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Monday, 23 March 2009

Liverpool!

I'm back - well sort of! I thought I would kick off by telling you about Liverpool.
In fact hmmmm I'm not sure what to tell you or should I say I don’t know where to start. Sorry for the LONG post!

I went there for the Liverpool Salsa Fest on the 13th -16th March. I had never been to anything like this before but I really wanted to improve my salsa skills.

Liverpool is known as the European Captial of Culture and you can see it on the map just there.


I guess I have to take it day by day, I will just give you the low/highlights

Fun Friday
Fresh faced and slightly excitied we arrived into Liverpool on Friday afternoon. We had planned it so that we get into the hotel, check in, eat in the resturant and then go out to the welcome party. The hotel reception had told us how to get there so when we stepped of the bus we were pretty surprised to find that we were standing outside a pub.


Pub = Public house and for anyone who is UK based, it was like standing o
utside the Queen Vic based in a ghetto.

"is this it?" I asked my friend "you booked us into a pub?"

"I'm not sure this is the place?" she replied, quite puzzled.

In the doorway a drunken man was standing smoking a ciggarette.


"is this the hotel?" We asked him

"YEAH…this is it!" he said VERY excitied to see us

So we walked in with dismay. There was no reception, just a slightly deaf woman serving pints to the customers. However she lead us to our room.


Four flights up some stinky stairs and through a door it was like a different world. A clean refurbished landing with around six, clean wooden floored rooms off it. We were happy and I breathed a sigh of relif, when we got in the room we had a beautiful view of the river and we danced around a bit all happy until I noticed that the room didn’t have a toielt or shower. We quickly discovered that we had to share the bathroom with all the other guests. Yuck! I had a quick peep and saw the dirty toilet and the hairy shower and felt like crying.

Obviously there wasn’t going to be any dinner in the resturant, there wasn’t a resturant, but the old lady advised us that there was a local 'chippy' (Fish & Chip Shop) just down the street. So we got a takeaway.

Suddenly I was homesick.

By the time we had checked in and eaten. It was now time to get ready for the salsa welcome party which would be in town. Just as we were leaving and we walked through the pub, I heard some wailing and turned around to see a Kareoke! You know I couldn’t resist so I asked if I could sing.

Where we were staying was a predominately white area and it was all white people in the pub. I wasn’t really sure what reception they would give me, however when I got up and sung 'My Boy Lolipop' they all started dancing and saying how amazing I was. Lol

We left and went onto the Salsa welcome party which was in a nightclub called Europa and I felt much better. It was great and when we got back to the pub at something am, they were all still in there having what UK people call 'a lock in' it was really noisy but four flights up you couldn’t hear a thing.

I slept quite pecefully in the clean bed and that was that.

I learnt on Fun Friday that you should never let your friends choose the hotel lol lol


******************************************************

Salsa Saturday

On waking I realised that this shower thing was gonna be a problem, luckily I had waterproof slippers that I kept on at all times but the whole thing was nasty. I was tramatised but realised I needed to keep clean. I had to use a hover technique using the toliet and I just kept promising myself that I would never do this to myself again.

Saturday was a day of lessons hourly from 9.30-6pm then a Grand Salsa Ball in the evening.
It said on our programme that there would be nowhere to buy food and we would have to bring packed lunch and we were annoyed! 'How can you bring packed lunch when you are in a hotel?' Nothing wa
s open in the morning to buy stuff so we said that we would just cope and buy things from the vending machine that was there to keep us going until the evening.

When were were there we got chit chatting to people that we had seen at the welcome party and we met this couple called John and Jill. They actually live in Liverpool and were quite old. Anyway we asked if they knew where to buy food and they said 'guys don’t worry at all, come to our house we live just around the corner'

I was shocked! In London you would never invite strangers to your house. I was also paranoid becuase lets face it, do you have strangers in your house? Perhaps when we got there something would be awaiting us, but I realised that they had invited a couple more people back so I relaxed a bit

Jill was so extra! She left the lessons early to go home and prepare a full spread. Trust me this involved Curry and Rice!! I tell you what I was humbled and amazed at the level of kindness. It really got me thinking about the way the world is, so full of mistrust and fear, when was the last time you did something that amazing for a stranger?

