At last I hear you say, the end of the story is nigh. Today I considered not finishing this little modern-day romantic fairy tale because I have had a bloody awful day. I thought that if I was going to write this blog, I was going to do so by waxing lyrical on how utterly awful I am feeling; how sick I am of taking tablets which leave me nauseous and sleepy; and, how awfully cross I am about finding I have put on weight, another joyful side effect of quetiapine. Instead however I have decided to swallow down the bitterness and rather than dwell on the present pain to immerse myself instead in the ghosts of my past in the hope I can fight off the persistent pull of negativity which has been weighing me down since yesterday.
And so the boy and I after spending a night and day together but had parted ways with no way of contacting one another. Luckily our mischievous matchmaking friend had more up her sleeve having decided we were the perfect match. The next day whilst I was daydreaming about the boy and puzzling over whether or not I should go on a date with the other Chris, the boy was sending a message to our friend along the lines of, “Niki I’m a total idiot, I forgot to ask her for her number. Please can you send it to me.” Niki did not hesitate to strum the strings of fate and shortly after I received a text from the boy asking if I wanted to come and see him play a gig at Glass in Fallowfield. In all honesty I wasn’t terribly impressed, in spite of taking a fancy to him whilst he was on stage, I was certainly not about to behave like some kind of groupie girl and go along to watch adoringly as he drummed away like a toy soldier. Instead I went out with some friends and it was not until he invited me on a proper date, to see Gideon and The Deadbeats, now known as The Ten Bears, that I conceded to come along.
When I went to meet him I arrived early so I could catch up with my friend and after admitting I was rather terrified about the prospect of going alone to a gig with a man I barely know she decided it would be best to come along to assist with the magic, and also because she really fancied seeing the band. As this was the wonderful hazy days before the smoking ban, the Academy looked rather magical and with the hippy smoke floating about it was hard not to relax a little and take in the music. Gideon Conn is a bit of a lyrical genius and when he played the little ditty, Londonderry, which is about a first date between two people who are from Derry gosh darn it not Londonderry, I leaned back into the boys chest and felt rather loved up. We ended up all going back to his place for some drinks after the gig and when my friend and her lover went to bed we shared a little kiss before I went on home. I was mad at myself because i was being so careful to take it slow, because I knew I really liked him and was aware most of the last years affairs had ended as a result of me becoming too quickly involved. Though the kiss was nice it was a little too much down to how much we had drunk to steady our nerves.
After this date I tried to back away a little bit and after talking to some friends decided the best thing to do was to play it cool. I was in the middle of doing a dissertation on dating literature and though I had condemned the Rules as utter rubbish more dangerous to women than sexist males there were a few things I had taken from it. For example if you make it too easy for a man it can take away the fun of the chase and they will soon be looking for another lady who is willing to treats them mean. Though there is no way of knowing whether the boy would have been as keen on me if I had turned over on the night we first shared a bed and given him a good snogging, I am always glad we took things a day at a time. It made everything so much fun and meant we went on a host of date nights including a disastrous cinema outing where I demanded we leave after 10 minutes because it was so dire and a pub crawl which was rather messy but all of them ended in the same civil manner with a bit of a peck and then a goodnight sweetheart.
As our first date was spent in the company of a chaperone, we have come to the conclusion over the years that the night on which we should celebrate our anniversary is the first date we had by ourselves. I was completely nervous about the whole experience as by then I knew I really rather liked him but was still technically dating the other Chris though I knew it was just a matter of time before it fizzled out. After several hundred outfit changes I settled on a knee-length reddy brown leather skirt, a pair of black Red or Dead pointy ankle boots with a silver spike heel and buckles which one of my exes had brought me, a black T-Shirt and a frilly sleeveless black polo neck over the t-shirt to hide the ridiculous print on the t-shirt. Over the whole thing I had to wrap myself in my Burberry Mac which I was cross about because it meant the first thing he saw when I walked in would be the coat and not the carefully chosen outfit.
We were both late for the date, though I had messaged ahead to tell him not to hurry he still got there before me and was sat with a drink and a cigarette looking nervous. I couldn’t spot him when I first came in and the butterflies in my stomach started to dance about. He smiled when he saw me and I myself felt all a flutter when I saw he had made an effort to look nice. I fancied him and we had the nicest evening chatting about music, life, art and even our mutual friends and our own families. The evening took a bit of a turn when he decided, or maybe it was me that it was only fair we brought a second bottle of wine so as not to leave the other person out-of-pocket. I am by my own omission a total light weight and when we got on the bus I was horribly aware that I had drunk too much. He had suggested going for another drink in Withington at Solomon and Grundys which would soon become our local hang out, but when the bus started to move I was suddenly aware of how much I needed to get some fresh air. Turning to him I muttered something vague about having had a lovely evening and how it really was time to go home, then I lurched off the bus. I still could have retained some of my dignity if he had not stepped off with me sensing something was amiss and had the pleasure of watching his date throw up outside a building site in Fallowfield, a friend of mine later moved into the flats and I never had the courage to tell her I had thrown up in the foundations of her flat.
