Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Romance isn't dead

My alarm went off this morning at 7.00 as usual. (No strike-induced early start for us. I walk and R cycles. Ha!) R handed me an unsealed pre-paid envelope he got free with some junkmail. I was confused. I asked him -

"Why have you given me this? And why at 7am? Are you getting a new credit card?"

"Just open it!"

So I opened it. It was my birthday card! He'd made it last night on the computer, and was using the junkmail envelope in the absence of a plain one. Blooming good idea. Apart from sending them back to the company who sent them with NO THANKS scrawled over their "priority application form" inside, re-use is the best thing for them.

Only problem is it's not my birthday until tomorrow!

Turns out he'd looked at his watch just after midnight, saw it was the 30th and thought "Oooh, Woozie's birthday tomorrow, better make her a card."

But here's the really romantic part....

On the card is a picture of the cast of Seinfeld, heads superimposed onto a group of people in a rather compromising position together, with the caption "The episode the network couldn't air."

All in all I'm thrilled. It was R's birthday last week, and I didn't get him a card at all, (mean selfish bitch that I am!) so really I was lucky to get this one. And to get it EARLY is an even bigger bonus. And I am a big fan of Cosmo Kramer. Especially in the nude...


Monday, June 28, 2004

My Ear Hurts

Because I just had a close encounter with a plumber. He's a very nice man. The husband of a colleague of my landlord. Cheap too, which is good for my landlord. Good for us too because if we ever get round to buying our own flat, it's very helpful to be able to call upon someone who you can be confident won't be appearing on "plumbers from hell pissing in your vase" on ITV2. He diagosed what was causing our overflow pipe to overflow, (if you're interested in these things - the ball cock was full of water so sank which meant the toilet kept on filling up) and put it right, all within an hour.

But MY GOD he can talk the hind legs off a donkey.

Space travel
War being quite handy because it leads to a lot of new inventions
Third world debt
Pimlico Plumbers being evil
Builders not being able to get a mortgage in the 1960s
Tug boats
The Woolwich ferry
Richard Branson

These were all covered in great depth. All the while my pizza was in the oven, crisping up nicely. I was looking forward to eating it so much I could barely hear a word he was saying.

AlL I could think of was Pizza.

It was worth waiting for. I'd made the base out of polenta rather than bread. It had the potential to be vile, but the extra 45 minutes it got in the oven while we discussed whether the Woolwich ferry could ever be launched into space seemed to do it good.

Cheers Plumber!


Thursday, June 24, 2004


Today I finished paying off my Graduate Personal Loan that HSBC fell over themselves to lend me 3 years ago. I took it out to buy a car that I needed (and really quite wanted!) for my first graduate job. At the time I was going back to live with Mum, so could afford it.

Of course, within 3 months I'd quit the job and moved away. With the car. I kept it for another 9 months - still needed it for my new job. But I really struggled to afford it on top of rent, bills, general life etc.

Then I got a job in London, and decided that as I no longer needed it for work, it would be more sensible just to sell it. So for the past 2 years I've been paying off a graduate loan for a car I haven't even got. I couldn't pay off the loan early because HSBC are bastards. (Fair really, I understood that when I took it out.) Sensibly then, I put the money from the sale into a high-interest account and have been using it to pay off a portion of the loan each month. But as I sold the car for less than I paid for it, I've still been paying off more than half of it from my wages.

I've paid off my overdraft now too. So all I've got left is the small matter of £10,000 of student loans.

And there's a whopping great bluebottle in my office right now. I wish it would just SOD OFF!


Monday, June 21, 2004

I love the internet

I'm supposed to be writing a training session to help my organisation's trustees set a mission statement. Stumped for inspiration, I turned to google. And look at this little gem it turned up!


