Monday, 26 September 2011

We walked in the garden; we planted a tree

Today I had the horror of saying goodbye to my friend Vicky. A combination of her silly wonderfulness and the reality of leaving everyone made this the hardest farewell yet, and I am now sat on the train home (again), intermittently crying a bit and then trying to pull myself together. Repeat for 90 minutes and you pretty much have my journey.

We had the best weekend. After the celebration lunch with Dad and Wren, and a much needed power-nap, I headed over to London Bridge to meet Vicky. We had general silliness around Sainsbury’s, had a quick pasta dinner and then got a reasonably early night as Vicky had a roller derby bout in the morning (plus I was dead on my feet; falling asleep before 1AM is unusual for me, but I was gone by around midnight).

Saturday arrived and we ran around getting stuff set up for ‘The Violence of the Jams’. This was a two bout event; men's roller derby first and then the women's (Croydon vs. Bedford). Vicky had been super-awesome and got me a photographer’s role there, which was so much fun. I’ve not done much sports photography before (just cricket, actually – ha!) and roller derby is a fast sport, played in fluorescent-lit, large sports halls, so it’s quite a challenge just to get things in focus and with enough lighting, never mind actually getting a good shot. And then there are the rules of roller derby. I suggest you check out the WFTDA website if you want to be thoroughly confused by how many possible fouls there are – amongst other things – but if you want to understand how it works, and have a fantastic day thrown into the bargain, I couldn't recommend going to see a bout strongly enough. It’s an addictive sport with a great community feel, and I will definitely be looking up Carolina’s team when I get over to the States. I got some good shots (though SO many bad ones!), so they will be on MOL shortly, but for now, one of my favourite edits is just below. Also, not only was it a great photographic learning curve, but I also met two other photographers, Neal and Tim, who were such a pleasure to shoot with. Their websites are linked on their names, so please do check them out. I also owe massive thanks to Neal, who lent me one of his lenses! Lovely, lovely people.


Once the bout was done and cleared up, we went to the after-party at The Scream Lounge, where there was food, drink, much frivolity, awards (best blockers, jammers and penalty kings/queens), a raffle, and the hilarious Elliot Mason, who performed a short set of his brilliant comedic music. It was a bloody great night and I was really happy to meet a lot of new, fun people (the Croydon community are a welcoming, close-knit bunch; everyone seems to know everyone, and you get introduced to so many people!). I also caught up with a mutual friend of me and Vicky’s, Conor, which was a great surprise. I spent some time chatting with the lovely Ketishia about love, emigrating, customer service and all sorts! My favourite line of the entire night, though, was Vicky’s friend Brian exclaiming, “You’re Eve, right? Eve from Facebook!”. That’s right, everyone, I am Eve from Facebook: my home town, my domain, my online county. 

This is the thing I really love: Vicky and I only know each other because of a random set of online coincidences involving Facebook (hence that being what I’m associated with, I suppose), Jeremy Kyle, Conor, photography and filth. She is one of the people in my life I truly treasure, and I feel so lucky to have had the chance to meet her at all, and then having been able to spend proper time with her over the past two years (our two year IRL friend-i-versary was a couple of weeks ago). We’ve done road trips, pie trips, movie nights, walks, photo wanders, gigs, and she even sang at me and Ben’s engagement party. She is an amazing friend, a brilliant bundle of a human being (musician/monster keeper/photographer/roller derby gal, to name but a few of the things she does), and to top it all off, from a selfish point of view, my world is significantly bloody better with her in it.

Sunday was spent with other people from Facebook (after a lazy morning of online jabbering and photo sharing) on London’s South Bank. Conor, who is responsible for starting all of this online love, joined me, Vicky, Lou, Lou’s partner Carlos, their kids and friends at Nando’s, where we munched and drank and chatted. I was really glad to see them all, as we had the nicest afternoon, plus I really thought I wouldn’t get to see them again before I left. It was such a lovely day, made even better by a massive pie waiting for us that evening, courtesy of Vicky’s man Jon, and watching ‘Talladega Nights’ before crashing out. Fantastic.  

None of this is real.
So, now I am half way back to my home town (in Gloucestershire, not Facebook), and starting to think about packing and all the last-minute stuff I've been avoiding doing until I knew I definitely could go. I keep getting a sudden buzz of exhilaration at remembering that I really am allowed to leave (TWO WEEKS TOMORROW! Eeeee!), and then – admittedly less frequently – some semblance of panic and/or sadness at the prospect of goodbyes and whether or not I will forget anything, or have enough room for all I want to take on the plane. I ordered two new, large suitcases yesterday, so they will be here on Wednesday. For now, it’s time to clear out the stuff I know I won’t wear, bin anything I won’t use, give away/sell any random potentially useful bits I find, and then pack for the last time...

2 comments:

  1. I love Talladaga Nights, I did a post about it a couple months back. Adam said our kids are gonna end up talking like the two little boys in the movie!
    I'm not ready to deal with all the goodbyes. It does seem like a double edge sword, you're happy to be with Ben but sad to say goodbye to friends and family here.
    I have a blogger friend and a cousin who are members of a Roller Derby league. It looks like scary fun. I'll have to check out your pics xx

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  2. I think it's a great movie! I will definitely be getting Ben to watch it. :D

    To be honest, even though I'm a little frustrated that I'm now legally allowed to go, I am glad to have this last weekend with friends, and the weekend right before I go with my folks. :) I need that time to really say goodbye to what has been my home for about 20 years of my life.

    Roller derby is definitely scary but so much fun! And despite the aggression in the sport, the players are really lovely off-track - there's a great sense of community and friendliness. Hope you like the pics, if you get a chance to check them out. xx

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