Friday, March 30, 2007
What is the point?
If there isn't room in your main bag, why not a) get a bigger bag b) take a second proper bag for the overflow. These little bags can hold so little it hardly seems worth the effort, aren't that easy to carry & aren't water-proof. Is it to show-off that you've bought something very small in an expensive shop?
Thursday, March 29, 2007
So thoughts of boutique hotels have temporarily pushed aside thoughts of curtains, cushions and rugs.
Its very rare for me to take the side of a landlord as I've known a few who were underhand and probably negligent, but this case was nonsense. I'm surprised it even got so far.
Anyway alls well that ends well. The snooty little madam has had her picture in all of the papers, so is now a laughing stock as she was roundly ridiculed in the papers.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Its on loan from the Arts Council (cheers!) because the art that was there before went on tour. I can't remember the one that was there before - I think it was another abstract thing but somehow that one didn't offend me so much.
I'm not normally against abstract art - in fact I often prefer modern stuff to the Old Masters. But there is just something about this that annoys me. I think it might be its sheer blandness. It doesn't shock me, it doesn't make me think about anything, it really is just a series of squiggles. If they were aesthetically pleasing squiggles I wouldn't mind but they aren't.
I tried to look it up on the internet to see if I could find out any information about the artist Jack Smith (know thee enemy etc) but could only find references to an experimental film-maker of that name. Not sure if its the same guy, but if it is, he should have stuff with the moving image.
The Man Who Sold the Earth - Nirvana
Lost in Music - The Fall
Come Together - Ike & Tina Turner
Winterlong - The Pixies
Brass in Pocket - Suede
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
Jump into the Fire - LCD Soundsystem
Sympathy - Janes Addiction
Hounds of Love - The Futureheads
Ms Jackson - The Vines
All Along the Watch Tower - Jimi Hendrix
Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon - Urge Overkill
Dolphins - Beth Orton and Terry Callier
and then the multiple entries from Johnny Cash (the king of cover versions):
and our course, Primal Scream's covers of Kick Out the Jams, Born to Lose and Slip Inside This House.
I would also probably also add Candy Flip's version of Strawberry Fields Forever, which I realise is pretty dreadful but it reminds me of my formative years...
Monday, March 26, 2007
I dropped my watch on the hard floor at the new place which broke the strap off, so I took it along to him at lunchtime. It cost £1 to have it fixed, but I only had a £10 note, so he let me off with it, saying with a wink 'Drop it by the next time you are passing'. But this wasn't an isolated incident. The last time I was having a battery replaced, the man in front of me was telling him he was unemployed and he told him to come back & pay him when he'd found a new job! My friend who put me onto him in the first place was let off the price of a new watch strap because her request for a non-leather one because she was vegetarian made him laugh so much!
I wonder that watch repairers might be a dying breed as everything in society becomes increasingly more disposible. It would be a shame as its a skill and he is great.
(I know also a good cobbler in the North East of Enland, if you ever lose your heel in South Tyneside)
I investigated the contents of the shed further yesterday. I had been a bit annoyed that the previous owner had left a lot of junk in there, but there were a couple of useful things. Here's what I found:
- 2 Directors chairs (dismantled so it took a while to realise what these were)
- 4 rolls of masking tape
- mop & bucket
- fold out dressing table mirror (the type with three parts)
- decking paint
- pair of crutches
- lawn mower
The last two items, I'm less than thrilled about - the garden is decked so a lawn mower ain't much use and I'm hoping we won't ever need the crutches.
I also met one of the neighbours - the OH's mother instigating conversation with her when we were in the garden. Silvia (probably mid 60s) who lives at 188 with her daughter - she bought her place for £1,040 40 years ago. She likes gardening but the woman next her (Scottish with a daughter) doesn't look after hers very well. She also told us where the nearest tip is, which local doctors were best and when the garden waste is collected. I suspect Silvia may be a bit of a gossip but she was friendly-enough and after 40 years, she must be a wealth of local knowledge.
