Monday, 25 June 2012

Weirdest Thing I Saw This Weekend

By far the weirdest thing I saw this weekend was a re-usable condom from 1948. That's right. Re-usable. Urgh.

Visiting the Science Museum has been on my list of things to do in London for ages, so I was excited to finally get my geek on and take a look at what they have to offer yesterday.

This crusty gem is part of The Science and Art of Medicine, an exhibition of terrifying instruments and artifacts from medicine from the last few centuries.

There were some truly horrific tool boxes with saws and clamps from the 1800s, items for leach therapy and forceps that looked like instruments of torture.

Much of the exhibition put the fear of God into me and I felt thankful to have been born in an age where medicine is so advanced and doesn't involve cutting people and letting them bleed in order to relieve pressure in the body.

So it was with some relief when I found this little rubber beauty, still sitting in its original box, complete with instructions.

The re-usable condom

After use you simply wash it in tepid water, towel dry and you're good to go again.

As museum exhibits go, this one comes (ha) second only to the steam powered vibrators I saw at New York's Museum of Sex.

I'm so grateful to have been born in the '80s.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Challenge #8: Sarah vs Download Festival

This wasn't on my list, but the fact that Download 2012 is the last festival I will attend as a 20-something and the ridiculous weather conditions I had to endure to enjoy it, I'm adding it as one of the challenges.

Two hats, two vest tops, one hoodie, one fur coat 
and one pair of gloves and I'm still cold

As my sixth visit to Download and my 16th festival in total, spending five nights in a tent was almost second nature and the thought didn't phase me at all. Over the years, I've learned the hard way that wellies are a must, a waterproof coat is essential and a strong stomach can mean the difference between having fun and having the shits.

I've survived wet festivals, I've survived scorching hot festivals, but without a doubt, this year's Download was the wettest, muddiest, messiest and the toughest endurance test I've ever faced out there in the moshing fields.

 Wellies + mud = a good workout for the legs


It started well, we arrived in sunshine, queued in sunshine, pitched in sunshine and then suddenly, it started raining and didn't stop for about 48 hours. The lush green fields turned into muddy streams and the path we were pitched right next to morphed into what looked like a river of diarrhea, and actually could have been considering some of the things that I've witnessed at festivals.

 View from the tent on Day Two

So as Download transformed into Brownload, just walking about became a challenge and we encountered every type of mud you can imagine. Wet and sloppy, thick and sticky, crusty and bouncy, we waded through it all. It was like being on a cross trainer for five days straight.

 Mission to the toilet on Day Three

There were times when I really didn't think I would make it and on Day Two, stuck in separate tents drinking gin as the rain lashed down, I started to wondered where all the fun had gone. Then, on Day Three, when the music started and the rain stopped for a while, it all started to make sense again. And finally seeing Metallica play a two-hour set and the Black Album in its entirety on Day Four made me forget all of the shitty stuff and want to do it again. Fool.

 It just got messier and messier

 Lucky bastard Danny Lad got to watch Metallica on his birthday

My best friend Steve

Team photo: me, Danny Lad and Steve

My Download in numbers...

11.15 on 06.06.12 - the time we arrived
27 - bands seen
15 - bands seen live for the first time
4 - bog rolls used
15,000 (approx) - times I heard someone shout "FENTON, JESUS CHRIST FENTON"
3 - hours spent in Wetherspoons sheltering from the rain
4 - towels purchased to try and stem the leaks in our tent
2 - cheese burgers eaten
2 - jacket spuds eaten
1 - dump taken while there
2 - hours Metallica played for
1 - condom eaten by some drunk dude while queuing to get in on the first day
10 - times I wondered to myself whether condom dude was either dead or in hospital
1 - number of times I later saw the same guy and couldn't believe he was still standing
500 (approx) - times James Hetfield shouted 'YEAH' during Metallica's set
1 - Black album played in its entirety
Shitloads - the amount of people we saw pack up early and leave on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
10kg (approx) - of mud I accidentally brought home with me
07.15 on 11.06.12 - the time we left

"There was this much mud..."

The aftermath. I pity whoever has to clean all this shit up

And would I do it again? Of course, I've started saving for next year's ticket already.

Verdict: WIN!!!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Challenge #7: Sarah vs. Kite Flying

I hadn't even started making plans to tackle the kite flying challenge, but right after I got off my horse (see last post, no really, you should) this one just kind of happened.

My mate Sam and I had just finished the horse riding challenge and headed back to her house to regroup in prep for an evening of burritos and mojitos, and for me to rest my poorly arse. Several coffees later we got onto the topic of The List and the challenges I have left to take on.

When kite flying came up, Sam's boyfriend Mat brought in this huge kite. "There you go, you can take that home with you," he said. Awesome, I thought, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to get it on the train, considering it is as tall as me.

Then Sam hit upon a genius idea, we would go and fly it in the park there and then...

This is Mat setting up the kite. 
I'm behind the camera doing my over-excited dance that only my closest friends get to see.

So here's me playing kite flyer while Mat is chuck-in-the-air-er and Sam is photographer, because she is a photographer.

It was a shakey start, as the kite had two strings and my brain struggled to compute that you need to pull the opposite string to the way it's going. I think in this picture I had just crashed it straight into the ground.

I'm flying!

Ooh, she's taking a dive...

Sam managed to capture this one just as I crashed it into her head. You take someone horse riding and then let them play with your kite and that's the thansk you get. Sorry Sam.

After a bit of expert tuition from Sam, I finally started to get the hang of it.
I know you can't see me in this picture, but it is me flying it...


Eventually, I managed to keep it in the air for more than a couple of seconds.

Told you the kite was as big as me.

Stoked to have completed another challenge.
Now, can we go celebrate with mojitos please?

I feel I should explain why kite flying made it onto the list, because I'm sure you'll be wondering how I've managed to get through 29 years of life without doing so earlier. Well, I'm not entirely sure I haven't flown a kite before, it's just I have no recollection of doing so. The only memeory of kite flying I have is of a shitty polystyrene one that I made at school and didn't really fly properly.

I've just asked my mum about it and she said we bought some crap kites when we were kids and took them down the park, but they didn't fly very well so it probably doesn't count. Besides, I wasn't a very outdoorsy child, which is why we never tried again, I was always too busy making things out of cardboard boxes and yoghurt pots.

All in all, kite flying is great fun and quite addictive once you get it into the air. It's not a lone hobby though, you do need someone to help chuck it in the air and another one to take photos. I also found it adds a little excitement if you select one person as a target and crash the kite straight at them. I'd like to do it again though and think I might even buy one now.

Verdict: WIN!