Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Joys of Roger Kirk Breakfast

I haven't written in forever, I suck at life, Rachel is a smellypants etc etc. But I am here now, and that will have to suffice. Actually, as I am now in England again and therefore contactable, this blog is potentially redundant. But I like listening to myself speak, so I will continue. HA. That told you.

I am in England! Go figure! So, after camp I went to stay in Northern New Hampshire with the mountains and the bears (and trees and rocks and rocks and trees), and had a fab time with Megan doing a lot of sleeping and a bit of sunbathing. Then I went on a bus adventure to Cape Cod, and pretended that I was friends with all of the important people who were on holiday near by. There was more sleeping, more sunbathing, some EXTREME sunburn, a lot of ice cream, and some cycling. And some Oxford commas. He has done marvellous things and the suchlike.

Then it was home, James, don't spare the horses, and back to Merrie England. Three cheers for Merrie England, because that is where la famille reside. And THEN!!! The American contingent arrived! And I had a lot of chaotic sightseeing with a lot of people named Ellen, most of which seemed to involve dinosaurs or Romans as far as I can tell.

My. House. Is. Amazing. As are my housemates, and my landlords. Best idea ever. I am never leaving this house and these people; try and make me. Beautiful room, beautiful view, lots of putting bizarre things in each others' beds, and clambering into/onto each others beds for late night chatting and giggles. Peril ensues when three people plus very fuzzy dressing gowns attempt to fit in one bed. I.e. we are too fat, and should stop eating so much nutella and milk tart. Or just not try to fit three in the bed. Because the little one did say, 'roll over', but they didn't.

Rugby started off being amazing. Fantabulous new players, fantabulous new coaches, lots of mud and dressing like farm animals. Then came the FATEFUL DAY when we played HYMS. A.k.a. the harbingers of death and gloom. Perhaps it is common knowledge that playing scrum half results in injury nine times out of ten, as it certainly seems to be the case for me. Everything was going swimmingly, except for the swimming which was largely ineffective due to the glut of grass and the lack of water. And then my foot snapped in half. Or something a little less dramatic. But it did make quite a spectacular noise.

And then there was Roger. Roger was my backslab, otherwise known as a 'pot'. He was a knee-high monstrosity of plaster and bandages, and he was not my friend. He lasted four days and was replaced by Roger Kirk Breakfast who is like a shoe with no toes, and the colour of a pink highlighter. RKB, as he is affectionately known, has a magical sandal so that he can go anywhere (except underwater). So far he has been pretty much nowhere (except underwater). However, anticipate many more adventures soon, possibly involving bananas and wooly underwear.

That is a picture of Roger with a wooly hat on.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

P.S. This was actually funnier...

One of the girls went to change in the toilet stall. She actually managed to drop her pyjamas into the toilet. I don't think I have ever laughed so much. Many times have I attempted such a feat in my life, but I have yet to lose any item of clothing into the offending receptacle a.k.a. the toilet. Very funny indeed.

'The BISCUIT will only dare to be just a BISCUIT when it is with its TRUE FRIEND the POTATO'

This is a sad fact of life, and actually applies to much more than biscuits and potatoes. It also applies to Rachels and her comrades.

I went on an adventure. I did eeky, screechy, hanging-about-under-the-bed-due-to-worries things while waiting for my new visa, and THEN I went back over the seas and far away to the land of nod. Actually that is a lie, as it was not the land of nod, it was the land of North America. The wonders of a summer camp in New Hampshire to be more specific. Es war wunderbar. And much fun was had by all.

It wasn't always peachy, and there were some big, bad, and very fierce meanies around (I very nearly had to call Nanna), but I was supported by all of the good potatoes. And, after all, it is the potatoes who make the world go around, not the big, bad, and very fierce other peoples.

It is difficult to think about any particular moments of camp that were enormously fantabulous, as there were lots of good moments. I did very much enjoy waking the girls up to go on our M.I. (Mission Impossible) by climbing up into the rafters and stamping loudly. So loudly, in fact, that one of my co-counselors (who hadn't quite grasped what we were about to do) was ready to come at us with a lacrosse stick. We then crept into the kitchen to steal food, took a tv from the room of one of the leadership staff, and watched High School Musical 3 (oh, hooray, I can't contain the excitement) late into the night back in our cabin. This was greatly improved by almost getting caught a couple of times, particularly funny for us because the girls didn't realise that all of the leadership staff knew exactly what we were going to be doing and when! Surprising that they were so un-observant that night, eh?!

