Saturday, 31 October 2009

Gruesome Gourmet

Did I scare you? Did I? Eh, eh?

It's been a spooky old day. A trip to the usually sophisticated Northcote Road was strewn with ghoulish beings. A delicate blond wallflower of a girl walked towards me along in the tunnel at Clapham Junction station with a scythe in one hand, and a bag in the other, out of which spouted two green arms. Later, I passed a group of well set rugby player types, all wearing capes, torn shirts (phew!) and some pretty terrifying bloody makeup.

Pumpkins glimmered at me from shop windows and broomsticks leaned in doorways. In one shop, a bowl of chocolate eyeballs winked at me by the till. "Would you like one?" the shop assistant asked. Erm ... no thanks!

And my, how things have changed, since I used to go trick-or-treating wearing my Mum's long black petticoat and a rollneck! Since I've got h0me I've been visited by little witches with plastic heads on sticks, and zombie fairy princesses. I've had a lot of ghouls and ghosts and gremlins at the door wailing a terrible oooooooohhhhhhhhh! as I walk down the hallway. I've even had a visit from Batman, who's mother was convinced, after a lot of persuasion, to stick around for a G&T ...

I've seen Mums and Dads who've made every bit as much effort with their makeup and hats, standing dutifully back, and refusing the sweets on offer with a rueful shake of the head. The children come equipped with a bucket to collect their treats - a fabulous range of disembodies heads and spider covered baskets are held out for sweet treats.

But one thing out spooks the lot. One thing has made the rest pale into insignificance. One thing is more alarming looking that any other single scary happening today ...

... the state of my kitchen having boiled beetroot. It's a bloodbath in there!! Eeeek!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Guilty Pleasures

A few weeks ago, a left the office a wee bit later than usual, and with my mind firmly on the subject of food. Between the office and the bus stop, I passed two men just as one said to the other, "Ever been to Wagamama?" and that was that.

By the time I got to the bus stop I was thinking of little steamed chicken dumplings and dipping sauce. By the time the bus drew in, I was dreaming of noodles. By the time the bus got to Victoria I knew that anything else for dinner would just not do.

So I went to Wagamama. Alone. I filled my boots with dumplings and noodles, all accompanied by the clamour of kitchen and diner, and a good book, and it was fabulous. I enjoyed every. Last. Bite.

My solo dates at Wagamama have become a bit of a guilty pleasure. I've been a few times now. I love the people watching and noise of the place, and I love the small luxury of dining alone. There aren't many places where I'd be comfortable just being by myself, but there is something about the convivial sharing of tables which makes it ok there.

I was there this evening, and smugly thinking "well, I'm good most of the time" when I realised, to my shock, that I'm not. I started counting off the dirty little food secrets on my fingers, and had to start on the second hand.

I need to salve my conscience. Please hear my confession...

My job requires me to regularly go to shopping centres. At least one kiosk in just about every shopping centre in the country is occupied by those wonderful people from Millies Cookies.

They aren't really cookies at all. Really they are little patties of slightly warmed dough. You can buy them individually. But why would you do that, when you can pick 'n' mix a selection? In my world, a drive home from Bluewater starts with a bag containing six biscuits, and finishes with an empty bag, and a queasy feeling. And even knowing the unpleasant sensation of yukkiness (real word?), I can guarantee that next time, I'll do the same.

Forgive me?

Should I tell you, then, about the speed with which I can devour a bag of liquorice comfits? Does everyone know what they are? They look like this and are little sticks of liquorice covered in brightly coloured hard sugar. No-one else in my office likes them, which means I don't have to share. Frankly, if they did, I still wouldn't. They are just lovely. The crunch of the shell, the chew of the liquorice. What's not to like? Mmmmmm.

Is it wrong that I'm dribbling a little?

I've always like a frazzle. Who am I kidding? I can inhale one of those weeny bags in a mere second. No bacon in the world ever tasted like the flavour of frazzles, but I do love that they put those bacony coloured stripes on them for authenticity. It's very convincing.

