A Sit Down and a Cuppa, Part 4

I’ve been on annual leave for the last three weeks – working only twenty hours a week, I didn’t realise quite how much I had to use up before the end of the financial year. I thought I was back in today, so Ted was summarily dispatched to nursery… only for me to find out that I’m not actually back in until Monday. So it’s time for a writerly ramble instead!

Welcome back to my charmingly random rattling on about nothing in particular. At least, I hope it’s charming. If not, well, I’m not forcing anyone to read it! My cuppa of choice today is a latte with extra espresso, vanilla syrup, and anything else I could think of to get them to put in it, seeing as I was using up the free one on my loyalty card. I’m nothing if not resourceful. Well, all right, stingy. Who knows if this post will ever get finished, because the internet in this particular Caffe Nero keeps cutting out, but hey, I’m doing my best.

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I’m supposed to be working on the Secret Project today. Seeing as I’m unexpectedly child-free, I figured it would be the perfect time; especially as a Facebook memory popped up this morning that made me smile.

I suppose it wouldn’t be spoiling the Secret Project too much to admit that it’s connected to my biggest writing project now that The Bean Jar has actually made it out: Bisous, Tilly, a story I’ve been working on for years and talked about rather a lot. This time last year, I was doing the #instawrimo photo challenge over on Instagram, and the object of the day was to dress up as your main character. Well, the main character of Bisous, Tilly is a spoilt sixteen-year-old French girl with some major attitude problems. As a fat mother fast-approaching her thirties, I don’t quite fit the bill… but I did my best (and actually blew the dust off my hair straighteners), and the memory made me smile.

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The angst. THE ANGST.

Anyway, instead of doing the work I should be doing that might be vaguely related to Bisous, Tilly, I have fallen down a hole of Facebook memories and I’m laughing out loud (garnering some funny looks in this coffee shop, I must say).

Today marks eight years since me and my dear friend Naomi saw Sonata Arctica in Manchester for the first time. It wasn’t the first time we’d seen them, but was the first time we’d seen them together. And somewhat intoxicated. It was a night of many firsts – first time meeting a band, first time taking long-haired Finnish men to a bar, first time using a tour bus toilet… It was a fabulous night that led to many more fabulous nights, we made some splendid friends, and I can’t believe it was eight whole years ago.

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Very pleased that I am not the roughest-looking person in these photos.

Speaking of Sonata Arctica, it truly is the season for going to see them. It’s not only eight years since that particular Manchester occasion, but two years since me and Naomi took our other lovely friend, Hannah, to see them for the first time. Also in Manchester, in the same venue. I was quite disappointed with that show, if I’m perfectly honest; nobody on that stage seemed particularly happy, and the energy seemed a bit off. When we left the building, I remember us saying – do you think we’re ever going to see them again? There was a very strange, unhappy vibe.

But I’m pleased to say, we went to see them on Tuesday. Yes, the Tuesday that happened earlier this week. It was the Sonata Arctica Acoustic Adventures tour in London, and we weren’t entirely expecting great things after the 2017 show. Plus, throw on top of that the fact it was an acoustic gig, turning some of my favourite metal anthems into first cousin to a hoedown… I wasn’t sure, I really wasn’t sure.

I was very pleasantly surprised.

Despite it being an acoustic show, it was fabulous fun. Lighthearted, well-paced, and thoroughly entertaining. Adding Masi Hukari to the line-up was an excellent idea – I don’t know whether it’s that or what, but the whole energy of the show seemed different. Everybody seemed to be having a good time, and the crowd was the most engaged I’ve seen in years, especially at a UK show. And I really want to steal Elias Viljanen’s hat.

This is supposed to be a ‘Cuppa and a Chat’ post, not a gig review. But oh well. I had a brilliant time, and for the first time in a while, felt like more than just a frumpy mum. I might be heading towards thirty like a freight train, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get dressed up, look hot, and drink my bodyweight in cocktails. And I had my ID checked. So I’m clearly not quite the old crone I think I am.

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I should really stop rambling on about my week and do some actual work. This Secret Project isn’t going to do itself… and it’s on a deadline… and I should probably pick my son up from nursery at some point.

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