Not much more to say right now, as my bed is beckoning, but I might add more details as and when I remember such things.

Pip pip!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

She died, she did; she died of a broken rib, she did...

I am not actually pushing up the daisies, I have not gone to meet my maker, and I have not run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. I am, in fact, very much alive. I have just been busy, that is all. I also did not have internet access, but that is not the point. BUSY, BUSY.

So as not to bore you all to death in one sitting, I am going to tell you about my summer in short and magical installments. Because if I were to show it to you all at once, the wonders of it might hurt your eyes. Like Neverland. But I haven't ever been there, so I don't really know.

HOWEVER, I have been to the land of the hamburger/onion fairies, a.k.a. French Canadia. In a car. It wasn't a very big car, but it was just big enough for two people to sleep in when the back seats were folded down and the front seats were pushed right forward. To which I must say, 'Hurrah!' AND we hung curtains in the windows so that the monsters and the creepy people couldn't see in.

And so I can honestly say that I am very well acquainted with Walmart, Montreal. Actually, the car park more than the actual shop. (If I were really Americany I would have said, 'parking lot,' and, 'store.' But I'm not.) It turns out that it is perfectly legal to park all night in a Walmart carpark. So why on earth would I want to pay for a hotel, when I could curl up in the back of a car in the middle of nowhere in the cold and wet?

Naively, I had imagined that a trip to Canada in the summer might possibly involve sunshine. This was not the case. At all. Instead it rained. And then it rained some more. And when we thought it couldn't rain did.

We did not, in fact, do very much of note in Montreal, due to chronic dampness and the resulting trench foot. However, if you are ever there, and come across a shifty street/alleyway/quality restaurant, metro station or hotel/Montreal's red light district, you can be pretty sure that I was there first.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Here comes the bride [substitute college graduate]

I am a graduate. Somewhat. Actually, I'm not, but I like to pretend that I am because it makes me feel grown up and important.

And all of my limbs are still mostly attached. And as rugby is clearly the most important thing in the world I will talk about that first. (It is also largely responsible for the fact that I may not be able to walk after the age of thirty, but that is insignificant because I will be practically past it by then anyway. It is downhill from here onwards.) After half of the world left to go home, some intrepid explorers beavered their way back to Mount Holyoke in time for our alumni game. This is effectively an excuse for the alumni to make us feel bad about ourselves while disembodying our limbs. Or something similar. However, I only sustained mild knocks to two knees (lucky that I have four, really), and a few weeks later they are only about 29% painful, so no harm there. Plus one of them made an exciting crunching noise. Hardly surprisingly, the alumni team won, but we all had a good time, including coach, who started playing for us and then switched over to the dark side near the end of the game.

Because only having one big event in one day would be boring, I rushed from the match to the Commencement concert, where we sang somewhere in the region of 200 pieces of music which we learnt in two and a half days. Whilst wearing musical ties/do-rags with peaks and 'biker babe' written on them/fake moustaches. We also had many adventures as the mischief fairies, cookie fairies and other such larks. We came, we sang, we conquered. I had managed to learn all of the pieces without the result of such effort being death, and then I went back to the rugby social. Of course. And then I may possibly have died in a corner.

One of the most exciting adventures of this period--maybe even the entire year--was our trip to Interskate 91. In the mall, there is a REAL rollerdisco! I was incredulous that such a thing could exist, let alone be upstairs and attached to a laser tag thingum. They even had proper roller skates, none of this fancy in-line malarky (although they had those as well). The laser tag turned out to be somewhat less than perfect, consisting of a room with bits of painted corrugated card hanging from the ceiling to hide behind. The game lasted five minutes and half of the guns didn't even work.

