Sunday, February 29, 2004

Oi! Don't pick on Kylie!

Oh dear. The femail have published a painful article, based on some casual comments Kylie Minogue made about her parents during a Parkinson interview. Guess what? Because she admires her parents and their long happy marriage, she *wishes* she'd got married and had babies when she was 22 too! Yes, I'm sure she must really regret her successful pop career.

Meanwhile the lovely Sun and Daily Mail are outraged that Maxine Carr may "cash-in" on her crime and write a book.

Someone should explain two things to these newspapers -

1) Weren't Jonathan Aitkin and Jeffrey Archer also found guilty of perverting the course of justice? Did they object to them writing books whilst in prison? No, didn't think so.

2) Books don't magically make money for the authors simply by rolling off of the printing presses. People have to buy them. And I'm sure Daily Mail and Sun readers will, in their thousands. Ha - they'll probably be scrabbling over the rights to serialise the book in a couple of years time!


Friday, February 27, 2004

On Question Time last night, there was much discussion around Anne Winterton's Morecambe Bay joke. There was a rather unusual consensus from the panel that it was totally unacceptable. And then a member of the audience went and said something really dopey -

"Would it still have been a racist joke if it had been one chinese person saying it to another?"

Pah. I hate it when the anti-PC lot start justifying outrageous behaviour by saying "but he's black and he found it funny!". The point is there are over a billion chinese people in this world. Regardless of who told that joke, I'm sure a large number of them would have been upset by it. Plus a good proportion of the rest if the world.


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Do you know how long it's been since I last licked a stamp? No, neither do I. But it's been a long while, because of peely-label stamps and post offices printing off labels to the correct value rather than passing you a pile of random stamps to the correct value to lick n' stick yourself.

But today I had to post some info to a friend, and in anticipation of this she gave me some stamps to cover the postage. As she has lots of family abroad, she always gets her stamps from the post office in unusual values and quantities. So I licked the stamps she gave me, and you know what? They tasted - mmmmmmm delicious!


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Cystitis is considerably better due to consumption of anti-biotics. Woo-hoo!


I read this letter in a certain London freesheet yesterday, referring to the British prisoners being released from Guantanamo Bay...

"My word of advice to the freed Britons is simple and true. If you were wrongly accused, consider this a part of growing up; sometimes hanging out with the wrong crowd can get you into trouble."

What?? Ok, so they have had two years spent probably being tortured, not being told why the hell they were there, not knowing if they were ever going to see their friends and family, (or indeed daylight) again. And that is an acceptable punishment for hanging out with the wrong crowd?

And if they were wrongly accused, (accused of what?) they weren't even hanging out with the "wrong crowd." They were hanging out with their friends, who happen to be from the Middle East.

As a teenager I used to hang out with older boys, who would drive cars without insurance, break the speed limit, and buy me and my friends 20-20 (a really minging fruit drink - does anyone remember it? I tried to google it for a picture but found none!) from the local off-licence in exchange for love bites.

No-one ever put me in jail for two years without access to a solicitor or any information on why I was being held.

I think Achemedes Goll from London SE1 needs to remind himself of what he was doing two years ago today. And then think of everything he's done since. And imagine that whole time spent in Guantanamo Bay. For hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Another gem I read yesterday was an advert appealing for couples who are having relationship difficulties, to come and have them discussed on national TV, in an "exotic location". Hmm. Just what I'd need if I was having trouble with my partner - for Vernon Kaye or similar to share it with the rest of the country. For goodness sake, tell them to go to relate!


Monday, February 23, 2004


I have a urinary tract infection. Cystitis to most people. It's a stubborn little bastard and is making me totally unable to concentrate on anything due to that permanent feeling of "shall I go and have a wee? No, I'll try and wait a bit longer. Oh, but I so desperately need to go".

But I have some anti-biotics, prescribed to me by a very kind and helpful doctor. So hopefully by tomorrow all will be ok.


