Author: lifeofbarbs

Kiva Loan Update

Kiva Loan Update

I have received an email to say that I have been paid a small sum back from my Kiva Loan!

In all honesty I thought it would take longer than this before I saw anything in return. Zakayo (my borrower) has repaid me $4.01 of my $50 loan.

Kiva is already telling me I can reinvest my money into another project but I think I have to wait until I have $25.

If you’d like to read all about Kiva Loans and how to help people directly click here;

https://www.kiva.org/

https://www.kiva.org/lend/1323318

The link above is Zakayo’s story.

I have had a look at where my next loan may go to. I’m thinking a little closer to home so Europe. Maybe a women this time.

Rome 2 Home

Rome 2 Home

You may have found yourself here from my previous post #17 Complete to find out about a fundraising charity cycle ride.

My brother from another mother came up with an epic journey from Rome to Southampton, UK all on his push bike. Approximately over 1,400 miles over 14 days. He is doing this with one other bloke raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity.

This is all in aid of one little boy. His son Samuel.

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At 3 weeks old they found out he had Cystic Fibrosis. A disease that affects the lungs and the pancreas. Since then James (dad) & Grace (mum) have been doing all sorts of fundraising activities to raise monies to help with research.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease. People with CF have inherited two copies of the defective CF gene — one copy from each parent. Both parents must have at least one copy of the defective gene.

People with only one copy of the defective CF gene are called carriers, but they do not have the disease. Each time two CF carriers have a child, the chances are:

  • 25 percent (1 in 4) the child will have CF
  • 50 percent (1 in 2) the child will be a carrier but will not have CF
  • 25 percent (1 in 4) the child will not be a carrier and will not have CF

The defective CF gene contains a slight abnormality called a mutation. There are more than 1,700 known mutations of the disease.

 

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The reason myself and Tim made the effort and flew all the way over to Rome to see them off is because we are Samuel’s ‘aunty’ and ‘uncle’. I babysit him every Friday. We cycle home from school together and then get up to mischief until he gets picked up. We have even had sleepovers and day trips. His personality is infectious. He can talk for England (he gets that from his mother) and he also helped me during me stint of anxiety and depression. Just talking to a child can lighten anyone’s mood!

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Samuel’s day to day routine is taking tablets every time he eats so his digestive system will absorb all the nutrients properly. He has a nebuliser called Tom that he has to use plus a portable mask that restricts him breathing out so essentially making his lungs work harder to help shift mucus. It is very important for Samuel to keep active. The more he runs around being a kid the more chance he has of stopping mucus becoming stuck in his lungs and consequently prolongs the time until physiotherapy is needed.

So back to the challenge. If you click on this link below and scroll down to the Route section you can see all the stages James & Mike had to complete.
http://www.rome2home2017.co.uk/

They gave themselves a target to raise £5,000 for the charities and have blown that target which is awesome! If you’d like to donate or just check out their running total then follow the link below
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=rome2home2017&isTeam=true

Throughout the 2 weeks the riders and families have had many ups and downs. One families car even broke down in France and couldn’t be fixed! So its been towed back to England. However they all made it home safely on Saturday 19th August where a welcome home party was waiting for them.

The final stats for the guys were;
1,446.6 miles
108 hours 6 minutes of cycling time
79,622ft of climbing

 

 

Rome Top Tips

Rome Top Tips

If you had been reading a previous post (#17 Complete) here are my handy tips to travel Rome.

 

  1. Don’t book to go in the middle of August!
    Obviously we had a reason to be going on these dates but if you have no ties then go around May or September time. The temperatures are much cooler so more walking can be done in one day.
  2. If flying into Fiumicino Airport, grab the Leonardo Express train to Termini train station in the centre of Rome.
    Follow the signs in the airport, buy your ticket for 14euros and get it stamped. This is important.
    Image result for train ticket stamper rome
    Find one of these machines and pop it in. I have no idea what happens if you don’t stamp your ticket but better be safe than sorry. The train takes around 35 minutes and only stops at Termini. Plenty of luggage holders – although not stacked correctly by humans – and air conditioned carriages.
  3. Italian Metro
    Again very simple to use but its the tickets that I want to tell you about. You have a choice of many but we found that the 100 minute ticket for 1,50euros worked out the best. We did this because we would get the metro out to the furthest point and then walk back to our accommodation (ok we at least had this intention but the heat didn’t help). If you pay out for one of these tickets a day and you stay for a 4 day weekend you’d only spend 6euros. Its 7euros for a 24 hour ticket.
  4. Grab a free map
    This was our bible whilst sightseeing across the city. I got our free one from a guy in the train station terminal. He was rather helpful too. I did buy some maps for others and they cost 1euro each. But having this gives you an idea of how close everything is. A bit like London. You can take the underground from one place to another but you could walk it and see 3 other sights along your way. Don’t be afraid to deface it either. We had many lines, circles and crosses all over the place.
  5. Book Accommodation near a Metro
    This way it just seems so much easier going to and from places. See below the metro map.
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  6. Coliseum Tickets
    So in my post about my holiday I mentioned about all the different companies offering you to skip the line and have a tour guide. These could cost 40euros per person. Whereas getting up early and queuing yourself could cost you 12euros per adult. The arena opens at 0830. I was queued out of the metal barriers at the end of the big noticeboard and it took me 20 minutes to get inside the stadium. We must have got there at 0815. If you want to commit and get first in line then you’ll be experiencing gladiator history in no time.
    Also note that the first Sunday of every month the Coliseum open up its doors for free. Tim and I checked out the queue for that on the Sunday and it did seem to be a little longer than normal.
  7. Da Vinci Museum
    Fee to enter was 11euros and to hire a headset was 3euros. You had to leave a 20euro deposit for the headset at the ticket office. The headsets are not necessary as many plaques with text in English are by every exhibit. Some of the exhibits are interactive so you can touch them and move them – so it would keep your kids interested for a while whilst you found out all the boring facts. Surprisingly there isn’t too much in the terms of souvenirs.
  8. Ice Bar 
    With our free map was an advert about the Ice Bar including an offer to get a second drink free. It does cost 15euros to enter which gets you a drink and the use of their coats. Once you come out of the bar you can not go back in. If you dress in long sleeved clothing and had jeans on (compared to my summer dress) you would be able to last in there for 2-3 drinks. In comparison to other ice bars I hear it is relatively small. But the range of cocktails was vast and very tasty. If you can afford to go or have never been before then pop on in.
  9. Baths of Caracalla
    It is just ruins at the end of the day but there are some nice grounds to go with it. If it were a much much cooler day then taking a picnic would have been a lovely idea (it was 4euros for one bottle of Fanta on the cart outside). This way you would have spent enough time to warrant the 8euro entrance fee. There was a big stage being built when we visited so if you researched into what shows they put on, you can always coincide with that.
  10. Gladiator School
    To book yourself onto this activity I went through Viator. The cost is around £50 per adult for a 2 hour session. Where it is based can be reached by taxi for convenience or it is a 1.5 mile walk south of the Coliseum. Fun for all the family. I would highly recommend. Also if you sign up to Viator’s emails they give you a discount for your order. I’ve let it run until after we got back from Rome and have unsubscribed.
  11. Vatican Tour
    Dark Rome is the company I booked this tour with. But the company itself was called City Wonders. Click on this link to see all their tours on offer https://citywonders.com/vatican-tours
    It is a little more expensive but to skip the long queues (potentially in the burning sun) is definitely worth it. The more in depth the tour is the more you’re likely to pay.
    Clothing wise, make sure you cover your shoulders and your knees!
  12. Castle St Angelo
    I pre-booked these tickets as well. It doesn’t take too long for tickets in the morning but by the time we finished our visit the queue was being monitored and reaching the bridge. The most expensive ticket is 14,50euros. Follow this link to find out more
    https://www.ticketsrome.com/en/museum-reservations/castel-sant-angelo-tickets
  13. General Pointers
    Everything is in walking distance like London. You’ll be surprised by how much of the free activities you can see in a day.
    Beware of pickpockets on the Metro. Sometimes its just kids walking up and down the platform then not actually getting onto a train. There are also musicians playing and asking for money or just women and children beggars. Just wave them on.
    Around all of the main tourist attractions you’ll have people trying to sell you things like bracelets. They will ask you questions and be very complimentary towards you, just make sure you don’t accept anything from them. Tim jumped out of the way as guy said ‘catch’ when he threw a bracelet at him. Once you’ve got it, they expect you to pay whether you like it or not. The best line I had was ‘Are you from Africa?’ – yes I’m your white ass cousin. FUCK OFF. We even had the same man try it on with us for 3 days straight when we were getting on the Metro.
  14. Fountains
    Buy a thermos flask to take with you. Some of the fountains have drinkable water plus there are running taps around the city too. This saves you from buying water every few hours and downing it because its cold. This was a life saver whilst in the temperatures of 40+
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I think that’s all the serious stuff I have to share with you. If you are interested in finding out how my trip went then check out #17 Complete.

