Once upon a time I was on a national TV quiz show filmed at Pinewood Studios and hosted by Robert Kilroy-Silk. I happened upon this bizarre situation completely by chance. At the time I was a masters student in Belfast and got a phonecall from a friend of my sister asking me if I was free to go along to a hotel in town for some ‘TV thing’. In her words they were ‘desperate’ for young people to go and, being the middle of a week-day when only hapless students and OAPs were available, far too many OAPs had turned up.
I had no idea what was expected of me as I sat in the waiting room surrounded by the blue rinse brigade but as the mutters of conversation started amongst the motley crew it became clear I was completely out of my depth. ‘So, how many shows have you done before?’ ‘Five’, said one, ‘Going for Gold’ was my favourite. ‘I’ve applied about 10 times’ said another. I felt like Charlie in The Chocolate Factory when his teacher asks him how many Wonka bars he has bought. ‘Just one’, I said. ‘This is my first, I mean’. I still didn’t know what the auditions were for – but I was sure that if it was ’Fifteen to One’ I wasn’t going to last two seconds in there. General knowledge and quiz shows are NOT my forte.
But as luck (pure luck, mind) would have it I ended up at Pinewood two weeks later to film ‘Shafted’ – a horrible new quiz concept by Endemol where people vote off their fellow players one by one and in the final decide if they want to shaft them for all the prize-money, or share the money and risk being shafted by them.
The whole day went past in a blur and I spent most of the time behind my podium saying Hail Marys and praying Robert wouldn’t ask me a question. Thankfully that only happened if you bet enough money, which I never did.
My tactics paid off – by keeping my mouth shut and answering a mere two questions (passed to me by my fellow contestants Jane and Michelle) – I found myself in the final where I was asked if I wanted to share £103,000 with my fellow contestant Michelle or shaft her and go home with all of the money (of course, if she shafted me too we would both go home with nothing).
It was surreal. I had spent the entire experience in a daze of white noise and whispered prayers, where we were playing with monopoly money and all I wanted to do was get off the stage and go home. What a bizarre experience. So what did I do? I shared (of course) and Michelle bless her shared too. (Before you ask, I gave half of the money away, bought myself a car and spent the last of the rest on my wedding six years later).
Anyway, why am I telling you all this?
Because, I now find myself in a similar surreal and bizarre situation where my dear little blog, which is still a newborn in my eyes being barely 4 months old, is one of the 8 finalists in Fresh Voice! at the Britmums BiBs (Brilliance in Blogging) Awards ceremony. I hadn’t even heard of Britmums (shame on me, I know) until I was introduced by a friend to one of the Britmums Live! guest speakers in March. It all snowballed a bit from there and now the big day has arrived; the Britmums event of the year – their annual Conference and Awards weekend.
I don’t have a ticket to the full weekend, which sounds like a right riot of guest speakers from the blogosphere, advice and stories shared between bloggers and ultimately the chance for a lot of mums and dads to sneak off for a kids-free weekend in London fuelled by G&Ts and Tweets. I guess I didn’t think in my wildest imagination that my little blog would ever make it to the finals and so never even thought of buying a weekend ticket at the time. But I am going to don my best dress and head to the Awards ceremony tonight which is hosted by Katy Hill with only my iPhone and my free ticket to keep me company.
I wouldn’t miss it for the world – not because I think I have a chance in hell of winning (my blog seems very premature and under-nourished compared to the competition), but because I am so proud of ‘Baby Loves Porridge’ and am so grateful and thankful to all the wonderful Bloggettes and Bloggeurs who voted for it to get here.
So, prayers at the ready.
Click here for a great post on all 8 finalists in the Fresh Voice category.