Friday, February 20, 2004

Thanks to mysterioso land o' fun for giving me the opportunity to find out how evil I am. I've always wanted to know....


Bloody hell. I swear I just saw Andrew Gilligan walking along Greenwich High Road! Either that or his identical twin brother. Does anyone know anything about the man? Is he from round here? Or did I just see someone who is registered as him with a "Look-a-likes" agency?

Other things that happened on my brief jaunt out -

I nearly got run over by a white van careering down a bus lane. Nice.

I discovered Somerfield are offering Kotex sanitary towels on 2 for 1. So go on girls - get it while it's hot!

Cadburys now make a "dipped flake" - i.e a flake that is covered in milk chocolate. Isn't that just a ripple? God Bless Ripples. (And I'll be happy to extend a blessing to dipped flakes if they taste as good). And by doing a google search for "flake covered in milk chocolate" I discovered this site and it appears that South Africans have had dipped flakes for some time.

Oh, and to stop me buying dipped flakes galore, I bought lots of apples and clementines to have in my drawer for dealing with hunger pangs. Mmmm. Fruit.


Friday Five

Woo Hoo. Thank crunchy it's friday. This weekend I have to look forward to - a trip to Southampton to see my sister and her family, and applying for a fantastic looking job on Sunday. And I may go to circuit training after work tonight. I am hardcore. I can't decide if I prefer weekends like this one with lots of things planned, or the kind where I have a glorious 2 days stretching ahead of me to be filled in any way I like.

So here are this week's friday 5.

When was the last time you...

1. ...went to the doctor?

I went to the Doctors Surgery in October for a new patient check as I just moved to the area. But then I only saw a nurse. Last time I saw a doctor was in August.

2. ...went to the dentist?

When I was at University and it was still free! April 2001.

3. ...filled your gas tank?

I haven't got a car. At work I sometimes drive the pool car and last filled it up in December.

4. enough sleep?

Last Friday night. I woke up on saturday morning feeling FABULOUS.

5. ...backed up your computer?

About 3 weeks ago at work. Before that I had *never* backed up. It came as a result of this episode of sex and the city. At home, I'm not so sure. I will have to ask the lovely R about that one.

Have a good weekend!


Thursday, February 19, 2004

Tonight, Tonight

My sister and her husband are in London today so this evening we're going out with them to ginger for dinner.

I'm sure there will be much ribbing from R. Although he obviously doesn't mind Gingers that much (he lives with one!!) he will find it hilarious that a gingernut such as myself is eating in a Ginger restaurant and will pun the night away on that one. He'll be sorry if we go on to have a ginger son or daughter and he's morally obliged to defend him/her from the inevitable "duracell" or "ginger minge" insults that will fly in the playground.

Oh, and last night I had the misfortune to end up in a Yates' "wine lodge" and was disturned to notice that although they can come up with 6 different items on the menu for those on the atkins diet (including a particularly obscene chicken breast with cheese, sandwiched between 2 beefburgers) there is one single item that is suitable if you are following the "eat less crap and get a bit more exercise" diet - a jacket potato and beans. The JP with beans costs £3.55, the meat-fest costs £5.99. Considering how cheap potatoes and beans are, they obviously like to have mark up of 1000%, so I'd expect the meat-fest to cost a lot more by comparison.

I'm off now to get my daily mail/express and grumble about the state of society. I blame asylum seekers for the cost of jacket potatoes.


Monday, February 16, 2004

Brown Bread

Had a bad bread experience yesterday so will not be posting the recipe. It turned into a sunken lump, barely big enough to generate 4 slices for sandwiches this morning.

Better luck tonight.


Le week-end

On Friday night I had one of *those* journeys home.

I left my very first post-abortion counselling session at 8pm, feeling hungry and exhausted, after a long week at work, and having had nothing to eat since my tiny £9 risotto in the coach and horses at 1pm.

