• Home
  • About
  • Blog
  • Modelling
  • Archives
  • Categories
  • Archive for August, 2009

    European Champs Team Dressage Final


    2009 - 08.30

    Highlights from the Alltech FEI European Championships Team Dressage competition, Windsor

    My horsey mate Tracey and I are forever planning to go to this or that major competition on the UK equestrian calendar, but we’re not what you’d call proper groupies, making only a half-hearted effort to stalk the best dressage combinations in the world around the country. We’ve improved in the last twelve months though, and this Wednesday made it out to Windsor for the team dressage championships. She’s back there tonight for the Kür, which I am GUTTED to be missing, and will be glued to on the telly tonight.

    Rumour has it that the FEI was reluctant to bring the Europeans to the UK because we just don’t have the crowds here that the big competitions draw in Europe. This sounded incredible to me, coming from Australia, where the crowds are significantly thinner, but I’m obviously going to have to take a trip to the Netherlands soon, where dressage is practically a national sport. Indeed, the Windsor showground was fairly quiet, albeit on a Wednesday: I’d expect it to be heaving for the jumping and Kür on the weekend.

    (more…)

    EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: DAY 2 – THE MOTH


    2009 - 08.30

    Charlie and I had a designated rendezvous for the Capoeira Knights: Boys from Brazil at 9pm, which left me just enough time to trot up to the Edinburgh International Book Festival beforehand. There were two sessions for 7pm, both sold out, one of which I really wanted to attend. Undeterred, I made my way through the park under Edinburgh Castle (Park. Under. Castle. In the middle of a city. I love Edinburgh) figuring that even if I couldn’t luck out on a return ticket, I could hang out in the café there, theoretically soaking up the writerly ambience.

    6:52pm, I rock up the box office, and some blessed man has just given in 5 returns. Result! I’m into The Moth.

    (more…)

    EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: DAY 3 – The Final Tale of Jon


    2009 - 08.26

    I was nervous about Jon, wanting to ask for our money back for the last night based on false advertising and scary reputation and kept waking through the night to see whether he had answered the text message. Our whole experience with Jon to date seemed to point to him indeed being a harmless eccentric, and that’s the opinion I’ll stand by – the reputation was worse than the actuality.

    But when I went to the loo at 3:30am, woken by the curious irregular snoring of the newcomer in the bunk below, our host still hadn’t returned.

    The new resident was Darren, an Englishman who’d needed a place to crash at the last minute for one night. Jon had not been at home at the agreed arrival time of 6:30pm, but had whizzed unsteadily home on his bike, claymore attached to the frame, already drunk as a skunk, to let the poor man in.

    (more…)

    EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: DAY 2 – Capoeira Knights


    2009 - 08.26

    This was obviously my idea, which Charlie went along with despite the ticket price because she has friends who do capoeira and perform at her school in Adelaide, and her last event was in the same location, so what the hell. Meanwhile I’ve wandered in and been immediately accosted by a man who wants very badly to sell me his ticket. I look at it: all legit, and half price, to boot. Somebody loves me today.

    But it’s something of a pity that I’d had such a cerebral – not to mention surreal – evening, because Capoeira Knights was just an hour long party of very hot men performing outrageous feats of gymnastics to a thumping back beat – and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that – but I wasn’t quite in the mood.

    (more…)

    EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: DAY 2 – Hit & Miss


    2009 - 08.26

    There was certainly plenty of dodging taxis, buses, cyclists, cars and troupes of strangely dressed folk flogging flyers for their shows along the Royal Mile, but the title refers more to the shows.

    God: A Comedy By Woody Allen was not as funny in execution as the title – or indeed script – implied, which is a pity as some of the ideas were very clever. Characters from other famous plays walked into the play-within-the-play, which a) had no end and b) was trying to prove or disprove the existence of God. Which is just about all that God had to do with the whole affair (appearing, bizarrely enough, in a lit wheelie bin with a flashing blue light on top. I fully expected some Tardis sound effects to accompany it, but perhaps that would have been too reflexive. Or possible avant-garde. Or just nerdy). One way or another, I was disappointed and Charlie came up with a considerably more intelligent ending.

