Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas is almost upon us which means a cycle of shopping, wrapping, decorating, cooking, eating,(mostly mince pies) and, this year, essay writing. Wrestling 7,000 words of notes into a 5,000 word argument is slipperier than catching a greased turkey for the oven. All creative work has been shoved firmly to the back of the cooker. Hopefully it will be full steam ahead in 2012.

Happy Christmas one and all, here's to a fulfilling, happy and healthy New Year!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Walking on Sunshine

It's dull and dreary out there, I'm wrestling with pages of notes for an essay, an entry for a script competition for the She Who Dares TV idea, the never-ending novel, tottering piles of text books and blurry eyes from screen glare. Time to get outside and remind myself of what it's all about. Here's an extract from the now published - She Who Dares book (available on Amazon) - perfect idea for a christmas present?

“The ground was hard, the air was still, my road was lonely: I walked fast till I got warm, and then I walked slowly to enjoy and analyse the species of pleasure brooding for me in the hour and situation” Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte.

Jane may have been in need of a She Who Dares walk. A fast pace when needed for fitness and speed, a rambling pace all other times, enabling the flow of conversation between company. Walking solo may be a salve for the soul and an inspiration for the mind, but sometimes a body craves company, and these days few women feel comfortable striding out alone. Our group walks provide a chance to have a proper chat without the fear factor that can accompany some of our sessions. Not many of us fall into long discussions when we’re grappling with a mainsail, or hanging off a cliff. As Mark Twain put it:

“The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk.”

Walking is a rest for the soul and exercise for the body. Strolling slows down the pace of our frenetic lives and shows us the world as it once was, as it really is. You wouldn’t notice the frosted spiders webs festooning trees on a cold morning, the snail trail or a resting butterfly, hidden within the petals of a dancing flower when you are cooped up in a car, or even flashing past on a bike. In a country where over twenty four per cent of adults and rising are obese, walking is the perfect way to mobilize and increase fitness, for all ages and abilities.

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-three today and we don’t know where the hell she is.” Ellen DeGeneres

Monday, 10 October 2011

Peaking too early

The Nine Maidens is an ancient stone circle, just outside the village of Birchover in the Peak District. A sacred place of ritual and calm overlooked by a large tree hung with ribbons, trinkets and scarps of cloth, written with phrases of memory. Had I known there were 18 miles of hard walking coming up that day, I might have stayed there, perched on my own stone, contemplating life.

There were 9 of us,hardly maidens anymore, but it meant we had one stone each.

Arriving the evening before, Linda and I had found the others out on a short walk (this should have been a warning of what was in store) and flicked through the information file, that declared; “Here, we’re proud of our facilities and rightly so.”

Surveying the bunk bed accommodation, mould spots flowering from one corner and the outside toilet block, we decided to find other facilities we could be proud of and departed to the nearest pub, the Druids Inn. There we sat by a welcoming fire with a glass of wine and contemplated staggering back drunk much later and demanding our tea, not wanting to scare the new girls, we thought better of it and made it back in time for dinner. After which we imbibed more alcohol, a few games and a demo of some recently learnt burlesque skills, retiring in time for the noise curfew, only to be woken by the party in the next barn in the wee small hours.

We made a co-ordinated assault on the toilet block, none of us wishing to stagger alone through the dark yard, and I lay awake listening to the dark night and watching Gianna in the opposite bunk, silouheted against tiny pinpricks of light from a village in the valley, like a romantic effigy, her hands clasped across her chest. She was still lying like that when I was roused by bird song in the morning, the dawn light threw her profile into relief, and I was relieved to see her stir, I thought she’d passed out.

We set off 8 miles across the moor, the uneven terrain giving way to the gentle landscapes of Chatsworth, rolling down to the noisy river rushing over weirs, it should have been announcing our grand entrance, but they didn’t even send the carriage out for us. If we’d known what the rest of the walk held, we might have hijacked the golf buggy parked outside, but we staggered past into the stable courtyard, where we unpacked our butties and bought a coffee or two from the kiosk. Other walkers milled around us, mixed with well dressed day trippers, young ladies and gents in cravats and hunter wellies and coach loads of grannies in twin sets and curls.

