Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Public Relations (The Wheelchair Chronicles, part 2)

Considering that I'm used to a large, busy group of friends and an even larger, louder family circle buzzing around me 24/7, you'd think that I'd find it easy to spend one day with my mums new Mother-in-Law.
Sure, I can exhaust my limited knowledge on gardening, the Antiques Roadshow and 'that lovely Alex Jones from The One Show' long enough to count as a conversation. Most seventy-somethings are satisfied with that, and feel they can then drink their tea and get back to the crossword.
Not Daphne.
This lady, although pleasant enough, seems to make my tried-and-trusted conversational topics fall into the dust. No longer can I talk about how the pansies are doing, as all I am met with is a cold, hard stare.
I really cant describe the feeling. Its not quite awkward, but definitely not the warm, friendly atmosphere needed with family relations.
I think the problem is, I want to talk to her. I want to go through my usual routine of BBC One shows and British flowers. I want to feel like I've made her feel welcome and that there's a nice atmosphere here.
But for some reason, I can't. And my mum is the same. She definitely tries (I suppose she has to), but I've noticed that the dog has been taken for much longer, more frequent walks when Daphne is here.
So two days ago, it was just me and Daphne in the house, for the whole day. I had a game plan and everything. I would walk up to her, and ask her about tennis. Because the day before I'm sure she had said something about Andy Murray, and I was so desperate, I was now convinced that tennis was the way to go.
To cut a long and rather painful story short, I walked up to her in mid-morning, managed nothing more than a squeak, then spent the rest of the day hiding.
Seriously, I had a three hour long bath because I was so embarrassed.
My skin still hasn't unwrinkled yet....

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Wheelchair Chronicles

The important thing to remember when visiting an old people's day centre is that they are all batshit crazy.
For a start, the office politics are ridiculously complicated. To the untrained eye, you'd think that they all hate each other fiercely.
Well why wouldn't you? After all, they spend half of the time arguing and the other half calling this person or that person a 'bigoted old cow' behind their back to anyone that will listen.
It seems that pensioners are only the gentle mannered, cupcake wielding cheek pinchers when alone, or in small groups.
Put them in a herd of 10 or more, and you have a disaster on your hands. Gone is the chitchat about the latest Radio 4 programme... be prepared for the accusatory remarks and snide comments flying about all over the place!
All of this on top of the never-ending questions about what you're up to at school this week (even if it is the middle of the summer holidays and you graduated years ago)
However brutal, these public showdowns are in fact the social bonding rituals of the O.A.P.
My advice is to not interfere if possible, and to steer conversation back to one of the following subjects- the 'good ol' days', the war or what's for lunch- when the atmosphere gets a little frosty.
Oh, and identifying an emergency escape excuse is vital.
So as I found myself being dragged along to my grandparent's day club (with perilously low phone battery remaining) I tried to mentally push out all preconceptions that old people are sweet and lovely creatures. Instead I focused on the fact that they are more like characters straight out of RED (think Bruce Willis)
The beginning of the day went okay, mainly as you'd expect. I got asked so many times what I was doing in arithmetic, and if I was an ice skater (for some reason) but aside from wanting to make a F.A.Q's list to hand around, I retained my sanity.
Lunch was alright too. Typically old-person-y (namely, everything was very soft and lukewarm) but was satisfying enough.
It was after lunch that I seriously questioned whether I had accidentally wandered into a mental institution.
I was just casually marking about 50 quiz papers (I landed this job because I was the only one young enough to read the 'tiny' size 12 font) when they started singing.
Seriously, singing. With songsheets and everything
And oh my word they were terrible. The old dear who was leading the wailing oldies even had dementia, so we got to hear what I believe was Auld Lang Syne three times. Hooray!
So when faced with a situation such as this, I did what anybody would do- I deployed my emergency escape excuse and ran for the hills.
Well, I say hills, I mean that I ran to the local post office under the pretence of needing to post a letter, but ended up spending a lengthy amount of time individually inspecting each of the shops wares.
I don't really have a deep underlying moral to this story, but I suppose the overall message is this:
Beware the old people
They are not what they seem

Good luck,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Challenge no.30- Play Drunk Monopoly

