that ilk, I’ll never go into a basement again if I can help it.

As if to act as a literal metaphor for my mood, the weather is cold, dark and brooding out on the moors when we get up, we’re going to head back to Solitude and sell these wares. I head off, passed the bandit camp, the noble man’s horse has disappeared now. The quicker I’m away from here the better!

Then on the road I meet 3 travelers on their way to a wedding, I simply can’t resist a wedding, I’ve never been able to walk passed a wedding and not gate crash, so I tag along, whether they want me to or not. I want to see what happens when they get to the bandits camp, will they fall into a void?

Let's hope they last longer than my last 3 friends
Let’s hope they last longer than my last 3 friends

We reach the bandits camp, a thief runs up behind us, before anyone can unsheathe any weapons, the thief trips over a boulder and falls on the floor dead! And I thought my ankles were weak!

The wedding party slowly amble up the road, the rain doesn’t seem to affect them the way it does me, I’m soaked through and it’s very cold! They start walking slower than I can bear so I walk ahead desperately hoping to find a house or ideally a pub.

20 minutes go by, I can barely focus I’m so cold, I look at the map, there is nothing anywhere near me. No towns, hamlets, villages or heated bus shelters. This is it, I’m done for! The cold wet fog surrounds me, enveloping me in its damp icy grip, all is lost, Meeko is no where to be seen. I am doomed!

So cold, eyes frozen!
So cold, eyes frozen!

Then out of the gloom, a glow appears, what is it? Zombie bandits? Bard ghosts looking for a poetry fix? A pack of pillaging crabs? No, it’s the light of a fire, a fire right by a building! THEBUILDINGSAPUB! I go in and get warm by their fire, without buying a drink, I’m not sure the barman is too happy about me availing myself of his fire without paying him, but i don’t care I’m bloody freezing! A few minutes later I warm up and go outside to check out the town.

I explore Rorikstead, it’s small and communal, the people here all seem to be farmers. I don’t take too long looking round because I’m freezing to death. I’m cold, wet and miserable again. I make my way to the barman, he greets me with a warm welcome, I open my coin purse and realize I’ve amassed over 500 gold coins! I’m relatively well off. I celebrate by drinking two whole bottles of mead. I contemplate the past two days; it’s been awful, I vow never again to do anything like that again, no more tombs, crypts, vaults, grave yards or highly populated forts. But at least now I’m warm, dry and drunk.

Once I’ve warmed up I head out and have a look around the town again. The only thing of note I find is a lone gentleman sitting on his own. I’m sure I heard him throw something on the floor when I walked in, so I search around, and spot some adult literature, the dirty little bugger!

50 shades of green
50 shades of green

Who should walk into town but my three wedding ‘friends’, I walk over and join them, they look cold and thirsty. Unsurprisingly they walk into the pub, hurray, new drinking buddies! We all sit in the inn and no one says a single word to anyone.

Let the good, but utterly silent times roll!
Let the good, but utterly silent times roll!

I feel I might be impinging on their revelry so I go rent a room for the night, thankfully this place is bard free, unfortunately it’s also door free. I sit in my room and can’t help but drink two more bottles of wine; I get drunk which helps me forget Dead Men’s Respite. It helps me forget because I pass out!

Stop watching me while i sleep!
Stop watching me while I sleep!

Day 10

When I wake up I look for the wedding party, they have disappeared, bastards, I knew they didn’t like me. So Mekko and I set back on our way to Solitude to get rid of this damn poem and tell the bards to go stick their barding up their backsides. I signed on for this for the music, not for the hordes of zombies, ghosts and massive spiders.

The walk back to solitude is pleasant, the weather is fine and nothing horrific happens. The only thing of note is that I meet this happy band of god knows what. They tell me to ‘beat it’ so I leave them to it, whatever that might be.

We few, we happy few
We few, we happy few

I arrive at Solitude in the late evening and hand in the poem, the ungrateful bastard doesn’t look happy, apparently the poem is incomplete and mostly unreadable. I call him a swear word and begin to walk away. Then I turn round and ask the man if we can just make it up. He says yes! Yes?! Why did I have to go find the funking poem in the first place if we can just make it all up!? Everything I have done has been a giant waste of time, I swear again!

Here's your god damn poem, it better rhyme!
Here’s your god damn poem, it better rhyme!

The man makes up the poem, it’s dreadful, it doesn’t rhyme and the symbolism is shallow and void of deep meaning. But the pointy chinned fool seems happy and he goes and presents it to the court. He reads it out to the queen or what ever she is, it is very tedious, I didn’t sign on to be a bard to read out bad poetry.

There was a man from Nantucket
There was a man from Nantucket

Then something happens that baffles me, the court love it! What? Why do they like it so much? Meh, either way this festival will go ahead, which is apparently the whole point, which is news to me. At the festival I am going to be initiated into the bards college. I will become a bard, I’m conflicted about this now. Will I have to stand in a pub and annoy people all night?

I go to the bards college and tell them this festival, of which I’ve only just become aware, is now ‘back on’.  Jorn is very happy about this! The party begins at dusk.  Just enough time for me to harvest all the flowers and plants that have grown in the days since my departure.

Dusk comes and the party is in full swing when I get to the college.  There are tables of snacks and food all about, and they’re free to try, I’m not a greedy man so I just sample one of each.

Mmmm boiled cream treat, sounds delicious!
Mmmm boiled cream treat, sounds delicious!

I then go to the main festival attraction.  Good lord it’s grim, haven’t they heard of tinsel and fairy lights? It’s so gloomy it makes Halloween look like Easter!

Bard festival, it's about poems not lights and colour!
Bard festival, it’s about poems not lights and colour!

They set fire to a big straw man and for some reason at the same time announce I’m a bard. Well whoopee shit! This couldn’t feel more anti climatic if it tried.  I have a chat with a few of my fellow bards, and the cheeky gits all ask me to go on deadly missions for them. I return to my ‘go to’ response and simply walk away from them.

