Monday, July 31, 2006
For once, I was well-organised. I took a blanket, paper plates & plastic cutlery and I bought our picnic food - this meant cherry tomatoes, olives, houmous and pitta bread, as opposed to pork pies and scotch eggs when the OH has done the shopping. Jane made potato salad, Herm made jerk chicken (actually his mum made it) and Graham made his 'famous mozarella salad'. The opposition brought sandwiches, crisps and more boxes of Mr Kiplings cakes than I've ever seen outside of a supermarket.
Now we come to my gripe with picnics. Not the insects or hygiene or anything like that. My niggle with them is the unattractiveness of our cool bag. It is a garish bright blue thing (bought on the cheap from Robert Dyas by the OH). I was especially embarrassed to be lugging about Hampstead Heath last summer when we found ourselves sat next to Sadie Frost and the rest of the Primrose Hill set, who all looked supercool, dressed in white and unburdened by anything containing freezable ice packs.
Jane's has a swanky picnic set in a nice muted colour and I find myself suffering from coolbag envy. I know it is incredibly shallow, but I dream of owning an aethetically pleasing picnic set - something by Cath Kidston perhaps. But really I cannot justify £35 for something that I would only use a couple of times a year, when we have something perfectly serviceable already. But I regularly pop into the shop to see if anything will reach a sensible price in the sale.
(Notice I'm putting that French A Level to good use with this title!)
This time, it was a man (a different one, unless he had shaved his head in between 'events') doing Tai Chi on the lawn.
I know its a communal garden so residents (assuming they are residents, rather than just complete randoms) can do what they want out there, but I would prefer it if it was limited to barbecues and sunbathing.
I wonder if anyone will take centre stage tonight? Maypole dancing perhaps? Or juggling?
Sunday, July 30, 2006
But then, the OH looked out of the window onto our communal gardens and there was a bloke, barefoot, sat on a dining chair, playing an acoustic guitar.
He played and sang for entire length of the film. He wasn't particularly good. Every so often I would turn the volume down on the television so I could hear him. I was convinced every song was Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here', but none of them were.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Since I started the salad eating campaign in an attempt to lose some weight, I've done fairly well. I've bought salad items in Tescos or for a treat I've had Eat's Superfood Salad (I may well be addicted to these).
However, there have been a few days when I've needed a Pret sandwich and crisps to get me through the afternoon and today is going to be one of them.
Anyway, I weighed less than I thought I would when I used the scales at my mother's last week - not the most accurate measure as I had no idea how much I did weigh before the salading started. My best friend said I looked slim & asked if I'd been swimming lots and my sister took the piss out of my small wrists (in the way only family can!).
So last night, we were out in Camden, which was my idea as I'm bored with Soho. We managed to miss the rain, drank a bottle of rose wine (between three of us), then we had Japanese food. I'm not really a big fan of it as my fear of fish limits my choices somewhat, so I had the same Bento box I had the last time.
We went onto another pub (the one Graham Coxon used to frequent - he wasn't there last night), where the conversation turned to fancy dress and the best outfits we'd ever worn (no idea now how we got onto this subject, but it becomes relevant later!). Jo's favourite was a sunflower costume she'd worn as a child. I told the story of how when I first meet my friend Maia, years before we became friends, it was at a party where she was dressed as a Christmas Cracker, in a cardboard tube which meant she couldn't sit down.
Then we moved onto another pub. So far, so respectable, but then we gatecrashed a party.
We noticed that the upstairs room was closed for a private hire, so (again I'm not sure how this happened exactly) we decided that we should go and investigate. I think it was a combination of worrying we were missing out on something very exciting and the lure of going somewhere we weren't supposed to. So we walked up the stairs, spotted an empty table and sat ourselves down, momentarily thinking we'd got away with it.
Until we realised that everyone else was in fancy dress!
An Apache came over to talk to us and let Jo touch his axe, but a person of indeterminant gender in a pink feather boa gave us dirty looks, so we decided it was probably best that we left.
