Tuesday, December 30, 2008

6th Day of Christmas..


...my true love sent to me...six geese a - laying...

I was rather taken with the moon today as I cycled home. Hung low in the sky the shadowed orb glistened in the deep of the sky, the crescent of light cutting through like a scythe. It was almost as if it were a tree bauble or a lampshade backlit of a velvet curtain.

The soft colour of the crescent moon sent me in reveries over the yarn I'm knitting with at the moment. A half price bargain from John Lewis, I'm making a baby blanket with Rowan Cashsoft Chunky for my colleague's child due at the end of January. It's a fantastic blend of 57% extra fine merino 33% acrylic microfibre, 10% cashmere.

I'm making strips of basketweave and stocking stitch and will weave them together. Hopefully I have enough balls. It's a joy to knit with real yarn, not rubbish acrylic. It's even machine washable!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Advent 7: Walking without Rest

In the days that have passed I have been so very ill with Andy's cold. But as I've got better I've been thinking and reading more. My book at the moment is The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. You have to read a chapter a day until Christmas, like an advent calendar in book form. It follows Gaarder's story within a story format and it is wonderful. 

I adore his prose. It is sparse and descriptive all at once. I feel transported to his world where people are running through time to see the Christ child. Walking and running with out rest. 

What would it be like to experience that?

This weekend I have been visiting Dunster in Somerset with Tom's mother and her husband. They light up the village with candles and have entertainment, all the shops and restaurants opening late into the evening. Walking was on my mind again as we tramped round wrapped up in many layers. If Jesus was born in the winter, which he wasn't but hey, then he could well have been in the snow in the Jerusalem hills. Imagine tramping in the cold with a new child. So many people are experiencing this right now. 

It seemed so priviliged to be harking back to another era, and pretending with candles. I hated how people were moaning the whole evening, moaning they had to pay, that it wasn't as good as last year. What's a few more pounds to play make believe when others are starving in the cold. Whilst wasteful, you have no right to be complaining.

...and it was a beautiful evening.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent 1: Darning my Socks

Darning my socks, my well worn labours of love, I sit in the warm. Thinking. On this auspicious night of two planets dancing with the moon, I ponder. I dream.

I dream of decorations given with joy, love and bittersweetness for futures. Of Christmases with essential pieces missing and how these things can be reconciled. I dream of foods made in time honoured ways by hands new to these skills, these moments.

This season is my season. I will repent, I will prepare, and I will honour. In this time of waiting for the new and wonderful I think think of the past and take from it, recognising the importance of waiting.

Remembering 1:
Advent and Christmas starts with the joining together of many voices in an old old church. Peering out over be - hatted heads lit up in the glow of many candles, and the steam of hot breath. It really begins in the last chorus of "O come O come Emmanuel" when I listen out for my dad's voice playing chase and catch with the voices of the congregation as he sings the tenor part for one line, because he can, and the bass part for the other.

This year I shared this moment, the moment of many years of my life in a church so old the pews are boxes to keep you from being distracted by your neighbours. I am thankful for it, and expectant of sharing it for many years to come.

Tom's Awesome Kedgeree

Boil as per normal, about one large mug of rice.
Hard boil 3-4 eggs depending on size.
Poach Smocked haddock, say 300g, in milk/water (easiest done in a bowl
in the mwave, one min on full, leave for a min or so, one min on full,
leave etc untill cooked and flakable).
In a large pan, fry one small finely chopped onion, a LITTLE garlic, and
OPTIONAL a couple of chopped mushrooms and any other veg that appeal.
then chuck in the rice, a little curry powder, a little paprika and a
lot of turmeric.
Then add egg and haddock, once hot through-out add a small pot of cream,
untill err creamy and bright yellow, salt and pepper (and extra turmeric
if not yellow enough) as appropriate. Serve immediately, if this is not
possible, do not add the cream untill ready to serve.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

27

After a fantastic evening with Fran which felt like making new friends with an old friend all over again, a swin and sauna that left me feeling remade from scratch, finding this piece of music was the cherry on the icing on the cake.



Hallelujah - The Vitamin String Quartet


Sunday, November 23, 2008

NaBloPoMo 22 and 23: Updating Knitting

Socks are done.

Bear Hat is done.

Baby hat done but lost somewhere. Going to knit a new one.

Thumb gusset on gloves is started.

Got some lovely pictures of the recipient of the blanket playing with it. 

I love knitting.

This weekend was fun. We went out dancing at the Frog and Frigate as Mel was down from Coventry for the weekend. I love the secret club nature of the Frog and Frigate. Students don't really know about it, it's off the beaten track and friends of my parents went when they were young. You dance on the tables, swill bear and sing along to classics with the words changed appropriately. You swing dance with your friends and make the guitarist laugh.

On the Saturday, I got up leisurely, and then had probs with the trains. They were running on time, but in a stupid fashion meaning there were no direct trains to Winchester. So Tom was lovely and gave me a lift there. So I did eventually make it to the City Museum for my afternoon of volunteering. I was in the old Tobacco Shop, a shop interior moved from the High St when the shop was sold. All the Victorian fixtures and fittings and alot of it's stock were moved lock stock and barrel into the museum. It's lovey to sit surrounded by the pretties and listen to people come in and reminice about which brands were smoked by their grandad or their dad. Smoking is such a no - no these days and for good reason, so you forget how much it was part of people's lives and identities.

Later on the Saturday after a quick catch up with my very good friend Tim and his girlfriend, we had a takeaway night here at the Palace. It was great to sit talking with our lovely friends and relax and catch up. I love the way Mel slipped into her old ways. It was like she never went away.

Today I have been entertaining again with my housemates. My godson and his family came for lunch. Ruth and James bought some very nice wine and some yummy puddings and much fun was had by all. I had a quick jaunt to the park with Ollie, Harvey's big brother when all the boring talking grown ups got too much. I particularly enjoyed playing trains on the roundabout!

I think my favourite bit of the weekend was preparing for lunch today. I was stood in my lovely kitchen, chopping away at reall good veg for a salad and listening to Desert Island Discs.

I felt like it was a party. I was chatting to Mel and cooking and being busy. I felt like how I remember my mum when she was getting ready for people coming round on Sunday lunch. I felt like this house was home. Really home. It was wonderful.

Right bed time now!

Friday, November 21, 2008

NaBloPoMo 21:Funny things Amy says...

...Today was manic at work. Whole new email marketing email campaign and accompanying products by 5:30pm! So busy!

When I got in Amy complimented me on my outfit.

"Thanks, I love my company shirt, it's like a school uniform. It's nice to not to have to think what to wear in the mornings"

Amy: "Bitch!" 

A short time passes

Amy: "Wait! I don't either - I have a uniform, I'm a nurse"

Alex: "Come and help me choose what to wear"

Amy:"Only if you come help me have a showe...wait... That's not right!"

