At the time this post is published it will be exactly three months since Summer Ball. Yes, three months. I did mean to write this earlier, but bam, three months just swept by. So yes, Royal Holloway Summer Ball 2015, what shall I say? Well, the best way to describe the whole experience is to describe the day and the different things that happened. I woke up pretty late and then rang the NHS Help With Health Costs helpline to try and sort out my HC1 form (a long story!), which led to me almost crying at them down the phone. But after that minor setback I got properly dressed and fed and did a number of other odd jobs, chatted to flatmates and just generally pottered. After lunch we headed over to the Student Union to collect our wristbands in advance, complete with tickets and college cards as directed. What we had not been told is that we would also need our ID, despite the letter stipulating ID for guests not actual students. The three of us who didn’t have ID went back to our relevant flats to pick it up, as well as grabbing the granny shopping trolley for our trip to Egham (at this point we didn’t want to go home AGAIN so we just grabbed everything). We queued up again, which wasn’t too bad in the end, collected our wristbands and I got a new HC1 form from the Advice and Support Centre. The four of us then headed down to town to buy things like hairspray, a bag and dress tape (the latter was not available). It was very humid so we took a break in Costa before walking up the hill.
Back in the flat I then got some food – early enough to go down before we left but enough to keep me going for a fair few hours. Chicken dippers, chips and peas consumed, it was then time to start preparing for Summer Ball. I did my nails, had a shower and then Corrie got started on my hair as I decided it would be futile even attempting to curl it myself. Hair curled and sprayed it was approaching 6:30 and it was time to skype Bean! I felt quite bad for her because we were all trying to get ready while also catching up with her, but I hope she appreciated seeing us. Also during this portion of the day was the surprised gasps at how much George surpassed our expectations with his suit and the wows I was very pleased to get when I appeared in my dress. A word on my dress. It was purple, full length and figure hugging. Thanks to my operation I have a lovely figure but I do also have a scar. My dress was not low at the back but it didn’t quite cover the top of my scar. It was however a multiway dress and wearing it as a halterneck meant that there were long stretches of fabric running down the centre of my back anyway. But even so it was a bit of a test. More on this to follow… Once we were all made up and dressed in our dresses (and suit), we headed over to another flat for the predrinks we had been invited to. We actually really only knew one person there but everyone was nice and we got to sit down for a bit and take photos.
Just before 8pm we were ready to head up to Founders for the main event. We were almost the first there and I was definitely within the first ten to get in. The atmosphere therefore was a bit quiet but it was really lovely to be together as friends and actually be able to hear and see each other! Plus we got our free Bucks fizz, no queues and chatted to Sam working in the Pimms tent. The others went on the fairground rides, something that I both hate and avoid because of my back, so I was drinks holder but that was OK with me, especially once a few of them decided not to go on ALL the rides.
By this point the music had started, and local band Cardboard City were really good. Part way through their set we tried to get our free Dominos and then ended up queuing for an hour – only for two slices of pizza! But the queue was good natured, although we were absolutely freezing. It was in this queue that Corrie said something to me that I really wanted to share, about how I was brave to wear the dress because of the tip of my scar being on show. I was also comfortable enough for her to sort the slightly falling down back of my dress (I’ve previously blogged about my scar – find the link on the clothes page above!)
By this point we were really really cold and George’s jacket was being passed around between all of us. We headed inside to sit down in the warm and then popped out again to see Katy B. It was at this point that we discovered the hidden gem of Crosslands, serving tea and coffee and water and, most importantly, warmth! We chilled in there for about an hour and by 1am we were ready to head home – with a view to return when re-entry opened at 3am.
Once home we got jumpers and food and turned on Into The Woods in George’s room (aka the only one that was tidy). We reached Giants in the Sky and were chucked out of his room, as the others we were with had also decided to come back and not return. Me and Corrie went for a nap and were going to reconvene at around half 3. However, by that point I was exhausted and Corrie was unresponsive, so I got ready for bed and slept. Corrie actually went back in the end, and she said it was great, and I did feel a bit like I was missing out, but then I had plans the next day and staying up until 6am would probably have ruined those.
So, all in all, it was a good night, but I think it was the people, the dressing up and the venue that made it good, rather than the actual Summer Ball activities. Whether I will return next year I am undecided, but it will certainly be an opportunity I will try to take in third year!