Thursday, March 27, 2014

Things you Realise by 4th Year

You'll have no idea what is going on in the world without Hermes.
If you thought you could speak English then you're wrong; who knew it's Nice-a not Neesa.
The bridge to Tesco will never be built, that is until the year after you graduate.
Riverside apartments are a mythical land.
Free heating in the library should not be taken for granted.
You'll never stop wishing you could pre-drink at Templelane.
RIP Tay Mills.
You'll feel old at Skint by second year.
Nobody told me graduating actually cost money.
North of Dundee does exist.
All of the National Express buses have name.
The view of the Tay is pretty stunning.
The library security guards are top of the food chain.
You'll never be ready to leave.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Dundee Bucket List

1. Walk up the Law both in the day and night.
2. Walk across the road Bridge.
3. Visit Broughty Ferry "beach"
4. Eat at The Tapas Bar
5. Have a Sunny's Curry.
6. All day BBQ and drinks on Magdalen Green
7. Midnight playpark trip
8. Visit St Andrews and moan about all the poshness.
9. Visit Tentsmuir for a real beach
10. Have a flat bake-off (for a bakesale or for fun)
11.Watch Dundee Stars play ice hockey
12. Cheer on and play for a uni sports team
13. Visit Clarkies at an ungodly hour.
14. Go on an adventure to bacon nirvana that is The Horn
15. Order a 3:30am Dominoes because you can.
16. Visit Riverside Tesco at an ungodly hour and buy something you really don't need.
17. Visit the new Olympia
18. Go to Camperdown Wildlife park
19. Catch the uni Night bus
20. Go along McGonagalls walk and remind yourself why "McGonagall has been acclaimed as the worst poet in British history" and finish up at Bridgeview Station for a scenic dinner.
21. Visit the Campbeltown or find your own local away from the Union.
22. Visit the Go-Kart arena
23. Go aboard the Discovery and Frigate unicorn
24. Walk up to the Observatory (and go in...)
25. Watch a film, eat and be cultural at the DCA
26. Go to DUSA's Skint one last time
27. Go to the Casino even if just to eat food.
28. Buy something priceless from the Recycling Centre
29. Visit The Botanic Gardens
30. Discover Frasers Fruit and Veg
31. Rummage in Grouchos
32. Walk the entire length of Perth Road
33. Visit Newport on Tay and Tayport
34. Bonfire night from the Law or Balgay Park
35. Venture into Fat Sams, liquid and Underground.
36. Enjoy a beer in Scotlands Sunniest city at Laings Beer Garden
37. Stay in the library until closing (or overnight for the 24hr period).
38. Eat in Perth Road's finest eateries (Don Michele, Malabar, Piccalo, Agacan...)
39. Visit Abertay Student union, just to see how the enemy live. 
40. Have a flying lesson or actually fly out of Dundee airport. 
41. Selfie with Desperate Dan and Dundee's Dragon
42. Wander in Dundee's Nature Park
43. Tell the people at Ketchup it's your friends birthday (and draw a picture for their wall).
44. Experience a Dr Noodle
45. Get a sandwich as big as your face from Supersnacks.
46. Have a Tonic burger.
47. Live in a "typical" student house, a close relative of the igloo.
48. Go watch the Arabs or the Dees.
49. Go to the Carpark Rave
50. Join DUSA Media!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Alternative Christmas Message

Christmas always reminds me that one day I would like to have kids. I’d like to bring back the magic of it all. Remember the sleepless nights on Christmas eve? Genuinely spending hours flicking through catalogues preparing your letters to Santa and forcing your eyes to sleep. I miss that feeling of Christmas. I know I’ll never be like that myself again but I can’t wait to help play the role for my own kids. I won’t even mind them waking me up at 5am asking to open presents while I am still nursing the effects of Santa’s brandy. 

At my age, as someone who hasn’t started their own family, Christmas gets more and more like another day where the family are forced to spend time together because society says so. There is a kind of loop where you enter it as a kid completely under Santa’s spell  but then after a while the 25th just misses something and you don’t really get it back until you go full circle and have to play that role for your own kids. Most of you who know me well know that Christmas has never been that big a deal in our house and that might be the reason my opinion is slightly biased. I understand some people my age are still as excited about Christmas day as they were when they were 5 years old and kudos to their families for obviously having a healthy relationship with both alcohol and each other, either that or they just get spoilt rotten ever year. 

However you have to admit, Christmas is becoming more of a social event than a religious celebration. I am in no way religious so I am not calling for the end of Christmas: l personally can’t wait to host my own one day. You all may think of me as someone that thinks the idea of a settled life is petrifying but there is that side of me that can't wait to have a garden, a huge kitchen and some dogs. I can’t wait until I am older I can have everyone I love under one roof (however, I know that is an impossible task for me), cook them a lovely meal and get very jolly on mulled wine as we sit round to watch Dr Who. This is not just including my own family but also the families of my closest friends as they often know me better and I often consider these people as much part of my family as I do my blood relatives.  Although (other than with food), I’ve never been a fan of the excessive nature of Christmas that fills up my news feed with people taking photos of their new car using their brand new iPad. In my eyes not even food should be allowed to be spoilt, let alone people. A few modest gifts are fine but spending hundreds, even thousands of pounds on almost any present is madness to me. 

