Thursday, August 31, 2006

Simultaneous Lone Demonstration

This demonstration is tonight. Rachel, as usual, puts its better than I can, but I thought I'd give it a mention anyway. Haven't decided what I think of this (I'm not really sure about wasting police time - however legitimate and legal the cause and the action is) but it provokes interesting discussion. It is also being led/organised by Mark Thomas (who I detest). But is in the name of freedom of speech, which can only be a good thing.

I'm curious as to how it will work out. Presumably, each individual must protest about his own cause, on his own. Otherwise, surely it then turns into a mass demonstration against the law with a number of individual sub-plots. So there can be no talking, acknowledging one another, linking arms or any other form of communication. I think that the BBC and the Guardian have picked up the story, so there should be some coverage of it tomorrow.

A few things

This will have to be brief as my cold is getting to me (and my ability to formulate coherent sentences). Went to a hen party last night - the bride-to-be is the fiancée of a work colleague. Was a rather more sedate experience than I had anticipated, but a fun evening nonetheless. Caught up with an old friend whom I have not seen for several months and made lots of 'wedding favours'. Hen parties seem to have that effect; bringing together friends that one has lost touch with. The wedding is on Sunday and is a Jewish ceremony. It should be an interesting experience.

Am supposed to be going to watch another work colleagues band tonight. They are called Angel Anderson and Leon is the guitarist. He has just returned from playing (drum teching) at Reading Festival with another band (he is multi-banded) and e-mailed to tell me that he was also asked to play for Franz Ferdinand on one of their songs which involves many drummers. How exciting!

And I finally got around to looking at Harry's Place; a blog which M has been raving about for a few weeks. It's a little confusing at first and some of the posters are exceedingly annoying and/or rude to each other, but relatively interesting.

PS. Am getting fed up with people ringing to offer me an upgrade to a new mobile telephone. And then not doing what they say that they will. So far I've taken almost 10 calls this week. How do I get them to leave me alone (without changing my number - which is the whole reason I'm staying with it in the first place!)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Single White Failure?

Would you believe it - he didn't turn up. Cancelled the meeting fifteen minutes before hand because he was stuck in Norwich. No issues with him being stuck in Norwich as these things happen - but Norwich is probably a two-hour trip from London; thus, he would have had to leave around 5.30pm to get to London in time for the meeting. Ergo, if he hadn't left by 6pm he was unlikely to be on time; the girls would still be at work and could be notified that they didn't have to all rush to Parsons Green to meet someone who wasn't going to show up.

The jokes were predictable; mostly Single White Failure (well, if you will call a book that, it's only fair) with the odd few "he definitely needs a woman". Failing to turn up to meet members of the Fulham WI - a grave error. They're a formidable group of well connected ladies - and what a potential female meeting opportunity, not a 'Bridget Clone' in sight. Let's hope he re-arranges (and remembers to attend).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gareth Sibson

And speaking of lawyers turned writers, tonight is the night of the meeting with Single White Failure Gareth Sibson. In an attempt at preparation, I googled him this morning. Other than discovering he is the only child of a close marriage, went up to Durham, qualified at Lovells and is now pursuing a career as a writer, I found very little. I did find a few interviews, articles and comments in response to his chasing bridget phase however. Opinion of Sibson varies wildly; it is interesting to note that both sexes fall into both view points. One of the overriding viewpoints seems to be that Sibson is setting himself up for failure; he is desperate for a woman, a wife, an interesting well read intelligent woman - but he writes off his dates with 'Bridget Clones' when they seem obsessed with work and careers. That he considers all women, though sometimes reasonably well hidden under an independent, sassy shell, to be like Bridget is perhaps his downfall. Sibson suggests that women don't need to be like 'that' in order to get a man:

