Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tents! Tagging! Toilets!

My legs.
My legs.
The sheer Volume of Ouch that I felt yesterday evening simply cannot be measured. Four days spent walking up and down steep-sided tors over tussocky ankle-snapping grass - that is, when I wasn't knee-deep in hidden marsh or nursing a bruised thigh from falling down a small canyon - really does take absolutely everything out of you.

Doesn't really help we got lost on Day One either. The routes are a minimum of 17-and-a-half kilometres long, but due to the lack of prominent features on Dartmoor, they're often a lot longer.

Guess which group got lucky, wandered into a desolate area and ended up walking about 23 kilometres in a day alone? That's about ten hours from crawling out of our tent in pre-dawn darkness, swallowing breakfast, taking down tent and setting off to collapsing in the next camp.

Or, it would have been if we ever got to the next camp. We wandered so far that we had to find the best location we could and settle in for the night. We found a little gully, but the wind direction that night was rather unfortunate. The -2 degree night felt like -10 with the wind going as it was. There was an awful lot of frost outside the tent ... and the water in my bottle froze over. Even though it was next to me in the tent.

Yeah. It was cold. And due to the (cursed lying) weather reports, I brought my summer sleeping back and too few layers of clothes. You can guess how that ended.

But, anyway, suffice to say that days two and three of the trek were much better - very sore and wearing, but we got home in the end - I had a little panic because my Mum wasn't picking up my phone, and in my sleep and food-deprived state I began to worry she was going to leave me at school all alone. This wasn't the case though and, as this post proves, I am now very much home and alive.

Duke of Edinbrugh might be agony, but it really makes you appreciate the little things. Like beds, duvets, running water, central heating ... and toilets. Words cannot describe how unimpressed I was when I discovered our allocated location for *ahem* personal needs turned out to be in a patch of stinging nettles in our first camp. My bottom will never forgive me, I swear.

Anyway, after a good night's sleep (which I was honestly beginning to wonder if I would ever feel again), a very hot and very long shower (three days sans washing facilities and only frigid rivers to scrub your face in leaves a very nasty smell, I tell you), plus copious amounts of Ribena have perked me up.

So, today, to avoid turning this post into a long whinge about how much I hate cold / smelly tents / walking boots / Trangia cookers, I shall instead entertain you all with a delightful set of questions that results from a tagging quiz! You can blame the lovely Miriam from A Farewell to Sanity for this one.

Now then, here be the rules:

~You must post the rules
~Post eleven facts about yourself on the blog post
~Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
~Tag eleven bloggers, however, you can break the rules and tag fewer  people if you want. Make sure you hyperlink their names / blogs.
~Let them know you’ve tagged them!
~Have fun!

Rightio ... here we go!

Eleven Facts about Charley:
  1. I spell my name with the "L-E-Y" ending so that people reading my name don't assume I'm male. It happened way too much in my childhood, and it really ticks me off.
  2. I want to try and teach myself Welsh sometime in the future.
  3. My favourite number in the alphabet is purple.
  4. I take weekly classes in Washinkai style karate, and am currently at the level of purple belt - halfway to my black belt now!
  5. I am the Grammar Nazi from hell. Spelling mistakes on shop signs, newspaper headings and written notices around my school really irritate me. I even went around my boarding house adding in apostrophes to some of the signs on bathroom doors last year.
  6. Due to a combination of inflexibility, clicky joints and very long legs, I am physically incapable of sitting cross-legged.
  7. I once requested the colour of my braces to be "TARDIS blue". Specifically.
  8. Though I am right-handed, I have the weird habit of trying to write with my left hand before I work out that something isn't quite right.
  9. I love Post-It notes. My bedroom wall at school is testimony to that. And highlighters ... oh, the highlighers...
  10. I was once tricked into eating camel testicles.
  11. Instead of flowers, this year I gave my mum a replica of a Notre Dame gargoyle. His name is Francois.
And now the questions...

What is the largest object to the right of the computer or other device on which you are writing this?
The smaller of my two book cases - I'm sitting on the floor in a bean bag, so I don't really have a desk to look from. This one is a horizontal number painted a sickening shade of pink ... I've had it for as long as I can remember, so don't judge me on the colour. 

What was the last book you read? (Not finished. Just read.)
A book of essays on Alfred Lord Tennyson by some critic called Harold Bloom. Though, if that doesn't count, I shall say it was "The Vicount of Bragellonne" by Alexandre Dumas - it's the third-to-last in the Three Musketeers books.

