After my last post bragging about how competent a traveler I am, I obviously annoyed the Great Gods of Travel and as such they provided me with the Steve Irwin of the driving world during my journey back from Chester. The first sign came when Howard (I know) suggested everyone on the coach have a 'group sing-a-long', complete with him harmonising on the microphone. People singing when they're going on holiday is one thing, but on a bus to Bradford I doubt that anyone has ever possessed enough holiday spirit to start up a round of Ten Green Bottles. Even if we had wanted to, it would be nigh on impossible as the breath was knocked out of us all when Howard thought it a good idea to go from 0 - 80mph in roughly two seconds. This was not a good idea, as he then found it extremely difficult to stop when he noticed a lorry the size of my house directly in front of us, forcing him to slam on his breaks and resulting in everyone's luggage flying through the air. The lady opposite seemed severely disgruntled that her travel pillow had been dislodged - I think this was her first time on a bus as she had also felt the need to wear flight socks... I thought things might settle down once we reached the motorway, but apparently Daredevil Howie is not one for gridlock, as he demonstrated by flying down the hardshoulder at 100mph, much to the shock (and, to be honest, excitement) of his passengers. We eventually arrived safely in Bradford after a tiny detour that made everyone over the age of 50 have a minor panic attack and I am now back in my beloved home city.
Apparently my penchant for procrastination has not been left behind in Chester. Whilst trying to ensure that my bedroom is habitable for when I move back in, I found many ways to keep myself distracted. There was, for some unknown reason, an old desktop computer keyboard stashed away in my wardrobe and I spent a good 10 minutes seeing how fast I could type various different words into it. However, it wasn't connected to anything, so not only was this exercise pointless, but it was also very difficult to measure my results. I then spent at least a further 30 minutes trying to get a spinning top to go for more than ten seconds. I even made a mental list of different tactics in an attempt to prolong the spin - it was a short lived dream that spinning it anti-clockwise as opposed to clockwise might make some miraculous difference. Obviously, getting a degree has not resulted in my being included in some elite group of society that gathers together and talks about Marx and Nietzsche like they were old school friends. Shame.
After getting my degree the first thing I did was open (for the first time since I got it three years ago) my 'Student Cookbook', seeing as I now have the time (and sobriety) to actually make food. I thought I'd start easy and bake a cake - mainly so that I would have the cake mixture left in the bowl to console myself if it went wrong. The cake itself was, well, a piece of cake (the time has come. I am now making puns worthy of women over 50); it was the fancy, decorative cream in the middle that was my downfall. Apparently you can over whip whipping cream, so much so that it gradually morphs into cottage cheese and starts producing its own weird, watery substance. After trial-and-erring my way through an entire carton of cream, I decided to make buttercream instead, thinking it couldn't be that hard to do. In the end I just melted a bar of Dairy Milk chocolate and shoved that in the middle instead.
Along with baking cakes, there have been a plethora of other things since I left university that have drawn my attention to the fact that I am finally getting old. I realised this as I sat surrounded by 50-year-old women (most of whom were on reunion trips) at a James Taylor concert the other week in Manchester. Reassuringly, me and my sister seemed to be the youngest people there, but still... I think we enjoyed it a little too much to still be considered the hip young things that we are. Soon I will be on a par with my mother, wearing slippers and putting Rivitas in a plastic bag so they don't dry out. How much drier can a Rivita really get?! However, I have accepted my fate and begrudgingly removed the Parental Advisory poster that has adorned my bedroom door since I was fourteen. (Although, to be honest, the message still stands). There's still a little bit of rock and roll left in me though - I've recently taken to putting my contact lenses in shot glasses over night as I left the case at Megan's house last week. See? I can still be cool. I have, however, drawn the line at downloading music as opposed to buying CDs. For one thing, I like the album sleeves, and for another I can never quite get the hang of downloading. I've realised that unless you pay close attention to the progress of your songs, you can never be quite sure what it is you're getting and suddenly you'll have your iPod on shuffle only to hear, "I was driving to work when a cyclist pulled out in front of me" at the beginning of a song. More than once have I accidentally downloaded a good minute of someone attempting to defend Michael Jackson's sexual assault allegations. Despite my general dislike for the human race, I think I'll stick to buying music from shops so as to avoid accidental downloads of Two Girls, One Octopus. (If you've not seen it: don't, and if you have... Well, the damage is done and these scars will stay with you forever).
This week has been my last week of freedom before I get back into the dreaded lull of mindless work and I've spent it, mainly, wandering around Yorkshire taking photographs. (Right, that's it, I'm old). I went to Swaledale yesterday with my dad and, despite my being told off for getting chocolate on the seats of his car, we had a lovely day and I spent two hours on a photography "ramble" being taught by a real live photographer how to actually use the camera that I have owned for two years. Apparently all the numbers and letters that appear on the screen mean something and I should be looking at them before taking a photo. Who knew? I've also got a little bit of photography work lined up with one of my mum's friends - I've just got off the phone with him and he worryingly left the conversation saying, "We'll leave it to you, you know your stuff"... There's a big, dusty pile of camera manuals that have been sat in my bedroom for two years - I guess it's about time I got a wriggle on and read some of them so that I could hear someone say, "you know your stuff" without resisting the urge to hang up the phone and run for my life.