Posts Tagged ‘dancing’

Treehouses, pirate ships and flamenco dresses

After a bit of a rollercoaster week, I spent yesterday with some friends and their children. Children are the perfect antidote to sadness. Especially these ones.


We went to a National Trust property called Anglesey Abbey and walked around the extensive grounds.


At the end of this path we found….


A treehouse!


Molly playing hide and seek on the top floor of the treehouse.


Top floor!


Up in the trees 🙂


Further along the path, we found a pirate ship and everyone got straight to dressing up!


Danda and Molly in pirate gear… Ella in a doctor’s jacket and a blue sparkly skirt….. Not your normal pirate outfit but who am I to criticise?


She was the ship’s cook, apparently.


The Abbey from afar.


Just because we got home, doesn’t mean dressing up time has finished. Out comes the flamenco dress and little Molly starts busting out the moves.

Treehouses, pirate ships and flamenco dresses. Just an average day with the children.

Going ‘up London’

Unusually, when the latest invite came in from a friend to attend birthday celebrations, I said yes. My favoured response – ‘no’ – had escaped me as the table was being booked for the exact number of attendees and there was no way out.

Ok, I thought, I shall go and I shall have fun and I will make sure my friend Naomi comes with me, to prevent me from making a last minute excuse (my usual way).

And so, the scene was set, I was fashionably late, I had been told not to wear flats (dammit) and I was ready. I was going for a night out ‘Up London.’










The highlights of the evening were when the DJ played Sean Paul and Blu Cantrell, Breathe. I think I’ve never been so ecstatic in my life. Also, the gay French boy who was dancing nearby who we tried to make friends with – it was pretty good when he came over and said, ‘You’re lovely ladies but I have to dance with these people. I’m not wearing a ring though.’

That was good.

Waiting for the number 33 bus for 26 minutes in Hammersmith was not good though. I repeat, not good.

In conversation with my 18 year old self

Ok, 18 year old me, I’d like you to calm down a little bit. Just…. calm down. You’re a bit crazy and all over the place. You’d do well by scaling it back a bit.

Also, I don’t want to ruin the dream but that ambition you have, to marry Michael Jackson… That’s, um, it’s not going to happen unfortunately. I won’t tell you why. The other ambition, to see him in concert, also doesn’t come true. He does plan a tour in England but, um, he doesn’t make it. Again, I won’t tell you why.

Also, your expectation that you will have a terribly meaningful and world-changing role in life… yeh, turns out you’re a bit ordinary, like everyone else. What a thought, hey?! After all that time being convinced of your own superiority and differentness.

O, and your thing about being ‘boring’, you hate that idea, right? Hate it. Urgh, imagine being boring, that would be the worst! Well, you’re not that bothered anymore. You enjoy the simple pleasures in life – cooking, being outside, growing vegetables, seeing other countries, having lunch with nice friends. Just calm down about the ‘boring’ thing. It’s going to happen. Get over it.

You know how you love going out dancing? In a few years, you won’t really ‘go out’ at all. You hate the idea of being squashed in next to a load of sweaty strangers, actually. You dislike the drunken nonsense that you talk and that other people talk to you. In fact, in about ten years, you’ll barely consume alcohol at all, a few times a year maybe. It’s better that way, trust me. We both know what we get like with a drink in us.

And you don’t wear make up at all. I know, after all that time poking your eyes out, trying to work out how to wear eye liner. No, you don’t wear anything now. You’re too lazy. Sorry to break it to you but you’d rather spent the time in the morning having a cup of tea and blogging than poking your eyes out.

Yeh, you’re a ‘blogger’ now. You’re mad for it! You’re one of those. One of those sad people who thinks others want to read about the minutae of their everyday life. Yup.

And tea is very important to you. Very. Important.

You’ll run off to Africa soon, little Laura. And it will be fabulous. You’ll be enthused. You’ll be good at something. You’ll be in your element. For the next ten years after your gap year, you’ll refer back to it as a time of excitement and adventure. Just a few words of warning though – don’t get too excited by your new friends who take you in on the first night, they’ll drift away in a few months; also, please try and eat better – a plate of rice with some sweetcorn mixed in does not constitute a real meal, unfortunately; another thing, you’re going to mess up the article for the Namibian Independence Day by sleeping through the celebrations, shame on you.

And now, last but not least, F. Scott Fitzgerald still rocks your world. That fact is unchanged throughout your life. They make a new film of The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m going to let you watch it for yourself and make your own mind up….