#17 Complete

#17 Complete

I’m very happy to tick another goal off of my bucket list!

At the beginning of August I set off to Italy with Tim to do a weeks sightseeing in Rome! Normally we wouldn’t have gone in the middle of the school break but our friend started a cycle challenge called Rome 2 Home and thought it would be a great opportunity to see him off.

His challenge is to cycle from Rome all the way back to Southampton, UK. Approximately over 1,400 miles over 14 days. He is doing this with one other bloke raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity. To find out more about his challenge read my other blog post Rome 2 Home.

So Tim and I left Britain with blistering rain – typical when I didn’t take a jumper or coat – and landed in the heat of Italy. This year we had our first Airbnb experience. For those of you who don’t know, Airbnb is a website that loads up peoples rooms / homes / caravans etc. to rent for a holiday across the globe. It can turn out cheaper than many hotels plus self catering can also help save the pennies. Visit their website here

So after meeting our host to explain house rules and to hand over keys we rushed back out to take a picture of the Coliseum.

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I was very impressed by how close we actually were to this monument. But also happy to sleep so the next day would come even quicker.

The next morning we were in touch with our friends to plan to meet up. They offered us to go over to their camping village to use their pool. Thank fuck! As it was the bastard heat wave that’s been all over the news recently!

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After a quick walk around our local area and some food shopping for the apartment we shot over to Roma Camping Village. We had to take the metro and then a taxi but it was well worth it to get ourselves in the pool for 4 hours. Some of you may know that I don’t do well in heat. Like at all. So this was my worst nightmare! Having to have sun cream on for a start – I hate my skin being sticky – plus just sweating from skin pores I didn’t even know existed, I was rather dazed when we finally made it there.
We had taken our Go Pro (definitely an impulse buy around Black Friday) and this would be the first time we had actually used it. But I can safely say it turned out to be rather handy in the water. After showers, beer and pizza it was time for us to head back into the city for some sleep.

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Friday 4th August saw all 10 of us venture around Rome doing as many free touristy sights possible. IN 44 DEGREE HEAT!!!!!! Celsius by the way – us Brits work in Celsius. Please see photographic evidence below…….

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We started off at the Coliseum to get photos for the Rome 2 Home families wearing their supporting polo shirts (us included). I was glad for a light colour in the heat but by 10am and maybe 10 minutes of standing, my shirt was drenched in sweat. The fact I could see many other people with their clothing items in the same state as mine made me feel much better. We then mooched on to the Roman Forum, Alter of the Fatherland, Trajan’s Column, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and the Spanish Steps.  With many stops for water, ice cream, lunch, slushies and crisps.

We had four children with us who were becoming tired, irritable and generally not coping with the heat. I nearly joined in with Charlie when he cried as he was just so hot! I didn’t blame him for his little meltdown at all. But as a group of 10 you seemed to spur each other on to the next corner or monument. We parted ways at the Spanish Steps as I had hit a wall with walking and the heat plus the Rome 2 Home families were planning on heading back to their pool (bastards) as well. A quick metro ride back to our apartment and I could have hugged the air con unit for being a life saver. A home cooked meal of BBQ chicken with some kind of melon risotto (it was in Italian so who knew what it was) a few good luck messages to the families with the cycle ride and a power cut later, took us to the end of day 2.

Saturday’s temperatures were just as high as the previous days and we were planning to do more touristy things! How British! So by 8am Tim and I were out the door and queuing to go in to see around the Coliseum. You have everyone walking up to you and asking if ‘you speak English?’ or ‘are you going to the Coliseum today?’ IGNORE THE BASTARDS. These guys are selling tickets for other tour companies to show you around the stadium for a more expensive price and the all important queue jump. Just try and not swear or punch them like I really wanted to. You also have men shoving bottles of cold water in your face too. Good if you’re in desperate need of something but there are many other ways around it. Please see my Rome Top Tips entry to find out details.

We got into the Coliseum within 20 minutes. This was through security checks – please don’t be like the guy at the airport who has to unpack their WHOLE BASTARD bag to get their laptop out and then walks through to still set the alarms off because they forgot to take their belt off – Jeez! Take the least amount of stuff as possible. We wanted to originally do the third level tour and the underground tour. But the first available time was midday. This was going to break up our day and our plans so we decided just a normal ticket would suffice.