Sunday, June 20, 2004

Today R completed the London to Brighton Cycle Ride. It took him a mere 8.5 hours! He's a very good cyclist - cycles to and from work each day (a 14 mile round trip) and is very fast, but apparantly the volume of people doing the ride, and the fact that whenever there was a slight gradient, the wimps got off and pushed, meant things were delayed a lot. (Note, he suggested they were wimps, not me. I am not in a position to call anyone on a bicycle a wimp, as I haven't riden one since I outgrew my first bike aged 9.)

My day has been spent at the opposite end of the "virtuos" scale. It's Sunday, so I've been worshipping at the altar of capitalism. 3 hours on Oxford Street in pursuit of the perfect sandals. And I got the bastards!

Now I am scanning the flat. It really does look like the flat in the yellow pages advert, where an attractive woman tells a cheeky young batchelor that his flat has been burgled, when in fact... he's just really untidy. I really should have tidied it by now. When I first realised I would have this day to myself, due to boyfriend spending the day on two wheels, I did what I always do when I find out I've got the flat to myself. I envisaged all the things I would do with the day. I'd watch Breakfast with Frost, lying in bed with a cup of tea, not feeling a) guilty for waking R up or b) morally obliged to discuss everything the interviewees say with him. Sometimes I like to watch TV alone, in silence. Then I'd watch the entire Hollyoaks omnibus. A feat I haven't accomlished since I left university 3 years ago. And now it's even harder , since it's a whopping 5 episodes long. During one of the ad breaks in Hollyoaks, I would make a fried egg sandwich for breakfast.

Then I'd buy a sunday paper and read the whole lot from cover to cover. And then I might watch a few episodes of the league of gentlemen. Then I'd pop out, buy some sandals to replace the ones that fell apart a couple of weeks ago. I'd get home, go for a run, bake some bread, do some washing, tidy up the trashed flat, and make a lovely dinner, ready for when R gets back from his bike ride.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Breakfast with Frost didn't happen. I woke up and thought "oooooh, broadband." Logged in, checked email, surfed a bit, blinked, and it was 10.30. Missed Frost. Then I had the good sense to go for a run. Thank god, because just as I got back, it started to piss down. Then I attempted to watch the hollyoaks omnibus, but realised it was total shite, so switched off. Had breakfast, but it ended up being marmite toast due to lack of desire for a fried egg sandwich. And then realised that as I am such an indecisive and difficult to please bi-atch, I was never going to be able to "pop out and get some sandals." So I braced myself, and headed into town. I surpassed even my own expectations as to how long it would take to find a pair I liked and that fit me. I got in at about 6.30. I was soaking wet and knackered, so I rewarded myself with a cup of tea and an entire packet of biscuits. Yikes. Then a nap. Oh so stupid! So now it's nearly 8, and I still haven't tidied the flat. Fortunately R is staying over at his co-cyclists flat tonight, so I don't have to worry about having some marvellous "well done" meal prepared. Phew.

As for the flat tidying, I can put it off no longer...


Friday, June 18, 2004

Sucking a Chupa-Chup lolly makes me more desirable to teenage boys

Or so that's what I learned yesterday. I was leaving work and thought "Blimey, I'm Hank Marvin." So I grabbed a chupa-chup lolly from my sweety store (kept for strictly professional reasons - we trainers have to keep our delegates awake with sugar you know).

I was sucking on it as I walked through Greenwich park. I passed many groups of teenage lads. Normally I get no reaction from these boys, and nor do I expect one. And yesterday I was looking (I thought) tired and haggard. But look what happened:

Group 1

Lad A - "My mate fancies you!"
Lad B - (said in despair) "Shurrrrrrrrup"
Me - (said with a hint of sarcasm) "Oooh lovely"

Group 2

No dialogue. Just lots of whistles

Group 3

Many Lads in chorus - "Hello! Hello! Hello! Hello! Hello!"

(Although these lads were foreign students, so may just have been wanting to try out their new found linguistic abilities on real live members of the english public)

My overall conclusion -

It's the Chupa-Chup lolly.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The name I gave this blog is total shite. Dreamed up when I started it back in January. I should change it. I just don't know what to...

