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Strange nights spent away from where you normally sleep (usually no beds involved)

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    Originally posted by Balderdasha View Post
    I spent most of the tube journey home from that party crying at my friend and wailing loudly that I must stop flattening people and standing on their necks and generally being so violent, while she shushed me and tried to avoid the gaze of the other nearby passengers who were slightly alarmed.
    Wailing on the Tube is much worse than stamping on people's necks. I hope you've refrained from the former.

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      Originally posted by Balderdasha View Post
      I spent most of the tube journey home from that party crying at my friend and wailing loudly that I must stop flattening people and standing on their necks and generally being so violent, while she shushed me and tried to avoid the gaze of the other nearby passengers who were slightly alarmed.

      Alarmed. I was terrified!

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        Originally posted by treibeis View Post
        Wailing on the Tube is much worse than stamping on people's necks. I hope you've refrained from the former.
        I don't think I've done either since, thankfully.

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          I am so glad I started this thread. Great stories, much better than what you usually get on the internet.

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            End of 2010: as I said, I met a boy. We met at a gospel-choir-singing-xmas-songs evening at the jazz cafe in Camden. I got my friend who worked for a charity to pretend they needed a training course so I had an excuse to contact him again by email. Another housemate had recently met a boy she liked too so we conspired to hold a mince pie and mulled wine party so we had something to invite them to. I dressed up to the nines, then got embarrassed and mostly ignored the boy when he arrived. He was more than a little confused, but asked me out on a date a few nights later anyway. That date went well, but I then went on a pre-arranged visit to see a friend in Bristol, and he similarly went to see a friend in Paris, so we just texted for the next couple of weeks. In Bristol I discovered that the friend I was visiting lived immediately opposite another entirely unconnected friend who I hadn't seen in ages so I alternated staying at their houses. On arriving back in London, I had been invited to a new year's eve party, the boy had been invited to a separate one. We decided by text to cancel both those plans and go on a second date instead. I eventually came home three days later to find my housemates wondering whether or not to inform the police of my disappearance.

            Reader, I married him. My housemate later married the boy she invited to the mince pie party. Must have been good mince pies.

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              That’s lovely, especially in the context of all your other stories

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                A "mince pie and mulled wine" party sounds bloody awful. Did you at least have a couple of bowls of proper food, like nuts and twiglets and that?
                ​​​​

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                  At some point in the noughties Janik and I took part in a pub quiz with Balderdasha. I realise now that this must have been by far the most boring evening of the decade for her.

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                    Quite

                    I've been reading about the Gormley project and have been surprised to learn that the plinth is not as high as I remember it being in my head and that it was fitted with a large net that protruded from its base.

                    The latter strikes me as being more for the protection of the participants from the general public than for more general reasons of health and safety.

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                      In the early 90s a mate got a load of airmiles and asked me to go for a week to France, the flights were on him.
                      We spent the week travelling around the south of France by train, arriving and leaving via Bordeaux, with the return flight at the ungodly hour of 8.30 on Sunday morning. We arrived in Bordeaux on the Saturday, having underestimated how much money we'd need and were left with a choice, food and drink or a hotel room, no choice really.
                      After an afternoon wandering around the city centre, we discovediscan Irish bar on the river and settled in there. Several hours later, we got the 2am bus to the airport, where my mate immediately lay down on the seats and fell asleep, Bastard! Now I had to stay awake to make sure we caught the flight. There followed five hours of wandering around a near deserted airport, trying to read the book I'd brought while being simultaneously drunk and sleep deprived and occasionally dozing off for a few minutes.
                      Eventually our flight was called, so I woke sleeping beauty, got on board and promptly fell asleep. I also fell asleep on the bus from Gatwick to Heathrow, in Heathrow and on the flight from Heathrow to Dublin.
                      Meanwhile my mate, having benefited from his couple of hours kip,couldn't sleep a wink and had to put up with me snoring an leaning on him all the way home.

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                        I was watching a pre-season friendly at Northampton Town with an ex-girlfriend, and we missed the last train home to where she lived in Rugby.. It was about 30 miles to walk back to where we were staying, and we hadn't got a penny on us, and were at the extent of our student overdrafts. It was past midnight, and no-one was around. We rang Samaritans to ask for any tips, and they suggested the police.


                        We went to the main cop shop, and asked if there was anywhere we could sleep - even the cells. Nope. Could we sleep in the reception area? Nope. Did they know anywhere we might go, even if it just had benches indoor, it being the middle of summer and baking hot in the day and freezing cold at night. Nope.


                        We trudged out and noticed that there was a grand staircase going up the side of the main entrance hall to the offices. The stairs were dark, and so we slept on the first floor landing outside the CID office. I woke up bursting for a piss and seeing how we didn't want to go back to the reception as this would let one where we were, I just pissed in the corner on the floor. We got the first train out of dodge, after explaining our predicament to the ticket inspector who looked upon us with kindness and let us ride for free.