I arrived home at a reasonable hour and pretty sober, but I failed miserably to go swimming again this morning.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Last night we went to the quiz in my favourite pub (the one that does pints of Pimms for £3). As there were seven of us, we had to divide into two teams. It was a thrilling battle as the leader changed with each round - we were strong on General Knowledge and Film & TV, but rubbish on Science & Nature and surprisingly poor on Sport, given my OH's devotion to it.
It ended in a four way tie - a unique moment in the pub's history apparently. We had to answer three questions and much to my surprise, our team won. £30 shared between four of us, plus a bottle of champagne, which we graciously shared with our friends on the other team (after 4 Pimms, I wasn't really looking for more to drink and I failed miserably to get up to go swimming this morning).
After the quiz had finished, one of the regulars, Clyde, got behind the bar and did a partial strip-tease to that stripper music. It was most embarrassing, but I do like going to a pub that has that proper 'locals' atmosphere. Our friends whose actual local it is, are looking to buy somewhere soon so won't be staying around that area (v. expensive) which will be a great shame as I do like this pub. We could still go but it would seem a bit strange if we were all having to travel from afar to get there.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
First off, to what my mum had initially described as my niece's school play, but it turned out to be a talent show. Without wanting to be too uncharitable to the children taking part, it was a load of rubbish. My niece was first up, singing (God knows where she gets this confidence or ability to sing from - its certainly not from our side). But the organisers had wrote on her CD to mark which song it was, but in advertantly it ruined the CD so it wouldn't play. After 20 minutes of attempting to sort it out, she said she would sing without the music! What a trooper! The rest of the acts were a lot older, all in pairs or groups and all dancing. Their ability was mixed, but what was particularly awful was the over-the-top spiel from the compere (a primary school teacher who claimed that he made his classes dance for 10 minutes to Hendrix and Jethro Tull everyday). At one point, he claimed that it made you feel good to be alive when you saw the talent and especially given the bad things you read about kids today. I didn't make me feel that way particularly - the fact he could only find 10 kids to take part in this thing, made me wonder what the rest of the town's children were up to - probably in a bus stop with a bottle of cider.
We were sat during this with her father (i.e. my sisters ex-boyfriend) and his new girlfriend, who my sister gets on well with - 'this is a strange set-up', my mother whispered to me at one point. I felt compelled to point out that it was quite nice that everything was amicable and what was an odd set-up was when my mum's boyfriend's ex-wife once came to stay with us when she had burnt her house down and my mum was sat in the bathroom chatting to her while she had a bath.
After this, we visited my sister's new house. Its quite nice although the lounge is tiny and dominated by a huge wall-mounted plasma tv. She could hold film screenings with an audience sat on her front lawn.
I went to my best friend's house for drinks. She told me about her recent infidelity with a minor indie guitarist - actually nothing more than kissing as she reckoned he lacked confidence so wouldn't let her do anything more. Probably for the best, since she is actually engaged. One of her fiance's friends came round who I had not met before - what a complete knob. He is a Porsche salesman, who has recently bought a pub & enjoys shooting - I had very little to say to him. He started showing us 'amusing' clips on the internet, mainly of people in Iraq being blown up by 'our boys' (his words). It felt like a night out with the front page of The Sun.
A meal with the family in a local Greek restaurant. Fairly uneventful, but a very good house red!
A pub quiz with my sisters and their friend. We came last. I wasn't too bad, they weren't much hlep, but it was full of 'professional' quiz goers - people kept pointing out mistakes in the questions and taking it very seriously. The quizmaster was useless too - we could hardly make out what he was saying a lot of the time and he didn't explain things very well (it wasn't just straightforward questions). We all sort of knew him - he was a teacher at my sisters' school and I once went to a New Year's Eve party at his house, where I saw his sister-in-law giving a blow-job to one of my friends. I didn't mention this to him as I doubt it would have got us any extra points.
Afterwards we went round to my sisters house, where the conversation turned to cartwheels so we ended up in the garden attempting cartwheels at midnight. When I put my shoes back on, there was a slug in there and it got between my toes. I was nearly sick.
