Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

To everyone reading this:

Have a very merry Christmas!

I love you all!

Eat, drink and be merry.

I have spent approximately 33% of December intoxicated. Literally.

It has lead to some situations. These include karaoke, petty theft and leaving my parent's front door wide open for 4 hours after stumbling through it at 5 am.

Gotta love living like a responsible adult.

Go outside and make a snowman and throw a few snowballs around.

You know you want to.

Do it!

Oh! And thanks to the 2 people, you know who you are, who conspired to get me a Nickleback CD for Christmas. Bitches.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Dance Party

This guy has stolen my moves and my blue shorts.

Gotta love a bit of Santogold though.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Sketchy Santas

[Pictures taken from Sketchy Santas]

Check out this blog for plenty of festive lolz:

Sketchy Santas

Pretty much every photo on there has probably been marked 'Exhibit A' at some point.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

New Moon In A Minute

All the Twilight haters out there will love this [I am looking at you GJammz]:

"Your move douchebag" = lolz.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Reasons To Be Thankful ...

For Thanksgiving we had an American themed meal.

We also had to come dressed as something American.

So we had a Cincinnati Reds pitcher, Chief Sitting Turkey [smallpox infected blanket not pictured], 2 cowgirls [the tension between the cowgirls and the Chief was intense], a Desperate Housewife, a hula girl, The American Tourist and someone wearing pants with an elasticated waistband.

We watched some NFL, as I believe is trad at Thanksgiving.

Green Bay were ruining Detroit.

NFL is probably the most confusing sport I have ever seen. Why are there so many players? Why are so many of them obese? Actual fat bastards. Why does that gangly white man come on, kick the ball and then piss off back to the bench? How does anyone ever get injured playing this sport? The amount of padding/helmet wearing is ridic.

Dinner was a red, white and blue affair and was kicked off by the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

At the head of the table was the guest of honour and leader of the free world, Barack Obama.

Sweet potato + marshmallow = the best of friends. Who knew?

And my fake turkey was delicious. And very round.

For dessert, Krispy Kreme mixed up the holidays. Things got a tad festive.

And we used our extra dessert stomachs for pumpkin pie and pecan pie.

I had never had pumpkin pie before - and it was not at all what I expected. It was much lighter and tasted a bit like an egg custard, that fine Northern dessert.

Slightly skew-whiff self timer portrait.

Barack insisted on taking a tour of the house. As on MTV cribs, he wanted to see what was in the fridge.

He invited himself upstairs.

Tried on Chan's dressing gown.

Played hide and seek.

And then he had to have a shower because he had got so over excited and sweaty during the vigorous hide and seek session.

Dubya would not approve.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Heroes & Villains

Heroes of the week:

1. The guy sat 2 rows in front of me at the Arctic Monkeys show last night.

You, Sir, rock. Hardcore.
I got more entertainment from watching you dance and attempt to take pictures whilst being sky high than I did from watching the actual band.
My favourite moves of yours were the Get-It-On style spirit fingers and the fact that you threw out the 'You rock!' devil horns during the slowest, most inappropriate parts of songs.
And you had a flowing mane of hair.
I also enjoyed the fact that the person stood next to you moved after about 6 songs because your dancing was too 'enthusiastic'.
I would give my left arm to see the pictures you took.
They could probably win the Turner Prize.

2. Matt Helders, drummer of the Arctic Monkeys

As with the Kings Of Leon, the drummer was by far the best band member.
His afro was astounding.

3. Belgians

For inventing the Belgian waffle.

4. Jacob Black/Taylor Lautner

For being so gosh darned hot in New Moon.
I would go and see Face Punch with you any day of the week.
And to quote the man himself, age is only a number.
It still feels a little creepy, though.

5. The hair and make up department on New Moon

Much improved.
The hair was much, much better.
And RPattz had a much less noticeable tide mark round the side of his face.

Villains of the week:

1. The Arctic Monkeys beer throwers

Beer in the arena costs £4 a pint.
Don't throw the liquid gold, dickheads.

