Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Queen B | My date with Mrs. Carter

As sad as it was to leave Doncaster, I had to make my way to Chelmsford in time for V Festival. Four days of camping, crap food, no shower and little sleep. For Mrs Carter, however, it was all worth it.

I met the uni girls at Stratford Station and we all headed into Chelmsford together. We spent Friday finding a pitch and putting up our tent before having a wander, grabbing a hot dog, going on the fun fair rides and then calling it a night. Camping with thousands of people meant that most of the night was spent being woken up by various dramas taking place outside our tent. At one point I braced myself for impact when I heard one young man stumble over our tent peg. Lucky for me, he managed to keep his feet grounded and not come hurtling on top of me.

Saturday was probably our more manic day. There were so many acts we wanted to see that a lot of the day was spent running from stage to stage, grabbing food and a toilet break at every opportunity. The first act we saw were The Fratellies, who were absolutely amazing. The lead singer reminded me of a young Bob Dylan, so I was more than happy to stand and watch him all day. We also got to see Labrinth, a personal favourite, who was on form as usual, followed by The Script and the one and only Mrs Carter. Despite her constant wardrobe changes, being squished between a scarily large crowd and her not singing my favourite song, I Was Here, she can be forgiven due to awesomeness. If you’re not into large crowds of people suffocating you, however, my advice would be to go and see someone a little less popular.

Sunday was a much more chilled day, after the stress of getting to the front for Beyonce, it was nice to hang back and appreciate the likes of Olly Murs, The Vaccines, Emelie Sande, The Stereophonics and Kings of Leon. Due to somebody being very unwell in front of me, it meant I had a very good view for Stereophonics, which was highly appreciated. Calvin Harris' performance also happened to occur alongside Kings of Leon's, which resulted in a much smaller audience, proving to be perfect for my 5’5” self not to feel submerged in between an array of people.

After another night of little sleep, we woke up at 5am and packed up our tent ready for the first shuttle bus back to Chelmsford Station at 6am. It was the easiest way to avoid all the crowds and made getting home much easier. The weekend was absolutely amazing, despite receiving a bottle to the face, being caked in beer and not showering for two days… I guess it couldn't have been more rock and roll.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Invading the North

The worst thing about going home for summer is that all your friends from university disperse around the country, some quite far away. My next door neighbour and adopted brother for the last year happens to live in Doncaster. It really does suck that he is so far away and for the last few months I've really missed him and his girlfriend Emily. It does, however, give one the opportunity to invade the north.

So on Monday, Laura Dowse and myself jumped on a train from Kings Cross to Doncaster and attacked our two dearly missed friends. It was so lovely to see them both and they had loads planned for our four-day visit. The day we arrived, we took a tour of Doncaster in the car, checking out all the local hot spots. Then we went home and had dinner with Emily's parents who made us ham in coca cola. It sounds quite strange but I have to admit, it was delicious. The evening soon took the form of a bowling session where we were introduced to Josh and Emily's friends. They were lovely and although bowling is not exactly my idea of fun (mostly because I am atrocious at it) I had a really nice evening.

After a very bad decision of pulling an all nighter, we spent Tuesday at Alton Towers. I love rollercoasters. Nothing beats the adrenaline that rushes through your body as you're being strapped in tight before it begins. ‘Smiler’ was awesome, though the queue was insane and a slight kill-joy. Going to a theme park in the middle of the summer holidays was certainly not one of our best ideas.

Chatsworth House was next on the agenda, to see a beautiful stately home and walk around the grounds, which were filled with rather strange statues of curvaceous women and naked men. It did, however, have a maze and my confidence certainly overrode my skill. Whilst my friends teamed up, I took on the style of lone wolf and it wasn't long before I began to regret it. My attempts at cheating earned me nothing but scraped knuckles and even further confusion as to which way was out. My sense of direction certainly wouldn't earn me any awards. Despite the freezing cold (which northerners don't seem to register) we had a picnic with some yummy homemade cookies. I love being outdoors and I love food, so picnics are definitely up my street. That evening we went to a pub quiz, which somehow I thought I could revise for by using various iPhone apps. We lost enormously, but it turns out it’s a weekly occurrence so it didn’t feel quite so shameful. Some of the questions were near enough impossible, but the boys seemed to have a nice time drawing genital shaped objects on the quiz sheet. It is nice to know that I am not always the most immature person in the room.

Ironically our last day was probably my favourite. Josh lives right next to Yorkshire Wildlife Park and had never been, much to my disgrace, so we headed over early and got to see all the animals. I absolutely love lions, elephants, giraffes and goats; actually I love pretty much anything that doesn't possess wings and a beak. I think if Doncaster was my hometown I would certainly invest in an annual pass, stroking goats could become a weekly occurrence.

Eventually the day came to an end, and it was time to say goodbye to the wildlife, as well as Josh and Emily. Four days just didn't seem to be enough; I think if V Festival weren’t around the corner, I would certainly have 'missed' my train home.


Friday, August 09, 2013

Road trip

I love summer. I love the sunshine. I love wearing shorts and flip flops every day. I love getting a healthy glowing suntan. I love being able to eat ice cream for lunch without being questioned. I love getting out my Ray Bans and more than anything, I love to have a chunk of time with complete freedom. There is, however, one slight drawback. I am completely and utterly alone. My mother works full time, my brother lives away from home and all my friends back home work. The days thus become a slight blur, filled with pointless activities to make myself busy and productive. I work shifts as well, meaning evenings and weekends when my family and friends are free... I am at work. Consequently, I spend my days at the gym, cleaning or running errands. After a while, it can sometimes get extremely quiet and I have to be honest, I miss the company.

This week therefore has been amazing because my lovely mother had a week off work. We have done so much that it would probably take me a week to write it all down. So instead I will give you a quick summery. On Monday we went up to Cambridgeshire to visit my grandparents, Tuesday (the most exciting day) was filled with a spontaneous road trip to Dover. I had never seen the white cliffs before so to say I was excited would have been an understatement. We've had lunches out, Starbucks stops in Brentwood, dinner dates with old friends and various other girly activities. It's been nice having my mum around and it is going to suck big time when she has to go back to work. Like me, she loves adventure and is happy to go anywhere as long as it gets her out of the house and into the fresh air. Here are just a few snaps from our week’s antics.

'Never go on trips with anyone you do not love'. Ernest Hemingway
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