I bet in the past people could do this kind of thing all the time and no one battered an eyelid. What do you think?

That was the best part of the day and I must remember to send them a Thank You Card.

So what lessons did I do? It went something like:
10-11 Yoga for Dancers
11-12 Spinning Techniques
12-1 Salsa NY Style

Lunch at Jill and Johns

2-3 Reggetion
3-4 Ladies Styling

At the ladies styling I asked her if she could just show me again...here have a look (Selah, do Practice girl)

video

Then we left and went back to the hotel to get ready as although there were more classes we were knackerd!

In the evening I was forced to use the nasty shower again then we got ready for the Grand Salsa Ball.

Guys it was amazing, they had shows from some of the top world Salsa Champions, I wish I had taken my camera after this we danced the night away! until something am.

I learnt on Salsa Saturday many different moves and also that you can be kind to strangers

******************************************************
Sightseeing Sunday

We were tired on Sunday and although there was going to be another full day of lessons we decided to skip that and go and see some of Liverpool. This was one of the only days I remembered my camera.

So we headed into town and visited Albert Dock where I sat on a big one and salsed with Elvis




lol no seriously Albert Dock is where you can get the ferry from and see many different musueums.
We had planned to go and see many things but our first stop was the International Slavery Museum.

What can I say about this place, I can say it was a bit of an emotional journey for me, the way they have done it, they dont hide a thing, it was so moving and sad that we didnt go and see anything else.

It started from Africa and brought you all the way to todays slavery, with alot of things that really made you think, on thing that stuck in my mind was there was a guy speaking who said

"do you really think you can buy things as simple as chocolate for so cheap in your local store without some form of slavery going on?" that was awakening for me.

After this we ate lunch and looked around a little but then went back to the hotel.

There was another party on Sunday evening, the farewell event. By now I was feeling really confident and I once again danced the night away.

I learnt on Sightseeing Sunday that Slavery still exisits today so we need to find ways of working out how we end it.

******************************************************

Moody Monday
We woke up in time to check out feeling pretty tired, thus we were a little moody.
We slept most of the way home but all in all it was a good weekend.


Right im open for questions....

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Its not good to engage....

.....In road rage..



As you know I work in Central London and each day I commute to work using the tube. If I'm on time I walk to the station, if I'm running late (or lazy) I catch the bus. Because I went jogging at the weekend and my legs were still hurting, on Tuesday morning I decided to jump on the bus. There were no seats so I was standing right near the front.




The bus set off as usual but I noticed at one junction it was taking ages to turn when I heard the bus driver sound his horn I looked out the front to investigate. In the middle of the road was an Audi stopped dead. The driver had his window down and his arm out doing a rude sign to the white van behind him.



From where we were, we could clearly see the words on the side of the van 'HALAL MEAT BUTCHERS’ but the Audi driver wouldn’t have been able to see it he was angry and really red faced. I couldn’t hear him but I could see that he must have been shouting out all kinds of profanities spit was flying from his mouth.



Suddenly the van doors flew open and out of each side jumped out these two bearded guys with blood stained aprons on. One of them had this humongous knife! The whole bus gasped and watched.



As soon as they approached the guy in his Audi his face went from red to white, he wound up his window quickly and sped off.



When I say sped off I'm talking like I blinked and he was gone I just heard wheels screech. It was hilarious. I heard some old African lady kiss her teeth and say 'idiot man' that just topped it off for me I couldn’t stop laughing. My laugh can be infectious sometimes and suddenly the whole bus was laughing even the driver.



I love those little moments in life when just for a second people come together. I walked into work with a big smile on my face.



The whole incident reminded me of the time I got road rage.



I was driving along nicely when the two lanes I was in merged into one, I signalled to move into the right lane but this woman in her fiesta wouldn’t let me in. I didn’t even think about it but just went behind her. Later on the traffic the road changed from one lane to two and then back to one again. I found myself in a position that she now needed to move into my lane. You know there was no way I was letting her in.



