They went to the chapel Abbey and they… got married…

And I was there. Not as an official guest or even outside the Abbey, but as one of the million people along the Mall. Though we like to describe it more as The Inner Circle since access to our area was closed off at around 7am. That also meant our access to the toilets was cut off. FINALLY! My super talent of holding in my pee all day paid off!!!

X Marks The Spot

This ‘We’ I refer to is not in fact the Royal WE, though it would be appropriate for the occasion. We actually refers to Stacy and … well.. me. We left the husbands with the midgets, slung our bags on our shoulders and hopped a train to London. Then we checked into the hotel, threw our bags down (gently) and headed off to check out the scene around Buckingham Palace. We scoped out the spots with the best views, the most available space and access to toilets.

After thinking we’d got it all covered, we stopped and watched Lainey Lui do her thing from the Duke of York Steps for CTV, and then headed off to Covent Garden for pasta and wine before a stop at Marks and Sparks to get our Wedding Day food and drink supplies.

We returned to the hotel to rest our sore feet and set the alarm for 4am. It was a great plan that originally had us going to bed by 8.30. Only we did the lights out thing and couldn’t stop talking. Eventually though we realised that we had an important task ahead of us and 4am is never pretty, no matter how much sleep you get.

The alarm went off, we got ourselves clean and dressed and headed off to catch a bus. All of our fellow passengers were on the same mission as us. Except the one dude that was sitting up top who I think may have been riding the bus as an alternative to sleeping on the street. After all, it was cold the night before.

Anyway, we headed down the road toward the Canada Gates and aside from flashbacks from Backpack-Gate, I could see that there were definitely more people than we’d left behind the night before. The line up for the port-a-potties was not a joke. It looked like people lining up for the hottest nightclub in town. Luckily I peed 3 times in the hour before we left the hotel.

The previous evening we had decided to head up The Mall. There was plenty of room up front when we’d last seen it and if we were going to get a good view of something… anything.. then we were going to head up there. Only, as we ducked and weaved through the crowds outside of the palace and in front of the media buildings we stopped and looked at each other. Although it was packed almost everywhere, there was this one patch of grass that was open and available. Not only that, but it had a clear view of The Balcony. We were not sure that what we were seeing was to be believed. I mean this was PRIME real estate. Where were the rightful spotters?! Why were there people stacked like sardines to the left and right of where we were standing and yet here we stood .. with breathing space.

Quickly we went over the pros and cons of where we were versus where we had planned on going. There really were no positives to moving. Okay, so the procession was going to come back and go around the opposite side of the fountain, but from where we were we could see them come into The Inner Circle and we had a clear view of the the main gates where they’d enter. And again The Balcony. So we stayed.

And then they cut off access. No more interlopers in the Inner Circle (aside from Freddie and Conor who sweet talked security). And no more opportunity to pee. Awesome. Sort of.

There was a lot of time to kill, but it actually passed quickly. We could see the various morning programs doing their things. Adrian and Christine, Eamon, Piers and Anderson with Cat, GMA, etc. Between playing Guess The Guest and watching the buzzing inside the palace gates, we always had something to look at.

And then the guests started leaving for the wedding. First the big coaches filled with … who knows. Followed by the minivans with the likes of Chelsy Davy. And then the Rolls Royces started rolling. We missed Wills and Hot Harry since they left from Clarence House, but we saw the rest of the family from Prince Andrew and the girls underneath those hats to The Queen. Or as she is referred to in the Official Program: THE QUEEN. (Kanye would be proud. Speaking of.. I thought he was supposed to be invited to the wedding?!)

On the Way to the Wedding

Whilst people around the world got to watch the ceremony on television screens in homes, bars, hotels and even on beaches, those of us who sat there for hours only got the pleasure of listening to it on tannoys. It was surreal. The whole day was, but listening to the ceremony with a million others to that whole echo effect audio of the ceremony was by far the most surreal. It sounded like we were waiting for the announcement that the war was over. I am talking WWII here.

After the ceremony the buzz started to spread across the crowd because it meant they were on their way back. We all stood up and waiting to hear the cheers down The Mall get closer and closer. Finally we saw the horses start to round the corner and then the 1902 State Landau holding the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared. Followed by Harry and the kids and then Pippa and the kids, The Parents (and Camilla) and of course Lizzie and Phil.

