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The greatest weekend

I thought I'd give you an insight into the best weekend of my life.

The whole thing started with a random text message from the BME Phonebook forum on IAM. I got a text from a lady called
Laura (IAM: Lozza_mc) and after that we began talking online and it was hinted that I should go to her birthday meet in February. At that point I didn't think that it'd happen but I spoke to my close friend and fellow IAM user Amy (IAM: Altered) and she seemed up for taking the trip to Penrith and staying in Laura's house for the weekend. As the time came round I got more and more excited. Amy's mum offered to drive us up on the Friday night and bring us back on the Sunday. I hadn't been this far away to meet anyone before and it was exciting. I had had my meet a few weeks before and I had people from Scotland staying with me but never had I travelled far to get to a meet.

Friday 17th February came around fast and we packed our weekend bags into Amy's mum's car and set off on the... I'm not sure; I think it came to 4 hours in the end. Anyway, the long journey, stopping off at various places to grab munchies and some flowers for Laura. When we got into Penrith we got lost. It's pretty remarkable how it's a relatively small place but by God there are a lot of twisty roads! We eventually ended up finding the house and to be greeted by a happy smiley Laura who was waiting at her door for us. We were really there.

The rest of the evening was spent sitting around chatting. It was nice just to be there with someone who I had had plenty of conversations with but never seen speak. We discussed absolutely everything we could think of until around 1am when Laura and her partner Popple decided to let Amy and I settle down in the living room and go to bed themselves. Amy and I were wide awake still, still excited to be in some place new and at the prospect of meeting even more new people when the meet actually was on the Saturday. Oh and I bonded well with Laura's cat!

On Saturday morning we met Laura's son, Callum. Initially he had a look of "Errm mum...? There are strange people in our house" but eventually got used to us and we had a lot of fun – he even pinched my glasses! He's an absolutely adorable little guy and he certainly provided us a lot of entertainment as we were all slowly waking up.

Later that morning we made our way to Carlisle, a town about half an hour away to the piercing and tattoo studio at which Laura is a regular. Laura went to look at the plans for her leg tattoo to be done on Sunday while Amy got her lip pierced, the day before her birthday.

(Click for larger pictures)

Then to the park we headed. We met up with Laura's best friend Staz (IAM:Stazamon) so Laura, Amy, Popple, Callum, Staz and I went to the park. Plenty of poi was spun and lots of squinting in the bright sunshine was to be had. It was a lovely day made better by the chatter of excitable children running around in wintry coats and the good company I was in. Callum got himself into a bit of a pickle after deciding that the ball a little girl was playing with was actually his but it was all in good humour and it added a few giggles to the day.

Upon going back to Laura's we realised that other people were going to be coming soon and made us all very excitable. Laura had told us the night before who was coming and there were a few people she wasn't sure if they were coming or not.
A little while later Dee (IAM:DeeDee) arrived with her partner Martin and then shortly after that Claire (IAM:fairyclaire) arrived after Popple picked her up from the train station in Penrith. It was a small group but it was really nice. Everyone was very chatty and happy to be where they were and it was generally a fun time just sitting around the living room chatting.

A little while later alcohol was discussed and vodka was produced. Upon having no orange juice to mix, Amy and I announced that we'd go to the shops in the village and get some. I think I speak for Amy too on this but I felt a little left out and young. I'd only just turned 16 and Amy was just about to and it just felt a little strange. Don't get me wrong, everyone was lovely and there was nothing to make us feel uncomfortable but it just... was. We decided to go the Spar but when we got there we thought that going to Morrisons would be a lot better. Considering we aren't the best navigators in the world and we had never seen the place in day light, it was a bit difficult but we found it and bought bread and orange juice and found some straws as gifts – the previous evening we had been discussing whistling straws and low and behold we found some on our trek, along with plenty of sparkly straws. When we returned hell broke loose and everyone was eager to get their hands on the straws we had bought. Ok, maybe that was an exaggeration but everyone with stretched parts in their ears decided they'd make nice lobe jewellery!

(Click for larger pictures)

After a little while some of Laura's other friends turned up and then as soon as they came they left again and we left with them, making our way down to a little pub in Penrith. It was a nice quiet little place and the group of us sat in the corner and proceeded to blind each other by constantly taking photos in the dark pub.
I think that time was the best I had in the whole weekend. It was just so relaxed and great. I managed to speak to virtually everyone there and had very deep conversations with a lady called Hayley and her sister Emma about mods and just life in general. They managed to teach me lot in just an hour or so in a slightly inebriated state and for that I'm completely grateful. I was telling them about how I get pierced to make myself look better and they were telling me it wasn't necessary and how I was beautiful and how I shouldn't hide behind my piercings. This boosted my confidence more than anything and I am eternally grateful.

After midnight when the pub was closing, Laura and Popple went home and the rest of us went to this club called Toppers. It was full of guys in Ben Sherman shirts and gelled hair and girls with the shortest dresses imaginable and sky scraper heels but that didn't deter us. Amy, Claire and I danced for what seemed like an eternity and had the odd break to sit down and catch our breath. We danced without a care in the world, ignoring any one else who was looking at us and just enjoying ourselves and enjoying being alive. But after a while, all good things must come to an end and we made our way back to Laura's house and sat in the living room chatting and joking till the early hours when Dee and Martin went and slept in Callum's room and Amy, Claire and I slept in the living room. We were still full of energy so the three of us stayed awake for a bit longer, eventually falling into a deep slumber. The morning after everyone looked stunning. Messy hair and yesterdays make up and groans about how you shouldn't smoke or drink so much was the moral of the morning. When we all woke up properly, we decided to go to the big market near by for some breakfast. I had to sit in the back of Martin's van and wow that was an adventure. There were no seatbelts and I had to keep down just in case there were police around and it wasn't easy. I was thrown around the windy roads quite a bit but I made it in once piece! We munched on healthy breakfast type things of fizzy drinks and greasy food and it was delightful.

(Click to enlarge)

But then it was time for Amy and I had to leave. Amy's mum arrived and we had to go back to gloomy old Leicester, as difficult as it was to say goodbye. We took a final group photo and Amy and I left, with Martin and Dee leaving at around about the same time.

As I said before, it was probably one of the best weekends of my life. Returning back to Leicester on Sunday afternoon was hell. Everything seemed so boring and so normal compared to the action packed weekend that I had had in Penrith. I had met new people and I had met an excellent person who I'd spoken to but had never previously met. The whole weekend was just so relaxed and at no point did I regret going there or wish I was somewhere else. I just want to thank Laura for putting me up in her house and for texting me off the BME phone book in the first place.

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submitted by: Caroline June
on: 13 July 2006
in Culture

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Location: Penrith

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