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We managed to get a lot of photos of the arena and there are plaques that you can read for snippets of information. As I was still adjusting to the hottest temperatures of the year my mind was not in the mood for reading. However everyone knows what happened here though so I felt paying a tour guide to tell me specific numbers of gladiators who won or died here was a little unnecessary. Call me cynical but I can also Google it for my scrapbook.

On to the Roman Forum next! The ticket they give you will make the turnstiles unlock for the amount of people in your party. So I wasn’t quick enough to get through the second turnstile from our ticket being scanned and ended up with the turnstile spearing into my thigh. There are many ruins in this area from different buildings for different people blah blah blah. Again I was hot and didn’t want to read many signs. We got ourselves to the top of Palantine Hill where there are beautiful views over Rome. I then shot a video of me doing my tae kwon do pattern on top of the hill with the Coliseum in the background. I did this because my instructor shot a video of him and his daughter doing some set sparring whilst away for a weekend in Devon. So I thought I’d join in and practise whilst in Rome and share with my club. I could have done it with more power but again to pass out in this heat it just wasn’t worth it.

Next stop was Altar of the Fatherland again but this time to go inside and explore. This parliament building took me by surprise. I didn’t know what it was before going but seeing it in person it was beautiful. Clean, crisp shapes and many statue to impress. We got to take the lift to the top and again see more views over the lovely City of Rome.

After a cool down back at the apartment for lunch and a nap – yes I’m still like a toddler. We caught the Metro up to visit the Piazza del Popolo. One of the many scenes from the film Angels & Demons.

A quick de-tour to see what the River Tiber was like and back into the bustle of Roman streets to the Spanish Steps. This time we climbed them to the top and visited the church.

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A walk off to the right of the church took us to see Bernini’s triton fountain and then onto the Four Fountains (each at a corner of a crossroad junction) where Tim and I hid in the shade and dipped our wrists into the water to help cool off. Water may have gone over our heads and across the backs of our necks too. I tell you it was necessary.

By walking through the streets you see many different sized shops selling a variety of produce. By chance we found a cheaper area of the city. Water was 50cents per bottle rather than 2 euros! So coming across a supermarket meant we did a bit more shopping for the apartment for more homemade dinners. Plus we were drinking twice as much as normal too so juice and fizzy were already running low. We took our shopping to the Piazza della Repubblica to see the Naiadi fountain where we spotted this church.

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The Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli de Martiri. Or as I like to call it the church with the BIG ASS NAME.

It looks like nothing but we thought as we were here, tick it off the list of things we’ve seen. Inside was HUGE. It took me by surprise. There was a massive domed atrium first then it went into the cross shaped church. You could have fit tens of thousands of people in there. Just look at how big the organ has to be for people to hear the tune to the hymn they would sing on a Sunday.

I also spotted this man above drawing one of the statues – rather well I may add. I wanted to talk to him and tell him his work was great but my confidence got the better of me and plus the language barrier. In my head I was imaging a Humans of New York Instagram moment. But boy am I glad to have been intrigued by this church. Another quick metro back to put our groceries away, another meal in and a few games of travel Connect 4 whilst watching a film in Italian, our Saturday came to an end.

Sunday bought us more sunshine so we opted for shade. We took to exploring the Villa Borghese park. We never actually made it to the villa itself – whoops. Walking through the tree lined paths we found the National Gallery of Modern & Contemporary Art and Villa Giulia. We then came across a lake known as the Laghetto where you could row boats. I jumped at the chance!

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I don’t think Tim liked that the man had to steer the boat but I definitely didn’t make too much effort to swap with him. Within the water are turtles who get fed by locals and tourists plus some seagulls. Another Go Pro opportunity here so I videoed our adventure around the Temple of Aesculapius and even dipped the camera underwater to see what was there. I still haven’t checked out that footage yet! You pay for a 20 minute stint. It doesn’t take you that long to circumnavigate the lake. Unless you suck at rowing. I’m sure if there were queues of people waiting then they would call you back to shore but today the staff didn’t really seem to mind.

After that we headed back to Piazza del Popolo, went into the church and visited the Leonardo Da Vinci Musuem. What a clever man! He managed to be so many things in one lifetime—painter, engineer, architect and scientist. Back in the 1400’s! These days kids get medals for taking part in things. This was the first time where Tim and I paid for headsets. It meant I didn’t have to concentrate on reading plus I didn’t know too much about the man. It turns out he has over 6,000 pages of work (known as codices) all in his own mirror script. He also dissected humans (once passed away) to make detailed drawings of the human body. To the church this practise of dissembling the human body were seen to be a sin. But without this man we would be living a different life now hundreds of years on.

Pizza stop for lunch with the view of the Piazza before heading over the river Tiber. We came across another beautiful church – Scared Heart of Suffrage. With its high gothic nature I naturally wanted to go inside and explore more. However due to it being a Sunday, it was all locked up. So we moved swiftly onto the Palace of Justice.

This was magnificent. Just the detailing of the sculptures, the symmetry of everything and the grandeur place of where it stood at the mouth of a bridge was great. Next was Piazza Navona; another place featured in the film Angels and Demons, plus the famous Fiumi fountain.

As you can see from the pictures above, the piazza looks almost deserted. This is only because everyone was taking shelter in the shade. I was hot and bothered by this point again so my enthusiasm to get different pictures was rather low due to having to stand out in the sun. Tim and I discussed that we shall catch a taxi back again sometime soon. Before finding the taxi rank we visited another church (mostly because I knew it would be cool inside) and found the ‘City of Cats’ but I think it was even too hot for the cats as I never caught a glimpse of any.

I proclaimed my love to the air con unit once again, rehydrated, ate some snacks, had a nap, showered and started to feel normal once again. On our free map from a stranger by the train station, there was an advert for the Ice Bar. Tim and I had never been to one and we were a minutes walk away so we thought why not. Going from +40 degree heat to -15 was bliss to start with. Even with the coats provided, after about 20 minutes I was cold (not that I wanted to admit it). Obviously everything is made out of ice – Tim had to touch a wall just to be sure. The sculptures in there were great and the barman very friendly and good banter. After many photos and finishing off our drinks we went for dinner.

Last year whilst driving around France myself and Tim decided to have a posh romantic evening out in Monaco. I got all dressed up in a black dress with heels and found ourselves sitting in a restaurant with views of the open ocean. Again we had problems with our French and couldn’t really understand the menu. I ordered steak tartare and Tim some fish. I thought it a little weird that I wasn’t asked how I liked my steak cooked. Low and behold it was raw minced meat. I had mistaken steak tartare with steak Rossini (steak with pate) so it was safe to say I didn’t eat too much of it and had to lie to the waiter that I was full up when ask what was wrong. So that night ended up with me walking home barefoot and grabbing a takeaway pizza to eat in my hotel bed.

