(Golden)Twit Twoo, Here’s Lookin’ at You

I think this blog needs a little warning; if you do not use Twitter, some of this may be lost on you, but it’s childs play. Read on and you’ll see, it’s dead simple.

It’s that time of year again; the central heating is cranked back on, you lay awake all night coughing and then when it is time to get up, it’s pitch black and chilly. Bed seems like a much nicer option and I find it increasingly hard to get up on a winters morning. But this morning it was all different; I dragged myself out of bed after cowering under my duvet for a good five minutes. With stiff ankles cracking and sleep blurring my vision, I stumbled over to my laptop. Through the blur, I could see that not only had I received a #followfriday at 5.49am, someone had nominated me for a GoldenTwit award.

Now, I don’t really subscribe to this #followfriday mullarkey; does anyone ever see it and actually follow me off the back of it? I’m not sure that they do, but it’s lovely to be recommended by people. Even if they are your friends and you would make their lives miserable if they did not. It’s just nice to have someone saying something nice about you.

Until this morning, I wasn’t aware of The GoldenTwit awards. I had no idea what they were, but I was delighted to find that I had been nominated for one. I don’t have thousands of followers, but I like to think that all 116 of them were in for the long haul and enjoyed my twerping. So I clicked on the link to explore the GoldenTwits and I was welcomed into a world that celebrates the little things people say. Some of the best things have been said in 140 characters; there is a reason that the likes of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain were so concise. Obviously not all of their best quotes fit into 140 characters, but that is why the likes of WordPress exist. Micro blogging and ordinary blogging go hand in hand; I couldn’t live my life in 140 characters, but it’s a great way to amuse and abuse your friends.

So it seems all the Twitter Greats have been nominated for the GoldenTwit awards; David Schneider, Mrs Stephen Fry and David Cameroon (@TheFuckingPM) are all there. I realise that I am not anywhere near their level of greatness, but I would be delighted if all my lovely friends voted for me regardless. (All is fair in love and twitter.)

When I went onto the GoldenTwit website, I discovered that I had to answer some questions, in order to win people’s votes. The questions were as follows:

Why do you deserve a Golden Twit award?

When tweeting, what are your objectives?

What have you achieved?

What’s your favourite Twitter application?

Why should people vote for you?

How would you describe twitter to non-tweeters?

Now it is all very well amusing people as a by-product of entertaining yourself and chatting to your friends, but this is a lot more scary. Answering these questions with just 140 characters is incredibly pressuring; suddenly I have to be funny on demand. Dance for me monkey! I like to think that my tweets entertain now and then, but I do not soley write them for that purpose. So I have spent my evening trying to work out the best thing to write? Do they expect me to be sincere or humerous? Did they want me to genuinely try and win people over?

I tried to answer the questions seriously, but in all honesty, I have not managed to achieve anything in my twitter life and I don’t really have any objectives for goodness sake. Twitter is a subconscious thing, it is like talking or thinking and not something I use for business. So, I decided to bluff over my obvious inadequacies with sarcasm and flippancy.

What did I write? Well, you’ll have to pop on over to http://www.goldentwits.com/user/SillyBry to have a gander. (Oh and if you don’t vote for me while you are there… well, I will be having words. Except that I probably will be too embarrassed, so I’ll just ignore it in that irritating British way. But I’ll think some pretty nasty things.)

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The discovery of the real “you” does not lie within the journey, but in the packing.

Everyone talks about going travelling to broaden the mind or discovering the real “you”, but having spent an entire day packing for various different occasions, I have come to the conclusion that your inner self is hiding at the bottom of the rucksack.

Packing is, in itself, a journey. You begin, full of excitement for your forthcoming trip. You are resolute that you will pack lightly and not take unnecessary stuff with you. So you grab yourself a bag and begin to plan your days. Everything is going to plan, until one thing occurs to you: what happens if it rains? You have only packed for good weather! So then you grab a few jumpers and long-sleeved tops out. But a jumper doesn’t go with shorts, you’ll have to pack jeans as well.

