The answer is quite simply; I have been to the dark side. In case you were wondering where the dark side is, it's in Loughborough.
Yeh, yeh, I know that Loughborough is probably not where you would expect to find the dark side (it has a marvellous university that specialises in Sports Science), but hear me out.
I had arranged to go to Loughborough to help my cousin Jane, and her chap Martin, move house. She lived in an idyllic (or so I thought) canal-side cottage, but unfortunately it had been sold so she was moving to another property in the town. The plan was that we were going to spend a day or two relaxing there, and then load a couple of vans and get the new house sorted out.
Pic.No.1. The Lock House - Jane's canal-side cottage
Pic.No.2. The view from the garden of the Lock House
Picture the scene. I had just arrived and the sunny afternoon was drawing to a close. Jane, Martin and I were sitting on the patio, glass of wine in hand, birds singing, and idly watching narrow boats chug past, with our dogs' heads at our feet. Jane has got a dog called Roy, and Naughty George quickly developed a penchant for randomly attacking him in what can only be described as attempted dogicide. One minute all was peaceful, with the dogs snoozing on the patio, the next a proper dogfight was going on, with Naughty George hanging from Roy's neck, the air thick with squeals and fur. That's my dog. Ever the ambassador.
Oh look, the dogs have got me all distracted from the dark side, so back to the matter in hand. The sun had set, and we made our way inside the cottage.
I turned to Jane, "Can I borrow your computer, I need to do a blog post." [note to readers: see, I am always thinking of you......I'm just like Mother Theresa but without the tea towel on my head.]
"You can use my computer, but it hasn't got an internet connection. Everything's been turned off ready for the house move," she replied.
My stomach turned, and I blanched; "but you've got internet connection at the new house right?"
"Sorry no," she answered, "they can't turn that on until Wednesday."
Duh.... duh ......Derrrr! (that's a horror movie sound. I don't know how else to write it). Welcome to the DARK SIDE. I was faced with the prospect of being internet-less for four days, my only means of communication being a carrier pigeon. The dark side had well and truly duped me.... it had wrapped itself up as a fancy schmancy idyllic cottage, but beneath that pretty exterior, its heart had been ripped out and served with a fine Chianti (I am just doing that tongue thing like Hannibal Lecter).
Shit. No internet.
"What are we going to do to keep ourselves entertained?" I asked as I wondered around the kitchen, dazed and confused.
"We could play Charades if you like," suggested Jane.
"Who do you think I am, Jane Austen?" I asked incredulously.
"Just a suggestion," she said.
Then I had a brainwave; "I've got a brilliant game; it's where you take a film title and substitute one of the words with the word f**k."
"How does that work?" she retorted.
"Well, for example, '2001: A Space Odyssey' will become '2001: A Space F**k'," I said.
And so for the next half hour we kept ourselves entertained with:
Gone with the F**k
The Grapes of F**k
F**k on the River Kwai
Snow White and the Seven F**ks
Rebel without a F**k
and finally, F**k (Jaws).
Then Martin piped up, "I can't think of any more f**ks now," he said. "so I'm going to tell you about the time I was a soldier in the SAS."
"Go on then," I said.
"Well," he said, positioning himself in the centre of the room, "one time I was stranded in the desert, hundreds of miles from anywhere and after looking at the position of the moon, I sensed a sandstorm coming. Luckily I happened upon a dead camel, so I scooped it's insides out, climbed into it's stomach and managed to survive. Then, the next morning, I made a casserole out of it which gave me the strength to make it to the next village."
"You've slept in a camel?" I asked.
"Yes," he said. "And another time I was in the Congo with 600 of my troops. The enemy was closing in, and I knew they needed strength to escape. I killed loads of animals with my bare hands, and cooked them all for breakfast. My plan worked and the revitalised troops made an aircraft from the materials they found on the rainforest floor. Then we found an open spot in which to take off and we were all saved."
I turned to Jane; "Was Martin really in the SAS?" I asked.
"Nope," she replied, "he's a welder."
Blimey, that's the type of evening you get if you have no internet connection or no TV. That's the dark side.