Return to the Palace

The Queen Returneth

The crowd was electrified and once they were all safely inside Buckingham Palace, the sea of people who had been lining The Mall started to fill the road in front of us. Some people hopped the barrier to get closer, but we knew that we still had it good. We still had a clear view (aside from those 2 Australian douchenozzles that decided to stand on the chair in front of us) of The Balcony. And as excited as people were, they were quiet. It was almost like you could hear the handle turn on the balcony doors and when we saw the glass on the doors vibrate a bit the crowed roared for the married couple.

Oh, Hi. Didn't See You There

Soon the whole family came out (or at least the wedding party, The Parents (and Camilla) and THE QUEEN and Philly Phil) and we had the kisses and the fly overs and the wave goodbye.

Are We All Here?

And then it was over.

We battled the crowds and the miscommunication between groups of police officers on where we were allowed to exit, headed off to Westminster Abbey and heard the end of the bells peeling, saw the Houses of Parliament, watched Big Ben ring in 3 O’Clock and then sat our worn and weary bums on the tube back to the hotel.

For the next 3ish hours we sat and hoped our bodies would repair themselves in the comfort of the room with the nice mattresses (though Stacy was too sore and apparently scared of ladders to climb up to her bed) and clean and accessible toilet! We looked through the Evening Standard at all of the photos that they had already printed and watched tv so we could see everything that we had heard.

Three days later, I can honestly say that I have not recovered. It still feels surreal and I still feel exhausted. Kudos to Stacy for flying back to the States on Sunday and being able to go to work tomorrow. You are a champion. A champion that got to see little Wills marry his Princess. How crazy is that?!

The only downside to the trip, was that Hot Harry obviously got confused and didn’t have us on the guest list for the night time celebrations. Next time, right? When Harry gets married, I’ll totally be down for staying at Base2Stay again. Just send the invite there for me. Thanks!

And Thank You Stacy, Jennie, Freddie and Conor, Benni and Timo and the amazingly behaved public (aside from those two assclown Aussies and then early morning drunk) for a great experience. And to Wills and No More Waity Katie for the occasion.

Cheers!

Royal Revellers

I tell you I’m here again …. Where have you been?

So just the other night I wrote that I would be getting back on my hobby-horse and updating this thing.  It shouldn’t be that hard really should it?  I mean if you talk to me, then you know I have no problem running my mouth for hours and hours.  And then I still have breath left over for some more.   I guess it is just that as things start to seem better in the day to day running of my life, my body and brain are just too exhausted.  The happy on the outside thing takes a lot of work.  Even the moments where I am genuinely happy!  But I am getting better, not that it hurts any less or that I miss my father even the tiniest amount less than I did the day I found out.  In fact, I miss him more every day. But this is a battle within myself that I have to win because I’ve got other people around who need me to stay, at least relatively, sane.

Anyway, pack that away before I start to cry!

I have started to upload more photos to the photo sites, just like I promised *coughcough*last year*coughcough*.  This process is not a quick one, so I shall offer you samples of what have been added, what are awaiting approval and what is next!

Firstly, Steph’s stagette! I did it Steph! It only took me 6 and 1/2 months!  My excuse is that I didn’t want to remind you of your single life so soon after you gave it up. =)

Kirsty and Steph

Then I’ve skipped right over Christmas (hey, I didn’t say there was any logic to the order here!) and Dublin is going up. Expect there to be the usual photos of Lee and I: eating, drinking, sitting in airports and generally being idiots!  Doesn’t matter whether we are at home or in a foreign land, we are who we are and that’s quite alright by us!

P.S: Warning Cath, I am about to show a food photo that will be even uglier to you than the “pasta with the gross sauce”.

To start our day the right way we headed down Grafton Street in search for a proper Irish Breakfast!  We found a perfect little pub called Davey Byrnes which served us up a tasty and filling breakfast – hold the white pudding (as I was too scared of that… later finding out it is not as nasty as black pudding which I love).

Irish Tummies Were Smiling!