Friday, March 23, 2007
So as of tomorrow, I'll have been writing this blog for a whole year. It hasn't really turned out as I expected - firstly I've stuck with it and secondly, it has become a lot more personal than I originally anticipated - I intended to write more review type things but in the end I've ranted alot about work & buying a flat and moaned about lots of other things. And as a result I talk outloud to myself a bit less these days.
Suddenly cricket has become rather exciting - more the stuff around it (murder, drunken goings-on etc) rather than the game iteself which remains a slow-burning acquired taste.
I have to remind myself though that is real life rather than an episode of Morse. But I don't think I'm alone - when his death was first announced David Gower said to a reporter 'It's wrong to speculate, but..' before forcing the reporter to do just that. He seemed to be enjoying it all far too much but I suppose it was a welcome respite from talking about England's lacklustre performances.
I've been trying to get the OH to give me a list of possible suspects as my own knowledge of Pakistan cricket is rather limited. I only know the big one who doesn't like running (probably not stealthy enough for murder and he looks like he's quite nice!), the one who used to be the only Christian in the team until he converted to Islam and his run rate increased enormously, possibly the strangest religious propoganda ever (too busy praying?) and the one whose name sounds like actor (Aktar?) who is like a bad actor when he appeals and reminds me of Dev from Coronation Street (he isn't the squad this time so in the clear). My other suspect was Imran Khan but apparently he isn't involved in cricket anymore and has moved into politics.
I know its wrong to find it exciting but I do love a mystery.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I'm off work today (hence lots of posts) and have just heard the Mark Ronson cover version of the above titled Smith's song on the radio. I don't mind an interesting cover version now and then, but this was dreadful. What a travesty!
Call me a pale-faced miserablist, but some things are best left alone.
Is this for real? Does it work? I heard of dogs being prescribed for people with depression which makes sense, but talking to a horse? Is it because its non-judgmental? Why a horse - why not a cow?
I don't understand, but really I don't want to watch the programme and I'm scared of what search results search any enquiry might produce.
The programme itself I must say is rather silly. The introduction is particuarly had to watch without laughing 'I'm Sam Tyler, I've had an accident and woke up in 1973. Am I in a coma? etc' - it hardly has the tension of Jack Bauer's 'This is the longest day of my life' intro. But it is easy watching which is essential at the moment when I really don't want to have to concentrate too hard on anything.
But really I'm watching it for John Simm. I've always liked him (the actor for my generation in Boston Kickout, Human Traffic, 24 Hour Party People, State of Play), but I didn't realise quite how attractive I find him until watching Life on Mars. He isn't particuarly good looking , rather ordinary but I find him ridiculously sexy. It might be the clothes - whilst the others are wearing garish worst of the 70s stuff, his clothes are very cool. Its taken alot of self control not to make small yelping noise of adoration as we watch.
So I've got a bit of a crush on an actor - I feel a bit old for such things but that is pretty much what fuels Hollywood. But this morning, I may have gone too far - I've booked tickets to see him in a play! I can justify this - I work in the theatre industry, I really should go to the theatre more often, its on our way home, the OH likes him as an actor too, I haven't just booked a ticket for myself. But shamefully, I've done this before. When Gael Garcia Bernal was in Blood Wedding a few years ago - the OH actually insisted on coming with me to that one, as he was worried I might leap on stage and accost the young Mexican boy (I used the same justifications then with addition of being interested in the works of Lorca/anything to do with the Spanish Civil War).
On top this, I'm worried I'm becoming the sort of person who is killing proper theatre by only going to see things with Hollywood stars or 'people off the telly' in. But at least I'm going to see plays, rather than just the big musicals, which is the bigger problem in London at the moment where the blockbuster musicals are making it very difficult for plays. 'Underneath the Lintel' has had its run cut which we were hoping to see (mainly because it had someone from the West Wing in!)
