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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...in India.

Posted on: Monday, 12 December 2011

In case you missed it, my sister and the lovely Krish recently got married in a Hindu-Catholic Fusion extravanganza. T'was a beautiful day at Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland.

She looked a stunner in the morning...

...and as much of a stunner in the afternoon.

(I mega-love this photo. I love the pride radiating from my ma and pa's faces)

So we are going to India for part two. On Friday. For Christmas and New Year (although we leave at 4:30am on New Years Day, so no all-night-raving for me. Dammit. Ahem).

"Oh, how WONDERFUL!" gushes everyone when I tell them. Jane in the canteen. Pam in Admin Support. My camp hairdresser. "You must be so EXCITED!"

"Oh, yes, I am," I respond, nodding wildly. Inside I'm screaming. ARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHH. Who would have thought a holiday would be such an ordeal?

For a start, there was the most unhelpful website in the world: Indian Visas R Us. Gah. Trying to navigate around it was an absolute bloody nightmare. My sister had to hold me back from dashing my brains out against the screen whilst screaming, "I have a degreeee! This shouldn't be so haaaard!"

Although it was almost worth it for photos like this:

And you thought Movember was over. I have nightmares about the fella in the top left. Look at his eyes. Actually, don't. Ugh.

But now I have a visa. Hurrah. A tourist one, for three months should the fancy take me to go a-wandering. Damn you, mortgage, Damn you, job.

So far, so good. I then had to put up with insane numbers of emails at ungodly hours from my mum. Scanned photocopies of her passport. And my dad's and brother's. Could I book in online for them? Queries about currency and how much we were bringing and oh-my-god-you're-not-allowed-to-bring-rupees-in-what're-we-going-to-dooo? I had to meticulously plan my escape from work on Friday so I could go West (life is peaceful there) and get to Manchestaaarr Airport on time. I have to write Christmas cards BEFORE Christmas Eve. Like, sober. All this correspondence. It's like the wedding all over again

Work! Argh! Erm, know any teachers? Always got a massive backlog of marking that they're always whinging about? Counting down the days to the next holiday/marking marathon? That's me. Except I will be leaving in four days time with every mortal task DONE. Every piece of work marked. 

And I'm not there yet. Double-gaaaaah.

But the greatest challenge thus far hasn't been any of this. Oh no.

It's been trying to find summery clothes in the UK in December.  

I trekked Leeds and found boots and woolies. Nothing that resembles a sandal. I am left to rely on my summer of 2011 wardrobe (err, so that would be my I heart York t-shirt and a hoody. If you remember, reader, we didn't HAVE a summer this year. That day in July we got married? The only hot day of the year. FACT. Well, with the exception of that random hottest 1st October which was, like, 75 degrees and I bought the aforementioned I Heart York t-shirt). 

I tell a lie. I made two summer purchases. Now, I dislike clothes shopping generally. It stresses me reet oot. So step up, Joules. You need to be commended for keeping me just on this side of sane. I know you are stupidly-expensive but you are so very pretty.

When you're not overdone. That's a bit twee.

Bedders always whinges that i don't wear enough colour. What can I say? My default position is navy blue. And grey. I like school uniform colours. So I was well pleased when I worked up the guts to buy this.

And then I worried that it looked a bit, well, mental.

So I did what any sensible girl would do. I asked my mum.

"Mum, do you like this?"

Mum, looking me up and down.

"Oh, lovely. Aunty Bridey used to have a pair of curtains like that. I made an apron out of them." 

Great. So I'm off to India in a pair of curtains. Thanks, mum.

A book that will make your heart stop.

Posted on: Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I was offering an trainee teacher some advice on interview questions today.

"What did they ask you? he asked. "In your first teaching interview?"

So I thought back. And I thought. And I stroked my chin and thought some more.

And I really couldn't remember.

I remember my interview for the PGCE. I remember the man who would become my lecturer entering into an impromptu role play about behaviour management and acting out the part of a 15 year old boy. A fifteen year old boy who hates poetry.

He scrumpled up a piece of paper on his desk and threw it at me.

"That's what I think of your fucking handout," he said. "What are you going to do?"

Ah. Rightio.

But that's another story.

Thinking about it now, at my first school interview, they must have asked me about classroom management. About assessment. About what makes a good lesson. About what makes a crap lesson. They must have asked, 'Why THIS school?'

