London

The only people who think there’s a time limit for grief, have never lost a piece of their heart.

I always describe grief like a fine wine. Fine wines get better with age. People dealing with grief get better with age. Maybe that isn’t the best way of describing it, but as someone who has sadly known nothing but grief for virtually their entire life, I of all people know grief becomes something you learn to deal and cope with and not something that passes. Grief becomes easier to deal with over time, and certainly becomes easier the older you get.

Grief is an indescribable feeling. That missing piece of your puzzle is the only thing that is making you feel like this but the only thing that cannot be replaced. To those who have never suffered from grief will never understand. Only those who have loved, lost and desperately tried to deal with the consequences will know exactly how we feel.

I’ve heard many a person say “get over it”. This will be forever be an unfair and cruel comment to make. People who genuinely say this usually have lost and are suffering themselves which makes them bitter because they don’t know how to deal with it. Those people who don’t deal with it will end up broken.

A loss most certainly makes you stronger. But what if I didn’t want to be as strong as this? What if I had no other choice? Grief at times has left me broken too. But now I’m doing better than I ever have. It’s been 18 years. After all, if you’ve lived through this you deal with anything. One has to learn to channel the negative energy into doing something amazing. All that anger, that frustration and the long for love has to be turned into becoming the best person you can ever be. It’s a rough old road out there but we can all make it. I’ve heard people say “Not everyone’s as strong as you” so many times. But to be quite honest I didn’t really have a choice. You either give up or fight so hard. It’s okay not to be okay, cliche as it sounds. Surround yourself with things that will make you feel fortunate. I don’t feel very fortunate. I really don’t. But I know that I am fortunate enough to have opportunities which can help me give back to those who really are MUCH less fortunate than me. Things like this are key in becoming a better person. A happier person. Seeing someone else smile, because YOU made them smile will make you feel warm inside no matter how distraught you are.

Life is hard. And so we are reminded all the time. Memes, self-help books, TV programmes, and counsellors all tell us constantly how tough it is out there. But is there really an explanation for so much suffering and the indescribable feelings that are left with family and friends after someone has gone? Those that have never suffered like this will never actually truly believe that heartache is real. Believe me, my heart ACHES. It aches for what was supposed to be, for that missing piece of the puzzle. I always imagine heart ache in such a weird way. I imagine all these little men with ropes tied around your heart tugging and pulling away so much that the heart just hurts. It’s exhausted and it craves the attention and love that it needs to be healthy and complete again.

No one wants to live their life like this. Everyone wants a healthy heart. No one wants to feel continuous heart ache. But when the only way of moving forward is trying to block it out altogether it becomes something that turns around and slaps you right in the face. Depression. Not all people suffering from grief suffer from depression too, but when you have no choice other than to pick yourself up and ignore the constant heart ache it hits you like a train. Those crazy mixed up feelings combined of not confronting your problems, not being able to think about your memories with that person and not being able to understand why you feel like this.
You talk to friends. They tell you to remember the good times, remember all those beautiful memories you made together. But sadly the reality is that it’s not always like that. Sometimes the memories are too hard to think about. The photos, the videos, the stories just bring it all back. It simply just reinforces the fact that the person isn’t with you anymore. Sometimes just seeing their face brings you too much pain, not the desired comfort you were looking for. All types of grief are different, people deal with it in so, so, so many different ways. One video of a loved one could be one person’s comfort compared to another’s nightmare. To me it brings me so much pain.

Sometimes you can’t even remember the good times. Sometimes you were too young to even remember them. Sometimes you are forced to form your own memories of a person consisting of other people’s stories and photos. Sometimes you have to grieve for someone you never even knew you had.

This person was me. And the person I lost was my Mother.

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ITALY: AN ESCAPE WITHIN AN ESCAPE

I stood at the top of the escalators and peered down. I had two suitcases, two holdalls, a handbag and a huge plastic bag full of wrapped Christmas presents.

How was I going to get down the escalators with all of this stuff?

I was shaking with nerves and apprehension. It was Christmas Eve 2011 and my life in Italy had just come crashing down and I was having to return to London with all of my belongings at once. Panic rushed over me as rooted through my holdall.

Great. I had just left my £600 SLR camera behind too.

I had no money, no working phone, nothing to come back home to and I had just lost my uninsured ridiculously expensive camera.
Could this get any worse?

The whole of 2011 had been an entire whirlwind. Its gonna take me a very long time to be able to write about all my experiences from that one incredible year. But eventually I will get there. I had just returned from travelling Indonesia and had a job lined up in Trento, Northern Italy. It was an au pair position, with English tutoring for a family of 4 children, all under the age of 10. It was a well-paid position with numerous perks of job shall we say. This family was offering me 100 Euro a week, all food expenses paid for and a fully furnished all bills paid for apartment in the middle of the city. Honestly, who would turn that down? The family were desperate to find an English girl to speak to their children and not someone who spoke English with a heavy accent. I had seen pictures of the children and had an awkward phone call with the mother, Anna. I was set to go.

As you may be aware by now, I like to make snap decisions. I don’t always think about things but I like to kid myself that I’ve thought everything through and it will all work out in the end. I thrive on making spontaneous choices, they don’t always work out but breaking free from my so called comfort zone is what I do best. I honestly thought this would be the best way to shock a few people yet again and embark on another adventure.

What I soon learnt was that this was just another attempt to run away from my life at home. It was just another attempt to go and find my “reality” elsewhere and forge a new life. Could I have a shot of happiness out in Italy? I thought I might as well give it ago. The struggles and misery that my home life gave me was just another push to go and seek more adventure. After all, I knew it would give me some sort of temporary happiness along the way that I could do something with.

I know I’ll never be truly happy. As heart-breaking as that may sound to some, I know I’ll never be totally satisfied with everything that I’ve managed to achieve or where I am in my life. Knowing that I’ll always want to do better brings me a slightly warped sense of comfort.

Okay, okay so back to the story.
I landed in Venice on the 2nd of September 2011. I collected my suitcase, took a deep breath and walked out in arrivals. Here I was going to meet Anna and two of the children. What a daunting prospect.
As soon as I walked out I immediately locked eyes with Anna. She ran over to me, gave me a slightly shall we say cold hug and introduced me to Luciana and Rosa. They looked at me with a pained expression and said Hello.I was bundled into their car and we set off. I was due to stay in Jesolo, Venice for two weeks with the family at their summer house. The family spent their entire summers out in Jesolo while the father stayed in Trento working.