In all credit to him the boy was an utter star. rather than leave me to stagger home poorly and vulnerable he looked after me and took me back to his house. He tucked me into bed fully clothed but got me lots of water and a bowl, just in case. He shared the bed with me but surprisingly enough didn’t try anything funny and when he got up in the morning to go to work he kissed my forehead and brought me a cup of tea and left me some money just in case to get a cab home. I was utterly humiliated and as soon as he had gone I pulled on my jacket and bolted out the door. After a daytime nap I came clean to my flat mates about the dreadful date and was subjected to hours of teasing and even drawings to illustrate the incident as well as cries of, “well at least you’ll know he is not calling you because you slept together.” After it got past three however they seemed to have exhausted their insults and were now acting quite sympathetically as it had become clear he was never going to text back. I started to cry a little and decided to stop obsessing about it and leaving my phone in my room I joined the boys for our Friends and scrubs marathon. When I came upstairs to bed later on it was to find he had sent me a message after all: “Hey sweetie, you looked really pretty this morning. Was horrible leaving you. Hope you are feeling better, thanks for a great date x The rest as they say is history.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my lovely Auntie Bridgeen. It is from Primark and she loves wearing it on holiday. I managed to do something to my hair in spite of being fed up, put it in a bun after washing it then letting it down in the rain, and am wearing it with a vest for the cold and some suede black boots and opaque black tights for the warmth. The giant took the photos today thus why they are as my mother said a lot more demure than usual.
When I crashed my car back in early December whilst driving along a country lane I remember quite clearly what went through my head when I stepped out of the only door which still opened to survey the wreckage and wonder at the miracle of German engineering; “Oh God I am going to have to start getting the train again.” Since passing my test on my fourth attempt I have done everything within my power to never have to darken the door of public transport again. Rather than getting on the last bus home or taking the train down to London or up North to Manchester I chose the comfort, safety and reliability of my car every time. Whether I had to put up with roadworks, boy racers who lack the skill to keep up with a lady racer or BMW drivers who insist on riding up your behind no matter what, I always took comfort in the fact that at least I was not having to ride the trains.
There was once a time when I enjoyed boarding the train. It was about eight years ago when midland mainline in their wisdom put on a service which rode its passengers directly from Leicester straight through to Manchester. As I was due to start at the University of Manchester come September I was delighted and even made use of it a few times to check out my new city-to-be. At the time they still offered free cups of tea and coffee and even the odd entertaining magazine all for a fairly reasonable price of £18 so long as you remembered your railcard. Unfortunately the tea and coffee was cut, some wise guy accountant decided this was actually the cause of a 0.001% reduction in profits and knowing that the poor commuters would have little choice other than to pay the price or get up earlier in order to make up a flask of the good stuff they pushed through the skinflint measure knowing they could charge us with little fear of a French style rebellion. Midland Mainline kept the service going until about two months after I began my course when they decided there just wasn’t the demand. It was just enough time for me to get used to the joy of being only two hours from my home town of Market Harborough and for the rest of my time there I was forced to crowd on to the train services to Sheffield like a low breed cattle into carriages so over-packed I came close to fainting for want of air on more than one occasion.
I have been in long distance relationships for most of my adult years and ever since this service came to an end in 2003 I have loathed getting the train. If it wasn’t problems with overcrowding or overcharging there would be an issue with engineering works which were always conducted during the weekend when they would put on buses but never think to lower the fares to compensate those of us crushed into coaches which should have been decommissioned back when the railways were built.
It was because of these horrendous experiences with the rail network that I spent thousands of pounds on driving lessons and tests. As the daughter of a man who owned a car dealership it was a bit of a joke that I reached the age of 24 before I was able to get behind the wheel, but once I was there I never wanted to leave.
When my father told me it would be possibly weeks if not months before I would get my car back or even before he would let me drive it I cried, a lot. In spite of my crocodile tears and diva like protests that trains are more dangerous than cars due to the quantity of drunks and suicide bombers even he would not budge. He thinks I crashed because I was going too fast and has decided ice was not at issue. Apparently it has something to do with physics and the speed one has to be going at to roll a car three times and spin it, but its all Greek to me and as far as I knew I took the corner at a cruise worthy speed and if it hadn’t been for the frost this article would not be being written. But it is and I am sitting here on a train to Manchester having spent nearly five hundred pounds on train travel in the last two months and seeing as I have had to board nearly every rail service provider in Britain I feel I am well equipped to report on my findings of the state of the rail network as it stands today.
When I started getting the train again I decided I was in a unique position to really take a good look at how rail has changed in the 18 months since I was last a regular weekend commuter. The first journey admittedly was delightful. For the first time in months I had three lovely hours all to myself. I kept coming across magazines and newspapers and for once I was able to read more than just the headlines and the starting paragraph; fine if it’s The Express not fine if it’s The Guardian or The Independent, they usually spend the first paragraph telling you about the atmospheric weather and scenery surrounding stories of supposedly hard news and it is not usually till you reach the fourth paragraph that you find out you are reading about an especially intelligent canine who is the first ever recorded smiling dog. I was even able to indulge myself on the Virgin trains in a very small bottle of red wine which was delightful and I got squiffy enough to strike up a conversation with some poor soul from The Times who let slip about a certain head of states lawyer giving him a tinkle to tell him he’d better not publish or damned indeed he would be.
The problem came when I wanted to return home on a Sunday, it was complete and utter pandemonium. Every time I have tried to travel back on a Sunday I have been faced with late trains, cancelled services, crotchety train staff and a constant stream of misinformation. One particularly memorable journey occurred on January 14th. I had an appointment with a consultant in Leicester the next day which I had been waiting for since September so I had no choice but to navigate my way through the tussle of trains and buses to get back in time. I had been avoiding Sunday services because I couldn’t bear to get on the coaches or que outside Piccadilly Station for a place on a bus that may not ever come free. As it was I had somehow managed to find a service which would get me home for a fairly reasonable time and after playing a particularly ferocious game of scrabble; where thimbles of Krupnik had rendered the normal rules of play redundant; I set off to the station with my partner to get a train which required as far as we knew no buses.
