Saturday, December 30, 2006

Gifts and Ghosts

So that's Christmas over with for another year.

I was expecting it to be worse but it was ok. I got through it and it was easier this year.

Two years ago, my Dad died on the day after Boxing Day. So Christmas is a bit of a struggle now.

But it was easier this year. The urge to still buy presents for him seems to have subsided - while he was alive it was always so difficult to buy for him but last year the shops were full of things he would have liked. And the day passed without tears, which made me feel guilty, which is perhaps why I'm writing this now, to show that even though we weren't sat around sad all Christmas (or worse, the forced jollity of last year), I still missed him.

The other (much lesser) thing about going 'home' as that it always stirs up memories of the ex. Its been 9 years now, so really I should be over it but visits to my mum's are always haunted by dreams of him and wondering what could have been.

So now having been fully depressing, I will move onto the good bit of Christmas - the presents! With our immient house-move (actually still some time off due to problems with the lease now), this was the focus of our Christmas presents. Here's some highlights:

2 Alessi Storage jars for the kitchen (to add to the 3 I already have)
Metal fruit bowl, mug tree and kitchen roll holder
Ceramic bathroom set (toothbrush holder, soap dish etc)
Spice rack
A hefty sum of money in John Lewis vouchers
Dark brown slouchy boots
Beautifully soft dressing gown (its been a struggle to get dressed most days since receiving this)
Pyjamas & slippers (it wouldn't be Christmas without them)
Various DVDs - Ross Noble, Mighty Boosh Live, State of Play and Brick
A bag of Haribo!

And here we are waiting around for another year to begin, with a fridge full of chocolate and cheese.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Not really much to report on the party front. It passed pretty much without incident really.

My Secret Santa gift was fairly awful - a jangly bracelet thing - not at all my sort of thing and its already shedding beads, but of course I had to say how lovely it was for fear of offending the unknown buyer. I'm always really disappointed by Secret Santas though - I don't know why I always expect something great or at least funny, but I nearly always just get some generic woman's gift.

Anyway, the meal was fine, although I've come to the conclusion that I just can not eat a three course meal without feeling ill. Rather pathetic I know.

So tired and bloated, but rather smug at being sober and sensible, I left before 11. I had to wait three tubes for the right one, which wasn't too long, but then half way home they decided to redirect it so we all had to get off and wait another 15 minutes for one going that way. So in the end it was 6 trains before the right one, which is pretty poor service.

And for the final leg of the journey, I was stuck in a carriage that had the faint odour of vomit and a Spanish man, chatting up a Swedish girl by telling her how great Abba were, quoting statistics about their record sales, saying they were better than the Beatles and singing Fernando in Spanish. I couldn't get out of there quick enough.

I don't like Abba. Another unpopular opinion I know and its not really that much to do with them. I was once stuck on a minibus for five hours with a drunken ex-rugby player from Yorkshire who sang along to the Abba CD for the full length of the journey. Somehow everyone else managed to sleep through it, except me and I haven't been able to stomach Abba since without flashbacks. This was a work outing with my previous company (a day trip to Calais!) which was rather different from last night's do.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Grinch

I'm just not in a Christmas mood. I was last week, but its been and gone.

Tonight is the office 'party'. It isn't really much of a party - nobody changes clothes and its in a very civilised restaurant - last year it was in the meat-market hell-hole On Anon, so I suppose the safety of a restaurant is preferable. But I'm really not in the mood. Despite being here over 2 years, I don't really know many people very well - most of the people I know well and like aren't coming. The others I either know and don't like, or are incredibly clichey and only talk to people in their own teams. I always go to these things though - firstly in an attempt to socialise with more people here in the hope it will get better and secondly, I'm incapable of saying no to free food/booze.

But at the minute, I'm thinking I'd have rather gone for a wander round Topshop, then home to one of my rice concoctions and an episode of Law & Order on the Hallmark Channel.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I'd forgotten how much I hate Louise Redknapp, but I've just watched the Clothes Show. I don't buy that cute simpering act for one minute. She is Satan. A rather bland Satan admittedly, but don't let that fool you.

I don't like her husband much either - I was indifferent to him while he was just an injury-prone footballer, but since he became an injury-prone football pundit and seems to have taken up permanent residence on my television (while the OH is here), I've started to dislike him nearly as much as his wife. I do quite like his Dad though - he might be a saggy-faced wheeler dealer, but at least he has a personality.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


My weekend hasn't gone as planned. Yesterday I was taken out for lunch by my lovely ex-boss and then I went to the pub with a group of ex-colleagues. I had a really good day and was home by 10.15, merry but not drunk. Then at about 2am, I was quite violently sick. I really don't think it was the alcohol as the contents were quite recognisable as my lunch which I had finished eating 12 hours earlier but was undigested. It wasn't pleasant and I got quite scared about it as I'm on my own. So I didn't go to sleep. I phoned my mum when it reached a reasonable hour and she agreed that it sounded like something to do with the food. I'm feeling a bit better now but it made me feel very isolated and made me wish I was nearer my family as there really isn't anyone here I could contact. My mum has called back again this evening to check on me and I'm feeling calmer, but this was not how I thought I would be spending my day. I still haven't been to sleep either so I've now been up for about 36 hours.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lady of Leisure

I have ended up with a glut of holiday time left to use up by the end of the year and as no rolling over is permitted, I am off work today and tomorrow, as well as a bizarre pattern of half days next week in order to use it up. This is a result of a combination of using it sparingly in the hope I wouldn't be there much longer, accruing several days off in lieu and my workload being cleverly fixed to make it pretty difficult to ever take much time off (despite the fact I am often chronically underemployed, in most months I have to be there for a couple days in at least three out of four weeks - which made the week in Cornwall a rare luxury).

So what have I done with this leisure time? Today I have done the following:

- Made 8 decorative reindeers, 4 doves and 5 stars.
- Watched two episodes of Adam Adamant Lives! on DVD
- Tried to sort out some flat-buying issues

and the highlight of my day (booked in anticipation that the flat-stuff would stress me out):
- a Hydromassage 'Sunbath' at a local spa, described thus:

"Research has confirmed the many benefits of bathing in the warm, sunlit, mineral rich Dead Sea. Now you can take a Dead Sea 'mini holiday' much closer to home - bathing in water rich in Dead Sea salts & minerals in our Hydromassage Sunbath. As your skin benefits from absorbing valuable minerals and other elements, thousands of tiny bubbles softly massage away stresses and strains, whilst specially filtered UV lamps help encourage a light colour - you will emerge feeling relaxed and glowing with radiant health"

Whilst I'm not sure I would describe myself as glowing with radiant health, I did enjoy it and am pleased that I at least did one thing interesting with my time off.

Overheard Conversations No. 2

Overheard on the tube last night.

Man in early thirties talking to a woman of a similar age:

"It was going really well with your sister. But then I mistook her dog for a cat and she hasn't spoken to me since".

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lost your love of life, too much apple pie

As well as turning the lounge into the Blue Peter studio, I also watched a documentary about JFK last night. I can't say I found it particularly shocking. A powerful man takes risks by having sex with a lot of unsuitable women.

I'm sure I knew this already, but it might have been because the Kennedy family is one of my mother's favourite subjects. She can't get enough of them. She is also interested in the Mafia, Henry VIII and Biblical epics (somewhat unusual for a staunch atheist - 'Such good plots' being her defence').

Its seems my grandmother also had a pet subject, which came up in conversation with my mum recently. My gran apparently was very interested in true crime! 'Oh yes, she loved Crippen and all that lot' said my mum. Nice, although I am partial to a detective programmes and watch Law & Order SVU more than can is probably healthy, so perhaps this is what I've inherited from Grandma Molly.

The title of this post, is lyrics from 'Kennedy' by the Wedding Present, which popped into my head this morning after years of absence. I suppose unpopular indie music is another of my interests. I'm quite tempted to download a few of their songs for old times sake. Their version of Pleasant Valley Sunday is particularly good - my favourite Monkee's song sung in a strong Leeds accent!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Project Christmas

After this morning's post, I was griped with the determination to make some decorations.

I spent most of my lunch hour looking for festive shaped cookie cutters, but to no avail. This even included going into a dedicated Christmas shop, but star-shaped cutters it seems can not be bought for love nor money in the my locale.

Not to be defeated, I resorted to printing images of the internet to use as templates. I must admit, I have form with type of thing, having produced a great string of cardboard onions to complete a Parisian fancy dress costume, which was then followed up by giant cardboard pineapples that dangled dangerously from the ceiling at a particularly messy Hawaiian themed NYE party.

So tonight has been spent sat in a sea of wrapping paper, card, Prit stick and wire. The result - a chain of 8 reindeer and a string of five stars.

I'm fairly pleased with results (the rubbish camera phone picture doesn't do them justice on this you will have to trust me), but it hasn't made much impact on the overall room. I think I need about three-times as many and I'm not sure I've got the man hours left before Christmas.

Hark the herald angels swig?

I've finished my Christmas shopping, buying the final couple of things yesterday. I've wrapped them all up (except the office Secret Santa which hopefully should be arriving soon).

This morning, I lifted down the box of decorations to see what we had that didn't require a tree (since we aren't going to be here over Christmas we aren't bothering with a tree). A couple of strands of tinsel, a few glittery snowflakes and two wire angels. Not exactly enough to transform the lounge into a magical Christmas grotto.