But there's only one question I can actually remember.

"So, Laura. What are you reading at the minute?"

The words couldn't tumble out quickly enough. "Oh my God. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. Have you read it?"

The Head shook his head.

And I started blethering on about it. About Maurice and Sarah and their torrid affair. About its post-War bleakness. About what a desolate read it was, and how fierce. About the tug of war between Catholic morals and the wartime spirit of "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!" About Sarah's death, and Maurice's terrible realisation that his love is shabby and shallow. Maybe not just his love - maybe all love. What the hell is love, anyway? About Greene's wider messages about transience and human selfishness and dishonesty. I imagine I didn't tell him that I'd dropped it in the bath. Or that it appealed to my highly-developed sense of morbidity.

Or how I was scrawling quotations from it in my little book of the time.

The Church offers privileges, Mr. Miles, as well as responsibilities. There are special Masses for our dead. Prayers are regularly said. We remember our dead,” he added, and I thought angrily, how do you remember them? Your theories are all right. You preach the importance of the individual. Our hairs are all numbered, you say, but I can feel her hair on the back of my hand; I can remember the fine dust of hair at the base of the spine as she lay face down on my bed. We remember our dead too, in our way.

What outrage. How dare you claim your cool pious grasp on my love was greater than my physical knowledge of her? I knew every inch of her. She was mine. Powerful, eh?

But that fire doesn't last. Time gets us all in the end. Greene tells us so, the miserable bugger.

Oh, she doesn’t belong to anybody now,” he said, and suddenly I saw her for what she was—a piece of refuse waiting to be cleared away; if you needed a bit of hair you could take it, or trim her nails if nail trimmings had value to you. Like a saint’s her bones could be divided up—if anybody required them. She was going to be burned soon, so why shouldn’t everybody have what he wanted first? What a fool I had been during three years to imagine that in any way I had possessed her. We are possessed by nobody, not even by ourselves.

Oh, and this. It's beautiful.

"...but when I tried to remember her voice saying 'don't worry,' I found I had no memory for sounds. I couldn't imitate her voice. I couldn't even caricature it: when I tried to remember it, it was anonymous – just a woman's voice. The process of forgetting her had set in."

It's absolutely stuffed to the gills with hit-the-nail-on-the-head writing. Note the indiscriminate, crazed quoting. I wolfed this book down, I tell you.



Sometimes I don’t recognise my own thoughts.

OK, so perhaps you don't want to kill yourself over Christmas. But when you're feeling like you want to indulge your maudlin side (just me, then?) I thoroughly recommend this gritty beauty.


Posted on: Friday, 25 November 2011

I really, really want a neon sign. I really think it could change my life. I think it's a home essential.

It all started with a tea shop in Lourdes that sold macaroons and overpriced prosecco. God knows how we ended up in there...but we did.

(photo offov the Crackberry liiiike)

Imagine this on your kitchen wall. I can. If it was there, I'd die happy.
Then I got to thinking about the SEX exhibition I went to at the Barbican yeeeeears ago and the Tracey Emin neon stuff that was there.

It being the SEX exhibition it was some of the - well - ruder stuff. But some of the other stuff is pretty awesome, hey? Look.

I could put this on my office door so that people KNEW when they came to talk about a difficult kid or a staffing problem or whatever they could have my response immediately - I know, I know, I KNOW.

For the insomniacs amongst us.

I don't know if this is hopeful or hopeless, but it's one of my favourites nevertheless.

This is a lovely, very un-Emin-like reminder to stay positive. I almost wish it was 'IN your dreams' to get a wee bit of word play on the go.

So Emin. Sleazy and tacky but wanting desperately to be oh-so-beautiful and rise above it all.

Lumiere Durham was on recently. From the website, it looks a damn sight better than Leeds' attempt. There were multi-coloured lights on Prebends Bridge (amongst the scaffolding, like). And they had Martin Creed's (isn't his hair wonderful?) Everything Is Going To Be Alright which I LOVE displayed on Old Shire Hall (I believe).

So now I just need to start saving - ooo, I don't know - a grand? - to have a custom neon sign made.

And, of course, I need to start deciding what it would say. Hmm.

Note to self.

Posted on: Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Oh Baby

Posted on: Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I'm trying to find a present for some lovely friends of ours who've just had a little 'un. And I want to buy them some REALLY AWESOME baby clothes.