Onward through the pristine hamlets of the Chatsworth estate, past perfect gardens and tidy houses, and a long, long climb, up a never ending hill we made our way along more footpaths to Bakewell. Staggering like wild women from the hills among the tourists and quaint shops to a tea room where the waiter called our table four small tarts and tea. Our ripoite, “How very dare you” was met with a weary smile, I bet he only hears that a hundered times a day or so. The tart was a disappointment, we should have gone for the pudding, truck loads of sugar might have helped with the next bit. Walking out of the town past tempting bus stops across a field, a passing Land Rover pulled up and a bloke yelled at us that we were going the wrong way. There followed a dip in morale as we consulted the map, knowing we had a horrible hill ahead of us.
Descending on a mountain bike track through a wood the other side, my knees screamed and wobbled. We dragged ourselves down the last lane to the welcoming smoke billowing from the chimney of the Druids Inn, escorted into a gothic red room that probably matched the colour of our feet, we ate steak, Venison and Partridge in our slippers, brought back from our barn by the lovely Rachel, who’s also came back with a car so we didn’t have to face the last hill.

The next day, a short walk was in order and we eventually found our way to Dovedale. Strolling along the caramel coloured water that flows swiftly down stream, we ignored the steep paths up the green hills, hopping across the stepping stones walking along under granite outcrops, Derbyshire’s version of sugar loaf mountains, following the gorge to damp caves, nooks and crannies, before heading back to share some home made cake in the car park and making our weary way home.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Flaming Steeds

As a child I imagined the modes of transport in the later years of my life would consist of charging a hover car for the super highway, stocking up on fuel for my jet pack and remote controlling my scooter when I needed to pop to the shops. Life in the 21st Century hasn't quite lived up to all these expectations, not quite, but I came closer to a part realisation of one of these fantasies last week when She Who Dares tried Off Road Segway. A segway is the closest we've come to the remote controlled scooter, an upright, electric motorised vehicle that looks as if it should be zooming down the corridors of a space station, not cutting through the forest in Norfolk. These one's are specially adapted for rough terrain, with tyres like tractor wheels, and camouflage paint to make them look rough and tough.

We didn't feel quite so rough and tough when we signed the indemnity form with a warning printed across the top in large red capitals:


I'd never seen a sign like this when we've abseiled off cliffs or jumped into swirling seas, never mind reached a top speed of 10 miles an hour, under supervision, a foot above the ground on an upright scooter, but in these days of health and safety they weren't pulling any punches with the warnings.

It took us a while to get the hang of the things, even to get them started, they're responsive to balance, so we had some very wobbly starts and juddered around the training area at a snails pace before setting off on designated tracks through the forest like a gang from Chorlton and the Wheelies. Gliding along under trees and through ferns, our confidence grew until we unexpectedly hit troughs and holes in the path, the bumps adding extra excitement as we flew, inches above the ground. Given our growth in confidence, the instructor set the segways to sport mode and eager to try out the new responsiveness we leaned forward pushing them to maximum speed on the level path back to base. Just as we were gaining a level of competence, our session was over, but I've persuaded the family to go back and give it a go in a few weeks, watch this space!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Summer Daze

When I was younger, lets say school age, the summer holidays seem to last for ever, the sun always shone, I was out on my bike from dawn till dusk, finding adventures alone or with friends, mum relaxed the rules on sweets and treats and I got a lolly ice from the ice cream van almost every day and even fizzy pop from the pop van once a week. I've spent the last few years desperately trying to recreate these halcyon days for my own children, finally, I have to admit defeat. They'll make their own memories from mammoth XBox tournaments, sleeping till noon, movie sessions and the occasional sleepover, I'm sure they'll be good memories too. This summer I tried to inspire them with the She Who Dares spirit; Daily walks for a dose of fresh air, the odd trip to the beach. There they watch from a distance as I swim a little in the murky waters of the North Sea, stepping back as I cajole them into joining me on the waltzers spinning on the pier, shake their heads as I proffer sugary doughnuts and pints of hot tea. I thought we had it cracked on our holiday this year, a Baltic cruise to new places, culture rich and super organised, my daily lists were abandoned as the Cruise Compass delivered to the cabin listed everything for me. Given the choice of activities, my kids opted out of most of them, with the occasional flash of participation when I wore them down. A quick dip in the pool on deck 12, even if it was lashing down and a force 9 gale, climbing the wall on the very top deck above the churning North Sea. There was no opportunity for outdoor swimming, so they got out of that one, although I did dip a toe into the Baltic shoreside in Tallin. I suppose they don't need to be inspired by me, they'll find their own way. For everyone else, a copy of the newly available She Who Dares book is a good starting point!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Download too!

