Wildlife, but not as we know it

The day I saw a hedgehog and also tried to be cool and listen to grime music at a festival – it did NOT work

Wildlife blog

 

I saw a hedgehog last week – the first I have seen in ages, I think years in fact. They’ve been suffering from a case of too many badgers or roads, depending on who you speak to. Anyway this one seemed in rude health, and did an excellent job of demonstrating her roll-in-a-ball capabilities when sniffed enthusiastically by my ever-inquisitive horse. (No horses or hedgehogs were harmed in the making of this blog.)

In my head she was a female, named something suitably Tiggywinkle-esque and adorable like Esme or Mildred. But I have less than no hedgehog knowledge, so she was probably a he and called something oikish like Ricky or Wayne.

(Apologies to anyone named Ricky or Wayne – please blame Eastenders for my outlandish stereotyping. I’ve just guiltily looked up their origins, and as Ricky is short for Richard it actually means ‘powerful, strong ruler’. Wayne, somewhat more amusingly, comes from an occupational surname meaning ‘wagon maker’. Lol.)

That same evening I encountered a rather different sort of beast, when I went to Wildlife festival at Brighton Airport. At least that’s what it says on the tickets…it isn’t in Brighton, it’s in Shoreham – I think it says Brighton so that it sounds cooler. (Soz Shoreham, but Brighton does sound a bit cooler. Just saying.)

My compadre (she who is blonde of hair and mischievous of eye, pictured above), is a big fan of George Ezra – mildly loopy on the subject in truth. We managed to get ourselves right to the front and sing/shout/dance our hearts out while he sang. This was excellent.

But Wildlife plays all manner of music, and we quite fancied watching an act called Giggs. We had heard him on Radio 1 and thought he was quite cool. That’s actually a total lie – I’d never even heard of him but the afore-mentioned blonde pixie had. Anyway his genre is grime. Which I quite like. Sort of. A bit. Not loads though – it’s a bit shouty.

The crowd that had assembled to watch this fellow were defo wagon makers, if you know whadda mean. They were forming mosh pits and having actual fights. We were mildly terrified and had to make a run for it pretty sharpish. And THEN while we were in the process of beating a hasty retreat, one of the b*stard makers of wagons shouted at me to ask why I had brought my mum! By which he meant my blonde of hair, mischevious of eye, George Ezra-loving friend. Outrageous! And SO rude!

Shortly afterwards I thought of loads of hilarious and witty things to say back to him, but by that time we were sipping decidedly tepid prosecco from a jug in the VIP area. (Yes prosecco, yes a bit warm, yes in a jug, because we weren’t allowed to have glass for security reasons. Zut alors.)

I hope he fell over and grazed his knee. Because that really hurts.

Luckily the evening took a MUCH better turn when both the future Mrs Ezra and I managed to get ourselves right to the front and on two willing donor’s shoulders for the closing act, local hero Fat Boy Slim. (By local I mean Brighton, not Shoreham!)

He was INCREDIBLE. Day made. Actually it was already made by Esme/Mildred and then George…but then Norman (for that is Fat Boy Slim’s real name). While I’m still on the website I can tell you that Norman means ‘northman’, referring to a Viking. I’d go on a longboat with him any day.

On the bounce

When you reach your thirties, it is probably time to admit that you shouldn’t bounce on trampolines anymore. I say this because I nearly ended up in a bucket of dog poo yesterday, I kid you not.

Trampoline blog

 

Tigger I am not. The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is he’s the only one. A.A. Milne’s subtext was clearly don’t try and be Tigger – don’t try and bounce when it is not in your nature to do so.

I wasn’t even forced, I did it by choice – even though I have seen the ten million videos on You’ve Been Framed that demonstrate with undeniable clarity that trampolines are in fact death traps.

I was lured in by two small people, who are both nimble, vivacious and streamlined. …although when I say lured, I very much doubt they foresaw the near-disastrous consequences of their actions. I should have stuck to hide and seek (which we did also play later and I much preferred it).

