Thursday, 7 February 2013


I feel that this is a good time to talk about the recent changes in my life. One of the reasons that I have not been updating for a while, is because I have moved country. This involves a large amount of stress/meetings/ flights/having to go outdoors and meet people, all of which could not be done here. Also I discovered Modern Family and that took up a lot of time. Also, I'm lazy.

However, shortly after arriving in my new Scandinavian residence, I came up with a good idea for a subject. But I thought I should spend a little more time familiarising myself with it before I began to write, so here it goes: 


I have moved to a city famous for its pastries, beautiful people and grizzly serial killer dramas, but one of the things it is also known for is it's bikes. 

People cycle here. People cycle to school, to the shops, to bars, to the supermarket day or night, summer or winter, rain or sun. More people bike or walk to work than drive. 

When I first arrived here, I was not aware of it's biking heritage and was unceremoniously introduced to this fact through a 25 minute cycle through the city to the immigration office. I had never cycled on a road before, used hand signals while cycling or had been on a bike in 10 years. It was horrifying. 

By the end of it though, I had found my confidence, and resolved to get a bike as soon as I returned for good two months later. 

After an emotional farewell to my family and all I knew, I touched down and started settling into my new life and work. I did not get paid until the end of the month and prudently resolved to only buy a bicycle until I had received my first pay check. I was an adult. I could wait. 

I cracked after 10 days.

I needed a bike. I couldn't stand having to walk everywhere. It was hell. Trundling along on my peggy legs while herds of majestic wheeled gazelles raced past me every 30 seconds was hell. 

I needed to get one now. 

I went to a bicycle shop that had been recommended to me, however due to the catastrophic influx of other  such students, they were completely out of bikes. It would be a week before they had any more. I could  not wait that long. 

I went to a place just round the corner. They spoke very little English and I spoke absosutley no Danish, so communication was tricky. I did however, catch the basics.

Normal people would say 'no'. 

I decided to take a leap of faith however, now was definatley a time for being brave. I cycled away on a black Yosemite brand bike, which I named 'Sam'. 

Sam was a vicious bitch. 

The minute I got him, he started to fail. He is a three gear bike and the gears seemed to be tiered accordingly. 

1) Normal flat city biking 


3) Would cause Bradley Wiggins to shit out his lower intestines if he ever attempted to move it more than 5m. 

After two days, he got stuck on mountain xxxtreme. I'm now no longer sure if he is off mountain xxxtreme , or if I have just developed massively powerful thighs to compensate. 

While all of this was going on, I was beginning to understand that life in the bike lane was not quite as peachy as I'd envisioned. The people here are beautiful, and fashionable, and have been cycling their whole lives. My  expectations rapidly shifted from this:

To this:

It took six weeks before I had the cardiovascular capabilities to out-cycle 10 year olds and heavily pregnant women. 

Shortly after this, something started to go awry with Sam's brakes. At this point, I nievely thought we could be friends, I thought that Sam would be a piece of machinery that only I could tame and therefore develop a special bond with. I had recently left a house which featured a kettle with 'particular' needs and we had got along just fine. Nobody who came to our house could make tea, but the residents and I had tamed the kettle like a wild stallion. Or lame donkey. Either way it needed special help. 

Not so with Sam. I was cycling home one day.......

The brakes weren't ineffective. They were non-existent. I was travelling in rush hour without any way of stopping.

As a side note/ afterschool special, I would say the one thing to take away from this whole experience is that if there is something wrong with your brakes, get them checked immediately  If you don't, this will happen to you. 

I guess at this point, I can't have been going more that 15 mph, however when you have no control over you speed, not way off stopping and you're in heavy traffic, it feels like this: 

I managed a semi-controlled crash into some park bikes and shakily walked the rest of the way home. 

After this, I decided to re-name Sam. Sam didn't suit him any more  Bikes who brakes fail for no good reason are not called Sam.  I had to think of a NEW name, something suitable, something that said 'no matter how much you try to love me, I am still going fuck you sideways.' 

The answer hit me like a thunderbolt. 

Say hello to Joffrey.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Olympic Success - Real life failure

I have a large amount of shit that I need to do, however for the last nine days I have happily forgone the activities of sorting out my life/ seeing family and friends to spend  approximately 18 hours a day reveling in the success of sport.

I am in no way saying that this is a waste of time, but I definitely think that I need to lay off. My already slightly addictive personality has kicked into overdrive due to both the variety of viewing material available and the vast success that our team has enjoyed thus far.

This has had a negative effect not only on my capacity to engage in social/organisational activities, but also in more basic tasks. Like washing/ eating regularly.



Long may it continue!!!!!! 

Thursday, 14 June 2012

English Dignity

Around this time last year, my classmates and I went on a field trip around the picturesque Swiss and Italian Alps. We observed mountains, glaciers, dams, ammonites and all manner of interesting geological sites. The only major downside to the whole trip was our transportation. The sun in central Europe is cruel even in early summer, and the minivan we spent the majority of each day in while we negotiated mountain passes high in the hills was a sweat box at any temperature over 20'C. The compounded heat on our pale and unprepared  bodies was reminiscent of a scene from a Vietnamese POW camp.

The highlight of the entire trip was a two night stay in the magnificent resort of Serpiano, a five star luxury hotel nestled in the hills of southern Switzerland, near to the Swiss-Italian border. 

As a general rule on these sorts of trips, the expectation is that you will be staying in 15 a room sleeping pit where running water is a luxury, so this was a wonderful surprise. 

The highlight of the hotel  was it's ample swimming and water based relaxation facilities. In particular, it's steam and sauna rooms. After four hours on a sweaty coach we donned some towels, lay back....and continued to sweat.

It was paradise. 

There was one aspect of the whole experience though that we found slightly jarring. In order to enjoy the facilities to their full extent, nakedness underneath towels was mandatory. This wasn't too much of an  issue for our little group. The English get through events such as these by clinging to our towels for dear life and desperately pretending that nobody else is naked under theirs. This was all well and good, until a new force capable of causing massive awkwardness among our ranks made itself painfully apparent. 

Naked Italian Men.

Apparently the towel was one item of clothing to many, and letting it all fly was the way to go. They were completely unfased by their state of nakedness and, for the next couple of hours, we were subjected to an  unrelenting display of wang.

Again, this was not too much of an issue, because we ourselves were not naked. We kept ourselves tightly wrapped in towels and scuttled to and from our respective changing rooms. There was one activity though, that could not be completed clothed. A dip in the plunge pool. The open area between the sauna and steam room had a rather handsome plunge pool and although we were all keen to go in visits to it had to be timed with military precision.

After 30 minutes of sweating my guts out in the sauna, I decided that it was time to  brave the pool. I checked to make sure the coast was clear and gingerly stepped from my sanctuary. I checked a final time, dropped the towel, and hopped up the steps of the pool to immerse myself in the icy water.

It was a this precise moment, that a pack of 45 year Italian men descended on the sauna rooms. Naked as the sunrise and looking my way.

The hell they were seeing my boobs.

As I sat hunched in the 2C water, waiting for them to get out of sight so I could get out and return blood to my extremities, I had a thought. I had just voluntarily thrown myself into a vat of icy water (I really did, the urgency of my actions is in no way exaggerated) and was now sitting in it waiting for solitude......or death. 

This is because I was raised English, and we are not naked. Ever. 

I stand by my actions.