Sunday, 31 January 2010
Had a nice weekend.
My brother (aka Uncle Stephen) and Kate (aka Auntie Kate) came to visit for the weekend.
After a long road trip from Newport, Wales, they pulled up outside our house at around 1.30pm. Ben was in full tantrum mode when they arrived and we quickly piled the kids and belongings into the car and headed off to Milton Keynes for a late lunch with the Welsh ones.
Stephen has now taken up full-time residency in Wales in addition to working there and, in my eyes, that now classifies him as being Welsh.
We chose La Tasca for lunch, the spanish tapas franchise to the unaware.
It represented a change from the usual Nandos or TGI Fridays and it never seems to let us down in terms of variety of food on offer and good value. I guess the clue is in the name La Tasca.
My usual formula of five-dishes-per-two worked well, and we dined on a mixture of spanish tortilla, patatas bravas, meatballs, chicken, prawns, mushrooms in garlic and so on.
Ben was taking a definite shine to Auntie Kate by this stage.
Having put the late morning tantrum firmly behind him, there was more than a whiff of defection starting to waft around in the thin winter air (La Tasca outlets don't have heating; they urge customers to add tabasco to their food for added warmth).
Then, just before la cuenta arrived, he crossed the floor.
Finished with his food, he clambered down from his chair and walked across to Kate under the table. We soon caught the wayward toddler and plonked him back on his seat and things were under control again.
After a quick guess-the-bill game, which Stephen won (the only success he had all weekend), we set off home again.
The added driving was starting to take its toll on our Welsh travellers. By the time we all arrived home again, I think they were both happy just to be able to stretch out on a sofa and not have to drive again for a while.
My wife had very kindly bought me Band Hero for my birthday and a night of competition was starting to loom large. Jan/Feb 2010 was an extra special occasion for us as not only was my birthday coming up, it was also our ten year anniversary of dating.
The plan was to form our band that evening and take to the stage online against other bands from around the world and see who came out on top.
Kate & Stephen were seasoned Guitar Hero veterans so, in theory, their skills should be instantly transferable within the 'Hero' label.
Rumours had even circulated beforehand that Kate was "excellent" on guitar and "even better than me (Stephen)" and as I was pretty competent on the drums, I thought our prospects were promising.
With the kids in bed by around 7.30pm, slightly earlier than usual, we ordered a curry and after being informed that the waiting time for delivery was a considerable hour and a half, we got stuck into Band Hero.
The Mock Assassins prepared to take to the stage.
My brother Stephen is a pear cider drinker. He also wears pink. With quaffed black fringe, he was like a post-punk Morrissey minus the gladioli tucked in back pocket.
I thought this flamboyance was just what our band needed in its lead vocalist. What about the voice? Well, Stephen had conveniently been lubricating his vocal cords liberally with pear cider as early as 6pm so they would surely be well oiled by now?
No. He was having none of it and would, under no circumstances, be persuaded to take the mic as lead vocalist.
So, after a handful of songs, I ditched the drums and grabbed the mic. The Mock Assassins had hit the music scene.
We chiselled our way through a variety of pop and rock songs.
With Her Excellency of Gwent and His Excellency of Glamorgan on guitar, we started slowly. We were still gelling as band but it didnt take too long before we were racking up a few 4 star performances and a 5 star performance too if I remember righly.
We called it a day when the curry arrived, at around 9.30pm no less.
The Mock Assassins were done. Done for now that is. But they may be back. May be.