Ghost hunting

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by yvettemartyn

After watching paranormal investigations on tv and being petrified of everything that goes bump in the night I was so excited to go on my very first ghost hunt.

Steve and I preparing for the ghost hunt by drinking champagme, Mario doing the same, but with a McDonalds fanta

The ghost hunt was for Children in Need, I’d been asked to come along with BB’s: Mario, Steve and Corin alongside Lisa Mafia, Romeo Dunn and Mis-teeq’s, Su Elise Nash.

limousine picked me up from the station courtsey of Lady Jayne Limousines and took me to two locations in Manchester, one was Foxdenton Hall, Steve told me he had looked the place up and children had been locked in the basement.

I looked it up and found nothing except, apparently, it has a secret tunnel.   Needless to say we didn’t go in the basement or secret tunnel anyway.

The other location was a town hall, which is today used for registering deaths and marriages, the confetti outside the entrance certainly didn’t conjure up feelings of dread in me.

The group was split into four, with Steve staying with his friends that had come up with him, Mario with Corin and Lisa, Romeo and Su Elise together and me, you got it, on my lonesome!

“I’ve done crop circles”

People had paid to come along so every group was given a team of ghost hunters and a pair of celebrities or me.  My group had a man in it who told me he is a paranormal investigator, when I asked him what he’s done before, he replied: “crop circles” I told him: “ah I wondered who was making them!”.

We started out in Foxdenton Hall, now I was open-minded, but sceptical.  Put me alone in my flat at night and I get paranoid of the slightest shadow! But I am now a firm non-believer.  The group I was with wouldn’t stop: “I see a man”, “something pulled my hat off”, “I feel terribly cold here suddenly”.

I shot back a logical explanation for each: “it’s the shadows playing with your eyes”, “your hat probably wasn’t on properly” and “you are standing in front of a window”.  Every time someone said they saw something I moved to that area, and still the people continued to see things, but I however saw nothing.

We then went upstairs into a room where a Ouija board was set up. Someone was freaking out, pointing at a chair and saying: “I can’t sit there, somethings there”, I looked at them and said: “cool, can I sit there then?” surprisingly the mysterious being chose not to bother me.

We all put out fingers on the board and sat for an hour…it never moved.

A mysterious black pillar appearing

We then moved onto the other location to perform a séance,  we held hands and tried to communicate with the spirit world, they must have been shy though because nothing happened.  Except for one girl claiming there was a black pillar in front of her, there was of course an actual  black pillar in the room, directly in front of her.

The group were then going to do a séance elsewhere, I bit the bullet and told one of the organisers I wanted to do a lone séance, to sit on my own in a haunted room and see if I get scared.

A security guard from the Town Hall took me to a room, I whispered to him: “I get the feeling this place isn’t haunted” he replied: “I’ve worked here for two years and I’ve seen nothing but the lady who works in this room always feels like there’s someone watching her.”

He shut me in the room in pitch darkness and absolutely nothing happened at all, no noises, no shadows, no sudden decreases in temperature.

So despite my open-mind and real willingness to experience something paranormal, I felt nothing.  In my opinion when you put a number of people in the dark they will start to “see” things, their minds will play tricks on them and the thrill of being that special person who is touched by a ghost is all encompassing.

So either ghosts do exist, but just not in these locations or the entire spirit world is a figment of the imagination of people who chose to believe, either way everything that happened that night could be explained by logic.

It was a fun evening but I’m going to need some more convincing, so bring it on spooks!

Image: heritagefutures


Sunshine’s top five ridiculous UK holidays

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by yvettemartyn

“It’s a night where we burn an effigy of someone who failed at blowing up parliament, we let off fireworks to represent the gunpowder which never exploded”, I said to a guy who asked me about the origins of November 5th, his jaw was dropped the whole way through my explanation.

Oh watch out sir, people might think you're a Guy Fawkes effigy and throw you on the fire. Image: Dominic's pics

The guy, an international student at my medical school had never been told about the tradition and he just couldn’t understand why we have such a morbid holiday.  I guess reminiscing about happy times I spent as a child stuffing my dad’s clothes with leafs to make an effigy before throwing it on the fire were a little too vivid.

So bonfire night has gone down as one of my five top ridiculous UK holidays, so what else made the grade?

The Queen’s Official Birthday

Despite the Queen being born on April 21st we celebrate her “official” birthday in early June.  Well the weather is usually better in June, pefect for a parade and isn’t it always a good idea to have 2 birthdays?

Royal Variety Performance

Every year the Royal Variety Performance is held for the Royal family to watch, except every other year the Queen doesn’t bother to turn up and sends Prince Charles in her place.  To make it an even more formal affair Simon Cowell runs a tv show which picks one of the acts who will perform.

Pancake day

Traditionally Christians gave up luxury food for Lent so in preparation they used up their ingredients by making and eating pancakes right before.  Now very few people actually give up anything for lent but that won’t stop them from celebrating this holiday and thus most people still gorge on pancakes.

