the fog monster

Fog in Surrey
I love autumn, the crisp cold mornings, the leaves start to change and foggy mornings hug the landscapes. Pulling out the coats, gloves, scarves and boots after summer (unless you live in the UK, where summer lasts a day). The perfect excuse to warm up with a hot chocolate – and don’t forget the marshmallows!

Growing up across a woodlands, I loved standing at the opposite bus stop on a foggy morning.  Where your view was restricted to the first row of trees. Everything beyond was a mystery, allowing you to forget you were in London. Those cold days where the fog would have barely lifted by the time you returned from school. It was that woodland that originally made me interested in the environment.

It was that image I painted during an interview when the lecturer interviewing me asked how someone from London wanted to study an Environmental degree. I may have gotten a little carried away during said story and admitted I used to call it the fog monster. And as I got an offer, I would totally call that nailing an interview 😉

I may have been more interested in the fog outside this morning on a train to Surrey than the book I was reading.

Annmarie xoxo

London 2012

‘You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!’

I’ve spent quite a while thinking about this so called event. This is the part where I admit I’m boring and do not have an annual event that I go to asides from birthdays. Darn us all getting older! But the words ‘life-changing’ got me thinking – London 2012!

For two weeks I was a Games Maker at Wimbledon during the 2012 Olympics. I know many Brits will groan if you mentioned those two words, but I was so excited. I remember on the 6th July 2005 when we found out that London was going to host the Olympics, we were sat in Food Tech, the teacher announced it and we were all celebrating. She then made us think what would be doing at that time when we were 19. Then there was the awful day that followed when those bastards attacked our beautiful city.

I remember applying to be a Games Maker, thinking I would never get in, to the point where I applied and submitted my application at 23:58:53 just before the deadline. Talk about cutting it short! I then remember getting an email from them just as I had started Uni asking me to come back to London for an interview…an interview! I couldn’t believe it, I was so nervous before I had even reached East London, then when I saw I was the youngest by at least 10 years I had a sinking feeling that was going to be my last stop. When I had my Orientation at Wembley I nearly thought my journey was over when I had just gotten back to London and there was heavy snow. But fortunately I was able to go to one later in the day as the snow started to melt. Luckily the rest of my training went very smoothly!  The fact that I was given Wimbledon as my venue was the icing on the cake. I was a local, and although it disrupted my journey to school for two weeks a year I loved watching it and imagined being there one day watching a game.

But what if this never happened?

I would have never worked with an amazing group of people who I met up with after the games, who also shared a passion for Wimbledon. I would have never met some of the tennis players who I have idolised for years. I wouldn’t have been with my team standing on Murry Mount on our last day cheering him on and seeing him win Gold against Federer. I wouldn’t have had the ability to say that I, yes little old me, was part of the Olympics in my hometown, the place where I grew up and played sports for my borough. Especially as the Olympics may never come back to London. Or to say that I was part of the Games Makers army that helped changed the way people saw volunteering.

Even now thinking about how amazing that summer was, I can’t help but get a little teary eyed. It was honestly the best summer I had, I learnt so much and grew as a person. It hard to imagine what would have happened if London suddenly lost the Olympics. As had I not been a Games Makers I still would have participated somehow.

Annmarie xoxo

trip down memory lane

‘Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.’

At twelve I was living in what I thought would have been my only home until I went to Uni. It was a top floor flat on a council estate in South-West London. Part of me hated living there. It wasn’t that the conditions were bad, or I felt my life was in danger. I just felt out of place compared to my main friends at school who all lived in houses. There were a group of us who got the bus home together who all lived on the two main estates in the area. I guess I was used to how in primary school everyone lived on the estate, or one of the neighbouring roads.

At the time I shared a bedroom with my younger brother, our beds being the old ones we had from the bunk beds just dismantled. The bright yellow and funky orange statement wall, the pigeon holed storage unit my dad made. The bottom of it being a huge chest filled with all our toys. The blue and green IKEA rug that acted as a passageway between our beds, and an invisible dividing line between my side and my brother’s side when we had fought. Man did we fight!  We did have our PS1 to keep us entertained, and the old NTL pace box, which must have been when freeview had just first started out.

One great thing was the Heath. Running parallel to the main road it was somewhere that always inspired me. Waiting at the bus stop every morning I would just stare into woods. I loved how over the seasons it would changed. How after the February half term you would walk back to the bus stop for school and hey presto the trees were covered in their leaves. Or how during the autumn and winter you would get dense fog, which I nicknamed the ‘fog monster’. Then used said name in my University interview! It was that heath and the view out of my window (main image in the banner, from my new room when I was older) that inspired me to study the environment. Something people didn’t understand growing up in concrete London. But my London wasn’t just concrete, it was surrounded by trees, parks and commons.

Being five floors up the view outside was amazing. I didn’t have to go outside to watch the fireworks. I would just sit on the windowsill and admire the view. Plus there would always be someone from the park across the road putting on a show. From my room you could see the warning light of Canary Wharf twinkle even though we were 11 miles away. The only bitter problem was the housing you could see from that window. The private estate that I wished we lived in instead. With their beautiful gardens and communal tennis courts. I always found it interesting the juxtaposition of wealth in London, the very rich next to working class.

It’s crazy to think that was nearly a decade ago. How times have changed.

Annmarie xoxo