All 11 entries tagged Rag
April 06, 2007
Amsterdam was purely awesome. The hitching as well – nice and smooth. The ferry on the way there was OK. The ferry on the way back… but I get ahead of myself.
RAG craziness happened to me once more, possibly for the last time, when, right after the end of term, when I hitched to Amsterdam, in support of Comic Relief – now for the non-British people like myself who may not have heard of it, it is the biggest charity event in the UK, a bit like the French Téléthon – and the charity itself is associated with the BBC and fights against poverty. Now they have a symbol, the Red Nose (which came this year with fairly traded white chocolate with pictures of Wallace & Gromit or Doctor Who or a Cyberman), and these could be seen all over the place, in Oxfam, Sainsbury’s, etc.
The Noses being available in Oxfam plays a big role in the hitch. Indeed, the hitch took place two days after Comic Relief Day, so, in Oxfam, we couldn’t use our display board any longer. Which made it available for me and my lovely hitching partner Ellie to cut our hitching signs in. In the end, they were better-looking, bigger and stronger than my Dublin sandwich boards. The other good thing about working at Oxfam is that we have a laminator there, so we could have laminated parts on our signs, where we could update the directions! Here’s a picture of us in Newcastle(-upon-Tyne), so you can see our beautiful signs! The person on the left is Yen, with whom we travelled from Leicester to Newcastle.
Right, so how did the actual hitch happen? Well, same as for Dublin, we had a ferry to catch, so that meant getting up early (yuck) and starting hitching at abaout 5 in the morning… Problem is, there are works on the A45. Problem is, that implies not so many people will pull over, especially so early in the morning. So after about two hours, the safety car called us and took us to the Leicester forest services (blue on the map below). There, we hadn’t even put our signs out, we meet co-hitchers who happen to have spare spaces in their cars, all the way up to Newcastle! We happily accept, and jump in the back on the van (wooden benches, no safety belt… oh Chris if you had known that at the time you’d have had a heart attack!) and on we drive. Towards the ent of the journey, there is a real ful-scale blizzard with snow and wind and all; quite impressive but our driver’s a good one. We even get to see the Angel of the North (but the picture was taken by Ellie’s camera, not mine, so it’s not here yet…). He drops us off in the suburbs of Newcastle, it’s about eleven in the morning and the ferry leaves at five! We’re the first! (Yay!) Yen, who was with Ian the hitcher with spare space, wants to go to church (it is sunday after all), but we cannot leave her on her own (Chris already has a heart attack from our ride, remember? Let’s not damage his heart more…) so I go to the mass with her – to be honest this was not the most thrilling bit of the hitch – interesting though. And in the end, she gets a hitch off the father, who drives us nicely to the ferry, and when he drops us off, he gives us 20 pounds (for charity, I would tend to suppose). Now – this does not top the other group of four off – who got 20 quid “to have a beer” on the driver… Anyways, all of us are there, ready and happy to spend some time in the pub before leaving. No karaoke this time, but still some fun. Here’s the map:
We go to the terminal, and up on the ferry. I give Chris another fright by telling him “Passport? No, I have no passport” (Identity Card is enough for us Frenchies!), and off we go for 14 hours of sea-travel. Which is not too bad, given we have cabins (paid for by ourselves, the actual hitch was only up to Newcastle). A couple of pictures from the ferry:
Arriving in Amsterdam, going to the hotel, it’s about 10 in the morning, and we’re ready for a nice day. With Yen, we decide to go have a biking tour. It turned out to be quite interesting, even though it was not dealing with Amsterdam itself so much – we went to a windmill and a cheese farm. During that tour, I had a puncture (pictured below: the guide fixing it). But it was mostly fun, and now I know what it feels like to bike in Amsterdam. Which is not as nice as to bike in France, given that there’s more bike traffic!
