My original blog was Hoses of the Holy (ca. 2003), which ended up being abandoned in the dark days of 2007. I started this one in 2011. Scroll down for the archives!

The Obald – episode 3

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A shorter episode this week, because some chapters are longer and some are shorter. And that’s the way it is with a true Spaniard.

I considered bolting chapter 3 onto either chapter 2 or 4, but then you end up with a super-long episode, which I decided was too much to ask of my listener.

This chapter was driven by memories of going to work with a hangover after hitting the cocktails the night before. There was a bit of a cocktail craze in the 80s, and there was a range of ready-mixed drinks in silver bottles. My favourite was the Sundowner, which according to Difford’s Guide is made with Cognac, Grand Marnier, and orange juice, but I seem to remember the one I had was rum-based, with grenadine. It’s a puzzle, because in my mind the name “Sundowner” evokes a layered drink of orange and red, to mirror the sky at sunset. According to this article on Mr Porter, you can make something called an El Presidente, with rum, vermouth, and grenadine. Who knows? All I really know is, they were very strong, and they made me very, very sick.

So there was indeed one night when I vomited two or three times before getting on the bus, then a couple more times when I got home (such control! no parking the tiger on the bus!) and then a couple more times the morning after, including after I’d got to work. Such a head! My god, the memory of it sticks with me, lo these 40 years later.

The other thing driving this chapter: late night phone calls. I’m a lifelong telephobic, so the occasions when I’ve conducted any kind of relationship over the phone have been few and far between. When I worked in an office, my phone was permanently set to voicemail. I’d listen to the messages and call people back if I absolutely had to. But when it comes to personal relations, nope. Mostly. Except for a couple of exceptions, both slightly different.

The late night caller was an early girlfriend. It was a fraught relationship, short-lived, but with a long afterlife. And it was in the afterlife that the late night calls would happen. In the witching hour, when your resistance is low: in terms of both making and receiving the call. And even then: long, drawn-out silences. Pent up words.

So here we are then, a short one: Ronnie wakes with a bad hangover but nevertheless drags himself into work. He sets out to find his mystery girl on the system, and in spite of his qualms finds himself warming to Mel.

Link to the episode on Apple Podcasts.


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