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.