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Saturday, 21 June 2014

West End Live Memories.

 West End Live has always been a special weekend, a weekend of brilliant live West End Musicals and many other talented performing to a large crowd that gathers in Trafalgar Square (a much much better place than the original Leicester Square location). The best thing about the whole event is that it's free, free to enter, free to watch the greatest musicals around.

The crowd at West End Live 2013.
I've attended every West End Live from 2008 onwards, and have always loved it. Hanging out with some brilliant friends and just enjoying the fun. Great memories over the years include me and my friend Laura dancing around in Leicester Square at Burn The Floor, when it absolutely chucked it down during Jersey Boys performing a few years ago (horrible yet great fun!) but maybe last years stands out the most.

Me and some friends after West End Live a few years ago.
Me and my girlfriend, Megan, met for the first time at the Oliviers in Covent Garden in April 2013, we literally had the chance for a hug and a quick hello as I was running off to catch my train home. We were really close already by that time but not a couple, we got together on May 13th, I know it's probably not the most romantic way to ask someone out but I did it over Facebook, and she said yes. In a way I think its maybe why we're such a strong couple because we got together based on personalities, we were together and we'd only ever met for about 2 minutes.

This is where West End Live comes in, this was our chance to properly meet. I attended last year with my good friend Jon and we stood mainly at the back of the huge crowd that had gathered in Trafalgar Square. We watched the first selection of shows including Wicked and Les Miserables. It got to around 1/2 in the afternoon and me and Megan had yet to meet, we had been constantly texting trying to sort it, only problem was Megan was right at the front, and we were at the back.

First picture of me and Megan taken at West End Live 2013.
Luckily Megan wanted to go to the back of the stage and meet some of the casts which meant she left her space. This meant when she'd finished we'd arranged a spot and we're now ready to meet up. We were meeting up at the back, I remember the moment walking across through the crowds being incredibly nervous about this meeting. Our eyes met and we walked towards each other, the world stopped, the sound of the stage and the crowd stopped, all I could hear in that moment was blissful happiness, me and Megan then engaged in the biggest hug. We hugged for nearly 2 minutes. It was a special moment. We were together.

We got to spend around 30 minutes together but Megan had to go back, and me and Jon went off to get lunch. I felt crushed leaving her behind but thankfully we returned later in the evening to Trafalgar Square where we got to see each other again. Then of course we had the Sunday where we spent even more time together, and enjoyed watching more shows. These two days set up the future of meet ups for me and Megan and it's lead us to present day, one year on from the day we met at West End Live.

So, thank you West End Live for all the memories over the years. Happy 10th birthday, I hope there's many many more years of this fantastic free event. Sadly I'm not there this year but I will be back next year and I cant wait. Thank you for giving me the chance to meet my love. I hope everyone who is there today and tomorrow enjoys themselves. It's a special event.

2014 Advert.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Pagham Holiday: Day Eight

The final day of the holiday was to be the long journey day. My dad is having a second week away in Weymouth and my brother was swapping for me, as I start my new job on Monday. This meant Richard (my mums boyfriend) was going to drive Ian down to Weymouth and then we'd meet them there before me heading home. 
Leaving our Caravan..
We'd finished the packing and headed away from Pagham around 10am, we picked out a route that didn't take in any motorways or major roads. We headed a lovely countryside journey taking in some of the route we'd traveled down on.

We drove through some lovely little places but I shan't bore you with talk about all of these. We  were aiming for Badbury Ring's as a stop, we arrived there around 1pm, we were going to have a little look around but when we'd arrived we decided we'd prefer to go and find some lunch instead. We saw a sign for the Red Lion Pub, so we followed that and headed there.

Badbury Rings

The pub was in the small village of Sturminster Marshall. The landlord was a lovely gentleman and very friendly. We got in a found a table and both decided to have the haddock and chips. It was a beautiful lunch, really enjoyed it. Filled my stomach and we got back on the road.

It was now around 2pm, and we continued on, thankfully now we were under and hour away from the caravan site. We did manage to get lost once, the only time all holiday (quite proud of that!). Thankfully after that we got back on route quickly and easily. We then arrived at Seaview Caravan site where my Dad and Brother are staying his week. We checked in and got the keys to their caravan. We then waited in the car park for Richard and my brother who arrived around 10 minutes after we had. We swapped over all my things from the car. Me and Richard then headed back in the car to Leicester, and we arrived home around 7.30pm after a pleasant and much quicker journey than it felt getting across country from Pagham to Weymouth.

