Sunday, 17 April 2011

Why it's better to stay than to (try to) leave...

The date is Friday April 15th. Tooting is destined for the uncharacteristically sunny North East, specifically to Newcastle where she is to stay with an old pal for a couple of days. This is how she got there ... 9:52 am - Tooting pops into ... well, Tooting to have some breakfast and run a few errands. She parks, as always, in the Sainsbury's supermarket, and goes to the cafe across the road and has a coffee and an indulgent Danish. She then goes to a couple of shops to pick a few essentials up for her trip, and then to Sainsbury's for a flying grocery shop. 11:53 am - She goes to leave Sainsbury's car park to discover that she's over-run her two hour parking allowance by a minute. "You'll have to pay the fine at the machine, madame," says the grinning attendant. WHAT?! I spend hundreds of pounds in this supermarket and you're begrudging me a flaming minute?! He continues to grin and shrug. 12:05 pm - A £10 fine later, she arrives home, unpacks the groceries into the kitchen, irons a top, packs her weekend bag, waters the plants, puts the rubbish out and puts the laundry away. 12:45 pm - She leaves the house. 12:46 pm - She goes back to the house, picks up her train ticket, and leaves again. 12:58 pm - She boards the Victoria train and makes her way to the tube to Kings Cross. 1:50 pm - She arrives with a respectable forty minutes to kill before her train leaves. She gets some cash out, buys a paper, a coffee and a sandwich. According to the display boards, her train, the 2:30pm, is "on time," the platform will be announced at 2:15pm, and the gates closed at 2:28pm. By 5:30 she'll be out in the Toon, and she's feeling perky. 2:15 pm - the platform number is not announced. 2:20 pm - the platform number is not announced. 2:25 pm - the platform number is not announced. 2:28 pm - The train status changes to "delayed". An announcement is made. "Would all passengers please note that, due to an incident at Biggleswade, some trains might be subject to delay. Please watch boards for further details." 2:40 pm - A new announcement. "Due to a person being struck by a train at Biggleswade, some trains might be subject to delay." All trains on the board now read "delayed", so there seems to be no "might" about it. A passing man in uniform mutters into a walkie-talkie as he passes that, "this shit usually lasts at least an hour." Tooting texts her pal to say she'll be a bit late. 3:15 pm - Train status changes to, "cancelled" and the tannoy crackles into life. The only option presented is to go to St Pancras and get a train via Carlisle. This will take until some time next Thursday to arrive. Alternatively, go home and try again tomorrow. 3:20 pm - She goes to advanced bookings, to switch her booking to a train in the morning. She is advised that a train has to be delayed by two hours before it is considered delayed enough to transfer tickets. But my train has been cancelled. "Not by two hours, it hasn't." The logic is beyond her. "But stick around. Things will be running again soon." Isn't this entirely NOT what she had been told five minutes ago? She shuffles, perplexed, back onto the concourse to mill aimlessly around, wondering who to believe. 3:4o pm - Tooting finds a seat next to an old lady and shares a bag of liquorice comfits with her, whilst comparing notes on destinations and plans. 3:45 pm - There is some movement over to our right. Tooting's new old lady friend says, "I think there might be a train going over there." She looks where she's pointing her crinkly arthritic finger, and see that she's right. People are going through the barriers. Without so much as a backward glance, Tooting leaps up, grabs her bags, and starts running. Survival of the fittest. Through the barriers, along the platform, past as many people as she can get before she thinks her lungs will burst, then through the next door and into a seat. Phew! 4:05 pm - The train glides out of the station. Everyone on board cheers and settles in. 5:15 pm - Just north of Grantham, the train slows and stops. We sit and wait. There is an announcement. "Sorry for the delay ladies and gentlemen. We're experiencing some signalling problems. We'll get moving again as soon as possible." 5:25 pm - "We are sorry for the ongoing delay, ladies and gentlemen. Unfortunately we are experiencing complete electrical failure between here and Newark. We are likely to be held here for some time." 5:55 pm - The train reverses back into Grantham station so that we can stretch our legs. 6:40 pm - An alternative train pulls up on the adjacent platform, and everyone pours out of one onto the other. This train will follow a diversion around the signal failure, and link up with the East Coast Mainline at Doncaster. This is a diversion which is anticipated to take an hour. 8:10 pm - We link up with the East Coast Mainline. 9:30 pm - Nearly nine hours after leaving the house, seven hours after her train was meant to depart, five and a half hours after it did depart, Tooting arrives in Newcastle, the promised land. Tired, emotional, starving, and hoping that the rest of the weekend was going to be more relaxed. Which is was.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