Do you name inanimate objects?
Yes - though only if they're actually mine, and I come into contact with them a lot. I am typing this on the keyboard of Macbeth, with Cersei the phone sitting next to me.

What was your response to receiving the message that you’d been tagged? (Be honest.)
"Well ... I have an excuse to get another blog post up today then!"

Do you have any pets?
I wish - being an Army family, we move around too much to keep pets. The fact that my father hates cats, my mother and brother are allergic to animals and I go to boarding school also undermines any campaign I might mount on this front. Though I do intend to get cats when I've got a place of my own.

How many projects do you have going at the moment?
Depends what you mean by "project". In terms of writing, I have one big collaborative project (the famous "St Mallory's Forever!"), three or four smaller ones on Protagonize.com, and I am vainly attempting to work on two solo projects (rewriting the Aeserion trilogy is one, the other is working on my NaNo stories), and meanwhile desperately wish I had more time for all of them. 

If you're talking about other stuff including schoolwork, extended essays, revision, lines for plays or anything like that ... I would be here for far too long telling you all this. Gotta love being in the Sixth Form, eh?

What are you supposed to be doing instead of writing this post?
Researching universities, revising, tidying my room, purging my wardrobe for clothes that I no longer fit into / want, doing the same for my book case ... yeah. A lot of things. Don't tell my mum!

How long have you been blogging?
I posted not long ago about The Tower's first birthday, so I'll say a little way over a year. I can't be bothered to work it out exactly.

Do you play any musical instruments? (Vocals count.)
Currently, I'm taking singing lessons - and very much enjoying them! I played the guitar for three years too, but I gave that up this year - too painful for my fingers, as I never seemed to build up calluses, I wasn't making very much progress and I just wasn't enjoying it any more. Other than that, I'm not very musically inclined. I play a mean triangle though!

What is the last piece of orchestral music you listened to?
"O Fortuna", from some compilation album of famous sountrack orchestral pieces. 

What is the oddest objects you can see right now?
Take your pick - the dangly bat on my doorknob who makes creepy noises when you poke it, the blue spotty dressing gown doing its best dementor impersonation on the end of my bed, the large pile of cuddly animals sitting on top of my bookcase, the menagerie of books on Beowulf and Geoffrey Chaucer sitting on my bottom bunk ... or the non-existent mattress on the bottom bunk of said bed. And yes, I do have a bunk bed. Be jealous.

Whew! That was fun! Now, onto Phase Two of the operation:

- What was your favourite TV show when you were a child?
- What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word "cornucopia"?
- Where is the weirdest place you have ever been on holiday?
- Do you know what part of the body a "weenus" is?
- Early bird or night owl?
- Concerning naughty children: smacking, or just telling off?
- What's the strangest thing, edible or otherwise, that you've ever eaten?
- Someone attacks you on the street - fight, or run for your life?
- What is your middle name?
- Do you have any food allergies or intolerances?
- Who are the top three people, past or present, you wish you could meet?

And finally, Phase Three - tagging. I don't have the time or energy to tag eleven people, but I shall do my best to get a good few in here.

Taylor Lynn from Perfectly Sensible Nonsense - because her posts are always fantastic, whatever subject matter they may concern. That, and she always leaves lovely comments on my posts, which makes me a very happy Charley.

Gillian from Of Battles, Dragons and Swords of Adamant - not only do I adore her "Villainy 101" posts, but being a fellow fantasy addict and tentative Christian, I find her posts wonderfully inspiring and insightful.

Kirsty from The Ramblings of Randomspirit - I know I tag her a lot, but this blog really is what it says on the tin: a load of hysterically funny randomness from an even more hysterically funny girl!

Hmm ... I think I shall leave it there. Tagging too many people at once is a bit stressful, and I'd hate to think I was annoying anyone by taggin them too much. However, if anyone feels desperately left out, feel free to just do it yourself and let me know - I'd be more than happy to come over and read your post! I do love some good random facts, me.

In the meantime, I shall bid you lovely people farewell - I'm going to do some of that university research before my mother eats me, and then my poor feet are due for another round of pampering. Perhaps I should get you a picture of them - some of the colours in the bruises are really quite something...

