Friday, November 29


It might seem crazy what I'm 'bout to say...

These two songs are rocking my world right now.  They covered up for the "Oh, I've arrived two hours early for my piano lesson and it's sort of raining, no snowing, no raining....argh, it's cold" issue.  These two even got me through the "How exactly do I plan all the necessary forms of transport to get me to and from England so I am there for Harriet's funeral...without killing myself in the process...?".  And I'm pretty certain they'll help me with "...the M25?  I thought that was a 25 year-old male who was registered at an Orienteering mean it's a road...with a lot of cars...oh no.".

Song No. 1: Happy - Pharrell Williams (who's 40, couldn't believe it myself, figured he must moisturise)

Song No. 2: Go Gentle - Robbie Williams (strangely he'll be 40 years-old next year...)

Two Mr. Williams' - two very different songs :-)

Saturday, November 23

Photos :-)

One of my friends, best friends, died twenty-four days ago.  I tried to find photos of the things we've done together in my own photo albums but I couldn't find any...and then I realised...I never took the photos, she did.  I did some Facebook stalking and I came up with many more memories than I'd remembered by myself.  So here, as the funeral may still be many weeks away, is my personal dedication to Harriet Ward, made up of the photos I found of us on her Facebook, and my memories of the things we did.

26th May 2008

This was the event that made Harriet and I close friends again.  In 2002, when Harriet moved to a different high school for 6th form, we stopped seeing each other regularly.  At school I'd had many lessons with her and we were good friends, but as teenagers do, things changed.  Anyway.  Thanks to my return to the island after Uni, and our mutual 'Lady who Lunches', Kirsten, our friendship was rekindled. For 7 months, after she convinced me it would be a good idea whilst eating crispy seaweed and shredded beef at Hong Kong Express, we trained together for a 10 km run.
That same weekend we took a tour of Lords, the cricket ground, as I love cricket and it was somewhere I had always wanted to go.  As an avid sports fan, Harriet really didn't mind joining me in this quest and was just as excited as me to touch the pitch!  It was a great weekend as I was already set on moving to London the following year and we explored the main sights of "the big city" together.  At the time we didn't know how "big" London would become for the both of us in our lives.

4th-5th September 2010

So.  When I lived in my London house, we had a house party in the beginning of September 2010, sort of for my birthday, sort of "just because".  For the party, my brother, Kirsten and Harriet came to stay and the morning after the night before my poor guests were woken by my clock radio at 5.30am.  We'd only got to sleep around 2.30am.  All very well except my preferred radio station was UCB, United Christian Broadcasting, which was not to their liking.  Hymns in the morning are not what you'd expect I suppose.

Harriet's Birthday: 29th October 2010

Harriet and I ready to go out :-)
After opening her "presents" from me.

As a result of the party in London we arranged to go to visit Kirsten in Birmingham to celebrate Harriet's birthday.  I had completely forgotten that I met Harriet at the train station and made her wear the hat and badge all the way to Birmingham until I saw the photo on her Facebook.  She loved it, and she was given a beer by a train drunk as a present!  We had another great weekend together, drinking a lot of tequila and sharing many laughs with Kirsten and her Uni friends.   

Christmas 2010

Being 'Ladies who Lunch', the three of us would meet up, lunch (or sometimes dinner).  This time, however, Harriet invited us for a Christmas dinner at her house.  We would just talk, and talk, about the good, the bad and the ugly.  Harriet was one of those friends.  Even though our circumstances changed we would catch up on the emails and exchanges we'd had since the last time we'd physically seen each other.  Harriet always told me how proud she was of me and her other friends and I know she used "us" as inspiration for her travelling and her later projects.


During this time I always met Harriet to do something in my time back on the Island, or in London.  Like I said, meeting for coffee, writing CV's, eating lunch, going to museums etc, aren't really the things you take photo's of.  One weekend I stayed with her in her studio flat, we bumbled around the city with my Mum and one of my friends from Italy in tow.  We ended up stumbling across an art-show of Mr. Brainwash, one of the main street artists featured in Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop.  In the beginning of this showcase was the painting that we are photographed with in this post.  Life is indeed very beautiful, if you let it, and Harriet did.