We went to visit her on Friday afternoon and I honestly wouldn't have recognised her. The last time I saw her, her hair was still blonde (this was only a few months ago - she still thought she looked like Marilyn Monroe despite being 80). But now it is grey and she was tiny, the sheets barely disturbed by her being underneath them. She doesn't seem to recognise anyone and her speech is confused. The only flash of any sign that it was the same woman, was when her boyfriend (not sure that is the right word at their age) tried to help her with opening a card and she snatched it back, glaring at him - the only sign of her former feistyness. And Charles (the boyfriend, 92) is travelling down to the hospital everyday and sitting by her bed, pretty much in silence for six hours a day. Today, she is being moved to a home - my mum broke the news to Charles on Monday and he cried. There is no dignity in things ending this way.
My mum is just about coping with having to deal with all of this. I really wish I could have stayed up there longer and I come back once more to the guilt of living so far away from my family.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Tomorrow night I'm going to my niece's school play - I'm quite excited at this as I've never been to a school play that I wasn't in. I've also volunteered to mow the lawn at my gran's - I've never actually mown a lawn before (is mown even a word - that's how little I know about it!) but I've had a yearning to do some gardening for a while now.
Hopefully, there might be time to take Ellie to the beach (pictured below at its brooding best). She does a great stylised prance when she's on sand that always amuses me.
Not sure how I'll cope without internet access for five days though.
Obviously, there have been lots of other dresses and shoes that I haven't bought either, but these were ones that I liked, tried on, they fitted/I could walk in them, but I still didn't buy them. The shoes actually looked a bit ugly on, but the dresses both suited me and were hugely reduced in the sale, yet I still resisted. Neither was particularly practical - one of them was white and was the sort of dress I imagine myself wearing to get married (i.e. to elope so not really that wedding-like at all).
This remarkable restraint did not make me feel very happy - I felt rather deflated, instead of proud of myself.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
On the radio this morning, Lauren was talking about advice one of the papers was giving on coping with the weather – there was the usually stating the bleeding obvious stuff about drinking water, wearing sun cream & loose clothing, but they had also suggested putting stones in the fridge then carrying them around with you & applying to your head when you get hot. There then followed listeners' suggestions in a similar vein – my favourite was the idea to cover yourself in jam to attract wasps so the flapping of their wings would keep you cool and their presence would keep away bees. I haven't tried it yet - I'm sticking with the shorts for now.
While I'm talking about the sun, the above line comes from my current favourite song 'Watch the Sunrise' by Big Star. While listening to it this morning, I realised that it has been a long time since I saw a sunrise and this made me a bit sad. The last time I did was at Glastonbury two years ago. I'm such a lightweight these days that I don't ever stay up all night and whenever I wake up early enough its through insomnia, which just makes me irritable so that last thing I'm thinking about is the beauty of a sunrise. So at the next available opportunity I'm going to try to watch a sunrise. It will undoubtedly be on my own as I think the OH and I have gone passed the romantic watching the sun together stage (this thought also made me sad).
Get up, go for swim, go to work on hot crowded tube, do mind-numbing tasks, wander around the shops, eat salad, more dull work, go home on hot crowded tube, eat food, watch film, go to bed.
The only thing different today was that I couldn't use the cubicle I normally use at the pool because someone had left an empty crisp packet (Walkers Sweet Chilli) and whisky minature in there and I didn't want to get changed amongst someone's litter. I can only assume that the litterbug had just decided to empty their rubbish in there, rather than having ate/drank in there. Spicy crisps and whisky don't strike me as particularly appropriate pre or post-swim snack.
Still at least nothing bad has happened. No news is good news and all that!
Monday, July 17, 2006
This is what people in my section of the office are talking about today. I haven't a clue what represents a woolly bargain. Does anyone even use the term yarn these days? It sounds rather old-fashioned to me.
The person who is spearheading this discussion is the same person who asked me a few months ago if I did much crochet. I don't.
