Thursday, 25 February 2010

'The hippopotamus was no ignoramus, and sang her this sweet serenade...'

...I have never seen that much mud in my life. Not even once. Except maybe the time I fell over in the stagnant pond and lost a welly. Or when I went hunting for Mickey's shoe in the wonderous New Hampshire bog. OK, so I may have seen that much mud in my life. But I'm pretty sure I've never tried to play rugby in it before.

Yesterday I reached the pinnacle of my manhood. I have spent years of my life in the pursuit of all things big, butch and scary, and have been laughed at whenever I have claimed to be those things. NO MORE. Alas, I have left the land of the small and timid people to become one of the most fearsome, savage adventurers of the world. I might even explore the possibilities of become a Viking.

At about a quarter to two, one cloudy afternoon (yesterday, in fact), I donned my number 6 shirt (how peculiar) and ran fearsomely out onto the pitch. I then took great delight in smushing people much bigger than me. Repeatedly. And slipping over in scrums because of the absurdly-short (suck on that, Philip Larkin, I can use compound adjectives too!) studs in my children's boots. So perhaps I have a long way to go to be big, but I think that I definitely have butch and scary in the bag after my expedition to the dark side.

As far as I know, there aren't any photos from the match, but I would like to assure all of my readers that I can strike fear into the hearts of props the world about. Be afraid. And instead I have included a photo of what I would look like if I were a Viking. And had a beard.

To top it all off, after being fearsome I was awarded forward of the match. An honour that still seems absurd. A forward? Me? Are you sure? Hooray for trying out new things, and let that be a lesson to all the people who mocked me and told me I wasn't butch and scary enough. HA!

And now that I have had a chance to be both a blindside and an openside flanker, I can happily say that it isn't quite so bad after all. I may even try again one day. But it would be nice to have the chance to do something sneaky deaky with the ball every now and again.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

It's Christmas time, mistletoe and wine...

...children singing Christian rhyme. Or Megan, Rachel and Jayne salsa dancing with Nadia. Which is largely the same thing, I reckon.

About a week and a half ago (I'm not exactly sure of the dates), it was Christmas time at 20 Sussex Road. Sadly we roll a little behind the times, but it was fantabulous to stretch the wonders of the holiday season well into January.

Having celebrated the birthday of a certain Mrs. MFA Carrot in the last week of term, it was deemed that to avoid stealing the thunder of said personage, we would postpone our celebration of all things merry and delightful. Which was duly done. (It also provided a very necessary opportunity for certain unnamed, disorganised people to actually do the purchasing of Christmas pressies!)

In life, it seems to me, that there are some kinds of gifts that are better than all of the others. Of course amongst these are the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience... (see Galatians 5 for full details of last years anniversary card). But putting aside all things holy, I really like toys. And when I say I really like toys, I REALLY like toys. So as far as Christmas is concerned, all things stocking-related provide hours of entertainment. (Any donations to the retirement fund for the inhabitants of 20 Sussex Road are always appreciated...) And as we are poor, financially-challenged students, we took the Father Christmas route for our gifts for each other.

In case you are confused as to what this really means, I AM Father Christmas. Bringing peace and goodwill to all men (or was that the angels? Because I'm pretty sure I'm not one of those...) Anyway, I jiggled my belly and wiggled my nose for all (as did Megan and Jayne), and stocking presents appeared! We had a spectacular time, and ate turkey mole and spiced pound cake. For those who might be a little concerned, no moles were harmed in the filming of this programme. Of course my stocking was the bestest of the shopping complex, and included pirate candles, bubble gum that insults you in Shakespearian language, and all sorts of other wonderful surprises. Jayne got a dance with Nadia DVD, from which we were able to ascertain that although we are not very good at salsa dancing, neither is Nadia, which is a considerable encouragement.

As if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared, and we read the gospel according to Luke; we spent a wonderful evening together amidst fun, merriment and a loaf of cake with no legs. And a reasonable amount of raucous laughter.

Attached are a couple of photographs of our dastardly adventures and superfluous 'scapades; please take particular note of the Christmas tree fashioned from cardboard toilet roll tubes. Which had not been in the fridge.

