Saturday, January 27, 2007

$2.12 to the Bloody Pound!!!

*Disclaimer* This is a LONG post. Like… really ridiculously long. So long that I tried to kill myself several times while writing it. So basically, if you’re not me or one of my British friends... or have no vested interest in me or my British friends (like, if you just come here to read about Paris Hilton having herpes), then I suggest you just skim through the pictures and consider it a job done. If you ARE one of my British friends, I won’t be offended if you just skip to the days that you think you might be mentioned in. I wouldn’t want you to be bored after all my hard work *cough*. Oh, and for everyone else, there is some heavy language in this bitch, so before you start reading, make sure the kiddies are in bed.

Now, what are you waiting for? Enjoy!!
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So. My latest trip to England. Now that I’ve been back for nearly 3 weeks, I think it’s time you read about, don’t you? Mind you, as I sit here, 3 weeks later, my suitcases aren’t even unpacked, so that shows you what kind of person I am. You’re lucky to be getting a post at all.

As we know, this was actually my second trip to England in 2006. It was actually a really great year for spending time with my British crew. After I left the UK last December, I barely had to wait two months before seeing Richie, Sam, Glennie, and Mini in NYC. Then there was the wedding in July, and the subsequent trip to Vegas the following week, and now this trip that you’re about to read all about. That’s a lot of time to spend with people who live 3800 miles away so yay to 2006! I have a feeling 2007 is going to be similar.

ANYWAY…

Day 1: Brother Monde World

I arrived at the airport on Boxing Day feeling relatively well-rested and of course, somewhat ridiculously excited, as usual. I don’t know what it is about landing on British soil, but I usually get so jittery about it I almost hurt myself.

"Ooh look at me, I’m in England again!… Pathetic.”

So after being harassed at immigration by someone who was blatantly not originally from the UK herself, and waiting an obscene amount of time for my bags to come around the carousel, I managed to make my way out to the main terminal. My first duty was to get my money exchanged.

Before I’d left home, I’d used the XE Online Currency Converter, which is obviously just about the worst resource I could have used. It (mis)informed me that the current rate was a slightly above-average $1.86 to the pound. Not the best rate I’ve gotten, and certainly more than the $1.75 that it was over the summer, but whatevs. Not horrible.

So imagine my surprise, upon handing the cashier at the TravelEx window my hard-earned $1100, hearing the following:

“Okay, you’ll be getting back 512 pounds and 40p.”

*thud*

That’s right, folks. $2.12 to the pound. TWO-TWELVE TO THE POUND!!!


Someone kill me.

Mind you… sitting here and writing this, I’ve just done the math, and even at that shit rate, I should have got £518.86 back – what a dumb bitch she was. Also not originally from the UK, it should be noted.

After recovering myself from the fetal position on the floor and regaining some semblance of composure, I finally made my way to good ol’ Winchmore Hill, home of my hosts, Richie and Sam.

That too, was a bit of an ordeal, but I’ll spare you. I know you’re still reeling from the exchange rate.

When I arrived at the house, I was greeted by Sam’s smiling countenance, before heading three doors down to Mini’s future home to say hello to the Taylor men, who were hard at work. It was here that I got my first glimpse of Richie’s great big hair. So hot. :-) After that, Sam and I headed to Tesco to pick up some vegetarian fare, only to find it closed for Boxing Day.

(Oh, and just so you know, English people have no idea what the hell Boxing Day is for either).

Everyone had a football match to go to, which conveniently gave me time to have a shower and a nap while they were gone. I only slept for two hours or so, before heading back downstairs and catching a bit of British TV, including Britain’s Next Top Model.

Can we talk about this show for a minute? What complete and utter shit. It’s SO bad. In fact, I think it may be worthy of its own post one of these days. Keep an eye out for that. I didn’t even know the show existed and well, I wish I still didn’t. So bad. Not as bad as an episode of Eastenders I watched the following week, but that's a whole other time and place.

It wasn’t long after that garbage was over that Richie and Sam came back, with Mondo in tow, thus beginning the holiday, officially.

We decided to walk the hundred yards or so up the road to the Potter’s Arms (I think?) to knock back a few. Mind you, we’d knocked back a few at the house first, and then again when we got BACK to the house, so we were feeling alright.

It was in this inebriated state that this little gem was produced…

Brother Monde World

*Video Coming SOON!*

For those of you who have no idea what the fuck you just watched (and let’s face it – that will be most of you), it was exactly what it looked like. Sam interviewing Mondo about his feelings on that day’s Watford match against Arsenal. And yes, that was a box of chocolates she was using as a mic. Don’t act like you don’t do this shit.

And if you don’t think it was hilarious? Shut up. It was.

Richie and Sam headed to bed, while Mondo and I stayed up and bonded while watching music videos. I even got him to admit that Is It Any Wonder is a good song. :-)

Definitely a top notch first night.

Day 2: “We Didn’t See That Coming”

On the morning of my second day, Sam cooked us a lovely breakfast whilst regaling us with the little ditty “We got Mariappa --- doo doo doo” more than once. Once in my head, it remained there for the rest of the trip.

Once again, we tried our luck with Tesco and this time came out on top. English grocery stores are reason #5,791,642 why I want to live over in there. You wouldn’t believe the amount of vegetarian options they have. Whole sections of the store devoted to it. The selection is amazing, and you don’t have to go out of your way to go to the specialty stores. It’s all right there at your non-meat-eating little fingertips. AND all the packaging clearly states “suitable for vegetarians” or “not suitable for vegetarians” on it. No searching through a long list of ingredients looking for obscure bits of gelatin or rennet. No, sir.

So unfair.

We ended up buying no less than 5 different varieties of Quorn, the fake meat substance that has quickly become my reason for living. One of these five varieties is going to make somewhat of a noteworthy appearance later in this post.

On our way home, Richie phoned to say he and Mini were at the Horse and Jockey, and for us to meet him there. Sam contended that perhaps he should meet us at home and then drive us all back there so that both cars weren’t there, and at least one of them could drink. Not quite sure what happened after that, but I do know that Sam and I sat at home for a short while waiting for him, before phoning and finding out that he was still at the pub with no intention of following that plan. Ha. So off we went.

We weren’t at the pub long when Richie realized that Sam’s plan was, in fact, a good one. So they decided to go drop her car off, leaving Mini and I to discuss the benefits of Cherry Chapstick and other really important, worldly topics. Richie and Sam came back shortly after, but not before the barman called Mini a poof and made a kissy face at him. Looking back, I’m not quite sure how that even came about, but it was funny.

Not long after, that same barman gave me a free round for winking at him, so he obviously realized that I have more to offer him than Mini does. Either way, he's forever in my good books.

When we moved to the other side of the pub so Richie and Mini could play darts, some American guy came in with his dog. The barman told him I was from New Jersey, so of course I got the ever-prevalent (and always stupid) “What exit?” joke. Not funny. I informed him that I was from South Jersey, and that was North Jersey joke. Shut up, random American guy. Dog was cute though.

Just after the encounter with Yankee Doodle, I went up for my next round (which I paid for this time -- I think the barman was all winked out) and I saw a sign that said:

“It is forbidden for vagrants, beggars, itinerant musicians, and females of doubtful reputation to enter the premises.”

I read then sign and then told the barman “I’ve been here for hours and you haven’t said a thing!”

Doubtful reputation, indeed.

Speaking of amusing signs, the Jockey is full of them.

“Enginemen are Forbidden to blow their Whistles or Drain Cocks whilst standing in the station, as this may frighten horses and alarm passengers. Furthermore, Leaking Cocks must be attended to. A fine of Sixpence for each Leaking Cock will be strictly enforced.”

So there you go. Mind those Leaking Cocks, gents.

“Be Warned that Tickling and Groping is an Offence under Section 27 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1927.”

