The one with all the Pizza

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This past week in work has been absolutely manic so I haven’t really had time to prepared food for lunches and dinner each night, and if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t really wanted to either. Getting home at night I’ve been shattered so the washing is piled high and well, let’s just say – it’s a good job we have a dishwasher! The problem with all this is, it means I’ve been eating a pile of stodge, namely (and more specifically) pizza.

Now, I am not the biggest fan of pizza anyway – it probably stems back to the fact that my mum has a completely inability to be able to cook a shop bought one – it was always burnt – often on the top and the bottom – not ‘crispy on the outside’ as she liked to say.

Anyways, on Tuesday I wasn’t quite hungry enough for a full meal at dinner time, so I had one of those mini Chicago town microwave pizza’s – which are actually quite tasty as far as microwavable food goes. On Wednesday it would have been rude not to take advantage of Domino’s 50% off voucher they had so kindly provided me with that afternoon at the fresher’s fayre. On Thursday, the student bar had very kindly offered to feed some helpers after the fayre and so it would have been doubly rude to not have helped myself to the meat and the veggie slices on offer there. I had completely forgotten about the slice of pizza that I had helped myself to on the afternoon of the Thursday (the shame!!) – And to be honest, I think I might just forget that again now too!

So last night, when I was puzzled as to why I felt so bloated and just plain eugh, well, it baffles me as to why I even questioned it. I am a walking, talking human pizza. I literally feel like I have inhaled every single pizza in the world in this past week and now I am paying for it!

So for next week, I have decided to follow in the footsteps of a colleague and have a detox. I am armed with a list of good detox food (if you can call it food!) and I am raring to go – well after my obligatory ‘I’m going on a detox so I’m eating a Chinese’ chinese. (Yum!)

The thing I think I am going to find the hardest is the lack of caffeine. On Friday I stated that caffeine isn’t a problem for me, as I only drink coffee out of habit, and I only drink diet coke because I like the taste. Hmm. Maybe I need to rethink my logic on that one – especially considering as I said it, I had a cup of coffee, a can of diet coke and a bottle of lucozade on my desk. Oops.

Hi, my name is Danielle and I am a caffeine addict. Ha, I can see right now, this next week is going to go really well for me!

I’m pretty certain that I am going to encounter a variety of problems and I’m sure for everyone else the next 7 to 10 days are going to be vair hilare, so as the good blogger that I am (read: trying to be) I will keep you updated with my progress. Wish me luck…

The one with the grown ups

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Now, it is fair to say that I have been known to be a little dramatic and I do tend to let me imagination run wild at times. When I was a student, I could get away with saying that it’s a curse of studying English lit with creative writing – but now, I am no longer a student and I’m getting a little bit older – I feel like I need to be less dramatic and more, well y’know, grown up. Problem with this is its soooo boring.

These last few weeks I have been a ‘proper’ grown up – I’ve been to ladies day, and been a lady, I’ve been to a wedding and sat on the ‘couples table’. I’ve even been eating in almost every night with Steve and actually spent some time sorting my finances out. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME!!

Gone seems to be the girl who crashes the jetski straight into the beach ‘coz shes going too fast; gone is the girl who walked up the stairs sideways so that she couldn’t get shot in the back through the letter box like Phil Mitchell did that time in Eastenders. (It could happen, you know. And for a 13 year old with a highly active imagination, that was scary stuff, let me tell you!) Gone is the girl who adds baked beans to chili (which in reality taste more like spag bol) and gone is the girl who spends more time in restaurants than in the house, because let’s face it, it’s much more interesting being out than in, and you don’t have to cook or do the dishes.

So what is with the sudden change? Well to be honest, I don’t really know. Both myself and Steve still had lots of fun but it was a different kind of fun! Maybe this is what happens when you get married? You have grown up fun and do grown up things – next thing you know, I’ll be going to dinner parties and candle-light suppers – I might even host my own and be a real life Hyacinth Bucket.

With all this in mind, it is no surprise that myself and Steve were going to do something drastic sometime soon! Well, it has happened… We have decided to totally redesign the garden and have it all singing and dancing with gazebos galore – ‘coz y’know this is totally what you need to do when you don’t spend that much time at home and your garden is already over-run with ducks and a home-made pond for a 27 year old terrapin that is eating us out of house and home. Throw in Darwin the tortoise that we recently acquired and you can see how I felt out of sorts when doing ordinary grown up things – that to most, probably weren’t boring at all, in fact – it was actually quite sociable.

Anyways, for the last week I have had no choice but to be a grown up and spend my time (and money – sob!) organising and commissioning gardeners, sorting out deliveries of gazebo’s, installation dates and electricians to get some power outside our house.

Having now embraced this grown up malarkey for a few weeks – I can safely say that actually, it’s not so bad, and I am quite looking forward to my candle-lit Halloween themed supper once all the garden work is finished! ‘The buc-kay residence, lady of the house speaking’ hmm it doesn’t have that bad of ring to it, after all!

The climb: day 3

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For me, with the exception of summit night, and of course, hindsight, day three was definitely the hardest. Not so much in terms of physicality, but it just felt like such a looooong day, and by the very end of it, we didn’t really have much to show for it, other than a bit of sunburn, lots of dusty faces and clothes, as some very tired eyes.

Team ‘pole pole’ (which means ‘slowly slowly’ in Swahili) as we had named ourselves by now, started off in really good spirits. We were walking along playing the name game, we had to think of names beginning with the last letter of the name before, then we went through the alphabet with film names, famous people, you name it, we listed it. Animals were a personal favourite of mine, as we always ended up getting stuck on ‘e’ I mean, after elephant and emu there isn’t a whole lot of choice left! This tactic of concentrating on names and words meant that the first few house flew by and did so quite easily, but as we started to tire and get bored of the game, that is when the cracks started to show a little more. Everyone was starting to suffer with headaches and some of the guys were being physically sick. We hadn’t even made it to lunch – which normally I could do fairly well before the doubt started to set in. I seemed to get a bit of a new lease of life in me, just before we stopped for lunch, but what that meant was a walked a bit quicker, ended up on my own (probably for like 10 minutes but that was long enough) and I got all soppy and emotional. Thankfully, another girl caught up/I stopped and waited so I could walk with someone, and the chatting really helped.

After the stop for lunch it was pretty much downhill (like actually down a hill, not spiritually) again, all the way back to where we had started (I mean, it was a different camp, but we ended that day, like 100m higher than when we had started.) It was the most demoralising thing ever. Team ‘pole pole’ did quite well to start with, we actually found something we could do faster than the rest of our group and at one point (for the first and only time on the whole trip) we actually led the way! Until of course, the tiredness sunk in. It started to get colder, the sun was fading and the wind was getting up, it became dustier and in order to stop us from swallowing it, we resorted to walking without speaking too much. Although going down wasn’t difficult, and the day itself wasn’t the most challenging, by the time we got to camp that night, I was in desperate need to speak to someone back home. The signal on my phone had been awful, so I hadn’t been able to text or call anyone since we left the gate 3 days earlier, and although I wouldn’t say I was home sick, I really wanted to hear Steve or my mums voice. Looking back, it was probably a really good thing that I didn’t get to speak to anyone that night, as I probably would have broken down and I’m not sure I would have been able to pick myself back up. One of the girls in my group said ‘you look like you need a hug Danielle’ and I was like, ‘yeah I do’ (I almost sobbed it!) – amazingly, one quick hug later I really did feel a million times better and was ready to face day 4 and the infamous Barranco Wall.

Before going to sleep that night, I told myself over and over again, Kili – I am coming to get you! – And I meant it!!

The climb: Day 2

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I’ve been putting off writing this for a little while now, partly because it meant actually re-living some of it, and partly because once I have finished writing it, that’s kinda the end – I will have shared my adventure with the world and it will seem a bit final. And, to be completely honest, I’m not sure I am ready for it all to end. But, I can’t just stop at day one, so here goes…

The morning of day 2, I awoke with my tent camp mate bright and breezy at 6am. A shout from the porters outside the tent of “good morning, good morning” followed my ‘eugh, it’s too early I’m going back to bed’ hopes and our tent opened. Now at this point in time I was far from fresh and raring to go. However, to say I was thrilled, when I was greeted with “Tea? Coffee?” is a complete understatement. “Coffee, please, milk and sugar” was my reply. I was going to need it.

Day 2 started off pretty well, we were going at a pretty good pace and ascending really quickly, it felt like a matter of minutes walking and we were in the clouds. The 1.5 hours in break-point provided the perfect opportunity to take some photos and really admire the views before the sun got even hotter and my face became a big sweaty mess. (eugh.) If I’m being completely honest, I can’t remember that much about day 2, other than the fact I enjoyed most of it much more than I did day 1 and I managed to not arrive last at the camp site (something which did become a bit of a theme as the trip went on!)

As I was finding this much easier than the 1st day I took the opportunity to get to know a bit more about the guides and porters we were with. I don’t think there is anything, or enough, that I could say about them that would do them justice. They were 100% amazing and so lovely. Our Head Guide had climbed Kili nearly 500 times. (I lose my breath just thinking about this!) Even now I can’t imagine doing it ever again, let alone a further 498 times! One of our other guides was also a safari tour guide. I joked with him that I can imagine that he prefers safari guiding to this, but to my surprise he actually said he prefers guiding groups up Kili as he gets much more time to himself, and the people on the treks are a lot more appreciative and interested in him and his opinions than on Safari’s. I can totally see where he was coming from, they are all hero’s in my eyes, and there was no way I would have reach the summit it if hadn’t been for them!

That evening ritual of feet washing, sweet tea and popcorn in the mess tent, and a hearty supper of food that I didn’t expect to taste anywhere near as good as it did, became to feel like every day ‘normal’ life, and was definitely something that I looked forward to once we had reached the camp. What I didn’t look forward to, was knowing that day 3 was about to be here and this meant acclimatisation was nearing, altitude sickness was fast approaching and I almost definitely was going to cry again!!

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