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Sparkling in the Darkness
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everybodylives
Title: Into Absence
Fandom: Robin of Sherwood
Characters: Marion, Robin, Robert, Herne, features Marion/Robin & Marion/Robert
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Marion loses her father more than once, her husband also. She loses too much. Pain is her armour and her burden.

Marion lost her father twiceCollapse )

18th-Jul-2016 09:03 pm - Travel trouble
everybodylives
Saturday was one of those ‘good day – bad days’, not helped by the thick sticky humidity that has enveloped the UK. I’m such a winter baby, it’s hell for me while everyone else is out worshipping the sun. Anthony doesn’t cope well either in the heat, after a certain temperature he says he can’t function. So we’re having to open all the windows in the flat to keep ourselves at a bearable temperature. It always seems to happen around Anthony’s birthday.




So Saturday. A couple of friends were travelling down to holiday in a city not far from us so dropped in on the way for a catch up and a trip out to a nearby ice cream parlour as they had their toddler son with them. The little one was very taken with Anthony and held his hand on the way to the parlour and back. Anthony stays with them every year for the ice hockey weekender so the little one knows him quite well. We’re hoping to visit them this year on a non-hockey weekend and Anthony has pointed out that a wrestling company does shows in their city now and then and their roster is full of people we’re fans of so that’d be fun. We’ll have to see if we can sync that up and see that company live for the first time.




We went to a tiny wrestling show on Saturday night, a company we go to now and then. Sadly none of our friends or favourites were on the show which was a downer. It’s not a positive thing to realise but it was definitely the worst show we’ve been to in relation to the quality of wrestling and overall experience. There were one or two good matches – Jake McCluskey vs James Castle was brisk and enjoyable, unsurprising as they’re both good and Castle has really improved his look and skills recently. He should break through elsewhere soon. And the end sequence in Kelly Sixx vs Josh Bodom was brilliant but the others weren’t great really. Jamie Hayter was fantastic at getting the crowd to loathe her, really verbally laying into everyone who booed her. She should be much more known and working in much bigger more popular companies.




The bad, well, during one match there was homophobic chanting – ‘gaylord’ because there was a character who was a Mr Lover character, hitting on the girls in the crowd and posing a lot. It’s not the sort of thing that should be chanted anywhere and especially not when little kids started joining in. Also there was a row of ‘smart mark’ fans sat near us who were being frustrating and annoying. ‘Smart marks’ are fans who rather than reacting the way the company wants you to – ie booing the villains, cheering the heroes – cheer the villains instead and shout smart arse things and basically act like smart arses. There were little kids sat near them reacting beautifully to everything and I just don’t enjoy smart mark behaviour, especially in family friendly companies.




Then afterwards we got to the train station to discover a train parked up and trains indefinitely delayed in both directions due to someone on the tracks elsewhere. So a lot of trains were delayed over that stretch of track. The chaos. There was no information about what was happening, how long it would take, if there was alternative transport being arranged. It was just awful. There were so many stranded passengers, of all ages. After about an hour, Anthony and I hashed out a plan – either get a taxi back or call a friend in Southampton to come pick us up, or call his aunt and uncle in the nearby New Forest. Thankfully I spotted a policeman directing a couple of girls to a little taxi hire place up the road, whereas most people were crowding into the taxi place situated in the station car park. So we nipped up the road and ordered a taxi. Suddenly it was said that the train in the station was leaving (and it did a little while later) but there was no word about where our train was, how long it would take to get here, or how many trains were in front of it still. Basically we were still indefinitely delayed even if the trains were now beginning to move. So we decided to take the taxi home. It was a lovely journey through the New Forest, there were many wild horses wandering down the road, and our driver told us about how he once drove past a herd of deer led by a single white stag. A really magical journey, I found.




I was rather tense and fraught at the station. Poor Anthony coped admirably. I can handle delays, I’m used to them when train travelling. The problem I have is when there are indefinite delays and no information forthcoming. I hate not knowing what is next in these situations, what time I’ll be waiting until. It really makes me upset and tense and yes, I know it’s a fact of life that will happen. It doesn’t mean I find it easy to deal with. I’ve got to find a way to deal with it rather than making things more difficult for the people I’m with! Anthony has got a receipt from the taxi driver and we have our train tickets and he’s contacted the train company about how to get a refund for everything, ringing them yesterday and sending off an email to the address he was given. We were so lucky to not be too far from home, some people no doubt had a much longer way to go.
13th-Jul-2016 09:17 pm - Birthday treats
everybodylives
I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my birthday. Life has been packed and I finally have a few minutes to recap everything that I got to enjoy, hurrah. So we went down to Cornwall for my birthday – the first time I’ve spent my birthday with my parents in quite a few years. My brother is also home from abroad so it’s the first time I’ve spent my birthday with him in even longer, maybe over ten years? We were there for five days, including travel days, and it was lovely to take a complete break from Southampton. I know that both Anthony and I really appreciated it.




For my birthday itself, we went to the National Marine Aquarium which I hadn’t been to in a very long time. I love zoos and aquariums so it was a proper treat for me. There was so much to see and look at, we all went and had a wonderful time, even my brother who has been focusing hard on his masters work and has been locking himself away to work on it most hours of the day. My favourite tank was a huge one filled with so many fish including sharks and rays which were so friendly and got very close to the glass, swimming bottom-side up if you get my meaning so we could see their mouths. There was a talk by a staff member as the fish in that tank were fed and a very funny moment when a ray decided to go after one of the fish in the tank rather than some of the food. He had problems stuffing the fish into his mouth though as the fish was bigger than his mouth. It made for very funny moments, even the staff member was laughing a lot.




My Mum was not sure about the octopus that had suckered itself to the side of another tank and had its eyes closed so was likely sleeping though its tentacles were moving now and then. I said Mum would turn around and find that the octopus had gone; she didn’t like that idea at all. She might be getting a few octopus-themed Christmas presents in her stocking now ;) For lunch we went to a bit of an institution – Cap’n Jaspers, a fast-food shack that does the greasiest most delicious food on the quayside. It has done for years and has gotten bigger and better. Their famous dish is a Half Yarder – a half yard of sausage and bread. Anthony ordered one for the first time and finished it without a problem, meaning he got a special half-yarder badge. I ate a quarter pound burger known as a Jasperiser, much to my brother’s astonishment. I admit, I was so full by the time I got after halfway done but I wanted to finish it to proof him wrong.