Unfortunately she was incensed and instead of dropping behind me she continued beside me, It was really slow moving traffic. She wound down her window and started screaming and telling me to move over. The woman just wouldn’t quit and the rational me thought 'oh just let her go' but she started calling me names and swearing and everything. I saw her mouth open and her lips moving and I realised that I needed to shut her up.



I just don’t know what came over me. My shopping was beside me and there were eggs on top, in a moment of madness I just threw one.



(I'm laughing I'm writing)



It sailed into her car and broke on her lap



I smiled, it felt good she was completely speechless her mouth was opening and closing but no words were coming out so just to make sure there wouldn’t be any more abuse I threw another, these were back in the day when I played netball regularly, and my aim was perfect. It smashed on the side of her head and rolled down her face.



I was enjoying myself I felt like a child playing a game but then I snapped out of it and realised I needed my eggs, so I then slowed down and waved her to go in front of me.



I bet she won’t be in such a hurry to wind down the window and start cussing anyone else in the future.



That’s the problem with getting all angry and driving around cussing people. Your car is not your armour and eventually you are going get hurt. Then at your funeral people will be asking 'why?' and saying 'what a nice person you were’



So the Moral of this story is… (lol) ………I will wait for your replies :)



Just FYI
The weeks ahead are going to be busy so I might not post often. On Friday I'm going to Liverpool for a mass salsa conference (Selah I'm going to be an expert) I'm going with a friend of mine. The weekend after I'm going out of town for a wedding, its one of Mr Specials best friends, the one after that I'm going to be out of town again as its my Mum's 50th Birthday Mr Special is joining and then the one after that Mr Specials brother is getting married. Busy as always! Angel

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Later in life it gets lonely and cold that’s why the young should talk to the old.



I love waking up naturally, not to the sound of an alarm, so when I awoke this morning I felt good.


It was strange because I had a dream about Michael Jackson. I don’t remember the details but I know he was in it. I have no idea why I was dreaming about him although he is coming to the UK in July to do his final concert, so perhaps it was about that. I have seen him in concert before and it was amazing, but now he is a weirdo so I don’t have high expectations…anyway I’m digressing. I woke up and for the first time in a long time I asked myself the question “what should I do with my day?”


I’m usually rushing around everywhere my time and life dictated by my diary but today I felt free, the day was mine.


I put on the radio and ate a lovely breakfast they had a little gospel playing isn’t it great how that music lifts you? Gospel music has a feel good factor about it.


I looked out and the sun was trying to get out and that’s when I saw my balcony and realised it was in a real mess.


Usually I love my balcony most of the time it’s beautiful. In the summer I sit outside and eat breakfast, on hot summer evenings I sit out there listening to soft music and reading. I planted lavender in pots out there so the smell would waft in when I have the doors open and I always feel like I’m on holiday when I’m out there. It faces trees and a grassy area were children play sometimes. It’s really quiet and a lovely place to live.


Anyway this morning it was a mess, because of the snow, the bad weather and general neglect all my other plants apart from the lavender were dead, or waterlogged. I realised that that’s what I would do with my day I was going to sort it out.


So I took myself to the garden centre. Do young black female’s garden? Or go to garden centres? I ask because when I arrived EVERYONE was staring at me. I really regretted wearing my hooded top.


I ignored the eyes and went into the outdoor section and browsed around, I tell you I was confused! All the beautiful things that I liked had too much info and I was reading the labels on how to care for these things and I wasn’t feeling confident.


There was a sales guy who had been following me around watching my every move so I turned and said


“Its ok darling I’m not going to steal a plant, it’s not a practical thing to try and run away with is it?” then I laughed but he didn’t there was a bit of an uncomfortable silence so I continued “Do you know anything about gardening? I’m looking for plants that don’t need to be planted in the ground and are happy in containers”


This guy was useless he just blushed bright red and mumbled something the scuttled off.