It's been truly an incredible week, I've had such a brilliant time. We've been lucky to do some amazing things. I've been very blessed that you have chosen to follow my week through this blog. I'd love to hear some feedback on them if you have any (I'm sure some of my grammar is dreadful mind you, so please don't pick on that!). I think my favourite day was Wednesday in Brighton but just having time away with Megan has been a truly joy. I am the happiest when I'm with her. She makes me truly happy. I love her. I've loved this week.

I've included below a selection of photos from the week below:

Saturday night in Pagham Harbour

Saturday night in Pagham Harbour

 Sunday at Chichester Catherdral

View towards Chichester Cathedral.
Nature Reserve.
Ready to watch the sun set.

Sunset on Sunday evening.

Monday in Portsmouth.

View from the Spinnaker on Monday.
Megan up the Spinnaker on Monday.
Arundel Castle on Tuesday.
Arundel Castle.
Brighton on Wednesday.
Megan in Choccywoccydoodah.
Brighton Seafront on Wednesday.
Pagham Beach on Thursday evening.
Shanklin Chine on Friday.
Shanklin sea front on Friday.
Vetnor Sea front on Friday.

Leaving the Isle of Wight on Friday.
Once again a thank you to everyone who has followed any part of this journey. It's been amazing.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Pagham Holiday: Day Seven

The last full day of the holiday and we decided to go to the Isle of Wight for the day. This meant that we needed to get up early, 7.30am to be exact. We got up and ready and headed to Chichester train station. Sadly when we got their the train we'd planned to catch was cancelled due to a technical fault. This delayed us slightly but we still got a train though we had to change at Havant.

The Spinnaker
Upon arriving into Portsmouth, we found the foot passenger ferry directly at the end of the station, and there was a boat ready for boarding as soon as we arrived, a bonus. It was a lovely quick 22 or so minute journey to the island, the sea calm. The boat was fairly busy with people traveling over for the Isle of Wight festival but nothing too bad.

Shanklin Chine
Upon arriving on the island we headed to Ryde Pier train station to catch a train to Shanklin, the train on the Isle of Wight is basically an old underground train, driven across the east side of the island. It's not a very smooth ride either. It took around 25 minutes from Ryde Pier to Shanklin and the time passed quite quickly.

Shanklin Sea Front
I'd not been to the Isle of Wight for 15 years, and to be honest I couldn't realy remember it. We had a lovely little walk through Shanklin and towards to the Chine there. We found a nice little pub for lunch which was a reasonably priced £7.99 for two courses. We both had the ham, egg and chips which was delicious. We've been lucky with the food on this holiday being very nice.

After lunch we headed down the Chine, it's a lovely walk. One I'd really recommend. Weaving through and down to the beach at the other end. We went in the gift shop at the bottom and what we're the chances of the man behind the counter being originally from Leicester. Him and my dad had a good chat about Ibstock and the Leicester area.

It was now early afternoon and the heat was again intense, more blazing sunshine, it felt tropical over their on the island. Almost too hot to do much but as we continued along the sea front we found an amusements which was full of old 2 penny games, so we had a good few minutes in their.

Jungle Jim's Adventure Golf.

We then found another amusements and an adventure golf course, we decided we'd have a round. I lost again to my dad by 4 shots, due to it taking me a whole 15 shots on one of the holes. After the round had finished you had to return your ball, they did this by having a covered hole, and if you got a hole in one you'd receive a free game. My dad missed but I somehow managed it, it's only downside is that it's a long way to go for a free game of crazy golf!

After the golf we headed up the cliff lift, which took us from sea level to the top of the cliffs, around 100 ft much quicker than walking it in the heat. We decided to head to Ventnor to have a look around as neither me or my dad had been before. We enjoyed a very very scenic bus journey from Shanklin,
We had a good walk around Ventnor before heading back to Shanklin, and ultimately to Portsmouth and then the caravan. We had a lovely pleasant journey back on the ferry and trains. We got back to Chichester and my dad drove us back to the caravan where we've had a night of packing and watching more of the World Cup.

Ventnor Sea Front.
I've had such a brilliant holiday, with my dad and my incredible girl Megan. I am very lucky. Tomorrow it's home time, as I start my new job on Monday. I've really enjoyed myself here, I'll cherish the memories for a long long time.

Thanks all who have read and enjoyed the journey, there will be a blog tomorrow regarding the journey home, and a selection of my favourite photos from the week. Once again thank you for reading.

