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.