I could tell Luciana was the chatty one. She asked me all sorts of questions on the journey and it was clear she had very good English and enjoyed talking to people. I immediately realised Rosa was in fact a little terror and within the first 15 minutes of meeting her she was causing all sorts of trouble.
We pulled up to these beautiful apartments. All glass fronted state of the art stuff. I sat quietly in the front seat; I had no idea what was going on. Anna jumped out and opened my door.

“This is your home”
WAIT. WHAT.

My summer home was a brand new million pound complex of apartments on the beach with two swimming pools. I nearly cried with excitement, I couldn’t have even cared less about the family or the job really. As I lugged my suitcase up the stairs I peered in. I had a huge lounge, two balconies, two bedrooms, state of the art shower and plasma on the wall. Man, this shit was fucking crazy.
That evening after I had settled in, I was picked up by Anna and walked down to their own apartment where they were staying. The beach was stunning and the sunset just breath-taking. I couldn’t believe I was here. I was greeted by the family. This included Elizabeth (10), Luciana (8), Rosa (6) and Alessandro (4) and Nonna (probably about 90, Italians don’t age). Nonna didn’t speak a word of English. She didn’t even try. The children looked at me pretty puzzled and came across and shy and tired. We ate the most delicious pasta discussing my life in broken English and me wondering exactly how I ended up here.

My first few days In Italy were a nightmare. I was told by Tiziana that I was required to work all day during the summer and English tutor, put them to bed etc. It was boiling hot and we spent every single day on the beach. Most adults will know that children can quite easily entertain themselves on the beach, and to be quite honest I felt under pressure and on edge. I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I t was quite obvious that the children weren’t really that keen on me, speaking English or learning English. Little did I know how much of a problem this would eventually become.

I spent my days on the beach tanning, sitting in silence with Nonna and the children barely speaking to me. We had a few moments playing games which they enjoyed greatly and I felt a connection, like the connection I usually have with children. Difference is, I was used to teaching and looking after underprivileged children and not spoilt brats.

I had weekends and evenings off, in which I spent the entire time by myself. It was a lonely existence, enough to make you go pretty mad and it echoed the lonely times I had spent in Honduras, unable to speak the language and not knowing my surroundings. I tried to venture out. I walked to the shops. I actually got lost for five hours on my first walk, I couldn’t understand the mental bus system, with no one to help me and I ended up cutting my foot and in floods of tears. Jesolo actually has the longest outdoor shopping district in Europe but it just wasn’t the same by myself. It’s famous for being a top Italian tourist destination, so there were pretty much no English speakers there. Perhaps I should have ventured in to Venice more to find travellers. In all honesty, I felt a little out of my depth here. I knew this was just summer. What was waiting for me in Trento? Maybe that was where my real Italian adventure would begin.

It was nearing the end of my two week stint. I was in the car with Tiziana, Nonna and the two youngest children. It was time to head to my new home. We pulled up to a small stone house. I peered out unimpressed after the summer’s CRIBS episode. I jumped out unaware that this was in fact Nonna’s house and we were stopping for lasagne.

Cut a long story short, my apartment was suited in a large square on the third floor right in the centre of the city. The family lived opposite and owned the whole top level of the block. It was a comfortable place, with a huge cosy bed and sofa area. I could see the mountains from my window in the morning and I could walk to the historical Piazza Duomo town square in 5 minutes. Maybe after all I could find some peace here?
I spent my days struggling with the children. I’d pick the two youngest up from school, attempt to walk them home and then spend hours being ignored by them. If they had homework they never wanted to speak to me and if they wanted to play a game it was always intentionally in Italian so I couldn’t understand and I’d lose. I started to notice serious aggression in all four of the children. They would intentionally hurt one another, physically and try to hurt me too. Once Rosa threw a wooden brick so hard in my face and laughed her head off. They used to pull my hair and try and slam doors in my face. It was a horrendous experience. I tried everything I possibly could to make fun activities for them, in English. They spoke fluently so it shouldn’t have been a problem, but I noticed they were sick of being forced to learn extra English when their friends didn’t. They would whisper behind my back genuinely be so mean. God, children really can be so cruel. I never blamed them once for their behaviour; I knew it was all down to their useless parents. Anna didn’t even work, she used to go off for lunch or to get her nails done and leave me with the children screaming and desperate for her attention. Sometimes Anna used to leave and I had to physically hold Alessandro down with him screaming and punching me because he was desperate to go with her. He blamed me, and at four he didn’t know any different. It took a good 2 hours to calm him down sometimes, after he’d smashed up his entire bedroom. He was then forced to take comfort with me, because Anna didn’t return until late and Emilio, his father was never there. The children were all so frustrated and had serious behavioural issues. They ran wild and took their aggression out on me. Sometimes Anna would have friends round, none of them would speak English and they spent their entire time bitching about me, I knew exactly what was going on. The children pretty much hated me through no fault of my own which was so hard to deal with. I thought I was failing.
I’d pick the children up from school and they would run away and hide from me. Alessandro would run in the road, in front of cars and locals would look at me like I was mad. I would be screaming in the streets desperate for the children not to get hurt or lost. They literally had no discipline whatsoever and the parents didn’t seem to care.

I soon learnt that children run the household in Italian families. Children are very treasured and are often put on a pedestal, which gives them the freedom to run completely wild. Dinner times consisted of all the children throwing their food around the table and everyone including the adults eating with their mouths wide open and me watching on in disgust. There was bad vibes all round. Hygiene was also particularly bad; the children refused to ever wash their hands and barely ever washed. Their hair and clothes stank. I will never understand how this was deemed acceptable. The children would argue with me telling me they never needed to wash their hair, and then cried when they were forced too, so Tiziana just gave up.
Once Anna told me I must be firmer with them. I must “shout” at them when they misbehaved. This is when I knew this woman had no idea how to be a mother. She really didn’t have a clue. I couldn’t understand how she didn’t notice the erratic behaviour in her children, and how Luciana beating Rosa with a wooden spoon so hard she screamed in pain was not acceptable behaviour.

I spent my evenings in tears. What was I doing here? I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had nothing here and felt as if I had nothing at home. I couldn’t do my job properly and I just sat in misery. I knew I was never going to give up though. Why would I? I’d been stubborn for 19 years; I wasn’t going to change anytime soon.

I took to the internet and scoured blogs, forums and Facebook. Holy shit internet really can save your life. I found a girl, Cristina from Spain who posted on a forum that she had just moved to Trento as an Au pair. We exchanged numbers and met the next week. Cristina was bubbly and full of life, exactly what I needed. It was amazing what abit of comfort could do for the soul.

