Five signs you’re a fake girlfriend

It looks like a relationship and feels like one. You talk constantly, tell each other your hopes and dreams and in an alternative world, you have all the makings of a Disney movie. Apart from that one minor, if oh so important, technicality; that you’re not actually together. Often these are born out of break-ups where couples can’t quite let go, men who can’t commit, are scared to be alone or really just really like the taste of your cooking. But, nevertheless we’ve probably all been in one or, at the very least, seen friends suffer through them; so for the sake of humanity here are my five signs that you’re a fake girlfriend or boyfriend (a less common, but just as valid conundrum) – I’m all about the #equality.

  1. No kissing

Obviously, this is the most crucial point to my hypothesis: the lack of intimate physical contact. You might touch, hug, accidentally on purpose brush their leg with your arm, but that’s as far as it will actually go. Because otherwise you would actually be dating, or friends with benefits. Which is another topic for an entirely different blog. Although may I be so bold as to add that there is a myriad of ways of obtaining aforementioned “benefits” without ruining a friendship although as usual, I digress. In a fake relationship however close you get both physically and emotionally; fake boyfriend is never gonna lean in for that Hollywood moment. Because home boy knows once that line is crossed there really is no turning back.

  1. Meet the parents

I have to be honest this is not a phenomenon I can even begin to fathom having neither a degree in advanced psychology of frankly even the faintest inclination of the inner workings of the male psyche (for further information please feel free to read my previous blogs.) However, fake boyfriends almost always want you to meet their family – “oh you’ll get on so well with Aunt Sandra/Sister Beatrice/Mummy Hannah.” True story I once had a fake boyfriend who was more than happy to introduce me to his entire extended mishpucha until we actually started dating when his enthusiasm cooled quicker than an Eskimo at Christmas. Go Figure.

  1. Everyone will thinking you’re dating

“But surely you are,” “I mean you can tell me…honestly,” or my personal favourite “c’mon you must be banging.” And you’ll smile coyly and protest loudly whilst secretly being pleased that outsiders validate your hope that maybe this actually is going somewhere. Luv I’m afraid that until your not-so-significant other gets the memo, and regardless what the rest of North West London believes, it isn’t so.

  1. Girlfriendly duties

This can span anything from cooking, ironing to emotional support that goes far beyond normal friendly duties (weddings, funerals, family crises etc….) What I have learnt over the years is that if you give a man an inch, he will indeed take a mile. And quite frankly single men are quite possibly what keeps the entire takeout industry afloat, so do your bit for the economy and put the pot down.

  1. Listen to your gut

If you will indulge me a momentary segway into religious philosophy if for no other reason than my brief seminary education should count for something, in the Jewish religion there is the Yezter Hora “the bad inclination” and the Yetzer Tov “the good inclination” which both live within within you. Now in a fake relationship, your Yetzer Tov will instinctively know that the late night phone calls, the constant messaging cannot possibly be healthy. However, your Yetzer Hora will apply pressure, with a serious of “what ifs”, – What if he falls for me? What if he changes his mind? What if I suddenly grow wings and could fly? All possible, in theory. In actuality – much much less so. Lads and lasses listen to your instinct and to your Yetzer Tov….run far and run fast. Because, whilst the relationship may be fake when it ends, and trust me on this, it will feel far too real. And there simply isn’t enough Ben ‘n’ Jerrys in the world.

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The Five things you can only know if you are a Northerner that moved to London…

As my friend pointed out to me this title is a little more niche than my usual fare, but at risk of oversharing my personal life I thought I would do a blog that’s a little less about me and a little more about the experieces of every single Northerner who has moved to good ol’ London town.

  1. Parking Fines

I dare. I double dare to ask your Mancunian friends about how many parking fines they got when they first relocated to this city. See…the problem is that living in Manchester we were spoilt. We believed that parking was a right…you needed to go to the Doctors, visit your grandma at the old age home or heck do the shopping and you could just park.  And so it took us some to adjust to this new world of parking permits and jurisdictions. Let me tell you right now it’s Manchester Jews and Manchester Jews alone who keep Brent and Barnet council afloat. You should also know that parking fines always come in trios….in London you better believe it never fucking rains….