Leaving the Isle of Wight.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Pagham Holiday: Day Six

The day of dread had arrived, the day Megan was to be going home. Tears flowed on Wednesday night as we settled down to bed. I feel our love is so strong and we are so close that just being apart after such a fun week is hard to accept straight away, well it's hard to accept all the time. I truly love Megan, she's such an angel, she makes me feel great and fills me with pure happiness.

Last picture together at the Caravan.
So as it was Megan's home day the morning was spent pretty much packing. It's not easy to watch her pack knowing we we're to be separated by the early afternoon. After Megan had packed up we put her suitcase in the car and headed to the amusements on the site, we had a go on the Mario racing game again, which I just won again. After this we headed back into Chichester.

We decided we'd get some lunch, we'd Googled a Chinese buffet place but for the life of us we couldn't where it was. With the use of Google and everything, it must be mysterious or just hidden away. So after not finding it we headed off in search of another place to eat and we stumbled across the good burger kitchen, which was upstairs over the high street. It was a lovely little place, maybe a little pricey but worth it for the price payed. I had a delicious great quality burger.

Chichester Cathedral
Now we were filled up with a burger each we headed to the Cathedral so that Megan could have a look around, we had a lovely wander around it. As I said earlier in the week it's a beautiful building inside and out.

Goodbye with Megan.
Sadly after this it was time to get Megan to her station, there was tears and it was hard, even writing about this makes me feel so sad. I truly would love to be with her still, and just to hold her again. She boarded her train and was gone in a flash. I felt flat, but kept my head high from the amazing few days we've just had. I am truly grateful for the times we've just had.

Evening walk around Pagham.
Now that Megan had gone, me and my Dad headed back to the caravan for a bit. We decided to have a quiet afternoon, chilled out. I even had a little nap, as again we had intense heat. After watching Pointless and The Chase. We decided to go out for a little walk to the sea front here in Pagham, we were out for a good hour or so and it was a lovely little walk with the setting sun.

Pagham Seafront.

Upon returning to the caravan, we've settled in, looked at things to do for tomorrow and watched the opening match of the World Cup in Brazil between Brazil and Croatia. It's been an emotional day. It's been an incredible few days.

I miss my little love.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Pagham Holiday: Day Five

Day Five arrived in another blaze of heat, this caravan is something of sweat box at times, but a quick opening of all the windows and doors seems to let a little bit of it. Me, Megan and my Dad got up and got ready to head off to Brighton to look around and see Propeller's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

We'd chosen to catch the train at Barnham, the stop before Chichester, as there seemed to be an extra train later on incase we didn't make it after the show finished. So off we went, leaving the caravan around 10am, Megan map reading us to the station. We made it, and got parked up in a little pay and display car park opposite the station. We made it to the station a couple of minutes before the train, so had a mad rush to get it on time. We managed it just. It took around 45 minutes from Barnham to Brighton.

Brighton Pier.

Upon arrival in Brighton we walked from the station down towards the sea front, as it was nearly 12pm now we decided to go straight to lunch. We went to Harry Ramsdens, who are famous for their fish and chips. I had the large fish and chips, a big regret (more on that later!), Megan had chips and bread and butter and my dad the over 60s special. It was a lovey lunch sat looking out over the sea front.

Mouse Trap ride at Brighton Pier.
After finishing and paying we decided to head to the Pier. Me and Megan had looked up about the rides and decided we'd like to go on them. It was £10 for an unlimited rides wristband, which isn't too bad value especially if you're going to use them alot. Megan eyed up the Mouse Trap ride, which we went on first. I'm not great with heights so on the start of the ride I was admittedly swearing my head off as Megan laughed her head off at my terror. My terror soon turned to laughter as we rounded a couple of the corners, we did a bit of a drop and rose up again before taking in more corners before the whole carriage we were in started to spin all the way around, it was great fun.

Choccywoccydoodah in Brighton.
 We next took in the ghost train, which scared Megan because of her fear of the dark. We then rode on the dodgems, you can't not love the dodgems! The next ride was why my big lunch was a mistake, the waltzers. I've never been spun around so many times at such speed in my life, my dinner nearly came back out of my throat and I felt uneasy for the next couple of hours. As this ride has messed with me, we decided to head off from the pier for a bit with the opportunity of returning later.
Megan expressed an interest for finding the shop of Choccywoccydoodah in Brighton so we set out on a quest. We eventually found it, it was well worth the searching, we all had a chocolate milkshake which was delicious. After this we headed out to the shops, looking in HMV and CEX for more DVDs. With a couple more purchased we headed down the sea front again and walked along the beach towards to pier again.