The OH always laughs at this wire angel too. To my eye, probably helped by having gone to a religious school, it is obviously an angel heralding the good news of Christ's birth on some sort of angelic horn. To the OH, I'd bought an angel swigging from a wine bottle. Judge for yourself.

I might have to buy some more decorations, but really I quite fancy making some myself. I'm haunted by images of that Danielle Proud woman smugly doing marvellous crafty things in the Sunday Times each week.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Things I've remembered about living on my own

1. Its possible to waste a huge amount of time doing very little (i.e. changing the Blog layout!)
2. It means either wasting food or eating the same thing a few days in a row (I'm mix between vegetable chilli and stirfry for a bit of variety)
3. I tend to pick at things in the fridge purely out of boredom
4. A bottle of wine lasts alot longer

Home alone

The OH left for Australia last night. Not being deported for highway robbery, but off to see the cricket, which given the recent performances he was no longer too thrilled about. So I'm home alone for 12 days. I'm pretty independent and have never been the sort of person who once in a relationship never does anything alone. I could have gone with him but decided it was a long way and a lot of money to go to watch a game I don't understand. So I was looking forward to spending some quality 'me' time, but now I can't remember what those things were that I wanted to do and to make matters worse, I seem unable to sleep.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Jump in, we'll take you for a spin...

and show you round the Wheelie World....

Inspired by reading Cinedelica, I rented the complete first series of Chorlton and the Wheelies.

I've always had a bit of thing for men from the north west and I think Chorlton was probably the first one (although he is actually a dragon, not a man - a happiness dragon if you want to be precise).

I watched three episodes this afternoon - fantastic. It has everything - politics, the class system, a great theme song and psychedelic talking toadstools.

Although I'm slightly worried that Fenella the Kettle Witch might give me nightmares.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Easy Listening

The inabilty to drink, cope with hangovers and needing an increasing amount of make-up to achieve the 'natural look' are undoubtedly signs of the onset of middle-age.

However, perhaps most alarming is my growing love for easy listening* music.

We were practically raised on Neil Diamond in our house and I've always been partial to a bit of Bacharach & David, but my longing for proper singers singing proper songs is getting stronger. I do still like MC5 and The Stooges as much as the next man, but more and more I want something soothing to listen to.

The new Lee Hazlewood album was released today and I've been looking forward to it for weeks (this picture is not the latest album, but him 'back in the day'). It contains a new version of Some Velvet Morning which is one of my favourite ever songs.

So I went to HMV at lunchtime, but couldn't find it anywhere. I even braved going to the Country section, but couldn't find him there. (Johnny Cash is still located there as I found out the last time I bought one of his albums - it didn't feel right having him in the same section as Billy Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks and I worried that people might think that I liked that sort of Country music).

I also searched the New Releases where I spoted a new Neil Diamond Best Of, which I momentarily cooed over but if there is one thing I don't need its Neil Diamond albums.

So I was thwarted in my quest, which almost brought on 'easy-listening rage'.

* I'm not sure easy listening is the right term - it always has slightly derogatory connotations like muzak or Mike Flowers Pop, but this isn't what I mean. I think I just mean good old fashion songs.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

High & Low

Last night, not only did I watch the final of 'I'm a Celebrity..' but I also watched the extra show on ITV2 afterwards (quite pleased the young Busted lad won).

Then today, I watched 'Make me a Supermodel: The Winners Story' (dazzled by the handsomeness of the winner, Albert).

In an attempt to salvage some brain cells, I've made myself watch some more high brow stuff tonight. First The Culture Show - not sure Karl Pilkington, Faithless and designer handbags count as highbrow really and I found myself rather distracted by Lauren's outfits and lipgloss.

Next, I watched The Turner Prize Challenge, sort of a reality tv programme about finding an new critic to overcome the problem of connecting with modern art. Not typical Saturday night viewing, but very interesting. I thought one of the 'contestants' was dreadful though - she kept on about wanting art to relax her and be beautiful which seemed rather a naive view even to me who knows a miniscule amount about the subject.

Of course, I do realise that I could turn off the television entirely and read a book or listen to some music, but that might a step too far.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I had a spare three hundred and thirty pounds, I would buy this Biba dress.

But I don't.

Thankfully, the largest size it goes up is a size 8, which puts it well of temptation's reach.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jinxed it

I knew I shouldn't have started looking at stuff for the new flat.

I had a message from the Estate Agent this afternoon to ask what was happening. I hadn't heard from the solicitor for a while so thought I'd better give her a call before speaking to the Estate Agent.

No answer at all.

So I called the Estate Agent who told me that they hadn't been able to get in touch with the Solicitor either but had found out that she is away and there is a locum in who doesn't seem able to cope with the workload. I thought locums were something doctors had, but anyway. This is the Solicitor that the Estate Agent recommended as the best they dealt with!

I tried to find out from the Estate Agent if the sellers were in a huge rush, but she didn't know (this is not the Estate Agent we had previously been dealing with).

I'm trying not to panic and will keep trying to contact the locum to find out the current state of play.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Habitat Habit

I'm chomping at the bit to start buying house-stuff. I've completely gone off clothes, but could quite happily spend a fortune on furniture, ceramics, cushions etc.

Today, I ventured up Regent Street for a browse in Habitat and Zara Home. I've not been in Zara Home before but could easily see it becoming a favourite.

And I can't wait to go home and read the Habitat catalogue. Hopefully I'll get a seat on the tube so I can read it even sooner.

We all live in a 1960s theme park

I must remember when buying things for the new flat, that it is a home, not a 1960s theme park. The temptation to fill the place up with retro junk is very strong and RetrotoGo website isn’t helping.

For months now I’ve been longing for a Martin Sharp Dylan poster (prices for a 1st edition mint condition print start at £800). Technically, I could afford this but it would mean going without a sofa, fridge or other essential items. I would quite happily sit on a deckchair if I had something wonderful to look at on the wall, but I don’t think the OH would be so pleased. ‘Can’t you just get a cheap re-print?’ he said when I tried to persuade him to let me ‘invest’ in this, but just isn’t the same.

As much as he likes Dylan/Beatles/Beach Boys and Olivia D’Abo in The Wonder Years, I don’t think he likes 60s stuff as much as I do. If I lived on my own, I would deck all the walls in psychedelic posters and walk round dressed like an extra from Blow Up everyday.

If he had his way, the flat would be full of New York and basketball paraphernalia. One man’s tat really is another man’s treasure.

I'm quite taken with this print too of the educational character, Sir Benfro, who I hadn't heard of until I saw these prints, but he's probably still a bit too kitsch.

I dug out the old film posters we had on a lounge wall as a student but am not sure they give the right impression. Kung Fu film 'Deadly China Doll' with Angela Mao (the female Bruce Lee!) and 'Massage Girls of Bankok' might be fine in an ironic way when you are 20 and trying to annoy the feminist flatmate, but perhaps not great if the 'in-laws' are likely to call round.

Maybe bare magnolia walls are the way to go.

Cold War Intrigue

I’m rather griped by the story of the former Russian spy – a good old fashioned cold war mystery. I have to remind myself that it is real (not an Ian Fleming novel), someone has died and others may be affected, but I’m still finding it interesting.

I think it is because when I was young, before the first war with Iraq, the vague threat of nuclear war still hung over us – I remember being unable to sleep for worry after watching ‘When the Wind Blows’. And the enemy back then was still thought to be Russia. All that has gone away in recent years with the terrorists from the middle east being the new enemy so I think I find something almost comforting in the thought of Russia once more being a threat because I know where I am with that.

Not that I have anything against Russia – the two Russian people I know (OH’s ex-boss’s wife and my hairdresser) are lovely people. I never quite understood what was so wrong with communism (led to some awful regimes, but as an idea it seems quite a good one), but the power of the oligarchs there now is easy to fear. Even the word oligarchy is rather ugly and menacing sounding.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dull as Bath Water

I feel as if I'm sat around waiting to move. Its very boring.

I'm living pretty frugally - in six weeks, the only clothing I've bought is a pair of tights.

I've bought and wrapped most of my Christmas presents - just a bit of tat left to buy for the office Secret Santa.

The most exciting thing to happen in the last week was that the drain in the bath got blocked and the water wouldn't drain away. So we had to scoop it out with a pan and a jug. But even that was only temporary - half a bottle of nasty chemicals later, it was fixed. Rather an anti-climax.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dear Transport for London

I have paid nearly £100 for my monthly travelcard in good faith for the last couple of years. I have been a good customer, I've never fare dodged, I've always used the correct change in the ticket machines when I could and I always give up my seat to those who need it more. But this week, I feel you have abused our relationship. Every single journey I've made this week has been delayed and it really isn't good enough. Every morning before I leave for work, I check the travel news and change my route accordingly but to no avail as in the 10 minute walk from my home to the station something else goes wrong. Last night I waited 20 minutes for a tube - it wasn't vrey late (not when I started the journey anyway) and I only live in Zone 3. I hate going to work enough as it is without you adding to the stress of it. Please sort it out.

