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what i did in the uk

November 8, 2004

Hello. I’m back now. And I’m sorely tempted to launch straight into some sort of tirade about the state of the world, but before I do anything like that, let me tell you what I did in my holidays.

I went back to the UK for my friend and former bandmate Liz’s wedding. The wedding was in Scotland (Liz is from Glasgow), which meant that I got to walk the mean and windswept streets of Edinburgh once more, if only for four days, and I got to see lots of people I haven’t seen for more than a year, and some people I haven’t seen for three or four. The strangest thing about being back was that it didn’t feel strange to be back. No reverse culture shock. Everything unnervingly familiar. The eeriest thing was going back to my old flat—as I went through the front door, it felt like literally only two or three days had passed since I left for Japan… as if the last year took place in some fold in the space-time continuum, or like I’d been to Where The Wild Things Are

So, apart from the obvious meeting of relatives, I drank my first (proper-tasting) Guinness in over a year with Andrew and Kirsty, went to see the play that is my sister’s first proper acting job (Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Greenwich Playhouse), and then went up to Edinburgh, where I went to a restaurant with Stuart, met Dave in a pub, cooked an unfortunately rather minimalist (there was nothing in my cupboards, ok?) meal for Jess, and was cooked a much more delicious and spicy meal by May. Then went up to the wedding with Liz’s old flatmates Mabel & Vivienne, and V’s boyfriend. After the wedding, stayed the night with two friends of Liz, got fed a fantastic Indian ommelette breakfast, and departed carrying a big jar of delicious home-made pineapple chutney to see Sheila the drummer, in Stirling. Finally, back in London, I managed to meet up with old, old friend Simon for the first time in a stupidly long time.

I’ve got used to the idea that Okinawa is a small place, and that wherever I go – even in the big city – I run into people I know, but weirdly that that now seems to be happening in the UK too (at least in Edinburgh)… As well as all the intentional meetings, I met almost the same number of people again just walking around in the street. Particularly well met were George the drummer, former flatmate Gary (for whom I had no contact details and so no way to get in touch with other than the crafty strategy of coming out of May’s flat at exactly the right moment to see him crossing the road ten metres away), and Rich from (Edinburgh band) the Peggy Vestas, who I saw jump onto a carriage further down the platform at Waverley, and who I located a little while later by text messaging, apparently at the exact moment that his iPod played a song that I gave him a copy of, and which had caused him to think “I wonder where Nick has got to these days…” (This was nicely symmetrical with a thing that had happened to me a couple of days before, where I said to myself “I’ll call Jess as soon as this song finishes”, and then, just as the song finished—right on cue—Jess called me…)

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