How are you?
Today I'm writing to you from a cosy corner of one of my favourite public houses (thanks for the speedy WiFi, guys!), accompanied by a large lime and soda and an unwavering smile. The smile is thanks to my new favourite website which, strangely, has absolutely nothing to do with cake or curious homewares. I know.
I've described it to my friends as a cross between Facebook and a dating site, but without the dating part. Which they were rather relieved about, after being exposed to some of my more colourful dating stories (The Guy Who Bit My Face remains top of the Worst Date leader board. He's had some very stiff competition).
Anyway, face-biting aside (now there's a sentence I never thought I'd have to write!) I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy from a weekend spent making friends with several groups of total strangers, and it's all thanks to Meetup. Meetup suggests local groups you can join (all free) based on your hobbies and interests. Naturally, my profile lists "Extreme Sports", "Healthy Living", and "Political Debates", because that's the kind of person I am. Ahem.
Two weeks ago, I dipped my toe into the socialising-with-strangers thing by going for breakfast with a few people who had declared themselves to be fans of tea. I figured anyone who loves breakfast has to be a pretty good egg, and meeting before midday reduced the chance of any murder-by-internet-weirdo scenarios. I mean, whoever heard of someone getting stabbed over a stack of pancakes*?!
After the success of the breakfast meet-up, I decided to (literally) up my game and spend the entirety of last weekend meeting new people. On Saturday, I went on a tour of several Brighton museums, followed by a spontaneous pub crawl, and I spent Sunday afternoon learning some new games (and pretending to be a giant. The mermaid option was already taken) thanks to some fellow exercise-shirking boardgame enthusiasts.
Saturday's museum tour began at the Old Police Cells Museum, where we learned about gruesome murderesses and were allowed to try on police helmets. Our tour group reached unanimous agreement to refrain from becoming 19th Century policemen, despite the fact you could keep snacks under your hat.
I raised some questions about whether they'd considered using metal-based security systems for their cells...
And we discovered some nice fonts, a half-fancy doll's house, and PC Otter. Obviously.
Our next stop was Preston Manor, where we discovered that there's no such thing as too many Chinese Buddist Lions...
... that the people at Doulton's really upped their game after their original footwarmer...
... and that Edwardian fire extinguishers were a damn sight fancier than ours...
... even if they did only cater to people whose hands decided to self-combust.
Our third stop was Brighton Museum, which I wasn't that fussed about as I'd been several times before. Wasn't that fussed about, I should say, until I discovered they had AN ACTUAL REAL LIFE BATSUIT ON DISPLAY!!!!
|Holy fan-girling, Batman!|
Brighton Museum's also currently playing host to the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 exhibition, which I was sad to have missed during a recent trip to London. I'm so, so pleased I finally got to see them, as it was, without doubt, the most astounding group of photographs I've ever seen. They practically rendered me speechless. ME. I wasn't allowed to take photos, but you can view (and buy) some of the prints on the NHM's website.
In lieu of a cheeky screenshot of my favourite photo from the exhibition, here's a picture of a super fancy dress:
I honestly cannot recommend Meetup enough; it's already given my social life a complete overhaul, and my diary is practically overflowing with fun days out. And, if you can't find a group covering your favourite hobby, you can even start your own. Anyone fancy joining my Brownie Eating and Nicolas Cage Movie Watching Club?
* Except, of course, if someone should try to steal someone else's pancakes. In that case, I say stab away.
P.S. This isn't a sponsored post or anything like that- I just bloody love that website.