Where's Edward Woodward when you need him?
Where’s Edward Woodward when you need him?

I now need to off load all this junk I seem to have acquired on my travels. From it I manage to make a very nice fur lined tent, no more freezing to death for Cecil! Then with the gold I have made, I get completely drunk. Again! It numbs the memories of Dead Men’s Respite! My favorite bard blathers on while I sit in the inn and contemplate my next move. What should I do? I can’t stay here, I may be a bard but there is no bed for me in the college. I can’t make a living from chopping wood, I would die in a week of such hard labour. No, I think a warmer and drier climate is required!

I look at my map, the furthest city south is Riften, it looks nice I suppose, there is a nice big lake there and there seems to be less snow. Yes, that’s what I’ll do! I’ll move to Riften! It’s a mighty undertaking and it means walking across all of Skyrim but if I make it alive I have a feeling I will be very happy there!

I'm moving to Riften
I’m moving to Riften

But first, I drink and listen to this bard one last time!

A booze, my true friend!
A booze, my true friend!

End of Chapter One

Coming next time – There and hopfully not back again, An Old Mans Tale

Coming in a while, when i’ve done it!

Old man in Skyrim – Part 7

The Premise

Skyrim is a vast sprawling game, you can pretty much do anything you want, so I decided to live in Skyrim, to see how an old man coped with the harsh environment and bizarre folk that inhabit this land. This is my tale!

The Rules

80 year old man in Skyrim.

Only doing what an average 80 year old can do.

No constantly running, using shouts (special powerful magics), magic or fast travel.

No murder or stealing or anything unethical, should always try to run away from a fight.

Read part six here – https://radiothax.com/2013/10/18/old-man-in-skyrim-part-6/

Day 8

I’m woken up by the sound of a woman screaming. Meeko and I rush out to search for her. Two hours later we find a dead Stormcloak courier just lying on the road. There are no signs of struggle, she hasn’t been robbed. I of course don’t steal her belongings, she hasn’t done me any harm, I won’t grave rob, unless they have tried to murder me. Maybe she had a heart attack.

How did she die?!
Death by invisible breast pinch?

I take a while to rest and plan my day, then while I’m sitting at a bench eating my mid-morning raw potato, I see a tiny island not 50 feet away from the bandit camp. This is where I was meant to be going all along! So everything I’ve done since finding out about this treasure has been a huge waste of time.

Meeko won’t be able to swim to the island as the current seems very strong, so I order him to stay. I can’t risk my only friend and protector being washed away. The only problem is, if I run into trouble on the island I will have to defend myself.  Though what trouble can I get into on this tiny island? At worst a scraped knee from slipping over maybe.

Sit Meeko sit, good dog!
Sit Meeko sit, good dog!

I can see the chest on the island and use the handy stepping stones to get to it, if I fall I’ll probably get swept into the rocks and crack my skull open. This chest better be full of gold and fancy diamond garments! I get across without hassle and get to the chest. IT’S LOCKED!  I swear for about 5 minutes then realize I have the key in my pocket, it was by the bandit chiefs bed. I look around to see if anyone’s witnessed my sweary outburst. I can’t see anybody, embarrassed I unlock the chest. And the haul? 90 gold, some rubbish boots and a gem worth about 80 gold!

Phwar, look at that booty!
Phwar, look at that booty!

I’ll be honest, it’s hardly a life’s savings, what was the bandit chief going to do with this nest egg? Spend a week in an inn then buy a cardboard box with a view of a sewer?

Well that was worth risking my life for! I meet up with Meeko and realize I’m struggling to carry all the junk I’ve acquired. It’s a long walk back to solitude to sell all the things I’ve plundered so I dump the worthless heavy junk in the nearest chest. After yet another disappointing quest I decide I’m going to just have a look back in Dead Men’s Respite, Meeko might be able to easily defeat these zombies, he’s pretty handy with his teeth and I have a bow and some arrows now, I don’t see anything morally wrong with killing zombies, they’re already dead.

We go in, I can hear some shambling from lower in the chamber. Meeko rushes ahead and take two of them down instantly, I manage to shoot one back to death then the final one is dispatched by a shot from me and a bite from Meeko’s teeth.

Meeko does the damage and I finish them off!
Meeko does the damage and I finish them off! Tag team zombie murder!

I now have the grim task of searching their corpses, they have a modest amount of gold each, how they earned it I’ll never know, zombie bob a job? I also pull my arrows out of their impaled guts. In the next chamber? Oh just giant spiders! Thankfully they only take one arrow to kill, I’m pretty handy with this bow!

The horror!
The horror!

After several chambers of the most horrific thing’s I’ve ever experienced in my life I have to stop and sit down, I’m so terrified, death surrounds me at every turn. This is the stuff of nightmares, this is an horrific dream I can’t seem to wake from.  Still, at least it can’t get worse than zombies and giant spiders.

Oh, it got worse!

There are giant swinging axes! Why are there giant swinging axes? Who built this place? What possible use could a passage of giant swinging axes ever have? Meeko manages to run through without getting hit. I’ve got two big zombies following me, I’ve no choice but to make a run through, this could be the end. I run the gauntlet, luckily the adrenaline of the constant horror keeps me sharp and spry, I make it through, the two zombies following me can only muster a slow shamble and the axes make light work of them. I guess that is the only use a passage of giant swinging axes has!

What possible practical use is this!?
What possible practical use is this!?

In the next chamber the ghost appears and sits next to a corpse holding a book, I can see it’s the poem I’ve been looking for. Will the corpse now read me a passage? Thankfully no. I punch the ghost in the face for putting me through this ordeal

Take that you dead bardstard!
Take that you dead bardstard!

He stands up and beckons me to follow him, I assume for a reward. He leads me to a big door which is opened by the red claw thing I picked up days ago. The giant door slowly opens revealing a room with so many corpses I can’t count them all. They of course all spring to ‘life’ but to my intense happiness they all attack the ghost. He fends them off with Meekos help and I chip in with my arrows from a very safe distance.

