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Posts Tagged ‘30th’

  1. Go Ape – and spend your birthday in abject terror

    May 5, 2011 by superlative

    You’ll be pleased to know that I am NOT still stuck up a tree, and I didn’t end my birthday tragically smashed to pieces on the Bedgebury forest floor. I made it home entirely in one piece in fact, and I had a really nice birthday weekend.

    My meal out at Café Rouge went fairly well – I always enjoy my food and eating out anyway, so I was bound to have a good time. They put us on a funny L-shaped table in order to fit us all in, which I found a bit odd as it meant some people had their backs to each other, but I just plonked myself right in the middle so it was fine for me.

    I’m glad I didn’t only do the meal, because as nice as it was I think it wouldn’t have been quite special enough for a 30th.

    And then we had a drink in a pub, which was fine, but it wasn’t my first choice of place to go. I find it a bit difficult sometimes if I mix my groups of friends – I have loads of straight friends, but if I were picking a night out I’d generally go to a gay venue, where I tend to like the music more and feel more comfortable. But I wasn’t convinced most of them would go to a gay bar, so we went to a pub instead, and it made me feel a bit… meh.

    But that was OK because as I said to myself, that wasn’t the main part of my birthday or the bit I was most looking forward to. That came the next day (my actual birthday), when we WENT APE. Or GO APED. Or whatever the hell you’d call it.

    It was really good!! A really excellent experience and I’m so glad I went. But it was also INSANELY TERRIFYING and not my sort of thing at all, and I spent most of it with my legs shaking from fear and adrenaline.

    It was just so high! And I realise now that it looks much, much easier when you watch other people do it or watch videos of it on the website. You think “woo that looks fun, whizzing about on zip lines and swinging on ropes up in the trees”. And then you get there, you climb a long wobbly ladder, and you find yourself standing on a small wooden platform with just loads of SPACE in front of you. The feeling of vertigo (for me anyway) is immense as the world stretches away far below and before you, and suddenly clinging onto the tree feels like an excellent idea.

    Don’t get me wrong – it is safe. It’s really safe, because most of the time you’re attached to a tree or a safety line by two if not three ropes, each of which could support the weight of a bus. Logically, you can’t fall. The worst you could do is fall about a foot before the lines go taut and you’re dangling in your little harness seat thing.

    But the problem is, for a start, that none of that matters to your brain. Your brain says “That’s a long drop. You’ll die if you fall down there. Back away from the edge now, there’s a good lad, or I’ll make you piss yourself.”

    And alongside that, you’re entirely responsible for attaching your own safety lines to each bit. They train you carefully, and it’s not hard to do, but it’s still easy to think you’ve not done it right, or that these flimsy little ropes and clips couldn’t possibly take your weight.

    So you can see from my description that I certainly didn’t find it easy. Chris, on the other hand, absolutely loved it.

    “Can I jump off this bit no hands?” he merrily asked the woman.

    “Sure,” she said.

    Leap, twang, Chris is gleefully suspended by his harness in the middle of nowhere.

    There were these tightrope crossing things on one bit. Each of us gingerly edged our way across, clutching the safety line and not looking down.

    “I’m going to try to sprint it!” says Chris.

    Sprint sprint, lose footing, fall off side of tight rope and be caught laughing by the safety harness.

    I don’t know how he does it; he’s just completely different to me, and has no problem at all trusting the equipment he’s got on him.

    But anyway, I did it, I went round the whole course, and the zip lines in particular were SO much fun. 150m of whizzing through the air over trees and bushes, with your legs dangling and members of the public waving up at you from below, before a soft landing into a ton of bark chips at the bottom. There were five zip lines in total, and really the rest of the course was just the price you pay for going on the zip lines.

    The absolute worst bit was the Tarzan Swing, where you have to jump from a platform and your safety rope is completely slack before you jump. It catches you after about a metre of falling, and you swing forwards into a cargo net. But throwing yourself off a platform without any feeling of something attached to you is really, really hard. It took me a good few minutes of egging on to do it, and I very nearly bottled out. In the end I made it though, and everyone went “Woo!” at me, which was nice.

