Saturday, 19 April 2014

Brit Wish List

I read an article the other day that listed the top 50 British things to do before you die. I was intrigued by this and wanted to find out which I had already done, which I wanted to do and which I had absolutely no interest in doing whatsoever.

So here we go:

1. Eat fish and chips on a seaside pier - Done this!

2. See whales off Wales - Not really sure why I'd want to but I'm not against it!

3. Go to a night at the proms at the Albert Hall - this would be fun. Wave those flags!

4. Visit the Giant's Causeway, N.Ireland - I'd like to do this.

5. Have a picnic at an open air concert - This would be fun (only in the summer, though!)

6. Go up in the London Eye - yeah, would like to do this.

7. Travel Scotland's West Coast by rail - Em, I suppose this would be fun.

8. Watch a Shakespeare play in Stratford - Again, not against it but have no huge desire to do so.

9. Dine in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant - Good God - no thanks.

10. Go to a British Grand Prix - Again, not my thing.

11. See inside the Houses of Parliament - Yes, I'd like to do this, please.

12. Get the Ffestiniog railway up Snowdon - Wouldn't say no but not in any great rush to do this.

13. Go to Glastonbury Festival - I've been to T in the Park and that was enough for me.

14. Hold the FA Cup in your hands - Why?

15. Take in the view from the top of the Shard - Is this taller than the Eye?

16. Stonehenge on longest day of the year - This would be fun minus all the other people that are bound to be there!


17. See the trooping of the colour - I've seen it in Canada and on the telly. I'm satisfied with that.

18. Go to a cricket test match - You're having a laugh, right?

19. 'The Prisoner' village Portmeirion, Wales - I suppose this might be fun.

20. Have tea at Betty's tearooms, Harrogate - I've been there but the queue was massive. Seeing it was good enough for me.

21. See a traditional Christmas panto - This shouldn't be on a bucket list. Who hasn't done this?

22. Watch a British player at Wimbledon - Just going to Wimbledon would be enough for me.

23. Do a 'Wainwright' walk in the Lake District - Hmmm - aren't they really challenging?

24. Drive round Brand's Hatch - No thanks.

25. Visit a whisky distillery - Done, dusted and tasted the booze.

26. Go to a six nations rugby match - Done this too many times to count. Tick.

27. A Jack the Ripper walk in the East End - I think I would be too scared to do this, I'm afraid.

28. Have a pint in the Rover's Return - Nah.

29. See Lake Windermere by boat - Seen it but not by boat. If the opportunity arose then I probably wouldn't say no.

30. Go on a historic London pub tour - Might be fun but since I'm not a big drinker it might be lost on me.

31. Experience the Notting Hill Carnival - Each to their own. This isn't really my kind of thing. People - urgh!

32. Try a deep fried Mars Bar - You have no idea how much I want to try this.

33. Hogmanay Fireball ceremony in Stonehaven - This would be amazing!

34. Sail round the Isle of Wight - I wouldn't say no but wouldn't be sad if I couldn't do it.

35. Attend Grand National horse race - I'm good, thanks.

36. Go to a World Darts Final - Ha ha ha - no!

37. A selfie at John O'Groats and Land's End - This is interesting but seems like a lot of work!

38. Take a ferry across the Mersey - Oh, I wouldn't stop singing and someone would probably chuck me in the river!

39. Climb Ben Nevis - No thank you.

40. See Tower Bridge raised - This would be fun and something to talk about.

41. Visit Borough food market, London - Sure, I'm not averse to this if the opportunity arose.

42. Eat Haggis on Burns Night, in Scotland - Done this too many times to count.

43. See Morris Dancers at a country pub - I don't think I would be able to stop laughing but it would be nice from a cultural stand point.

44. See Oxford Street Christmas Lights - Christmas lights anywhere are always welcomed.

45. Be at a recording of X-Factor or BGT - No, just no.

46. See Blackpool Illuminations - Would be good to say I'd been there at least once.

47. Watch a boxset of Only Fools and Horses - I've seen the Batman and Robin episode and that suits me just fine.

48. Witness Oxford/Cambridge boat race - Having seen the last one on the telly, this might actually be a fun day out.

49. Attend first day of Harrods sale - Oh the horror.

50. Watch London Marathon live - Run the marathon. Yeah!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


The other day I saw this pic on Pinterest and something about it just made me happy. And much like I did previously, I started hankering for another piercing or two in my ear.