"I have dated dozens of other singletons in their 20s and 30s just like her, and I have to say I am bored of the whole lot of them. Call them Bridget Clones if you will, for these women seem to take a pride in behaving just like their fictional alter ego. And I can't think of a worse role model. For a start, they are boring company. Not only are they obsessed about themselves and the way they look, all they want to - or indeed can - talk about is work. I also found them far too upfront about sex. What sort of man wants to be propositioned on a first date? I certainly don't. It's terribly off-putting. It's not that I want to play the field. Far from it. I'd like nothing more than to find a wonderful woman to settle down with. But my cut-off point at the moment remains just three dates. Because that's all I can take. These women aren't as sexy, strong and independent as they like to think they are. They are unsavoury and positively rapacious ladies with a penchant for boasting about their bra size within moments of meeting. They also have a frightening tendency to flit from incessant chatter about their "independent lives" and "high-flying careers" to talk about marriage. Scratch a little deeper and they are all fanatical about finding Mr Right behind their officious career-woman facade."

Sibson is looking for his 'perfect' woman - the interesting, intelligent, warm, beautiful girl with a career she enjoys, who is sexual but not promiscuous - who will ease into a trusting relationship, followed by a fifties style marriage involving the demise of her career but not her looks or personality. And who won't throw herself at him after one date. In reality I believe that if girls like that do exist, they are few and far between. The ones that want to be housewives - probably already married. And the rest - put off by men with double standards like Sibson. The girls who grew up in an age where women were encouraged to 'have it all'. But found in reality that this doesn't exist - that there is no ideal time to have a career, marriage and children because there will always be someone who says that you're too old, too young, too successful or not successful enough. That if you talk about work, you don't reach a second date because you're work obsessed, but if you don't, well, you're dull and uninteresting. And if you are into commitment and relationships after the first meeting, well, that's off putting as well. Sibson will be seriously disappointed because he's drawn an impossible scenario. And if he does find someone who fits, she will mostly likely have married someone else.

And a few comments which I found in response to an interview Sibson did with a newspaper:

"I am not sure why you keep meeting women like this. Perhaps you're too swayed by external appearances, looking too hard or in the wrong places "

"Gareth seems to have to the classic male double standards that just are not widely appealing now. He’s keen to "settle down" but views women who want to do so as "desperate". He assumes that his own solvency and independence is attractive but writes off women who say the same about themselves as "harpies”. No wonder he is single!"

"He is obviously very picky over his women, he's letting first impressions an hour into a date determine whether or not he'll consider a relationship. Has he considered that the woman might be feeling nervous only has the confidence to talk about work until she gets to know him better? Gareth, you say you are happy having a modern relationship with a working woman but you won't tolerate her talking about her career, and later you admit that you aspire to the relationship that your parents shared where your mother was a housewife. You probably won't find a woman like that now because she's probably already settled for being a housewife with someone who didn't run a mile when she mentioned marriage!"

And in response to a point Sibson made about women feeling that living alone was a positive experience, almost a rite of passage to many women, one writer said: "The added bonus of living alone is, of course, that you're not living with Gareth Sibson - who would be scared by your rapacious sexuality and massive breasts anyway."

Scandal on the 18th?

Arrived back in London last night after a weekend away at M's parents in Shropshire. Had a mad blitz on the flat; building a bookcase and filling it with books, sorting out the mountain of M's 'spare' clothes which came wrapped in a sheet from his old house, getting rid of boxes of junk etc. The flat is starting, finally, to look like a home. Now all we need are some curtain rings that are in one piece so that the curtains stay up.

The weekend was a relaxing break; we played lots of golf and ate lots of nice food. M won a prize in the charity golf tournament and I won 3 bottles on the tombola. Including one of Bailey's which I intend to give Alexandra when she heads university way. She is back next week and I cannot wait. I have even booked the day off work.

And speaking of golf clubs, the place rather than the means of play, I spent two hours sitting in the clubhouse, sheltering from the rain and people watching. I think I should write a book - a sort of Jilly Cooper style novel of the golfing world. Watching the people of the golf club is like watching a channel 4 documentary. You know that people like that exist, it's just you've never met them. This is not a reflection on M's parents, as I genuinely think that they are outside this generalisation, but some of the people there were like caricatures. It was the worst mix of suburbia and money; vaguely wealthy people with no idea of style or etiquette beyond that demanded by the golf world. Admittedly, a scandal had just broken (a husband and someone else's wife had just run off together) so the gossiping was perhaps more prevalent than usual, but everyone needed to put in their two pennies worth. Watching their interaction was fascinating - the hierarchies drawn and indicated in a less than subtle fashion of cheek kissing or, worse, (those damp feeble) handshakes (favoured by certain age ladies); the social groups and the in-jokes. And the outfits.