Progress, of sorts, the book is also available as download on KINDLE,, bit cheaper, and I know easier, for some. Means I can carry it round with me to show ot

hers too.
Struggling with the first scene of the screenplay, having not written a montage scene before, it's all just quick images, but lots of pages of writing, best get on with it then while they are all out the house. Why is it so difficult to get teenagers into the fresh air on lovely days when the sun shines? I'm missing the coast, ready for another sea swim, a fresh dip in the British Briny - without the equipment we wore for this pic, taken during coasteering off the Welsh coast a few years back.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

She Who Dares book - now available!

Having negotiated the murky waters of self publishing, and the not infallible world of self proofing (other readers may be able to spot any 'deliberate' mistakes) the She Who Dares book is finally published!!! Available at - $30 (about £18) with free shipping, and I'll get it on in Kindle form soon. Phew, it's been almost as scary as taking a high jump in coasteering or a forward somersault in synchronised swimming, but not quite.

Now we wait for the feedback, the response was immediate from a fellow writer, Mr. Frank Cottrell Boyce: "Hooray" - perhaps that's all he needs to write when he fulfils his role in penning the opening speech to the 2012 olympics - what more is there to say, but HOORAY!!!!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Back to Life

So a back injury forced me to stop everything, cancel loads of She Who Dares adventures, including the bumble (perhaps jumping off bridges into the river isn't too good for the spine. Even the more sedate activities like cycling, swimming and pilates have had to be put on hold for a while, feel like I'm operating on half speed.

However, have been advised to walk, and borrowing my parents dog, have done just that, heading off down hitherto unexplored paths in the lovely sunshine.

I did make it into London this week for my first one off lecture at Birbeck, the last time I was on a campus was 20 years ago, but I made it, dazed and confused, having negotiated several tube changes and a wrong turn that brough me out near Coram Fileds instead of Russell Square Gardens. I made it in the end. Enjoyed the lecture by Michael Rosen, rambling and autobiographic, rich with anecdote and performance, just like an afternoon with my father. Got me to thinking how many "well known" people I've seen in the vicinity of the capital in the last year, the list goes like this:

Lady Gaga (well, that was next door in a restaurant in Sydney, not quite UK) - she is tiny.
Paul Merton - In the Swan pub, next to The Globe
Bill NIghy - shook the hands that have touched Johnny Depp (Ok, that was Cambridge)
Martin Clunes (Cornwall)
and in the recent past - Rupert Graves and Kerry Fox who performed my script, Gurinder Chadha, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Quentin Tarantino - they were in London. Not a bad line up, I'll just shake the stardust out of my eyes, makes for good inspiration to keep on with the writing.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Nice Day for a White Water?

May the 4th is International Star Wars Day - May the 4th be with you! On this day many years ago I was fighting to keep the nerve forces of my own under control, and the white froth of my wedding dress as I awaited my march down the aisle. I never imagined I'd be staring down another runway, exactly twenty years later, ready to be immersed in the force of white froth on the Olympic white water course at Broxbourne. The butterflies were still there. That's what She Who Dares will do to you, find you revisiting all sorts of feelings and places in unique and unpredicatable forms.

There had been an announcement on the Chris Evans Radio 2 Show that morning - "Representing Hertfordshire, Jools Abrams-Humphries will be celebrating 20 years of marriage to Stuart by white water Rafting on the Olympic course at Broxbourne, hold on tight kids, you're not as young as you used to be, but hopefully still as happy, if not happier." Thank you Chris, yes we are, but as I watched Team GB spinning down the white water course, it wasn't quite happiness that fizzed in my insides, apprehension maybe, excitement, definitely.