Anyone who knows me at all would know that I'm not that sort of girl. Not that there is anything wrong with it - although I did think it was a bit off when she got her handicrafts out at the dinner table at the office party.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Like a country living under a dictator, once a year our staff gather together for a celebration of our leader's birthday. If he could, I'm sure he'd make it a public holiday. Bizarrely, he takes on the cooking duties himself. Perhaps not the best use of resources to have a man on a £100k+ salary spending all morning in the kitchen, but he likes to demonstrate his culinery skills.
So today we all ate together. The food was good, especially the cherries in bourbon, but I don't feel any closer to my colleagues on account of this - just bloated.
And in further relation to the title, I did have a bit of a Marilyn moment this morning when my dress was caught by a gust of wind.
- I've been swimming 3 and a half times this week (very brief visit last night counts as half as it was too crowded to swim properly)
- New website has 'gone live' at work
- Just had an email from OH about meeting up with friends for a few cocktails tonight after work - Strawberry Caipirinhas I here I come!
- Going for a meal in our favourite local restaurant tomorrow night
- Going home at the end of next week & very much looking forward to seeing my family & best friend
- The sun is shining
- Payday tomorrow and I still have some money in the bank from this month
Thursday, July 13, 2006
My only hope now is that to celebrate he'll gorge himself on something rich and explode. And I know that is cruel, but I don't care.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Well today, I was that man.
- 13th Floor Elevators - The Pyschedelic World of...
- Big Star - No 1 Record/Radio City
- The Delays - You See Colours (just so I wasn't only being 60s stuff)
- New headphones (I almost forgot to buy these)
It was very satisfying to go to the counter with a pile of things. I did still have some money on a giftcard though so it didn't cost me the full amount and they still gave me a £5 off voucher for the next time I spend over £30.
I probably won't buy anything else for the rest of the year now though.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
To celebrate (she really doesn't need much of an excuse), my manager bought a couple of bottles of champagne. Actually she was going to buy doughnuts until I reminded her that I don't like them - I would have settled for danish pastries or muffins, so it isn't really my fault that she went for the booze instead. Its gone straight to my head. The temptation to just pick up the bottle & swig from it was quite strong (I'm feeling in a rather rock n roll mood today & have come in dressed in a very unworklike outfit), but I have resisted.
I'm a bit scared to do anything on the site now in case I accidently destroy it.
So in tribute, here is my favourite verse from Bike.
I know a mouse
And he hasn't got a house
I don't know why I call him Gerald
He's getting rather old
But he's a good mouse
(Nobody else of my age group in the office seem remotely interested in this which is further evidence that I was born at the wrong time)
Monday, July 10, 2006
It started innocently enough but then Colin Murray suggested that they should corrupt Lily Allen as she is very young. To which, Bobby replied "Backstage earlier, she came in my room while I was having a wan.." At which point it cut away - edited, but not quite quickly enough.
This was the highlight of my otherwise awful weekend and really just another excuse for a picture of Bobby Gillespie. I still find him unfeasibly attractive, mainly while he keeps his sunglasses on, so its less obvious that the hedonism is taking its toll (but then I used to fancy Shaun Ryder right up until he turned into a slug a few years ago - I have a weakness for the wrong type of men which I really should have grown out of years ago, like eating the lemon slices out my drinks in public which I still do).
Their website has a series of podcast (how modern!) interviews conducted by Murray. The first is on the site now and I'm severely torn between going home to listen to it or doing what I'm supposed to be doing, which is going to the theatre to see some Chaucer.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
I thought it would be good experience for me (something for the CV) and that I would quit if I found a proper job using the experience but I'm not getting very far with that (one almost interview). The OH thinks I should give it up - he has some crazy idea that he wants to spent more time with me but I remember weekends BG (Before Gallery) and all he did was watch sport on television. But I will feel guilty if I quit - it is a worthwhile thing to do and I don't see who else would take over. Late last year, I think I said I would just do up to July but here I am and I'm thinking now that I should keep going until December, but I'm really not sure I can take the stress.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Taking some small consolation, it is inspiring to see what people are capable of coping with, the strength that ordinary people find to deal with horrible situations.