After waiting at Mauldeth Road to the point where it became clear the train was not coming; not you understand because there was an announcement, but because everyone there concluded that fifteen minutes after it was due to depart there really was little chance it was going to get there in time for us to make our connections; we all ran from the platform in search of a taxi to hot-foot us to Piccadilly. Unfortunately the roads were packed and though the people I managed to herd into my taxi made their connection I was left stranded at Piccadilly with no way of getting home. When I got to Manchester station I was all in a flutter and on the verge of tears but hopeful I would find some explanation for my abandonment in the cold. I spoke with the man at the information desk only to be treated like a partially sighted toddler who informed me in the most patronising tone imaginable that there had been signs up in Piccadilly for months about service changes, “but I wasn’t at Piccadilly I was at Mauldeth Road.” I spurted agitatedly. He rolled his eyes and suggested I find another means of transport.
Northern Rail finally found a way for me to get home but it was all very touch and go and was dependent on those at Derby station taking me into their care and paying for a taxi to get me home. They did, but only as far as Leicester station in a taxi with the most racist person I have ever encountered. An Asian girl who had been smoking with her boyfriend at the station who felt the need to lecture me about the dreadful Polish people who are apparently stealing all our jobs. “And where in England were you born?” I politely enquire of her. “China,” she answered; but I live here now, I work for gas company”. I turn my head to look out the window and chew my lip to stop myself replying thinking of my car and the joy of driving with only myself for company and whichever DJ I choose to accompany me on the miles.
Other than delays over these two months I have encountered rude staff, cutbacks on the use of debit cards to pay for snacks on Virgin and Midland Mainline and constant overcrowding. If there is ever a rude passenger who is causing discomfort he or she will generally be ignored by the train managers who somehow lack the courage to confront drunken louts and noise polluting pubescent teens. I come across staff at a Midland Mainline buffet car who are happy to tell me that they get paid handsomely helped in part by the cut backs of the free coffee and tea which I once loved so much.
There has to be something done about the state of the rail-network. Until the government intervenes to stop these constant hikes in prices without improvements to delays, overcrowding and general service there is no way anyone would ever choose to board a train when they can drive to the majority of destinations for a third of the price charged by the service providers. It is unclear what we as a collective can do but as individuals the time has come for us to bombard our MP with complaints and whatever you do if you find yourselves left waiting without explanation in the cold or abandoned at the platform when you get to your destination make sure that the first thing you do is ask for a complaints form, fill it in and send it off.
Day 48 – Mysterious strangers in motion calming down the commotion and one hell of a Valentines day gift
Today’s dress was brought for me not by a mysterious stranger but by one of my most generous friends, she is like father christmas but all through the year and is always the first to put her hand in her wallet and the last to complain about parting with cash for the sake of treating friends to a coffee, a bottle of wine, baby clothes or in this case a pretty dress to keep the project alive.
We once had an argument back when I was ten-years-old, I can’t remember exactly what she said, it usually comes to me after a couple of glasses of wine but this being the first day of lent I am stone cold sober and all I remember is that I think she may have insulted my cardigan which was white and knitted and I cried. Anyway back then I was well-known for my mood swings and my darling sisters coined the wonderful and truly inventive song to compliment my sudden sulks which was; “see-saw, mardjeri-door, Ellie’s gone off in a mardi.” Kids can be so cruel.
Anyway thanks to my ability to sulk and us being placed on different buses and in different half of the year at school it wasn’t until upper sixth when we were learning, mainly how to drink, that we crossed paths again. She had a bit of a thing for one of my friends and as she was a lot of fun and her friends clearly lacked the staying power and general hilarity factor of my circle we adopted her and since then she has been one of my best friends and my closest, in proximity (she lives just down the road) and “emotionally”, Harborian friend.
Today has been a bit of an odd one, most of the time I have felt great, really happy and quite positive but I have also been rather frantic at times. I am getting a little tired of going up and down the country and am feeling torn between my two homes and missing the security of waking up in the morning and knowing whether I am beside my darling boy or at home in a single bed reaching out for a warm body which isn’t there. Also the side effects have started once more due to the increase in medication and it is truly one of the worst so far, nausea. On the train I am constantly holding my stomach trying to settle it and ignore the hot and cold flushes which keep coming over me.
Arriving at the train station all a flutter I find the ticket machine has failed me once again and knowing I can get a ticket on the train with my railcard if this is the case I board without really thinking. It is not until I get to Sheffield that I realise I have not got my railcard or my ticket with me and that my debit card is still up in Manchester. It is rubbish because I start to go red and realise I am going to have to face the full wrath of the train manager. After speaking to my Mum and telling her what is going on she tells me not to worry as the peak district is very pretty so I can take the opportunity to be at one with nature, thankfully I go through a tunnel at this point so am spared any more positive prattle.
