Monday, 27 July 2009

Horsies and socks....but not at the same time

Nicki and I went horse-riding a few weekends back and had a simply marvellous time, we shall definitely be going again.

It was certainly an experience to remember, here are a list of things that went wrong:
  • At work on the day we were going I found out Nicki had a minor fear of horsies after an altercation with a policehorse......don't ask

  • On the train, we realised that Nicki had brought pointy-toed kitten-heeled shoes to ride the horsie with.

  • The B&B was a BIT further away than we expected...and we walked from the station

  • When we got to the B&B we decided that Nicki would wear my work boots as I had brought my cowboy ones for riding. Then we realised Nicki had brought no socks.

  • My suggestion of cunningly fashioning a pair of socks from some leggings was thrown out, accompanied by snorts of derision.

  • At breakfast the following morning, Nickis request to borrow socks from the owner of the B&B was met by a confused/amused/scared reaction....

  • Aformentioned owner then returned to ask what kind of socks she would like....loudly....with other guests in the room.....and that she doesn't wear socks, so she'll have to borrow her husbands. Nicki promises she'll wash them and post them back.

  • Aformentioned husband is adamant he doesn't want his socks sent back to him in the post......and proceeds to take the piss out of Nicki the entire way to the stables (he kindly drove us....maybe he thought us too simple to make our own way).

  • We arrive pretty much last and so get the two horses that they saddle up last in the hopes they won't have to take them out. Mine looks like suspiciously like a rhino shagged a shirehorse, mine is called Cheyenne, Nickis is Chakotay.

  • We have to wear STUPID riding hats with big leather stetsons sellotaped to the top!

  • Nickis horse is behind mine and keeps biting my horses arse...luckily they're mates apparently.

  • Cheyenne decides the greenery to the left over there looks really yummy!! Slips down a ditch and almost throws me over his head....bastard.

  • Chakotay bimbles along staring at the floor whilst Cheyenne trots off behind the teacher. Looks up to realise that his mate has buggered off some way in the distance and promptly sets into a gallop to catch up, taking Nicki with him!

  • Nicki's horse is quite large, the guys behind her has a very short horse. Nickis horse is constantly guffing, right into this poor guys face. I think at one point he had his mouth open.

  • Upon disembarking, they give us no stool, and so by the time I've slid down the side of my small mammoth, my left foot, still in the stirrup, is at about face height....glmourous and ladylike.

  • Our horsies don't want to talk to us after all the kicking, swearing and pulling. Cheyenne in particular kept stomping his feet at me, stomping is bad right???

  • For about 5 days afterwards my ass feels like one giant bruise, sitting down and getting up is a chore, I consider sleeping upside down like a bat, I can just let gravity do it's thing in the morning, rather than struggling out of bed like a 90 year old with arthritis of the everything.

I may have given you the wrong impression. Both Nicki and I really, really enjoyed ourselves on this trip....though perhaps I think we only realised this an hour or two after the hole experience. Whilst on the horses we were trying so hard to stay in control that we couldn't think of anything else :D

The B&B did somewhat make the trip too, it was a gorgeous little converted house....we had the noisiest air con in the world...but at least we had it!

The lady who ran it was called Linda and I can't remember her husbands name, Mike maybe? The scene at breakfast was the most hilarious I've ever experienced she even came back in with the socks for Nicki, at breakfast, which Nicki promptly hid under the table...face beetroot red!

For any City Slickers who have never been ohrse riding in their entire lives, I'd say get out there and do it, an experience many take for granted that you don't want to miss out on :o)

Img Cred: Noel Kingsley

Monday, 20 July 2009

Writers Blog and Bandage Club

I'm sure I stole that post title off Oglet, I think she's used it at some point in her blogging career....

A mixture of being really busy, laziness and just plain not knowing what to blog about has been plaguing me! Yes.

I felt my bloggage was becoming a little too 'Dear Diary', but I have some tricks up my sleeve. Now my camera is back in action I'm going to commence work on my 'Teddy-Bear Psychology' post....oh yes....continue to wait in anticipation/confusion for that one.

For now I think I'll do another little biographical post....

Some or all of you probably know that I volunteer for St John Ambulance, it's quite a neat little fun thing to do. Many people are under the impression that it's some kind of religious organisation. St John Ambulance emphasizes it's secular nature, however, it did spring from The Order of St John which was, and is still a Christian organisation.

Here's how SJA came about......

Around 1080, the Knights Hospitaller, otherwise known as the Order of St John, ran a hospital in Jerusalem which cared for sick and injured pilgrims to the Holy Land. The order was created by 'Blessed Gerard', supported by the Pope, after the First Crusade when knights and peasants of many Western civilisations came to free Eastern Christians and the Holy Land of Islamic Rule.

