Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I went to see my 5 week old niece on Friday. She is so gorgeous and snuggly and pudgy. And my sister and her husband are coming to London for the day in November and have asked me to babysit. Me! In charge of a newish-born baby. I am terrified. The last time I tried to look after a baby that age was with my first niece who is now six years old. It's taken me most of the last six years to get over that experience. I didn't know something that small was capable of making that much noise.

But regardless, I am bowled over that she wants me to babysit rather than our mum, who would be the obvious choice, with 31 years experience of looking after children. So instead of screaming "fuuuuuuck", I said "ooh yes please!"

Gaaaaah. Past my bed time.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Juice glorious juice

I have blackmailed R into making carrot & apple juice and apple & melon juice. I pointed out that when he proposed buying a juicer I warned him that juicers are the faddiest of all faddy kitchn gadgets, and predicted it would be unloved and unused within a few weeks. Since he hasn't used it for weeks, I told him that unless he made juice tonight, I would officially be able to say "I told you so". So now he is in the kitchen making lovely juice and I finally get 15 minutes of peace on the pooter. Bloody excellent!

Aside from this lovely juicy end to the day, today has officially been a bad day.

I woke up with a raging hangover. The bar I went to last night was selling shooters for £3, or 4 for £5. It would have been rude not to, to use a cliche. Ignored R's advice to drink 2 pints of water and take 2 pre-emptive paracetamol last night. I got 3/4 of the way to the train station this morning and got a phone call. "Your wallet's on the table". Bugger. Persuaded R to meet me half way with it. Walked half way home, turned round and walked back to the station.

Felt crap, sluggish etc. all day. Decided to get sausage chips and beans from the local greasy spoon to compensate but got back to my desk and realised I'd forgotten to add salt and ketchup. Gaaaah. What is sausage, chips and beans without salt and ketchup?

Decided to get the bus all the way home rather than bus train walk, on the basis that if I went for the bus train walk option, I would want a 30 minute nap when I got in. And although the bus takes approx 20 minutes longer, I could have my nap on the bus. What a genius I am. So I bedded down in my comfy seat and snoozed through the streets of East Dulwich and Forest Hill. Except every 5 minutes my head would loll forward and smack into the wall. Ow! I did this 5 times, each time thinking “really must wake up now to stop this happening, then falling straight back to sleep. Now I have a big bruise on my forehead.

I made a thai green curry and rubbed my eyes before washing my hands. My eye’s don’t appreciate having green chilli rubbed into them. Now I’ve got red eyes.

And it’s freezing cold and we’ve turned the heating on for the first time.

I want to hibernate for the next six months.

Ooh – London Open House weekend. I went to the Naked House. It was well worth it, although there was a disconcerting lack of signage so we wandered round for half an hour looking for it, unfortunately encountering a man who was also looking for it who thought it was a shame that all those blacks were selling their flats in Peckham and moving to Thamesmead. I told him I didn't mind who lived where and then he wandered off in the other direction. Ho hum.

We could only stay half an hour (which was all we needed really) before having to go to Sutton to play 10 pin bowling with R’s family. Then something very very odd happened.

I won.

I have never won a game of bowling before in my life. My competition wasn’t exactly stiff (I won with a mere 77 points and R’s mum got 6 gutter balls in a row). But the point is...

I bloody well won!


Friday, September 17, 2004


I have just got back from a 40 minute run, on which I passed no less that four people eating chips. Their chips all smelled gorgeous and vinegary in a way that only chips can. I want chips. Bloody hell, I've earned them.

Fishnet tights "teamed" with Birkenstocks. What the....?

My god. I found myself nodding enthusiastically when reading something written by Anne Widdecome today. The world has gone topsy-turvy.

(Said in the style of Jerry Seinfeld) "What's the deal with first class seats on the train from Dartford to London Victoria?" As far as I can see, they are slightly more spacious that the rest of the train. But they are not sealed off from the plebs in any way. And the Victoria train rarely gets so full that anyone has to stand. And the entire journey from end to end is only 55 minutes. So why would anyone want a first class ticket? Even more bizarre is that this section of carriage is always 3/4 full. I'm going to indulge in some mindless stereotyping here, but the people sitting there don't look like the type of people who would be daft enough to pay for a first class ticket, so my guess is they're fare evading. Which makes me snigger because SE trains often promise to deal with the problem of "protecting first class seats", yet I've only seen a ticket inspector actually on a train once in the past year.