Yours faithfully

Ms S Dancer

Thursday, November 23, 2006


The flat-buying is moving along steadily – survey satisfactory (so said a text message from the lender – we’ve not actually laid eyes on the report ourselves yet) and the mortgage has been approved. I suppose the main thing that can go wrong now is for the seller to decide they don’t want to move to the country afterall, that her hernia would be best off in London (quite why the Estate Agent felt the need to tell me about her hernia, I don’t know, it is the only thing about them he has ever said).

But fingers-crossed it seems to be going fairly smoothly and I’m beginning to allow myself to think about furniture and household goods. My main concern is that we own too much ‘stuff’. Any home décor magazines or programmes seem to be aimed at people without much in the way of belongings. Nobody else seems to have 1000+ records, a million CDs (do we really need three copies of Screamadelica?) and several forests worth of books. Do other people not read or do they just use the library or throw out their books when they’ve read them? The people we are buying from did actually have a lot of stuff too but I would rather have a little less clutter.

I’m thinking I might get rid of some of the books – I hardly ever re-read books anyway, so I’m not sure why I hang on them – a hangover from doing a degree in literature I suppose and I always like having a nose at books in other people’s houses when they have them. But then the OH refuses to get rid of any of his old stuff (he could start with the Young Gods CD which I’m certain he has never listened to, then perhaps some of the copied tapes of Carter USM which are gathering dust and probably won’t play anymore).

And because he won’t throw anything out, I start to think ‘Why should I?’. Maybe I should just have clearout when he’s away and hope he doesn't notice.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ashes to Ashes

I'm about to become a cricket widow.

Not only is the OH going to Perth to watch the third test, but he also has lots of elaborate plans to allow him to watch the other tests through the night - change his working from home days, people coming round to ours in the middle of the night, pretty much turning nocturnal. Not for him watching highlights on at sensible times (although he will probably watch those too), he has to see the action as it happens.

I'm not looking forward to this. I could have gone to Australia with him but decided I had better things to do with £1k than sit on a plane, watch some cricket, then get back on the plane. But I'd glossed over how much the series will take over our everyday lives.

It was brilliant when we won last year - I got quite into it (even found myself explaining the history of the Ashes to some people at a party - information I didn't realise I knew but must have picked by osmosis from him). But do we really have much chance this year - Harmisson has lost it, Jones is injured and Trescothick is having problems with...(I might be committing libel if I write the story we've been told 'on good authority').

I worry about the space this information is taking up in my brain as I really don't think I need to know any of this.

Monday, November 20, 2006


The Autumn Celia Birtwell for Topshop collection went on sale this morning. Despite vowing not to get sucked into it again, I found myself getting up somewhat bleary eyed at 6am to have a look online. So I looked, and after a few minutes I realised that I didn't really like any of the pieces that much, so I went back to bed 'empty-handed' as it were. I'm very proud of myself.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pretty Pictures

So to balance out the blockbuster film and reality television this week, I took myself off to the National Portrait Gallery at lunchtime to see the Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition.

In previous years, this has been sponsored by Schweppes and previously by John Kobal but not this year. A special award was sponsored by Deloitte but there was no headline sponsor. This worries me somewhat, because as much as I was envious of the big galleries’ sponsorship deals when I was running the poverty-stricken children’s gallery, if the big names can’t get the sponsorship, what hope is there for the smaller arts organisations? Obviously, it would be great if the arts could get by without corporate sponsorship as there is still something quite distasteful about this idea, but in reality (at least in the UK and more so in the USA) it is increasingly necessary.

Anyway, end of rant and back to the art…

There were some really great photographs. I especially liked one entitled ‘Cyril’ which was an old man (the photographer’s grandfather) stood in a near empty room, having sold most of his furniture prior to moving into a home. Another one that stood out for me was a ‘The Wedding Car’, a photograph of a wedding band in Indian stood in front of car. Of those that won prizes, my favourite was the fourth prize, a picture of a young girl singing into a microphone with her gran playing keyboard, with Lake Placid in the background – its absurdity appealed to me.

With many of others though I didn’t really see what was so special about them – there were too many baby pictures for my liking, and one with an Ethiopian tribeswoman with a rifle seemed such a cliché. Still better than wandering aimlessly around H&M and Urban Outfitters in my lunchtime.

Its that time of year again

No, not Christmas. 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' time. And yet again we've be sucked into watching it. Dean Gaffney last night was hilarious. I can't pretend its high culture, it makes me question my morality and sanity, but it is funny, which is sometimes all you want after a hard day's work.

(A few people have said that I look likeDec, so it does make me feel a bit uncomfortable at times - although somewhat worse for the OH who I often catch looking from Dec to me trying to decide & feeling a bit odd about it all, or my best friend who had a picture of Dec on her bedside table until someone in a pub said he looked like me).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Shaken, not Stirred

I went to the Bond Premiere last night. It was actually a bit of a con (not that I can really complain as it was free) as it was being shown at three screens in Leicester Square at the same time, so we weren’t actually in the main cinema with the stars & the Queen. We still got to walk down a red carpet though and it was pretty grand. And I got to wear my green dress again (emerald green satin, thin straps, beaded chiffon scarf tying to form a halterneck, fishtail back).

So the film itself then. Daniel Craig is ok – convincing as a cold blooded killer, less convincing as a romantic lead, but then the whole romance plot was a bit dubious. The plot didn’t really hold up to close examination. There were some witty bits about the martini.

The baddie has a nasty tick where his eye bleeds when he is nervous. This made me feel rather sick. He was taking part in a card game where the buy-in as a million dollars and yet nobody objected to him weeping blood at the table. Surely he could have got some drops for it?

The film was rather long, even worse if you’d already been waiting near two hours for the Queen. Rather tellingly, a women had a funny turn about 30 minutes from the end and the call went up of ‘Is there a doctor in the house’ which was then followed by lots of standing up, sitting down and general confusion (the woman never actually left the auditorium so it couldn’t have been that serious) – most people seemed much more interested in watching this little drama unfold than the action on the big screen.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Like the Poddington Peas on Acid

This was how the OH described the start of the Flaming Lips gig last night, when a hundred green balloons floated around the auditorium. I'm sure how much experience he has actually had of the Poddington Peas on acid, but anyway...

So the gig started well enough, but then I was disappointed. The new songs aren't really that good and there was far too much talking between them. At first, the anti-Bush and 'I love you guys' comments were endearing, but he did it too much and over-explained some songs that really need no explanation at all.

Some of the crowd annoyed me too - the bloke in front who was doing interpretive dancing , raising his fists in the air and really feeling each song and then him & his mate competing to see how could be the most over-the-top, to prove they liked the band most. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots is a great song, but really I find it hard to believe that was saying that much to him about his life.

And the obligatory cover version - bloody Queen, sodding Bohemian Rhapsody. Of all the things, I may have claimed to hate on here, Queen is my absolute biggest hate. I can't stand them and just don't understand why so many people love them.

So in the end, I left feeling disappointed and with the distinct impression that the glitter, balloons and Santas were all just a giant smoke screen to distract the audience from the fact that the band aren't that good anymore.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Morning Glory

I've recently realised that my morning routine really doesn't give me the best start to the day. Its not so much that I'm not a morning person - I always actually have to get up quite early to give myself plenty of time to have a cup of tea etc, rather than rushing about. But its what I do with that time that is the problem.

The OH normally puts Radio 5 first up. Nicky Campbell annoys me so much - his style varies from being inappropriately combative or just sounding bored - he managed to do both in an interview the other week with parents whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. If he doesn't manage to irritate me, then chances are a news story will - this morning the story that some prisoners are suing the Prison Service for making them go cold turkey, which they claim infringed on their human rights. Last time I checked drugs were illegal so really can't see what they are complaining about, unless of course, the BBC missed out some key facts. Either way, it annoyed me.

At 8 o'clock, we switch to XFM, so I can listen to the 8 o'clock shuffle - three songs choosen by listeners (i.e. not the playlist, so a slim chance of hearing something decent). But recently they've been a dreadful selection and yet Lauren Laverne enthuses over them no matter what. I used to like her, but have decided she shrieks a bit much for that time of day.

Then I struggle to find something to wear, usually trying on half my wardrobe. Obviously next comes the tube journey which is never much fun, where I read the Metro, which again usually manages to annoy me with its poor standard of journalism.

No wonder I arrive at work in a bad mood.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I feel queasy

Just tried to watch the film 'A Hole in My Heart' , but had to turn it off after 10 minutes because it was making me feel ill. I'm not normally squeamish really, but this was awful. Basically, the plot was about people making an amateur porn film and the young women in it had had her cosmetic surgery on her bits. There were quick shots of her 'bits' and the talk of surgery made me feel quite sick. I had absolutely no idea what the film was about when I rented it - I just picked it because I have liked the director, Lukas Moodysson's other films (Together, Lilya 4Eva, and F***ing).

Friday, November 10, 2006

Avenue Q (again)

Surprisingly, I enjoyed it just as much the second round and even the musical-hating OH enjoyed it. He still claimed there were too many songs in it, but I saw him laughing.

Also, as he noticed looking at my program before the show even started, one of the puppets (pictured) bore a striking resemblance to him (his skin is less green though). This seemed to please him. He likes to have someone he can identify with in films, books & plays.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Opening of an Envelope

I’m continuing to do well on the something for nothing front. Yesterday, was a free lunch, a few glasses of champagne followed by a few glasses of wine – admittedly this was in return for a hard days work and a load of stress.