But I can report today on a public-transport imbecile. I was working again in Chatham last week. I was on the train home, when a man asked me if the next station was Strood. I told him no. He had got on the wrong train. This train was not stopping at Strood. I would have been quite willing to help him out if he'd asked. (Although the sum total of my help would have been telling him to get off at the next station and get the train back to Rochester.) But oh no. He didn't want help or advice. Instead, he wandered off down the carriage looking confused. I was sat with my back to him, so didn't see it happening, but my colleague suddenly had a look of horror on her face and said "He's pulled the emergency cord!"

Hmmmm. Let's think about this. On wrong train. Pull the cord. My god - what did he think was going to happen? That the train was going to reverse up the tracks for him? That he'd be personally escorted to Strood down the railway line by foot? The conductor appeared and kept repeating like a mantra "you don't pull the emergency cord because you're on the wrong train." This seemed to go in one ear and out the other with the guy. He got off at the next stop looking rather nonchalent.

I mentioned this to my brother-in-law, who is a train driver. Apparantly, this is quite a regular occurrence. Blimey o' rourke. There are some daft people out there.

On the same day, another colleague was told a complete pack of lies by National Rail Enquries.

As the Strood-Higham tunnel is closed due to falling chalk (or some other reason), the journey from where she lives (Charlton) to Chatham takes ages. You have to get out at Higham, get on a bus to Strood (takes 30 minutes, whereas the train took about 5) and then back on the train to Chatham. As there is a super fast train from Victoria, it's fractionally quicker to get the train into town, tube across to Victoria, and the train out again. But she only just moved to London, and didn't want to do that.

But she was advised by the man on the phone that there was no way, under any circumstances, that she could get to Chatham via Strood-Higham. (A complete lie! I looked in the timetable later on.) So she resigned herself to going to Victoria route. Got to Charlton station. Bought her day return to Chatham. And got as far as Victoria tube station and was told that her ticket wasn't valid to go via Central London. Instead of offering her an excess fare ticket, they made her buy a whole new ticket. Eventually she got to Chatham, frazzled, £10 poorer, and wholly pissed off with National Rail Enquiries.

And yesterday evening there was a small riot on my bus home from the station. Lee High Road was closed due to a big upturned lorry in the middle of the road. (Ouch.) When the bus driver explained she was going a diverted route, people didn't take it too well. I was delighted. (Not for the lorry driver. I really hope he was ok.) But because the diversion meant I got dropped even closer to my door than I normally do.

We could see the lorry from our living room window. It was like a beetle stranded on its back. I'd never seen the under-belly of a lorry in such detail before. And finally at about 11 o clock various trucks and winches turned up to take it away. It was like watching the raising of the Mary Rose! Amazingly, when turned up the right way, the driver's cab looked remarkably unscathed.

So there you have it. 3 transport tales. And the other day, I posted 2 bread recipes. Living up to my title.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Have you written to your MP yet?

I just had a response from mine by email. Very impressed with her for speed as I only posted it yesterday evening.

Not so impressed with the content. She replied initially asking what the letter was all about. So I sent her a link to the big intervention. This was her response:

Dear Ms XXX

Having looked at the website I have no intention of responding.
I am disappointed you felt you could write to me in the way you did without disclosing your intentions. As it happens, I never respond to surveys.

I shall, however, be passing this on to the Labour Party's National Office.

Yours sincerely


(I'm not sure if I should say who she is? I live in Lee Green, Lewisham if you're desperate to find out!)

Which reminded me of when I started a women's group at school. The head of year had no problem with supporting us to start a "discussion group" where we all sat round bemoaning our fate as ladies. (Although she did ask "why do you need a women's group in an all girls school?". Somewhat missing the point.)

But the minute we started a petition to allow us to wear trousers at school, she became "disappointed in us". I wonder if a letter being passed on the National Office is the equivalent of being sent to the Headmistress?