Zombie conference, with ghost guest speaker.
Zombie conference, with guest ghost speaker.

We eventually dispatch them all, this sure is some hard core poetry! The ghost breaks out his ghost lute and strums a tune while I search the corpses for gold and the what not. I find a key on a fancy looking zombie, it opens a door and a chest, I take the gold and grab Meeko and hobble out of this hell hole as fast as I can.

Ghost jazz funk
Ghost jazz funk

We make it onto the moors, its night, I’m utterly petrified, I make my tent near the fisher woman’s hut and weep myself to sleep!

You weren’t  there man, you don't know what it was like!
You weren’t there man, you don’t know what it was like!

Old man in Skyrim – Part 6

The Premise

Skyrim is a vast sprawling game, you can pretty much do anything you want, so I decided to live in Skyrim, to see how an old man coped with the harsh environment and bizarre folk that inhabit this land. This is my tale!

The Rules

80 year old man in Skyrim.

Only doing what an average 80 year old can do.

No constantly running, using shouts (special powerful magics), magic or fast travel.

No murder or stealing or anything unethical, should always try to run away from a fight.

Read part five here – https://radiothax.com/2013/10/17/old-man-in-skyrim-5/

Day 7

Let's look for treasure!
Let’s look for treasure!

I wake up to the sounds of Meeko barking and sniffing loudly, I suspect I have severe night farts. There is certainly a smell that would attest to this. I get up, eat a lump of some food, I’m not sure what exactly, more mystery meat. I check my map and see an island that I suspect the treasure might be on, so we head in that direction. The only problem is that we can’t get round or passed the cliffs, the bandits certainly chose a good impenetrable spot. The only options I can see is either going back the long way around, past fort skellingtons and that angry bear or heading off onto the moors and trying to climb round via that way or heading south and trying to cross the river and come at it from below. I take the last option as I don’t know if I can face either skellingtons or clambering over a steep hill.

We get over a bridge and spy in the distance, a buck being chased by two wolves. Everywhere on this damn world is dangerous. For the first time I unsheathe my bow, before I’ve even figured out how to put an arrow in Meeko has killed the two wolves. It’s a shame to let good fur and meat go to waste so I harvest them. We walk not more than 50 feet when were set upon by three bandits. Why won’t this place give me a break?! Meeko attacks and kills two but the third is coming at me, even though he is punching me into next week I can’t bring myself to raise my bow to him. I run away with him chasing me. Though I’m wily and run towards Meeko, who quickly leaps to my defence. That man really hurt me, he might have broken a rib. I plunder his and his companions pockets for gold, it’s the least they can do for me, they were happy to murder me and my dog, why should their corpses be rich?

Meeko, defender of the elderly!
Meeko, defender of the elderly!

We continue along the road a short way and by the time we’ve met and killed our fifth bandit I decide it’s probably best to turn around and clamber over the moors instead of continuing this way. As we walk towards the moor an unpleasant man tells me to ‘Go home milk drinker’. I’d love to go home and drink some delicious milk, I don’t know why he was so angry at me, so I just walk away from his grumpy bum. I don’t know why this area is so busy but seconds after the grumpy man, I meet a noble man on a horse, he even has a guard with him. A wise idea in these parts. I speak to the noble man, he practically spits at me and rides away. Why can’t these horrible people have been killed instead of my drinking buddies.

A toff and his guard!
A toff and his guard!

Meeko and I walk over the moors, it’s actually easy and quite pleasant, and wolf/bandit free. From up the hill we can see the bandit camp. For some reason, the noble man has gone in and walked his horse onto the bridge. What is he playing at? Inspecting the corpses? Oh god, does he know what my dog has done?! We only acted in self-defence, it was us or them. I can’t see his guard. But on the hill opposite I can see a few figures running this way and that, what is going on round here, is it a bandit conference?

Nobleman on a horse on a bridge!
Nobleman on a horse on a bridge!

I’m well rested and we walk on the moors some more, then we stumble on a bizarre scene, a dead deer and an abandoned war axe. I was thinking about making camp here but decide against it. I plan on camping by the fishing hut, but as I walk towards it I catch a glimpse of the bandit camp again. I can see the horse, but no noble or guard. Is this place some kind of human Bermuda triangle? I walk nearer and find an easy path round to the bandit camp, meaning I have wasted a whole day trying to find a route round over the moors and paths.

The horse looks incredibly shocked, I wish I knew what had happened!

What horrors did it witness?
What horrors did it witness?

I search the entire camp but can’t find any sight of the two gentlemen, where ever they are, I hope they’re happy together. I decide to spend another night in the bandit chefs bed, seems too nice an opportunity to let it go to waste.

Old man in Skyrim – Part 5

The Premise

Skyrim is a vast sprawling game, you can pretty much do anything you want, so I decided to live in Skyrim, to see how an old man coped with the harsh environment and bizarre folk that inhabit this land. This is my tale!

The Rules

80 year old man in Skyrim.

Only doing what an average 80 year old can do.

No constantly running, using shouts (special powerful magics), magic or fast travel.

No murder or stealing or anything unethical, should always try to run away from a fight.

Read part four here – https://radiothax.com/2013/09/13/old-man-in-skyrim-4/

Day 6

I set off after a breakfast of carrots and guilt. I take the other path, I may have to go over a mountain but it has to be better than monster crabs and bandits in forts who get really violent if you accidentally go near them. After a while I see a man in the distance. He’s seen me but is still just walking so I think I’m safe. He introduces himself, he’s a wandering bard! I cut him off mid-sentence and walk away, damn bards.

Go bard yourself!
Go bard yourself!

Several hours of walking and flower picking I see a dog in the middle of the road, it comes bounding up to me then starts running away woofing. “What is it boy?” I think and follow him. He leads me to a cabin in the woods, inside there is a dead man lying on his bed, a note next to him says he’s dying (now died) of rockjoint. The dog looks at me with its big brown eyes. I do the honourable thing and adopt him! His name is Meeko.