But recently I discovered something really dirty. Red Barn make a fake frazzle. A fauxzzle if you will (that's not my joke. It's someone else's. But I like it a lot, so I'm passing it off as my own). They come in a much larger bag, taste slightly more strangely unbacony, and are made of a fluffier corn stuff. I bloody love them! There's a bag on my desk right now, just in case, on Monday, I have a need for a wee snackette.

But ... I've saved the worst for last. And I feel a bit grubby just writing this. **clears throat** I like KFC. Not the burgers, or the chicken strips, or the nugget things, but the proper, original, joint-from-no-part-of-a-chicken-that-I-can-identify chicken pieces. There is something fantastically tempting about that secret blend of eleven herbs and spices which just knocks me batty. I do know that it is about the worst food that you could put in your system ever (I suspect that in some parts of Europe, it's not even recognised as food) and therefore I don't have it often. It's very much a special treat. Lucky me! The chips are terrible, but used to scoop up the coleslaw, they come into their own. The corn cobbette is, of course, the side order of choice. But ultimately it's all about the chicken. I am pleased to be able to report that it's finger lickin' good.

Phew! I feel better for that! I feel like a weight has been lifted. Ironic, really, since just reading this post has probably caused us all to add a few pounds.

Now ... I think it's time for a cup of tea and a jaffa cake ...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Twenty things ...


1) A tissue in the wash.
2) The phone ringing just as dinner goes on a plate.
3) Ladders in tights.
4) "It's not you, it's me ..."
5) Missing the last seat on the train.
6) Missing the train.
7) Snogging people on trains.
8) 118118 adverts.
9) Musical theatre.
10) Low fat chocolate cake.


1) The person in the next cubicle farting.
2) Children swearing.
3) The Meerkat.
4) Skirts tucked in knickers.
5) Dads dancing.
6) The Book of Bunny suicides.
7) Smut.
8) The I Can't Believe It's Not Butter sketch.
9) Comedy place names (Badger's Mount. Feltham. Cholton Cum Hardy.)
10) The word "jugs".

Monday, 26 October 2009

All Things Nice

I am a girl.

That means I am made of sugar and spice and all things nice. It means that I smell always of rose water. I can wrap a present and ice a cake, but I can't give directions or use a power drill.

It also means that I like to look nice and ... well ... ladylike.

I am, however, not built like your typical light and delicate creature. I am a comfortable six feet tall and I am what my Great Aunt would call "well padded". Under the circumstances it shouldn't surprise the reader to know that I have size eight feet. I know that's not dainty, but let's face it, any smaller and I'd tip over.

I can buy trousers with long legs and skirts that don't hover somewhere above the knee. It's not very easy, but I can do it. And I can get tops that have long enough arms that my wrists don't get chilly. It's the shoes that have always been the problem.

Yesterday I went to buy some boots. Just plain boots. Flat ones that I can walk distance in at speed. This was, I thought, a simple brief.

In the first shop I struggled to find anything in the European Shoe Mountain next to the tills. After much digging I found two boots, one for each foot, in my size. Imagine my glee! Of course, they were less designed for striding around London and more designed for tottering across a (small) room, so I bought a bag of Percy Pigs instead and headed for the next shop.

Here I found a couple of things that would fit the bill and handed them to the teenager snapping gum and fiddling with her mobile phone in the corner. She skulked off to find my size, reappearing some time later empty handed.

"We ain't got no eights in flats". Seems unlikely.
"We don't 'ave no demand for eights, see?" None at all? Surely I'm here demanding them?
"Not many people have feet that big. It's really unusual. I've never sold a single pair. An eight is very big you know."

I staggered out of the shop, dragging my over-sized feet behind me and considered running away to join the circus.

Shop three. Losing the will to live now, I approached the first shop assistant I saw and said I'd try on anything boot shaped in an eight. Anything you've got! Hit me with it! He vanished looking alarmed at the slightly crazy boot lady pacing around the shop. Some time later he reappeared looking frightened, as well he might. He shuffled towards me looking at his toes, and explained that they had a couple of sevens and loads of sixes, if that would be any good. I'm afraid I had to kill him.