So now, you’ve got more outfits than you have days and your empty suitcase is surrounded by piles of clothing. You’ve lost control, you start throwing all your favourites in, just in case. You’ve put a swimsuit in, not because you’ll have a chance to swim, but you don’t want to be caught without. Then you’ve got a coat, jumper and thick trousers, because you never know when the weather will turn. In the Med. You’ve got both pairs of flip flops, not so you can go out with solely flip flips or flop flops, but just so that you can decide on the day, which pair you will wear.

The excitement of going on holiday is starting to fade as you realise you have to decide what to take. Suddenly your bag seems woefully small and your clothes inadequately large. You sink down on the bed, bored of all of this, dreaming of it being finished and getting to your destination. You lose all will to pack and distract yourself by turning your out of office on, making sure your bank account is correct and all those really important, but unnecessary things.

In a moment of panic, you turn reluctantly back to your packing. Sensibly, you throw some stuff aside and then work out how to cram everything in. It is only when you’ve just managed to inch the zip closed, by lying across the case, that you realise you’ve forgotten underwear, a toothbrush and your toothpaste. The next mission, should you choose to accept it, is to start trying to poke things in through that gap in the zip.

I can talk about this so knowingly because last night I packed a bag for a 2 day stay in Edinburgh followed by a week in rural Scotland, working at Blair Horse Trials. Thankfully, for the main, this involved work clothes, which have been printed especially for the occasion. Easy; although, last year, it did rain like a dog, so I have packed a few extras to try to stop myself from drowning. Then I have thrown a few nice clothes in for Edinburgh and my GHDs for the trip. Where it starts to get difficult is that I will be at V Festival immediately before, so I have had to work out what I will need for both and which bits I can take where. It has been a logistical nightmare, and that is before I started packing ten boxes full of lab equipment and all of its accoutrements for the work side of it.

What have I discovered today? Every packing experience takes you on a journey of excitement, disillusionment and disappointment. Forget the holiday, I’ve travelled enough before I’ve even left.

Is this how Shakespeare felt?

Despite a love of English literature as a whole, there are obviously some parts than I love and some that I loathe. I have never been a fan of poetry; obviously there are some parts that I really like, but they tend to be the simple stuff like Betjeman. (If you ask anyone what poet they really like, I guarantee you that it’ll be one they studied. Noone seems to travel outside of their studies in the world of poetry. I find it far easier to name poets that I dislike; Pound, Bishop and Dove are ones that spring to mind. (I can just hear my personal tutor at uni telling me off as I write this.)

When it comes to drama though, I’m a completely different kettle of fish. I love drama of all ages and types. I love the good old renaissance stuff – Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson and that malarkey. Then the modern stuff is brilliant too – Pinter, Stoppard, Osborne and I could go on, but I risk losing my (one) reader. I don’t know whether it is because you can visualise drama in front of you and can envisage how the characters would react or whether it is just because I’m too stupid to look for the hidden meanings and messages in all that dreary poetry. You can shape drama however you like; half of the interpretation can be created in the performance. (Wow, my old tutor, Grace would be proud of me.)

I also love performance, whether it is comedy or drama, I love seeing something live. Seeing something live always involves risk, especially in a lot of the improv shows that I like to see – they could mess up, but surely that’s the excitement? If you get to see them make a mistake or corpse, you have seen something that hundreds of others have missed. I would rather see people take the risk trying to create something amazing and failing slightly than see something mediocre that is the same, night on night.

I think this is what was running through my mind on the evening that I volunteered to write a play. Whilst I was at uni, I had a go at writing some comedy and scripts with comedy compadre (and ex-blogger) Jo. Sadly, we only realised about our common love and ambition in our third year, so we never managed to be a part of any tacky uni revues or the such like. Still, we spent far longer on our uni based comedy than we did on our actual work. It didn’t come to anything, but we had such fun writing it and imagining it. So in a momentary pause between all the mad things I am trying to cram into my life at the moment, I sat down on twitter to find the Director of the Nottingham Comedy Festival asking Jo to write a play. The phrase that comes to mind for what I did next is “speak in haste, repent at leisure.” I daftly volunteered that we would write a play. But Helen, the lovely NCF Director, seems to have taken us very seriously. She has offered to cast it and direct it, which means that we really do have to write something.