2. The 12 year old emo I sat next to in New Moon

Please don't scream like it's 1989 and we are at a New Kids On The Block concert every time Edward appears on screen.

3. The New Moon special effects department

The sparkling does not look any better.
Trust me.

4. The first 150 pages of 'The Host' by Stephenie Meyer

You make it really hard to actually get into the book. Just FYI.

5. Having to work on Tuesday after drinking too much on Monday night

Pub quiz with free food and £1500 up for grabs led to the consumption of 3 bottles of wine.
And me sweating grape juice the following day at work. Bleurgh.

Most regrettable thing said whilst drunk this week:

"Yeah, I've been thinking about joining a gym"

Weirdo of the week:

The 60 year old man I spoke to on the phone at work who asked me if I wanted to meet him for coffee in Southport. He told me that he had been an alcoholic but he hadn't had a drink for 13 years, but he lives his life now the way he used to drink - "like a wildman". I was also told that he was divorced and his wife would take him back "in a second", but he didn't like her anymore. He told me that it was often said that he looked like Robert de Niro and that he may be coming up for 60, but there was nothing wrong with his libido. He actually said the word libido in a funny accent. He said that talking to me had made his day and that he liked my accent and "authoritative tone".

Make of that what you will.

Friday, 13 November 2009


This is what happens when you go out straight from work and then have to put yourself to bed at 10.00pm because you are so drunk.

Welcome to my life.

I ♥ the people I work with, but I don't ♥ my job.

I especially enjoy Lord Weaver and Mrs France, like the country.

King prawn rogan josh and 3 bottles of pinot grigio plus 2 pints of cider is always the answer.

No matter what the question is.

I have been pretty lax about updating lately - work is taking over my life. Boo.

But this is what I have been up to lately, not that anyone is interested.

I got a headstone at my desk at work for Halloween.

And yes, that is a brain on a hook and some severed limbs suspended from the ceiling in the background.

Just conducting some official government business. Whilst dressed as a bat.

Watching Green Day, again whilst dressed as a bat.

Instead of celebrating Bonfire Night in the traditional way, by burning a Catholic, I went to watch Muse in Liverpool.

Matt Bellamy wore some fetching purple pants.

And now Zoolander is on TV.

You're more dead to me than your dead mother.

I have just bought something off Ebay which will make Phina cry tears of joy on Thanksgiving.

Gotta love drunk purchases.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


Anyone who has used Amazon [and let's not all pretend that we only shop at independent, local, organic, fairtrade book co-operatives staffed by bearded hippies] to buy anything, gets a series of recommendations from all the information that they store about the items you have purchased.

What do these recommendations say about us as people?

Using myself as a guinea pig, because I am awesome like that, I shall endeavour to find out.

1. The Killing Fields DVD

I diagnosed myself as a sociopath based on an article in Real People magazine. This recommendation is really doing me no favours. I said that I owned The Deer Hunter on DVD. Which is true. Apparently Amazon cannot distinguish between the Vietnam war and the Khmer Rouge fucking up Cambodia. Similar, but crucially different.

2. Full Metal Jacket DVD

Recommended because I said that I owned Platoon. True story. This is painting a rather more violent picture of me than I would like ...

3. The Return Of The Native by Thomas Hardy

Oh sweet, sweet irony.

I studied this book for 2 years. Two years of my life I will never get back.

The Reddleman Diggory Venn, Eustacia Vye, Thomasin Yeobright and Wildeve are all indelibly branded into my skull.

I hate this book like I hate Bono. And that is a lot. This book is 400 pages of nothingness. Nothing happens on Egdon Heath. A lot of yokel dialect happens and it makes me hate Wessex a lot. And Wessex doesn't even exist.

The highlight of the two years was watching a ropey TV adaptation starring a then-still-Welsh Catherine Zeta Jones as Eustacia Vye with a thrown on Dorset accent so grating it could strip paint from walls.