I love her! 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why did the Chicken cross the Road?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

because it had been so horrendously genetically modified in a lab that it had taken on almost human-like intelligence. Growing up in the lab, among hippy scientists and political idealists talking about the socialist revolution and liberation he thought one day, one day, he would have his freedom. Later that year, in an act of civil defiance within the chicken coop, he refused to eat the chicken feed alloted to him. As the scientists opened the cage to seize the dissident chicken, he pecked him in the eye and liberated his brothers and sisters. However, the real world was not what the chicken had expected. The rampant commercialism he saw upon his release disillusioned the young chicken to the extent that he decided to take his own life. Rising in the morning, at his usual time at 6 a.m., he leaned over and kissed his wife delicately upon the cheek, a solitary tear running down his eye as he imagined the child he knew he would never meet. The chicken stepped into the cold London morning, the frost chaffing his cheeks, the sleet crashing against his breast. Taking one step onto the busy dual-carriageway, he closed his eyes and imagined heaven....

--
Alex
http://blissfullyeccentric.blogspot.com

NaBloPoMo 18 +19 - Ooops!

I don't even have an excuse this time. I forgot!

It was awesome on Monday night. A select few friends, beautiful silver shoes from my shopping trip, chatting and laughing and jokes. Tom never looked so handsome across the table. Amy twinkled in her new top and John and Peter threaded anacedotes through the conversation like beads on ribbons.

I didn't want to go home but bed called.

Tuesday saw ballroom with Tom after work in which we learnt the tango and the chacha. I could take or leave the chacha, a rumba with quick extra steps, but something about the tango really worked for Tom and I. The tension between the bodies and the moving the woman outside the man reminded me of dances past, and my kinaesthetic memory kicked in.

The scariest bit is always when we dance through the steps with the teacher, and she knows I'm a dancer, and she'll have a chat with me as we dance. I panic and think I'm going to forget the steps, but my feet always seem to know what they're doing.

Tonight I caught up with Sarah and she signed the convoluted pieces of paper I needed to prove I existed to get a bank account. She's a nurse and so could be classed as a professional certified person. I've not seen her for a very long time so it was nice to catch up. Then I went to SCM and listened to Bishop Paul of Southampton talk about contemporary envangelism. SCM being SCM there was plenty of debate after, and the playing games involving picking up card baord boxes with your teeth, but with out using your hands and keeping both feet on the floor. The box got less tall each time, and I managed to pick up a flat bit of card. Very pleased with my bendy self.

Monday, November 17, 2008

NaBloPoMo 17: I hate BT

Stupid stupid stupid BT.

They have threatened to send the debt collectors round over a £20 bill that I have never recieved!

Here's the summary. Add to it at least 10 phonecalls since July, four of which occurred today.

"I am writing to complain that BT is harrassing me for payment of a bill on an account that I did not ask to be set up, for a product I could not use. I thought after receiving the refund detailed in the emails below, my account with BT had been completely closed. However on the 24th of October I recieved a letter from a debt collection agency for a bill for an account number different to the one I had on my online account, which showed I had paid all my bills. I rang both the debt collection agency and BT to ask what was going on, and was told by one of BT's customer service agents that another accoutn had been opened in my name when the line hat BT had misteakenly disconnected early was reconnected. I was also told during this phonecall that the outstanding amount was for the BT Broadband Talk product.

This is a complete joke as when BT reconnected my line I was told that the broadband could not be reconnected for a month. So then why was I paying for a broadband product I could not use and had abosolutely no way of using?

I need you to contact me as soon as possible to explain why there are two accounts in my name, why BT has sent me two cheques refunding for one account, and are threatening me with court action via debt collector for a lesser amount on each of the cheques you have sent me, for a product I did not ask for and had not way of using. Please can you clarify this issue because I wish resolve it quickly. I do not expect to be threatened with court action when I have already overpaid for you services and have tried on numerous occasions to resolve this issue to no avail.

>Dear Miss Jones,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 7/10/08 regarding the credit balance on your final bill.

As requested, I have arranged a cheque to be sent to your current address for the credit balance on your final bill amount £37.20. You will receive this cheque within 14 days to the current address mentioned in your last email.

If you have any further enquiries on your final bill amount or anything else please reply to me via email.

You will shortly receive a survey via e-mail asking you how I dealt with your enquiry today. I would love to hear you feedback to help me improve my customer service skills further and would appreciate if you could take a few minutes to complete the survey.

Thank you for contacting BT.

Yours sincerely,

Meharoof Koya
eContact Customer Service
Ref: 19048598

British Telecommunications plc Registered office: 81 Newgate Street London EC1A 7AJ Registered in England no. 1800000. This electronic message contains information from British telecommunications plc which may be privileged or confidential. The information is intended to be for the use of the individual(s) or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient be aware that any disclosure copying, distribution or use of the contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this electronic message in error, please notify us by telephone or email immediately.

Activity and use of the British Telecommunications plc email system is monitored to secure its effective operation and for other lawful business purposes. Communications using this system will also be monitored and may be recorded to secure effective operation and for other lawful business purposes.

For BT's privacy and security policy for web and email usage, for pricing information, and for our terms and conditions, please visit www.bt.com.

Original Message Follows:
------------------------
Dear Mudassir,

Thank you for your response.

My current address is:

xxxxxxxxx


Thank you for getting this sorted out for me.

Alexandra Jones

2008/10/7 Residential Billing

> Dear Miss Jones,
>
> Thank you for your e-mail dated 06/10/08 about the final bill amount.
>
> I am sorry to know that the reconnection charges were wrongly applied on
> your final bill. I assure you that all the adjustments have been made on
> your account and the amount has already been refunded towards your account
> and as a result, there is a credit balance on your account of £37.20.
>
> I would request you to kindly send your current address to me so that I can
> send the refund cheque of £37.20 to you.
>
> Once again, I apologise Miss Jones, for the delay and the trouble you faced
> in getting this matter sorted out.
>
> If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me again
> via e-mail.
>
> Thank you for contacting BT.
>
> Yours sincerely,
> Mudassir Mehboob
> eContact Customer Service
> Ref: 19048598
>
> British Telecommunications plc Registered office: 81 Newgate Street London
> EC1A 7AJ Registered in England no. 1800000. This electronic message contains
> information from British telecommunications plc which may be privileged or
> confidential. The information is intended to be for the use of the
> individual(s) or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient
> be aware that any disclosure copying, distribution or use of the contents of
> this information is prohibited. If you have received this electronic message
> in error, please notify us by telephone or email immediately.
>
> Activity and use of the British Telecommunications plc email system is
> monitored to secure its effective operation and for other lawful business
> purposes. Communications using this system will also be monitored and may be
> recorded to secure effective operation and for other lawful business
> purposes.
>
> For BT's privacy and security policy for web and email usage, for pricing
> information, and for our terms and conditions, please visit www.bt.com.
>
> Original Message Follows:
> ------------------------
>
> Feedback from: Miss Alexandra Jones (contact number 02380552343 )
> Telephone Number: 02380552343
> Account Number: ST67305603
> Email Address: alexandra.e.a.jones@gmail.com
>
> Customer Comments:
> Account number :ST67305603
> Telephone Number:02380552343
>
> I have received a final bill for this account. In June of this year, I rang
> up to say that my housemates and I would be leaving the house and so needed
> to cancel the account at the end of July. I was told that this would be fine
> and that the account would close on the last day of July.
>
> The account was closed on the last day of June. We needed the phone for the
> month of July, so I rang up and was told that the phone line would be turned
> on again for July and that as it was BT's error, we would not have to pay
> connection charges.
>
> However, connection charges were added to our bill which we refused to pay
> having been told that we did not have to.
>
> I paid a final bill, Bill number Q005 B& , Bill date 08 Jul 2008, Total
> now due ??94.39. I thought that that was the end of that.
>
> However you have got in contact with me again saying I owe you even more
> money. I spoke to someone on the phone last week, and they again said that
> we would not have to pay any connection charges only the line rental and
> calls for the month of July. Nevertheless the bill I received shows
> connection charges for up to October, and does not breakdown the call
> charges at all.
>
> I will not pay until I have seen a breakdown for the calls in July 2008,
> and I will not pay any connection charges or line rental other than line
> rental for July 2008.
>
> Reference Number: 081006-003235
> Preferred contact: No Preference
> BT Email Address:
> Account Holder: 56
> Alternative contact number: xxxxxxxxxxx
> Previously related enquiry: 67
> Existing BT customer:
> Offer reference:
> Enquiry relates to:
> Problem area:
> Problem start date:
> Order Number:
> Post code:
> Fault reference:
>
>





The details of your complaint have now been sent to our Complaints Team and an acknowledgement email will be sent to you shortly.