After that, me and Yen visit Amsterdam a bit (including the flower market, which is not that big), eat some poffertjes, or Dutch pancakes – awesome! Then we go back to the hotel, meet the others and have dinner, and we have the detour through the Red-Lights District (pictured below) and spend the night in a pub. Me and Ellie are tired so we end up leaving sooner for the hotel. The following day, I go on my own to the Van Gogh Museum – which is definitely worth the admission fee. Two hours there are filled easily, and it’s soon time to leave to catch the ferry back. Everybody’s had fun, most have been to the sex museum and the Heineken brewery (classic!) and everybody’s tired but happy.
The ferry back is the opposite of the ferry on the way to Amsterdam. Called the King of Scandinavia instead of the Queen of Scandinavia, it does not have a swimming pool or a sauna, and the sea is.. far… far… rougher than it was on the way to Dam. Force nine winds. We are sick. Well I am, and most people I’ve talked to as well. 14 hours of something that can not be called lulling anymore. I hardly sleep, use sickbags, and cannot eat. On top of all, we have to find a hitch back, preferably off the ferry. But – people are not stupid, and when they’re taking the ferry to Newcastle (and not to Hull), they’re going North, not South. Scotland, not the Midlands. Despite the help of a translator, we find nobody. So we’re stranded in Newcastle. Or are we?
From Washington services, we directly find a hitch off a lorry, all the way to Sheffield! The driver, Rob, is a nice chap, he’s flying planes on his free time, and owns the lorry, wants to leave Britain for Spain later. He drops us off right after Sheffield (in green on the map), from where, without even having to wait (I was going into the little shop to buy some lunch), a Coventrian (is that the word?) offers us a lift! Straight to our home!
So yeah, it was a nice trip, but I doubt easier hitches can ever happen!
In the end, I raised 100£ sponsorship for Comic Relief (which I still need to collect…)
A couple more photos from Amsterdam:
As you may have noticed, this blog has not been (quite) updated over the past, what, nearly two months. Obviously, my life has not stopped – rather the contrary. It’s all been taken up by, well, WSC RAG and Rev. And Oxfam to a lesser degree. So there’s lots to catch up on!
So – yeah – RAG! Best society on campus. Probably. Well – that’s not what Socs Fed said (they elected People & Planet, with reason – they did an amazing job this year); but RAG won best non-social event for RAG Week! Which reminds me I still need to upload these pictures. Back to the point, RAG is going on buzzing with activity, raids, hitches, sponsored stuff. All for charity! Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to make two raids this term, one to York, one to Sheffield (long live the North! it’s awesome up there) – I’ve already described them in previous entries. I missed out on Brum (being sick) Cardiff (due to Allnighter) and Leeds (I don’t remember the reason here. But there was one). Seemingly, Cardiff was rainy – but I still want to go to Doctor Who’s territory!
Moving on. After the raids, I did two more RAG things:
- A sponsored famine. Well that’s quite a big word for a 24 hour fast. Still, there was a point to it insofar as I managed to raise 50 pounds for World Vision. World Vision is a charity that supports development and work both in the UK and overseas. In that respect, they are somehow the likes of Oxfam – they even have something like Unwrapped; however there are some differences. The most important one is that World Vision is Christian-based – this is, however, of little consequence since they are not proselytic and give support no matter what your confession is. More information on their website
- A hitch to Amsterdam. However, this deserves another entry, so read on!
February 08, 2007
So until then the Sheffield raid was going to be a Day Raid, and we would have been able to go to Andy’s birthday party later (happy birthday again Andy. This is quite late, but I’m catching up with too much stuff for me to be bothered), but in the end, Thom, a Raid fresher from Sheffield, found us accommodation in a methodist church, so it turned into a week-end raid.
So here we go, friday, to Sheffield. Thom, now as well as Becca, belongs to the small group of people who got RAG lost in their own city, but ended up finding their way back. So on the way there we stop at Thom’s house to pick up some stuff (awesome family by the way, Thom – we got food, pillows, it was a Comfort Raid), and get to the church later. Leaving stuff in the minivan, we find a bar to eat in (I am now the proud owner of a Snout card) and play lots of Quiz games (without winning that night, alas!) and Kaplung (I am sure of the wrongness of this spelling) in the bar, before going back home. Too tired for a lash the first night, but believe me, we were going to catch up the following night!
