And so, at the end of a painful week, Friday passed in an instant, no more substantial than anything that I experience in that soulless and dreamless weekday world.

The train to Southampton was filled with dreams as if I was catching up; making up for lost alarm-punctuated time. No less than four times did I drift from wakefulness to daydream to sleep and back again. And, once I finally got there – cursed work, even leving work at the earliest possible time still meant I was the last to arrive – we sat and chatted. For about eight hours. I don’t think there’s any proof of how good friends we all are and how much we missed each other than that. There was pizza. There was Gundam Wing bondage slash fic. But we don’t talk about that.

I did get wondering, that night, though… Have I changed by having been in Bournemouth for the summer? Am I, maybe, quieter now than I once was? Is it just the suddenness of seeing everyone again, or might I really be a little different than I was – and if so, what does it say about me that just nine weeks away can somehow change me?

Saturday started with a full English breakfast – except in the case of Racheet, who had a “singluar” egg. I also followed Lap’s advice and ate more toast… than I was really hungry enough for. Shortly, we realised that to get to the girls’ house from the cafe would involve walking past the sweet shop… Eight different varieties of sweets later, we were on our way again.

That afternoon we went shopping in town, meeting up with some friends of Racheet’s whose names I forget, and also with Zane. I came away from the whole experience having only spent far too much money rather than ridiculous amounts of money, which at least is an improvement on my predictions. However, I am now in posession of an L5R 2nd Ed Player’s Guide, another RPG book called “Shattered Dreams” which looks pretty bad but should at least provide some source material, a DVD that technically isn’t called “Shaolin Panty Raid” (of which more later), five blocks of Kendal mint cake, and the cable I need for rigging up my computer to the TV for the FMA marathon. At the time, I was also in posession of a stomach full of Shakeaway and chicken ramen. There was also the Galaxy Angel plan – but we don’t talk about that either.

We stopped by the girls’ house for a while, to watch more of a terrible martial arts movie – “Ways of Kung Fu” bef

ore heading to the Hobbit for Rhiannon’s birthday party. Everyone there was, as always, awesome. Highlights of the evening: Recruiting a member for GameSoc before term started (which involved me playing Kotori in the “scene under the tree” that never happened (of which more later)). Pretty much everyone agreeing to come to the Dungeon, since I wasn’t sure what I’d do if half the group didn’t go). Glowsticks – thanks Sam! – which came in handy for dancing, although they still fail to be three feet long and made of steel. Noticing at one point that pretty much everyone – even those who didn’t initially want to come to the Dungeon – was on the dancefloor. They played a Nightwish song, “Nemo”, during which I think I cleared a sizeable section of the dancefloor with my… uh… “dancing” style.

Oh, and… they played Sweet Child O’Mine too. And that was when it all went weird. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any kind of emotional issues right now, but at least they’re concerning real people. It’s I guess slightly worrying that just a few guitar chords can break my heart into tiny pieces and reform it centred around Kai, who isn’t even real. It feels like it kind of cheapens the whole experience. It feels very strange, but then I guess I’m getting used to that – everything feels a bit strange at the moment.

That evening, we

went to bed at about four. There goes my sleep pattern.

Sunday morning started with a shopping trip so satisfy our seemingly-insatiable hunger. We returned from Safeway with a ton of salad, a big loaf of bread, doughnuts, muffins – and two whole roast chickens. Needless to say we didn’t manage to eat it all, not by a long way…

Andy left in a hurry, as he and Donna had to run to catch their coach. I never got time to say goodbye to them properly, but it doesn’t matter that much as I’ll see them both again soon.

The rest of the afternoon and evening went slowly – we watched some anime, Pirates of the Caribbean and the aforementioned Shaolin Panty-Raid, which rejoices in the actual title of “Shaolin Chastity Kung Fu”. Amusing as hell in that way that all the worst martial arts movies are! We had curry, which was really tasty, but I found myself unable to finish it – I blame the roast chicken breakfast!

That night, we went to bed at about five. My sleep pattern is so far gone it can’t even be seen on a good day. How time flies…

And that leaves only this morning. Racheet had left for his coach before Mark and I woke up, and after breakfast and chatting for a while I left too, heading back on buses and trains to a home that feels less like home than the one I left. The sun burned down

through a pure blue sky, giving glittering life to the wings that grace my back when I shut my eyes. I’m left with a lack of words to describe how this past weekend was. It’s left me in a kind of stunned emotional state that’s slightly zoned out from reality. Tomorrow, no doubt, I’ll have to be back down to earth. Probably. It is, after all, only five weeks until I can live my dream again…