- Charley R


  1. YOU SURVIVED! Glad you got home okay. This whole Duke of Edinburgh thing sounds kind of torturous, though O_O

    On a side note: I've just spent about an hour writing out my blog post for this tag thingy... my brian hurts D: but I doubt it's nothing compared to your poor footsies <3

    1. ... Brain... BRAIN!
      My brian is perfectly fine (-_-)

    2. *giggle-snort* Heehee, I'm sorry I broke your brain ... my feet are getting bigger and redder by the hour, I swear it! Bah, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be ... not that that was much to achieve, lol!

      Off to read your post now! :)

  2. HM... Mind getting tagged again *snickers* you and Miriam are the only two bloggers I know who will do such silly things.

    Bummer about the cold. We did try to send you some warm Florida goodness... maybe that's why it was only -10, instead of -20 though... or maybe that's why the weather man was wrong. He thought our heat was coming only to find out it didn't make the post in time... *sigh*

    Glad to hear you've made it back all safe and sound, even if your feet are ready to kill you. :}

    1. Heehee, I don't mind, though it may be a while until I do it - I need some diversity up here before I bore peeps, lol!

      Bahahaha - curse the postal service! The funny thing is that the sun was out, but because Dartmoor's at such a high altitude and has such nasty wind, it's FREEZING ALL THE TIME!!!!

      Hehehe, thank you. It's good to be back, I tell you. I've never apprecaited soap so much in my life!

    2. Okay You've been tagged *giggles* No Backsies! :}

      We're glad to have you back you know. :}

  3. Did you not tell me that you passed your campsite by about half a mile - twice? *snigger* On Bronze D of E we had toilets. Success! :D (Also showers, but I had no towel, and we weren't at the campsite long enough for that anyway.)

    That pink bookcase would be the one you killed earlier, wouldn't it? And the soft toys are the ones that your brother threw at you? Also, I think you mean you have HALF a bunk bed.

    (For those reading this, confused, I had a lovely video chat with Charley earlier.)

    1. Yes, yes we did. You get toilets, showers etc at Bronze, maybe at Silver, but never at Gold. Gods I HATE Gold xD

      Yup! Thatta be the one! Turns out there's a piece of it currently floating around my room ... whoopsie. I borked it xD

      Yes, yes, and yes again. I simplified it for the sake of the bloggy peoples here, but you are entirely right on all those counts. And I happen to like my half-a-bunk-bed very much! xD

  4. Oh, wow. That sounds like an...interesting...few days! And by interesting I mean cold and kind of miserable. But that's just based on your description. ;) I hope you enjoyed yourself at least a little bit!! :D

    Also, you're not the only one who has been mistaken for a boy based on name. "Taylor" is becoming more of a unisex name, of course, but once I wrote a letter to a Holocaust survivor, and he called me on the phone. It was an amazing conversation, but he said something along the lines of, "It's so nice that young men like you are interested in learning about the past." And since I couldn't think of a polite way to correct him, well, he hung up thinking I was a guy. xD That was when I started using my middle name, Lynn, to eliminate confusion, haha!

    Also, I totally understand the grammar thing. Text speak is one of my mortal enemies. (And ew, gross. #10 is disgusting!!)

    Thanks so much for tagging me, too, Charley, I'm honored! We'll have to see if I can squeeze it in...this tag has been floating around a lot lately, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I got tagged. The questions you asked are interesting, though, and I'd like to answer them! So yeah...it might take me awhile, but I will try to fit this into my blogging schedule. :)

    1. Yeah, it was fun in places ... but all the funny parts to tell you about made me miserable, so I sacrificed my happy parts to amuse you all, tee hee!

      YES! GIRLS WHO ARE ALWAYS MISTAKEN FOR BOYS UNITE! My karate instructor once said 'would Charley come up to accept his award?". I stood up and said "I"m a SHE, sensei, but yes please, I will."
      Funniest. Moment. Ever. xD

      YOU"RE TELLING ME! I was so disgusted I was nearly sick ... treacherous guide tricking me into eating them!

      Aww, thank you! Hope you manage to get it in - it's surprisingly good fun :)

    2. Haha, hilarious! So many names that used to be just for boys or just for girls are becoming unisex these days, and I've mostly stopped assuming that they're one or the other. It saves you from embarrassment at times, haha! ;)

      To girls who are mistaken for boys! ;)


    3. *raises imaginary ent draught into hte air* To the girls who are mistaken for boys! xD

    4. Here, here!! Although I'm going to have to politely turn down that ent draught...I'm tall enough as it is. xD

    5. So am I ... that's not stopping me!