I was spoiled with lovely presents. Anthony’s presents included a lovely white McClaren sweatshirt, to satisfy my Formula 1 love. He also ordered me the deluxe version of the Robin of Sherwood: Knights of the Apocalypse audio play, which sadly hasn’t turned up yet – there was a flaw with the discs apparently which has to be sorted first. So Anthony wrote me a funny note from Herne to apologise for the delay, he’d even burned parts of the paper so that it looked authentic  ; ) My sister won present of the birthday for sending me a box of Reeses Cupcakes Mix, bought when she was in Canada recently. I can’t wait to make them!! Both my sister and Anthony have volunteered to be taste testers, so selfless ;)









Another bit of hilarity was when I was opening a present from my parents. They’d been to Wimbledon this year and had bought me something there. It came in a lovely Wimbledon-monogrammed box but when I opened it...there was nothing inside! Mum and Dad were astonished as they had definitely taken a full box to the till in the Wimbledon gift shop. Anyway, Mum rang the giftshop and explained the situation – clearly the cashier had taken the present out of the box for some reason – and got a replacement sent. It arrived this week; it’s a Wimbledon hand-fan. So perfect for me as the hand-fan I’d had for years broke a few months ago. Mum is very annoyed as she really wanted to see my reaction when I opened that gift. The joke this year at Christmas is going to be asking Mum if she remembered to put anything actually inside the wrapped presents ;) Lesson is check the gift box before you leave the shop!




Another present from my parents was another marvellous baking book. They seem to buy me a different one each birthday or Christmas and there’s so many wonderful baked goods recipes I want to try out. Nowadays I mentally categorise recipes as suitable for church or for taking to the wrestling (will they be easy to smuggle in? Are they too soft or crumbly? Will the icing melt in very hot weather? Lol Such considerations must be made). So I cannot wait to dive into this book and try out the recipes. Naturally my baking adventures will continue to be documented here.









Massive love must go to rustyarmour for the superb Jimmy Havoc birthday graphic she made me for my birthday. I only discovered it recently – for some reason I didn’t get an email notifying me I’d been tagged in LJ – and I absolutely adore it. She’s not a wrestling fan at all but has clearly been kindly reading my wrestling ramblings and making sense of them as she got Jimmy down perfectly : ) I’ve said it before but thanks so much, hon. I love it greatly.







Other than going out on my birthday, it was a fairly low-key visit to Cornwall. We went to church - always good to visit the home church even if not a huge amount of people that used to go are around anymore. We also saw my friend Chris who still lives in the area and who has known me since I was thirteen. We spent an evening at his house for a good catch-up which was really lovely. My Mum didn’t make a birthday cake – she made a chocolate and peanut butter caramel pudding! I still got to blow out the candles on it and it was so perfect for me and absolutely delicious. Anthony and I also went into town on day, on the train so as to use the little local station, and did a bit of shopping. I managed to get Anthony to buy a new work shirt – he hates wearing button-downs but needs to for work so I get him to buy one or two a year – and he also bought new socks with silly faces on and another pair of shorts with combat pockets, very useful for smuggling food into wrestling shows ;) Anthony coped very well as I tried on five different skirts, trying to find something suitable for work so it needs to be not too short but I need a skirt to be knee-length or just above knee length. Between the knee and ankle-length makes me look very short so it’s hard to find anything the right length and work-suitable. But I found one that is white and black patterned and floaty and suitable. Hurrah! I will look in other shops in Soton for more. Summer work clothes are so darned hard to find.




I also bought a couple of DVDs in the sale. They were selling classic films very cheaply so I got The Maltese Falcon and North by Northwest, neither of which I’ve seen. I can’t wait to watch them. I got a lot of DVDs for my birthday as I love to watch films, all films I’ve not seen before but want to see so can’t wait to start making my way through them.




It was wonderful to spend time with my parents. They really are my friends and I genuinely enjoy spending time with them. Anthony likes spending time with them and in Cornwall, as it’s so different to anywhere he’s ever lived. So I was happy for his sake that we got to visit there too. My Dad was doing his usual trick of prodding me with his walking stick from his armchair lol. We watched a lot of Wimbledon and lots of Euros football so I was filled with happy nostalgia – we always watched a lot of sport growing up as my Mum is mad about it. It was lovely to spend time with my brother as well, it’s so strange to think that he’s home permanently now after living abroad for so long. I doubt he’ll stay in Cornwall though; he needs his own space and so do our parents! And it’s not as though there’s much there in terms of jobs or relationships for him. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes and what he does.




Once we got back to Soton, I had the rest of the week off work to properly enjoy my birthday. Poor Anthony got a rotten cold, sneezing and blowing his nose all the time. He didn’t take time off work as he didn’t have a fever or anything but he really did feel miserable so I ended up doing the grocery shop alone, lugging everything home by myself. Definitely my weight-lifting for the week! I did some writing and TV watching, did a few jobs around the house and made my birthday cheesecake – peanut butter with an Oreo base. It’s the third year I’ve made it and it turned out really excellent this year. I used half the amount of condensed milk listed in the recipe and that stopped it from turning into pudding and not setting, which is what happened last year. It really did turn out nice. I think next year though, I might try to make myself something different ;)




everybodylives

Title: For Now We See In A Mirror Dimly
Fandom: WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Characters: Bray Wyatt/Roman Reigns
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Bray Wyatt has plans for Roman Reigns. Roman was born to be a beautiful monster and consume. Bray is sure of it, so is his sister.
Author Note: Set before Money In The Bank 2016. Title is part of 1 Corinthians 13, specifically verse 12.

The more Bray saw of Roman Reigns, the surer he was that Roman was destined for great things.Collapse )

everybodylives
Title: Songs To Be Sung
Fandom: The Hobbit
Characters: Balin, Dis, Balin, Dain Ironfoot, Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Balin has a headache – Thorin's Company and Dwarves from the Iron Hills cannot agree on anything. He's extremely glad when Dis arrives at the Mountain.


When it was announced that Dis, Princess of the Blue Mountains, had been sighted nearing Erebor, Balin breathed a sigh of relief. It did not last long. Dori began seeing to the royal rooms, which predictably caused no end of arguments about taste and the right of the Iron Hills Dwarves to be equally involved in such matters. There had been so many violent accusations and subsequent brawls concerning who had taken pipe weed from the paltry store they all had to share for now that Barlin hadn't used his pipe in days. He could feel a headache approaching, especially when arguments about what music should be played at the welcoming feast and what food should be cooked began to rise also. It was not for the first time either.



