9 December 2011

Topped and Tailed.

I gave in and bought the top hat and I am so glad I did because it looks fab with my tailcoat and corsets. I love it lots :o).

My sister was up from Cornwall last week and stayed the week at our parents and as we are both party animals it made sense that we'd plan a big night out so that is exactly what we did. I was in two minds whether to go all out and wear what I wanted to or whether to just wear something 'normal' but after trying it all on and my sister saying it did indeed look amazing I decided to wear my top hat, tails, emerald corset, skinny dark indigo jeans and lace-up Victorian boots. As I've said before, it is an absolute sod to lace myself in to my corsets as I like them quite tight and it's impossible to get them as tight as I like them on my own so my sister had a step-by-step tutorial on how to lace a corset correctly and bless her, she did it!

We had a great night and a looooong night of drinks and dancing and general banter. I had people come up to me and either be genuinely interested in what a real corset feels like to people coming up and saying it was nice to see a girl with some imagination and and a sense of unique style. A couple of girls gave me incredibly bitchy looks for absolutely no reason at all which to be honest, didn't bother me but did make me think they must be more than a bit strange.

One guy I ended up bumping in to three or four times over the night and his comments ranged from "Love, you look bloody fantastic." to "Can I have you for Christmas please?" which made me laugh a lot. We have Street Pastors here and one man came up to me and said "All I'm going to say is that is one amazing outfit and that hat looks fantastic on you". Each time he passed me after that it was "Still a great outfit and still a fantastic hat girl." which was nice to hear really :o).

One policeman stood outside one of the clubs also passed comment and said "Well I for one think you've got a much nicer hat than I have and I'm sure yours looks better on you than mine looks on me!" which also made me laugh seeing as the helmets constables wear are just funny (sorry but they are! :-D)

So if any of you reading this were out on the town last week and saw a short girl walking around looking like she'd stumbled out of the set of Oliver Twist then that girl would have been me and damn good it felt too! I didn't feel odd or uncomfortable wearing it but a sense of freedom at not being the same identikit blonde/brunette/redhead woman in the same 'must-have' dress and heels. It was nice to stand out for the right reasons.

My sister took a few photos over the course of th evening and this is one of them (blurred out obviously!). I actually quite like the original which is unheard of for me as I hate photos of myself with a passion.


This is the first and probably the last photo of me that will appear on this blog. Still, it only took almost four years!

14 November 2011

Free Fall.

Right, a couple of years ago I blogged how it was an ambition of mine to do a sponsored skydive. I am scared witless of heights to the point where I can't look down from any great height but at my height it is no surprise that my head spins at being any higher than about six feet from the ground! Oddly enough, this doesn't apply when I'm on the back of a horse and considering I've ridden horses of 17.2hh then I do find that a bit strange to be honest.

Anyway.... Back to the skydiving lark. It has been playing on my mind for a good couple of years now but for one reason or another I have made excuses to myself as to why it wouldn't be possible or just put it to the back of my mind because at the time, it hasn't been possible. I had a conversation with some friends this weekend and during the conversation, it came up about things we'd love to do but haven't yet done or haven't had chance to do and to my surprise, a friend of mine answered that she too would love to do a sponsored skydive.
I put it down to her having had a drink so I text her earlier to say "
Right, I will if you will. Shall we?!" to which her reply was "Well, I will if you will. So why not?"

After further discussion and a Google of a local and reputable skydiving centre, checking out their T&C's and generally looking in to it we have decided that it does look scary but also fun. It is late Sunday evening as I type this, on Monday morning I plan to phone them and check the health problems I have do not rule me out of doing a skydive. From what it says on their website it shouldn't but you never know.
If it does then it will be back to the drawing board for a fundrasing idea and I will be one very sad and peeved GND and I will demand sympathy in bucketloads so be prepared! ;-)

We have decided exactly when would be a good time to do it and that is sometime during April - July 2012. There are a couple of reasons for this, one of the biggest ones being the cost of a tandem skydive; £250 approximately.
Now, it does say on this skydiving website that most people deduct the cost from the monies raised which I think it is off to say the least! You don't fundraise for something and deduct the sponsor money surely?! That is not how I'd do it anyway and my friend agreed so for that reason we both need to save the fee to do it. This means any money raised, 100% of it goes to the chosen charities.