Sorry I digress, the point to that story is that we don’t do posh. Its just not in our nature. We decided as we had showered and dressed up that tonight would be a good night to eat out. Conveniently the restaurant opposite the Ice Bar had plenty of tables.  We sat down and looked through the menu. I think Italian is possibly the best cuisine for me as I like the most variety in this category (no steak tartare in sight). This time is was Tim that was turning his nose up at things and ended up ordering a burger. *insert monkey see no evil emoticon here*
I ordered the traditional suppli (rice ball stuffed with tomato sauce) for starter (which Tim then ate half of!!!!) and then a duck gnocchi for main. It was delicious. All the other couples were there ordering wine and looking romantically at each other whereas we were there taking pictures like this……..

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After a good nights sleep we set off walking towards our gladiator school lesson! We chose a path through some shaded gardens south of the Coliseum. We found two more churches on our way – one we didn’t enter due to lots of singing – knowing our luck we would have just ruined a wedding or something. We eventually made it to the ruined Baths of Caracalla. This place was mostly deserted due to the raging heat but anyone who were there were scurrying towards the next bit of shade as quick as they could.  I enjoyed the grandeur of these ruins. The original mosaic floor was nice and you had diagrams showing you where some original rooms were. I was just wishing that they would fill with cool water at any second. Alas I left dry and sweaty.

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Next a shaded walk to Piramide and Porta San Paolo, mostly for pictures as our time to get to our gladiator lesson crept closer. A short taxi ride away and we ad made it. Some plonker *points finger at herself* booked the lesson at 1pm. When the sun is at its most hottest. Even our instructor said that we must be mad. In my defence how was I supposed to know that it was going to be hotter than hell when I booked this activity? Plus I was thinking we would want a lie in on holiday so not to book the activities too early. Never mind. We ate some lunch and tried to hydrate whilst waiting for more people to join us. No one came. Mostly backing up my silly decision but it did mean that we had our instructor all to ourselves.

First off was the Roman Gladiator Museum. This was just some outhouses put together with lots of memorabilia that I presume the family / staff had collected. Our bloke knew his stuff. I was hooked. He was engaging, told jokes and even allowed us to try on old helmets…..

Next was learning how to fight. Well after the warm up! Safe to say I didn’t need to do it too many times as I was already rather warm. We were given wooden swords and he took us through defensive skills step by step. I felt rather natural due to my martial arts experience. He would show us counterattacks if we did it wrong which I found rather funny – due to the sound effects he put with them. However even at tae kwon do I laugh every time I spar and get hit. I need to teach myself to become more serious. He left us to practise on each other for a while so we set up our Go Pro to catch some of our moves. See results below.

It then turned into point scoring.  Naturally our competitive sides came out and a few hits may have been illegal. We had been given softer swords and shields by this point though. I tried my best but Tim won. We got our certificates which I will treasure forever. I had a blast.

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Talking to Mr Gladiator man (I never caught his name) we found out that the premises that they have is rented. The local council are not interested in teaching this history to their children and nor do they want to fund it. He also organises proper staged fights in the Roman Forum every year with thousands of people participating and watching. He encouraged us to go, which I would if we could. He also told us about the after school clubs he does with kids who train the old techniques and they get given old style armour too. I thoroughly enjoyed his company, knowledge and laughter. I would highly recommend to all age ranges to check it out.

**Don’t forget to read through my Rome Top Tips to find out more**

A walk back to the apartment through the Aurelian walls and past the Coliseum meant it was time to cool off and chill out for the rest of the day. We had a home cooked meal and an early night ready for the last adventure tomorrow.

0545 wake up call this morning. Safe to say we had gotten used to naturally waking up this week. But we had a tour booked in Vatican City of the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica and the underground Crypts at 0720. Once we had found our meeting point, been given stickers and headsets (to amplify our guides voice) we queued to get into the smallest country in the world. There are lots of turnstiles and security to go through – so again don’t be annoying and bring everything with you there’s no need. We walk up some steps and out into a courtyard where you have a view of St Peter’s dome.

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Our guide (whose name I cant remember – I need to work on this skill) was telling us all about Michelangelo and his works. Also a leaflet we were given showed the breakdown of each segment of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling and the wall with his painting of the Last Judgement. I found it rather interesting as I knew nothing about the Vatican, only snippets like the white smoke to elect a Pope and watching Angels and Demons.  We then moved on to a whistle stop tour of the Vatican Museum Halls. We saw the gallery of tapestries and the hall of maps. These in itself were impressive, the ceiling designs, the original tapestries and the paintings of the maps themselves.

Following our guide down and around some steps we entered the Sistine Chapel, the piece de resistance, through the door of hell of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement wall. HOLY COW. What a place! I think my neck ached from looking up so much. I can see why millions of people visit this every year. Its definitely worth seeing once in your lifetime.
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I have used pictures off the internet here because you aren’t allowed to take any pictures inside the chapel. In the museums beforehand you could but with no flash so the paintings and tapestries were not ruined. I did sneakily take some using the forwarded facing camera and pointed it upwards but the quality isn’t that great.

I took a religion quiz the other day. Possibly not the most legitimate way of finding out what category I am under the religion umbrella but my result was pretty accurate. I am an agnostic atheist. The definition from Wikipedia is as follows;

Agnostic atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism.

Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.

The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who believes that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or nonexistence of such is unknown or cannot be known.

So I believe there could be some ultimate being but I need proof plus I don’t think the world was made in 7 days I believe more in Charles Darwin’s evolution theory. I know religion is the probably the worst subject to talk about along with politics but I ask people not to judge.

BUT being in that small chapel just sitting and looking at all the stories on every inch of the walls and ceiling its hard to not re-think. Due to its beauty I think it engulfs people into their own belief system especially because of the silence, I feel it adds to the experience. I think if I was younger, brought up in a very religious Roman Catholic family that attended church and I was questioning my belief, this would seal it.

