Romford Dogs. 

On a trip to Essex earlier this year Dave and I took the opportunity to have our ‘D’ date. 

My Mum and Dad had recently had their first trip to Romford Dogs and highly recommended it so it pretty much made our mind up for us to go to the Dogs for the letter D. 

I’ve never bet on anything like the dogs before so this was a totally new experience for me. 

Monday nights are free so after a 25 minute drive – we made our way in, pleased that we were staying true to our principle of trying to keep it cheap. 

The track!

On entering, a short walk around the corner and we were faced with the race track. Behind that we walked up into the stand, grabbed a couple of drinks at the bar and got down to the tricky business of trying to explain to me how to bet (which for the record – I can’t remember how you do. I just go with picking whichever name bears some significance to me!)

Knowing my dismal track record the few times I have bet I stayed brave with just betting £1 on each of the 15 races. Just as well really since there is apparently no such thing as beginners luck with greyhound racing! I didn’t win a penny! Dave on the other hand was slightly bolder, betting £2 per race and did win a couple so only came out about a fiver down. 

A few of Dave’s bets

Feeling a bit peckish, we grabbed some food. It was highly amusing to see Dave’s reaction to how cheap the chips were. He walks around with this assumption that EVERYTHING down south is the outrageously priced so he was pleasantly surprised at the reasonably low cost. He wasn’t as impressed by the lack of gravy/curry sauce/peas/pea wet to go on said chips!

Dave and some of his winnings!

All in all this was a fab night and definitely something we’d consider doing again and would certainly recommend it to people 😊

You get a real rush from watching the dogs and the sheer speed they go at. It’s truly an exciting evening!

“What’s a Wigan?”

I met Lucy on 25th September 2006. Yes, 10 years ago, on my 20th birthday. I was going on a night out in Chelmsford with my friend Kayleigh and a couple of girls from Uni, and Lucy was on the cheerleading team with them. Like me, she was doing a law degree but was the year above.  In the spirit of the more being the merrier, I was more than happy for her to gate-crash. If you’d told me on that day that I’d met the one person that I would still be in touch with 10 years later I would have probably laughed at you.

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Me and Lucy in the Student Union bar on my 20th birthday, 10 years ago

Our friendship was cemented less than a month later when I found myself with a spare ticket to go and see Panic! At the Disco at Brixton Academy and she came along.

Lucy is originally from Romford, just outside of London and lived with her Mum and Dad and sister, Sophie. I got to know Sophie just as well as I did Lucy, as I whiled away hours talking to them both as they worked in the Student Union shop.

The town I’m from, Rayleigh was somewhere Lucy loved – not least because its home to the UK’s longest running Indie/Alternative club, The Pink Toothbrush. We’ve had plenty of wild nights there, which always ended with us stumbling back to my house and us both climbing into separate bunks in mine and my sister’s bedroom (no mean feat with more than just a couple of snakebites in you!)

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One of our countless trips to The Pink Toothbrush – I think this one is in 2007!

My Mum and Dad adored Lucy. One of the few friends of mine that they actually liked, and even now they’re pleased to see her!

As Lucy and I have grown together over the last 10 years (her birthday just a day short of two months before mine), the parallels we’ve identified between ourselves have been scary. They started off as mere coincidences, with our father’s both working as carpenter and joiners, to us both studying Law at Uni.  In 2008 though, Lucy met her now husband, Adam, in London. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but Adam is from Wigan. Until I moved to Atherton, I had no idea that Wigan was so close to Bolton (where I work. I never made the connection).

After I moved, mine and Lucy’s friendship grew closer. Although we never really drifted apart, after Uni it was harder for us to see each other, but as soon as I moved, and discovered our mutual connection to Wigan we made so much more of an effort with each other. We caught up with each other with regular phone calls and Lucy came to stay with me a couple of times. I returned the trip, and when she and Adam bought their first flat in London I went to stop with her. She took me to see Legally Blonde The Musical that weekend which totally appealed to both of our legal, but quite girlie side.

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Lucy’s first trip to visit me – June 2010

Eventually, Adam and Lucy were expecting the birth of their first daughter Poppy (also the name of my dog!) and needed to move into a bigger property. Knowing how much Lucy loved Rayleigh, I wasn’t surprised when she told me she was moving there. What did surprise me though was she moved onto a home on the estate built on the now knocked down office I had left behind. Sometimes I wonder whether I would have moved had Lucy moved to Rayleigh before I left there.

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One of Lucy’s trips to Wigan: A glass of wine and your best friend. The best accessory’s a girl can get! – November 2014

To this day, we’re constantly amused by how we have both ended up with Wiganers. If you’d told us this would happen when we were at Uni, we would probably have asked “what’s a Wigan?!” It’s perfect for us, because we now have regular phone catch ups, but we also have the luxury of being able to catch up, both when she’s up visiting her in laws and when I’m down visiting my family. Even if it’s just a couple of hours over coffee.

I literally would not change our friendship for the world – I’m a lucky girl to have such a loyal friend, that no matter how long I go without speaking to, will always be there for me and no matter how far away she is, it’s still only ever a phone call.

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Lucy’s Hen Do – October 2015!

C date round 2

​After the disaster of our C date, I was determined to redeem the situation. Many people, including Dave, didn’t believe we could have a second stab at our C date. But hang on! My game, my rules! I was hell bent on a new C date.

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for going to see TV shows being filmed. Over the years I’ve been to see Trisha being filmed (twice), Top Gear, Russell Howard’s Good News (three times) and recently I’ve been to Britain’s Got Talent. Since moving to Manchester I’ve regularly been trying to get tickets to see Cats Does Countdown, but to no avail.