So back in the church, we play some word games. Have I mentioned it was a Comfort Raid? This church hall was carpeted, with sofas, heating, and board games!!! And an equipped kitchen we would use the next day, including a constant boiler.
In the morning, after a breakfast at Spoons, we start the actual collection, this week for the National Autism Society. A worthy cause, considering half a million families throughout the UK are touched by autism. The collection goes quite well for all of us, with Thom raising about £290 on his first raid, and a personal 219 ish.
Only discomfort in this Raid: no counting machines (which made it quite fun counting). But then, Elle and Becca cooked for us, and it was GOOD!
Lash then, starting with a gay bar (it would seem), where I actually make money on quiz machines, followed by a scream bar and clubbing at the Leadmill, till about, what, like 2am. Definitely good night out, highlighted by Pidge and Elle’s dance-off (pictures coming soon…), and accompanied with lots of beverages.
The next morning proved harder, though. But it was definitely worth it! Thank you Dave! Thank you Thom!
Miscelleanous about this raid:
- I was in Pam Spurs the kangaroo, and when I went to a shop to buy something, I got discount because the sales assistant’s name was Pam.
- George the pink hippo definitely needs rejuvenation: he is either referred to as “the other elephant” (in York) or “the pink thing”
- While collecting, I got to know an awesome Sheffield band, called The Gentlemen check them out on myspace (with three tracks) or on their website
- A reminder about the cause we were collecting for: The National Autism Society. Autistic people need support.
A quick word about my next RAG thing: I shall do a sponsored famine of 24 hours, probably between Friday 3pm and Saturday 3pm, in favour of WorldVision. Sponsorships welcome :-)
Anyways, here goes: term 2 has started, and RAG activities just as well. Raids are still just as awesome as they used to be (even better, when we go up North…), and the first one was to York.
And in total honesty, York is an awesome city. I have a couple of great pictures which I will insert in here as soon as I have time to.
Not in the correct order, York (where I might have gone to, hadn’t I chosen Warwick) will now evoke the following to me:
- Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate (it is the name of a street, I really like it)
- Breasts. We were raiding for the Breast Cancer Campaign, and I don’t think I have said “breasts” as many time at any point in my life.
- sleeping in a church (well, church hall) for the first time – Liverpool was in a student residence hall.
- “Can I touch your trump?” (I was Barbara, the elephant)
- Pizza. That was quite epic: having access to a fully equipped kitchen, we buy some pizzas to cook ourselves; however try hard though we may, the oven won’t ignite (wrong choice of words? maybe not) so we ended up in Pizza Hut.
- A great Uni. In terms of scenery at least. And the lash certainly was on… in a more home uni way than Warwick parties.
- Well, basically York = fun = great city, almost as great as some Scottish cities.
And with generous people: I raised 274£ in one day and was not even in the top five! Congratulations to Dave with his staggering £374 and to that York person who managed to raise over 470 quid! In one day… And hats off to the organisation team :)
The raid after that would be… Sheffield (yay, North again! :-))
January 03, 2007
Alright, this blog has been neglected over the past few weeks, and I realise I’m lagging behind (and that’s an understatement). So here comes the long-promised entry about the Dublin hitch. I wish I could enjoy writing that entry as much as I enjoyed the week-end of craic that it was – but I think that level of fun can only be obtained again by a RAG activity, who knows, maybe the Amsterdam hitch!
