Things you enjoy when you’re drunk

I’ve been stuck in bed all day swinging between hot and cold sweats as my body is currently being used as a battleground between some dreaded lurgi and my immune system.

While I’ve been trying to keep myself amused I have been perusing the files of some recently re-discovered SD cards.

I’d forgotten I’d got this. I took this video in Piccadilly Circus last February. I was very drunk, after spending several hours frequenting the hostelries of Leicester Square, celebrating achieving a lifelong ambition to meet Stan Lee, at the inaugural London Super ComicCon .

I must admit to being quite surprised at how steady this video footage is given my level of inebriation at the time. I do know when I watched it at the time I thought it was brilliant. Watching it back it’s not as good as I remembered, but it’s still good entertainment, so enjoy watching, if only to appreciate the things I enjoy when I’m drunk.

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Well that was….

Not the day that I was expecting. The much anticipated and built up meeting was done and dusted in one hour and fifteen minutes with little in the way of conversation or questioning beyond, “oh you work there, do you?”

I felt a little let down.

But enough of the underwhelming meeting.

I have today navigated myself around London Town, on my own, and more importantly in the rush hour commute with just a couple of wobbles to show for it.

Wobble the first came as I was carried out of the late arriving train onto Paddington platform with little or no clue as to where I was going next, so I stood, centred myself and swore at my phone as I tried to work out which tube station I needed to get on, and where I was supposed to get off.

Wobble the second came as, once I had located where I needed to go to get on the tube, I waited on a cramped, people filled, tiny piece of platform (because of building works) and tried not to fall forwards onto the track.

Once on the train I actually impressed myself. Despite feeling like a more tightly packed thing in a vacuum packed packet of tightly packed things, and having the tube driver from hell, who insisted on violently jerking the train on a regular basis I made it where I needed to go.

After my meeting I discovered I was in luck with my timing of my trip. A twitter fiend I had been trying to meet up with for not just a long time, but the first time was also at work, and was less than a five minute walk from where I had been at my meeting.

It was not only nice to meet up and have something to do while I waited the four hours for my train home, but it also gave me a purpose, a place to go. I think if I had been at a loose end and simply meandering around to kill time I would probably have had a few more wobbles. Simply because it would be too much to cope with being in a busy, crowded place, alone, for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

So I enjoyed the best two hours I have ever spent in a tuve station. Sitting drinking tea in the back office, chatting over everything and anything, while watching the daily life of a tube station on the CCTV monitors.

After that I did something I do alot, but didn’t think I’d ever do, if that makes sense. I went off to the pub alone for lunch. I don’t usually think about it because it’s something I do all the time at home, but a strange pub, by a tube station in the middle of London, I had once thought was a never going to happen scenario.

Hiding behind my laptop and the pubs free wi-fi, I grabbed a quick snack, treated myself to a pint of beer and whiled away another quick 45 minutes before heading for my train home.

I did feel a wave of apprehension beginning to build again as entered the station and tried to work out where my train home was going to be, but it soon passed.

Now I’m on the train.

I am on my way home. My feelings are mixed. It feels strange to have coped so well on my own. It feels good, but it also makes me wonder why I have been so nervy in the past, and why I can’t do it so well when I have people with me.

I don’t know is the honest answer, but for now I am going to be happy with being better. Better for knowing that it really isn’t so scary after all and yes, I can do it all on my own.

London part one, The Journey

It was an early start this morning. That wasn’t the problem, neither were the several degrees below zero temeperatures, as my boyfriend and I left the cosy warmth of our first floor flat, and descended the stairs to a darkened car park and an ice covered van.

Black and depressing, it fitted my mood, and seemed an appropriate start to the day I was facing.

“and if you want to get rubbed all over with goose fat”

You hear the strangest things on the radio when you are flicking through the channels looking for something to listen to in order to try and lift your mood.

I don’t think I’d ever want to be covered in goose fat, would you? They don’t even do it for cross channel swimmers now, because rescuers cannot get hold of them to lift them out of the water if they get into difficulties, although that said, swimsuit technology is brilliant nowadays, and I doubt that I would ever be undertaking a cross channel swim. I doubt if I could even swim the 50m length of an olympic sized swimming pool.

But I digress as I’m nervous. Fortunately for me the few miles to the train station was easy and quiet with all thr traffic lights on green, as we left later than I had planned and I didn’t want to miss the train as my tickets were for specific trains only. I made it though, to a startlingly changed train station, which I had last seen in the midst of it’s rennovations.