(NB. That’s not me being PC about two people with dwarfism when I say small people, for they are of an age where they can accurately be described as children as opposed to teenagers, and ergo are genuinely small.)

As a precursor I should also say that I had consumed two glasses of prosecco before making the wise decision to jump up and down like the youthful sprite that I am not. The moral of the story is don’t drink and bounce. In fact don’t bounce at all.

Anyway the inevitable happened… I jumped, they jumped. We were trying to time our bouncing to co-ordinate with each other, as you do, but didn’t quite manage it – they bounced in tandem, I bounced rather higher in the air than I intended, it happened again… and again… and then I bounced straight over backwards off the tramp-of-death and into a heap on the grass below, with an inexplicable high pitched shriek of “oh cripes!”

Who says cripes these days? It’s a bit Enid Blyton… In my defence I think I was trying not to swear.

I emerged relatively unscathed, but it was only when finding my feet and scrambling straight back up on to the tramp-of-death (to save face and avoid looking like a wuss in front of the children, heaven forbid), that one of the aforementioned lithe sprites pointed out that I had almost landed in the bucket of dog poo, where all the dog poo in the garden is gathered, presumably before being disposed of elsewhere.

So, just for clarity, I would like to reiterate that I very nearly landed upside down in a bucket of dog poo yesterday.

Oh and also no-one managed to film it so we won’t even get £250 from You’ve Been Framed. But on the upside my ‘friend’ and mother to the sprites did manage to take a photo (whilst chuckling with unadulterated glee) mere moments before my (quite literal) fall from grace …the shame.

Babe: Pig in the City

This doesn’t feature any actual pigs.
It does feature jumping on furniture and bum cheeks.

Best view

 

More familiar with green fields than Green Park, I was feeling something akin to Babe: Pig in the City as I approached the London Hilton on Park Lane. (My friends have been known to call me this – not because I am a glamorously tailored city-break-weekender-type, but because I am a provincial porcine and often get lost in London.)

Anyway, we (Eoin and I) didn’t get lost and were there to do a review of the hotel and its Michelin-starred restaurant, Galvin at Windows (tough gig, I know). But bear with, it’s not all bling and blinis.

The lavish lobby area bought to mind the hotel’s 1960s heritage, but appazers this look is now coming back into fashion (obviously I knew that and didn’t have to be told by someone at the reception).

Park Lane suite

So the room, which was on the 19th floor, was amazing  (that is the actual room, and the one above it is the actual view). Like, totally bonkers amazing, and so glam it was reminiscent of something off-of Pretty Woman (without the prostitution element, I would like to swiftly add, just for clarity).

It had its own walk-in wardrobe, lounge area, balcony, huge bathroom etc etc… But the thing that first caught my eye, was when I went for a wee upon arrival, (because the whole thing was so mega exciting and I had to hold it all the way from Sussex because I didn’t want to go on the train). As you take your seat upon the royal throne amidst the unnervingly spacious marble and gold bathroom, you have within your grasp the loo roll (good, essential), the bidet (slightly less essential but some people like that sort of thing), the phone and a drinks holder.

Who makes calls on the loo? Is it in case you get into a degree of difficulty? Or is it for those who need to be in constant contact with their friends-and-relations, like Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh? (Unintentional stool reference.)

And also… if you’re going in for a brief visit, perhaps leave your drink elsewhere? Or if you’re really settling in and familiarising yourself with the loo area (ahem), possibly you don’t want your drink to be so near to…proceedings? I may well be overthinking this.

Anyway like the grown-ups we are we jumped on all the furniture and it was all pleasingly squidgy.

I won’t bore through all the courses at the restaurant (which was on the 28th floor and had insane views over London.) But rest assured that not only was the food and wine out of this world, but the service was what could accurately be described as totes amaze. (They probs didn’t write that in the Michelin Guide, but maybe they shoulda.)

