Friday, January 30, 2004

For the Benefit of Mr. Parris

I watched this on TV last night, and have been scrabbling around to find a bit of decent commentary on it this morning.

I thought as a programme it would be intended to make the viewer question their ideas - can someone's alocholism/poverty/single-parent status be blamed on their own weakness, or does society have a responsibility? Not so - there was nothing in it intended to be thought provoking. Parris asserted what he believed (it was no different to what he said 20 years ago. They could have just repeated the show he originally filmed 20 years ago). I was really surprised that the programme made no attempt to question the stuff Parris was coming out with. The documentary makers made no attempt to offer an alternative. In fact, it was televised daily mail blatherings really.

Example - "These women talk about being in poverty, and struggling to find enough money to pay for food, yet they are both overweight. That to me is a mystery". (This is not a direct quote, but it was very much along those lines).

Durrrr! Crappy unhealthy deep fryable food is the cheapest to buy. (Just go to Iceland and check out their "all this for £5" offers and you'll see.) It was so simplistic to suggest that as they were not physically starving through hunger, then they had enough to live on.

In the end, no real point was made. The audience could conclude that the Scotswood estate in Newcastle is a depressing place to live. Many of the residents are extremely depressed and extremely poor. We already knew that.

Should benefit levels be raised to make their existence more comfortable? Would this lead to millions of people opting to stay at home and watch Trisha rather than going out to earn their living? Neither of these questions were answered, which is a shame. It would have been great if it was followed by a live televised debate (celebrity death match with politicians) on the subject.

As for the commentary, the best I could find was this which talks about whether politicians doing reality TV should be considered entertainment, and this, written by the man himself in the Times (where he is a columnist) so as you can imagine it's a bit biased!


The new series of Sex and The City starts tonight.

Woo hoo!! I am very fortunate in having a boyfriend who also loves SATC. He agrees to watch old episodes on DVD with me and everything!

Now I am sitting on my hands in an attempt not to go to the website and read all about the episodes 4 weeks in advance. (The USA started the series after new year).


Thursday, January 29, 2004

It's a winter wonderland out there! Despite the snow (which this time last year ground the capital to a halt and meant some poor buggers had to sleep on the M11), I only experienced a minor bus incident today - As I walked to the bus stop, I saw 5 buses leaving towards Lewisham. Not "3 roll up at once" but "5 roll up at once". Remarkably I only had to wait a few minutes for another one.

So "TB" (our revered Prime Minister) is squeaky clean eh? Apparantly so. Boris Johnson (who I'm really not a big fan of) did make me laugh when he described Tony Blair as being "...a mixture of Harry Houdini and a greased piglet. He is barely human in his elusiveness ... Blair, Hoon, Scarlett, the
whole lot of them, have been sprayed with more whitewash than a Costa
Brava timeshare. Hutton has succumbed to blindness of Nelsonian
proportions. As snow-jobs go, this beats the Himalayas."


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

On Monday I went to visit a friend in Leamington Spa. I missed the train I was due to get in the morning because the DLR had “ongoing problems in the crossharbour area” (overrunning engineering works I think). It’s a pain because I had been listening to traffic and travel alerts while getting ready that morning and they didn’t mention it. To be fair, it’s usually incredibly reliable. Love the lovely DLR. I had a nice day in Leamington involving a long walk in the country (impromptu – we were supposed to go to a country house but got all the way there and learned it was shut til Easter. D’oh!) I had a wee in some bushes which was very liberating. And reassuring, The last time I tried to wee anywhere other than a toilet, I was decidedly drunk and ended up with it all down my leg. Then had a few happy hour cocktails before heading home. I very nearly missed my train home because a bus scheduled to turn up to take me to the station, didn’t. Then 15 minutes later, a bus not scheduled to turn up at all, did. (I guess it was really late). And I didn’t have to pay because the driver had cashed up already, to go home. (Obviously! It was getting late at 7.30pm). I was stunned to read at the bus stop while I was waiting, that all buses after 7pm are “night owl” services, with special fares applying. NIGHT OWL – AT 7PM??!

So thefinalbroadcast will be pleased to know he’s not the only one with bus trouble...

I made corn bread at the weekend. Recipe will follow when I next blog at home with the recipe book handy. I didn’t get to taste it though as I gave it to a friend as a birthday present.

Oh, and the Daily Mail get an award today for “stating the bleedin’ obvious”. According to Paul Dacre and his delightful colleagues - in this cold weather, elderly people should turn up their central heating and avoid going out if possible. And wear lots of layers if they do.

Still, at least 2 pages devoted to what to do in the cold weather is 2 pages not devoted to the smug self-satisfied racist scaremongering they usually indulge in.


Saturday, January 24, 2004

Give us this day our daily bread!

Last year I bought a breadmaker from a car boot sale for £8. This was particularly marvellous as I had spent that day trawling shops with R (my boyfriend) looking at breadmakers, deciding if we could justify spending £30 on one. We decided we couldn't, but stopped off at the boot sale on the way home. Wahey. It was fate!