  1. Double Standards

As a Mancunian I can bitch about Manchester all I want….that’s my right having been raised and lived in the city for 18 years. I can call it dirty and grey and a bit of a shit hole because frankly all of this is empirically true. Especially when you consider that London has Buckingham Palace, the British Musuem and like a thousand Oxfam Bookstores to name just a few of its more notable sites. But, so help you god if you are from London and dare to besmirch our city, because suddenly we become like a mama bear; ready to defend to the death. With stealth and cunning we will smell out any criticism and make sure you regret having ever opened your own mouth. And quite frankly native Londoners….I suggest you take a walk down Brent Street (particularly the Tesco in Sentential square) late at night before you get busy with me and my city.

  1. Driving for fun

For a short while I lived in Paris and absolutely bloody hated it which is another story for another time. However, on returning home (which at that point was Manchester) I would go for long drives just to calm myself down, to feel free, it was like the obese man’s version of running. All the endorphins, but none of the actual exercise. Win bloody win. That all stopped the moment I moved to London. Suddenly, driving stopped being a pleasurable experience, because….well quite frankly and I’m just going to say it….London drivers are fucking nuts. Cars stopped in the middle of roads for no reason – with no one in them. Impossible junctions where cars angrily and obstinately refuse to let you go even though it’s a red light and they can’t move and then, frankly, there are the pedestrians who waltz in front of cars as if they’re going for a lazy country stroll in the Lake District. What I learnt and I learnt bloody quickly is that driving in London isn’t so much fun as it is a fight till the end.

  1. A Shmy

Now for those of you aren’t akin with the Northern butchering of the Yiddish language a “shmy” is basically like a look – you’d go for a shmy to the shops, or if you’re really trying to lay it on thick you’d go for a “shmyke.” To be honest, no-one is really sure if this word is actually Yiddish or just made up by impassioned Mancunian Jews…but I feel it perfectly represents the Northern curiosity to know what’s going on at all times. It’s why me and my friends, when walking down Golders Green Road will look into every restaurant to see if there’s anyone we know and then quickly look away – heaven forbid anyone should catch onto our nosy ways. Or why…when you we see an ambulance, police car or any other vehicle associated with an emergency we will crane our necks and dart our eyes – even if we’re driving to make sure we know absolutely what’s going on. Though, of course, none of your gossip can beat the shit that goes down in Manchester although that is another story for a whole other time.

  1. Jewish Geography

No-one and I mean no-one plays Jewish geography like the Manchester Jewish community. This is mainly because of our afore mentioned innate nosiness, which combined with an incredibly small community which is essentially made up of four families who all married each other, means we will not rest until we have found a connection to you no matter how tenuous. We want to know who you are, who your parents are and quite frankly we won’t stop until we are fully satisfied that we are either related or about to be. Londoners….just go with. Trust me it’s so much easier this way.

6. Money

To explain this point I will start with a funny, and yet tragic story – a tragicomedy if you will. Picture the scene I’m like 20…and going to the cinema in London for the first time armed with my student I.D and a naive belief that working hard and earning a good wage will one day be enough to grant me a mortgage. Ha, fool. But, more on that later. And the sales assistant turns to me and goes that will be £12.50 please and I swear to god I laughed, I thought she was joking. I was brought up on the AMC cinema where tickets were like £5. I didn’t know it yet but this moment would come to symbolise my entire London experience. Because in London basically I can afford a pair of shoes….not even like a fancy pair, but like a semi-decent option from Office, ideally in the sale and then I could live in the box. In Manchester, I could buy a fucking three-bed semi in Prestwich and live happily ever after.

L’shanah ha’bah b’Manchester?

The Five things you should never say to a curly girl

  1. Don’t you ever think about straightening it?

Hmm I dunno babe…have you ever thought about binding your feet because they’re looking a little big to me? Or like your eyes are brown, it’s kinda boring, but I’m sure a quick eye surgery would fix that right up. For all you homies out there with straight hair let me make one thing perfectly clear…curly hair does not like to be straight. At all. Even with a professional blow dry my hair lasts, at the most, a day straight…and that’s if all the stars align and there is literally zero (and I mean zero) humidity, rain or any other weather that could upset my overly sensitive hair. I once attended a wedding where it rained and in the time it took me to get from my car to the chupah, armed only with a scarf that didn’t quite cover all my hair, it had curled up, but just on one side. Just the one. I swear to god I have photographic evidence. So yes to answer your question I do indeed think about straightening it, but I like my hair to all stay one shape, and preferably not like Monica’s in “that” episode.