Ooh look at this!  I’ve just found this on “The Google”: Just off Grafton Street, Davy Byrnes is one of Dublin’s most famous pubs – references in Joyce’s Ulysses mean it is very much on the tourist circuit. Despite all this fame it remains a genuine, well-run place and equally popular with Dubliners, who find it a handy meeting place.  How weird, we had no clue!  Usually before we go somewhere I do a lot of research on where to eat, what to see, etc.  This time I had tunnel vision and all I wanted was a Pint of Plain.  Or two.  Or three.

And well, not that I doubted this victory for a moment, I got what I wanted.  Aaaahhhh, Guinness straight from the source.

Lee, Me and 2 pints of Guinness

Please feel free to comment on the frizz upon my head.  It only got worse as the weekend went by.  Limited hair products thanks to the Clear Plastic Baggie in Your Carry On  rule plus Dublin’s cold rain left me looking worse for wear over the entire weekend.  I’m please to report that I look MUCH hotter right now as I sit here typing thing in my pyjamas with a mini afro.  Take my word for it, a photo would be far too much stimulation for you!

Lee however, he looked hot.  I am talking PHWOAR hot too, not sauna hot.  He even did his hair all special for this trip and I think it suited him well!

The Fonz - Irish Clown Style

And the obligatory – Shot in the Departures Lounge.  Because I know when I die I will become famous for having the most photos taken beyond airport security.  It’s something I aspire to and I am sure will make our future children honoured to have us as parents.

So here is Lee, ready to get back to England and back to work!

The Excitement Has Overcome Him

As with most things in my life, I have done this out of order.  Sure the Stagette came before the trip to Dublin, but the trip to Toronto did too!  They are the next photos to go up and as they are all about family, they will appear on the family page rather than the “Away” page.   That tidbit of information was for those of you on the edge of your seat wanting to know all about the method being my photo archiving madness.  If you post me the equivalent of £9.99 each, you will get full access to jumbled mess that is my brain and the randomness it often spews out through my mouth.

So, yes, we went to Toronto and it was great.  And I’ve just realised that I’ve said all of this in the last post.  But it was and we did have a really good but exhausting time.  Lee saw his first NHL game, and for me it was a great one! The Canucks kicked butt and didn’t even bother taking names.  The Leafs were messy, they had no fight in them and they definitely had no desire to shoot the puck.  But I digress as I have no photos to show of this, seeing as I was too busy drinking.

I do however have photos of my family, and Superman.  That’s right – Superman.  Bet you didn’t know that I know him! However to see his photos you will have to wait for them to appear online as it looks like I made different ones in the size required to fit on this page without spilling over the edge.

First we have the people who appear to be normal…. but are they really?

Momma and Luke

Well looks like ONE was… and shockingly it was my Mom.  Luke was easily swept over to the dark side by Cath and Lee though.

Lee's New Family

I love this photo.  It is like a wholesome family advertisement for … Jelly Tots.

To tie it up – all this and more will be coming your way.. and soon!

2006 is finally over and I must say that I am not too sad to see it gone. As horrible as it was to us (minus the whole getting married bit), we gave it a proper send off complete with a special performance from The King himself.

While I de-hangover myself, enjoy a snipet of Elvis singing to Princess Leia. More photos will follow…and words too!!!

No lines from songs to open this post. I figured that with New Year’s Eve upon us, most of you would be tired of the Christmas Music Assault that has been waged against us since late November. Instead I will take you on a picture tour of our Christmas.

This year we did things a little differently. With worries over how I’d manage myself on Christmas Day, Lee and I did the family thing on the weekend leading up to “the big day”. We spent Saturday visiting various Grandparents and then spending the evening/night/next day with his parents (and Russell too.. when he was popping in and out). It was a nice quiet time that saw me shed only a few tears here and there. Mostly because I didn’t win at either Scrabble or Yahtzee… but I was oh so close. Damn that deduct the total of the value of your remaining tiles!!! Damn that rule to Hell!!

Oops. I lost the Christmas Spirit there for a moment.

So we left Stratford on Christmas Eve and returned to Milton Keynes. We did our last minute wrapping, delayed going to sleep, went to bed, got back up to open just ONE present, then I sat up reading whilst Lee enjoyed his PS2 for a while, by the light of the Christmas tree (which not as massive as last year’s tree and shed far more needles, was still a good old tree and served us well!).