Your reference number: 081116-002366"

It turns out that the outstanding debt is for the call charges for July. I shall not be paying this until I have seen a copy of the bill, and BT will supposedly be calling off the debt collectors until I have a seen a copy of the bill. I think it stupid that they should be refunding me of there is money owing. Surely it makes sense to take what I owe from the refund?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NaBloPoMo 15+16

Being away for the weekend scuppered me this time!

Sitting on the train from Southampton to Waterloo alternately head in book and gazing out the window, I thought long and hard. I thought about friends and food, how people eat with you for a while and then leave your table.I thought about Christmas and family and thankfulness and celebration. I thought about joy and hope and beginnings.

I like the smell of the tube, of hot people and underground air. I like disappearing in the crowd and the siren son of the tracks. I like dipping in and out of London as I travel on elsewhere. I like the thrill of nearly missing your stop.

The journey from Blackfriars to Bedford was all new and all exciting. The train was battered and laid out all higgledypiggledy to help squeeze commuters home. I hopped on the slow train my mistake and then was glad of it when the fast train turned out to be much delayed. Tim and Megan met me at the station and it was all smiles and hellos.

They had bought me lovely slippers to warm my toes and box of beads and borrwed a bed for me. I felt so very welcomed. We talked into the night over curry and whiskey with ginger beer.

On the Saturday - after bacon sandwhiches made by Tim - we went into Milton Keynes to shop a little. It is one of the oddest places I have been, the tree lined suburbs with little ring roads round them giving way to a vast concrete centre of shopping and entertainment. The flatness of the landscape gives the impression of all things converging on a temple of commerce. There are no landmarks, nothing to navigate by. Without T and M I would have been horribly lost.

I bought christmas presents and we lunched and watched Bond. It is no hardship to look upon Daniel Craig's visage twice! That evening after scrubbing up we went to the Orchid Lounge at Jaipur for very posh Thai food. It was decadent, opluent and delicious. They garnished the desserts with orchid blooms. I loved how easily conversation came to us all, it being only the third time we have met in real life, the two other times being T and M's wedding and a summer afternoon in London.

The emails of Tim and I crossed in the ether after we both wrote articles for the magazone of the NAGC. We corresponded via email and msn for years. I think we almost talk everyday. It's a wonderful example of how modern techonology brings people together.

The Sunday saw more present buying and talking and fun. It was so hard to say good bye, I could have stayed all week. If you're reading guys, thank you very much.

I met up with Tom and Toddy and John and Andy and Rhiannon in London where they had been having a weekend of fun and frolics. It was nice not to travel home alone.

Friday, November 14, 2008

NaBloPoMo 14: Knitting!

The Winter issue of Twist Collective is up. So many pretty patterns. Here are the ones I want to knit.

Broiderie

I have some heather purple yarn I've been wasting in a pattern of my own creation. I think it could work beautfully in this.

Sylvie

She's going to take so much yarn but I'd really love to make her. She's definately a her, with that amazing flower.

I need to finish a bear hat and the christmas gloves I'm knitting before I think of anything else. Oh and weave in the ends in the christmas socks. And finish some baby hats and booties...Oh well! I'm off to see Tim and Megan today in Olney so I'll have plenty of time to knit on the train.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NaBloPoMo 11+12:Slipping again...

I know I know... but I'm still trying see! I was knackered last night after learning to jive and waltz. So no post!

but saw this today:

Randall, whilst perfect in every other way, is American and therefore looks at the world incorrectly. Every one know the world map should look like this:


The terminology comes from the age when we Brits had an empire and therefore would be the centre of attention on any map.

Oh those were the days.... when T.P.L.A.C's * had a common enemy in Britain and therefore weren't busy fighting amongst themselves or even with themselves!

* See Yes Minister.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NaBloPoMo 10: My House!

NaBloPoMo 10: My House!
Monday, November 10, 2008

Today work just flew by, and I was soon home again, relaxing when Lula turned up. I'd forgotton she was coming round. We went for swim and a sauna at my gym and I trotted around Tescos with her to get some food for her later.After that I though ooh - you lot haven't seen my new house yet, so here are some pictures:


This is the down stairs bath room with it's awesome shower that squirts you from all directions.

This is the kitchen from both directions - with the lovely lovely lovely dishwasher sticking out and the not so lovely huge boiler.


This is my living room from the four corners with lots of Lula.

The lovely Amy's room. It's always like a palace.

We interupt this tour to bring you Lula eating chinese!


Up the stairs...

...to the upstairs bathroom!

It has a lovely shower.

The sink, which is clean!

Photobucket

Onto the landing...

Photobucket

..and into my lovely lovely room...!

I've just realised I've forgotten to get a picture of Andy's room, oh well.. I'll see about getting one later...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

NaBloPoMo 8 and 9: Slipping

Ahh the great slip begins.

Yesterday was so busy I didn't get a chance to write. to make up for this there is going to be lots of pictures to make up for it.

It began with a morning at Thirza's hairdressing and chatting away. I love our weekly regular catch up. I also went through which fabric I wanted from Fabricland as she was placing an order with them. I have some black and white check coming for Amy as I'm going to make her a dress, some cream cotton and some of the butterfly cotton that lines my birthday dress to make a duvet cover set for my bed and some bottle green fabric to make a big circle skirt for myself.

After that I came home on lunched chatting away to Charley and my housemates. Charley's parents own the house we rent and Charley used to live here when she was at university. It was interesting seeing her reaction to how we've changed the place about a bit. It was Yoga for the first time later that afternoon.

I found the chanting at the beginning and the end of the class a bit odd and the way the teacher was quite hands on with correcting you was a bit unnerving. However it was just so relaxing. I came away feeling on top of the world. A great setup for the evening. I got myself ready for the 1940s dance in my birthday dress, my laddered seam stockings and did my hair up in big rolls. But before we could go to the dance we had to go to a fireworkd party at my auntie and uncles. 

We got a bit lost going to Hythe as I assumed Tom knew how to get to Hythe and he assumed I knew where I was going. I got bit het up about it all, as I'm crap with directions and couldn't dicipher the ones given by my uncle when we rang for help. We did get there in the end and the fireworks were very nice. We scarfed down our chilli and drove through the pouring rain to the dance. It was at this point I decided with Tom that when faced with more than one social opportunity it's best to pick one. 