“you didn’t set that off did you?”

It’s the simple things that help you relax in life isn’t it. I’ve been worked up over this trip for weeks, and sometimes when you get to things actually happening you wonder what all that fuss was about.

I’ve been scared of catching the train, not because of it being something I’ve never done before, becuase I have hundreds of times, but because I’ve never done it on my own, and because I do have a habit of throwing myself in at the deep end my choosing that the first time I do ‘go it alone’, I pick a commuter train into London.

I have a reserved seat, will it still be there? How will I find the right carriage? Will it be marked? Will the train be packed? Standing room only? I’m in a quiet coach, will it be quiet? Will I be left alone? Will people want to talk to me?

These were all the worries going round my head. A hundred times over and more.

As I approached the barriers with a nervous look on my face trying to decide which of the two tickets was the right one to use to open the gate, I saw one of the station guards approach, friendly and polite I asked, “This may seem a stupid question, but coach A is at the front of the train right?”

Not so stupid at all it seemed, for Coach A is actually at the back of the train, since I am going backwards, but the guard simply said, “move out to the left of the platform, and Coach A will stop roughly around that sign over there.”

It was simple, and as I stood there, with just one or two people milling around where I needed to be, I relaxed a little. Only a little however as right around then the alarm went off in the British Transport Police offices and didn’t stop blaring for over five minutes. Apparently the key pad on the door to shut the alarm off wasn’t working properly. Probably the cold I thought. It was then when friendly guard chose to come out, be nosy and giving me an amused look asking “you didn’t set that off did you?”

The simpleness of a little banter, wore another little edge off my coat of wariness. This is normal, I can do this.

It is quiet on my coach. It should be, I picked a ‘quiet coach’ on purpose. I like the stillness of the quiet, people reading, working, dozing.

Fifty minutes into my two hour journey and no one has sat in the reserved seat next to me yet, although we are about to stop at the biggest station on route so I expect that will change here. There’s not much movement otherwise though, just one or two people migrating into my coach from the next along, as two of the carriages have no heating, and it’s a cold old day out there.

I wonder what I look like to other people. I am sat with just write room open typing this as I travel, it is a form of therapy, it is helping me realise all of this is normal.

I am wondering if the random shifting of tenses as I write is annoying my reader, I am wanting to go back and put it all right. I am not going to. I am going to sit here for a while soaking up the quiet, indulging in the sounds of the train on it’s tracks, and not thinking about how I am going to make it from Paddington station to Tottenham Court Road during rush hour.

I am going to enjoy the rest of my journey on this train. I am going to arrive at Paddington, find a coffee shop, and get a drink. Then, and only then will I allow myself to worry about the next part of my trip.

For now, I am just going to hit publish.

Tweet you later.

Love, The Fairy.

xx

Facing my fears – tomorrow is just another hurdle…

I’m a big believer in the fact that you can only get over your fears by facing them.

One of my particular issues is crowds. I can’t stand them. Too many people in a bar will make me leave, a crowded room will have me in palpitations, and suffering from shortness of breath. Sometimes even walking round a busy town can have me so scared that I have a major panic attack.

The worst of these was a few years ago on my birthday. The boyfriend had arranged for us to travel by train for the day to Cardiff, as the city was special to us because it was the place we had spent our first full night together, many moons ago. What both he and I had failed to do however, and as a result now do religiously, was to check what was going on.

We should have realised on the train that morning. Once we had managed to squeeze ourselves through the door and find a spot just big enough for the two of us to fit into, what we found  was that the rest of the sardines in the tin can with us were all wearing either the rugby strips of Wales, or those of Cardiff Blues.

There must be a match on we thought to ourselves, “not to worry”, the boyfriend said as I concentrated on my breathing for the whole of the hour long train journey, “it will soon pass once they get into town, they’ll be off to the ground.”

As it turned out however he couldn’t have been more wrong.

As we left the train station the crowds were far too large to just be for a standard rugby or football match, and by the time I’d been herded through the tunnels out into the city streets, I was well on my way to a major panic attack. Already thinking about just turning straight round and going home, the boyfriend encouraged me to ‘face it head on’, and carry on. So I tried, and I managed half a mile, before the simple act of missing crossing the road at the same time as the boyfriend left me on the verge of tears and clinging to a lamppost as if my life depended on it.

I was terrified.