I went home bootless, and destined to spend another winter in nothing more presentable than unisex Converse trainers. Ho hum.

Then today, a miracle.

Some time ago I was told about Duo, a shoe shop that specialises in all shapes and sizes. I disregarded them at the time, thinking they'd be a bit ... well ... special looking, but I had a wee look a couple of weeks ago, and found them to be lovely, so ordered myself a pair.

They weren't due to arrive for ages yet, but today, as if sensing my distress, they turned up. A pair of deliciously cute, dark red suede boots with a lovely little heel and a bow on the back. They are the epitome of girlie prettiness. And best of all ... THEY FIT! I'm wearing them right now ... because I'm worth it!

OK, so I won't be covering miles in them, but I'll feel like a lady, and that's enough for today.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Have you got the time?

time /taIm/ noun - the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present and future, regarded as a whole.

When I was a student, we went on a field trip. Imagine it. Thirty or so like-minded, bright, optimistic young things being shuttled away on a day trip. When you're studying property at Reading University, trust me, a day out is a fine and glorious thing. I imagine that we all hopped out of bed that morning with the giddy excitement of a child on Christmas morning, put on the uniform appropriate to our social set (jeans, trainers, and a holey jumper for some, chinos, deck shoes, and Ralph Loren with the collar flipped up for others) and skipped onto campus to pile onto a coach and hit the M4. In my mind, the sun was shining and there was Cliff Richard style singing in the aisle.

Oh yes. You can't beat it. The open road. The route set for an educational, but light hearted day out to see a case study in the flesh. That's right folks. We were going to a new housing estate in Essex.

Oh dear.

I don't recall much about the housing estate in question. I don't even remember what it was called now, or why it was a relevant that we were shipped there to loaf around carry out important research all day. I don't believe that, as housing estates go, it was in any way exceptional (which makes a girl wonder why we were driven through four counties to this particular specimen).

What I do remember is that, in the middle of said estate, there was a green, and around the edge of the green there were nine huge boulders. Each one had a smooth side, and in large, foot high letters, a word was etched into the face. Standing in the middle of the green, and reading around, they said "take time while time is, for time will away".

Something about the phrase resonated with me. I googled (is "google" a verb?) it today. It's an old Russian proverb. Quite a nice sentiment, don't you think?

And never has it been more pertinent than recently. Time is in short supply!

My office days are flat out at the moment. I don't know if you've heard, but there's this recession thing going around, and it makes my work doubly hard and half as financially rewarding. I'm not complaining. I've got a job, which is more than a lot of people can say, so please consider me grateful to be over worked and under paid (well, perhaps not grateful exactly, but you know what I mean). But it doesn't half take a lot of time.

And there's this new house. It's great! My own little set of walls, and I love them! But MY WORD! they take a lot of loving! As we all know, just the cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing is enough to keep a girl busy, without the sanding, wallpaper stripping, hole filling, hole drilling stuff too. Time, time, time!

Then there is Loulou Workshop. It's my passion. I would give my arm to spend more time on it, but the time it takes is already significant. I always have a hundred more ideas for pieces, than I have time to make and I really want to have the time to be a bit more creative. I'm bursting with inspiration at the the moment, but you know what inspiration takes? That's right. Time.

And now there is a new project. With a group of friends from the Open House event, we are planning a BIG local contemporary art project. I think that I'm too much of a craftsman, and not enough of an artist to be an exhibitor, but there's talk of management committees and workshops and educational projects. It'll be a long term commitment. Yesterday, at the latest meeting about it all, I heard myself saying "I'm happy to dedicate time to this," and wondered as I said it where I thought this time would come from.

This weekend was the first one in four months in which I had nothing in my diary. I didn't have to be anywhere with anyone doing anything, with the exception of the quick art project meeting yesterday. Three days to myself. Heaven!

So, I went to the supermarket, viewed a shop for the art project, had friends for lunch, viewed another shop, had an impromptu brainstorm about the project, went into the West End for a leaving do, had the planned art project meeting, went back to the supermarket for all the things I'd forgotten, bought and hung curtains in the spare room, baked cakes, went to a friend's house on a tea-and-sympathy basis, dropped some books to another friend, went on a fruitless boot shopping mission (more about this another time I think), cleaned the house, did three loads of laundry and spoke to my mother.