Unfortunately PACS are based in Ladbroke Grove so it is a long trek home, but still shouldn't take more than about 1 hr 15.

So I got on the Hammersmith and Shitty line. So far so good - train came really quickly and got to Baker Street speedily. Got on Jubilee line, and train set off. At the next stop (Bond Street) the driver announced we were being held there due to an "incident" further up the line. 2 minutes later came the comforting sound of the doors beeping then shutting. At the next stop (Green Park) came the same driver's voice, saying the line was suspended due to Westminster Station being evacuated. So by now I was even more tired and hungry, and had to get the piccadilly line one stop then change for the Bakerloo line to take me to Charing Cross so I could get a train home. Thank god I had someone's discarded evening standard magazine with me, even if it is full of shite like "this celebrity went out without make up!!".

By the time I got the Charing Cross and had to walk along the very long passageway to the mainline station, I was walking so slowly I thought I might start moving backwards! So imagine my joy when I got there and learned that due to a vehicle striking a bridge in the Woolwich area, the whole of the SE trains network seemed to be screwed up. Actually, I exaggerate. My train was 10 mins late.

So I eventually walked through my door 2 hours later - almost in danger of missing sex and the city!

R was keen to know how the session had gone, but I was too tired to open my mouth. So he brought me some food to shove down it, and a cup of tea. 30 mins later, after a great SATC, I felt human again and told him all about it.

The next morning I woke up at 7.30 (on a saturday??!) and felt totally rested, for the first time in months. Talking about the abortion the night before had been so incredibly helpful. I know I have a bit of work still to do, but on the whole the session served to remind me of all the reasons I chose abortion, and why I'm glad I made that decision, and all that is good with my life because I chose it. This has been somewhat overshadowed recently with glumness. When I consider how much it was swept under the carpet, it's not surprising these feelings would surface eventually. Huge things like that don't just happen then go away, leaving the person it happened to unaffected.

And R and I lay in bed talking about it and I spontaneously burst into tears - because it felt so good to wake up without feeling the familiar lead weight of depression round my neck. I had to reassure him these were good tears!

Yesterday was R's nephew's christening. The poor 8 month old child is being made a catholic so he can go to the local "good" school. In the words of of his brother-in-law, "There are less immigrants there". Well there were plenty of black and asian kids in that congregation. I think the Priest stitched them up....

The service was terrifying in a catholic way. Lots of incense and threats that we'll all go to hell if we so much as chuckle during Only Fools and Horses. As someone who doesn't believe in god, I found this rather bemusing. The last church service I attended (apart from weddings) was when I was a 10 year old child and my Dad took me to the Mormon church every Sunday. (More fuel for my "why I get depressed sometimes" fire.) I can't say this experience inspired me to ever want to go back.

The parents and god parents had to promise to raise him in the christian faith, and help him repel the devil etc. which is a big joke. None of them go to church regularly, or even believe in god (that I know of) That child will either never go to church again, or will only attend if the priest tells his parents they have to take him to guarantee his place at school.

And afterwards at the party, all people did was grumble about what a hassle it was getting up so early on a Sunday. For goodness sake - it's only once in a blue moon! At least they didn't choose the 8am service!!

I'm exhausted after all that excitement. Could do with another weekend now.....


Friday, February 13, 2004

Coach and Horses

if you're in Greenwich and looking for somewhere to go for lunch, don't bother with the Coach and Horses in the Market.

A colleague is leaving today so we went there for lunch and the portions are tiny and the prices huge. I'm still hungry!


Friday Five

1. Are you superstitious?

No - Not at all

2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?

My sister once told me that unless we got inside her wardrobe before the end of the Thompson Twins song that was playing, the russians would come and cause untold damage to our family. Or the world would end. Something like that. I'm not sure if "climbing in wardrobe before last chords of song" counts as a superstition - like not walking over cracks in the pavement of avoiding ladders. There's no reason why it shouldn't - they're all irrational. By the way, I was 6 and she was 12. She's quite unusual - my sister. And no longer hides in wardrobes.

