Sunday, 22 August 2010

'Yo no se mañana...'

Third week down, and now only one to go. The thought of having to be back in my M&S uniform, placating the various whims of the snobs of Chichester in just over a week is actually enough to make me feel a wee bit sick. But obviously instead of dwelling on my impending return to normality (although even the word 'normality' has a bit of a funny ring to it now...) I am trying to focus all my energy on enjoying the time I have left in the wonderful, the amazing, the downright breath-taking awesome-ness of Costa Rica. Pura vida.

This week we've been working in a new centre - La Casa de Ana Frank- and it's been really lovely so far. Rach and I are working in different areas of the building so we're having to be a little more independent of each other. I'm with the oldest group of kids who range from 8 - 11 years old whereas Rach is with the little'uns again. I can't decide which age group is more of a challenge. The little'uns tend to be very loving from the offset and in need of lots of cuddles and attention, which is lovely but requires a massive amount of sustained energy. Meanwhile I had a very hard time convincing the kids (the girls especially) to warm to me. One of the girls spent the whole of the first day running up to me with her eyelashes fluttering and her hands clasped behind her back in a convincing display of sweetness. She'd then proceed to say something along the lines of 'I really don't like you' or 'I bet you can't understand a word I'm saying, ugly' and then run away giggling. But believe it now we're now BFFs. And now that I've worked at it and convinced that I'm not an idiot foreigner and I can in fact talk to them and play with them, they've let me be part of the group. I play silly games with the girls and they teach me dances and do my hair and the boys attempt to teach me how to play American football and table football both of which I am completely inept at! One of the boys in particular - Jhon (and trust me, they still haven't stopped taking the piss that my name sounds like his 'usted tiene un nombre de un chico! jejejeee!') is a true gent. He's 10 years old and always takes me aside and tries to help me understand when I lose track of the what's being said or can't put myself across. A little hero!

On Wednesday evening we went to the cinema to see El Vengador - Law Abiding Citizen - which was genuinely one of the best movies I've seen in a long while. It was in English but with Spanish subtitles so we were subconsciously watching the subtitles and trying to absorb some of the language. The ticket was 1000 colones and the popcorn and drink was about 2500 colones so altogether it cost less than a fiver.

On Thursday I went to Castros - the most popular dance club in the city. Rachel was knackered and stayed home but I've been desperate to go the entire trip so I went with our American friend Kat, a German girl called Judith and a girl from Taiwan called Tesha - we were a very mixed bag of nationalities and it made for some very interesting conversations when people asked 'so, where are you girls from?'. The club itself was beautiful. You get a table and the drinks are served to you via your own waiter all night long. The tables are all clustered around the dance floor so for about an hour I just sat and watched the couples dancing. They were breath-breathtakingly good and would all be able to teach a thing or two to the professionals on Strictly. After a beer (or two or three...) I got up the courage to give it a go and danced the salsa, merengue and bachata. Seriously - I need to find a Latino club somewhere in Hampshire. I've never had so much fun dancing. It was amazing.

This weekend we traveled to Monteverde with a few girls from the language school - another English girl called Sara, an Italian called Sara and a German girl called Franci. We got up super early Friday morning (well, Rachel managed to get up super early. I on the other hand managed to roll out of bed 5 minutes before the taxi was meant to be picking us up at 5am. Smooth) and caught a taxi to the bus stop where we started the 5 hour bus ride to Monteverde. When we arrived it was raining harder than I think I've ever seen it rain before. Ever. The phrase 'drowned rats' doesn't even begin to describe what we looked up when we stumbled into the reception of the hotel we were staying at. The hotel was basic but the people were so friendly and helped us book up an itinerary for the weekend. We didn't waste any time and straight away went to get changed ready for a horseback ride that we'd booked. It was so much fun. We weren't asked if we had any riding experience (thank god all of us had some otherwise I think there might've been a few problems), we weren't given any safety equipment or helmets, we weren't shown or told what to do, we were simply thrown onto the horses and off we went. It was still raining but it didn't mar the experience at all. The guides were with us all the time but pretty much let us get on with it. The trail led us through woodland, through streams, up and down hills and across fields. A lot of the time we were cantering or galloping (this is where a bit of experience came in handy otherwise I would have had a panic attack) and the views from every angle were just gorgeous. I know it was Rachel's highlight of the entire trip so far and it wasn't far off being mine too. All helped, of course, by the fact that the landowner gave us a taste of their bananas and, get this, a couple of shots of their hand made liquor. Yum.