That said, a lot of people were very kind and made me feel very welcome. It was interesting which of these were friends of M's parents.

Lucky, Lucky, Lucky

I think I'm on a lucky streak. Remember the Big Friday competition that I won recently? Well, I had a call this morning informing me that I'd won another competition. M and I were just about to have a drink after a surfing session in Polzeath when we were accosted by two little ones from the Polzeath Surf Lifesaving Club, asking if we wanted to buy a raffle ticket. We bought two, and today I found that we have won a prize. It was to be a meal in Polzeath, but the lady who rang says she'll post us a substitute prize. Added to the money I found in the back of a taxi and our free upgrade to first yesterday, it's been a lucky week.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Sea Fever - John Masefield

Another poet, another John and another favourite. This is one of my favourite poems of all time. Closely followed by the ditty - 'That money talks, I won't deny; I heard it once, it said goodbye!'. I fear that Sea Fever may only be truly accessible to those for whom the call of the running tide is one that can be heard, but I hope I'm wrong. Reading this poem recalls memories of times I have been at sea, heeled at a ridiculous angle, awestruck by the darkness, the number of stars, the phosphorescents twinkling out of the coaming and the sheer force of the sea. It is one of the few times in my life when I have truly been at peace; I think this is why I hear and feel the sea's call, and why I love this poem so very much.

Sea Fever

I MUST down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

--John Masefield

John Betjeman

100 years ago this coming Monday, the poet John Betjeman was born. His poetry is rich and evocative, describing the England which he knew, an England which is less recognisable 100 years later. Possibly my favourite of his poems, A Subaltern's Love Song, describes his love for Miss J Hunter-Dunn, his tennis partner. The rhythm and flow of this poem is beautiful, but an article in the Times 2 today suggests that very few people have heard of Joan Hunter Dunn. I find this surprising; as this was one of the poems I grew up listing to. And even now, I have an Internet version of the poem in my explorer favourites, which I read to myself when I am stressed at work.

It is a love song which admits to being a love song; and with this comes a multitude of emotions, so embodied by the line "How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won". It is also evocative of an era past, where tennis was played after tea, before the six o'clock news and an evening of dancing at the glof club. Here it is in full:

A Subaltern's Love Song

Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
Furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament - you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won,
The warm-handled racket is back in its press,
But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.

Her father's euonymus shines as we walk,
And swing past the summer-house, buried in talk,
And cool the verandah that welcomes us in
To the six-o'clock news and a lime-juice and gin.

The scent of the conifers, sound of the bath,
The view from my bedroom of moss-dappled path,
As I struggle with double-end evening tie,
For we dance at the Golf Club, my victor and I.

On the floor of her bedroom lie blazer and shorts,
And the cream-coloured walls are be-trophied with sports,
And westering, questioning settles the sun,
On your low-leaded window, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

The Hillman is waiting, the light's in the hall,
The pictures of Egypt are bright on the wall,
My sweet, I am standing beside the oak stair
And there on the landing's the light on your hair.

By roads "not adopted", by woodlanded ways,
She drove to the club in the late summer haze,
Into nine-o'clock Camberley, heavy with bells
And mushroomy, pine-woody, evergreen smells.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
I can hear from the car park the dance has begun,
Oh! Surrey twilight! importunate band!
Oh! strongly adorable tennis-girl's hand!

Around us are Rovers and Austins afar,
Above us the intimate roof of the car,
And here on my right is the girl of my choice,
With the tilt of her nose and the chime of her voice.

And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,
And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.
We sat in the car park till twenty to one
And now I'm engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

-- John Betjeman

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The end of summer and the end of an era?