  1. Is it naturally like that?

Of course, in the morning whilst birds dress me and doves tweet above my hand I exit the shower and my hair cascades in waves down my back like some Fairytale Princess. Bitch, please. Keeping this ‘fro tamed takes nothing short of an army of products all of which splatter my bathroom making it look like some kid’s playground post-hair-wash day, as well as a whole host of techniques like plopping, smasters and others that you can’t even try to understand. Hand on heart I am part of a Facebook group with 40,000 women around the world discussing techniques in minute and careful detail. No, sweetie, no it is not naturally like this.

  1. Keratin

How many times have I heard something along the lines of, “but my first cousin’s mothers, aunts on my father’s side had keratin and it really worked for them.” Keratin is for people with wavy hair, a slight kink maybe at best. Like Christina Aguilera, these Ashkenazi curls cannot be tamed by man or man-made products.

  1. I wish I had curly hair

No, no you don’t. Listen over the past few years I have come to love, respect and accept my curls as part of me. But, if there was an option of me popping out the shower, wrapping one of those cute towels around my head like I was in the movies and simply flouncing off to my meeting with perhaps a touch of mousse then, frankly, you couldn’t sign me up fast enough.

  1. You wash your hair how often?

Curly hair doesn’t get greasy, it just doesn’t. And so we don’t need to wash our hair like normal people…and yes that means waiting up to a week (sometimes more) before plunging our hair into the shower. It doesn’t make us dirty I promise….trust me you’d understand if you saw quite how long it took to get these curls looking springy and sprightly.

 

Some hard truths about weight loss

So I lost a lot of weight….so much and so quickly that people stopped and stared. “Wow you look great” they exclaimed and I luxuriated over the wonderful brilliantness of my newly acquired thinner body. As I showered, as I took countless progress photos and I was forced to endlessly purchase new clothes as my trousers fell down, I was amazed. I was empowered. I was emboldened. But, then I plateaued; losing any more weight required a level of calorie control I wasn’t quite ready to adhere to both as a daughter of a body obsessed mother and as an individual with a genuine love of food; I remained a stubborn and fixed size 12. So now the proverbial dust has settled, it’s time I laid down some home truths about weight loss. Because it’s so much more than the before and after pictures, the ones where my smile seems wider and my hair shinier, but is made up of a complex tangle of emotions, health and everything else you think, see and breathe. So for the record….

 

  1. Health

In general, losing weight is assumed to be good for your health. Obviously, this is not always the case – particularly when you start to consider the mental, as well as the physical repercussions. But, beyond this, losing weight puts the body under a huge amount of pressure. Take me for example…for one thing my periods stopped…. which for an individual who would some day like to have children is pretty terrifying. And, secondly, my stomach got so fucked up from the sudden change in diet that I was in agony for weeks, which reached a rousing crescendo one Saturday night when I lay writhing in pain as my stomach made clear its displeasure. It was remarkably unfun and painful. And was solved only by a nutritionist (costing £90 an hour) who helped realign my stomach with tablets. Which brings me nicely on to point number 2….

  1. Expensive

I don’t care, I really don’t care what the papers and magazines preach or even the occasional Instagram star will profoundly declare. Being healthy is more expensive. It just is. You know what’s cheap? Pasta, cake, biscuits. You know what isn’t? Fruit, vegetables, almond milk, chai seeds (need I go on…) And even if you don’t pay the extortionate amount of £200 a month for a gym, it is, without question, an additional expense. And if you really doubt me go into McDonalds after a drunk night out (not that I’ve ever visited the one on Tottenham Court Road next to the station) and be amazed about the cost of a Filet of Fish and chips…as I was the first time I crossed through it shiny arched doors.

  1. The male gaze

Oh I know…no one loses weight to impress the opposite sex, we all do it for ourselves. We do it so we can be proud of our bodies and satiated by our healthy and new found glee for doing 50 burpees or whatever the monstrosity that is Iron Man consists of.  Do me a fucking favour. We all lose weight because we care how we are viewed by others. And more than that by the opposite sex. Mainly because most of us like sex, and to be loved, and we figure that if we lose those few pounds or stones this is more likely.