Now, I appreciate that dressing your baby like a gangster isn't for everyone. But how amazing are these?

No, indeed she isn't.

I appreciate a good pun as much as the next girl.

Actually bought this for a work colleague once upon a time. Well, for his child. He WAS a Dylan fan.

And these are my ACTUAL favourites. Love and Hate scratch mits!

Sadly, I don't think gangster wear is what our dear friends have in mind. They farm. They are wholesome. They are uber-lovely.

So...those Scandinavians. They're bloody cool, aren't they? Just type 'Scandinavian Baby Clothes' into Google (you know, if you're bored, like) and see what comes up.

In fact, you don't need to bother. Look - I'll show you.

I like the psychedelic LSD-inspired surrealness of this one. It's all a bit Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

This baby's daddy is a farmer! How perfect is this?

Oh, hang on. Not as perfect as this! (although secretly I suspect this might be a little bit ugly and I'm being sucked in by the kitsch factor).

When I have a child, it's going to be EXQUISITELY dressed.


Posted on: Monday, 14 November 2011

I've been home for the weekend. HOME home. You know, like where my mum and dad live. Newcastle. Nyerrrcasstle.

Or actually, Washington, Tyne and Wear. Washington. Yes, as in America. No, it's not IN America. Hence the accent. It's the ancestral home of George Washington. No, there's not that many American tourists. Yes, an American president visited us once. I don't know which one. He planted a tree on the village green, or so my Year 6 primary school teacher informed us. Yes, it's a New Town. That means there's a lot of roundabouts. Yes, it was horrific learning to drive there. No, I've never seen Jimmy Nail. Or Gazza. Or Sting.

With Bedders still in Brussels, I had a Proper Family and Friends Weekend. And it was lovely. I had lunch at the Italian we used to go to when we were, like, 17 and fancied ourselves as a bit grown up. The lunchtime special (two courses) used to be £4.95 - now it's £7.50. Still a bloody bargain.

We went for a drink in the Central, site of a crafty hen do some months back. Ah, a grand time was had. 

(bloody art teacher outshining us all with her talent)

Oh, Newcastle. Leeds has nabbed me by accident of history, but my heart belongs to you.

And I love this Geordie Jeans sketch from Vic and Bob.

"They're geet tight roond the arse."

My Kind of Wonderful

Posted on: Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sometimes - just sometimes - when something is truly, truly wonderful, I hear the Jurassic Park theme tune in my head. Sometimes I hum it. It's my 'Soundtrack to Wonderful.'

Go on. Give it a listen. Nothing sums up a sense of wonderment quite as well. I imagine them going into the park, wide-mouthed at the dinosaurs. I remember that guy in the lab saying, "DINO DNA!"

Ah, John Williams. You're actually a genius.

Here is the latest reason for my Jurassic Park theme tune fix.

These are, like, ME, but in boot form, Seriously, if I was made out of green leather and hob nails and coloured fabric, this is what I'd look like. Oh, I love them. They've turned me into a gibbering wreck.

I hate you, Plumo. You're so freakin' expensive, yet so very, very beautiful. And even though the logical part of my brain knows that your advertising campaign is super-sneaky-sly (let's make all the models look BANG ON TREND with matte red lipstick! And thick fringes! And frowns! Let's use grainy 1970s photography! Nothing's 'grey' or 'green', but rather 'pewter' or ' teal' and all the styles have lovely old lady names like 'Myrtle') nevertheless, it makes me ache to be even half as cool.

Except I'm not cool. And these boots are NOT affordable. Sigh. £359 squid.

Bedford is about to embark on a work trip to Brussels for a fortnight and has caught me cooing over them again. Like, for the fourth time in two days.  

"Laura," he said. "Please don't buy those while I'm away."


But a girl can dream, yeah?

This is the PERFECT jumper for wearing on a ferry to the Arran Islands. What do you mean, that's not a good enough reason to spend 229 quid on it?

When I am a grown-up and I go on a work's Christmas do that doesn't invovle standing on a table in a German Beer Tent singing 'I Am The Music Man', THIS is the dress I will wear.

And when I start fancying myself as Jackie O, this is what I shall be sashaying into town in. For cocktails or suchlike. This is called a 'Bon Bon coat' - can you believe it? I'd wear it for the name alone.

So there you have it. What I would be wearing this Christmas, if 1) money was no object and 2) I wasn't off to India. Oopsy. Forgot that one.

