Archive for the ‘women’ Category

Model for a day

So there I was, minding my own business when I saw a tweet asking for women over a certain age and of a certain size, who could get to London to try a dress. Sounded like fun to me so I replied to get more information. I would have to get to London by midday, have hair and make up done and try out two ‘miracle’ dresses: one by Gok Wan, the other a Marks & Spencer’s version. Expenses would be paid and £50 fee too. Perfect, how could I turn down that opportunity? I could put the £50 to my charity fundraising total. What could possibly go wrong?

The day duly arrived, I had purchased online, a parking ticket for the day, to try and be organised. I got to the station at 10am, in plenty of time to catch the train at 10.20, or so I thought. I drove into the car park, it was full, I went to the multi storey car park and drove up, and up and up, still no spaces, commuters had obviously filled it. The time was getting on and panic was setting in. The station car park was undergoing ‘improvements’, which meant it had been dug up and there were no spaces. My next option was the NCP car park, which I’d used the last time I’d been to London, only to discover it had now been built on. All the other car parks nearby were permit only, what could I do? I had now missed two trains! I went to the neighbouring retail park, there were dozens of empty spaces in front of the half dozen shops which themselves only had a handful of cars parked outside. It was not ‘pay & display’ but meant for customers only. I parked in a far corner, crossing my fingers I wouldn’t get a ticket.

I caught a fast train to London and made my midday appointment, I had a lovely time having my hair and make up done, being generally pampered and made to feel special. After the session was over I caught the (slow) train back and thankfully there was no ominous yellow ticket on my windscreen. However, a couple of days later a letter arrived with CCTV photos of my car and a demand for £70, or a special ‘discounted’ rate of £50 if I paid within 14 days! I have written to the company and appealed to their good nature, explaining the mitigating circumstances. They have replied saying I now have 7 days to pay £50. So there goes my contribution to my charity and the end of my modelling days!

And just in case you are interested, here is the link to my charity page and the article about the dresses.


Worry, worry, worry!

It’s a cliché of course, but it doesn’t matter how old your children are, you always worry about them. When they’re six you worry about them forgetting their PE kits and reading books, at sixteen, you worry about GCSEs and them getting their hearts broken and at twenty six it’s will they get a good job and a foot on the property ladder.

Of course, you never understood why your own parents worried,  you always knew you were OK.  I couldn’t see why my mother was worried if I was quarter of an hour late for tea, (this was pre mobile phone days of course).  It usually meant me and my friend had to investigate what we thought was a  dead body in a farm outbuilding – and turned out to be a bag of cement.

I didn’t understand why, when getting lifts in boy’s cars to and from country pubs, that my parents worried.  This was despite the fact that having ‘one for the road’ was considered normal and seatbelts weren’t compulsory and my best friend was scarred for life  after going through the windscreen of an Alfa Romeo.

They just seemed to be making a fuss about nothing when aged 19, after three months of going out with my boyfriend, we announced we wanted to get married and did seven months after that. By our first anniversary we had our first child.

Now, three more children later, and with three grandsons and a grand-daughter on the way, they still worry.  Just goes to show however old your children are, they’re still your babies!

My Moonwalk

So, the training, such as it was, had finished and the day of the Moonwalk had arrived.  I had done a 6 mile run first thing to warm up.  At around 5.00pm I went to try on my decorated bra, complete with feathers and fairy lights and fringing, all painstakingly sewn on by hand the day before. I couldn’t fasten it, Ichecked the size, I stretched and pulled it, I had stitched the lights on too tightly!  It had taken me about two hours and I thought I’d been SO careful and there was no time to unpick it all.  After some more stretching , panicking and tactical snipping, I eventually managed to get it to fit and we left home and headed for ‘Playtex City’.  

The vast pink tent was in a corner of Hyde Park and I made my way towards it,  the nearer I got the more I could feel the excitement. Women, and a few men,  of all ages and sizes in their decorated bras, feathers, fringes, coloured wigs, netting, glitter and fairy lights, were pouring into the park, from all directions. In the gathering dusk,  groups of people were picnicking on the rice or pasta meal provided, sitting on the reflective space blankets. Others were chatting, or texting frantically to try and meet up with their friends. There were screeches and giggles from those who suceeding in finding their walking buddies. The music throbbing  from the tent enticed some inside to listen to live acts and take part in a mass warm up session.

Deciding I didn’t neet to do aerobics, after my own morning warm up I went to look at the various stalls outside and chose a pink balloon to attach the strap of my bumbag.  Feeling  cheerful with my perky pink balloon bobbing aloft, I  joined the queue for the portaloos.  There are always long queues for these, but eventually my turn came around.  Closing the door I went to sit down and couldn’t, something was stopping me.   Then I realised that my balloon was trapped outside!  The only solution was to try to slide  the string down  the crack of the door, I could hear the laughter from outside as the pink balloon inched its way down until I had enough play on the string to lower myself onto the loo.  At least they had no doubt that it was engaged!

I had arranged to meet some of my Twitter friends for the event and I found them  inside the tent, after introductions and a few photos  there was a poignant silence to remind everyone just why we were taking part in this event. We made our way to the start and set off at 11.40 full of enthusiasm.  The night seemed to fly by, we were setting a good pace, there was always something to look at and someone to talk to.  The marshals were amazing, out all night cheering us on, escorting us across roads and encouraging us.  We passed lots of  London’s landmarks, The Royal Albert Hall, Westminster Abbey, the Eye and Big Ben, as well as dimly lit,  less salubrious areas.  If you want to know the exact route it is probably still lined with feathers, glitter and tinsel that fell off  the fancy bras.

 The cars and traffic hardly seemed to ease off all night and there was nearly always a bemused passerby (not all the worse for drink) wondering what all these bra-clad women, complete with fairy lights, were doing walking the streets at night.  Indeed, one girl shouted “what ARE you doin’?”   She could have been forgiven for thinking that we were off to an enormous hen party.

At 4.00pm the birds began singing, the sky gradually started to lighten and the air became slightly warmer, we were half way round.  The mood started to change, people who had become quiet started chatting again, it was all ‘downhill’  from here on, every step taking us nearer to the finish.

Approaching Hyde Park for the final stretch, the sun was shining, we donned our sunglasses and removed our jackets.   The pink tent glowed in the morning light and an arch of pink balloons, marking the finish, bobbed about in the breeze. It had taken us about eight hours to complete, which included a 40 minute loo stop at a firestation!  We hadn’t seen any of the ‘celebrity’ participants or famous faces at the start or during the walk, but it didn’t matter.  We had finished,  and, along with the thousands of others who did it too, we felt like celebrities, and for a few hours  at least, we were.