So let’s get back to the beginning – that is thursday the 30th. I get some cardboard (a huge piece actually) and head to Rootes, so that my hitching partner and I can make our hitching signs (pictures below). We decide to create some sandwich boards, which seemed a good idea at the time: no need to hold them, hands (and most importantly thumbs) free, so we cut the cardboard, sellotape hard yellow paper on it and begin drawing. The task is longer than expected, but fun :) Here comes the result:
After spending the night at Matt’s, my hitching partner (we needed to be on campus at 5am to start hitching, and there is no #12 bus that early), we get up in the morning and start hitching about half hour later. Here we are, nice and shining:
(don’t worry, if the energy might fade by the end of the day, the smile won’t)
To make things more visual for those who are not from the UK, here’s a map of our stops:
(in the right order: Telford Shrewsbury Whitchurch Chester Bangor somewhere and Holyhead)
So, it’s about 6 in the morning, and we’re about 30 waiting for a hitch on the A45. In one word – hopeless. Matt and I decide to walk along the road – no car stops for quite a while. We walk almost up to Sainsbury’s, where we stop before a traffic light. After quite a long wait, a car stops. Hopes up. But it was because the police asked them to… We didn’t have the cheek to ask a hitch off either of them. So we wait again, a bit less this time, until a lorry stops: a hitch! The driver, a very nice guy, is taking steel plates to Telford and back, he’s a fan of old bikes – just like Matt, so a chat starts quite easily. And our hitch is all the way to Telford, which was quite not hoped for!
In Telford, we meet Pidge and Steph, who were there first (I think) and take a rest in the service station, before trying to find a hitch again. With our hopes and enthusiasm up, it shouldn’t prove too hard! (We were sooo wrong) – nonetheless, walking out the station pays off, and we get a hitch from a young man who is going to Shrewsbury (second dot on the map). Very nice, a bit of a fast driver though (90 mph on the motorway, cool, but not when you drive AND roll a cigarette at the same time!) – he leaves us at a roundabout in Shrewsbury.
Where we get lost. Wrong roundabout seemingly, no recognisable name to be seen, etc. – so we take a hitch to the other roundabout. That must have been the shortest hitch ever! Then, seeing how my own sandwich board is (to say the least) ruined, I get rid of half of it (the back). Actually, what happened is: the rain, the wind and the transport anihilated the shoulder bits of it, so it turned into a normal hitching sign.
Anyways, then, we try to go to Chester or Whitchurch, and get a hitch quite soon, by a nice old man who used to be a history teacher. He has lots to tell us, including a story about him taking two French girls on a hitch… really nice old-fashioned English style and strong Oxbridge accent!
The gentleman left us at a service station near Whitchurch, which, again, seemed a good idea – but then we discovered it was closed… nevermind, let’s try. And try we did. With no luck though – so we walked (hey it’s called hitch*hiking* right?), waited for like 2 hours and a half, half-walking, half-hitching. On our way, we even got interviewed by a local newspaper (the journalist didn’t give us a hitch though :( ), and we might go on the Whitchurch Herald...
Anyways, disheartened, we call the safety van, and learn there is an earlier ferry we may still catch, but that we have to go now, so they come looking for us. Well, that would have been worth it, since the ferry we were initially supposed to catch (5.40pm) had been cancelled due to bad weather, and the next one would have been 2.40am!
However, we got a hitch to Chester in the next few minutes, by a man who starts a company there, in a luxurious car and all. Dropped us on the side of a dual carriageway, where we took the safety car.
However, when we realised we couldn’t reach Holyhead in time to catch the early ferry we were dropped in Bangor – where we met the same problem as in the beginning: a high concentration of hitchers. Nonetheless, we get a hitch in a minivan, by a nice guy who speaks Welsh, and then get dropped at a roundabout.
The wind in Wales is strong – to say the least – and gets the last bit of decency left of my hitching sign. An elderly couple has pity on us and stops, to ask us “You’re not going to charge us, are you?” – so a message to every driver in the UK: Charity Hitches do not mean we charge you. The money comes from sponsorships collected at home, and goes to charities, this time CrusAID (www.crusaid.org.uk) – but of course, donations are welcome :-) – anyways, this lovely couple normally does not take hitchhikers but took pity on us, and dropped us on the parking lot of the very pub we were supposed to meet at (the Bristol).
And then we have to wait. And wait. A long long time. Fortunately, there is…
Here’s me, in a good (?) performance of I will survive . Being drunk makes you do lots of things!
Anyways, the departure time for the ferry draws near, and we’re all knackered
Sleep is short, like 3 hours in the hostel plus something on the ferry. But Dublin is beautiful, we particularly like the Needle (not the official name, I think)
and the Guinness factory. Here’s a random selection – but more pictures are to come on the gallery.