Who knew?

Oh, and please don’t piss out the window.

Thanks.

After drinking for hours on end, the rest of the evening should be a blur, but it isn’t.

We lost Mini, but gained loads of other people and spent the rest of the night sharing ridiculous stories. We got to hear about Adrian’s baby’s first “real poo” for example, complete with facial re-enactment. Glorious. Liam's "Fucking hell mate, I'd smash it!" story was a real winner as well.

The best story of the night, however, goes to Jamie (whom I’d not met before). I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the story was about his sister. She was visiting… shit… where was she visiting? India maybe? (Maybe the night is more of a blur than I thought). Anyway, she was visiting somewhere and went to a Temple that is apparently the third most sacred place there (wherever it was). During her visit, she turned to find a man knocking one out behind her.

Again, holy temple – public masturbation.

The story itself was hilarious, but it was only made better when Liam said “We didn’t see that coming!” to which Jamie brilliantly replied “She did!!”.

You can’t make this shit up.

I don’t know what time we ended up actually leaving the pub, but it was definitely a good 8 hours or more after we’d arrived. Maybe 10 hours. That’s just how we roll.

If I remember correctly, we went home and drank some more (big shocker there) and had another sleepover with Mondo. Don’t be jealous.

Day 3: Babies and Bliss

So now I’ve been in the country over 48 hours and still haven’t seen baby Oliver. Thursday, I remedied that. Richie dropped me off at Fliss’s cute new place near my beloved Wycombe town center (11 holidays and counting!) and the aunt-like nurturing began.

Four weeks old and already has a boob in his face. Leave it to Aunt Marnie. I blame the mulled wine.

Ollie is seriously adorable. Peep the spiky hair:




And as if that face and those adorable little features aren’t enough, guess what else he possesses?

A mullet.

How cool is that? Full-on baby-mullet plumage in the back.

Love it.


That’s Sally in the background. She and her boyfriend Jeff came down and came out to lunch with us in Marlow at some overpriced place that I forget the name of. The Market, maybe? All I know is that it’s just down the street from Sunrise, where Fliss and I have gotten many an overpriced fake tan.

After Sally and Geoff left, Fliss, Dave, Olly, and I went to go feed some moldy bread to some ducks and geese here.

Some guy came over and tried to teach me how to get them to eat it right out of my hand. I was nervous about it and kept chickening out at the last second, but he insisted and actually held my hand out by their mouths so I couldn’t pull it away. I yelled, “If I need a Tetanus shot after this!” which he didn’t seem to think was funny. I got bit no less than 3 times and screamed each time. He told me if I didn’t calm down they’d only keep biting me. Thanks for the advice, buddy. Now beat it.

After the bread was gone, we packed Olly back in the car and headed back to Fliss’s.

And that's what that looked like.

When we got back, Dave headed out and we had a nice girlie chat for a few hours before her two other friends showed up. Shortly after, Richie came to fetch me and off we went.

Bliss, the Taylors’ adorable Golden Retriever was sleeping over this night, which, being the world’s foremost animal lover, I was thrilled about. Earlier in the day, she had taken a liking to the pom-pommed tassels on my sweater and tried to rip them off, (which, quite frankly serves me right for wearing tassels post 1986) so she seemed equally excited for my return.


Turns out, even more interesting to her was the pony-tail holder in my hair. So she climbed on up and ripped it out.










After she was through with me, she turned her wrath to a poor helpless Pringles tube. It wasn’t long for this world.










While blow-drying my hair before bed, I heard crying outside of my room and when I opened the door, Bliss was there with a pair of Richie’s socks in her mouth. Apparently she was ready to go to bed, and since Richie and Sam weren’t, she was seeing what I was up to. Cute!

And so ended this day with no alcohol, except for one cup of mulled one early in the afternoon (don't get used to reading those words in this post). We had serious business to take care of the next day and our systems needed to be sufficiently alcohol free.

Why? Well…

Day 4: “We Have to Get to Whitechapel!!”

Ahhh, and then there was Friday. This day was nothing short of legendary and it’s safe to say it was the highlight of my trip. The fact that I was completely sauced for 80% of it has nothing to do with it, I’m sure.

Richie, Event Coordinator Extraordinaire, organized a Monopoly pub crawl throughout London for everyone. This essentially boiled down to 16 idiots (including yours truly) trawling through different areas of London (based on a random drawing) in teams of 4 (also based on a random drawing), visiting anywhere from 11 to 18 pubs in 5 hours, then meeting up at yet another pub to share stories and drink some more. If it sounds hardcore, that’s because it damn well is. Again, that’s just how we roll.

Truth be told, despite the fact that there would have been an uneven number otherwise, each of the four team leaders (Richie, Mini, Tom, and Liam) were probably dreading having the lone girl on their team for fear of it slowing them down. Richie admitted it, saying “To be fair, if it wasn’t a random drawing, you’d definitely be last picked.” Ha. Fair enough. I had twice as much to prove, but you know me – eager beaver.

Hahaha… ew.

Anyway, I dressed in my finest drinking minidress and leggings, which was more tactical than fashion-based (jeans leave no room for expansion, after all) and we headed out.

We met at the Wycombe train station (which still has “temporary portacabins” up in place of the real station, which burned down last year) at 11am. Each team leader was fitted with a map, a set of cards (a la the real Monopoly), and a money bag to collect fines in. Fines were dealt based on the cards pulled, number of pubs done, and how late you showed up at the end of the day, as well as at the discretion of the team leader, but we’ll get to that later. All the money was going into the “social club” pot… in other words, towards another day of excessive boozing in the future.

Teams were drawn on the train by pulling names out of a hat. I ended up on Richie’s team, along with Elmo and James. Result! Richie, gentleman that he is, managed to keep in his groans, so thanks for that Richie. ;-) Our team ended up pulling two shit routes – Old Kent Road and Whitechapel, and one good one – Leicester Square, which is actually where we were due to meet later anyway. That gave us 15 pubs in total to do before 5pm.

When we arrived at Marylebone at noon, the teams dispersed really quickly to get their game on.

An artistic representation of the dispersing teams.

As we got through the turnstiles, Richie, Elmo and I started heading out, when Richie asked “Where’s James gone?” It was only a minute before we saw him, wasting time, helping a scattered old woman get through the turnstile.

“Fine!”

When all was said and done and he finally made his way to us, Richie informed him that he was now the recipient of the first fine of the day.

For having a heart of gold?,” he asked.

Hey, this game is ruthless. Secretly, I think Elmo was happy because it gave him time to get a sausage roll.

Anyway, we headed over a few streets to Baker Street, during which time I nearly got fined for saying hello to strangers. Once we got there, the mayhem continued. We went through the wrong turnstile, which in turn, screwed us up when we tried to use our travelcards to get the hell back out. Our tube map was in black and white, and the line we needed was closed due to maintenance. It was nothing short of a hot mess. Long story short, we ended up getting on the Bakerloo Line, which we could have gotten on at Marylebone. Luckily, this wasn’t indicative of what the rest of the day was going to be like!

We took the tube down to Elephant and Castle (You know, Elmo! With the pink shopping center!) and Richie and I searched for taxis while James and Elmo got some cash out. It was starting to feel hopeless when we were directed to a little mini cab place that took us to our first stop, the Lord Nelson.


Here, Elmo drew the card that said he had to drink a double, which is a bit unfortunate for the first pub of the day. I slammed back my drink in about 10 seconds and Elmo asked “Any particular reason?” Well, yeah… the taxi was waiting. So in probably about 3 minutes, we were in and out of there and back in the taxi, headed to the George.


I know it’s relatively early on in the day to be forgetting shit, but I can’t remember anything of note happening in this place. I remember that it was James’ round and that I drank a pineapple Bacardi Breezer, but that’s all. I’m pretty sure he drew the card that said “Pay two pounds or draw another card” – and I think he paid the two pounds. Like I said, nothing of note.