Dancing in public (part 2)

Yesterday, I left London (“Urgh! Why?” I hear you all ask). I’ve come north to see the friend I did a lot of travelling with years ago. We haven’t seen each other for years so I decided it was time to make the trip. He met me at the station and there was lots of hugging and catching up. We found a lovely Italian restaurant and I had an amazing fish skewer thing which had swordfish, scallops, prawns and cherry tomatoes on them.


Unfortunately, I only remembered to take a photo once I’d already tucked in.

I finished up with a ristretto, because my ‘coffee habit’ is going ok now.

We were a bus ride from my friend’s flat so we popped into a bar first and each got a cocktail, as they don’t taste too alcoholly (I don’t like the sharp taste of most alcohol, hence being a non drinker). We then went to a ‘cool’ cafe where lots of cool kids were jiving to the Super Mario theme tune…..

On our way to the taxi rank, we passed a bar we’d come to last time I was up and decided to go in. As we entered, our feet stuck to the alcohol-covered sticky grotty floor. Immediately, I knew it was that type of place. You know. That type of place.

We ordered drinks and lingered by the bar and watched the dancers. And it was brilliant. One woman, with badly dyed frizzy blonde hair, was giving it everything, hindered only by the fact that she was in her late forties and extremely out of place.

My friend and I, with our two cocktails on our systems to prevent the usual awkwardness on the dance floor, were ready to join in slightly. We bobbed rhythmically at the side, laughed and joked, reminisced about times abroad, sang along, pointed to the overly drunk people, dancing so vigorously that they almost fell over.

After a while, my friend stopped dancing, looked at me and said, “Laura, I can’t do this anymore.” And we left.

Even though we had had something to drink and danced a little, we didn’t actually want to go tearing up the dancefloor. I’d previously thought that it was the lack of alcohol blocking me from getting into the spirit of things. But I don’t actually think that anymore. I think it’s because it’s just not what I do. It’s not part of my social activities to get drunk and dance like a maniac anymore. And that’s ok.

I think I’ll stick to dancing in the front room to the music channel.

The first boy I ever kissed

Some friends and I used go to a Youth Club every Thursday night. There were three boys there; Tom, Tom and John, who we were all in various stages of having crushes on. We were twelve years old and it was all very exciting.

Then some new boys came to Youth Club, Michael and Oliver. I liked Michael and my friend liked Oliver. Something happened one week when he was coming to Youth Club, he got into a fight or someone beat him up or something. He was an easy target as he was really very short. So he wasn’t at Youth Club that week. I missed him and got all Jane Eyre about it and realised I really really liked him.

There was one major problem though. He was in the year below. O. My. Goodness. Liking a year seven boy when you’re a year eight girl is sooooo not the done thing. The girls in school said I’d get called a Cradle Snatcher. I got even more Jane Eyre about it and promised myself this wouldn’t keep us apart! (Yes, we were 11 and 12 years old… What of it?)

There was lots of chatting and what I perceived at the time to be ‘flirting’ but nothing much else. I mean, past that, what is it ever at age 12?

Until there was a school disco. As I went to a girls’ school, the discos would be together with one of the boys’ schools. It just so happened that Michael went to the boys’ school that we were having the disco with that time.

My friend, the one who liked Michael’s friend, and I were walking to class that day, excited for the disco, declaring loudly about how ‘I never thought I’d like a year seven boy,’ and realised all the classes had already started and were sitting in silence and a lot of them had their doors open into the corridor. God knows what they must have thought of our inane chat about year seven boys, like we were such grown ups and year sevens are really little.

Anyway, the night of the disco and there we were, Michael and I, holding plastic bottles of Panda Pops in illunimous colours, bobbing about unrhymically a little bit near each other. At one stage, we took it further by putting our fingertips gingerly on each others’ shoulders and stepping from side to side in time.

And therein lay the problem. I was taller than him to start with and I had put high heels on for the evening. They weren’t mega high but enough to make a difference.

A bit later we were standing separately, each with our gang of friends and there was a flurry of messengers back and forth. This was how things worked at discos.

You saw a boy you liked the look of. You asked your friend to ask him if he wanted to dance. There was some running back and forth until it was eventually decided. You’d linger around until a new song started or until he’d finished his dance with another girl and then you’d walk over, each raise your hands, the girl tended to put her hands on his shoulders and he would put his hands on her waist, all done from afar, mind you. And you would step or sway from side to side for a few minutes then separate and scurry back to your friends. It was the height of excitement for a twelve year old.

If you had decided you wanted to kiss a boy, the same system of messengers ran back and forth to establish a yes or a no and then you approached each other, awkwardly snogged a bit while everyone gawped, then maybe had a little hugging dance afterward, then parted and ran off to tell your friends about it.