This is the night before. There were more presents under there on Christmas Day I swear.

Oh Christmas Tree....

We also quite liked to turn the lights off to enjoy my “table feature”. Instead of putting up lights outside, since I decided I was okay with acknowledging Christmas a little late, I tried to find different things I could do to Christmas Up The Place.

St.Kitts Rum Meets Christmas

Please note that I who always seem to be procrastinating, set our table not one, two or three days early, but four!! I was so impressed with myself. Right… back to the goings on.

So we woke up Christmas morning and instead of doing the whole adult thing of getting showered and dressed, we threw on bathrobes and ran downstairs for the gifts. That was once we popped the cork on the Bucks Fizz (no, not the group that went on to Eurovision fame and fortune, but sparkling wine and OJ).

Morning Hair and Booze. Mmm Mmm

I’m almost scared of myself in that photo and it has nothing to do with the fact that my robe can bring a blind man sight or send a seeing man blind. I also don’t remember the drinks being such a neon colour.

After the presents were opened, we finished the bottle of alcoholic goodness, got showered and dressed and then did the Gender Role thing which saw me in the kitchen whist Lee plopped himself in front of the PS2 to make sure he fully appreciated the games he was given, in case my Mom or I thought he didn’t like them. We’re convinced Lee, really we are. Another person who should feel they did some good gift giving is Stacy. As seen in the next photo, the fleece was barely out of the wrapping for 10 minutes before it was on him. At least he bathed first!

PS2 time!

While I prepared our Feast For Two, I did my Saturday Morning butthistimeonamonday Call with my Mom, and aunts Sue and Cath. All that gossiping led me astray from my duties at least once or twice, and to be honest Lee and I kept up the British tradition of drinking all day (note the Winter Pimms in the PS2 shot)but I still managed to pull this off:

Christmas a la Kirsty

I am not sure you can really appreciate the sheer magnitude of the offering from this photograph. You’d have to realise that those plates are the super huge ones you normally get in posh restaurants where they then place a bread plate with three peas in front of you and then charge you £40. That is also set on a dining table that is meant to seat 6, but for this occassion and really all occassions to date, has sat just the two of us.

By this time we had changed yet again into our Christmas Dinner outfits. Though a good idea at the time, the outfits did not last long as lounging around was more important.

Throughout dinner we continued with the alcohol theme, complementing our turkey and sides with some Pinot Grigio blush. Personally I prefer the one at ASK!, but let’s not kid anyone, at that point I was a bit beyond caring. I mean, proper wine would have been wasted on us when we were doing things like this:

He Likes It Really He Does!

And this! (Yes, that sparkler is being supported by broccoli and cauliflower on a fork)

Vegetarian Christmas Lights

After dinner, which was a record short one seeing as we were both full halfway through one plate, I put on a One Woman Show of Not Much Other Than Being A General Tool …..

General Tool

And realised that perhaps I would stop the drinking. After a few more family phonecalls and some teary outburts, Lee and I decided that all in all we had a Happy First Married Christmas and quite enjoyed spending our day how we saw fit. It also helped that there was no one else in the house to witness me talking to my Dad’s photo while I cooked. Hey! Someone’s got to keep me company when Lee is in PS2 Game Appreciation Mode, right?

So here’s to a Christmas that we successfully saw through and our fingers and toes are crossed oh so tightly in hopes that the New Year holds more positive experiences for us. At least a month or two where I can just exhale a little and catch up on some sleep!

Oh!! OH!! P.S!!! I got a Pasta Machine! That means proper thickness when making my pasta. No more crazy rolling pin that is too small action. I cannot wait. Doesn’t really go with my whole Need To Eat Healthy plan, but I can figure ways to incorporate my love of homemade goodness with my need to not love the results so much.

So I hope you all had a happy holiday and wish you all the best for 2007!

(and I miss you more than you could ever have imagined, Daddy.)

But what I really love is my scotch
Its the power, the power of positive drinking…

Intercontinental Pub Crawl 2006 Hits the UK
London Leg err…. Milton Keynes Leg.

It doesn’t have quite the same ring to the title or evoke the images of finding hidden gems down foggy alleyways, but damn it we made it happen.