3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition?

Probably the one that says if you ding the bell on a bus to indicate to the driver you want to get off, the Russians will come. My god, my sister is more messed up that I previously estimated. It was the 80s when she told me these things, and the Russians were a big perceived threat. But still... So all my life, rather than ding a bell on a bus, I've got up and stood at the front of the bus instead to indicate I want to get off. Fine in the various provincial locations I've lived in. Not fine in London where there are separate doors to get off and maniacs for bus drivers. So now I'm over that superstition.

4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual?

I don't believe in luck - good things happen to you that make you think "yessss" about as often as bad things happen that make you think "D'oh!". But I do have a preference for the number 7 - I lived at number 7 all through my childhood and am born in the 7th month of the year. So if I have to choose a number, I choose 7.

5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?

Hmmm - kind of. Again due to the influence of my older sister! She's always been into it -in a big way when we were younger. She's always believed in it more for what it can tell you about someone's personality rather than prediciting what will happen to them. And I think I agree with her. One thing's for sure - the horoscope column in all newspapers and magazines are utter shite. "Some good things, some bad things, and some mediocre things are going to happen to you this week". Reeeeally? You don't say!

Take the friday five yourself.


Thursday, February 12, 2004

Buses and Trains

The things that happen on buses and trains are so much less glamourous than on the underground. But still, plenty of blog fodder from them...

On the bus last week, two children aged about 12 realised they wanted to get off the bus just as it pulled into a stop to pick up a passenger. The driver hadn't opened the doors as he thought no-one wanted to get off, so they dinged the bell to let him know. He didn't open the doors. They shouted out "can you let us off please" and dinged the bell again. He didn't open the doors. They dinged the bell a further 3 times, and he still didn't open the doors. All the while the bus was still at the stop letting on paseengers.

Then the passengers had all boarded and he drove off. Great - so he got to exercise his "power" and made two 12 year old children have to walk an extra half a mile home in the dark.

Yesterday I had a meeting near London Bridge first thing in the morning so got the train there - eurgh! I'm so glad I walk to work. Anyway, after the meeting I headed off to London Bridge to get the train back to work in Greenwich. As it was no longer rush hour it was nearly empty and there train was 2 minutes early, so plenty of time for everyone to get on and off the train who wanted to. As the doors opened, one man wanted to get out, and a woman tried to get on at the same time as him. He said to her that he was waiting for her to get out of his way so he could leave the train. Fair comment. She *apologised* and stood aside.

How many people, when given a ticking off by another passenger, would apologise? Most people, because of dented pride, or just rudeness would tell them to F*** off for the sheer hell of it. So this woman already had my respect. She didn't let him leave the train before she got on, but when it's so quiet, I think we've all done that.

So as he got off, he pushed her and called her a selfish cow. Anyway, a war of words ensued. She asked him to please not project opinions onto her, he told her she was a selfish cow again. etc.

I stood nearby in case it got nasty and really wanted to tell this man that whatever he thought of the woman, she had apologised to him, and it's never acceptable or helpful to call a complete stranger names. But before he finished his rant, the doors made their familiar beeping noise and closed. The woman thanked me for standing next to her - she said it's scarey speaking up to someone much bigger than you (he was a big man) especially if everyone suddenly takes an interest in the dirt under their fingernails when they see something like that.

Oh, and last week, a whole gaggle of small children got on my bus home, and all had chips. Mmmmm. Chips. I was so hungry, I was very tempted to pinch one of them while they weren't looking! I don't mind smelly food on buses normally (especially when the smell is as lovely as chips) but when I'm hungry it's so cruel.....


Monday, February 09, 2004

Thanks to casino avenue for this link

I've always wanted to make a map of the places I've visited in the UK - to help with holiday planning. One day I hope to have visited all of it! Then I can move on to that map of Europe and eventually.... the world!!