The dance was great. Whilst we'd missed the wartime tea, we arrived in time for the free ballroom dance. Everyone else had been taught a simplified version of the social foxtrot Tom and I have been learning at ballroom classes.  So we had a bash at that, and later on in the night we  were taught some swing dancing. It was all rather fun. There was a fab big band and singers. 

Toms and I rounded up the evening with fruit salad and elderflower presse. All in all a really nice day.

Today I have been being a Godmother to Harvey Brian Snook, the baby son of my dear friends Ruth and James. Lots of university people came to the christening so it was a bit of reunion, and as my mum and Ruth hit it off when they came down for a craft weekend, my family were there too. It was a nice baptism, in the middle of the Remeberence Sunday service. Lots of nice jingoistic hymns that everyone knew the words to, and a full church. Ruth had organised a bring and share lunch after so we add had a good chat over sandwiches quiche and cake. It wouldn't be a church event without quiche. Ruth looked positively radiant in a lovely purple and grey outfit, every inch the charming young mother. Harvey's christening gown was a family heirloom, and he seemed fairly content wearing a dress. I'm just about to eat my slice of Christening cake now, before going off to the gym to work it off.

Now here's some pictures:

These two are by Peter




Then these are some pictures from the Christening. 




Friday, November 07, 2008

NaBloPoMo 7: BANG!

We had an epic meeting at work today, that went on from 3 - 8:30pm, inlcuded dinner and beer and lots of talking. I feel rather drained after it. It was a delight to cycle home tonight.

Going over Horseshoe Bridge I had to stop for a moment and just look a bit. All around me fireworks were going off in a clear night sky and they were reflected in the water of the Itchen. The lights of the riverside flats were twikling in the water, joined by the neon of the signs of the industrial parks and the pinpricks of port and starboard from boats.

I wondered as I cycled, how the soundscape I found myself in compared to that of Southampton in WW2. Trains rushing, boat horns sounding, amublance sirens and the explosions of fireworks. In the half light it seemed eerie somehow. The houses I shot past are a mix of victorian terrace and gaps filled with more modern buildings. Did bombs fall here? Is that what made the space for these pvc coated pale imitations?

It has been a wearisome week. Hopefully the session at the gym this morning will make me sleepy enough to actually sleep tonight.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

NaBloPoMo 6: Manon

I was a very good girl today. I got up and went swimming for 20 mins before work. It’s great when I do this as I actually manage to be awake by the time I get to work.

Work was worky, but I spent the whole day looking forward to the ballet. Last week Amy and I went to see Sleeping Beauty performed by the ENB at the Mayflower. We loved it so much, we got tickets for Manon this week along with Tom, Martin, Su and Nick. Manon is quite a sexy dramatic ballet about a courtesan who is sold to a rich old man, but is in love with a penniless student. Lots of lust, greed and crimes of passion.

The two leads were danced by Agnes Oakes and Thomas Edur. It was interesting actually seeing their faces as whilst I’ve seen them dance before, last night Nick had bought his high powered binoculars. I could see very pretty hand gesture, every longing look. Edur is amazing, so expressive and very good looking too!

I also really enjoyed some of the more modern choreography used throughout. There were some really interesting lifts with dancers sliding along the floor under each others legs, and at one point Oakes whilst being lifted above Edur’s head was flipped over by another dancer pulling her lower leg over her head. There was some very contemporary style choreography in the last act where the two lover’s had been deported to New Orleans. The corps were mainly other criminal who danced a very touching despairing loose limbed number.

Roll on the next ballet!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

NaBloPoMo 5: Smoked

I'm lying all tucked up warm in bed, the smell of woodsmoke wafting around after me as I move. I've just been at the awesome SCM/JSoc/CathSoc bonfire party.Held at the Kitchener Road Community, there was a bonfire of epic proportions, at some points well over 12 ft high.

Tom had spent an awful lot of money on fireworks, and he, John and Nick had creatively arranged them to go off in combinations. Some of them were boneshakingly loud. There were sparklers too and marshmallows to toast over the fire.

I do love this most English Eccentric of festivals. We're celebrating a Catholic terrorist plot to overthrow the government being foiled. In this case, a group of Catholics, Protestants and Jews and assorted hangers on, are celebrating with fireworks, bonfire, party food and mulled apple juice whilst pirate DVDs are burnt in lieu of a Guy.

The highlight of my evening was the bath in the bath set in the garden, in water heated by Bertha, a stove made from an oil can. I lay steaming with the night sky above me counting other people's fireworks.

Now I must sleep. But I will be dreaming of smoke and cordite and sparkles reflected in people's eyes.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Fleeting Thoughts for the Auto Biography 4

The evening I sat eating chinese and talking about steam railways with Keith was a very bittersweet moment. It's odd to find a connection knowing that you won't see that person again.

I have so many of these.

NaBloPoMo 4: Quite alot of nothing.

So where are we today?

Work has been at that odd level of busy where there's not enough interesting work to keep your mind occupied, but enough to keep you rushed off your feet. Yesterday that did not help with feeling quite so low. Cycling home was fun, all in the dark and being among a crowd of commuters.

When I got in, I had more of the bad day - ness, where in having enjoyed my gym session I was informed my lift for girls night wasn't coming. I went home to find a bus time table and couldn't, then in my tidying up didn't put something ontop of my wardrobe properly. This promptly fell off, hit the glass of water my my bed and knocked my bedside table. Fortunately, the glass did not smash, though everything was soaked.

So I gave up on girls night. I tidied my room a bit and painted a bit more on the wooden toy boxes I have been decorating for my cousins. This one is all boy things, diggers trucks and cars. I have a tiny bit left to do, and then I have to paint one like a pirate chest. The one I have already completed is a fantastic mix of dinosaurs and disney princesses. Poor Andy having to bear the brunt of my grumpiness!

The upshot of it is that in my tidying up I found my passport which I had mislaid and a bar of chocolate I bought in France and had forgotten all about. That cheered me up no end. Tom also came round later and it was nice to chat to him all evening. He was trying on the 1040s army uniform we've borrowed from my gran and uncle for him to wear to the 1940s dance at high field church this weekend. I'm going to wear my birthday dress.

The gym was odd. I enjoyed it, but I was very self concious about being huge compared to all these other bodies. I'm looking forward to going tonight which will be 20 mins of weights then 20 mins of cardio and then possibly a swim.

I also have ballroom dancing tonight which I'm really really looking forward to. Last week we did the quickstep and the samba. The advanced teacher noticed my tidy feet and sussed me out as not quite an actual beginner. Which is very very true. I did some ball room in the first year of uni, and it's so much fun to be dancing again. I just kind of forget and I move and it's lovely. I'm going to start swing dancing in January as my Christmas present to myself. I just love to move. I want to get my mum to buy me some ballroom shoes for Christmas so I can be really pro at this!

Monday, November 03, 2008

NaBloPoMo 3: Work day

Quantum of Solace was interesting. I love going to the cinema late at night as it is less busy. I also like zooming through cities at night, sodium glare streaking through the sky. It was interesting passing the shell of the new IKEA in the West Quay retail park, seeing how empty it was in the inside. Anyway, back to the film.