After our allotted time in the chapel our tour group split. Some went off to do the rest of the museum rooms within the Vatican and others moved on to St Peter’s Basilica. We were part of the latter group. We walked down the same staircase as the Pope does through to a courtyard. Our tour guide stopped us and she talked now about the history of St Peter’s. Catholic tradition states that the church is the burial site of St Peter, one of Christ’s Apostles and also the first Pope. This church is also the biggest in the world! Second largest is St Paul’s Cathedral in London. We made our way around to the entrance after being told flashes on cameras were allowed again and that only priests can talk within the church. I think this is due to how early we entered our tour. Once normal entrances open is when tour guides can talk and give facts. Again my neck hurt from looking skywards so much. There is just minute details everywhere you look. First item of interest is the sculpture of Pieta, it depicts the body of Jesus on his mother Mary’s lap after the crucifixion.  It is the only thing that Michelangelo signed. Due to a man attacking the statue with a hammer in the 1970s was it then placed behind bullet proof glass. There is a bronze statue of St Peter himself but his feet have been worn down. This is due to pilgrim’s kissing or rubbing his feet for protection.  

You can see the orange glow from the Dove of the Holy Spirit at the back of the basilica. Due to it still be early, other barriers had been put up for tourists to not go too near as nuns and clergymen were still praying. St Peter’s Baldachin is a very prominent feature this is over the top of the Apostles’ tomb. We spotted our guide and she told us why we could now use our flashes on cameras – all the paintings were mosaics. You had to look really closely but you could see the teeny tiny squares composing the full portraits. We then descended down into the crypts underneath the church floor. This is where many pope’s tombs are kept. For protection St Peter’s is kept away from tourists with bullet proof glass and strictly no pictures in this part whatsoever. We were directed to the front of the church with the view of St Peter’s Square where our tour came to an end. All done by 0930.

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The square is huge. Plus directly in the sun. The queues for normal entry was miles long and all those poor buggers didn’t have any shade. I was glad to have spent that extra money on this excursion. A pit stop to buy some postcards and stamps for my scrapbook then we headed towards the obelisk to see the wind rose – another recognisable item from Angels and Demons. We left Vatican country and heading back into Rome towards the castle.

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Tim and I love a castle. This one hasn’t got many fancy turrets but what you pay for was well worth the visit. There is a kind of one way system which takes you up the castle and exploring different floors until you reach the roof. Again spectacular views of the city – just so darn hot in the direct sun! You then work your way down to an air conditioned museum. Definitely took the edge off. You exit the castle to the side of the main entrance over looking the bridge of angels. So we headed back over to look at the bridge and to take plenty of photos.

Everywhere I travel to I get a tattoo to commemorate the trip. I’ve got about a three quarter sleeve. I kind of cheated and researched what to have before I went over there –  you know to definitely say I’ve seen it. One of the Angels is my next idea. I already have a St Christopher on my shoulder and I didn’t want to be too predictable and have the Coliseum. However a fountain on the outside of the Altar of the Fatherland is appealing to me now too. Help me decide!!!

Anyway after seeing the bridge of Angels I was done. I had had enough with the sun and wanted to sit down. Tim agreed so we shot back to our apartment before midday. We grabbed some refreshments to rehydrate and told ourselves we would wait a little while until we went out for some lunch. We discussed how bad we were getting everyday regarding our tolerance to the heat. It must have been really draining us. Next thing I know I’m running to the toilet to bring up my cool drink I had just inhaled. Oh Joy. So that meant I spent the next hour in bed trying to recover and making sure I could keep food or drink down. After some salted crisps making me feel better we headed out for our last lunch. We only walked 500 yards. I think we were determined to spend the least amount of time out as possible.  We hurried back and stayed out of the sun until 1800. Thinking it would be cooler (more fool us) we headed out for an evening stroll to the Capitoline Museum and across Tiber Island. A drink and small ice cream stop later, we made it to our desired restaurant, an American Diner. Yes look how cultural we were being! I didn’t care I had a great steak with jacket potato and I was fully satisfied afterwards. *burps*

Wednesday came and it meant we were heading home.

I felt relieved to be leaving the heat but not the City. It is very quirky and had plenty on offer to see. If I ever go back it would only be for a couple of days just to relive the ambiance.

Don’t forget to check my Rome Top Tips for more detailed information on activities.

 

 

Out with the old and in with the new

Assessing my finances and relieving some pressure. I have decided to swap 2 of my challenges for different ones.

#3 Bolivian Salt Flats is now – #3 Help save the Ocean

#20 Play rugby for Hampshire is now – #20 Recreate the Love Actually Wedding

Is this cheating? Quite possibly. But I want to feel a sense of achievement by completing all my goals rather than becoming stressed that I haven’t. 

Since my travel bug was well and truly caught in 2009 I have non-stopped day dreaming of all the places I have wanted to go. Machu Picchu has been high, if not, the highest on my list. So originally I thought if I’m going all that way to South America for Peru I may as well add on a trip to Bolivia. But now I’m realising that we just wont have the money. We have worked our way out of debt from moving into a house so I’m putting my sensible head on (sad face) and deciding to put all of our energy and efforts into the Machu Picchu trip. Plus I also think my answer to Tim’s ‘So why are we going to the Salt Flats?’ was ‘Because why not?’ just didn’t make the cut.

To find out why I chose to help save the ocean click on the link below
#3 Help save the Ocean

Changing the rugby goal was a tough decision for me. I’ve been playing since I turned 16. I’ve been committed to the sport for over a decade now but my mental health has in recent years corrupted how I play. I’m fine playing with my close rugby pals at my original club. However women’s rugby players can be few and far between so when we joined forces with another ‘somewhat’ local team I had different people to deal with. Some of these negative situations have made me think again and again as to whether I want to play. Deep down I do want to play but the travelling to training and games can be a bit tedious. Plus Sunday (game day) is the only full day I have to spend with Tim. This makes me feel guilty. It makes me over think – again.
After recent weeks concentrating on my Tae Kwon Do grading I have come to like the routine of this training. Instead of ruining that routine to replace it with another that may not be as successful, why would I change it? So I made the decision to not go back to rugby next season. I then found my new pair of club socks in my drawer and I sighed. Plus I got very jealous of my rugby pals talking about the up coming season. I think now this is more of a friendship issue than it is a playing the sport issue.
If I stop going to rugby, are my rugby friends still want to hang out with me? Are they going to create a different Whatsapp group? Are they going to find someone better to replace me? All these crazy reasons run through my head. The only way to find out is letting it pan out and trust my decision. Get rid of my FOMO!! (Fear Of Missing Out). I’m the oldest out of these rugby girls so my life is taking a different path to theirs and naturally people move on. I need to think of the positives, maybe this will lead me to bigger and better things. Maybe things wont change. I’ve just got to put my big girl pants on and take a plunge into the unknown.

To find out why I chose recreate the Love Actually wedding as a goal, click on the link below:
#20 Recreate the Love Actually Wedding

 

#18 Complete

#18 Complete

This morning I decided to make a Kiva loan. I’ve just been paid and was feeling generous.

