“What’s a Wigan?”

I met Lucy on 25th September 2006. Yes, 10 years ago, on my 20th birthday. I was going on a night out in Chelmsford with my friend Kayleigh and a couple of girls from Uni, and Lucy was on the cheerleading team with them. Like me, she was doing a law degree but was the year above.  In the spirit of the more being the merrier, I was more than happy for her to gate-crash. If you’d told me on that day that I’d met the one person that I would still be in touch with 10 years later I would have probably laughed at you.

224774_4497100953_8414_n
Me and Lucy in the Student Union bar on my 20th birthday, 10 years ago

Our friendship was cemented less than a month later when I found myself with a spare ticket to go and see Panic! At the Disco at Brixton Academy and she came along.

Lucy is originally from Romford, just outside of London and lived with her Mum and Dad and sister, Sophie. I got to know Sophie just as well as I did Lucy, as I whiled away hours talking to them both as they worked in the Student Union shop.

The town I’m from, Rayleigh was somewhere Lucy loved – not least because its home to the UK’s longest running Indie/Alternative club, The Pink Toothbrush. We’ve had plenty of wild nights there, which always ended with us stumbling back to my house and us both climbing into separate bunks in mine and my sister’s bedroom (no mean feat with more than just a couple of snakebites in you!)

1929460_8579025953_4136_n
One of our countless trips to The Pink Toothbrush – I think this one is in 2007!

My Mum and Dad adored Lucy. One of the few friends of mine that they actually liked, and even now they’re pleased to see her!

As Lucy and I have grown together over the last 10 years (her birthday just a day short of two months before mine), the parallels we’ve identified between ourselves have been scary. They started off as mere coincidences, with our father’s both working as carpenter and joiners, to us both studying Law at Uni.  In 2008 though, Lucy met her now husband, Adam, in London. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but Adam is from Wigan. Until I moved to Atherton, I had no idea that Wigan was so close to Bolton (where I work. I never made the connection).

After I moved, mine and Lucy’s friendship grew closer. Although we never really drifted apart, after Uni it was harder for us to see each other, but as soon as I moved, and discovered our mutual connection to Wigan we made so much more of an effort with each other. We caught up with each other with regular phone calls and Lucy came to stay with me a couple of times. I returned the trip, and when she and Adam bought their first flat in London I went to stop with her. She took me to see Legally Blonde The Musical that weekend which totally appealed to both of our legal, but quite girlie side.

157076_476438070953_7319495_n
Lucy’s first trip to visit me – June 2010

Eventually, Adam and Lucy were expecting the birth of their first daughter Poppy (also the name of my dog!) and needed to move into a bigger property. Knowing how much Lucy loved Rayleigh, I wasn’t surprised when she told me she was moving there. What did surprise me though was she moved onto a home on the estate built on the now knocked down office I had left behind. Sometimes I wonder whether I would have moved had Lucy moved to Rayleigh before I left there.

10371935_10152519573200954_1840903337752623711_n
One of Lucy’s trips to Wigan: A glass of wine and your best friend. The best accessory’s a girl can get! – November 2014

To this day, we’re constantly amused by how we have both ended up with Wiganers. If you’d told us this would happen when we were at Uni, we would probably have asked “what’s a Wigan?!” It’s perfect for us, because we now have regular phone catch ups, but we also have the luxury of being able to catch up, both when she’s up visiting her in laws and when I’m down visiting my family. Even if it’s just a couple of hours over coffee.

I literally would not change our friendship for the world – I’m a lucky girl to have such a loyal friend, that no matter how long I go without speaking to, will always be there for me and no matter how far away she is, it’s still only ever a phone call.

12087717_10153232562565954_8304941796536586172_o
Lucy’s Hen Do – October 2015!

C date round 2

​After the disaster of our C date, I was determined to redeem the situation. Many people, including Dave, didn’t believe we could have a second stab at our C date. But hang on! My game, my rules! I was hell bent on a new C date.

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for going to see TV shows being filmed. Over the years I’ve been to see Trisha being filmed (twice), Top Gear, Russell Howard’s Good News (three times) and recently I’ve been to Britain’s Got Talent. Since moving to Manchester I’ve regularly been trying to get tickets to see Cats Does Countdown, but to no avail.

As luck would have it, Kat, who I work with, has been successful in getting tickets on a number of occasions and it so happened in October, she received them again. She couldn’t make it though so this time sent them my way. It was just what we needed! Another C date!
We arrived at media city in Salford on the day, what I thought was quite early. There’s no guarantee of getting in and Dave and I were lucky to make it. There were loads of people before us.

We were allowed into the studio and ended up with pretty naff seats. We could see Jimmy Carr, Jon Richardson and Sean Lock but no sight of Rachel Riley and dictionary corner at all. But our luck was about to change. One of the runners came and asked us if we were there together and would we mind splitting up for better seats.

Shamefully I didn’t even consider Dave and just jumped at the chance  (Dave since told me he was fine with it as it’s not like you can talk anyway).

It was a shame we weren’t sat together but it didn’t change how hilarious and what a fab experience it was. Our guests were Roisin Conaty and Jason Manford. In dictionary corner we had some hilarious Aussie dude who had just weeks before won the Perrier award at Edinburgh fringe.

Jimmy Carr, is one funny funny man. I really admirer that it’s not all about him and he’s actually surprisingly down to earth.

Meeting back up with Dave after, we were both knackered and hungry but in high spirits and both agreed it had been a fab experience.

We both agreed over a McDonald’s that we couldn’t really count this as a C date because we didn’t get to sit together so looks like we’re leaving Coniston (the Craply planned one) as our effort for C!

If you’re interested in going to see Cats Does Countdown being filmed yourself you can apply for tickets on http://www.sroaudiences.co.uk 😊

 

C: The ‘Craply Planned’ One

I absolutely recognise how rubbish I am at blogging. I just can’t seem to find the time to do it, however this evening I’ve found myself with a coffee in hand staring out the window at Belfast City Airport. So why not make a productive use of my time?

Our C date was one planned a bit off the cuff. Back in September, my Mum and Dad booked a holiday home in Bowness on Windermere for a week. My sister, who is currently travelling Australia had planned to pop home between her first and second year so a week in the Lakes was planned for Mum, Dad, my brother and Dave and I. It definitely felt like the right opportunity to have our C date.

After trying to pass the whole week off as a C date as we were in Cumbria, Dave reigned me in a bit and we decided after much deliberating over Caves (couldn’t get booked) and a castle (too far away), canoeing (out of season and everywhere closed) we set out heart on climbing Coniston old man.

Now I know you can’t go to the Lakes and hope for anything BUT rain, but we probably picked this worst day for it. The weather was absolutely dreadful. Plus there’s no signal in The Lakes, anywhere,  so using out phone’s for directions proved pretty fruitless. Christ knows where we ended up but it definitely wasn’t Coniston old man.

What we need establish was that we had ended up in Coniston and after parking up and walking a flipping long way, we found a (sort of) big hill and started to climb it. Honestly, I don’t think we were even going up a proper route, it was raining that much it was really slippy and it was already pretty late in the day for climbing up hills. I had the right hump because I was cold, wet and hungry (I don’t deal with any of these things well!)

We didn’t get far as you can see from the pictures. Because it was so awful, I insisted that it was either a “Craply Planned date” or it just didn’t count at all!

Dave wasn’t overly keen on that but I was soon to rectify it…

image

image

image

image

B is for…

Right, well I guess we’ve established I’m pretty rubbish at this blogging malarkey! It’s almost 6 months since my last post and we’ve made it through B, C, D and have our E date planned imminently!

Now though, is my time to tell you about our B date. I’ve gotten a bit addicted to scouring Groupon for deals on the experiences that they have and I stumbled across Bingo and a bottle of wine for £10. Dave had never been to Bingo before and he does like a cheeky bet so I thought the prospect of winning some money would be perfect for him. It ticked all our boxes (plus I got wine!)

After a false start (I made the almost unforgiveable error of booking to go when it was Man United v Liverpool, which Dave, as a huge Liverpool fan, had plans to watch with his United supporting best friend) we booked in for a Sunday afternoon in early September. We got that wrong though too; our booking said midday and it didn’t even start until 1.30.

We eventually made it in and the first thing we needed to do was sign ourselves up. Then we had to pick up our bingo cards and find somewhere to sit. When we retrieved our bingo cards I was expecting the old fashioned things with the dobber…***NEWSFLASH*** You don’t get that anymore. They gave us those electronic things which is basically like online bingo. All you need to do is tap the screen and it crosses off all your numbers for you, even the ones you’ve missed. I’ve got to say, I was disappointed by that. For me, half the fun is that panic when you start missing numbers, and that hoping and praying when someone shouts BINGO, that they’ve got it wrong. That’s impossible with the tablet thingy and I feel like you lose a bit of the spirit of the game.

Once we sat down they brought us over our free wine. I was actually impressed to receive a bottle of Echo Falls (after I requested rose). I was seriously expecting something minging that tasted of vinegar! Whilst it’s not my first choice wine, it’s definitely drinkable!

After what felt like a lot of waiting, the game finally started, and it was at this point that I realised what a crap date activity Bingo was. I quickly realised, talking is not acceptable in a bingo hall after laughing like school children at ’69’ and getting some pretty evil glares. Add to that, Dave is a rubbish loser and the more times he wasn’t winning, the more grumpy he was getting. Especially as the woman sat next to us was winning loads – she was definitely on a roll!

