Five Countries In Sixteen Days

25/07/14 - 365 Challenge #206

Update to come

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Happy Birthday and Holiday

24/07/14 - 365 Challenge #205

I felt much better when I woke up this morning, with the exception of being unusually drowsy. Mum and I headed into town to run a few errands before we go on holiday – the Post Office, buying an updated map of France, spending my HMV voucher, grabbing some lunch and a Costa, putting the car through the car wash, and checking the tyre pressure. What a fun way to spend my Mums birthday!

The afternoon was spent packing and sorting out everything we’re going to need for our trip. We’ve never done anything quite like this trip, so it ought to be interesting. The one question I find myself asking above all others is “which books should I take?” It should, in theory, be simple, but with my choppy-changey attitude (towards books!), it is like Sophie’s choice…

Mum and I dropped Molly off with some friends for her “holiday” – much better than kennels Mol! I hate saying goodbye to her, partly because she’s only seven months old, and partly because I know how much of a handful she can be, and I don’t like other people underestimating that fact. So mumsy of me.

We headed out for a Chinese to celebrate Mum’s birthday, and the start of our holiday, but our usual Chinese had just been shut for refurbishment, so Dad suggested we try the Thai across the road, where he and Mum had had a nice meal a couple of months ago.

The last time I had a Thai it was in New York City, and I was slightly disappointed, but I wasn’t this time! I had duck pancakes and then a beef noodle dish, which was delicious. I shall certainly have it again.

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When we got home, we packed the car with the majority of our suitcases, ready to leave tomorrow, and I set about charging and packing my electronics. It’s surprising how many I actually have. I must just remember to unplug them all tomorrow.

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An Odd Kind Of Ill

23/07/14 - 365 Challenge #204

Today I have felt absolutely horrible, in a way I never have before. Lots of people know someone who hates the sound of fingernails being dragged down a chalkboard for instance, you might actually be one of them. Or you might hate the feeling of cotton-buds and that awful squeak they can make when rubbed. This is nothing compared to how I felt today.

Everything felt awful to my touch, especially fabrics like cotton. They actually sent shivers down my spine, and made me feel queasy. About the only two things I was content to touch was the cold leather sofa, and cold wooden furniture. Having never experienced anything like this before, it was pretty scary. I couldn’t find anything on the internet that was of any help either.

Thankfully, after dinner and an allergy tablet, I felt slightly better. I’m not sure which, or both, helped. I am allergic to the strangest of things, but I’m not sure what could’ve caused such a bad allergic reaction, if indeed, that’s what it was. On the food theory, all I’d eaten was some porridge around lunchtime, so maybe my blood sugar was low. Who knows?!

I watched the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in the evening with Mum, whilst she painted my toenails (I could just about stomach that).

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I went to bed still not feeling great, but an awful lot better than I had felt in the afternoon. Here’s hoping I’m better tomorrow. I certainly don’t want to feel how I’ve felt for the majority of today!

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Organising

22/07/14 - 365 Challenge #203

Yesterday, in Tesco, I found mine and Joe’s names on Coke bottles – I couldn’t find Joe as I had previously, but since he is technically a Joseph (regardless of whether or not he is called it), I took it as a victory. We drank them today, hence the photo.

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I also finished reading the first book of my two-books-in-one novel. It is a perfect easy read, and I was even able to watch Emmerdale at the same time. I suppose they are two things that require less than full attention.

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I’ve been sorting out the beginnings of my clothes and electronics for our mammoth five-country holiday. Trying to work out what I’ll need when is proving interesting. I think I’ll leave it for Mum to pack everything where it needs to be.

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Summer Days

21/07/14 - 365 Challenge #202

I was up late, like yesterday, chatting online with a guy who was at J.K. Rowling on Friday night. He had come across my Harry Potter WBST haul video on YouTube purely accidentally before I knew him, which was weird enough, before we found out we were staying at the same hotel in Harrogate, in rooms next door to each other! I showed him some more of my Harry Potter merchandise which doesn’t feature in said video – please don’t Google it, it is very embarrassing – and he sent me a photo of his Half-Blood Prince signed by Jo. Serious envy going on. This is the same guy who met her, had his photo with her and had his Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone signed on Friday.