Isn't it nice to have a bit of spare time?

Literary Reviews

Thought for the day:
Sometimes there is only one letter between quite funny and very funny indeed ..

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Home Alone Kid

I work pretty long hours. Our office is open until 6pm, but you know how it is. Just finishing this, sorting out that, a quick chat with him, and a gossip with her takes time. By the time I get to the station and get home, it's usually getting on for 8pm.

It works out ok most of the time. If I'm meeting up with friends in the evening, I just meet them a little later. And frankly, it's not very London (daahling!) to eat at 6:30 anyway, so frankly, I'm just keeping them on the straight and narrow.

But on nights like tonight, when I have the whole blissful evening at home, I mind, just a little.

I spend so much of my day being a commuter, a customer, an employee, and then a commuter again, that I relish the hours at the end of the day (before I'm a snoozer) when I can just be me. Quietly, calmly and quite selfishly, just be myself in my clothes, in my house, in my space.

I love the moment when I can shed my office work clobber, and put on my own uniform. Slobby jeans, over-sized t-shirts, threadbare cardigan and fluffy socks. (I know ... you're wondering how a snappy dresser like me can possibly be single. It's a wonder to me too.)

There is nothing like the liberation of getting the radio on and knowing no-one will see if I have a bit of a dance in my kitchen whilst I'm cooking my dinner. And what freedom to sing along, especially when I don't really know the words! I'm the only person who can hear me, and I don't care if I'm a bit off with the lyric here or there.

If I want to retire to bed with a cup of tea and a good book (or, let's be honest, a trashy beach novel), then there's no-one here to judge me. If I want to eat ice-cream from the tub, no-one will know. If I want to watch French Kiss one more time, there is no-one who will roll their eyes.

Most of all though, I love the moment when the door closes. That split second when I go from being out, to being in, and I can relish the glorious isolation. I love the knowledge that it's just me, in my cosy little house for a few hours.

Yes, on night's like tonight, I resent every second I'm at my desk past 6pm, which is why tonight ... I was out the door on the dot. What joy!!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Three Beautiful Things

Tonight, inspired by the lovely Clare I bring you Three Beautiful Things ...

1) I have been delivering prizes to people who entered the competition which we ran as part of the Open House event. One lady won a print that she had been coveting, and another won a necklace with a pearl pendant which she said was her birth stone. It was lovely to deliver such personal presents to people.

2) I'm plotting lunch on Friday with new friend, and fabulously talented artist, Amelia Critchlow. We will set the world to rights, graze on delicious food, and discuss a private commission ...

3) Ham, egg and chips for my tea. 'Licious!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Darwin's Theory of Evolution

I was on the train.

In the seats behind me, were two women. I couldn't see them, only hear their voices. One was young. Mid twenties at a guess, and very Sloaney. The other sounded older. Mumsie. Wiser. I didn't know that they were mother and daughter, but I assumed.

The train ran behind typical south London Victorian terraces. Two bed, one bath, small garden. Houses like mine.

The younger of the two women said, in her expensively educated drawl, "look at all those tiny little houses". I bristled out of a sense of loyalty to the bricks and mortar. "They're very Darwinian".

There was a pause. I tried to work out what she meant. After a moment, the older lady asked my question for me. "What?"

"Oh, silly me! Have I used the wrong word? OK, I mean they look 'Darwinesque'"

Another pause.

"What have the houses got to do with survival of the fittest?"

Now the turn of the younger to question. "What?"

"Darwin. He was the guy that developed the 'survival of the fittest' theory"

The younger girl sighed in a resigned way. Her manner suggested that she was tired of people correcting her. "No. He was the man that wrote the plays."


"Yes. Plays. For the telly. Like Oliver Twist and things like that."

A long pause. I didn't trust myself to start laughing. I didn't think I'd stop. I thought I'd burst. I held my breath in anticipation ...

"Do you mean 'Dickensian'?"