Within the next few weeks, we make connections with a few more Au pairs in the area and created a Facebook group to connect us all together. Once you met one au pair I found that the group was ever expanding. Tiziana’s next door neighbour had also employed an English girl too who would be doing much of the same stuff as I, so we spent a lot of the time playing with the children together and taking them to the park. Life improved dramatically. We had a whole group of au pairs; Cristina, Sarah, Sara, Alex, Lucy, Charlotte and Erika and we took weekend trips to Verona, Bolzano and Austria. We stood on Juliet’s balcony, visited the Ice Man and knocked back jaegers and danced with a ton of Austrians in a Christmas hut. We had great times. These weekends were almost like an escape within an escape. This where the real adventure began, and this I knew was the reason why I was doing this in the first place.

Weekends were spent visiting all the local bars and strange clubs in the city, which were full of Italian students that paid us no interest whatsoever. Honestly I have never visited anywhere less welcoming. No one ever wanted to speak English and always looked down on us. Every weekend we got disgustingly drunk, drinking ourselves overboard on 2 Euro cartons of wine. I’m not quite sure if I could have been anymore obviously drowning my sorrows. I spent Sundays throwing up and feeling sorry for myself. One weekend it was a holiday so we had 4 days off. I got so drunk I ended up having a huge fight in the Cantinota club after an old man had groped me and I ended up throwing up for 2 days straight with severe alcohol poisoning.

By the time November came I returned to London for two weeks after the love of my life, my Grandma passed away. My Dad had called me and asked if I wanted to return as they knew it was the end. As the closest person to her there was no decision to be made. I was straight home and at my Grandma’s bedside. She had been completely unconscious until I arrived and managed to get through to her. She woke when I arrived, completely stimulated by my voice and turned around and said “you look beautiful darling”. My Grandma was completely and entirely unconscious for about a week and the only person that could get through was me. I spoke to her and cried for hours asking what would I do without her and I know she could hear me because she squeezed my hand, struggled to move and seemed noticeably distressed. I stayed at her bedside until she passed away in which I cried uncontrollably and disrupted much of the ward. I was completely and utterly devastated. I removed her wedding ring from her finger and put it on mine. It’s been there ever since.

After the funeral I made the entirely wrong decision to go back to Italy. I was deeply depressed and in a horrendous place. The last thing I should have done was to go back to being by myself. But I was too stubborn and I returned.

Life in Italy spiraled out of control to say the least. When I returned, if I wasn’t sleeping I was crying uncontrollably and if I wasn’t working I was drinking. My Au pair friends helped me out a lot. I relied on them as my only form of comfort. I never once saw anyone else form my building and I’m glad I didn’t, because they must of thought I was mad screaming and crying myself to sleep every night. It was an awful, awful time.
The children hated me even more, and Anna asked me why I hadn’t contacted the children when I was away in London. I asked her why she thought I would be asking about her children when I was watching my Grandma die and she looked at me in disgust. This woman was nothing.

She knew I was unhappy. I was unhappy. But I was too stubborn to leave.

It was a week and a half before Christmas. Anna called me into the kitchen. She confronted me as to what was wrong. She told me the children didn’t like me. This made me angry. I had tried so hard with her nightmare bunch of children and all they wanted was their parent’s attention. I told her exactly that. I also told her that they were badly behaved. She looked like she was going to kill me. She told me to be firmer with them and I told her I wanted to stay. I have no idea why.

Parents at the school stared at me. They whispered and gave me filthy looks. I have no idea what was being said about me.

Two days later I arrived at the flat and there was a horrendous atmosphere. Anna ordered the children to go upstairs and took me to one side. She started screaming at me. She told me that she wanted to know what was wrong with me and she had found my Facebook. I was so puzzled. Anna told me that she had seen a comment I had posted to a friend saying that the children were “an absolute nightmare, and that I couldn’t cope with these bastards” or something along those lines. I had no idea my Facebook was even public nor how she even noticed this. To me in 2011 this was a pretty regular sort of comment and to be pretty danm honest they were bastards. Anna started crying. I’m not sure whether she was confused as to what the comment was about or what really. Her English was terrible and it was just so awkward. She asked to me, quote “to remove all of these horrible things I had written about her family”. Genuinely I thought this was slightly overboard, considering it was just a comment on my Facebook and no one she knew would ever see it.

I gathered that was my queue to leave. I gave the children a quick hug, wished them luck and Anna waited by the door and pushed me out. The children actually seemed pretty distraught to see me go. I guess they spend their lives waiting for the next Au pair to come along and have to get used to someone knew. The children once confided in me how they didn’t want a new Au pair. Anna told me I was to leave ASAP and return the keys to her.

It was over.

Well, it wasn’t quite over because I had the next issue of getting the entire contents of my flat into my bags and getting myself to the airport. I couldn’t physically carry anything I had. It was a disaster. I ended up managing to grab a lift from my American friend, Alex and her host family.

So there I was, on Christmas Eve 2011

Standing at the top pf the escalators and peering down. I had two suitcases, two holdalls, a handbag and a huge plastic bag full of wrapped Christmas presents.

How was I going to get down the escalators with all of this stuff?

OUT OF THE SHOWROOM AND INTO THE AMBULANCE

It was 2010. April 2010.

Today was the day I was going to pick up my new car. This wasn’t any old car. This was a new Mini Cooper. I’d was just about to fork out £12,000 on this shiny sexy number. Having £12,000 aged 18 is a whole other story, but we’ll leave that one for next time. That really is one you’ll want to read. Believe me.

So the day arrives. I wake up at the crack of dawn on my weekend off with a smile plastered over my face. I’d just been in a whirlwind few months sacking off college and being deeply unmotivated with life and I’d passed my driving test a few months earlier after 5 FAILED ATTEMPTS. I REPEAT 5 FAILED ATTEMPTS.

I’d spotted Maisy the Mini on the Mini Cooper website and oh my she looked so very beautiful. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to be able to drive this car right out the very showroom and she would be called my own. I was actually very confused. I didn’t really know why I chose this car. I knew it was a too higher litre for me and cost a fortune in petrol. Not to mention, THE INSURANCE. Oh my sweet baby Jesus, mother of mary, this car was costing £4,000 per year to insure. WAS I COMPLETELY INSANE?