I then had a nice little dream which, because it was a dream about ear piercing, I used to confirm the fact that it must be fate. (I'm not flighty - I just like to use things to my advantage when I can - however daft!).

Strangely, in a later conversation with my mum, she mentioned that she too had had a dream about getting her ears pierced again. She's got two piercings in each ear. I can't remember when she said she got her first piercings but she got the second set when she was 31. She always promised herself that she would get a third set but had never got round to it and for some reason she was once again thinking about it.

This was obviously fate again. Subtlety was never fate's strong point!

So I forced invited her to come with me on a joint piercing adventure. Woo hoo!

We got to the piercing place and I went up to the desk, all ready to go and asked for my left ear pierced a further two times.

Shop lady: "Not going to happen."
Me: Stamping feet. "But why not?"
Shop lady: "Because we only allow people to have three holes in each ear. Them's the rules."
Me: Pouting. "But that's not fair."
Mum: Elbowing me in the ribs. "Forget her - pierce me, pierce me!"
Shop lady: "Of course. Please come this way."
Me: "No! No! That's not fair! If she goes first then she'll have more piercings than me."
Mum: "Ha ha - sucker! Let's get this thing started!"

I managed to stop my temper tantrum long enough to catch the action.

So with 3 holes in each ear, mum now had 6 piercings to my measly 5.

Something had to be done!

I decided to ring the place where I got my tattoo and see if they did piercings higher than 3.

Yes they did so 2 days later there I was, ready again.

I went through to the piercing room and seconds before the lady started the piercing she decided to tell me that they didn't pierce with a gun - they just used a needle designed for use in horse tranquilising. That won't be a problem, right?

Now, this lady was tattooed, pierced and what-not to some degree. I am not and so I classed myself as somewhat less brave than she. For some reason, known only to myself, I decided that I would try and hide this fact from said lady. I don't think she was fooled for one second when I told her that was fine - please go ahead - I'm not scared!!!

My internal screams were pretty darn loud. At least I think they were internal - I wouldn't have been able to hear them over the pounding of blood in my ears regardless. It felt like, well, someone was stabbing me with a giant needle in order to poke holes in my lugs.

Trauma behind me, I am now back to winning with 7 holes to mum's 6! Yay!

The rivalry will continue, I'm sure. I do hope to get another 2 ear piercings when I have completely forgotten the pain of these last 2 and I'm planning another couple of wee tattoos, too. We'll see what mum decides to do to win the next round! ;)


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Happy Hilaria!

I'm not a fan of April Fools' Day.

I like a laugh as much as the next person but I don't like the minefield of a day (or half a day as I always understood that you weren't allowed to trick people after 12noon) designed to make you look like a dafty. I don't need any external help to make me look daft, thank you very much! And in any case, any other day where you lied on mass to people wouldn't go down too well, methinks! (I might try it - just to see!)

So, in an attempt to discredit this ridiculous practice, I had to have a wee look and see why we try and outsmart each other on this particular day in the year. Are there any redeeming qualities?

Apparently, April Fools' Day is a derivation of a Roman festival based on a Greek festival that celebrates Cybele, the mother of the Gods.

This girl knew how to party, it would seem.

Having looked at the origins of the festival as a whole, despite disliking being made a fool of, I'm quite glad that the only day of this festival we chose to replicate was All Fools' Day.

The days of the festival seem to have been as follows:

The Day of the Reed - The start of a 9 day period of abstinence from bread, pomegranates, quinces, pork, fish and any drink that was not milk. I'm not mad at this - I could cope without quinces for 9 days!

The Day of the Tree - A tree is chopped down and paraded through the town. Not particularly exciting but I'm still on board with this festival, so far.

The Day of Mourning - Time to be sad, unfortunately. Hmmm.

The Day of Blood - Mass scourging, whipping and castration. The chopped down tree is buried. Good times in ancient Rome and we've possibly also found the origin of the phrase "well that escalated quickly!"

The Day of Joy - Happy April Fools' Day y'all. You've just been scourged, whipped and castrated and you can't get a pomegranate for love nor money - why aren't you happy?

The Day of Rest - It's been a busy week what with mourning, castration and partying until dawn on nothing but milk - you deserve a break!

The Day of Washing - The above can be a messy business so get to washing.

The Ceremonial Day - Thank the Gods it's all over for another year!

So, I now decide that April Fools' Day isn't such a bad thing after all. I'll take looking like a muppet over drinking milk and scourging any day!

I still think that I'll start calling it Hilaria though - it has a much more sophisticated ring to it and maybe it won't make me so grumpy next year!