Antidote for a Crap Day.

Posted on: Wednesday, 2 November 2011

1) Give the nice girl from your office a lift home. Enjoy a gossip.

2) Decide en route to the maison to get fish and chips. After all, the husband is at a late meeting in Nyerrrrcasstle and is staying up there with your parents. You need SOME comfort in the misery that the knowledge of them all cosy together brings, don't you?

3) Eat fish and chips (curry sauce a Northern optional extra).

4) Drink a glass of wine.

5) Listen to Mike Harding's folk hour on BBC Radio 2. Love one's life.

6) Work out how to download Spotify. Realise you were five billion years behind everyone else. Enjoy it nevertheless. Be reminded of the vocal perfection of Damien Dempsey.

(singing one of them Pogues' songs - contains one of the most beautiful lyrics of all time - 'You're the measure of my dreams.") 

7) Toy with the idea of doing something remotely productive. Disregard such thoughts on the basis that you have been attempting to do something productive all day and failing spectacularly.

And it helps to have the loveliest husband of all time who send you flowers to work knowing that it will embarass you horribly (despite my love for Bev-On-Reception) but will also Make Your Fecking Day.

Well. Time for bed and my book club book, methinks.

Instant Art

Posted on: Saturday, 29 October 2011

We've spent an inordinate amount of money framing stuff recently.

I am still excited about this.

#....Breast stroke, side stroke, fancy diving too....#

#...oh, don't you wish you never had anything else to do?...#

Source: an old non-fiction book for kids (Puffin)
Bought from: a second-hand book shop in Sebergh (heaven for book geeks)
Framed by: The Picture Framer, Kirkstall, Leeds

I like the diver's swimming cap the mostest.

Do you know how hard it is to photograph something in a frame? I still have some fathoming of the DSLR to do.

Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl but she doesn't have a lot to say

Posted on: Thursday, 27 October 2011

Bedders and myself ended up at a Rotary Club dinner the other night for reasons I won't go into.

I know. We're wild. Sometimes I wonder about the toll this crazy lifestyle is taking on my poor body.

I had no prior knowledge of the Rotarians. Well, other than they organised Public Speaking competitions in the educational borough of Sunderland in the mid-90s. Which I may have entered. And maybe used as a soapbox to project my views on sexism in soap operas. Or whatever.  

Anyhoo, so a Rotary Dinner we attended. I tried to prepare myself by having a snoop on their website.

There were lots of photos of men wearing medals and standing next to flags with their hands on other men's shoulders and whatnot.

I sat opposite the chap in the middle at dinner. I'm pleased to report that he was very pleasant. 

And lots of photos of men shaking hands. Ah, shaking hands.

'Secret handshakes and all that, I imagine,' I said to Bedders, nodding wisely.

'That's the Masons, you idiot,' he retorted. 

There were galleries and galleries of photographs. Galleries including photographs like this. 

Which I found hilarious. It's like those caption competitions they used to do on Have I Got News for You.

We arrived at the Golf Club (of course), the husband in a shirt and tie and me in a dress (NO DENIM!) and headed for the bar. I ordered a small glass of wine and, boy, it really was small. They served it in a teeny sherry glass.

Bedders collared a knowledgable-looking chap. Knowledgable-looking in that he was wearing a red jacket and a pink tie.

"Wat's this Rotary Club business about, then?" he asked flippantly. I swear, having a Yorkshire accent means you can get away with being cheeky ALL of the time and no one takes it to heart.

"SERVICE BEFORE SELF!" came the barked reply.

A helpful fellow came over before the meal.

"We're going in now. First, we eat. Before we eat, there's a grace. Afterwards, we usually make a toast, then business, then annoucements from the secretary. Then we toast the Queen, which everyone generally stands up for."

"Bedders." I hissed. "Bedders!" I hissed again, more urgently. "Toasting the QUEEN?"

"Calm down."

"I once LICKED a picture of the Queen in a PUB for a DARE. There's empirical evidence of it on Facebook. I can't toast the Queen. I'm not toasting the Queen."

"Calm down."

"I'm not toasting the Queen."

So we went to dinner and I sat between Norman and Tony (lovely fellas) and listened to the business and the toasts and had the craic about international security risks and training teaching assistants.

