Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I've started my new job, and I absolutely love it! It's the first time in my life that I really enjoy what I'm doing, and i don't dread going into work every day. I'm working as a waitress in a French Restaurant here in Derby, and I know it's not a particularly relevant job considering my American Studies degree, but I'm happy! I love the shift wor, as supposed to the 9-5 Monday to Friday lifestyle i used to have. Office jobs just don't suit me, especially ones with little or no customer interaction. I love the fact now that i get to meet so many different people, from Derby locals to people visiting from all over the place. also, becuase the other people that work there are just amazing, it's like having a social life! I was called into work the other night, and i actually said to a colleague, "it beats sitting at home alone on my sofa!" that NEVER happens!!!!
In other news, Rich has moved out to move in with his girlfriend in Edinburgh. I drove him up there, and spent a couple of days in Bonny Scotland. it was so much fun. we went and explored the city a little bit, took some awesome pictures, that i'll hopefully manage to put up here some time. Edinburgh is such a gorgeous city, full of history and atmosphere. Daisy and i thought that we might struggle a little bit with the rent, but all is well...one of our neighbour's girlfriends has moved in. She's called Alice, and she's awesome! we have lots of fun! She is a vegan, so i'm learning all kinds of new recipes for vegan meals, it's been quite a learning curve, but an interesting one.
Anyway, that's my little update on Rach-Land. I hope everyone is well, and having a happy Halloween!!
Friday, September 22, 2006
No lights to follow, just forever bending
In directions I cannot control
Into places that I'll never know
I'm all alone with no one to guide
Not a hand to hold, no one by my side
But this is a road I have to take
I have to take for my sanity's sake
It will take me out to different places
Introduce me to brand new faces
Show me things I've yet to learn
This is happening to me, it's now my turn
This road is new and very scary
My days will be different and always varied
But I've never been this excited before
To do it alone and go out and explore
Although the way is new and dark
On the world I'll make my mark
I think at last I've found my place
Finally there's a smile upon my face
Thursday, September 21, 2006
After that we did a kind of leadership, trust exercise. We were put into pairs, with someone that you've never worked with before, and one person was blindfolded. The guys had marked out a route through the trees by tying some rope to the trees and things. The non-blindfolded one had to lead their partner around the route, without touching them, or talking to them, and with out the blindfolded one holding on to the rope. HUH???/ I hear you say! We thought the same thing! Basically you had to clap to them, and they would follow the sound of your claps. It was really hard though, because there were things to step over, and branches and twigs in the way, so you had to work out some kind of signal within your clapping to mark that there was something to step over. We managed to do this (I was clapping first), but then about ¾ of the way round, there was about a 6" drop!!! Until then the signal we had worked out meant step OVER, so it was impossible to tell the other person to step down as supposed to over. But hey ho - it was really annoying though, when it came to swapping over, we did really well, as I think most people did on the second time round because you kinda knew the route by then. My partner and I were on for a really good time - it was a bit of a competition you see - but then she led me the wrong way round a tree, so we had to go back and round the other side of this tree!! But Alison - the lady leading me, didn't know the route, and as it was just marked out by a thin piece of rope, I don't blame her at all for going wrong, it was just sooo annoying. But hey ho - that's life I guess!!! But that was really good fun - it was really interesting because the sound of the other person clapping became such a comfort after a while - it was all you had. When the other person had to turn around to make sure they were going in the right direction, the clapping stopped for a while, and I know that I for one, started to panic a little bit! "Where did they go...what's going on...." It was scary!!!!