The train manager turns out to be a darling, extremely understanding and issues me with a not paid slip and refuses to take my laptop as a down payment. I have just started to settle down and am in the middle of finishing the final few paragraphs of my carefully constructed feature on the state of the railway network when I am accosted by the mysterious stranger. She asks me whether I know the lady who was sitting next to me in what is it must be said a rather urgent aggressive tone. I tell her I have no idea who the lady is but she persists in questioning me and just when I am about to start crying for fear I have become involved in a low-budget crime movie I remember the lady in question had been speaking to the man opposite us and like a traitor I point at him and cry, “He knows her.” The heat is instantly taken off of me, it turns out she is a ticket dodger and that the mysterious stranger is just trying to protect the kindly train manger who has a good heart.
The mysterious stranger later checks to see if I have survived the difficult ordeal and after I jokingly mention that the two of us should receive citizens award for policing the railway she mutters something about well I was ready to pull it out. Good god I think, I am fraternising with a bloody terrorist. Luckily it turns out she is in-fact a copper not as I had thought just another nosy sod like myself. I must admit it really reassured me to know there are people on the trains looking out for us. Though I am pretty sure she was just in transit herself and was not necessarily an undercover transport cop, I was impressed that this lady had gone above and beyond her duty to protect a lovely lady who was being taken advantage of.
The dress I am wearing today is from Next and I must say due to the nausea and the ridiculous cleavage and tummy room it gives one I am not surprised when during the Midlake gig when I have to run to le loo at one point to be sick people are happy to let me back through afterwards assuming I must be as the boy so joyfully puts it, up the duff. Later on the bus home from the gig the nausea comes on once again and in spite of having drunk nothing but delicious Mancunian water I have to sit with my head in my hands with the window open. I am upset because a girl in front of me watches me judgementaly and mutters loudly enough so I can hear to her boyfriend about girls who can’t handle their alcohol. I’m more upset for her than anything as I often find that women who lack confidence in themselves are more likely to turn on other girls and unfortunately I think it hadn’t helped that her boyfriends rattish eyes were drawn to my cleavage. I try not to care and for once I manage to hold my tongue, but I am disappointed in this fellow member of my fair sex and feel sorry for my cleavage which really wasn’t doing any harm to anyone.
Although the images are full of smiles and flowers today’s posting for a time was in danger of becoming the most bitterest yet. I had some issues with my family to put it lightly, and the long and the short of it was that when I boarded the train to Manchester I was seriously wondering whether relocating up North was my only option.
The difficulty with splitting one’s life between two homes is that inevitably both will suffer to some degree. I often find myself neglecting friendships because I am in the wrong city at the wrong time and I never get a chance to properly adjust before I am on the road again. Today’s dress is an example of the chaos of my life at present. I thought I had enough dresses to last me until today, but unfortunately I do and I don’t. In spite of my director friend’s comments I can not help but think that wearing a ball gown or bridesmaid dress so early in the project would be a bit of a shambles so instead I do what I do best, I rummage. I find in my mother’s wardrobe this fabulous summery dress it is an old one and though it is the wrong size I find a number of brooches to make it into a form-fitting fabulous frock. The brooches are all gorgeous, my favorite being the harp with the gem-stones in it, a sign of one’s Irish heritage.
Perhaps it is because the dress is rather mumsy; there are times I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror and honest to God think I am with child; or maybe it is because of the difficulties with the giant but today I am thinking a lot about the responsibilities of being a parent. In an ideal world one has a child when one has saved up enough to give said child the things one never had (horse riding lessons, French tuition etc) and one has said child once one has met the man, woman of one’s dreams. Accidents do happen and in-spite of advances in baby-making technology the reality is most of us were allegedly pleasant surprises. It is apparently an awful thing for a parent to tell their child they were a mistake but I have no qualms about myself as planned pain in the backside, but am just grateful for the fact I wasn’t sent away for adoption.
So many of my friends have had their lives turned over because of that little buggy of a blue line but all of them were, once they got over the shock, overjoyed at the thought of bringing a Baba into the world and I think this shows in how good they are with their children. I wonder though about the parents who have a child and all goes well up until the point where the child, inspired by the parent, begins to answer back and argue like any independent minded being does. Is the child still the sweetest little thing or does the parent wonder whether they made the right choice in being a childer couple.
I am a massive fan of Super-Nanny, I am terrified of being an awful mother and seeing how she is able to turn around the lives of families no matter how much the situation may have deteriorated gives me hope that I wont be too dreadful a parent, and worse comes to worse I will just have to hope my hubby is one of those stay at home types who will be able to compensate for my lack of maternal skill.
Yesterday whilst around about Manchester I saw some dreadful examples of children who were loved but not adequately watched over. When I hit 13 I became extremely aware of my body, of my self as a being able to command the attentions of boys. I took pride in boys who glanced at me and as much as my mother would ever allow at times I dressed in a way which were designed to draw attention to my curves. The difficulty with wanting to seem attractive to the opposite sex is there are times when no-matter what precautions my mother might take, and no matter how intimidating the giant might be, it is still a very real possibility that on shall attract the wrong kind of attention On one occasion in particular I remember being in a supermarket with my mother wearing a silk summery dress and flip-flops. As I went up the bread aaisle my mother spotted a man there with his wife and child, double-backing from his family to sneak a look at my 14-year-old figure. She waited till he had followed me to another isle before she jumped out from behind the shelves, waved and suggested he return to his wife.