"Dickens? Darwin? Oh, well. I was nearly right".

Ladies and gentlemen ... I give you the future of our country!

Home Sweet Home

Firstly, an update on SPIDERWATCH.
One week on and I report my findings as follows:
CONKERS, SCHMONKERS! Now I've got a basket full of conkers in the bathroom, AND a houseful of leg-wealthy friends.
Any other spider-scaring tips are now being considered.

In other news, it has been a weekend of extreme domesticity.

I know what you're thinking; ironing with a safety harness? Bungee hoovering? Parachute laundry? No, this was on a considerably more dare devil theme ... Home improvements.

My parents came to stay and arrived with a list of jobs and a power drill, and we've been flat out. Mirrors and pictures have been hung, shelves have been reinforced, electrical sockets have been installed, light fittings have been removed, and wall paper has been stripped. I'm thinking of having a secret tunnel installed from my house to Homebase. It's all good stuff. It all needs doing, and I'm not good at galvanising myself without some encouragement, so I'm grateful that they both throw themselves at tasks with what can only be described as "gay abandon".

However. I have walked out of rooms and walked back in ten minutes later to find them altered in some way. I have had opinions that I haven't asked for and haven't had opinions that I have asked for. I've been told I should get things I don't want and shouldn't get things, I do want. Things I like have been rubbished.

I held my tongue. It's the best way. The truth is that it doesn't really matter to me whether there is a blind at the back kitchen window or not and it doesn't matter whether the mirror is central over the radiator. What I mind is feeling like a visitor in my own home.

That sounds terribly churlish, doesn't it? It would be grossly ungrateful to shout "stop weeding my garden. It's my bloody garden and they're my bloody weeds". It would be counter-productive to stand at the top of the stairs screeching "I'm thirty fucking two! When will you consider me old enough to make my own decisions?". I know this, and that's why I don't say anything about these gripes and irritations. I smile and mutter my pleases and thank yous, and I say "I think that's straight" even when I know it's not, and "yes that looks better" even when it doesn't.

Mine is but to keep the peace.

Because, however much they drive me to the edge, I am enormously grateful for the help they have given me. I don't just mean now, but always. They taught me to walk, cycle and drive. They drove me to nursery, school, university, and to my first flat in the murky depths of north London. They came to school nativities, concerts, prize giving, graduation and my professional diploma ceremony. They are my most constant thing. Not everyone can say that, and I try very hard not to take the stability that they have given me for granted.

So it doesn't seem much pay off to hold my breath, count to ten, and wait until they've left to cry a few tears of frustration, does it?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Unwanted Guests

I've been here, in my first ever house for a couple of months now, and it's pretty amazing. Imagine. Me. A homeowner!

Well. I say "owner". Of course what I mean is "occupier", by account of the mortgage company having rather more of an interest than I do, but let's set the small matter of thirty something years of repayments to one side. Humour me, please. Call me a homeowner.

It took me a few years to get on the old property ladder, largely because I've done it alone. It took me a while to build up enough courage to sign myself up for this huge obligation, with nothing in the way of support. It's a vast undertaking, and is more than a little terrifying, but look at me. I'm a big brave girl. And it's mine, all mine! (Wah ha ha haaaa!)

But here's the thing. I'm not here alone at all. There are other beings living in the house with me, and I can't say I'm any too pleased about it. The other inhabitants are black and hairy and come with more legs than is strictly necessary. The other inhabitants are spiders.

These are not your run-of-the-mill house spiders. Not those ones that are all spindly legs and no action. Not the ones that abseil from the ceiling on invisible threads. Not the ones that are supposed to bring you good luck and money. Noooooo! These babies are VAST!

I found one walking up the stairs the other day, so huge that his legs poked out around the edge of the mug that I caught him under. When I threw him out of the bathroom window, I heard him hit the gravel in the garden (before waving a fist at me and hopping back on his Harley*).

I found another on the wall behind the front door who, whilst I was trying to chase him out, fell on the floor, and landed next to his Dad. Funny how a big spider can suddenly seem small when standing in the shadow of a larger beast. Both were chased out into the street, where they menaced local cats.