After that was the best bit of the whole weekend...in my opinion anyway. It was the first aid section. We were led further into the training camp, walking for about 15 mins or so, and then sat on the ground outside. It was a beautiful day, so sitting outside was lovely! We had a bit of a crash course in emergency first aid, and the kind of injuries we would encounter - fractures, cuts, etc.....then we were split into two groups again, all mixed up this time, which I don't think was a good idea, and we were taken to this upside down burnt out old helicopter. From there we were given a brief - we were an ERU team coming to relieve another ERU team who had been caught in an aftershock of the earthquake. 3 of the team had made it out ok, but one of them was left injured somewhere. We had to pick up a piece of kit along the way, which had been dropped from the helicopter, and radio in for more instructions. However, there were enemy forces marching this way, and friendly forces coming from the opposite direction, and they were going to meet each other right where we were, in about 15mins. Therefore, we had 15 mins to get the kit, and find the injured person and get him out. Ooh, the adrenaline started pumping then! We delegated a communications man (who turned out to be rubbish!!!), and went off in search of this piece of kit, with 2 hefty 6 foot poles and a loooong bit of sturdy rope. We found the kit; it was a first kit, in the middle of a 'mine field'. They had marked it out with stones, twigs, cans that kind of thing. But the first aid kit was about 8 feet into this minefield, and we had to somehow get it. We couldn't put any pressure on the minefield, in case we stepped on a mine, and we couldn't use the poles to hook it, in case we dropped on and it set off the mines....so we had to use the rope kinda like a cheese wire, and get the rope on the other side of the kit, and flick it towards us - if you get me... - so we eventually managed that, but it took us about 5 mins to work out how to do that, then Tom (our communications dude) radioed in for more instructions. There was a building near us, which is where our casualty was, and also in there was a satellite phone, so we left our radio behind, because it wouldn't' have worked in the building anyway, it was more like a bunker. And then the four of us headed down there - with the guys helping to run the weekend shouting, and generally causing major distractions allll the time. Once we got inside (it was totally pitch black down there, and we just had 1 torch, although I think the guys helping to run it had a couple too) we could hear a radio bleeping, and someone screaming. Our communications guy went straight to the casualty as supposed to the radio, so we had to delegate someone else to be radio guy! Then Tom told me to hold open the casualties airway - he had a big beam across his chest, one across his thigh and then a big rock at his shin, with a really nasty open fracture...and then a cut on his arm too. I stayed with jez - the casualty - all the time, and reassured him, told him what was going on, calmed him down, while tom and another lady bandaged his leg. We then somehow had to get him out - with about 3 minutes left to go...stress - people shouting, noise, dark, heart beating in my head - aagggghhhhh.....we figured we'd build a stretcher with our two man sized poles and sturdy rope - why else would we have been given them? However, we spectacularly ran out of time, and we would have either left Jez, as he was injured anyway, or we'd all have been shot!!!! No teams managed to get him out alive! How rubbish are we!! Haha, and in hindsight we would have done so many things differently. The dude running the first aid bit said if we'd just taken the time to look around, we would have found a big board on the floor, which could have used as a stretcher - so in the end we didn't need the poles at all! They were just another distraction! That bit was soo much fun, and even though we failed miserable, everyone was soo pumped afterwards!!! The adrenaline was going I can tell you!!!!!! Phew - it gives me butterflies just thinking about it. We all wanted to do it again, now that we knew what we had to do! Haha! Apparently we were the only team to keep someone with the casualty all the time - actually caring for him etc, which again in hindsight, I'm not sure I needed to do so much, I could have been useful somewhere else, but hey...what can we do now???? It was just soooo much fun!
Then we met up with the other team of 4 who had done it before us, and compared ideas and plans, and found out that their team was just utter chaos! Then we carried on chatting away as we headed back for lunch. Again lunch was make your own sandwiches, which were delicious! As we were eating, we were given our final situation report, and also we were handed a list of 4 questions. We were told we had to come up with a presentation answering these questions. We were basically handing over the camp to the next ERU, who needed to know the key people to talk to, what to do to relax, what status the city was in that kind of thing. I hate presentations, but it was ok I guess...it's all on camera too! Eeek. It's kinda cool though, because all the press interviews we did and all the presentations are all going to be put onto a DVD along with photos that the staff were taking all weekend too. I'm going to put some up on my blog when I get them! Yey! So having done our presentations, we had a brief talk from Sue, the organiser, who thanked all the staff etc, and then it was time to go. However, we were done by about 2.45ish, and I didn't end up leaving until 4.00, I didn't want to go! Coming back to reality after such an incredible weekend was hard! I met some awesome people who I will stay in touch with, hopefully! and just had one of the most amazing experiences ever!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
After this we had our communications section. We were taken away from the main building, and sat down for a talk about the different kinds of communication equipment the ERU will take with them. They have VHF Radios (AKA Walkie Talkies), Satellite Phones, and GPS handsets, so that you know where you are, and can give co-ordinates. In our teams (we were Red Dan and the other team of 4 were Red Patan) we were given a couple of tasks to do using the equipment. We had to find our way to given co-ordinates, radio in to another base called Red James, requesting co-ordinates of the epicentre, go to those co-ordinates, and then radio the other team Red Patan with a situation report. It was sooo much fun! Then the other task was to set up the Satellite phone and call ‘Geneva’ and let them know that our comms were working. And them some other stuff with walkie talkies again. While all this was going on, we were also being hounded by the ‘press’!!! we had cameras in faces, and people asking us questions, all while we were trying to get on with our tasks. It was great fun!!!!!!!