End of an era

For as many years as I can remember, the family Tooting have holidayed in Devon. First two weeks in August every year, come rain or shine. To start with we stayed at a bed and breakfast at a farm on the edge of a small town a few miles from the coast. We stayed, all four of us, in a family room, and spent the days at the beach and the evenings chasing dogs around fields. When we outgrew the family room, we started staying at the coast. In a particular village on the coast, we'd book a cottage for a fortnight, and spend our days on the beach and our evenings ... on the beach. All very idyllic. When I was about eleven, my parents booked a beach hut for the first time. It was nothing more than a shed really, but it was somewhere to put the deckchairs, and to get changed without having to do that beach-towel-shuffle that the English excel at. And the hut also came with neighbours, and they transformed the Devon experience for us. On one side, was a Yorkshire family - mother, father and their daughter just a year or so younger than me. In subsequent years, Father Yorkshire recommended his career to me, and I now do almost exactly the same thing as he did then. Yorkshire Daughter and I remain friends, largely thanks to the wonder that is Facebook. On the other, was a retired couple from Oxford. Bob and Dot. They'd have been in their late sixties I guess. He was a not-so-retired artist, and musician. She was the grounded one. They were both lovely. She encouraged my early creative endeavours, and we did the Woman's Weekly crossword together. He painted pebbles with little beach scenes and cartoon characters on for the children that played on the beach, locals and tourists alike, painting as many as 200 in a season. I've still got most of the ones he did for me over the years. He also taught me to play cribbage, patiently taking me through the complicated scoring; fifteen-two, fifteen-four and the rest won't score, and he drove us all mad with his one-man ukulele shows. Over the last twenty years, we have all grown up together. The nine of us in those three huts are 180 years older between us. We have, between us, bought four houses and countless cars. One of us has got married. We have collectively buried seven parents and one child. Three of us have got university degrees and new careers and four of us have retired. And today one of us died. Bob, 89 years old now, couldn't shake off a chest infection, and today it got the better of him. I feel that the world is a gloomier place tonight. I feel wistful that this summer we won't be regaled with the ukulele, or be given a new beautifully painted pebble. I feel a great loss that I've lost my first, and still my favourite cribbage partner. And I feel sad that this year, our original nine will be eight. So, in memory of a great man, and a greater couple, I'm giving you this lovely Video Nation clip of a few years ago, which I watch from time to time when I need my faith restoring in the human race. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Ukulele Bob.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

I saw the light (well ... almost)

Today, thanks to a mid afternoon "meeting" (ahem) out of the office I was able to get away a bit earlier than usual.

This, combined with the thrill of ever lengthing days meant that it was still light as my train pulled out of Victoria.

I'd forgotten what a difference that makes to a girl's journey home, so, excited at the prospect of a real view, I fired up my camera ready to take a photo along the river - Albert Bridge, Battersea Park and Chelsea beyond.

Then, as we got to the bridge, the Gatwick Express, packed full of smug so-and-sos heading for the airport, raced past me and blocked the view.

So that's why there's no photo on this post. I didn't think you needed to see a snap of the sun setting behind the Gatwick Express. There'll be more light evenings and more views won't there? I mean ... we've got the whole summer unfolding in front of us!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Feeling Crafty?

The lovely Gillian from over yonder at Fabric Nation is a crafty clever lady.

One day, a little while ago, she spoke to me about setting up some sort of crafty workshoppy something or other. It all sounded like a grand idea. But there was a wee bit of something missing that we couldn't quite put our fingers on.