And yes some people crave the toned, lean look of the Love Island gals, but trust me plenty don’t. Some people like their partners heavier, lighter and some, I swear to god, honestly don’t give a shit. It took me a long while and some personal experiences to appreciate just how true this is, but honestly losing weight for others is unnecessary. If for no other reason than even once it’s gone you will still have curly hair, fat arms but cracking legs, but more importantly you are still the same person.

  1. Success

Weight loss is easy at the beginning. Trust me, I know. It rolls right off and you are motivated, happy and can practically see those size 8 jeans. But, the thing is it gets difficult, life gets in the way, or you plateau or you put it back on….Because weight loss isn’t a linear process  – you don’t start and then 8 months later come out thin and happy. You go up, you go down, you get wider, you get narrower. Whatever happens, you are not a failure if it doesn’t go the way you wanted, you are just human.

Now, I know traditionally there are five points to these listicles, but I’m already closing in at 900 words, and more importantly, I have little left to say. Except for this: being healthy is grand and feeling confident in your body is glorious. But, neither of these necessarily mean you need to lose weight. And let me guarantee you: just like you won’t find happiness at the end of a spliff, line of coke, or injection of heroin, losing weight won’t make you happy. Because we are all so much more than the number on the scale.

 

The Dating Horror Show

When I was a kid (well 15 or 16 years old) I used to stay up late and watch Sex and the City, and I would think, my god, it can’t really be like this…surely these dating stories must be exaggerated – no-one could possibly be this crazy. Sadly, it turns out I was wrong. To be honest, over the next 10 years or so I would find myself corrected on any number of issues, but they are, perhaps, slightly out of the remit of this article. So instead, we shall focus on some of my very favourite dating horror shows, a compilation of my friends’ very worst dating moments. Obviously, all names have been removed as I endeavour to be a decent human being, but I assure you they are all true.

Oh and by the way, they’re all about me. Obviously.

 

  1. The non-talker

There were two dates. Two pretty decent dates – perhaps some early warning signs, his inability to even purchase me a lime and lemonade, his visible intolerance towards children (one sneeze saw him grimace,) and of course there was his penchant for pot. But, nonetheless he had nice eyes, was pretty intelligent and, most poignantly, had a motorbike. You can see the attraction? So date 3 comes around and here we are off to our first meal together, except bike boy refuses to speak. Yep you read that right ladies and gents….he simply decided that words were not really his thing that night. When I finally built up the courage to ask him why, perchance, we were sitting in silence he responded with, “I have nothing to say, does that bother you?”

Yes, it most certainly fucking does. Saddest part is….I still messaged him to find out if perhaps he had suffered from some form of a dehabilitating aneurysm that perhaps created a void in his personality (although I didn’t quite word it that way)….His response: to block me.

  1. The Talker

The polar opposite to bike boy, film boy (who was an avid actor, director and screenwriter) didn’t stop talking, not for the entirety of our seven-hour date. At his insistence, we moved from a coffee shop to a restaurant to a bar where he waxed lyrically about his life, passions and how he would read my book, lend me some films and even take my advice on some cultural references. The date ended in a kiss and I was flying high, certain he would call. Because it was basically a done deal, right? Wrong. I guess he was a much better actor than he let on.

  1. The I’m not over my Ex

He pursued me, added me on LinkedIn, emailed me, whatsapped me daily. So I got excited because it’s nice to be liked. Friends read the conversations and we all agreed he was into me, the date was a done deal and all was well in the world. Except he went away for a weekend and after doing some serious soul searching decided that maybe he wasn’t quite ready to date, he wasn’t really over his ex. Apparantly it was “all a bit awkward for him,” which must be the poshest way I have ever been fobbed off. Thank goodness for that public school education, eh?

  1. The half-hearted one

We had a date. It was a little long for my liking, but it was an enjoyable evening. The conversation flowed and I even laughed on more than one occasion. I would have seen him again, but would not be heartbroken if he never messaged. And if truth be told I was mid messaging number 3 on this list, so was juggling a few eggs at the time. Eventually, he messaged two days later, I replied half a day later, and then he responded another full two days later to my question. Never, have I felt more special. Guys – you’re in or you’re out. For the love of god, I implore you to pick one.