Having Gmail as a rival must have given Yahoo a fright. Today when I logged in to check my email, I had a message saying they've increased the amount of storage to 100mb, and I can now send/receive attachments up to 10mb. Not quite a gigabyte, but certainly as much as I'm ever likely to need. Maybe I won't tell everyone to change their address books to my gmail address after all.... Then again, I don't have about 30 spam messages waiting for me every morning on gmail.

The only thing is it seems to have sent it all kerphooey. The display does not look healthy.... Hopefully they'll sort it out soon.

I wonder if hotmail will follow suit? With only 2mb of storage, I don't know why anyone would ever use one.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Wahay. Finally we've got broadband. So now I can surf away, without worrying about who's trying to get through on the phone line, and the cost of the bill. We're with Wanadoo. So far, they've been ok. Unlike our unsavoury AOL/BT experience last year. My only gripe is that the modem took ages to arrive, and we had been billed before we even received it.

A couple of phonecalls (it could never have been resolved with just one phonecall could it?) revealed that Parcelforce (ahh, Royal Mail. Always the weakest link) had tried to deliver it three times. Yes. Three. Well they obviously weren't trying very hard. One morning, R spotted a parcelforce van in our parking space, and assumed that it was someone delivering our modem. So we waited for the buzzer. Nope. Then the van drove off. I know our buzzer works, and we've had no cards dropped through the letter box. So in just what sense they've tried to deliver the modem three times, I don't know. Eventually we got it delivered to the post office across the road, and paid 50p for the privelege of having to race hom from work before 5.30 to collect it. Inspector Sands recently said on his own blog: "If the Royal Mail was a dog, you'd put it down, wouldn't you?"

But no matter. For now the modem is connected and I am in surf heaven.

Tomorrow, I'm going to have to make a swift trip to Specsavers. On Saturday, I mentioned to friends that I always used to be losing sunglasses, but since I've had to wear glasses to help me see, I've got a lot more organised, and have never lost a pair. So obviously I had to go and lose my glasses this morning. My best bet is they are somewhere in a apple orchard in Kent, where I camped last night. I took them off this morning when packing away the tent as they kept falling off my head and annoying me. Half way home, I thought "doesn't the world look fuzzy?" and realised I didn't have them. I don't feel able to ask the farmer (R's uncle) to go and look for them, as he may be looking for some time. Those fields are big...

Camping on a rather lumpy field meant a poor sleep last night for both of us. And the farm we were staying on has cockerels, who woke us up crowing at 4am. It didn't help that our £7 tent is exactly 6' long, whereas my boyfriend is 6' 3". Things cost £7 for a reason...

One thing is for sure, I'll sleep well tonight. Roll on next weekend!

Oh, and if you haven't been there yet, visit the big intervention.


First things first.

The Big Intervention

If you haven't visited the site yet, GO THERE RIGHT NOW!

There are people out there who can put this far more eloquently than I will. So I shall put it bluntly. If you're fed up with Tony Blair, go to the big intervention AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Here's my statement on why I think Blair should go:

While Tony Blair is leader of the Labour Party, I will NEVER vote labour again. (With the one exception of voting for Ken Livingstone in the Mayoral election. Call me a hypocrite if you want to.) I'm aware that by not voting Labour in the next general election, I may well be contributing to the Conservatives winning the election. But I don't care. Compared to a labour government headed by Tony Blair, they're really not that much worse. That is how much I loathe Tony Blair. And when die-hard labour supporters (I used to be a member of the party) like me are turning away from the party, IT'S TIME FOR HIM TO GO. I can't rely on the party MPs to take this decision. Amazingly, after everything that has happened over the past few days, they are still only calling for him to return to a domestic agenda. So I'm giving my support to the Big Intervention. And so should you.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

The running just keeps on getting better! Yesterday, I ran 12, walked 3, then ran another 10. At no point did I feel like I. Might. Die.

If you like puppies, you'll love this. All together now.... Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Also, I decided it's high time for some bread recipes. Today's theme is rye bread.