Then, you might recall, in January, we did this to celebrate young Concetta's birthday, and it all sort of fell into place.

So, starting from 2nd April, and then on the first Saturday of every (yes ... EVERY!) month we are hosting a crafty workshop at the Tooting Tram and Social.

If you find yourselves knocking around south west London one weekend, wanting something crafty to do, then come along. Here's the griff ...

Sunday, 13 March 2011


A very good friend (in fact, my rock) over at Perpetual Motion pointed out to me recently that I've rather let my blogging fall by the wayside.

"Oi!" she delicately started, "get back to that blog!"
"I've got nothing left to say." I told her.
"Rubbish," was her poignant reply.

That was a week ago, and since then I've been mulling over what to write, when to write, how to write.

Do you have one of those friends who you owe an email? Someone who you didn't reply to right away, then it got to a week, then two, three, four weeks, and you realise that any message you send now has to be REALLY good to excuse the hiatus? Well that's how I've come to feel about this writing malarky. I let it go too long and it got harder and harder to pick it up smoothly.

But I have also realised another thing this last week.

When I first started writing this blog, I was in a fairly gloomy place. I had lots of nice things happening in my life, but I just couldn't shake off the cloud that permanently hung over me. I technically started the blog mainly so that I could promote my jewellery and crafting and arty things, but I realised pretty quickly that it was a good outlet.

So there were days when my enthusiasm for writing something astute or amusing made me keep my eyes and ears open and see things. It was good for me. I took notice. I looked up instead of down when I walked. I spent my time alone mulling over positive things instead of wallowing. It was all good.

And there were days when a bit of well placed positive thought wasn't enough, and I wrote something less up-beat, and that was a therapy in itself. Is it the whole, "a problem shared" thing, do you think? Or is it just that the written word helps you order your thought?

Either way, penning a few considered words a few times a week was cathartic and here I am in Spring 2011, in a much more positive frame of mind. I see skies are blue, and red roses too. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. I feel good.

So I think that, perhaps, the reason for the slowing of my blogging has been, quite simply, because I don't need to anymore.

But I want to. So I'll pick it up again, and only write about the things I want to write about, and hopefully never again write about things that I need to write about. And for that, I am grateful.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Will you ...

... be my secret Valentine?

Love from


Sunday, 13 February 2011

Love is all around

Good friends were in London this weekend, staying with other good friends, so a couple of us gatecrashed their lovely evening for curry and chat. It was the chat you have with people that you've known for twenty years that we craved, and it was this that we got.

After our food, when we were all stretched out around the room, groaning under the weight of our curry-filled bellies, Lorraine turned to Andy and asked him, "do you have a man-crush?"

"Ian Waite" said Andy, quick as a flash. The room fell silent for a fraction of a second, before we all shouted something. Ian Waite, for the uninitiated was one of the professional dancers on our Strictly Come Dancing. Usually, when he's on the telly-box, he is clad something like this ...

Andy said, in defence of his quick answer, that he had previously discussed the man-crush / girl-crush thing with colleagues, so had already given the matter some consideration. Still, the answer tripped a little too quickly off his tongue, don't you think?

Why, you might ask, did Lorraine think to ask such a thing? Well, it's because her husband, Simon, has developed something of a man-crush himself. He is smitten with Nigel Barker, a judge on America's Next Top Model, and fashion photographer. He is not someone who I was aware of, so we googled him, and decided that Simon had good taste. In fact, Angela went as far as to say, "oh yeah" in her don't-mind-if-I-do voice.

Simon felt the need to clarify something though. "Don't get me wrong. If he came in here and asked me, I'd probably still say no." Did anyone else notice the use of the word, "probably"? We all did...

Naturally, we turned our attention to Mark next, and mercifully his answer, at least, was not on the tip of his tongue. He thought about it long and hard. There was a lot of head scratching, and, at last, the votes having been counted and verified, he gave us his decision. Guy Pearce. A quirky choice, I think, and not someone who'd be in many people's top tens, but look at him?