And everybody was very warm and friendly and totally unlike the bloke I sat next to at a wedding over the summer who was utterly unpleasant and told me in no uncertain terms that India is "remarkably dirty" and I'll probably die of dysentery in one of their squalid hospitals over Christmas. Buuuuh.

But I think he was a Mason, anyway, and not a Rotarian at all. Oopsy.

And they still do public speaking competitions, which I was pleased about.

I'm making a list...

Posted on: Wednesday, 26 October 2011

(poor photo courtesy of a mate on facey b)

Yesterday I wrote about the power of lists to Sort One's Head Out. Indeed, lists are powerful things.

For the wedding (I feel less inclined to write about the wedding at the minute, so bear with me - I WILL quit boring on about it soon. I also need to change my header which claims I'm 'preparing' to get married. I'll get around to it shortly, probably as yet another procrastination tactic when I should be planning a heeeeeuge scheme of work, or 'SoW' as I like to call it) we were stuck for table names.

We'd been to weddings before (more than one, would you believe) where the tables were named after different breeds of sheep. Blue-faced Leicesters, Suffolks, Texels...oh yes. At a wedding we went to this summer the couple had named all of their tables after different brands of tractor. I honestly didn't know there were so many different types. Apparently this sort of craziness is fairly common amongst farming folk. Another couple printed off polaroid-style pictures of places that were important to them and wrote a little piece about them on the back - the Tyne Bridge, a Brownie hut etc. My friend sent me photo text from a wedding she'd been to where all of the tables were named after achingly cool song lyrics. 

The weekend before the wedding we went to Corner of Eden - cue heavenly choirs - with our parents for some serious Chill The Feck Oot Time. On the Sunday night they'd departed and Bedders and I were left pondering the table name situation. With 6 days and counting to the big day, we exchanged some cross and naughty words.

Places we'd travelled to? Streets we'd lived on? Books we'd read and loved? Pubs we'd, err, got horribly drunk in? We started making themed lists.

A Damascene revelation followed: we chucked the 'themed' aspect and starting listing - well - STUFF.





Some of it can be serious.

Some of it can be funny.

Some of it can be a bit lovey.

Some of it can be a bit rude.

No one need understand all of the references - in fact, it would be impossible for any guest to 'get' them all - but it would provoke a bit of conversation, surely?

For example, if my mate's boyfriend Eddie was to meet my cousin Kath he'd know EXACTLY what the 'Are you a tinker?' reference was all about and SHE'D be able to explain Mickey Mac's to him, Mickey Mac being her brother and all.

Good eh? I love lists, me. I like Neil Gaiman's list of things 'they' (err, that would be me, then) don't teach you at school. I'd like to make my own version.

“They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.”

-Neil Gaiman

IThinking about lists, and specifically about why we (well, I) love lists, I found this: 10 Reasons Why We Love Lists. Oo, handy. Anyone would have thought I'd googled 'Reasons Why We love Lists.' Ahem.

Oo, the word 'list' was used by Shakespeare in Hamlet. Oo, I fancy doing a Benjamin Franklin and listing all the words/terms I can think of for being drunk. We were on about this in A-level English Language the other day - how they'll arrive at University and start hearing words for 'drunk' that they've never heard before. I still remember the look on my roommate's face when a TOTES rah asked her if she'd been 'smashed' the night before. Err, you what-what?

I need to go and do some work now. I'll blatantly start by making a to do list.


Posted on: Tuesday, 25 October 2011

I got married. And I started questioning everything.

Not the husband, I hasten to add. No no. All is well in that particular department. All for the best, considering we're now wed.

But rather I started to question lots of other stuff. My job, for starters. Although I'm uber-committed to it (possibly too committed, in some ways), there are aspects of it with which I'm not happy. My house. Let's face it: I'm here by accident of history. And although 'here' is just grand, and now has a fancy-ass new boiler (BORE OFF) and paintings on the walls and an entire alcove of bookshelves - the joy - it is very definitely in a city. And I am not definite about being in a city.

I'm not being a dick. But I'm doing OK work-wise and life-wise. Could I afford to take a bit of time out and have an adventure? Thus far in life, I have been VERY safe. If I want to do something I need to just bloody well go for it...don't I?

