The woe of trying to buy tickets.

 

Band portrait

On this blog I have spoken of my love for the band Ride before, of being the only shoegazer kid in the western suburbs of Melbourne in the early 90′s. When I was in my mid teens they played a show at a University (probably Monash or Melbourne) in Melbourne and I wanted to go so so bad.

As this was mid-week and the uni was probably a good hours drive from home I asked my parents if one of them would take me. They were not cool so the answer was no. My dad did ring the student union a few days before asking if I would even get in. Their answer was well there will be alcohol served there but she would be able to enter.Thats a no then.

I thought about jumping out of the window and going That would have involved a bus, train and tram on a school night and I would have needed some balls to go. So instead I sat in my room all night crying and listening to Ride. Oh the pains of the teenage girl!

They split up soon after. Looking back as amazing as they were they were a bit like the boy band of shoegazing. Mark Gardener with his cute looks  plastered all over my bedroom wall. That said it shouldn’t take away from their music, at least the first 3 albums anyway . Those albums  and EP’s were like walls of sonic noise and swirling sounds it was amazing and not like anything I had heard before. It was a revelation. Dad said I would grow out of it, Dad was wrong.

As I got older I joined a band that was heavily into shoegazing and we even recorded a version of “Leave Them All Behind” for a tribute covers album (I never saw it and I can’t quite recall what our band were called. It could have been Colonel Mustard).

I still collected whatever I could find on vinyl and finally got to meet my beloved Mark Gardener  (on my birthday no less) at two solo gig’s he did in Melbourne in 2005. We did chat but I didn’t know what to say, now I could think of a million questions not the  dumb ones I asked.  (15-year-old me was hoping it would be like the movies and he would fall madly in love with me..he didn’t and more importantly I didn’t but I was in my mid 20′s by now and knew how the world worked). Important lesson don’t meet musical heroes.

Ride were influential in elements of my life, the dress sense (I have a replica top that he’s wearing in a promo shot (above) which I bought and It cost a bomb! Funny I went into a hippy shop in Canterbury a couple of weeks ago and saw the same top I almost bought it) from the music I started listening to, to my first introduction to independent british music which made me want to first move to the UK (and I’m still here).

So when Beady Eye announced that they were splitting up, thus releasing Andy Bell from his commitments with either of the Gallagher brothers (back story went Andy Bell joined Oasis after the Ride split, it was rumoured that the Gallagher brothers had banned any Ride reunions) I had hoped that a Ride reunion would be imminent and I would finally be able to go.

And so they did. I was there with two computers 41 seconds in. By the time I had got through well devastation. All tickets had sold out.

I was upset like that 15-year-old girl again. How dare they? Hardly anyone I know likes them or even knows who they are? How did this happen? Was it all the hipster’s in Shoreditch who heard that they were cool?

It’s sad that it’s all come down to this. Years ago you could still buy tickets after the 15th second of them being put up for sale. In some cases at the door. Now if you look on evil places like seatwave and other unscrupulous websites, it appears acceptable for these places to buy up large amounts of tickets and then sell them seconds after shows have sold out for £100!!!! When did this become a thing? A thing that people accepted? These companies are pure evil, stealing opportunities from real fans and then forcing them into a corner.

This is much different from the scalper out the front of the venue who has a small handful of tickets trying to flog them off. This is big business and it’s sickening.

Blur had the right idea a few years ago when they played in Margate. The tickets could only be purchased in advance by fans on their mailing list and even then on entry you had to show the tickets, the credit card they were purchased on and the name had to match both things or you would be refused entry. It was a fair system to ensure the fans had first preference.

I could go and see them at Field day and I will probably have too, even though it will cost me more money. (there’s the dentist put off for another couple of months!) but then again they may just do what all of these other 90′s band have done and just tour around until no one is interested anymore (or Oasis come calling again) . I’d like to see some sort of 90′s festival with Ride, Slowdive, Jesus Jones etc, I could go on and on but I will just sound old.

Instead I saw that the very talented Matt Berry is playing a rare show of music at the forum (you may know him from him Toast of London, the IT crowd, Snuff Box, Dark places)  so I bought tickets for that. That makes me happy.

 

Hunting high and low for some swatches.

I’ve been attempting to plan a large quilt over the last few weeks now. So when starting the first stages of a quilt I will forgo maths and all other technical stuff (I have a pattern already) and start at the most obvious place, fabric choices of course.  After going through my stash nothing was really suitable for my master plan. My local shop has a very limited range of products (who can blame them they’re only small). So I had to go where I always go on ‘tinternet.

I have a small collection of fabric in my stash which I have bought which turned out unsuitable for what I was doing.  Pictures on the internet can vary wildly and give a very untrue idea about what the fabric is like, different colour in real life, to the size a of a print . A fat quarter is around £3.00, I have around 8 of these little disaster so I’m not talking about small change. I’m sure I will use them one day but I don’t like to have that mind-set because that is £3.00 less I have to spend on Tula Pink fabric or some Cotton & Steel or something else I’ve been lusting over. So I try to keep my spending and purchases tight (unlike the heady days of stash building when I first started, I learnt a lot about what not to buy).

So what dawned on me is that I’ve never entertained the idea of swatches or at least finding some stores that will sell me a very small amount. I also thought this would be an easy thing as I knew what I was after and it would make sense for stores to offer a swatch service.

But I was wrong, dreadfully wrong. After searching and emailing most of my normal retailers most of them didn’t seem to offer that service at all, whether it is not commercially viable to them or for other reasons it seemed strange not to, especially in dress making where you would then have to buy blind without knowing what the fabric felt or drapped like.

I did find two places who would let you have 5 for free (I’m still waiting for samples after a week) or will only let you buy samples on some of the fabric (not any of the quilting stuff) . Then I found the Eternal Maker doing swatches for 25p each. This I am more than happy to pay and I can do it with very little embarrassment, the embarrassment of having to ring for extra and give the impression I’m a freeloader. I also felt guilty asking for 12 but I paid quite a bit for postage so I don’t feel too bad and I was paying for them. To be honest I was just grateful to get my hands on some and avoid purchasing mistakes.

wpid-20141120_142315.jpg

If I ever opened a shop it would be nice to have a whole swatch thing, like a club or something like that. But in the meantime my master plan can begin sort of (well if I ever see the other samples)

How to conduct oneself at a gig.

Sébastien Tellier photo 0

Last week I went to the ultra hip (I don’t know if it is) Village Underground , down a very small street with no sign out the front just two dark gates behind it what looks to be a bit of old train tunnel in Shoreditch ,to witness a performance by the most brilliant and under rated french artist Sebastien Tellier. Many of you may know him as the French entry at the 2008 Eurovision contest. But he is much more than all that.

There are 2 sides to Sebastien Tellier, the dirty sexually charged music baron who drinks and smokes too much living up to every french stereotype that Gerard Depardieu created. And then there is the other side which creates  some of the most beautiful pieces of music that have graced my ears and made my heart stop a little, songs of love and devotion, the sensitive soul.

Tonight we had the first incarnation.

wpid-2014-11-06-15.01.00.jpg.jpeg

Excuse the rubbish photos

He played for 2 and a half hours in which we got about 12 songs, so you can gather the songs are of an average length (except the 10 minute epic La Ritournelle) so what took up the rest of the time? I think it was some sort of attempt at stand up comedy. It was funny to begin with, very funny  but as the chain-smoking and wine drinking continued it just was less so and in parts nerve touching and jaw dropping. (Stop destroying the illusion I have of you built up in my head!!).

Was he off his head? Was the joke on us? I will never know but when your crowd start to yell play a song, your backing band look bored and the audience start to leave you need to stick your day job.

When he did his day job he was brilliant, playing the hits and avoiding the majority of the new album,( which and I am warming to this Brazilian infused long player)..As usual, he sounded amazing live. Divine and Cochon Ville played after each other was almost too exciting.His stripped back version of La Ritournelle was just..breath taking, (must see if he has a recorded version out) if I could have hugged the music I would have done.  For all the bizzarreness of that evening I still am in complete awe of him.

Look at that suit, he liked to talk about his suit.

Look at that suit, he liked to talk about his suit.

So here is a play list of all his absolute best in my humble opinion , I could have just put each album in there. But no, Ive restrained. I implore you give him a go there is quite a variety of styles.  Not into the beautiful ballads? The dance tracks should sort that out.

 

I normally dont like sharing clips but his entry into eurovision is too good to not share.

 

But how does one conduct ones self?

As I have been  going to shows for 20 years now (I started very young…) I began thinking about having to be in a small space with a lot of people, there are still things I find irritating and as I have gotten older the audience dynamic and technology has changed, but the basics I still find irritating, especially with the stupid ticket prices of some shows lately.

  • If your going to clap along, clap in time. (Billy Corgan once stopped a show because of irregularities in clapping)
  • It’s ok to take a quick picture, but I have had to watch almost entire songs (normally when the hit is played) through someones mobile phone device, some of these are as big as tablets! It’s rude and  not cool and removes a lot of enjoyment. Why can’t people go to the back and use zoom?
  • Talking during quiet songs. Are you feeling suddenly unwell? Is it that important to begin a lengthy conversation during a very quiet song? By doing this will you benefit all humanity? No I didn’t think so, you have the rest of your life to say whatever nonsense  you want to impart I think it can wait.
  • If your going to dance/mosh in the front of the stage don’t take half your beer in and decide to chuck it in the air. No one wants to be covered in your cheap beer and back wash.
  • If your tall it is very impolite to push through  stand right in front of a short person ( so in front my nose is touching your back) I’ve paid to see a performance not your back, have some consideration giants.
  • Pushing and trampling on people is not nice
  • Feeling women up in a crowd is foul and an abomination and you should be publicly humiliated.
  • Dance all you like, just not on my feet in cowboy boots (I’m talking to you Noel Fielding)

Have I come over all dictatory? Apologies, I’m just having a long overdue moan.

Ladies of Lego assemble!

I’m going to apologise for the blog entries you will read over the next few weeks (7 to be exact). As all I’m making craft wise is for Christmas/other gifts I’m going to refrain blogging about anything I’m currently making other than the christmas quilt I’m making for the sofa.

So in the meantime your going to get a whole world of randomness! Let’s start with Lego.

wpid-20141106_141153.jpg

I like to buy christmas stuff early, I mainly do this so I can spread my spending over months instead of crashing and burning in December (but I always do). As Rockette is at the beginning of her Lego age I’ve been looking around for suitable stuff for her.

Being only 4 and not completely clear on the ways of the world (for example setting her straight on the comment Mummy girls can not fly aeroplanes, where does she get this stuff from?) I’ve been looking for positive female models in the Lego world. So far it has been pretty dire.

If you wanted to be a Disney Princess, a shopper, work in a shop, become a thief, be a cheerleader, hang out with your friends, be a pretty vet then no problems! Theres loads of that stuff you can buy.  If you want policewoman, a paramedic construction worker, a scientist, a post lady so forth and so forth this kind of stuff is very thin on the ground, very thin indeed.

(Right before anyone starts you can get 1 female police officer with a set of 4 male ones and a dog, you can also get a female paramedic in an ambulance pack)

The friends range is very pink and I’m pretty sure one of them is supposed to be a vet but I can’t really tell on the box, like I said it’s all very pink. The assumption that all girls will only ever play with is pink and to pigeon-hole them as such is depressing . Little girls do like pink and princess’ , dolls and other  stuff like that, so there is a place for that. But they also like police chases and knights with kings and queens, animals, dinosaurs, pirates and space. It’s unfair to not produce adequate female figures and mix them up with the men in the sets.

The solution was to make my own at the pick and mix Lego shop.

It took us 10 minutes of searching through all of the hundreds of heads to find only 4 female ones. Finding the rest of the bits was fine, Chef, police officer and GP (eating lunch and on the phone) were all completed with general ease, except the mermaid tail that had to don some ninja pants instead (it’s the best we could do, you see girls can like mermaids and police stuff). Batwoman was on a key chain, but she was too cool not to buy.

Thankfully I turned around on a shelf and found the fabled rare science kits Lego released in August of this year  just siting there (ahhh)! This kit came about (or so I’ve read in this interesting article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28660069) after a complaint to Lego from an 8-year-old girl . I’m sad that there is only one of these kind of sets out there. But what I would have prefered would be a mixed work place with both genders working together, one step at a time .

I’m not calling the sexism card  it’s just a shame I can’t get more sets that have equal amounts of gender doing a whole range of interesting  jobs.

wpid-20141106_141410.jpg

This kit was from the Stratford branch if your interested.

 

 

I aint ‘fraid of no ghost…quilt!

wpid-20141031_092223.jpg

Sorry that title was itching to get out.

Now to the main event. I have finally as early as this morning finished the Halloween economy square quilt, hurrah!

Whilst shopping at an Plush Addict open day we had picked up some Halloween fabric for Rockette as a trade-off for not taking her on the hour (and then some after we got lost) car trip up to their warehouse. But what to do with it?

I found a nice easy looking economy block tutorial at the brilliant Red Pepper Quilts blog. I love this website there is so much inspiration.

http://www.redpepperquilts.com/search?q=+economy+block

I am quite lazy and don’t like maths very much at all, so instruction wise I made a 6″ block instead and when it came to trimming the blocks down all I did was line up the quarter-inch seam measurement on my Quilting square at the point where the two squares met and just cut across that point.

wpid-20140827_114719.jpg wpid-20140827_114628.jpgwpid-20140827_114755.jpg

That worked most of the time and it was good enough for me.

wpid-20141031_092236.jpg       wpid-20141031_092223.jpgIt was more difficult was to work out the fabrics that worked together so they wouldn’t clash, but like most things in life I was over thinking it. Rockette came along and put a few together that looked pretty good so between us we manage to make sure it didn’t look like a vomiting Pinata. So all in all it all came together pretty easy .

Where I had the most issues was with the quilting. I’m not a good quilter, we know this. At first I was ambitious, the world was mine for the taking and that free motion needle was going to do as I commanded.

Ha ha yeah right. The original plan was to have candy/lollies/sweets sewn into it, but after I had done one it took away from the blocks themselves so that felt wrong. This took me 2 days to unpick the mess I made so after having a rethink I gunned for wavy lines.

.wpid-20141019_181116.jpg

Disaster! I had no sewing mojo on that fateful Saturday. None of the curves were working making them intertwine just made it worse. OH MY SWEETNESS WILL I EVER BE GOOD AT FREE MOTION QUILTING???? I screamed to the heavens. Not today sucker came the reply. I spent the rest of that Saturday damaging my eyes on the sofa unpicking the whole thing. I could’nt save any of it.

Anyway back to square one and referring back to Red Pepper Quilts I opted for the simple cross as others had done.  The end result Ive labelled as “spooky” because the quilting is so crooked . I’m not sure why as I used the walking foot instead.

wpid-20141031_092248.jpgI love the back of this It’s Riley Blake, as usual I was a tight arse and didn’t buy enough of it, thank god I has some hard cheap fabric to go up the top.

The Bumble bee’s appear to be fans. I think this one was trying to make some moves on it.wpid-20141031_092405.jpg

Enjoy Halloween, it’s something I’m quite new to.Growing up my dad always said it was a load of bollocks and we will have nothing to do with it, so tonight I’m going to eat some chocolate and watch Ghostbusters, cause that’s as scary as I get.

While were here I’m adding a picture of my great late Nan who also never celebrated Halloween but love to act shamelessly in public (I get it from her). She makes a pretty good witch don’t you think?wpid-20141031_154758.jpg

The witching hour is almost upon us..

I say almost because this is almost a blog entry. I had hoped to finish the Halloween quilt grand finale today but with Rockette on school holidays and keeping me up most nights with a vicious cough it wasnt going to happen. (I have seen enough Spongebob DVD’s to pass the time with her so I’m not complaing too much)  I will hopefully have that for you tomorrow.

So in the mean time I will show you the best (and only) bit of felt business I did last Hallo’s eve. I keep meaning to go back to felt but I never find the time. It is quite fiddly and wrecks my eyes.

wpid-20141030_120752.jpg wpid-20141030_120704.jpg wpid-20141030_120719.jpg wpid-20141030_120821.jpg wpid-20141030_120919.jpg

The pattern came from an old Mollie Makes magazine. Sorry I can’t give any further information than that, It appears I’ve misplaced the magazine!

Until the next time.

 

finally crossing the finishing line….

wpid-20141018_130357.jpg

 

Last week I become an aunt for the first time (yay).But since I found out about impending birth I’ve been planning this baby quilt, which has been so long in the works I was happy to pass it over to its rightful owner.

I have written about the process of this quilt here http://wp.me/p4z5nn-5G. Once it was done It did look good. The block was sourced from The fat quarterly Shape workshop for quilters, which is a brilliant book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fat-Quarterly-Shape-Workshop-Quilters/dp/1454702826/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414086975&sr=8-1&keywords=fat+quarterly. (apologies for the Amazon link if you can get it from an independent retailer do it!)

wpid-2014-10-18-16.13.32.jpg.jpegIt was a Katy Jones design (I am always drawn to her stuff) but I did need to reduce it over and over again until I got the little 6″ squares. I over cut the fabric again but this time I was just happy that “hey I may have all these wasted squares but I do not have to do another block! ” The other squares were from Birch Fabrics’ Yay  Day range (not overly easy to find in the UK, this one had to come in my friend’s hand luggage from New York). Then had to add a border of Kona Tomato around each one as I lost most of the original border in seam allowances.

The whole thing was at least 5cm smaller than I wanted it to be, which looking at photos still bothers me but it’s wide enough to wrap him in it.

But’s all done now with a custom-made label I got made up (oh the donut (me) forgot to take a picture of the back) and the baby looks quite nonchalant about it all. (I’m sure he will love it when his older……)

wpid-received_10100961529544493.jpeg.jpg

In other fabric news Halloween quilt almost done, I did try again to do some free motion quilting and I chicken out/ failed again. I really need to take some sort of course . I also feel it took away from the whole design of the quilt so I had to unpick it. That thing took 4 flipping hours over 2 DAYS… to get rid of every stitch. Like I said I need a course, preferably not one that is going to cost 80 quid…

.wpid-20141019_181116.jpg

That is all for today. Nothing for the music this week. I could talk whimsically about the old shoegazer band Ride but I’ll save that for another post. You are now free to go about your other daily business.

The contestant that will never be.

The_Great_British_Bake_Off_title

 

Two weeks ago I received a very amusing email from a friend of mine.

wpid-2014-10-16-17.05.39.jpg.jpeg

 

That’s not too easy to read is it? It said

Hello lady, hope you’re well!

 Apologies for the email out of the blue, hope you’re well. Mel has gotten me into watching the Great British Bake Off and led me to decide you should go on it for 3 reasons:

 1)      You’re very good at baking

2)      You’d be entertaining talking to Mel and Sue

3)      Your surname can be found in cakes.

 Blame Mel for this idea.

As flattered and thrilled I was to receive this email, that there are actual humans who like my baking, I will present several reasons now why I could never enter such a competition.

1)    The time delay button that bleeps all the swearing being broadcast would break.

2)   I would get annoyed with Paul Hollywood constantly which may or may not result in a fight.

3)   I would probably kick at least one cake across the tent.

4)   I would be an angry, stressy elf.

5)   I’m not an overly patient person, I would liken it more to George Costanza’s dad entering, dancing.

6)   Try as hard as I can, I can not make a macaroon.

7)    I can not make any super fancy decorations, I can not ice a cake or biscuit with any sort of precision.

8)    I’ve never even attempted a pastry.

It probably would be entertaining though.

Short and sweet today.

A stitch and a fan girl.

wpid-20141012_153401.jpg

The trains amazingly for once (and even more amazing for a Sunday) ran seamlessly, like it was all synched up train, tube, bus . We had left on the 8.25 am train to London and were at the entrance of  Alexandra Palace by 10.02 am. This was amazing time, and we were still dry!

This was the knitting and stitching show, I only generally go to feel fabric and look at how big the prints actually are (it’s hard to get a good idea on the internet) and make long lists of stuff I want for future projects , unless of course I’m walking past Abakhan…I’m buying that fabric at £4.99 a meter!

I had a list I was prepared, I was looking for Floral Amy Butler, Cotton and Steel and Liberty stuff. I was good, so good that although I went back 3 times to look at the amazing Tula Pink stuff I did not purchase it. Some of the fabric I was after had disappointed and I was glad I had seen it in person (the fabric felt wrong say or the print didn’t look right). I had seen new bits of fabric that filled my head with new ideas for future projects (I’m not allowed to buy without a project in mind, this applies 92% of the time excluding sale stuff of course) I even went past this beautiful Alexander Henry and only took a photo.

wpid-20141012_130853.jpg

It was crowded, there were only about 4 men there which I find dissapointing..there must be more men into this stuff surely? I already needed a cup of tea but for went it in search for wadding instead.

I try not to meet people I admire, in the past this experience had been limited to musicians who 8 times out of 10 are arrogant so and so’s who wouldn’t give you the time of day. The flip side is that I always say something incredibly stupid when I do have a nice conversation with the remaining 20% . So logically I always think best not to meet them.

I didn’t think this would apply to the quilting world but I still could not trust myself not to look like an idiot, so when I read that one of my quilting heroes Lynne Goldsworthy (of Lily’s Quilts  http://lilysquilts.blogspot.co.uk / Fat Quarterly website http://www.fatquarterly.com/  and her work is featured a lot in Love Quilting and Patchwork magazine, quilting wise to me she is the big time)  was at the show, with my track record I thought best not approach if I do see her.

Oh but I did and it happened by accident. I had seen the latest Fat quarterly book on display and had a quick flick as I hadn’t seen it yet and I noticed a person next to me. I looked up and realised who it was and my mouth just started.talking without asking my brain if it was ok to do so. “This is your books isn’t it? I’m a fan girl.”.After a demo on a Sizzix machine (I want one of them now) we talked about medallion quilts , all the other quilters I should be following on Instagram  and beautiful fabric, which she even took me over to look at the Amy Butler and divine Tula Pink fabric.she took an interest in my work and blog, (seriously it was quite a pinch me moment ). She was one of the most loveliest person I have met, I wish could have stood there all day talking to her. I only left conscious that I was taking up her time and that at this stage my travelling companion had wandered off quite some time ago and went to buy fabric. It was awesome and worth my entry fee.

So as a fan girl I had asked to take a photo with her for the blog (what am I 17?) but the photo turned out bad on my part I looked horrid so I’ve substituted two pictures to give you an idea of what it looked like.

P1130569

The lovely Lynne is on the right and the closet thing to what my hair (on my head,  not chest) looked like. I couldn’t find a picture of Paul Stanley wearing a purple cardigan/jacket thing.

I needed a sit down and a cup of tea after all of that. The rest of the day was average (could it get better?) The only other really noteworthy thing of the day was when all of the toilets in Alexandra Palace refused to flush. There were ALOT of women there, a lot of women who needed the toilets. I anticipated a mild riot with knitting needles at dawn. Sadly this did not materialise.

Blasting on the radio..

Translations Darren Middleton

I’ve been listening lots to Darren Middleton’s new album, one time guitarist from Powderfinger since their split his decided to go it alone.This  is impressive, I love “One Thing” It’s been on repeat for at least two weeks. It probably would have been easier to write lesser quality pf type album, instead he has made a contemporary album with much more leanings towards slower beautiful better crafted songs. I did read somewhere that it was supposed to be a mix of Elliott Smith and the Beatles, I can’t hear it. What I do hear, like so many other Australian albums is the streets, pubs, towns and beaches of home. It has a very Australian sound to it. It should be a massive hit back home,but looking at the iTunes chart I don’t know if it has. Which is a shame, for an album which is an unexpected surprise.

http://www.darrenmiddleton.com/

The album is not available in the UK so I’ve had to listen to it via Sound cloud which you can find here. But In the last few day’s Soundcloud has refused to work on the ipad so it’s also streaming on his website.

That’s it for now but I wont leave it so long in between….

…relax it’s only a theory test.

I’ve been placed on a no fun self-imposed ban this week. No quilting, no blogging,nothing interesting to speak of, why? Due to me being lazy and a bit of a tight arse I needed to take my UK theory and driving tests.

Life would have been so easy, I would have exchanged my Australian drivers licence, I even had the envelopes but failed to send it off. ..and then 6 years ago when my Aussie licence was going to expire, there I was waiting at the Vic roads offices for someone else and was too lazy to sort it out. So now here we are, embarrassingly going for my licence again. I’m sure the test was easier when I was 16. I think the rules in Australia were stop, go, go faster, how to do doughnuts in a safe manner.

But fast forward to now and I’ve got 300 rules to remember and other bits like first aid, how to avoid a collision and things that fall under general stuff (how can I help the environment? Walking.) I must have completed 20 mock tests and answered at least 700 practice questions. I’ve got t be ready don’t I?

I arrive at the weird DVSA office, I say weird because all there is in there is a set of lockers, a woman at a desk from the 80s and not enough chairs to sit on. With military precision you are told that you need to put EVERYTHING in the locker, and they must inspect that your mobile phone (that is going in the locker) is switched off. Items locked in, I take the key which is attached to a MASSIVE wooden spoon and lean against the radiator due to lack of plastic seating, and read the sizeable list of rules I’ve been given to read.

After a while I was called over to enter the next room I was asked to empty my pockets in front of them (and everyone waiting) to which I produced a used tissue (acceptable) and Rockettes small mermaid hair clip that made its way into my pocket. I was ordered to put it into the locker, not in my hair but in the locker. This was starting to feel like a TV prison show.

Satisfied that I was clean and I had no answers written on my arms ( others were asked to raise their sleeves and show their hands, on watching this I hastily rubbed out the word “Toil” I had written on my hand the night before to remind me to request some time off work, luckily this went undetected. )I was asked to join another queue to enter the room.

Now before entering this room which was perhaps 4 meters away from my last check point I was asked by another staff member to empty my pockets and show the back pockets which I explained were skinny jeans and there for decoration really and then asked to lift my hair to see behind my ears just to ensure I wasn’t wearing a blue tooth (I wanted to ask for a hair lice inspection but I doubt that would have gone down well). At this point can I say that I visited the Czech Republic when it was still under communist rule and getting through the airport was easier than this ordeal.

Finally ushered into the room to be shown exactly where my ID was supposed to sit (bottom left of table) and my massive wooden spoon (on the headphones hook) I was eventually permitted to start the actual test, sweaty palms and everything .

After all that, Did I pass? I flipping hit that thing out of the park! If I had known what rear view mirror a caravan is supposed to use I would have got 100 per cent.