Trip to London, Our Day at the Ploughing
26th September 2011
Prize-winner Lauren’s Trip to London
Last Spring, 2nd year student, Lauren Mulvihill, won the inaugural John West Fantasy writing competition. Part of her prize was a trip to London and she has written this witty account of her adventure.
Last year, I was lucky enough to win a “Fantasy Writing Competition” run by www.brainfood.ie and Jon West, for which the first prize was an iPad, a box of fish products (bear in mind John West was sponsoring) and an all-expenses paid trip to London - which I think is a fairly amazing prize. I headed to London at the beginning of June (a perfect time for me as I missed some of my summer tests).
Now I’ve never been a great flyer, so one or two things were expected not to go “My Way” on the flight. Unfortunately, the bad luck began before I even got into my seat. I’d advise anyone reading this to always remove your watch before going through the metal detectors...I know it seems obvious, but I tend to forget obvious things (for example watches containing metal)... because getting searched at the airport was the most uncomfortable experience of my life.
Thinking not much else could go wrong, I took my seat in the aeroplane (at the front, Yay!) between a boy who kept falling asleep and jolting back awake when his head fell forward and a business man who looked extremely uncomfortable sitting next to two teenagers. So, while I was sitting there thinking “Should I say something to these people?” who did I hear at the other side of the aisle but my father chatting away to the two complete strangers sitting beside him. I mean, how does he do it? Long story short, I sat listening to the Killers at full volume for the majority of the journey.
Once we arrived at the airport we were collected by a taxi, the driver of which wouldn’t have looked out of place in “The Godfather” (particularly when cut off in traffic – scary stuff), and driven to our hotel. At this point I realised that the plane journey was worth it, because what a hotel it was!! My room was fabulous and the location was perfect, facing the Marble Arch, a five minute walk from Hyde Park, and Oxford Circus was just around the corner (which meant I could get to Primark in less than three minutes – heaven!)
Of course, most of our time spent in the city was dedicated to seeing sights. Big Ben, Westminster, Buckingham Palace, and the London Eye – it was brilliant! Any spare time we had was spent strolling around museums – in particular Madame Tussaud’s and a disastrous trip to the Museum of Natural History. I say disastrous because it was two hours of dragging my feet, bored senseless, all because of my misguided notion that my father wanted to see it. It turns out he was suffering under the belief that I wanted to experience the place. Finally I found an adorable little shop where everything had a panda on it.
While all of this was amazing, the main purpose of my trip to London was to meet author Frank Ryan and his agent Leslie Gardner. I was expecting a meeting in an office of some sort, but it was very nice and informal. We were told to meet up with Frank and Leslie in a small restaurant.
When we arrived, they were already in deep conversation (apparently you can work with someone for four years and never see them face to face). Once they noticed us, we were greeted very warmly and I even got a present from Leslie – two fantastic books. Both Leslie and Frank were lovely, and once I had finally managed to order my glass of milk (the waiter couldn’t understand my accent!) we began talking properly. I discovered that not only is Frank Ryan an author, but he is also a marine biologist, and was one of the lead doctors during the Hillsborough disaster. The meeting was very interesting and I learned a lot about writing in general and being an author.
All in all I think I was very lucky to win such a brilliant prize. I loved my trip and would definitely go back to London.
Our Day at the Ploughing!
Ploughing championship wellie fashions
This day involved a very early start. We all met outside the school at 7am. Everyone was tired but the excitement of the day cancelled any feeling of tiredness. Mr Collins, Mrs Collins, Mrs O’Brien, Mrs Stack and Mr O’Keefe all came with us and I must take my hat off to these people for giving us such an enjoyable day. On the way to ploughing the ‘’Back of the bus crew’’ sang. We entertained lots of people... well, we thought we did anyway!!
When we arrived at our destination we were all ready in our wellies and raring to go. We got a tracker ride to the field where all the stalls were located. We went around to lots of different stalls and on our treks we got interviewed by WLR, Beat and RTE. Many girls also presented the weather on RTE and if I do say so, we were very impressive. After awhile we decided to amuse ourselves so we went around asking random boys if they where Sean from Irish college. As we expected they all looked a little confused and rightly so as there was no such person! I must say the day was most enjoyable and I have truly never laughed so much.
Thank you to all involved in making the day so memorable.
Jessica O’Brien TYA.