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Posts Tagged ‘Shazza’

In many respects the London Underground and the Tyneside Metro are very similar, but apart from their obvious disparity of scale and size there is one major difference which sets them apart. Ride the Metro and you will notice it immediately. It’s the passengers. They don’t all sit glumly in their seats staring into the void, reading a book, fiddling with an ipod or clutching at a strap their nose inches away from their next traveller’s armpit. And the journey is not made in complete silence. Complete strangers will smile in your direction or engage you in conversation. There’s a hum of gentle chatter, a burble of voices in the air from young and old alike.

“Cold day, are yers gannin’ shoppin’? I’m meetin’ ma friend Elsie doon the toon for lunch. She catches the bus from Heaton every Thursday. Been doing it a canny while now mind.”

I was about to reply when a louder, more strident voice, cut through the air.

“I don’t believe it. Would yers look who it is.”

A few folk checked their chatter and looked up.

“The guy I had breakfast with in Paris. Ee, man, what a night that was. I was knackered for days!”

The journey had become interesting and everyone now fell silent, heads turned, wondering who was speaking and to whom, waiting whilst the train rattled on. Everyone that is, except me.

Silently they watched as a tall, long haired lady wearing a short tweed jacket over a low cut black top threaded her way along the carriage,  stopped in front of Elsie’s good friend and plopped herself into my lap flinging her arms round my neck.

“It’s been a while, Pet. Howay, don’t look so shocked that I’ve found yers. Gie us a kiss, man.”

“Shazza,” I started to say.

“Least you’ve remembered my name.”

She then landed a smacker of a kiss, winked and whispered long and softly in my ear.

“Sorry, if I’m embarrassing you. But you’ve got to admit I’ve just given you something to write about. I’m dying to tell you what I’ve been up to and catch up with you too. It’s been too long. And I’ve got a writing project you might be interested in. Over lunch, it’s on me. Least I can do.”

“Shazz,” I started to say again.

“I know yers shocked, but yers repeatin’ yerself.”

“Shazz, I’m meeting someone on the quayside.”

“Bugga them, Pet. Yers coming with me, and this is our stop. Howay, shift yersen.”

Seconds later I was on the platform at Gateshead, arm in arm with Shazza watching the train slide past and aware of all the faces at the windows looking at us.

“That’ll give them something to talk about all the way to Monument. Shazz, you are naughty.”

She laughed. “Moi? Seriously, do you have time for lunch at the Baltic. Leastways you should be able to see your friend on the quayside from there!”

So if you’re reading this, Ged. That’s why I was late, mate!

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It was one of those typical northern Sundays. Early doors and I was sitting in the back garden under a patio brollie crunching a freshly fried black pudding and bacon butty smothered in tomato sauce. The kitchen was still filled with fumes and ‘er indoors wasn’t too happy. The rain was coming down in stair rods bouncing of the whippets frolicking in the mud whilst the homing pigeons huddled miserably in the lee of the shed cooing softly and wondering whether it was time to find a better home. I took another crunch out of my butty releasing more sauce to drip down my chin. My glasses began to mist up. Not that it made much difference; the rose tinted lenses weren’t working today and the rain got heavier. I was suddenly roused from my reverie by Booker T and the MG’s playing Soul Limbo. It was my mobile.

“Howay, man. Yer got yer arse in gear today yet, Pet?”

It was Shazza, my sweet talking Geordie pal.

“How’s would yer like it if I took yer to a higher level of pleasure and happiness today? Make yer scream and shout, beg for more and hope it never ends? And afterwards we can gan and sink a few bottles of dog?”

I didn’t have to think for long and tossed my butty into the middle of the muddy pool that was my lawn.

“Sure, Shaz, when?”

“No time like the present, Honeyballs. Grab yer coat and meet us outside St James. I got two tickets for today’s game against Sunderland. Be a riot, Pet.”

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Eiffel Tower Stock Photos

My journey has begun. Rucksack on my back, notebook in hand and credit card in pocket. Travelling light, you might think, but I just thought travelling with Shazza might require a certain fleetness of foot at times!

Perhaps I should say a little more about my Geordie travelling companion and satisfy your curiosity as to why a middle aged and happily married man can apparently dash out the house at the drop of a hat with the blessing and best wishes of Mrs Northern Light and embark on a trip to the World Cup with, it has to be said, such an eye catching and sometimes controversial younger lady such as Shazza.  Well, who amongst you would pass up such an opportunity? The delights of travel across many countries, the prospect of World Cup football, guaranteed adventure, and all with a delightful companion who exudes such joie de vivre, ready wit and repartee, expressed with a dazzling intellect and the ability to put a stiletto quite firmly into one’s mouth. Or as Shaz would say, ‘Why, pet, I’ve dropped more bollocks than a knife wielding eunuch’s apprentice.’ So, now you are fully in the picture I shall continue.

I am writing this from the George V Hotel in Paris seated at a neat little Louis XIV baroque bureau by the open doors leading to a balcony overlooking the Champs-Elysees. A nice room I must say, with a huge four poster bed. No expense spared and such extravagance for our first night. Shazza is in a similar ‘modest room’ next door. All literally ‘no expense spared’, guests of some Arab pal she bumped into at the Gare du Nord.

I’ll start from the beginning. With rucksack packed I had caught the train from York to Kings Cross and then skipped over to St Pancras to meet Shazza. She had booked tickets on the Eurostar to Paris for the first leg of our journey and I was to meet her on the platform. She had not said where, not that it mattered as it turned out. You know that sinking feeling you get when you arrange to meet someone and you start to doubt they will turn up. I had just started to sink. All were on board the train and it was almost time to close the doors. Suddenly there’s a huge bellow from the barrier, followed by a “Howay, man, put yer arse in gear, canny mind all day I’ve a train to catch.”

There she was, Shazza. Her tall figure resplendent in a tight fitting T-shirt covered in all the flags of the World Cup nations, designer jeans and heels and pulling a Louis Vuitton suitcase on wheels.

“Well, don’t just stand and stare, pet. Help a lady to her seat.” With that we tumbled into our seats and with hardly a moment to spare we were off! Shazza was certainly off, snoring gently in her seat within seconds before I could even say a word. The man opposite just looked a little disapprovingly and buried his head into his newspaper. He soon came round and struck up a conversation. Politics. The new Coalition Government. Not so much a conversation, more a one way monologue. He did not like the idea of the Tories and the LibDems being in bed together. On and on he went. Suddenly the snoring to my left stopped, an eye fluttered open and fixed intently upon the man opposite.

“I’ll tell you what it’s like to be in bed with a LibDem. Knackering. And I should know. I’ve just left an all night sitting of the House. So if yers don’t mind…..”

As 10CC used to sing, ‘Paris is only one step away’.

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