One of the other main reasons as that we are both scared enough about doing this without having to do it in the cold and grey. As my friend helpfully commented "GND, if we break our necks doing this we may as well break them on a sunny day with blue skies than on an overcast and miserable day, don't you think?"
Thanks for that dear friend....

We have both decided we'll do it through a Just Giving account as it's easy, secure and gives people reassurance that the money won't somehow 'go missing' as Just Giving are the ones who ensure the funds raised get paid directly to the charities chosen by the fundraiser. I never would do anything like that but sadly, too many people do by collecting for bogus charities or asking for charity collections and skimming the proceeds either partially or totally and as I'd want to raise as much as possible then I would like to do it in the most secure way possible.
It's also good in that it keeps a track for you of the amount raised and allows other people to see how much is being raised and means a link can be emailed, pasted and passed round the internet endlessly which is the main thing as the internet is such a massive tool. It is also anonymous so if people want to donate and would like to keep their privacy, that is still possible.
It's trusted by over 9,000 charities and they do Gift Aid so 100% of the donation goes straight to the chosen charity with no fees or tax taken from it.
I have a bit of a dilemma in that there are four charities that hold a place in my heart for various reasons so either I would have to raise a stupendous amount to make it worth donating funds to them or place the four names in a hat (I can now legitimately tell my boyfriend my top hat has a true use other than occasional wear!) and randomly pick two of them.
The charities are below:

The Police Dependants Trust - A charity that does valuable work for police officers and their families, in their words "The Police Dependants' Trust exists to assist in cases of need: dependants of police officers or former police officers who die or have died as a result of an injury received in the execution of duty; and police officers or former police officers who are, or have been incapacitated as a result of an injury received in the execution of duty." I have four friends who are police officers (don's ask me how on my way through life so far I've done that, I've no idea how I managed to collect the random reprobates!) and I'd like to think that if anything happened to them, they or their families/partners would be supported as well as all the other police officers in the U.K who I believe do valuable work that is not exactly easy to carry out at times and in general, one of the most thankless professions out there.

The Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund - They provide financial support, give valuable advice and direction to anyone who has suffered an equestrian related accident be it private or at a public event. I ride and I know how painful a simple fall can be. Having once had a neauseatingly frightening fall 15 years ago from a usually quiet and steadfast horse I know how scary it can be. I was riding in an arena when somebody decided to bang a shovel against one of the indoor arena's corrugated sliding doors.
I just happened to be riding past at the time, the horse I was riding reared straight up and took me completely off gaurd and I was flung 15 feet across an arena and landed straight down on to my back. For 20 minutes I couldn't feel anything below my waist and they were the longest, most frightening 20 minutes of my life.
It eventually turned out that I had only suffered severe bruising and the fact I hadn't tensed when falling had probably saved me any broken bones.
I was sent home with painkillers, strict instructions not to ride straight away and general remarks of me being very lucky indeed. I would like to think that if anything similar happened ro me again or a friend, there would be somehwere we could turn to for advice and support if the worst happened.

Help For Heroes - They don't need any explanation and do exactly what it says on the tin. They provide excellent help and support for those injured on the frontline, be it in the form of physio for a temporary injury or ongoing help for a lifechanging one and support for the families of those injured as well.

Arthritis Research UK - I know somebody young who has had problems with this disease on and off since the age of six and if a cure can be found, particularly for childhood arthritis then that is my sincere hope. The fact babies can develop it makes me wish all the more that a cure or a way of halting the damage it can do to young joints is found.

So, that's the charities and other details out of the way. Now for the sponsorship....

When I come to do this would my lovely, wonderful, amazing (and all other flattering words!) readers be prepared to sponsor me and once the link is up and running, pass that around to as many people as possible?
As well as printing off the Just Giving page and pinning it up in any relevant place so people can copy down the address or access it via their iPhones or Blackberry's and donate there and then?
Ideally I would like to raise enough to make it possible to divide the total raised amount between all four charities but I will probably randomly pick two just in case I don't manage to raise enough.

