Saturday, 28 April 2012

I've Moved!

Thanks for all the continued support over the years, I've now moved to a new blog at
Feel free to come visit!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Go To Italy, Break a Toilet.

My adventures in Italy came to a complete stop last Saturday when I decided it was time to pick up my bags and leave, and whilst racking my brains for the most blog-worthy story to share, there is one that sticks out more than any other.

It involves tuna, raw eggs and copious amounts of toilet roll.

I moved in with a lovely bright and bubbly Italian family who greeted me with arms full of gifts and enough food to feed the entire student population of Derby, they showed me around their apartment, showing me the enormous plasma they had hanging in the living room and all the games consoles I was welcome to use, showing me the balcony with an enormous jacuzzi tub and the grand bathroom which looked like it had been stolen from the Ritz. It was all wonderful- and then they told me I wasn't living there.

They lugged my suitcase out of the apartment, down eight flights of stairs and unlocked the door to the grandparent's flat. They pushed open the first door on the left and my suitcase was thrown into a dank room with a single slightly damp mattress lying in the corner- this would be my bedroom for the next week. Mosquitoes buzzed around my head and the humidity made me sick. I wasn't allowed to put the air-conditioning on though, they were worried I might catch a cold. I was told that there was a bathroom down the hall but under no circumstances should I use it. If I needed to use the bathroom I was to traverse the eight flights of stairs, knock, and politely ask if it was okay to use their bathroom. I nodded along and acted like this wasn't a problem, which d'uh, it definitely was.

That evening when they prepared me a cold soup made of tuna and raw eggs I didn't think things could get much worse. With every swallow my stomach turned and I had to fight my gag reflex to maintain the placid smile spread across my face, then, when nobody was looking I tipped the tuna-egg slosh into the bin and excused myself for bed.

All was well until 3am came around and my stomach was violently churning- I had to get to the bathroom and quickly. It had occurred to me that I could probably dash upstairs, bang on the door, wake everybody up, and politely ask if I could use the bathroom but that seemed somehow... impolite. So, with first impressions in mind, I did my best ninja impression and slowly crept down the hallway to the forbidden bathroom. I slowly opened the creaking door and closed it silently behind me.

As I sat there in the forbidden bathroom, thinking about the tuna and raw eggs that had made me so horrifically ill I managed to get through a whole roll of toilet roll before I pulled on the chain to flush.

There was no flush.

There was a loud noise that sounded like a broken car engine trying to start. I stood up in a panic and tried again. Still there was no flush and an even louder sound boomed out from the toilet. As I tried a third time, willing the toilet to be quiet and to flush just this one time, there was a bang on the door and an elderly woman yelling something in Italian. I tried flushing again and she only banged harder. I quickly tossed sheet after sheet of toilet paper into the basin and casually answered the door.

"Hi," I said with the most sweet and innocent smile I could muster. She had no desire to make casual small talk, she pushed me aside and marched her way over to the toilet, yelling and making wild hand gestures.
"Mamma Mia!" she yelled and ran out of the bathroom to go and wake her husband. Things could not get possibly worse. I sat there for a whole hour while they tried to fix the toilet and finally there was a triumphant flushing sound and all was well again...

It was the most excruciatingly painful and embarrassing moment of my entire life, yet it seems to be a sort of right of passage to break a toilet whilst travelling across Italy, just ask Laura.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Where have I been? Ask And Ye Shall Receive asked that very question in their review of my blog, and it's exactly the kick up the arse I've needed to start splurging stories again.

A lot has happened since I last posted, I got engaged, I turned 21, I graduated and I flew out to Italy to teach for a few months, it's really great to be back...

On the third day of training to teach English as a foreign language we were thrown straight into the deep end with teaching Italian children, we were advised to go out into the playground to mingle with the wee things and I confidently approached the first child I could find. A little girl called Georgia.

"Hello! My name is Calum," I exclaimed with a big smile, "what's your name?"
"Georgia," she told me. I grinned happily.
"What colour is this?" I said grabbing my purple t-shirt and holding it up to her. She gave me a quasi-terriconfused expression but said nothing.
"PUR-PLE," I said slowly and obnoxiously. "PURPLE."
"Purple," she answered nodding slowly.
"PURPLE," I said again in an even more patronising tone than before.
"Yeah... it's purple," she said, "I speak fluent English."
"Oh." I was completely and utterly stumped for words. "Do you like DANCING?" I said and began to dance. She walked away un-amused and entirely unimpressed.

"I think I've been a condescending twat," I told my friends and they had no qualms with agreeing. Whoops!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

You've Got Mail...

