Bangkok: Amsterdam, Birmingham, DOWNLOAD then home pt 2

After a good nights sleep in the hotel, we’re ready for our adventure to continue, last time we came back to England it was freezing… Now it’s not so cold… But it’s raining… A lot!

I keep checking the weather reports, hoping for good weather for the festival, we’ve been to Download festival every year since 2015, we’ve had two years of bad weather and two years of really good weather, the weather reports are saying we’re looking at sunshine, clouds and rain showers all weekend, which doesn’t sound too bad… There are not many bands on the bill this year that i’m overly excited about seeing but still, we would like some nice weather while we’re at Castle Donington.

The first thing on our to-do list is to visit my parents, last time we came we surprised my mom, this time, she promised to make us a breakfast sandwich this visit... So we’re off to collect!

A couple of hours at my parents house, breakfast sandwich eaten, conversation had and Boss the dog given way too much fuss (if there is such a thing as giving a dog too much fuss) we made our way to Birmingham, Jo had plans to visit a work friend and i’d promised to go for a drink with the boys…

We visited Birmingham last time we came back to England, it hasn’t gotten any better, it’s still full of beggars, drunks and drug addicts… Birmingham is one of those places that could be great… It just isn’t.

Jo went off to see her friend, Me and the boys went to a comic book shop and then off to a pub, Scruffy Murphys, the place was empty so we had free reign over the jukebox and full access to the pool table... Awesome!

Drinking Jack Daniels, listening to rock music and playing pool with my sons, a bloke walked in and recognised Nick as a drummer in a band, Nicks first taste of stardom.

Jo joined us a little later on for a couple of drinks before we headed back to the house for Chinese takeaway… All in all, a great day.

Another good nights sleep… A much needed good nights sleep and we were ready for another day… Today's plan? Head into town, get a hair cut (which I hate… I will explain) then head to Halesowen to meet up with my old work friends for a couple of drinks.

Jo drove us to Stourbridge, where the plan was to leave me in a barbershop while she went to her old gym to catch up with people…

I hate having my hair cut. I hate how close someone has to get to me to cut my hair. I hate how some barbers will talk to me, despite me giving off obvious “please leave me alone” vibes. I hate hair cuts.

I’ve hated haircuts for as long as I can remember, my Aunty Julie used to cut my hair which was fine, in my eyes Aunty Julie could do no wrong and she was one of a very small group of people I didn’t mind having physically close to me (which as it turns out is a major part of having your hair cut) When Julie and my uncle divorced I had to find another way to get my hair cut, I eventually found a barber (Vic) who didn’t talk to me, he’d just ask what I wanted doing, cut my hair and take my money, then I stopped having hair cuts, I grew my hair long, so no hair cut related stress there… Then I stupidly decided to get a hair cut, so back to Vic I went… Only to discover he had died, so a bloke called Mike became my barber, luckily Mike understood not to talk to me, so all was well… Then Mike retired. About this time I got with a girl who would eventually become my first wife… Luckily she was a hairdresser, so she began cutting my hair… After a time my first wife became my ex-wife.. SO I was back on the hunt for a barber… At this time I had the realisation that to avoid male barber conversations (football, politics) I could maybe avoid male barbers, so I found a female barber in town and gave her a try…She was Italian, an attractive woman who greeted me with a smile immediately putting me at ease, this ease didn’t last long as she spent the entire hair cut pressing her breasts against me while constantly talking… I spent an age having to be forced to get my hair cut, I just couldn’t find a barber who didn’t invade my space, I found one that understood me, he cut my hair and left me in silence, after a year he sold his shop, the person who took over his shop cut my hair once before selling up, I found another barber, he didn’t talk to me much but did spend the time chatting to everyone else in the shop, usually about stuff that made my blood boil… Basically he got labelled “The racist barber” he did a decent haircut, he didn’t invade my space… But he was a raving racist. After a while I found another barber and in fairness, all was going well, I had a few hair cuts there with no problems… Until one day when two of the lads working there started talking openly about smoking drugs… One thing I hate more than hair cuts is drugs, so they lost my custom… So back to the racist barber I went.

Then I moved to Bangkok, I’ve had three haircuts while in Thailand…

Hair cut one was done by girl who did a decent haircut but didn’t speak much English which suited me fine, Hair cut two was done at the same shop but by a different girl, she made a mess of the cut, haircut two was done by a male barber in Pattaya, and in fairness it was great, minimal talking and a great haircut… But Pattaya is a bit of a distance to go for a hair cut…

So Jo left me in Stourbridge to get a hair cut, again I struck lucky, minimal talking and a good hair cut… But, I’m not travelling 6000 miles just to get a hair cut.

Hair cut finished and I go to the gym to meet Jo, we do a bit of shopping before heading to Halesowen to meet my workmates, we stop by a shop to pick up my Dads birthday present, we meet my friends in the pub and have a few drinks and some laughs, it was great catching up again, after a while we head back to the hotel for some sleep.

Saturday morning, we awoke early and set off to Kent to meet up with Jo's family, the plan is to go to a pub and spend the afternoon having food and meeting up with people, I spent most of the afternoon playing with my Goddaughter, Sophie, which was fun… We spent a few hours there before heading back to our hotel, on Sunday Jo headed off to a Roller Derby Game with her old teammates in Wales and I spent the day chilling at the house with the boys, we’d planned to take the boys shopping on Monday to pick up essentials for the festival.

The next few days were a bit of a blur, the one overriding memory was that the rain continued to fall and showed no sign of stopping…

One habit I seem to fall into every time I come back to England is I find myself getting addicted to day time TV… Australian reality cop shows being my favourite and of course an unhealthy dose of “Storage Hunters” and “Homes under the hammer”… Jo gets annoyed at me, she’d be trying to get me to leave the hotel and i’m sat there like a zombie watching trash TV…

“Ade! Get in the shower!” … “But they just pulled a car over on the way to Melbourne!”

“Ade! Are you getting dressed?”… “I just want to see what’s in this last storage container!”

“Ade! get your shoes on!”… “Dave in Bolton just bought a shed and he’s going to make it into a mansion!!!”

God, I love trash TV.

Monday evening we headed out to Staffordshire for dinner at a friends house, actually had my very first vegan meal (well, the first vegan meal I was aware of…. Who knows? some sneaky vegan could have slipped me some vegan goodies in the past) And you know what? It was delicious!

I’ve been toying with going vegetarian for a while now… Not for ethical reasons, purely for health, film director (and personal hero) Kevin Smiths heart attack in 2018 scared the shit out of me, and his physical transformation/health improvement since becoming vegan (for health reasons) really got me thinking that maybe I needed to make a change… A visit to Khlong Toei Market with Jo recently, along with seeing cages filled with chickens awaiting slaughter also gave me (pardon the pun) food for thought, so after dinner I decided that when we return to Bangkok, I was going to try going vegetarian for a month, if it suits me i’ll stick with it.. Let’s see how it goes shall we?

After a lovely dinner, lot’s of chat and ages spent playing with the dogs (oh I love dogs) we headed back to our hotel.

Tuesday night rolls around, as we lay in bed at our hotel, i’m checking the weather reports again, hoping the rain would stop… Memories of Download festival 2015 and 2016 creeping back into my mind… As long as it stops raining in time for the weekend, we should be ok… The festival may not be a total washout.

So until pt3 Night night.

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Ade Cox

A working-class man from The Black Country, plucked from the factory and now living the best life in Bangkok