4. The Exorcist DVD

Could this list make me look dodgier? I look like a Thomas Hardy survivalist enthusiast with a sideline in the demonic. No wonder I have no friends. I watched this film once and it bored me. The effects have not aged well. And as a child of the late 80s, I have already wasted enough of my life listening to Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells album thankyouverymuch.

5. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

I actually have a copy of this. I was going to write that I owned this but, technically, I stole my copy from the drama department of my high school. And those bastards deserved it. [Sociopathy 101: persistent stealing]

6. Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace

I think this is a book. I have no idea what the title is referring to. I don't like maths. I am clearly a massive nerd, though.

7. Songs Of Innocence And Experience by William Blake

Making myself look, somehow, even more like a serial killer.

8. Mrs Doubtfire DVD

What says fun like Robin Williams dressed up as a septegenarian Scottish woman with a meringue facemask and some fake tits?

9. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

I don't like this recommendation because it makes me look like a feminist.

10. The John Candy Collection - includes Uncle Buck, The Great Outdoors, Brewster's Millions and The Blues Brothers.

I may purchase this. What a DVD. Uncle Buck is a bona fide classic.

11. Tinkerbell And The Lost Treasure DVD

I HATE Disney sequels/spin offs which are not Toy Story 2.

The Lion King 2? Fuck off.

12. Northern Wilderness: Bushcraft Of The Far North by Ray Mears

Lord Bushcraft himself. This is the companion book to the current BBC series where Sir Mears tries to survive in the arse end of nowhere in Canada.

It is not as good as the one where he was in the Canadian Rockies and hollowed out a canoe.

And he has yet to use his kindling pouch. Very disappointing.

13. Crazy Love by Michael Bublé

CBM loves The Boob.

As in she thinks they are going to get married, despite the fact that CBM has been married to Dickhead John for 35 years.

She adds her own name into his songs when we are forced to have them on in the car: 'I just haven't met you yet .... Carol!'

And she legitimately thinks he is Irish.

14. Tango In The Night by Fleetwood Mac

Already own this. On vinyl.

15. Twilight Soundtrack

8 more sleeps!!!!1!!1!!!1!!1!!!!

Even Amazon seems to confirm the fact that I am a sociopath.

With an unhealthy obsession with the dealings of Miss Swan and Mr Cullen. [Though we all know that Mr Black is where the hot's at.]

I will be sat in my lead lined bunker with Tubular Bells or The Mac playing in the background whilst watching Mrs Doubtfire and waiting for the world to end.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Kill Me Now

This is what passes for primetime Saturday night entertainment in our great nation.

Jedward must be stopped.

They can't fucking sing.

End the madness now.


Monday, 2 November 2009

The Parking Pumpkin

There is a van which parks near our house.

It parks virtually on a junction.

It is the worst parking job ever.

And now a taxi has taken to parking behind it.


It is so dangerous.

When you turn left into the street, you are pretty much driving directly into the back of this hideously parked van.

On Halloween, after some wine, the Parking Pumpkin took direct action.

In the form of a sign.

A laminated sign.



The next day, at 11am, the sign - and the taxi - was gone.

Next step: a few anonymous phonecalls to that 0800 number.

Cue grainy audio ...

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A Question Of Sport

Photo actually taken by me during the recording. How illegal.

Something amazing happened last night.

No. Not that.

I went to watch an episode of A Question Of Sport being filmed in Manchester.

It was filmed at Granada Studios, home of Coronation Street.

A Question Of Sport is a quiz show where 2 teams of professional athletes face off against each other. The jewel in the BBC's sport based quiz show crown. The only jewel.

Pre-recording drinks were held in the motherjunking Rovers Return - for those unfamiliar with television soap opera Coronation Street, this is a big deal. Trust me.

In related Coronation Street news, 2 weeks ago I ate a meal literally half a metre away from Sir Ken Barlow. Probably the most boring soap opera character in history, but a national treasure nonetheless.

This is the most interesting thing Ken Barlow has ever done.