All of this sounds like I don’t want to do it and I do, but I’m petrified. For a start, I am so manically busy for the next month, I can’t even remember my own name without getting in a flap, let alone penning a play. But the most terrifying part of it is, what if it’s appalling? What if it turns out that neither Jo or I can write for diddly squat? I’m not sure that I’m ready to find that out just yet. I really love the modern style plays where it is very static and not much happens, which is handy as they say you must write about what you know and it turns out, I know very little. Seriously though, I really like the kind of plays where very little happens and I happened upon the scripts of Jim Sweeney’s plays on his website, which has been a godsend. The way the characters speak sounds so natural and it made me realise that not that much has to happen to make a really interesting story.

So, after some brainstorming and waking up in the middle of the night, I have had some promising ideas. Now to turn those ideas into a reality in between the bouts of regret, self hatred, doubt and diminishing confidence. I’m sure everyone has the same feelings before they begin writing. Is this how bloody Shakespeare felt before he started his first play?

Beautiful Britain?

“Huh, Beautiful Britain” we scoff as we think of the grey rain falling from the grey skies, running down the grey buildings, landing on the grey roads and splashing off the grey cars onto the grey faces of the passers-by. Perhaps this is an exaggeration, but when it rains, that is how Britain feels. Grey. Unable to escape from that cloud of depression and darkness, but we forget that when the sun does break through, sparkling onto the leaves, it illuminates everything leaving it looking fresh and somehow brand new.

I sometimes wonder if we fail to appreciate the beauty of our own country. We dash off full of excitement and exuberance to the airport to get to any old faraway country, but is it just me that is a tad disappointed when we land at the other end? Flying into Heathrow is so exciting; it doesn’t matter how much I fly, I will never grow tired of the view coming in to land there. I turn into small child, nose pressed against the window, trying to spot recognizable landmarks and, of course, my house. (There has to be some advantage to living within spitting distance of Heathrow airport.)

Sometimes it can be a little hard to remember, but we live in such a cool place. I live somewhere that is urban enough that I have full mobile phone signal and I can walk or crawl to both a supermarket and a pub. I am a five/ten minute drive from the M40, the M4, the M25 and the M1.Yet, 200 yards from my house is 8 acres of woodland and fields, which I am lucky enough to be allowed to keep my horses in.

Once you go down to the stables, you are in a different world. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty and my butchered attempts at poeticism would never do it justice. I live at one of the highest points of the Chilterns and our field is on the edge of the valley, so looking across, you can see the river sitting at the bottom, where on a sunny day, it is filled to bursting with people sailing and boating up and down the Thames. Then looking off to the left hand side, on a clear day you can see Windsor. When the Castle burnt down, we could see the flames from our field. Then straight across, you can see Winter Hill, which quite aptly boasts some of the best sledging around. Over to the right, you can see Henley and the Hambleden estate.

It is such a quiet, restful place that it seems impossible not to feel at one with yourself there. Then, you can hope on a train and be in central London in just 30 minutes. It seems so utterly bizarre that you can be somewhere as quiet and nice and yet be so close to the buzzing capital. I might be biased about where I live, after all, I know no different. But wherever we are in the UK, we are close to some amazing things. In August, I am taking a train from home to Perth, in the centre of Scotland. This 5 hour train journey is setting me back a measly £45 (and that’s to get home as well!) I cannot believe that I can pay so little and go somewhere so magical. Killiecrankie is one of the prettiest places that I have had the pleasure of staying; the steep hills and dramatic valleys are only accentuated by the craggy rocks jutting from the rushing water. I would pay a fortune to fly half way across the world to see something half as good.

