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Charity, Confectionary and a Cold Ride Home.

Last Friday night, I was invited along to the Children in Need off-air backstage reception party. Needless to say, that could be in itself an amazing whirlwind experience to remember. It was a night filled with glitz and glamour, an open bar, the live show broadcast on a giant screen on the wall, and rubbing shoulders with A-listers…well the guys from Dragon’s Den turned out to be a bundle of laughs, until I nearly spilled my drink on Deborah Meaden. Oops.

Children in Need, if you don’t know, is an annual telathon on the BBC lasting an entire evening to raise money for children’s charities in the UK. I went as the guest of my friend Miranda, who sang on the Chartjackers song ‘I’ve got Nothing’ released into the UK charts to raise money for this charity. She and the other Chartjackers guys who presented and organised the whole thing were invited to the BBC party after raising £10,000 and getting to number 36 in the charts. Having done nothing productive to warrant being at the event except for buying the song, I was essentially her tag-along :) The night was hilarious in general. As we walked in, there was a GIANT gingerbread Pudsey Bear (the mascot) propped on a huge stand, which was obviously made in aid of the charity; it looked amazing, and seriously it was about human size. There were waitresses passing around mini gingerbread Pudsey bears and cup cakes, chips in paper cones, and all sorts of food that had seemingly been shrunk to the size of one bite, such as burgers and hot dogs. I was a bit too scared of the strange small meaty snacks to go near them…the cakes on the other hand were damn good.

As the night progressed, the effects of the constant free alcohol began to take it’s toll and I don’t normally drink much ever. For example I saw no shame in screaming and jumping up and down like a loon as Colleen Nolan took to the stage right in front of us (I’m not ashamed to love her), not to mention singing along to Legally Blonde the Musical and trying desperately to get others to dance with me, despite being the only one that seemed to know the words. Ah well, I was blissfully in a world of my own. Some of our number had to leave to catch trains home, and because I live in Central London anyway, it would be easy to get a taxi back, surely.

Or so I thought.
*Insert creepy suspense music here*

Miranda was already going to be staying at mine, so I knew at least that I wouldn’t be travelling back alone. Then because Johnny wanted to stay a bit longer than going home with Alex early, with whom he was originally staying, I said that he could stay at mine too. Plan sorted – happy days :) So, we were hanging out and having a good time, and then Miranda dragged me over to the entrance to have a girly chat, albeit a slightly incoherent chat due to the wine. Miranda was mid-sentence, when I suddenly noticed she was eating something out of her hand. I interrupted her with ‘Um, Miranda…what are you eating?’ I think she thought I wouldn’t notice because she immediately looked as though she had done something wrong, blurted out ‘Nothing!’ And threw what she had in her hand over her shoulder, which actually gave her away. Directly behind her, was the giant display Pudsey bear…WITH HALF A PAW MISSING. I couldn’t stop laughing, but not before I had dragged her swiftly away from the crime scene explaining (only half-joking) that the BBC would probably arrest us both. I couldn’t stop her picking a red polka-dot off his bandanna as I dragged her away either. If Pudsey wasn’t in a bad way before, he certainly looked it after Miranda had finished with him.

At around midnight, the Hattrick staff that produced the Chartjackers TV show were heading to a bar in Soho, and so while they and Jimmy left for there, the three of us grabbed our things from the cloak room and called for a taxi (not before Miranda tried to persuade limo and other private pre-booked vehicle drivers to ‘forget those celebrities you’re here to pick up, they won’t even know you dropped us off, you’ll be back in no time!’) For some unknown reason *insert sarcasm*, they refused her drunken request, but luckily we did eventually get in a taxi and begun our journey across town to The Phoenix bar. Now, as social boundaries appeared reduced thanks to my evenings beverages, I ended up befriending the taxi guy; he said to call him ‘Sam’ as his name was difficult to say. I can’t really remember much else about that taxi journey, until the following morning when I got an email from the taxi driver…I’d emailed him while I was IN the taxi, because you know, I’m just that cool. Uhh, stupid girl.

After giving ‘Sam’ all the cash we had (bear in mind we still weren’t home) we found the rest of the guys in the bar. Johnny offered to get me another drink, but I summoned some sense and stuck with tap water :) we actually didn’t stay there very long, and so after bidding Jimmy and the other guys farewell, the three of us heading to mine decided to make a move. Picture the scene; 2am, freezing cold in central London, I have zilch money on me and there are no taxi’s in sight…well, that was until Johnny spotted a lone rickshaw and driver across the road. I always used to say that I’d never get in a rickshaw unless I was desperate and probably drunk. It seemed only necessary for us then and there to thus jump at the opportunity.

He said it would be £50 to get back to Barbican. I grant him that it was a looong way, but we reeeeally didn’t have that kind of money on us. Between them, Johnny and Miranda managed to scrape together 20, but he was having none of it. That was until Miranda shouted out ‘If you take us there for £20 me and Emma will both kiss you on the mouth!’ Um…WHAT?! She just said it as if earlier I had said to her ‘right okay, if ever we can’t get home just offer to kiss people.’ I assure you I HADN’T, but before I could say anything to retract her offer, the driver smirked and said ‘Okay, hop in!’

Johnny and I kept exchanging nervous glances all the way home. I was sat in the middle and luckily we had a blanket to keep us a bit warmer; it was quite cosy really and at least we got the scenic tour :) I did start to feel bad for the guy taking us after a while. He was on a bike pulling our little carriage uphill all the way, and he was only getting 20 quid…more or less. *shudder*

After about an hour, we did eventually arrive at my building. Relieved as I was, I was still worried as to what would happen next. We all got out of our carriage and as Miranda stumbled onto the pavement, the driver pointed as to where she was sat…at some point on the ride home she had clearly felt very ill. After cleaning up his vehicle while Miranda and I stood on giggle like the children we clearly are, he turned directly to me and said ‘well I’m not kissing her now. Come on then’. I clung to Johnny and looked at him desperate for him to help me. As sympathetic as he looked, I slowly realised I was cornered. Miranda wasn’t even kissing him anymore! So yes. That’s how my evening ended. Paying for half a journey across London by being forced to kiss our rickshaw driver. I’m not proud of it, but hey it got us home, didn’t it? Haha, oh my life. Right, now that I’ve written that down its time to permanently erase that moment from my memory. Phew :)

At least we got back to my flat safely and in one piece (well, three pieces) despite the absurdity. I will never forget that night, and not just for how ridiculously it ended, but because it was just in general so so much fun. You should have been there.

Sorry that was such a long post! It’s just that the story of that night was the reason I was instructed to write a blog so I wanted to do it justice. Hopefully that’s not the only good thing I have and its not downhill from here :)

If there is something to learn from this I think it at least serves as an advert to drink responsibly. Oh, and to avoid rickshaws, just in case.