                        A few weeks' later, we ended up at Birmingham New Street having fallen asleep on a train and slept through until the train terminated. We tried to sleep in the waiting room, but they were closing the station. We managed to sneak into the toilets and put our feet off the floor when they did the final check before locking up, and then crept back down to the waiting room and sleep on the becnhes until the first train.

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                          I've spent a couple of nights in cells, come to think of it. Not slept, though.

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                            Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
                            At some point in the noughties Janik and I took part in a pub quiz with Balderdasha. I realise now that this must have been by far the most boring evening of the decade for her.
                            I remember meeting you and Janik, I don't remember doing a pub quiz though. I think I've met OTFers three or four times so far. Callie, TG and a couple of others in Cambridge once. One or maybe two pub outings in London. None of them were boring evenings. My other friends or boyfriends thought I was very weird for meeting people I only knew from an online football forum, partly due to my total lack of interest in football.

                            Anyone know how Callie/Caliban is doing these days? I don't think she posts any more. Last I heard, I think she got married in Italy and maybe had a kid?

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                              Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                              Quite

                              I've been reading about the Gormley project and have been surprised to learn that the plinth is not as high as I remember it being in my head and that it was fitted with a large net that protruded from its base.

                              The latter strikes me as being more for the protection of the participants from the general public than for more general reasons of health and safety.
                              Yeah, the distance between the plinth and the net was still not one that I would have felt comfortable falling off. It's not 'that' high, but I'm someone who gets vertigo from standing on a chair.
                              Last edited by Balderdasha; 13-07-2019, 18:26.

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                                Oh, certainly.

                                Especially if one went off the front rather than the back.

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                                  Originally posted by Balderdasha View Post
                                  I remember meeting you and Janik, I don't remember doing a pub quiz though.
                                  Maybe you just thought it a surprisingly erudite and detail-filled conversation?

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                                    2011: my mum's 60th birthday. She threw a party at her house. I decided to break my new boy in gently and invited him to it. So in one day he met: my mum, my sister, my brother-in-law, my four nieces, my godmother and her husband, my old teachers, my old dinner ladies (my mum used to work in the school), some childhood friends of mine and various other family friends. At one point, my youngest niece took a flying leap across the lounge landing in his lap, and started trying to play with his chest hair (a little bit was poking out the top of his shirt). He very calmly put her back on the carpet and asked 'which is better, princesses or fairies?' and off she went pondering this great philosophical conundrum. We slept in my mum's 'yellow room'. This is the spare room, which is painted all yellow, has yellow floral bedding on the double bed, and is decorated with hundreds of china dolls dressed in stereotypical outfits from countries around the world, all hanging eerily from the ceiling. The fact that the boy survived this baptism of fire was one of my first indicators that he might be good husband material.

                                    The next day when we were safely home, my sister rang to say that the nieces had nits, and me and the boy had to spend a fun evening shampooing and combing through each other's hair.

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                                      Originally posted by Balderdasha View Post

                                      I remember meeting you and Janik, I don't remember doing a pub quiz though. I think I've met OTFers three or four times so far. Callie, TG and a couple of others in Cambridge once. One or maybe two pub outings in London. None of them were boring evenings. My other friends or boyfriends thought I was very weird for meeting people I only knew from an online football forum, partly due to my total lack of interest in football.

                                      Anyone know how Callie/Caliban is doing these days? I don't think she posts any more. Last I heard, I think she got married in Italy and maybe had a kid?
                                      I'll send you a Dm

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                                        2011: went out for a Vietnamese meal near Old Street with my boyfriend, my friend, her new boyfriend and her other female friend. I was meeting the last two people for the first time. The waiters were incredibly rude, they made us move table midway through the meal, but the new boyfriend was even ruder. Let's call him Victor. Victor was abusive to the waiters, condescending to my friend and started flirting with her other friend, let's call her Helen. We moved on to a bar, and then another bar, by which point Helen was extremely drunk. Victor started a fight with two Australians in the bar. Helen proclaimed me her new best friend and tearfully confided about being abused by her dad as a child and then packed off to very expensive boarding schools. Victor flirted some more with Helen and pinched her bum, at which point my friend had a massive row with him. Helen went off to the bar's dance floor and started gyrating in a manner that would make a pole dancer feel inadequately sexy. She was the only person on the dancefloor, but it was surrounded by several unsavoury guys on the lookout for someone as drunk and damaged as Helen. I adopted a self-appointed role as Helen's bodyguard and started berating the guys for leering at someone so obviously vulnerable. Throughout the evening, my boyfriend was basically on damage control mode. He calmed down the Australians, he boosted my friend's self-confidence, he redirected some of the lecherous guys away from wanting to punch me. Helen did not like my interference and eventually fought for the right to get in a taxi with one of the lecherous guys. What had been meant to be a quiet meal out, eventually resulted in us catching the night bus home at about 4am.