Another of my favourite places is North Devon and Somerset. It is another very hilly place and I think that hills, mountains and other dramatic features are musts for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a hill dweller by nature, I am always most disappointed by the flatness of other countries. I go to Holland and it is flat and bland as far as the eye can see. Craggy hills with water cutting its path, dashing through the valleys make me happy. I could sit by the running water all day long, just marveling at the magnitude of the surrounding hills.

For fear of sounding like an insular home lover, I don’t understand what is wrong with exploring the beauty of our own country. After all, for the last few weekends, we have had weather in the 30s, which is enough to rival the rest of Europe. We are home to some of the most stunning and exciting areas in the world, whether you like cities, market towns or rural idylls, we have it all here and within a stones throw of one another.

I realise that I’m beginning to sound like I’m being paid off by the Tourist Board (and I’m not, they couldn’t afford me.) It’s just that once I get on my soapbox, it takes more than a kindly hand to get me off. (Oh please, don’t be filthy.) Don’t get me wrong, I love going abroad. I have travelled around the Middle East (before it turned into a glitzy Butlins) and I loved the month I spent in India. Again, the trekking from Ladakh through the Himalayas was hilly, and there were streams. I was as happy as a pig in muck. Albeit a slightly asthmatic pig in a high altitude muck. I really enjoyed it and the scenery was outstanding, but for a lot less money, you can get some equally amazing stuff close to home.

If I take my rose-tinted glasses off for a minute, I can see that there are some aspects of our country that aren’t so great; the celebrity obsessed culture, the kids hanging round the shops drinking cider, the idiot boys who pushed their way right to the front of the queue in the petrol station yesterday, new flats and houses springing up where beautiful properties used to be and graffiti over the road signs, just to name a few. But whatever country you are in, you will come across bored kids looking for an outlet, materialistic tabloids and magazines feeding the greed and capitalist heartless builders exploiting the public want. Essentially in the western world, the majority of countries have the same issues. 

We might have our problems; you might disagree with the government du jour, but in Britain, you have the right and are allowed to stand up for yourself and make your point heard. Nine years ago I went into London on the Countryside March (yes, the one to stop the ban on fox-hunting) and it was amazing. Despite going on the march, I am not an avid hunter and contrary to many of my friends beliefs, I think that taking the ban away would be disastrous. I went on the march because I believed that people should have the right to do as they please, as long as they are not causing damage or upset to others. To that end, fox-hunting manages the fox population in a sensible manner. However, now that is has been banned, the antis and hunt sabs who can be really wicked (pulling innocent children from their ponies and attacking hunt followers) are generally kept at bay, whilst the rural community carries on hunting as before.

Anyway, I really didn’t want to pull at that thread, all I was trying to say was that I loved the way everyone stood up for what  they believed in. Even better, it was allowed (and in parts, supported) by the constitution. I met William Hague that day and he was a lovely bloke. He was not afraid to march with us and be photographed making a stand. Tony Blair said that he loved seeing people protesting outside the House of Commons because it gave him a sense of moral marker; he was trying to work for the nation. Of course, by the end his want for greed and world domination overpowered this, but no one is perfect.

Really, that is the point I am trying to make, no one and nowhere is perfect. Britain might be a bit scruffy, but it’s mine. It’s what I’m used to. I love it for its little flaws and anyone that tells you that you would be better off emigrating to Spain, New Zealand, Dubai Australia or anywhere else, is talking rubbish. You see, Britain is our own little spot of paradise and don’t let anyone tell you any different. If you see ex-pat communities, they are invariably filled with all the people you didn’t like bumping into at Tesco, only now, they are orange, wrinkly and paying over the odds for their HP sauce.