Answer: Yes. Yes I was. I think life caught me up in a hot air balloon and wouldn’t let me down. I don’t think I was let down until I’d learnt all my lessons. Very, very harsh lessons and my balloon was burst and down, down, down I fell. To the very bottom.

Here I am, 18 years old skipping into Mini Cooper and singing the documents with my immature signature. I handed over my card and made the payment. She passed me the keys. I walked over to my new vehicle and smelt the leather. She was stunning. I was caught up in my balloon desperate to show off my new toy. I wasn’t even thinking. I couldn’t think straight. I look back and wonder why no one helped me. I was an entire mess. Actually, this is yet again a whole other story which you really will want to read. I’ll give you that soon.

I was terrified. I had no idea how to handle this car and had virtually no experience driving minus my failed attempts at life (sorry, I mean driving tests). My Dad jumped in next to me. I knew he was terrified. Like any Dad, he wanted me to have a cheap, clapped out old banger to drive around in, in case anything happened (famous last words). But I also knew deep down that he was slightly impressed with this flashy pimped out vehicle.

I was off. I took to the road. It went a lot faster than any other car I had driven before and I hit the road revving and unable to maintain much control. My nerves had got the better of me this time. After half hour tuition I hit the road again and felt much more confident. I put in my freshly burned CD and wound down the windows. It was a super hot day and my Dad was impressed on how well I was doing. A smile grew across my face and my red hair blew in the wind. For the next hour I felt so so happy. Chasing that temporary happiness always was my forte.

I arrived back to my house. The sun gleamed off the freshly waxed car. I jumped out banged on the front door, desperate to show the rest of my family. I couldn’t leave my new baby alone; I just wanted to keep on driving. The day was getting hotter and hotter by the minute. I opened the double sunroof and called my best friend, telling her the news. I was off to go pick her up and seize the day.

I tooted my horn. I could not have been more excited. These rough few months felt temporarily paused and I was living again. As stupid as it may sound, my freedom and independence meant so much to me, I knew I could never look back.

We were off. I hit the road, unaware where I was heading. I just kept on driving. I didn’t know these roads, especially not the bloody M25 and I was feeling brave, like nothing could stop me. I was driving so far that we ended up pulling into a random ASDA car park to stop for a break and work out exactly where we were.

I knew I didn’t really feel in control of that car. I knew it.

We discovered we were over near Orpington away. It was a fair drive from home but neither of us had any plans. I pulled off down the road. We hit traffic. I turned up the music. Blu Cantrell, Breathe was playing, one of old favourites. I turned to laugh and chat with my best friend. My moved forward at about 20 miles an hour and gazed ahead of me.

Then out of nowhere, a huge almighty BANG startled me. Before I knew it there was a cloud of smoke and the car was out of control. I grabbed so tightly to the wheel, screaming. I locked eyes with my friend sensing the look of fear and terror in her eyes. We both remained intensely looking at each other desperate for some comfort. I knew the car was being thrown over the other side of the road. I knew it was heading towards a fence. I just screamed and pain and shock just fell over me. I jolted forward at serious speed and the airbags burst out attacking me hard in the face. My seatbelt locked hard on my right arm and the window shattered.
We had stopped. I looked up to see if my friend was alright. The first thing that came into my head was the overcoming sense of guilt and panic that I just caused this to my friend. I was terrified she was hurt. I couldn’t even care less what had happened to me.

I immediately started shouting “my arm, my arm” before realising that the car was smoking. All I could think of was the entire car going up in flames, like you see on the movies. That would be a little dramatic I thought. My door was bent in towards me and I couldn’t open it. I was screaming to get out of the car. I threw myself across the front seat to the passenger seat and we were out. I find myself on the other side of the road to where I had been before, with the traffic all stopped and staring. One woman ran over and turned off my music. It was apparently very loud still and playing even though the car was in literal tatters.

The next hour was a complete blur. I went into shock, which I later discovered was very serious and started to pace up and down the road. I was running and crying and my heart pounded on my chest. I was cradling my right arm like a baby. The next thing I remember was sitting on the grass bank outside someone’s house with a man asking me multiple questions. He told me he was a paramedic and I had to listen to him otherwise I could be in serious danger.

I have never really understood what really happened during that shock period, but I tell you what, I never, ever want to feel like that again. So out of control and out an out of body experience.
I started uncontrollably crying, and within an hour I was screaming down the phone at my Dad and the insurance company. I literally had no idea what to do. This was my first car, my first day driving a car by myself and my first insurance contract. It was a whirlwind of panic.

An ambulance arrived. It parked up next to my crumpled Maisy. The paramedics jumped out and pulled me into the van for tests and questions. “Was I drinking?” (No, but i bloody wish i was…) It was all pretty simple. I was lucky to not have been anymore seriously hurt but I had severe whiplash and scarring from the airbags and seatbelt.

My Dad arrived. I saw him pull up and he looked devastated. The look of panic made me uncontrollably cry and scream. I have no idea how or why that crash scared me so much. I like to be in control. It’s something I’ve always had trouble with. If I’m not in control I feel terrified and panicked. I wasn’t in control of that car.
As I arrived home, I fell into a deep, deep depression. My arm was in pieces and didn’t stop crying every day for two weeks straight. Something I have unfortunately experienced many times before. It brought a whole sea of emotions flooding up. I was humiliated that I had crashed my first car, within HOURS of driving it out of the showroom and felt horrendous guilt for putting my friend in danger. I had flashbacks of being out of control and after working so hard to get to this point I had just lost my independence once again within a few short moments.

I never got back Maisy. She was entirely written off. I had hit an island in the middle of the road, popped a tyre and the car had been flung out of control. I could not believe it. It wasn’t just a little damage; I’d managed to write the ENTIRE vehicle off and it had to be scrapped. That gives you a little perspective on exactly how bad it was.

It took me a long time to drive again. I’d lost all my confidence. I’m sure this is something a lot of people can relate to. But now, I turn back and laugh.

And think “Hell yeah, lots more shit to write for my blog.
And one day, my book.”

When the world really does become your oyster (or maybe even your lobster)

To a non-traveller I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain the passion of travel that gives me nothing but pure therapy. It gives me therapy in the same way putting all this thunderstorm in my head down on paper does to my soul. I mean hey, It’s cheaper than rehab or a one hour slot at your local support centre right?

Well maybe not, but the experiences and people give you nothing but riches. The famous Tumblr quote “Travel makes you richer” although it makes me want to punch a small cat is actually very accurate. Travelling isn’t just about having a year away from your clingy parents on a prolonged gap year, or an escape from a stressful and meaningless life at home. It’s so much more than that, and that’s the part that a non-traveller will just never get their head around.