At 10something AM my husband (henceforce known as Lee, and sometimes as dickhead)and I set off for the Big Smoke. We arrived at the train station already pissed (off not up) because the cab driver dropped us at the bus station. How dare he make us walk across a little parkette? Didn’t he know what we were in for that day?

Off ot the Big Smoke

Apparently he did. When we walked into the train station we were excited at the relative emptiness. No fighting for a cash machine or waiting for incoherent chavs and chavettes to fight over 20p and their mother’s honour before we could buy a ticket. And then… and then… this little bundle of a lady comes over and asks if she can help us. Jumping right in our way so we had no option but to acknowledge her. “No thanks, we’re just going to buy a train ticket”.

That’s when we heard… “there are no trains leaving here today or tomorrow. You can take a bus replacement service bladdy bladdy effing blah”

What were we going to do? The travel time would have been 3 hours each end and we would have had to leave London early to catch the last coach back to the MK. Would we be able to handle a 3 hour journey if we were that pissed? Who said I would really be able to walk or to wake up to get off of the coach!? But what about the people. Not that there were many, but you know what they say Quality over Quantity. How could we let them down? We’d already texted to say we were on our way. Never mind the fact that I had taken on the task and was determined that I was going to do this damned leg of the Pub Crawl, even if I had never met nor seen the people organising it. I couldn’t let these strangers down could I?

I had to make a decision and quickly.

We asked if there was a discount for the disruption of the service and they said no. Well “Screw you, Buddies!” I do not take a coach for train prices! Are you out of your flipping mind?!

So we cancelled. We texted the masses (or the few anyway) and let them know what was going on. We were going to do the crawl ourselves, in Milton Keynes. And by golly, that is what we did!!

The Face of Rejection

So with our Replacement Service leaflet in hand in case we changed our minds half way through and wanted to make the trek to London, we walked to our first stop of the day. We needed breakfast to help us make it through the day and as it was pre-legal drinking time this would help kill a minute or two. Never you mind though! We arrived at Weatherspoons on Midsummer to see that there were people already downing alcoholic beverages. PERFECT! We grabbed a table and then hit up the bartender for an order of breakfasts and booze. I thought a nice super strong pint of cider would start the day off nicely. Like apple juice with a bite. However it tasted like the smell of cheese, but it did the job!

Ahh Bevvies

and brekkie

After we had prepared ourselves for the day, we decided to dash across the parking lot in the pissing rain to Chiquitos. A little Spanish influence before noon cannot be a bad thing. That is unless the place is closed. Damn you, Faux Tex Mex Fools! We didn’t need your crappy drinks anyway!

So we crossed the street. Thought we’d hit Crawler’s Heaven when we reached Hundred Secklow, a building with three bars connected to each other. We waltzed into the first one, Lloyds No.1 Hundred Secklow. Let’s be honest, we ran into it because it was now chucking down the rain on us. We decided that after the heavy start, we’d change to Corona to settle our tummies down a bit. It worked and we stuck with this theme for the rest of the day.

Here is Lee showing how hardcore he is. Or just really being happy to be out of the rain and to be holding onto some girly goodness in a bottle.

Double Fisted before NOON

Just to show that I really was there…. and to help you see the progression of our day. You will notice my hair begins down, then reaches a single ponytail and then makes it into pig tails. Not sure when, where or why, but it did.

US!

After Lloyds we decided to pop in next door to All Bar One. We had received special mention for find the pub with the best name on it when I set out the list for London, so we didn’t want to let our people down. The owners however had a different outlook and were not set to open before 12:30, no matter how wet or polite we were. We took a photo anyway.

All Bar Us

From there we tried Rodeo Bar next door. There wasn’t even the slightest hint of an open door and there were not any people inside to harass. It looked like our day was going from shit to shit. We went inside the next building to see if there were any bars hidden in there. We even tried to find one in a fitness centre. No luck. So we hightailed it to the shopping centre for a Break The Seal Stop and then proceeded to walk up to the Theatre District. We knew we would be in luck there.

First stop Hog’s Head. Note the relief on Lee’s face to be reunited with his alcohol.

Ahh Relief

Where I look like I am just getting down to business and doing my duty with some really bad posture.