A quick run through of a Kiva loan is you can lend people money for different projects across the world. Once they reach their target they then have a time length to pay back the money you lent them. I can then decide to transfer my money back out into my own account or reinvest it.

I have helped Zakayo from Molo, Kenya to purchase a water tank and water pipes for his farm. Read more of his story here: https://www.kiva.org/lend/1323318
The reason for sponsoring Zakayo was pretty simple. He only needed $50 to go. So I have been able to complete his loan which makes me feel rather happy.

I now have a portfolio on the Kiva website. It keeps track of who you’ve lent money to. There are 78 different countries I could help. So my aim is to pick a loan from each of these countries before I withdraw my money. This may take a while but I now know directly who my money is helping.

I’m giving myself a pat on the back for doing a good deed.

To find out more information on giving a Kiva loan yourself follow this link: https://www.kiva.org/

 

If only I was born in Italy

If only I was born in Italy

A slight extremity however it would mean that I’d have grown up around fresh pasta, authentic homemade sauces, thin based pizzas and gelato galore! Also I may have been able to contain my love for all of these food groups. You know not gorged on a extra large pizza to myself because my family would be making them homemade and not making them too big. I would have grown up on wine too – a drink that I wished I liked. I would feel like a proper adult as a bottle of wine is what you order on a romantic dinner date or to share with friends or to have at family gatherings. But I don’t like it, makes me make funny faces. I don’t feel like a proper adult because of it and the fact I don’t drink tea or coffee. *yes I heard you all gasp!*

I digress.

This is how happy I am to be back eating garlic bread.

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If you’re thinking WTF?! my blog post May’s Mission was all about going a month with no garlic bread. I do also apologies for my rather red face. The sun had appeared and I’d forgot to apply sun cream.

So now Tim and I know that we can stick to a challenge, we have given ourselves another one for the month of July. NO PASTA OR PIZZA!!

Jessie_crying

It panics me this one. Pasta is a good part of my diet as I’m an ace at throwing together a spaghetti Bolognese sauce in next to no time and freezing it down. I think I have to say that pasta is my favourite food.

Our holiday to Italy to tick off #17 from my bucket list is fast approaching. I don’t want to be going over to the birthplace of pasta and be like ‘oh no I’ll have the salad please – I’m trying to lose weight’. I’m going over there to be like ‘order me one of everything and watch something spectacular’. So cutting out pasta and pizza will make us appreciate the taste of Italy’s finest in August.

I know that I still have to lose weight and I don’t think I’ve achieved a loss since starting this blog – I actually need to get some new batteries for our scales so I haven’t been able to weigh myself anyway. This challenge is more damage limitation.

Friday 30th June is pasta party! Its a celebration for my cousins 21st, as I cant make her surprise birthday plans, I’m having some family round for my last binge of pasta. Should be bloody lovely.

Also I’ve got fresh pasta for dinner tonight to use up.

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Blue signifies heaven

Blue signifies heaven

For those of you that don’t know what Tae Kwon Do is it’s a self defence martial art from Korea. Literally meaning hand and foot. For more information and see where your nearest class is (UK) follow this link:

http://www.tagb.biz/

Saturday just gone I graded for my blue belt. In the sweltering heat. Britain was having one of its rare heat waves and in the middle of the afternoon in a school gym hall I was wearing my full dobok (training suit) doing patterns and sparring. Sweaty Betty comes to mind.

To help you guys understand the belt system in Tae Kwon Do the order is below

White
White with Yellow Tag
Yellow
Yellow with Green Tag
Green
Green with Blue Tag
Blue
Blue with Red Tag
Red
Red with Black Tag
Black

So I am already over half way to get my black belt – yay! But I do need to knuckle down to achieve my black belt before I am 30. I’ve worked it out I will be hopefully be grading for my black belt in October 2019.

This grading has meant more than most. I was introduced to the Art back when I was 13/14 and a few friends I knew did it. I enjoyed it and got up to Green with Blue Tag. However as a teenager, more exciting things were available to me like trampolining and rugby. So I gave up.
My dad was very proud that I learnt to do a martial art as it teaches people how to be courteous, respectful and how to defend yourself. So when I stopped skiing and I got back my evenings from work, dad reminded me of how Tae Kwon Do could help me become more flexible by regularly stretching whilst gaining something out of it.
After putting it off for a good few months, I found my old club and sent off an email (heaven forbid I had to speak to a stranger straight away) to request me joining. My parents were impressed as I was going through a spell of depression and anxiety so pushing myself to go into a room full of strangers was a big step. However I knew the location and I knew the basics so in a way I covered my back to not have too many things to be anxious about.
I was told if I could prove my certificates from my previous training I could come back as the same belt I left on. Unfortunately I couldn’t. Thinking of all the places they could be and frantically making a mess trying to find them I decided I must have been frivolous and thrown them away. All I had were my belts – damn.
But this meant I could relearn the basics and not have to worry too much about the grading’s as I had a good understanding already of what would be waiting for me.

So like I said, this grading was more important than the rest. It meant that I have now come further than my previous time. I was at a point of giving up again as I was getting a little bored to doing the stuff I already knew. But I didn’t. I graded for my blue belt.

Pupils have to do all their set line work, patterns and sparring in front of Master Dew. (second in from the right)

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Here he doesn’t look that scary as he is smiling and has his dobok on like me. But pop him in a suit and a serious face I could easily crap my pants. It also doesn’t help that he could kick my ass at 73 years of age! He is 8th Dan black belt – one off of the top belt. So I get a little nervous when it comes to grading days. It did show this time around as I made a few mistakes however I passed!

As a student of Tae Kwon Do you also have to learn Korean. Mostly for body parts, numbers 1-10 plus kicks and blocks. For example:
Elbow = Palkup
Knee = Moorup
Side Kick = Yop Chagi
Double Punch = Doo Jirugi
We then also have to remember certain dates for when Tae Kwon Do started in Britain and Korea. Don’t forget the meaning of your belts and patterns, how many moves they have plus a 63 word oath! The higher the grade the more you have to remember as you’re expected to still be able to recall anything from previous grading’s. A massive game of pot luck but I managed to get 3.5 out of 5.

Next grading is not until 6 months time. I can rest easy for now.


#14 What I learnt

#14 What I learnt

What did I learn from going to my first festival?

  • Take less crap!
    The least amount of times I have to go to and from the car to get things the better. For example we carried 2 lots of 6x1litre bottles of lemonade (for mixers) but we only drank 1 pack of 6. 

But this then does lead to….