When I first returned from my first set of travels in December 2011, the first thing my Grandma asked me was “How was your holiday?” I looked at her in disgust. I hadn’t just been on holiday. In fact I’d been working at two volunteer projects, one in Honduras and one in Fiji then travelled parts of Asia before landing myself a job in Italy. Each part had been nothing but tough and much more of a challenge than a lot of people could ever even imagine. I responded to my Grandma with “I went travelling for God sake Grandma, it’s completely different to a holiday.” This confused her even more and before I knew it we were having nothing more than a heated debate between a holiday and a travelling adventure.

I know we have to excuse the bemused elderly more times than we would often care but trying to explain to an 84 year old the prospect of staying in hostels crawling with cockroaches, cooking your own food over gas stoves, travelling by public transport with questionable locals and living on a budget is my idea of heaven.

There really is something about the people you meet travelling. There is no way of describing how interesting the selection of people you meet is. From the 33 year old hippy living in the Hostel smoking up every night, to the couple on the path to exploring Buddhism and to the bloke from London who took all his 3 weeks holiday off work at once. The variety of people is just incredible and the connections you make with people you only met 2 days ago even more incredible. The openness of individuals you meet has such a stark contrast to everyone at home. Why do I want to spend my entire life with people that are so closed and carry round this huge barrier with them? I crave good conversation, not just about travelling, but conversation with MEANING. Conversation which involves not discussing what I’m wearing at the weekend or what colour I’m going to dye my hair next. I have an awful habit of becoming extremely uninterested in people and conversations like this, I just switch off entirely. Famously, travellers all have a mutual respect for one another and this is my favourite aspect. No one is in competition with one another, you’re all there for the same reason and why would anyone want to spoil their own time away? Listening to people’s traveling stories is my favourite activity. It inspires me so.

People tell me about this incredible lost temple, this remote beach, this fantastic project and the culture, smells and vibrancy of a city and it excites me in too many ways. This excites me in perhaps the same way a gadget lover would queue up for the new iphone at ridiculous o’clock or a fashion lover would drool over the new Hermes Bag in Vogue mag.

I can only describe my passion for travel by thinking of it in a way which removes myself from the present. I feel as if though my life can just stop still for a while and I can just appreciate the smaller things in life. I appreciate that I am very fortunate to be able to detach myself so from everyday life, but perhaps I just was never that attached in the first place. To me, there is no better feeling than feeling free, and this is exactly the way in which I feel when I have the opportunity to embrace an entirely different culture to my own. The growing pains of facing everyday Groundhog Day in “reality” is a pull in the wrong direction for me. I want travel to become my reality instead, and I don’t see how it can’t eventually.

I’ve often been described as “intense” and “deep”. I take this as nothing but a compliment. Travelling has changed my life entirely and I will continue to grasp as many new adventures and wild experiences by the bucket load until I reach the end of my days. I may “over-think” everything but honestly what is life if you don’t overthink it? Life is anything but simple. It’s a complex web of years that require choices and fulfilment and so so so much adventure. Sure, travelling requires confidence, but what doesn’t these days? Going for that first grad job or first date can be more daunting than anything, but what the hell is life without a bit of fear and a little challenge?

I tell my Dad how happy I am. His response is this “Well I think everyone is happy while their on holiday, Flo”.
JUST NO.
The constant battle of being misunderstood. I mean what the hell I thought this only happened during your teenage years? Am I subject to this for the rest of my life?

I don’t believe in comfort zones. What I do believe is that comfort zones provide nothing but a false sense of security and an excuse for individuals to stick to with what they know. Escaping from your comfort zone is genuinely liberating, once you do it once you’ll do it again. Finding a passion that is against the so called “norm” makes you an interesting individual.

“The traveling bug” is one of my pet hates. I often associate this with gap year travellers, those who join tour groups and set off on a 6 month slot of nothing but partying and being promiscuous and return with the notion that they want to do it all again, but just end up going to Ibiza the following year, and well, just doing exactly the same thing all over again.

I suppose though, maybe I did catch the so called “Travelling Bug”. I caught and held on tightly to the sense of adventure and accomplishment traveling brought me and genuinely never wanted to let go. I’m sure there would be many people reading this that assume I’m a pompous rich bastard who can quite freely gallivant around the world but let me assure you this: I am not. But maybe I will be one day… Once I’ve made my millions out of being a writer and the world really does become my oyster (or perhaps even my lobster) I guarantee I will be gallivanting as much as I please.

I like that word. Gallivanting.

The U.N states that Honduras is the most dangerous country on the planet. I travelled here alone aged 18. My Honduras story finally told.

ARRIVING IN HONDURAS AGED 18

I’ve never really told my Honduran story before. But it sure is an interesting and complex one. I was 18. I quit my job working for TOPMAN in September 2010 and told everyone I was leaving for Central America in 5 weeks time. I was lost and to be quite frank couldn’t be asked to go to university. I just wanted to roam free and let my free spirit take over.

I had been browsing online and stumbled across a link for teaching English up a mountain in a remote place.

SOUNDS PERFECT

I can’t even lie. I barely read the info. I called up the volunteer programme that day and booked. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t even know where Honduras was. Lord only knows where I inherited this spontaneity from. Virtually nothing fazes me. The UN states that Honduras is the most dangerous country in the world. I didn’t think much into it. For me, it’s all or nothing. I like extreme experiences and half-hearted adventures leave me nothing but disappointed. I googled where I was heading. Copán Ruinas. Copán Ruinas is a municipality in the Honduran department of Copán. The town, located close to the Guatemalan border, is a major gateway for tourists traveling to the Pre-Columbian ruins of Copán. It looked beautiful. And most importantly peaceful. Maybe I would finally find some peace here.

I told my Dad. He turned pale and asked why I always have to “go over the top” with everything. My answer was simple. “Yeah whatever life’s short”. I wasn’t fazed by this upcoming adventure but was perhaps very naive as to what I would actually encounter in this incredibly third world country. What I was to come up against was weeks of emotional turbulence and huge challenges. I never believed that such an experience would honestly change everything about me but It 100% did. I returned with an entirely different outlook on life and can honestly say was one of the hardest times of my entire life.