Mark's right. He is quite a hottie. We do still think that Simon has the best taste in men, but I think Mark is a close second. I wonder whether it was his performance as Mike in Neighbours, King Edward in The King's Speech, or Felicia in Priscilla that sealed the deal where Mark is concerned.

It would be unkind, I think, to hang the boys out to dry, without telling you that, of course, we three girls gave it some thought too. Angela admitted that she used to have a thing for Cheryl Cole, but that she didn't any more. I'm not sure what it was that CC did to lose Angela's love, but lost it she has. "It's really always been Natalie Portman," she declared. It was said in such a matter-of-fact way that I wondered whether, in fact, we didn't all secretly slightly love her ourselves. I mean, she's very beautiful, talented, strong moral values, good balance between Hollywood glamour, and girl-next-door charms. Perhaps she's the perfect girl for us all.

"I think, I'm going with Billie Piper," said Lorraine. Again, attractive and yet down-to-earth. Another good choice I'd say. and, as we speculated, she's bound to have learned a thing or two filming Secret Diary Of A Call Girl (a role which has, I understand, earned her the dubious title of Britain's Best Loved Prostitute. Her husband must ooze with pride). Anyway, it can't be denied that she'll have a trick or two up her sleeves, so I say nice choice Lorraine.

And me? Who shall I have for my girl-crush? Well, I also toyed with Cheryl Cole, and then, at the opposite end of the spectrum, Helena Bonham Carter, but I settled, in the end, for Claudia Winkleman. I don't know why. The reckless combination of posh and a bit mental? The extravagant and supremely fabulous use of vast amounts of eye liner? The carefree manner of saying exactly the words that are passing through her head without a care for the fact she's on the telly? Who knows. But I do know that, if I have to chose just the one lady-love, then for me, it's the Winkle.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Today has been one of my favourite days of the month.

I think I've told you before about Making Night. Once a fortnight a gang of us get together at someone's house, and we ... um ... make stuff. Everyone brings whatever creative thing they are working on at the time, and we sit around, drink wine, eat junk food, and gossip. We stitch, cut, sketch, stick, string, knit and knot, and set the world to rights, and I love it.

We've become good pals, the lot of us, and there's something very bonding about creating lovely things together. Seeing the projects other people have on is quite inspiring, and the diversity of the projects that we've seen between us in the last six months is quite fabulous. Paper dolls and patchwork quilts, brooches and bracelets, collage and crochet. But mostly, of course, the good chat is what makes our creative nights most lovely.

Making jewellery, and working on my various cutting-and-sticking projects is something that I love. It's the thing that keeps me sane. Taking a pile of stuff and turning it into something new is a real therapy. The process is cathartic and the outcome is fulfilling. You should try it. If you are someone who finds that life can, on occasion, be a little over-whelming, then it's about the best means of keeping your bloody pressure down. But the life of a maker can be a solitary one. It's pretty well a solo venture. I'm all for team work, but it's pretty hard to make a pair of earrings as a gang. These fortnightly get-togethers make crafting more sociable, which pretty well makes it the full package.

Anyway, tonight was at my house. Six of us squidged into my dining room and had a right royal time. They all went home an hour or so ago (with a few picture frames, some cards, a charcoal sketch, two wash bags, and a bathroom curtain between us) and I thought I'd sit down and write a quick few words before I turn in.

When I first started writing this blog, I had in mind that it would be a sort of back up to my crafty habit. It was to promote making and doing and creativity. But it didn't really end up like that. There were too many things happening in the world around me that I wanted to comment on to be restricted to chat about beads and buttons. But tonight, I'm feeling very much like I want to encourage everyone to go and make something and see how good it is.

Go on. Run along and find a ball of wool or your mother's button box, or a needle and thread and DO something. Let's face it, there's nothing on the telly, so you're missing nothing. And tell me what you decide to make, so that we can compare notes.

Now where did I leave that crochet hook?