  • Taking more money.
    Then I can buy soft drinks already chilled rather than trying to keep ones I’ve carried for half a mile cool in a tent. It also means I can buy more Viper 10 gear that I don’t need but I want and not feel guilty for. Plus no matter how much alcohol you smuggle in, you’ll either drink it all or you’ll fancy something different on the day (next year I’m getting me some cocktails). Lastly you can buy more food. We carried food in like snacky bits but because they were there I ate them. If I took more money I probably would have ate less as it wasn’t in the tent. I have even started budgeting for next year. Savings pot has £50 in there ready to go.

**Top Tip**
Girls if you’re looking for ways to smuggle drink into a festival use your assets that boys don’t have! Security can do pat down searches but they can not touch you where you could feel violated. Grab some drinking pouches and pop them in your bra!
ONLY FILL THEM THREE QUARTERS FULL. Mostly because one pouch burst and covered my friend in Pasoa. Make sure you take full water bottles with you every time you enter the festival (some times they told us to throw empty ones away) so you have something to decant your alcohol of choice into. Then every trip to the car you refill.

  • Only pack the essentials
    I know everyone has heard this before but I think this is more for myself to realise I don’t need ‘just in cases’ outfits. I actually took the correct amount of underwear for once! (N.B I’m not prone to wetting myself or anything but having spare undies just in case has always been a thing for me).
    Because you can get free t-shirts for doing challenges or you buy ones – you don’t really have to pack an outfit for the Monday. I was too tired to care what I looked like so the previous nights shorts and my new SCI-MIX t-shirt I was all set.
    Travel size toiletries just help reduce the weight you’re carrying.
    Don’t take a second set of rugby kit in case it gets wet and muddy the first day. I took another pair of shorts and socks – not needed! Plus if you’re going to get wet and muddy the next day whilst playing, I’d rather have one set of damp clothing to carry rather than two (again think of the weight). I did however take a vest top to change into between games. Due to our kit not being summer weather friendly, I didn’t want to get the shirt overly smelly.

**Top Tip**
If some of your group stay in other areas of the festival like us then there is a knack to take off your wristbands. First off your wristbands will need to look like this…..

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When getting them put onto your wrist put two fingers on top to give your wrist a bit of natural breathing space. Then twist the extra material to the right to make a spiral. Then you can twist the clasp to the left. You know ‘righty tighty, lefty loosey’. Ta-dah! Sneak your friends into places. Try to do it incognito though.

  • Take a backpack.
    I stupidly took two kit bags that were more for carrying in your hands. What a plonker. You can spread more of the weight when you carry things on your back. So then I’ll have my hands free to hold awkward items and I shouldn’t need to stop as much because my arms are aching.
  • Wear my walking boots to the festival.
    I cant fit into welly boots because of my ginormous calf muscles (However I’ve recently learnt there are half welly boots and they fit!). Anyway I took my walking boots in case it rained and the ground became slippery etc. I only wore them for the army night out (to look authentic) but I realised it didn’t make my feet hurt so much. Traipsing across the fields in trainers the previous day didn’t do my feet or legs any good. Also I should have known this from when I’ve been skiing. You wear your winter boots on the plane to reduce weight in your luggage. **I am fully aware that I sound like a bore talking about supporting my feet and ankles. But anything that’ll make next year easier the better.**  

 

That’s all the technical stuff out the way.

In my previous post #14 – Day 3 it may have sounded like I was bitching on my friends. I apologise. So next year I going to follow these rules….

  • Do what the fuck I want.
    I’m very independent, so why I stuck around waiting politely for friends to get food or so we can walk home together I have no idea. I will invite people to come with me but I’m not waiting around for no one.
  • Care less.
    It’s a little hard due to my anxieties but its good to push myself. So I’ll stop caring about what people think of me. Stop caring about how I look. And stop caring about what others are up to. They are adults and can make their own decisions, I am not there to babysit them.
  • Help organise.
    Nina, our group organiser, was insane. She managed to get us tickets, kit, upgrades and so on. She was asking for money here, there any everywhere – which is the hardest thing to chase from people! I’m thinking next year I’ll offer her my services to make it a little less stressful for her. She was ill over the weekend due to catching germs from her house mate but I’m sure dealing with all of the last minute preparations for the festival didn’t help.
  • Always go explore the festival.
    I’m not missing my chance of meeting any more famous rugby players. Period.
  • Play more.
    I held back playing rugby because of my thoughts and feelings. Fingers crossed by May 2018 I’ll be healthier with my mental health and physical health. Due to only having a limited number of games I should be playing. Everyone else is.

 

**Finally, drink more and have a fucking good time**

#14 – Day 3

If you haven’t read these posts below, it may pay to, so this one will make some sense

#14 check! Day1

#14 – Day 2

Another early start this morning too. I think due to our yurts being white and letting all the sunlight through didn’t help to keep us asleep.

Definitely woke up drunk.

So did most of my team mates.

We bought our toasties (this time cheese, onion and tomato). Then had a dance to Mambo No. 5 and we felt better.

Lucky I took a new pack of face wipes with me. The cammo I left on my face last night was a mission in itself to remove. It also didn’t help that my forehead was sunburnt and a tad sore.

Our quarter final game was at 1140 on pitch 3 against UWE All Plaits. Me and Sam tag teamed each other during the game. We both were tired so doing a few 2-3 minute stints was enough for us. The games were becoming harder and more competitive. **Oh goodie! I thought** Even with hangovers, we managed to beat this team and get through to the semi finals.

Now another 2 hour wait. I led on the floor just concentrating on breathing and others were slugging around. No gallivanting adventures today.

The talk of us now winning the tournament was a hot topic amongst our team. Watching the other quarter finals in our league and working out who we may play against got me all nervous again. I didn’t want to play. **fuck you brain**

With no warm up at 1300 Maul of Duty played against Mystery Team (who knows who they were). I feigned sickness and refused to play (sorry team). Only because I didn’t want to be the reason for us not getting into the final – way too much pressure.

We were a man down from the start due to a team mate being a Dr. There was a neck injury on another pitch close by and Dr Ellis had gone to save the day. Due to stabilising the patient she couldn’t jump ship and tackle some bitches. There were a few big hits in this game and confusion with subs (as you can tell we are all slightly worse for wear and not on top form). At one point we had 8 players on the pitch and we scored a try. Whoopsie! This match ended with us losing but we all discussed how much fun we had and how we had gotten further than last year.

We quickly packed up and headed back to our yurts due to the spot of rain that had hit us. We were free for the rest of the day.

A team member was playing a union game this afternoon for her county, Dorset. Their opposition had cancelled last minute so were asking Hampshire ladies if they wanted to play instead. So this meant many other of my team mates were playing this game now also. I chose not to. I ate and slept! I felt much better afterwards so my pre-drink game was again strong.