Me and Megan on the ride.
Now that my tummy had settled we went on a few more rides, which was great fun, we went on this spinny one that went up and down, haven't had that much laughter in a long while, loved it, so we decided to do it again. We did the dodgems again too and a couple of others before we decided to call it a day for the rides and find something to eat. We'd previously looked in Sainsburys but couldn't find anything, but on the pier they had a food stand which took our fancy. Me and Megan had a small hot dog with chips to share and my dad a chicken curry. It was delicious. Megan and I then shared a Crepe, something I'd never had before, but it was amazing. We had it with Nutella, and trust me when I say this it was COVERED in the stuff!!

Me and my dad on the Pier.
After filling the hole again we headed off the pier and towards the theatre as show time was rapidly approaching. We went and brought drinks before heading through the Pavilion gardens and up to the Theatre Royal. We collected our tickets and then took our seats on the front row of the stalls. It offered a great view.

The performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream and the excellent 14 all male ensemble performed superbly. They even did an interval busking session in the bar raising money for charity, a video of which can be seen above this paragraph. Megan enjoyed her first live viewing of a Shakespeare play and I loved it. Great performance. I couldn't praise all the actors highly enough.

Cast of Propeller performing at the interval.
After the play finished we returned to the train station and just caugh the earlier train. We'd almost ran across the city to catch it. It took just over and hour and stopped off at all the small places along the route. We got back to Barnham and just after quater past 11, headed to the car and back to caravan. Once back we all settled in for a sleep after one of the most awesome days. I loved it.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Pagham Holiday: Day Four

We decided on Monday that we'd go to Arundel castle as Megan loves a good castle and we looked it up and it looked like a good one. Before we headed off me and Megan decided to make a pack up, but we realised we didn't have any sandwich bags or cling film. So we headed off to the Spar on the caravan site.
Arundel Castle.

Next to the Spar is the entertainment facilities, we of course had to check it out. We stopped in the amusements, and had a go on a few of the machines. We did the grabby one, of course we didn't win. We then did a Mario racing game, where we raced against each other, Donkey Kong (me) naturally snook past Luigi (Megan) just before the finish line to claim victory. We also played a pirate shooting game where we played as a team, Megan killed more pirates than me but in her bravery her pirate was killed first, leaving me on my own to face all the pirates, that didn't last very long.

Me and Megan at Arundel Castle
We returned to the caravan with sandwich bags in hand and made the sarnies before getting ready to head out. I was wearing my new Mickey Mouse shirt that Megan brought me yesterday in Primark.
Megan map read us to the castle, a very fine map reader she is. We arrived in around 40 minutes. Parked up on the street and headed for the castle. A variety of prices met us upon arrival, we decided upon the gold price, which got us into everywhere but the bedrooms. We walked up into main castle buildings and had a good look round.

Arundel Castle

We went up the Castle Keep which gave good views of the area. We returned to the rooms, which were good but not overly exciting. We headed back out into the glorious sunshine and into the castle gardens. Some beautiful flowers in there, included a couple of pictures below. We also went into the rose garden which Megan loved.

Arundel Castle Gardens.

We went into village after the castle to get some drinks, into the book shop (where we came out with an impressive haul of books) and also to look at the lovely Cathedral. It took a good climb up the hill but we got there and had a good wander around, we all lit candles in remembrance of people we'd lost close to us. We headed back towards to car.

On the way to the car we passed the putting green. We simply couldn't resist. We popped in the tea room before hands and had another drink in the scorching heat. We then had a great game of putting around the 18 hole course. My Dad won, me second and Megan last. Megan's effort was superb and when she putted two holes in only two shots she celebrated with pure joy. We had great fun.

Bognor seafront.

We headed to Bognor Regis upon leaving the village of Arundel. We parked up and got some dinner in the Beachside Restaurant, the two staff we're a bit rude, but the food was lovely. We made the mistake of going into the amusements, we spent a fair bit of money in their but we enjoyed it. Megan loved the ticket giving machines, and I had a good fun with some water ducks. Well worth it but we only came away with a lolly and friendship bracelet!

We've settled back into the caravan now and all resting up before another busy day tomorrow in Brighton. You'll have to wait longer for tomorrow's blog as we're not getting home till late.