The night is fun as well, we’ve not seen that much of Dublin but had lots of craic. Oh, right, in Dublin, pedestrians’ traffic lights have orange as well:
So the next morning, very early, we take taxis to catch the early ferry and hitch back home. The weather was definitely not with us that week-end. Here are two rather impressive pictures of why the ferry couldn’t enter Dublin port. I think it was scheduled for 8.30am, but left at 2.15pm (sigh).
But whilst we wait and try to catch hitches, more lucky encounters:
- a nice lady teacher, whose nephew is a script editor on Doctor Who and Torchwood. I am supposed to get some Doctor Who stuff from him…
- Bath RAG. Those people are awesome. We even played tarot onboard the ferry!
And we finally get a hitch on a BMW all the way back home (thanks Dave!) with higher speeds than I’ve ever seen before.
Next term is Amsterdam, baby!
December 07, 2006
Perhaps I should explain RAG in more detail before I go on to the amazing craic we had all week. Basically, RAG stands for Raise and Give. It is the best society on campus (of course, I’m biased, but still…), especially for foreign students. Well, for one, it is all for charity. i.e. you have fun, but with a better conscience in the end ‘cos it was all for charity. And also, you may have some causes you want to help, and that’s one way of raising money for them. However, one of the reasons you should join – £2.50 if my memory serves me well, all going to charity – is because these guys, the RAG guys, know how to put the lash on. Their socials (see oldest entries here!) are the best ever – they involve a certain amount of drunkenness but you can be reasonable if you want. The Traffic Lights Disco in RAG Week was amazing (with Stingray, OMG!!! – detect sarcasm here). Therefore, it is the best way to make good friends! And, finally (I could go on about the lash being on but that would take miles/furlongs/leagues/whatever/freaking non-metric system), it is an awesome opportunity to travel. Raids. All across the UK. I’ve done the Liverpool one. It did involve some ridicule on my side (but I,m getting used to that – RAG also stands for Ridicule Always Guaranteed), but in the end, I know the M6 more than any road in France ^^. Hitches are fun as well (Dublin, yay! Amsterdam, double yay!, etc.), and I will deal with my Dublin hitch in my next (or so) entry.
However, this article was meant to be about RAG Week, and I see I’ve kind of strayed away from it. To stay more on focus, I’ll keep it in categories (dull, ain’t it?)
- deliveries: during that amazing week, you could get yourself or someone else stuff delivered during the lectures. A Legendary Maths Lecturer got a twister game from one of his students, and played it! (the same person got many pints of Guinness to down as well). Whilst delivering a lemon (yes!), I got the opportunity to discover Gibbet Hill and see a sign saying that no horses are allowed on campus. And during a lecture, a “lucky girl” (in the terms of the lecturer) got a rose delivered. Delivering stuff involved lots of ridicule, but this was anonymously since the animal costumes fortunately covered my head.
- gnomings: hehe beware, young Warwick student, you might get gnomed next year! Gnomimg is covering a target in flour/beans/water/shaving foam/... King-gnoming involves tying up to a tree. I have seen two or three gnomings, participated in none.
- Sleepover: on the Piazza, for charity. God, it was cold! But an entire entry has already been dedicated to that.
- Traffic Lights Disco: was one of the only Union events I’ve been to (too busy!) and it was awesome (not because of Stingray alone). Weirdly enough, I got forcefed that night – but that’s not RAG!
- Other stuff included auctioning off the sabbatical officers (you rule, Brian)
Anyways, exhausting though it was, it was FUN!
Pity I’m not here next year :-(
Pictures coming soon, esp. of gnomings
November 22, 2006
Anyways, thanks to your generous sponsorships, my cold night has brought £30.20 PLUS €5. I still have to collect most of the money though (so far having £9.70 plus €5)
Tonight was fun. Began with a good movie at WSC (Hidden, a French movie) and went on with some drunkenness at the graduate bar (two pints of cider for me, might not sound like a lot, but for those of you who know me, you know it’s enough!), and then down to the Piazza a little after midnight. Didn’t feel that cold then. God, how I was wrong!