Hog's Head Honey

There were some dodgy characters trickling in so we decided not to make this stop a long one. We shot out of there across the way to TGI Fridays. The Coronas were considerably more expensive here. £3 a bottle!? WTF!!!! But we enjoyed ourselves none the less.

Peek A Boo

Lee got his rocks off…

CrotchTrooper

After a few there we decided for a less “classy” or maybe a less “family” type place and went to yet another Lloyds No. 1.

This time there was this kinda outdoor but not really section where you sat in a covered bit with loads of skylights. But as there was no one there and I was having problems not laughing randomly, we sat out there. All was going well until this weird looking couple joined up and I attempted to let out a discreet burp which rattled the joint. High domed ceilings + burps do not an echoless sound make. After nearly peeing my pants and doing my best to make Lee take the blame, which he was refusing to do, we downed the drinks and dashed on out of there.

Pure  Love

We went along to Yates where we gave in to some Fruit Machine itches that needed scratching. I won a load of coins and then I set off to the toilet and Lee proceeded to lose the coins. We’ll the ones that I hadn’t stuck in my pocket anyway. There only exists one photo of this stop even though it was a rather lengthy one.

Yates

After Yates we left for the wonderfully skanky world of the Rat and Parrot. This brief stop provided loads of entertainment as it was where I found that vending machines in England do not only sell breath mints and tampons, and Lee fell over backwards after tripping on the karaoke stage.

Guess Where!

As you may be able to tell by the sozzled expression on Lee’s face. At this point vision was blurring but our passion was burning. We were going to see this through to the end. In fact Lee was going on and on about a Pub Crawl having to have at least 15 to 20 stops on it to be authentic, and me wondering if he wanted me to a) make these extra pubs appear from my arse or b) to die of alcohol poisoning.

We left the Theatre District at this time for the MegaWonderland that is Xscape. First stop, Moon Under Water. This was when we came to realise that we were pushing the threshold of drunkeness. The line where Lee turns from Happy Drunk into Dickhead. And let’s be honest, I do not put up with Dickhead when I am sober, never mind when I’ve been consuming Liquid Courage! So after a brief domestic that was actually well controlled with whispers and dirty looks at each other we made our way along.

Here is a photo that wasn’t really taken at the Moon Under Water, but we will pretend it was as no others actually exist.

Moon Under ..nah not really

Next Stop .. First Base. A sports bar with pool tables and the rugby on. We didn’t partake in any pool, nor did we bite when the bartender offered us 5 Coronas for a tenner. Though the way he laughed when we declined I believe spoke volumes about the state we were obviously in but oblivious that other people could tell. It was at this stop that I decided to present the ex-Dickhead with a present. Something I had picked up in a Break The Seal Stop along the way. Something that made me laugh like a hyena all by myself in the toilet because I had never seen one sold there before.

Mini Bunny

Lee looks amused but I think we more relieved when he realised it was a joke and that I wasn’t expecting him to use it.

Righty ho. Upstairs to Old Orleans we went. We wanted this to be the penultimate stop as we thought it would be appropriate to end it at “Harbourside Sydney”. The closest we could get to Australia without actually leaving the town centre. However, it was closed. So we sat in Old Orleans and drank and drank….

more drinking...

Until we would decide what to do. At this point we were starving. It was past 5 and we had been drinking for 6 hours straight. Everywhere we stopped we were going to get something to nibble, but when we’d arrive we’d remember that we hated the food there. So I decided to make my own meal…

Take A Bite Out Of Life

We thought we may as well call it quits. 10 pubs done and loads of alcohol consumed. So we headed down the escalator when we .. well Lee.. realised that the indoor skihill had a bar! So we went to Sno Bar and had our last drink and took our last photo to commemorate the day.

Awwww

Less than an hour later we’d be home with a McDonald’s bag to one side of the living room and a KFC bag to the other, with one large adult male passed the fuck out on the sofa and his drunken wife making long distance calls to anyone that could understand her jibber jabber. All in all… a very good day.

Thank you to Donna and Sally and Chris who gave me texts of support throughout the day. Though Chris’s was a little cruel in wishing that I would wake up ill.

Next year will be even better.*

*if there is no surprise addition to the family.

I believe this last photo sums up our day….

The End