Difficult to know what to say about it but like many other, today my thoughts have been for those who died and their families.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
I tried to alleviate this in several ways
- I allowed myself an M&S lunch rather than a plate of salad (didn't help - I just felt guilty)
- I went 'cheap shopping in Primark (didn't help - all I bought was a bath mat and a pair of tights, not exactly essential in the current temperatures)
- I compiled a Glastonbury 04 playlist on my ipod. This did help a bit
I realised when trying to put together the playlist that my most of my memories had nothing to do with the music, so it took a while and I had to ask for the OH's help.
His stroke of genuis was the suggestion of 'Ride Of The Valkyries' as we watched a bit of ENO. Rather embarrassingly, we both have a habit of referring to this is 'Kill the Rabbit' because our knowledge of this opera is pretty much derived from the Bugs Bunny cartoon 'What's Opera, Doc?'.
I listened to the playlist on the way in to work and found that a bit of Wagner is very effective in psyching myself up for a day at work. Previously I have mainly used MC5 'Kick Out the Jams' and LCD Soundsystem 'Jump into the Fire' for this purpose, so its nice to have something else and my first piece of opera on my ipod.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
'Alright mate' (over the top cockney accent to rival Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins) 'So what is it - boy or a girl?'
Brief pause while person at other end answers the question
'Go on my son, back of the onion bag!'
Unfortunately, they then went a different way from me so I never found out with that indicated a boy or a girl.
- Gran - no change, still can't talk properly or use her right arm
- Auntie C - going into hospital on Thursday for op - a bit obsessed about what she can & can't eat
- Sister D - sprained ankle doing her running & insisted mum took her to A&E. Has audition for a theatre company this week which will involve travelling around the country.
- Sister G - awful on-off boyfriend hoping to get a job on an oil rig which requires him to do some survival training. I said perhaps he won't survive.
- Ellie (dog) - if sister gets acting job, she will have to go to a kennel when mum goes on holiday
All of these things are worrying mother, but so far she is coping. I'm looking forward to going up to see her soon.
Perhaps there is some hope for my gran as there was just an item on the news about a woman in Newcastle who has recovered from a stroke to find she is talking with a Jamaican accent. Probably rather sick to laugh about this, but sometimes it is the only way to deal with things.
Monday, July 03, 2006
I was going to sit in the garden to enjoy the sunshine while reading the paper so went to get the deckchair out, but instead I got out the ironing board. Had it not been for the other half asking me what I was doing, I'm sure I would have made it into the garden before I realised.
In my defence, we do store both things in the kitchen and both are items that fold out, but there ends any similarity.
Today I have booked my train ticket for home at the end of the month and for once I'm going to take an extra day off before I come back into work, so that I can just relax.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Going by said article, like Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Kirsten Dunst, I have a 'Rock-chick/fashion-icon chest' which is great news!
Obviously the article is a load of nonsense when related to non-celebrities who usually have the chest nature gave them, but I'm glad I've found a positive spin on not being overly-blessed.
At the end of the game, she was sad and the rattle lay disgarded on the floor.
This is all I'm saying about the football.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
We started in the Brazilian bar in Selfridges which was frankly awful. The cocktails were great, but instead of samba music and South Amercians, it had blaring R'n'B and was full of cropped-haired tattooed blokes in football shirts (not Brazil shirts either). So we only stayed for one before going to St Christophers Place, which always makes me feel like I'm on holiday.
We managed to get an outside table at at Mediterranean restaurant, Mimosa. We ordered a selection of meza dishes and waiting with our drinks... and waited. The waitress apologised for the delay mumbling something about it all being fresh & not frozen (we were having cold dishes so it wasn't really relevant!). The couple next to us had three courses before ours arrived. The another waitress rather rudely asked me what I was waiting for as if to imply that we were taking up space without ordering. Then once the food eventually arrived (the plates were another 10 minutes behind), a waiter tried to clear it away twice before we were finished. They gave us a free drink but really that didn't make up for it, but luckily we still managed to enjoy our night.
As I still don't have a digital camera, this picture of the woman from Hong Kong Phooey will have to suffice as she does look a lot like Liz!