Enough is enough. You boys are going to have to go! I don't want anything living here which, at rest, holds its knees higher than its ears. (Not smutty comments please).

It as at this point that I was told of spider scaring research being undertaken by British chemists. The nice men at RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry, not Royal Shakespeare Company) are giving £300 to anyone who can prove that spiders are kept at bay with conkers. Yes ... conkers. Those brown shiny nutty things that drop out of trees at this time of year, for the amusement of small boys. Conkers. There is a theory that they keep spiders away, but no-one knows why. Do they give off bad spider vibes? Do they speak at a pitch audible only to spiders? Do they look like something alarming from the spider's past? It's a mystery.

Some proverbial old wives will have it that a bowl of conkers in a house will keep all spiders away. Others put one conker in the corner of each room. Either way, the theory goes that our eight legged friends will stay well clear.

And so it was that on Monday afternoon, I wandered up to the Common to collect myself a bag full of the good stuff, and have now put a bowl in the corner of the bathroom. I'll let you know how I get on. If all else fails, I figure I've not got a bowl full of missiles which I can throw at anything living here which isn't paying rent.

And who knows ... if I get a photo of a spider being pinned to the wall by a conker, I might earn myself £300!

* The bit about the fist waving and the Harley isn't true. It was a Kawasaki.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Ungood English #1

I'm sorry Folks.

Last night's post got a bit ... well ... self indulgent. I was feeling flat and I used you as a sounding board. It was wrong. In many ways. It won't happen again. (Actually, do you know what? It bloody might. It's my blog, so there! Ha haaa!)

So tonight, a return to the flippant. I bring you the first in what I imagine will be a series of posts which I shall entitle "Ungood English".

I realise that I'm putting myself out there for criticism of my own poor punctuation or spelling, but I can't help a wee poke at those people who take the time to write a public notice ... and get it wrong. Nothing makes my toes curl, and yet, perversely, pleases me, quite like a misplaced apostrophe on a poster on the tube, or a missing comma on laminated advert in a department store. Whilst part of me dies inside at the prospect of the death of our fine and noble language, another part leaps with glee that I've caught another one at it. Part of me wants to smack the knees of people who use the wrong their / there / they're and another chuckles at the misapplication of it's / its.

And so I give you promotional signage from the new local oriental cafe, Lily's Tea House, where, apparently, you can eat on the premises, or eat. At. Home.

Do get in touch if you have a submission for Ungood English #2. I know there's more out there ...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

A Weekend Of Two Halves

This was been a weekend of some length. Weekends are so much longer if they start on Friday, don't you think?

Actually, all of my weekends start on Friday. I only work Monday to Thursday, you see, and I have Fridays off to flex my creative muscles, and make jewellery. My Fridays usually end up being pretty chilled out and not wildly productive (that's our little secret). But this week, I had lots to do to get ready for the second, Open House weekend, as well as the prospect of a lovely house guest to look forward to.

So. I got up bright and early and got all my domestic drudgery out of the way, AND got to the caff for breakfast, AND dropped around to see Gorgeous Gillian (my Open House hostess with the mostess) all before the talented Mr London Street (and the most sophisticated crass man I know) arrived.

So, my Friday started with feelings of productivity.

There ensued a day of hard core jewellery making, cake baking, tea drinking, and conversation of the meandering kind that you can only enjoy with a good friend. (There was also an incident relating to the European Cheese On Toast Mountain, but the less said about that, the better).

My day continued with feelings of achievement (and mild indigestion).

And then a wonderful thing happened. In a moment of inspiration, MLS got on the dog and bone to his Mrs, the fagnificent Baglady, plotted and planned, and within a couple of hours, we were walking up to meet her off the train with an evening of high jinks planned.

The evening started with feelings of anticipation.

Aren't impromptu visits lovely? So much more, somehow, for their slightly cobbled together nature. Fun, I can report, was had. We managed to secure ourselves the last table at a fabulous local bistro and we ate and drank and ate and drank and ate a bit more, until it was coming out of our ears. Nom nom nom.