There is of course nothing to suggest he knew of my age, but the fact remains that the way a teen dresses is dangerous no matter how innocent one’s intentions. Yesterday whilst walking from Piccadilly train station I noticed two girls who were causing a stir; semi-drunk men broke their necks to turn and leer at them and they muttered filth about what they would do if they spent a day with them. It wasn’t until I had over taken the girls, both with long hair, both wearing tiny denim hot pants and tied up shirts, that I realised the reason their legs were so slender wasn’t because of a dangerous eating disorder but because they were all about 13 at a push. It frightened me because I do not know if these girls were aware of the responses they were getting or if they had only donned these outfits for an activity they were off to in the afternoon. Either way I found myself hoping that rather than being allowed to have left the house like that they had snuck the clothes into their school bags and changed into them once they had left home.
When I was younger I fought tooth and nail against children’s clothing and apart from a couple of years where I wanted to wear tight tops and short skirts I pretty quickly transformed my uniform from blazers and rolled up black skirts to knee-length pencil skirts, Marco Polo fitted crisp cotton shirts and Sisley ribbed fitted jumpers which revealed little skin. Every child has to go through a rebel stage but I hate to see when shops encourage children to dress like little adults with slutty trends such as low-cut dresses and teeny tiny skirts. I started noticing kids out around the town which you had to take a second glance at to make sure they weren’t in early adulthood and since then the trend seems to have grown and I often see children in skin-tight leggings and low-cut tops when there is nothing to-be-low-cut-for. As much as I didn’t approve of the heel issue I do like the way that Suri Cruise is dressed as a little woman and not as a little teen. Teenage years are hard enough without encouraging your child too quickly towards them and as I remember from visits to my sister when I was a 15-year-old girl, there are far too many predators for them not to be noticed and they are men which need little encouragement to try their luck. My first serious boyfriend was 21 but I met him when I was 15 and he first kissed me on New Years Eve on the turn of the millenium, admittedly nothing really got started till I was 16 but still. I thought my parents and sister were overreacting when they heard about it and were convinced we were just like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet. He was a nice guy and I still to this day just think we got on quite well and having lost a sister the previous year after 18 months of illness I did probably behave older than my years but today looking back on it I wonder why it was that he did not want to be with someone his own age.
So first things first, where is the photo of lady Elinor I hear you ask. The dress is here and yet there is no girl in the dress, a mystery. Well in spite of being a bit of a lazy daisy this week I have finally decided to put you out of your misery. Yes I did wear the dress all day but by this point in the evening I was simply too tired for photos partly because I had partaken in a new sport called roller derby, like rugby but more fun and with a high risk of injury which makes it slightly cooler; the other reason was a dreadful argument I had on arriving back home with the giant.
On this day of 365 dresses, day 38, I was feeling (largely as a result of the previous nights dreadful disappointment) a little bit blue, grey, and other non bright or sparkly colours of the spectrum. I had to leave the boy behind and as we have had a few troubles it was not easy. I also had to climb on to a train where I was once again confronted with idiots; idiots who charge £1.50 for a cup of tea; idiots who eye you up through sunglasses which aren’t dark enough whilst sitting next to their poor spouse; idiots who drink red wine from a bottle before midday and idiots of course who think its ok to run a train service which is nothing short of appalling. By locating a couple of magazines on the train I finally started to feel as though I might make back some of the £300 I have spent on rail travel over the past three months. I am unemployed for goodness sake, how can they get away with this, it is preposterous.
Anyway enough of the rant, in short at the start of the day I was depressed and at the end of the day I was exceptionally depressed but there was a small short two-hour window spent with my sweetheart of a sister at Roller Derby when I was happy and writing this now I struggle to remember it but I was.
Roller Derby is an amazing sport from the states where, as I now understand it you have to knock people over and skate really fast. When I first get there I must admit I was surprised at all the padding and by the girl sitting taking photos with a plaster cast round her leg. I was wondering what need there was for such decoration when all we were doing was having a disco party, there were sweets and flapjacks after all. It turned out that when my sister invited me to a roller disco she actually said derby. The two are it would seem rather different and when I asked our tutor, who kept teaching me how best to fall, why it was one would be falling she looked at me rather alarmed. “Do you know anything about roller derby? Anything about the hitters?” Well if I was not a braver woman I would have immediately left, I knew nothing of these hitters or of the heathen sport of which she spoke. It turns out much of those of us in the beginners pen were not aware of what we were there for. We were being trained like pawns to be used during practice. Roller derby is a team sport, one which you have to sign a waiver for which absolves them of your death.
It sounds dreadful but turns out to be the most fun I’ve had since hockey games at Canterbury Court and cadets. It is dangerous, my bottom is severely bruised and I have mini anxiety attacks about my weak ankles and wrists, but you are padded up well and they only let you get in on the game if you wear a gum-shield. We learn how to do spinning stops, sliding stops, race relays, play tag and it turns out I am quite good at running on my breaks, though look a little too like a ballerina than a rolling rocking roller derby girl (I am secretly happy about this as it looks like the lessons paid off after all and I no longer prance like an elephant). I guess it doesn’t help that I am wearing sparkly tights and a pretty dress or that my hair is down unchecked by a bobble.
Fortunately roller-derby is a place of great female solidarity. Whilst in the outside world women are waiting patiently to get their claws into each others men, or so the press would sometimes have us believe, in here we look after each other and there is a great community spirit. There is no bitchiness, of which I was aware; I am lent a bobble by a friendly lady and we all cheer each other on. I even get teased about my porn star falls, (both knees, both elbows, face hits ground) and I don’t mind because it is just teasing.