New Years Day, January 1st, 2013

At the Folly

This is the last photo taken of something I did with Harriet, even though we met up many times after.  In this photo I was ridiculously excited about the fact I was eating fish and chips, award-winning fish and chips at that, as it's surprisingly not an Italian delicacy.  At this point in Harriet's life story there was a lot going on and I remember telling Kirsten how worried I was about her but also how she seemed a completely different person.  Since this photo was taken my suspicions had been confirmed and Harriet had a bit of a rocky start to 2013 that ended up leading to, what I view as, the most positive I'd seen her since I'd known her.  I know that Harriet managed to make many changes in her life since she took this picture that had a huge impact on her life and the life of others, she was 'on the up'.

29th October 2013

The last communication I had with her was on her birthday, two days before she died.  I'd actually messaged her just as an ordinary day, as I hadn't heard from her in a while.  Then after doing so, 2 hours later, I realised it was her birthday!!!  I sent her a message covering my error, spelling mistake and all.  I was planning on giving her her birthday present along with her Christmas present.  Ironically I've already bought the Christmas present and not the birthday present.

As my current phone wallpaper says: A good friend knows all your best stories, a best friend has lived them with you.  I'll miss living my stories with Harriet, I really will.

Having not returned to England yet, it still all seems a bit strange.  I have been taking comfort in knowing that Harriet was a success.  She was my encourager and yes, her death has left a huge whole in my life, but she has also left a reminder of how important courage and bravery are if you want to get somewhere.  Harriet was very good at seeing the beauty in her everyday surroundings, in the leaves, in the sky, in the sea, in the people, even on the tough days.  Everyone has their special people and when you lose one of those special people it's tough.  But Harriet has left me a legacy of positivity, a reminder to look at that sunset, and crunch those leaves :-)

Saturday, November 16

Strange Goings On... I go about my daily business.

It's a patchy-cloud-but-sunny-enough-for-my-sunglasses kind of Friday.  I'm cycling to work with a toaster rattling away in my basket, all set to toast the English muffins for snack time with my class.  I've managed to rattle my way to the other side of the river, over the bridge, across a roundabout when...I spy with my little it a bird?  Is it a plane?  Is it a parachutist...?  Maybe...maybe's something beginning with "F"'s a fish, a flying fish ladies and gentleman.  A fish - in the sky.  Not kidding.  It turned out to be a balloon.  If anyone reading this lost a fish balloon at around 12.45 Friday afternoon near Via Tiburtina in Pescara, it was heading towards the airport.

Then.  It's a patchy-cloud-but-sunny-enough-for-my-sunglasses kind of Friday.  I'm cycling to work with a toaster rattling away in my basket, I've just seen a flying fish when...I double check I'm not seeing something else ridiculous by removing my sunglasses..."That's weird."  I say out loud to the railway line to the right of me.  I put my sunglasses back on and flip them up and down over my eyes a few times whilst cycling.  There was definitely a rainbow in a cloud that I could only see when I had my sunglasses on AND it wasn't raining.  Mind boggling.

Moving on.  It's a patchy-cloud-but-sunny-enough-for-my-sunglasses kind of Friday.  I'm cycling to work with a toaster rattling away in my basket, I've just seen a flying fish and a rainbow that's only visible with sunglasses on when...I hear with my two ears...two things beginning with "H"...hint: by this time I'm really not far from the airport...

Helicopters.  Two.  Circling around the zone I work.  It reminded me a lot of when the Police spotter plane would be searching for someone in the woods near my house on the Island.  This time though one of the helicopters stopped.  Just hovered.  Hovering away for roughly 3 minutes.  It didn't budge and I got freaked out even more.

