Well, one or two of you already know that the content of this blog is likely to change subtly. You’ve seen the loved-up, utterly devoted period. You’ve seen the heart-broken, devasted, “Graybo’s House of Pain”TM period (cheers Luke). You’ve seen the forward-looking, optimistic, I-can-deal-with-this period.
And now, Laydeeeez and Gennermen, I present to you: Graybo goes a-hunting! Well, not really. But one or two of you will know that I have been actively looking. Quite what I’m looking for, I am not really sure, but last night I went on a date. A blind one. Hence the obscure Waterloo clock reference yesterday – you did get that, didn’t you?
Well, I bet you are eager to know how I got on. We met in London, which in itself always presents a few problems, mainly transport related. Getting up there was fine, although I had to take most of the afternoon off in order to get to our meeting place by 5.30. Getting back was the problem. as usual, the last train back is ridiculously early – from Victoria it is direct, leaving at 22:17, but from London Bridge (which is where I was), it leaves at 22:10 and there is a change at Haywards Heath (not East Croydon – deliberately changed for the last train to catch out drunken bastards like me – but I was wise to that one!). As it was, I missed my connection at Haywards Heath because the train left London Bridge fifteen minutes late, so stuck with the train I was on into Brighton, figuring that there was a slim chance of picking up a train there that might get me as far as Barnham at least. However, once there I was advised that there were no trains until this morning, and I’d have to get a taxi. There are no Thameslink staff at Brighton, so nobody could authorise the taxi. Therefore I’d have to pay for it myself, get a receipt, and claim it back by post.
Cost of a taxi from Brighton to Chichester at 11.45pm? ….wait for it….£70!!
[insert expletive here]
Which would explain the happy demeanour of the cabbie as we drove along with him sitting next to seven crisp tenners freshly extracted from a cashpoint (he asked to be paid upfront). Interestingly, he didn’t know where Chichester was and had never been there before, so I had to direct him all the way when all I really wanted to do was kip – AND he had radio 4 news on REALLY loud. But he dropped me right at my door, and was pleasant enough, so can’t really complain.
Of course, I am now faced with the problem of extracting that money from Thameslink, which I suspect will not be easy.
Anyway, you’ll be more interested in the actual meeting. Well, I got there a bit early so went and mooched round a couple of gallery rooms (yes, opted for Rothko Room at Tate Modern as opposed to the decidedly cheesy Waterloo Station clock). Couldn’t really concentrate on the art as I was just a teensy bit hyper, as you might imagine.
So I wandered into the Rothko Room just after 5.30 (the agreed time) and she was sitting on the bench as promised (which was a relief). She (Sarah) is a occupational therapist living in Lincolnshire who happened to be at a conference in town that day. We introduced ourselves a little sheepishly and decided to go for a drink and maybe a bite to eat. So we headed round the corner to Vinopolis which is a very smart wine bar and restaurant, ordered a bottle of wine (she suggested a glass to begin with, but at those prices I thought a bottle would be better!!) and sat chatting.
Oh yeh – what did she look like – well, by her own description she has a size 14 top half and a size 12 below! A nice smile, friendly dark eyes, shoulder length dark brown (henna tinted) curly hair which she had tied up, about 5ft8in tall, and pleasantly “girl-shaped” – i.e. not too thin, not fat either.
We were both fairly open (I talked the hind legs off a donkey as usual – someday I really should learn to shut up and listen a bit more – topics of conversation included cats, pubs, friends, exes, blind dates, dating agencies, family, home, blogging and lots lots more) and we got on pretty well. I think that if we met a few times, regularly, something might just spark up. But I am not sure we “clicked” – I can’t put my finger on what was missing, but something wasn’t there, that “spark” thing. Also there is the whole Lincolnshire/Chichester issue too, both admitting that neither of us wanted to leave those places if we could help it (for those not familiar with UK geography, the journey time between her home and mine is about five hours).
Anyway, we had a meal, which was really lovely and not too expensive by London standards, then went to a pub next door for a couple of beers. After that I walked her to her hotel to get her case, and then with her back to London Bridge. Earlier in the evening, we had talked about previous dates, and she said that her last one had shaken her hand at the end of the evening and walked off, which she didn’t take to be a good sign. So as we parted on the concourse, I kissed her on the cheek – well, she was having none of that, and we had a good kiss! (-: “Goodbye, stay in touch”. I went off with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.
So it was a good night. I enjoyed it a lot. But I’m not sure. The distance thing is certainly a problem – if we do decide to meet again (which, as I say, I am not sure about to begin with), I think it could be quite hard for us to get to know each other really well. But it was good fun, and for a first date “back out there”, I couldn’t really have wished for anyone nicer – as Sarah said, “it took me a while to twig – it’s a dating thing! you’re supposed to meet lots of people! and hopefully, one of them will be right.”
I think I have made a new friend. That has to be a good outcome.
There will be others. I’m not prepared to say more, but I am not going to sit around waiting for girls to come to me – equally, I am not going to turn into someone who is blatantly desperate and needy, as that is one of the biggest turn-offs around. But I will keep you informed, dear reader, fear not.