[Postscript: A big HELLO! to the girls in South Africa! Concetta told me that you'd left a note on her blog to say that you're struggling to leave a message on mine, which I'm sorry to hear. Perhaps I've over-done the spam filter. I'll fiddle with the settings. But it's lovely to have heard from you. Please keep trying to leave a message, and I'll look out for you! x]

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Young and sweet

I don't like Abba.

There. I said it. Goodbye last two readers ...

It seems like heresy to say that Abba are bad. Feels a bit like saying that puppies are bastards or that Dr Who is shit (which I might yet come back to ...) but there you have it. I don't like Abba.

Let me ask you something. If they were not the phenomenon that is Abba, and you just heard one song at random, would you think it was any good, or would you switch off? I would be prepared to bet that you would switch off. And maybe swear at the DJ. Essentially it is just any other bit of low calibre Euro-pop, and if it weren't for Benny and Bjorn's marketing team, we wouldn't be interested.

It's not just the faintly oom-pah melodies that vex me. The lyrics are essentially shit too. I'm reminded endlessly of those Chinese instruction manuals that are ineptly translated into English.

You don't feel the beat of a tambourine, however young you are. "Last show" and "Glasgow" don't technically rhyme. And "the loser's standing small" means nothing. The lyrics of Take A Chance essentially say that, if you've tried EVERYTHING else and NOTHING has worked, then I'll be sitting here waiting for you. Like a loser. Or, in fact, like someone who describes themselves as being nothing special, "in fact I'm a bit of a bore."

What a load of rubbish.

I'd always kept this Abba-hate to myself until a couple of years ago. I was having a small crisis one weekend and had spent some time on the phone to my bestest pal, being counselled and talked from the brink. Later that same morning she called back. "Quick, quick! Turn the radio on! They're doing an Abba special! That's SURE to cheer you up." WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?! It all spilled out, and that was it. My dirty little Abba-hating secret was out, and was met with a stunned silence.

Scroll forward, if you will, to yesterday morning. The afore mentioned friend's daughter is now almost seven. For Christmas she got a portable CD player, and music is her new best hobby. On Wednesday morning her father found her an Abba CD, and, some time during the getting-ready-for-school process, she appeared at her mother's elbow listening to the "Greatest" Hits at top volume, declaring that she would play it for me next time I went to stay.

"Why don't you call her now?" her mother (my former friend) suggested.

And so it was that yesterday morning, before I'd had my first coffee of the day, I answered the phone to a small voice declaring, with glee, "I've got a surprise for you!" Really? What? "Wait a second ..." Long pause. Pause. Pause.

The introduction of Dancing Queen bellowed down the 'phone.

AAAAGGGGHHHHHH!!! Get off my phone!!!

"Hang on," she said, "what about this one?"

Voulez Vous.


"Or this one?" she snorted, between giggles.


She could hardly speak for laughing.

"Daddy gave me the CD and Mummy told me to call you!" she hooted.

I had to laugh. I LOVE that she teases me. But I'll need to buy her some ear 'phone's for her birthday, or she and I will fall out.

Feel the beat on THAT tambourine, sweetheart!

Monday, 10 January 2011

This Weekend (20) ...

It's the return of This Weekend!

Thing is, the weekend after This Weekend 19 sucked, and there weren't ten things to say about it that weren't 1) shitty, 2) pissy, 3) wanky, 4) ... You get the drift. Then the weekend after that was a bit crappy too, and then I sort of got out of the This Weekend groove.

But this weekend was fricking ORSUM so I've decided to resurrect the old fave!

And it went like this...

1) Thursday evening. A sneaky drink after work to celebrate a colleague's 25th birthday. 25. TWENTY FIVE! I can remember being 25. Just. If he wasn't such a nice young man, I'd dislike him a little for the sheer cheek of being 25 years old in MY workplace.

2) And on Friday I had the typical list of six hundred things to do, but I started by going to my new favourite shop, Quirky Dovetail, which is what I want my house to be like. I wanted something to put the telly on that isn't the £19, eleven year old Ikea table that it's currently on. There wasn't anything in the shop that was quite right, but the lovely lady nipped into the back and came out with a FAB-U-LOUS table that she's going to paint a FAB-U-LOUS colour, and inset with FAB-U-LOUS fabric and will be more perfect than the thing that I thought I was going to get. So that was nice.