Tonight, we are going to see Avenue Q which bizarrely the OH got free tickets to – a bit strange considering I’m the one who works in the industry. I’m not convinced he’ll enjoy it as he really doesn’t like musicals. I’ve already seen it – I’m not normally one for seeing things more than once, even if I loved it, but the tickets were free and if its free, I will go the opening the envelope.

Tuesday night however looks like being the best freebie for sometime.

I’m going to the premiere of the new Bond film.!!!

To be honest I’m not a recent huge fan of Bond films - I don’t think I’ve seen anything more recent than a Roger Moore one (the books are another matter entirely – I think I’ve probably read all them -I had to read one as part of a popular culture course and got a bit addicted to them – they are horribly racist and sexist, but very readable). I’m mainly interested in going for the glamour – despite being resoundingly unglamorous myself, I am a sucker for glamour. And of course, its free. My savings are coming along quite nicely with all this ligging, although I may have to buy a new pair of shoes for the occasion, which does ruin this theory somewhat.

I must not, I repeat, must not buy a new dress though.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In the news

I was rather taken aback by the news that Saddam Hussein is to be hung. I know he is guilty of some terrible crimes, hundreds of people died under his reign etc, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of hanging. I think this has proved to me once and for all that I am totally against the death penalty, in all circumstances.

Not that my alternative is exactly a picture of liberal thinking – I think that such people (mass murders etc) should be used for medical research, their brains examined to see if we can come to some understanding of what causes their behaviour in the first instance. And failing that, why not use them to test new drugs – better than innocent rats.

The Metro handled the story with its usual sensitivity this morning with a nice graphic of a noose - presumablyfor anyone who doesn't know what hanging is. Rather unnecessary I thought.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fear of the Multiplex

After three weeks of dithering and change of plans and general, we eventually got our collective arse in gear and went to see 'The Departed' at the cinema last night. The OH really wanted to see it, I had free cinema vouchers. So far, so good. Except it involved going to the local multiplex.

I hate multiplexes.

I love going to see films at the cinema - as mentioned before I get very excited by the Pearl & Dean music, but I hate the multiplex. Everything about it. The food - why can't you buy anything there that isn't really bad for you? Why must it all be processed, sugary, neon and served by the bucketful? The limted choice of films - Borat was showing on about six screens, yesterday.

But mostly I hate the people there - its like a sci-fi vision of a distopian future. This might be limited to our local one, but there always seems to be an undercurrent of violence there. Numerous cars with blacked-out (bulletproof?) windows drove passed us. We witnessed two very heated arguments at the popcorn counter last night, one of which seemed to be escalating into a fight as we went into our film. People seemed incapable of sitting still and quiet in their seats for the duration of the film (yes, it was long, but really as an adult you should be able to concentrate for more than 10 minutes).

We are never going there again. I will stick with my independent cinemas or wait for stuff to come out on DVD in future.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Three Cheers for the Cold Snap

Is it wrong for me to be enjoying this cold spell?

Not that it ever gets that cold in London, not like New York or even Newcastle for that matter, but it is certainly feeling more wintery now.

So here's a few things I like about the cold weather:

1. Soup - I love it, I could quite happily have it for every meal every day.
2. Boots - my favourite footwear
3. Tights - I know they are deeply unsexy, but I've always loved a thick pair of tights - my legs look a million times better in them.
4. Staying in - gone is the pressure to be out doing something, 'making the most of the weather' that you have in summer. Plenty of nights in, under a duvet, watching DVDs.

Apparently its not going to last and we'll be back up to a balmy 15 degrees next week.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One Track Mind

I have very little to write about as the flat-buying is occupying all my waking thoughts. Its actually even occupying a lot of my dreams too. So far, I've had the following dreams:

- We were buying a house off Bobby Gillespie
- We had bought a house (which was actually my Gran's real house) and were having it valued by an Estate Agent
- The couple were are buying the flat off were being very fussy about buying their next property which was holding things up and then they were exposed as being robots!

Hopefully soon things will return to normal and I'll have something else to write about.

Friday, October 27, 2006

So now the fun really begins...

Our offer was accepted on the flat. I'm fairly certain the other couples did exist (we saw one set of them) so I'm not sure why they picked us. Perhaps because I asked if the dog was included in the price? (Its not, but the oven is)

But the journey to property ownership is only just beginning. Its a long road ahead. I'm very pleased, but I'm still nervous as hell. My stomach is still all over the place (too much information I know) and I'm not sleeping well. I keep thinking in spreadsheets of expenses and budgets.

Hopefully I'll calm down soon once things start to move along. I am a worrier and control freak.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


So we viewed the flat again last night. The kitchen wasn't as small as I remembered and actually rather charming. But the Estate Agent tells us three other couples are also interested in it. This morning we make an offers, a bit below the asking price. Seller wants more. We raise to the asking price. Apparently so do the others. We can't really go any higher. So now the owner has to decide what to do. We have our finances ready go, are first time buyers and have a fairly good deposit, but I assume so do the others. So how do they decide? I guess someone will crack and offer them more and they will win.

I know the old cliches that there will be other properties and if it doesn't work out, it wasn't meant to be, but I'm very worried about whether anything else will come up - this was the only one we have seen that was even fit for human habitation.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I have had butterflies in my stomach all day today. I feel a fluttering of nerves as if I was going on a first date.

The cause of these nerves is the second viewing of a flat tonight.

We thought we liked it after we'd seen it on Saturday, but over the course of the day, I started to go off it. Now I can barely remember what it is like. I think the OH is pretty much sold on it already, but I think it might be because he can't face looking at any more places (he has no patience).

I'm worried that I'm might be being too fussy and if we don't go for this one, nothing else as good will come up. And while I realise that our budget won't buy a palace, I want to like the place I'm living in and putting my life savings into.

I have a list of questions to ask, about boilers, roofing and drains, wihch I probably won't understand the answers to, but have been told, I really must ask.

I've found a great little feature on my graphics package that allowed me to create the lovely butterfly picture here, which seemed quite apt today. It also does button, animals and flowers.

Paris (Mis) Match

In the paper yesterday was a story about Japanese tourists being so traumatised by their visit to Paris that lots of them have to receive counselling. This struck a chord with me as we went to Paris for my birthday this year and it was a bit disappointing.

I'd been before but never with a partner, and parts of it were great, but it wasn't particularly romantic and the rudeness of lots of the people did make it a bit of grind (and I really did try to speak in French whenever possible). I had a bit of a cafe rage moment with someone smoking in the non-smoking section of a restaurant. I'm not normally that bothered by other people's smoke but when you are eating, have specifically requested non-smoking and the person is turning towards you to blow out her smoke, it is annoying. After asking her (in my best French) several times, I was very close to tipping my drink over her head. (OH was rather terrified by this point, as I'm not usually confrontational at all). Then there was the waiter who insisted that I was mispronouncing Amstel and wouldn't serve us until I could pronounce it 'correctly' - which annoyed me as its a Dutch lager, not French so I'm not sure his way was right. And worst of all was the scammer up on MontMartre who pulled a knife out on the OH, forcing him to pay them 10 Euros for some tat. Obviously this put a bit of a downer on the trip for him.

So I understood the plight of the Japanese tourists.

Up until the point in the article when it claimed that one of them thought he was Louis XVI.

No matter how let down by a place I may have been, it has never brought on the delusion that I am one of its most famous monarchs.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Westworld - Gunslingers and Remakes

On Saturday night we watched Westworld on the Scifi Channel. We had started watching it on Friday but typically I fell asleep 30 minutes in, so I was pleased it was being shown again at a more friendly time. The OH was amazed that I'd never seen it before as it is a classic apparently. For once he didn't trot out the 'Call yourself a film buff?' line that he usually does when I haven't seen a film (I have never ever called myself a film buff - I did briefly go out with one once - he is now apparently directing music videos in LA - he was incredibly dull though).

Anyway, I really enjoyed it. Yul Brynner was very menacing as a Gunslinger robot, despite wearing a ridiculously tight shirt. I quite fancied James Brolin - he looked rather like an in his prime Clint Eastwood. I spent much of film thinking about which 'world' I would go to, the choice being Wild West, Medieval or Ancient Rome. The OH unhesitatingly picked Medieval for the buxom serving wenches and banquets of meat, although I associated the period more with plagues and poor sanitation. I would probably go to Rome - I like grapes and they invented drainage, I can take or leave the orgies.

I described the film to the OH as being like Jurassic Park with robots instead of dinosaurs and on looking it up on IMDB this morning, I find out that it was written by the same person, Michael Crichton (who also wrote Disclosure, quite possibly the worst film ever made).

It seems there is going to be a remake of Westworld, although there aren't any details of who will be playing the Gunslinger. I hate remakes, even more than I hate sequels. I can't think of a single remake that has improved upon the original (feel free to correct me). I particularly hate Hollywood remakes of foreign or British films. Can somebody not write something new?

Weekend in Numbers

1 film watched – Westworld
2 games of football sat through (I really wasn’t paying them any attention)
2 episodes of Seinfeld watched
2 bottles of lager, 1 bottle of cider, 1 vodka, 3 glasses of wine drank (a shocking amount considering it didn’t involve any nights out)
3 cups of coffee drank
2 cups of tea drank
7 properties viewed
8 miles walked (probably)

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Politics of Cringe

The comedy of cringe has been popular in recent years - The Office, Extras and Curb Your Enthusiasm (the latter being genuis but I can't stomach more than two episodes at a time). But now, cringe seems to be spilling over into politics.

Perhaps politians have always been this bad and I've not noticed, but I really do think they are getting worse. Previously they might have been bigots/buffoons/pompous/liars etc, but I'm sure they weren't so downright embarrassing.

Bush is an obvious culprit, but then everything about him is wrong. The 'Yo, Blair" greeting was particularly cringe-inducing. Blair has had his moments too, but now David Cameron is at with full force.

Yesterday, he met with the rapper Rhymefest for 'tea' to discuss the negative effects of hiphop. Probably as much a publicity stunt on the part of Mr Fest as Mr Cameron, but how embarrassing is he? Apparently he like 'Stan' by Eminem because he can hear its message and Mr Fest invited him out clubbing with him! He only declined this offer because of his busy diary. Can anyone really imagine him in an RnB or rap playing club? He would have had to swap his trademark Converse for Nike or Adidas for a start. Is anyone really taken in by this?

I've not felt this embarrassed for someone since my dad threatened to wear jeans and a denim shirt to my parents' evening when I was thirteen.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Estate Agent Watch

I'm boring myself with this now, so will try not to make every post about this subject. But for now, here is this week's 'progress'.

The one decent flat that I have been trying to arrange a viewing of for the last two week has now gone under offer. It was well within our budget, had all the essential rooms and a garden. But on the bright side, at least it does mean there are properties out there that are inhabitable and now my phone is filling up with Estate Agent numbers, we might get in there with the next decent one.

Have two viewings on Saturday - one is on a main road, the other one has the lounge in the loft. But I thought it would be best to see as many as possible.

According to the Porsche Driving Estate Agent (PDEA), there is a chance of a property with a conservatory coming on the market next week. I presume the conservatory will be in lieu of another room.


Having moaned about not getting much in the way of free theatre tickets, I was given tickets to the press night of "Summer and Smoke" last night, which was much appreciated. The stars were Rosamund Pike and Chris Carmack, who was in The OC (I'm clueless about such things, but the girl sat next to me told me).

It was very good (not much of theatre critic, me). Having done quite a bit of backstage amateur stuff, I'm always impressed by the set design and stage management in the West End, although I was pleased to see people dressed in black moving chairs last night - that brought back memories!

I also got a free chocolate bar in M&S yesterday and two free cinema ticket vouchers on Saturday (plus copious amounts of wine on Sunday). I'm on the hunt for more freebies!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I just don't know what to do with myself

Now I'm down to just having one full time job (like most normally people) rather than the one and half jobs I've had the past couple of years, I will have a lot of free time on my hands. I really don't want to just end up sitting around watching television. I want to do something useful with my time.

Obviously 'Project Flat-Hunt' will take up a bit of time, but I feel I need some other purpose (I really do have trouble just relaxing!). I would ideally like to spend my time going to see more theatre and films but theatre especially is expensive (despite working in the industruy, I really don't get much in the way of freebies or discounts). So I'm looking out for inexpensive activities to occupy my mind.

So far I've decided I'm going to have a huge spring clean (somewhat out of season) and aim to read all of the books on the Booker Shortlist. Any other suggestions gratefully received.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Confession

We are looking to buy a flat. After lots of humming and harring, pipe dreams of leaving London and my hopes for property crash, we have decided to make tentative steps towards buying somewhere. I have been reluctant to mention it on here before as its rather embarrassing that at 31 we are still renting. However (and here comes an even more shocking confession)

We are poor

People feel very uncomfortable about this fact, but there it is out in the open now. We've never had particularly well paid jobs (me in particular with my insistence on working in a sector that interests me, rather than having become a lawyer like my parents wanted) and we don't have anyone who can help us. No parents to buy us a flat or give us £100k like most people I know have had. We've managed through saving and death to put together a modest deposit but really its a drop in the water compared with London prices.

So on Saturday we looked at two flats that fall within our meagre budget. They were both awful. One had an open plan kitchen - now some people don't mind these and I think they can work in certain properties, but this one was awful - the room had three doors in it too so was more like a hallway.

The next property, the man was clearly selling because his wife had left him - evidence the topless calendar in the bedroom, wedding photos in the hall. This one didn't have a bathroom and large cracks in the bedroom walls. Perhaps he had thrown the wife against it in anger when she announced she was leaving him for someone with a bath?

Maybe I'm being too fussy? But for a life-times committment, I think I want a kitchen and a bathroom. We have another one to look on Saturday - the owner of which has had a hernia (not sure what relevance this has yet).

Monday, October 16, 2006

And the winner is...

Last night was the Theatre Awards. This is regional theatre so it lacked the glamour of its West End counterpart, but I still had a great time. Celebrities were a bit thin on the ground and as ever most of those that were there I didn't know. Anyway here comes some name-dropping (sort of).

I was introduced to Michelle Collins. Its an awful cliche, but she really is tiny in real life . I always thought she looked quite tall on the television but she must only be about 5ft4 and very petite. She was wearing a gorgeous dress and was very pretty in the flesh too.

A woman who used to be on Casualty won an award (to be honest I didn't know her but it was mentioned) . She was wearing an awful turquoise dress that she was falling out off , tit tape very much visible. She fell over drunk later in the evening.

The entertaiment in the ceremony was very good, especially the songs by a quartet dressed as mice. They did a great number about cheese which included rhyming gloomy with haloumi.

I ended up staying there rather late and am suffering for it today, not hungover but very tired. I spent a long time talking to a bizarre pair of musicians who had gatecrashed, neither of whom seemed to believe I was English (he thought I was Irish, she thought I was Hungarian - this is a new one). At the end of the night I was talking to the writer who won the award for best new play and his director, a lovely woman from Stoke. I think the writer took a bit of a shine to me as he tried to persuade me to stay longer, but as I'm very much attached and have a proper job to go to I left at just after eleven. Not sure how much longer the party was going on but the cleaners were already in.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Riding the Silverlink with Dominic West

On the way home yesterday, I foumd myself to be sat opposite the actor Dominic West on the Silverlink train. Now, Dominic West is hardly a household name, but he is one of the stars of my all time favourite programme 'TheWire' (which hasn't received the attention it deserves over here).

I was sat next to his daughter who was reading aloud. I then realised that actually she wasn't just reading, they were going over a script, with her testing him on his lines. It was at this point that I looked up at the man she was with and I thought 'is that him?'. I was never quite certain it was him as I have a very poor record of not recognising/mistaking people, but I did think he was in London doing theatre recently and having looked it up I now know he going to be in Rock n Roll soon, which fits with the script he was reading (he still needs to do a bit of work on it!)

The OH was very annoyed with me for not talking to him. But I really wasn't 100% certain it was him and I never know what to say to 'famous' people. The other thing is that at my work it is a huge faux pas to come over all fan like in the prescence of actors. Tonight is my work Awards ceremony where any such behaviour is pretty much a sacking offence. I wonder if he will be there? If he is, I will have an opening of 'We were on the same train yesterday'.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Last ever gallery shift

I'm nearing the end of my final shift as Co-Director of the Gallery. I gave my keys back to Eva and she put them in the tray of the new Co-Director. A symbolic gesture that nearly made us both cry. I think I'm going to find it harder to let go of this than I thought I would.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Your feedback is appreciated

I had an event at work this week which I had organised and had been worrying about. It went reasonably well - all of the speakers turned up and on the day the delegates seemed pretty happy. But yesterday was spent going through their feedback which is so disheartening. Overall the response was still good, but people's little moans really get to me.

The award for the best complaint goes to this gem, in answer to a question about the event's catering:

"The biscuits were too far away from the cheese."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

We love Colin Murray

Its not just me, my OH loves him too.

I think he's joining the elite list of men that the OH wouldn't mind me running off with. Ian Brown, Bobby Gillespie Russell Brand and Lee Gorton, ex-singer from band Alfie being the others - the latter he actually once conspired with Badly Drawn Boy to fix me with/pimp me out to - a bizarre moment in our relationship and a rather name-dropping tale at that.

Anyway back to Colin Murray. I wasn't really aware of him until Glastonbury 2005 coverage and the Primal Scream interview, which is my favourite ever television moment, as I've no doubt mentioned before (now available on youtube). I've heard him a few times more recently on Fighting Talk (OH choice of listening, not mine). But this week, we have been listening to his new late night show on Radio 1 and it is brilliant.

According to an article in the Guardian, he wanted to be moved to what is normally considered the graveyard shift so he would have the freedom to play the music he likes, which is by and large the music I like! There are also lots of silly features for listeners to get involved with.

To borrow, the OH's description of him:

"He is a top man adept as disguising himself as a buffoon"

What more could you want?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On a lighter note

To balance out the gloom of the last post...

As I was crossing the road tonight, there was a man with a jumper tied about his waist. Not particularly unusual, you might think. But this was a pinky-beige colour jumper and it had been tied in a way that left it dangling in a certain manner that looked familar. I did a double-take and was then mightly relieved as he drew level and I saw it was jumper, rather than him being the most casual flasher ever.

Perspective, too much f***ing perspective

I found out today that someone I know has got breast cancer. Not exactly a friend, more a friend-of-a-friend, but someone I like and have alot of time for. She is only about 2 years older than me. Apparently she is coping well - she is a super organised sensible person so I can easily imagine her being practical about while everyone else does the crying. It was this thought that made me cry and I want her to be ok more than anything else right now.

The friend in common told me about this by email and ended with the phrase 'it puts it all into perspective, doesn't it...' This is the same person who kept talking about death when we last tried to go clubbing and I think used that same phrase then too. I hate this phrase, its such a cliche. And to be honest I don't need things putting into perspective. I may moan nearly constantly about my job and obsess over trivia, but its mainly to stop myself from thinking about the big things in life. I'm all too aware of the mortality of those I love. In the last couple of years, there has been plenty of illness and death to help with my perspective.

Monday, October 09, 2006


As well as 300 junk emails, there was a little parcel waiting for me at work today. It was addressed to me, but with the wrong company name (the other part of our office, not the bit I work for). Inside was this little fella.

A present from Firebox via apparently. I've never bought anything from either company so far as I can remember and certainly never using work's address and the wrong company name.

He is part of a collectable set and this one is Curious. Others in the set inlcude Shy, Surprised and Silly. He apprently expresses his moods through lights and has an impressive array of 5 different light shows (like a weekend in Blackpool!)

The instructions state he is for one user only - it had never occured to me that he might be for multiple users.

Where are they now? - The Goonies

On Saturday, we caught the end of The Goonies. We seem to see the end of this on a different channel quite regularly and always end up watching it. The last time, we realised that one of the bad guys had been in the Sopranos, so this time the conversation turned to what the rest of the cast had done since. Sean Astin is doing ok for himself (Lord of the Rings), Corey Fieldman has spent a lot of time in rehab and Martha Plimpton has been a few things, but to me she will always be bettered remembered as being River Phoenix's girlfriend (I admit I was jealous).

So in case anyone else was wondering, I've looked it up on IMDB. It would appear there is curse on the rest of the cast. The fat kid Chunk did very little else - perhaps he lost weight and thus his USP? The mother gangster was nominated for an Oscar in Throw Momma from the Train but died just afterwards. The bloke who played Sloth did a bit of television work and then died too of suspected steroid abuse. The rest don't seem to have done much else of note.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

More questions than answers

The holiday has thrown up some very interesting questions about our plans for the future. Despite having previously claimed to hate the countryside (open fields have brought on huge panic attacks, the Oxfordshire countryside nearly induced vomiting), I have now found myself contemplating life outside of London. We have talked about leaving London before, but usually for Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle or New York i.e. sticking with the urban life. But this holiday has made us consider that a gentler pace of life might be for us afterall. I'm still not a big fan of the proper countryside, but I can cope if its near the sea (I know is doesn't make sense, but its my phobia) and Urban Outfitters now has an online shop, so perhaps I could leave the metropolis.

People in Cornwall seemed so much happier than people in London so why are we slogging away in pointless jobs for very little reward? This is the question we asked ourselves frequently during the course of the week.

I think I'm coming to the point where I'm past caring what I do for a living and would swap a so-called career for a nice little house and a garden that didn't cost the earth. But as we aren't independently wealthy, we will still need to work, which is the main thing holding us back. OH's job in particular is rather London-centric so it might be difficult to find gainful employment elsewhere, and I think the pasty-baking/fudge-making industry in Cornwall is already sewn up.

Why are there no easy answers? I wish someone would just tell us what was the best thing to do. I hate being an adult at times!

Pasties, Scrumpy, Fudge and Clotted Cream

Back from a wonderful holiday in Cornwall - Lelant, just outside of St Ives for anyone who knows the area. It was lovely - I'd even go so far as to say its one of the best holidays I've ever had. Here's a quick round-up of what happened

Friday: epic train journey. Arrived in the dark and had to scramble around looking for the key which had been strategically hidden.

Saturday: went for a walk to explore the local area. Saw a dead badger on the pavement, which was very traumatic as it was the first time I'd seen a real badger before. OH tried to pretend it was just asleep so I wouldn't be so upset but he wasn't very convincing and to be fair it did have its legs stuck up in the area. Nearly got hit by a golf ball when walking to the beach - the coastal path cutting dangerously through the links golf course. OH cooked a lasagne for tea - he's been promising to do this since we moved in together 6 and a bit years ago.

Sunday: Went to St Ives for the afternoon. St Ives is lovely - it really doesn't look like somewhere in England - kind of Mediterranean looking. Ate the first pasty of the trip which I can understand why they would have been popular with workers like fishermen and miners as they really do fill you up for the day, but now I could happily go the rest of my life without eating another one.

Monday: Took the bus to Penzance, had a quick look a round before getting the bus to Lands End. Saw the Merry Maidens stone circle thing from the bus - didn't know anything about this before and didn't realise it was something of note until a woman asked to get off the bus there - it was another hour until the return bus so we wondered what she found to do there for all that time. Lands End was pretty dramatic but not really much to do there unless you shell out money for the tacked on attractions. We didn't - instead we ate another pasty, took some photos and then returned to Penzance on an open top bus! In October, an open top bus is a matter of endurance (or stupidity) but fortunately we made it back to Penzance before it rained.

Tuesday: Another long walk and then another trip to St Ives. Unimpressed by the Barbara Hepworth museum - £4.75 entry fee seemed rather steeped - have decided I'm not that keen on sculpture as an art form. Dined in the pub opposite our cottage - had far too much as I gave in to the bread & butter pudding.

Wednesday: Went to Truro for the day, still feeling bloated from the night before's feast. Wandered aimlessly around, resisting the temptation to go into Topshop.

Thursday: another trip to St Ives, had the obligatory cream tea, walked most of the way back along the coastal path.

Friday: epic journey in reverse. Very sad to be going as I'd quite settled into village life.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I'm off!

Against the odds, I've survived to the end of the week and am about to start my holiday, much deserved even if I do say so myself. It took ages to pack and I'm still convinced I've not got enough (the big towel and warm jacket are taking up most of the room). And an update on the Owl situation - I've found a top to wear him with, so will wowing the Cornish folk with him.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Owl Obsession

I quite easily find myself getting obsessed about things, especially clothing (remember the Celia Birtwell fiasco?) The latest of these bizarre addictions has been the Owl necklace. I'm not sure why it happened. Urban Outfitters were selling them but I decided that really I didn't need one. Then they sold out and I decided I must own an owl pendant. (I've always liked owls - my mum once bought me a toy one wearing a mortar board for doing well in my exams at school).

So I looked on ebay, got suckered into a bidding war which I lost. Then the Sunday Times Style magazine said owl were hot this season and I became ever more determined to find one. The OH, whilst somewhat bemused by the item itself, prides himself on being great at winning on ebay so he too became determined that I would have one. It involved him getting up at 3am to win it while I was away. But yesterday it arrived, all the way from Indiana, USA.
I do really like it and keep picking it up and cooing over it. But I'm not entirely sure what I will wear it with - large necklaces aren't my usual thing at all. And I'm thinking that perhaps instead I can find somewhere in the flat to hang it.

Welcome to the end of my tether

I'm feeling under so much pressure at work and am getting absolutely no support. Yesterday though really took the proverbial biscuit. I was told that I shouldn't really complain about the new office assistant not doing his job properly and being surly & rude because 'he is really intelligent and has a degree in philosophy so it must be very difficult for him to have to do such a menial job'. I'm sorry but this is rubbish. Why take the job if he thinks it is so much beneath him? Big deal that he has a degree in philosophy - its a harsh fact that this isn't going to have prepared him much for working life and will probably (like most of us) have to work his way up. There are lots of parts of my job that don't involve using my brain but I didn't realise I was allowed to opt out of them by waving my degree certificate around.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Slight Return

Back in London now. Leaving my family always makes me a feel a bit low, even though I'm pleased to be back with the OH and in my own bed.

Anyway, only four and a bit days until our holiday to Cornwall. For the first time in about 5 years, we are going away for a whole week. Admittedly, it is still to somewhere that is unlikely to be warm, as it will be October. But it should be relaxing. which is what is needed.

We are hiring a cottage that looks so beautiful - beams on the ceiling, wood burner fire, yards from a pub, near the sea - sounds pretty much ideal.

I'm concerned that it is going to be unbearable coming back to our cramped London flat after the luxury of somewhere with a separate dining room and conservatory.

The plan is to do lots of walking, reading and curling up in front of the fire. I just have to get through a week at work first.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The downside of daytime television

I love detective programmes so being off on a week day does offer the possible delights of Diagnosis Murder, Perry Mason, Murder She Wrote etc. Not exactly award-winning brain-expanding stuff, but I like it. However, the flipside of being at home during the day is the awful probability of accidentally watching the Jeremy Kyle show.

While it is awful, its very difficult to turn it off. Yesterday, for example, I actually did think 'I'll turn over in a minute but I'll just find out the results of the DNA test first'. I mean really, what was I doing? I don't really care whether these two women are really full sisters or not -these people are nothing to me.

Where do they find these guests though? Putting aside the soap opera problems, why do they all have such bad teeth and posture? I'm not expecting everyone to have Hollywood white smiles and to have to had deportment lessons, but surely this isn't normal. Even the man who came round to service my mum's fire commented on one guest's need for a good dentist (one of the many and varied topics me and the fire repair man covered in his brief visit).

As for Jeremy Kyle, I hate him. He's so smug. I don't for a minute believe he did have 'a huge amount of respect' for the pair of smack addicts on this mornings show. The only thing he has a huge respect for is his own ego and the paycheck it gets him.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Old Durham Town

Yesterday, I was in Durham for work. Despite being from not far away, I've only been to Durham a handful of times in my life and not at all in recent times. Obviously I go through it on the train on the way home and always look at the window at it, but I was still impressed with how pretty is was. I had a friend at school who lived in Durham who was from a very religious family and I thought yesterday that prehaps I too would have believed in God if I lived in Durham.

It was quite difficult to get back to my mum's from Durham as the trains to Newcastle weren't very frequent. While I was waiting I kept thinking of the Roger Whittaker song Durham Town. Not my usual type of music or something I expect many people of my generation to be familiar with, but I remember my dad pointing out the error in the lyrics as it talks about the river Tyne, when actually Durham is on the Wear. He also claimed that Roger Whittaker used to lodge in a guest house a few houses up our street. I've no idea if this is true, but thought about it as I waited for the train.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Travelling Light

Why can’t I do it? Why does going away for a few days always result in me dragging out half of my wardrobe to try on and packing at least four types of footwear?

I’m going away for work tomorrow, up north to near where my family live, so I’m taking the rest of the week off and staying up there. This has worked out rather nicely for me, but I'm really stuggling with the packing.

After much deliberation (and trying on three pairs of trousers in Warehouse) I have decided it will just be easier to wear my suit for the work part of the trip. But then there is the rest of the stay. Realistically, I know its probably just going to be some drinks in my friend's local and a meal out with my family but I'm incapable of not taking a few reserve outfits.

The remainder of the time will then be spent visiting my gran in her new old folks home and my auntie who is still housebound with her superbug, helping my sister to buy a computer and watching the Hallmark Channel with the dog. Special outfits are probably not really needed for these activities - I know this and yet I still procrastinate.

A night of packing, unpacking and repacking beckons.

Today is...

National Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Avast me hearties, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum etc to you all!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Food for Thought

If I was friends with Nicole Ritchie or Victoria Beckham, no matter how much I think they need to put on a bit of weight, I would be reluctant to mention it them. To my mind, it can be just as rude, untactful and hurtful to point out someone’s thinness as it is to point out someone’s fatness.

Now, (unfortunately) nobody is going to tell me I’m too thin anytime soon, but on a similar note, I was rather peeved at a certain work colleague’s reaction to my lunch today.
‘What are you having’ he enquired
‘Salad' said I.
‘ Just salad. Oh! Is that all you are having’ he said very loudly so the whole office could hear.

I did also have a yoghurt and it was a large plate of salad with lashings of dressing, but really I don’t see why I should have to justify what I choose to eat to someone I hardly know. I don’t have an eating disorder, but I am a bit sensitive about these things. Its nobody else's business - since I left home 13 years ago, it isn't even my mum's business what I eat.

If I did the same to him, I don’t think it would be looked upon too kindly. I could quite easily say any of the following, most days, but it would be deemed offensive.

‘What’s that – another bacon sandwich?’
‘Is that your second or third packet of crisps today?’
‘More red meat and saturated fat!’

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Film Night

I'm having a quiet, do as little as possible weekend because the next few weeks are going to be so busy. So last night we stayed in with some films, this weeks DVDs from my film rental services.

First up, Romance and Cigarettes - rented for the OH who wanted to see it when it was out at the cinema. He wanted to see it because James Gandolfini is in it and as he loves the Sopranos, he believes the man can do now wrong. I, on the otherhand, was never convinced as it involves singing and we just aren't big on musicals. I was trying to keep an open mind. The first song & dance number was alright - quite charming in its way. But then there just didn't seem to be much plot - by the end of the film I still didn't know who half the peopel were or what their story was. This might have been because the OH tired quickly of the singing, so kept fast-forwarding scenes, so I might have missed some details along the way. We actually shaved a good 30 minutes of the film, viewing it this way.

And I wll admit, at the risk of being cast out of polite society forever, I can't stand Kate Winslet. I don't think she is a great actress - she reminds me of friends I had at school who went to drama clubs, a bit stagey & over the top, and her accent in this was shocking - another one from the Daphne Moon school of posh actress doing somewhere oop north accent.

Anyway, the next film was A History of Violence, which I vaguely remember having had quite good reviews. Despite not being one for screen violence, I really enjoyed this. The plot was fairly simple, but interesting. Also before it started, I mentioned to the OH that the Pearl & Dean music at cinemas makes the start of the film more exciting, so he turned off the lights and sang this before it started, which did seem to put me in the right mood for film watching!

I received the brochure for the London Film Festival yesterday. So many films. Years ago, in another career, I managed to blag a press pass to the LFF so got to watch loads of film for free. So when the festival comes around now, I read the brochure and plan what I want to see, forgetting that now I have to pay for it. I always like to go and see at least one film, but its so difficult to know what to pick. Its also the Raindance Festival soon which I have worked at in the past - they are having a special Ramones evening which I would have loved to have gone to, but its on while we are away. Damn.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mass Media

London has recently acquired two new free newspapers and I've become rather obsessed with them.

While other commuters dodge to avoid the people handing them out, I MUST get both papers each night. I was disappointed tonight that there wasn't a TheLondonPaper pusher outside my tube stop - perhaps London Lite has won that particular turf war.

The thing is though I think both papers are pretty awful. The teaser advertising in Metro (which I also must read every day, but don't particularly like) for Lite was appalling and the paper hasn't been much better. Every other page features someone saying why they love Lite and they are always inane comments, usually akin to the person not wanting to read real news because the words are too long.

So I had high hopes for TheLondonPaper and the first edition wasn't so bad, but since then its gone downhill and I might even be swaying towards Lite in my preference. But I will keep going with them both (subject to availability) for a while before declaring a winner.


We are organising a conference where one of the speakers will talk about Britishness and Culture.

I expect it will be about multi-culturalism, how we've always been a nation made up of lots of peoples, how our culture is all the better for being a melting post etc - rather than talking about Union Jacks, binge-drinking, Big Brother and pit bulls.

However, the spell-check on my email didn't like the word 'Britishness' and instead suggested 'Brutishness'. Quite appropriate to much of the population I thought.

(especially that sick woman in the paper this week who boiled a puppy - this is has upset me greatly as I will readily admit to preferring dogs to human most of the time)

Retail Therapy

I've had a very stressful week at work. I can handle being super bsuy - I've complained enough in the past about not having enough to do. But its the unhelpful attitude of other people that makes it stressful.

So last night I decided to treat myself to some retail therapy, but it needed to be cheap 'n' cheerful - no use adding money worries to the list of stresses. I was torn between Topshop and Primark and in the end Primark won out as Topshop was bound to result in overspending on something another impractical dress.

I'm a fairly recent convert to the shopping sensation that is Primark and part of me still finds it a bit unsavoury. Why were there so many women 'resting' on the seats in the shoe area last night? None of them were trying on shoes, just resting - it can be a nightmare in there, but not so exhausting that you need a rest. So I was forced to hop about, balance on one foot to attempt to try on boots and shoes.

I bought a pair of grey ankle boots which is a bold move for me - I haven't owned ankle boots since they were called pixie boots and I was about seven. They were grey suede and I ruined them by spilling tea on them within a few days of getting them, and was never allowed suede again. (Actually, my mum probably still has this ban in place). Still not sure why I bought these boots - a bit too trendy for me really, but for £15 I thought I could experiment.

I also bought a grey jumper dress which suits me far better than any of the million other more expensive ones I've tried on recently, and some tights and socks. While browsing the tights, a girl asked me what size I thought she was. I feared it was a trick question & I'd get thumped if I answered incorrectly, but she then said she thought she was about the same size as me and what size do I buy. Seemed a bit odd, but I was glad to have been of service.

The haul came to £29.50, so I think I can treat myself to some Starbursts later.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Ace of Spades

Last night was Poker Night at Graham's. It is a bit of a tradition now (i.e. its happened twice). There was good food - fine cheeses and red wine aplenty (gout anyone?).

I fear my social life is turning into that of a 50 year old man with the pub quizzes and poker nights - all I need to do now is take up dominoes.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Normal Service is Resumed

Hello, I'm back. Without going into too much detail, I've been under a lot of stress, largely self-created. I managed to make myself unwell through this and everything snowballed. Anyway, things were sorted out, I'm calmer now (but exhausted) and everything is going to be ok.

I don't normally write this sort of thing, but my OH has been an absolute hero this week that I can't not mention it - he has been so good for me and I've put him through absolute hell. The upside of this week as that I feel our relationship is so much stronger and we appreciate each other so much more, having been in danger of taking things for granted too much in the past. So all's well that ends well.

Expected the usual preoccupation with Topshop and dresses to be restored soon.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Don't blame the Stingray

Its been a bad press week for stingrays. I stroked one once at some sealife park years ago. I survived. I've had a pretty awful week too, although I haven't killed an Australian hero, which is something I suppose.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Final Night Out?

Rather late as I haven't been in the mood for writing this week, I thought I would write my thoughts about last weekend's Cross Central Festival which we attended on Saturday (that makes it sound rather formal).

To be honest, it was a huge disappointment. Yet more acts cancelled or just didn't turn up on the night. It also suffered from neither being a proper festival or a club so people didn't really know what to do with themselves. Not much dancing going on and not much to watch, so in the end lots of people just milling about.

Kelly from Bloc Party DJ-ed which was ok. He got a very good reception when he played one of his band's songs. Unfortunately, the person who was supposed to be on after him didn't turn up so he had to play for longer - we could actually see him panic about not having enough records.

I won't be going back next year unless they have some very good bands on - short of digging up Hendrix, I'm not sure who I would make the effort for really.

And another thing - the number of boys in neck-scarfs (a la Russell Brand) was just ridiculous. Only about four men on the planet can carry this look off and none of them were at Kings Cross Freight Depot last weekend.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

People are Strange

Despite 31 and a half years on this planet, people’s behaviour still amazes me.

Yesterday, in Topshop, a Japanese (I think) lady presented the shop assistant with the price sticker for a pair of shoes. She was wearing the shoes. It took quite a while for the shop assistant to convey to her, that they need to scan the security code on the shoes and that the price sticker alone was not enough. It took a while. The shoes involved complicated ribbon ties which the lady had done up and it would seem tied in quadruple knots.

Now I understand that there was a language barrier, but surely shopping procedure is pretty much the same in Japan as here? And could her other shoes (flat ballet shoes, a lot nicer than the ones she was buying) really be that uncomfortable that she couldn’t bear to wear for another 5 minutes? Or perhaps she just loved the new ones so much that she couldn’t wait to wear them?


We returned to the pub quiz last night and our team was woeful (but still came third). I was particularly terrible.

These were the answers I got right:

Charles I
Liam Neeson

But what were the questions?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Puttting the cross into Cross Central

As discussed previously, I love festivals, but it is getting increasingly difficult to get a group of people together to go to them. So this year, our only festival outing was going to be to Cross Central. At first the OH was reluctant to go, but then the magic words appeared on the bill 'Jagz Kooner'. OH loves Jagz Kooner, so as soon as I saw he was playing, I knew he would want to go. The rest of the bill looked a bit blah - it was the Sunday, which was very dancey, but still enough decent acts to splash out £20.

Anyway, I'd been looking forward to this for months - I'd even planned my outfit -this is always a mistake. And lo and behold, today I was looking at their website and they've had to get rid of a whole stage of acts due the stage being found to be unfit for performance! Jagz has been moved to the Saturday, Death in Vegas have gone altogether, leaving only Sasha, Mary Ann Hobbs and James Hyman that I've heard of and Sasha just isn't my thing at all.

So Lind is trying to see if we can swap for the Saturday. Refunds are being offered though due to the whole being a shambles. Hopefully we'll get it all sorted out, but what a hassle. I'm going to have to change my hair appointment and gallery shifts too. Perhaps, I should give up on this going out lark altogether.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wrestle-Mania and Grandma Dolly

In bed the other morning, we were talking about how wrestling is surprisingly popular. The OH had been in a pub in the South West recently where it was being shown on the television and the locals were all watching it closely.

This conversation led me onto thinking about my Dad's mother, Grandma Dolly (as opposed to my mum's mother, Grandma Molly, about whom I've already written).

Grandma Dolly was a big wrestling fan.

On a Saturday afternoon, she used to pull up a chair right in front of the television to watch the wrestling. She got right into it, shouting at the screen, cheering for the goodies, booing the bad guys. This was not the expected behaviour for a woman like her. Grandma Dolly was quite 'well to do', a respected local business woman, pillar of the community etc.

I never met Grandma Dolly as she died before I was born, so sadly, I don't know much else about her. Other than her love of wrestling, these are the only things I know about her.

1. Every year she left her Christmas shopping until the last minute, doing it all on Christas Eve. The local department store, Binns, would stay open late especially for her.

2. The family business would have been alot more prosperous had she not frequently refused payment in cash and insisting that the debtor bought her a nice hat instead. We are still uncertain how she then paid the rest of the staff, but it does go somewhere to explaining the special treatment she received at Binns.

3. She had a purple rinse. This is in no way unusual for a woman of that time, but its a look I've never understood and I thought there should be three points of the list.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Frontroom Festival Review (continued)

I didn’t watch quite so much of V yesterday as Saturday, due to the cricket fiasco and Channel 4’s bizarre decision to leave the headliners coverage until 11.45 – i.e. after my bedtime.

But what I did see still managed to rile me.

Faithless – have they released anything in recently or are they still hawking the same tunes as about 10 years ago? Dance music for people who don’t like dance music and the whooping noises from the crowd got on my nerves too.

Starsailor - I actually liked these when they first came out and Turin Brakes too. Probably because they were just ripping off Jeff Buckley and Gram Parsons. But I soon learnt the error of my ways. Tellingly I saw one of them live but now have no recollection of which one it was.

Paul Weller – I loved the Jam and I even liked some Style Council and some of his solo stuff (well, Sunflower anyway), but he gets on my nerves now. He’s so po-faced and takes himself far too seriously all of the time. And what has he done to his hair – a sign of a mid-life crisis if ever there was one.

Lily Allen – saw about a minute of her, it was dreadful and I stand by my first thoughts that if she wasn’t the daughter of someone famous, nobody would care.

The Charlatans – they were once one of my favourite bands but I’ve lost interest in them now. The interview with them as painful – Tim Burgess really isn’t any good at talking! I only saw them doing ‘Tellin’ Stories’ which usually makes me cry, but left me unmoved this time.

I didn’t see any coverage of South, The Delays, Dub Pistols or Loose Canons who would have been on my ‘to see’ list (as well as Morrissey, of course).


noun: turmoil, uproar, fuss.

My OH was delighted when this word was used yesterday in relation to the controversy at the cricket as its apparently one of his favourite words. He was also pleased that we were awarded the game, but I really don't think that is quite in the spirit of cricket. I quite enjoyed the whole thing though - much more interesting than the actual game of cricket had been.

But that wasn't the only brouhaha. At about 3.45 this morning we were woken up by someone talking on a walkie talkie outside of our window. A few minutes later there was the sound of a helicopter circling overhead. OH looked out of the window and confirmed it was the police. We heard them talking again and made out vague bits of conversation, but not enough to know what type of criminals they were looking for. The helicopter continued flying low overhead for hours and I think it may even still be out there now. We've looked at every news medium possible this morning but found no mention of it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

V from the sofa

We spent last night watching V on television. We had beers and veggie burgers so it was just like going to a real festival (sort of).

The television coverage was frankly awful. The sound was terrible and there was constantly interference - vague noises of people talking - a bit like the start of 'Dark Side of the Moon', but unintentional.

Far too much coverage was given to Girls Aloud, who weren't really doing much other than bad dance routines that most girls grow out of doing by the age of 14.

Editors weren't particularly inspiring, until they were joined by some of We Are Scientist to do a cover of 'Orange Crush' which was excellent, although seemed to be lost on the crowd.

Beck was by far the best act I saw. A puppet version of the band came on first with the real band hidden for most of the opening song, 'Loser', which sounded great. The puppet band's likeness to the real band was amazing (I do love puppets though!).
They also had a 'dinner party' during one song where they created sounds on the drinks, but the effect was ruined by the poor sound quality of the broadcast. The OH thought they were in danger of being too pretentious, but I thought it was good that they had made some effort, rather than just turning up and churning out the standard festival set over and over again (like bloody Keane do). They also had some great bears that came on at the end.

I saw some of the Kasabian. They were pretty good, but I still don't think their frontman is quite there yet. His clothes seem to have improved a bit i.e. he doesn't look as if he's just come from work in an office and untucked his shirt, but he still lacks a certain swagger which I like my frontmen to have.

As usual I fell asleep, so saw nothing of Radiohead or Fat Boy Slim, although OH says they didn't show much of them probably because they don't have records to promote.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The end of an era

In more ways than one.

Yesterday was the last day at work for the girl I sit opposite. Given the bizarre set-up at my work that people outside struggle to understand, she didn't actually work for the same organisation as me or anyone else in our building. But as she was the nearest person to me, she was the person I talked to most and we made each other drinks. I was very sad when she announced she was leaving, but I didn't think about it much until yesterday. When her boss was making the leaving speech, I could feel myself welling up and when it came for us to say goodbye (just before 11pm after far too many glasses of wine and canapes), we hugged and then I had to run off before I did cry.

She sent me a lovely text message today and I'm sure we will keep in touch but its never the same as seeing someone everyday. We've met her replacement who seems nice enough, but she doesn't drink tea or instant coffee, so we won't be bonding over beverages.

And then the other change.

I've been feeling unhappy with the voluntary work I do at an art gallery for some time now as previously mentioned. It isn't getting any more rewarding and I'm constantly exhausted. So today, I told my Co-Director that I wanted to leave. I was very worried about telling her, but had decided that it was only fair to discuss it with her first before telling the Trustees. She took it as well as could be expected - slightly worried about how she would cope, who they could get as a replacement etc, but she understood my reasons and had always been rather amazed that I managed to do this on top of a full time job. I've sent an email to the Trustees and awaiting their response. I'm going to stay until early October, to oversee the start of the next exhibition, which is one I've arranged and I may still do bits and pieces for them in the future, but without the huge committment and responsibility of being in charge.

I feel much better having made this decision. Ironically though I've had a very productive afternoon, but I think it is just that the end being in sight has made the work seem more bareable.