Michael and I had decided it was time for the next stage. His friend approached me and asked if I wanted to kiss Michael. I, the classy girl that I am, said alright, but as the height difference would make it awkward, I had spotted some chairs by the wall so we’d have to perch there to even out the height difference. And so we did. We perched, guffawing a little and waiting for the other to start the process. We then kissed a little bit, parted, smiled, unsure of what to say and then stood and each walked off to our friends.

And that was it really. The romance ended pretty shortly after that. I think I’d decided a relationship that consisted of sitting down kissing was a bit too high maintenance for me. I was off to find a boy I could kiss while standing up!

When not to fall asleep (and a little bit of Joan Rivers)

Back to my gap year today for some handy hints on how not to behave when in a position of importance.

We ran a newspaper, Lucy and I, which was the only town newspaper. It was important that we reported all the local events as people in the town were quite proud of their little local paper. I can’t tell you how many HIV/AIDs workshops we went to. Everything that was happening, we were at.

So the biggest and best event of the year had arrived. Independence Day! Everyone had been looking forward to it for months. Plans were under way, the kids from the local schools had fantastic little routines organised, the mayor would be there, the country’s national football team would be there. It would be AMAZING.

The day before we had been at the local Crayfish Derby, which was massive fun. But it was quite a way out of town and we had had to leave midway through to walk back into town for a meeting about youth empowerment and small businesses. After the meeting we had then walked back out of town, quite a trek, to the Crayfish Derby to finish reporting on that. Walking under the sun is quite tiring.

The next day, we woke up early to go to the Independence Day celebrations, which were just at the bottom of the hill we lived on. Easy. We arrived, found some seats in the stadium and waited. It’s quite normal to wait a while for most stuff but it takes a little bit of getting used to when you first go there. They played a bit of Celine Dion, they loved her there. Some kids did some dancing. We waited. The sun beat down on our faces. We feebly made notes in our notebooks. And kept waiting.

And then we made that fateful decision. We needed some water, we were far too hot, we were going to faint, it was urgent! We left our seats and saw a good friend arriving. He looked puzzled about why we were walking out, not in. We explained that we’d be back in a mo. We just needed some water. We were far too hot. See you soon!

We staggered up the hill, gasping. When we got home we gulped tons of water and sat down for a second to stay out of the heat until we had recovered…. And then we woke up, disorientated, and ran out of the house, and looked down the hill. And the celebration was over! Oops! We’d been asleep for the whole day!

We had to write about it for the newspaper though. Everyone would be expecting it. And it had to be front page, it was the biggest event of the year. Damn.

We had about three photos of the kids dancing before the celebrations had started. We blew them up really big so they took up loads of space, meaning we didn’t need to write as much. We worked in a few of the local schools so we knew they had been organising a special dance routine, so we mentioned that. We had a fairly good idea of what the mayor had probably said, given that we had sat in on a lot of speeches she had made. We talked about people who had been there, like the football team and a few others we had seen before we left. And summed it up by saying it was a great day and loads of fun! Then put it on the front page and hoped no-one would notice. Loads of stuff must have happened that we didn’t mention. Thankfully they didn’t notice but I still wonder how we got away with it!

The moral from today is = Don’t fall asleep when there’s something of national importance happening and you write the most popular newspaper in town.

Feedback from yesterday’s Getting Excited mission, which was to celebrate all things Filipino by wearing red and blue (two of the colours on the flag) and saying Hola to greet people (NOT how they say hello but there’s a Spanish connection and I figured people would at least know what I was talking about) and by having fish for dinner (I remember eating a lot of fish in the Philippines). So in my not-very-spectacular way, I did all of these things and, while it didn’t cause any great variation in my day, it did make me think of my friend who’s birthday it is every time I did something. And that was nice. Because she’s a nice friend. It was nice to be more conscious of reasons why the day was different to the others, instead of being all same-old-same-old.

Today I have two things to get excited about. One is that I’m going swimming when I’ve finished writing this… twice in a week after years of not even owning a swimming costume! I’m doing well. The other is that it’s Joan Rivers’ birthday today. (And the world’s smallest man, but I can’t do very much in terms of getting excited about that. I’m already quite short.) So Joan Rivers it is. On my way back from the swimming pool, I’m going to stop in the library and see if they have any of her books and I’ll spend some time this afternoon being excited about Joan Rivers’ birthday by reading a book she wrote. Maybe I’ll get plastic surgery in honour of her as well….