Alexandra is on her way home. She is leaving Brisbane this week, spending a few days in Fiji and will be back sometime at the beginning of September. Summer is definitely on her way out. It is damp and there is a slight nip in the air. Mornings feel a little fresher and I am colder when I step out of the bath. The nights feel a little longer and it is getting darker earlier every evening. From about the second week of August, it was noticeably darker at 9.30pm. Now is dusk around 8.30pm. I have started taking a spare cardigan in my handbag and I am contemplating getting my winter trousers out of storage. I have turned my desk lamp on at work and started wearing a jacket again.

There is an air of finality about the end of summer; the new academic year is beginning, teenage lives are ending and student ones commencing. There is an undertone of anticipation - new starts are about to be made, new wardrobes are to be bought; a new season is creeping underway. And for me, it is the end of an era. My baby sister will return to spend the last days of her childhood at our family home and then she is off; to university, to freedom, to her adult life.

Wednesday musings

It's been a busy few weeks. And consequently I'm rather tired. So tired, in fact, that I didn't hear my telephone alarm this morning and I woke up at 9.30am. To start work at 10am. Not a good start to the day.

Spent yesterday evening in Mayfair. Watched the first half of the Liverpool match in an awful pub which had barely any lighting. When it got too dark to read Grazia we moved to a restaurant in Shepherd Market, the name of which escapes me. Had a nice meal with M, P and J and finally made it home about11.30pm. Was asleep by 12am, so had over nine hours sleep. But am still exhausted.

Tonight I am meeting up with Sz, one of my best friends from university. Her boyfriend is working in London this week and she is coming today to visit him. As she is a teacher, she benefits from having absolutely nothing to do for six weeks every summer. Ok, she has something to do, lesson planning and all related things, and has to teach teenagers for the rest of the year, but she does get a nice summer break. I haven't seen Sz since Badminton Horse Trials so am very much looking forward to seeing her. M is hoping to join us before he rushes off to play football.

Oh, and my earnings on Celebdaq have now reached £1115 in the first week of trading. Kate's doing me proud - she has increased 87% since I purchased her!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tuesday Blues

How funny... my blog was the first question in a competition! I think Primrose Bakery should be giving me free cakes for all this exposure!

Been a manic day at work so no real time to stop and post. Made it down to the southern shores for a party in Clapham last night. M helped tend the BBQ and I helped with the wine drinking. Stopped off for a coffee with L&B in Battersea to break up the long journey north back to Primrose Hill. It was L's birthday last week and she is now sporting a gorgeous pink Mulberry handbag. To say I am jealous is ... no, actually I am pleased for her. But it does make me look rather like a bag lady in comparison, as my handbags, nice as they are, are all high street 'interpretation' bags.

This evening we are off for drinks and possibly some food in Mayfair with M's father, brother and his girlfriend. She is a designer with an impending label launch. An occasion for which they are searching for unknown faces to model some of the clothes. I am to attend a 'casting' on Thursday. Which is very exciting.

Also this week, I hope to fit in some drinks to facilitate some research for the author Gareth Sibson, who wrote Single White Failure and also ran a project to meet his very own Bridget. His next project is non-fiction and is something to do with modern women. And we have been invited to discuss our thoughts and views. It sounds interesting and the drinks are free, so why not?!

Simultaneous Lone Demonstration

Not sure I can word this any better than Rachel, so please click here and read what she has to say. It is a demonstration against the ban on protesting outside parliament. Lone demonstrations, applied for and approved by the police a week in advance are within the law. The idea here seems to be to have many lone protests at the same time. It's organised by Mark Thomas and all the details for taking part can be found here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday Again

It's been another long and busy weekend. Started Friday after work in a pub in Camden to celebrate the end of J's masters. He is the proud owner of a fully bound masterpiece, a receding hairline and the need to catch up on about a month's sleep. I think perhaps this blog is, unfortunately, too insubstantial for his liking, so I find it unlikely that he is a reader.

So, went back to our flat, borrowed some chairs from upstairs and created a rather uncomfortable social situation where one half of the party wanted to watch Big Brother and the other half wanted to discuss the cons and cons of the whole BB experience. Loudly. Drowning out Davina. Thus neither party was happy and everyone got rather drunk. M ended proceedings by going to bed and I watched the recorded version on Saturday morning.