On Saturday we got up and went on a walking tour of Santa Elena nature reserve. Our guide was extremely nice and obviously knew his stuff. Unfortunately there weren't any mammals or big animals to be seen - we were up in the mountains and at this time of year bigger animals migrate downwards where they're able to find fruit still growing on the trees. The guide made up for it though with his abundance of knowledge about the beautiful plants and insects and birds that we were able to see. Straight after the tour we went back to the hotel to get ready for the next activity. The other girls had decided to go on a bird-watching tour. Rachel and I though sounded a little boring and preferred the sound of canyoning. Throwing ourselves into pools of freezing cold water in the pouring rain and abseiling down waterfalls in a country where 'health and safety' goes no further than signing a waver? Yeah. Why not. To be honest I would struggle to describe the event itself as most of what I can remember is having water in my eyes, water up my nose, water in ears, water in my mouth, feeling suddenly acutely aware of the power of gravity and hearing the sounds of Rachel's constant screaming reverberating off of valley. We are both covered in bruises, there's still river water swilling around my ears and I think my heart rate is yet to return to normal. It was so so so so so much fun and I am so proud that neither of us wimped out. That evening we all cooked a massive pot of past and sat down to play some epic rounds of uno.

On Sunday morning Rachel, English Sara and I went on the canopy tour which consists of zip lining through the tree tops. I feel like I'm running out of superlatives for all the things we've been doing but seriously - the part of the canopy tour called the Superman, where you are strapped on the zip wire and launched out across the canopy like a bird was truly awe-inspiring. Again, there wasn't much in the way of explanation or guidance, just a series of guides ready to unclip you from one zip, clip you onto the next and shove you into midair saying 'Ready? Go!!!'. At one point we approached a platform where there wasn't another zip line to take. I assumed we'd be taking a step ladder down to the forest floor but instead I found myself being strapped onto a vertical rope that was dangling down through the canopy. A voice said 'Bend your knees. Go!' and all of sudden I was falling through midair. I couldn't even scream it happened so fast. When my feet where safely on the ground all I could do was exclaim 'HOLY SHIT' at the top of my voice and then turn around to see about 20 American and German tourists staring at me with their mouths agape. 'Sorry. Excuse my French. Wait, sorry, if you're french that won't make sense. Sorry. Sorry for the swearing. I don't even know if half of you speak English. Sorry.' Luckily my rambling apology was interrupted by Rachel being thrown into midair and screaming louder than a jet plane. Ta Rach.

After the Canopy we got the bus back to San Jose. The journey was pretty uneventful until a lorry decided to pull out in front of us causing our bus to swerve into the lane of oncoming traffic. Luckily the lane was clear. The bus driver pulled up alongside the lorry, opened the bus door and bellowed to the driver (keeping in mind that this is a rough translation. Believe it or not, I don't have that great a knowledge of Spanish expletives) 'WHICH ONE OF YOU FUCKS YOUR MOTHER EH? YOU OR YOUR BROTHER? YOU OR YOUR BROTHER? YOU MOTHER FUCKING SON A BITCH.' What a charmer.

It was a brilliant weekend and it was lovely to be in a group too. And now back to another week working in San Jose.


Monday, 16 August 2010

La segunda semana

We've reached the halfway point! Usually I hate this point in a trip - from here on it normally feels like time moves faster and faster and the inevitability of returning home becomes more and more inescapable. But this time I think it will be different - I've never been away for so long before! 'Only' two weeks left. But two weeks is a long time, especially judging by the last two weeks which have felt much longer (in a good way!)

This last week has been extremely full and fun and fabulous.

On Monday evening we ventured out for our first night out in San Jose. We met our Spanish friends - Ana and Ana (Las Anas!) at the mall and waited for Randall and Kat to meet us. We waited. And waited a bit more. And finally came to the conclusion that we'd been stood up. So we thought, what the hell, let's make our own way there. After asking several passers by and eventually hopping on a bus after being told that it´s an area well known for armed robberies (eek) we made it to La Cuartel. It's the regular hangout on a Monday night because there´s live music. Admission is free for girls but boys have to pay - the way it should be methinks!! When we first arrived it was pretty quiet so we found a table and bought some drinks and made a desperate attempt to get a conversation going with the lovely Anas. Harder than usual. Having to shout above the blaring music, in Spanish, and understanding the response - not easy. Eventually Randall and Kat turned up along with a few more of their friends and a couple of American guys who we'd met at the school earlier that day. From then onwards the evening got better and better. The band were absolutely fantastic - they played American music as well as Latin American music and everyone danced in a sweaty mass in front of the stage, clutching beers and singing along. And, get this, we danced the salsa and the merengue! In a nightclub! Proper dancing!! Estupenda!