Then we broke for lunch, which was just make your own sandwiches, ham, turkey, cheese salady stuff, mayo, mustard, pickle, crisps, fruit – they fed us well!!!! Then after lunch we had a talk about what kind of things the Logistics team actually do, and what the job entails etc. and also the kind of things you have to think about when setting up a camp. Then in our groups we had to design our own relief camp, and present it to the rest of the group. Ours was by far the best – obviously!! Tee hee!!!!! Then after that we had a bit of a break for a while, in which we got to have our phones back!! Yey! so I called the parents, and then daisy and rich to let them know what kind of disaster I was having…..then I managed to wash my hair! Boy did I feel better after that! It was amazing!!! Then we had dinner, which was pasta bolognaise, and very yummy it was too! Then we had some more talks about the stuff the ERU actually do, and we looked at slides and things from Richard’s time in Indonesia after the Tsunami and then in Afghanistan after 9/11. it was pretty harrowing stuff, but really interesting to see all the amazing stuff that these guys do. Then as a final thing before bed we had to nominate 1 person from each team to give a live feed to the ‘BBC’ plugging the Aid Campaign. We chose Nicola, who got up and did really well, with her 1 minute. It was really heartfelt and would have made me want to donate some money!!!! Then as a reward for that, each team got a bottle of wine. Mmmm we were allowed to take them over to our accommodation. So loads of people came to hang out in our room, and we did this thing were instead of going around the room and saying something about yourself, you had to introduce someone else and say what you knew about them. And them if anyone else had anything to pitch in they could. It meant that we all got to know on another a lot better! It was great! It was sooo funny – the more wine people drank the more relaxed we all were, and so the more chatty people got. But because it was only a bottle per team, no one got really drunk, so there were no nasty hangovers in the morning!! It was just great fun.
Monday, September 18, 2006
I’ll start with the journey down, that was going really well until the M1 where I was stuck in traffic for ages, and having left later than planned, I was panicking a little bit!! Eek! But it all cleared up and after a while I was back on track. I stopped off briefly at Chievely Service station to check in with the Parents and them know I was safe, and then headed back onto the M4 – but succeeded in going the wrong way down the M4!!! 20mins later, I had managed to find and exit, turn around and head back the right way. Then I managed to find my way to Bramley – where the weekend was taking place, and eventually made it to the training area.
Before I had left, I opened my secret memo which told me that I was part of an Emergency Response Team being deployed to Bukastan, to a city called Dan, where there had been an Earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale. We were part of the logistics team, so would see relatively little of the actual crisis zone. We were in charge of organising who needed what, and getting it out to the right people. Things like tents, medical kits, sanitation kits etc….So when I arrived at the Training Area, I was greeted at the gate by a guy asking if I was there for an earthquake!!! I drove up the road to the base, and unloaded my gear. Then I had a meeting with Claire who had been organising the fundraising side of things. I handed over the £545 that people had very kindly donated. I also had to hand over my mobile phone at this stage – my lifeline!!!! I didn’t actually miss it as much as I thought I would!
After all the admin type stuff was out of the way, I was given an information pack, which gave us information about the city of Dan, and the surrounding areas, the population, and climate, and political status etc, and then also some info about the Red Cross and Red Crescent…it was all a bit much to take, and everyone just ended up chatting to each other, and getting to know one another. Then when everyone had arrived, we sat down and had some brief talks about the situation, and the red cross etc, and were introduced the various staff members. We were still not told what to expect from the weekend…then we were split into 4 teams of either 4 or 5, and introduced to our Team Leaders, who would be looking out for us over the weekend, and helping us if we were a bit stuck. We introduced ourselves to our little group, and said a bit about what we do now, and where we’ve been, and where we found about the weekend. Then we were given our first update on the situation in Dan, before our deployment later on, and we then had to write a report back to Geneva as to what the current situation was, and what supplies we would be needing, and things like that. We then had a quick talk from a guy called Richard who is a REAL LIFE member of the ERU Team. He showed us some slides and things of when he was deployed to Bam, the city in Iran that was flattened by a horrendous Earthquake on Boxing Day of 2004. You might remember the photos of their ancient citadel that had been standing for about 3000 years, that was totally ruined in about 15minutes….it was so interesting to hear about what he did, and the help he, and other ERU teams provided. Then, after that we were shown to our accommodation – hhhmmmmm. It was totally dark as it was about 10.30pm at this stage, and so all we had were our little torches. Following our Team leader Scott, we were taken to this huge empty warehouse type building. There was a large empty room, with smaller (better sized) rooms off the side. We were given air beds and pump, which is more than I was expecting. So once we had found our little room, we worked out where we would all sleep, got into our Jim Jams and sat around talking about our first update, and the kinds of things we might be doing the next day. I think we all eventually stopped talking and fell asleep around midnight ish. I managed to have a fairly decent night sleep – I think that’s where all the camping came in handy. I’m used to noisy sleeping bags, and rustling air beds. But also, because we were based on a military training ground there were apparently all kinds of strange noises all night. As I say – I didn’t hear a thing! I was shattered, having been working on Thursday night at the restaurant, and then on Friday morning too.