    (more…)

    EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: DAY 2 – I Heart Edinburgh


    2009 - 08.26

    The first time I arrived in Edinburgh, as mum and I emerged from Waverly Station, a piper was playing tunes I’d danced to as a child and from that moment I have loved this city. Gorgeous winding medieval streets, monumental stone buildings dirtied with age and girded on three sides by the sea, moors and a castle – I ask you, how much charisma can one city muster? Yes, it’s a pity therefore about the weather. Nonetheless, I have a Plan, involving moving to Edinburgh for the three months of the alleged British ‘summer’ and just writing a hell of a lot of Lien. The ambience is perfect.

    Alarmingly though, I did not see many gyms about, unlike London, which has about three in every district, and unless I’ve actually a) finished and b) sold a book or two by then and by astonishing miracle am c) on the way to becoming JK Rowling, I suspect my only source of income would be from fitness instructing. But with a city whose streets only run straight up and down various inclines and Arthur’s Seat to gallop about on, it’s easy to see why Edinburgh has less gym junkies than old London town. General shivering in the freezing conditions must be a good calorie burner too.

    (more…)

    EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: DAY 2 – Survival


    2009 - 08.26

    The first thing Charlie did on waking was text the friend who had been told to send the police to the ‘hostel’ should she not have contacted him that morning to assure him she had survived the night. I was impressed. Such steps had never occurred to me. This is probably why my parents get worried about me when I travel.

    The next thing we noticed was that the fourth client of the hostel, the eagerly anticipated ‘Englishman’, had not arrived as expected during the night. Turns out the poor man had arrived at 10:30pm the night before and promptly done what we had not been brave enough to do: walked straight back out to find somewhere else for the night. We can only hope he had better luck than we’d had earlier in the day.

    (more…)

    EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: DAY 1 – The Kindness of Strangers


    2009 - 08.25

    Riding on our post-Eurotrash high, Charlie and I next set about wringing our wrists and playing damsels in distress to a few hostels in person. It was not a entirely futile mission – sympathy rode high (along with sheer embarrassment from the hostel who had recommended Jon to me three months ago – something they had long since stopped doing) amongst the staff, all of who had met Jon on several occasions as he flyer dropped, and High Street Hostel fitted us in for Sunday night.

    This left us with two nights at our new home, which I was feeling less concerned about but still felt hideously guilty about dragging Charlie into. Popular local consensus seemed to categorise Jon into ‘eccentric’ (with its associations of harmlessness) rather than ‘dangerous’. That is, until a) we passed Jon shouting at some kids on the Royal Mile and b) we met Mark.

    (more…)

    EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: DAY 1 – Eurotrash


    2009 - 08.25

    “They’re… different…?” the box office girl tried. She paused. Gathered her thoughts. It’s obviously difficult to put this act into an articulate description. “They just do cool stuff. It’s definitely worth the ticket price.” Half the ticket price, to be exact, so with my schedule already shot to bits, Charlie and I trundled into the Gilded Balloon for Eurotrash.

    (more…)

    EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: DAY 1 – Breaking & Entering


    2009 - 08.25

    Having agreed that I was never to be allowed to book accommodation again, we made a break for the city, bypassing en route a collection of white tents. I bee-lined over, hopping through a veritable swamp and squeezing through between the fence and a prickly bush. This was an innocent act intended to save us from wading through the swamp, but quite unintentionally yet illegally also saved us the £10 entry fee – for we had broken into the Holyrood Food and Drink Festival. Result!

    So while we’re standing about entertaining the girls in the Coffee Engine van (the van was, in fact, a red fire engine. Brilliant) with our tales of woes and our good fortune finding the fair, they bemusedly explained that we’d broken into a fair where the entry fee allowed us to taste as much of the offered fare as we liked.

    Well, we had to have some good luck coming, right?

    (more…)