York and the Eurovision

My good pal Polly was lucky enough to do her undergraduate degree in the historical town of York, not all that far from Manchester. And being the good pal that Polly is, she volunteered herself as tour guide for me and a few other friends and took us around the city. The Saturday we happened to chose coincidentally was not only one of the best days of summer we had had so far, but also the day of the York races, where it was evident everyone else had also noticed the glorious sunshine and the opportunity to get out and about, so the city itself was pretty chocker. This didn’t stop us rambling around though. Looking at old buildings and sites of historical interest is a big interest of mine and by golly York had a lot of stuff to see.

From the magnificent Minster cathedral to the nooks and crannies of the Shambles; a collection of little streets lined with over towering Tudor buildings, all tilted toward each other with an assortment of random stores in-between. It really was quite charming.


A splendid pub lunch and cider later, we ventured to the castle and down by the river and after purchasing a few souvenirs we eventually ended up on the old castle walls that surround the city centre. The walk around was long but worth it for the various views of the city (and lucky for us we only did a bit of it!).

Then it was home time, but when I say home time I mean ‘a stop off at Waitrose to find some food and alcohol and then to a Eurovision Party’ being held back at Manchester that evening. The host of this party had designated all invitees with a country with the aim to bring themed food/drink relating to your country – so getting Germany, I chose German wine and Frankfurters (pickled in a jar!).

So at 8 O’clock I headed to my friend’s house to join 15 others in a competition of pure talent and class…..maybe. Everyone put in a pound and the country at the end of the night with the most points won the pot, but it wasn’t as easy as this. As the night went on various drinking rules were instated, one had to drink if any of the following occurred or could be seen:

1. Pyrotechnics

2. Sequins

3. Musical key change during the song

4. Acrobatics

5. And if the candidate was of a questionable gender

Sufficed to say there was a lot of drinking and forfeiting with one of the punishments being to eat a pickled frankfurter. Having watched quite a few of these shows throughout my childhood, it was funny to see little had changed. There was still a lot of political voting and the best quality performances were always ignored with the strangest being preferred, but that’s Europe I guess! Our English ‘Humperdink’ performance was atrocious, but Ireland’s Jedward choreography was awe inspiring so at the end of the day we’re all winners….or just clever by sabotaging your attempts, like Spain’s candidate announcing “I have been told not to win, as financially we would be unable to host the contest next year”. Wise words Spain, a bit late but it’s the thought that counts!


About wilsoemi

A 1st Class Biological Sciences graduate, with a Masters degree in Conservation Biology. Dedicated to nature and conservation, with over three years voluntary experience in environmental and conservation charities and NGO's. Currently working for the World Society for the Protection of Animals and volunteering for London Wildlife Trust.
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