On Wednesday we went to the Salon de patines - basically a roller disco. There was a glitterball and flashing lights but instead of 70s disco tunes they played R+B! I think roller skating is actually one of the hardest things I've ever done. Ever! We thought it might be pretty similar to ice skating but somehow being on wheels instead of a blade is about a bajillion times harder. Rach and I were clinging onto each other most of the way round. The man would blow a whistle that meant everyone had to change direction around the rink but we were so slow at changing that by the time we'd maneuvered ourselves round the whistle had blown again and we were skating against the flow! Screaming and laughter galore! I fell over once. Rachel managed to stay vertical. 1-0 to her.

But, of everything we´ve experience so far, this weekend has been the highlight of the trip by a mile. We went to Tortuguero - a massive nature reserve on the Carribean Coast. We got picked up by a coach at 6am on Friday morning and arrived at Tortuguero at about 2pm. Most of the journey consisted of a motor-boat ride along the river. It was literally breathtaking. Either side of the river was flanked by rainforest so, with out eyes peeled, we managed to see sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, lizards and countless beautiful exotic birds. We arrived at our hotel expecting it to be pretty basic having only paid 200 dollars for a completely all-inclusive three night stay. It was luxurious. Two swimming pools, two bars serving massive cocktails overlooking the river, double beds and a hot shower (and that really is a luxury in Costa Rica!). It was a-maze-ing.

That night we were taken by a guide down to the beach. It was about 9pm and looking up at the sky we could see the milky way and Venus just casually shining down on us. The sky was so clear and beautiful I almost couldn't believe it was real. I spent so long watching shooting stars that my neck began to ache. Then, after about an hour of waiting we saw what we'd come for. A green turtle had dragged herself up the beach and had built a nest. She was laying her eggs. She was about three feet long and absolutely beautiful. We were allowed to stand literally centimetres away from her because once they're giving birth they're in a trance-like state and nothing can bother them. We watched as she layed dozens of eggs, three at a time, into the hole and then proceeded to throw sand over her back to cover up the hole and disguise the nest. It was a proper David Attenborough moment!

On Saturday we were woken up at 4:45am (christ, I don´t think I´ve ever seen that time of morning before) by our guide Johnny knocking on our doors and by the howler monkeys shrieking at each other in the trees around the hotel. We had to get up so (so so so so) early in order to be out on the river at optimum nature-spotting time. We spent a couple of hours on the river slowly motoring along with Eagle-eyes Miguel, the driver, pointing out wildlife and Johnny explaining what everything was. I wish I had a snazzy camera because it was impossible to get any decent pictures with my crappy little thing. Then again, some of the people with snazzy cameras spent more time trying to find the best angle and adjusting their settings and less time actually looking at what was right in front of them!!! We saw spider monkeys and howler monkeys and a few sloths (in Spanish they´re called Perezosos - literally ´the lazies´). Afterwards we did a canopy tour - whizzing along ziplines through the jungle and then we went on a tour of the forest on foot. It was Spider Central. And massive spiders at that. And after earning our credentials as professional explorers we rewarded ourselves with about 4 straight hours of sunbathing and lazing and swimming at the hotel. Bliss.

In the evening we caught a ´taxi´ over to Tortuguero (it was a boat taxi, which Rach couldn´t quite get her head round ´How is a car going to get across the river??´). We went to a bar - La Taverna - where the guys were singing karaoke. Then we went to a little club and danced some merengue. We left pretty sharpish as soon as a massive bar fight broke out and then one of our guides starting behaving like a dick. We were in bed by midnight. Hardcore.

Sunday morning we got up to begin the journey back home to San Jose. We were knackered - a totally busy weekend had knocked us out. There wasn´t an unoccupied minute of the day!

Next week we´ll be changing projects to a similar centre but with older children this time so hopefully we´ll be able to plan activities and teach them a bit of English. I think we´ll miss the children from La Guarderia del nino, Santiago en particular - mi amor - but we´ve heard good things about the new place - La casa de Ana Frank.

Hasta Luego.

P.s. Highlight of the weekend? Rachel ate a termite. Ha.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Costa Rica - la pura vida!

We have officially been in Costa Rica for a week and a day.

In some ways it has flown by. We've been bombarded (in a very good way) by the sights, sounds, smells and sensations of a totally new culture. We've stood and stared with our mouths wide open. In some ways though I feel as if I've been here forever and could stay forever. The tico lifestyle is more than a little appealing!

There is too much to tell so I will just tell you some of the highlights so far!

Our family are called the Richmond-Oconitrillos. Ivannia and Johnny are the parents and then there's Valerie and Jocelyn, they're daughters, and Wendy and Kendall, two cousins. They have so much energy and there's always something to smile at or laugh about in the house. Kendall especially has been a bit of a savior - chatting away to us about cartoons and movies and monster truck racing. He's 11 so when we don't conjugate our verbs correctly he's not particularly bothered. We are fed breakfast and dinner. Ivannia is a firm believer in variation so we eat anything from Mexican style tacos to spag-bol. I think this is actually quite unusual - the typical tico diet consists mainly of rice. And beans. And more rice.

We get up at half 6 in the morning to catch the bus at half 7 into San Jose. The buses cost 200 colones as a generic charge, regardless of how far you're going. 200 colones is about 30 pence. Cheap as chips. We get off at the last stop at San Jose and then walk, or catch another bus, to our placement. To be honest, by the time the buses have negotiated their way around the millions of taxi drivers with their hands glued to their horns and the crazy little men on scooters, it's quicker to walk! The roads are treacherous. There aren't really any signs and the lanes are often ignored. You cross the road on a whim and a prayer!

We are volunteering at La Guarderia del Nino. It's a daycare centre for children from poor families. It's subsidised by the government so that the parents can try to make some money for themselves without having to worry about the safety of their children. We have been placed with the youngest age group. There about about 10 children there per day. Santiago and Valentina are the youngest - both about 18 months old. And the oldest are about 2 and a half. They are all adorable. The language barrier is non existent seeing as they're only just learning to talk themselves! 'Ah, que linda mi nina pequenita!' basically translates as 'you are the cutest!'. We pretty much repeat that over and over!

So far we haven't ventured too far outside of San Jose. The city is buzzing and we fancied getting to know the city first before venturing further afield. There is constant noise - horns blaring and music playing through boarded up windows and street vendors selling things and, in Rachels case particularly, constant cries of 'eh! guapa! beautiful, blondie! I love you!'

We went to Poas on Sunday - one of the volcanoes in Costa Rica. The drive up there was breath-taking. When we arrived the crater itself was just swamped in cloud. But, undeterred, Rachel and I, accompanied by a girl from Holland, decided to leg it up to the second crater. The air was thin and it was a steep ol' climb and suddenly the level of my unfitness was alarmingly obvious. But we made it and, as if rewarding us for the effort, the clouds suddenly parted to reveal the sparkling bright blue lake of acidic water that was the second crater. It was spectacular! On the way back to San Jose we were treated to a tour of a coffee plantation and were told time and again that 'Costa Rica taught the world to drink coffee'. They are extremely proud of their country - of what it has achieved in terms of peace, human rights but perhaps most of all their coffee!

We have been taking daily classes in latin dance too so watch out - I'll be cha-cha-cha-ing with the best of them before the month is over!

Tonight we're going out with some friends we've made along the way so far. We're going to a bar and then a dancing place which doesn't quite qualify as a club.

There is just too much to tell and my brain is now feeling a little bit explode-y with wanting to describe everything so I think I'll stop there! Explode-y brain is not a good look!

Hasta luego!!


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

This isn't just a freakshow...


First of all here are three extraordinarily important updates for you:
1) My hair is no longer blonde
2) I have joined the Apple Army by way of an iphone
3) Dancing is the bees knees (but you knew that already)

And now moving swiftly on to the subject of this blog; customers. Despicable, rude, demanding, impatient, condescending and downright fricking annoying customers.

Incident #1
Customer: Hello. I want to bring these earrings back. They hurt my ears.. and look! They've discoloured! (I proceed to inspect the earrings and notice a very very small amount of tarnishing on the loop)
Me: (politely) Do you have a receipt madam?
Customer: (with a guffaw that said 'stupid idiot girl') No!
Me: Ah, okay. Can I ask how much you paid for them?
Customer: (rolling her eyes impatiently) They were five pounds
Me: And how long ago did you buy them?
Customer: with a growl 2 months ago. Is that relevant??
Me: Well, yes. it determines whether the tarnishing is a result of wear or if they were bought in that condition.
Customer: Right. Well I want a refund.
Me: Okay Madam, I'm afraid that's not a lot I can do for you today as it happens. I can see a very minor amount of tarnishing on the metal there but that isn't a manufacturing fault and is in fact just a trait of all cheaper metals.
Customer: But they hurt my ears! And that is a safety complaint!(hackles rising)
Me: Again, the fact that you have suffered discomfort can't be classed as a manufacturing fault or indeed a safety complaint - it is a sign that you are obviously more sensitive to cheaper metals and perhaps should opt for silver or gold plated earrings.
Customer: Are you saying you won't take these back?!?
Me: I'm afraid so yes. But I'd be happy to show you our silver-pla-(interrupted mid flow)

Now, gentle reader, you would be forgiven for thinking that my use of capital letters is perhaps a tad melodramatic - a case of artistic license taken too far. I wish that were so. The words were spat at my face with actual real live venom. She ranted. She raved. She went bright red and her eyes were popping out of her sockets. And all for for the sake of a pair of cheap (and extremely ugly) earrings. Freak.

Incident #2
Customer: (approaching me on the shop floor) I want these knickers but I don't want to have to buy both pairs.
Me: (well good morning to you too!) Oh I'm sorry madam but we do only sell that particular knicker in a two pack.
Customer: Well I don't WANT both pairs!
Me: Could we perhaps find you something similar that we sell singly?
Customer: No! I want these EXACT knickers (brandishing them wildly in my face) but I don't want both!
Me: Ah, well then it doesn't seem like there's mu-(interrupted again - they make a habit of that
Customer: It's a CON!!! It's a con! You hear this Harry (waving the knickers hysterically above her head and shrieking at her husband across the shop floor) They're conning us! Conmen! They expect me to buy BOTH PAAAAIRS!!!
Me: Madam, if I could show you these...
Customer: No no no, they're not the same at all!!! They're an off white. I need white.
Me: Okay, how about these...
Customer: No! Entirely different! They have a bow on the front!
Me: How about-

And with that she stormed off towards her husband, shouting to him about my blatant inability to help with the 'simplest' enquiry and how the business are manipulating and conning the general public and how she doesn't nkow what's happening to the world these days. Freak.

And last but not least...
Incident #3
Customer: (Mono tonal and moody. Fat and aggressive. pleasant individual she was not) I need to pay my store card bill.
Me: Okay madam, how are you wishing to pay?
Customer: A cheque.
Me: I'm afraid we can't accept payments by cheque in store. You'll have to post it.
Customer: But then it'll be overdue!
Me: I can happily take a cash or debit card payment through the till...
Customer: No. I only want to pay by cheque.
Me: Well, as I said, I'm afraid I can't accept a cheque.
Customer: So what I am supposed to do? (staring daggers at me(
Me: I'd recommend you ring the-(and again with the interrupting)
Customer: I am trying to give you money and you won't accept it!!! I am going to miss my payment date!!! Take my money!
Me: I cannot accept a cheque madam. If you want to take this up with the manager I can call him for you.
Customer: No!! I just want you to take my money as you are supposed to do! This is absolutely bloody ridiculous! I'M GOING TO BE CHARGED INTEREST! (with a dramatic fist-bang on the till-point for good measure)
Me: Unfortunately madam it is your responsibility to keep up to date with payments and to read the terms and conditions set out for you, detailing the appropriate payment methods.

She stormed off down the aisle in a truly godzilla-esque manner. She was practically frothing at the mouth. To be frank she was a massive lard-ass chav. Freak.

Monday, 10 May 2010


The last few weeks have been mentally hectic. And hectically mental too.

I haven't written a blog in aaaages. This is partly due to the mental hecticness but also due to my reluctance to draw a line under my post about Nana. The amount of thought I give to the trivial and random crap that occurs in day-to-day life doesn't even come slightly close, not even marginally near to the amount of time she spends occupying my mind. I want her to know that. So as I compromise I've given her a picture instead. Lovely.

And now, as a summary of the melee of stuff what's been happening, here is a list of things:

One. Directing a play is massively rewarding and fun and challenging and exhausting and exhilarating and I have been lavishing the exerience with so many superlatives that even my store of hyperbole is running low , heaven forbid. The cast and crew - what a wonderful group of people. There was not a single weak link in our chain of awesome-ness and kick-ass-ability. I think we did a bladdy good job. We pulled heaven down and rose up a whore fo' sho'.

Two. Being courteous apparently gets you nowhere in this day and age. Whilst attempting to parallel park in Southsea a few weeks ago I was suddenly overcome by the steep camber and my driving-related ineptness. I scratched the car in front. It was a paint scratch - noticeable but hardly anything to write home about. I thought I'd be a good Samaritan and leave a note for the owner. To be honest I was expecting the owner to acknowledge the note and appreciate the gesture, then shrug it off as 'one of those things' (as I'm sure I would have done if faced with such inconsequential damage). However, to cut a long story shot: a miserable old fart, the complications of leasing and several ridiculous phone calls later and I find myself with a bill for two hundred pounds. Brilliant.

Three. The general public can be despicable. Are my customers growing more ignorant, snobby, rude and patronising by the second? Or am I just becoming less tolerant? Who knows. And the worst thing about is that these people make up such a small minority of the people I serve but sadly it's these people that stick in my mind. Focusing on the positive; the smiley, polite, friendly people is easy. Right up until you're hit full in the face with a corker like "Quite frankly I'm bewildered. I came here expecting to find someone bright enough to help me with my simple inquiry. You've proven me wrong." And don't even get me started on the 'poo in the fitting room' fiasco. That's right. An actual human poo. Left by a smug little prepubescent shitbag who did it for a laugh. Hilarious.

Four. Dancing makes everything better. If you feel a bit crappy in the morining then here's a simple cure: nip downstairs, have a nice cuppa and some sugary cereal and then have a body-popping sesh in your kitchen with Usher and Will-I-am as your right hand men. Works for me anyhows.


Monday, 15 February 2010

My beautiful Nana

That's what you are,
Tho' near or far.

Like a song of love that clings to me,
How the thought of you does things to me.
Never before
Has someone been more...

In every way,
And forever more
That's how you'll stay.

That's why, darling, it's incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am
Unforgettable, too.

I don't want to write about how much I miss her and love her because I wouldn't even know where to start. I've said it countless times before and I'll say it again - she was the most beautiful and wonderful Nana a person could wish for. Hands down.

Motor Neurone Disease is an effing horrible evil disease. I urge everyone to have a look at the MNDA website to find out a bit about it. And, if ever you feel the need to donate to a charity, I would suggest the MNDA. They do so much for sufferers and their families - without their support we would have been lost at sea.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Four bars, no credit

'Fours bars, no credit' is a phrase we have decided to apply to my dearest little brother. It was created when we were sat in Cafe Nero in Chichester; I needed to make a phone call but I had no signal. Mum had no signal. Gary had no signal. Callum whipped out his phone and proudly proclaimed... 'I've got four bars mate!... oh...but no credit.' This is his life. Every opportunity is placed at his feet but he has no drive or ambition to actually give a shit. Unless of course it relates to the X-box in which case his 'drive' and ambition' are through the roof.

Now, this morning, I had an Epiphany of sorts and came to realise that this phrase applies to me too but in an entirely different way.

I downloaded the soundtrack of Wicked because I realised that I didn't actually own my own copy! Apart from the one that plays on continuous loop in my brain of course. I sat listening to the songs for about an hour. Pure Bliss. There isn't much else that makes me feel as happy as Wicked. It reminds of being in year 9 at school and bombing around the classroom with Gisu - giving our best performance of every song. Gisu was Elphie and I was Glinda and the rest of the class would scream at us to shut up until their voices were hoarse but we believed that we were fabulous. When we went to see the show in London, our friends came along to humour us. They sat and 'enjoyed' it. Gisu and I on the other hand lived every minute of it. Laughter, tears, shouts of glee, hands clutched to chest, brows furrowed and limbs tensed. Hell, you could have popped us in the front row of the chorus and we wouldn't have looked out of place. What can I say, I love it I love it I love it. It is inexpressible.

Leaping around the kitchen in my pyjamas this morning, I started to believe (as I always do when listening to Wicked) that some day I could very well be on stage playing Glinda. I have the ambition, the passion, the love, the drive. What else could I possibly need??

Ah yes... The talent.

Four bars. And no credit.