I don't care how little anyone sponsors me as every little helps but the fact I'm scared out of my tiny, tiny mind of heights and have a fear of flying but am willing to do this to raise hopefully a decent amount of money for very worthy causes makes me hope that there are readers out there who'd sponsor me more than 50p to do it!
And if you don't, well, get off my blog! ;o)

I will keep you all updated as to how the planning goes because in my mind, I've already signed myself up to do this.
It's just the organisation of it now and the waiting and trying not to get scared to the point I hide under the bed playing the 'lalalalalala you're not here and I can't hear you trying to coax me out' game :-D.
Oh, and breaking the news to the boyfriend and my family, mainly my mum who thinks that I am as delicate as I look and will break at the slightest knock or bash against a solid object.
If she knew half of the scrapes I've got myself in to and out of over the years she would not have this idea but I feel it's best to save her a few grey hairs and let her live in blissful ignorance of the various silly, reckless but fun things I've done or been dragged in to doing by various friends.

11 November 2011

Lest We Forget.

Behind that long and lonely trenched line
To which men come and go, where brave men die,
There is a yet unmarked and unknown shrine,
A broken plot, a soldier’s cemetery.

There lie the flower of youth, the men who scorn’d
To live (so died) when languished Liberty:
Across their graves flowerless and unadorned
Still scream the shells of each artillery.

When war shall cease this lonely unknown spot
Of many a pilgrimage will be the end,
And flowers will shine in this now barren plot
And fame upon it through the years descend:
But many a heart upon each simple cross
Will hang the grief, the memory of its loss.

RIP to all those who have lost their lives in war. Lest we forget.

8 November 2011

Thugs Of Tomorrow

I'm one of seven children (second eldest so tended to be a bit of a surrogate mum at times to younger siblings) and although we were allowed to misbehave to an extent at home (high spirits more than complete misbehaviour), woe betide any of us if we were rude, disrespectful or bratty in public and if we did forget our manners, we were made to apologise to the person we'd been rude to.
My mum didn't rule us with an iron rod but we knew how far to push the line and there was never an excuse for us to run riot in public, to swear, to scream and shout and have tantrums and any other unattractive behaviours.
It's only now I look back from an adult's perspective that I realise what a bloody good job our mum did bringing us up because if it had been left to our dad, we wouldn't have half the social graces we do have considering as a father, he was neither use nor ornament and placed the pub in a far higher regard than he ever did his wife or children.

I am proud to say I have taken after my mum. I know without a shadow of a doubt that one day I want to be a mum and there is no way on this earth my children will grow up without knowing what respect and manners and general decency are. I don't take bad behaviour from my horse or dog so there is no way I'll take it from my own child. My horse is about the only one on the yard well mannered enough to stand back and wait for me to bring her food to her rather than rush at me and grab the bucket, she may only be a horse but she knows what the word 'stand!' means. The same goes for my dog, he sits and waits for his food and even if I call him away from it, he will come to me. Both of them have been taught manners through firm but fair handling so certainly don't do it out of fear.

So imagine my despair at walking past two little girls last week, one of about four and the other of between seven and ten. The younger one walking down the road and flicking the V at any passing traffic and the older one lecturing her by saying "For fucks sake will you stop fucking doing that! I don't want the fucking scum on us again."

I have no idea why but I was shocked. I was also quite sad as these two were out in nothing more than jeans/leggings and t-shirt tops at 8pm at night, walking down a path that is near a main road and making their way to a dark and quiet park that is fairly empty after about 7pm. It was drizzly and cold and neither had anything to protect them from the cold or damp. Both of them looked like little street urchins but clearly were used to being dragged up and it looked like as long as they were out of their mother's way, she couldn't care less where they were or who they were with.

A four year old should be innocent. They shouldn't know what swearing is let alone what the V sign is. Most of all neither of them should have been walking down a main road at that time of night and turning in to a park that is very often empty of the general public after about 7pm in the Winter months.

I know people that would give their all to be blessed with a child and for whatever reason, can't have them. I've been told there is a risk I either won't be able to have children or will certainly have to be careful because at just under 5ft and a hipbone-to-hipbone span of 11 inches there is not much of me at all and my skeleton is petite and dainty so I've been told that there is no way they'd leave me to give birth naturally as in all likelihood, the baby would end up starved of oxygen and all manner of complications.