It’s always a nice surprise to run into one of your twitter followers. @DebsBox tweeted me saying she could see me, and then proceeded to tell the Bingo caller what we were there for (she knew about the alphabet dating as I’d been tweeting about it). He then announced it to the whole of the bingo hall which was massively cringey as neither Dave or I are good with attention. It became especially awkward when he (the bingo caller) started joking about what we’d be doing for our ‘S’ date. Aaaahh…I’m cringing just thinking about it! Deb walked past our table on the way out and said she was actually attempting to get us a free bottle of bubbly or something which actually would have been nice! Anyway, despite making us cringe, it was really nice to meet her 🙂

When we left (without winnings), we both agreed that whilst Bingo is a good laugh, it’s definitely not date material. Having to remain quiet didn’t suit either of us and it makes it a pretty anti-social date, we enjoyed ourselves but it’s probably not something we’d do again in a hurry.

 

A is for…

I’ve vocalised this all over twitter and Facebook and a while back I blogged about wanting to start Alphabet Dating. I heard about it on Radio 1 about 5 months ago but we just never got around to starting it but we’ve done it now. With our A date and B date complete the wheels are in motion. For anyone that’s not familiar with the concept, you basically date your way through the alphabet. So A could be for Arcades.

We’ve set up some rules to ours:
1 – we can’t have done it together before (it’s ok if we’ve done it previous to meeting each other though)
2 – budget is around £30 but doesn’t matter if we ocasionally splurge
3 – we take it in turns to plan the date!

So that kind of blew out A for Arcades. We’ve done the 2p machines at Blackpool loads! So instead we started off with a bang on holiday in Greece. We went to the Acropolis of Athens!

image

I love ancient cities and Dave is a quarter Greek so this was a fab option for us! He’s been to the Acropolis but I never had but he really loves it there.

On the 7th July, on a scorcher of a day (or at least for my very non – Greek ginger skin!) we caught the metro from Kat to Monastraki Square in Athens. The metro was free because it was that funny time when Greece nearly left the Euro Zone. People could only get 50 Euro out the bank a day and that came in a 50 Euro note. The 1.10 Euro metro fare would have been a nightmare!

Anyway, as always I digress. When we got into Monastraki I assumed we’d see the Acropolis straight away. Well how wrong I was! No sign of it at all!

It was probably only half a mile up to the main entrance to the Acropolis just up a road off the main square, and we made fast work of it considering the heat, steepness, and poorly maintained paths.

After buying tickets it was one final walk up to the Acropolis. The scenery walking up was unbelievable! We could see so many ruins, the Parthenon, derelict amphitheatre and the Temple of Zeus and the original Olympic Stadium in the distance.

Once we reached the Acropolis,  which you need to bear in mind is on my bucket list, all we were greeted with was crowds and crowds of people and a big old marble structure covered with scaffolding.*  My initial reaction was to be quite disappointed but really, if a building has been there 2000 odd years and survived wars, even surrounded with scaffolding is pretty awesome! Walking around to the back side of the Acropolis, it regained some of its magic as the evidence of being held up with metal poles wasn’t as prominent as at the front. In all honesty, it was truly breathtaking. To see something that has lasted thousands of years and is so vast in size is remarkable. And to share it with someone that’s as important to me as Dave is even more unbelievable.

image

image

Highly recommended!

*The scaffolding has been on the Acropolis for around 30 years. The Greeks are taking parts of it bit by bit and restoring it.

Alphabet Dating

Someone you’ll end up feeling like you know well from reading about him in this blog, is my right arm, best friend, soul mate and partner in crime, Dave. He’s the light of my life and one day I’ll write about how I met him. Right now though I want to tell you about my latest plans for us…

There are many things Dave and I share. A sense of humour, a love of dogs and peace and quiet. Neither of us are the most sociable of creatures and we’re both content chilling out together at home,  not really saying a lot at all. What is perhaps more important though, is we’re both willing to try anything once….within reason of course!!

It’s rare for me to listen to the radio at the weekend but on my way to the gym last weekend I heard Matt Edmondson on radio 1 talking about alphabet dating. This isn’t something I’ve ever heard of but I LOVE the idea. For those that haven’t heard of it, it pretty much does what it says on the tin – you go on dates that start with each letter of the alphabet from A right through to Z. I’ve told Dave all about it and he seems reasonably into the idea too. We’re going to try to keep it as low cost as possible but also try to make it things we’ve never done before. We’re not the first to do it and there are loads of ideas on the Internet but even so, I’ll blog our experiences here 🙂

So this evening we got to planning our “A” date. So far we’ve got:
African Dining
Aquarium
Arcades
Aeroplane spotting
Art Gallery
Archery (currently my favourite idea)

Any other suggestions on a post card please!*

*or commented on the bottom :mrgreen: