What’s Your Biggest Pet Peeve(s)?

Writing

This thought infiltrated my mind with the waft of a ‘ploughman’s lunch’ on the train during my early morning commute to work today. For anyone unfamiliar with this term ‘ploughman’s lunch’, you’ve lived a very sheltered childhood, a very lucky childhood. It’s basically a cheese (sewage) and pickle sandwich, and the scent and sight of it makes my skin crawl. 

 

Today my attention was brought to a rather ravenous commuter munching on his sandwich like he was attending the last supper. Which I found particularly revolting in itself, no hand sanitizer + grotty train = hepatitis by mid-afternoon. But little did I know the levels of grossness this guy would sink to had no limits. Once he finished (thank God), he proceeded to throw the sandwich foil on the ground and started picking his nose rather aggressively. I turned my head away in a knee-jerk reaction to this, but like we all do, when someone is doing something abnormally gross we have to keep peering back. Like, whenever we chop garlic and then can smell it on our fingers for days, we keep checking our fingers daily to see if the smell remains, don’t you do that? I peer down the train carriage at him as he digs for gold, my brow furrows even deeper the more he digs into his flared nostrils. Repulsive! Thank goodness I got off at the next stop, I can only fear what he would’ve done next!

 

It got me thinking, what’s your biggest pet peeve? For me the list is never ending but to save time I’ll have to go with these top 3 in no particular order :

 

  1. Loud talkers
  2. People who smack with their mouths while eating
  3. Queue jumpers

 

Let’s see what some countries voted as their top pet peeves courtesy of Forbes:

 

  • Americans get more irritated than other nationals by co-workers taking others’ food from the office refrigerator.
  • Brazilians are the most annoyed of any national group by excessive gossiping.
  • Germans are annoyed by dirty common areas (the community microwave or refrigerator) more than the rest of the world.
  • Indians react more negatively to irritating mobile phone ringtones.
  • Japanese are more peeved by office pranks than others.

 

Relate to any of the above?

Poem: A Parent’s Love

Writing
A Parent’s Love
Embers of amor engulf us as you touch my face once more.
Held in your arms as closely as the day on which I was born.
You have loved me from the moment my heart began beating.
A childhood spent with you,
If only time could be repeated.
Although I will grow up,
I will always be your child.
A bond that’s shared – so strong,
A love so unconditional – it’s blind.
**Picture taken by me at Woburn Safari Park in Summer 2019.

I’m Done….

Writing

If sweating out of every orifice in your entire being is your cup of tea then you should’ve joined me in my gallivanting across the city of London with what could’ve only been described as the weight of a life-sized 10 year old on my back in the form of a gym bag and a suitcase-come bodybag with actual human weight included! Yes stunting my growth wasn’t just a choice I made in the 30 degree heat over the weekend, it was an experience which almost had me in a vegetative state by midday. Having your skeleton permanently positioned into the shape of the letter ‘C’ I’m sure has its advantages but why did this past weekend have to be my moment of awakening to this?

 

If I can momentarily pause from speaking in cryptic code (I’ve been watching alot of Sherlock Holmes these passed to days, thanks to my bed-ridden state), and indulge you in as to why I have found myself in such a mess. The reason behind my misfortune was thanks to ‘moving homes’. I move more than nomads. 4 times in 2 years, is that alot? I get bored easily.

 

If you’ve been following any of my perils this past month you will have found yourself on my bandwagon with a one stop tour of poppycock, peasantry and pettiness just as August comes to  close. From living on £30 over two weeks here in the UK’s capital, to despising the whole world and its dog on public transport, you can really tell that I want you to come to this city and have as fulfilling a time as I.

 

So just before I roll out of bed to crawl to the pissy pot in the corner of my darkened cluttered room I thought I’d keep you updated on my ‘goings ons’. 

 

Hope your life isn’t as shite as mine. 

 

 

City life

Writing

Like mice,

Trapped in the rat race.

A maze made for manipulation.

Man against man, race against race. 

 

A breath.

Of fresh air at dawn.

As futile as asking the sun to,

Rise at dusk and set in the morn.

 

Private,

A word less chosen.

Only by those of land un-citied.

Cities keep the term unspoken.

I Hate Public Transport With A Passion

Writing

If you’ve happened to be following my journey on the misery train so far, you’ll know that my belief firmly holds – trying to live in London for two weeks on £30 will make climbing Mt. Everest look like a walk in the park in comparison.

 

My hands are already physically shaking as I type due to my inner yearning for anything sucrose, glucose or dextrose based before I become comatosed by the end of this post.

 

So before I’m induced into a diabetic coma, I just thought I’d update you on day 3 as I don’t know if they’ll still let me write from my prison cell once I’m taken in for stealing a loaf of wholemeal from my local Saino’s. Either that or I’ll be lying under a park bench looking like the voldemort baby I presented to you in the other post. So with that being said, I better pull my fingerS out and start typing just that little bit faster.

 

Ayway, where was I? Oh, yes, I was about to break into a song and dance about how much I deteste everything and anything to do with public transport. Speciifally the red buses here in London, as I’m too poor to use the tube I’m forced to sit reluctantly on the slow-coach bus. With the simple learning lesson being ‘money really can buy you happiness’. If the last 3 days have shown me anything, it’s shown me that my level of hatred is a bottomless pit. Yes, just when I thought I couldn’t despise something anymore, I come to the stark realisation that my hatred has a basement.

 

Let me tell you for why:

 

 

1) Buses are magnets for the people you cross the street (3 times) to avoid

 

Just when I thought the tube had the biggest share of the wannabee murders, rapists and tax evaders, the red buses of the city of London quash this idea in a heartbeat. Honestly I  would quite willingly hang off of the roof of the double decker by my hair than sit next to another person simultaneously, grinding their teeth and frothing at the mouth from their morning dose of listerine all while indulging in a sing-along of the old favourite ‘Kumbayah My Lord’ whilst rocking back and forth hugging their knees to their chest. (And there’s me thinking men can’t multitask).