Meet Meeko, he's meek
Meet Meeko, he’s meek

We walk out of the woods and back on the quest for poetry. I don’t bother asking him if he likes human poetry, I suspect he’s not keen. Then again I’m not keen but a bards got to do what a bards got to do, though that’s annoy the hell out of everyone they ever meet apparently.

We walk up the road and spy a fort on the horizon, I know how risky these things are but as long as I keep my distance things should be OK. Things are OK because I see there are actual skeletons walking the ramparts so I take the widest berth possible.

We are fine, the skellingtons don’t get us, everything once again seems ok. We go off road to get to Dead Men’s Respite, off road onto a moor. It’s beautiful! Everything fin OHSHITAHUGEBEAR! Luckily were far enough away that it doesn’t attack us, it does however take fancy to a horse and attacks it to death. Meeko and I run away. The bear does not give chase, that was too close! This world is horrifically deadly. No wonder there are no 80 year olds around here!

Bear Vs horse, Hoof Vs Claw!
Bear Vs horse, Hoof Vs Claw!

Eventually we find the entrance to Dead Men’s Respite! As I stand looking at the ominous door, I contemplate something that’s been troubling me for quite some time, what if there is something deadly in here, what if something needs killing so I can get to this poem? I refuse to kill humans, and if I’m honest I don’t know if I could bring myself to kill an animal. Apart from bastard crabs! So what do I do if there are people in here? Turn and run is my only option! I’ll just pop my head round the door and have a quick peek inside. The poem might just be on the floor by the door.

G g g ghost!
G g g ghost!

I can’t believe what I’m seeing! A ghost! A ghost of a bard! A ghost of a bard playing a lute! It’s not seen me and I’m paralyzed with fear! Meeko nudges me and I stumble forward into the cave, the ghost bard (or bard ghost?) disappears. I eventually pluck up the courage to look around the chamber. There are corpses everywhere, this appears to be some kind of burial chamber, I haven’t made a list of my worst nightmares but this situation would be in the top three! I look around, seeing horrors everywhere. Then I spent an hour stuck in a room because Meeko refused to get out of the door way!

There is a table in the middle of the room with a red thing on, which like an idiot not thinking, I pick up, it’s a red claw. There is a clicking noise and the portcullis to the cave opens, one of my worst fear becomes reality. The corpses come to life! I turn, constantly shout ‘nope, nope, nope’ as I run out!

Why, what beautiful blue eyes you have my dear!
Why, what beautiful blue eyes you have my dear!

They haven’t followed me! Funk you Bards College, no diploma in barding is worth this! Keep your stupid poem! Not a chance in the hell am I going to fight zombie things! I’m a musician not a slayer of the undead. While I’m having a panic attack on the steps outside Dead Men’s Respite, were attacked by a wolf. Meeko makes himself useful and kills it. I’m not happy about the canine on canine murder, but it really was him or us. Good dog! I have the unpleasant task of getting the wolfs pelt and some of its meat, because I’m cold and hungry. Also Meeko probably needs feeding too.

We begin to walk down the hill when we see a little hut by the river. It looks so idyllic from here that we investigate. The owner isn’t too chatty when I say hello, I think about asking her to sell her house to me for 5 gold coins, until I see much bigger house on the hill. It looks even more idyllic. Maybe they will let me camp in their garden for the night.

Idyllic the Hutt
Idyllic the Hutt

We get closer, hang on this place looks familiar. Isn’t this where my only 3 friends were brutally murdered in cold blood for minor trespassing offences? Yes it is! But it looks totally deserted. I accidentally slip down the rocks I was spying from. My ankles are not happy about this. I really need a rest. Then Meeko decides to run away. Typical, I was going to lean on him till I could find a bench. Suddenly I hear some loud shouting, there is a commotion up ahead. I assume Meeko is being violently murdered and soon my own fate will be that of my drinking chums. I stagger over to where the noise is coming from only to witness Meeko killing two of the bandits. Before I can try and drag him away they’re dead, their corpses lay in front of me. I can’t help spy the gold falling out of their pockets. They did murder my 3 best and only friends. I feel I’m owed remunerations for their crime! Yes, death may be retribution but I’m out of pocket three drinking buddys, so I quickly question my morals. Where do I stand on plundering the corpses of the dead. It’s probably not good but they did murder so I think I’m ok to take what they have. So before I change my mind I take their gold, a small bow and some arrows and for good measure I take a set of their warm fur armour.

Munch him down Meeko, he killed my drinking pals!
Munch him down Meeko, he killed my drinking pals!

While I’m taking their things I find a journal by the bandit chief, it turns out that he wanted out and was stock piling gold on an island to the south. The bandit chief is dead now. It seems a waste to let all that gold rot away. It’s free for any wiley old boy to help himself to. Seems like Cecil has a new mission on his hands!

I’m feeling incredibly cocky, so Meeko and I spend the night sleeping in the bandit chief’s hut, in his very own bed. It’s cosy, and we have a damn fine night’s sleep!

Italian Holiday – Part 3

Day 4 – Venice

We got up at some ungodly hour, it was still dark, not sure what time, 6am something. Not entirely sure, I though holidays were meant to be restful. Obviously not.

We had a breakfast of meats and cheeses, the salami was still brown around the edges, I assume it’s meant to be like this now. Though I still didn’t have any, can’t risk having a runny bottom here, everywhere you go they charge you for needing a toilet, supply and demand I guess. Well charge you for using a toilet, not needing a toilet, that would be one hell of a tax.

Mum and Dad couldn’t seem to wake up and were in a grumpy mood, as was I. I didn’t really think this morning, and went on the assumption that Venice would be really hot like last time we came here, it was 45 degrees then.  We went on the bus, none of us took any coat or cardigan, this was a big mistake because when we finally got to Venice, it was blowing a gale and freezing cold. Well not freezing, but cold, my nipples certainly knew about it.