There were more Commencement-related adventures after this: Baccalaureate--some speeches and we sang something whilst dressed in the silly outfits, i.e. graduation gowns made in 'one size fits all' the same time. I am not even joking, as Sarah and I actually tried it, and it wasn't uncomfortable except for the neck hole trying to strangle me. However, I maintain that this is as a result of her being about four inches taller than me. Had she also been a leprechaun we would have been fine. I also walked in the laurel parade (everyone wears white and carries this enormous string of leaves and then throws it onto our founder's grave whilst singing). I was supposed to be behind the alumni and in front of the seniors carrying a red rose, but so many people gave me the wrong info that I ended up with the seniors. Oh well! Commencement involved more wearing of the silly outfits in the sun and many of us melted in our seats like the wicked witch of the something-or-other. And as soon as the ceremony ended it rained. The whole weekend seemed to involve food--which seems to be a common theme for the Americans--and I build another fort. This one was possibly even better than the last. I had my bed raised up on two sets of risers, lofted as high as it would go. The other bed was at its lowest height pushed next to it and under the tall bed was another mattress. What this allowed was a zig-zagging, bed-rolling, death-defying, monkey-eating adventure. (I am actually lying about the monkeys.) You could lie on the top bed, roll sideways onto the other bed, roll sideways onto the mattress and then slide under the bottom bed and out the other side. You could then climb up and do it again. What this fort allowed was for Jess and Hannah to sleep in my room, and me to nearly knock myself out on the bedpost.

Ice cream was eaten, bags were packed and I made it all the way to Reading, MA, to Jess' house for the start of an epic journey to Darkest Peru, a.k.a. Montreal, Canada. However, that is a tale for another day.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


*Sniff sniff*

Turns out that I might be leaving the land of plenty rather too soon for my liking. And it does need to be said that the troops have put up a poor show of farewell support and are all RUNNING AWAY. Like cowardy custard.

Nobody loves me,
Everybody hates me,
I think I'll go and eat worms...

Actually I did eat worms once. It wasn't that bad. Albeit they were dried. But worms are irrelevant to my life story right now. Which once again may have to be focused on the BEST SPORT EVER. Which is rugby. Obv. And rugby union of course, none of that silly rugby league stuff thank you very much.

Last week we played our last (ish) match against Framingham State, who were, to put it delicately, big pooey meanies. We did not like them. We did not like them in a box, we did not like them with a fox. We did not like green eggs and ham, we did not like them Sam I Am.

We should have won. And all of us knew it, but that would have involved a little more energy. However, we did play very well--I think the best we have played as a team this year! And I did acrobatics, as can be seen in the photo. After a lot of deliberation I chose to believe that it was taken immediately after a kick. Otherwise it just proves that I really suck at rugby. I even got to be a rather disorientated scrum half at the end after Violet broke herself. Which was bizarre and exciting and terrifying all at once.

Other events since my last post have been approximately 394 concerts. The last of which was incredibly sad, and we sang a song about Mount Holyoke. Which almost made me cry. After the concert was an event called the 'Choral Banquet'. Basically an excuse for all of the singers to eat cake and laugh at each other. And I was given a beautiful leaving present--a framed piece of music chosen specially for me!

Rugby adventures continued, with tacky practice. Again. Tacky practice = an opportunity to be as tasteless as possible. There were several people dressed as swine flu victims, Miss California... I went as... 'your Mum'. Essentially I dressed as as trashy as possible. Whilst trying to maintain my dignity and cover all of the important parts of me. The piece de resistance was a truly hideous blonde wig and chest hair. And a beard. We also sampled the 'wine' that we had created in the basement of Pearson's hall. And it tasted good, and no one had to be taken to the hospital. Fantastic!

The following day was the rugby banquet, and awards were given out for all of the daft things we have done this semester. My award was for failing to understand slang. Entirely. It turns out that I am completely incapable of understanding double entendres. Alas, it could have been worse! And I also got the award from our coach for being there. ALL THE TIME. And enthusiastic and generally barmy. Etc. This award is super cool because it is a mini rugby ball. So for the past few days I have been throwing the ball to myself. Alone in my room. Instead of writing essays and revising for exams.

Exams are over and I only have half an essay left, so I am almost a free woman again, at which point I will almost certainly remember the much cooler and funnier things that have happened to me recently. And/or die in the corner of my room. I am hoping the former.