I asked Google. Is it normal to question - YOUR SEXUALITY? asked the Google drop-down guess bar. You know when Google gets a bit pre-emptive on you? No, I said. Is it normal to question - YOUR SANITY? REALITY? YOUR RELATIONSHIP? Woah there, Google. Quit with the amateur-psychoanalysis. Is it normal to question EVERYTHING? And I found some articles about OCD and an online shoot-em-up game. Eeeeh?

So I talked to Bedders. Bedders felt similarly. Phew. So what the feck should we do? 

We did what everyone should do in times of crisis. We made a LIST. Lists are like tea - they sort everything out. 

This is what I looked like, making aforementioned list. Except with not-so-good hair. Bette Davis, I salute you.

It went like this.



Then came the dislikes.


This was an interesting process. I thought I cared a lot about having money (I know. How vile and shallow). But I don't really think I do (Ahaaaa, you cry. You only 'don't care' about money because money isn't an issue! If it WAS an issue, you WOULD care about it!). Apart from the 'house/housey stuff' point, I don't much care for it. My mother would probably say, 'You're always gallavanting across the country and staying in fancy places.' This is true. I do like a swish country B&B. But all too often we book these things as an antidote to misery, and that is No Good. No Good At All.

Looking at the lists, I felt a bit like I'd been doing things backwards. I go and pay people to stay in their lovely home where they work for themselves as an antidote to my own life where I'm based in the city and I'm a slave to the wage.

So. There is no resolution as of yet. But I am working on it. Thoughts appreciated.

Feck that...

Posted on: Thursday, 20 October 2011

...we're gannin out for tea.

It's been one of those days.

If you think you're sexy...

Posted on: Monday, 17 October 2011

Oh Jarvis. You are the embodiment of everything I value in the world.

You are Northern and working class (well, someone called Jarvis can only be semi-working-class at most, but your wry observations of the underbelly of society make you an honorary member of the Club of Common Man. Solidarity, brother!)

You present on BBC 6 Music.

You waggled your arse at Michael Jackson/the assembled Brit Awards collective.

You won the 2002 Stars in Their Eyes celebrity special impersonating Rolf Harris.

The Pulp website is a triumph of design - ooo, it gives me shivers.

You once said, "Anyone who thinks they're sexy needs their head checked."

And now Faber and Faber have published your collected lyrics.

What are you looking forward to receiving in the post?

Bedders on Film

Posted on: Tuesday, 11 October 2011

We've gone a bit photo crazy. Snapfish are dining out on us, I tell thee.

And I thought I would share with you my favourite wedding photo so far.



I think Fr Sean is the most wonderful priest to walk the earth. His sermon blew our minds. His sermon at Clare and Krish's fusion wedding EQUALLY blew our minds.

Anyway. Hopefully these buggers will be with us soon. Then we can move on from Project-Thank-You-Cards to Project-Make-The-Parents-A-Wedding-Album.


Posted on: Sunday, 9 October 2011

Eesh, one's wedding day. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

On Friday night, we went to a friend's for tea. And a sumptuous tea it was. We popped out into Leeds for a wander afterwards in parkas and proper sensible shoes - it's winter now, man - because it was LIGHT NIGHT. Ah, Light Night.

**my links are being grumpy for some reason**

Basically, the museums are open late. One can wander into the City Museum and draw/write something on a postcard. Hand your postcard to a curator. Curator staples it to a washing line. BADABING - you're an artist.

Cue lots of pseudo-political whinging and bullshit from students. "Love my country - hate my Government." Deep, man. Ah me, I'm finally at the age where I curse the presence of students. They drive up house prices in the area - and speaking of driving, they drive bloody everywhere and clog up the roads like nobody's business. Since when did a student have the money to run a Mini Cooper S? 

And the Town Hall was open late, too. So we went in, attracted by the promise of Victorian Cells. Oo, Victorian Cells, I thought. Spooky!

Except they were full of crafts. Like stuffed foxes made out of felt. And fairy lights. And hand-stitched mushrooms. Bit incongruous with the spirits of those poor souls sentenced to death in there. It was all a little bit odd.

Anyhoo. That wasn't the reason I brought this up. So we went for tea and received a Very Exciting Parcel. A belated wedding present.

And this is what lay beneath the pretty paper.

Oh my word. It's a WW2 child's evacuation case.

With a lovely blanket.

I am speechless.

Once again, the cleverness and originality of our friends astounds me.

So there you go, folks. Stuck for an original wedding present? Get them a retro picnic set. They'll love you forever.*


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