Ok, off to eat chips now.


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Yesterday there were ticket inspectors at both ends of my train journey to work. Being the dutiful ticket purchaser that I am, I flashed my travel card at them as usual. It was only when I got home that I realised my travel card had expired the day before.

Two observations:

1) what is the point of ticket inspectors if they don't inspect tickets?
2) if I had been stopped and fined, I would have been seriously pissed off. It was the first time I had ever travelled without a ticket, and only about the third time I've ever encountered ticket inspectors on the route. What are the chances of that happening?

If I had been stopped and fined, it would have served me right for my most marvellous stroke of luck when I was 16 and in 6th form. As part of our transition into responsible adults, we could decide what sport we did on Wednesday afternoons. I had no intention of doing any sport on a Wednesday afternoon, so I signed up for swimming and went home every Wednesday and watched the telly. About 3/4 of the way into the year, I decided to go swimming after all, for the sheer halibut. And guess wot - our PE teacher turned up on a "spot check". The girls who had dutifully turned up and swum their 30 lengths every week for a year were gobsmacked at my stroke of fortune.


Sunday, September 12, 2004

I learned to ride a bike when I was seven years old. When I was eight years old, I fell off my bike and broke my collar bone. (The doctor at the time said to me and my mum - "it's proper name is clavicle" and so I went home and proudly told my sisters that I had clavicled my collar bone.")

Anyway, this didn't deter me and within a week of my nasty figure-of-eight bandage coming off my shoulders, I was back cycling again. There is evidence of this, on a home video, made when I was 9.

The problem is when I was 10, I grew out of my bike and it never got replaced. So I stopped riding. And when I was 15 I was at a friend's house and given her sister's bike to ride down to the beach, and I discovered I had forgotten how to ride a bike.

Bloody hell - you can never forget how to ride a bike. Except I did. I had to push this bike all the way to the beach, feeling like a big fat failure, and never got back on one again.

Until yesterday!!

Feeling bouyed from a fortunate incident on Tuesday night* I decided now was the time to learn. So we went to Dulwich Park (once again, going past Casino Avenue on the bus) and hired one from these people. R is a proper hard-core commuter cyclist. He's never taught anyone before, but he did a very good job with me. It took about an hour (proving further that you can indeed forget) and involved lots of high pitched squealing and screaming. And maybe it was me being paranoid, but I did see some people watching us smirking. I don't blame them. A fully grown woman learning to ride a bike in a park surrounded by 5 year olds also being taught must have looked quite funny.

We initially only hired it out for an hour, but at the end of the hour I was just getting the hang of it, and knew that with another 5 minutes I would probably be cycling on my own. So we kept it out another hour and sure enough I was cycling on my onn within 5 minutes. So I had an hour to practice speeding up, slowing down, turning corners, cycling in a straight line, avoiding pot-holes, and "stopping with dignity".

Bloody brilliant it was. I can't believe I'd been dreading it for the past 3 years. (Ever since I met R, I've been promising him I will learn).

I don't quite feel brave enough to cycle to Kennington via Lewisham, New Cross and Peckham yet, but I reckon it's only a matter of time. I can do anything I want to!

* Fortunate incident was that while staying in a hotel for work purposes on Tuesday night, there was a monster spider in my room. I got to test out my ability to deal with the bastards for the first time since Spider Therapy. I am pleased to report I calmy placed the hotel's provided tooth-mug over it, a coaster under it, and set it free in the hallway. In the past, it would have taken me 15 minutes to psyche myself up enough to lob a shoe at it.


Friday, September 10, 2004

Unusual dogs




and all together now....

Awwwwwwww cute!


Sunday, September 05, 2004

Due to my extreme laziness, Bluewater was postponed until Saturday. It was also because R wanted to come with me. He's a bigger Lakeland junkie than I am.

I felt a bit soiled on my way home because I always vowed never to set foot in Bluewater. It seemed to totally unnecessary, so close to Lakeside. And such a weird, artificial world. But I really really wanted a yoghurt maker. So my conscience flew out of the window as I asked the woman at Lee station for two returns to GreenhitheforBluewater please.

