I went back to my Sheffield roots this weekend but I didn’t stay with my parents; they do like having me to stay but it puts them a little bit on edge.
I think they worry I might want a bath, or I might turn on the oven just to heat up a hot cross bun or worst of all I might leave the wireless box switched on ALL NIGHT.
My friends are a little more relaxed about their utility bills and this time I stayed in my mate’s brand new city centre pad.
Friday was spent doing this:
I woke up face down in my party dress on Saturday morning feeling like this:
I had no time to nurse my hangover.
With only a couple of hours before I had to meet my mum for a nice lunch I needed to wash away the sins of the night before but unfortunately my friend’s boiler was not yet working and there was no hot water. This left me with two options:
Option 1 – ask my parents to heat an extra tank of unscheduled hot water
Option 2 – try to blag my way in to the Hilton Hotel and use their facilities instead.
Of course the Hilton won – I learned from my mother at an early age that going swimming is a good alternative to having a bath. All my friend and I had to do was pretend we wanted to join the gym.
The plan after that was that I would take my Mum out for a nice lunch. However my Mum was a bit excited to see me and she arrived at my friend’s house an hour early, having just eaten breakfast and as I was hungover and starving, she ended up taking me out for breakfast.
We went to a cosy cafe and shared a pot of tea and I tucked into poached eggs on toast while she nibbled on a piece of toast. The bill came to £9 which I thought was a quite a bargain for breakfast but I didn’t say so when I saw my Mum’s horrified face.
Then we met my Dad for tent shopping. It’s my birthday next week and Glastonbury next month so my Mum and Dad had agreed to buy me a tent – hooray!
The first suitable tent I saw was £50 and looked okay apart from it would clearly leak badly if it were to rain. My parents agreed and we carried on looking.
I soon came across a tent that was absolutely perfect for a festival. It was a little more expensive at £80 but it was a good make, very waterproof and a nice size for me and my wife. They both umm’d and ahh’d about it and insisted we keep on looking.
We moved away from the festival tents to the mountaineering tents and my parents spotted a tent, identical to the one we had just seen, for £250.
They were extra guy ropes and complex poles which would make it sturdy on the side of a windy mountain and it weighed 2 kilos less than the £80 one.
“We think you should get this one” they both agreed, “it will be lighter to carry”.
“I think I should get the cheaper one. We only have to carry it from the coach to the festival and it’s still pretty light.”
“But what if there’s gale force winds?”
“It’s a festival at in the middle of summer, it’s unlikely there will be gale force winds”
“But what if the festival site gets flooded?”
“It often does when it rains. I don’t think this tent will make any difference”
“But you can use the mountaineering one to go camping”
“We don’t go camping very often in London”
I had nothing against owning a £250 tent but I knew it would only get used once a year, if that. It looked pretty tricky to put up and there is always the chance we will be so broken by the end of Glastonbury we can’t be bothered to carry it home.
In the end they relented and bought me the £80 one.
I then met up with my friend again and we went for a delicious four course Thai banquet she had got from a deal on Living Social. We paid £11 each – you’ve gotta love the north.
The next day my Mum and Dad met me in town and walked me to the train station.
I needed to use the loo before getting on my train back to London and the station toilets at Sheffield cost 20p so I rummaged in my bag to find a 20p coin but I didn’t have one.
“Have you got 20p Mum?” I asked meekly
“20p to use the loo!” came the horrified response.
“It costs 30p in London” I said, but neither of them would relent and give me 20p.
We had to follow my Dad outside into the pouring rain, walk for ten minutes along a dual carriageway and into the back of a pub he knew where we could use the loo for free.
“What a waste of money” they both said on the way back to the station, hauling my luggage with us, the rain lashing down.
“Fancy charging 20p just to use the loo.”
As I got on the train my mum slipped me a five pound note and told me to buy myself a nice treat in London.