Soon, service was extended from simply caring for sick and injured pilgrims, to providing an armed escourt for them, this military aspect of the Order of St John grew and grew until in 1119 the Knight Templar were formed. They distinguished themselves from muslims on the battlefield by wearing a white cross against black robes, the symbol still used in the Order of St John, and by St John Ambulance today.

The order carried on happily, ruling the odd country, taking vassal states of others, until 1533 when King Henry VIII threw a hissy fit with the Roman Catholic Church. He wanted to annul his marriage to Cathrine Of Aragon (after 24 years) so that he could get fruity with Ann Boleyn (to her detriment), the Pope refused. Henry then severed Englands ties with the Roman Catholic Church and declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England, a position the monarch of England has held ever since. As a result the monasteries were dissolved and the king took possession of all Catholic assets in England, including the property of the British Order of St John, they were no more.

In 1831 the order was revived in Britain by Frenchmen, the Order had survived abroad, away from Henry VIIIs influence. It was recognised as the Most Venerable Order of St John, in 1888 by Queen Victoria.

St John Ambulance grew out of the old medical history of the order of St John, on 10th July 1877 the St John Ambulance Association was formed to practice first aid in railway centres and mining districts. St John members have been attending public events to provide first aid cover in the same way that I do for over 100 years, since June 1887 in fact.

What do I do at SJA?

Well, I belong to the Streatham and Norbury Division, London (Princess of Wales District), and I go to divisional meetings every Thursday. Oglet calls this 'Bandage Club', she's lucky she hasn't had an 18x18 dressing wrapped round her face yet :D. On Thursdays we catch up with our mates at the division and usually do some kind of training. Last week we had advanced first aid training scenarios, we had been called to a 39 year old womans house, collapsed and complaining of chest pain.....GO!! Those are always fun when you're not as highly trained as your counterparts, but it's very good educationally, you learn a lot from your ambulance-trained buddies.

The week before that we had a competition to see who could build the tallest free-standing tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows........

Apart from divisional nights we go out on duties, ranging from the small and probably mundane, to huge and very busy and exciting. I've covered kids football, an Iron Maiden concert, Crystal Palace football, village fairs, Twickenham Rugby, London Marathon, London to Brighton Bike Ride etc etc. Some days you see no casualties, other times you're inundated. It's not nice to be inundated, for obvious reasons, but it's nice to be there when you're needed :o)

Mostly for me, it's about keeping my first aid knowledge up to date, I can't think of anything worse than being at the scene of an accident and being completely useless, when just a little bit of knowledge might give that person more of a chance. Plus, you get to meet some right characters, and that's just the SJA members! :o)

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The devil alcohol!!

OMG what a week, this is NOT good for my diet programme :o(

I've definitely lowered my alcohol intake since I was living with my lovely teetotal Steevie, though it may not seem it to the outsider :o), and this week has been quite a bad one for alcypols, not only due to quantity, but to variety too, I've discovered I no longer have the stomach...or liver...for wine!

Just for fun, I'm going to tell short summaries of the night out, but miss out the middle, so you'll have the beginnings and ends:

  • Friday - Mikey and I head out for Pizza Express, it seems half of Soho has had a powercut, so we end up in Spaghetti House. I order prawn linguine and we have a bottle of rosé...........Mikey piles me into a black cab in central London at gawd knows what time in the morning after we've been dancing frenetically in Ku bar. I wake up not toooo bad the next morning, the cats have left me alone during the night probably due to appalling wine breath. (Looking after Jo's cats)

  • Tuesday - Jo and I head out for a beer after work before I wander off to meet Kayleigh for dinner later, Jo has just got back off holibobs and it's VERY important that we catch up over beer............I pretty much flake out on Kayleigh after 2 pints with Jo, a guinness and a bottle of wine, crash in her bed and wake up feeling like a I have a lizard inhabiting my's my tongue. I'm in work by 8am!

  • Wednesday - It's very important that Jo and I carry on catching up over beer. I wander over to Jo's place and we have a couple of bottles........I wake up in my own bed for the first time in a week and have a bit of a little headache but nothing excessive which is nice.

  • Friday - Mark comes over and I cook salmon, potatoes and green beans for dinner, accompanied by 3 BOTTLES of wine between us. We wander out already a bit the worse for wear.........Nicki finds me snoring on the kitchen floor at 00:15, with a full glass of water I'd poured myself sitting beside me. I wake up at about 10ish thinking I'd gone straight to bed and been good for a change, until Nicki tells me about the kitchen. I don't remember it even now.