No, these sorts of arguments had been sounding off of Erebor’s walls since the Iron Hills’ Dwarves and Thorin’s Company had begun living there together. It was enough, Balin often thought, to explain why Thorin was still in a healing sleep. How the Men of Dale and Elves of Mirkwood would laugh if they witnessed such moments – fiercesome Dwarves preoccupied by infighting about who got to choose the decor for royal chambers and what songs should be sung.


Of course it didn’t help that many from the Iron Hills made it clear that they wanted Dain Ironfoot to hold Erebor’s throne. Well, the Company weren’t going to have that. Still despite the loud noise and arguments for the throne, Dain wasn’t making any kind of move towards claiming himself King Under the Mountain, not while his kin still lay in the healing rooms, breathing strong. Was it only a matter of time though? Balin had never had reason to believe Dain was greedy for the throne but times could change a Dwarf, especially if Dain’s council kept clamouring for the rule of the Mountain and all of its cursed gold.


There was the loud noise of something being thrown – a book, if Balin was not mistaken, followed by indignant horror from Ori and the furious sound of his catapult – and that was the start of another almighty ruckus. Balin’s headache was getting worse. Dis could not arrive soon enough. Not that Balin was supported in such a reasonable view by his brother. Dwalin always had something to say to Dis, little of it complimentary. Much to Dwalin’s irritation, Dis always got the final word.


Balin ambled purposefully away from the fight that was increasing in insults and items thrown and locked himself away in his quarters, thanking the Valar for the providence of Dis and wishing that he'd thought to pass the kitchens first for a piece of that seed and cheese cake that Bombur made most Tuesdays.


Once the tenor of shouting beyond his door changed to the kind that had always accompanied Dis' sure arrival anywhere, Balin left his quarters and joined everyone else inside the great hall, cleaned up well after the fight that had doubtless gone on until very recently. Dwalin joined him, looking entirely thunderous. Doubtless he’d been involved in the noise and rancor that had ruined the hall and increase Balin's headache in the first place. Balin shook his head.


“She will still arrive, brother.”


Dwalin made only a sound not words and it was not an agreeable one. Nothing could be done though because Dis had indeed arrived, with great ceremony and hopefully with at least a few barrels of pipe weed. There were drums and trumpets being played loudly, songs that Balin hadn’t heard in too long. Ah those were the songs to sing, no fight needed. Balin smiled, watching the Blue Mountain Dwarves march in, singing lustily, many with a sheen of tears in their eyes as they gazed around Erebor at last. Yes, it was a sight, wasn’t it?


The singing and playing stopped when Dis came to a halt, almost in the centre of the hall. She wore a thick circlet of gold, designed with whorls and studded with gemstones that matched those threaded through her beard and hair. She was clad in armour, a sword in one hand, her arrival one of a formidable beloved warrior, a leader. It was very well done.


Dain’s followers didn’t seem overjoyed but Dain himself grinned widely and was the first to approach her.


“Cousin! Or what's left of you. Have the Blue Mountains starved you?”


Dis laughed, “Dain, you old bastard. I’m surprised your knees still work.”


They embraced heartily. Dwalin looked somewhat sour beside Balin, without reason seeing as he’d spent many hours beating several of Dain’s folk in sparring and drinking. But there was always very little reason behind Dwalin’s interactions with Dis.


“Ah, it’s a fine day,” Dis declared as she and Dain parted. “Here we are, family reunited in Erebor!”


There was a great roar of approval; the stones themselves seemed to shake. It was a remarkable and wonderful feeling. And it was good to see Dain’s council so muted, perhaps things would continue smoothly now that Dis was here. She had the right to the throne while her family healed.


“Balin! Make yourself know.”


Balin smiled into a bow, “Your Highness, you’re a more glorious sight than all the treasure in Erebor.”


“You are gold-tongued and too formal to the last,” Dis retorted, her gaze twinkling before settling on Balin's brother. “Dwalin.”


“Dis,” was Dwalin’s terse response, he didn’t even manage a bow.


Dis didn’t bother addressing him for any longer than necessary. She turned to her people. “Right, no standing on ceremony. There's rooms to be filled.”


“Aye but there’s much rock to be cleared from many of them first,” Balin cautioned.


Dis nodded as though the news was expected. Balin wouldn’t have put it past her. “Fill what rooms you can then. Your folk are clearing and mining, Dain?”


“Aye, they’ll be glad of company and extra hands.”


“They’ll have it and we shall all feast tonight. Ovak, get to the kitchens. Bombur will have the run of it. Gilund, see what can be done in the libraries and storehouses. Herund, see that the rest assist in excavating. Runbar, keep me informed.”


The Blue Mountain Dwarves moved quickly. Only a couple remained with Dis, a married pair, if Balin remembered correctly, who’d been Dis’s honour guard and protection since her very youngest days. They rarely left her side, as Dwalin rarely left Thorin’s. Dwalin wasn’t much keener on them than he was towards Dis.


Dis smiled widely, “Now, I shall see my family before we unroll all expanses of news. You’ll join me, cousin?”


“Family together, what could be finer?”


“Balin?”


“Gladly, Your Highness.”


Dis unbuckled some of her armour as she walked but did not remove it. She talked to Dain of the sights she’d seen on the road, the Wargs and Orcs, the Eagles circling high, the great bear that had become a man (“he was a friendly soul and supped with us before returning to his home. I’ve a promise to keep to him still – tales of the Mountain and my family. A valuable ally.”).


Dwalin and Balin accompanied the cousins into the healing rooms. The Durins were being tended to in a pair of adjoining spaces – Kili and Fili in one while Thorin occupied another. Dis seemed to slow and sag greatly when she caught sight of her sons, borrowing a moment before immediately aiming for their bedsides. Oin was the only healer attending, seeing to one of the cuts on Fili’s leg. He bowed towards Dis.


“It’s the stillest they’ve lain for me in years,” he commented to her.


Dis laughed fondly, not at all offended by the dark humour and speaking a little louder than she did for everyone else, “And when will they begin moving again?”


Oin checked Fili’s pulse before answering, “Not long now I’ll wager. Their sleep is not as deep as Thorin’s. They’ve broken bones, hurt inside and spilled a lot of blood but they will return to us soon enough.”