I was incredibly intoxicated and virtually shouted "Is that Ken Barlow?" when he was essentially sat on my lap. The shame.

He has a smashing head of hair though.

On the way to the QoS studio, we walked past the Countdown clock. [Richard Whiteley RIP]

My nerd core nearly imploded with the excitement.

True fact: my dad used to work with The Vorderman

I managed to make myself look like a prized tit in front of the entire studio audience.

It was mentioned that I had appeared on a TV quiz show in my murky past [true fact]. The guy with the microphone asked me: "How did you get on?"

My reply was that the quiz people had come to our school.

Of course, by how did you get on he actually meant, how did you do on the show.

Former England rugby player Matt Dawson and England cricketer Phil Tuffnell were both on fine form.

Host Sue Barker looked a lot less orange in real life. She had a new, more subtle, haircut which made her look a lot less like a Pomeranian than the one she has in the current series.

We were quite excited to see one of the guests was to be Matt Stevens. As in the England rugby player who was a little too friendly with Charlie. Ifyouseewhati'mimplyinginatotallyunlibellousfashion.

Apparently there is a Welsh snooker player also called Matt Stevens.

He looks like a less fun night out.

The other guests were a random gymnast, Newcastle goalie Shay Given and England cricketer Matthew Hoggard.

I am now firmly a Hoggard fan. He was by far the best guest.

I am considering getting his autobiography, which by all accounts is excellent, but it comes with a cover quote from noted dickhead Johnny Borrell from Razorlight. That may be a deal breaker.

And he walked right past me in the car park after the show. Brush with the Z List.

It will be interesting to see which parts are edited out. There were some times when the teams were trying to think of the answer and it literally took about 6 minutes. The show is only 30 minutes long.

It was a surprisingly slick recording and I am mondo intrigued as to how it will look on TV.

In mostly unrelated news, I have had most of my hair cut off and the bat costume I am wearing to work on Friday is still awesome.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

What The Hell Just Happened?

I have come to the conclusion that John and Edward are either comedy geniuses or genuinely deluded tone deaf cretins and I don't know which side I'm swinging towards at the moment.

The spoken word interlude a minute in is truly excruciating.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Merry Wednesday

Monday, 5 October 2009

What's Not To Hate?

I watched the X Factor last night and it infuriated me beyond measure.

For those not in the know, the X Factor is Simon Cowell's twist on American/Pop Idol.

There are 4 categories of singer: girls under 25, boys under 25, over 25s and groups.

Each category has a mentor [who is also one of the judges for the audition rounds] who advises them on song choice and other such stuff for the live shows the final 12 are involved in.

Leona Lewis won the X Factor, so it is quite the big deal.

Last night each category was down to the final 6 acts. The judges had to pick their final 3 acts to go through to the live finals.

In the groups category, there is a pair of Irish twins called John and Edward.

Their musical act is called, imaginatively, John and Edward.

It is no lie to say that I possess at least an equal amount of vocal ability as this gormless pair of arseclowns.

They were part of an ensemble in the audition rounds where they, a solo singer and another duo all had to collaborate on a performance of Apologize by, erm, that guy with the face. Yeah, him.

The truly awful shit starts approximately one minute into the video.

And the ending of the video? Awkward city.

'Where's my brother?'

At the bottom of a ravine in a hessian sack?
We all have dreams . . .

This is the performance that put them through to the final as one of the 12 most talented musical acts in the UK and Ireland.

Tell me why.

No, seriously, tell me why.

If Britney Spears ends up dating John or Edward, bitch is crazier than I first thought.

Ending on an unbelievably bad note?

Yep. And they started on one. And there were a few in the middle. And, yep, one at the end.

Is it any coincidence that the Irish mafia let them through, hmm?

Louis Walsh and Ronan Keating, shame on you.

I am out on Saturday night for some hardcore eating and drinking when the first live show is on and the public have the chance to vote for the first time.