We then hauled ass on foot to the Hartley, which was closed. Pricks. The guys took this opportunity to go get more food – a 'pasty' to be exact – (yanks can Google it because I didn’t know either) before heading to our replacement pub, the Woolpack.


The funny thing about this pub was that, despite the relatively shit area, the inside of this place was one of the nicest we went to. After knocking back the rounds at the first two pubs in record time, we took a little bit longer here and enjoyed the ambience. It was Richie’s round but I can’t remember what his card was. My memory is failing me in my old age. What I do know is that it was here where I discovered the magic of Mango-flavoured Quinn’s, which is some good shit.

Look up manliness in the dictionary and this is what you'll see.

After the Woolpack, it was time to make our way to Whitechapel, to hit up the Blind Beggar, which is apparently Ronnie and Reggie Kray’s old stomping grounds. Ronnie apparently even shot someone in there for calling him a ‘big fat poof’.

Anyway, we had a little trouble finding a tube station. We were just walking along, listening the story of Elmo’s latest bin-kicking run-in with the law, when we thought we’d found one.

Yeah, or it could be the British War Museum, dumbasses.

“Ooh look at me, I think the British War Museum is a tube station!… Pathetic.”


We finally made it to the Blind Beggar, where it was my round, so my turn to draw a card. In hindsight, I kind of wish my card had said “Call someone a big fat poof” but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Instead, I had to pay a pound for not being a homeowner. Not quite as exciting, but I didn’t have to dodge any bullets either, so there’s always an upside.

Onto the Black Bull, where I had my first pee of the day. That’s probably why I don’t remember what card Elmo picked or if it was funny or not. Oh well. This photo is funny anyway...


We almost detoured into the Nag's Head Gentlemen's Club after that, but reason (or the threat of paying the late fine) took over and we passed by. Plus, when I'm not at work, I'd rather not think about it. :-)


If I remember correctly, it was on the way to the next pub, the Glassblower, that James saved my life. You’d think that after being hit by a car once already, going airborne and all that, I’d be a bit more careful, but there I was, blindly following Richie and Elmo into the street. If James and his heart of gold hadn’t intervened, the approaching black cab would have rendered me airborne yet again, and Richie and Elmo would have been none the wiser. Thanks, James. ;-)

That’s the casual stance of someone who just escaped death.

I’m pretty sure the Glassblower is where the 'best-looking' contest was held. James drew the card for the barman to say who was the best looking of the lot, as well as the worst looking. There was both a guy and a girl behind the bar and they both picked me as best looking, mostly because they didn’t want to hurt any testosterone-laden feelings.

(Oh, who am I kidding? I’m so hot).

Anyway, I had to pay a pound for it. We decided against the worst looking bit because we’re kind, caring, individuals.

I felt another piss coming on this place, and I thought I’d save time by bringing my drink to the bathroom with me, not so I could dump it down the toilet, as Elmo surmised, but so I could shotgun it. Simultaneously in one end and out the other, you know? Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way. I put my drink on the back of the toilet so I could pull down my tactical leggings, and about a tenth of a second later, I felt *splash*. Nice. Not only was 2/3 of my drink gone (and the other 1/3 rendered useless) but my whole ass was soaked. Yay.

Well whatevs, because I sucked it up, admitted what happened, and paid the respective pound. Honesty is the best policy. And how else was I going to explain the wet ass?


At the Blue Posts, Richie’s card said that he had to buy us bar snacks, which was good, since James and I had just been discussing that we could use it.

Then the Comedy Upstairs Downstairs.

I don’t think this photo really shows our team love in its truest form.

That’s better.

It was my round at the Comedy Upstairs Downstairs, which of course turned into an ordeal. I drew “Barmaids Choice” and the barmaid was shit. Her choice? Kronenberg. Well, those who know me know there was no way I was choking that shit down, so I said “Umm… what’s your second favourite?” She took pity on me and gave me a Smirnoff Ice. The others also decided against choking down the dishwater beer, and paid the pound each. Smart boys, my friends. (*Correction: You'll notice in the comments sections that I've been corrected -- Richie and Elmo DID, in fact, finish their Kronenberg. Much apologies!) We hauled ass out of there. Little did we know what we were walking into.

Our lone gay pub of the day was the Tom Cribb, and oh what an experience that was. There we are, waiting patiently at the bar like the respectful young gentlemen and lady that we are, when James says something along the lines of “Do you remember when we got chucked out of here last year?”

Another minute or so goes by before another barman comes up and says “You’re not going to get served.” When we asked why, he dismissed us by saying that if we’ve been chucked out once before, we shouldn’t expect to be served now. Well I NEVER!

If Ronnie Kray hadn't shot that guy, he'd have probably called the barman a big fat poof.

Either way, Richie showed them what we thought of them.


We went across the street to a different pub to make up for the loss there, just because we’re not cheaters. I have no idea what the name of it was, nor do I have a picture. Here, Elmo drew the card that had us performing a shotgun race. We chose the sickeningly sweet blue WKD as our shotgun drink of choice. Surprisingly I didn’t come in last! Out of respect, I won’t say who did.

Let’s just say his name starts with a J and ends with an Ames.

Our next stop, Yates in Leicester Square, was not unfamiliar to me. Remember Daryl, Cute Pete, and their drunken friends from last year? That was in Yates, baby. I even ran into Cute Pete again there in the summer. Didn’t see him this time though.

Lucky bastard James drew the “Get Out of Your Round Free” card, which left Richie with the most expensive round of the day. He was none too thrilled.


But he got over it quick enough.


I was quite happy to be in Yates for the simple fact that they were playing Keane, which of course is enough to make me enjoy myself. On the downside, the only girlie bottled drink they had was Smirnoff Black, which is just shit. Elmo stepped up like my knight in shining armour and actually ended up drinking it for me. If I’m not wrong, he drank James’ drink too. If not in that pub, then in the next one. Legend.


Next door at the Moon Under Water (Wetherspoon’s), I managed to get my orange Bacardi Breezer down much easier. Funnily enough, it was my round and my card and I have no recollection of what it was. Still not “Call someone a big fat poof” though. Then I peed again and took a few more pictures before heading out.




Hahaha… I have to laugh because, as I’m going through these pictures, I’m remembering less and less about each place. It got somewhat crazy towards the end there. We did the last 11 pubs in 1 hour and 50 minutes, and I’m pretty sure we were in this Chiquito place for approximately one minute. I remember no card. I remember no drink.

I also don’t remember being replaced on the team by a bunch of Chinese guys, but apparently that happened too.

I think rather than me wracking my brain trying to remember the last bits at all the pubs, you should just enjoy the photographic evidence. It looks like we had fun.

The Imperial

You can tell my “tactical for expansion purposes” dress is being put to good use. Christ’s sake – look at that belly!

All Bar One

Obvs the booze is taking its toll. I must be drunk now to post this terrible picture.

I think the booze is taking its toll on everyone.

I actually have no idea if it was Richie or Elmo who took this next series of photos. Whichever one it was is obviously missing his calling as a professional photographer.










At Waxy O’Connor’s it was my round again.


There were only two cards left. One shit one, and one saying to order the round in a foreign accent. I took the opportunity to bust out my hot British accent which I thought went down really well.

That is, until I got two vodka and lemonades instead of the two vodka and cokes that I’d ordered. SHIT barman!!!

We weren’t there long anyway because it was nearly 5 and we didn’t want to be fined for being late to Waxy’s Little Sister. We drank up, and made it back with time to spare!

Two words: DREAM TEAM.

Tom’s team was there ahead of us, but they didn’t do all their pubs so the Dream Team came out on top. Legends in our own minds, us.