It is great to find a sport which is physical yet does not feel aggressive. It is very competitive and amazing exercise, my thighs feel like thunder and every muscle aches. When I leave I am desperate for a bath and a hot water bottle and so when I receive a surprise attack from the giant I am most upset. I leave the place buzzing with endorphins and on being collected by my kind parents I was chattering away and unfortunately said something which put the giants back out and from here on it was less than forty minutes before I was upstairs crying to the boy like a child as he flipped out asking why the hell it was I get on ok up at his and at his parents but fall apart as soon as I get in the door. He does not mean it he just feels helpless but I know what he means, my home life is always on a higher stress level but it is as much my fault as anyone elses.
I do not know why it is myself and the giant clash. He is not a bad giant, like Hagrid’s brother Grawp he has good intentions, and is even able to form strong attachments, his only problem is he, like all giants is territorial and is not a fan of calm and collected communication as a way of doing battle. Yelling is much more effective he feels and I believe it was my unexpected early arrival upon his territory/ home that led to his show of strength. I foolishly joked about his pride of place, his giant throne which is the comfiest chair in the house. He did not take to it kindly and cited my annoyance at his response as another example of my rashness which meant I was manic. I miss Manchester, I’m starting to think it is time to leave the home of the giant and seek smaller dwellings.
The most common thing I tend to hear when I emerge from a bout of depression or even mania is, “Oh Ellie, I’m so sorry why didn’t you call me. The truth of the matter is that I have brilliant friends; they are understanding and supportive and very hard to scare these days after coming to accept the fact that from time to time my life resembles an episode of Hollyoaks on speed without the hair dye or homicide. The problem is that when I get low I go into near hibernation from the world and the oddest thing is that even though one might feel completely lonely and desperate for company when it seems like the hardest thing in the world to pick up the phone or even answer it to concerned loved ones. I find myself in a haze of darkness and I manage to convince myself it is better no one see me this way if they think less of me as a person or more importantly if I bring them down. I love-making people giggle and although I am always seeking feedback there are times when criticism and rejection crushes me completely and can leave me near inconsolable for days at a time.
Sometimes, as with last night I can force myself into going out in spite of being low and when this happens I rarely regret it. Last night one of my friends conducted a mini textual assault on me which convinced me to leave the house and go and meet her and some other old school friends for a meal at Zizis to raise my spirits. It is one of the few restaurant chains to have made any mark on Market Harborough and continues to be packed thanks to voucher offers and the buzz these create about the place. You may have to wait an age for your food and they may give you Shandy when you ask for Chardonnay but they do so with a smile and you don’t mind waiting because everyone is in the same boat and no one makes a fuss if they are recognised doing so by their fellow Harborians. Making a fuss is not one of the characteristics of Harborians who generally prefer to wait till they have left the offending place to moan of poor service than complaining to the propertiers themselves, as this would be impolite.
Last night, or yesterday’s dress even was not entirely well thought out as I was travelling; the zips have a tendency to edge their way up or down without one noticing which is never a good idea when you are sitting opposite bored businessman with nothing else to look at. It worked out quite well however as it was nice to wear something a bit dressy out for dinner and when combined with my Mother’s fur bag (faux as far as I’m aware) felt just fancy enough. My friend, budding filmmaker Master Williams took the photos and assumed some rather arty angles for the images.
I wish I was able to say yes to things more often when I am feeling down, it usually does me good to get away from my thoughts which when I’m down are negative and sluggish but when I’m high are a constant stream of ideas and bright energy which is hard to ignore. In the past when I have been especially ill I have even gone so far as to turn off my phone, too afraid of what people will say if they know how low I have sunk. In spite of the social tools we now have at our disposal it is surprisingly easy to turn oneself off from it all. There is always however the hard-core friends who refuse to take silence lying down and continue to find new and inventive ways of trying to get through to your true self and the friend who they love so well. It is not that these friends or indeed family are necessarily better friends than the others who feel it is better to give one space, it is just they are quite relentless and both less afraid of and less willing to be ignored.
The difficulty of depression is that you do often cut yourself off from the things you love, I do not really understand why this is but it’s probably for the same reason you find yourself staying in bed when deep down you know the sunshine will lift you even if you just open the curtains. When I start to emerge from these spells I can all too often be plunged back into one by my own thoughts of how selfishly I have behaved not to have been around for my friends. It is frustrating because it is not as though I do not want to be there for them, as I have said they are brilliant and without them I would never have this far nor have had such a wonderful life, it just seems easier to hide when you are not feeling yourself and are too ashamed to let anyone know. A good friend of mine who also suffers from the blues once told me that she knew I had had a bad patch because I had been out of touch. She did not prod for too many details she just accepted it as it was and was pleased I was getting back on track. At the time and still to this day her forgiveness for my lack of contact and her understanding why meant so much to me and it allowed me to start turning on once more.
After returning from a hard night’s work reviewing the launch of Manchester’s new indie club night (yes another one, but this one is actually quite good) I was struck down by the blues. It was frustrating because it was entirely unexpected. I had been out partying for goodness sake and me and the boy, or C-Dawg as he would apparently now like to be known, had a really great time. In spite of his usual dread of the dance floor he had conceded to stand around the edge with me as I acted like a female dance yo-yo. I kept spinning and jiggly bopping away off his, occasionally shimmering further afield but regularly returning to his side for a smooch. We had chatted away to near strangers, drank cheap beer and “own-brand vodka” which sounds cool and quite prohibition but is actually just a fancy way of seeing cheaper than the good stuff and bearable if you’re already a tad tipsy. In spite of all these nightly pleasures however there is no denying the sorry mess I crumpled into on returning from our night out.
