Monday. I get up early to edit episode two of “Tangerine Dreams.” After working on it for about an hour, I schedule it to go up on Wednesday. I then leave to go to college dressed in a nice outfit. After attending lectures, my friends and I get ready in one of the college bathrooms. We then walk down to a Mexican restaurant. We sit in a booth eating delicious food, drinking prosecco and chatting to one another. There’s also a lot of shameless picture taking. I’m honoured to be surrounded by all of my friends and I immensely enjoy their company. It’s so nice that everyone has made the effort to attend my birthday dinner. The restaurant then turns into a sort of nightclub with a lot of dancing and drinking and loud music. After a few hours, we all pile into a taxi and set off to travel to my apartment. My friends order a Chinese takeaway while I head straight for my bed.
Tuesday. I wake up and go into my sitting room. My friends are lounging around in their pyjamas. After I help myself to some of their leftover Chinese takeaway, we all chat over cups of coffee for about two hours. I then go back to my room to get dressed and pack up a bag with a few days’ clothes. I leave my friends in their pyjamas heading out to get on a bus. The bus leaves me in town where I step onto a luas out to the train station. It’s there that I meet a group of friends before we get on a train to Sligo. The train journey is three hours, but we are well able to entertain ourselves as we play silly games and chat to one another. When we arrive in Sligo, we all go to a Chinese restaurant. It’s like a dream come true when my hungover self discovers that it’s not only a bring-your-own-booze restaurant, but also an all-you-can-eat. I end up having a little bit of wine (no really) as well as a lot of food. We then go back to Sarah’s house where we lounge around drinking and talking. We go to bed at a sensible(ish) time in preparation for the next day.
Wednesday. We awake early and have a big breakfast that Sarah’s amazing Mam has prepared for us. Staying in this house is so homely and lovely. When we arrived, we were presented with bath bombs and fluffy towels. I am immensely enjoying being so spoiled. After we all get ready together, we’re making good time for the bus we need to catch. As we’re walking out the front door, the bus speeds by ten minutes earlier than it was supposed to. Sarah and her Mam live above a shop so we manage to get a lift out with some of the customers that are heading into town. We’re all dressed very fancy as we pile into the back of local people’s cars. We arrive at the student races, the reason that we’ve all travelled to Sligo. It’s my first time attending the races and I’m not sure what to expect. The five of us walk through the gates, the three boys dressed in suits, the two girls in dresses, and me in a fancy pair of trousers paired with a nice top and cardigan. The place is packed full of youngsters all dressed to the nines. I get a few (less than I expected actually) stares and the odd person pointing at me. It makes me somewhat anxious. Not because they’re pointing or staring, that hasn’t bothered me for years. But because I’m with people that I don’t know extremely well. Everyone reacts differently to this occurrence. Some people get incredibly uncomfortable while others get angry. My favourite response is when people take my lead and just ignore it. I decide not to make any bets as gambling has never really enticed me and I’m terrible with money as it is. I spend most of my time queuing at the bar (I despise queues) and trying to avoid the rain. After a while, I decide that I’m not that into seeing horses being beaten in the hope that they’ll run faster than others. It’s just not really my scene. It is at the bar that I spot an old friend of mine from my school days who I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m actually delighted to see her and we tell one another all about what we’ve been up to since we last had the pleasure. After we’ve somewhat caught up with one another, I say goodbye to her and go to find my friends. Because one of my friends has won €60 and the rain has gotten heavier, we all decide that our race day is over. We walk through crowds of rowdy drunk people getting collected or walking towards town. After a bit of searching, we finally find a place to sit and eat. I am dying for a bit of caffeine and after discovering that their coffee machine is broken (devastating), I have to settle for a diet coke. After we’ve filled up on food, one of my friends announces that he’d also like a coffee. It’s about seven, but we all set out on a hunt to find a place that’s still selling coffee. We have terrible luck. Nowhere in Sligo seems to stock it. At this point I’d settle for knocking on the door to someone’s house and having a cup with them. I wonder what sort of a town stops selling coffee before seven. I start to look at Sarah in a different light wondering how she survived so many years living here. We finally stumble upon a corner shop that has a big lit up coffee machine at the back. Kyle and I attempt to contain our excitement as we slowly walk down the shop towards it. It is then that the shopkeeper leans over the counter and tells us that the machine is not plugged in. I resist the urge to trash the shop as we all cross the road and go to a bar. Kyle settles on an expresso martini as I settle on a glass of red wine. We all spend the rest of the evening moving from bar to bar and having a few drinks. We go back home earlyish and sit in Sarah’s living room playing that old gameshow game Buzz. When we get into bed, I feel so delighted to be dry warm and off my feet.