Spent Saturday afternoon making the flat Grandparent friendly. The bath has never looked so clean, but then I've never before got into it to scrub it either. The usual faffing over clothes, makeup and the last minute card situation rectified (thanks to Shikasuki) and it was off to the curiously named Dream Bags and Jaguar Shoes bar in Shoreditch for a birthday party. So called by the previous two shops which have been opened up into one bar with two 'fronts'. The night ended at 7am when we were abandoned by a taxi driver taking umbrage at something and leaving us by the side of the road.

Disturbed from my much-needed sleep at noon by a call from my long-seen sister, currently residing in gaffer-taped up campervan, Brisbane. The Grandparents duly arrived, drank tea and admired the flat, before giving me a lift to Berkshire.

Dentist and then back to work this morning. Got caught in the worst rain I have seen for ages; I literally had to paddle across the main road. And now, still raining and we are going to a BBQ. Not sure how that is going to work! Maybe it’s better weather down south in Clapham.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thoughts and links round up

It's almost the weekend! Looking forward to going home and watching the Big Brother final. Went out with M and B and an Italian friend of M's called Piero. P is 19 and from Florence. We had a lovely evening sampling a few cocktails in one of my favourite bars, Trailer Happiness on Portobello Road. It is very trailer trash meets glam 1970's. I think. But it's great and the cocktails are wonderful.

And speaking of favourite things, M bought me a gorgeous pink vanilla cupcake this morning to cheer me up. Girlie aches and pains are getting me down this week. They are made by Primrose Bakery and sold in Melrose & Morgan; a beautiful deli near our house. Rumour has it that Primrose Bakery are to open their own shop. This would be just round the corner from us, and on my way to work. At the moment my only saving grace for not going bankrupt over cake is that the delivery to M&M is about 11 in the morning...

And thanks to Rachel for her hacker game. It rather distracted me both from my grumpiness and my lunch break. I think that's a good thing. Thankfully, she posted the answers as well, so I was able to seek help and return to my work in the afternoon! And speaking of other annoying games, can't remember where I got this one from, but it shut up my colleagues for several minutes!

Lastly, I have made over £90 in my first day's trading at Celebdaq (link is on one of the posts below). I am secretly rather pleased. If only it were real...!

That's all, am off home now. No web access from home so will be back on Monday after my trip to the dentist. I can't wait; how I am containing my excitement is beyond me. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This and that

Googled my blog name this afternoon. It (via a directory) comes up as the second link. That is pleasing. I think.

Also discovered another website this afternoon which looks a lot of fun. It's called Celebdaq and I'm probably the last person to ever hear of it's existance; but it's essentially a celebrity stock market, with worth being distilled from column inches. You buy shares in your celeb, hope they get some column inches and sell them again. Or not. I am hoping it will a good introduction to the stock market... And the best thing, you don't have to spend any money - they provide you with an 'account'!

So, it's just me left in my office this afternoon. One of my colleagues is getting married soon and all the 'boys' have gone to play pool and drink. As I'm the only girl in my team, I'm left working and answering phones - or eating chocolate and writing this! Roll on 6pm...


So after our drinks and stairwell encounter at The Engineer, M and I headed to The Lansdowne for some food. I had scallops, M had Sea Bream. M's father turned up and we shared a rather nice bottle of Chateauneuf De Pape, 2000. Excellent conversation - P has just returned from a week's sailing in the Channel. Got home about midnight, absolutely exhausted. And then was rudely awakened at 5am with girlie troubles - had to drag my poor exhausted body out of bed, to fill a hotwaterbottle and to hunt for painkillers. I fear I was not a pretty sight. No wonder I've been craving chocolate, tea and as much Big Brother as I could find this week.

And this morning, well, I just couldn't decide what to wear. Admittedly, I often have this problem, but feeling so crap meant that I just wanted to wear soft clothes. But M and I are taking out Piero for some drinks tonight. He is the son of a wine producer, whose wines are sold by M, and he is here (until tomorrow) learning about England, English and retail. So I compromised. Soft clothes and meeting later so I can go home after work and change.