  • Sunday - I won't bother with the before and after as I wasn't minging this morning...well, no more than usual anyway. Safe to say I had 3 beers and a couple of nice glasses of bubbly. The food was lovely though, I may do a BBQ post...hmmmmmmmmm

I think my liver wants to cry right now, I need a spare one, a USB liver. Special effort not to go too mad on alcyhol this week, this is not an advert for healthy living.

Once again I apologise for my lack of postage, life has been INCREDIBLY manic lately and I've barely even been home, all good though, got a couple of nice posts lined up fer you :o). I must run...I'm supposed to be at work! :D

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Burning the candle at both ends?

My my, well I have a very busy month coming up. Working it out today, my Fridays are booked up until August! Apart from zoo every other Sunday, Weight Watchers on a Tuesday and St John on a Thursday, here are some of the highlights of my upcoming month, in no particular order:
  • Going to see Alien and Poltergeist on the big screen at Somerset House

  • Seeing my lovely Mikey

  • Going to watch the Barber of Seville at Trafalgar Square

  • Seeing Marky and Claray, who I haven't seen in FOREVER!

  • Going horsie riding in the New Forest with Nicki, my bday pressie to her

  • Seeing Jennymay AT THE PUB!

  • Nickis BBQ

  • Going to see Harry Potter at the IMAX

Is that it? Have I forgotten anything? I'll be sure to add it when I check my diary later if I have!

Wooo!! Plenty to write about for the old bloggage, if I can only find the time.

The horsie riding is this weekend and I was reliably informed that leggings are the best thing to wear,anything without a seam running down the inside of the leg as it rubs. So I figured I'd wander down to Primark after work and pick up some cheapo leggings and maybe a baggy cardi to go over my baggy vest I'm planning to wear.

Have you ever been into Primark on Oxford Street?


I thought I'd died and gone to either shoppers heaven or just plain hell.......and I ain't no shopper.

People everywhere, no indication of where certain items may be, no signs pointing a bewildered customer in the direction of 'trousers', 'tops', 'pants'. I did at one point see an 'EXIT' sign, which called to me like a siren, luring me not onto rocks, but a precariously balanced display of diamante-encrusted opentoe-slingbacks.

After searching half heartedly for a few minutes, pushed violently out of the way by more than one Paris-Hilton wannabe on a mission for size 8 ultra mini shortie shorts, I found the leggings stand. Almost all were size 10 or size 8. Now I know I've lost a bit of weight....but this wasn't going to happen. I wandered meekly around before calling my sister. My sister. My haven when it comes to all things shopping, my teacher, my shopping Buddha. After wailing down the phone about the hopelessness of it all she just says

'Shall I pop into the one in Croydon and get some for you?'

I had resigned myself to just wearing crotch-popped jeans, or a pair of crappy tracksuit bottoms, but my Nickeh saved me. Thank you Nickeh.

I battled on bravely and picked a couple of tops up, dreading the queue when I got to the counter. I was amazed almost to the point collapse when there was hardly any queue and I was called up almost immediately to a till. When I say I was called up, I was actually summoned by a man in a high vis jacket, yes....HIGH VIS JACKET, you know, like policemen, firefighters etc. This man was patrolling the queue, looking important and shouting 'NEXT PLEASE!!' every time someone became free. Very military, very impressive.

Despite the highly organised queuing system, there were still VERY few people in that queue. I've come to believe taht most people who wander into Primark pick up a few things, barge around smacking into people, pick up more things, and then just dump everything and leave. It's the only thing that explains the cattle-marketesque shop floor and the hoardes of poor, morose shop floor attendants constantly folding, folding, folding. If I worked at Primark I'm sure I'd wake up most nights folding my knickers into pretty little swans.

I stumbled out, blinking into the sunlight. When you walk out you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd walked into a massacre, just for a second. The bodies of men litter the pavement, the steps. But wait, they're not dead, suicidal perhaps...but not dead, they are the Primark widowers, waiting outside, fruitlessly, for their other halves to appear with the coveted brown paper bag. Poor sods.

That was my Primark misadventure, there was no way I was waiting in line for the fitting room. I haven't tried on what I bought and it probably doesn't fit...but I don't care, I'm NEVER going back there!!

The funniest thing though must have been watching a group of boys trying on girls cardigans and arguing about who looked best in them. They left bemoaning that they'd have to go to Topshop and spend stupid money.

Anyone ever pointed you towards the mens section lads??

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Summarily told off!

I have been told off by my lovely Oggers for not blogging!

I do apologise, I really have no excuse, I think I may be bunking the old St J's tonight so I'm going to make extra extra efforts to get myself blogging!!!

Watch this space peoples :D

(edit - Might have to watch it a bit longer....I'm working on one....but my main info source has crashed!)