Tonight we had tour shirts. Simply made but they each had individual nicknames on the back for everyone. He are a few…..

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Please excuse my face at how red and sunburnt it is plus my facial expression – who knows why I posed like that!?!

My nickname was ‘I’ll be back’

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This is mostly due to how the amount of times I’ve claimed to be giving up rugby. Somehow it just reels me back in. Just FYI the upcoming season I have committed to already. I will make sure I don’t regret my decision.

Our pre-drink games were more for everyone to get to know each other a bit better. Just quick fire questions and answers plus ‘never have I ever’. We were all happily chillaxing on our lazi-beds making new friends and shouting at passers by to enjoy their nights.

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Until……

Team Harambe went and pre-drank with some other girls.

For me this wasn’t a big deal. Just because they talked to us first didn’t mean they were ours to keep. Apparently it did for other team members. Our team bonding games stopped whilst some of the girls talked to the army lads – cheer ladies. Apparently we were rude to their new friends the night before.

Flashback to last night, some Irish leprechauns entered the pre-drinking party – that’s cool. They didn’t introduce themselves – not so cool. Just sat there. I couldn’t have cared less and carried on drinking, singing and talking – admittedly not to them. Somehow the question was asked who they were and because we didn’t know them we sang a song at them about doing the washing up – fuck knows why. They left promptly after that.

So Team Harambe wanted to spend time with their new netball girls – not a problem. Rather than leaving it be, there were then discussions about all making friends so we could drink altogether. Basically our group judged the netballers and they judged us back. Did we need to be friends? Nope! I didn’t exactly apologise, instead I helped clear up our lazi beds etc. so we didn’t forget to do it later. Plus I was only wanting to go over to play rounders.

It was all a bit awkward at first so I watched the rounders and played when I could. This turned into teaching our new ‘friends’ how to tackle and jump in lineouts. This just confirmed why we didn’t like netballers.

**disclaimer – if you play netball please don’t be offended. It’s probably more that these people just weren’t my cup of tea rather than it being the fact they played netball.**

They girly screamed a lot. *rolls eyes*

They weren’t doing what we taught them properly – ok we were all drunk and its a little bit of fun but I then have to ask why fucking bother? *face palm at their efforts*

However we all seemed to agree on a passing game where you have to clap before catching the ball. Subsequently you’d have to drink if you didn’t clap before catching the ball, or clapped but the ball wasn’t passed to you. Everyone was happy.

Maul of Duty’s plan tonight was to go to every tent to check out the music as Mista Jam (who the fuck) and Artful Dodger (don’t worry I know this one) were playing. I thought last nights ‘quick march’ was painful – tonight was even worse. I’m not really sure why this was agreed. We successfully entered 3 different tents. But everywhere was packed. It had just started chucking it down and everyone was taking cover. So we ended up back at the VIP area. I was glad due to me knowing the songs again and actually having room to bust a groove.

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A group of us were all happily dancing away but some peoples vaginas were taking over their lives. Always trying to be near Team Harambe or trying to make new ‘friends’. I started noticing that Harambe were moving away every time they saw us. How embarrassing. But those that were too drunk just kept trying.

I mean there is the argument that ‘girls and boys can not be friends’. http://www.artofmanliness.com/2015/10/20/can-men-and-women-just-be-friends/
I believe that some can and some cant.

I have grown up playing football with boys for most of my primary and junior school life. It was much more fun than wondering the playground not achieving anything. I remember having many a play date with a boy and being the only one invited to his cinema birthday treat. It was platonic – I can’t remember no kisses. But this is when you don’t care about the social status of having a boyfriend.
Throughout senior school you fancy people. You write it in your school book or on the back of your hand. For me, it never went anywhere. So I learnt how to be friends with them. I’d rather have some male conversation in my life than just the girly chit chat. I was probably used for my brains at school but nevertheless I survived – just.
I have learnt that being friendly with guys and being honest about whether you’re in a relationship or not is the best way forward. Not like ‘Hi, I’m Lydia. I have a boyfriend, pleased to meet you’. But you get my drift – right?!

So when it came to hanging out with the army lads I kept all conversation about the festival, generic life questions and so on. You make the friendly greeting when walking past. But that’s it. No expectations. They returned the gestures, conversations and the odd hug here and there. Simples.

The fact they were now giving us a wide berth meant we were becoming needy and annoying. *face palm again*

I then remember some were trying to protect others dignity or make sure they behaved and I thought to myself – I’m not here for this – and headed back to the tent. My legs were aching still from walking, running, dancing etc. so my body didn’t mind and I’ve been on enough nights out to know how these things end. I knew I wasn’t going to miss out. So I made my way back via a food stand in the pissing rain.

Heavy Downpour

I found Mark from team Harambe stumbling around wondering where he had misplaced his friends. I should have walked past and said nothing. But I didn’t did I? Here he came up and hugged me and kissed me on the cheek asking where his team were. Kinda like this……..

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*Please note he was not a peado* *Its more the picture that is representing the situation* *Mark is harmless*

I told him where he could find his friends and went on my way. But he followed. Crap. I kept lying to him that I was going to the toilet and I’ll meet him back at the VIP tent but he was having none of it. Somehow I lost him and rushed back to the tent with some food from El Fat Gringo.

OMG El Fat Gringo! Not only did I like it because I class myself as an El Fat Gringo but the food was to die for! If you’re thinking I’m a bit obsessed about food – you’d be right. Maybe reading Eating my emotions will help you understand me.

It was a shredded chicken fajita BBQ wrap. With all the trimmings – except jalapenos, I don’t do spicy. I could have bought 10 of them and not even felt the slightest bit guilty for scoffing the lot. I’m very much looking forward to eating these all weekend next year. I’ve been trying to find a link or something to share with you guys but alas no luck!

No sooner had I tucked myself into bed did I hear Mark shouting RUGBY at the top of his lungs. This was basically their teams call to help find each other. My directions weren’t clear enough for him somehow. So after no replies he starts checking peoples tents. Yes including mine. I didn’t mind he was just drunk and a bit lost. So after another 20 minutes repeated chat he went on his way. After another soaking wet hug and several claims of love toward each other. No point in me drying off then was there?!

As I wasn’t sleepy I started writing down some thoughts and feelings about the weekend to add to my blog. See! I did at least try! But soon enough my roomies had made their way back home. Cue for more chats about what had happened during the night and waiting for lost wanderers to return. Not forgetting hearing more drunken shouts mostly from Mark.

The thunder and lightning started again too and provided us with a great night time show. There must have been something soothing about it as we all fell asleep………