3) Then I went to see the lovely Gillian of Fabric Nation so that we could make some Lucky Love Bags. I'll tell you why later. But WHAT JOY! to sit in Gillian's back bedroom. Her fabric studio. It's heaven! Every time I cast my eye around I saw something else fabulous to lay my eyes on. It was all I could do not to steal little bits of loveliness and take them home.

4) Friday night was Making Night. I must have told you about this before, I'm sure? It's fast becoming a favourite night in my calendar. Every other week a gang of us girls get together at someone's house, take something crafty and something to eat or drink, and we all sit 'round doing our thing and gassing. On Friday we were at Emma's house. Gillian knitted a sock, Emma knitted a scarf, Amelia embroidered some instructions, Kate made a felt carrot, Concetta drew, Silvia cut out paper butterflies and Lynn read a book (I bloody love Lynn's style!) I, in a feat of extreme jewelling, made FOURTEEN pairs of earrings and a bead flower. Oh ... and we set fire to Emma's kitchen a little bit ...

5) Saturday was marvellous. I'm going to divide it into two bits. Firstly we lunched to celebrate the 40th birthday (can you believe?) of the most lovely Concetta. She booked a table at a favourite pub in Tooting for twelve of us to have a nice ladies lunch together. All very chilled out. We talked about loads of stuff, all of which was lovely, and almost none of which I can recall. I suspect that's the sign of a good conversation. What a lovely lot of ladies we met too!

6) Then Gillian and I hoofed along to the sister pub along the road to set up for Part II of the party ... a crafty workshop for everyone. Everyone got a Lucky Love Bag (see point 3 above) which contained their starter kits, and some lovely goodies. And then everyone made a fabric flower brooch with the guidance of Gillian and a charm bracelet under my watchful eye. It was just fab! The pub were fabulous hosts and the table we were given couldn't have been more perfect and our party guests were gorgeously crafty and the results of their hard work were ace! And, on balance, we thought we might do it more often ...

7) But I opted to leave the girls to it pretty early on because I knew I had a big Sunday too. I'll say that again, in case you didn't catch it. I left the pub early. I. Left. The. Pub. (I emphasise it because it's so remarkable).

8) On Sunday morning I was up at sparrow's fart for a trip. I had to go to Harrogate for work, so I went a day early to catch up with some friends. A train journey is a lovely thing, don't you think? I settled myself in at my window seat, with a large latte and a new book. I would love to tell you that it was a bit of classic literature, or some quality contemporary fiction, but I can't. It's the last of the Twilight books. It's SO trashy, it's not true, but I do seem to be lapping it up. I can only apologise to the Furzedown Bookclub. I'll be tendering my resignation henceforth.

9) Lovely Laura met me off the train and took me to Betty's Tea Room for lunch, where we caught up on lots of news. Laura and I are the daughters of parents who holiday in a particular Devon village every year for the same fortnight, so we've sort of grown up together, but only for a long weekend every year. This is the first time that we've seen one another away from Devon. And also the first time, now I come to think of it, that we've seen one another wearing more than a swimsuit and flip-flops. Lots of firsts.

10) And whilst we were channel hopping before bedtime, we found a documentary about hairy women. I don't know what to tell you, apart from the fact that I now feel smooth and beautiful.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

One week down ...

... 51 to go.

I've done it. I've got to the end of the first working week of 2011. Three WHOLE days done. Well done me. Pat on the back. Thank you very much.

I know it's not much, but MY WORD this has been a hard week. I'm more shattered than a really shattered thing, and never have I been more glad of my four day working week (not that I don't have the usual six million things to do this weekend, of course).

So, what has 2011 offered thus far?

Well, my diet hasn't been going as well as it could have, but it's not been a disaster either. Especially not if you gloss over the jaffa cake incident of last night. Tuesday morning is weigh-in morning, so I suppose time will tell.