The Lost Art of Manners (Part Two)

My little rant at Part One reminded me of a book I read a few months ago, by Kate Fox. Entitled Watching the English, Fox analyses various social trends and patterns which are unique to the English. Discussing the weather and the rules which we always follow, queuing,buying drinks (although interesting BBC article about that today) class systems, etc. So far, so predictable. I found it interesting enough, but felt she almost wrote what she wanted to believe, rather than what necessarily actually happens. Or else she hasn't really been in London. Where people don't form orderly queues at bus stops (or not all the time), where people don't instinctively know when it is their turn at the bar, where people don't follow the 'rules' of being English. Does this say more about the so-called 'rules' or the people that don't follow them?

The Lost Art of Manners

Went for a drink after work in The Engineer yesterday. M ordered my usual drink for me and we sat down in the window seat. I enjoy sitting there as I can indulge in a spot of people watching. A lot of interesting things were going on - an elderly group of artists, a couple who pulled over in a car to argue, shake hands and drive off, several pregnant women, people on bikes, with dogs, with flashy (and not so flashy) cars. One man returned to check he'd locked his car three times, before heading down to the canal with his newspaper. So far, so normal for Primrose Hill. Most people were on their way home from work.

The loo in The Engineer is up a rather narrow set of stairs. There is room on the corner for people to pass each other. So, I had started down the stairs, stopped at the first landing and realised someone was coming up. Waited, waited and another six people all trooped past, starting up the stairs. Not one even made eye contact, let alone said thank you until I made eye contact with the last one, who thanked me. This is not a particularly interesting or noteable occasion. But it was the highlight in a long line of occasions. London is full of rather rude people - the ones that try and get onto the tube before you've got off, the people that push into the bus rather than wait their turn, those that flash their cash at the bar to try and get served first. Where is the English sense of knowing who was first? And why can't people be polite? Ok, rant over.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Carmina Burana

Some excellent news. London Lawyers' Music (Chorus & Orchestra) is to perform this work in June 2007. This is the choir within which I sing. Alto. We rehearse once a week and perform concerts in December, February and June. It is so much fun, and I am very much looking forward to singing and performing Orff's masterpiece once again.

I first performed this as part of the Berkshire School's Choir in the Royal Albert Hall, when I was in the upper sixth. I was sat in the East choir stalls, and had a wonderful view, over the orchestra and the Promenadars area, right over to the audience, stalls and boxes. It was an amazing sight and experience. I think the LLM version will be a little more professional, but perhaps a little less grand in performance venue. I can't wait!

I'm so in love

Only time for a quick post today - it's very busy at work and I've almost used up my entire lunch break looking for a grey sweaterdress on the internet. With no real success.

Standing in the work kitchen making a cup of tea and daydreaming. Realised that I am so very happy living with the gorgeous M. This morning he woke me up, had run me a bath and made me my sandwiches for lunch. And he warned me before I ran to the bathroom with no clothes on (as I so frequently do) that builders had installed themselves on some scaffolding at the back of the house and were consequently at eye level. How annoying (of them) and how thoughtful (of him).

Will try and post something a little more interesting after work.

Ps. I did go to the Pole Dancing lesson on Monday night. It was great fun but hard work. My muscles were aching yesterday... and so was my leg where I stabbed the heel of my sandal into my other leg whilst trying to master a 'corkscrew' spin... It was satisfying, relaxing, sexy and so much fun. The teacher recommended that I did a course, which I would love to do. Must find out how much and when. Something tells me I will not be able to afford it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Woman's Right To Shoes

Sometimes I worry that I should be writing about something more intellectually stimulating. That I should be expressing my opinion on the state of Lebanon, or perhaps the current scaremongering taking place in the British media over potential terrorist action. As we are all well aware, a terrorist attack could take place at any time and the possibility is imminent. Just because it has been all over the media this week doesn't make this week any more likely than any other week. Perhaps I should be writing about Aids, or the typhoon in China, or Iraq where people are being blown up daily. Perhaps I should be worrying about debt, about house prices, of global warming and rising oil and fuel prices.

