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Waifs and Strays will take over the world!

A couple of weeks ago, a new girl joined IAM, her name is fairyclaire and she actually lived near me! I couldn't believe it! No-one from IAM seems to live near me, and I thought that it would be great to meet her. I became a major stalker on her IAM page (I out stalked Dee easily!) and couldn't wait to organise a mini meet between myself, fairyclaire and Dee. All intents and purposes it was supposed to just be a day out with the three of us, hanging out and getting to know each other in person. But then Dee said she had been asked by a couple of other 'IAMers' if they were welcome to come. I thought that it would be a great idea, especially as one or two people had not been to any 'Meets' before. Dee, being the super organised one that she is, decided on a location that would be suitable and a date. I agreed, and it was my mission to decide on a name (I am too unorganised to actually do anything constructive, thanks Dee!)

Hmm, a name? I must think of a name.

Later that night, whilst sat in bed, a bolt of inspiration hit me. The 'Waifs and Strays Picnic'. I thought this was quite a clever name, but it takes a teeny bit of explaining. You see, the park where we (read: Dee) had decided to hold the picnic was called 'The Stray', and our friend bri_jenk runs a forum called 'The soup Kitchen', where all the waifs and strays could gather when they had been barred from other forums. As original 'Waifs and Strays', I though this name was more than appropriate (okay, no-one else may find it funny, but I did, and Dee pretended to find it funny)

So there we have it; a date, a venue, and a name! Dee was really clever and put up approximate times on train journeys on her IAM page, so that people would be able to work out just how long it would take to get there. I basically copied this information, added a few more details, and posted it on the BME: Events board for people to sign. This was only a couple of weeks before the event was supposed to take place, so I didn't expect a large crowd, due to it being such short notice.

A few people signed it, a couple removed their names, but I wasn't fussed who came, as long as someone did. My only 'problem' was that my mum couldn't look after Callum for the day, so we would have to bring him with us. It wasn't much of a problem, we would just have to rethink out plans a little.

The night before...

I was up until 1am making sickly chocolate fudge and sausage rolls and sandwiches. Packing up everything we needed for Callum for the day, bags of none perishable food (crisps, chocolate, nuts etc), blankets, CD's, bottles of juice etc. When I felt we had covered every possible situation, I retired to bed, hoping for an early start for an early drive out to Harrogate.

August the 27th... Picnic Day!

I rolled over in bed, pulled my arm out from under the covers and looked at my watch. Shit! It was 9am already! So much for the early start!

The next hour was a blur of getting dressed, getting my son ready and getting last minute things good to go, and eventually at about 10am we set off.

The drive was a long one, especially with an impatient toddler in the back who gets bored really quickly, and certainly let us knows it! After about a half hour of crying, he fell fast asleep. The silence was lovely, and it felt good not having to crane my neck around to check on him and try to entertain him. I get car sick quite easily, and facing backwards for the first hour or so had taken its toll on my stomach and head.

At one point I wanted to access IAM through Slow Fi, to see if anyone who was coming had sent me an IM saying when they would be there or where to meet, but I couldn't log on at all! Once again I had to ask ebowlotus1960 for the exact URL. (I gave her a hummus sandwich to thank her for her help). Turns out I had no IM's, so we just had to hope for the best.

Another hour or so of driving (a little bit of wrong turnings and getting lost, as is now officially tradition) we finally made it to the car park. Now, we had to meet Dee at the train station at 12. I looked at my watch again, and it was already 11.50am! So, we had to try and navigate this strange town we had never been to before and locate our friend. For someone with absolutely NO sense of direction, this would have been challenging! Luckily for us, Popple had a vague idea of where we were heading, and we were brave and asked for directions!

As we (finally) made it down the correct street, and saw the sign on the railway station, we saw a mad woman just outside waving her arms frantically! After getting closer I realised it was Dee, and waved back frantically! As she crossed the road I was bouncing inside, I couldn't believe that after talking to this lass for such a long time, that I was going to meet her for real in person! I felt a bundle of nerves as well to be honest. What if I came across wrong, what if I wasn't as amazingly funny in real life as I appear in messages?

But when I went to hug Dee and she reciprocated, my worries went away. We greeted each other, I introduced her to Popple and Callum, and we went to sit down. We weren't exactly sure who would be turning up, but we were pretty certain that Girl with her 6 year old son and Serie were also getting the train to Harrogate. Dee had suggested that everyone meet up at 12pm, so we texted Girl to see where she was. Her phone was turned off, so the text didn't get through. We just sat on a public bench for a few minutes, deciding where we should head to, and once an agreement was reached, we set off down the road to 'The Stray'. The Stray is a massive park, which apparently surround Harrogate, so there would be tons of room for us to let Callum have a good run around without worrying so much about if he was going too far or near anything dangerous.