All kidding aside, our team was fucking brilliant! Very diverse. Richie, who lead with reckless abandon. Elmo, who drank our drinks when we couldn’t. James with the heart of gold. Me with the vagina. Diversity makes the world go round!

Richie even admitted that he was wrong to think I wouldn’t hold my own, saying “I’ll tell you what! I’d have you on my team again!”

*bows*

“ Ooh look at me, I can hold my own with the lads!... Pathetic."

But would you believe this day is hardly half over? I’m serious.

If you want to kill yourself reading this long ass post, all I can say is, try writing it.

Inside Waxy’s Little Sister, being the hero and drinking our drinks was starting to catch up with Elmo.

I think the plastic hat suits him.

Liam’s team arrived third and continued binge drinking, as to be expected.


Andy is one of the many people I’ve put out in the past by staying with them for weeks on end and we have loads of fun memories. I haven’t spent any QT with him in a long time, so it was nice to catch up and reminisce a bit!


Speaking of fun memories from staying with Glennie and Andy, here’s Will!


And Liam!


Oh, like you weren’t thinking it.

That hat doesn’t suit me as well as it does Elmo.

Especially in this random, somewhat creepy video which I have no memory of, and I’m quite certain that I didn’t take.



Although clearly that’s my obnoxious laugh in the background so I maybe I’m wrong.

Sometimes people are really good at pretending they don’t want to be in a photo with me. Imagine that.

Simon Le Monde

A few years ago, when we were out for Glennie’s birthday in London, I took a photo with Will and Liam, who are obviously significantly taller than me. As we were posing for that shot, Liam said to Will “I think we could get our knobs into this!”. This year, when posing for this photo, he said, “Marnie, could you be any sluttier?”

Ha. No. He really said that.

Even though he damn well knows the answer.

It was just after asking me this, that Liam decided to show me his “Christmas pants”

With some Christmas pubes to go along with it.

I blocked them out because deep down I’m really a sweet girl. Email me for the uncensored version. Don’t forget to include payment.

Oh, and Liam – could you be any sluttier?

Somehow Liam and Will then tricked me into doing a Tequila shot with them, which was nice. Well, I say tricked. They handed it to me and said, “Here, drink this.” So actually, there was very little trickery involved to be fair. Liam commended me, saying “Well done for doing that shot!” and Will added, “Well done on doing the whole fucking DAY!” To think anyone ever doubted me, eh?

The best photo of the night almost never was. Glennie begrudgingly agreed to pose for a snogging photo with me, which Andy took. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out the first time, so we had to pose for it again. Sorry about that, Glennie. :-)

When Time Magazine comes a-knockin’ for their “Photo of the Year” entries this year, I’ll be ready to submit this baby.

I think it was around this point that I thought it might be a good idea to start hitting up the water.

Moving on…

Mini was a kick-ass team leader from what I hear. Despite being two hours late to the last pub, he did manage to collect more fines than anyone… whether they actually came from his team or not. :-) While his team didn’t get chucked out of their gay pub like ours did, he did fine everyone for not being gay, which is nothing short of hilarious. He also managed to beat out Glennie, Mondo, and that 18-year-old new guy who was grabbing my ass all night to win best looking. Pretty sure he didn’t drop his drink in the toilet right after like some of us. The night didn’t end as well for him though.

Of the two people here, one fell asleep in Burger King shortly after this shot was taken. The other one is me.

That was the last picture I took in Waxy’s Little Sister, although there was still much drama to be had. I actually almost coldcocked this one girl, seriously.

How funny is the word “coldcocked” by the way?

Anyway, she was just a random girl with a butch haircut and a green shirt, chatting Liam up at the bar. Will tapped me and said, “Hey, look at Frodo over there talking to Liam. Let’s go save him.” So I tried, but this girl was like a freaking vulture. Long story short, any time I would get anywhere NEAR Liam over the next half hour or so, she would seriously elbow me as hard as she could. Like... is she kidding?

So about the 5th time it happened, I screamed “Okay! If she elbows me like that one more time I am gonna LAY her OUT!” The bouncer tapped me and just shook his head slowly. I’d like to see him get elbowed. Hard.

There was also almost a fight amongst the guys (not with eachother, but with someone else) which I won’t get into. Let’s just say the bouncer said they “didn’t like bullies” and chucked us all out, including the rest of the girls, who’d all met up with us around 7pm. Second pub of the day that I was chucked out of, and yet not the last of the holiday.

On the way to the next pub (you didn’t think we’d go home, did you?), I was walking arm-in-arm with Liam and would you believe this hizzo had the nerve to run up and pull him away and continue to try and... actually, I have no idea what she was trying to do. He actually ended up having to full-on RUN away from her. Some people. I wish I knew her name so she could Google herself, find this site, and read about what an idiot she is.

Anyway, funnily enough, we headed back to the Comedy Upstairs Downstairs, scene of the Kronenberg crime. What I remember most vividly from this part of the evening (besides still reeling from wanting to punch Frodo so badly) is that I got a drink, took one sip of it, and thought, “You know what? I just can’t do it.” I put it down, walked away, and never looked back.

We weren’t there that long. I remember chatting with Elmo for a bit and then posing for this picture.

The final Dream Team shot of the evening.

Then it was onto Piccadilly tube station to catch a tube to the Globe, which coincidentally is also a place that I’m no stranger to. For years, whenever I would visit England, that would be the place where Matt and I used to meet up for lunch or drinks or both. Where have the years gone?

So while we were waiting for the tube, Liam and I had the brilliant idea of swapping shoes. Well, one shoe each. He put on one of my black crocheted Livs, which fit like a glove – on OJ – and I put on one of his shoes, which went so well with my outfit!




Liam then said “Let’s get on the tube like this and see if anyone notices!”

They did.

While on the tube, Will did his best to entertain everyone, mostly this pretty girl and her elderly female companions. He even went as far as to invite them all to the Globe. He went around to each person, pointing and saying, “Globe? Globe? Globe?”

Globe? Globe? Globe?

I think the people were more scared to death than anything.

As we got off, Liam made sure to bang on the window and wave goodbye to the cute girl, and make her uneasy one last time before she pulled away.

Somehow, someway, we made it to the Globe for our final few drinks and James and I got to have a lovely chat before heading back to Marylebone to drag our drunken asses home. I honestly don’t even think it was all THAT late at this point, but we’d easily been drinking for nearly 12 hours straight. Tell us we’re not your heroes?

The train ride back was brilliant. Mostly everyone went to High Wycombe, but Richie, Sam, Mondo, and I took the Amersham train. On this ride was where the use of the word “c*nt” was most prevalent during my whole holiday. For whatever reason, I brought up the “Little Miss Star” shirt that the guys brought for me when they came to visit me at college, and Sam said she wanted to be Little Miss Something. Richie’s answer?

“Yeah, Little Miss C*NT!”

I don’t think I can adequately tell you in words just how funny this was. You know when something happens and you try to retell it and it’s like “Oh, you had to be there”? Well, this is probably one of those moments, but suffice it to say, Mondo and I were practically in tears. Later, he said “From now on, when I come around, I’m going to say ‘I’m going ‘round Richie and C*ntface’s’”.

Before any of you start feeling bad, Sam was laughing right along with us. I commend her on her wicked sense of humour!!

In the taxi on the way back to the house, Richie suggested that perhaps we should go to the Blue Room “Nightclub,” formerly the Orchard. There was a resounding, collective “NO!!!” from the back of the taxi, and the kibosh was quickly put on that idea.

Instead, we headed home for more humour.

We sat for a bit talking about how, as far as days out go, this was probably one of the best ever, if not the best ever. I know that it was probably only second to Richie and Sam’s wedding as my best day in England ever – and that’s saying something!

Remember earlier in this post (which I know seems like years ago now) when I said that one of the Quorn fake meat products was going to play an important role later? That time is here.

