The girl in the blue dress…..Part I

So here I am looking at the arse of an elephant. A big grey Asian elephant. “Look at the size of its shits!” I casually say. The elephant is wandering around its pen slowly. Looking rather subdued, which matches rather well with the low grey sky hanging overhead. I don’t mind the odd bit of grey now. England was pretty grey all the time growing up, but as I get mainly sunshine in my life these days I can handle the odd bit of pea soup. Anyway back to Dumbo. Why am I stood here looking at the derriere of an Elephant? Well clearly it’s a possible wedding venue. Wait, a what? The arse of an elephant is a possible wedding venue? Clearly not. However this elephant resides at the Santa Barbara Zoo, which is a possible wedding venue. 

So I am getting married. Since my last post you could say quite a lot has changed. First let me recap on the boring work stuff. 

There I was ready to walk away from concrete. Pretty miserable in my job, riddled with debt and with no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, when a funny thing happened. I delivered concrete for a regular contractor, I told him Freshcrete was for sale and he said I should talk to his friend Keith. 

I did indeed talk to Keith and 8 months later not only am I still in concrete, we now have three trucks, all well maintained and running well. I have employees to drive those trucks, a fantastic new yard space complete with our own material bins, a loader, a new cement silo, our own water supply and reclaimed concrete facility. I am almost debt free, on salary and am completely rejuvenated and reinvigorated by the future that lies ahead. I finally feel like I get to realize all the dreams I had when I first purchased the business back in 2006 where I can focus more on the sales and marketing side of the business and make Freshcrete the number one locally owned and operated volumetric concrete supplier anywhere on the Central Coast. 

I owe so much to Keith and Andy for believing in me. After seven plus years of simply surviving I met two men who saw all I needed was a little help and support to enable both myself and the business to flourish. Check out more of our story at 

Ok so now for the fun stuff.

It was July 4th 2014. I had been on the party bus all day. We started at around 9am, had snuck into the Cayucos parade as the last float and made it all the way back to SLO town after a very large amount of booze. My white shorts, blue shirt and red hat where still largely red, white and blue. By this time the bus had really filled up. We started with around 15 hardcore folk at 9am but had now swelled to a solid 30 or so. Bouncing around concerts in the plaza I could feel my old age kicking in as the thought of a quick nap sounded blissful. But ever the professional partier I am I decided to battle on, fueled no doubt, by some red bull laced cocktail.

She was wearing a tight blue dress. She looked so bloody sexy. Her dark hair just past her shoulders drew my eyes down her body to what was clearly a very fine arse sat atop of a right cracking pair of sexy athletic legs. There was something about this girl. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but something drew me to her. She seemed to know a bunch of my friends that were also on the bus. All I could think was, who is this girl? Where on earth did she come from? She clearly knows a ton of people I know but how come I’ve never seen her before?

The bus rumbled on, the party in full swing. Drunken people from a day of revelry adding to what would be best described as a ‘shit show’. We were headed to Oceano to watch the fireworks. Stumbling out into the parking lot the masses dispersed, disappearing into the dunes, leaving a few of us to hold an impromptu party leaning against the bus. This one guy, Bill, I knew was kind of all over her. She was being polite but I didn’t get the impression they were ‘together’ but they clearly knew each other. I managed to position myself next to her against the party barge. (Now the conversation you’re about to read in truth probably didn’t go exactly like I’ve written it. As we were both inebriated I doubt either of us can truly remember, but as I love to say, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”)

Ello, you’re beautiful, I really like your dress, what’s your name? I’m Gareth (I always try and boost up my English accent in these situations).

“Shelley. What is it Garth?”

“No Ga Reth, with a TH on the end”

“Oh I see, got it”

“So how do you know this crowd?”

“I’m best friends with Clare, she invited me.”

“Cool, is this guy your boyfriend?”

“Who Bill? Ha ha no, we went to school together, known him for years.”

“Oh you went to school in SLO? How come I’ve never met you before?”

“Dunno, I live in Santa Barbara, who are you again?”

By now our small group decided to head onto the sand to watch the fireworks. Having made a tiny stride in getting to know this beautiful woman I decided to double down and go with them.