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Friday was difficult when John Lewis were unable to get our sofabed into the flat properly. We do have a very narrow corridor but they refused to take it out of the packaging which was what was making it bulkier. The delivery men were like comedy villians - a tall thin one and a short fat one, but I wasn't laughing. It now has to be redelivered next week, dismantled and will be put together 'on-site'.
I am slightly concerned that we won't be able to have our choice of sofa for the lounge but the person we bought it off had a large sofa so it must be possible to get something in and out of there somehow. So we've paid for an access check to make sure before we order anything. But it may mean we'll be sat on deckchairs for a while.
Yesterday was better. The OH's parents came over. They didn't recoil in horror at the place but instead offered some practical advice on what to do with the walls. They then took us to Homebase and bought us a load of decorating materials and equipment, which I'm hugely grateful for. And we now have a plan of action. We are going to concentrate on doing the lounge and the bedroom before we move in and will leave the rest until after we are in. So I will have to live with a lilac corridor for now (I have an aversion to the colour lilac - too many mother-of-the-brides wear it and it suits hardly anyone). We've made a start now - cleaning the woodwork and sizing the walls (a new term to me!), and next weekend, they will return and the four of us will commence the decorating in earnest.
There are some things I'm very happy with. The kitchen and bathroom (although small) are modern, well-designed and don't need anything doing to them at all. The water pressure on the shower is fantastic. The lounge and bedroom have lovely high ceilings. What I assumed were dead plants in the garden, I've been assured by OH's mother are still very much alive and will blossom again (I have so much to learn!).
We haven't opened the champagne yet - we'll keep it on ice until we are moved in properly, but I was able to sleep last night and my enthusiasm for the 'project' has returned.
Friday, March 16, 2007
The flat looked awful empty and its going to take a lot more decorating than we originally thought. After all of the hassle, it was an anticlimax - its not my dream home, its just a small two bedroom flat, all we could afford in west London. I've been awake all night worrying that we've made a huge mistake.
I don't think we'll be having a housewarming party or inviting anyone to stay because although it was the best place we looked at by a mile, it really isn't anything to be proud of and it will give certain people further cause for looking down their noses at us or worse the patronising as the 'poor relation' of the friends who've got rich partners & no idea of what it is like to have to work for anything.
And on top of this, the thought that this was my Dad's legacy. All of his life for so little.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I would swap it and live the rest of my life in an awful rented flat if I could have just one more day with him.
The new job is chef in a respite home (where disabled people go temporarily to give their families a rest). She didn't think she had any chance of getting the job but they rang her back the day she had the interview to offer her the job. The conversation we had at this point was bizarre - the lack of self-belief things she said, were things I've said myself e.g. 'I thought it had gone badly, but I suppose they must have liked me to offer me the job, but I can't see why'. It was like talking to myself and I realised how frustrating it must be!
It was her first day yesterday. They hadn't agreed exact hours yet but told her to come in for 8am. I called her at 7pm to see how the day went and there was no answer. I called back at 8pm and she had just got home. A 12 hour day on her first day. She was exhausted. Apparently she was dropped in at the deep end as the other chef is off sick all week. But she thinks it will be ok once she's settled in and she was so happy when she got the job that she would be 'working somewhere that is doing some good'.
I'm very proud of her and perhaps not as alarmed as I once would have been by how similar we are.
Monday, March 12, 2007
The OH asked me yesterday what this was about. I've no recollection of saying it or what the dream might have been about, but it made me laugh again much to his annoyance.
The book I've just finished reading had a chapter on twins with autism who liked prime numbers so I wonder if it was connected to that. Although the prime numbers they like were ones with about 10 digits - the number 11 hardly reflects the same sort of genius for numbers.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Susanna Hoffs- lead singer from The Bangles. He said this without hesitation. He's always had a thing for her and apparently as a teenager did consider saving himself for her.
Steve Nash - his favourite Basketball player.