The centre is amazing, steel and concrete carves a river from the top slope to a pool below. We stood outside the space age centre, on an elegant wood and glass deck overlooking the lush trees of the county, watching Team GB run through a morning practice on the violent water. Four huge pumps pulse 13,000 litres of water down the course every second. That's some power, and the paddlers skim it with ease.

In just over a years time the centre will host the world's top kayaking talent, the creme de la creme of paddlers at the 2010 Olympics. Today there are 36 middle aged women of all shapes and sizes ready to launch. The instructors are thorough, we show off our skills in four rafts, immersing in the shockingly cold water and jumping into the final eddies to float downstream in a swim practice. Wet suits warmed, instructions absorbed, we're ready to ride the course.

Most of the time it's 'Get down!', 'Paddles up!' as we bump and fly between the man made rapids, spinning, coasting, surfing, slammed by walls of white water. Riding pole position at the front, there's no time for my titanic moment, all speech is lost as I swallow gallons of water, that drowns out the cacophony of screams from my team behind. It's brilliant, and we'd all do it again, despite one of the rafts inverting and its occupants riding the rest of the course underneath it.

Not a bad way to celebrate an anniversary.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Martin Clunes, mindful, or mind-full in Cornwall

I love Cornwall, the sea and shore, coves, creeks and moor.
The air that blasts through you, spring cleaning the chock full mind.

This year I was prepared to enjoy the surroundings with some mindfulness, practiced, badly, in yoga sessions in the weeks preceding our holiday. I was looking for a cure to the mind-full of monkeys jumping around inside my head.

The remedy - the view and the outdoors. I drew the curtains every morning to a landscape of cliff and headland, hugging the village in the valley, the sea wrapped between the hills. The roads are so steep into Port Isaac, it's impossible to walk down normally, the legs wobble and arthritic knees creak, stumbling like a drunken sailor lurching back to the ship. I'm sure Squeeze Belly Alley has seen plenty of those pass through the centuries. The walk back is no easier and feels like penitence after indulging in the excellent, fresh food at The Harbour or The Mote.

I was attempting to walk down and came tumbling out of Dolphin street, right onto the set of Doc Martin. Martin Clunes smiled graciously, I'm sure it happens all the time. We watched from behind a lamppost as I scribbled the synopsis of my Cornish screenplay, 'Flow' on the back of a business card. The opportunity to hand it over slipped by as we supped a pint of Doom Bar on the quay, eyeing up the coastal path snaking over the headland.

I'd always wanted to walk part of it, and as the sign promised Port Quin, 3 miles, it seemed possible. What we didn't know was that three miles was the steepest pinch of path possible. Sheer, uneven steps staggered from one cove to the other, the path teetered over turquoise seas and rocky coves, I didn't feel the impulse to dive in from here, but I did itch to snatch my daughters Blackberry from her hands and skim it over the waves like a skipping stone. Technology doesn't help clear the mind. There was one moment when the family ahead disappeared round the next bend, the family behind lagged, and I was alone. Me, the headland and the sea, I'd reached my mindful moment.

Another opportunity came with a swim in the crystal clear waters at Harlyn Bay. Wrapped in a wetsuit, hat and boots, but I forgot the gloves, it was so cold my hands nearly fell off, just a few strokes hurt like hell. The cold did stop me thinking about anything else 'though. Maybe I'll go back in August for the Port Gaverne to Port Isaac swim, a short distance hugging the rocky coastline. However, isn't August the month the basking sharks are out? Could be something else on my mind then.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Wow! Crazy weekend in one of my favourite cities, nice to see through all the shiny, shiny steel and glass, it hasn't changed too much. Enjoying a glass of chilled wine at a pavement bar, a scally swaggers past "This must be (beat) one of these cosmopolitan places you hear about, where you can drink wine in the sunshine" sounded like the lyrics from The Farm circa 1987. Later we fought for a seat among the well dressed crowd in Alma de Cuba, a bar in a converted Baptist church, drinking Cuba Libre under the stained glass windows and trying to avoid whiplash from the dancers tassles or injuries from the fantastic false lashes of the girl sat next to me.