Dis smiled widely and wrapped strong fingers around Kili’s hand, kissing it before repeating the same action with Fili. She spent several moments drinking in the very image of her sons, her eyes unashamedly bright with tears, because her family were restored to her, thank the Valar. It was a miracle, Balin had shed tears enough himself.


Eventually Dis released her sons with reluctance but strode through the open adjoining door to visit her brother who was still sleeping deeper. Bilbo Baggins wasn’t present, though he haunted the room more than even Oin most days. Knowing that Bilbo had already had plans to see King Bard and his family, Balin had encouraged him to keep them, not break them for Thorin’s sake. It was good for a Hobbit to see the sun, especially this one. Balin was sure.


Dis looked carefully at her brother, “You kept your promise, brother, though not through lack of trying. How is he?”


“His wounds were grave,” Oin reported, he never believed in delivering news in a state less than honest. “But he is recovering, it’ll take some time, mind. If Bilbo wasn’t here, well, I don’t know how much longer it would take.”


Dis smiled at this, her gaze lifting, “Ah, the Halfling. I’m told he lives here now.”


Of course. She hadn't been told by Balin though, the messages he and Dis had exchanged by raven once Erebor had been reclaimed had been few. But Dis had always possessed an exceptional network of loyal spies, even Nori who worked brilliantly and innocuously as Thorin’s own spymaster didn’t know the identity of most of them. Balin was quite certain Dis had a spy amongst Dain’s people too.


“He’s visiting Dale, Your Highness,” Balin supplied. “He has friends there, particularly the new King and his family, and building relations with those that can support or hinder our trade and supplies, it appeared more than prudent.”


Not everyone agreed with that assessment. It’d been the cause of many ridiculous and tiresome fights. Dis smiled though, seeming to agree with Balin, thank the Valar.


“Have him sent to me once he returns. I’d hear more about the creature who has done so much for the Mountain, despite my brother’s best efforts.”


Dwalin made a rebellious noise from beside Balin and sure enough, Dis did not ignore it. “Sleeping or awake, Thorin Oakshield remains hard-headed and a pain beyond imagining. It did not cross your mind that he could have kept the Mountain and a great many allies without locking the doors and upsetting and angering everyone he spoke to once the gold overtook him?”


“He kept the Mountain, with honour,” Dwalin all but growled.


“It was a glorious battle,” Dain agreed with a grin of remembrance.


Dis matched her cousin’s grin, “I’ll hear of it once I’m clean and settled from the road. The feasting awaits us.”


Dain offered her his hand which Dis took without hesitation, the two of them linked together as they left the room. Balin shook his head at Dwalin’s expression.


“Some lessons are worth learning, even if it does take years.”


“The Mountain holds.”


Balin shook his head, his headache pounding once more, “If she has you thrown in the dungeons, I’ll not argue it.”


*


The feast was loud and glorious. Dis and Dain sat side by side in pride of place near the throne. Dis would not sit on it while she ate – “it'd only give me indigestion,” – and spoke to all who addressed her. She made sure her pair of guards ate too, though their eyes were always alert to movements within the room. Bofur led singing throughout the meal until Dis hammered a fist to the table.


“Now let’s hear songs from the Iron Hills. It’s been too many years.”


There was a triumphant shout and several Dwarves quickly left their seats to perform. It was a canny move that worked well – no one dared argue with Dis. She was doing a difficult job with apparent ease, ensuring the Iron Hills and Blue Mountains were given equal weight. She'd have to smelt them together until such separation was indivisible. Balin reckoned she'd do it too, she'd always listened during his lessons. He ate well beside Dis and offered the sort of information she might be interested in. Dain did the same from her other side, Dis asking questions now and then, never wearing less than a smile. To everyone else, it likely seemed she was enjoying mere conversation with two old friends.


Eventually Dis knocked her fist to the table again and there was quiet somehow among the enormous amount of merry Dwarves filling the hall.


“I thank you for the welcome and for your fine work in restoring Erebor to her glory.”


There were cheers and toasts then that Dis raised her goblet to before continuing, “My family are healing and I am united with my cousin once more. It is a glorious day!”


The music started quietly again and a Dwarf approached Dis and Dain, carrying an official-looking notebook, “Princess, account is being taken of the treasure within Erebor. Many of the pieces known by name have been accounted for, except for the Arkenstone.”


“Good news indeed, Runbar,” Dis pronounced firmly. “The King of Dale holds the Arkenstone and long may he do so.”


There was much expected unrest at her words. That had been one of the biggest arguments – Balin had been one of the few who'd desired the stone to stay away from the Mountain. Every other Dwarf was loud in wanting the jewel returned. Balin's headache thumped again as Dain said, “It’s the heart of the Mountain, ours by bloody right, stolen from us.”


“In an attempt at peace,” Balin quickly pointed out.


Dis was resolute, “Should my brother have possessed it...I do not think so many would be gathered here in this place now. It is ours, yes, the Mountain's, yes. But I will not see Dwarven blood corrupted, destroyed, like that again, or too far from our sight, in hands we cannot trust. So the King of Dale shall hold it for now, before those that have heard of our gold come begging. Who would look in Dale? We'll set the story away from those Men of course. I will meet him soon to talk on such things. Runbar, have those white gems been recovered?”


“They have, Princess.”


Dis clapped her hands delightedly, her face bright with mischief that invited others to smile too, as she rushed on from the subject of the Arkenstone, nimbly distracting the hall of Dwarves. “We shall return them to the Elf King and give him no more reason to camp at the foot of our Mountain!”


Framed like that, such unpleasant news – of Dwarven jewels being given to an Elf - could not truly be argued. The gems would be a small price to pay for the absence of King Thranduil, one that all Dwarves could agree on. His continued presence had been one all Dwarves were united against. The question of the Arkenstone would likely frequently return and Dis knew it even as she lifted her goblet in triumph.


“To the retreat of the Elves,” she toasted, which gained an almighty cheer.


Very well done indeed. Not even a fork had been thrown in anger. It was at that point that Gandalf made his reappearance in Erebor, for the first time since leaving after the battle, with Bilbo Baggins close behind. That brought something of a hush over the hall, even with all the ale flowing. Gandalf seemed as inscrutably confident as ever when he stepped forward to address Dis.


“Hail to Dis, Princess Under the Mountain.”