Sam decided to make all of our drunken asses some food and she had the brilliant idea to swap out real chicken nuggets for the Quorn nuggets for Richie and Mondo. We’d been telling Richie, who is totally pro-meat, for days that he wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Now was our chance to try. Granted, we chose a time to try when he had no less than 25 drinks in his system, but no one ever said we weren’t cheaters.

We agreed that I wouldn’t eat any of it until they’d had some. After she brought it out, I even went as far as to turn down the chips she offered me because they “were touching the chicken.” (Nice touch, right?).

After they’d started on seconds and there was no turning back, I thought it was time for the reveal. To do so, I walked over to the plate, picked one of the pieces up, and ate it in such a way that it appeared that I was so drunk, I just didn’t care. Mondo looked absolutely shocked, yelling “Hey, VEGGIE!”

I just smiled and kept chewing. About 30 seconds went by before Richie stopped and said… “It’s not chicken... is it?”.

Truth be told, Quorn is so realistic that, when I first bit it, I thought “Oh my God! The joke is actually on me! That IS chicken!” but of course that wasn’t the case.

Richie then spent the better part of 30 minutes explaining that, while it wasn’t THAT bad, in the back of his mind, he did, in fact, know it was not chicken.

“It wasn’t tearing right! It wasn’t tearing like flesh! I know that makes me sound like a fucking Tyrannosaurus Rex, but honestly! I knew! I knew in the back of my mind!”

Mondo, however, not only admitted that he’d been had, but added that Quorn was pretty good and that he’d have it again. Reason #1,479 to love Mondo. Plus, his name is Simon and we know how I love my Simons.

I wish I had photos of this, but I was so beyond having the mental capacity to take any.

While we were sitting there, in a move that only shows further that Richie had a bit of a handi-cap in the Quorn-identifying Challenge, out of nowhere, he starts saying “We have to get to Whitechapel!” The rest of us just sat silently.

After a second he stops and says, “Wait. No we don’t. I’m in my house. And I’m really glad about that.”

Later, Sam said that after they’d gone to bed, he’d said a few more times that we had to get to Whitechapel. With any luck, none of us will ever have to get to Whitechapel ever again. :-)

By the way, you do know we still have 10 days to go, right?

Day 5: A Nappy, A Dummy, and A Vest

On Saturday, I made my way to Fliss’s once again while the rest of the lot went to another football match. You’ll be happy to know that Olly was still rating high on the Cuteness Meter.


We pretty much spent the day just hanging out and chatting. We’re not the dizzy bints that we used to be, after all. No swinging out of kitchen windows in miniskirts to get to the bars when the front door is jammed. No dancing on tables at Time. No sucking back 2 bottles of Lambrini each before heading out to find me a husband at the Litton Tree. No, sir! We’re adults!

It was this day that I realised that no matter how many times I’ve been to England, I’ll never know everything there is to know (as much as I like to think I do). Something new within the subtle differences in the ‘English English’ vs. ‘American English’ manages to get me every time.

This time, Fliss was sitting on the couch with Olly, who was feeling a bit cranky. Fliss says to me, “Could you do me a favour? Could you run and get me a nappy, a dummy, and a vest?”

I replied that I absolutely could, if she would just tell me what those things were.

Actually, to be fair, I knew what a nappy was. It’s a diaper. I’ve watched enough BBC America for that one not to have escaped me! But a dummy? A vest? Fucking hell, I’ve only just gotten used to a “vest” being a “tank top” in the adult world! (and what we know as a vest is a “waistcoat!” Someone make it stop!) What the hell is a “vest” for a baby?

So she says, “Well a dummy is… you know, the thing they suck on to calm them down. A… pacifier?” Ahh, yes. Ok.

“And a vest is a t-shirt that snaps at the crotch that they wear under their clothes?” Oh! A onesie!

Just when I thought it was over, and I’d finally got it down, I say “Where is that stuff?”

“The nappies and the vests are upstairs. The dummy is probably in the cot or the pushchair.”

????

That’s a crib and a stroller, yanks.


If ever there comes a time when I do finally live in England and I have a baby (neither of which is looking likely in my lifetime), someone is going to have to help my ass out. Otherwise, my kid will be naked, hungry, and cranky because I have no idea what to ask for!

Oh yeah, and pumping breast milk? That’s “expressing” folks. Expressing. Don’t say I never taught you anything.

Dave came by and we had a bit of an “incident” over the perils of foie gras, *shakes fist at sky* but I’ve long since forgiven him. :-)

After my day of chatting and learning the ins and outs of ‘English English’ as it applies to the baby world, Richie, Sam, and Mondo came to pick me up and we headed off to go meet James and Lauren at the Old Bengal in Beaconsfield.

Here, we mostly just drank (the hell, you say!) and reminisced about the activities of the day before. I believe it was also here that we worked out that we’d be spending New Year’s eve around Lauren and James’ house. That suited me just fine. At $2.12 to the pound, I wasn’t so into paying a 30 pound cover and then again for drinks all night. You know how cheap I am.

Day 6: Only Fools and Asses

Sunday was New Year’s Eve. The first half of the day was just a chilled-out afternoon. Aside from time spent trying to convince Mondo to be my New Year’s kiss, we didn’t do a damn thing! Richie decided to bust open his Only Fools and Horses Box Set that he’d received for Christmas. I’d heard of this show loads, but I’d never actually watched it. After this trip, I’d almost consider myself an expert on it. At the very least, I now know the theme song backwards and forwards.

For those of you who have no idea (again,that’d be the yanks), Only Fools and Horses is the story of Del and Rodney, two wheeling and dealing brothers from Peckham, who sell dodgy shit out of a suitcase, hoping one day that they’ll become millionaires.

We seriously watched it for at least 5-6 hours, so it’s a good thing it’s funny. I don’t think I moved from the couch at all during the time, barring the occasional piss. I can’t think of a better way to spend the daylight hours of the last day of 2006!

As the evening set in, it was time for Sam and I to beautify ourselves for the New Year’s Eve festivities. I insisted that all the ladies wear dresses, just so I could wear my new Bebe kimono that I love so much. Of course, as usual, there was an issue with it. It was too low cut to wear a bra, but without one, if I was to sit down, I’d be giving those in my peripherals a little show. I said this to Sam, who luckily came to the rescue with ‘Tit Tape.’ Yay!

Richie’s response? “Oh, come on Sam! It’s New Year!”

Has anyone ever used this stuff, by the way? It’s freaking genius. I’m going to have to stock up!

Anyway, once my goods were securely in place and all that, we headed out to James’ and Lauren’s, where we had a really, really good night!



Less than an hour in, and I’ve already got “drunk hair” as Colleen likes to call it.

I finally got to meet the elusive Anna, who is absolutely lovely, and we got on like a house on fire. After all, anyone who loves TopShop as much as I do is a friend of mine.

She’s entering “drunk hair” territory too.

On her camera, she has a drunken shot of me kissing Elmo (I know it’s hard to believe that I would kiss one of my male friends in a photo) but I haven’t got it, so you’ll just have to enjoy this one.


I wasn’t the only one who was getting my New Year’s lovin’ on early. Mini and James were right on that.



You can’t fake that kind of enthusiasm, folks.

If I’m not mistaken, Anna’s got some even better ones on her camera. The passion really shows.

So the evening is going wonderfully enough as it is. Then, just before midnight, I get a text message from Moobs telling me that he’s “at the same do as old Tommy boy! haha”

*dead*

By “Old Tommy Boy” he means Tom “Oh, the things I’d let him do to me” Chaplin.

When I say it was hard for me not to jump out of my skin, it’s a bit of an understatement. Fighting the urge to pass out, I immediately ran to find Mondo, who understand more than anyone the significance of this.