I would like to blame the tragic legging lovelies I spotted in mass; most were wearing them with flats which is a guaranteed way of increasing canklage potential. Thankfully the amount of smoke did help to hide from view any front rumps but it could not prevent me spotting a new take on the trend involving cheap dimante sown sporadically over the offending article. It would not be fair though however tempting to blame the poor souls, they are only young and perhaps it is a way of attracting indie men of which I am sadly unfamiliar with.
We got through the door and all of a sudden I couldn’t stop crying. The only serious upset I can attribute these unexpected tears to was the thought of leaving Manchester the following morning. It is difficult when your heart is in one place but your home is in another. Though I am lucky enough to have good friends in both cities I often feel isolated and alone when I am in Market Harborough. Though I try to keep myself busy with no regular employment it is easy to spend the day alone and even with blogs to write and dresses to wear the hours leave you craving company and buzz of the office.
I fell in love with Manchester the moment I arrived for an open day at The University; when I moved there months later I would walk around the city with my eyes to the sky in awe of the architecture and the tall buildings, stopping off in a café for a coffee just looking out and lapping up the novelty of it all. Even after deferring my first year, mainly due to my first episode of depression, I still craved a return to the city. It has a buzz and a warmth which just seems accepting of all who arrive and I was hooked upon it even before I met the boy who loves it as much as me.
One of the difficulties with depression, particularly I find with my own is that a lot of the time it tends to creep up on you so fast you are left wondering when it began and more importantly why. I remember one friend asking me again and again what it was that was making me miserable, she was convinced there was something we could do about it if only I could find the cause but sadly it doesn’t always work that way. Some depressions I have experienced have been the result of specific incidents or situations. I had a particularly bad bout of depression after working as an Events Manager for a boss whose behaviour bordered on passive cruelty. I also suffered badly after a messy break up but the majority of episodes I have had have just come upon me for apparently no reason at all. I used to spend hours trying to connect the dots of how I had fallen into it only to give up frustrated that no matter how much I tried to trace it back I could find no cause. Nowadays I try not to obsess too much. It is wasted energy and unfortunately when it comes upon me I don’t tend to have too much too spare.
The dress I am wearing is another eBay purchase which is originally from Miss Selfridge. It is lovely looking but was a pain to get into, the boy had to aid me and I’m sure his poor house mate had to close his ears when he came home for his lunch thinking we were at afternoon delight and not clothing related recreation. It says it is a size 10 but I can only hope it was classed as a size ten a couple of decades ago when a size ten was the modern-day equivalent of a size eight or even six; either that or I better get myself on the treadmill.
One of the difficulties of writing a new blog every day is when you plan to write on a particular subject events will usually conspire to prevent one from doing so. I began the morning thinking it would be appropriate to do a blog on the wonder of YSL touche éclat after looking in the mirror and being greeted with a god awful blemish, it wasn’t long however before I realised it was just a stain on the mirror and after spending an hour on the boy’s new toy, the wiiii I thought this would be an appropriate topic as in spite of the only game I have ever been addicted to being The Sims, I must admit I was rather taken with the various sports and surprised to find out I am a terrific archer. All of my plans were abandoned however when I came across what is surely th most ridiculous statement in fashion to date; joggers are now in vogue. Well I was not about to let such a ridiculous statement go unchallenged and began to scribble furiously. I was just about to post when the boy returned out of breath and babbling about some scally wags who had apprehended him on his way home from the post office. I must admit it my jogging bottom outrage I had neglected to notice he had been gone longer than expected and felt rather guilty.
The naughty boys had turned around to face the boy who had wondered along behind them happily whistling The Shins. Perhaps they were not fans of his musical melody or maybe they are just big fat meanies but either way they turned around and assuming a rather aggressive stance asked him what his problem might be. The boy admits he was rather bemused by the two of them seeing as they were all about fifteen and though tall looked rather malnutritioned. Luckily however he remembered being lectured by both myself and his father on how the best thing to do in such situations is a combination of fight and more importantly flight. As they were not ready to let him pass and responded to his reasoning that he was just out to post his brother’s birthday card by telling him that they were going to, “Rob him up, yeah!”
Well broken down Britain connotations aside I believe the bard would have turned in anguish in his resting place had he heard this grammatically flawed statement. The boy luckily had not been carrying his wallet or prized i-phone and when they refused to move he responded to their cries of “What you gonna do about it, yeah?” by shoving the nearest scoundrel hard in the chest and running a fast as he could. Luckily a diet of crisps, chocolate and Strongbow does not lend itself to athletics and they resolved themselves to call abuse after him than giving chase. Though the boy is I think annoyed at himself for not putting up more of a fight, I must say I am very proud of him for the restraint he showed. He has worked out of late and though I am sure he could have stood his ground my greatest fear would be that the rumours of such naughty boys carrying knifes would turn out to be true and the boy would be no more.
Thankfully he bumped into some community support officers whilst on his way home and told them of the threat which lay ahead for other innocents. This additional patrolling presence is extremely welcome in our area as this is not the first time we have had trouble with scallywags. I find the whole situation extremely frustrating as though a small part of me wanted to go out on the hunt and avenge myself on these toe rags; I admit the archery and sword fighting may have given me a slightly flawed opinion of my fighting strength; there was also a huge part of me which felt painfully sorry for them. To be out on the streets on a cold miserable day than at home with one’s loved ones is a sad state of affairs indeed especially as it was the time I remember as a teenager when I would share the trials and tribulations of my school day with my family. Yes, the dinner table would usually dissolve into a bickering mass but at least we knew we had somewhere to go and someone to go to if we were feeling blue.
