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The plying of the mouth

When I eventually got in touch with Alex (he rang me twice while I was downstairs in the hostel kitchen having a free cup of tea – my phone was in the pocket of my coat, hanging on the corner post of my bunk bed) we agreed to meet at six on Thursday. At that time it was 11:30 in the morning, so I went to take some photos of whatever photographable things Plymouth might possess.

Globe Backpackers Hostel turns out to be very close to the sea – or at least to the bay. The weather was bright and blue and asterisking cold – a cold aggravated by the vigorous breeze – which aggravation was further aggravationalised by me standing on top of a cliff much of the time.

I wandered up and down (literally) in the vicinity of the lighthouse taking snaps of the various things I for some reason find interesting – close-ups of stone and pebbles and seaweed, panoramic series of photos for stitching together. The seafront is strangely complicated. There are numerous paths leading up and down the cliffs – some take you right to the water’s edge, others to viewing platforms, restaurants, swimming pools and various combinations thereof. I meant to spend longer and explore more places – but the cold was annoying me, so I went in search of food and hot, leaf-based beverages.

Over the course of the afternoon I finished reading Fortress in the Eye of Time – and then it was just about time to go and meet Alex.

We went to a public house for a while, then he took me back to his place (ooh – romantic), which is in an area apparently full of students, take-aways and violence, and is named Mutley. Just up the road from Dastardly. Alex lives with three other students on the same or similar courses to him (ecological something-or-other). They all seem very young, whereas Alex is about the same age as I was when I went to university five years ago.

We played Magic, listened to music, talked; Alex plied me with half a bottle of Scotch cunningly hidden in a couple of pints of cola. By three AM we were tired and inebriated. I slept on the floor of the living area (it’s custom-made student accommodation). I was also copiously sick in Alex’s bathroom sink (the bedrooms are en suite).

At around nine in the morning I got up, cleaned the aforementioned basin of vomit and left for my hostel – mainly to get more sleep. I was feeling OK, but a little wobbly – in the sense of still being very slightly drunk. By early afternoon the hangover kicked in.

When next we met I was feeling neuralgic, bilious and whatever fancy word describes being marginally light-headed. We went to see Jumper – for a ridiculously cheap £2.75 each – and we both quite enjoyed it. Then it was back to Alex’s for more Magic, music, and a bit of World of Warcraft and Halo 3.

I declined all further offers of alcoholic beverages, and by midnight I was feeling much better. We ordered a pair of huge pizzas, and failed to consume more than half of them. They were two for the price of one, so it wasn’t too much of a waste – and they were no doubt finished off by hungry students.

Notwithstanding the hangover on Friday, it was a pleasant two or three days. At this point, Alex is quite possibly my joint oldest friend, so it’s quite important to me to keep in touch with him (which he doesn’t make easy by not e-mailing; our friendship has been officially cemented and condoned by Facebook, however). He mentioned the possibility of working with gorillas for his work experience next year – so just possibly our next meeting might be in Africa. Or somewhere. Or something.

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