    So  yeah, Go Ape was great. And then we had some (gay) drinks and a bit of dancing in the evening.

    I got some great presents including a swanky new phone, and overall it was a great birthday. I’m most pleased to say that it was something different, that it was out of my comfort zone (by about 50 miles), that it was something adventurous, and that when anyone asks me what I did on my 30th I’ll be able to say yes THAT’S what I did, it was outstanding and I’ll always remember it.

  2. So much to blog, so little time

    April 28, 2011 by superlative

    So much has happened since I last blogged on the 20th that I really don’t know where to start or how to write about it all. I’ll do my best though, as I’m sure all my thousands of readers are dying to hear.

    Item number 1 – we’re buying a house. Well a flat, but I tend to say house because it’s just easier and because ‘Do you want to come back to my house?’ sounds sweet and childlike, while ‘Do you want to come back to my flat?’ sounds sordid. But anyway, FUCKING HELL, we’re buying a house! We saw it on Tuesday last week, then saw it again on Wednesday night, and I put in an offer on Thursday morning. It was turned down, so I increased it by a little bit, and hey presto they said yes!

    I’m really pleased that we’ve actually found somewhere we both like, and that for the first time I feel reasonably comfortable about buying. I was always not quite keen when we made offers on other places, but this time I felt much better. The couple selling it seem very nice, and we got to have a good long chat with them at the second viewing that the estate agent didn’t bother to show up for.

    I really hope it will be alright. People have warned us not to get too over-excited as sales fall through quite often, so I’m doing my best, but so far everything has gone fairly smoothly.

    In a whirlwind of activity since Thursday, and despite two bank holidays getting in the way I have: had an offer accepted; commissioned a conveyancer; started a mortgage application from scratch, got it approved in principle, moved it on to full application, and paid the valuation fee; got quotes for surveys; and done some of the basic paperwork for the estate agent and the conveyancer. Not bad really! And now I’m just waiting to hear back about the next stage from the mortgage lender.

    It’s a bit scary, and the amount of things to do is quite overwhelming, but I’m pleased to have ploughed through the first bit, and I’ve had no major hiccups TOUCH VIRTUAL WOOD. Actually touch virtual wood sounds a bit pervy, don’t touch that.

    So that’s Item 1, and it’s a massive relief because we’re both absolutely sick of house hunting.

    Item number 2 – my Dad’s got a job! And at his first interview since he got made redundant too! He’s been applying and applying for things, stuff from the job centre and things we’ve found online, and generally he’s not heard anything back at all. Mum has frequently said he’s not going to find anything, she really doesn’t think he is, no one is replying, he’s too old, that’s it now until he retires at 65, etc. etc. And then a little while ago I found him an online advert for home delivery drivers at Sainsburys, he applied, and he got an interview!

    He was quite nervous I think, especially as he’s not had an interview for years, and I tried to encourage them not to get their hopes up too much just because he’d got an interview. But anyway, he went along, he completed a Highway Code assessment ON A COMPUTER (thank fuck he did that basic computer skills course recently – he didn’t have a clue before), had his interview, and they offered it to him straight away! Subject to references and all that stuff, but still.

    I’m SO pleased for him, and proud of him, and I know he’ll be really good at this job. And it’s Sainsburys, so hopefully they wouldn’t lay him off before he gets to 65 in a couple of years’ time.

    Item number 3 – I’m 30 on Saturday! Eeek! My birthday celebrations start tomorrow with a dinner out with friends and my brother, and then on Saturday we’re going to Go Ape for a foresty zip-liney terrified-of-heights-why-did-I-book-this adventure. I’m really hoping it won’t rain, because that will be crap and annoying, but fingers crossed the gods will smile upon my special day and it will all be alright. And I won’t get stuck up a tree in hysteria and need to be rescued via ladder.