Thankfully I reached work not long after seeing the helicopters.  My colleague received a recount of all the strange happenings I'd seen in the sky which I'm sure she enjoyed.  I then proceeded to laugh my way through my lunch as I kept recalling the fish, the rainbow and the hovering helicopter.  We continue to this evening...

It's Saturday - 8pm.  I've been studying aaaaall day, immersed in educational theory and neuroscience, as you do.  I've been shouting at my computer for not being able to play DVD's and messing up the download of a DVD player...why Microsoft thought it was a good idea to make Windows 8 without a DVD player I don't want to know!  Anyway I'm in the foyer of a theatre waiting to be told to take my seat for a piano concert so I take the opportunity to read the programme notes.  As I start to read, I notice something that I find ridiculously peculiar, never-going-to-happen-again kind of thing.  The pianist is born on the same day, of the same month, of the same year as me.  FREAKY.  I waited at the end to tell her that too.  She thought I was a bit odd at first but then introduced me to her Mum stating the same thing...I felt a little bit like Joey on friends when he finds his hand twin, except without the singing.

And there we go.  Another random update as I bumble around between my various worlds.

Tuesday, November 5


If, like me, you've had one of those days where when someone asks "How are you?" your eyes glaze over then I thought I'd share some of my "short amusing or interesting stories about a real incident or person"...laughter is the best medicine and all that :-)

Anecdote number 1

It's Halloween, I am getting dressed, as a bat.  The taxi is waiting downstairs, my cousin and friend are ready.  I'm having a dilemma about what shoes to wear, ankle boots?  Heels?  Knee-length boots?...I go for the knee-length boots which gets me excited about being able to wear socks.  I unravel the socks, put them both on and then put my left boot on too.  But then...there's a sharp pain on my left foot, like there's cut glass in my shoe.  I assume that's what it is as not that long ago I did break a glass in my room.  So I take off the boot but spy a capsule shape in my sock...guessed what it is yet?...I take off the sock and...

...a wasp.

There was a wasp in my sock.  A wasp.  A WASP!

It was crushed with my trainer, mashed into the floor (tiled thankfully).  The taxi man didn't find the excuse for my lateness that funny, but I tried.

Anecdote number 2

Later that night I end up in a bar, still dressed as a bat.  My cousin and I are chatting separately from my friends and a bloke comes up to me.  Usual random conversation about how I am a bat...obviously...he continues chatting (only in Italian) and takes a shine to my cousin, proceeding to declare his love for her even though we clearly explained that she was married.  Next thing we know this guys friend is standing next to me, not just stroking my arm...but also the chest hair poking out of the top of his didn't help that this chap looked just like Austin Powers.  I am not kidding.  He even had dribble down his shirt...niiiiice.

Anecdote number 3

I am cycling home from work. Halfway home I feel that my bicycle resembles a boneshaker, jarring away underneath me.  Marvellous.  A flat tyre.  I proceed to walk the rest of the way home singing away happily to my iPod.  I love making myself purposefully look crazy.  Especially as Fyfe Dangerfield, The Cat Empire and Biffy Clyro are not normally songs that people sing loudly to here.  If they sing loudly at all....

Saturday, November 2

Life is beautiful

Today I found out a friend of mine, at the age of 28, died from a heart attack. 

My friends are my life line, always have been and always will be. 

If it hadn't been for another friend I would've found out this news through Facebook and I would not have been able to personally tell my other friend before she saw Facebook.   I know, as a Christian, that Harriet is not the one who is suffering but those she has left behind and so I just really hope, and pray, that all her friends and family have friends like I have: Friends that make life beautiful.  Friends that support and smile with you through the crap.  Friends that hate you for silly things but love you for the great.  Friends that put up with the nonsense that we put on ourselves.  Those kinds of friends.

So in light of this heart breaking news I have to thank you all.  My friends rock.

You kick arse Miss. Harriet Ward :-)
29/10/1985 - 31/10/2013