We set off down the road, and I informed Dee that she was officially in charge because we assumed she knew Harrogate, hence why she had chosen that destination. Turns out she didn't know it too well, but luckily we did manage to make it to the Stray without too much bother.

As soon as we were safely in grassland, we got Callum out of his buggy and let him loose. His face lit up with being free after nearly 3 hours sat down, in the car and in the buggy. We walked a bit more towards the centre and started to set up our picnic gear. The day previously, Popple bought a real proper tartan picnic blanket! How quaint! We laid it on the floor (Dee was all showy offy and had a clever waterproof one) and sat down. Dee told us that for the Christmas previous, she had been given loads of picnicking gear, including a outdoor radio thing that had a plastic spike so it could be pushed into the ground and not blow away or fall over or anything, so we spent our time there listening to Cheesy pop music (shudders).

We had brought enough food to feed an army! Just a shame the army didn't materialise! After my initial worries, it was so easy to talk to Dee. It felt like I had known her forever! We started to gobble sandwiches while Callum ran around kicking a plastic ball around and coming closer every few minutes looking for nibbles of his own. Needles to say, a huge mess was made. Giving Callum a plastic bowl of cereal wasn't as good an idea as I had originally thought. We also decided (In our infinite wisdom) to give Callum his own little cup, instead of a baby sippy type cup. He loves being all grown up, but he doesn't always realise that he has a cup of juice in his hand and throws liquid everywhere!

After initial food stuffs were consumed, I decided to get out MY toys (for those who know me, no, not those kinds of toys! There were children present, he he he). I had brought with me 2 sets of Poi, my posh set, and the set that my son plays with. After some initial showing off from myself (I really am amazing, honest!) I passed them over so that Dee could have a go. She managed to get the jist of it pretty much straight off, and even got some alternated swings going! I must say I was impressed. Even Callum and Popple had a go. (None of them were better than me!)

The whole time we were sat in the park, there was this guy across the way, who seemed to be struggling with a HUGE kite, and every few minutes he would attempt to get it to rise, and it would just fall, and he would go back and fiddle with it some more. Being as rude as we all were, we found this funny, and I shouted "You can do it!" across to him (although I don't know if he heard me...)

After poi-ing and conversation and the like, Dee asked if we should go for a wander through the shops, so we gathered up all our rubbish, folded up our picnic blankets, strapped Callum in and set off. Popple turned back and noticed that the Kite Guy had actually got the Kite to rise! It was an absolutely massive kite, and I remarked out load that if he was on Roller Blades then he would move so damn fast. Just as I said that, he hopped onto what looked like on of those off road skateboards! Being on grass he didn't go very fast, but it was still cool to watch! We were all really touristy and decided to take piccies of this poor guy!

So, we meandered some more, and managed to make it back to the shopping area of Harrogate. Popple was being very observant, and saw a sign that caused us all to start in fits of giggles. Maybe its just us that are easily amused!

Popple, being the caffeine junkie that he is, asked if we could go for a coffee, so we went into the shopping centre looking for a café. The one we went into was nice, and I and Dee noticed the cake cart straight away... I couldn't believe that Popple walked straight past and didn't stop and drool. The chocolate fudge cake looked so tempting.

We sat down in the smoking section (as me and Popple smoke... lots!) and wondered what to get. The smoking area was really small, so there was a fair bit of manoeuvring as we had to fit the buggy in next to the table too. I felt quite bad for smoking so much around Dee, as I always do when in the presence of a non-smoker. But nicotine cravings got the better of me!

When our waitress arrived to take our orders, Dee and I knew straightaway that we wanted cake! Popple; shocked that he didn't notice the cake display, decided on the sickly chocolate cake also. As we waited, Dee mentioned that she thought that a picture I have of Callum was funny. It is a picture of Callum with a screwed up face. Now, Callum is a bit of a 'Gurner' (Pulls extremely funny and screwed up faces) and he loves to 'Gurn' at us, because it makes us laugh. As soon as we do it to him, he does it back. So Popple 'Gurned' at Callum, and Callum reciprocated! I really cannot describe how funny he looks. Well, we all burst out laughing, and because we were laughing, he gurned harder and louder (oh yes, he makes noises too)

As we were laughing, we got some odd looks from people around us, because most people couldn't actually see into the buggy, we must have looked really mean laughing so hard at a poor little baby!