I hope the great British public don't let me down and these two gobshites are shown the door.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Question[s] Of The Week

As asked to me on Friday night by a 'restaurant' manager:

"Do you need a knife and fork to eat your hummus with? I don't know what hummus is. I have never seen it or heard of it before. Do you want ketchup with it?"

This disgrace to largely-chickpea-based dips everywhere occurred in Chicago Rock Cafe.

Which isn't in Chicago, isn't a cafe and doesn't play rock music.

Vodka is 99 English pennies before 10pm, though. And I got there at 5.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

*High Pitched Squealing Noise*

I am going to see Kelly Clarkson for my birthday in February!


That is all.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Ama[i]z[e]ing Maize Maze

We all love a maize maze.

And we all love Twilight. [Admit it, you do.]

Why not combine the two for a heady afternoon's fun?

Any fool know, the only team to be on is Team Jacob.

Edward is whiny and possessive and pathetic.

Yeah, I said it.

What better way to pledge your allegiance to Mr Black than by exploring his face hacked out of some corn in wonderful* Syracuse, Utah?

I think it is clear to anyone with eyes, that the creator of the maze is firmly Team Jacob.

RPattz's maze has been tacked on as an afterthought.

And look how scrubby the corn is around the edges of Edward's, admittedly glorious, hair.
[Jacob's maze hair looks like his brain is exposed. And RPattz looks a bit like his head is on fire.]

*Syracuse, Utah may not be wonderful. I have never been there. The fact that it is a farming community, and in Utah, means that it's probably not that wonderful. If anyone from Syracuse, Utah is reading this, gimme six!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Age Shall Not Weary Them

So, my grandad died.

And that was sad. Especially for my favouritest CBM.

But he was 86 and he is in a better place, wherever that may be.

And I can think of a few people he would be glad to see again.
I hope that he does see them.

I have inherited his HM Armed Forces veteran's badge.

My brother has his regimental patches - one for Normandy 1944 and the other his Royal Horse Artillery regimental patch - which he is thrilled with.

He gave his medals to another family member years ago, and that family member has lost them. What a fucking wanker.

He recently got a passport, which he never had the chance to use, after always saying that he would never get one because the last time he was abroad [i.e. fighting in WW2], 'they never asked to see my passport'.

One of the last things he said to my cousin, thinking she was me, was: "Jessica, have you got a job yet?"

And that makes me cry tears of laughter. Haha.

He was born in 1923. It boggles the mind to think how much the world has changed in such a relatively short period of time. No TV, no microwaves, Al Gore hadn't even dreamt of inventing the internet ...

And it is slightly depressing to think of what hasn't changed.

My grandad comes from a generation that I think we owe a great debt to. One that fought World War 2, not through choice, but because they were told that it was the right thing to do.

Even in death, there is humour.

And it comes to us, in this time of sorrow, in the form of a list.

This list was given to us by the bloody awful hippy vicar who will be conducting the funeral service next Wednesday.

It is a list of 'suitable' songs to be played in the church.

My suggestions of 'Light My Fire' by The Doors or 'Going Underground' by the Jam = not appropriate apparently.

Some of the suggestions include Albatross by the mighty Fleetwood Mac, Always by Bon Jovi and Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life by Monty Python.

I wonder if anyone at the church has actually watched the film that the Monty Python song appears in? Life Of Brian anyone? Essentially a 2 hour piss take of religion in general?

Another option is Annie's Song by John Denver - I approve of this choice. What a lovely song that is.

'Be Still For The Prescence Of The Lord'.

If the Lord were present, he would not approve of your spelling.

Or you could have Bilitis played at your funeral. The instrumental or the pan pipe version.

Bilitis sounds more like a cause of death to me ...

You could also have the theme to Black Beauty, Bridge Over Troubled Water or Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel, or Candle In The Wind [Diana version]. The brackets are not my own addition.

One of the more 'out there' choices is China In Your Hands by T'Pau.

I am half expecting to turn the page and see Too Shy by Kajagoogoo or Karma Chameleon by Culture Club as options.

There are 2 Aerosmith options. The church loves that Steven Tyler.