Now I must go and gorge myself on sugar, because Jess is leaving tomorrow and thus is required to eat all of the food that has been stashed in her room for the past three months. Sugar hangover here I come!

Friday, 17 April 2009

MHC ruggers are the biggest and the best...

...and they never take a break, and they never take a rest...

I would like to pretend that the sole reason that I have not blogged for most of my life is that I have been an incredibly busy bunny, and have had much more important things to do. Actually, I am just lazy. But that is not the only way in which this song is a lie. MHC ruggers are certainly not big. Not even slightly. Although we try to convince people that we are big on the inside, often to little avail.

I have been storming New England with the Mount Holyoke Lyons, as we are supposedly called. Although I am entirely of the opinion that we should be the Mount Holyoke Gerbils or something much more fearsome like that. I even went on an adventure to Wesleyan in the rain, only to discover that the match was cancelled due to the weather. Instead all 30 of us invaded a rather small pizza place, and ended up using every chair they owned, and worked our way through approximately 37 tonnes of pizza.

Rugby is wonderful, as always, and we have some fantastic rookies in this semester. So far I have only recieved some fairly minor injuries, and only one trip to a hospital which is something of a disappointment, and I will try harder and do better in future. This semester I am going for cool-sounding injuries only, so ruptured spleen is right up there at the top. Note to Mother: unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, Eliza makes it very difficult for me to inflict these kind of injuries on myself, and just tells me that I am being a 'pain in the butt' and to get off the pitch. BUT I am finally a lineout jumper, which is basically the best thing ever, as I get lifted EXTREMELY high in the air (fear of heights is being overlooked at present, I try to pretend that I am falling head first into a pit of marshmallows or something equally squishy). It also means that I get some really wonderful hand-shaped bruises and/or chafing on my thighs, just above my knees, which is seriously cool, and definitely adds to the 'Rachel is really hardcore' image that I have going on.

The bed fort in my room has gone, and has been replaced by a gigantic bed, which mostly is used to give the illusion that my floor is tidy. Indeed my floor is tidy, as all of the mess that would be on it is now on the bed. Other changes since my last post include further developments in my training to become a real American. I ate at McDonalds in the airport on my way to Washington D.C., and was disgusted with myself; I tried to push over the Washington Monument, I dyed eggs at Easter AND was visited by the Easter Bunny who gave me a wonderful basket of goodies, including a directionally-challenged penguin.

The above learning experiences occured on my many adventures. It seems that I am now a seasoned traveller, having spent Spring Break working my way through as many of the museums in Washington D.C. as could be fitted into my four day escapade there with Allison and the Craft family, along with three Chinese students. Easter was spent a little closer to home, in Reading, Massachusetts with rugby pal Jess. It was on this adventure that I was introduced to the wonder that is the Easter Bunny. He visited us (there were even footprints outside), and left each of us a basket of goodies.

Classes this semester have been largely uneventful, with the exception of my three hour seminar, with a professor who insists that we call him 'Oh Captain, my Captain', or if we prefer, 'Captain Benfey'. Hopefully you will recognise the reference to the 1989 film, 'Dead Poets Society'. If you don't, you are now charged with the responsibility of educating yourself, as it is pretty epic.

My life has been invaded by aliens and they have sucked out my soul. In other words, Chorale has become insane with concerts every other minute, and children, old ladies, dancing and abysmal poetry. We sang 'How can I keep from singing' at a retirement home, and by the end most of us were crying. This weekend is the weekend of death because we have the Mount Holyoke spring concert, and are performing Porpora's Magnificat, 4 of Rachmaninov's Six Choruses (same as last semester), two songs in Xhosa and one in Zulu. Someone, somewhere, then thought that it would be a good idea for us to perform in Mahler's third symphony the following day. I can't wait. Then, when it is over, I can sleep again.

Other escapades have involved posing as a member of the Model United Nations so that I could join in on a trip to Canada, climbing in the boot of Hil's car with two other ruggers and a ball, learning to play soccer, a.k.a. football for all you normal people (I am really struggling with the concept of non-contact at the moment, as it seems to be much more sensible to just shove people out of my way) AND--SUNSHINE!! Massachusetts has officially left the Ice Age, and it is now warm enough to go outside without a coat on!!