Visually it was stunning. A wonder ochre based pallette permeated all the cinematography. I also loved the visceral use of noise and sound. When Bond got hit, you heard crunches of bone and splatters, making it all so much more real. These details were wonderful.

Unfortunately, the overall plot was a bit dull. The villian whilst deliciously postmodern in being a corrupt environmentalist, wasn't nasty enough for me to care. You got the feeling you were being set up for the next couple of films which is fine.

My favourite thing of the whole film was the scenes with dialogue between M and Bond. I hope there's more of that in the next few films.

Today has been marred by tiredness, mainly due to a very late night sobbing into my pillow. I'm having a horrible low spell. Tom was very nice, sat stroking my hair and saying I'm going to be fine. Which I'm sure I am, as I've done this before and I've come out the other side. However, being in the middle of it makes me feel almost physically sick. It's the paranoid anxiousness that does it.

But to borrow from the psychoanalysis world: What am I feeling? Anxiousness. Why am I feeling this? Because there is a chemical imbalance in my brain. Am I going to allow myself to feel this way? No, because it is unfounded and unproductive.

I'm sure my gym session and a night in with the girls will help immensely.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

NaBloPoMo 2: Sleeeeeeeepy!

Ahh.....another lazy day. I was awoken at 12 by a kiss as Tom went to buy ingredients for fried death, other wise known as a full english breakfast.

A leisurely shower followed and communal watching of season 4 of House as Tom cooked breakfast for us all. It was a very nice breakfast.

I spent a long time knitting this afternoon. It's been a long time since I've just sat and knitted for a few hours. I've been working on a men's version of Fetching for Peter for Christmas as per his request in dark red. I know there is Dashing, but they didn't quite fit the bill.

After that I went to join the gym round the corner from my house and now I am sat watching the F1 with my house mates, Jess who's come down for the evening, and Lula. Hamilton appears to have come fifth having been sixth at the penultimate corner, and won the championship. I didn't realise he is going out with the singer from the Pussycat Dolls. I wonder how they met. Now there is a discussion about whether Glock got out of his way on purpose or not. Very dramatic finish.

After dinner Tom and I are going to see the new Bond film. It's not had very good reviews, but I'll keep you informed.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaBloPoMo 1: A day of days....

Well let's do this... a blog post a day! Shouldn't be hard. I have enough time for this, honest!

Today started fairly badly about 11am when I didn't get up in time to go to Thirzas for our weekly hairdressing date. I'd been to the ballet at the Mayflower the night before to see Sleeping Beauty, left my phone on silent and therefore couldn't hear the alarms I'd set to make sure I got there on time.

Once I got there I spent a happy few hours chatting away before going on to Tom's house to drop off my stuff before Space Cricket. It started raining again at this point. This will be important later. Toddy had made amazing Space Cricket glasses from tin foil and cling film.

Space Cricket will need some explaining. Tom's friends whilst at college started playing cricket in January with a ball of sellotape and a bottle of water for a bat. It now happens at irregular intervals when they are all in the same vicinity.

We went off to the park to play, the rain appearing to hold off, but the cold still bitter. After the first team's innings, the rain came down very heavily and it got colder and colder. The bat went flying when people were trying to hit the ball. i got out very quickly on purpose, fell over spectacularly in the mud and went off to Tescos with Jon to buy ingredients for soup for 10.

We only spent £5 on ingredients and bread rolls which was impressive and I made up vegetable soup. Friend onions, potato, parsnips, carrot and tomatos all whizzed up made a very nice thick soup and it seemed to go down very well. After everyone had dried out a bit, they went home and Tom made dinner whilst Martin and I worked on the Jabba the Hut costume for the party that evening!

The costume turned out very well. A superstructure of hula hoops, garden canes, tent poles and duct tape went underneath a cover made of two kingsized sheets, painted to look like Jabba. I wore my Princess Leia costume from last year and we made quite the stir.

The party was at Abi and Moina's house and was great fun, with apple bobbing and donut on a string eating games. The most fun game was the cake of flour with a 50p in it. We all had to cut slices out of it, and the slice that caused teh cake to collapse and the 50p to fall had to retreive it using their mouth. Marmaduke cut the fateful slice. We went back about midnight - 1am, watched bit of house, then retired to bed.

Friday, October 31, 2008

All the things she said...

.. or rather didn't.


I don't know where that came from!

Today I am celebrating because I landed a the first sale in the office of our new higher price product.

*dances*

It's been a good month October...

I have:
  • written some more on my book
  • got a new shiny bike
  • won the Moss Prize for my dissertation being the best Jewish flavoured undergraduate essay in my year
  • met Will Self
  • started ballroom dancing again
  • finished knitting a baby blanket for Simon's new one
  • knitted a hat for my sister's xmas present
  • had plenty of ad hoc parties
  • gone to London with my Family to see Wicked. I can'tstop singing the songs!
  • painted boxes
  • gone dancing so many times in my head when no one's looking
  • decided to learn swing dance in January
It's been such a lovely crisp month, all twinkly winter lights and freezing people when I hug them.I't s been leg warmers over ankle boots and pretty dresses. Gleaming with rosy cheeks as Tom and I stroll around.

Roll on November!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Some Thoughts

The significance of man is that he is insignificant and is aware of it.
  - Carl Becker

 

This flashed up on my iGoogle Quote of the Day gadget today and it sums up how I feel feel about being human nicely. Read Maya by Jostein Gaarder for more on this. I love how that book goes on about being less than a blink in the eye of the universe.



Isn't it awkward when you're on the phone and you have to end a conversation. Both parties do a garbled dance of "Thanks" and "Bye" till the other puts the phone down.


Some Thoughts

The significance of man is that he is insignificant and is aware of it.
  - Carl Becker

 

This flashed up on my iGoogle Quote of the Day gadget today and it sums up how I feel feel about being human nicely. Read Maya by Jostein Gaarder for more on this. I love how that book goes on about being less than a blink in the eye of the universe.



Isn't it awkward when you're on the phone and you have to end a conversation. Both parties do a garbled dance of "Thanks" and "Bye" till the other puts the phone down.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

It’s coming!


 

The other day I cycled home from work as the sun hung low in the sky. The air was crisp and the wind cut through me harshly. Inside my head was a mess of the day just gone, snippets of conversation swirling endlessly around. When I reached the Common something snapped. The sun hit the top of the trees and all become golden. Silhouettes of branches cast on gold sky on the right, over – achieving, rugby playing Adonis – like young men to the right in all their clean cut glory.


 

And in that moment all was well.


 

I love it when the air has gone from end of summer haze to crisp autumn snap. I am revelling in wild rainy afternoons where I am safe and warm indoors, and bringing out all my knitwear for warmth.


 

Winter is coming.


 

I am excited. We went to the pub the other day, and as we left, there was that magical twinkly feeling of going somewhere in the dark, the lights and people's cheeks shining. There's nothing as festive as winter.

It’s coming!


 

The other day I cycled home from work as the sun hung low in the sky. The air was crisp and the wind cut through me harshly. Inside my head was a mess of the day just gone, snippets of conversation swirling endlessly around. When I reached the Common something snapped. The sun hit the top of the trees and all become golden. Silhouettes of branches cast on gold sky on the right, over – achieving, rugby playing Adonis – like young men to the right in all their clean cut glory.


