Thursday, 17 January 2013


You just can't beat your friends can you? I mean, you can if they make you reeeeeally angry but generally it is frowned upon. JUST KIDDING. (As all Dazza’s friends start backing away and arming themselves with various kitchen implements against her. Kitchen implements would never stop me. The whisk is my friend.)

ANYWAY, what I actually mean is that nothing compares to hanging out with good friends, laughing until you wet yourself (I’ve definitely done that. Thank you Tena Lady.) and sobbing on their shoulders until you’ve left snail trails of snot on their new Warehouse jumper (Definitely done that too. Thank you Kleenex.)

So my three best friends from secondary school and I- Denmark Road High School for Girls Gloucester, dontcha know! It sounds posh but it wasn’t- we were a bunch of ragamuffins who rolled our skirts up and drew penises on each other’s science books. Speak for yourself Dazza. Alright I will.

So we decided that instead of having a hurried one night reunion, where we normally drink too much and don’t chat enough, that we would treat ourselves to a long weekend in Edinburgh. I shall now refer to it as Edders. That’s right. The scots hate me.

We booked ourselves in to a loooovely apartment (a cross between Hitch’s black and silver batchelor pad and a show home- perfect) to ensure a good chunk of quality time and chatter and quickly settled down to cook ourselves a roast chicken and LOADS of mash. LOVE. MASH. MMMMMM.

The trouble started when I had to book us a taxi. Now, I often have the tendency to go into automatic pilot when I'm on the phone or texting, throwing away ‘Love you’s!’ and x’s like there’s no tomorrow. Work colleagues and tax collectors have often been puzzled by the sheer volume of affection bookending our correspondence. 

And this time was no different. I was on the phone to what was potentially William Wallace, having taken up a second career in taxi driver management and was attempting to book us a car into the centre.

Firstly, due to the chameleon like nature of my accent, I started picking up his lilting Edinburgh tones- BAD MOVE. DEFINITELY OFFENSIVE. Secondly, I couldn’t really hear him on the end of the phone so to remedy this I was speaking really loudly. EQUALLY OFFENSIVE. And then finally, I rounded it off with a ‘TAKE CARE, LOVE YOU, BYE!!’ Silence. He did not love me back.

After dancing around the kitchen like mentalists to some hard core 90’s RnB, reliving our teenage years with the likes of Usher, J-Kwon, Terror Squad and the Backstreet Boys (Camilla Barnes’ fault.) we got the forsaken taxi into town and headed straight for Arthur’s Seat.

For those of you who have never been to Edders or read David Nicholl’s book ‘Once’, Arthur’s seat is the main peak in a group of hills overlooking the whole of Edinburgh and it is a challenge which must be undertaken.

Now when we were at school, all four of us had a very distinct aversion to P.E. It may have been the kilted sports skirt that our P.E teacher insisted on wearing or the sheer fact that hockey in the freezing cold at 9am on a Monday does nothing for hair which already has a tendency to frizz… Either way, be it menstrual cramps, migraines or acne, we were determined to get out of it.

And now, having grown up, we decided to climb a big fuck off hill. It was never going to go well. 

We started off fine, great pace, minimal sweat, pleasantly flushed cheeks and a spring in our step. But as we got further up, the sweat became less minimal, more maximal and the pleasant flush became beetroot.

We paused half way up for a comfort break and were taking in the view when we noticed a hill opposite us… with loads of people standing on the top. Our stomachs and our sweat glands sank… I flagged the nearest dog walker down and wheezing asked him, 

‘Are we (WHEEZE) walking up (WHEEZE) Arthur’s Seat?! (WHEEZE REPEAT TO FADE)’

‘Och no Luvvy!’ He laughed, ‘This is Salisbury Crag!’



The four of us looked at each other. And resignedly picked ourselves up, wiped away our sweat tashes and walked back down the hill. 

But having grown up in Gloucester; you learn a certain resilience to life and gain a grim determination in many things; be it hiding from chavs or getting into Liquid under-aged, you become hardened. 

And so there we were, four intrepid explorers intent on reaching Arthur and his seat.

And we did! After a gruelling hike with many slips, stumbles and swear words, we stood at the top of Arthur's Seat, perused our lands much akin to Mufasa and we smiled.


Thursday, 3 January 2013


Eferryone. A really tenuous pun to begin 2013 with. Well, start as I mean to go on!

2013, that’s mental isn’t it?! Although I say it every year, it doesn’t seem to be getting any less mental as we head deeper and further into the 21st Century. It is the 21st Century right? If it isn’t, don’t correct me. I am happy in my ignorance.

I’m going to be honest now. I think I’m still drunk. I had enough coconut gin on New Years to drown Jamaica in and I woke up clutching a stick. Not a walking stick. That would be somewhat more forgivable. An actual stick that had fallen from a tree.

This is the story of the stick and I, it’s not too dissimilar to the King and I, but with less children and more foliage. My friends and I (the sequel to the Stick and I), decided that for this New Year we would infiltrate East London and head to London Fields Brewery -a really cool venue under some rogue railway arches which, if I was slightly more sober I would have felt too uncool to be in, but as it happened the quantities of the aforementioned coconut gin ensured that I thought I was THE COOLEST PERSON ON THE PLANET, so it was fine.

ANYWAY, we danced the night away, we sang Auld Langs Eye, (I never know how to spell this and I am not googling it either. So there.) I did a fair bit of crying, telling everyone how much I loved them and then it was time to go. And then I met the stick.

It was as we were waiting for the first of our many night buses of the evening (I got home at 7am. I don’t know whether to be proud or horrified. Let’s go proud.) and it was lying at the bottom of a tree, naturally, and I picked it up.

I don’t know whether it was the sheer fact that it resembled a wand or the coconut gin but this stick suddenly imbued me with the power to tell the truth. We’ll call it the Truth Stick from now on.  We got on the bus, a man gets on wearing a shiny suit. I point at him and say quite calmly but louder than is strictly necessary, ‘Shiny Suit’.

Two scantily clad girls walk by, I point at them and again with unnecessary volume say ‘Put more clothes on.’ A man gets on the bus having a horrible argument on the phone to his girlfriend; I look at him, point the stick and say ever so nicely, ‘Shut up.’


However, not only does the Truth Stick encourage truth, it also is very conscious of safety. For example, after the bus ride, we ventured onto the tube. People were nearing the yellow line and we all know to STAND BEHIND THE YELLOW LINE. So I quite simply, pointed and told them. I may have also used the stick to press the information button on the big buzzers on the platform but the less said about that the better.

We then stopped off to have a standard cheeky kebab (very much regretted the next day) and I must have been so distracted by the lamby goodness that I left the Truth Stick in the kebab shop. We got to the bus stop to take us on the final leg of our journey and I was about to point at the driver to tell him some valuable information when I realised I did not have my stick to point!

I then RAN, yes RAN back to the kebab shop for my stick and woke up clutching it lovingly in my arms this morning. I don't know why all this happened. But it did. Or so I am told...

My resolution for this year: Let sleeping sticks lie. Unless they are Truth Sticks. In which case pick them up and tell everyone EVERYTHING. Screw the year of the Tiger. This is the year of the Stick.