Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Challenge #26: Sarah vs Golf

It's a cold, wet, miserable and windy morning in February. I have a week off and by rights should be horizontal on my sofa with some punk rock blasting out of the stereo, a good book in one hand and a steaming cup of coffee in the other. Instead, I am stood in a soggy field trying to hit a ball with a stick.

When I added 'play a round of golf' to my list of things to do before 30 I envisioned blue skies, blazing sunshine and ice creams. I thought it would involve sun cream. Unfortunately, the summer of 2012 was heavy on the vile side and heavy on the rainfall, which is why I had put off the task. If I had known it would mean playing golf in the drizzle on a February morning I think I would've gotten it over and done with earlier.

So here I am at the Melton Mowbray golf course at 10am. 

Ready to tee off.
I've got all the professional gear on,
leopard print wellies and skinny jeans.

I took many chunks out of the grass.
I put them back though.
I know you're thinking it must've taken
me ages to tee off, but after missing
the ball completely the first time I
actually hit it on the second attempt.
I was impressed even if you're not.

It's in!

Wow, it only took 16 shots to complete one hole - I'm a natural!

This was on the second hole.
At this point I got bored and pretended to play
polo on an imaginary horse.
I don't need drugs to have a good time. 

I made improvements on the second hole and
managed to get it in with just 12 shots.

Confession time...

I known I said I was going to play a round of golf, but it took me over half an hour to play two holes. TWO HOLES! Plus it was cold and damp, so I called it a day after just the two. I still gave it a go though and did try really hard, but it is quite difficult to hit a ball with a stick. It's also not the most thrilling sport. Maybe in the summer it's more fun, but I don't recommend playing it for the first time in this weather.

Verdict: I gave it a go, so I win.

Challenge #25: Sarah vs the Bucket List

This wasn't on my original list of things before 30, as it came as a bit of a surprise challenge that I thought I would be waiting a very long time to do.

Jack Kerouac's 'On The Road' sat on my bookshelf for about 10 years before I finally got around to reading it. I was packing my belongings up ready to move out, deciding what to keep and what to give away. Even though I hadn't made the effort to read it, I was reluctant to give it up. I sat on the floor and read a couple of pages, telling myself it would have to go if I couldn't get into it quickly, and ended up reading the whole book. Since then it has been my favourite book.

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..."

The story of how Kerouac wrote 'On The Road' on one huge scroll of paper - supposedly in a three-week burst while on benzedrine - has always fascinated me and in my head I thought one day I would go and see it on display in America. So when I heard that the scroll was heading for the British Library late last year I had to go and see my favourite book in its original form.

The original 'On The Road' scroll

Me and the scroll.

A few facts about 'On The Road'
  • The original scroll manuscript, typed by Kerouac in a three-week burst, measures 120ft
  • It's only been fully rolled out twice
  • It was bought for $2.43 million (£1.51 million) in 2001 - the highest ever amount for a literary manuscript
  • That's $20,250 (£12,555) per foot
  • It has a typo on the first line - 'I first met met Neal...'
  • The end of the scroll was chewed by a dog
  • More than 10 million copies of 'On The Road' have been sold - I own two of those

Verdict: WIN!

Challenge #24: Sarah vs The Nationals

It's a long time since I had anything published in a national magazine or any magazine now I think about it. I thought setting myself the challenge of getting something published nationally would spur me on to get writing and help me to keep my hand in features. Since I began working in PR I've been really worried that I will lose this skill, so writing other stuff is important to me.

I tried pitching my '30 before 30' thing to a couple of publications, but it's hard to get anyone to take any notice and I gave up. I realise now that this was a mistake, that I should have put a bit more effort in and worked a bit harder at it, but with two days to go before I turn 30 it's too late to be working on it now.

However, I do have a way of cheating through this challange in order to say I've completed it. My cunning plan involves using an article that was published in the Guardian last summer and passing it off as my own, because the basis of it was my own. You see, my press release about the country's first woodfuel co-operative made it into the Money section of the Guardian. Yes that may be Rupert Jones' name on there, but I did the donkey work so I'm claiming it as my own. Told you I had a cunning plan.

Guardian article from my press release

Verdict: It's not quite what I had in mind and it's not my byline, but I don't have enough time to be picky type of win.

Challenge #23: Sarah vs Sleeveface

Sleeveface describes itself as 'one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion'. It's basically a game that involves holding record sleeves over your face to create an amusing picture.

That doesn't sound too challenging I hear you say, but my brilliant plan was to create a whole series of photos using different records. I even got up before 8am on a Sunday - ON A SUNDAY - to trudge round the carboot sale in search of the perfect sleeve faces and bought some vile 80's pop records that have no place being in my collection. In fact, they are so vile I plan to melt them into vinyl bookends so that no-one can listen to them ever again.

Where was I? Ahh yes, the idea behind adding this to my list of things to do before I get dementia was to get creative with some records and  camera. This being me, however, I did one and told myself I would come back to it later, obviously I didn't. It was July when I did the first one. It's now February.

So here it is, my one attempt at Sleeveface, which got posted on the website. You have to admit though it is pretty awesome for a first go, especially when I just happened to be wearing the same jumper...

Verdict: Win

Monday, 25 February 2013

Challenge #22: Sarah vs The Burning House

I hope escaping a burning house isn't something I have to do before 30 or after it, but ever since I found The Burning House I've thought long and hard about what I would save were such a heartbreaking thing to happen.

The Burning House...

'If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.'

My Burning House...

So after much consideration, I've come up with the following precious items that I would scramble to save in the event of a fire.