And, after MONTHS of nagging (yes! Nagging!) from 'er over at Perpetual Motion, I've started my regime of walking to and from the station to the office, instead of getting on the oh-so-convenient bus. In order to make this a viable option time-wise, I need to speed walk (like those people on the telly who waddle with their bottoms out) so my leg musceles ache a bit now. I suppose that's a good sign.

The other resolution is going great guns though. I am not procrastinating. I'm really not. I think of the next thing I ought to do and I do it. I don't think it'll last, but it's not a bad start. I've even arranged for a man to come tomorrow and give me a quote to fix my wobbly garden fence.

What else happened this week? A man came to bring some post of mine that had been incorrectly delivered by the idiot postman, and was followed from his house to mine by his cat, which, he told me, is called Fido because he tails people like a dog.

Umm... I took down all my Christmas cards and cut them up to make next year's gift tags, realising the second I finished that I'd turned into my mother.

I went to the Other Pub Quiz with Soph and Steve; a quiz at which we always come fourth, and came EIGHTH! Oh, the shame! We were DREADFUL!

And our new graduate surveyor celebrated his birthday today. He's 25. Twenty five. He was born in 1986, for crying out loud.

And I think that's about it for this week. Not much at all. Just a gentle run into the year. But I don't think I could have coped with a great deal more, so that's just fine! Another 51 slow weeks like this would make for a dull, but realxing year. Bring it on!

Monday, 3 January 2011


I get teased by my colleagues.

There are nights that they go to the opening party for a new designer boutique and drink champagne and eat canapes whilst I go to book club.

There are weekends that they spend going to parties and clubs whilst I paint my dining furniture.

There are Fridays which they spend in bars drinking and smoking whilst I hang blinds in my bathroom.

But never have I been so aware of my being a middle aged lady in a thirty-somethings clothing as when doing the crossword this weekend with friends. Having poured over the downs and the acrosses for some time, and got to the point of having only the really hard clues left, she read out a clue she knew I couldn't possibly know the answer to.

"Glass for drinking a large measure of sherry."

I missed not a beat. "Schooner."

She looked at me in a whithering way and, with some scepticism, checked the dictionary. And I sat with my head down, realising that somehow, in 2010, I became my own grandmother.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Being resolutionary

New year's resolutions are more than a little pointless, don't you think? Why wait until January 1st to start something new? Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? Why think to yourself, "I must start going to the gym more often ... but not yet!" "I'd really like to spend more time with my family ... but I'll give it a couple of weeks before I start." "I'm going to take up the violin ... and second now."

But I realise that I'm a bit anti-establishment about these things. I'm a bit inclined to not tow the line just because there's a line that ought to be towed. And I'm trying to be more open minded. Really I am.

I gave myself the New Year that I wanted this year - a night in with the telly, some crafting, and bottle of Merlot (bliss!), but I decided that I would make an effort, and make some resolutions this year. Two resolutions, in fact.

Firstly, I will lose weight. Properly, I mean. Not just a namby pamby effort to shed two pounds before I give in and start eating mars bars for breakfast, but an ACTUAL regime of dieting. I will weigh myself every week and write it down and eat only the good things and almost none of the bad things, and I won't enjoy it, but I'll do it. That's my first resolution. And now I've told all of you, I will have to do it, if only to save face.

Secondly, I will stop procrastinating. I will stop reading emails and then closing them, but will answer them immediately. I will stop dodging voicemails, or carrying around letters that need answering for weeks. I will stop putting off visits, or delaying tasks. I will do what needs doing when it needs doing. And I think that it's just possible that, if I get into good habits, I will be able to actually do everything that I commit myself to in 2011.

Others might imply that other resolutions would me more apt. That I should be better at holding my tongue, be more patient, kinder, or more tolerant. Or that I could do with acting my age, and not the age of someone twenty years older than I am. Or maybe that I should take more of an interest in current affairs, and politics.

But this girl knows her limits. Less food, and more organisation are the orders of the day in this house. Starting from ... well, maybe tomorrow ...