So now we bake a lot of bread. In 8 months, we've bought about 2 loaves of bread. All the rest we've made. I'm thrilled it didn't become one of those electrical gadgets people buy then leave unloved in a cupboard. Incidentally, if you have any of those items (juicers, sandwich toasters, popcorn makers etc.) and want to get rid of them, but don't want to send them to landfil, fear not there is a way to recycle them! I've always wished charity shops would take them but they can't which is a shame. Anyway, if you live in SE london, there is a recycling bank next to Falconwood Train station for the specific purpose of "recycling small electrical household items". So that's where I'm going later with the popcorn maker...

I'm not sure about the location of other similar recycling banks in London, but you could always go here to find out.

If you have a breadmaker of your own, here is a spanking recipe for walnut bread. (Mmmm. Walnuts)

250 ml of water
5 tsp (or 25 ml) of sunflower oil
1.5 tsp of walnut oil
1.5 tsp of basil in oil (or use dried basil plus a little extra sunflower oil if you haven't got it)
350g of strong white bread flour
2.5 tbsp of skimmed milk powder
1.5 tsp dried marjoram
1.5 tsp dried thyme
1.5 tsp salt
2.5 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp yeast
70g chopped walnuts

Put all the ingredients in the bread pan, and select basic normal setting. Walnut bread appears 4 hours later. It goes without saying that if you haven't got the suggested dried herbs, use any others you like. You can also add whole walnuts to the top of the bread just before baking starts (I think about an hour before the end) if you want it to look really swanky.

Later this week - cheesy granary bread, or potato and oatmeal bread. Depending on my mood....


London Transport - Bus related incident.

Ok not very exciting this one. But it's a start....

I go to aerobics straight from work on thursdays. Afterwards, I walk up the world's biggest hill to get the bus the rest of the way home.

My bus came along pretty quickly, but I noticed that instead of saying "crystal palace" like every other 202 bus I've ever seen, it said "blackheath". So I thought uh-oh. This bus isn't going as far as I want to. There's no point getting on, I'll wait for the next one.

(One particular joy of London buses is the fact that they randomly terminate early, making you either have to get off and wait for the next one, where the bus driver will gleefully make you pay an extra pound, or walk the rest of your journey.)

And then as it got closer, and I could read the tiny writing next to "Blackheath" I saw it actually said "Blackheath Royal Standard". (A place a couple of miles from Blackheath) Blackheath Royal Standard is actually where that bus route originates. There is no way it could have been going in the direction it was going in, if it was terminating at Blackheath Royal Standard. So as the bus sailed straight past me, it dawned on me, it almost certainly was going all the way to Crystal Palace. The driver had forgotten to change the sign on the front when he started the route. Damn Damn Damn. So I waited in freezing horizontal rain, for another 15 minutes to get home.

And I felt bad for everyone else along the route who may have made the same mistake as me.

It's a real shame I didn't start this blog a couple of years ago when I first moved to London as I used to commute 1.5 hours to work each way, using either bus, tube, DLR or Train, tube, DLR. (depending on which side of bed I got out of). Now that created so much glorious blog fodder. Then I moved to a place only 2 miles from where I work, and now I walk to work most days. I'll have to look out for amusing incidents when I walk through the park.


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Oh dear. I've just heard on the radio that record companies have forced CD-Wow to stop sourcing their CDs from the Far East, and it means they will put their prices up from £9 to £11. Why oh why, in a time when more people than ever are illegally downloading music, have the record companies decided to effectively shut down one of the cheapest places where people can buy a CD legally? (The advantage CD-Wow had was their price, now they've lost that I can't see them lasting much longer) One of the most frequent reasons people give for downloading music is how expensive it is to buy legally!

Shooting themselves in the foot...

Ok I'm at work far too late now. Goodbye!


As well as my general thoughts on stuff, I am going to make this a "london transport" blog. Every time I have a "london transport experience" (waiting an hour for a bus that should come every 8 minutes; hearing a twat in a suit telling an indian woman not to push to get on the train because "you're not in calcutta now jesus christ why don't you go back to your own country"; seeing the leader board claiming your train is due at 17.47 when the current time is already 17.56 etc. etc.) I am going to note it here. And then in 12 months time, re-read it, despair and move out of London.

I was inspired to do this when I read this blog-article. And this one

Pure genius!


I came across this story today. I really like it because it goes a tiny bit of the way to summing up how I feel about my own abortion last year. Of course I had to do it. Of course I will be able to live the rest of my life normally and functionally, as do the other 180,000 british women who have abortions every year. (If abortion turned all women into gibbering wrecks with scrambled eggs for brains as the pro-life lobby would have us believe, why isn't evey third woman I meet a gibbering wreck?) But the point is, I still really, really hurt from having to do it. For the rest of my life I will think about the child I didn't have.