There was a bit of deliberation before he decided on the rest of the guests.
Guy Fawkes - OH 'He tried to blow up Parliament'.
Me 'He might not have done. He was possibly just fitted up for it' (we did a lot about this in History at school for some reason).
OH: (slightly annoyed at me questioning his choice) 'Well, he's got a day named after him. Not many other people can say that. He's coming.'
Me: 'Better not have any candles though just in case.'
It gets tricky now.
OH: 'The other two guests really should be women, so we can sit boy, girl, boy, girl. I like it when they do that.
(This was news to me - we've never been to a dinner party together, and can't imagine he'd been to one previously).
Big pause while he tries to think of some other women.
His next choice..
Jack Nicholson - 'He'd be good value. Yeah, Big Jack'
He considers inviting Bob Dylan but decides he's too unreliable,, probably wouldn't turn up but would ring with a lie about why he couldn't intend and leave him feeling crap (he's getting quite into the whole idea, taking it very seriously, but the boy-girl idea has now obviously been abandoned)
Then quite quickly, he picks his final guest.
Ian Botham - the cricketer.
But he is still going.
OH 'I would Larry David to come, but only if he really really wanted to come. I wouldn't want to force him otherwise it might get awkward.
I briefly mention who I might invite and he's off again
OH 'I'd definitely invite Mark Steele. (political comedian)
Me: 'You've got your 5 guests already. You can't invite anymore'
OH: (looking a bit hurt) 'But I'm a popular guy. If these people want to come, its not my fault.
Friday, March 09, 2007
‘I read a survey that said fat women do better in the workplace because they feel can just get on with their work as they aren’t objectified by male colleagues like they are when they are thin’
He also added some drivel about men assuming thin women are bimbos, the exact wording of which I can’t remember.
This came about because I said I really liked this woman we deal with and he agreed and said he found her very warm and approachable because she was fat! I’ve never met her, just spoken to her on the phone and emailed her, so have no idea what she looks like. I didn’t respond to that part (what do you say to that?) but then he went on to talk about this ‘survey’.
I commented that surely the people surveyed would have had to have experienced being different weights and he said this is what the survey was. I find the whole thing rather improbable and offensive. It assumes that all men find the same size women attractive, that men think thin women are stupid, that women are distracted from their work by the attention of male colleagues, that all men behave inappropriately towards women at work etc etc.
Now as I've pretty much been the same size all my adult life, I wouldn't have been included in this survey and I'm pretty much average size so couldn't say whether its been hindering or helping my career. He is incredibly ‘anti-thin’ so has probably made the whole thing up. I don’t just mean Size 0 thin, but he looks down on anyone who is ever cautious about what they eat (i.e. me because I sometimes have salad for lunch and don't really like chocolate or Chinese food).
I know I should be able to ignore this rubbish and I am getting better at not reacting to his face so much, but needed to rant here to get it out of my system.
Anyway, I was enticed into it by the promise of David Mitchell as a team captain (him from Mitchell & Webb and Peep Show). I don't find him attractive (geeky posh men are not my thing) but I do find his constant look of bewilderment rather endearing and funny. And the other consideration - it was free - vital in these penny-pinching times.
I was rather pleased with the rest of the guests - David Mitchell had a dream team of Frankie Boyle (consistently the funniest person on Mock the Week) and Duncan Bannatyne of Dragon's Den fame who I do find rather attractive (dour arrogant Scottish men are my thing!). The other side was less inspiring involving as it did Sonia from EastEnders.
We were herded into the studio and seated by a pair of flustered shouting fishwives (one called Beryl as her partner yelled every 30 seconds) who really made the process of getting people into seats look alot more complicated than it was.
The show itself was pretty funny but for what will presumably be edited to a 30 minute show, it took two hours to just do the quiz part. It started with a warm-up man, which is a concept that I don't really think works with British audiences that well - if anything being told to laugh & rehearsing clapping, makes us retreat further into our stereotypical reserve.