As nice as it is to have an annual excuse to get everyone together (assuming you all get on) I just hope the magic doesn’t get lost before I have a chance to be the magician myself. I fear that with the new internet generation, belief in Santa will die out completely. Thinking about it believing in Santa is like another strange religious aspect of Christmas. As a child you can’t explain how it all happens, you just can’t as a child’s brain is fuelled by magic, but you still believe he’s come for a visit. It’s only when you start to question this “magic” do you doubt yourself and start asking other kids in the playground. Either that or some loud mouth kid ruins it for everyone. Nowadays though, kids can just search the internet and find out for themselves. Although their parents wallets will no doubt be relieved at this point. However, even without the mystical figures that are behind the modern celebrations of Christmas, it is one of the best times of year to have everyone together - the middle of December when the weather is no doubt making everyone feel shite, surely that is reason enough for a get together?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Pop

I can't believe I forgot this Bizarre Orcadian tradition when I made my compilation last year, but this one is just as fitting. In recent years the tradition has died out as my local community bonfire has not been on after some firework scares but I see this year it is back and I expect plenty of Pop's in the street!
No idea who these children are but they are the only good Pop photo on the internet.
There is somewhat of a similarity between trick or treating and the Pop tradition of Stromness (my hometown) but the Pop allowed us Stromnessian kids to make a sweet few pounds rather than gaining them. The Pop is also similar to the burning of the Guy that traditionally occurred around Britain. However, instead of standing watching an effigy of a man burn it's the children throwing the burning heads in the fire. Now I know that makes us sound more savage and archaic than ever but what traditions don't stem from something gruesome?

November 5th was the one day of the year the local shops ran out of turnips and instead of making us eat the otherwise foul vegetable my parents would carve a face into it and turn it into a lantern. I would then paint it using my primitive painting skills and mount the head on a stick to make what is called a Pop. The Pop could resemble a local or a topical figure but most of the time they ended up becoming like an alien or a grotesque witch of some sort. My friends and I would assemble at a house and with our army of heads on sticks to go door to door asking " A penny for the pop!" All locals knew to then hand us some change and send us on our way. We'd head along the street with our pockets becoming heavier and heavier until we reached the community bonfire. Once we'd exploited all the adults there and compared Pops to each other we'd then throw our Pops into the fire.

The Pop tradition is thought to originate somewhere between the Halloween traditions of trick or treat and carving a lantern and the burning of the Guy on Bonfire night. However, why is it called a Pop? Well this is thought to actually stem from anti-Catholic sentiments just as the burning of the guy ( Guy Fawkes was Catholic and so burning of a guy is also originally a sign of Protestant triumph) and this is again seen in the pronunciation of Pop. In Orcadian the word 'Pop' is pronounced more like 'pope' and so when kids go round with their grotesque head on a stick called a Pope and asking for money with the intentions of burning that head you can see the gruesome back story unfolding. But as with the majority of British traditions the original reasoning is somewhat neglected and the perks of the tradition are kept to make it an enjoyable and unique celebration to keep the community together.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ville de Quebec - Jour Deux

From having lots of lovely people in my room I was suddenly all by myself again. In the morning Lia and I tried the hostel breakfast which provided an impressive carb-fest for £5. Everyone was out by 11am and I didn't want to hang around in the room for long. Thankfully due to a skype date with my cousin and the hostel's dodgy wifi I headed out. I started off in Starbucks but it turned out to be the only starbucks in the world without wifi. I resorted to Tim Hortons where I absolutely failed to order a single hot chocolate in French. It was going well...

I sat down for an hour long skype with Maria where she updated me on her adventures paralleling my own from last year. I've taught her well! It was so nice to talk to someone from home at this point as I was actually starting to get homesick. As nice as meeting new people is, it can get tiring; saying the same things over and over again and it was quite nice to just relax.

After chatting to my cousin I met up with Fernanda again as she had time to kill before until her train. We went and got some crĂªpes before heading to the station. We sat chatting for an hour or so - it's lovely befriending strangers and especially ones that remind me of how people are in Brazil. 

After leaving the station I decided to have a quiet evening just catching up with my journal and enjoying time to myself. One of the younger German girls from the first day took pity on me and invited me out with a bunch of them but deep down I just wasn't feeling it and couldn't really afford beer in Quebec!

I went a walk a night to the lower town (Basse Ville) which is the really nice old part of Quebec with little windy streets - much like Stromness. At night it was beautifully lit up and completely empty and instead of the smell of grass after a rain - Quebec smells like patisseries

After a nice walk and some lovely photos in my arsenal I went back to my room and scribbled into my journal. There were some new people in my room but they weren't nearly as sociable as the previous occupants. I fell asleep with my ipod o

n and woke up the next day with it still playing - the deep sleep I had obviously needed.