The dunes were packed. There were kids running everywhere. The noise of buggies and all sorts of other vehicles whizzing up and down the beach filled the air along with people lighting off fireworks from random dune tops. We had barely made it off the wooden walkway before we found a divot at the bottom of a small valley surrounded by what looked like the Sahara. We all collapsed in a drunken heap. Luckily one of us (I have no idea who) had brought a huge bottle of Fireball with them. We all did a couple of shots. I had got lucky. I had somehow managed to collapse right next to Shelley.

Boom! The main fireworks display started. OOOOOOh, Arrrrrrrrh, Whooooooaaaaa! Was heard echoing all around us as people still flocked onto the beach much to our annoyance. Somehow we didn’t realize we had sat right in the middle of what was the natural pathway for people entering and exiting the beach area.

While passing the bottle of Fireball between us I managed to make a move and kiss Shelley. Luckily she responded. I want to believe it was reminiscent of those two movie stars in that famous scene from the black and white movie, From Here to Eternity where they kiss passionately in the surf, the waves crashing over them as they roll around on the sand. In truth however I have a feeling it was more reminiscent of two dogs licking their favorite toy, classy as ever. Either way I was feeling pretty stoked. I knew my phone was dying. I knew I had to get her phone number. Somehow I managed to open my phone, put in her number and save her name all while sat in a cold sand divot on a beach, fireworks screeching in the air that was now filled with smoke, not that I could see much anyway as the Fireball was affecting me.

Somehow we all made it back to the bus and back to SLO, minus my good friend Chris, who it transpired missed the bus, passed out on the sand and woke up alone around midnight atop of a sand dune, his only option being summoning Uber as a way to get home.

Back in SLO we all fell into the den of inequity, otherwise known as Bulls Tavern. By now I was in full on ‘I’m gonna talk to this girl and stuff’ mode. I returned from the bathroom, looked around but could not see the girl in the blue dress anywhere. I started to panic “Hey did you see where that girl in the blue dress went?” I asked some drunken fool, “Yeah she just left with Clare,” was the belligerent response. I fought my way through the throng of people to get to the door; I looked to the right up Chorro Street, nothing. I looked left, and there in the distance, just across from Black Sheep I saw the girl in the blue dress. I ran down the street, grabbed her, swung her around and in a way nothing like Hugh Grant in the movies stuck my tongue down her throat as way to say goodbye.

The next morning I awoke foggy, my head hurting from the marathon of the previous day, my tongue feeling like one of Gandhi’s Flip-flops. As ever I was semi naked on my living room sofa, front door wide open, the sun shining down on the Dominos box that has become my guilty drunken vice. Why do I do this to myself? I thought. Not moving I went through the all to familiar “OH MY FUCKING GOOD GOD, WHERE IS MY PHONE? MY PHONE, WHERE IS IT? HAVE I LOST MY FUCKING PHONE? PLEASE DON’T SAY I HAVE LOST MY PHONE?” After a frantic fondle of my testicles, a slap of the coffee table with my palm I found my phone, exactly where I usually find it. Tucked safely into my left pocket. Breathing a sigh of relief I slid the slider thingy and opened it (I must have drunkenly charged it in order to call dominos in case you see the obvious hole in my narrative). There in front of me was the keypad, a new number I had entered and the name ‘Shelly’.

Hmmmmmmm Shelly, do I remember meeting a shelly last night? Hmmmmmm I wonder who this could be. Oh wait, the girl in the blue dress! It had to be. Squinting, I opened the text app, “H…….I,……….How was your night?” ‘Bloop’ the message was winging its way over the airwaves via the wiffys, converted into all those naughts and ones, headed towards its recipient. I continued to stare at the screen, hoping to see the ubiquitous “the other person is texting” grey bubble speech thingy. I stared and stared and stared for what seemed like a solid one minute before realizing I must gather my shit show self and do what all men do after a big night out…………go take a our rightful place atop the porcelain throne.

Will Shelley text back? Will she even remember who I was? Why are my toenails blue?

These and many more questions will all be answered in part two!

Santa Barbara Zoo




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