However, we were RUDELY awoken at 6.30 on Saturday morning. We dressed and made our way over to the main camp, where we offered delicious fried eggs to make sandwiches with, or really really good porridge. So we ate that, and then sat down in our groups to go over our second update from Dan. We then had to write another report back to Geneva with all the updated figures, and requests for more supplies and things. Then we had a talk about the ideals of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and what they mean, and what the delegates who work for them have to do to uphold the fundamental principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. That bit was really interesting, as we learnt about the various sections of the organisation and what each one does. We also played a bit of a game type thing. The guy giving the talk stuck two bits of paper on opposite walls of the room. One said Totally Acceptable and the other said Totally Unacceptable. We had to put ourselves into the mindset of a soldier, and then give our opinions on various statements that he read out. Things like: ~ Shooting a 12 year old boy in the rebel militia coming towards you with the rest of his group holding a gun. IE…is it acceptable to shoot a 12 year old? And then: ~ Making a Prisoner of War clear a minefield that he and his Army had laid? Knowing that he could blow himself up…..it was interesting to see how people differed in their views.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I’ve blasted through my £500 target with some extra money too! I’d like to say a MASSIVE thank you to all those who have sponsored me along the way, and helped me reach my target – I would not be going on this amazing weekend without all of you. Don’t worry, you can guarantee that I’ll be updating my blog with every single last detail of my weekend! You wont’ be getting away that lightly either…if I’m able to I hope to take some pictures, so you’ll all be able to see what it was like too.
So thank you again everyone, have a good weekend, and I’ll let you all know how I got on next week…
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
My friend Sally, had a passion flower but when she moved house, it needed a new home, (the passion flower, not sally! - well she needed a new home too!!!) Anyway, sally's new home didn't have a garden suitable for Joan, (now there's another story as to why she's called Joan as Passion Flower), so I took her in, and put at the end of my patio. A few weeks ago, one of her many buds opened up, during a really hot sunny spell here in Derby. Passion Flowers are my favourite flowers of all time, I am fascinated by them...there is just so much to them, so many layers. I was so excited when she flowered, that I just had to go and take some pictures...so here you go!
Friday, September 01, 2006
I was walking home from work a little while ago, when the weather was still beautiful, and the sun was out. In order to get home, I have to walk through a park , which is always much nicer than I think it should be, due to the surrounding area. I just happened to have my camera with me on this sunshiney day, so I snapped a few pictures to share with you...
I love the way the trees make little tunnels to walk through...lining up on either side, like regiments. But then taken from another angle - they're in no order whatsoever, just a mess of wood and leaves....
With little pathways that just disappear into yet more trees and parkland. Doesn't it just make you want to follow the path, and find out where it goes???
We spend a lot of time in our park, as it's literally across the road from my house...I love green, especially when you're in a city. It's a little pocket of nature right there...
Friday, August 18, 2006
The past few days have been some that I would rather forget forever – too much to go into really, but you know how life gets sometimes. All I’ve wanted to do for a while now is read a really good book, or watch a really good movie. Just do anything to take me out of my life, and for a short time let me live in someone else’s. Whenever I’m sat at work, I just want to be in an amazing book and have a totally different life to this one. If only it was that easy to escape all our problems eh! I’ll just have to make do with the suspended animation of watching a film, or being sucked into a book – at least until I’ve worked out a way to transport myself into another world! As I’ve said, thank goodness for my imagination.
On a side note, today is my last day in my current job (also thank goodness), and on Monday I start a new one. I will be working for the Derby Evening Telegraph – a local paper – in the advertising department, proofreading property adverts and taking calls from clients and what not. I’m terrified about starting, as I always am with new jobs, but relieved to be leaving here. I am bored of office jobs now – and I said in a post a little while ago – I will not be giving up on my dreams! The past few days have given me the drive to get on it and do something! Stuck in a rut – I WILL NO LONGER BE!
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
It was a beautiful Thursday morning, which was going to be spent lazing around the tent, but as we were up and about, we figured we might as well ship out and initiate the penultimate stage of the trip. We shipped out and headed up north to the Trossachs. The hills, lakes and rivers that make up the Trossachs are stunning. As the road meandered through the sloping countryside, we were faced with a different picturesque view around every corner. Dotted along the road were various parking points, and so we pulled in to get snap happy with the cameras. It was breathtaking. We found our way up to the tiny village where Rob Roy is buried. I couldn’t tell you the name of village, even if I could remember it, as it was thoroughly un-pronounceable!!! But it was so pretty. There were three graves all together, for Rob Roy, his wife and his two sons. There was a small plaque at the foot of each grave, and at the head it said, “McGregor through it all”??? Having taken a few pictures and taken in the history and atmosphere of the place, we headed back South towards Dunfermline, our last port of call before heading home.
We finally made it to the city via Perth, where we had some lunch. We got totally and horrendously lost trying to find the street on which Sarah’s Aunt lives. We have this thing, where we just assume we know where we’re going because we know the name of the street! It doesn’t work like that! Haha!! Anyway, we arrived eventually and were greeted at the door with a smile, a hug and a bottle of cider! The rest of that day, and into the evening was spent chatting away in the back garden, and then the kitchen when it got too cold. Sarah’s Aunt got out all the old photographs so that Sarah could see her family, many of them for the first time. It was good for Sarah to see her roots, and find out why she is the way she is. We slept really well that night, in the most comfortable beds; it made a change from the floor again! Then early the next day, we got up, and left Dunfermline over the Forth Bridge, and headed back for England.