Clearly there is a woman out there who has managed to have at least two children and doesn't give enough of a toss about them to even let them out with a coat each. Their faces weren't child-like, they were hard and looked like they'd seen enough of life to tell them they needn't bother getting out of the pit they'd been born in to. As harsh as it sounds you just know in a few years time they are going to be pushing out the next generation of yobs and thugs.

When I see things like this it makes me wish that contraception was pumped in to the water system and an exam taken before you are allowed to reproduce.

5 November 2011

A Living Nightmare.

I had a fabulous evening seeing James play and I will blog about it later but for now, the only thing on my mind are the poor souls involved in the M5 pile up.

We (two friends and me) pulled in to Reading Services on the way back home and as we walked in, looked up to see the news coverage on one of their TV's and watched as what looked like some sort of living nightmare unfolded on the screen with the words at the bottom that there had been at least 26 vehicles involved in a pile up on the M5 with at least six lorries involved. The news reporter had somebody on a telephone line as we were watching and according to that person, cars had burst in to flames in front of him.

I felt sick watching the news coverage and now I'm home, actually feel very upset because although I was nowhere near it and not involved in any way, I cannot begin to imagine the horror of something like that. I'm not ashamed to say that I got home and read this news report with tears in my eyes because can you honestly imagine the absolute terror and carnage of not only being involved but being one of those speeding towards it to try and help those injured?

I don't know why I feel like I do, as far as I know nobody I know is caught up in it, I was nowhere near it and obviously not involved in it in any way but regardless, I have tears running down my cheeks because just slightly thinking about the absolute sheer terror, pain and horrific fear hitting those people as they crashed or came round from being injured and the sights that are going to be seen by various others has really, really upset me. It is ridiculous, it's not even close to me! There is no real reason for me to have reacted like I have but my emotions seem to think otherwise.

The driving conditions were bad as we were travelling up to London as they were grey, wet, overcast and generally not good driving conditions at all. It was more of the same coming back but fog on top of that and it seems that they are the sort of conditions that contributed towards this accident and yet we experienced a couple of drivers speeding and slamming their brakes on at the last second despite the awful conditions.

It is 3am now and I've been home for about half an hour, I put the TV on when I got in to break the silence of the flat and I kind of wished I hadn't. There are reported to be 'several' fatalities, at least a dozen life-changing injuries and countless others injured. There was nothing shown in the footage other than emergency vehicles but I couldn't carry on watching it so goodness only knows how on earth those dealing with the injured and the total devastation must feel.

I can't stop thinking about what those caught up in those vehicles must feel like.
I don't want to think about it but I can't stop myself and I don't know why I feel like this, it sounds so over-dramatic and attention seeking but it isn't, I just can't seem to control my reaction.
I have no idea why I've come home, watched the news coverage for a few minutes and without even being aware of it, had tears streaming down my cheeks, not just small tears but proper big teardrops running down my face. I have no reason to react like that, I am not involved with it in any way, shape or form. I don't know why I feel like I do but seeing it on the news looked absolutely horrendous, like anybody's worst nightmare. The news reporter was talking to somebody who had been caught up in the aftermath but not injured and this man was saying that cars in front of him had burst in to flames within seconds of hitting the vehicle in front. That is horrific no matter what way you look at it, just utterly horrendous. People apparently trapped in burning cars. For approximately six lorries to be involved and another two dozen or so cars means it must be absolute carnage and pure horror for those involved and for those in the emergency services dealing with it, I don't want to think about the sights they must be coping with still and will be coping with for a long, long time from now, if not forever.

There is no reason at all for me to have reacted in the way I have to this accident, I am not connected to it or involved in it in any way, I have no reason to feel so emotional and I wasn't feeling emotional before I found out about this terrible crash so I am at a total loss as to why I feel like I do and to be honest, almost ashamed to have had such a strong reaction to something I have absolutely no connection with as I don't feel I have the right to be that upset about something that has nothing to do with me.

For some reason on a whim last week I decided to pull out my childhood copy of The Wind In The Willows to read, I'm very ignorantly going to go to bed and bury my head in that and try and not think about the living hell some others are experiencing tonight.

4 November 2011

An Evening With James.

I haven't blogged for a little while and I am shocked at where the time has gone! Two days disappeared with a halloween night out and the following recovery period but that's a whole other post....

Tonight I am going here:

To see these: