Around this time of year, you can't see through the dodgy bonfires in everyone's gardens and the budget fireworks lighting up the sky - but this year my amazing friend Simon decided to treat me to a night at Betley Bonfire. Rated in the top three bonfire nights in the UK. So of course I was expecting the best. I was not disappointed.
I am however disappointed that I forgot to bring my actual camera so all I have are dodgy iPhone shots, and singed hair from getting too close to the bonfire itself - but never mind. Off we go.
When we arrived we were led into a huge muddy field, and after a few minutes of protesting - I finally sported the wellington boots that Simon had so thoughtfully brought with him. Who knew you couldn't wear leather brogues to a bonfire? Being one of the first people there we had some time to wander around and go on rides faster, and my god were there some intimidating rides.
Now the first one I had to mention was - The worlds tallest portable swing ride. How do I know this? Because the voice over the speaker said it EVERY. FIVE. MINUTES. No matter where you were in the park, you were informed of that fact consistently until it was normal conversation to remind your friend that it was the worlds tallest portable swing ride at the end of every sentence. I will admit however that it was massive. In fact it was the worlds tallest port... never mind.
You are strapped in, in seats of two and slowly rotated all the way up to the top of the tower, that was slowly swinging from side to side in the wind. Due to the fact that I couldn't stand the idea of the ridiculously strong wind casually swinging me into the pole we didn't go on it. That and Simon's fear of heights. However I wouldn't want to bully him too much about it.
Speaking of bullying Simon about heights, the second ride was one I truly wanted to go on. Of course the name has escaped me, but it swung you around in a circle so high that I could see Simon getting dizzy from looking at it and not only that, but the pod that you were sat in, swung around too. Causing you to be upside down or facing the ground through most of the ride.
Casually ignoring my terrible attempts to take a photo of a fast moving ride, the thing was huge. When I had finally used the puppy dog eyes to grind down Simon's feeble attempts at not going on it, we turned to see the pod wobble. Not just a little, but ALOT. Causing them to stop the ride early and allow the riders off. It didn't seem to be too big of a deal as after a little look at the ride, they let other riders on but it was enough to terrify the crap out of me and fill me with visions of this catapulting the riders across the country.
Now down to the rides we did go on. Now as a constant visitor to carnivals and fairgrounds I am a frequent rider on the Waltzers and the Twizzlers. Too many Z's in those names to me. However, these rides were the most viscous and fast that I have ever been on. It was as if the controller decided to go to sleep and knock the speed switch onto "Unhealthy". Leaving me wobbly and with a throbbing heart after getting off both.
Other than all of the rides (there was alot more, and plenty to do for the children) the entire grounds were taken over by stalls of every type of food and drink you could ever want. Seriously. Picture right now your favourite food. Picturing it? Yep, they had it. You didn't think they would? Well, trust me they did.
Not to mention lots of impossibly hard carnival games, that me and Simon spent lots of time watching to gage of difficult they were to complete. Some of those are impossible and make me want to kill whoever created them but my god I would just spend all of my money on there just to win the giant Toblerone they had as a prize.
Since uploading this photo I have noticed there is a little girl peering through the clouds of cuddly toys. So as a mini game - let's play where's Wally. Or even Where's the child I accidentally shot? She did not look happy.
Now to one of the main events. Why the bonfire of course! Now this bonfire took up half of the farm, and was the tallest bonfires I have ever seen. I might just have been the world's tallest port...damn it all. Anyway! It was massive, and I couldn't understand how they were going to light it all up.
The bonfire was lit from all sides by the volunteers with green flares and my heart almost fell out of my cheat in fear that they would be burnt. Still confused as to how the hell they would light it all there was an almighty bang that terrified me. The fires had sparked fireworks that ran all the way up the bonfire to Guy Fawkes himself who then lit on fire in the most spectacular way. After waiting quite a while, and the fire slowly building the fireworks started. So me and Simon grabbed blanket and took our seat on a hilltop to watch them. I loved that they did it this way, so you didn't have to strain your neck looking up at them.
The fireworks were spectacular and they were timed perfectly with some spooky music such as Thriller by Michael Jackson. Now once again, here are my pathetic attempts at taking photos of moving, bursting and sparkling objects.
I told you that they were bad and they truly didn't do them justice. To be honest, I was too busy staring up at them with my mouth wide open like a child to concentrate on photo quality. Bad blogger Jacqui. While the fireworks display was going on, I was getting progressively hotter and hotter and I couldn't understand why until I turned around to the magnificence that was the bonfire.
I had never seen fire like it. It was if it was a volcanic eruption, and it was lava. The heat was unbearable and it was a struggle to get close enough to it to take a photo but of course we battled through just to show you. Oh, and of course to take an awesome photo for Instagram which we found out was impossible.
Neither flattering nor sensible. So after a few singed hairs and sweating like crazy to take them we decided to leave as it took us around an hour to get out of the car park. In the end 9,000 people turned up to the event. Now imagine 9,000 people trying to get out of the muddiest place on earth in single file. It was madness, and thanks to the amazing volunteers in their high vis jackets, we all managed to get pushed out of the mud and back into the world. Although I must mention as he told me a million times - that Simon is an amazing driver and didn't get stuck once.
I have to say that it was an amazing night, full of fun, food and fireworks. I would definitely recommend anyone to go, and my only advice would be to take some boots as it gets super muddy. I want to say a big thank you to Simon for taking me and nod my rather hefty hat to all of the volunteers who made the night amazing and safe for everyone.
What's been the best bonfire night that you have been to? Let me know!
So where to start.
For those of you new to this term - and trust me I was until a few days ago - a side chick is a girlfriend you have on the side of your partner. A mistress if you will. Someone you used to have fun with and string along with words such as "I want to leave my wife but I just can't right now" or "I love you, and one day I will leave her for you". Now at some point in most of your lives, you will encounter a cheater. It may be your partner or even a friends, but we all know the sort and avoid them like the plague, although no matter what we do - we still run into them and of course fall completely in love before they have even said a word, only to be bitterly disappointed later in life.
Now we have the definition sorted, let me tell you what spurred this blog post to begin with. A few days ago Trisha Paytas uploaded a video about her long term boyfriend, and movie star Roger Bart, stating that he was a cheater as she found herself caught in the side chick web after two and a half years. Now of course, this video has spurred such controversy and manic discussions in the comment section of YouTube (As always!) and has led both Trisha and Roger to be bombarded with questions, comments and harassment. Now I'm not here to agree or disagree with the video but to take you on a little journey from my past history to maybe give you a new perspective - or just to get out my rambling side a little, because you know what happens to those who keep it all inside.
A few years ago I met a handsome guy, who had the cheeky smile, and insulting humour that I love so much. I of course fell for him harder than I had before, and I proceeded to spend every day with him, and if I wasn't there I was telling my friends how amazing he was. As Beyonce said so well - I was drunk in love. So all was well, until I started to spend most of my nights with him, 3-4 nights a week I would stay around until eventually I never left. After coming home from work I would find random items around the flat such as earrings in the sofa and lipstick on the mugs. Of course the explanation was that it was his sister/mother/grandmother, how could I have been so silly.
After around 6 months of living with him, the signs of female visitors in the flat had tripled, until one night I stumbled home, tired from work and found him sticking a load of washing in. Now, this guy had not lifted one finger if he couldn't help it in the entire relationship so of course that was my first clue. The second was a little more obvious - a full orange silhouette of fake tan, in the shape of a female (Tanned nipple marks and all) were on the white duvet. I was heart broken, and completely devastated. Of course looking back, it was completely obvious, but at a young age, and a naive temperament it was the biggest shock of all.
Now there was no way of him passing off those nipple potato prints were his family, and no way he could say it was me (I have stayed away from fake tan since the tragic oompa loompa incident of 2005). My head was full of emotions but my heart wouldn't let me walk away. I picked up the duvet and passed it to him to wash, and I never spoke of that day again. For months following I would watch him walk out of the flat to meet various "family members" and it would be as if he took my heart carelessly in his pocket whilst my trust shattered into pieces on the floor as the door slammed shut. I would silently remove the lipstick stains from the mugs, carefully put aside any jewellery I found, and calmly ignored the girls I noticed wearing his jumpers around the town.
It was as if I was dead to the situation. The pure idea of him cheating on me, was nothing in comparison to the thought of him being out of my life. That was until one day the anger and pure torture I put myself through daily just to be with him, out weighed the good and I burst. Confronting him to what he had done, and had been doing. To this day, something he said stuck with me. "You knew this about me from the start". It was true - he had descried himself as a bad boy, and who doesn't love one of them? I knew he hadn't settled down with anyone for a long time yet I took no notice. It made me cast my mind to all of the women out there who ignored the bad signs, the dodgy looks, and advice from friends just to experience the happy sides.
Now a while after walking away from what seemed like the worst situation, I was in the middle of cutting someone's hair when my phone started to vibrate. My old friend with benefits from when I was much younger had sent me a message, letting me know that he wanted to see me and he was going to pick me up after I had finished. One car journey and a couple of drinks later I found myself "doing the no pants dance" with him. The first human contact since my break up, I felt empowered and amazing. He had recently broken up with his girlfriend and the first person he wanted to see was me. I was impressed, and I decided to live out my life once more. 10 minutes in, and some awkward kissing later, it was his turn to answer his phone. One hand around my back and one on his phone; he sat and listened to the caller.
Of course I was amused and childishly annoyed him while he was listening until these few words fell out of his mouth. "Of course we can get back together, of course a break was a stupid. I love you too".
Now it was fair to say that my jaw hit the ground faster than the speed of light, and my mind couldn't wrap around what had just happened. Had I just become the side chick? The girls that I spent almost a year despising and wishing never existed? To put it short - Yes. Yes I did.
After he put down the phone, he turned to me and smiled. "Where were we?". Now, to put it nicely - a few stern words, and a few items thrown later, he was driving me home in silence. Until he let me know a wonderful fact. Whilst we were together, he was still with his girlfriend.
Now, I couldn't get my mind around the fact that I was the side chick. The relationship ruiner, and the most hated girls in history. I had never been that kind to do so, but as it turned out. I unknowingly was, and had been tricked into thinking that I was special.
Now, what was the point of my tales of past you ask? Well, the reason that so much controversy has been caused over this video, is that Trisha was the side chick, and she was calling out Roger as being a cheater. Now some comments asked "Why would she bother ruining his life like this?" or even "She's the side chick - she deserves it". My opinion on this? Who the hell cares!
Now i'm not here to defend Trisha, but having been in both situations, I know how hard it can be; whether you are the doting partner, or the unknowing side chick. You're both caught in a web of lies, that's easy to fall into but hard as hell to escape. Looking back, I feel just as sorry for the girls I was cheated on with. They were caught in the same web as me, left feeling empty and used, but just as in love as I was, with the guy who lied better than he could walk.
From either side, be honest. Who is the one person in this situation that did wrong? Who was it that lied? The cheater of course. Whether they are male of female, they lied until their mouth was sore, making sure their partner stayed right where they wanted them, and their side chick right behind them waiting for any second that they could spend together. They wasted your precious time, when it could be spent with someone who worships everything you are and everything you have. Flaws and all.
So right now I want you to raise your hand in the air. Yes you. Whether you are in the middle of a work meeting, pretending you are working; in a coffee shop sipping your pumpkin spiced whatever, or even meeting your partner's parents for the first time. Raise your hand up in the air and stick up your middle finger to all the cheaters out there. Those too stupid to see what was right in front of them. To all of those who lied to keep you by their side. To all of those false promises that never came true. To every night you lost sleep wandering where they were. And most of all, to all of those cheaters that never appreciated the beauty that is you.
Now doesn't that feel better? You may now go about your life, and I give you full permission to blame me for any shocked co-workers or parents.