Reasons to be Cheerful

This week I have a brutal and honest confession to make; I could not think of a single thing to write about. I had a lovely long weekend camping in Porlock, where I ate and drank copious amounts whilst watching the world go by. It was bliss. Well, as blissful as going camping with 14 toddlers can be, but you get the idea. However, I have started to realise that happiness and satisfaction don’t, in general, provide the easiest blogs and entertaining stories. After a couple of hopeless appeals on twitter, I turned to a blog generator, which gave me some surprising results. The first few were a little serious; preventing global warming and animal rights were not topics I could even begin to think about in my weekly rant. Thankfully, the next proved a little more light hearted; reasons not to move in with someone.

Lately there have been a worrying amount of discussions about how it is “ok” that I am not married yet. Damned right it’s “ok”, I’m twenty three years old and God willing, I have a good few years left in me to find someone to marry. The most upsetting part of the subsequent conversation is that the joking element seems to have disappeared and in its place is now a tilted head and sympathetic nod. Calm down everyone, I haven’t stopped shaving and put in an application for a cattery just yet and it’s only on the odd occasion that I worry about being single. So, for the most part, I am happy as I am and this is why…

Let’s start with the material benefits; I don’t have a mortgage or a wedding to save up for, all my money is my own. I can spend my monthly morsels on anything I want to. A good portion of it disappears into the horses before I can blink. Once you’ve paid for the farrier, feed, hay, bedding and entry fees, that’s about half of my pay slip gone. Especially after the other bills have come out such as phone bills, the monthly Amazon shop, a couple of nights out at the store and I’m not left with that much. Quite frankly, I don’t think I could afford to live with or getting married to someone at this point.

This moves me nicely on to my next point; I spend all week doing the things that I enjoy. Why would I want to give that up? Going on past experience, boyfriends don’t really seem to understand that when you say you just want  to veg out in front of the tv, you mean without them. You just want a night off. Or perhaps that just shows my poor choice of blokes in the past? They get offended if you fancy a night in your pyjamas, eating junk food and watching your favourite trash tv. Who has tried to watch those tv programmes you never admit to watching with a partner? It’s just awful, they talk through it, you feel embarrassed and wonder why you started watching Waterloo Road in the first place. There are just some things you do on your own. Likewise, I spend my weekends competing, seeing comedy and catching up with my friends. I don’t have time to fit someone else in as well. Quite honestly, I’m far too selfish to have someone else to love and care for at the moment – they would get bored of me in five minutes flat.

Apart from those reasons, once I do manage to trap somebody into marrying me, I am going to have to live with them for a bloody long time, so I may as well enjoy my freedom. Having said that, I don’t want to sound like a man hater, I’d be quite happy for a handsome bloke to come and sweep me off my feet, but sadly, they always seem to have a bad back or some other ailment to stop this happening. Maybe I should have listened to the last one and married him like he seemed to think he wanted, but would I be happy? Hell no, I would have missed out on the best, most independent years of my life. And I’d still be trying to concoct a way of dumping him, but panicking that now we’d got a bit more serious, it was a teensy bit harder.

I’m a great believer of fate and these things will happen, when they do and that is no reason to stop me enjoying myself in the meantime. Of course, when I meet the man of my dreams, I’ll have to rein myself in a little, but I will because it will be for the man that I love, which is why I’m attempting to cram all my favourite things in now whilst I can. Don’t feel upset or sad about the position that you are in, instead remember that the grass is never greener. Think of your older brother, brother in law, uncle father, whoever and that may give you an insight into your future. Men leave the toilet seat up, they never replace the loo roll, they will put dirty plates into the clean dishwasher, put coloured socks into the white washing and generally remind you that even if we are not the more intelligent gender, we are certainly the most hardworking.

So I’m a dillylaplodochiphobic. And what?

I normally consider myself to be a relatively laid back and placid person, sometimes to my detriment. I’m all for an easy life and if I can do something to stop arguments and disagreements, I’ll do it. Equally, I don’t really get het up or wound about things; I don’t scream hysterically about spiders or earwigs because they just can’t harm me. If I lived in Australia however, I can assure you I would be very different!

