So, I'd reported previously that my flights were booked.

This was a lie. Although I did think it to be true at the time.

It turns out that it's not just the UK that has you tearing through layers of red-tape at every level.

Our travel request had to be authorised by 'The Institute' (sounds scary, no?), then the hospital's Executive team, then the travel office, then back to our lovely travel booking lady to confirm that we're still okay with arrangements before they could confirm the flights.


Anyway, we're now all booked and ready to go. Ticket-and-visa-wise anyway. So I say to those of you hoping to stop my departure with a last-minute declaration of love: put down the guitar and cancel the roses... It's done.

But in the words of America's 8th best politician: I'll be back.

I'm homeless...

...well not really. But I did have to move out of my beautiful, beautiful flat yesterday *sob*. It does feel strange to be typing this in my dad's house, because I do feel like I'll actually be going back 'home' later on today.

Alas, someone else will be in my room (which could make thing a bit awkward if I turn up) and the contract's expired and everything. So for the next two weeks while I work my notice, I'm going to be couch surfing with some rather lovely people.

But after that, I'm officially homeless and unemployed. This should probably scare me more than it does. Hurrah - finally my complete lack of responsibility pays off!!!

In other news, I've managed to drive through central London and get myself to the Midlands in one piece. This might not sound like an achievement, but when you've driven twice in the last three years it certainly feels like one... Now, only 140 more miles back down south to go. Wish me luck.

The Epic Bestival Post

Bestival. The Besttilllastfestival. (Apparently that's where the name comes from.) In my mind, it's because it really is the best festival I've ever had the pleasure of attending.

Perhaps the circumstances surrounding my Bestival trip should be explained. I've wanted to go since...oh...this time last year, and I'd planned to get a ticket if money allowed. Unfortunately, when my Aus trip was confirmed I figured that £175 for a ticket with spending money on top was probably not a good way to use my money. So I listening to my friends get excited, watched my flatmate get his fancy dress sorted and tried to use the dismal weather forecast to make myself feel better.

My lovely friend Helen, however, came into some luck. When she went to buy a last minute ticket on the Friday the seller refused to take her money, and instead handed her two free tickets and told her to have a good weekend. Being the absolute diamond that she is, I got the option of nabbing the free one. However, this meant ditching my other lovely friend Pete who was down for the weekend; after I ummed and ahhed for about two hours I think he got sick of me anyway and insisted I go (it turned out pretty well for him anyway...).

So after a night out in Camden I found myself drunkenly booking travel tickets at 4am, grabbing three hours sleep and sprinting for a 10am train. I had a sleeping bag, cider and a ticket, but I
didn't have wellies, fancy dress or..well...anything else you probably need for festivals.

I'd planned on sleeping for the entire journey, but got chatting to a lovely couple who thankfully were also attending (and knew what they were doing) and helped me find my way to the festival site. We were all getting the hovercraft, and I was very excited. However you can't actually see much so while it looks pretty cool, it feels like you're on a very bumpy train. Getting the ferry back way way more fun, even with a hangover.

Hovercraft view!

I arrived just as the heavens opened and poor Helen got soaked coming up the massive hill (if you've been then you'll know!) to meet me with *the ticket*. Then it was straight to the orange overflow campsite to give everyone a nice surprise...ME! Thankfully everyone seemed happy to see my face, and once the tent was up and we'd smeared our faces with glittery paint we were off.

First up were the Villiage People. Trust me, you haven't lived until you've stood in a field with 40,000 people all doing the YMCA. Yes, it was just blokes prancing around to a backing track, but who cares? If you watch the Villiage People hoping for a genuine music experience you're probably a bit of an idiot. Y'know, the sort of person who thinks Cher Lloyd is proof that the X Factor "works". We all enjoyed ourselves immensely, even though we watched the mayhem from behind this amazing Beastie Boys costume:

The man in a bag is supposed to be cocaine...

We then had a little rave in the Big Top, before taking in some comedy in the Caberet Tent. The highlight has to be a stage invasion by Tony Law's gorgeous kids during his act. Judging by the laughs they got I reckon he'd better watch out...

The evening started with The Cure who were OK, but really not as good as I expected. We decided to sneak off and catch most of Annie Mac's set. Again, she was ace but not mind blowing. Still, Helen and I happily raved about in the mud until we found a worse-for-wear Frazer being propped up by Zena.

We wound our merry way around the site, investigating anything that took the interest of Frazer the puppy (little 'in joke' for you there). This eventually led to us finding ourselves in a Wedding Disco, which was bloody amazing.

Wedding Disco!

At about 2am we decided to head back to the tent. Exhausted by our long days (and nothing to do with alcohol at all) we fell to sleep pretty much instantly, safely snuggled in our small-but-perfectly-formed tent.

Lovely teenie weeny tent!

Sunday started with breakfast (which included potato salad...I've no idea either), face paints and cider. We started with the Drums on the main stage. I'm not a huge fan but I did enjoy their set, though with last-day-of-the-festival atmosphere building I would've danced to anything.

Kelis was on afterwards, and was a really great surprise. I'm not a 'fan' fan, but I'll dance to milkshake with vigour after a few ciders (as you do). However she really was great, and played a blinding set. Talking to others it seems they were as surprised as me! Bravo, Kelis. And not just for the snazzy top hat/corset combo.

We pushed up the hill and through the crowds to nab a decent spot for Noah and the Whale in the Big Top who (luckily) lived up to the hype (although, my favourite moment came before they came onto stage when an orchestral cover of Bohemian Rhapsody lead to an enormous sing along. Honestly, sometimes the DJs between sets at Bestival were more fun than the acts themselves.) Anyway, NATW were brilliant. They commanded the crowd and proved why they're achieving so much success. Top notch.

As it was heading towards dinner time our little group decided to have some food back at the campsite (read: drink some cheap alcohol) before Robyn. However, we then found Alice and Frazer who had disappeared off just before NOTW had started. It turns out they'd spent a fun filled two hours in the medical tent. I can't think why, but we all suspect that drinking 5litres of Country Manor 'wine' during Kelis may not have been such a good idea after all...

Bag of 'wine'. The worst thing? This was my mum's festival tip...

After finally locating my flatmate Ash we headed to Robyn via a few campsites, arriving just in time to hear Call Your Girlfriend and Every Heartbeat. (Frazer insisted on staring at me lovingly throughout the latter, and then made me go all weepy with his drunken sentiment. Thanks Fraze.) Despite the cider-induced emotion I really enjoyed Robyn. She's got a cracking voice and everyone in the crowd seemed to be having a good old dance - pretty much the opposite of The Cure.

Now we had to wait for Bjork, an act I'd been pretty skeptical about. My main memory of her is basing my GCSE art piece on her 'fashion disasters', mimicking the Warhol disaster series (I got a C). But, my God, that freaky Icelandic nut job was insanely good. Perhaps it was the David Attenborough intro; perhaps it was the crazy choir that joined her on stage. Whatever it was, it worked. On that Sunday night in a field on the Isle of Wight, everything about Bjork suddenly made sense.

After 90 minutes of pitch perfect weirdness Bestival 'ended' with a huge firework display. It's hard to convey how happy we all were in that moment: watching sparkly shiny things go pop to a background of Queen and The Horrors, reflecting on a fucking brilliant weekend. It was one of 'those' moments when you think, 'I'll keep that filed away for the nursing home.'

When we'd finally dried our eyes, we decided to follow Ash to the Rizlab where we were excited to find there were FREE PONCHOS to be had. Quite lucky, given how hard the rain had started to come down. Still, at least we look pret-ty coooool in them.

Rather quickly the rain became a little too wet and we escaped to the covered safety of the Big Top and Mr FatboySlim. Some of us (Ash) were sceptical about how good he'd be. Some of us (me) were confident that it would be beyond incredible. Of course as we all know, women are always right. It was blissful, even though the converse/mud combo made it nigh on impossible to dance properly.

RIP Converse

There was a moment when everything faded out, leaving only the voice of Liam Gallagher singing 'wonderwall' blaring over the crowd as we all tried to join in. It was magic - who would've thought that the best part of a dance set would contain nothing but a vocal track? I also never thought waltzing in the mud to classical music at 2am on a Sunday would be a good way to finish off the festival. But, somehow, it seemed fitting.

I'm not going to pretend that getting back on Monday was fun, or that the thought of a hot shower and toilets with a sink to wash your hands in didn't almost make me weep with happiness; that weekend was probably one of the best I've had. This is the first time I've not cut off my festival wristband the second I've got home, and that's got to tell you something.

So thank you Helen, and the lovely man who gave her the free tickets. Thank you Pete for letting me ditch you (with love in my heart). Thank you to everyone in our camping group. And thank you Rob de Bank, for masterminding the whole Bestival idea.


I'm going to end on a photograph and a song. Here you go:

Both seemed fitting.


Currently having a massive freak out.

I'm moving to Australia.

I'm moving to Australia.

I'm moving. To Australia.

I've said this countless times to myself recently, but it's only just starting to actually mean something. In just over a month I'm going to be saying goodbye; not just to people I love but to a city that I call my home. Leaving London is a wrench and the first step starts this weekend when I have to move out of my gorgeous flat (which is complete with gorgeous flatmates).

It's always seemed so far away, so distant and with countless obstacles and events that it never seemed like the day I leave would actually arrive. The prospect of actually having to move out and away didn't really do anything other than hover in my peripheral vision.

Yet it's happened. Time has continued to run forwards, with no intervention. I can reveal that it's actually a rather terrifying feeling; I'd liken it to running down a hill and feeling your legs run ahead of you. My brain really needs to catch up with what's happening.

This is probably a very normal feeling. I'm fully aware of how lucky I am, and I really couldn't be happier. Come on - I'm not going to see a winter for two years! But I'm also not going to see the UK...meep.

Apologies for the self-centred moan, but I really do feel better for it. Catharsis &c. Can you all just come with me? Please?

Or alternatively give me a good old-fashioned slap. Thanks guys.

(Christ, I think I've used 'I' about 20 times in this post. That's never a good thing!)

It's happening...

So. I've had quite the weekend.

It all kicked off on Friday with a visit to the lovely Greg James' radio show. I said brand names on air, and Pete and Helen cheated on The Square.

All sins were forgiven, and we had a surreal but brilliant afternoon. If you want to listen to our radio debut then I'm pretty sure it'll still be on iPlayer for a while.

Enough excitement for one day? Oh, no. I got a call from Helen to inform me that she'd got her hands on two Bestival tickets, and would I like to come along? Obviously I did what any good friend would do, and abandoned Pete to head for the Isle of Wight. But not before going for a boogie in Camden. Because who needs sleep? Really?

I'm going to do a write up on Bestival, but not today because I'm TOO TIRED.

In other news, my flight to Australia has been booked. I'm going to be seeing y'all later on October 24th at 21.20. So to all of you planning to thwart my escape with declarations of love: I'm sorry. But it's happening.

It's actually happening.

Not a bad few days, eh?

Actual News. Ish.

Excellent day today. I'll give it 8/10.

Slog at work punctuated by finding out I'll be on Greg James' Friday Feet Up this week: live on the radio with my lovely friends Pete and Helen, between 1-4pm. Lets hope I don't -out- anyone else to a Radio 1 DJ (sorry Frazer...).

One of my 'to-dos' for today was to dissolve some plastic residue from glass with a corrosive chemical. Hmm. Tomorrow: I tidy the bar.

Post 'work', my flatmate and I got to spend the evening in the company of three lovely gentlemen (debatable) eating excellent food and 'boosting the local economy' as my Mum would say.

And now I'm going to be asleep before midnight. This is not a regular occurrence. See? Excellent day.

P.s - I'm starting to blog about innane shit now, so that come October 25th I'll be used to tapping something out every day or so. I appreciate your patience.

Fun facts...

There are more sheep than people in Australia.

The fangs of the funnelweb spider are so strong they can bite through fingernails.

In 1954, Bob Hawke made it into the Guinness Book of Records for drinking 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. He went on to become the Prime Minister of Australia. (lad)

Melbourne is the city with the world's second largest Greek population (after Athens).

Kangaroos live underground.

Australia is the only continent without a volcano.

The original name for Melbourne used to be Batmania.

The word 'pommie' comes from Prisoners of mother England.

(One of these is a lie. But which one, eh??)


I've been bombarded with questions over the last few days, so I thought an FAQ post might be helpful.

What? You're going to Australia??

Yes. Yes, I am.

But why?

I've always wanted to go. My 'if I fail my A Levels' back up plan was to sack off everything and go travelling. I'd even chosen a flight (it was on October 3rd). To be honest, I can't ever remember a time when I haven't wanted to see the world. For me, travelling has never been an 'if', it's always been a 'when'. Plus, it's pretty sunny and having spent my last four summers in Edinburgh I could use the vitamin D boost.

This seems a bit last minute, why didn't I know before?

Because it is very last minute. My visa got confirmed last Friday. Don't worry though, I'm definitely not being terribly impulsive and irresponsible.

Hang on, if it's so last minute have you saved any money? Aren't you broke?

Yes. Stoney broke.

Then how...?

My mum's moving out there. She's a midwife, therefore a valuable commodity in the outback. As part of her visa agreement she gets two free flights, and my brother didn't want the spare one so I nabbed it. She's also provided with a flat for her first couple of months. I worked out that it'll probably save me about £1500 minimum, so even though I'll have no money when I arrive it still makes actual financial sense.

Are you going forever?

I'm not planning on it. Currently I'm planning on arriving home May/June 2011 so I can get a job at the Edinburgh Fringe. But I'm trying to not make too many concrete plans and just go with it. I might love it and stay forever; I might hate it and be back by Christmas.

So when do you go?

The plane tickets aren't actually booked yet (they had to wait for my visa) but we're pretty sure it'll be October 25th.

Oh, and where are you going?

I'll initially be in Townsville QSL with my mum, but I'm hoping to be in Sydney for the Festival, and then Melbourne for the Comedy festival. Then I'll be hopefully working in Townsville during the 'winter' until my visa expires to save some money to travel around for a bit. So hopefully I'll be going everywhere, in the end.

Can I please come in your suitcase?

Unfortunately the luggage allowance isn't that great, and I'm pretty sure they don't have air in the hold. But if you want to come out and stay/meet up with me at any point then let me know and we'll make plans. Unless I don't like you. In which case please stay in the UK.

I'll miss you!

I'll miss you too. Though probably not as much as you'll miss me, because I'm going to be terribly distracted by all of the attractive men.

And it begins...

So that's it.

Visa: Confirmed.

Flights: (almost) Booked.

Notice: Handed in.

It's actually happening. And this is the place to read about my adventures. Because, frankly, I can't be bothered to set up a mailing list. And this way I might get a publishing deal -looks expectantly at Michael Palin-

More to follow x