Crikey Moses!

It’s been a hell of a month since my last post. In fact it’s been a hell of a two and half months. When I got back from America I spent a day at my brother’s house in London where I mostly, slept, washed clothes and repacked to go to Latitude Festival.

I’ve never been to a music festival before (apart from Greenbelt – the ‘Christian’ festival when I was about 15), and I was really looking forward to it, as much for the comedy on offer as the music. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, mostly because it feels like it was so long ago and I can’t remember too many details! Suffice to say I had a fantastic time; musical highlights were Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons and Tom Jones, and there was plenty of comedy too – I loved Doc Brown and Abandoman, and Robin Ince did a brilliant job, seemingly never off stage in the Literary Tent. My favourite things of the whole weekend though were Mark Watson’s drunken book reading which was absolutely hilarious, and Stories for a Starlit Sky which happened on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings at midnight. These stories by Daniel Kitson are accompanied by music from Gavin Osborn – how could I not love something from my two favourite performers?!

After Latitude I spent another couple of days in London and managed to fit in Edinburgh previews from Stewart Lee, Tiernan Douieb, Carl Donnelly and Jon Richardson. All but Jon’s shows were as close to finished as they could be and I really enjoyed all of them. I was particularly surprised by Donnelly’s show – I’ve only ever seen him do a five minute set before which I wasn’t that enamoured with but I loved his hour long show.

I eventually got home exactly a month after I left, but I only stayed in my own flat for two nights before I went to Manchester for my much anticipated first date with the man I’d managed to fall in love with, despite only having met him in person for a couple of hours two months before. We were both nervous about how the weekend would go but we needn’t have worried – it turned out we liked each other just as much in 3D real life as we did online. So after an amazing couple of days in Manchester I was back in my own bed for another two nights before getting the train down to my parents’ house in Blackpool. I managed to squeeze in another night in Manchester before making my way to Great Tower Scout campsite near Windermere in the Lake District for a week of helping at Red Rose 2010, an international camp organised by West Lancashire Scouts.

Both my parents have been involved with the Scout Association for a very long time and so was I until about the age of 18, in fact I was only 14 weeks old when I went to my first Scout camp, and I went every year until I was 15 when my Dad wouldn’t let me go any more because as the only girl, I was too distracting for the Scouts! I was a leader myself for a couple of years before leaving home for university and I’ve helped out at a few things since. However, after a slightly drunken conversation with my Dad at Christmas I had volunteered to help out as staff on this camp, and had some how ended up becoming a fully paid up member of the Scout Association again, with necker, woggle and all! I had a great time at camp, and only a couple of weeks before I went back to school it was brilliant to get some experience of working with kids again, and it reminded me why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place.

The only downside to camping, despite my Dad’s technical wizardry in managing to set up an internet connection in a tent, from a phone line in a tree, I felt somewhat disconnected from the world again, and from one boy in particular. So when Barry offered to come up to the Lakes on Friday night I jumped at the opportunity. It was also give me a chance to introduce him to my Mum and Dad. It was a little bit weird to see him in this situation, and after having made an effort to look my best for our previous meetings, lord knows what he really thought when he turned up to find me unwashed, and wearing my waterproof jacket with shorts, hiking boots and knee high socks! But then I always find looking slightly ridiculous is a good test of a man’s love, don’t you?

After a rain-battered night in a tiny tent, our mental lives continued as Barry drove back to Manchester in order to on a train back North to Edinburgh and I got the train back to Dunfermline, where I spent exactly two hours before I was also back on a train bound for Edinburgh. I’d invited Barry to come to the Fringe for a weekend of comedy, booze and fun before I’d even gone to America but I don’t think either of us could have guessed how far our relationship would have come by this point. We had a brilliant weekend together, I love Edinburgh at any time of year but it’s even better when there’s comedy round every corner. I will review the shows at some point but I can’t marshal my thoughts enough to do it at the moment. Highly recommended though are Michael Legge and Robin Ince’s Pointless Anger, Righteous Ire, Jonny Sweet, Loretta Maine, Helen Arney, Alex Horne, Sarah Millican, Des Bishop and of course Daniel Kitson.

I spent a couple more days in Edinburgh for finally making it back to my own flat on Wednesday, but only because I had to attend a council induction day for all the probationer teachers in Fife yesterday. I can’t believe I actually start school on Monday! At least the kids don’t come back until Wednesday so I’ve got a couple of days to try and remember how to be a teacher again. But first, it’s back to Edinburgh this afternoon to meet my lovely boyfriend again (it still feels a bit strange, and wonderful, to say I have a boyfriend) for another couple of days of worry free comedy and fun…before I return to the real world with a bump on Monday.

If there’s one thing I can say about this summer, it’s that it certainly wasn’t boring. No-one can accuse me of wasting time, that’s for sure! It’s been the best summer I can remember for a very long time, and one I’m not going to forget in a hurry.