These come alive at night and scream
These come alive at night and scream

The coach tour we are with are a mixed bunch, some ripe old birds up for ‘the crack’ and some right grumpy gits. We were all stood waiting to get the water taxi to the main bit of Venice, while being cold, a man with a fake teddyboy style wig and his friends went and sat on a wall, then when it was time for us to go into the water taxi, they didn’t see and stayed sat on this wall, this angered the normally cheery chubby driver, the other slim driver remained his usual miserable self.

We were on the water taxi and exposed to the elements. I’ve not been so cold in ages, Cecil was shivering and mum was actually cuddling up to him for body heat.

We got into Venice, we had paid an extra 25 Europe’s to go for a ride on the gondolas.  We had to go in a group with two other old woman. As it was very windy the first bit of the ride was rough as it was on the sea, the two old woman, and Mum did not take kindly to this. They were laughing, but it was a laugh of hysteria, but not a good hysteria, an hysteria of terror. Also when I got onto the gondola, the damn thing very nearly tipped over and put everyone in the sea. The woman screamed, and rightly so!

The gondola took us around the water ways of Venice, and water way to travel, it really is the only way to see the canals of this beautiful town/city. Though the captain? Driver? Pilot? Shouted at mum when she put her arm over the edge of the boat. He shouted in Italian, so we’ve no idea if it was a polite suggestion or a violent mafia style threat.

Parts of the canals smelled of poo.  It was nice though, not the poo smell, the canals. We then got off the boat, which almost tipped up again twice when I stood up and when I got off. The woman screamed!

There’s not much say about it really, we walked around for four hours, we got very lost (and a little grumpy), saw some sights, ate a dry salami sandwich and had an ice cream that was very nice. The only thing of slight interest was a very old woman, French, was pleading with my mum for something, my mum thought she was lost or tired, the old woman had a wrist strap on and a walking stick, I thought she might be a very old pick pocket so I watched her other arm/hand very carefully. She kept pleading with my mum in French but as I’ve said, the only thing my mum knows in French is “I can’t speak French” the old woman let her go. I still don’t know what she really wanted. Maybe she was an old kiss a gram.

Eventually it was time to get back on the water taxi, Venice is really nice, but busier than any other place I have ever been on earth, so many people of all races, creed, colours and smells.

Oh and we saw a man kick a pigeon and break its wing and leg, he did it right in front of the police who ran after him, it was very upsetting to see.

We then all waited by the jetty to get our river taxi back to the main land, we were in a big group and another big group of people were waiting for their taxi to our right.  Our driver told us all to walk through their group and get on our taxi, but when half of us had gone through this other group started to board their taxi, cutting off our path to our ferry. They slowed down and eventually stopped, trapping me and about 6 old ladies, the old woman in front of me asked someone from this other group if we could get through their group and re-join ours, but the grumpy old cow refused, thinking we were trying to get in front of them on to their taxi, so the old woman from our group, who was from Newcastle, elbowed at this other woman in the stomach and barged passed her. I was agog. Biddy on biddy violence. The other remaining biddies all started walking through the gap the violent woman had made, so I had no option but to go with them, lest be stuck in Venice forever.

We then sat on the taxi then the bus and I was desperate for a wee, it took me an hour to build up the courage to use the toilet on board the bus, but when I did, oh the relief and it was a wee of epic proportions!

We got back to our hotel, but the driver, who I might have mentioned is slim and really grumpy, was half asleep or something because the pillock drove passed the hotel, only by about 10 meters, but he slammed on the breaks and everyone shot forward, the chubby driver who wasn’t driving, got up and ran to the back of the bus because he thought someone had crashed into us due to the stupid slim drivers breaking method. Luckily no one had, the chubby driver was saying the f word under his breath all the way down the bus. They don’t get on very well I don’t think.

We had tea, it was fish, flounder I believe, nothing thrilling to report.

I’ve just spoken to my mum about last night, when I went for my before bed wee, I thought I had woken her up because she did wake up, and said I was a bastard and then she had to go do a wee and keep calling me names, but having just spoken to her, she has absolutely no recollection of this what so ever.

Day 5 – Verona

We got a bit of a sleep in this morning till 8am, which my body clock still thinks is 7am so I was very sleepy. We went to breakfast and the old couple we share the table with, who today is their 54th wedding anniversary, didn’t turn up, so I got to sit there quietly eating continental breads, cheeses and meats. It was very nice.

After breakfast we got on the coach and went to Verona, it was surprisingly lovely, we had been before and I found it boring and a bit frightening due to the high level of living statues. This time we decided to venture into the (apparently) 3000 year old arena, it was big, stone and full of tourists. Though I did manage to go for a free wee wee, though when I was coming out of the cubicle in the men’s toilet an old woman was waiting to go in, it was the men’s toilet, but she, like almost all the people I’ve seen on the continent, didn’t give a plop what people thought and just did whatever she wanted! Oh what a way to live, you get to do whatever you want, be rude, push in queues, drive at people, shout at people and the what not, we seem so polite compared.

I don't know who these people are!
I don’t know who these people are!

We then went round Verona, not much to say really, it’s nice, there were living statues, but they didn’t hassle me. We had lunch in a restaurant, more pasta, I’m a bit sick of pasta! We asked a man for the bill, he said yes, then never came back to us, we saw him serving loads of other people, so I being a bit too warm and wanting to go asked a waitress for the bill in quite an abrupt tone, and a bill was swiftly produced! Maybe this being rude thing is brushing off on me.

I could eat all that right now!
I could eat all that right now!

Then we got the bus back.

On the way to the hotel we stopped off at a duty free type shop, there was wine, foods and trinkets. Me and mum videoed the items on display, on our own separate camcorders, but as mum was videoing the grump young shop woman marched over to her and demanded she didn’t film in the shop. I don’t think she had spotted me. Why was she so angry about olive oil being filmed?! I’ll never know.  Mum got a bit embarrassed and walked away. We bought a few chocolates and booze, miniatures, nothing fancy, it’s just like shopping in an expensive Aldi or Lidl.