As many of you may know, taking a fun-but-frustrating family classic and adding alcohol to it makes it infinitely better.
Take Christmas, for example. When I was a kid, I knew Christmas was the best day of the year, without fail. But as the years have ticked by, and I find myself having to do proper, adult things like buying presents for everyone (especially on a student budget... namely NOTHING) I can definitely see why alcohol is everywhere- in the chocolates, on puddings, eggnog etc.
Think about it- everything in the holiday period would make our heads explode in any other months...
Listening to the same, 30 year old Christmas songs on repeat since November?
Having people knock on your door expecting money for 4 lines of We Wish You A Merry Christmas?
Paying ten times as much for everything? And then not even knowing if the person will even like their gift!
You see?!
Now I am willing to bet that each and every one of you has had a bad experience with monopoly, because, let's face it, who hasn't?
Whether it was the start of a lifelong family feud, or hitting rock bottom by stealing money from the bank, it's ok. We've all been there.
So earlier this year, I took the initiative and created Drunk Monopoly
I'm probably not the first person to have ever done it, but it's still pretty awesome.
And the funny thing is, the first time I played drunk monopoly, I was almost bankrupt right away. However, as I got more tipsy, and my housemates stayed sober, I got better and better and better, and they even had to form an alliance to try to survive!!!
I wiped the floor with them, and as my win was so glorious, I half believed the alcohol had magic properties...
So here are the rules my friends, so that you too can be victorious!
  1. Every time you pass Go, take a shot
  2. If you land on Go, as well as taking £400, you need to take 2 shots
  3. If you're in jail, make a dirty mans pint and finish it by the end of your sentence
  4. Because no-one likes the asshole that lands on free parking, make them wear something ridiculous as a token of revenge, until the next person lands on free parking.
  5. If you come second place in a beauty contest, drown your sorrows and just generally give up on life.
  6. As I own the Lord of the Rings version of monopoly, whoever is last to say 'we're taking the hobbits to Isenguard' when you land on Isenguard takes a shot.
So those are my rules for drunk monopoly.... you could add your own to it of course! A good one I heard is to take a shot every time you build a hotel, because if you're bringing out the big guns, its only fair to even out the playing field a little.
This is a great game to play if you're getting ready to go out and have about 2 hours, or for a fun night in. Surprisingly, this game gets requested a lot in my student house after a night out at the pub, and games usually last until 1am, or whenever more than half of the participants are having difficulty keeping their eyes open.
Have fun with this!

Challenge no. 79- Make a list of things you're not very good at

Hey there, Internet!
Today has been the typical day of a student on their summer holiday- primarily fuelled by laziness and trips to the sweets cupboard.
And aside from the majestic llama pinata looking out for me (look out for its' special guest appearance in the video) I've basically been left alone today.
*sad times*
However, I have learnt a few interesting things today
  • 1 in 50 Americans executed for murder have the middle name 'Wayne'... (sounds like that's another name for Kate Hopkins to add to her list. If you don't know who I'm talking about, take a minute to watch this video)
  • Margaret Thatcher is partially responsible for the invention of Mr Whippy ice cream
  • Cow's have different accents when they moo depending on where they come from
  • My mum won't buy Ben & Jerry's ice cream when its £3 a tub, but if you say that it's on a 2-for-£6 offer she won't hesitate.... what?!

I have also completed another challenge from my list of 101 Ways to Procrastinate!
So without further ado, here is my vlog post where I talk about Things I Suck At... sorry it turns into a mini book review half way through, but I guess staying on topic is something I'm also bad at!

I hope you guys like it :)
Please feel free to leave a comment, I love hearing from you guys!

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Five annoying people on holiday & Challenge no.15- Tie Die EVERYTHING

Hi everyone :)
I hope you're enjoying summer so far and the unusually hot British weather! Oh, and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon!
Having just come back from a family holiday in Kos- which was beautiful and sunny and all things a holiday should be- I couldn't help but notice a few people that.... well.... these people grind my gears.
The people that I picked out weren't just the average obnoxious holiday makers, oh no.
These are the people that bring a boombox to the pool and play foreign, low-quality drum and bass while everyone else is trying to relax. These are the people that have dieted for months to skip along the beach in their skimpy bikini saying how fat they are. These are the people that shake their sandy towel out right next to you so that you get a face full of sand!
I don't know what there is to be done about these people (we all know who they are! And if you don't know who I'm talking about, I'm afraid its you) but I decided to record all of my thoughts in a vlog so that all of you sane people headed overseas this summer can identify and avoid these 'human beings'.
So without further ado, here is my list of just Five annoying people encountered on family holidays...

....deep breaths....
Okay, well now I've got all of those frustrations out, I have completed another challenge!
*congratulatory music*
Two of my friends came down to my student house in Bournemouth earlier this year, and we decided that we needed to it was our destiny to become hipsters. As you do.
So we donned our skinniest jeans and our most ironic snapbacks, and drove all the way to Matalan. Recording everything on instagram, obviously.
We bought the cheapest skirts we could, and the loudest dyes we could, and set to it...

And here are the results.... TA DAAAAA!

We then set off to the Harvester looking like a fabulous Gay Pride brigade, and had a beautiful, reasonably nutritious meal.
I still use my shirt to sleep in (its so comfy!) and tie-dyeing is probably the most fun, unique way of jazzing up old, bland clothing- if you haven't tried it already, I'd definitely recommend that you channel your inner hipster and give it a whirl.