Today I sort of went mad in trying to find 1st or early edition Harry Potter books to add to my collection. I often go through cycles where I purchase innumerable quantities of books. My extensive collection, which already spans 52 volumes, has now got 11 new friends for company, and considering the number of other books I’m watching, this could prove expensive.

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I went into town with Mum for a couple of hours to buy her birthday presents, and have a drink in Costa. I’ve also read a fair amount today, almost half a book. Right now I’m reading 5 books at once (my unfortunate habit of getting bored mid-way through novels), so who knows when I’ll finish one of them.

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Reflections

20/07/14 - 365 Challenge #201

I hardly slept last night, due in part to chatting to a guy who also met Jo on Friday until gone 3am. I think it was also due to the enormity of the whole event: driving the 560 odd mile round trip to Harrogate, over the space of 36 hours, forgetting my copy of The Silkworm (the book due to be signed) and thus running around the town to find the last copy in WHSmiths, and the whole listening to Jo talk in person, followed by meeting her for the 2nd time. It’s all a big deal! As a result, I only got around four hours sleep. I am both mentally and physically exhausted after the whole experience, but I absolutely cannot wait to do it again, whenever that may be.

I did, however, do something productive today. I began tidying my room, which had grown so messy that it was a task to find my way from my bed to the door without standing on anything valuable or breakable – a distance of three metres! I’ve been meaning to have my signed Harry Potter autographs – Warwick Davis (Griphook/Flitwick), Matthew Lewis (Neville), Evanne Lynch (Luna) and Miriam Margolyes (Sprout) – hung on the wall for a while now, so I finally persuaded my Dad to do it for me. I just need another two as soon as possible – and yes, Sprout is lower for a reason!

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In the middle of the night I felt compelled to begin tidying my bookshelf, namely the J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith dedicated shelf, which has now grown to 52 books!

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I also began reading two new books: A Study in Scarlet (Arthur Conan Doyle) and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (Louise Rennison), both for very different purposes. The last few books I’ve read have been fairly heavy, so I need something easier to reflect on what I’ve read recently – clearly that’s in reference to the latter.

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Harrogate and Home

19/07/14 - 365 Challenge #200

Lucy and I slept relatively well, waking between 8.30 and 9am. I was surprised I had slept so well, given the events of yesterday. I had already decided that I wanted to go to Betty’s for brunch, partly since breakfast wasn’t included in our room, partly because Lucy had never been, and partly because I love it so much.

When we arrived we were shown straight to a table (in stark contrast to when we left at 11ish, when there was a 30-40 minute wait), and I ordered orange juice, green tea and orange pancakes, all of which were delightful, but then it’s Betty’s!

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After brunch we said goodbye to Harrogate and set off back South. It wasn’t long into our journey when I decided I wanted to stop at Meadowhall in Sheffield. This shopping centre has been a frequent stop-off-point for us when travelling home from the North. Again, it was somewhere Lucy had never been – although, as a shopping centre, there is only so much plausible variation – and I wanted to take a look in a couple of shops.

We quickly popped into Build-A-Bear, before I decided there was nothing I wanted, before we headed to the Disney and Lego stores. There may have been a couple of purchases made – for upcoming birthday and Christmas presents (I always start shopping early!) After a stop in Hollister, where I bought a blue checked shirt in the sale, we headed to both of the two Waterstones branches, looking for hard back editions of Harry Potter, and Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories novels. I picked up the former, couldn’t find the latter, and also bought The Queen of the Tearling, predicted to be a big novel, and one which already has film rights starring Emma Watson, and a Ron Weasley bookmark.

When I was finished spending money I didn’t have, we set off again. Not long into the next leg of our journey, we hit the thunderstorms. I was literally driving through the storm. Thankfully the motorway was relatively empty.

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We stopped for lunch, and then for petrol (the one we stopped at for lunch had shut the petrol pumps due to the thunderstorm) and then drove the final 100 miles home. 560 miles in 36 hours was a lot, but surprisingly, I didn’t feel too tired. Until I met my parents for an Indian that was. The tiredness caught up with me exceptionally quickly. I suppose it was adrenaline keeping me going all day. Regardless, I have had an amazing couple of days with Lucy, and I can’t wait to do it all again – next year hopefully!

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