It took one kindly woman checking if I was ok, a boyfriend back to the rescue, and a bizarrely quiet pub less than fifty feet from where I stood to help me reach some semblance of normalcy again. It was then that we discovered the size of our faux pas in failing to check what was going on, and what was to inevitably give me one of the biggest challenges of my life in just getting through the day. You see, there were a few things going on in Cardiff that day, not least of which were….

A protest march by the Welsh & English Defence League
A counter protest march by United against Fascism

Wales  hosting the Springbok’s, in a rugby match at the Millennium Stadium

oh

and as if that wasn’t enough,

the Stereophonics live in concert at the Cardiff City Stadium

but, fear crippled yet determined, I made it through the day.

Since then I have tried to be proactive in facing my fears. An impromptu trip to London with the boyfriend to meet friends, on a Bank Holiday Monday in May, had me walking hand in hand with both the boyfriend and my best mate (also male) in order to keep me calm. It got me looked at a fair old bit but, hey it’s London, that’s the norm right?

I faced the crowds that were at London Super Comic Convention 2012. Crowds that were especially large, not just because it was the inaugural convention, but also because it was being supported, and attended by Stan Lee, and was to be the first time he had been in the UK since 1973. There was no, way I was going to miss out on a chance of seeing him!

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(yes, that’s a real photo by the way, not just photoshop)

I’m also tackling my fears in the classroom, with courses in personal impact and confidence, and with hypnotherapy too. I’m doing pretty much anything I can find to help me to get to the point where I can do this. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about my problems, admitting them, facing them, working on all aspects of me, and my fears.  I am trying to be better, but until now I’ve always had a crutch. I’ve always had a friend, family member or the boyfriend holding my hand to help me deal with my problems.

Tomorrow I take the next step.
Tomorrow I am in a meeting in London for work.
Tomorrow in order to get there, I am catching the packed commuter train to London.

On my own.

Tomorrow I have to navigate rush hour on the tube to get across London.

On my own.

Tomorrow I have to walk into a room filled with industry bods that I have never met before, and be pointed out to everyone because of who and what I represent.

That bit I am doing thankfully with the help of two people I do know, but the rest? That’s all down to me.

Think of me tomorrow.

I will be scared, I know it, but it’s just another hurdle. Isn’t it?

Deconstructing personality

in order to Construct Conversations, because that’s what I’ve been doing for the last two days, attending a course on constructive conversations.

Yes, I actually went on a course. Me, the last sort of person you want to be on a course with youm because I don’t see the point of courses. This time though, I decided to leave my sceptical, what’s the point? can’t be bothered with this shit part of me at home for a couple of days.

The result?

I had an enjoyable couple of days, and actually learnt quite a lot. Instead of spending two days role playing difficult conversations as I expected, we spent two days pulling apart our personalities, understanding what made each of us tick, how it can reflect in the things we say and do, and how people who are different may react either well or badly to our own personal styles.

I certainly have plenty of new skills to practice now, and I’m hoping I can keep up the positive attitude I came away from the course with long enough to ingrain these skills in my psyche.

View from my window

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Since I’ve already used the best view from my flat window as my entry for ‘night’ I chose the view from my car window instead.

I don’t ‘do’ traffic. As someone whose regular commute means driving outside of rush hour, and has done so for over eight years, I have completely lost appreciation for the concept. Until tonight.

Today is mine and the Boyfriends anniversary, and as I am working tomorrow and leaving home at 5am so our celebration meal was planned a little earlier than usual.

This meant an awful lot of traffic, an hour to complete a 13 mile journey….

Now I remember two things. Why I love the Boyf, and why I love my job. 😉

If you want to be a horror writer, do you have to be bald?

This year, on All Hallows Eve, I am heading over to Waterstones in Cheltenham for their Halloween Fright Night event. A delightful aquaintence of the Boyf and I is participating in the early evening event to showcase his awesome YA vampire novels, Blood and Alchemy, books one and two in the Mercian Trilogy.

The adult event which follows features the horror writers David Moody, Adam Nevill, Wayne Simmons and Joseph D’Lacey. All of these authors are new to me, because if there was one thing I’ve learnt from all my years attending book/writing festivals, that readings, and face to face events are a fabulous way of discovering new authors.

With this in mind, I decided to have a bit of a peek at their profiles on Fantastic Fiction.

I’m sensing a bit of a theme in appearance here….

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Clockwise from top left, David Moody, Adam nevill, Joseph D’Lacey (the exception that proves the rule?) and Wayne Simmons