Mini laughed, saying “You’re such a celebrity whore.” A fact that I shall never deny!

Anyway, I text him back asking “Where are you? Why wasn’t I invited? And did you tell him he’s the love of my life?”

A few minutes later I get the hilarious response “No he’s a minger and a twat! You can do better!” While I’d argue to the death that Mr. Chaplin is not, in fact, a minger or a twat and that I’d be hard-pressed to ever do better, I have to admit it was very funny! Not to mention flattering. Admittedly, it was also hilarious when James started stuffing food into his cheeks and saying “Ooh look! I’m the lead singer of Keane!” Hahaha.

So we texted back and forth a few more times, mostly with me just gushing about Tom, but also asking him what songs we should play at the party. I’d like to pretend that I was all calm, cool, and collected about the whole thing, but I bloody well wasn’t. I was freaking out and pretty much shaking with each message that I sent! James said, “I think this is the coolest thing that’s ever happened in my house!” Definitely the best text messages I’ve ever got – bar none!

Oh, by the way… nothing ever came of it. Tom hasn’t called, or offered to marry me yet (stress “yet”) but I’ll keep you posted.

Anyway, once I regained my composure, the night went back to normal. I had a nice chat with Mini, whom I’d seen very little of thus far on this trip (what with the whole falling asleep in Burger King thing and all) and I was even lucky enough to finally get my New Year’s kiss from Mondo!

Sorry, ladies.

You know, I think one of these days I’m going to put together a montage of me kissing British people in photos. If I have 1000 pictures with this lot from over the years, a good 100 of them have to be me kissing everyone. Friendly gal, me.

Most of us headed outside then, while the guys smoked cigars and the girls watched. Sam took a few shots of the action.

When the champagne is flowing, ‘Tit Tape’ is there to save the day.





Cigar smoking is obviously very serious business.



Like I said, house on fire.

However, Anna and I are obviously nowhere near as hardcore as Sam and Emma. :-)


The two pictures I took with my fellow “Best Looking Award” recipient and former Golf-watching partner, Mini, landed pretty much at either end of the picture-taking spectrum.

A really shit one...

That always happens when you try to take the photo yourself!

And one that clearly shows why we won. Haha.

Even my “drunk hair” seems to have disappeared!

A bit later, Richie and I got to reminiscing about my first summer over there, as we often do. What fun times those were. I can’t believe it was so many years ago now! How old are we?

The last photo of the night I believe was taken by Sam, and is obviously also an award-winning shot.

You so wish he was your New Year’s snog. Admit it.

It was a really great night and I’m so glad we went! Much thanks to James and Lauren for a lovely evening... and Mondo for the kiss, of course.

On the taxi ride home, Sam once again impressed me like no other. The driver gave new meaning to the term “highway robbery” when he tried to charge us 40 pounds to get back to Sam and Richie’s house. Suffice it to say that was NOT happening. Sam was on the phone so fast your head would’ve spun. After a few minutes of “negotiating” that rate came down significantly. Well, I say negotiating. More like Sam yelling, “Alfie, I am NOT paying that!” a few times before she wore him down. Brilliant.

When we got home, Richie was unlocking the door when he unexpectedly took a step backward and rolled down the hood of the car. Mondo and I just looked at eachother, speechless. All I’m going to say is that if I ever had a job as an actress where I had to laugh hysterically on command for a scene, I would think about this moment. I’m almost crying even writing about it now.

Whatevs, you had to be there.

I think the guys stayed up to watch more Only Fools and Horses and Sam and I headed to bed, as it was nearly 5am. Goodbye, 2006!!

Day 7: Meet the Parents

On New Year’s Day, Richie, Sam, and Mondo had another football match, and Mini and Anna had a concert, so I quite happily settled in to eat toast, do some Sudoku and watch some VH1 Classic (as one does on holiday).

Richie and Mini’s parents (whom I love, by the way) stopped by to drop off Richie and Sam’s wedding album shortly after I begun my music video-watching experience. They commented on how cold the house was and said I should come back to their house with them. I actually hadn’t noticed the cold, despite having a short-sleeved shirt on, but I’m always one for some company, so off I went.

I had loads of fun with the Taylors. We just watched TV and chatted, and they kept trying to feed me. One of many reasons why I enjoy spending time with them is that they make me feel much skinnier than I am. Haha. Mr. T constantly calls me a “little waif” and Mrs. T actually guessed that I weighed 7 and a half stone! That’s 105 pounds, which I haven’t been since about 6th grade, so you can imagine how I wanted to hug her.

And of course there’s the lovely Bliss.

That’s what I often look like after a night out.

After the football, Richie and Sam came back and we all went out to a Chinese restaurant in Beaconsfield, which Bliss was none too thrilled about. We had a lovely time though! Sometimes the best days are the days when you don’t do much of anything, aren’t they?

Day 8: How the Mighty Have Fallen

On Tuesday, Richie got back to the grind, Sam was restarting her gym routine, and I was due to head off for a few days. Kind of like the second leg of my journey last year, only less Duran Duran and more Felicity and Matt.

Sam dropped me off at Fliss’s in the morning where Olly was feeling a bit under the weather, and was due to have a somewhat scattered (but seemingly competent) nurse come around to see him. The outcome of the visit was to determine whether or not Fliss was to have her first proper night out since he arrived. Luckily, all came up trumps! The little bastard was fine!

Aside from that stroke of luck, this day actually started out in a fairly craptastic way for both of us. We kept commenting how it was just “one of those days” you know? We were feeling very ‘blah’. Moody bitches.

Things weren’t exactly looking up when we tried to head into town to get some ‘nappies’ (hope you were paying attention earlier) and the car wouldn’t start! It looked like it was going to rain (in England?!) but rather than leave Olly pantsless, we decided to trek the few hundred yards into town. Sorry… metres.

After a quick jaunt to Mothercare, we decided to go to the Litton Tree for some lunch. We were about 2 feet into the door when a girl came running up saying “Sorry, this is an over 18’s pub only.” We looked at eachother, and then at her. “And?”

She points to the baby.

Fliss says “He’s four weeks old!”

“We have to treat everyone the same.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes, I’m afraid.”

I had a few choice words for her and then we stormed out. Poor Olly. Chucked out of a pub at 4 weeks old. Following in his mother’s footsteps already!

Oh and by the way – it was raining now!

We ended up eating at this cute place, Pucchino’s. Despite my soup not being very good, we at least got a good laugh out of the menu, which said things like “Pizza – for stuffing your fat face,” “Tapas – for your greedy little fingers,” and “Bread – to go with your stupid tapas”.

After that, our lazy asses hopped a cab home to wait for Dave to jump Fliss’s car and watch Olly for the evening while we got our drink on.

Seeing as the second of January is easily ‘the day least likely for people to go out in the entire year’ we shouldn’t have been surprised to find Vodka Revolution in Marlow completely devoid of any human life. Back to Wycombe it was. It’s not a real holiday until I’ve been to O’Neill’s anyway.

Surprisingly, O’Neill’s was jumping, but only because the football was on. Let’s not kid ourselves. We had a few drinks there from two cute barmen who looked only slightly above jailbait age. I hate that I’m at an age now where a perfectly fanciable guy could easily be 10 years younger than I am.

We took a walk around to the old standby, Time... which is actually called something else now, but damned if I remember what... and that, too, was closed. Litton Tree it was.

In a cruel twist of fate after our earlier “over 18’s only” incident, we got to the Litton Tree only to find that it was student night and we were by far the oldest hussies in the joint. Getting someone to even look at us was like pulling teeth. What had happened to us? What had we become? It was quite sad really.


Fliss, trying to fit in with the group, was even drinking a baby drink!

There’s no alcohol in that, folks.

In the end, we had to laugh to keep from going insane.