In the past few days (mainly because of my sister having a baby) I've been thinking of it more. I had the abortion on August, went through a whole range of emotions before and after. By about October, I thought I was over the worst. Then this week it really sunk in what I have done.

I repeat - I DON'T REGRET IT! But I didn't realise how difficult I would find coming to terms with it. Most pro-choicers accuse prolifers as seeing things in "black and white" (most typically exemplified when they accuse women who have had abortions as being murderers, and sluts to boot, for being unable to keep their legs shut). I think I was equally black and white, but in the other direction. I thought "circumstances not right, too young, not been with b/f long enough - therefore have abortion and get over it - right thing to do in circumstances".

Instead I am living in the grey area. I wish I wish I wish I wish I wish I had never *had* to to do it. (For your info I was using the diaphragm and had been told by my doctor it is 96% effective. A big fat lie - more like 70%) But the fact is I did have to do it. I didn't struggle through a childhood with 2 mentally ill parents, worrying where our next meal would come from, and not being able to answer the door in case it was bailiffs, only to go and have a child in just the sort of circumstances that would lead to me bringing my own child up in poverty. I've got a good degree, and a good partner, but right now if I did the selfish thing and had a child, all the hard work I put into getting my degree, and getting my relationship as stable as it is, would go down the toilet!

But it does hurt. More than you expect it too. Even if you know it's the right thing to do.


Overuse of the "urgent" function in emails annoys me. There is a guy at work who tends to mark any emails that require attention in the next 7 days as urgent. I expect it's because the people I work with are lazy fuckers who never reply to emails. But maybe the reason they don't do that is because they were fed up of opening "urgent" emails, expecting to be told the world was ending the following day, only to be told "there will be a branch meeting in 3 weeks time".

To me, all emails I get sent at work are urgent in that - if I've been sent it, and I'm *able* to read it then I should. (Unless it's spam) Once I've read it, I can decide if it needs an urgent response. Or the sender can write "urgent" across the top.

Instead there should be an "utterly non-urgent" category. I don't know what colour this should be. Red is good for urgent. Perhaps a pastel blue, or shade of mauve to suggest calmness and lack of urgency. This could be used for all-staff emails saying "Mrs X is leaving. We wish her all the best" or "if you need to order new bottles for your water cooler, instead of ringing Karen please ring Kevin on the same phone number" etc.


How sexually pure are *you*? With 0% being utterly deviant, 100% being a total innocent, and 72% being "average", I am 57% pure.

Your Ultimate Purity Score Is...
CategoryYour Score Average
When I think about you - or anyone - I touch myself
It takes a couple of drinks
Sex Drive 50%
A fool for love, but not always
Knows the other body type like a map
Gayness 89.3%
Repressed, are we?
Fucking Sick86.7%
Refreshingly normal
You are 57.54% pure
Average Score: 72.6%


Last night, my old boss phoned. I left the job where she was my boss nearly 2 years ago. I'd had such a shit time in that job. Even though she always told me I was great at it, and that I should have more confidence in my ability to do it, I never quite believed her. So it came as no surprise to me when she didn't reply to the emails I sent her after I left. I assumed she'd thought "haha - glad that lousy employee has left"!

But last night she called. I don't know why but (apparantly) the emails I sent her never arrived. And I believe her. It was great to talk to her. It turns out that she *still* thinks I was great at my job. Also I was relieved to hear that it wasn't just me who could not get on with the guy I had to share an office with. The guy who got the job after me hated him too!

So that was nice. A heartwarming tale to remind me that no matter how long it's been I should still try and stay in touch with friends I have not heard from for ages. I'm going to log on to friends reunited after this and do just that!


Monday, January 19, 2004

My sister had a baby on saturday - I haven't been to see her yet. I'm going on Sunday. Can't wait!

Today one of my colleagues resigned from her job which is a shame - I'll miss her.

I'm off now to an aerobics class...


Thursday, January 15, 2004

Robert Kilroy Silk has been in the news a lot lately. If you want to form an opinion about whether he's been gagged by political correctness, or if he is in fact a racist biggot, there are zillions of articles about for you to read.

(for your info I think he's a racist biggot and would recommend this article if you think so too and want to read something that you can constantly nod to)

If you just want to laugh - go here

Oh yeah - the art wasn't too bad. There was another guy there who photographs graffiti. I liked that. Except the pictures were about £500 each so I couldn't support him by buying anything.

And the wine was warm.


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I want to get as many people as possible to support this site

It's a collection of testimonies from women who have had abortions - all explaining why they don't regret their decision. At the moment there are about 100 women's stories there, compared with about 50 million "I had an abortion and regretted it for the rest of my life" storied available elsewhere on the web. So come on 33% of british women out there. Post your story.


I'm off now to an "art" exhbition. Except it's not art. It's shite. But it's a friend of my boyfriend's exhibition. My boyfriend wants to support his friend, and I want to support my boyfriend. And there will be free wine.


Hey this is my first entry to my new blog. Here is my first recomended link. Great if you love The office