There are some slightly wrong options - Endless Love by Ross and Richie, Everything I Do [I Do It For You] by Bryan Adams.

And a lot of Celine Dion, presumably for when they are burying child killers and rapists.

Not even Jesus loves Celine Dion.

We settled on that old chestnut My Way by Mr Sinatra and the more outre choice of Country Roads by John Denver - despite my grandad not being from, or ever having been to, West Virginia.

I plan on turning it into a sing-and-clap-along extravaganza.

CBM is still cranking out the one liners, even in mourning.

Today she referred to Bob, the family cat, as a 'pimp'.

We were walking into Chateau BM when I pointed out that there was a big bird sat on next door's roof.

CBM's reaction was: 'Woah! What is it? A vulture or a turkey?'

It was a pigeon.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

[500] Days Of Summer

Everyone on the planet should go and see this movie - 'tis awesome.

I am going to incorporate a dance sequence into my everyday life from now on.

And can you ever have too much Hall & Oates? Nope.

Monday, 7 September 2009

My Name Is Jessica, And I Am A Vegetarian.

Yes. That's right.

I am That Guest. The one with the dietary requirements.

The one who needs the separate pan and the 'special' meal.

The one who messes all your timings up because I won't eat dead animal.

On a trip en famille, to my brother's new yuppie crash pad/quasi student hovel, in West Didsbury, I found myself, for the first time ever [the times in the hippy place opposite uni don't count] in a wholly vegetarian restaurant.

I have been vegetarian since I was 11 years old.

In the past 15 years, I have eaten meat once.

I inadvertently ate some bacon about a year ago and almost instantly threw up.
My vegetarianism is one life's sweetest ironies.

I loathe animals almost as much as I loathe people.

I don't loathe Bob The Cat or Poor Dead Tig though.

And one of the 'types' of people I loathe the most are those most predisposed to being a vegetarian: the hippy.

And Heather Mills-McCartney.

A period of my life still discussed [and laughed at] to this day, is the Ill Advised Vegan Month.

When I was about 15, I decided that I could be a vegan, yeah? That I would find it incredibly easy to cut all animal products from my diet. I don't have a clue as to why I ever wanted to try this. All I learnt was that soya milk is undrinkable and if you are setting an alarm to get up at 3am to eat cheese with no witnesses around, you probably like cheese a bit too much to give it up.

I used to be a way stricter vegetarian than I am now - no gelatine [a Haribo habit which would make Amy Winehouse look like a poster girl for sobriety put paid to that one], no fish [I am having my revenge on the monsters of the deep by eating them left, right and centre now] etc.

Am I even considered a vegetarian if I eat fish?

Anyway, I found myself in Greens in West Didsbury. This restaurant is run by television chef Simon Rimmer. He seems like a lovely man. He presents Something For The Weekend on a Sunday and won the first series of Great British Menu, the world's most needlessly convoluted cooking show, on BBC 2.

I was with CBM, Dickhead John and Little Bobby. My most immediate and beloved family. None of whom are vegetarian.

We all had Welsh rarebit to start. Or posh cheese on toast as my dad calls it. Then I had potato, cauliflower and green bean thai curry, Dickhead had Cheshire cheese sausages with mash and gravy, Bobby had white bean and coriander chilli and CBM had gnocchi and tomato pesto.

My mum ordered some chips. You can take the girl out of Warrington ...

We went to the restaurant as a reward to ourselves as we had just spent an hour trying to construct a chest of drawers for my brother's new cupboard/bedroom. Only we didn't have any tools. So we used a shoe as a hammer and duct taped all the drawers together. Ingenious.

The area was having a food festival, West Fest, and all the restaurants had music playing [including a string quartet, steel drum band, Thai dancers] and were giving out freebies. We had free wine at the wine merchants, fish and chips at the cafe, sangria and tapas at the Spanish place, ice cream and handmade pasta at the Italian, Singapore noodles at the Thai place etc etc. We got so much free food, it was ridiculous.