    So yes, lots of things going on as you can see. And now it’s two MORE bank holidays this weekend, before everything finally gets back to normal.

    Right, I better dash because I’ve still got SO much to do.

    Further updates after the weekend, unless I’m still up a tree.

  3. No, Las Iguanas, you shall not have my hundreds of pounds

    April 11, 2011 by superlative

    In two weeks and five days I shall have matured to the plump old age of 30. Hooray for me.

    As part of my celebration of not having died for 30 years and of generally being awesome, I thought I would have a small dinner out with some friends. The restaurant I chose for this honour was Las Iguanas, because I’ve been there quite a lot of times before, I like Mexican food, and it generally has quite a good atmosphere with nice carnivally music and cocktails and whatnot.

    However, their group bookings policy is absolutely retarded, and as a consequence I am taking my business elsewhere instead.

    Look how demanding they are:

    • You have to pay a deposit of £5 per person. Given I’m hoping to have 15 people, that would mean me shelling out £75 in advance, which they would refund on the night, but which means any cancelled places would cost me £5.
    • You don’t get to pick what time you come, they do. For weekend groups, they impose two sittings: one at 6.30pm, and one at 9.30pm. I don’t really want either of those times, nor do I want to be told by the restaurant that’s supposed to be providing a service what time I may humbly come and give them money.
    • Everyone has to choose their food in advance. How much of a pain would that be, trying to arrange it all in advance with friends? And it completely saps half the atmosphere out of it, as the meal is reduced (along with the above demands) to a streamlined money-extraction process where they get you in and out at a time that suits them as fast as possible.
      I should point out that if you don’t want to order in advance, they graciously allow you to choose the Fiesta Menu. The Fiesta Menu is a reduced selection of items that costs £18.20 per person. However, if you add up the individual prices of many of those items, quite a lot of combinations don’t actually cost £18.20. I’m not including the nachos they give you on arrival, because as we all know those are practically valueless. So basically if you don’t want to order in advance, you can pay more and choose from less.

    No, Las Iguanas. NO NO NO. This meal was meant to be about me, not you. I’m the one who is turning 30. You are not 30, and it’s not your party. I’m sure my group would have easily spent £20 per person, quite possibly more once you add on drinks, so this booking was worth £300-£400 to you, but now you shall not have it. YOU SHALL NOT PASS.

    I’m going to Café Rouge instead. The woman on the phone was very nice, they don’t need a deposit, they didn’t bat an eyelid at a group size of 15 on a Friday night, and they don’t make you choose in advance. And I subtly slipped in that it’s my birthday, so I’m fairly sure they’ll have tied some balloons to my chair before I arrive. The only thing they wanted to know was how long we thought we’d stay, so they could get an idea of if they could book the table for someone else afterwards or not.

    MUCH MORE REASONABLE. And much more about the needs of the customer than the needs of the restaurant.

    Stupid Las Iguanas can return to its iguana-hole.

  4. Loads of stuff, crammed into one blog post

    October 13, 2010 by superlative

    I have so many things I could blog about at the moment that I haven’t actually blogged about any of them. Which is a shame, because usually anything I have to say is both interesting and hilarious, and you are therefore being unfairly deprived.

    So I will have to do a very quick run down of the great shifting sands that are my life right now, and I apologise in advance for the brevity.

    Dirty thirty
    Chris turned 30 last weekend. Although he’d already had his main party for it (the pirate party a couple of weeks ago), I tried still to make his birthday a bit special for him, and I think he had a nice weekend overall. It was gloriously sunny, which was pleasant for October, and so we were able to indulge his penchant for lounging around semi-clad on the beach one last time before the winter hits. He was also able to take some nice pictures with the SLR camera he got for his birthday, even though neither of us knows how to use it properly yet. The ones of the fit man playing beach volleyball came out particularly well.

    I did some balloons for him at home (he likes balloons), and we had a few people over for champagne on Saturday night before going out for a bit of dancing at the Brighton Ballroom. Not as many people came to the champagne drinking as I would have liked, but I suppose that’s because practically everyone came to the pirate party and you can’t keep on demanding people celebrate your birthday.