The week was fantastic, and holidaying on a shoestring is the way forward! It was great! We didn’t do the usual touristy things, (although I would like to go back and do that) but we ventured out and did other things instead. I love Scotland – the cold, the wind, and the flies – and I can’t wait for my next trip out!
Monday, August 14, 2006
I'm stuck in a rut at the minute, working in a job that is not my life's career - without any real reason to leave. What I need is some hope that my dream could come true if I actually put the effort in to change it. Reading Shane's post earlier on gave me that little glimmer of hope that whatever I want to do is possible and I'm going to go out and get it!
I was watching The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring yesterday, with the cast commentary over the top. It was so interesting to find out how they made certain sections, and what the actors were trying to convey at certain points - but more than that, it made me want to be a part of something like that. The connection that all the actors have with each other and other members of the crew - especially when undertaking such a mammoth project like LOTR. Those three films will go down in history along side Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Godfather as some of the best Trilogies ever!
One day - one day my name will be on the credits of a movie - JUST YOU WAIT!
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I awoke on Sunday morning with a jolt of excitement…today was the day we were leaving for the camping trip! I had managed to pack most things before falling into bed the night before, so all I had to do was shower, dress and put the last minute things in my rucksack. I was prepared for anything. I had my waterproof jacket and trousers, my Wellington boots, t-shirts, a pair of shorts, jeans…you name it, and I had it. My friend Sarah came over at about 8.00am, and we packed up the car. We were on the road for no later that 8.30!
The excitement in the car was incredible. Neither of us had been to Scotland before, (unless you’re counting the two weeks I was there after I was born!) so we were ripe with anticipation. Also, Sarah had the added excitement/nerves of meeting her family for the first time. She had found out a couple of years before that her grandfather had separated from her grandmother, and had settled down with a whole new family. It was a bit of a bombshell when Sarah found, but she was eager to meet them nonetheless. As we got further and further up the M1 Motorway, we could almost smell Scotland – or at least the whiskey! About 2 hours after we had set off the hunger started to strike, so we pulled over to a service station named Scotch Corner – we never did find out why it was called that, but we had been seeing the signs for it for miles and miles so felt we had to pull in to it. Also on the way up we passed the famous/notorious sculpture The Angel of the North. I personally do not like it one bit. I think its wings are too wide, and it looks out of proportion. It’s just a hunk of rusty metal in my eyes, but there are many many people who would disagree with me.
Also on the way up, we pulled off the main road to visit Bamburgh Castle, in Northumberland. It’s about 3 miles up the road from where my Mom grew up, and my Great – Granddad helped to rebuild one of the walls. I remember going as a child, when we were there on a family holiday. My parents told my sister and I that we were going to this castle, and it was a guided tour. Now when you’re about 6 years old, the last thing you want on your vacation is a guided tour of some old building. However, when we got there, it was not a guided tour as such, there were just roped off paths and areas and you made your own way round. My Mom let my sister and I go off alone and explore. To this day it is one my most cherished childhood memories. I also think that it was this that sparked my love of castles and old houses. It was incredible to go back – the structure is awesome (in the literal sense of the word). Unfortunately we didn’t have the time or the money to go around the Castle again, but one I day I will do it. I want to live there! The history of the place seeps through the walls into the atmosphere. Even stood outside the Castle walls, looking out over the North Sea you can feel it. To give you an idea as to the age of the building, historians and archaeologists can date parts of it back to the times of the Saxons – 700’s – 800’s.
We left there in awe and amazement, and headed back for the main road. Eventually we passed the Scotland Welcomes You signpost and we knew we were nearly there! We both gave a little cheer as we left England for Scotland. Even though we managed to get ourselves lost along the way to the campsite, we were still in good spirits shouting out the strange names of the towns in our worst Scottish accents! We managed to find the Seaton Sands Caravan Park, and find somewhere to park in order for Sarah to call her Aunt and let her know we had arrived. Sarah was incredibly nervous and a little excited, as she wasn’t sure what to expect when meeting her newly found family. We found the caravan pitch and pulled up alongside. As a woman was walking towards, it was unmistakably Sarah’s Aunt…their eyes are exactly the same – it was spooky! We spent that evening getting to know one another and having a general chat. I sat back a bit at this point and watched as Sarah finally found the family she had been searching for her entire life. Much alcohol was drunk, and a great deal of talking was done. It was a wonderful evening.