Dis eyed him with some amusement, “Gandalf the Grey, I have you to thank for the return of my kin.”


Gandalf shook his head with a hand to his chest, though he was clearly pleased, “Ah the great Eagles themselves turned the tide, my lady.”


“And asked only for food in return. That was a hunt, let me tell you.”


Gandalf’s brow pinched, “I’m sorry, my lady?”


Dis looked even more amused now, “The eagles, wizard, they paid their respects and we provided them with dinner. And the man who walks as a bear, a melancholy soul, keen for us not to make a meal of his friends, but he could run.”


There was a cheerful sort of noise around the hall at that, as Dwarves from the Blue Mountains remembered such an occasion and explained it to those around them. Balin had heard part of this story while feasting, Dain had already proclaimed that he was eager to take part in such a hunt soon. Dis had declared it would make good sport to see in the next season, perhaps to celebrate her family’s healing. It would also, incidentally, bind together such allies; the Mountain and the forest. Balin hid all hint of a smile in his beard.


Gandalf for his part looked profoundly confused and disbelieving, “The eagles have spoken with you and Beorn has hunted?!”


“Without desire to harm his friends so it was more a fiercesome run. Don’t think he’s run with anyone for many years. Now, wizard, my family lies healing, the Elf King will leave the Mountain once he has the gems that steal his sense, the King of Dale stays our ally. We will see Erebor restored. You will join us for a drink and food of course.”


Gandalf’s eyebrows appeared to be in danger of losing themselves in his hairline but he accepted the full goblet someone handed him. Before he could speak though, Dis spoke first.


“Bilbo Baggins, come forward.”


Bilbo looked taken aback but hesitantly obeyed, his hands neat behind his back. He bowed deeply, not a courtesy Gandalf had extended. Dis looked at him carefully, a warm smile on her face, as though amused by the little creature’s very existence. Balin thought it a great pity that Bilbo was no longer dressed in the fussy fine clothing he had worn the very night he’d met the Company. That would only have increased Dis's amusement.


“Your Majesty, thank you, for welcoming me back to your Mountain.”


Dis’s smile broadened, “Thank you, Mr Baggins, for doing your best to get my fool brother to see sense. For that and more besides, in this hall of my ancestors, I formally break your banishment. You’re welcome in Erebor, if you leave the pretty stones alone.”


It was a sharp jest to make (in truth it was not entirely a jest) and Bilbo looked more than a little unnerved amid how overwhelmed he was. But he did smile shakily and bow again.


“Thank you, I...thank you. Truthfully, I’d give all the gold in Erebor for a pocket handkerchief.”


That was not as true as it once was, Balin was sure, so maybe Bilbo's words were more a little joke to spread the good cheer. Balin and Company laughed accordingly. Dis seemed quite charmed by him while Dain seemed as though he was still trying to work out what he thought of Bilbo. Dain hadn’t spent much time with Bilbo yet, seeing as Bilbo spent most of his time in the healing rooms.


“I have a gift for you, Your Majesty. It's not, well, it's not gold and I couldn't find all the flowers I would normally, not here, and meadowsweet is always so difficult. Anyway it's a gift and I hope you like it.”


Bilbo stepped forward a little more and brought his arms out from behind his back to reveal a wreath of flowers. Where had Bilbo found enough blooms for that? There weren't enough in Dale. The blossoms were somewhat straggly but they were bright enough. There was a murmur amongst the Dwarves, most didn't know what to make of it – flowers and plants weren't usual gifts among Dwarven folk.


Dis looked pleased though and touched by surprise. She motioned for one of her guards to bring the flowers forward. Bilbo explained in the meantime.


“It's a flower crown. In Hobbiton we make and give them as gifts during times of celebration.”


Dis smiled widely as she looked at the flowers, “A fine crown, Mr Baggins, from a Hobbit to a Dwarf. You must have searched hard to find so many flowers.”


Bilbo nodded, “It was very good exercise, and pleasant to gain that not running for my life again.”


There was heartfelt gratitude and more self-deprecation in those words and more laughter from the Company. Dis slipped off her circlet to don Bilbo's flowers. They suited her well, her twinkling smile and the deep jewel tones of her clothing, the glints of armour. Dain laughed heartily.


“Oh, Princess of Flowers now?”


Dis laughed in unison with him, “And of Stone and Mountain, cousin. To the strengthening of our people and the Mountain!”


Goblets were raised and cheers filled the room. Bilbo looked awkward but did not leave as Dis beckoned to him, “Come, Mr Baggins. I would hear of Dale and its King that slew the dragon.”


A chair was found for Bilbo, complete with a cushion so that he would be at a height to meet a Dwarven gaze comfortably. It was all as though it had been planned. Gandalf was far from the head table and while Balin had no doubt that the wizard could ensure Dis's full attention if he truly wished it, he seemed content that Bilbo had her ear for now. Wizards, Balin had observed, were extraordinarily tricky. Just where had Gandalf been since the end of the battle?


Balin was quite sure that if he asked, the wizard would not give a full answer. Wizards. No doubt Dis thought similarly, though she also knew of their usefulness which was why she'd made it clear Gandalf was welcome. For now.


Bilbo was talking quite freely with Dis, she'd clearly put him at ease. That was good, as was how Dain was also part of the conversation, looking amused maybe but not patronising, not too much anyway. There was some contentment, well-worked balance and a Durin wearing a crown. Balin, well, he felt relaxed enough at last to reach for his pipe.


-the end

6th-Jul-2016 08:17 pm - Reach out and touch faith
everybodylives
Birthday post to come, for now, here's my write up of the June Progress Wrestling show that Anthony and I attended. This Progress show was a strange one and it felt strange approaching it on Sunday – hardly any of our favourites were scheduled to be there – but it turned out to be pretty explosive show. It’s the last show that our friend C who sits with us at Progress shows will be able to make regularly as his new job means often working on Sundays. He’s so excited about his new job but so annoyed he’s gonna miss shows. We’re really gonna miss him sat with us. It just won’t feel the same without him.