  1. The blunt one

To be honest, I cannot fault this guy for his directness, even if I do feel it was perhaps a little much. We went out for dinner and clearly we were not a good match. When describing the type of guy I would never go for….this was it, wrapped up in male package. Don’t feel too sorry for him folks, because clearly he felt the same way. Which he made abundantly clear as we left the restaurant. When he turned to me, stared into my eyes and said those words every little girl dreams of hearing, “I think I’m gonna go home now.”

6. Silence of the Lambs

I know a listacle traditionally only has 5 points, but fuck it I’m a rebel. After having sent this blog to some of my friends I was reminded of, what must have quite possibly been my worst date, and I felt compelled to add it in, even if it does somewhat ruin the rhythm. Picture the scene….Hagen Dasz store, Leicester Square, two perfect strangers trying desperately to make conversation over frozen milk in the middle of a cold, and rainy winter. Both desperately searching for a bridge or strand of mutual thought, a noble effort that was stalling worse than my car in this ice. So as we got on the tube I was drained of all ability to speak, having worked tremendously hard for the past 3 hours. Rendered silent, my counterpart clearly felt the same and so we sat in absolute silence all the way to Brent Cross station. Longest. Tube. Ride. Ever.

It was at that very moment I couldn’t help but wonder if Carrie and her crew had it right all along?

What happens at the full moon party stays at the full moon party

Before I arrive in koh pangan – the island with the honour of hosting around 30,000 belligerent tourists once a month as they travel from around the world in a quest for utter nihilism. I would like to first touch upon Pattaya, a city two hours from Bangkok. Now, this city made the cut because I had a friend who wishes to remain unnamed, for fear it will sully his reputation as a decent human being, which will make a whole lot of sense shortly, who was staying there. And I thought I’d pop over to say hello. I guess my first clue that this city may not be for me was when each and every person I told of my next location looked at me in much the same way many regarded me when I told of my desire to travel Thailand alone. However, I must say this reaction was rather more justified. The powers that be in Pattaya have basically seen fit to remove all that is good and holy from Amsterdam, and leave only the red light district which has been pumped up and fleshed out to an obscene degree, it was Dam on steroids, where sex was ubiquitous, omniscient and blatant. Tourists of a certain gender and particular inclination come here in droves for a happy ending and even fairytale endings if they manage to nab themselves a Thai bride. And in Pattaya I am of the suspicion that if you will it, it is no dream. I wouldn’t say I was sad to leave this city, which as my friend commented will almost surely be the beginning of the end though certainly it was a fascinating experience.
Now, onto koh pangan, which absorbed what Pattaya rejected from our sinful European sister and then, thanks to the thai mafia who are handily able to circumvent actual laws, took it to the next level in the way only Asia could. For the right price there isn’t much you can’t get hold of here. We were even approached by a lovely British man offering us half price on pharmaceuticals – I’m embarrassed to say it took a little moment for the penny to drop. Basically, it’s the love child of Amsterdam and Magaluf – and you come here for one reason and one reason only.
Here, you learn to live a little like the characters on love island, by day you party and by night you talk about the events of the night before. It’s a somewhat bizzare existence, one I did rather enjoy, but also wondered at moments if my brain was shrinking ever so slightly. In the days leading up to the full moon there are parties every night, which meant, on beaches, in jungles there were lights, fires, illegal opiates and trance music and really what more could you want?
For me, the full moon party was a bit of a let down, if a fascinating experience. Walking along the beach front I could see droves of tourist lying on the sand tripping balls as well as others dragging themselves along the sand made heavy by alcohol and a lack of sleep. Obviously, there was also the mandatory dancing and general clubbing malarkey one could expect to find at this sort of event, with different stations featuring music from a range of genres. A style to suit every belligerent 20 year old trying to lose themselves. No Eminem though *sigh.*
I am currently on the way to Koa Toa and rather looking forward to some decent views (koh Pangan is a right shit hole, this picture is like the only nice view I took during a run away from my hostel) as well as some half way decent grub – if I have to eat any more sushi from 7/11 I fear I may turn into an actual piece of nigiri. It’s also the place I will be celebrating my birthday – the official mark of my quarter life crisis. Whoop.
So till next time folks. Keep it real.