It was good to meet up with friends and tour our old haunts, drowning out the historical commentary on the open topped bus tour as we pointed out places we remembered, and in our lives, have loved them more. (Beatles quote). For the She Who Dares girls I took a spin on the Liverpool wheel, despite my fear of Ferris wheels, and spotted an activity we plan to do soon - water zorbing - but in the freezing water of the Albert Dock?! More challenges followed on the Sunday, my other half completed the Liverpool half marathon with his sister and our friend, his preparation involved all the delights the city has to offer in the drinking and culinary departments, as well as tourist stop offs and pavement pounding, as he commented "I bet the Kenyans don't train like this."

Despite the babylon of shopping, steps, sculptures, art and culture, Liverpool still doesn't take itself too seriously, which is why it will always have a special place in my heart. If you haven'tt been there - go - enjoy - just keep your wits about you, unlike the Russian sailor we encountered in the street on Saturday night who's only English was "My ship is over there", hope he found it again.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

And it's good Nighy from me..

Sunday saw me embarking on a new adventure. Probably out of my depth, I waited nervously in a queue outside the venerable establishment of the Cambridge Union Building, for entry to the BAFTA hosted event, a LIfe in Pictures with Bill Nighy. I had reason to be especially anxious, a few years back I wrote a screenplay and had him in mind to play one of the principal characters. All through development it was Bill's voice and mannerisms I heard bringing the character of Zachary Pender to life. This was my last chance to get the script to him personally.

My daughter and I planned our ambush, we found our seats at the end of the second row of burnished leather benches, banked across the oak floor from the opposite rows, now filling with fresh faced and eager students. My clammy hands gripped the folder containing my script, and I spent the entire time in a state of heightened anxiety, waiting for my chance. The chamber resembled the House of Commons, and I felt like a back bencher at Prime Ministers Question Time.

Despite the adrenaline coursing through my veins, I did enjoy the evening. Bill Nighy is one of the most enduring and versatile actors of his generation, a charming, debonair man, who swept into the hall in a pale blue suit, eyes twinkling behind large rimmed glasses. He entertained with a lifetime of anecdotes, tales of how he came to acting from a family of car mechanics. He didn't want to follow in his father's footsteps and had his head turned by a girl who got him into the Guildford School of 'Prance and Murmer' , where he learnt very little. Except perhaps the ability to make a move called a bananna, curving across the stage from one point to the other. Directors have asked him since if he's drunk on set, but it's his laid back and laconic natural attitude. Despite disparaging the 'craft' of acting, all the film clips shown displayed his considerable talent for it. Bill wouldn't watch, he crept down in his wing backed chair as if he wished the floor would open up. What galvanised him eventually as an actor, was the realisation he was doing it for a job and sometimes he would need to behave beyond the call of duty. He referred to his time as Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean as 'the squid', and described his discomfort through the first days of shooting, dressed in a baggy black outfit, covered with white velcro bobbles in front of a green screen, when he was introduced to Johhny Depp: "Probably the most Beautiful man in the world, and I was dressed as Andy Pandy." He described his respect for writers "It's all about the writing".

Given encouragement by these words as the actor took his bow I rushed after him, shaking the hand of a man who'd shaken the hand of Johnny Depp, he was gracious enough to accept the script. Lets hope he didn't leave it on a table somewhere, and that he'll find the time to read it.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Apologies for the bad editing, I'm still getting to grips with imovie, had the idea to do the same thing with some She Who Dares video clips, but I missed what would have been rich material at this mornings sessions, due to a case of knackerdom and the calling of a warm bed, not much in the SWD spirit!


Sat by the cold Thames on the South Bank, released after an hour plus of standing like a vertical sardine on the underground, I looked down at the murky water from my concrete perch, and wondered who would swim here? David Walliams is swimming the length of the Thames for Comic Relief. I will enter the waters myself later this year, in a 750m swim at Marlow. I hope the weather is kinder than today, when everyone is wrapped up against the cold. A scattering of people make their way across the pedestrian bridge next to Waterloo, fold up bikes, Boris Bikes and mountain cycles flash past in the shadow of the London Eye. Westminster squats, watching, from down river. A busking band strikes up a merry melody, Oh Susannah, and I shuffle off to the welcoming warmth of the BFI cafe, where I can watch the river scenes unfold from behind glass with a strong black coffee, contemplating a dip for another day.