We went into a pub, The Metropolitan, for a drink. 4 pints cost £12.

Twelve fucking pounds. 13.70 Euros. 19.64 American Dollars. 1826 Japanese Yen.

This event attracted a certain type of person. The young hippy or the middle class parent [or yummy mummy], wheeling around little Tarquin Gaylord or Arabella Cheesecake, and swooning over organic hemp sandals or some other product designed for people with more money than sense.

This event all took place on a street with a pub at one end called Ye Olde Cock Inn. Snigger.

As I was walking along looking at all the free stuff with CBM, thinking about the type of middle class tosser who wilfully attended such events, I found myself saying 'Ooooooh, Mum! Look at that artisan cheese!'

Once again, cheese has been my downfall.

Am I a middle class tosser?

I was genuinely excited to see the cheese.

The man had one of those cheese corkscrews [as I like to call them], the ones you stick into a wheel of cheese and remove a slither from. Amaze.

Needless to say, I have spent the day consumed with self loathing.

My brother's housemates are quite the interesting mix. There is a journalist, 3 mechanical or chemical engineers [including baby bro], a doctor and a trainee psychologist.

My bro has a housemate whose last name is Frizell. He has the basement room.
Hence his new nickname: Fritzl.

Oh, and I ♥ cheese.

Monday, 31 August 2009

3 Day Weekend = Camp 7

August in Wales. Look at the glorious weather.

This weekend saw the traditional Camp 7 gathering.
This year's venue? The Gower, South Wales.
Places visited included Rhosilli, Llangenith, Three Cliffs Bay, The Mumbles, Builth Wells and, erm, the Swansea branch of Tesco.

Surf dudes with attitude, kinda groovy laid back mood ...

If you recognise that tune you almost certainly were of an impressionable age in the early 90s. What with us camping, it was time for the traditional 48 hour rainy spell.

Which led to the inside of the tent looking like a refugee camp.

And the traditional cooking of breakfast outside under some golf brollies. With G wearing his boxers. How unevolved. It also led to the phrase 'the trangia loves the wind' being bandied about.

Entertainment on the trip was mainly provided by the most high quality publication - the magazine 'Real People'. 68p's worth of entertainment gold. Stories included 'My orgasm put me into a coma!', 'One family, nine boob jobs!' and the unforgettable 'Stabbed for a peanut!'

The magazine also led to the Real People sweepstake. Namely, how many kids would the people in the article have and what age were they when the first child was born. Stabbed for a peanut! involved nine kids. Nine, people!

Evening entertainment revolved around fire. The starting and poking thereof, mainly. E set her marshmallow on fire. I burnt my mouth *sad face*

And proof that men are pathetic - G could not possibly go without his airbed. Suck it up, Princess!

Things that annoy me about women when camping, despite being vaguely female myself:

1. Women in the toilets blow drying their hair

2. Women in the toilets straightening their hair

3. Women in the toilets flossing their teeth

4. Women in the toilets applying a full face of make up

We are in the middle of a quaggy field in Wales. It is blowing a gale. The drizzle is torrential and non stop. What. Is. The. Fucking. Point?

Friday, 14 August 2009

Alan! Alan! Alan! Alan!

Why is this so fucking funny?

I still won't watch the show though ...

Saturday, 8 August 2009

A Little Piece Of Heaven

Recently, I was lucky enough to spend some time in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. More specifically, in the area surrounding Isandlwana - Nhloya, Nqutu, Rorke's Drift and Fugitive's Drift.

We were able to stay at Umzinyathi farmhouse for a night, courtesy of Nicky Rattray. Fugitive's Drift Lodge was amazing. The people there were fantastic too - Nicky, Rob, Grace, Margaret, Joseph and everyone else.

The view of the Buffalo River from Fugitive's Drift was fantastic.

We spent most of our time in the village of Nhloya - 40 minutes drive from the nearest paved road. The village had no sewerage, no electricity, communal water pumps and a school.