Sarah and I slept in the little tent that night, and we fell asleep to the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach, and the wind whipping through the canvas. We were a bit concerned at some points during the night that the tent would actually blow away, but as it was we were safe! We woke up bright early in the morning with the sun beating down on the tent and almost baking us alive! It was a welcome change the freezer we had fallen asleep in. I thought my nose was going to fall off at one point! That Monday was spent playing on the beach with the children, collecting crabs and shells and drawing in the sand. In the afternoon Sarah and I left the family and went exploring the nearest little town, Port Seaton and Cockenzie. We found a friendly little pub, so sat outside and soaked up the local atmosphere. We met a couple of the regulars of the pub, who proceeded to talk to us with the thickest Scottish accents, that all we could do in return was smile and nod! Once we were feeling a little bit merry, we headed back to the campsite to meet up with the family once again. Things were a little easier that day, because Sarah was over the worst of her nerves, so she had calmed down a little and was more like her usual self. I can’t imagine what must have been going through her head. She found out about her Granddad, who she hardly knew – if at all – and more about her Aunt’s family. They all have the same eyes – even down to the new 12-week-old baby.
On that Monday night I experienced one of the tastiest foods…ever! Deep Fried Battered Pizza! It sounds hideous, but trust me, it’s a taste sensation! It’s full of grease, and could be considered a Heart Attack in a polystyrene box…but my goodness it tasted good. It was just the cheapest plainest cheese pizza dipped in batter and then deep-fried…a taste of Scotland right there! Everyone was worn out with all the excitement of the previous days, so we had a fairly calm even just sitting, freezing and talking! It was another incredibly windy night, but it was warmer than the night before…either that, or we just had more clothes on!
We packed everything up in super quick time in the sun-shiny morning, and hit the open road once again, aiming for Edinburgh. We have some friends who live in a suburb of the city, and we were staying with them over night. Eventually, having managed to get ourselves a little bit lost, we found their house. We were promptly fed toast and tea to set us up for the day ahead. We caught the bus into Edinburgh itself, and nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to see. We got off the bus at the Prince’s Street Stop, and had our breath completely removed from our body! The only way to describe Edinburgh is EPIC. The buildings are huge and so imposing, but not necessarily in a bad way. Again, you can feel the history and timelessness of the buildings as you wander around them. Sarah and I weren’t quite sure what to do with ourselves. The sights were in the literal sense of the word, awesome. Also at the minute scattered all around Edinburgh are decorated cows. They’re all over the place, each one as unique as a snowflake. Some designed by school children, some by office workers, some by students, some by individuals, but they are all equally as beautiful.
Edinburgh Castle is also a thing of great beauty. It is nestled on a hilltop over looking the city, with its high castle walls and towers. The strength of building is visible from almost anywhere on Prince’s Street and beyond. We didn’t go up to the Castle because unfortunately we did not have time, but the views from where we were sat in the Prince’s Street Gardens was still amazing. Having rested our minds, which were due to explode with the excitement and awe of being in such a city, we met up with Lisa, who we were staying with that night. She took us down a street called the Royal Mile, which has lots of little cool shops, and a Museum of Childhood, which had us in stitches over the style of some of the old dolls! We wandered around World’s End – so named because way back when the city had walls, that particular point was the perimeter. Out of the city walls were the beggars, the thieves and the general outcasts of society. It was considered to be the end of your world if you ventured out beyond on the safety of the city – hence World’s End. We found a tiny little street of steps called Fleshmarket Close – we never found out why it was so named, but I’d be intrigued to know – on which we found Scotland’s Smallest and Friendliest Pub. Now I can say that it was tiny, containing only about 4 tables inside and 3 outside, but as for the Friendliest…I’m not so sure. The bar tender wasn’t even going to acknowledge us on our way out, if we hadn’t have said goodbye to her. But even so, it was a cute little pub where sat, drank, chatted and soaked up that Edinburgh vibe.
We woke up fairly late the next morning, having slept in a bed for the first time in a while, and boy was it comfy! So just sauntered around for a while, getting everything packed up and ready to go once again. Then once more the road was ahead of us and we were aiming for Callendar. It’s a small little town nestled in the Trossachs – the hills of mid-Scotland – and is most famous for being in Rob Roy country. It also became favourite spot of the trip so far because it’s where we came across A HIGHLAND COW!!! He came out of nowhere, and was suddenly there, in a field right next to the road! His name was Hamish and his horns were enormous! It was the aim of my trip to see at least one Highland Cow! He was as docile as a bunny rabbit, although it must be quite hot underneath all that hair. He was just stood munching on the grass, although his huge horns restrained him from getting to the nice big pile of juicy grass just in front of the fence. He had the biggest brownest eyes – when you could see them under his floppy ginger fringe. I was so pleased to have been able to get that close to such a creature.
Monday, July 31, 2006
1) I love the faery world, and all things connected to it. I am 23 years old and I truly belive in faeries - without shame!
2) This is actually quite true!!!!