We got back to the hotel early and after we packed, I persuaded Mum and Dad to come for a walk, because I wanted to video and take pictures with my underwater camera, and we did go for a walk, I persuaded my Mum to go for a paddle, which she actually did. Then when she was trying to get back up the steep pebbly shore she fell over and couldn’t get up. She was on all fours for a minute, I was just laughing at her misfortune. She wasn’t hurt and finally she got herself up, it was an amusing sight.

Enjoy your trip?
Enjoy your trip?

I took some pictures and video and was convinced a tiny crab was crawling on my foot, though it was a phantom crab because the video clearly shows nothing at all anywhere near my foot.

We just waiting for tea now. I hope it’s not pasta based!

SHIT, MY PASSPORT!

Ugh I’d put my passport in my bloody main suitcase which had just been loaded onto the coach and locked away. I had to go down and find the driver and beg him to open the coach and let me get it out, luckily another woman, a middle aged woman travelling on her own had done the very same thing. I don’t know how she can travel on her own, she must be very empowered. Girl empower!

Tea was pasta based!

Day 6 – traveling home

The day started out like any other, dark, depressing and full of morning trumps. We got up, had the usual breakfast, but I was bold and ate the salami with the brown round the edges. It tasted fine! All this time I could have been eating it!

After breakfast we got on the coach and travelled many many hundreds of miles until we finally got to Metz where we were to stay over night. The hotel we quite posh but they weren’t providing us with any food so we had to go out and find some for ourselves.

Tempers were a bit frayed after being cooped up on a bus all day and we were all hungry and tired, we walked around a lovely garden then got into an argument about where to eat, we wandered around but couldn’t find anywhere with had either English menus or clearly labelled foods.  We’d had enough, there was a subway and we nearly ate there, but just couldn’t bring ourselves to. So we made our way back to the hotel, there was apparently a Chinese restaurant near, though why you’d have Chinese food in France is beyond me.  As it turns out we happened upon a French café in which we saw clearly written “Menu available in English” and we also saw some people from our coach eating steaks, so we went in. We were greeted by a very jolly Frenchman, he was very keen to constantly say ‘paella’ at us. He clearly didn’t speak a word of English, so obviously didn’t know what the word ‘menu’ meant. “Paella” he said again, we walked over to the English people and said hello and pointed to their steaks. Though one of them had some white meat and chips. After a confusing minute and more “paella” conversation he took us to a table and we waited for something, we weren’t exactly sure what. Some giant cola beverages were provided and then eventually, some white meat in a white sauce with salty French style fries. Mum was fairly sure it was veal, they seem to have that a lot over here, though we have lamb so depends how ethical you are as to how abhorrent this is to you.

The food was a welcome intake of energy and all our moods picked up once we had eaten, going on holiday is lovely but it’s very tiring and can lead to frayed nerves and cause tension, we always seem to argue on holiday, I bet that’s quite common though.

We went back to the hotel and slept like babies, in that half way through the night we all pooed ourselves and cried uncontrollably. A tee hee, that’s one of those jokes I’ve heard so much about! We slept very well, save for I woke up as I was just about to roll out of bed, luckily my monkey reflexes kicked in.

Day 7 – To England

We had the most delicious breakfast of the whole holiday, I had

  • Salami meats – 6 slices
  • Weird, yet delicious Ham – 3 slices
  • French bread – half a ‘baton’
  • Individual cheese – 3
  • Croissant – 2 filled with nuttella
  • fruit juice – 2 full glasses
  • sponge biscuit things – 4

That’s not a joke for comic effect, it was all so delicious I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stuff my face, and it was free so thought I’d best make the most of it, who knows if I’ll ever come back again.

We then sat on the bus for hours till we go to the ferry, as it was Saturday it was very busy. When we got off the bus, we tried to walk around the back of the bus to where the stairs were on the ferry to the upper decks, but there was an open door of another coach blocking the path, about four of us were looking for a way passed when the driver of the coach came storming out and started swearing and threatening to attack the man who was on our coach, all he was doing was looking for a way through, the driver was a huge guy both in height and weight, I just stood there agog, watching, mum was pushing me to move away but I thought it best to make sure this guy from our coach was ok, luckily his wife dragged him away and we all went the other way.  The evil driver was English, so much for us being incredibly polite, we hadn’t said or done anything to warrant such a reaction.  I tried to see which bus company he was with but never managed to.  I speculated he had done something bad and was facing the sack so he didn’t care anymore. The fat tall idiot.

The ferry was very busy, we just sat, depressed that the holiday was over and ate fish and chips.

Eventually we got into England and began to make our way home, we stopped off at some services and there were two opposing football team supporters in the services, there was an obligatory hooligan based punch up and in the end 8 police cars turned up.

We eventually got back onto another feeder coach and made our long way home, my body ached and I was very tired, but it was a wonderful holiday, thank you Mum and Cecil for making it a wondrous time!

Italian holiday 2013 – Part 2

Day 3 – Limone, Malcesine and Garda town

I rose at about 4 in the morning, well I say rise, I mean sank.  The bed me and Dad are sharing (because Mum won’t sleep in the same bed as him, he has very violent dreams and is likely to lash out in his sleep, also night farts) erm, what was I saying? Mum just burst out laughing at a very rude Facebook post, she wouldn’t tell me what it was about.

Oh yes, I woke up at 4 sinking in the middle of the ‘double’ bed which is actually two single mattresses atop two metal frame, my mattress had slid away and I had come to rest on the metal frame.  I wouldn’t have woken up if it wasn’t for Cecil punching me in the shoulder, after an apparent bad dream about a gnome, which was oddly apt for reasons that will become apparent later.

I went back to sleep till 8ish, whereby I got up, did a wee and went and had a breakfast of meats and cheese, though the meat I selected was brown on the outside, so mum advised me not to eat it. She didn’t say anything about not licking it though. Though when she saw me licking the meat, she slapped me.  I ate all the bread and cheeses I had got for myself and went back for a second helping but they had all gone, this coach tour is like a swarm of locusts.