County map
I've visited the counties in yellow.
Which counties have you visited?

made by marnanel
map reproduced from Ordnance Survey map data
by permission of the Ordnance Survey.
© Crown copyright 2001.


Friday, February 06, 2004

The Friday Five

Click here to take the friday 5 yourself.

1. What's the most daring thing you've ever done?

Recently - talking in a panel debate with an audience of about 100. They were all student volunteers, and I was making a case for why volunteering should (sometimes) be paid. Not a very receptive audience...

2. What one thing would you like to try that your mother/friend/significant other would not approve of?

My significant other always approves of me doing new and interesting stuff, so there's not a lot I could do that he would disapprove of. My mum disapproves of just about everything I do. (Sorry I skirted the issue with that one).

3. On a scale of 1-10, what's your risk factor? (1=never take risks, 10=it's a lifestyle)

About 3 I suppose. I'm a bit of a wimp. I've never even been on a rollercoaster. Mind you - that's not particularly risky - their safety records are generally good. But when it comes to major events like quitting University to start another course and changing career, I'm always up for it! So make that a 5.

4. What's the best thing that's ever happened to you as a result of being bold/risky?

I think it was after I dropped out of University - I re-applied and ended up doing a course I really enjoyed, in a much better location. I've never regretted that.

5. ... and what's the worst?

I suppose using a diaphragm as a method of contraception counts as a risk. (It didn't feel like one at the time, as I believed the leaflet's 96% effectiveness claim). That ended up with an unwanted pregnancy and an abortion. It's not "the worst thing that's ever happened to me" but it's certainly the thing I'd like most to be able to go back and change. (I'd change it so I didn't get pregnant rather than not have the abortion, in case you were wondering).

I hope next week they are more along the lines of "what's your favourite flavour of crisps"!


Thursday, February 05, 2004

Get Motivated!

I was sent a leaflet at work from this company today

Does "successories" count as a pun? If so it's the worst in the world.

Have a look at some of their gems ... here, here, and, best of all, here!

If I hated my job,(which, unusually for me, I don't) it would take more than an inspiring framed print on the wall, or a cheesy mousemat to get me motivated!


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Milk Bread

1lb of strong white bread flour
7 fl oz of milk
4 fl oz of water
2 tsp white sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp dried yeast
1 oz butter

Shove in bread pan on "basic white" setting. Press go and 3 hrs 45 mins later you have a delicious milk loaf. (Like a normal loaf of bread but a little different. I just can't work out what the difference is. Possibly a little fluffier).

Fox News

If you haven't seen this yet, you obviously haven't looked at enough people's blogs today. It's everywhere!


This weekend, I went to my friend's house daily and fed her cats and emptied their litter tray. (Eurgh - I never emptied my own cats litter trays when I was a child, to the dismay of my mother, so why I agreed to do this I don't know). One of them is slightly mad, and eyeballed me from the top of the stairs the whole time. I was concerned she might leap from her vantage point onto my head. If I was a cat, and I'd heard humans had dressed up my fellow felines like this , I'd definitely leap on their heads.

On Sunday I went and ran a training session for a group of volunteers. I am a trainer by "trade" and would like to eventually be a freelancer (isn't that every trainer's dream) but at my tender age of 25 and with my level of inexperience, I think that's a few years off. So I volunteer to do occasional training for charities who cannot afford astronomical consultancy fees - to help build up my repetoire. It felt really good. On saturday night as I set the alarm for 6.30am I did wonder why I had ever offered to do it. But on Sunday at 1pm as I was already on my way home, enjoying the beautiful "first day of spring" weather, I was really glad I did it. I felt good, had given 35 volunteers a fun morning of team building, and was out enjoying the sunshine at a time when I'd probably have still be slobbing round in my dressing gown if I'd had nothing else to do that day.