And by the way, what were these girls wearing?? What is wrong with today’s youth???

After we couldn’t stand it anymore, we headed back to Dave’s house, so Fliss could pick up Olly and I could crash. Big day in London tomorrow.

Day 9: Well, I say a big day in London.

I woke up the next morning to find a text from my friend cancelling that afternoon’s plans due to the fact that it looked like it was going to rain. Dude, do you not live in London? Because you know, it rains there. I had planned on going to my beloved TopShop before he and I met up, but I decided it wasn’t worth it to trek all the way to London for just that. (See how I’ve matured?)

At this point, I had no idea what the hell to do with myself for the day. Catherine couldn’t make it up from Bristol, and I couldn’t get in touch with Matt, so I was at a bit of a loss. While checking my email, I saw a banner ad for Avenue Q, which I’d really wanted to see anyway, so I decided to go into London after all. I had booked a hotel for the following night, so I called and got it changed with no hassle (yay British Airways Vacations!) and was about to book the ticket, when my phone went off.

It was a text from Matt saying “Happy new year you grumpy fucker!” and saying he was free that night if I wanted to get together. RE-sult!

I packed up my shizz and headed out.

The hotel, the Corus Hyde Park was nice, especially considering it was free.




The room was a bit small, but I’m not one for looking a gift horse in the mouth.

As per yoozh, I was late meeting Matt because I underestimated how long it would take to get to the other end of Hyde Park. Plus I was watching Deal or No Deal and Come Dine With Me and lost track of time. Sorry, Matt.

So I finally managed to stumble my way over to him at the Hyde Park Corner tube stop at 6 o’clock, and we were on our way. We went to dinner at some Italian place around the corner and had a drink in a nearby pub before deciding to head back to the hotel area. I was wet (from the rain, sickos!) and despite being flats, my shoes were giving me blisters so I insisted on stopping by the room to change.

We then ended up going to the pub next door, which was the most touristy pub on Earth (aside from “The Elephant and Castle” chain we’ve got over here). I’m talking guest book and all.

For about the next four hours and 8 drinks later, we had a lovely chat about pretty much everything under the sun. After 8 years, we’re never really at a loss for things to talk about. He was surprised about my adoration for Tom Chaplin, calling him a “fat student”. Haha. Too bad he wasn’t at the Litton tree on Tuesday.

Matt had just started a new business (about 3 days before) and he very kindly stated how he would love to one day be the one to finally get me a work permit so I can finally get my ass over there to live. You’d think he’d know better than to put those kinds of ideas in my head. Start looking forward to approximately 365 “Did you get it now?” “How about now?” emails this year alone, Matt. ;-)

Anyway, we headed back to the hotel for a little bit longer, but Mr. Business had to be up early so around midnight he decided to head out. Not before our annual close-up photo, of course.


The concierge was absolute shit about getting him a taxi, so we ended up getting more comped drinks care of the hotel. At that point, we didn’t even really want it. It was probably close to 1am before he finally got on his way.

I’ve known Matt the longest of all my English friends so it’s always great to see him, and it was definitely a good night. If only it had stayed that way! With my luck though, you know it wouldn’t!

You know when you get into a hotel room and you see those signs that tell you what to do in the event of a fire? Do you ever pay attention to it?

Me neither. And this is the actual one from my room.

So I’m finally in bed, and in that wonderful sort of half-sleep, half-awake state, when all of the sudden, I hear the most horrific screeching noise, ever!

I jump up out of bed, thinking first that I’d set an alarm, and second that I’d done something wrong, as if the alarm was only going off in my room. Like I said, I was half asleep, so you know how delirious you are in that state? When I opened the door to the room and saw everyone stumbling down the hall, I realised it was a real evacuation.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

We followed the signs through what seemed like the longest route possible, through a wet back alley, and back out to the front of the hotel. Thankfully, once I’d gotten my wits about me, I had the sense to get fully dressed again, including my jacket. Some people were standing out there in the cold drizzle with bare feet and pajamas. Poor sods.

Peep the mayhem...

The look on that woman’s face pretty much sums up the universal feeling.

Sucks.

Sucks.

Still sucks.

We were only out there about a half hour, but it still was totally shit. It was probably the longest half hour ever for the people with bare feet. If I had paid for the room, I’d have definitely wanted some compensation!!

I finally managed to get back to sleep around 3:30. Thank the sweet Lord.

Day 10: Image There’s No Heaven…

I got up pretty early to go back to Wycombe so I could stop at Dave’s and get the rest of my crap before heading back to Richie and Sam’s. This was especially good because I got to spend some QT with my boyfriend Bob from last year. He’s still alive.

Oldest goldfish ever.

When I got back to Richie and Sam’s, we made a little trip to Beaconsfield to run some errands, and get some coffee at Costa like the ladies of leisure we are. At home, we popped in Shakespeare in Love and vegged out.

Later in the evening I went down to Mini’s cottage to get some “before” pictures, as well as some of the Taylor men hard at work.

Looking towards the back.

Looking towards the front.

“Upstairs”

What’s amazing is, by the time I’m back in July, this place is going to look like a million bucks. Trust me.

My main man Mr.T showed off his talents to me by throwing a big blob of spacklely stuff up into a hole in the wall above the door, and he was dead on. It’s times like these when I’m ashamed that my biggest talent is being able to alphabetically list Duran Duran’s whole back catalogue.*


*Haha… just kidding. I can’t even do that!

One day soon, where Mini’s sitting is going to be Mondo’s bedroom.

The guys had football training, so we ate dinner (Sam made me like the best Quorn pasta bake ever – Richie, surprisingly, didn’t partake) and Sam and I went and met Glennie at the Jockey for Pub Quiz. Richie and Andy met up with us after.

For the record, our team was called the Goonies.

I’ll let you decide who was who.

See earlier when I was talking about my lack of talent? Well, Pub Quiz was no exception. I knew about 3 questions the whole night, and one of them was a lyrics question about “Don’t You Want Me” by freaking Human League. Did you know I’ve seen Human League in concert? Someone slap me, please.

One question I (and everyone else in the universe) knew was:

What song do these lyrics come from? “Imagine there’s no heaven…”

Easy as hell, right?

Well, yeah, except for that we got it wrong because Glennie wrote “Image”.

*shakes fist at sky for the second time in this post*


We obviously got a big laugh out of this, and no one was mad because to be fair, Glennie was the one to answer pretty much every other question throughout the whole game. I did get one about the cerebellum though, so my range of knowledge actually does expand beyond the spectrum of washed-up 80’s pop stars.

Kind of.

So yeah… our team came in last. We’re fucking awesome.

Day 11: Eastenders is Shit

Friday was by far the laziest day of my trip. Me and Sam went to John Lewis and then came home to continue our “Gwyneth Paltrow With an English Accent” Film Festival with the brilliant, Sliding Doors.

That’s pretty much it.

When Richie came home, there was somewhat of a disagreement on whether or not we should go out and drink, or be good because it was January. Richie was arguing the former, while Sam was a proponent of the latter. Sam won.

Instead of more booze, we watched one of the most horrific episodes of Eastenders ever. No, one of the most horrific episodes of anything ever filmed for television, ever. I normally don’t mind Eastenders, but this episode was enough to make you kill yourself.

It was basically this idiot...


Explaining in hysterics to this idiot...


That she didn’t kill his mother ("I only lightly tapped her!"). He didn’t believe her. He then “kidnapped” their daughter from the house across the street and brought her upstairs in the very house that they were just arguing in to “hide” her. The story was shit, the acting was SHIT, and those two are obviously nothing to look at. I actually laughed most of the way through it, which I think was my body’s defence mechanism against having a nervous breakdown.

It all ended with him saying “Take her away” to the police, which they did. Fucking hell.

