Oh, the places you’ll go…

Here’s a summary of how this week has been so far…

It is hot.

Boris Johnson is Prime Minister.

I have already had three gins and two Kit-Kats.

So, it’s going well.

In seriousness I’ve been travelling about a bit recently, whether that’s visiting friends or having friends visit me, and I’ve found myself to-ing and fro-ing so much that I’ve had little time to do much else.

A new job has also brought new challenges, meaning my brain is working harder than it’s worked in some time and my weeknights have been spent lazing about in loose fitting clothes watching Queer Eye; and of course, doing no writing whatsoever because my eyes need a rest at the end of my eight-hour-day.

Time to Sparkle

A couple of weeks ago, during what was a pre-planned weekend (pre new-job era) I was lucky enough to play host to my good friend Suzi (you may remember her from previous London trips) for the annual Sparkle festival in Manchester’s gay village.

A precursor to Manchester Pride, which I’ll admit to not having been to for a couple of years due to the overwhelming crowds, Sparkle celebrates gender diversity, welcoming transgender, non-binary, gender fluid and intersex people, their families, friends and allies for a weekend of entertainment, food, drinks, stalls and, well – sparkle!

The group this year consisted of me, Alex, Suzi, mother dearest and Charlotte (who is a massive twat but also one of my best friends – it’s complicated).

Having welcomed Suzi on the Friday evening, Saturday began with a slow morning of getting ready, by which I mean I had four solid hours to faff around, switching outfits three times before ultimately opting for the same thing I always wear.

We had made the wise decision to get the train which meant more freedom to drink, but also had its downside in that we had to mix with other humans in an enclosed space.

I’d also forgotten to buy any ready-to-drink cans for the journey – a rookie error for which I was told off. I include my mother in the telling off portion of this story.

The thing that truly makes Sparkle an enjoyable experience (a bit like Pride before it got too busy for me), is the total and utter inclusivity of it all. The freedom to be yourself in an environment where everyone is accepting of each other leaves you with good feelings and for someone who’s not trans, feeling welcomed to join the fun is also pretty great.


Wandering around in the sunshine with beer is enough to make anyone happy, but not as happy as I was walking around the stalls with my mother, who insisted on buying us matching ‘Never Kissed a Tory’ badges.

She also asked one of the vendors if being a lesbian was a requirement for wearing a ‘Lesbians for Labour’ shirt. As you can imagine, he was thrilled.

Sparkle 2

Other highlights from this year’s event included:

  • Late afternoon fried chicken
  • Many selfies
  • Unintentionally matching the colour scheme because I recently dyed my hair purple
  • Alex embracing the atmosphere and dancing like his arms were on fire
  • Drinking tequila infused beer and generally celebrating being out of the house
  • My mother braiding Charlotte’s hair in a spontaneous display of artistry

Add to that the fact that there are few nights more brilliant than those that end with RuPaul’s Drag Race, pyjamas and Wagon Wheels.

Neon signs and a house panther named Ralph

On Saturday just gone and continuing the theme of spending money we don’t have and having to find a cat sitter, Alex and I ventured down to London for a catch up with some friends I haven’t seen for longer than is acceptable.

In what is still rather remarkable to me, I have a few friends that I made at university who I’ve manged to stay in touch with over the years and whose company I still really enjoy despite my mildly disagreeable personality.

Jodie, Dan and Zoe being three of these.

Having arrived at our destination and met up with them and Jodie’s boyfriend Jack, our first port of call was an industrial estate in Walthamstow that’d been converted into an enviable enclave of trendy pubs that left the Warrington me feeling incredibly uncool.

I also feel that London is probably one of the few places in the UK where you’ll find a venue filled entirely with neon signs, and a man manipulating glass in front of a live audience of Saturday afternoon drinkers. While there was indeed a moderate air of wankery to it, it’s certainly what the ‘youth’ would define as ‘Instagrammable’. I’ve attached supporting evidence so you can see exactly what I mean…

neon signs 2

Several drinks later, we were heading back to Jodie and Jack’s flat for what was one of the high points of this particular trip; meeting Ralph.

Since I began volunteering at Cats Protection, one of the things I’ve learned is that humans are still ridiculously superstitious creatures, resulting in black cats being shown the least amount love when it comes to adoptions.

Ralph, Jodie and Jack’s own mini panther, was utterly adorable, to the point where Alex went to great pains to remind me that we had neither use nor room in our home for a third cat.

Alas, my plan to slowly but surely transform our home into a menagerie doesn’t seem to be working.

cat and carnaby

They’d also planned an evening curry, which I’ll admit to being drunk throughout, although I do remember the food being delicious and the fact that the restaurant was so authentic and culturally aware that they had no licence to serve alcohol, which in hindsight was a blessing.

Yes, it’s fair to say that July has been a challenge. Not just for my diary but for my poor ol’ brain.

During busy times like these I sometimes think back to when we were in school and could happily dick about during evenings and weekends without a care for what the next day would bring.

Then again, I also had no financial freedom or solid group of friends to call my own. So, while the trials and tribulations of being a busy grown-up can sometimes be exhausting, I’m looking forward to reaping the rewards of what the next step in my career is going to bring. Not to mention the many weekend breaks to come, and a Mykonos holiday just over the horizon.

Now will someone turn the bloody heat down, please?

This woman has got shit to do.


Author: Alyssa

PR professional. Comedy enthusiast and cat lady.

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