 

And in that moment all was well.


 

I love it when the air has gone from end of summer haze to crisp autumn snap. I am revelling in wild rainy afternoons where I am safe and warm indoors, and bringing out all my knitwear for warmth.


 

Winter is coming.


 

I am excited. We went to the pub the other day, and as we left, there was that magical twinkly feeling of going somewhere in the dark, the lights and people's cheeks shining. There's nothing as festive as winter.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

At a hundred miles an hour through France

There was an early morning trip in the car to Portsmouth. Peter drove us and chatted brightly to Tom as I dozed. The cars rushed passed us in the. morning haze of green and grey. I barely remember the wait in the ferry terminal. Brittany Ferries are rather upmarket and swish. I was fractious and anxious, feeling insecure and provincial surrounded by real grown ups on their jaunts to France. There was a pait of couple sat opoosite us, the women clearly french, so chic, and their hursbands, one english, one french conversing in the strange trans continental franglais of the middle age expat.

On the boat I read and read and read, having ironically picked up a book about an Irish expat to France, and the swallowed the book, finishing it on our first day after arrival. We ate well in the restaurant, cheese and salad nicoise for me , lamb and frites for Tom and chocolate mousse and wine.

Norman, Tom's dad picked us up on Caen, and the two hour drive from Caen to Saint Laurent de Cuves was more dozing as motorways French or English bore me. The landscapes of Normandy have a warm hard light, like looking through a smokey quartz crystal, everythign covered ina slight haze of dust from the pale brown soil. I enjoy the way the local style of house building is so un - english, all tall windows and doors with shutters, local stone and building regs demanding houses be white or cream or light brown or yellow. A painters palette predecided by local government.


View Larger Map

Once unpacked slight, and adjusted to the haze of nictotine that hovers at Norman's house we changed and went for pizza at Le Petit Nicolas in Brecey, the next village over. I shared half and Etna, all chorizo and chilli oil and a Norvegienne, smoked salmon and creme fraiche with extra coquille st jaques.


View Larger Map

Our time in France was spent food shopping in the Super U in Brecey and at Brecey market, painting walls in the corner of the living room, sleeping and eating and drinking. My favourite half an hour was chatting to Yvette, who runs the Bar des Sports in Saint Laurent de Cuves about studying history in England in university. She speaks no English at all, but as the expats keep the bar in business she takes care to speak slowly and clearly with them and make them welcome. We also spent a good 15 mins on knitting and laughing at men who love Volvos, something which inspires geekery in both the English and the French. We took a sneek peak in the church in the village, and a tour of the graveyard, marvelling at the money spent on lavish gravestones. I also hemmed many a curtain in the hope that next time we visit they may have been hung!

Later in the week we went to the castle at Fougere beloved of Victor Hugo, ate a paable Moules Frite in a restaurant with terrible service and then I pretended to be Rapunzel, translated labels and got gently sunburnt. The approach to health and safety there was minimal, with rickety hand rails on tall towers, and every thing being open for the public to climb. Having been ransacked in the Revolution the bare rooms were quite a shock after lavciously furnished NT houses.

The last days of the trip were made frighteningly excitable by the last of a summer's hornets flying into the warm of the house through open velux windows and hiding in the rafters of the unfinished ceiling of the room we were sleeping in. Every time we went to go back to bed, I would spot another and amusing crashing and spraying and whacking with newspapers would ensue. I did not sleep at all on the last night in the fear they would appear again.

An LD lines ferry took us back from the concrete lego brick magnificence of La Havre, and whilst the food was terrible, the boat noisy, we had club louge stickers and so rested on leather sofas, our booty of cheap and tasty wine safe in the car ready for stashing in cellars and gifting at home.

At a hundred miles an hour through France

There was an early morning trip in the car to Portsmouth. Peter drove us and chatted brightly to Tom as I dozed. The cars rushed passed us in the. morning haze of green and grey. I barely remember the wait in the ferry terminal. Brittany Ferries are rather upmarket and swish. I was fractious and anxious, feeling insecure and provincial surrounded by real grown ups on their jaunts to France. There was a pait of couple sat opoosite us, the women clearly french, so chic, and their hursbands, one english, one french conversing in the strange trans continental franglais of the middle age expat.

On the boat I read and read and read, having ironically picked up a book about an Irish expat to France, and the swallowed the book, finishing it on our first day after arrival. We ate well in the restaurant, cheese and salad nicoise for me , lamb and frites for Tom and chocolate mousse and wine.

Norman, Tom's dad picked us up on Caen, and the two hour drive from Caen to Saint Laurent de Cuves was more dozing as motorways French or English bore me. The landscapes of Normandy have a warm hard light, like looking through a smokey quartz crystal, everythign covered ina slight haze of dust from the pale brown soil. I enjoy the way the local style of house building is so un - english, all tall windows and doors with shutters, local stone and building regs demanding houses be white or cream or light brown or yellow. A painters palette predecided by local government.


View Larger Map

Once unpacked slight, and adjusted to the haze of nictotine that hovers at Norman's house we changed and went for pizza at Le Petit Nicolas in Brecey, the next village over. I shared half and Etna, all chorizo and chilli oil and a Norvegienne, smoked salmon and creme fraiche with extra coquille st jaques.


View Larger Map

Our time in France was spent food shopping in the Super U in Brecey and at Brecey market, painting walls in the corner of the living room, sleeping and eating and drinking. My favourite half an hour was chatting to Yvette, who runs the Bar des Sports in Saint Laurent de Cuves about studying history in England in university. She speaks no English at all, but as the expats keep the bar in business she takes care to speak slowly and clearly with them and make them welcome. We also spent a good 15 mins on knitting and laughing at men who love Volvos, something which inspires geekery in both the English and the French. We took a sneek peak in the church in the village, and a tour of the graveyard, marvelling at the money spent on lavish gravestones. I also hemmed many a curtain in the hope that next time we visit they may have been hung!

Later in the week we went to the castle at Fougere beloved of Victor Hugo, ate a paable Moules Frite in a restaurant with terrible service and then I pretended to be Rapunzel, translated labels and got gently sunburnt. The approach to health and safety there was minimal, with rickety hand rails on tall towers, and every thing being open for the public to climb. Having been ransacked in the Revolution the bare rooms were quite a shock after lavciously furnished NT houses.

The last days of the trip were made frighteningly excitable by the last of a summer's hornets flying into the warm of the house through open velux windows and hiding in the rafters of the unfinished ceiling of the room we were sleeping in. Every time we went to go back to bed, I would spot another and amusing crashing and spraying and whacking with newspapers would ensue. I did not sleep at all on the last night in the fear they would appear again.

An LD lines ferry took us back from the concrete lego brick magnificence of La Havre, and whilst the food was terrible, the boat noisy, we had club louge stickers and so rested on leather sofas, our booty of cheap and tasty wine safe in the car ready for stashing in cellars and gifting at home.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brought to you from the boat...

...I'm actually, right this second, on the the LD Lines ferry 'Norman Spirit' somewhere in the English Channel. The ferry is gently swaying from side to side and I will reach Portsmouth some time about 8pm. It is a grey blue day outside, and the view from the window sees navy and grey seas choppily rolling to a pale horizon.

See you in England!

Brought to you from the boat...