Nice to meat you
Nice to meat you

By about 9am we were all on the coach and informed we would be taken on a ferry to a town called Limone, this excited me greatly, because I’ve been there before but my camcorder broke so I lost all the footage and no one on YouTube could see my holiday there, which meant that literally upwards of 3 people were slightly disappointed! But now we were going back and I would video that horrific shop filled with masks.

We got on the ferry and because Dad’s so old and slow we didn’t make it to the front of the boat and had to settle with the second row of seats, meaning my videoing has the back of a bald man’s head in it.  The sun was out and very warm, but there was a breeze so my sweat was light to moderate (that wouldn’t last).

We got into Limone and immediately looked at all the fabulous ice creams on offer, how these Italians are so thin is a mystery to me, their puddings are amazing.

We walked around for an hour, up the beach, slowly, at 80 year old man pace. Eventually Dad needed a wee as did mum, so they went in to the first public toilets they found. These were toilets of the nature of just a hole in the ground. Dad was so shocked that he called me into have a look. I simply had to try it out. When Dad had done his wee and left the toilet obviously. Not that I stayed in the toilet with him, I waited outside. It was quite rubbish weeing in a hole because the door lock was broken so I had to prop it shut with my left foot while trying to lean over on my right enough to get all my wee down the hole, it was quite a distance from the door to the hole, so this wasn’t an easy task, but I mostly didn’t wee on my shoe. Mostly.

In the middle of Limone there was a man, dressed as a statue of a gnome, he was stood oh I don’t have to describe things anymore, look at this picture of the horror.  Horrible!

Gnome alone
Gnome alone

We had an ice cream, I asked mum for a biscuit one, assuming she was going to order all our ice creams. So when she said to the woman serving “Can I have a biscuit one” I thought she was getting mine. The woman passed me the ice cream and mum paid for it, this seemed odd, I looked at mum puzzled, she said “Aren’t you getting one” I asked her if the ice cream in my hand was mine, she said it was hers, even though she said she was getting a pistachio one. She had changed her mind as is her want.  It was slightly awkward for a few seconds, but the woman serving gave us Mum’s ice cream and it was paid for. We ate it by the lake side, it was delicious.

We made our way into the shop with the horrible masks, they were horrible! I videoed them and left. We went to the ferry jetty, our ferry was due to leave at 12:30 so we were there by 12:20, the bastard thing had set off.  We could see all our fellow passengers on the boat, they saw us and shouted, luckily the captain stopped leaving and drove back to the ferry jetty thing. We had to jump onto the ferry, no gang plank or anything, we had to leap over a 8-12 inch gap. One of the coach drivers was on the boat and it’s his job to make sure were all on before the damn boat had set off. I gave him one hell of a look as if to say, ‘‘If you’d have gone we would have been stranded there, with no way of getting back to the hotel, you utter prick!’’ I think he got the message, other passengers quipped “We thought you were going to have to swim back to the hotel” I wanted to punch them all in the eye sockets. I didn’t.  The ferry set off 5 minutes early. I think this driver hates us for some reason; he’s a right grumpy git with us, but not other people.

We sailed into Malcesine, food was required, all our tummy’s were a rumble, so the usual argument began, I didn’t want to eat in the first place mum found, it looked grotty, or the second place, and the third place was full of people with no food all looking grumpy, she seems to choose all the horrible looking places first then gets annoyed because i don’t want to eat in what was essentially a cave with garden furniture in. So we walked some more, she was obviously getting wound up, we looked at a menu for one restaurant but before we could inspect it closely, a man, we assumed a waiter, bade us come hither and he sat us down at a table before we knew what was going on. He had bamboozled us with his Italian language, large presence and scary face.

I inspected the menu. Absolutely every pizza came with tomatos! I couldn’t believe it, I was in Italy and pizza was a no no because they put real horrific tomatos on it. The bastards! Luckily mum found spaghetti carbonara, which is just spaghetti with bacon and a sauce.  We were further bamboozled into ordering a garlic bread, he did it by speaking really fast and scarily so we didn’t dare say no.

They brought out a thing, this thing.

Burnt oily 'garlic' offerring
Burnt oily ‘garlic’ offerring

Apparently a garlic bread, I would say it was neither bready nor garlicy. I would call it an oily burnt flatbread. Though there was no garlic or bread on it, it was surprisingly nice, if a little burnt.  Then we waited, and waited and waited! 50 minutes we waited there for this spaghetti I think. Though it was only meant to be a starter, when it came it was huge, so much so Mum and Dad couldn’t finish all theirs, and I couldn’t finish their left overs.  It was very nice though.

There is no dignified way to eat this!
There is no dignified way to eat this!

When we had eaten we made our way to the bus stop, early just in case. We got onto the bus, I gave the horrible driver another horrible look.

We went to Garda town, it was bloody lovely, like It all is round here, all crystal clear water and blue skies. The water was so inviting that at one point I decided to take an underwater photo with my waterproof camera. Which you can see here.

Then my shoes got wet. My mum did not like this one bit, she told me my shoes were wet and I calmly and carefully explained that it was very warm and they would dry quickly. I certainly didn’t shout at her for telling me off in public or over react in any way, and anyone who claims I did snap at her in an uncalled for manor is lying!

Later after further walking, we stopped and mum couldn’t resist, she wanted a paddle! So she took her shoes and socks off and went near the water, on the most stony bit of beach she could find. Only it wasn’t really a beach, more a pile of large pebbles, she put two toes in the water and couldn’t move anymore because the stones hurt her feet.  I, being braver and mighty, took my soggy shoes off and paddled up to my knees, my shorts got a little wet, mum did not like that either, but I mostly ignored her. I took some more pictures underwater. They came out badly!

Fly eyes
Fly eyes

Eventually we made our soggy way back to the bus stop and came back to the hotel via bus.

Before dinner mum was reading a pamphlet about Malcesine, which has a castle in it, they have a room you can get married in called ‘Casermetta Sala labia’. This made mum laugh so much she wee’d herself and had to run to the bathroom.  Dad wouldn’t and still won’t explain to me why this is in any way funny!

We had tea and the old couple at our table wouldn’t shut up, just when I thought I’d escaped and we had gone for a walk on the big balcony, Mum and dad went back into the dinning room and sat down for pudding, I obviously had pudding too but I didn’t want to have to sit through hearing this old man talk about things I’ve no interest in what so ever!  Though if you’re reading the Doug and Jean (or Joan, not sure which) I’m just making it up to be grumpy, your story of going to a pub that had a river behind it once, was captivating.

Finally by 9 o clock we left the dining room and I’ve written all this, Mum is snoring her head off, Dad’s trying to poo I think.  I’m going to try to sleep now. Tomorrow, Venice! I hope it’s not flooded!

Italian holiday 2013 – Part 1

I’m sat here writing this

Not pictured, me in my boxer shorts trumping
Not pictured, me in my boxer shorts trumping

There is a smell of calm and the sensation of relief in me.  But why am I here and what the dickens am I playing at? Well read on, do!

Day one

It was four in the morning, Cecil let out a scream, his scream went from his mouth, through the air and into my sleeping ear, filled with terror and urine, I jumped up out of bed, hitting Cecil square in the face with my face, it was like a very violent kiss, if you kiss by smacking your father with your eye socket.

He had woken me up in the worst way possible, the startle method. His nose, now bloody and throbbing, bore the brunt of his stupid maneuver, as did my eye. He ran off crying, and I went back to sleep, I didn’t know what he had done it for.  At a quarter to five, my mum came in my bedroom, smacked me on the legs and shouted at me to get up. An impromptu holiday was to be undertaken, because it’s my parent’s 50th anniversary of something, not their wedding, something else they won’t tell me. So were going on a mystery holiday.  Luckily Dad had packed my clothes for me, I just had to grab my laptop and camcorder, phone and digital camera, tooth equipment and by five am we were in a taxi.  By 5:05 am we were at a bus stop in the middle of town, there were a dozen old people also waiting with cases, there was also a constant steady stream of en drunken revelers from the previous Saturday night, staggering this way and that.  Our bus stop got continually questioned with “Where’s you’s going?” and “Why are you people?”  The old biddies shouted back answers such as “Wetwang” and “who’s a boozy boy”.

By 5:30 an Esk valley bus came and picked us all up, I assumed we were going to stay somewhere in northern Yorkshire.  I was wrong, this was something called a ‘feeder’ coach, though we were never fed any food!  After hours we ended up at Woodmansey or Woolsey or somewhere, I don’t know where exactly, I was very tired. We got moved onto a coach, by national holiday, Dad blindfolded me so I couldn’t see where it was going.  This was a massive waste of time and huge inconvenience because as soon as the drivers got on the coach they said “Welcome to national holidays trip to Lake Garda” somewhere we have been before, but I fear that blog was lost when MySpace decided to delete all my previous blogs.

The day then consisted of nothing but sitting on a coach and stopping at service stations and then going on a ferry from Dover to France, nothing happened on there, compared to our overnight ferry trip to Europort last year, this was a daddle/doddle.

Nothing of note happened in France as we made our way to our overnight stay in a hotel in Metz, save that at one service station me and Mum took a walk down a path behind the services and then a small angry French woman came and shouted at us in French, mum said ‘I do not speak French’ but in French, which seems quite ironic to me, so the angry French woman shouted “FORBIDDEN!” twice as we started walking away.

We got to our overnight hotel and slept like logs, which means going to sleep very quickly and quite well.

French bed
French bed

Day two

We got up at quarter past 5, had the most delicious breakfast or meats, cheese and proper French bread, which both Mum and Dad couldn’t chew because of their pathetic fake teeth.  I had a whole baton of bread with 6 butter cubes and god knows how much meat and cheese slices.

 

Then we spent 12 or so hours, on a coach, with stops at service stations.  Nothing happened apart from I got angry as the old woman opposite me on the coach who never ever wears her seatbelt.

Oh, once when we were all getting back on the bus after a comfort stop (which wasn’t particularly comforting due to the high level of stench coming from the toilet area). We got back on the coach and while I was stood in the walkway of the bus, I was taking my jacket off to put it in the overhead compartment when a tiny angry old biddy woman walked up to me, said excuse me in a rude manor and pushed my shoulder so hard I had to move out of her way, the grumpy old cow sack, I wanted to punch her in her neck flaps.

We got to Lake Garda at about 6 o clock, Mum and Dad rushed off the bus to get the key to the room, while I was stuck on the coach letting old people go passed me, I couldn’t hold a trump in any longer and it just slipped out, there was a very definite stench, two days’ worth of poo was waiting in there and its gas was desperate to come out, and come out it did.  The queue on the bus came to a stop right next to my seat as some old codger was struggling with the stairs, the smell built up and I could see people had defiantly smelt it. I thought about saying “Yep that was me, and if you don’t want more, let me off now, I’ve not pooed in 2 days” but I didn’t I just looked at my shoes and fat ankles.

Eventually we all got off the bus and made it into the room, see picture, Cecil was just sat on the double bed weeping with how beautiful the view was/is.  He claimed to be incredibly happy.

Water view
Water view

After I and mum had pooed (one after the other, not at the same time) we went down stairs and got shown to our table.  There was an old couple there already, as is customary, they were/are from New Castle or Teenside or something, I don’t know, it’s all the same.  The food was semi self-service, well, the salad was self-service, so I had a nice salad of some bread roll and butter with lots of salt.  Then we all had what looked like cheese and ham pasta, but it wasn’t, it was pasta with salmon and a liquid, I did not like it, far too fishy tasting. Mum and dad did not like it.  we’ve come back to the room to eat the expensive crisps we got in Switzerland.

I’m eating some now, sat on the balcony and writing this, there are lots of English people sat downstairs, drinking. They are loud!