                                        Both me and my boyfriend agreed that these types of evenings were not really how we wanted to spend our time any more.

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                                          2011: royal wedding combined with bank holidays over Easter meant if I took 4 days annual leave I got an 11 day stretch of holiday. Me and my boyfriend did a little tour of the South Coast, Brighton, Arundel, Isle of Wight, Durdle Dor. At the same time, one of my childhood friends was going on holiday to Morocco with her boyfriend. She's Sikh and didn't want the faff of an argument with her family so asked me beforehand if she could tell her parents that she was going to Morocco with me (I've been before so can talk knowledgeably about it if required and even produce photographic evidence). I said of course and we went on our separate holidays.

                                          So, one morning, I woke up in the yurt we were staying in on the Isle of Wight and discovered that I had about fifty missed calls and lots of frantic answerphone messages, mostly from my mum, friend's parents and a mutual friend of mine and the Sikh girl. Ok, let's call the Sikh girl Pria, and our other friend Evie. Basically, a bomb had exploded in Marrakech, where Pria and her boyfriend were. Pria's parents panicked and phoned Evie to see if she had any better contact details for me or Pria, as neither of us were answering our phones. Pria's parents then rang my mum at home in the middle of the night (we were schoolfriends and often stayed at each other's houses). My mum woke up sleepily and initially answered their questions by saying she thought I was on the South Coast with my boyfriend. Then her brain kicked in as she realised what the scenario might actually be, and she backtracked saying that she hadn't spoken to me for a couple of weeks and I could easily have gone to Morocco with Pria without her knowledge. So Evie was ringing me to see if I had Pria's itinerary or her boyfriend's phone number. My mum was ringing to find out what was going on and to check that I wasn't actually in Marrakech.

                                          I spent the next two hours trying to find out where Pria was and if she was ok. We couldn't even remember her boyfriend's full name (at that point we all jokingly referred to him as 'posh boy'). We phoned the embassies, various hotels in Marrakech, and I had long chats with Evie, trying to decide the ethics around should we tell Pria's parents what was actually going on? Long story short, Pria and her boyfriend were totally fine, off on a trek in the mountains with no mobile reception. They got back to Marrakech later that day and she came clean to her parents.

                                          The fall-out was pretty intense. But it has a happy ending. Pria and posh boy had a lovely fusion wedding in 2016. I attended it on day release from the mother and baby unit. I continue to be amazed that her parents still seem to like me.
                                          ​​​​​

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                                            2011 again: if you ever need to assess whether someone you know has bipolar, this is the itinerary they choose for themselves for a two week summer holiday.
                                            - train to near Birmingham to attend friend's wedding. Stay one night there.
                                            - train to airport. Fly to Budapest for four nights at Sziget festival
                                            ​​​​​​- overnight train from Budapest to Berlin.
                                            - three nights in Berlin. Fly back to UK.
                                            - train to Wales to meet mum, sister and nieces.
                                            - four days in a pontin's shed with seven people, and a trip up Snowdon.
                                            - car journey back to London, train to the south coast to meet friends.
                                            - car journey / ferry to a French chateau for another friend's wedding, overnight stay.
                                            - car journey back to South coast. Train back to London.
                                            - start work next day.

                                            One night that stands out in my memory in Budapest. We'd heard about these 'ruin bars' and managed to find one after clambering over a large amount of building site rubble. It had three stories of eclectic space. One area was furnished with old bath tubs filled with cushions. One was projecting silent black and white cartoons on the crumbling walls. Downstairs there was a pizza oven churning out delicious food. My favourite part though was that when my boyfriend briefly went to the loo, a woman came past selling whole peeled carrots from a chipped china bowl. It was exactly what I was craving, Hungarian food doesn't come with many vegetables.

                                            The overnight train between Budapest and Berlin was great. A private cabin for me and my boyfriend with all these neat little fold-away features to make the most of the space (beds that folded up and down, seats that popped out, a whole pull-out shower and sink cubicle), and there was a very friendly train attendant who sold beer and crisps in the evening and croissants and orange juice in the morning.

                                            I need to go to sleep, I'll tell the Snowdon story tomorrow.

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                                              I'm currently in a train carriage converted into a hostel in the about 400 km northwest of Stockholm. Didn't plan on being here, but when I was turning at the junction just up the road, the schmuck in front of me slammed on his brakes very suddenly (suddenly decided he was turning the wrong way or something), meaning that my front bumper hit his tow bar. The right front wheel arch is now wedged up against the wheel and the car is undriveable. I went swimming the local lake though.