Once the fits of giggles had subsided, we got our stuff together, paid, and went outside. Dee said she had gotten a new 'Dans Pants' Label, and had to get some 'pants' to put them on, so we went for a meander around the shops.

We walked and talked about all sorts, including something that was upsetting me at the time, which I was so glad to talk to Dee about in person. There were people giving out balloons too! So I got three (for Callum... not for me... honest), but one came apart from its string and flew away. Poor little balloon.

We walked to the end of a road, and Dee and I were wondering if there was a piercing studio in Harrogate. We were looking at the people around us, and Popple was stood of to one side. Poor guy, he must have felt quite left out, but he was almost hero worshipped as he joined in the conversation.

"Did you say piercing studio? There is one just there"

Right across the road, there it was! I think it was called 'Scorpion tattoo and Piercing studio' or something like that. The four of us crossed the road and looked through the door. It was un upstairs studio, which meant one of us would have to stay outside with Callum, because there was no way the buggy would fit up there. So, with Popple being left out again, me and Dee toddled up the stairs to see what was up there. It was a lot more cramped that the studio I go to regularly, and Dee said it was huge compared to hers! There was a lass on the counter, and we asked her if she was 'On IAM?' to which we were met with a dazed look. I guess that was a no then eh?

Dee started talking to the owner of the shop, asking about the types of jewellery they have and so on, and we also asked him if he was on IAM. His reply was no, and then Dee started to explain it all to him and tell him how wonderful it was, and he took us through to the next room to show us photographs of his training on scarification and branding he had undertaken in the USA. We were telling him all about BME and IAM, and I mentioned to Dee that we weren't getting paid to advertise it! We were up there talking to this guy for about half an hour or so. Also, there was this absolutely adorable puppy there two, who came over to me and started licking my toes, eww. So I picked him up and gave him a cuddle. Me and Dee laughed at the fact that we were in a studio, cuddling a cute little puppy, when we were so hardcore!

A woman came into the studio, and I was talking to her whilst Dee was still blatantly advertising BME/IAM, and she was really nice. She was back to get her Monroe pierced again, and seemed quite intrigued by my smiley piercing! After Dee and the owner were finished talking, she asked him if he could re-pierce her. He said it was too soon, and he even asked me and Dee what we thought! I just agreed with him, I didn't know any better!

The guy took down out email addresses and IAM names, and down we went to see Popple and Callum. Apparently Callum had been quite unsettled while we were away, so I asked Dee if we could find some more grass land so he could have another run around.

Once we got to a park, I sat down (I'm fat and lazy, so I'm allowed) and Popple realised that Callum had fallen asleep! So we sat talking about all sorts. We had tried calling Girl numerous times during the day, so Dee tried one last time, but there was still no answer. We started talking about what tattoo's we would want, and began a discussion about famous tattooed people. We then discussed the idea of bodysuits and the like. I told Dee that even if she thought it would be boring, I would still write it up as an experience, so we discussed how to make it interesting. Dee suggested that we write that Glider parachuted into the grounds where we were, and had a picnic with us, or that The Lizardman was hidden behind a tree and following us! Obviously this didn't happen, but would have made interesting reading if it had!

I fed Dee some very sickly fudge, which is so sweet it sets your teeth on edge! And when Callum woke up he wanted fudge too, you can imagine the absolute mess that ensued!

When we realised the time, Dee said that he had to get back to the train station, so we started to walk back to the station, the only problem was, that we weren't exactly sure where we were! We followed the main road for a bit, and Dee and I were just talking away without a care in the world, thankfully Popple was actually paying attention and managed to find the road that led back to the station! I swear if he wasn't watching out for us we would have ended up walking for hours and getting far more lost than we were to start with!

Once we arrived at the station, we got Popple to take some pictures of me and Dee and I took one of Popple, Dee and Callum. We hugged one final time and Dee went to catch her train. I shouted "I LOVE YOU" as she crossed the road, and got some odd looks from passers by! Can't imagine why!

We then went back to the car, and set off home. It was quite a short visit really, 6 hours, but it was certainly worth the effort involved in getting there just to meet Dee for those short few hours. She is truly remarkable! I really enjoyed my day, my feet are still aching and I am sure I put on a couple of stone with the amount of junk feed I ate, but it was worth it.

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submitted by: Lozza_mc
on: 01 Sept. 2005
in Culture

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