350ml/12 oz hand hot water
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2.5 tbsp treacle
250g/9oz Strong white bread flour
140g/5oz rye flour
85g/3oz wholemeal flour
75g/3oz dried breadcrumbs
3tbsp oat bran
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp caraway seeds
0.5 tsp easy blend yeast

Stick it all in the breadmaker pan. Wholemeal setting, medium crust. 4 hours later - et voila! I'm not a big fan of rye bread, so didn't really enjoy it much. But you might....

Another recipe using rye flour, that doesn't taste or look remotely like rye bread is mixed seed bread:

300ml/10oz hand hot water
1.5 tbsp sunflower oil
2tsp lemon juice
375g/13oz stromg white bread flour
125g/4.5oz rye flour
1.5 tbsp skimmed or soya milk powder
1.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp caraway seeds
0.5 tsp poppy seeds
0.5 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp easy belend yeast.

All in the pan together, basic setting, medium crust. My all time favourite breadmaker bread!

Final point:

This morning on my way to work I saw a local greasy spoon is offering a fried breakfast involving lambs liver.

Yes. Lambs Liver.

When I was in Prague, I stayed in a hotel that made breakfast appropriate to European, American and Far Eastern guests, so I had some weird and wonderful breakfasts. And this isn't an anti-meat crusade. I know quite a few people who like liver and onions. Pre-vegetarianism, I loved liver pate. But I cannot see how anyone, in any circumstances, ever, could want lambs liver FOR BREAKFAST.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

With a little help from my friends

This year I have kicked out of my life: (The link leads to the "friend" who helped me)

- The stone in weight I gained after university
- Feeling crap about the abortion
- Unfitness. In a month, I've gone from needing a break after 1 minute of running, to being able to run for 10 minutes at a time. And I'm not stopping there. I'm going to keep going til I can do at least half an hour.
- My job. (Fortunately replaced with another!)
- Dairy products (This is a little less earth shattering than the rest, and I'm still taking one day at a time, but I'm chuffed anyway as it's something I've been meaning to do for ages.)

Feeling very, very pleased with myself.


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Also on my way to work this morning, I passed the cenotaph. The UK Independence Party have laid a wreath. At first glance, I thought it said something like "10th June 2004. Your chance to free Britain from the Tyranny of Europe." Not quite believing my eyes, I went to get a closer look. It actually said "In memory of D-Day, 6th June 1944, from the UK Independence Party."

Am I the only one who views this kind act with bit of cynicism?


What a spanking gorgeous day it is. Walking to work this morning, I noticed lots of people sat on the heath with cameras and remembered today is the day that Venus crosses the sun. I really wanted to have a look up at the sun, but I really really want to keep my eyesight, so decided not to. I was thrilled when I got to work and saw there was a pair of eclipse-glasses being passed around. I got to see the transit. I felt happy.

I’ve always been interested in Astronomy. It started when I was about 8 or 9. My Mum bought me The Planets by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest. It was the biggest, grown-upest, expensivest book I had ever possessed. It was in this book I first read about the Solar Eclipse. At the time I thought – “11th August 1999. That is soooooo far away. I’ll be a grown up by then! How am I ever going to wait until then?”

And before I knew it, it was 11th August 1999. I was on summer holidays between 1st and 2nd year at University. I had a job in my local branch of Scholl for the summer. Going to Cornwall wasn’t practical as I was expected to work all summer in the shop, I couldn’t afford it, and if ever I did blag a long weekend, it was spent going to see my fuckwit boyfriend in Stockport.