People from the village all came to say hello to us and took us down to see the river. I spoke to a boy called Thembiso, and he told me that he was 14 years old and that he had never seen a white person before.

As we were wandering back to where we were camping, we had accumulated quite the following.

We did see poverty in South Africa, but the people we met in the village did not seem unhappy with what they had.

People tended to live in big rondavel huts. There would be a large hut for the man of the house to live in and additional rondavels for each of his wives. Zulu customs allow polygamous marriage - as long as the man has enough cows. Lobola is the dowry that a man must pay to marry and it is usually 11 cows.

Base camp.
Note the very English colonising of the goalposts to string up a washing line and the bush shower.

We had the camper van because we needed a way of storing water. The camper van's name? Lance Armstrong.

We saw tons of wildlife. The goats came to visit us every day.

As did the cows.

Just driving along, seeing a giraffe. As you do.

Or a zebra.

Or a kudu.

Or some ostriches.

Or a dassie in a tree.

This is the real reason we were in Nhloya.

The school playing field. How safe. And note the green toilets, which provided hours of fun playing the 'do I REALLY need to go?' game.

Lending a helping hand.

Some villages had water pumps which were attatched to roundabouts, to make pumping water more fun. We went and had a go on one. And scared the local children off in the process.

Sunrise over base camp. You don't realise how much light pollution there is in the Western world until you go somewhere with absolutely none. In Nhloya, we could see the Milky Way every night.

Morning mist.

At night it was freezing cold - as evidenced by the ice on the tent.

And the fact that we went to bed wearing 143 layers of clothing. And a headtorch.

Rush hour in Nhloya.

We went to Rorke's Drift and listened to a lecture by the fantastic Rob Caskie. If he is ever making a speech near your town, go. You will not regret it. There wasn't a dry eye in the house by the end of the talk. 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded at Rorke's Drift. Two of the recipients were from Manchester and Preston, so even thousands of miles from home there was a local connection.

Rob also took us to Isandlwana and gave a very moving talk there. We were lucky to have Rob give us the talk at Isandlwana as he does not often do them since the murder of David Rattray.

Isandlwana held great significance for a lot of people on the trip. I was glad that I got to go there.

The white cairns are grave markers. They mark the places where the bodies of between 8 and 20 British soldiers were found following the battle at Isandlwana.

The classrooms at the school were in reasonable repair. A lot of the windows were broken though, as the school had only just got a fence put around it.

Liverpool FC, Man City FC and Warrington Wolves all donated shirts to take out for the children.
Manchester United proved that the 'biggest club in the world' could also be the biggest bastards in the world.

People were fascinated by the camper van - or the moving house as they called it. They were even more fascinated by the tents [or little houses] and were horrified when we told them we were sleeping in them.

A lot of people went on the camper van-tent tour circuit.

The school had a creche for the really young children. The little fella in the hoody at the front was almost kidnapped and brought home with us. He was the most adorable thing in the world. Ever.

When we went to leave, they all started shouting 'bye bye!' and shaking hands with us. Once we had closed the gate they started climbing up the fence, still shouting and waving at us.

I had a breakfast epiphany in South Africa. Bokomo flakes. Purchased in Nqutu [pronounced clickutu], in the supermarket which had a bird flying around in it and a lot of meat in black bin bags, these flakes were so much more than just cornflakes by another name. Bokomo flakes and chakalaka sauce should be available in every country in the world.

The view from the tent in the Drakensberg on the way back to Joburg.

If anyone wants a charity to support, please consider this one.

Having seen first hand what excellent work has been done in partnership with the David Rattray Foundation, the money is most definitely needed and well spent.

The people we met in Nhloya were amazing - Simphiwe, Tiny, Miriam, the crazy nightwatchman, Victoria, Imbali, all the kids at the school.

I can only speak for myself, but I returned home feeling so uplifted and so thankful for everything that I have at home.

I ♥ Africa.
I also ♥ the Syms' family for allowing me to accompany them on this trip.

♥ Bye bye, Nhloya! ♥