1. Journal
2. Amoeba Music bag, I'm rarely seen without it and it'll come in handly for carrying all this stuff
3. Memory cards
4. Purple belt with silver hearts that my mum made me for my 18th birthday
5. Letters from my teenage years
6. Festival wristbands
7. Ticket stubs
8. Teddy bear I've had since I was little, known as Poorly Bear because he has a plaster on the side of his face
9. Favourite photos
10. 'Sarah Music' compilation tape and CDs from my boy Daniel

Close ups...

The collective shot didn't do my ticket stub collection
justice, so here they are spread out a little bit.

CDs, records, tapes and even my band t-shirts can be replaced, but these little bits of paper are irreplaceable and I would be devastated if I lost them. I feel like they tell my journey through music, where I've been and who I've watched. If I had time I'd share all those stories, but I think that's game for another day.

Verdict: Win

Challenge #21: Sarah vs Star Wars

I've never been one for going out on New Year's Eve. I've probably done it a handful of times in my almost-30-years and there's never been any remarkable about them. I find I encounter enough knobheads on a night out anyway, but the amount of orange flesh, cheap looking slags and scummy lads seem to increase significantly on this occasion.

My way of welcoming the New Year usually involves a DVD, a lot of food and some of my favourite beverage, so this year I decided I would watch three films back-to-back. I was going to tackle the Star Wars original trilogy boxset marathon.

Now I realise there is no possible way to make a blog post about me watching three Star Wars films interesting, hence why I'm writing this in February. So, here are just a few photos that show what happened that night...

It's 6pm and I'm feeling good about this challenge.

Essential tools for a Star Wars boxset marathon:
 a Star Wars boxset, a full tin of Quality
 Street, a bottle of gin and some tonic water (not pictured).

Sarah's top tip: pace yourself on the gin
otherwise you will be asleep before 9pm

Two thirds of the way through.

Feeling sick...

I can't feel my arse. So much time has passed
 I might even be 30 already.

2am: Is it over yet?? Please can I have my life back now.

I took the BBC's Star Wars quiz afterwards and got
9 out of 15, which isn't a bad score
when you consider I
 was off my face on sugar and gin.

Verdict: WIN!
p.s. I love Star Wars, but I'm never doing that again.

Challenge #20: Sarah vs Pottery Painting

After the traumatic experience of BMXing I need to think about something calming, so I'm finally getting around to blogging about my pottery painting, which happened before Christmas! In my defence I did move house just two weeks before Christmas - something I haven't fully recovered from yet - so I've been pretty poor at doing any challenges, never mind blogging them since then.

Anyway, there's a cute little coffee shop, art gallery and ceramic studio all rolled into one a short walk from my house and I walk past it at least twice a week. For a long time I've promised myself I will go in and be nosey, and on the run up to Christmas it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make some festive decorations.

My favourite thing about this place is that you can have coffee, cake and be creative all at the same time. You don't actually make the pottery items, you pick out readymade items to paint, such as a plate, tile, mug, money box and Christmas decorations, then you choose your paints and away you go. Once you're done you leave them to be fired and collect them a couple of days later.

Reindeer and snowman tree decorations

Hard at work


Daniel putting the finishing touches to his snowman

Verdict: it's an awesome win!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Challenge #19: Sarah vs BMXing

I was probably about seven-years-old when I gave up riding my little blue bike. Coincidently, it was around the time I bombed down the hill where I grew up, took my hands off the handle bars and went straight over them, creating a mess of both the pavement and my face.

That painful face-planting incident - along with the very wise decision to give up riding a bike - flashed through my mind as me and my BMX smashed into the ramp we were attempting to ride up. It was a combination of nervousness and indecision, I got a bit of a wobble on, made a half-arsed attempt to go up it, couldn't quite decide which ramp to go up and then... crunch. We were only 20 minutes into a two-hour BMX session and it was already the second time I had fallen off.

I like doing things that have an element of danger to them and get the adrenaline pumping, so I thought BMXing would be right up my street. Sadly, I hadn't taken into account the number of years it had been since I last rode a bike or my ability to injure myself at any given opportunity. I was crap and the falling off certainly didn't help my confidence, especially when the place was full of children who weren't falling over.

Having said that, normally in these falling over/knocking something over/doing something incredibly silly situations I would be mortified, but on this occasion I wasn't. I didn't actually give a shit whether anyone was watching it or filming it for YouTube because it was very funny and I'm happy to laugh at myself. Within just 20 minutes of entering the building I was bruised and bleeding.

That face says 'what the fuck am I doing??'

Evidence I did ride the bike

 And went up the ramps

Dan's so fast he's a blur. He was also very good,
which made my efforts look even worse.


Things I've learnt

Ok, so I was completely rubbish at this challenge, but I'm glad I gave it a shot. Up until now I had enjoyed all of my challenges and while I was a little gutted I couldn't get the hang of it, it's not the end of the world. I'm good at lots of things, but I can't be good at everything and there's no shame in that.

Other things I've learnt

BMXing is very cliquey. If you're into it and good at it, they have time for you. If you're not your 'instructor' will watch you fall over and bleed and not bother to ask if you are ok, and will then piss off and leave you to it because he basically can't be arsed with you. On a positive note, not everyone that worked there was a dick, but some really were.

Even more things I've learnt

Cheesecake makes everything better...

The aftermath

It wasn't until I got in the bath that night that I realised quite how much damage I'd done to myself. I haven't counted the bruises yet, but there are a lot.

Verdict: A wobbly and bruised win, but I don't think I'll be trying it again