But alas, now I must leave, as I have just realised that the bad smell is coming from my rugby boots, which happen to be in my bed. I might go and move them...

Sunday, 18 January 2009

But I've got my brand new LAZER BEAM!!

Just over a week ago I made my epic return to the land of the criminally insane. And I am overjoyed to discover that they are still as bananas as when I left, and even more excited to discover that I am becoming one of them. It is fantastic, and I am even starting to use terms such as 'epic fail'; 'legit'; 'elevator' and 'store'.

The return journey was decidedly less eventful than its predecessor, and I managed to return to Mount Holyoke with all of my baggage and all of my appendages still attached, albeit a bit battered, smelly and thoroughly exhausted. They even fed me food which was more recognisable on the plane, although I am still not entirely convinced that scrambled eggs should ever be grey.

Since I have returned, my room has been transformed from your average single university bedroom (with an extra bed) into an adventure fort, otherwise known as 'the den'. This took two beds, four mattresses, eight bed risers, two rugs, a rugby banner and lots of fairy lights. Our beds are wonderful in that they can be one of two heights, so I set them as high as possible, put them on risers, pushed them together and put mattresses underneath. I spend a good hour or so lying on my back attaching lights to the inside, and hanging rugs/the rugby banner around the sides. Now I am a recluse and live under my bed(s).

I have not yet made it to breakfast since I have been back, largely because meals are only served in Prospect during January, and that is a ten minute walk in sub-zero temperatures. And I am not kidding. It is currently -10 outside. And has been colder. Also, they have not yet had the decency to serve us any food worth eating. I.e. rice and beans, rice and peach stir-fry (the strangest yet), weird lentil concoctions... However, I have inspected the menus for the next few days and it seems to be getting better. Today they even served us Grandad's favourite--macaroni cheese! And grey carrots. I thought that carrots were one of the easier things to cook. It seems that this is not the case.

My activities since I came back have been limited by the weather, and have largely involved dancing. I am taking two dance classes--one is swing dance and one is musical theatre choreography. Both are fantastic. I even made it to a swing dance lesson and dance in Northampton with real men! (We don't see those very often at Mount Holyoke) A couple of them were actually pretty good as well! It does need to be admitted that I found the dance on my second attempt. There had been one the previous day that Tamar and I had set out to find before realising that we neither knew where it was nor had the phone numbers of anyone else who was going. Instead we made a thrilling trip to CVS (the US equivalent of Boots or Superdrug), and then went and sat in Dunkin' Donuts until the next bus home. I am now legit a real American because I have been to the Seven Eleven AND Dunkin' Donuts. Then we went home and watched DVDs in the den. And managed to sleep three of us in there together despite nearly dying of heat exhaustion.

On our second adventure in Northampton, we went with two intentions. Firstly, we wanted to go to the dance, and secondly we wanted to watch Linn perform at the Yellow Sofa, at an open mic night. She did, and was fantastic. And Tamar read some poetry. And we made friends with a crazy guy called Mario who had an afro. Back next week to wow them some more with our amazing talenty stuff. From talenty land. Etc. What larks.

One thing does need to be said about the inhabitants of Northampton. Some of them are not exactly what I would call entirely normal. The open mic night provided a perfect example of said strangeness. There were a few performances by talented musicians, and we all relaxed and were enjoying ourselves. UNTIL...! The LAZER BEAM man. He began by singing a song about Spongebob Squarepants. We laughed. This guy was funny. From this point onwards it got progressively stranger, involving lyrics about brothers going off to war, getting shot and being feed apple sauce through a straw. A little uncomfortable. Followed by a song about an imaginary wife and child who would never leave him because he had a brand new LAZER BEAM. We didn't know whether to laugh or run away screaming. Instead we did neither and stared in horror and confusion. He stopped singing and I suspect that he won't be asked back. Linn, on the other hand, was very normal and very good. Hurrah!

Last night I attended an 'Awkward Junior Prom', where we all dressed up in absurd prom outfits and danced in an awkward way. And then shuffled home in the cold. Today I stayed in bed. Fantastic. And dreamed about my brand new lazer beam.

'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings.'