We continued talking and having dome fun (music, eating crisps, etc.) for some time, but I fell asleep soon (exhaustion? ^^), woke up several times in the night feeling cold. Finally got up at 7am (Union South was under janitoring, but heated so I took some minutes there)
And ever since, I’ve been enjoying a new, pleasant, blissful perception of warmth , from the hand-driers or simply from central heating.
Oh, by the way, if I’m not mistaken, the sleepover was for StAR (Student Action for Refugees).
RAG Week continues and still is a lot of fun.
You can buy deliveries from the RAG Stall in Cholo. Next big event I’m attending is the Traffic Lights Disco on thursday night (with Stingray from Neighbours, OMG!!! – for those who didn’t notice that was sarcasm)
November 17, 2006
RAG Week starts Sunday the 19th
What you are able to do during that week:
How cool is that?
- get yourself (or other people) stuff delivered during the lectures – beers, for instance. But basically anything you want. For weird things, bring them when you book your delivery (is that right, Jess?)
- buy gnomings – i.e. pay us to cover your friends in flour/beans/other stuff; Kinggnoming include tying up.
- The RAG Pub Quiz, obviously: this week, amongst the prizes, a TV.
- Traffic Light Disco, on thursday
- Scavenger Hunt on tuesday (with huge prizes)
- much, much, much more, including Sabbatical Slave auction.
For more info, check this out.
On tuesday night, there is a sponsored sleepover on the Piazza. If anyone wants to sponsor my sleeping there (to a reasonable amount) I shall do it – just add a comment here and I’ll contact you :)
Long live RAG!!!
November 15, 2006
Last week-end, I went on my first RAG Raid, to Liverpool, and to support the work of Meningitis UK. For starters, a quick reminder that Meningitis B still has no vaccine (despite recent progress), and that it still kills. As I was raising some money, two people told me about a member of their family who died from it; and I talked to a person who recovered.
Anyways, it is always important to support research against diseases, be it the well-mediatised AIDS or Meningitis, or what we call “orphan diseases” – diseases that do not affect enough people to be considered seriously by big pharmaceutical companies. It is my opinion that such research should be state-funded, but that is another debate.
So, to sum up the week-end: departure on Friday afternoon, driving in Mills’ car to Liverpool (where we encounter some difficulties in finding the place where we’re supposed to sleep – fortunately we weren’t clamped :-P ), then a good night’s sleep before raiding the Beatles’ city (of course, we went to two pubs in between, but that goes without saying)
On the next day, we ged our buckets and credentials, and go raiding. I myself was wearing a Robin-Hood-ish costume, but it looked kinda like Peter Pan, an Elf, a Pixie, a Leprechaun as well (this is what I’ve been called during the day); Dave was the nice tiger (‘twas funny, how kids wanted to put money in his bucket but were afraid and didn’t dare come too near), and Mills was the one-eared hippo.
After a day packed with fun (I got hugged more times that day than during my whole life – but that may be because apart from RAG activities I’m totally asocial ^^), and packed with fundraising, we went back to Liverpool’s students’ union to count the money. All together we raised over £2,500, and more than £1,200 for RAG alone (139 for me). This is, or so I’ve heard, particularly good (and I might add that saturday was also a big Poppy Appeal Day), so hurray for us – we rock.
The party after that was extraordinary/fantabulous. Until 3 in the morning, we danced in the Cooler (well, Neil did that more than the others, but still). Only regret: we didn’t get “Everybody dance now”.
Anyways, this was an excellent week-end – when’s the next raid guys?
November 02, 2006
Yesterday was the second best social I’ve ever had (the very best being the Three-Legged Bar Crawl of course)
Here we are, us raggers at Varsity:
Well, it would have been if I could have made it on time – I had other obligations – but still lots of good fun! :-D
The idea was simple (was it?) – people show up with some items of clothing of the 6 Rubik’s colors, and swap them during the evening, so that you end up with just one color. Like that:
Unfortunately I was there kinda late, so I couldn’t get monochromatic :-( but it was fun all the same!
Next RAG event for me: Raid to Liverpool…