 

2) The Loudly Obnoxious & The Obnoxiously Loud Phone Callers

I don’t care what you’re having for tea, that your boyfriend dumped you for your sister, that your gerbil croaked it (ok maybe this one). I don’t care, and neither does any of the other psycho passengers on  the bus. So why then do you feel the need to tell us all about your boring life at the top of your wheezy lungs? And while you’re doing that at the front of the bus we have your second cousin in the back trying to shout above your shouting on the phone, yelling to us all ‘thank Jesus that I’m a good person, no one else matters only me’. Seriously the amount of people I hear gloating and boasting about their delusioned sense of self is truly sickening. I thought this country had a problem with depression not self obsession?! Perhaps the 2 really are linked. I don’t care if you think you’re God’s gift, you certainly aren’t mine so clear off!

 

3) Petty Thieves

Why should I work my ass off all day in a 9 to 5 for some thug to hop on the bus without swiping his oyster, contactless or donating a kidney at the very least? Point being, time and time again I see these thieves jumping on the bus not paying, instead heading straight up to the top deck and not being stopped or questioned by the bus driver once? Seriously why should I pay for them to have a seat on the bus? They aren’t paying my rent, bills or travel, so why should I cough up on theirs? If I still have the moral decency to pay when I have literally nothing left at this stage, why can they not pay the fare when they are almost certainly not in as dire a place as I at this moment in time?

 

Ok,  I need to stop now, I’m getting heart palpitations. Let the story continue another night.

I Finally Did It!

Writing

If you’ve been following my quarrels and qualms in my quest to find a new humble abode here, then it may come as a surprise to both you and I that I have done the impossible and actually managed to find a place to live come September this year!

 

But before I bathe in blissful sunlight with a sigh of relief, let me remind you of the moment when I was wallowing in petty self-pity. It was the moment an estate agent tried to do me wrong! Nothing new there, you might say! It was several days ago, I had viewed a property that I’d quite liked the look of, I put in an offer literally the same day. Having heard absolutely nothing for the next two I then decided to ring up the letting agents, to which the blandest voice on the other side of the phone whispered ‘it’s been taken. But if you want you can put in an offer to the landlord.’’Ok, um …what offer did the other bidders put in’. I asked, to which he replied ‘I can’t tell you that information, just that it was higher than yours’. Well no shit Sherlock! I placed an offer higher than my original price out of pure desperation, then I hung up the phone and began sobbing in the toilets at work. Ok so maybe not sobbing but I definitely paced back and forth like a lunatic who badly needed to use the toilet but couldn’t decide which empty cubicle to use. After 5 minutes of pensive pondering I then flushed one of the loo’s randomly (and washed my hands ofcourse), and this was when I had my eureka moment. The estate agent was lying! He just said there’s been a higher offer so that I would push mine up in order for him to make  higher commission!!! 

 

This thought stuck in my mind like minty gum to the underside of a school desk, Mr Bland has tried to steal my money I internalised! I later got an email from him saying that the place was taken, that there was nothing more I could do, my offer wasn’t high enough and that was that! Not taking no for an answer, I proceeded to send him emails as a paper trail, asking for proof of the offer, one thing he did say was that this ‘higher’ offer was made on Friday, I viewed the property on Saturday so why would you show others around a property which has had an offer on it way above the original asking price? Anyway, his answers via email were more than lacklustre so I decided to take the detective measures into my own hands. Goodbye Natasha, hello Charlie! Charlie my other self, makes the odd appearance when I’m doing a bit of undercover work i.e. like when I’m sending emails to dodgy estate agents asking them if a property is still on the market! Charlie was able to get a ‘yes’ from Mr. Bland, yet Natasha somehow got a ‘no’. Conclusion – someone’s been lying! Finding this out made me even more angry but then it hit me, would I really want to have dealings with a lettings agency who lies to people like this just to line their own pockets? The short answer is ‘no’. And with that I gave up on that place I liked the look of and about a week later found, in my opinion, a place twice as good as it, for just that little bit more money. I guess the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ really does ring home in this instance.

 

Speaking of money,  because I was so desperate to get the place, I put down a holding deposit immediately to take it off the market, and now I’m broke af. 

 

Yes, I have a home, and now a new challenge arises! Survive 2 weeks in London on £30 in total! I’m not even joking this is all I have left until payday on the 24th of July. I just picture myself ending up like Voldemort baby in Harry Potter by the end of this week,nevermind the end of next. Either way, it will most certainly be the end of me! I will definitely let you know how this goes!

 

Le Moi:

4AkiO

Hunting

Writing

I’m currently looking for a new place to live here in London, having lived here for almost three years now, it’s safe to say I’ve done my fair share of moving around. From Golders Green to West Ham and places in between. I’m someone who likes change and I think as my rent will be put up even higher this year it’s time to move once again.

 

I’ve never seemed to have any luck with estate agents here in the capital, when I first moved here after graduating from university in Bristol I was quite naive and ended up turning up to places like Brick Lane and Hampstead expecting to view a property for £600 per month. Yet instead found myself stood up, the property never existed. I now have a better idea of what properties are realistic and what cowboy estate agents are trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Personally I find the rent here in London far too high, it’s pretty much extortion. But I guess with the attraction that the city has to so many of us, you’re always going to find people willing to pay eye wateringly high prices, after all competition for homes is rife here.

 

In addition to dodgy estate agents, I found myself in a rather unfortunate situation with flatmates too. I swear I’m cursed with property hunting. When I initially came to London I managed to stay with a live in landlady who was shady af. She only accepted the deposit in cash, never online (so there was no evidence that I ever paid her the money in her eyes, also she wouldn’t be taxed on it this way), I remember her also strictly enforcing that I had to deep clean the entire flat every week, if I failed to do so she would charge me a £20 fine each time. It’s not that I’m allergic to cleaning, I just don’t feel like I need to ‘deep’ clean weekly! Also I don;t know if this is legal but she said if I ever brought ‘visitors’ over she would charge me £15 per night! Hhahaa is she some pimp or seedy hotel owner? I never did bring anyone ‘over’ as she so vulgarly put it. The weirdest thing of all though was when I was awoken to the sounds of loud banging on my bedroom door one night, like after 11pm. I opened tn and to my surprise there were two men in leather coats speaking what sounded like an eastern european language. They asked me where the landlady was to which I distinctly remember her saying a few days prior that she was off for a few weeks ‘holiday’ (fitting timing). I told him this to which he replied ‘tell her I want my deposit back, I was the previous tenant of your room and she hasn’t given me my money back’. He then signalled to the apple mac which was on the table in the kitchen to which I said it wasn’t hers, it was another flatmates, which was true. He then told me  that he would’ve taken it if it was hers as a result of her refraining from returning his deposit. The scary thing here was that he did not come alone, another man was with him and that he had cut keys to gain entry into the property. Let’s remember he wasn’t standing at the front door he was inside the property. Shortly after this occurrence I left the flat and ofcourse I never got my deposit back either. This is a thing you have to look out for when renting, dodgy landlords aswell as estate agents who can try and steal your deposits.

 

After this rather frightening encounter I moved in with workmates from a media company I initially worked for when moving to london. All was fine until one of the guys came back high on cocaine with a bunch of other guys and proceeded to tear up the living at 3am in the morning, I was so scared I literally barricaded myself in my room out of fear of not knowing what they’re intentions were whilst off their heads. I was the only female in the flat at the time of this. And certainly didn’t go back to sleep once they made their presence known in the living room next to my bedroom. So you can see where this is going, I moved again. I often think to myself are my expectations too high for housing situations here in London, personally I don’t believe so, I just want somewhere which isn’t the size of a matchbox or has less light than a cave. Equally so if the flatmates weren’t trying to steal my money or peel the skin off their own faces while overdosing on class-A drugs then that would be a nice thing too. Not asking for much you know.

 

So on I go in my search for a new apartment, I’m a a seasoned veteran at flat hunting now, which is both a good and bad thing I guess. I hope you’ve never had to experience any of the things I did above, and that you’re home hunting has been smooth sailing. I think it’s time to get back on with the hunt then …wish me luck please, I’ll need it!!!!!

 

**If you ever need advice on some recommended places to live here just let me know! I’ve learned it the hard way hahah!

Day Trip – Woburn Safari park

Writing

Zoos are pretty dichotomous places. Good for their conservation of an endangered breed yet bad  by preventing an animal from living in its natural habitat. Many more pros and cons come into play when determining whether there is a need for a zoo or not.

But I’ll keep that discussion in the pipeline, for today let me share with you the positives of the safari park situated just north of the capital in the quaint little English village of Woburn which means ‘crooked or twisted stream’ according to wikipedia, fun fact of the day:

So here we go,

Not soon into the safari park driveway and I capture the moment a Dwarf Forest Buffalo charges at one of the touring Cars! It’s always the cute ones you have to look out for!

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Which was a surprise as I expected this hench guy  to have a go instead:

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Things seemed to settle down as we passed the grazing herbivores, which seem more adept to roaming the great plains of the African Savannah than the cud of England’s countryside but anyhow.

Here’s a giraffe licking a fence behind the blur of my Dad’s cheek:

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Elephants make an appearance ofcourse on the safari (is the front one male ;p):

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And a few Zebra minding their own business make themselves familiar too:

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Once the boring animals, I mean grazing animals were out of the way it was times for the moment we all go to Safari’s for, the predators! Behind this cage awaits some of the world’s most deadliest species!

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First up the wolves and the Black Bears, both in the same enclosure I may add:

 

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Then it was the tiger, sorry I’ve no photos of it, it was lying down at the furthest point from the road! I don’t blame it!

The Lions weren’t as shy though:

 

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My heart was pounding out of my chest thinking of the following happening:

(credits – Joshua Sutherland)

And with that I think we’ll end this predatory chapter and open one with our friendly cousins the monkeys and Lemurs:

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Look at the little baby on her back! Aw happy families, how adorable!

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Such a poignant moment caught on camera, in some way it symbolises the intrusive behaviour us humans have had towards the planet’s wildlife.

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They were protecting their baby.

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Black and white ruffed lemurs and ring tailed lemurs were next:

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Next a horny goat:

 

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Leave her alone! She’s too young for kids!

This one was cute though:

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Now for the mini dinosaurs aka the birds:

First we have a tiny owl I forgot which breed sorry, look how small it is:

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Next we have two cocks having a stand off, nothing new here:

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Now a rather nimble little creature, quite prehistoric in it’s movements I must say:

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And finally I captured an owl within it’s enclosure, it makes me feel a bit of a mixture of emotions to be honest, not sure they’re all good:

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Overall I feel the park deserves a visit, I think zoos and safari parks are important for conservation and education, do I think we need as many? That’s a different question and ultimately, no.

To check out Woburn Safari Park click here.

 

(cc) Photos taken by Natasha Moore & Claudia Rose Moore

Isle of Wight Festival – The Experience

Writing

Like a herd of African wildebeest, me and what seemed like the whole world and it’s dog made our steady way from our campsite to the main event. As the muffled sounds of electric guitars and pounding drums became clearer and clearer with very step closer, my excitement crescendoed to new climatic heights (ew).

Security checks were over in the blink of an eye (which was slightly worrying) and with that I was just a hop skip and a jump away from the crooning yodels of Rick Astley on the main stage. If his name’s not familiar with you then that’s because you still have your teeth and not a blue rinse. Yes he’s the trench coat loving singer who made dances in the late 80’s the place to be with his hit track – ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.

Soon after he started yodelling the rain began pouring, coincidence? I think not! Just Kidding! He was quite good really:

*No photos of him sorry, although loads down below!

Even if there would’ve been hailstones the size of golfballs which skinned you like a butcher’s knife, I still feel the crowd would’ve sang their hearts out. The atmosphere was just electric the whole day. Rain or shine the crowd stayed energetic.

Speaking of energy the next artist to get my attention was the lovely Anne-Marie, the British beauty has such a sexy voice. Mixing her bubbly personality with upbeat poppy tracks made for an entertaining midday set. Some of her biggest tunes are: ‘Alarm’ and ‘2002’.

*She’s hot and I didn’t get a picture, I’m sorry. 😦
Bastille blew me away, I think I’m in love with their main singer. His raspy voice certainly pulled at my heart strings once or twice. It’s interesting because I asked my parents what they thought of the performances (they watched the festival  on TV) and they said he didn’t have a note in his head. Bearing in mind my mum makes the dog yelp when she tries to hold a note for more than 5 seconds, something tells me she’s not one to judge. Whether you can sing or not, if you jump into the crowd and keep the song banging more props to you. Bastille’s full set was fantastic although ofcourse the big hit ‘Pompeii’ was one of the highlights. They released their new album ‘Doom Days’ on 14th June.

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With each performance passing by, my group of friends and I managed to creep closer and closer to the front, yes I became one of ‘those’, I admit it. I’m sorry I wanted to make out some features on their face! Even while halfway in the crowd I felt like I needed a telescope to make out Astley’s eye colour so no wonder we tip toed ever closer to the front.

By the time George Ezra took to the stage to sit on a stool and serenade us, I can safely say I could make out each string on each his well polished guitar. As his smooth vocals caressed my ears I suddenly had the stark realisation that my bladder was about to explode. WTF! What do I do, just hold it or fight through the hundreds upon hundreds of people back to the minging portaloos? I had to make a decision. Quick! I tried to hold it in, initially that is, with each passing word of his song my mind drifted in and out of consciousness, my eyes crossed, beads of sweat dripped from my bow, by his 3rd song I couldn’t take it any longer!

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*Yes I know I should take up photography.

My knights in shining armour came in the form of 4 ladies, each linking arms, snaking their way through the crowd. This was my moment! Using them as a divider of the red sea of people, they saw me through the first three quarters of the crowd. But with a quarter remaining I found that I’d lost them! Somehow they’d vanished and I was by this stage about to pass out from the pain of my toxic urine filled-bladder. As I made my way towards the beacon of light shining over the portaloo on the horizon, I tripped over what seemed like every foldable seat, beercan and small child in the country. Arguably more challenging to move through than human bodies I found the struggle well and truly real at the final hurdle, prohibiting me momentarily from reaching my final destination of peeing the equivalent of the Niagara Falls in 10 seconds.

 

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64895393_2567011619995803_5399880205927972864_n.jpgAfter 15 minutes of limboing, sashaying and foxtrotting through the crowds, George Ezra was still mumbling some small song called ‘Budapest’ in the background. And finally the waterfall or shall I say Tsunamis was released.

Apologies for diverging from the actual music, and going off on a rant about my bladder almost bursting!

As Ezra finished his set the sun began to set too. And with darkness approaching came the appearance of strobe lighting, lazers and the pounding synths of the megastar DJ Fatboy Slim. From his psychedelic visuals to his heart racing beat drops, he closed the show sensationally:
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**The quality of these photos are something else, you almost feel like you’e there.

Would I go back to the IOW festival – Hell Yes! Even if it meant kipping in a sleeping bag which almost gave me pneumonia. Umm…if I must. 😦

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One lasting image of this one again to finish on ahahha so smart:

 

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Isle of Wight Festival – The Journey

Writing

Getting up at 6 am may be easy for some, but for us mere mortals it’s somewhat of a challenge. Either way, I had to drag myself onto the train to meet my old university mates who were also making the jaunt to the island.

 

Fast forward, skipping a rather boring car journey (of the motorway ofcourse, not the people hehe), and I’m standing on the deck of a modest sized ferry on the brink of contracting a serious bout of pneumonia. For what felt like gail force winds pierced into the very marrow of my bones like tribal spears. Perhaps wearing a jacket would’ve prevented this, but it’s June so even if it’s not warm, I’m still pretending like it is. I refused to go inside the ferry, who wants to watch geriatrics play dominoes to pass the time? Anyhow, after an hour of beautiful coastal views in tornado like conditions we docked the Isle of Wight.

 

I was foolishly expecting to hear the deafening sounds of electric guitars and lung collapsing vibrations of the heaviest of bass beats as my toes touched the terrain, yet instead I was met with the sounds of peace and tranquility which in other means…..not very much. Accompanying this was the blurted out fact that the island despite its tiny population has 3 prisons on it’s land. Getting off to a good start I sarcastically thought to myself. As future me wishes past me knew – the real  fun that was soon to come……..
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Try Something Different In London

Writing

In preparation for my night of silent discoing  this weekend I wanted to keep the theme going and share with you some quirky activities you could try while here in the capital:

  1. Dans Le Noir

Fancy eating in a restaurant? Hell Yes! In complete darkness? Um…..? If you don’t fancy your date, or still do, but just don’t fancy them seeing steamed spinach sitting pretty on one of your big buck teeth then this is up our street for sure. With the aim of the night being that you devote all of your attention and senses on the food, and not any visual distractions, this should make you enjoy the act of ‘tasting’ much more. Plus it’s quite a fun experience, start a food fight, noone will ever know it was you!

Dans Le Noir, Farringdon, EC1R 0DU

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Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

 

  1. The Clink Brixton

Would you eat a meal cooked by convicted criminals at a prison restaurant? The suspicious part of me fears they’ll poison my confit duck but obviously noone has been poisoned yet, nor have any of the diners choked to death on an overly large shard of ‘misplaced’ glass, so I guess the prisoners must be doing something right. Infact so good is the system they’re running at the Brixton joint that it’s been reviewed highly on Tripadvisor. Infact the whole ethos behind the restaurants functioning should be credited. The prison restaurant aims to rehabilitate offenders, giving them a responsibility and a goal to work towards their City & Guilds NVQs, with the aim one day for them to assimilate into society a changed person, a better person. Maybe I’ll give it a visit actually (though stick to ordering a coke, kidding).
The Clink Brixton, HM Prison Brixton, SW2 5XF

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Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

 

  1. House of Dreams Museum

Or shall we say nightmares, yes if you’ve got OCD or a sane bone in your body for that matter this place may leave you scared and scarred. For this guy’s house is like a hoarder on ‘shrooms holy grail. You visit his house and leave with tears of both joy and sadness in your eyes, flabbergasted at the thought that every inch of a house could be covered in everything from dolls heads to clown masks. All I can say is bring your camera and a loved one for some emotional support.
House of Dreams Museum, East Dulwich,  SE22 8RG

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

  1. Silent Disco Tour

You know I had to throw this one in the mix! Why make a fool of yourself in a closed confined space when you could do it in the centre of one of London’s most bustling tourist hotspots  – the West End! Yes, you and a bunch of other fun-lovers will walk in twos on a guided audio tour of theatreland, punctuating the facts and figures about the famous area will be brief yet savoured moments of ‘Simon says’, where you will have to throw some serious shapes as you gallivant past the home of Kinky Boots and Dreamgirls. Move well enough and you may even find yourself on one of their stages (or the asylum).

West End Musical Tour, London’s West End, WC2

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Photo by Ben Herbert on Pexels.com

 

5. Be A Member of The Knitting Kittens Club

Knit Jumpers For Kittens at Battersea Cats & Dogs Home. Knit something your granny would be jealous of, like some little mittens for kittens at the adoption centre. Killing two birds with one stone – you get to learn a new skill and secondly you are putting that skill to good use. Plus you may even get to meet the kitten you knitted something for afterwards! Who doesn’t love animals, who doesn’t love little mittens? Only psychopaths. So don’t be one today and instead help a kitten in need. Remember, the best way to feel better about yourself is by helping others. If you’re ever feeling a bit down maybe give this or something similar a go.

The Knitting Kittens Club, Battersea, SW8 4AA

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Photo by HM hmw on Pexels.com

I hope the above gave you some inspiration to try something a little different here in London!

Prepare To See A Camel Race!

Writing

Standing in a field in the blustering weather on a Monday afternoon in Northaw, you’d forgive me for doing a double take at the sight of a bright-eyed, beige- bodied spitting camel come hurtling down the hill, with the jockey in tow gripping onto the camel’s moulting mound for dear life. Yes, cheltenham eat your heart out, for camels are fast becoming the new stallions of the racing world.

Whether you’re a betting man or not, you can’t resist the urge to stick your hand  into your pocket to help a good cause, of which today’s was raising funds for the Essex and Hertfordshire Air Ambulances. And I guess there’s no better ways to raise funds than to put on a good race. Boy were we in for a treat, from shetland ponies to hunting hounds, it seemed like every animal in the ark had its chance at being the next Usain Bolt of the animal kingdom. It’s safe to say the day did not disappoint.

Shetland pony racing

Adorable! As you can see tiny children jockeyed the mini horses, put even a toothpicked adult on the little things backs and you’ve damned them to a life of osteoporosis.

Look at their little legs go! Aren’t they adorable!

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Hound Racing:

Letting their natural instincts shine through, barking with excitement, prancing back and forth at the starting line, these rowdy canines put on quite the show for the spectators. With the only bait to the finish line being their overly loud whistle-blowing owner you can see why it was no surprise that all of the mutts enthusiastic activity was for nothing for as soon as the race  started 3 of the 6 hunting hounds ran in the opposite direction to the finish line while one stopped to take a wee and two just trotted to the finish line with ease. Poor owner. 😦

**Sorry I didn’t get a picture of the dogs. 😦  I’m a bad person.

Pony racing

Slightly larger than their Shetland cousins but still just as cute, these miniature maestros certainly moved round that track in a motion rivaling any stallion at the Grand National (ok maybe not). But still, to have children riding these little beasts made me think 1) I need to call NSPCC for someone’s parents doesn’t love them, putting the on a horse moving at the speed of light.  2) Give this kid a medal of honor for having the courage to even get on the rambunctious things nevermind race them!

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Camel Racing

But obviously the two-toed mountains of sandy fluff were all of our favourites. It was a bit of a chaotic start for the camel race in all fairness. One camel ran the opposite way as soon as the starting whistle was sounded. So 3 /4 were the automatically in the race for 1st place, then with a sudden turn of events,a jockey falls off her camel (in green shirt below)! The fall looked bad but gladly the lady was fine. Then the camel set to win the race only goes and does a complete u-turn just before the finishing line after galloping down the track like a pro. And as a result  quite literally hands over victory to the other lazy one who I swear stopped to chew grass halfway down the racing track. Sad times! Although I doubt the camels really cared!

camel.jpg

 

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(Please bite his finger hehe)

 

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This one looked  as if it’d seen some things.

 

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What animals would you love to see race?

Pet Peeves

Writing

We all have them, even those amongst us who have the patience of a saint can fall victim to loosing their tranquil facade in the blink of an eye when faced with the the continuous grunts, chews and swallows of the gluttonous pig in row G. Oblivious to the world, they munch their way through what can only be described as the meal deal combo, all before the opening credits of the latest Tarantino flick has even begun.

 

Don’t pretend you don’t temporarily hate people too!

 

What inspired me to write a post on pet peeves you ask?

 

Browsing the junk food  aisle down at my local supermarket a few days ago couldn’t have came  to a more abrupt ending than with the aggressive sounds of the ‘snot sniffing stranger’ lurking over my shoulder like the grim reaper himself. That has to be one of my biggest pet peeves – the sniffler. Although it’s one thing having the sniffles, it’s another thing snorting with conviction and then making that terrible gulping sound afterwards. Like nails on a chalkbard, this was the noise I was greeted with by a fellow supermarket customer. It’s safe to say I made a haste exit to the checkout while giving him daggers. Blow your damn nose you unhygienic freak (I mutter internally ofcourse)!

 

This experience  got me thinking of all the different pet peeves that either I have or that people have in general, from the suggestions below, which of the two scenarios would you rather be stuck with:

 

1) The Coach Journey

 

The constant cougher who sits beside you for the whole 3 hour journey, never thinks of clearing their throat once and for all. Instead, they mix things up with a timely selection of tiny dry coughs inbetween the whooping hacking kind.

 

Or

 

The continuous knee shaker, restless leg has gotten the better of them, they keep shaking their leg so much it makes your chair shake also for the entire travel time.

 

2) Standing In A Queue

 

The guy infront of you just can’t stop yawning and as a result everytime he yawns you reciprocate. But that’s not all, he has to make sound effects each time, and finishes each one with ‘cutesy’ mouth smacking noises.

 

Or

 

The wind-bender, they’ve ate something bad and make sure you know about it, if they’re not burping into the back of your neck they’re sending a wet one up your two nostrils. The line isn’t moving, have you got any air freshener handy?

 

3) At The Restaurant

 

You’re at a friend’s birthday meal, problem is you don’t know many of the people they’ve invited. And it seems like you don’t want to either, for as you try your best to strike up a conversation with the person opposite you you’re met with a mouth full of teeth, tongue and 30-day matured steak churning around at the speed of light as they bang on about the weather. Yes, they’re one of those, the criminals who chew with their mouths open.

 

Or

 

The other suited stranger to your immediate left still at your friend’s birthday meal, he answers his phone call, you soon find he speaks with one of the most obnoxious tones of voice you’ve ever heard. I stand corrected, he’s not speaking he’s a phone ‘shouter’. Not only do you know that he’s just landed the new job, which promotes him to a six figure salary but so too does half the restaurant. Keeping things mute isn’t in his forte, although deafening you certainly is.

 

Us humans are so great in many ways, but nature’s little flaws have made us test what it means to be patient to the max, I’m sure you would agree.

Ghost Stories – Continued

Writing

So I’ve made it, with a sustained pulse so fast it almost flatlined and enough buckets of sweat to fill the oceans twiceover, it’s safe to say ‘Ghost Stories’ did it’s job of being terrifically terrifying last night at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London.

 

Not to give the plot away too much, but it basically follows the narrator on a journey through 3 individual ghost encounters, executing a jumpscare once every couple of minutes it felt like. It got me thinking, what causes us to ‘jump’ when we’re scared, surely the little skip in your seat wouldn’t serve you much of a purpose, or would it?

 

What Is A ‘Jumpscare’

 

A  technique bringing about an abrupt change in audio or image in order to frighten the audience.

 

What Happens When We Are Scared By A Jumpscare:

 

The sudden change of stimulus causes a series of chemical reactions in the brain to facilitate the ‘fight or flight’ mode. Specifically a part of the brain called the ‘hypothalamus’ activates two systems in the body which prep you for that survival instinct on whether to run for the hills or fight it out. These are the 1)sympathetic nervous system and 2) the adrenal cortical system.These systems work to transfer stress hormones throughout the body to cause the symptoms we know of including an increased heart rate, tense muscles and dilated pupils. Increased heart rate = more blood can flow to the muscles energising them to run or fight and to the brain for quickfire decision making in the face of danger. Muscles tense energized by glucose and adrenaline. Dilated pupils allow as much light in as possible so the perceived threat can be seen clearly.

 

So now that you know a little about what happens inside of you when you’re scared, will any of the below trigger the physiological effects above in you?

 

 

Courtesy of Bros Top 11 (not my material)

 

Did it work on you? If not, would you pay money with the intention of getting scared out of your mind like I did?

 

Never Leave Your Luggage Unattended

Writing

Thieves walk among us! Not just the kind who nab an extra straw at McDonalds, oh no, I’m talking the type who’d steal your laptop and passport as you sit cosy on a coach about to head off to the airport. This is exactly  what I’d feared had happened to some poor soul several weeks back when I was travelling to Northern Ireland for the bank holiday.

 

Sitting in the coach ready to head to Luton airport, my sister next to me pipes up “she’s just taken someone’s bag!” In disbelief I  shake my head and tell Rose not to worry, just as I do this another man warns “I just saw a women take someone’s luggage” and with that my eyes widened as I rushed down the steps of the coach hoping that both my sister and the man were incorrect.

 

As I look into the holding area which opens up to the side of the bus I see that our bags are still there, with the threat of the same potential disaster happening again I grab my bags and sprint back upstairs towards my seat at the front of the coach again. Where was the coach driver all this time you ask? Well it was only at this stage when I’m trying to get my bag upstairs that the driver appears from the front of the bus and threatens me by saying noone is allowed to take their luggage upstairs it’s against the health and safety regulations. I proceed to say to him safety regulations got someone’s bag stolen. The whole time, once letting us on the bus he was having a smoke at the front of the bus watching time pass by, therefore he wasn’t keeping an eye on the luggage held in the side compartment of the coach. He didn’t shut the side of the luggage hold leaving it exposed for anyone to take our cases as we’re none the wiser above in the coach seats.

 

It’s funny how he’s in the wrong a) not keeping an eye on the luggage b) leaving the luggage door wide open, yet threatens me that “this bus is not moving until everyone puts their bags back in the hold.”

 

I reluctantly returned my bags to the hold and demanded he shut the door. The rest of the journey was rather tense as no sooner had he shut the door than was he racing down the motorway. Someone was potentially in for an unfortunate shock once we arrive at the airport I thought to myself.

 

Why I think a bag was in fact stolen:

 

Asking my sister what she saw it appears that the luggage  was indeed stolen as oppose to the situation being where a mistaken traveller who realised last minute that they’d got the wrong bus quickly grabs their case with no hesitation.

 

But that’s exactly my point, if the bag did belong to the person removing it, who may have accidentally got ready to board the wrong bus, would you really be that swift to remove your bag, would you not take a second to make sure you do grab your case and not someone else’s. By all accounts the person had no hesitation when walking passed the bus and grabbing the suitcase.

 

Leading on from this, my second point, if you’d just mistaken the bus wouldn’t you be standing around scratching your head a bit, checking bus timetables, checking your ticket? Not walking briskly towards the train station?

 

Thieves target cases for electronics, and valuable gifts you plan to bring back to loved ones. Taking your bag could mean they take away your chance to visit your friends and family or visit that destination you’ve always wanted to see if your travel documents are inside, as a lot of times they may be.

 

We didn’t stick around once at the airport to see if our worst suspicions were proven true. All I know is never leave your bag unattended. If you do, tell drivers to close the doors to your personal valuable belongings instead of turning their heads the other way.

The Land Of Ice & Fire – Northern Ireland

Writing

I’m returning home for a short stint of rest and recuperation tomorrow, which normally means gorging on copious amounts of chocolate until someone shoots me with an insulin pen while drowsily watching yet another round of ‘Saving Private Ryan’. My dad’s choice btw, who I’ve no doubt will be out for the count before the opening credits are up.

 

This thought reminds me that I don’t go home enough. If you, like me, have spent considerable amounts of time away from your hometown, it feels weird going back. Why? For a reason I just can’t put my finger on. Everything is I guess, familiar in appearance, yet strangely it just ‘feels’ different. Well, at least it does in my case.

 

Northern Ireland may be a small place geographically, but I’m proud to have come from it. What other country hosts an accent so childlike one second yet so abrupt the next? What other place mentions their links to a ship that sank so proudly?! What other country sets the scene for so many epic moments of the Game of Thrones saga? Which reminds me, did I tell you about the time I signed up to an extras agency in Northern Ireland and oneday received a text message from a member of the extras casting team? Put it this way, the reason you’ve never seen me in GoT is because £400 isn’t going to buy me a realistic enough wig after shaving all of my hair off for one of their scenes. That was pretty much the offer you see, would you shave off all of your hair for £400? Maybe you would, but I wouldn’t! I’d probably have went through all of that to get 2 seconds of camera time and even then it would be of the back of my patchy shaved head! Yes, I know, I’m a glass have full kind of girl.

 

A change of scenery will be good no doubt, not that I don’t like London, but twisting the phrasing, a break away from sweaty bodies in tubes and overpriced milk won’t be such a bad thing I don’t think.

 

Well…..off I go, hope you have a great weekend where you are.

backlit dark light people Halloween 2018 Octoberfancy dress costumes

Why Do We Dress Up Like Kn*bs On Halloween?

Writing

If you read my earlier post, the title above may have sprung to mind. It is a weird concept if we remove ourselves from the festivities for just a second, and instead have a momentary out of body experience.

Envision yourself looking at your badly sewn together costume, your lop-sided devil horns and staining-for-weeks pasty make-up. Who the devil are you suppose to be? You’re certainly not getting into Hell now. Why is it that we make special efforts on this October night in particular to look extra garish?

Well, let me tell you:

Blame the grandparent’s grandparent’s grandparents

That’s right, the geriatrics are the reason pestering brats come knocking on your door demanding your diabetes inducing sweeties. As it turns out that the ancient Indo-European group, who lived 2,000 years ago, called ‘The Celts‘ celebrated the end of their calendar year on 31st October. It marks the end of harvest season and the beginning of Winter. The festival of celebration is named ‘Samhain‘, pronounced ‘sow-in’. It is believed that the festival has Celtic pagan origins.

So how does this relate to your dad dressing up as Batman?

Costumes during Samhain were worn and fires were lit to ward off any ghosts of the dead, which were believed to rise on the 31st October.  In addition to encouraging the foretelling of prophecies by priests and Druids and sacrificial practices to the Celtic deities.

Over time, for example with the invasion of the Romans and influence of Christianity led to a blending of cultural practices on this final October day. Roman’s influenced the ‘bobbing for apples’ by honouring the goddess of fruit and trees – Pomona. Christianity brought ‘All Saints Day’ known as ‘All Hallows day’ a church sanctioned holiday at the time (1000 AD). This took place on November 1st and so 31st October became known as ‘All Hallows Eve’ and eventually ‘Halloween‘.

Why The Term ‘Trick Or Treat?’

At least as far back as the 15th century, among Christians, there had been a custom of sharing soul-cakes at Halloween. People would visit houses and take soul-cakes, either as representatives of the dead, or in return for praying for their souls.

The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighbourhood and be given ale, food and money.

 

So there you have it, thank the ancestors for all of these spooky shenanigans.

Happy Halloween!

Check out my Celtic visit to Newgrange

Excel London Discover Dogs 2018

Psychology Test – Are You A Dog Or Cat Person?

Writing

Walking into the ExCel London yesterday afternoon I couldn’t help but think to myself – this place is a  canine lover’s paradise and feline lover’s Hell! The event I was attending at the East London event was  the annual ‘Discover Dogs’ extravaganza. It certainly got tails wagging all weekend with agility shows, best in show and let’s not forget every dog on the face of the Earth on show, quite literally!

As I made my way through all the drooling, barking and fluff, which took quite some time to be honest (I had to stop and stroke almost every dog breed, except Chihuahua’s ew, sorry)! I noticed an uncanny resemblance between owner and pooch. Turns out not only does this happen in dogs but cats also as I later found out:

Psychology #1 – Matchy Matchy

Keeping it short and sweet, it turns out that there is infact a correlation between physical resemblance of owner and pet. Pinpointing in particular – the eyes! A study conducted by Sadahiko Nakajima, a psychologist from Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan concluded that it’s not about hairstyles (which I personally find surprising), gender or weight but instead it’s the windows to the soul! A similarity between peepers seems to be the underlying reasoning behind the similarity in physical attributes between man and dog.

But what is it about the eyes? It’s been proven that colour doesn’t have an impact so is it their shape? Their twinkling cuteness? This is yet to be determined. Atleast it’s been narrowed down to some part of their being!

And turns out, similarities in owner and animal it doesn’t stop with dogs. Although we may not all be blessed with those stunning cat eyes, studies have shown that cats can actually take on personality traits of their owners.  Why? Because they’re users! I mean…. reasons could be that the owner brings out a certain side of their cat – more playtime = a more boisterous cat, who will most likely want to play more often. More cuddling  =  a  more affectionate cat.  SO the cat seems similar to the owner because the owner’s personality brings out more of that personality type in the cat. It’s like that one outgoing friend we all have, none of want to go out clubbing and the next minute we’re gyrating our hips on the dancefloor at 2am all because they batted their eyelashes at us. You are ‘that’ friend to your feline.  Cats can also adopt sleeping and eating schedules of their owners too! How bizarre and cute!