My fingers trembled rapidly as I began opening the first of the two letters that had been delivered. Two letters from two of the universities I had applied for had arrived on the same day. Terrified of the contents I sat on the living room floor, declaring that I couldn’t open them to the boyfriend who continued to laugh at me…

I couldn’t handle much more disappointment. On Valentines Day I received a letter in the post covered in love hearts. I took one look at my grinning partner and decided instantly that the letter was probably from him. He insisted that it wasn’t. I mused over all the people it could possibly be from and finally tore it open.

It was from the sodding NHS.

Not only had they covered the letter in love hearts as a ruse they were accusing me of alcoholism. The bloody cheek. I filled out the form, indicating how many times I drank a week and how much.

Having a gin and orange with your Sunday dinner, and going out for a piss-up once in a blue moon qualifies you for alcoholism, apparently. I’ll see you all at the AA meeting…

So, with my Valentines Day disappointment still in mind I carefully peeled open the first letter.

“We are pleased that you have considered studying at our university, but…”


I folded the letter back up and stuffed it back into the envelope refusing to read it. Never have I been so petrified in my entire life. I couldn’t explain it. I never thought I would feel this way when the letters finally came.

When I finally managed to read both of the letters it turned out they were both extremely out-dated letters requesting forms I’d sent off months ago. Relieved, confused, and devastated all at the same time, I lay on the floor and gave myself a minute.

This counts as a near death experience, I told myself in the heat of the moment. I’m so bloody dramatic; god knows what I’ll do on the day the letters actually come.

All 5 of them...

Saturday, 29 January 2011

"I'm Not Gay."

Stealing Lee's iPod a year ago caused me some trouble, but I figured stealing it a second time would be okay. I mean how much iPod based trouble can a person get themselves into. More than you'd expect, apparantly.

The walk from university back home is a short one, and the ammount of things that can cause any trouble are limited, providing I don't go veering off: I am distracted easily. I popped into the shop on the way home to pick up a couple of bottles of pop, my headphones in my ears blasting out a Lady GaGa track. The only thing I hadn't realised as I was halfway down the confectionary aisle was that the headphones had become dislodged from the iPod and I was playing music out to the whole shop. I had become the riff-raff you usually get on the bus.

When I finally noticed everybody was sort of staring at me, I pulled out my headphones and realised what I was doing.

"Boys, boys, boys, we like boys in cars. Boys, boys, boys, buy us drinks in bars," was sounding out to everyone. In an awkward attempt to resolve the situation I quickly turned off the music and announced, "I'm not gay," to a nearby elderly lady, a good looking boy in a trilby (oxymoronic perhaps, but it happened.) and anyone else who would listen. As if now was the best time to start denying my sexuality after nearly 5 years of being out of the closet. They might have believed me too, I put on my best manly voice and everything, but the jig was up when I accidently followed it was some flamboyant hand-gestures.

I bought my Dr.Pepper and left. I'm just going to stop shopping unsupervised from now on. I clearly can't be trusted.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Service With A Smile.

Walking into the post office for the second time that week, wielding the second set of envelopes that contained MY ENTIRE FUTURE, I took my ticket and waited patiently in line. You see, these envelopes have been what my life has revolved around recently; applications for my potential future as a student in America.

I've been worrying about these applications 12 days a week and fretting over every little detail for the past two months, so to hand them over to a company who previously unjustly fired me, insulted me and made me want to curl up into a ball and cry, you can imagine, was not particularly my cup of tea.

I put on a brave face and approached the counter. "Hiya," I said to the middle aged brunette lady sat there. "Hi. What can i do for you?"
"Well, I need to pay the airmail on these," I said lifting up the envelopes, "they're going to America."
"Okay, just pop those on the scales," she told me, and I did.
"That'll be £2.80 for that one, and £3.10 for that one," she told me.
"Oh! That's great news!" I exclaimed, feigning my shock to how cheap it was, repeating the exact same words I had used the day before. "I thought it was going to be around £8 each, can't go wrong at that price, can..." my words began to trail off as the blonde lady I had previously overlooked, sat at the next desk, creased into a fit of laughter.

It had been her who served me the previous day, it was to her I delivered this prepared speech to avoid any awkwardness. Both women looked at me, lips pursed, heads tilted forward, and eyebrows raised.

I turned a shade of scarlet and mumbled some sort of excuse involving a saxophone and a monkey.

"That'll be £5.90 then," the brunette lady, now too laughing, said. As I handed her the money she chuckled "bargain, eh'?" and put the money into the till.

I don't know if it made me feel worse or better to leave my LIFE in the hands of two laughing women, but if anything it did make me leave with a smile.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Having a New Year Trauma

If like me you are suffering the January blues at the mo', fear not! The New Year Having a Trauma podcast is here! Forget that thick layer of stress and depression surrounding everything, sit back with a cuppa and enjoy.

Go on. Press play. You know you want to.