    So yes, he’s 30 now and seemed to cope with it rather well. I have six months to get used to the idea before I hit the big three-o myself. Six months I’m going to cling onto defiantly. ‘Late twenties’ sounds so much better than 30 or ‘early thirties’ and so I’m reluctant to give it up. Maybe I’ll just start saying ‘very very late twenties’ once I pass the milestone.

    Open University
    My course has been going fairly well so far, although it is quite time-consuming. I’ve had my first two assignments back just a week ago; they’re only practice assignments, but they’re meant to give you an idea of whether you’re ready for the course and to give you practice at the assignment format. For the first one, a computer-marked multiple choice one, I got 100%, and for the tutor-marked written one I got 99%, so woo hoo! I guess that means I should be able to manage the course OK.  I’ve really missed the validation you feel when you get a piece of academic work back with ticks all over it and a nice comment at the end. I just hope I do so well when the assignments start actually counting towards my final mark.

    Flat hunting
    We have started flat hunting again, as we suddenly found that with a 15% deposit there are mortgages we can actually afford. And in a shocking display of speed, we saw five properties last Friday, saw the best one again on Monday, and today I’ve put in our first ever offer on a flat with the estate agent. I’m waiting to hear back at the moment.

    I have found the whole process VERY stressful and unsettling, purely because I don’t handle change very well and I’m terrified of committing to the wrong thing. I was alright up until the point where we started thinking about making an offer, and then I had a complete freakout and probably pissed Chris off a bit with my general flappiness. I’ve settled down a bit since then, and I was quite a bit happier once we had a mortgage agreement in principle sort out, as that gave me more confidence as a buyer.

    We’ve gone in a bit under the asking price for the flat we like, and the estate agent indicated afterwards that it will probably be turned down, as the seller has received an offer for that price before. We are in a strong position to buy and move quickly though, so you never know. And the fact he’s been offered that price before made me think actually it may not have been that cheeky an offer; people obviously think it’s worth about that much.

    So anyway, I’ll wait to hear back I guess, and then we’ll see if we want to increase our offer or look elsewhere if the man says no. It’s very exciting, but very scary, and I have to not think about it too hard or I start feeling sick.

    Other bits and bobs
    The X Factor has started its live shows at last (bam bam bam, bam bam b’naa naa), and has picked a right motley crew for the final 16. Well, final 14, because two of them have gone already. I hate loads of them, I’m indifferent about the majority of them, and I only like about two or three acts. Still, it was nice to scream at the screen again for a while on Saturday night, and Twitter always comes alive during X Factor and that adds to the fun. My current favourite is probably Treyc despite the fact she cannot spell Tracy correctly, but I also quite like the fitty twink boyband (because they are fitty twinks), and Rebecca is alright, and even the made-up girl band seemed OK to me. Who knows who we’ll end up with by the series finale. It isn’t the strongest year, but I shall watch for a giggle nonetheless.

    Oh yes, and Smash EDO is conducting one of its idiotic protests in Brighton again today. I’ve written previously about how ridiculous and pointless their protests are, so I’m not sure I can be bothered to get into it again. All I will say is that they’ve dubbed their protest ‘Hammertime’ (hmm, peaceful protest, or MC Hammer tribute?), one person was arrested for carrying a blade in about the first hour, they’ve covered their faces again (always a sign of good intentions), and they’ve probably cost the police hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    I’m sure the protest will be entirely successful at achieving the permanent closure of the EDO factory. I’m going to hold my breath. Ready? Holding it. Still not closed? Still even now not closed? Not even remotely bothered by the protesters you say? And nor is Israel? Or the Palestinians? Oh right. Well fuck that then, I was turning purple anyway.

    Smash EDO supporters often like to leave abusive comments on my blog if I dare to question the motive, method or efficacy of their ‘protest’. I wonder if I’ll get any today? Let’s see shall we….