So I was in Bournemouth for the eclipse. That morning on my way to work I looked up at the sun (it was gloriously sunny at 8am) and felt so excited. I felt like in a few hours, things would never be the same. I was so cross when it clouded over at 10 o clock! Being in Bournemouth wasn’t bad – we had about 95% coverage. That didn’t make it 95% dark, because even the tiniest slither of sunshine makes a real difference. But it did get very dusky. It was cold, quiet and all the birds went to roost. We all went out onto the street just outside the shop, to get an appreciation of how dark it was. And can you believe it – just as it was at its peak, some morons went to the shop and started banging the door. Being the most customer-orientated member of staff there (I find students doing summer jobs generally are), I ran over and explained that we had closed for 15 minutes. I assumed I wouldn’t need to explain why. They looked at me like I was mad and said “Why? Is there something going on?” I said “Yes! The Eclipse!.” They muttered something about the shoes in Clarkes being better anyway and wandered off. Every single shop on the high street was like ours – locked, with all the staff outside. I wondered why they thought Clarkes would be any different and thought about shouting this after them. But since Clarkes is at the other end of the high street, they probably would have re-opened by the time they got down there. Which means forever more, those shoppers will remember me as the non-customer orientated slacker at Scholl.

That evening, seeing it reported on the news I felt green with envy at everyone who got to go to Cornwall. Although it was cloudy and they didn’t see it, to experience total darkness would have been *amazing*. I was even more green with envy at the people who went to other parts of the world and saw it in clear skies. So I vowed that when I was wealthy enough to afford it, I’d go see one. My choices are here. At the moment I’m thinking 29th March 2006, in central northern Africa, so I’d better get saving!


Sunday, June 06, 2004


This Woozie Sorley has got herself another job. Bigger organisation, much better pay, and it’s a Charrideeeee. So I still qualify for Woolly Liberal status. Phew. That brush with a job training stockbrokers was a lucky escape. Finally weekends will be free again – no more filling out forms, updating CVs, preparing presentations, scouring papers.

So yesterday evening I celebrated with a trip to the Peking Palace. It was a bit of a trek up to Archway, but well worth it.

I’m going to repeat the name of the restaurant a few more times, to encourage you all to click on it and find out more.

Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace, Peking Palace.

It’s 100% vegetarian and 99% vegan. For any veggie who is fed up of going to a Chinese restaurant or takeaway and asking for stir fried mixed veg with beancurd, this will be wonderland.

I’m only sorry I lived a couple of miles from it in North London for over a year, with no knowledge of its existence. Discovered it a few weeks before I moved “down south”. South London does have its own version, called Veggie One. Unfortunately it’s a bit too far south for me. In Sanderstead. About as far south as you can get before London stops being London for transport purposes. It’s easier to go up to Archway for my faux-meat fun.

And we even got advice from the rather evangelical waiter about going vegan. For a long time now, I’ve been contemplating giving up dairy products. He claims “it won’t be any more expensive – in fact you’ll probably save money.” I think he’s living in cloud cuckoo land, but I’m still going to do it. So yesterday we had Swedish Glace for dessert. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between that and ice-cream. And now I’ve got a carton of soy-milk sat in the fridge just waiting to be opened……

My running is also going well. I think I need music as an accompaniment though. When I’ve got nothing to do but think, I am much more likely to look at the stopwatch and think “Oh nooooooooo. How can I have only been running for 38 seconds.” The last time I ran, I was getting tired and bored. So I thought of my sister and her determination to get her 4 month old baby to stop crying last weekend. She walked her around the garden repeating “Haiawatha” like a mantra. FOR ABOUT 2 HOURS. It was the only thing that stopped her bawling. Now that’s determination.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

My weekend staying with family was (as predicted) a bit of a nightmare.

Within half an hour of arriving I'd been emotionally blackmailed into spending 4 hours of saturday on the motorway going to get my sister and her children, to bring them back to my Mum's place for a saturday evening barbecue. She can't drive, and for some reason is never expected to get around on a train. I swear the only reason I was put on her car insurance was so I can do "chores" when I'm visiting.

R had gout again, so even when we did escape for a couple of hours, he was hobbling and generally not enjoying himself.

This really got me thinking about "in sickness and in health". Am I too selfish to get married? He's the one who is suffering with an agonisingly painful toe joint. I'm the one grumbling and feeling sorry for msyelf because it affects the stuff we can do in our spare time.

Must try harder....