And if I ignore the soiled feeling, I had a great time. I came home with said yoghurt maker, a clear plastic cookbook stand, and a can/plastic bottle crusher.

It made me wonder at what point life changes, and a day shopping no longer means Dorothy Perkins, H+M, Next etc and becomes Lakeside and John Lewis?

Another reason I felt bad at spending the day in Bluewater is because it seemed like a waste of a glorious day. I should have waited until it pissed with rain to visit. Then I would have been grateful!

I made up for that today with a walk round Eltham common and Oxleas wood, passing by Severndroog castle. I've only lived around here for about a year, and I realise there is so much about the local area I know nothing about. I was astonished to walk up beyond Severndroog and emerge onto a lawn with flowerbeds and a view across the whole of London. Amazing!

The woods seemed incredibly quiet for a lovely summer afternoon. There was a knob riding about on a moped, but other than that, nothing really. It was a lovely, lovely way to spend the day.

And now, after a week off work, I've got the mama of all "sunday night feelings".

Long live sunny weekends!


Friday, September 03, 2004

Gaaaah! I went to the hair dresser yesterday and came out looking quite nice. This morning, I washed it and left it to dry and I looked like a complete freak.

So I mustered up every assertive bone in my body and went back and asked them to cut it again.

Now I look much better.

Off to Lakeland at Bluewater for an orgy this afternoon.


Thursday, September 02, 2004

For the past couple of weeks I have mostly…

Gone to see my brand new baby niece. She’s gorgeous. I thought I’d feel a bit nonchalant when I saw her as a)I’ve already got two other nieces, so they’re becoming a bit “so last year”. And b)I don’t really get on with my sister that much. But instead, I took one look at her and almost burst with pride. She’s absolutely gorgeous, and my sister seems to be taking really well to motherhood – I’m hoping we might get on a bit better in the future.

Gone to Cornwall for the weekend. That was great. It had everything I loved – the beach, hills, beautiful views, drinking round campfires, good company, a trip to the Eden Project, tea, sandwiches and cakes galore in small tea shops.

The only fly in the ointment was one of the other guests. (We were staying with one of R’s school friends.) To start with, I thought that he was just very different to me, and I was mature and sensible enough to accept that just because someone was different to me, that doesn’t make them a bad person.

By the end of the first evening, I stopped being sensible about it and decided I good old fashioned loathed him.

If he wanted to insult a woman, he always made reference to how fat/ugly she was
He kept making “homophia-lite” references. And was keen to emphasise his heterosexuality as frequently as possible
He bragged about getting drunk, crashing his car, fleeing the scene and not being prosecuted because his dad knew the police officer
He bragged about setting fire to a barn (i.e a farmer’s livelihood)
He called me a “nagging wife” when I recommended R stop drinking because he was obviously about to vomit all over the campfire. At no point did I tell R to stop drinking. I simply recommended it. And I’m vindictively pleased to report that five minutes later, R did indeed vomit all over the campfire. Just a shame he didn’t vomit all over the twat instead.

Yadda yadda yadda. Definitely not my kind of guy.

We eschewed the train in favour of getting a free lift with my mum and her BF who were also off to Cornwall on a mini-break. This meant we could extend our weekend so it felt more like some kind of holiday. On Friday night we megabussed down to Bournemouth in record time, set off with them in their camper van on Saturday morning. The picked us up on Monday afternoon, we travelled back with them in their van, spent a lovely evening at Poole Harbour and megabussed back on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately this was also in record time, but the wrong kind of record. Sitting on the hard shoulder of the M3 for nearly two hours is not fun.

So I briefly fell out of love with megabus, then fell back in love when they responded to my shitty email within a couple of hours offering us a free return journey of our choosing anywhere in the country. That’s good – no annoying forms to fill in and waiting three weeks to be told we will be sent 50% of the value of our journey in rail vouchers.

Monday evening in Poole harbour was just amazing. I firmly believe it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, and if you haven’t been there before, forget going abroad for your next holiday – just spend a week there.

I’m off work today and tomorrow. Currently feeling very smug as the weather is so lovely, but also bemoaning the fact that the house is a complete shit-tip and I should spend a good portion of my time off cleaning it. Still, a few more minutes on the pooter won’t hurt……