The day arrived. My Dad was completely and utterly shitting himself but he knew there was nothing that would stop me on this adventure. I have always been incredibly mature for my age, even at 18 I felt like I could take on the whole world and the challenge that I undertook was a mean feat for someone so young. Honestly most people my age or even now would have crumbled under that immense pressure.

First up I arrived in New York. It was late at night and it was an 9 hour wait until my next flight. I was due to wait in the airport but two hours after waiting the cleaners started arriving and I knew something was up.
They were shutting the terminal.

What the fuck. I didn’t have a hotel or even a phone that worked. Next minute I know I was having a huge panic attack. I’d never had a panic attack before. I couldn’t breathe and I was screaming and crying and trying to suppress my tears in front of the cleaners. I was genuinely panicking so hard with what to do. I sat outside and snow started to fall. I smoked a whole packet of fags and got it together. I bought a phone card and rang a nearby hotel.

My alarm rang. It was 4am and I’d paid $120 dollars for 5 hours in a hotel. GREAT.

Soon I was back at the airport, boarding my flight to Honduras. I was sat next to a tiny Honduran woman that kept giving me boiled sweets. I think she sensed my nervousness. As we landed into Honduras I leant over my flight partner to look out the window. It was the most green, plush place I had ever seen. SO SO BEAUTIFUL.

I was met at the airport and boarded a bus with my new project leader. It was a local bus and full of drunks and screaming children. I sat on the bus for a total of 3 hours up a mountain next to a huge man with a large beard. Every time we turned a corner he fell closer to me and his sweet smelling beer spilling onto my plimsolls. The sides of the bus were open. I could smell the air. It smelt so fresh. The climate was muggy and uncomfortable. Children noticed me from the paths and screamed and shouted and even waved passing through each village. This was my first taste of absolute poverty. People were sitting in the gutters begging and children so skinny. I automatically felt touched by these people, a feeling I soon realised would never go away. The scenery was incredible. Honduras is a mountainous country, with beautiful rolling hills covered in rainforests.

We arrived into Copán Ruinas late evening. The place was small and full of cobbled streets and Spanish style open buildings. I was walked up to my new home. I knocked on the door. My new Mum opened the door. A small smiling Hispanic woman opened the door and hugged me so hard. This was Tina. Conversation was limited. She only spoke Spanish and I, only English (minus the few phrases I’d learnt on the plane).
I entered my room. It was a simple room with an en suite and huge bed. I was told my host family was one of the richest in the entire town. Tomorrow I would be meeting for orientation and to enrol in Spanish school.
So here I was. Up a mountain in the middle of “The most dangerous country in the world” without a single word of their spoken language nor a mobile phone. I was petrified. I slept deeply and awoke with Tina knocking at my door asking me numerous questions I could not understand.

I enrolled at Spanish school. I automatically felt relieved. The school was outdoors and I could see vivid parrots flying overhead while I went through my lessons. Nelly was the most beautiful teacher and spent hours smiling at me from the other side of the desk and hugging me after each lesson. I had two days before I would start at La Escuela at San Rafael. It took me a couple of days before I built up the confidence to wonder about Copán Ruinas. It was single handily the most intimidating place I had ever been. As I wondered the streets I was petrified I’d get lost and not be able to ask for directions back. I soon found out I was pretty much one of about 5 people that could speak English in the whole town. Armed guards marched the streets and questioned locals. Anyone and everyone stared. I Wherever I wondered I would turn around and find a group of children following me. They would laugh and giggle and chase me down the street. I stopped and sat on the kerb while the girls played with my hair. They tried to speak to me but I found it so hard to communicate and became more and more frustrated. They opened a black bag. It was full of handmade corn dolls all different shapes, sizes and colours. I was immediately taken a back. They were beautiful.
I reached into my bag. Careful not show my money. (I was a millionaire in this country) I gave them all the equivalent of £20. The children couldn’t believe their eyes. They kissed me gave me the entire contents of their bags and ran all the way home shouting. I now was the proud owner of 26 corn dolls. Not bad for £20 I thought. I later found out this is more than most families earn in months.I continued to give the children majority of my money throughout the stay without telling my project, and i don’t regret this at all. Actually, on my last weekend the street children came to find me to give me a homemade card and CD that they’d found to say Thank You. I was absolutely touched.

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My alarm buzzed, it was 4am. This was life now. 4am everyday set for school. I ate my pancakes in Tina’s kitchen surrounded by chickens and children. In my whole time living with Tina I never understood how many children or grandchildren she actually had. I walked the three streets down the hill to the main square where the pickup truck arrived. We all scrambled in. This was the journey now to school, all piled in the back of the truck sitting on plastic bags up the mountain. The air was so heavy and the clouds hadn’t cleared. By the time I got to the top my hair was easily 6 times the size. We passed the rice plantations as workers waved at us every day and hundreds of men sleeping on the streets.

I was introduced to my class.It soon became apparent that i wasn’t in fact teaching English, but ALL classes in SPANISH. WOW. Just another challenge i knew I’d have to overcome. I was overwhelmed. My class was a group of 22 7-8 year olds and I was named Miss Flor. (short for flower). The children immediately welcomed me. I was jumped on a hugged as soon as a arrived. The children were so loving, they felt my face as if they couldn’t quite believe I was real. My first week consisted of assisting the only existing teacher at the school and attempting to communicate with the children. I felt pressured and had to learn quickly when it came to answering the children’s questions. They were understanding and so full of life. Within a week I was dictating to the children to read pages, answer questions and teaching maths and natural sciences in Spanish. I was so overcome with the progress I had made after a tough few days. I rewarded the children with sparkly London stickers and gel pens. I really didn’t think anyone loved sparkly stickers as much as me.

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At 12 every day we would offer the children a meal. This was rice, beans and a flour tortilla. Each child brought a container with them to collect their food in. The most suffering of children didn’t even have a plate to eat from and I watched as they ate from their hands. I was heartbroken to watch the almost skeletal little ones fight in the queue for food and then eat two or three beans and put the rest under their desk to take home for their families. They were starving themselves and I later found out that nearly all children walked a total of 2 hours each day across the mountains to school on an empty stomach.

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Each evening was spent at a roof top café lesson planning overlooking the entire town. I never anticipated how much work it would take. The project run by GVI (Global vision international) was dedicated and clear about what they wanted the children to learn and how much work we were required to put in. There were two other volunteers. Both in their 30s and two project leaders in their late 20s. They constantly supported me and were astounded at how young I actually was. I will be forever thankful for them. Each night I spent doing Spanish homework and making worksheets. In between the tears and being terrified of my surroundings, I had never been happier.

On Tuesdays we volunteered at a local orphanage. We had been briefed before of the low standards and utter poverty that these children were living in. I prepared to have my heart broken. The orphanage was a short walk from the village. It was a small house run by “nannies” which I later nicknamed “evil bitches” when I found out they had been abusing the children and stealing all of the donation money. I arrived and was met with the most overwhelming love I have ever experienced in my entire life. The children (and roam dogs) jumped into my arms. They stunk of urine and were filthy and were unclothed but I didn’t care. I wanted to give them everything I had. We played games and activities and read stories. There were babies there too and the “nannies” allowed them to sit in soiled nappies and hit them when they cried. Each week when I left the same children held onto my legs and screamed when I left. They were so adorable and I still hold my promise to this day that one day I would love to look into returning and finding some of those children again. We were not allowed to take photos here but I can still remember their faces so vividly.

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I spent the whole evening sitting in a bar myself crying my eyes out desperate to think what I could do to help. I was at loose end because I knew I wasn’t allowed to involve myself in the project and damage the reputation of GVI. If I was to enforce anything on the nannies then it could risk GVI being involved at all at the orphanage and putting the children at an even higher risk. I couldn’t donate money either; it would go straight into the pockets of the wrong people. I was so frustrated I was unable to do ANYTHING. My friend Jesus who worked on the bar informed me of the reality of Honduras and how there was little anyone could really do. His country was corrupt and it upset him so. This really hit home. (I was a regular at the bar by now)

Virtually my entire time in Honduras was spent alone. This was one of the biggest mental challenges I had ever come across. It was a lonely time but was overshadowed by the vast amount I was achieving. I visited the famous 5th century ancient Mayan ruins alone and climbed to the top of the pyramids to take copious selfies. (pretty sure selfie didn’t exist in 2010, but yeah) This was incredible and just felt so alive.
Weekends following included a stay at a coffee plantation, wild horse rides to a ranch and bathing naked in the hot springs. (here I felt really alive as you can imagine). I met numerous Americans who helped me along the way and were untimely puzzled to come across an 18 year old traveling alone.

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I spent weeks working at the school and building incredible relationships with the children. I was comfortable to have my own class by now without supervisation and we played outdoor games and i bought them craft resources they’d never even seen before. Each day was a mental and physical challenge and i was undergoing tests at Spanish school which I was struggling with. It was a constant battle but bought me nothing but rewards everyday. Each day I spent smiling and overwhelmed with love from all the children at that school I can still to this day remember all of their names and have photos and mementos from all of them.

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The day I departed the school was single handedly the most overwhelming day of my entire life. Each child had drawn me cards and posters and made me feel so special. I later translated all their letters which were along the lines of “Please come back you have taught us so much and we love you”. I was so sad and disappointed I was leaving but i knew it was time for another challenge. The children screamed and hugged me as i left and some even cried. They begged me to come back “Te vamos a extrañar” and “cuando vas a volver” was ringing in my ears. As the truck drove off the children ran down the street screaming my name. I cried way too much.

My journey home from Honduras was the most eventful I have ever embarked on. This was the amusing part of my entire adventure. The evening I left I headed to the bar to see my friend Jesus and two other volunteers. There were Americans and two hours later I’d had 5 tequilas and 3 wines and was running the streets of Copan. Alicia and I headed to an Honduran club. What an experience. I can barely remember this entire time but i certainly remember being groped by numerous men while there was a live singer and no DJ and there was certainly sand between my toes. Very. Very confusing. I had been abandoned by new American friend who had run off with a short local and i was returned to my house. I had three hours to sleep this off and i was already throwing up all over the entire room. WHAT THE FUCK I HADN’T EVEN PACKED.

I awoke to Tina knocking on my door. I was SO ill and I started throw the entire contents of my bag on the floor. Tina was so upset I was leaving. We had an emotional depart and i gave her everything. I just abandoned most of my stuff and legged it to the bus. I bought a beautiful handmade bag to which i spent the entire journey to the airport throwing up in. The whole bus had moved away from me and I continued to throw up on myself and the seats. It was horrendous. I have barely ever drunk tequila since. The memories haunt me. I left the bag on the bus and ran to the airport.

I checked in. My bag was mental overweight. I bought plates and everything and would have had to pay hundreds to get it home. I grabbed a load of clothes asked the security to watch my bag and legged it outside. Surrounding the airport was thousands of beggars. I gave everyone a pile of clothes and food. They looked at me like i was mental then grabbed my hand and kissed it. There we go. I AM NOW GOING TO HEAVEN.

I ran back inside. It was under an hour til my flight. I went through security and noticed a sign. “MUST PAY TAXES”. WHAT? WHAT TAXES? I ran to the cashpoint. The screen flashed BLOCKED. My card was blocked. I grabbed my phone. INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. SHIT. I CAN’T LEAVE THE COUNTRY. I had no money and no phone credit. I had to board my flight in 20 minutes. I sat on the floor and cried. I couldn’t speak to anyone and i just felt pathetic.

10 minutes til my flight…

I WAS GONNA MISS IT. I felt a tap on my shoulder a small woman with glasses looked at me with piercing eyes. “Stop crying my darling what is wrong?” I told her my situation through floods of tears and she spoke to me in an American accent. She owned a bookshop in Rotorua. She placed 50 US Dollars into my hand and closed it. This angel gave me her business card and told me to run. So, just like Forrest i ran to the gate and paid my fines. I made it onto my flight just at the gate was closing. I let out the biggest sigh of relief, and that was that.

I MADE IT.

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THE ONE TIME I HELD A PARACHUTE OVER BORIS JOHNSON’S HEAD AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE

A letter dropped on my doorstop. A big thick one with gold inscribed writing. It was May 2009 and I was seventeen. I ripped the envelope open not thinking twice about what could be inside.

Out fell an A5 cardboard invitation from Buckingham Palace.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE.

I quickly read through the invitation and noted the key words; Buckingham. Palace. Garden. Party. Prince Charles. WAIT WHAT? “Prince Charles requests the company of Miss Florence Boniface”. I scream and start dialling my grandma… “What you gonna wear duck?” Grandma screams back.

 SHIT WHAT AM I GONNA WEAR??? TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE???!!

 So yeah, I was “cordially invited” to a garden party at Buckingham palace on July 16th by Prince Charles as a representative of The London Borough of Croydon (What a shame) for contribution to youth organisations. Decent.  I knew I better be a good fucking representative for Croydon after all the majority of people they could have picked probably would have ended up nicking half the palace buffet for the ride home.