Then the start of Celebrity Big Brother, which was amazingly good in comparison. But then, anything with Jermaine Jackson is usually of stellar quality.

I didn’t take any pictures on this day, so you’ll have to do with Thing 1 and Thing 2 up there.

Day 12: More Football, More Fools, and More Horses

On Saturday morning, Sam and I went to Marks and Spencer with Mrs. Taylor while the guys worked on the cottage some more. We ended up going to Pucchino’s for breakfast, the place with the funny sayings in the menu, and even though I asked for one egg and got about 6, I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than my soup from earlier in the week.

I actually got two really nice pictures with Mr. And Mrs. Taylor that afternoon, but, like many, they don’t wish to have their faces splashed all over the internet (especially on a site like mine which obviously gets billions of hits a day) so I won’t post it!

The football was on again that afternoon, but this time I was joining in the fun. Watford v Stockport in an FA cup match. I haven’t been to a football match since 2001, which is kind of surprising considering how often I’m over there. Anyway, now I can say that I’ve seen my third Premiership Football ground. Not exactly in the running to become a member of the 92 Club, but better than nothing. Vicarage Road is quite different to White Hart Lane, so I at least feel more like I’m experiencing all there is to offer, rather than the same old shit all the time. :-)

Anyway, it was really fun.

And I talk about other people’s photo-taking ability.

As you can see, the place was packed.



Okay, so much for Mr. T not being splashed all over the internet.








Other than freezing my tits off, I had a great time. White Hart Lane, be damned!

Richie and I had big plans to get shitfaced that evening, since we hadn’t done the night before, so I hit up the red wine with my fish and chips dinner, as only the classiest birds do. I wasn’t the only one drinking though. Bliss enjoys knocking one back now and again as well.

Going...

Going...

Gone!

We spent a little more time with Mr. and Mrs. Taylor before heading back to Richie and Sam’s and continue boozing, Bliss-style.


Mondo came over to hit the sauce with us (how many euphemisms for drinking do you think I’ll have hit on before this thing is over?) but Sam wasn’t having any of it. The girl has willpower.

What do you think we did next? That’s right.


There was obviously no way that I was going to get to see all 20-something seasons, so we jumped ahead… oh, I don’t know… 15 years or so, so I could see what ultimately happened to the Trotter brothers. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but they finally get rich. :-)

Most people won’t have made it this far in the post, so I won’t have ruined it for anyone anyway.

I love Only Fools and Horses.

As much as I brag about what a trooper I am, a bottle of wine later, I was done. Gone. Out. Goodnight, sweet prince.

Day 13: Death of Thousand Pictures

More like 156 photos, but whatever.

You know, I don’t think there’s a person on this planet who could more efficiently ruin an otherwise fantastic holiday with the touch of a button better than I can. Especially when it comes to technology. I don’t even want to blog about this day because whenever I think of it, I just want to repeatedly stab myself in my face, but why screw up the flow now, right?

It all started out well enough. I actually had a few things planned for the day, seeing as it was my last day in Wycombe. Richie and Sam were going to a family affair, so I was going to see if Glennie wanted to hang out, Fliss was going to stop by, and there was a possibility of going around to meet Richie’s nan at some point.

Instead, I sat home and wallowed in my own misery. Why? Because my camera sucks, and I suck worse. Somehow, once again, I managed to erase all of my photos from the entire holiday. Don’t even ask me how it happened. One second, I was trying to figure out how much space I left on my memory card. The next minute I was looking at a “No Images” message. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson after the Vegas debacle. I was far too devastated to call Glennie at that point, and Fliss never managed to make it over, so I just sat alone, unless you count the giant knot in my stomach as company.

Obviously, if there’s one thing you’ve learned from this post as a whole, it’s that I did, in fact, manage to get the pictures back, but I didn’t know that was going to happen. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have let it spoil my plans the way I did, but you know what a drama queen I am. I kept sitting there saying “You’re a good person and you don’t deserve this to happen to you again!”. Obviously some higher power agreed, so thanks for that. :-)

When Richie and Sam came home, of course that was the first thing I hit them with. They were both sympathetic to my plight, despite that on the inside, they were probably thinking, “You fucking idiot! Again??!”

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor came by to say goodbye to me, which cheered me up for a while at least. :-) I did end up taking a few pictures with Richie’s camera so I had SOMETHING in the event I never saw mine again. I haven’t got these yet, so you may or may not see these in the future. I’ll keep you posted. It doesn’t matter as much now that mine have been retrieved, although it would be a good record of the night. I’m sure you can see the horror on my face. According to Sam, Richie looked ‘like a paedophile’ in the picture of me and him, so he was obviously upset for me as well. We all have different ways of showing it!

After a guilt trip just this side of a monetary bribe, Mini popped over to say goodbye, as well as to tell me what rubbish I am with cameras. He’s not wrong, by the way. Someone please get me the fuck out of the digital age – and fast!

So it was a bit of an anti-climactic ending to my days in Wycombe, but I have no one to blame but myself for that! Richie and Sam were amazing hosts, and I had such a fantastic time that I’m more motivated than ever to get my ass over there to live permanently. Anyone who knows me at all knows that that is definitely saying something!

In fact, I think my feelings on the whole experience can be summed up perfectly by a lovely little shirt that I picked up one day while I was there.

But I love my friends more!

Thank you so much guys!!!!!!!

Day 14: Something With Bits In It

It was really sad when Sam dropped me off at the train station, but at least I wasn’t heading home yet. I had one more day in my beloved country, and it was to be spent with my beloved Stu.

Stu met me at Marylebone like the gentlemen he is, and we went to his cute little Maida Vale flat to drop off my shit and go find some lunch. We went to an Italian place nearby and had a nice meal and *gasp* a bottle of wine! Who cares if it was only just past noon?

Stu works in “the biz” so we often have lots of celebrity stuff to talk about. I always joke that one day we’re going to coincidentally end up at the same celebrity ‘do’ and not even know it. The difference is he’ll actually belong there and I’ll have sweet-talked my way in. :-)

We spent most of the day just watching TV and chatting and catching up. Since he came to stay with me a few years ago, I’ve only seen him once, and that was last year when that guy in the London pub almost killed us. It was nice to be in a slightly more relaxed environment!

I have the greasiest hair ever in this picture. Sorry, Stu.

And lest we forget, Stu is the one who found the program that ultimately saved all my pictures! At the very least, the knot in my stomach disappeared for the evening!

We had planned on going out to a nearby pub and drinking some more, but laziness set in and we thought Celebrity Big Brother sounded much better.

Quite the impressive cook, he made us a delicious concoction from a huge pile of recipes he had sitting around (sadly ladies, he’s taken). Afterwards, while we were eating ice cream, I said “This is really good! What kind is it?”

“Something with bits in it.”

Hahaha… not surprisingly, that wasn’t the real name. For the record, it was some sort of fudge cookie dough thing from Sainsbury’s.

We stayed up until about midnight, looking at shit on the interenet and listening to Stu’s iTunes collection (loads of Keane! Woo hoo!). Of course, I made him listen to Dirrtylicious, too. He also got to see the post I wrote about him looking like Rod Stewart’s oldest son, for the first time, which he enjoyed.

We planned on getting up early to get breakfast before he left for work and I left for the airport, so it was all very tame. A cool, laid back evening with my cool, laid back friend. Which was good, what with my greasy hair and all.

Day 15: Home Sweet Home

We got up at what seemed like the crack of dawn to go have a traditional English breakfast at a little café around the corner that seemed to double as a mirror shop. I had a great last morning, so thanks for that Stu. And thanks for the fun night. And the meal. And the good ice cream with bits in it. It was fab! I hope this post did our time together justice!

There’s not much else to add for this day. I got to the airport without incident and made it home safely. It was one of my best trips ever, and I wish I was back there now!!

And now? Now I have to go unpack...