It then transpired the hotel has its own club – Drama at Mayfair. This wasn’t strictly part of the review or in fact the freebie deal. But like the well-seasoned blagger I am I got us in (I think entry was £20 each and porcines aren’t that well paid).

It was just like something in a film, whereby all the girls hadn’t eaten in at least a month and had more protruding cheekbone and bum cheek on show than I feel is strictly necessary. And all the men were wearing bling and drinking champagne out of buckets with what looked like dry ice inside them. Also everything was very dark. I think I’m starting to sound a bit Saga Holiday/Stannah Stairlift here.

Anyway I imagine I was supposed to think it was super cool and swanky and exclusive, but in true Pig in the City style I got almost instantly lost whilst trying to find the loo, (which ironically took the shine off it, even though every surface was very shiny).

I had to retrace my steps at least twice before I managed to get myself out. (It was a bit like when Winnie the Pooh and Piglet go looking for woozles – if that reference means nothing to you, you’ve clearly never tried to re-enact it in a wood with your sisters and two Labradors.)

My review reads a little less loo and Winnie the Pooh than this, but the crux is the same: hotel amaze, restaurant amaze, club – probs ideal for someone a bit cooler than me, who likes shiny things, cheekbones and bum cheeks.

The day I slightly annoyed Mary Berry

The one where I made a national treasure slightly clench her teeth.

Don’t say it, I know – sacrilege. And I totally agree. But it happened – I slightly annoyed Mary Berry. The actual Mary Berry. Queen of cakes, national treasure, everyone’s favourite. My favourite too, ffs!

How did I come to be in her presence? It was a work thing – she was launching her first range of cakes at Kensington Roof Gardens (if you haven’t been, go – in a nutshell, on a roof (obvs), there are cocktails and flamingos, real ones – what’s not to like?), and I was there to report on it.

It was a gloriously sunny afternoon. I had travelled up to London on the train and I was so excited that I had to have three wees on the way. (One was on the train – NEVER do that unless you really have to.)

The charming PRs that had arranged the whole afternoon greeted me at the door, (which I had to access via a reception, a lift, and a man with a headset on – this didn’t help with the excitement sitch.)

I was ushered outside and spotted Mary straight away. She was mingling effortlessly, smiling, chatting. She looked every bit as gorgeous and kind as she does on-screen, and as she approached me I did what I always do when I am a bit (a lot) over-excited – I gabbled in high pitched tones that only dogs can hear.

In this instance I was trying to be effusive but I only managed a few sentences before I launched straight in with: “Mary, please may I have a photo taken with you?”

What was I thinking? …Way to play it not cool. She politely replied: “I think there are official photographers here and we might be able to have one later.”

(That’s no, by the way.) I was then told in fairly firm tones by one of Mary’s ‘people’ that “Mary doesn’t do selfies.” Of course she doesn’t, it’s vulgar and intrusive and why did I even ask? I felt like a bit of a fool.

And THEN the other girl that happened to be standing with me, (who even WAS she?) looked at me with pitying eyes before (un)helpfully saying: “Oh dear, that was a bit embarrassing.”

The joke was on her though… We sat down for a (truly delicious) afternoon tea, which included Mary’s new cake range. Mary gave a speech, a lady with the best Welsh accent ever gave a speech, and then everyone once again stood and mingled.

And then it happened… There was Mary, standing alone, unguarded by her ‘people’. And I just thought, “***k it…I’ve already made a spectacle of myself, she’ll already remember me for all the wrong reasons, so I may as well try and get my blimmin’ photo. ”

And yannow what, I blurdy did… Mary is everything you would want and expect her to be and so much more. And with a wry smile, a shake of the head and a slight clenching of the teeth, she said: “Oh it’s you again! Go on, then…”

Thank you Mary. You are a legend.

 

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