...I'm actually, right this second, on the the LD Lines ferry 'Norman Spirit' somewhere in the English Channel. The ferry is gently swaying from side to side and I will reach Portsmouth some time about 8pm. It is a grey blue day outside, and the view from the window sees navy and grey seas choppily rolling to a pale horizon.

See you in England!

Friday, September 12, 2008

oddness.

When I listen to certain pieces of music, a shiver runs down my spine. Except it’s not like that. It’s like pins and needles tingling travelling through body, from the front to the back, like someone is pulling the music through me.

It’s intensely painful and pleasurable all at once.

Only certain pieces of music make it happen.

Very odd.

oddness.

When I listen to certain pieces of music, a shiver runs down my spine. Except it’s not like that. It’s like pins and needles tingling travelling through body, from the front to the back, like someone is pulling the music through me.

It’s intensely painful and pleasurable all at once.

Only certain pieces of music make it happen.

Very odd.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Camping in the Rain


Discover Brandi Carlile!



I spent the weekend of the 5th camping in the rain with my good friends at Roundhill in the New Forest.

It rained alot. Waterproof trousers weather, huge pooling puddles in the grass weather.

But it was awesome. It stopped raining when we went to the beach on Saturday at Highcliffe for a stormy walk. It stopped so we could pack the tents away.

The food was fab courtesy of Tom and Jess. The purchase of windbreaks helped with the cooking immeasurably.

I feel so wonderfully alive when camping. Soaked through, surrounded my friends with sky right up to the edges around me. The happiest I've been in months!


And worth it for this picture:

Camping in the Rain


Discover Brandi Carlile!



I spent the weekend of the 5th camping in the rain with my good friends at Roundhill in the New Forest.

It rained alot. Waterproof trousers weather, huge pooling puddles in the grass weather.

But it was awesome. It stopped raining when we went to the beach on Saturday at Highcliffe for a stormy walk. It stopped so we could pack the tents away.

The food was fab courtesy of Tom and Jess. The purchase of windbreaks helped with the cooking immeasurably.

I feel so wonderfully alive when camping. Soaked through, surrounded my friends with sky right up to the edges around me. The happiest I've been in months!


And worth it for this picture:

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Music for Sad Days


Discover Damien Rice!

Music for Sad Days


Discover Damien Rice!

Family Picnic

So your wayward blogger returns.

I had my family picnic. This slice of awesomeness is second only to the family party, where we spendall evening playing silly games and dancing. This one takes place on the New Forest at Ocknell's Pond on the Sunday before the August Bank Holiday. It's all about french cricket ans den building and the Magic Kitkat tree where the fairies leave you chocolate.

As is my way, I invited my good friends to come too, and some had never ever built a den before. We quickly rectified that, and I believe a good time was had by all. Every time I attend one of these family events I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have this, how awesome it is to be in touch with so many of your extended relatives, how interesting people are and I kick my former self for moaning about going as a snotty teenager.

It also reminds me of how great my friends are, as countless aunties remark how nice it is to see young adults joining in with all the games. I also have to stop and sigh a bit as I watch Tom being the one who joins in the most, who cuts down the most ferns and plays french cricket the most viciously and competetively. With all the stress of recent weeks, it's good to be reminded of how good he is for me.

Here are some pictures from my Mum:


This is my godson and cousin Max, with my aunty, Vicky. Max spent most of his time on the coolbox. As you can see it was fun.



Max really likes Lala, and I had a Lala backpack from my non- conformist extraordinaire years when I was about 14. He loved it.



This is my cousin Kate, and my second cousins Blake and Safira. They are in the den made from lots of twigs and sticks and ferns between three trees.


Marmaduke had never made a den before, having grown up in the city. So mum made him pose awkwardly next to it for a picture.

Paddy liked waving to people through the gaps in the walls. It looks like he's being swallowed by it. He's Kate and Max's brother.


Here I am failing miserably at French Cricket with my second cousin Beth on the right, and selection of my friends.



Finally here's Tom in a Tree. I've never seen him so proud or happy.

Family Picnic

So your wayward blogger returns.

I had my family picnic. This slice of awesomeness is second only to the family party, where we spendall evening playing silly games and dancing. This one takes place on the New Forest at Ocknell's Pond on the Sunday before the August Bank Holiday. It's all about french cricket ans den building and the Magic Kitkat tree where the fairies leave you chocolate.

As is my way, I invited my good friends to come too, and some had never ever built a den before. We quickly rectified that, and I believe a good time was had by all. Every time I attend one of these family events I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have this, how awesome it is to be in touch with so many of your extended relatives, how interesting people are and I kick my former self for moaning about going as a snotty teenager.

It also reminds me of how great my friends are, as countless aunties remark how nice it is to see young adults joining in with all the games. I also have to stop and sigh a bit as I watch Tom being the one who joins in the most, who cuts down the most ferns and plays french cricket the most viciously and competetively. With all the stress of recent weeks, it's good to be reminded of how good he is for me.

Here are some pictures from my Mum:


This is my godson and cousin Max, with my aunty, Vicky. Max spent most of his time on the coolbox. As you can see it was fun.



Max really likes Lala, and I had a Lala backpack from my non- conformist extraordinaire years when I was about 14. He loved it.



This is my cousin Kate, and my second cousins Blake and Safira. They are in the den made from lots of twigs and sticks and ferns between three trees.


Marmaduke had never made a den before, having grown up in the city. So mum made him pose awkwardly next to it for a picture.

Paddy liked waving to people through the gaps in the walls. It looks like he's being swallowed by it. He's Kate and Max's brother.


Here I am failing miserably at French Cricket with my second cousin Beth on the right, and selection of my friends.



Finally here's Tom in a Tree. I've never seen him so proud or happy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New knittingy stuff


I'm currently knitting socks again.

With Kaffe Fasset 'Fog' yarn from Regia.

Image from: Jimmy Beans Wool

Which I bought from Liberty.



Whilst on a long weekend in London with friends.


Today I am greatful for my luck and fortune!


Also on the knitting cards, a shawlette in Regia Bamboo, a baby blanket in yellow with ribbons and a finished Gretel.

New knittingy stuff


I'm currently knitting socks again.

With Kaffe Fasset 'Fog' yarn from Regia.

Image from: Jimmy Beans Wool

Which I bought from Liberty.



Whilst on a long weekend in London with friends.


Today I am greatful for my luck and fortune!


Also on the knitting cards, a shawlette in Regia Bamboo, a baby blanket in yellow with ribbons and a finished Gretel.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekend in the sun.

As a person with a real job now, Friday seems like the pinnacle of life. Working a Friday, you celebrate the passing time, something normally only done by 4 year olds waiting for a birthday. I am lucky enough to work in a place where at 4:30pm the beers and crisps are passed around, making the last hour go even faster. Post working day there are a few rounds of games and laughter.

This Friday post work I cycled to Tom's house post haste and wondered up the hot hot hill with Sandy and Marmers and his good self. We were off to see if the the Gordon Arms lived up to it's reputation for good food. It certainly did. A simple menu with interchangeable elements, and proper chips seasoned with something lovely hit the spot. I had a bacon and brie baguette, with salad, chips and a soft drink for the princely sum of £5.50. Sandy followed suit with a tuna and sweetcorn baguette, Marmaduke a French burger, which was brie and bacon on a burger, and Tom, chilli on chips. Everyone was pleased with both price and taste.