The evening ended with feelings of warm, satisfied fullness and well being (and a little bit of booziness).

Of course, evenings like this, which are a good idea at the time, sometimes seem rather indulgent the next morning, and so it was that our Saturday morning started slowly and carefully and with a bacon sandwiches and tea.

Saturday therefore awoke with a sense of wonder at the magical qualities of bacon and Earl Grey.

Saturday and Sunday was spent on Open House, which was, as last weekend, terrific fun. It's a pretty rare thing in London, in my humble opinion, to find myself a part of a thriving and vibrant community. I had no idea that there were so many very creative people doing such very diverse things within a mere hop of my front door.

And so it was that Sunday evening saw me feeling positive and inspired, optimistic and bright, upbeat and happy.

Until I checked my Blackberry when bad, but unspecified work related stuff happened (see comments below).

I went to bed last night feeling down trodden and worthless, agitated and unappreciated, foolish and naive.

After all the positivity of the weekend, I feel sad that one ill considered email sent by one man has killed my spirit. I feel sad that I've taken it to heart. I feel sad that I mind.

So, with this flatness in mind, I am collecting career suggestions. Answers on a postcard please, folks!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

National Poetry Day

Today is National Poetry Day.

With this in mind, I give you this offering ...

There one was a blogger from Tooting
Who liked to bake cakes that had fruit in
With a big currant bun
She loaded her gun
And used her rock cakes to go shootin

Thank you very much, folks.
I'll be here all week!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Since I moved to this part of Tooting, I've been told tales of theft.

I've also been told tales of buried treasure.

Both are accounted for by the local foxes.

A neighbour of a friend had bought a sharp new pair of patent heels for a big business conference. She left them in the box in her kitchen. She left the kitchen door open. On the day of the conference, she trotted downstairs, suited and not quite booted, and discovered ... one shoe in a slightly chewed box.

Some time later however, she found an old trainer buried in a plant pot. He giveth and he taketh away.

I've also heard today of a lady who left her handbag in the kitchen, popped upstairs, and came back to find her new purse missing. Regrettably, I don't think the fox left a slightly chewed twenty in her plant pot.

So far I have no theft to report to the group, I'm pleased to say. However, at the weekend I found treasure! Sitting in the one square meter of sunshine at the back of my garden to enjoy, I suspect, the last al fresco breakfast of the year, something caught my eye; something half buried, pointing skyward in the farthest corner. I approached with trepidation and gave it a nudge with my toe, and deeming it safe, I pulled it out the ground.

It was about a meter long, tubular, and largely red. It had a Nike logo at one end. It had a pinched section in the middle, with a few teeth marks in the otherwise complete cellophane tube. It was ...

... a Thierry Henry poster.

The local hunt is looking for a fox in a red and white scarf ...

Monday, 5 October 2009

Monday Monday

In the words of Albert Arkwright, it's been a funny old day.

Everyone at work seems to have been particularly blah today, and having scanned some of my favourite daily blogs and cast my eye over Facebook, it seems that we haven't been the only ones.

Perhaps it's the time of year. I am not a morning person at the best of times, but when the alarm goes off before it's even light, I feel cheated, somehow, by my night's sleep. And whilst I like those nice sharp, biting crisp mornings, when I can pull on woolens and boots, this morning was a sea of drizzle. I loath drizzle. It gets no-where, yet everywhere. It seems, today, to have penetrated everyone's mood.

In the midst of this gloom, however, I have discovered a chink of light which I will share with you.

I am a jelly sweet fiend. I would wrestle a small child to the ground for their last cola bottle. I dream of reclining in a bath of Haribo. I can demolish a bag of Strawbs in ten minutes flat (albeit with a slight sense of nausea towards the end).

The creme de la creme of the jelly sweet world is, of course, the Marks and Spencer Percy Pig. With their cunning combination of cloudy snout and clear ears, and that slightly fragrant flavour (what IS that flavour) they are mouthfuls of perfection. And the irony that they are made with pork gelatin is not lost on me. I have just discovered the Mr Pig has a Facebook page of his own, and this is his profile picture. You can see, I hope, that in confectionery terms, he is, quite simply, the best.