What type of Fae are you?
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Thank you so very very much...
Friday, July 21, 2006
Watch this Space….
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Sunday, July 02, 2006
As I say, hopefully there won't need to be any more updates, as he'll be a happy healthy cat with a loving family! As I write this he is lying on the back of my chair!!!!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
We did take him down to the vets, just so that they could give him a check up and make sure that it is just a cold that he's got. he keeps sneezing a lot, bless him! But because it was out of hours, they were going to charge us £85 just to have a look at him! Luckily Daisy and Rich have today off work, so they are going to take him down later on this afternoon. However, if the cost of the treatment is going to be too much, we may have to give him up as we won't be able to afford it. I'm really hoping that he's not too poorly, because we've all fallen so in love with the little thing! He's such a little character!
When I came down for breakfast this morning, he was curled up asleep on one of our dining chairs. Then when he woke up, he managed to jump over the little barriers we had made for him, and he just sat on my feet while i was making my sandwiches for lunch today. He played with my toes, and again, wound himself around my legs. It was as if he just wanted that contact all the time! I really didn't want to leave him this morning...he kept miowing at me!!! Bless!
I just hope we get to keep him for a little bit longer! I'll keep you posted though!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
We left him curled up in a box with lots of towels in the kitchen last, thinking that he'll go one of two ways, and when we came down this morning...My goodness! When we went to stroke him it was like someone had put a mini pneumatic drill in the box. His purr was incredible! We think that he may have lost an eye, and we still couldn't get him to eat anything, but I'm going to go and check on him now, and make sure he's still ok. He's such an adorable cat, and none of us could understand how anyone could leave an animal like that out in the rain and cold? It's just pure cruelty. Well, if we can't keep Matt, then we'll find a good loving home for him to go to, but hopefully Matt will become the new House Cat!
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
This is one of my favourite poems, and I have just found it again, after years of not really thinking about it! My world at the minute is pretty rubbish...i'm in a job I don't enjoy...having man troubles - but then what girl isn't?!?! - had my cell phone stolen last night - got turned down for a job that really really wanted! But life could be worse for sure, i have my friends, a roof over my head, and as of this afternoon...food in the cupboards! YEY! But i just though i would share this little poem with you all.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Twenty5stories are the other band I went to see last night, and also good friends of mine! I love their stuff so much..It so totally the kind of music that I would buy! I can't wait for them to get a CD together! They're kind of indie/alternative/rock, and at gigs they do a mixture of their own songs, which you can find on their websites, and amazing covers of things like Seal - Kiss from a Rose, Tracy Chapman - Fast Car, Alanis Morisette - Right Through You. Seriously......major plugging going on here....CHECK THEM OUT!
Then the last act for you is my other housemate Rich. He has a very unique style and voice which I love, because there's no one else who sounds like that really. His songs are very haunting, and beautiful and his deep voice carries the music through you. Not being biased in anyway (I mean it's not like I live with him or anything!!!) he is really good! So, now that I've given you all a little musical education...Please go and show your support for DECENT music and lets get rid of the rubbish in the charts!
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Is exactly what I love
He's always there to make me smile
But to you he's talking double-dutch
You say he's childish, it gets on your nerves
Well that's perfect for me
Coz like him I don't want to grow up
But like always it's not me he loves
Maybe if I looked a little different
He'd see into the real me
And see together we're a perfect match
But it's to get to you that he's hell bent
I wonder if he'll ever be interested
To get to know me
We can always talk so easily
But it's you that's running through his head
Everything about him I like so much
Is exactly what you hate
So why do you go for him
When you're drunk and want his touch?
You asked me once if it's him I like
I told you the truth
But there's no point in hoping
As I know it's always you they like
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
I'll write more soon about my awesome trip to London on sunday! Hope everyone's well!
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Also this week, I went into town and bought myself a power suit! haha. I figured I needed some interview clothes, and a trouser suit and £40 later I feel I'm kitted out to knock the socks off what ever company decides they need to interview me! It was kinda fun going clothes shopping, which I'm normally not that much of a fan of! (is that normal? a girl not being a clothes shopping fan?) There's just too many people around, and I'm very fussy when it comes to the clothes I wear..I know whatIi like and I like what I know. Anyway, I digress...Now that I have the suit, all I need now are the interviews!!! haha
Ooh, I'm so excited, I booked my train tickets to go home for Easter this year. I haven't been home to Cornwall since August, and I'm long overdue a trip! I'm really looking forward to it, getting to catch up with old friends, sleep in my own bed, play with the cats, eat some good home cooked food, and of course see the parents!! This Easter weekend should be great!
And on that note I think I'll leave you....
