Monday, 23 June 2014

Oh the Agony!

*Warning* This post is somewhat football heavy.

Part of being an England fan means being all too aware that the world cup will be a tense and sick-inducing time. We always start with the hope that somehow we are magically better than we are, followed by praying that we can scrape through a game on sheer luck. And finally the all too inevitable demise, probably involving penalties. Not to be a pessimist or anything, it's just we all know that the famous year of 1966 is getting further and further away into the past. I remember the first time I got into watching football- It was 1996 and I was 12. England got to the semi-finals of the Euros, getting beaten by Germany on penalties. I couldn't believe it. I thought that if I wanted it enough then we would win. That was my introduction to the pain and anguish of what it means to be an England fan. And we haven't got that far in a major tournament since.

Here is a little snapshot of the English desperation, as early as the first game. Lovely.

I knew that buying a ticket to Brazil for after the group stages was a heck of a gamble where England are concerned, but to flop out in this pathetic manner-the first time we've been knocked out in the group stages since 1958, and the earliest we've been knocked out ever- feels like a personal insult! It wasn't what we had in mind when we imagined getting on the plane, but hey ho. Needless to say I'm leaving my England shirts at home. What we have to remember is that we're still going to party in Rio in the lead up to the final, which is hard to feel bad about. I'm now an honorary South Korea fan- it's nice to feel some closeness with another team, to at least have a decent reason as to why you're supporting them. Alas, after last nights result against Algeria, I fear for them too.

 ANYWAY, enough about that. In much more positive news, my sister got married last week. It was a perfect English wedding: beautiful setting by a river, beautiful bride, nice weather we never thought we'd get, lots of drink, food, cake, dancing and of course the dodgy speeches! One of my favourite parts of  the day was when the high heeled 'single ladies' battled it out to catch the bouquet. What a tradition!

Congrats you guys!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Thirty and in Dirty Blackpool

As usual, the act of being at home has rendered me terribly busy! I've been here, there and everywhere, seeing people, catching up and of course eating and drinking too much. Oh yes, and all that on top of bashing out a 60,000 word first draft of a story in preparation for my dissertation. It's amazing how a pen can run away with itself!
My 30th birthday was a momentous occasion, and I must say I'm feeling completely older and wiser now. Ha. I've been thinking about everything that happened in the decade that was my 20s. At the beginning of it I was in my second year at university and working at pizza hut. By the end of it I'd had 16 other jobs spanning six different countries, as well as in four different cities in England. I got married. I became an aunty (three times!). I visited lots of wonderful places and met countless wonderful people. 
Yes, my 30s have got a lot to live up to, but I feel sure they're up to the challenge!

Last weekend was my sister's hen night in sunny Blackpool. As is obligatory in these sorts of situations, we were drinking by 10am on the bus and arrived to overcast skies and heavy rain to drink some more. She had the full fluffy pink works including everything there is that is 'willy' (willy lollipops, willy whistles, willy straws, you name it). We headed out to a transvestite show, which I have to say showcased Blackpool's absolute finest. That sounds sarcastic, but it's really not. In it's heyday Blackpool was the place to go: ballroom dancing in the the tower, shows, fair rides on the pier and donkey rides on the sandy beach. Unfortunately with the decline of the British seaside holiday (which the crappy weather is largely to blame for), Blackpool seems to now have a sign at the gates saying 'hen and stag dos only.' The result is a load of dirty people being loud and getting paralytic. I saw a fair few collapsed people and ambulances by the time the night was over. Not to mention the fact that Blackpool is known for having a pretty down-and-out populace. 'Funny Girls,' however, was wonderful. Set in a proper theatre, it included tap dancing, ballroom dancing and acrobatics. There were tributes to Michael Jackson and the Spice Girls, and even an amusing montage from The Sound of Music! Despite being up on the balcony I went to order at the downstairs bar, simply to get a closer look at the trannies serving the drinks there. They were amazing! What struck me was the difference between the Dame Edna-esque trannies of Blackpool and the lady boys of south east Asia. The hugely tall compared to short, the larger than life wigs compared to glossy home grown hair, the stuffed bras compared to the real fake boobies, the gruff voices and stubbly chins compared to the high pitched girly laughs and baby soft cheeks. The adams apples compared to the lack thereof. The transvestites compared to the transsexuals. The list goes on. 

One of my favourite parts of the evening was wondering what the 80 year old woman in the booth next to us thought of it all...

All in all I have to say Blackpool proved itself as a right laugh-if a bit of a dive. 

The hens out in the sun (if you ask me 7pm is way to early for this sort of thing!)

Tranny Sound of Music aka 'Rachel's highlight.' Terrible picture but hey...
It's really quite pretty when you look at it this way

Hoping to be back a little sooner next time. But in the words of the north, I'll say turrah for now!