I feel a terrifying attack of the waffle coming over me, but am reluctant to fetcher la vache until I have told the story of the CELEBRITY GUESTS who came over for lunch today. We were joined by none other than David and Jono of the Graveshifters show (University Radio York), of particular fame amongst the members of Vanbrugh CU for their Bible study-leading, toasty-making skills. In our very own house.

It might be the case that David and Jono have something of the Feathers about them, but we had a minor food crisis. It seems that although 5 loaves and two fish can feed 5,000, 36 sausages and half a bag of potatoes are not sufficient for 5 hungry students. A very mysterious thing happened. I have cooked sausages many times in my life before, and never have I been met with such a strange occurrence. Yes, when you cook them they shrink, but these sausages were so enthusiastic in their shrinkage--almost to the point of aggression--that when we took them out of the oven they were the size of cocktail sausages.

We did what any sane person would do in this situation: we ate a lot of cake. A LOT of cake. And once again, cake and custard saved the day. And I will forever be of the opinion that there are few things in life better than chocolate cake and Articulate in the same afternoon. Which I would like to point out was won by the girls. Due to their superior knowledge of bird life (in particular Chaffinches).

And now it is time for me to go and combat the mighty and evil forces of the claminator. That is all.

Monday, 1 February 2010

My housemate is a carrot

I am sorry to have to announce that a curious change has come over one Megan Frances Abigail. We spent a glorious weekend together in the cold and snow of Shropshire, with our other housemate Jayne Stinkypants. The food was wonderful (and if you've never seen anyone eat an entire bowl of sour cream by itself, it is pretty entertaining), the Bibley-talkey bits were excellent and we slept in a beautifully freezing cardboard house. At least I did. And we all know that you can't beat frostbite for making a weekend memorable.

So you can imagine my consternation when, upon our return, we retire to bed quite as we should be, and wake up quite as we shouldn't be. At least in Megan's case. I'm not sure what the medical term is for turning into a carrot in your sleep, but I reckon it's pretty serious.

What's worse is that now Jayne and I have the dilemma of what to do with her. It seems very heartless to eat one of your best friends, but similarly wasteful not to. And if we leave her too long she'll osmose and get all old and soggy. And if we put her in the back of a wardrobe somewhere in Cambridge I reckon she'll go runny at some point.

Feel free to contact me with any suggestions/recipe ideas as we mourn the sad loss of our friend.

In other news, there was snow. SNOW. In England. ENGLAND. What is the world coming to? And it wasn't piddly, fiddly little teeny-weeny-eeny-smeeny amounts of snow, it was great gadzooking monster amounts of snow. At least for England. Especially that fine suburban hub of Alton-en-le-wey. Apparently.

And what do all sensible English people do when it snows? They go 'boggan in their wellinga boots. Of course. Or tobogganing in their wellington boots if they have a little more self-respect. Preferably wearing the most absurd clothing they can find. In my case a full waterproof outfit belonging to my father. You can't beat flourescent orange trousers. Ever. Especially when the waistband stops just two inches below your armpits. Spectacular.

I decided to go 'boggan, but my adventures were somewhat more spectacular than most people's. I like to believe that this is because I have more imagination, but probably it is because I wear bigger knickers. We managed to develop a new and improved sledding technique, which involved three overgrown children (substitute adults where appropriate), lying one on top of the other on top of the other on top of the toboggan. And then taking the hill head-first alongside all of the other, less-adventurous inhabitants of Guildford.

This is not, however, the peak of the excitement! Which came when two girls, probably aged about 9 and 12, come bombing down the hill on their marvellously speedy-weedy 'boggan with metal runners. They see a group of people at the bottom of the hill and decide not to stop, not to change direction, not even to call out, just to keep going and see what happens. If you have never had a sledge go over your leg at full-speed, it is pretty surprising. Not the most comfortable moment of my life, but possibly worth it for the spectacular bruises and hard lump that is still in my leg.

Chuck the Pig is in fine form, as is Rachel, and three cheers for Merrie England.