There are a few things that do really wind me up and none of them are rational or have any rhyme or reason. I shall endeavour to share some of my most hated things and perhaps you will understand, nod knowingly and not judge me. You are well within your rights to cackle like an imbecile and cast me aside from your address book forever more, such is the insanity of my little niggles. (No, that is not supposed to be a euphemism.) I know a lot of these probably have long and exciting names, but I can’t be bothered with that nonsense. I’m sure it’s just someone with a sense of humour inventing them; afterall hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is a fear of long words. Bastard.

Ok, so we’ll start with a pretty standard one; clowns. Everyone is scared of clowns right? Well, they should be. For a start, their makeup is worse than that of Pat Butcher and less subtle than Katie Price. Anyone that has a thick, white crust of makeup slapped across their face has to be hiding something. There is the old cliché about the tears of a clown, but it has to come from somewhere. They are going out dressed as someone else, picking on small children; they cannot be happy in themselves. If you are in any doubt, don’t forget their past history; John Wayne Gacy, or “Pogo the Clown” as he liked to be known, who abused and murdered 33 teenage boys. I think that all those American horror movies involving clowns ought to make us suspicious enough about them before we even think about the real life psychos.

My next fear is possibly less normal; Weetabix. I’m sure a lot of you dislike Weetabix, but does the mere smell of it make you nauseous? It’s pathetic. I’m twenty three years old and I ought to know better, but I am an irrational, nervous wreck when it comes to this particular brand of breakfast cereal. I think what put me off Mephistopheles’ munch was a year 7 school trip, where I ate the most dry Weetabix without a drink; I was picking that junk out of my braces for weeks. First of all, we’ll start with the taste. I don’t actually remember what Weetabix tastes like it’s been so long since I’ve eaten it, but I do remember that it manages to suck every little bit of liquid from your body, so you are left chewing dry, mulch for what seems like years. It is so unbelievably dense that I cannot believe that it is sold as food. As far as I can tell, the only purpose for Weetabix is as bricks in areas at risk of flooding. All the liquid would be soaked up by the wheaty biscuits and the houses would stay as try as a bone.

I know what you are thinking; if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Unfortunately, I have young nieces and nephews who eat it. It takes a great deal of self-control for me to feed it to them; even the feeling of it getting under your nails as you pull it from the pack is enough to set me on edge. Cooking it gives it one of the worst smells in the world; it smells like a rat died in the microwave and then quicker than a builder’s cement, it has turned into a solid lump of mulch. It seems to climb out of the bowl and glue itself to your fingers so that you will unknowingly get that lukewarm, vomit smelling concrete onto your lips. It is food of the worst order. I would rather go hungry than eat Weetabix. It has got to the point that I feel a bit nauseous just handling it.

The final hatred that I will unleash on you today is of those TWATSS. For everyone who is unaware of what that means (which is everyone bar me) it is Tossers Who Abbreviate Totally Stupid Stuff. None of you knew what I was talking about, which I expect made you feel a little bit of inferiority, loathing and jealousy. I say a bit because you may not know that you felt that way, but you definitely did, even if it was subconsciously. When I was younger, LOL and ROFL were the choice phrases, but realistically we only used it when we had nothing better to say. As a regular twitterer, I have noticed that I’m behind the times and the favoured phrases of today seem to be FTW (for the win) and FML/FMW (fuck my life/week). Firstly, for the win doesn’t make sense! I have never heard anyone utter the complete phrase for the win. As for FML, has life got so damned terrible that you can’t even utter three monosyllabic words? Get a spine.