I laughed loudly and continued looking around and that’s when I saw someone who looked like they knew what they were doing. It was an old lady, she looked about 70 she had a few plants in her trolley and she was looking seriously at a gardening magazine.


“Hi” I smiled then I repeated the question that I had asked the sales guy


She smiled quickly, the seriousness disappearing from her face to reveal something that may have been beautiful when she was younger. She said “Well my dear, what you need is a…..


That was when we got talking, in fact I spent at least an hour in the garden centre talking to her. Her name was Betty and she was widower living alone. The reason I stayed so long is I realised that this was probably the first conversation with anyone she had in a while and also my day was free and I wasn’t rushing around anywhere. Isn’t it amazing what we can do when we slow down a little?


Even though she didn’t complain or mention it, I got the impression that she was lonely.

This was the second time she has left her home since the snow which was a month ago!! The first time was only yesterday. When it was cold she was really ill with a chest infection and has only just got better. She said she was happy to get out yesterday and get some food as she had been living on canned stuff. I was surprised and asked her if anyone called in on her when she was sick I also asked her where her family was. She said that she has one son but he lives in Australia and she hasn’t seen him in years and that most of her friends have died and the ones that are alive aren’t very mobile. I made a mental note that I need to have a few kids so that if one leaves the country there might be one around to take care of me. She has a big garden which her husband used to do but its just too much hard work for her now so she was there today looking for plants that just take care of themselves.


So we chatted and she confessed how much she was enjoying talking to me. The woman had a wealth of gardening knowledge that’s why young should always talk to the old. After asking me a hundred questions about my balcony she helped me choose some three new plants and gave me advice on how to revive the old ones. In fact she gave me so many tips and guidelines, some which I wrote down I was more than grateful.


I felt a bit sad to leave her but then we all have our own paths I wonder if I will see her again.


When I got home I did some serious work, following her advice and now my balcony is set to be a pretty picture. When everything starts growing and flowering I will post one :)




The first photo (white) is called a Choisya ternata, its an evergreen and the white flowers wont be on mine until late summer. its going to grow tall 2.5m.


The second photo (purple) is called a Skimmia Joponica its scented so should be nice for when im sitting out there. It flowers in the spring.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Blue/Pink Bike




I'm laughing and for two reasons really. One is because when I went to that post I wrote about the mad man following me off the tube the adverts on that page were all for life insurance and the one about ‘Payback’ all the adverts were for debt consolidation LOL – Google is clever you know.

The second is becuase I checked out the meaning of my name (thanks for the link Curvy Gurl) and it told me;

Angel
You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. You have the classic "Type A" personality.You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.You are deeply philosophical and thoughtful. You tend to analyze every aspect of your life.You are intuitive, brilliant, and quite introverted. You value your time alone.Often times, you are grumpy with other people. You don't appreciate them trying to interfere in your affairs.You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

Well apart from aggressive, which I'm not its all true!! I am the best at everything lol
What does your name mean?

http://www.blogthings.com/whatsyournameshiddenmeaningquiz/



I also wanted to tell you about a little conversation I had with my mum.


When I was with my ex I never imagined that I would ever be with anyone else. I haven’t told you much about him have I? I might have to save that for another time.

Anyway when my mum first met him and asked me if he was the one I told her

“Mum, imagine if you were a little child and you wanted a pink bike for your birthday; imagine if you waited and waited years for it and when it finally arrived it was blue. Its still the bike you want, it’s even got the basket and the bell, you know that you can be happy with this bike and it will do all the same things as the other bike but its just not pink and its never going to look good with a re-spray”

That’s how I felt.

I wouldn’t say that I was settling or anything like that I was pretty happy and life ticked along. When it ended although it was a mess I can really look back and say everything happens for a reason.

So when I was chit chatting to Mum about Mr Special she said

“So Angel, I guess he is he the pink bike then?”
And I replied “yes mum he is”
You don’t know how good it makes me feel to say it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, even though many of you would be blissfully happy with the blue bike and no one would ever know the difference, the pink one is always worth waiting for.



Little Angel words of widsom...




Now what did your name mean?