There were, as always, some exceptional matches. Damon Moser vs Nathan Cruz opened the show, continuing the rivalry of Moser vs the Origin stable, Moser finally taking revenge after they kicked him out a year ago. Moser is one of Anthony’s faves, a recent trainee and with bags of physical in-ring talent while still finding his personality. Cruz, as I have mentioned before, is a fave of mine. Moser asked for this match to be made No Disqualification and so it was, with some very nasty moments, Nathan was bleeding from the mouth by the end of it and has had trouble eating and brushing his teeth since. The match ended when Zack Gibson, who’d accompanied Cruz, cable-tied Moser’s hands behind his back so that Gibson and Cruz could smash steel chairs into Moser’s head at the same time. The story between Moser and the Origin continues to be really interesting and a great way to elevate Moser as he works more regularly on the main roster. Also I’m really hoping the Origin split eventually so that Cruz and Gibson can feud because, having seen their NGW work as rivals, I know how good it will be.




One of the grudge matches on the card was Laura Di Matteo vs Jinny, the ladies given the spotlight once more. This has been brewing for some time as Laura previously worked as Jinny’s beleaguered assistant until finally snapping. It’s the first one-on-one match Laura has had on the main shows and she showed herself to be super athletic, really skilled in the ring, and Jinny of course was her usual amazing disdainful aggressive fashionista character. There really are few villains as good as her in British wrestling right now. She’s hated for the right reasons. Though this match wasn’t the best women’s match I’ve seen in Progress, it was still a great watch and I know we’ll get them facing off again at some point soon.




The debut of New Zealand wrestler Travis Banks was a complete surprise, as he interfered to make sure that TK Cooper beat Jack Smith. TK and his girlfriend Dahlia Black, both also from New Zealand, are in a stable with Travis in other UK promotion so it makes sense and is a great way to bring Travis into Progress. We’d seen him at the Fight Club: Pro/Chikara show earlier this year and he’s a great young talent. As Progress’s next Natural Progression Series will exclusively be for female talent, this was a great way to bring a fresh male talent in. Really looking forward to seeing what Travis does in Progress, though I suspect he will do more on their developmental ENDVR shows at first.




Lots of big lads wrestling, though sadly Dave Mastiff had to pull out of the show due to flu so his fellow Origin stablemate Zack Gibson stepped in to team with T-Bone vs Big Daddy Walter and Iestyn Rees. First time seeing T-Bone live who was covered in tattoos and had brilliant facial expressions, he definitely impressed. I hope we see more of him in London. Walter is fast becoming one of my faves to watch live as not only is he so phenomenally talented in the ring – a man his size doing such great dropkicks really is a thing to see – but his facial expressions have become really wonderful, the way he reacted to Zack slapping him was so wonderful. Also I’ve only ever seen Iestyn Rees as a villain before so to see him work to cheers was lovely, he and Walter were a great team. Gibson was perfect all night; his repeat promos on the mic – the same used at the last event – wound the crowd up to heights I’ve never witnessed before, the jeers and boos were astonishing. He’s so ridiculously talented in the ring too. He’ll have gold round his waist by the end of the year.




Another absentee – Damo O’Connor got a head injury the previous night so couldn’t wrestle – mean that we got Trent Seven against Rampage Brown. Trent is an adorable throwback wonder I’ve been delighted to watch before, as noted on this LJ, and Anthony has declared him one of his favourite people in wrestling. So it was lovely to see him make his Ballroom debut, even if it did mean him getting beaten up pretty badly. He’d never faced Rampage before and they were a good match. The look on Trent’s face as the whole Ballroom sang along to ‘I Will Be Heard’ as Rampage got in the ring was hilarious. Hope we get more of Trent in the Ballroom, but then I always want to see more Trent.




The London Riots didn’t have a match but to my delight, they showed up with the Progress tag titles to say hi to the crowd and once again lay down their mission statement – to defend the titles against all comers, here and elsewhere. They’d implied before that they meant to do it in some infamous American indie companies. Jim revealed that he and the other co-owners had listened and at the next chapter, the Riots would defend the titles against...War Machine. A massive powerful tag team, working mainly in Ring of Honor where they were tag champs. They’ve also worked with the Riots before in another UK company when they came over to the UK earlier this year so it’ll be fun for them to have a match together in Progress. The announcement got a huge cheer and it’s the first step in the Riots elevating the titles as Progress continues to build its tag team division – there’s not many teams for the Riots to face right now in Progress itself, a couple need to earn title shots and the others don’t make sense as opponents. So this will be exciting.




Johnny Gargano was in the house to lay out a challenge for his Smash Wrestling Championship – Smash Wrestling is a Canadian company that Progress are going to run two shows with in Canada this September, Smash vs Progress. Gargano is currently working with WWE, though has a contract that lets him still take indie dates, and will be part of their Cruiserweight Classic Tournament. Who answered Johnny’s challenge? Mark Haskins of course, back in Progress after collapsing after Night 1 of May’s shows. The Ballroom was so pleased to see him and he and Johnny put on a blistering match, so technical, so amazing, and HASKINS WON. A Canadian title was won on British soil, by a Brit! None of us expected it and wow, what a noise. I expect Haskins will lose the belt during the shows in Canada but what an achievement. So completely thrilled for him.











So the main event – Anti-Hero vs Villain, Tommy End vs Marty Scurll, for the third time. Not the best of their three matches for sure but still utterly compelling. These two make magic together. And as the rumours swirl that Tommy will be reporting to the WWE Performance Centre in September, would this be the last time we’d see him in London?? At one point the lights went out, usually heralding the arrival of Mikey Whiplash to screw over Tommy only Mikey had been banned from the building with the threat of being fired if he showed up. Instead it seemed to be an organised distraction by Scurll as he got the win using his umbrella for a submission. That decision was reversed when Jim spotted the brolly and restarted the match, only for Scurll to win by using the ring ropes for leverage.




The fans started chanting ‘Bullshit!’ Never a good sign in wrestling – usually a sign that a crowd is going to start revolting - and it never happens in Progress. Tommy seemed to agree as he kicked Marty hard in the head, yelled that this wasn’t over, and then made his way back to the entrance stage.




Then....then....




Pastor William Eaver’s music hit. He’d gained a title shot after winning the third Natural Progression Series, a title shot he could cash in at any time. Which he promptly did, hitting the Clothesline from Heaven on Scurll and getting the entirely shocking victory, bringing Scurll’s highly-impressive title reign to an end. The Ballroom exploded with noise as everyone screamed. Eaver is the first Progress training school graduate to win the biggest of the Progress titles. It’s an amazing achievement. Do I think he’ll hold the title for very long? Unlikely, he’s the most inexperienced of any of the previous champions and while it’s a lovely thing to do, a truly amazing moment, I can’t see him holding it against the folk who will be coming for it. Will he still have it for the Brixton show in September? What a thought.