As luck would have it, Kat, who I work with, has been successful in getting tickets on a number of occasions and it so happened in October, she received them again. She couldn’t make it though so this time sent them my way. It was just what we needed! Another C date!
We arrived at media city in Salford on the day, what I thought was quite early. There’s no guarantee of getting in and Dave and I were lucky to make it. There were loads of people before us. 

We were allowed into the studio and ended up with pretty naff seats. We could see Jimmy Carr, Jon Richardson and Sean Lock but no sight of Rachel Riley and dictionary corner at all. But our luck was about to change. One of the runners came and asked us if we were there together and would we mind splitting up for better seats. 

Shamefully I didn’t even consider Dave and just jumped at the chance  (Dave since told me he was fine with it as it’s not like you can talk anyway). 

It was a shame we weren’t sat together but it didn’t change how hilarious and what a fab experience it was. Our guests were Roisin Conaty and Jason Manford. In dictionary corner we had some hilarious Aussie dude who had just weeks before won the Perrier award at Edinburgh fringe. 

Jimmy Carr, is one funny funny man. I really admirer that it’s not all about him and he’s actually surprisingly down to earth. 

Meeting back up with Dave after, we were both knackered and hungry but in high spirits and both agreed it had been a fab experience. 

We both agreed over a McDonald’s that we couldn’t really count this as a C date because we didn’t get to sit together so looks like we’re leaving Coniston (the Craply planned one) as our effort for C!

If you’re interested in going to see Cats Does Countdown being filmed yourself you can apply for tickets on http://www.sroaudiences.co.uk 😊

 

Shalefield Gardens.

It’s been a year since I’ve told anymore of the story of me moving from down South to Wigan, and I want to pick up where I left off.

My relocation date was agreed for Friday 9th April 2010. With that came two important jobs.The first, with much regret, I needed to sell my beautiful Mazda MX-5, Rosie. My Dad, who’s a bit of a car man was very much under the impression that I needed something cheaper to run and a bit newer. So I regretfully ended up with a Fiesta (which was an absolute bargain and has served me well. I have never named that car though and is more fondly these days referred to as “The Shed on Wheels”).

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Rosie – my beautiful little car. I have so many fab memories of her, from hot sunny days along Southend Seafront, to getting caught short with the hood down when it started raining!

The second, and perhaps more exciting prospect, was trying to find my first home. As I wasn’t familiar with the local area, but knew that I wanted to live a reasonably close drive to work away, I just searched for everywhere within a five mile radius that was in my budget. My criteria was furnished and around about £450pcm (to any Southerners reading this, believe me it really is possible!).

Some of the properties I viewed were absolute horrors (but not as horrific as I discovered four years later. I’ll save that for another time though). Sometimes the place was quite shabby and in others it was simply a case of the area just not feeling quite safe. I probably viewed about 8 properties all in one Saturday and finally stumbled upon what was soon to be home when I’d all but given up. I fell in love with the apartment in Shalefield Gardens in Wigan almost immediately. It was modern, spacious and I felt safe. It was a touch out of my planned budget but it was affordable. My heart immediately told me that it was the one, but my Dad felt that I should sleep on it. Through fear of someone beating me to it, I ignored my Dad’s advice which I don’t often do, and signed straight on the line. I’ve never once regretted it.

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The Living Room

 

When Mum and Dad came up with me the weekend of my moving a month later, they both pleased with my decision and felt that they could rest easy, knowing that I was in a nice home in a safe area.

Over the years, so many people have asked me how I could just up sticks and leave. I’ve always maintained that I desperately wanted a change and I needed to spread my wings. Not to mention, I could never have afforded to do that down South. Being able to relocate with work just made things easier for me, and the redundancy situation bore no influence on the decisions that I made.

The real proof in realising that moving was the right thing came when of the 60 odd people I’d invited to my leaving do, just 6 showed up (luckily it was in the pub and not in any kind of function room. That would have  been embarassing!) The real slap in the face came the next day when a “friend” asked me why I wasn’t having a leaving do, and I responded that I did have one the night before and he’d been invited to it. It showed me just how much value my so-called friends placed on our friendship and made it so easy for me to turn my back on them. For them not to show was bizarre, because when I’d told people I was going they’d begged me to stay. Except for one person. That person deserves a whole blog post herself (which I’ll write some other time), and that’s Lucy. Lucy was the only person (family aside) who encourged me to go. She knew that it was what I needed. Ironically, she’s the only person from my ‘past life’ that I’m still in touch with and actually we’re closer than ever.

 

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Me and Lucy in September 2009. My 23rd birthday, and a bad haircut to boot! Roughly 6 months before I moved to Wigan.

I can’t blog to save my life…

I’m so rubbish at this blogging malarkey. Hopeless. I was telling the story of my leaving Essex and making the journey up north and it just never really got anywhere.

Then I started telling the story of mine and Dave’s alphabet dating. And that didn’t last long either (we’re up to our H date next if you’re interested!)

I just lose focus so easily and struggle to get into any kind of rhythm with writing, yet it’s something I really want to do.

So here I am . At just over 2 weeks out of 30, and feeling like I need to pick it up again.

The thought of turning 30 is doing weird things to me. I thought I was ok with it for ages but actually what I’m finding is it’s making me quite nostalgic. I’ve been reflecting on my life but in particular the last 10 years and how dramatically life has changed. I’ve gone from a 20 year old student, living in Essex with some pretty sketchy friends and ideas of what a good hair style is, to an almost 30 year old living up North with a handful of, but awesome friends (and slightly better hair).

And I’ve never been happier.

I really want to blog my story of moving up North and share with you mine and Dave’s alphabet dating adventures so I really will try to keep writing, even if I only manage once a week 😉

Jx
*edit : I’ve noticed a theme with all my blog posts. I start them with “I’m so useless at blogging…..”