When we were dropped off at guides or ATC when we were teenagers me and my sisters would often pass children who would hang out at the bus stops and although they often looked intimidating my overriding feeling when I saw them was that more than anything they looked sad. I am not for a second suggesting one hugs a hoodie or worse still starts wearing this ridiculous trend. They are nearly as terrible as joggers for goodness sake and should exist only in the gym or when running the streets in pursuit of improving one’s fitness or physique. My real problem is that there is no clear answer for how to deal with this problem which is satisfactory to me. Though I detest more than anything the idea that my safety is in jeopardy and walked to the train station by myself at nine last night just to prove to myself I would not be affected by the scallywags, I can not deny I felt scared all the while.
There are thankfully many outreach programmes in the boy’s area which try to tackle these problems but after yesterdays unpleasantness I can not help but feel that the government and we as a society need to do more to stop these children becoming so disillusioned with life that they feel the only thing they have to do is to attack. One of my friends is looking to volunteer somewhere this year and I wonder if by doing so myself I can be of help to such scallywags, even if I can not give them a hug perhaps I can help with a programme which finds some way to engage them in activities which do not involve menacing music lovers.
The dress today is from a shop across the road from 111 Piccadilly in Manchester. I stayed at the boy’s house one night and had forgotten to bring anything for the morning. Having borrowed a pair of his jeans and found a couple of vest tops I was just about fit for going into town but there was no way I was going to spend the day looking like a roughian. I had less than two penny’s to my name so ran across the road to a brightly coloured bargain boasting shop and picked this up for a £5. It has a brilliant drop waist which leaves ones bottom looking rather minimal whilst the cotton material and cut keeps it looking casual. Today it needed a tad of modification to get me through the wintry winds when I went to meet a friend off my course for a drink come the evening so I paired it with a pink jumper from Topshop which my mother bought me eight years ago! With boots and black tights it proved suitable for wiii playing, drinks at Piccadilly station and a night-time walk home on high alert.
Day 24 – manners in motion; indiscretion in the film industry and potential problems of using one’s phone
After conducting the penultimate train journey in aid of researching by article soon to be published on the terror of trains I was feeling particularly positive about my journey. I had managed to avoid buses or delays rand right up until the very last stage of my journey I was able to say I had a fairly pleasant travelling experience.
All that changed however when I boarded the bus to Mauldeth Road last night which would take me to see the boy upon its route to Manchester Airport. As I tried to relax and read the week’s review in The Sunday Times, I suddenly became frightfully aware of a verbal assault on my ear drums. A particularly toffish type character was spouting away about his latest film project in spite of being surrounded by people who were too poor to get a taxi. At first I stuck my fingers into my ear hoping he would get the hint but his dulcet tones still evaded my delicate drums. As he had not get the hint I decided that if he wanted people to hear every details of his film project and his meeting with the elusive Catherine as well as his opinion on Rio Ferdinand and the girls of Coronation Street, the least I could do was give him an extra platform for his drivel and practice my teeline at the same time.
The dress I am wearing today is strangely enough from supermarket giant, George at Asda. I brought it when I was working at McClelland and the boy was doing some recording at blueprint. I was rather poorly and had gone to work looking like a scruff so changed into this dress before going to Blueprint if I bumped into the Elbow boys or Justin Timberlake who had recorded there the previous year. Obviously I wanted to look nice for the boy as well. Today’s photos are once again taken by him and this is perhaps obvious by the fact he chooses to focus more on my legs than the dress but hopefully you can see enough to appreciate it is a cute little number. We took the photos in Fuel again as we had been to a comedy night before chilling out afterwards with some strawberry beer.
What follows is a script of the boy on the bus speaking on his phone to an actor involved in his project which sounded as though it was going to be another zombie inspired apocalyptic reel. The poor actor barely had a chance to speak but I have also left out some details to prevent too much of the project being given away and to protect the privacy of some of the people he mentioned but otherwise it is an exact account of his ramblings. Chris Moyles could have been inspired by this gentleman.
“We are going to blow them up. It’s going to be a full on explosion. Going to be a big blow…
She is living with one of the girls in Corrie’ at the minute and she wants her to have a part. She also knows other people that she knows in that area…
apparently she is doing some singing at the moment at a club that is owned by a United player, what’s his name, I don’t know because I don’t care about any of those United players, Rio Ferdinand that’s it, that was his name. Anyway she has sung at his club and Catherine is going to try to get us that as a location.
She was really positive, she was saying I will get you this, I will get you that. She has done TV, she has done feature films so she has picked up some contacts along the way. As they say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know
I will tell you what, the Romoans now have a mansion to live in.. it has a massive basement and a moat. They found the remains of a priest who lived there and there is a cella which we need
I know, you are a legend for introducing us…
I am going to teach her to fight how to use a gun and get her in the look of being a very interesting character who is also a gun touting maniac.
This is just when everything starts happening and the only way this film is not going to get made is if you or me die or me being completely ridiculous and stupid and not working on it.
Catherine know some people from the BBC so we will be able to get some good interest from the press and get some journalists really listening to us and interested in this film.
I really want to get a helicopter in the scene, I think we need it.