First thing I do on Monday is have harsh words with Redfern Travel. Not only do they have a user unfriendly website you’re forced to work with but my booking was somewhat misinterpreted by the automated process.

What booking? What the hell is he whining about now? Well it’s finally January 31st which means tomorrow is the next Re-registration Woking group meeting and I’m on the Eurostar heading over to Brussels. I’ve been looking forward to this since…well, since the new year and as every day this month has brought forth fresh news of some other disaster, trauma or other such crisis, this was the one thing I could look forward to.

Ok, that’s a bit harsh on friends and mates and even work colleagues but the truth is that the first twelfth of the year has stunk. I have avoid the worst of it – personally speaking but all you have to do is look at all the glum faces to see what a lousy time others have been experiencing. Death, doom, failure; not quite a well-woven thread in life’s “rich tapestry”

However, I get to put all that behind me for twenty-four (or so) hours whilst I go serve Queen and Country in international negotiations. I’m eagerly awaiting the chance to load two large holdals with Belgian treats though the lugging of said bags through two major European cities isn’t a thrilling prospect, particularly given what happened last time.

Anyway, back to the business at hand. I’m not sure when my last blog entry was – as I don’t currently have a 3G connection to check and I’m not in first class so I can’t mooch off the back of wifi. But I’m fairly certain it was over a week ago.

What I can report though is that last Thursdays round of Spartacus was fun if not a little stilted by all the sulking going on, particularly when Jad began chucking board pieces around the room and I got spectacularly shafted by Robyn. I felt the urge to take it all out on Joey – and nobody was pissed enough to really enjoy the schadenfreude. But rob is back in the country from the States so we should be able of get back to the backstabbing orgy that is Risk Legacy.

A cursory tale to take heed of is to be sure that you get enough sleep people. I didn’t, I haven’t for quite some time and I’ve been paying the price these last few days with a stress cold. Work has been a real bear as of late with a massive bombardment of urgent and frankly unrealistic deadlines. The anxiety of having to meet them all together with a lack of eight-hour unconscious sessions has not a healthy Joe made. In fact the only time I’ve felt vaguely myself is in the middle of my evening walks.

Yesterday was the worst – think I managed to fill an entire box of tissues with snot – not pleasant when you’re trying to brief people on number plates for a fricking Adjournment Debate (two days to write the damn speech AND collate briefing). I should be holding my tongue as a good little civil servant but damn it, I’m frustrated.

I was beginning to feel yakky on Friday so I started searching around for a masseur as Nickel Spa typically has a few days waiting list for a cent length treatment, train services to Brighton to see Phil were buggered and I didn’t have the inclination to go to another sauna/spa. No sooner had i decided to get a rub down when my back gave out – the ‘shooting down the spine pain’ which means Im definitely not getting enough kip. But I found a nice Kiwi who tore into my shoulders with gusto and eased the tensions building up. My only gripe was that it was an hour in length – next time it’s longer.

The last of the snow melted away towards the end of last week although elsewhere in the country – particularly in Swansea according to big Ian – much of the ground remains covered up. Whichever Roman invented or stumbled upon the secret of concrete deserves much more recognition. Greenhouse Effects be damned – more crushed stone mixture please.

Last weeks quiz went especially poorly for Yoshi’s Island though this Tuesday we came back from 4th place to win with 32 points and not one but two bonus prizes (ikea teddy bears and valentines day Crackers). Stuck to the cider for most of the evening – it was a Kopparberg kinds night. When I did get home, I went straight to bed and passed right out.

Bloody evil cats this morning woke me up by jumping on my bed. The little gits opened my door and clearly desperate for attention, ties to wring it from me. They got it, just not what they wanted. Alas this was just before seven and I remained awake until my alarm demanded I do something like hit the snooze button seven times. As revenge, I locked them outside before I left for work. Chances are they’re still there, looking forlornly at the inside of the lounge whilst shivering. The thought makes me smile.

Currently somewhere in the Channel Tunnel at the moment, much nearer to Calais rather than Folkestone by my reckoning. Am forced to share an airline seat (I specifically asked for a table seat hence my whining at the start of this blog post) with an armrest hog. It’s like last nights tube ride all over again where someone larger than Chris (we’re talking a Hutt on legs) wedged himself in the seat next to me and read a copy of the Evening Standard elbowing me without apology each time he turned the page. And he stank of piss. By the time the train rumbled into smile End, I was entertaining notions of murder, particularly when lardo fell asleep half onto…well, me.

Ah, nous sommes dans la France. I expect mobile phones to be abuzz in about five seconds once the local operators make contact with devices and the price plan messages are sent. It’s a curious ritual once you arrive in a new country but a handy reminder to turn off international roaming lest ye be stung for a hefty data charge bill thingy. The train is only making one stop at Lille – I hope more people get off than get on, specifically so I can get me a seat on my ownsome.

Ew, old lady just walked past clutching what looked suspiciously like a full sick-bag. Certainly the way she was carrying it made it look as if she were handling toxic waste. It’s a fairly mixed bunch of fellow travellers on the train today but almost everyone in visual range (I.e. the carriage) has an iPad or laptop. None of those dreadful windows tablets here. Mind you, there’s someone reading the Book of Revelation in French ahead of me (cheery), someone watching an award ceremony to my left, another person watching some stand up whilst another guy is playing chess. And there’s me, slagging them all off in my blog.

I’ve been playing Super Mario 3D for the most part these last couple of weeks. Been stretching out the levels just to make it last longer with deliberate termination lest I finish entire worlds on my tub ride to work. I’ve been enjoying it but I’m glad that it was a free download as if I’d bought it, I’d have been quite disappointed with the easiness factor as well as the relative shortness of the game. Super Mario DS, despite being a port of the N64 version is a lot more labour intensive than this game which I think I prefer. And to be honest, I can’t see why Nintendo elected to Streetpass the game because the bonus level awards aren’t especially needed given the ease of the game.

Birthday preparations continue apace – most of the invitations are out, there s just shy of thirty confirmations – that’s roughly half of the invitees so far. Haven’t tried again with the decorations since the Party Packs website froze up on me (sithspawn). But I completely forgot the Party Fiesta store in Stratford Westfield so can obtain some junk there – like balloons, helium and tablecloths rather than fanny about with online shopping. Say what you want about the interwebs, it’s just not as good as popping down to the shops and transacting in person.

Speaking of birthdays, there are several this month – I’m collecting Aquarians this year. There’s Ratboy, Paul, Brendon, the Doctor, Alan B and Lee B. And then it’s my turn, natch. I did _say_ I’d have a mull on the train as to what I might like people to buy me but beyond John Lewis vouchers and iTunes vouchers, I’m drawing a blank. This is what comes of being an awkward s.o.b.

Looking ahead, Paul, Darren and perhaps Alex will be having lunch on Sunday at the Griffin and anger bout of Age of Mythology so I’ll need to pick up something special whilst in Belgium. Maybe some more of those truffles. It’ll be a good laugh, especially as I don’t have to get up early for it. One thing I was hoping to do at some point for the game was to make my own character sheets for each of the game pieces given the lack of raw data shared by the manufacturers.

Right, I think that’s all I can be bothered to type for now. The train is almost at Lille, it’s 4.20 GMT and I feel the need to rot out my brain with Family Guy or some such rubbish. I know – one of the Roadrunner cartoons I have in my video collection. Meep Meep.