Two weeks later I was contacted by one of the head of organisations to tell me that I was to be provided with a shirt on the day to wear.

OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO BE JOKING. THE ONE TIME I GET INVITED TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE IN MY LIFE (Minus the time I pick up my OBE of course) AND I HAVE TO WEAR A POLO SHIRT???

I cannot tell you how disappointed I was the day I turned up at the station to meet the other representatives and I was handed a bright pink polo shirt. Great.  I was at the time going through a stage of wearing a shade of light pink lipstick too which looked almost white and I had equally as horrendously never seen an eyebrow pencil before. God knows why but at the time I was a chav and I thought it looked great. So I went to meet Prince Charles wearing a pink polo shirt, no eyebrows and white lipstick. I’m surprised he didn’t get confused between me and the garden party clowns to be honest. 

We arrived at The Palace and had to be literally stripped searched, they even took our shit mobiles off us. Needless to say I kept my (beautiful Samsung Tocco) and took a variety of sneaky pics (not a surprise).

We walked through a variety of rooms to get to the gardens, pretty much everything was covered in plastic and it wasn’t anywhere near as nice as I had expected. Pretty run down to be honest.

The large wooden doors opened and we were standing in the courtyard and pushed into groups then escorted to the gardens. The gardens had two massive tents full of dreams (whoops I meant royal finger food), all the cakes had mini gold crowns on top and the cucumber sandwiches had the crusts cut off. The only drinks served were tea served in finest china and lemonade in tall flutes. I remember hovering around the tent filling my boots when I was supposed to be engaging in activities on the lawn… not a surprise.

Milling on the lawn and next minute I am blinded by a blonde bouncy individual. It was Boris Johnson. My team leader pushes me towards the front into the games area. Boris being his usual fun-loving (idiotic) self, starts introducing himself and asking which games he can join in with. For god sake, why couldn’t I be invited to a sophisticated garden party and not this palaver?

Next minute I know I’m holding one of those giant parachutes with only a couple of others between me and Boris. We start throwing the parachute up in the air and a few people take it in turns to run underneath before it falls to the ground.

In typical fashion, Boris takes his turn, hair flapping in the wind to run underneath, but not quite fast enough.

BORIS JOHNSON AND THAT HEAD OF HAIR IS TRAPPED UNDERNEATH THE PARACHUTE I AM HOLDING.  I am roaring with laughter. He was rolling about on the grass shouting all sorts with parachute wrapped round him. Should we even bother getting him out???

Just before 4 o’clock we were all asked to go and stand by the steps of the Palace as the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were about to arrive. As they came out, the band started to play the National Anthem (SIGH).  Charles and Camilla headed towards us and we were all asked to clap as they walked. All I could think about was that video when Charles is calling that BBC reporter “bloody awful” and wondering if he was actually enjoying this occasion in the slightest.

Charles made his way around to us, he made small talk about enjoying the day and shook my hand. He was wearing a youth organisations badge and I mumbled something about “Nice badge Sir”.

NICE BADGE SIR.

Really??! What the fuck was remotely nice about his badge? What was I even thinking? I give up sometimes I really do. He thanked me, laughed (chuckled more like) and moved on. A photographer briefly and unfortunately caught the top of my head on camera and the photo later appeared on The Telegraph online I think.

So that was the time I held a parachute over Boris Johnson’s head at Buckingham Palace.

Enjoy the hilarious photos inserted below. These are the only ones I can find… Some lucky bastard has more… The top of my plum barnet is just peeking through behind.

Fabulous as always.

Imaget:

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DAVID BECKHAM LIKES WHOLEMEAL BREAD

In May Last year I accidentally/randomly/incredibly met David Beckham.

I offered David Beckham a piece of bread.

BREAD.

WTF? I’m more confused than anyone, believe me. So in May 2013, I was lucky enough to work on the UEFA dinner at Old Billingsgate market. This was an introduction to my events career and was hired for set-up as an events assistant. I also knew I was on hand to help the waiters if need be throughout the dinner and had to dress up (like a moron) for the whole duration.

So there I am, doing set-up blah blah all standard stuff, laying tables etc.. I hadn’t even given it a second thought to who would be attending such a UEFA event. I’m polishing silver on the head table and look down to the place names being set out and see the name DAVID BECKHAM.

OH SWEET JESUS. DAVID. BECKHAM. HERE. IN FRONT OF ME. WHAT THE HELL.

I commence my silver polishing to take extra care in making Beckham’s spoons sparkle. About an hour later I head backstage to lay out goody bags and other random jobs then suddenly I am called to help out, all hands on deck and that. One of the managers throws me a bow tie, A FUCKING BOW TIE to wear and I hang my head in shame. Is this the sort of shit that waitresses have to wear these days? So I look down and I am wearing a men’s shirt, a bow tie, straight legged trousers and shiny shoes even my Grandmother would be embarrassed about. How can I meet this delicious man looking like Bruce Forsyth for god sake?

I am chucked a bread basket and pushed out into the dining area. I’m asked to follow a chain of others out to the head table. OMG THE HEAD TABLE. I knew what was coming next. I try and peek past and I spy Beckham in deep conversation with Sir Alex Ferguson. Everything I was told in the briefing about “acting normally” went straight out the window. I’m sorry but how is one supposed to act normally in front of possibly one of the most famous people that has ever lived? I approached the table and stared hard at Beckham, (sometimes I wonder really if I am a secret psychopath) and he stared straight back. Before I knew it I was having a full on staring competition with Beckham. REALLY FLO, REALLY?! Could you be anymore weird sometimes? He broke into a friendly (awkward) smile, clearly used to crazed/mental/deranged girls like myself.

Next thing I knew I was standing behind Beckham holding a fucking bread basket. He smelt divine and I was so close I could see the tattoos so closely on his neck. So this was it, I held the bread basket to Beckham and said hello. He turned round and asked me what types of bread were in the basket and I replied with 100% made-up answers (some bullshit about soda bread and olives) and he knew it. He reached into the basket and chose two slices of wholemeal seeded. He said thank you very much, smiled again and I died a thousand times.

SO THAT WAS THE TIME I GAVE DAVID BECKHAM A PIECE OF BREAD.

Oh, the event was also hijacked by Palestinian protesters that stood on top of the head table and shouted at Ferguson waving a flag and had to be arrested… but that is nowhere near as exciting as the fact that David Beckham likes wholemeal bread.