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                                                2011: Snowdon. So, the backstory to this is that my mum previously climbed Snowdon as a teenager. Her father was a headteacher who took groups of underprivileged boys on hiking holidays around the UK and Europe (mostly the Alps) and as his only similar-aged daughter, my mum tagged along (I think she liked the attention from being the only girl in the group, but was also somewhat off-limits as the headteacher's daughter, so none of the boys ever dared try their luck). Then, when my mum was around 50, she tried to climb Snowdon again with my dad, the lady my dad 'went to the gym' with and her husband (totally small-town messed up situation, they went on holiday together for years before my dad ran off with her). That time, it was terrible weather, pissing it down, really slippery footpaths. My mum stumbled badly halfway up and called a halt on the ascent. The others very grudgingly came back with her, and blamed her entirely for their failure to reach the summit.

                                                Fast forward to 2009, my dad left and I did the three peaks challenge including Snowdon. I concocted a plan to take my mum up Snowdon for her 60th birthday, to prove to her that it wasn't her fault that they didn't make it ten years previously. By this point my mum had slightly dodgy knees and didn't like walking down hill, but Snowdon has a train so surely we could walk up and get the train down?

                                                My sister and nieces wanted in on the plan, so we combined it with a trip to Pontin's and making sandcastles on the beach.

                                                Strangely enough, if you have just been to a wedding near Birmingham, a festival in Budapest and city break in Berlin, you might be a bit run-down or tired by the time you make it to Wales. I was, in fact, sporting a full-blown chest infection. Due to the predicted weather, there was only one clear day when we could make our summit attempt, and I didn't want to let my mum down. So, I woke up in a tiny Pontin's cupboard, feeling like death, with the sound of lots of excitable female family members bouncing around the cabin, and dragged myself out of bed. I was on a go-slow, we had four girls under the age of 12 to get ready, the drive to Snowdon took longer than expected, so we didn't actually get there until about 10:30am.

                                                My mum was already panicking. Having been drilled by her father on the dangers of mountaineering, she thought we were setting off too late in the day. I calmed her down and went to the ticket office to try and buy train tickets down from the summit. Turns out you can't do that. You can only buy return train tickets and you only get a two-hour window to go up and down. I knew we couldn't get up to the top in two hours, so I just thought, never mind, we'll buy them once we're at the summit, and we set off.

                                                At this point, I would like to add a little detail on footwear. Me and my mum were wearing proper walking boots. My sister had at least dressed all her daughters in trainers, but she herself was wearing a pair of black, wedge-heeled flip flops. When I had questioned the suitability of this choice, she snappily insisted that these were her most comfortable shoes and she would be going up Snowdon in them or she would not be going up at all. I decided that was not a battle worth fighting.

                                                A couple of hours into the walk, my sister suddenly remembered that she had never got round to checking whether the hole in her four-year-old daughter's heart had closed. We carried on.

                                                Most of the walk up was quite pleasant. My mum worried about the time. We ate sandwiches and drinks. My youngest niece saw a graphic bloody poster about sheep being mauled by rogue dogs, and was fascinated for years afterwards. Passing walkers marvelled and expressed mild horror at my sister's shoes.

                                                We got to the top around 4pm, I was in the advance party with my two middle nieces, and we went into the café / train station to try and buy tickets. The conductor explained that you can't buy tickets down from the summit of Snowdon and there were only two more trains due to go down that day, which were almost certainly already full. I explained the predicament, and that at least three of our party would not make it down the hill under their own steam (60-year-old woman with dodgy knees, four-year-old with possible hole in heart, insane mother wearing wedge heeled flip flops). The conductor said he would see what he could do.

                                                I took my two middle nieces to the café to get hot chocolate and waited for the others to catch us up. My middle nieces were besides themselves with worry at this point, thinking that we were going to be stranded at the top of the mountain. I pointed out that we were in a warm café, drinking hot chocolate, next to a shop that sold sleeping bags, we were not exactly lost in the wilderness. They didn't see it that way. The others caught up with us and I explained the situation.

                                                My mum and sister it has to be said were entirely unhelpful. My mum burst into tears and started berating herself for putting her whole family in danger just to fulfill her selfish desire to go up Snowdon. My sister started wildly exclaiming that she would pretend to break her ankle and Prince William would have to fly in and rescue us in his helicopter. I prepared myself for the possibility of walking my three oldest nieces down the mountain myself, potentially with part of it in the dark.

                                                Anyway, eventually the conductor realised what a bunch of lunatics he had in the café and managed to squeeze us all onto the last train down the mountain. No-one had to sleep in the café. Part of me had been looking forward to a camp-out and a dawn walk down.

                                                Back to another night of coughing my guts up in the Pontin's cupboard.

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                                                  Going up Snowdon is something I've never done, despite being born in the area and having lived there for some years afterwards; the reason has something to do with vertigo.

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                                                    ha ha, great Snowdon story, B!

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