Also Progress released this video earlier this week of Scurll’s reaction to losing – trashing a room backstage and then locking Progress co-owner Glenn Joseph in a Chicken Wing submission, so he could leverage a rematch for the title out of Jim Smallman. Of course as Scurll is ‘The Villain’, he didn’t let go of the hold and the London Riots had to be called in to pry Scurll off of Joseph. Love videos like this, how they add to the storytelling.




Outside of the actual awesome wrestling. I got to meet Johnny Gargano though I was super nervous and annoyed Anthony with how long it took me to actually talk to Johnny who was laidback and awesome and clearly pleased to be there. I eventually asked for a photo and he obliged, thanks Johnny.









Also I got to chat to Trent Seven which made me so happy. He is, as Anthony says with great affection, a ridiculous man. But we both adore him and we had a lovely chat with him, about which part of him was damaged this time – his knee and then after his match his hand as well. He’d gotten the call to be part of the show at 1.30pm that day, after he’d flown back from wrestling in Italy. He hadn’t had much sleep but was still chirpy and huggable and his usual hilarious self. He was feeling a bit sorry though as he’d  ducked out of a day with his lovely other half to wrestle – ‘she’s gonna leave me!’ he sort of joked. Hopefully she understands.











I got to chat to my usual girls with whom there were hugs and awesome chats as always. I miss them so much between shows. And we got to talk to RJ, half of the commentary team, as we often do and see him dancing with referee Paz in a way that was fully disturbing and led Anthony and Paz to have a hilarious conversation on Twitter later on about how pretty Paz is, LOL. RJ as always was super friendly and gave me a hug. Considering the fact he’s a primary school teacher away from wrestling, I don’t know how he’s always so positive and friendly and open. I find it inspiring.




There was one unfortunate moment at the show; involving a fan, that Jim called out on the mic for being aggressive towards other fans and for flipping Jim off, which Jim didn’t care about, only that the guy was being aggressive. The guy began to answer back, something about Progress calling itself strong-style (this was after Cruz vs Moser no-DQ match) but then everyone started shouting him down and booing and whatever he said made Jim utterly furious because he got the guy thrown out and told him not to come back. It was rather scary, Jim doesn’t like getting cross but according to other fans, the guy was a problem at other shows so maybe it was a good thing. Left a bad taste though.




On a way lovelier note, Jim was wearing a t-shirt with the Progress symbol in rainbow colours and the hashtag #EveryoneWelcome on the back, because it was after the EU vote and it was Pride the day before. At the start of the show, he gave a little speech saying that no matter what happened in the country, everyone would always be welcome at Progress, in London and Manchester. It was a lovely moment that got a standing ovation from the crowd. It’s why I love wrestling and why I especially love Progress.
everybodylives
Title: Shared Language
Fandom: WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Characters: Becky Lynch, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: There's friendship and there's gold, never both together. Becky Lynch knows this, and yet, here she is, thinking about impossible things and pain, talking to Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.
Author Notes: Contains hints of Becky/Sasha and Dean/Roman. Written and set before Money in the Bank 2016.

Becky might have done that once or twice herself, a long time ago.Collapse )

28th-Jun-2016 06:09 pm - Never enough chocolate
everybodylives
Time for chocolate shortbread and chocolate mousse. These are two recipes I’ve done twice before and always enjoy doing as the shortbread recipe is one my Mum-in-Law gave me for my birthday, along with a jar full of ingredients and a set of biscuit moulds. Still one of my fave presents. This year for the first time, the biscuits came out of the moulds perfectly, none of them breaking. This is because I turned the moulds over and tapped on the bottom to get them out, rather than try to pry the biscuits out of the moulds as I did before. Logical when you think about it lol.








The chocolate mousse is a recipe from the book that came with our food processor and is very rich and delicious. I let it set in a small bowl in the fridge and that seems to make it turn out very nice and thick. The first time I tried it, I used a much bigger bowl and the mousse came out pure liquid! Whoops, not right at all. The two recipes go well together and are a fun very chocolatey combo. Anthony and I have been seriously enjoying them.




You may wonder why I haven’t talked about the EU since the referendum result. The fact is I’m exhausted and heartbroken by it and it’s devastated my husband. So I won’t be talking about it, I won’t upset myself further. That’s all.
22nd-Jun-2016 08:41 pm - R.I.P Anton Yelchin (1989 - 2016)
funkyname





2016. It’s inconceivable that we should lose so many people that meant so much to us this year.




I know, Anthony keeps reminding me, people die every day, people who mean something to those that love them. But this year so many heroes have been taken from us, so many people in the public eye who have really touched and affected so many of our lives. It seems worse this year somehow and it only continues.




Actor Anton Yelchin, aged only twenty-seven, has died in a tragic car accident – I won’t list the details here. Yelchin had such a promising career ahead of him, so much left to do, but he was snatched so bizarrely so painfully away. What an awful situation for those that loved him.




Yelchin is best known as Pavel Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek films – Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. A third film in the series will be released later this year, once again starring Anton among the talented ensemble cast. My goodness, that’s going to be a hard watch. Yelchin was so sweet and smart as the young, precociously smart and energetic Russian navigator, using a comically thick accent as was present in the original series. In real life, Yelchin had Russian parents and was born in Russia but was brought up in America so naturally spoke with a Stateside accent. As with all those in the new film series reinterpreting such iconic original series roles, I really enjoyed Yelchin’s portrayal, his spin on the character. There was something wonderful about him that made me smile. Goodness, I want to bury myself in Star Trek fic.




While Star Trek made his name worldwide, Yelchin starred in a number of other, mostly independent films, all to very good notices. All the critics seemed to note that he was very talented and had a bright future ahead of him. He never seemed to choose obvious roles. He seemed to choose what appealed to and challenged him, rather than what might be the biggest box office. He mentioned in interviews how fake he found Hollywood and how he only completely trusted a small circle of people. He sounded like an astute perceptive young man.




So many friends have spilled their grief across Twitter – people who worked with him on Star Trek for example – and what’s clear is how loved he was, what a hole he left behind. All I know is that we have been robbed of a fantastic career of performances, all that was to come. I grieve for his family and friends, for what they have lost too, the clearly loved, hugely talented and appreciated young man that he was. As one article about him stated baldly at the end, what a waste.




