Em’s puppy. And our stuff. In a car I did not get sick in.

‘We look like a couple of nerdy backpackers.’

‘That’s because we are.’

On Monday, Sarge and I went to Newcastle (ish) to visit a friend of mine from University (the first one). She was the friend from this post and featured in the beginning of this one. Through no fault of our own we’d seen each other all of twice in five years. Before Monday, Em hadn’t met Sarge, and we are going on three.

Because I don’t have a job, and Sarge had a week off from his, we boarded a South-bound train after packing George and the robot and bumping into some coffee on the way.

Now. Another little known fact about me is that I can actually make myself sick with excitement. Really. Being happy/nervous/excited about anything makes me throw up. Or dry-heave. When I was a kid and the carnival moved in next door, I had to breathe into a paper bag before we left the house. One fateful night, I got to the top of the ferris wheel and threw up. I was up there with a friend who was a boy who decided then we should see other people. The whole experience left me with a phobia of vomiting.

These days, Sarge knows to either hold my hair back or get out of the way. And I do my part by skipping breakfast on what I call ‘high excitement’ days. And so, I didn’t have breakfast or lunch on the train.

When we got to the station, I got a text: I’ve had to stop the car and throw up. Be there soon. Xxx

Snap, I thought.

‘See’, I said to Sarge. ‘It isnae just me.’

So we went to the station pub. Sat for awhile, getting updates from Em. ‘I’m in the bathroom, waiting on Mum to drive us back now.’

‘This reunion is like ripping a Band-Aid off.’ I said, deciding to have a beer.

Her Mum found us first, recognising me by my hair.  It’s still big.

After staring at each other for a while we got in the car. I was in the back. Now. Maybe because of my aforementioned phobia, I’ve only been carsick once. On my thirteenth birthday. On the way to the zoo. Very exciting. We never made it to the zoo. Still, it was one of the best days of my life.

The point is, sitting back there on Monday, I didn’t think I’d get sick. Until I did.

We got to Em’s house. And her stairs were too narrow for me to walk up, so I went up on my butt. Another throwback from childhood.

As I actually dragged ass over the threshold, I said, ‘We’re staying awhile.’

We had curry and chocolate and Em told Sarge the unabridged versions of some rather legendary stories.

The next day, Em had stuff to do, so Sarge and I went exploring. We ended up in a book shop, of course. Sifting through the second-hand ones, Sarge found me a Hemingway. ‘For you,’ he said.

We left the shop after they checked and double-checked Sarge’s Scottish money. ‘This IS a different country.’ I said.

We went to Em’s Mum’s house for a roast dinner. ‘We’ll have to move the trampoline so Lorna can get through the garden.’ That’s not a sentence you hear every day.

That night Sarge was schooled in how to julienne carrots. I didn’t help because the last time I touched a carrot I julienned my fingers. Em’s Grandma and Aunt arrived and it was lovely and weird to sit in on someone else’s family.

I dragged ass back up the stairs and fell asleep before more embarrassing stories could be told.

The next day I made a great discovery. Nutella and banana pancakes. Any extra calories were burned on the way down the stars.

Em took us around more quaint little shops. Everything I saw made me want to trade in our Ikea furniture for more grown up pieces.

We found a pub where I had a sneaky slice of cheesecake and then went home to make a dent in the bottle of rum we brought as a housewarming gift.

The next day, before tackling the stairs for the last time, Em and I might have made Sarge watch Practical Magic.

‘You’re Aidan Quinn,’ I said to Sarge.

‘Who?’

‘Him.’

‘Cool.’

Before we headed to the station we took a picture of The Oma on Hadrian’s Wall.

It was raining when we got home to Edinburgh. Not very exciting. I didn’t even throw up.

Here are some more shots from the trip!

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