 

Bangkok

I’d say it took me from around January (when I first booked the tickets) till I arrived at Heathrow for me to actually accept I was going travelling alone. However, given that I had around 20 hours on trains, planes and in airports I had plenty of time to emotionally prepare myself. So on arriving in Bangkok airport – a real shit hole. I felt ready, basically. My first stop was, my hotel, the D & D Inn on Koasan road, the main tourist area in Bangkok. I’m not really sure how to describe this unique blend of Asian kitsch and Western capitalism. I have never made it to Vegas, but from what I’ve seen on the Hangover, there are some similarities. Bar the gambling, though weirdly lots of laughing gas, not that I indulged. Drugs are bad kids.
Anyway on finally arriving at my hotel at around 8 am, the kind folk let me check in early and I promptly passed out.
On awakening I felt it was time to explore. Like any good tourist I avoided the local cuisine and had a sandwich for lunch before taking in some of the sights – which basically amounts to lots and lots of temples. I think one of my favourite aspects of Bangkok is that it really is so rich, just walking around and taking it all in was enough to keep this simple soul happy. It’s extremely chaotic, and away from the tourist area (which I’m pretty much convinced is run by Israeli expats) there’s a huge amount to see. I quickly learnt that Thai people like their food fried, and preferably on a stick. At cooking class I later learnt they also liberally douse most of it in sugar – in fact Thai tea (alas not to be confused with chai tea) is basically cold tea with condescend milk. As a nation I’m rather concerned about their risk of diabetes.
I also had, I now realise, a naïve presumption that they would all speak English, though I am happy to say that despacito has made it to Thailand, alongside, weirdly Tesco.

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Now, in England our monarchy has had something of a revival thanks to Wills & Kate, but we ain’t got nothing on the Thais and their love for the King. He is everywhere – on bank notes (apparently if you tear or stand on money you can be jailed), on street corners – the guy’s marketing is exceptional. Think chabad style rebbe loving. This was confirmed when I went to the Royal palace, which as well as offering a throwback to my Sem days with some pretty Mea Shearim style dress codes in place was exceptionally stunning. Take a look at google images for some more info – far better than anything I could hope to take. Thronging with Thais coming to pay their respect, many were dressed all in black (the old king died several months ago) for some sort of prayer service. This stretched out morning period seems pretty typical of the Thai people, who from what I’v gathered are a pretty intense nation, though that could just be a hugely insulting cultural stereotype.
Now to the nightlife, like I already mentioned I am essentially staying on the equivalent of the strip so finding bars didn’t prove too problematic, and neither did finding drinking buddies. I was soon invited in by Australian tourists whom with, I have to admit, I drank a little too much. With buckets costing 100 baht (Like £3) self restraint is rather challenging, although the next night I am proud to say I learnt, not impossible.
Like all good night outs, my second began with a funny story. After a long morning wandering around Bangkok I decided to do some sunbathing on my rooftop pool. On lying down I heard what, I was almost sure, was the unmistakable twang of a Northern Jew, although given my track record with accents – Irish and Scouse are similar, right? I wasn’t yet ready to interject. So whilst playing on my phone I listened in and waited for confirmation, hearing names like Ella, Alex and Elliot my confidence grew until I finally caught the word Israel. If I was a carton character, at this point I would have twirled round the room, but I’m not so instead, and pretending like I hadn’t been listening in on their convo, we got talking and it turns out they went to my school (although younger than me) and invited me to break the fast with them at chabad. Not only did I get fantastic pargiot, but we also met a group of Israelis.

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Thankfully, it was a pretty mellow evening – most Israelis travel for months and you can’t really spend half a year with a hangover. But, just to clear one concern up, given my deliberately provocative instapic of a number of arms alongside #sorrymum there has been some suspicions that I got a tattoo. I am happy to inform all those concerned that the tattoo is indeed real, made from the finest henna in all Thailand. And will disappear around the time I head back to the UK.

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I am now on the way to Pattaya having shared a taxi with an Israeli and two Germans – go figure. It is pouring, but given that I am on an air conditioned coach for the next two hours I’m not overly fussed. So I will sign out here because I have a rather delicate disposition when on moving vehicles. .
Thanks for reading, hope this isn’t overly gap-yah of me and don’t panic folks next instalment (after the Full Moon Party!) will be out next week.