Within this hatred, I shall include people who use “text language”. I can cope with people sending me text messages in long hand text language, even if I don’t partake in the practice myself. I understand that is what it is there for, even if I would rather spend the extra ten pence and explain myself properly. But where it really gets on my wick, my goat and everything else, is in email and normal writing. Perhaps it is the difference between someone who writes with a love of words and someone who writes to get information across. But words aren’t difficult to use, you can use them to make people laugh, cry, love you and hate you. What’s not to like about that? It allows the shy people to feel big and clever and occasionally superior against the illiterate, mouthy sods.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those fascists who are intent on keeping English from changing; the language has to move and mould itself along with the society and culture it is within, just use it properly. That sounds incredibly hard-line and typical of an English graduate, but I don’t mean to be cruel. I am as likely to misuse words as anyone else (my friends will attest to that); I just wish people would appreciate them more. Don’t just use them to hurriedly pass information across to someone else, slow down and appreciate their magnificence. The world is built on words (and perhaps numbers.)

It is these hatreds and fears that make us the individuals we are, and I’m definitely individual; how many other people do you know that get in a cold sweat if a clown sent them a poorly written text message proffering weetabix?

Optimistic dreamer seeks enthusiastic lunatic

For those of you who have been following me from the beginning of the year, you may have seen relatively little mention of my new year’s resolution to cycle the London to Brighton. Essentially, where it all went wrong was going away on holiday the day that the entries opened. So my dream of cycling from London to Brighton was not to be, but it was a nice idea. I brushed this under the carpet, but after the events of the past few weeks, I realised that I still really wanted to do something for charity.

I have got a higher than normal proportion of friends that have travelled in helicopters, but not because they live a rich, high life. It is a result of competing horses in hard to reach places. The Thames Valley Air Ambulance service are simply fantastic; the staff are committed and dedicated and the service is invaluable to many horse riders, motorbikers and ramblers. I am very lucky and thankful to have avoided any personal contact with the TVAA, but after an accident involving a friend of mine a fortnight ago, I realised just how crucial this service is. They receive no funding for the service they provide, which makes fundraising and donations all the more important to them. We are making a concerted effort to raise money for them at our next Riding Club qualifier, but I feel that I would like to make a personal contribution for them and this is where you guys come in.

I desperately wanted to find a race that was achievable, but sounded pretty damn impressive. I have done a couple of different adventure races by the Rat Race company and so this was the first place I turned to. I have got my heart set on completing the Nokia Coast to Coast Challenge across Scotland in September. It goes from Nairn to Inverness and covers 109 miles over the course of the weekend. The majority of the distance is cycling with a chunk of running and a tiny bit of kayaking. They claim that if you can run 10km comfortably, then this is something that you can achieve. You can find all the information about the race on this website – http://www.scotlandcoasttocoast.com/challenger.html

So now I just need someone to do the race with. I am very enthusiastic and am prepared for the hard graft; I haven’t run since October, but have entered a 10km race with two days notice to get myself into gear for this race. I still haven’t had my bike serviced, but it’s not for a lack of trying. After various crossed wires, I established that the dentist would not service my bike and I still can’t get hold of the bloody bike shop. But rest assured, I will have a working bike in the next week or so.

I am not a naturally gifted sportswoman; when running, my legs and arms flail around like windmills whilst my face turns increasingly purple, so I think it is fair to say that talent is very much optional when I’m looking for a potential partner. The most important thing in a buddy to me is that they have the same irresistable urge to do something mad and that they have a great sense of humour. When I have run and cycled over 50 miles and am expected to sleep in a tiny tent, I need someone that is going to make me smile and forget the gruelling 50 miles that are ahead of us.

This feels a little like writing a personal ad. I am a bubbly 23 year old with a GSOH; isn’t that what they write? I have no idea, but I think they should be a lot more honest in these adverts. Whoever I do this challenge with is going to see me at rock bottom and they need to know what I will be like. At the beginning, I’ll be pumped with adrenaline and will talk too much. Towards the end, I’ll get grumpy and defeatist. But despite all that, my heart is in the right place and I really want to raise money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

I am writing this in the hope that you will help me to find the perfect partner for my adventure. Please share this with as many people as you possibly can so that I can find a likeminded lunatic. If you are interested in doing the race, catch up with me here or on twitter. I lurk there most days and am fairly easy to get hold of.

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