Then afterwards, there were the dreaded 'pick-ups' - basically re-doing bits of the show, sometimes over and over again - although to the untrained eye, there didn't seem to be much difference to each take, except the audience weren't really laughing on fourth hearing of the joke. Lots of the audience tried to leave at this point, burly bouncers tried to re-seat them but with less authority than Beryl & friend, so by the end there weren't many of us left. It was a shame it had to drag on so long as it did put a dampner on an otherwise good evening.
I definitely laughted alot although this morning I've little recollection of what at.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
I suppose it must be the marketing department, but I can't quite decide whether this is a great or awful job.
Naming the first hundred or so colours would have been fun, but after that it must have become quite a chore to avoid repeating names they've already used or being used by competitors.
This is probably why the sophisticated grey colour I'm considering for our bedroom goes by the awful name 'Quaker Drab'. All the good names for grey have already been used up - 'Night Jewels', 'Quartz Flint', 'Mineral Haze', or my favourite, 'Elephant's Breathe' - a name so great Farrow & Ball have registered it.
Why did Dulux decide to rename 'Cookie Dough' (much favoured by my family as I think my mum and both sisters have rooms in their houses painted this colour) as Cappuccino Candy 3 ? Has it improved sales? I want to know the answers.
This has just reminded me of the Ex who once woke me up in the middle of the night to ask why a banana wasn't called a 'yellow' when orange's were orange and called orange and lemon's lemon. He clearly had no future in the paint naming business.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
We still have too many belongings. My savings account is looking rather pitful.
I'm moving out of my comfort zone of the five block area that I've lived in the whole time I've been in London (except the 6 weeks in hell/Neasdon - see below). I won't know the newsagents and shop owners, and I'll have to swim in a different pool.
I think this panic has started to set in because for the last few weeks, I've been madly busy sorting out legal stuff, then I started on the practical things (removals, utility companies etc) but I've not had so much to do for the last couple of days which has given me room to worry. I've learnt from this whole process that I need to be kept occupied and have little details to worry about - it stops me from worrying about the big things, the uncontrollable things, the abstract.
Hopefully, once we are in, I can happily 'worry' about paint colours, washing machine deliveries and broadband connections and that will push away the big question mark.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
'We are currently experiencing a high volume of calls. You may wish to call back between 11 and 4 or after 8pm when we receive less calls"
And what time does this call centre close? 8pm.
I decided to remain on hold and wait. It seemed a safer bet than ringing back when they were closed.
Monday, March 05, 2007
They didn't have any of those quick deposit slots so I had to queue for the cashier to pay my cheque in. This wasn't a problem but it was time enough for me to observe a strange man.
This man was wandering around the building, brandishing a paintbrush in a menacing way. A small artist's paintbrush (not a decorator's paintbrush), which I know it is quite hard to brandish menacingly, but he achieved it somehow. He was wandering in and out of the cubicles where people were talking to advisors, about personal and possibly delicate financial matters, but nobody stopped him. So perhaps he worked there? Yet, he didn't really have an air of authority about him - just a glazed expression and a small paintbrush.
This sort of thing doesn't happen at the NatWest.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007
The seller's seller had given them a deadline of 11.30 today to exchange. Apparently they have had a cash offer and were threatening to go with that if this sale didn't speed up, although our Estate Agent said people often lie about these things to get things moving faster.
So our solicitor did what she was supposed to do this morning. The seller's solicitor did what they were supposed to do. But the seller's seller's solicitor was stuck in traffic so they missed the 11.30 deadline.
The seller's seller is not answering the phone so nobody knows what he wants to do. Even though it was his side's fault.
Our Estate Agent assured me that our sale will still go ahead with our seller renting & putting her things in storage if necessary. But whether this affects the completion date remains to be seen. So our exchange is now probably going to happen tomorrow, but I'm not counting my chickens, holding my breath or any other metaphor until it happens.