April Fools day

There are a number of theories about the origin of April Fools Day (some say it was invented in the book Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales).  Whatever the origin the unofficial holiday is a chance to play light hearted pranks on your loved ones, after all nothing says I love you like cling film covering the toilet seat.

Image: Dominic’s pics

A night at the bingo

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 3, 2010 by yvettemartyn

After seeing adverts for bingo I thought I may be missing out. The thrill of the game with its bright lights and infectious laughter was beckoning me, so I finally succumbed and headed to the local bingo hall.

At the bingo, as you can see I fit in very well with the regulars

Registering was easy all I had to do was fill out a form and have my membership card printed off, understanding the game however was not.

Three employees tried to explain the price structure to me: “£5 for early and mains, then extra if you want sapphire and the national game, if you want to play the table game it’s £1 a go”. With my jaw dropped, I looked at one of the employees and said: “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about”.

Thinking the game was mostly frequented by old ladies for their weekly trip out I decided to attempt to fit in with the formal attire with my faux fur coat, vintage pill box hat and blazing red lipstick. However my friend who had just come from the gym without showering summed it up nicely when she told me, she felt overdressed.

The bingo hall was a mass of plastic tables with fold down chairs, mostly people sat on their own with pairs of elderly mothers and grownup daughters dispersed and the odd pair of love birds.

I had gone for the basic package which involved 14 games, obviously I had come unprepared and not brought a pen so I was using a pencil I found in my car.

The numbers were called out over a tannoy system rivalling those installed at supermarkets, you know the ones where you haven’t got a clue what’s been said.  Not only were the numbers hard to hear but they were read out so quickly that I snapped my pencil lead within seconds and had to invest in a bingo dabber.

People don’t even say “bingo”

Gone are the days when bingo numbers are called out by a youthful dad at the local PTA meeting with comical one-liners and an associated reaction from the crowd: legs 11 anyone?

Instead a monotonous voice read out the numbers in a logical but boring manner, eight and eight, 88, where are the two fat ladies? or is that no longer politically correct? To top it off people don’t even say “bingo”! Instead they shout: “over here” or “oi”.

I have no idea why the adverts portray the place as fun and exciting as most of the guests looked like they were waiting for a funeral to start and as soon as someone wins the whole crowd mumbles in disappointment.

The most confusing aspect of the place is the food ordering system, you can’t go up to the bar and order, you have to sit on your fold away chair and hold your menu in the air, I held mine for about ten minutes before someone came over.

Because the numbers are called so fast people attempt to eat main meals in-between the games, I amusingly watched one person taking a bite of her food only for the next game to start unexpectantly causing her to throw her fork across the table in preparation.

Surprisingly my friend and I didn’t win and left empty handed, I have to admit I am a bit disappointed, I expected a fun filled evening of whimsical excitement. Instead the night resembled a mass of people filling in forms in silence and paying for the pleasure of it.

Back to the hospital

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by yvettemartyn

After possibly the most disruptive year I could have endured prior to my medical finals, what with reading Medical Journalism in London and going on the biggest reality TV show in the country, I am now back at medical school.

I started back 2 days before the final of Big Brother and announced I had recommenced live on national television whilst wearing a panel cut-out leotard, layered with a transparent dress adorned with 4000 crystals, not exactly the image you would associate with a doctor, but hey this was my last chance to sparkle!

Before I went on the show the Big Brother psychiatrist told me that I would never be able to be a doctor, that patients wouldn’t trust me, that they would specifically ask me to leave.

In fact, I have experienced the opposite reaction, of the patients who have recognised me they have all said: “good on you” and since I have been working with cancer patients and children, I can’t see the negatives I was warned about happening.

I took every step I could before going on the show, I talked anonymously to the General Medical Council, discussed the pros and cons with as many people as I could and I’m very lucky to have had the support of my medical school before and in the aftermath of the show.

So what’s in store now? Well next year I sit my medical finals and who knows: I think there’s room on tv for a Doctor Sunshine.

Cowes week

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2010 by yvettemartyn

Every year yachting enthusiasts descend onto the Isle of Wight spending their days out at sea and their evenings sampling the areas nightlife and this year I was at Cowes to join them.

Getting ready to race the same yacht that Steve sailed across the Atlantic on

A few weeks ago I bumped into a friend of Big Brother’s, Ben in a newsagents, she happened to know someone who works for Fashion Insider magazine who invited me onto their yacht.

My Dad described the event as a red carpet filled engagement, however he had never been there and although Raffles and Mahiki had both set up temporary bars I didn’t do much celebrity spotting.

My first thought on arriving is that men by far outnumber women and not only are women few and far between but they appear to be the crème de la crème of extraordinary human beings.  One lady I spoke to had sailed around the world solo twice and another had rowed across the Atlantic twice.