 

But enough about cats back onto canines! Below are some of pups of the day:

Excel London Discover Dogs 2018

Excel London Discover Dogs 2018

Psychology #2 – Is there really a ‘cat’ person or a ‘dog’ person?

Perhaps your preference for pooch over puss in boots or vice versa has more to say about you as a person than you first thought out.

Business Insider seems to think so, according to their report:

  • Dogs Owners earn a higher salary than cat owners
  • Cat owners are 4 x more likely to work in a creative field than dog owners.
  • Dog owners are bigger fans of horror and action films than cat owners.
  • Cat owners tend to enjoy reading, writing, dogs owners – sports and travel.

Whether you favour a feline or prefer a pup. You can’t deny the appeal of these! Unless ofcourse you’re a cold hearted robot. I’d encourage any animal fan to head to a convention near you. It boosts your mood for sure.

Excel London Discover Dogs 2018

Japan Matsuri 30th September 2018 held in Trafalgar square London. Celebrating UK-Japan relations.

Japan Matsuri – 2018

Writing

‘Matsuri’ means ‘festival’ in Japanese, and on 30th Septmeber in London’s Trafalgar Square the festivities were well and truly underway. Multiple elements of Japanese culture were highlighted at the event, some of which I will share with you below:

Origami – This visually stunning art form was on display for all to enjoy. The word ‘origami’ comes from the Japanese terms ‘ori’ = ‘folding’ and ‘kami’ = ‘paper’ (Kami was changed to gami due to rendaku). One of the most classic origami models in the culture is of the ‘paper crane/ orizuru ‘. In particular the ‘red-crowned crane’ holds special significance, it is believed that its wings carried souls up to paradise. Other recognisable  figures include the  Kawasaki rose, the cat and the dragonfly.

Japanese Matsuri 2018 - Origami workshop and contest in London Trafalgar Square

As you can see in the picture, a mini origami contest was held, F*ck sake Fuka you’re an origami wizkid – taking just 39 seconds to make……….ur….something!!

Matsuri Art Wall – The 9 metre long canvas stood parallel to The National Art Gallery and in true style was open to  festival-goers to let their creative juices flow. Sketching their own fantastic creations in front of one of the nation’s best art galleries.

Matsuri wall at Matsuri Japan festival celebrating Japan-UK relations. Held in Trafalgar Square - London

FOOOOOOOOD!

Japanese food sellers at the Matsuri event in London

Apologies, there’s no actual photo of real food! Although some names that definiely gae me fod for thought:

a)Takoyaki

b) Kara-age

c) Amazake

d) Okonomiyaki

Do you know what the above are?

a) mini savoury wheat flour balls , usually filled with savoury ingredients: diced octopus, onions, pickled ginger.

b) A Japanese frying style, a popular type is fried chicken

c) Fermented rice drink

d) Japanese savoury pancake a common filling of which is shredded cabbage.

Japanese Calligraphy and Manga Art Workshop

Japanese calligraphy at Matsuri 2018 London

Japanese manga portrait at Japan Matsuri, London

Demonstrations and a change to give it a go yourself – beautiful Kanji  characters were on display during the Japanese calligraphy workshop.

Manga – ‘comics/cartooning’ – the art of drawing Manga was celebrated through personalised portraits.

Japanese Tableware

Some of the most quaint and beautiful tableware has to come from Japan, whether it’s minimalist and clean or exquisitely decorative, all is simply quite stunning.

Japanese Tableware at Japan Matsuri, London 2018

tattoo waves japanese plates

Sweeeeets!

Japanese sweets pocky matcha, chocolate, watermelon

Lemonade popular in Japan - Ramune

Pocky + Ramune = Japanese treat

Pocky – chocolate coated biscuit sticks originally sold in 1966 in Japan. Since then, flavours have certainly became alot more experimental, you can now get: cookies and cream, green tea and coconut to name but a few. Definitely give them a try.

Ramune – meaning ‘lemonade’ a fun drink which involves the owner self-carbonating the liquid. In other words making bubbles magically appear. To open the bottle, a device to push the marble inward is provided. The marble is pushed inside the neck of the bottle where it rattles around while drinking.

The event is annual, I would hihgly recommend going if you’re in London late September next year (or the year after, or the year after or the…….).

5 Extraordinary Jobs That I Never Knew Existed

Writing

If you thought working 9 to 5 was all about number crunching and pencil pushing think again:

  1. Certified Seat Filler

Empty seats at some of the biggest events in TV are an absolute no no so random people may actually be paid to make up the numbers. My question is – how the hell can there be gaps in the audience at these events, surely you’d donate a kidney just to be a row away from Sir Elton John, right?  Anyhow, if you fancy sitting pretty at an awards show near you perhaps check out some companies online where you can register. (See how I didn’t mention any names – noone pays me on here :p )!

  1. Swan Upping

Did you know the Queen exercises her ownership rights on all unmarked swans along parts of the River Thames and its Tributaries. Stocktake of The Crown’s swans is conducted by livery companies – Vintner’s and The Dyers. This practice dates back to the 12th century when swan-meat was deemed a little too precious!

  1. Professional Bed Warmer

You really can’t make this stuff up, supposedly there are hotels (Holiday Inn to be more exact) who hire people donning hygienic sleep suits to jump into your bed and make it all toasty for your arrival. What happened to a good old fashion water bottle? Or have they not heard of electric blankets?

  1. Panda Cuddler

Cuteness overload! This would melt even the coldest of hearts! Aimed to actually help the little bundles of fur adjust to life minus humans and hence give them a chance to habituate to life in the wilderness, this role plays a vital part in the rehabilitation of Pandas into their natural environment.

  1. Professional Mourner

So, I thought I’d end on a high note here, obviously. This is infact a paying job. Originating in Egyptian, Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures, the role is to help comfort and entertain the grieving family. The paid mourner may be asked to deliver a eulogy or  lament for the passing of the individual. Thus, their attendance holds a high level of significance for the families and not just as a means  to nick the last few remaining cucumber sandwiches at the wake.

Have any of the above made you want to give up the day job then?