Thursday, 24 February 2011


I wonder what is the point of this endless list making? The list in itself is endless, there are always things to do, large or small, what would happen if I existed in a list free world fora week? perhaps I should give them up for Lent. I currently have 10 lists on the go, three writing related, five home related, one leisure related and one shopping. I'll try to forget about them all tonight and go climbing, but can I remember which way to tie the knots without a list of how to do it?

Met an author in Waterstones this morning, had published his own book, I thought he meant publish on demand, but he had actually printed it himself, started to write it when his children were young, he's now a grandfather, oh this process takes forever!!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

MA or not MA?

So now I'm applying for MA places, but the application process is akin to writing a novel, 5,0000 words of original fiction for one, a 2,000 word essay for another, have to put the SWD screenplay on the back burner for a short time, and find more time to write. Will I be the oldest student on campus? Who else has done a creative writing MA recently? Let me know:)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

She Who Dares- the Movie

Coming soon - She Who Dares - the movie - a heist story of friendship, desperation and Karabinas, set in the lost lands of South Wales. Have thought of it before, but didn't have the story hook - thanks Stu, now I do! I'm writing the outline to enter for a Euroscript competition, but may well go ahead and write the screenplay anyway.

Monday, 24 January 2011


Are they secret one's? I'm beginning to approach carefully chosen ones, if only to save me the time of trawling through publishers lists. Feel a personal friend of the lady in the post office, the number of times I go in there, armed with a padded envelope and a request for an SAE postage. Met an author this weekend who told me not to approach publishers directly, contrary to other information I've been given, but I'll keep plugging away.

In the meantime an adaptation of the screenplay is being resurrected, time to get that novel finished!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


Light, at last! More than halfway out of the darkness, and a little light and sunshine warmth tickles the skin and gently promises Spring. Which is why I'm sitting indoors writing this, when I could be out walking, cycling, running. I'm off!
More indoors tomorrow with Snow Centre Skiing, my first time, so watch this space to hear how it went. I'm putting together a series of mini videos on She Who Dares for You Tube, to launch next month, and am currently investigating launching the book through P.O.D.
News to follow:)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Are you dancin?

As I'm going to miss Zumba this week, here's something to jog a few memories!

Hip-hop - She Who Dares style

Down behind the shopping centre and colour drained high street, where Primark reigns supreme – a cauldron of culture and entertainment lurks - Harlow Playhouse. Inside, beyond the airy foyer, is the low celinged and red walled dance studio. Ambling in wearing our trademark red sweatshirts we looked like a community service project gone wrong, a group of middle aged, displaced hoodies, SWD in the hood.

We were met by the sweet and far cooler, Jenny, who flicked her eyes over the group and turned away, ready to teach from the mirror, backed by a nervous and very serious She Who Dares. We faced our own reflections for our first Hip Hop session, more like ‘Hip replacement hop’. As we attempted to set our faces in concentration the effect was less ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, more ‘Come on if you think you’re hard enough’.

Jenny led us through some warm ups, keeping a straight face all the time. It’s the opposite of how most of us were taught to dance; hold yourself taught and head high. This is loose and floppy, shoulders down and an attitude stance, easy for the young, stiff joints and knees meant we looked like a demented band of wooden tops. At least the music was recognizable; she took pity on us and found some Michael Jackson. Thriller never looked so horrific.

Jenny took us through a series of moves at a slow pace, funereal even, explaining each move. The wave - start with the arms extended at shoulder height, curl the fingers up to the ceiling, then the wrist, elbow and shoulder shrug, repeating on the other side. She demonstrated but our stop-motion movements never quite flowed. Then she demonstrated some footwork, and explained how the crips and the blood gangs from LA have their own trademark moves. We invented a SWD version. Then the moonwalk, more like the Zimmer stroll, but we tried. We thought we were doing OK until we saw a snippet of video played back later. No Britain’s Got Talent next year then. Some attitude must have rubbed off, entering a local coffee shop en masse, everyone else leaves. Must have been the hoodies.