A collation of Twitter tributes from friends such as Star Trek cast members can be found here.
His Guardian obituary can be found here.
21st-Jun-2016 05:35 pm - We are NXT
everybodylives
Last week, Anthony and I had another wrestling date day. This time it was a touring WWE show for their NXT brand, which is their developmental brand and is actually massively well regarded, particularly by those who love really good wrestling. I’ve seen WWE live once before but Anthony never had so we were both excited. The venue was in Bournemouth, where we’d seen a TNA wrestling show live several years ago, so we took a little time off at the end of the working day – it was torrential rain and I was soaked by the time I got home. Anthony had made my dinner, bought me some treats and had a towel ready – he really is a wonderful man. Soon we were ready to hit Bournemouth and do the long but scenic walk from the train station down to the arena by the sea.





There was a range of ages attending, lots of families with young kids, lots of people our age and there were so many wrestling shirts on display. I was wearing my Finn Balor ‘Balor Club’ shirt while Anthony wore a New Japan shirt he’d recently bought so was very much the hipster lol. We got to catch up with a friend of Anthony’s who was attending too which was lovely. The atmosphere was very lively and fun and so full of excitement, everyone was so excited to see NXT live – this is only the second time NXT have done a UK tour. The only downside to the crowd was the pockets of very drunk blokes who swore loudly – WWE is a PG product and there were very young kids there. So that wasn’t great. Also there were a few loud people in the crowd who kept telling people off for some of their chants and using the wrong terminology when telling them off – a lesson; if someone is cheering for the bad guy, they’re a smart mark, not a mark. Don’t use the words if you don’t know the meanings.





The show itself was really good fun and generally, very enjoyable. Of particular amazing joy for us was seeing Japanese star Shinske Nakamura wrestle live. He’s so hugely charismatic, so wonderful in the ring, a massive star in Japan and now he’s working for the WWE. It was such a massive privilege to see him wrestle live; I know it completely blew Anthony’s mind. It was Nakamura vs Bobby Roode so was a very good match of course. Roode was a big star in TNA for ten years before deciding to leave and join NXT as NXT has become such a phenomenon with a focus on in-ring skill, meaning people who wouldn’t have wanted to work for WWE before now do as WWE’s main roster is really more about entertainment than good, even decent, wrestling. Roode’s power and solid heel work worked so well with Nakamura’s flamboyance. I still can’t believe we got to see Nakamura live.





I was extremely excited to see some of the ladies, particular Bayley who is such a wonderful character, a joyful genuine fangirl who wrestles brilliantly and is loved by men and women alike. She’s a rare WWE female character in that she isn’t sexualised at all and is such a great role model for little girls. The noise when her music hit was amazing, she deserved it all. And she was teaming with Carmella, who has improved so much which crowds recognise and is so awesome in her Statten Island attitude. I still kinda wish she’d gotten to graduate to the main roster with Enzo and Cass though, she’s such a great part of their act, but she is improving genuinely in the ring and that’s awesome. After the match she was particularly sweet in hugging fans at ringside who had brought homemade signs to show their support for her. The two of them had a great match against Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. Alexa has improved so much, she’s a great nasty bitchy villain and Nia is still so inexperienced but she is improving. It’s great to see a big girl out there being a badass.





Also we got to see Asuka, the NXT Women’s Champion who is beyond spooky beautiful with amazing kicking and striking power. Again, a huge star in Japan and it was such a trip to see her live. She was against Peyton Royce, an Aussie girl still learning, she’s got a lot of development to go but I love her submission in the ropes and reckon that like many of the girls who’ve been through NXT, she’ll develop massively.





We got to see American Alpha vs the Revival which was a great tag team match. The Revival have really developed as a ‘no flips, just fists’ old school team that has gotten them a lot of fans. They’ve been allowed to develop and really work on the gimmick and their team work, time they wouldn’t necessarily be granted on the main roster. It’s really worked; they were brilliant at shouting derogatorily at the crowd and really relishing their bad guy spoiler role. And American Alpha are an amazing amateur wrestling style team, so smooth, so amazing to watch, and their chemistry together is off the charts. It was such a giggly delight to watch them live, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching them weekly and they did not disappoint. The two teams worked so well together. It may well have been my match of the night in terms of wrestling.





I have to say one of my favourite moments of the evening was Tye Dillinger making his entrance. His ‘perfect 10’ gimmick was never intended to be as popular as it is but crowds here and in America just adore him and how he’s thrown himself into. I hope he was overwhelmed by how many people had ‘10’ signs in the crowd and how everyone was cheering for him. He’s great in the ring too and deserves a lot better than he’s getting in terms of where he is on the roster in NXT. He’d be such a star on the independent wrestling scene right now. Getting to enjoy his entrance was such an awesome moment. He faced a British wrestler called Hugo Knox who has been part of NXT for a while though hasn’t made it onto TV much yet. He’d surprisingly agile for a big muscled man and definitely made a few fans in the crowd who were surprised by how good he was – he used to be a professional goal keeper so he’s familiar to a lot of blokes. I’m interested to see what WWE do with him. I just hope they don’t plaster him in Union Jacks or give him a Cockney or posh Brit gimmick – they’re the only two British characters you ever get in WWE : (





The main event was a treat – Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe. Joe we’d seen live at the TNA show and Anthony has seen Finn live before but this was my first time seeing Finn live and I wasn’t disappointed. To be part of his entrance – when certain beats of the music hit Finn spreads his arms wide and the audience does too – was so amazing, to see everyone joining in, the lights flashing. Of course Joe and Finn have faced each other many times now and their match was as good as expected, a very good main event to round off the show, with Finn getting on the mic afterwards to thank the crowd for all the support. He earned it; he always does.





It was a bit scary on the train home as thanks to the England football game, there were quite a few drunk lads. There was a group in our carriage who were flinging each other about and being loud and annoying so it was grating but we’ve dealt with that before on trains. Someone else in the carriage wasn’t happy though – a very tough-looking older man, the sort you wouldn’t want to annoy, got up and told them in no uncertain terms to sit down and shut up. As you can imagine, that didn’t go down well, just started more arguments and the drunk lads squaring up to him. Then another bloke got up and asked them to sit down too. Eventually they did and a fight didn’t kick off but it really felt like it might, that sort of tense electricity in the air. I didn’t fear for my safety, more that things could get very bad for the lads involved.
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