And as if feeling notably inadequate wasn’t enough after sleeping on a yacht anchored outside the harbour I soon realised that despite my past trips out at sea, sleeping at the front of a boat in rocking water will make me seasick.  But there was no time to dawn on that, as the PR team at Cowes had arranged for me to race a large yacht.

I was astonished to hear that the boat I would be sailing was the very same one that BB’s Steve had sailed across the Atlantic on, is there anything that man can’t do? I had of course come unprepared and wearing a D&G top with mirrored sunglasses wasn’t exactly the most practical ensemble.  The boats crew rectified this by piling waterproof coats on top of my outfit.

When I arrived back on land eight hours later my host was excited to see how I’d found my day, “It was certainly an experience”, I said through gritted teeth.  After all, my job on the yacht was to have a large wet sail dropped on my head whilst I had to struggle to grab three particular parts.

After a night on dry land I was ready for more and the next day was spent sailing from Southampton to the Isle of Wight, in the evening we took in some night life.  The hi-light was sipping champagne at Raffles surrounded by beautiful yachts moored in the port.

The next day I headed home and I’m glad to say there was no more sea sickness, although I did get ridiculed by my dad who had great delight in labelling me a “landlubber”.

Leaving the Big Brother house

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by yvettemartyn

Right before I found out I was leaving the house, showing the bracelets I had made

When I walked into the Big Brother house I instantly adapted to the new environment, I accepted the cameras, the restricted environment and the rules.  But leaving was a completely different story and much harder to adjust to.

In the house we were confined to a small space, we varied our time between the garden, living room and bedroom and had just 13 people to spend time with.

The rules meant everything was dictated:

  • We had most of our clothes taken off us a few days in
  • Emergency rations left us with chickpeas, brown rice and lentils
  • The hot water was turned off
  • Alarms sounded to wake us up and if we went to bed too early
  • We were often locked in rooms while tasks were set up

I know I was portrayed as a moaner in the house but I never once complained about the lack of hot water, or having my clothes taken away and although I complained about food I just wanted to be treated the same as everybody else by having soya milk, vegan butter and tofu.  And I most certainly didn’t complain the most in there!

Despite the rules I never once felt bored in the house or complained that there was nothing to do, I loved every minute of the experience! Although we had rules we also had amazing times like being given puppets that had been specially made!

Leaving was a huge shock to the system, an announcement is made and you have just 10 seconds to say goodbye to the people who have supported you and cared for you for weeks.

When the doors open the evictee sees hundreds of people waving banners and taking pictures.  They are then interviewed where they must justify their behaviour, regardless of not knowing what has been shown or the public’s perception.

For some the reaction is terrible and a few could even be hated universally by the public.  Others are liked by some but not by others for trivial reasons.  All housemates nap during the day, but some are shown doing so in the highlights all the time and made to look like that’s all they did.  Whilst some are edited to look like they moan a lot and others look like they talk behind peoples backs all the time.

Contrast between being in and out was the hardest

For me the hardest thing was the contrast between being in the house and out of it.  I remember hearing a Northern accent and thinking it was Nathan and seeing a man at a bus stop and thinking it must be Steve.  I was so used to just seeing these people that it was difficult to be surrounded by new ones.

The freedom was also really difficult to accept.  When I was in the house I ate toast and usually pasta with chopped tomatoes.  With the shopping list budget there was just no way we could afford to buy food so I could have a varied diet.  Then suddenly I’m out of the house and I can eat whatever I like, it was too much at once that it was really hard to cope with.

There is support there, welfare teams and psychologists but the biggest support I had was from the evicted housemates.  I needed to talk to people who were in the same position as me and one of the first things I did was get in touch with Dave’s wife.  When you are so close to people in the house then taken away from them it’s really hard, you get so attached as you are with them all the time.

Despite the restrictions in the house I loved it there, I exercised everyday so I could jump in the cold shower water and got ecstatically happy when big brother would surprise me with bread and crisps.  I loved everyone in there especially Mario, Dave, Corin, Ben and John and I’m still gutted that the whole experience is over.

10 things you didn’t know about Big Brother

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by yvettemartyn

  1. You have to wait forever to go into the diary room and sometimes you don’t get let in at all.
  2. The wake-up alarm goes off at 9:30am and you are locked in the bedroom all night.
  3. You spend your time locked in either the bedroom or garden while tasks are set up.
  4. The only places to hide are: under your covers, in the bedroom wardrobe, behind the wardrobe door in the bathroom toilet.
  5. There are five toilets: bathroom, bedroom, outside, large task room and small task room.
  6. Only one of the toilets has a lock on the door (large task room).
  7. The bedroom, bathroom and garden toilets have heated seats and the outside toilet has a bidet.
  8. The economy shopping delivery provided better quantity and variety of food than when we won £200 on the shopping budget.
  9. They didn’t provide enough cutlery or spaces at the table for all 14 housemates.
  10. The stain on the carpet in the living room was from when Ben spilled tea on the floor then tried to clean it with a kitchen cleaning solution containing bleach.