Friday, March 31, 2006
Another thing about being made redundant that sucks is I'm going to miss all my friends from work so much. I've been here for over a year now, and I've made some incredible friends. The work itself is pretty soul-destroying, so having people around you that you can get on with and have a laugh with is really important. I keep having reality checks that it's not going to happen anymore...No more throwing stuff around the office, no more making stupid comments and jokes with my section head, no more making countless cups of tea with Laura because we're bored. I'm not even sure when or even if I'm going see most of these people again. I'm sure I will if I (and they) make the effort to meet up.
Looking on the plus side I'm sure I'll have as much fun in whatever it is that I do next, and therefore have more friends than I do now! But either way, I'm just gonna see where life takes me, and what I end up doing now...
Monday, March 27, 2006
Way back in October I went to stay with an old uni friend in Norwich, Norfolk. It was such a beautiful weekend, so on the Sunday we went for a walk around a very picturesque lake. The only camera I had at the time was the one on my phone, but the photos are pretty good (if i may say so myself!). I particularly liked this one of Chris walking away down the boardwalk...I love the shadows on the ground, and the way I want to follow him to see where that path leads.
Along the way, we came across a bridge over a small part of the lake. The day was so clear and still, that the water was like a perfect mirror. We stood for a while contemplating the clouds reflected in the water, and our faceless images below us. There were all sorts of fish swimming around in there too that every now and then the surface would break into all kinds of patterns.
As we were nearing the end of the walk, we came back to the University of Norwich, where I was awestruck to come face to face(?) with this amazing wall of Ivy. Unfortunately the colour doesn't come through that well here, but the red splash was enough to catch my breath. Through all the autumnal colours we had passed along the way, none were as vivid as this, especially against the grey wall. I'm not sure how long the ivy would have lasted on that building, or even how long the building lasted with the ivy, but it makes you wonder, when it gets that far spread, which one relies on which one? Does the ivy need the wall to survive, or does the building need the ivy to stay in one piece? Maybe it's one of those situations where they need each other to survive; like all good relationships should be. May the both have a long and happy life together!
Friday, March 24, 2006
Hi Guys...This is my fisrt attempt at putting a picture in here, and what do you know? It worked! I called this one scary Tree. It was taken last summer when I was walking down a random road with my friend. There was such atmosphere and feeling around this tree, and with it's branches gnarled and twisted, it had a very oppressive feel to it. I just HAD to take a picture, and have been meaning to post it!
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
This is just a quick and shameless plug for my housemate Daisy. She's an up and coming singer/songwriter here in Derby, and elsewhere in the UK. I wanted to share her websites with you fine people, so that you can enjoy the greatness that is daisy b. Here is her Myspace Website. Then there is a Moonfruit site, and I'm fairly sure there is another one, but i can't remember that one right now. Anyway...EVERYBODY must go and check out her songs. Daisy has a wicked soulful voice, which, when mixed with an accoustic guitar, sends tingles down your spine. I'm not going to go into her sound too much here, i want you to see for yourselves....please please please just check it out. then you can say that you heard it before she got wicked famous!!!
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Saturday, January 28, 2006
All by myself, so small, so insignificant
Just a background noise there to fill the silences
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
So, a quick recap on the Life of Rach, Christmas was amazing. Spent it with my family in my sister's house, it snowed which topped off the holidays. Then came back up to Derby for New Year, which was spent hanging out with friends, good food and good wine. Then the week after that was my birthday. It was a great weekend as I got to catch up with an old Uni friend who had been travelling around the world for 6 months before hand. I hadn't seen him for a year though. We just went out and about on the town for the evening, catching up, chatting, dancing and drinking. It was so much fun! Then the Sunday was spent on the sofa watching TV before heading off to the cinema to watch Brokeback Mountain. It was the most amazing film I have seen for the longest time. I don't know why, but it affected me a way that no other film has done. All the way through the movie I was trying to work out whether it really was a good film, or whether I just though it was because I like cowboys, the scenery and America in general. And I came to the conclusion that it was. Ang Lee did a great job of the direction, keeping the audiences (well my) attention all the way through the sparse script and slow story. His method of showing the passing of 20 years was pure genius, as his subtle changes of fashion and architecture say everything the script does not. But the acting was the thing that really blew me away. Both Heath Ledger and Jake Gylanhaal play characters you would not expect them to play, and they do it so well. I was totally sucked into the film and the time just flew by. I cried so much, it was untrue. I am a bit of a sap when it comes to films, and I cry at most of them, but this one was different, I could have cried all the way through the credits, all the way home and then some more at home! I immediately went about reading everything I could find about it, and even went out and bought the book it was based on. Because it was based on a short story, Ang Lee had a lot of scope with the movie and could expand on it a lot. I was so impressed when I read the story, because I hate it when I read books of movies, and it's been changed. Whereas this one was exactly the same.....Every bit of dialogue was in there, word for word.
right that's enough of that one for the time being. Lets just say I enjoyed the movie eh?!
Welcome back to Rach's blog people, I promise to update more often!
Hope everyone is well, Take Care!