Friday, 25 June 2010

Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and Accidental Child Beatings.

Unlike most "end of year" periods where I sit in my room basking in the fact that, until September, my life has little to no meaning, this year I have already not only left Chester, but actually ventured to Edinburgh - which, in case you didn't realise, is in a whole different country, meaning I get triple points (one for leaving the house, one for leaving Chester, and one for leaving England). Edinburgh consisted of lots of good ol' sisterly fun and a few unintentional mishaps, one being the accidental punching of a small Scottish child in the face whilst walking down the main street. In my defence, it was a busy street, and the mother was paying no attention whatsoever to where she dragged her precious offspring, resulting in its head colliding with my hand. I'll admit, I did see it coming, but what was I meant to do? There was nowhere left to turn and I was simply forced to come to terms with the fact that, in about four seconds, I would be inflicting serious pain on someone too little to do anything about it. Ok, maybe not serious pain, and judging by the child's reaction (a sheer look of glee) there appeared not to be any discomfort, either. The mother, on the other hand, shot me a look of death and continued to storm up the street almost ripping the arm out of her now disfigured child. 
Despite the odd accidental child-beating, the rest of the trip was amazing. My favourite part (of my life in general, not just the trip) was meeting up with my friend Amy and being taken to visit The Elephant House café, made famous by J.K. Rowling as the café where she wrote the first few Harry Potter books. (I know. Kezia and I hyperventilated almost the entire way there. And back. And whilst inside. In fact, I'm feeling a bit short of breath just thinking about it.) Here is a picture of me inside said café:

The look on my face is what can only be described as my 'I'm so happy I could die' face, usually only found in pictures involving either ice cream or famous people. Thankfully, there isn't a picture that involves both. The rest of the trip was filled with shopping, avoiding fundraisers in the street (which, considering she is about to start a job doing just that, Kezia should really have thought twice about), and playing board games after discovering a new found love for Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. It's annoying how everyone in hostels seem to be unnaturally cool without even trying, and even more so when you realise how uncool you look in comparison by screaming 'NO!!' at a boardgame and questioning whether or not the name of the Asian supermarket in town counts as a word. (For future reference, H-A-Q-S is not allowed).

Upon returning from Edinburgh, I bit the bullet and introduced Peter to my mother (an occasion for cheesecake, wouldn't you know). Thankfully, things ran smoothly and there wasn't a repeat performance of the time she met my first boyfriend when I was fourteen and decided that that was the moment to whip out a hideous pair of sparkly gold shoes she was expecting me to wear for a wedding. There was nothing to do except stand in my kitchen, mortified, and hope that my Linkin Park hoodie would swallow me up whole. Fortunately, Peter's visit was less horrific (I might go as far to say pleasant), and I was even exempt from eating any broccoli with my dinner, a rarity I doubt I can manage to get away with again, even if I am thirty with two children and my own house. 

Although I enjoy doing nothing, and I feel I have "worked" hard enough this year to deserve some time off, my bank account seems to have a different idea and as a result I will soon be starting work again. What joy... Hopefully, though, this will mean I get to stop rationing my money and not have to store my wees up for the public toilets in Tesco to save on toilet roll. I can maybe even afford to treat myself to some more socks as I ran out the other day and was forced to wear slipper socks to town, as a result of which my feet seemed to take on the impression that they belonged to the Hulk rather than myself. I mean, I could just do some laundry, but where would the fun be in that?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

You Know What They Say - It's All Fun and Games Until There's a Giant Showboat Up Your Arse.

Today is my second day of freedom after finishing on Thursday morning anything and everything to do with my placement. (Well, if we exclude the fact that I've somehow been persuaded to agree to continue 'volunteering' next year... insert ToffeeCrisp here). Although I have very much enjoyed my placement, I didn't manage to get out completely free of mental scarring due to some events, or rather one event in particular, last Saturday when myself and the World's Worst Hangover (capital letters to emphasise pain) were ripped from the comfort of our bed to go down to the church and do some photography, a task I was relatively prepared for. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was being greeted by a group of 40 - 60 year olds stood in a circle holding hands, alone apart from me, the sole member of the audience. The leader (who I later found out was actually Jack Straw's sister) appeared to be wearing traditional African dress and seemed unable to stop herself from swaying with every third syllable she spoke. The uniform of the others generally consisted of pants that were too short and colourful Hi-Tek trainers (blue seemed a popular choice). As part of the 'ritual', everyone went round in a circle and said, 'Hi, I'm [name], and I come from [place]'. When it got to my turn (because, of course, I was included), I resisted the urge to say, 'Hi, I'm Amy, and I'm an alcoholic', which took more self-restraint that I would have thought. It was also difficult when someone asked where Bradford was not to reply with, 'the place that's been on the news recently because a load of prostitutes have just been murdered'. I controlled myself and went with 'near Leeds' instead, not wanting to disturb the atmosphere created by the aromatherapy candle they were all gathered around. Things took a horrific turn when "Mindy" put a tape on and the circle slowly started revolving around the candle to something which sounded suspiciously like the Jungle Book theme tune. When this was over, Mindy insisted everyone quietly contemplate what had just taken place. Unfortunately, the tape player had other ideas and decided to change from soothing African drum beats to what I'm pretty sure was Tarantula by Pendulum. I shared a look of despair with the only seemingly sane member of the group - a woman of around 40 who was clearly just fresh out of a divorce and looking to find a new path in life. After ten minutes of sung instructions on how to feel and accept your spirit, it was clear that this was not it. 

Thankfully, my chances of ending up in that situation again are relatively slim, my essay is done, dusted and handed in, summer has officially begun, and Jayne is back in Chester, therefore: life is good. The return of Jayne and the arrival of Megan's newest brother (increasing her sibling count to six - I know) meant there was sufficient reason to go out and celebrate - in short, get ridiculously drunk. Which we did. I woke up to bleeding eyeballs due to having slept in my contact lenses and the familiar sense of fear when trying to piece together events of the night, which usually means it was good. Having Jayne back also means time wasting becomes more fun, and usually in the form of looking through photographs from the start of our university inspired downward spiral and counting how many extra chins we have gained since this time two years ago. Fun, although playing Scrabble would probably have ended in a lesser sense of shame.

I'm back in good ol' Bradders now after a ten hour round road trip to Swansea with my dad to collect Kezia from university. It was a fun trip, broken up in the middle by stopping at a cafe for breakfast where I was tempted to get "The Beast" - I don't know what was in it, but apparently if you ate all of it you got your picture on the wall. I wasn't in the mood for throwing up in the car on the way back though, so I settled for something less of a challenge. I was half tempted to put some of the soothing African drum beats on the mix CD I made for the car, but I didn't want to risk toeing the line of my dad's "you'll be walking home" threat. Still, walking home from Swansea wouldn't seem that bad after nearly being ploughed down by a giant boat on the River Dee with my friend Lauren as we thought it would be fun to rent a pedal boat when she came to visit me in Chester. This seemed to be a good idea until we turned around mid-river and realised the "Lady Diana Showboat" was less than a metre away from us and approaching faster than I can say I was comfortable with. After frantic pedalling and being directed where to go by the boat driver, who appeared annoyingly cavalier to say we were about to die, we managed to escape Lady Di's warpath and make it safely to the other side of the river. You know what they say - it's all fun and games until there's a giant showboat up your arse.