Or so I thought ...

There was a shopping error last week. I rushed. I didn't want to be grocery shopping, I wanted to be at home, grocery eating. In the queue at the tills, I found myself in the sweetie trap, put there to mock the weak (me) and decided that I deserved a Piggy treat.

Only when I got home and pulled said Pigs from my shopping bag did I realise my mistake! These were incomplete, unwhole, pigless Pigs. These were ... **shock horror** ... Phizzy Pig Tails!

I know. I was shocked too.

But here's the thing. Last night, having recovered from the initial sadness, I sought out my (slightly macabre) bag of tails. And I opened them. And I took a tail out. And I sniffed it in a trepidatious manner. And I took a bite. And it was ... amazing! These tails are like no other jelly known to man. They have all the quality of Percy, with an added fizzy (phizzy) tanginess. Tails are the new heads. Phizz is the new phizzless. Bottom is the new top.

And this intel, my friends, is my gift to you.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Closed House

What a fabulously fabulous weekend!

We Wandsworth Artists have worked our little artistic socks off this weekend and it has been worth every tiny bit of effort. After weeks of build up, hours spent stockpiling, and a LOT of shameless publicity, I am pleased to report that this weekend was a roaring success!

I'm not going to lie to you. Yesterday morning was quiet, and I was starting to wonder what I'd signed up for. But an amazing thing happened. People started coming in droves for Gillian's brooch and bunting making. In a matter of minutes, the kitchen was transformed into a full on, felt cutting, button sewing, sequin sticking workshop. Children of all ages (some of them 45 ...) got stuck in and made some great stuff, whilst their parents obligingly said flattering things about our work (such as "I'd like to buy this please"). It was just great!

And aren't people fascinating? We had all sorts this weekend! We met a film producer. An actual producer of films! Imagine that! And a man who owns a company that makes climbing frames. How do you get into the climbing frame business? Do you start with ladders and build up? We met a lady who makes wedding dresses and spent a long time pouring over my tiaras, not, as I foolishly thought, so that we could indulge in a little cross-selling action (*ahem*) but so that she could copy my designs and make them herself. Is it me? Or is that downright flaming cheeksome? I also met a man who referred to feeding time for his baby as "time for mummy-milk". I had to leave the room.

So that's it! One weekend down and another to go. And I have a sneaking suspicion that next week might be even better!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Open House

This is a big weekend in my little world. This is the first of two Wandsworth Artists Open House weekends.

200 artists and crafty sorts from the borough are throwing open their doors to welcome in ... well, anyone, actually, to meet them, see their work, maybe buy a little something (hint hint, hint), and I'm one of them! I'm really excited about it!

I'm really looking forward to showing off my jewellery and I've made some new stuff especially for the event. (Although some might end up back in my jewellery box ...) I'm joining forces with my friend, the lovely Gillian of Fabric Nation who makes fabulous vintage fabric goodies, as well as Amelia, a local artist, and Mandy who works with glass. Something for everyone!

So if you're local (or even if you're not) and you fancy coming along, click on the link below and print off a copy of our local trail. (I'm at no. 70 on the map). There's even a chance to collect points on your way around, and you know what points mean ...!

I'm going to cut this short because I've still got about a hundred things to do before bed time, and those necklaces won't make themselves you know! Almost certainly no post tomorrow, but I'll be back on Sunday and let you know how it's gone (and tell you about the inevitably weird people I'm sure these events attract!)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

I would like to thank ...

This evening, when I left the office, I went for a post-work-drink. It was great, but those two glasses of wine have made more of an impact that I might have hoped, so tonight just a quick note of appreciation...

Thank you to those people who obligingly put their lights on and leave their curtains open. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into your living room, and style ideas for my own. Thank you for piling books in precarious piles and for ironing left on tables - they make me feel better about my own housekeeping (and lack thereof). And thank you for the snapshot of your life, be it dinner for many or TV for one.

But mostly, thank you standing in the window and flexing your muscles, whilst wearing only your pants, just as my train goes past your house. Thanks for that. Same time tomorrow?