We then strolled down the hill, with a quick detour to the playpark, to try a climbing frame/swing combo that we never had in our official playground user days. Then it was time for a few bevvies in the South Western Arms We enjoyed the large selection of real ales, and Tom enjoyed at first, then really didn't later, enjoy at least three pints of Old Rosie, a 7% scrumpy. They also had real pork scratchings with hair on them. Good sign of a pork scratching that.

On the Saturday, Tom and I had a leisurely shop in Portswood, stopping at Gannaways the grocer for fruit for our picnic. Said picnic occurred on the common with Ruth, James, their little boy Ollie, their bump Harvey, due on the 12th of August, Toddy, and Andy. We barbequed, found out from a very friendly common/park keeper that you're not supposed to bbq, but that so many people do that as long as we cleared up they'd let us, and ate lots of food. I played frisbee and got sun burnt but oh well. It was lovely. In the evening I did some arranging of the flowers I had bought for Tom's Mum, who's birthday was the following day. I managed to botch together a hand tied arrangement of orange gerberas, peach chrysanthemums and cream, yellow and pinkish alstroemeria. I even managed the bit where they make a cellophane vase of water by taping a square of the stuff over the stems then pouring water in over the bouquet slowly. It looked very professional.

We went to St. James's Church, Shirley with Andy on the sunday morning as it was close to my house. Whilst the band was good, the service itself was pretty much like we'd landed in Sunday School, having been made extra child friendly as it was the school holidays. There was also a very botched version of the Eucharistic prayer that made Tom (who's a bit of litugist) 's blood boil.

In the afternoon we flew down the motorway to his Mum's house for an afternoon of birthdaying. We helped with the food prep, talked to his grandparents and had a dip in his mum's over blown paddling pool. We also did a bit of BBQing and lots and lots of eating and drinking. I was rather taken back by the fact that she commented on my giggling whilst messing around in the pool. Apparently she thinks I'm a bit dour and serious. I countered this comment from Tom with the fact that it's always rather hard to relax around your SO's parents. Just in case you put your foot in it.

So after all this outdoorsyness, I am somewhat sunburnt, well fed, and cheery. Currently I'm enjoying a thunderstorm. It's suddenly got alot cooler here.

Weekend in the sun.

As a person with a real job now, Friday seems like the pinnacle of life. Working a Friday, you celebrate the passing time, something normally only done by 4 year olds waiting for a birthday. I am lucky enough to work in a place where at 4:30pm the beers and crisps are passed around, making the last hour go even faster. Post working day there are a few rounds of games and laughter.

This Friday post work I cycled to Tom's house post haste and wondered up the hot hot hill with Sandy and Marmers and his good self. We were off to see if the the Gordon Arms lived up to it's reputation for good food. It certainly did. A simple menu with interchangeable elements, and proper chips seasoned with something lovely hit the spot. I had a bacon and brie baguette, with salad, chips and a soft drink for the princely sum of £5.50. Sandy followed suit with a tuna and sweetcorn baguette, Marmaduke a French burger, which was brie and bacon on a burger, and Tom, chilli on chips. Everyone was pleased with both price and taste.

We then strolled down the hill, with a quick detour to the playpark, to try a climbing frame/swing combo that we never had in our official playground user days. Then it was time for a few bevvies in the South Western Arms We enjoyed the large selection of real ales, and Tom enjoyed at first, then really didn't later, enjoy at least three pints of Old Rosie, a 7% scrumpy. They also had real pork scratchings with hair on them. Good sign of a pork scratching that.

On the Saturday, Tom and I had a leisurely shop in Portswood, stopping at Gannaways the grocer for fruit for our picnic. Said picnic occurred on the common with Ruth, James, their little boy Ollie, their bump Harvey, due on the 12th of August, Toddy, and Andy. We barbequed, found out from a very friendly common/park keeper that you're not supposed to bbq, but that so many people do that as long as we cleared up they'd let us, and ate lots of food. I played frisbee and got sun burnt but oh well. It was lovely. In the evening I did some arranging of the flowers I had bought for Tom's Mum, who's birthday was the following day. I managed to botch together a hand tied arrangement of orange gerberas, peach chrysanthemums and cream, yellow and pinkish alstroemeria. I even managed the bit where they make a cellophane vase of water by taping a square of the stuff over the stems then pouring water in over the bouquet slowly. It looked very professional.

We went to St. James's Church, Shirley with Andy on the sunday morning as it was close to my house. Whilst the band was good, the service itself was pretty much like we'd landed in Sunday School, having been made extra child friendly as it was the school holidays. There was also a very botched version of the Eucharistic prayer that made Tom (who's a bit of litugist) 's blood boil.

In the afternoon we flew down the motorway to his Mum's house for an afternoon of birthdaying. We helped with the food prep, talked to his grandparents and had a dip in his mum's over blown paddling pool. We also did a bit of BBQing and lots and lots of eating and drinking. I was rather taken back by the fact that she commented on my giggling whilst messing around in the pool. Apparently she thinks I'm a bit dour and serious. I countered this comment from Tom with the fact that it's always rather hard to relax around your SO's parents. Just in case you put your foot in it.

So after all this outdoorsyness, I am somewhat sunburnt, well fed, and cheery. Currently I'm enjoying a thunderstorm. It's suddenly got alot cooler here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Graduated.

So I graduated. It was simultaneously awesome and a let down. I loved wafting around in robes, I loved being the centre of attention, I loved the pomp and tradition. However, having known I'd passed for a month meant it other ways it felt much like a lot of fuss over something that's no longer exciting. This is a picture of me with Simon who is the university chaplain, and who has had a huge impact on me during my time at uni. He came back to uni especially to have this picture taken with me, even though he was supposed to have left for the day by then. That really meant a lot to me. He has a snazzy blue hood because he has a Masters degree from Cambridge. The pink trim you see on mine shows that I was graduating that day with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and that pink influenced my sartorial choices quite a bit.   

This is a picture of me with two of my housemates, Cecil (who can be found here and here,) and Dave. I found them just as I was leaving the students union having been be-robed. Our parents then formed some sort of paparazzi and we had to pose and pose and pose for photographs. That was kind of fun too!

Here's the moment itself, captured by Ceci's parents. I wish I'd stood with my legs together! The bod in charge was the Pro - Chancellor, Dame Valerie Strachan. She asked if I had enjoyed the degree and what I was doing next. Her speech afterwards was pretty good too, and she had three pieces of advice. Firstly, to look around at our friends who were graduating too, and to keep in touch with them, as these were the people who got to know us as we were finding ourselves. Therefore we'd never have to pretend to these people, something that gets more vaulable as life goes on. Secondly, to be open to learning all through out our lives, from both a professional perspective and for the personal pleasure that goes with it. Thirdly, we should only say no to things that are illegal, immoral or that would make us fat. If we said yes to everything else, we'd never miss out on an opportunity.'

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Lastly, this is me with my main lecturer from last year, Dr. Dan Levene. He really pushed me to achieve, and I'm very greatful for that. There were times where I really didn't think I'd make it through, but Dan kept reassuring me that I actually had some knack for what I was doing, and that kept me going. I promised him he'd appear on my website and now he has. :0)