I have made a conscious decision with this blog, however, to not write about those kinds of issues. Not because I'm not interested (I am); not because I don't care (I do). Because I want to write about the things that directly impact on my personal life on a day-to-day basis, be they mundane, self-obsessed or simply just dull. Because I would like my blog, and that is what it is, regardless of who reads it, or who I write it for, to be about my life. And of course those hugely important issues relate to and impact upon my life, of course they do; it would be naive of me to suggest they don't, but not on the level on which I am writing. It is a very shallow level, but I would rather spend my lunchtime writing about shoes than I would research political based arguments. Plus, I think there are enough blogs which address 'current affairs' of all kinds, and people who write of those issues a lot better than I could when my sole blogging time is restricted to my lunch break.

And shoes (and other things akin to shoes) make me happy. I put on a pair of leopard print ballet pumps today with a dreadful headache and it made me smile. I feel more upbeat, I walk taller and I feel better about life. I just don't think writing about wars would have the same effect.

Footnote - this thought was triggered by an article on the BBC news website - the Tale of a girl with 80 pairs of shoes. Now, I don't think the article was especially interesting or well written; it wasn't even the content of the article which interested me particularly. I have no objection if people buy shoes, like shoes, hate shoes or refuse to wear shoes, although clearly I have more affinity with the first two. It was the reader comments that amazed me. People were actually bothering to post a comment berating this poor girl for spending money on shoes, they were enquiring as to whether she had a pension, whether she gave money to charity, how meaningless her life was etc. I thought this was why wars were fought; fought for democracy, for freedom. Not necessarily to buy shoes, but to be able to live our lives the way we choose (as long as that doesn't unfairly impinge on someone else). To spend our money how we choose, to vote for those we think would do the best job, to write about what interests us. And to let others do the same, without judging, without fighting and without hatred.

Monday, August 14, 2006

'Make more money or spend less'

I first came across this idea in the Sweet Valley High books, re-read it in Sophie Kinsella's 'Shopaholic' series and constantly try to come up with ways to implement the idea. Sadly, I seem to make only a small amount of money and spend rather a lot of it. I've put all my law school books on Amazon for sale. Yet no-one seems interested. I should probably list them on e-bay. It just seems a bit complicated to me. Perhaps that's where I'm going wrong.

So far my schemes include - making and selling cards, cake making, dog walking, selling essays, pole dancing. The first three are acceptable if time consuming (and beg the question who would I sell them to, where and how - the cards and cakes that is, not dogs) and I've questioned the other two on grounds of morality. As I'm having a pole dancing lesson this afternoon, you've probably guessed that I've no problem with the actual pole dancing. It's not even the thought I'd have to be naked (as I'm quite happy with my body); it's the idea of men leering, staring and paying money to watch me that doesn't sit so easily.

I'd like to get back into writing - that is, I write something and it is credited to me, not a student plagiarising my work for their essay deadline. Starting (and keeping up with) this blog was the first step, and I'm having great fun. It's stretching my bain just that little bit further than my current job, and allows me to ponder and analyse thoughts, ideas and reactions in my life. Even if at the moment it sounds rather more like a 'to-do' list/calendar than anything else. Ideally, I'd like to write on a freelance basis, paid, for someone or something about, well, ideally a subject that interests me, but if it's writing in exchange for money, then I guess I don't really mind (within reason) what that is. But therein lies the problem. I need to try and find people to write for, but there are thousands of people out there with the same aspirations. Or I need to come up with a new 'get rich quick' scheme - fast - which doesn't involve selling me or playing the lottery. A conundrum which I suspect has foiled many people for a very long time.

The morning after the week before

Monday morning arrives rather too soon, and rather too often. The weeks (and weekends) are rushing by faster than ever. Compounded perhaps by the rather chilly, damp almost autumnal weather, it feels as if the summer of 2006 is coming quickly to an end. Of course, in a weeks time it will probably be hot again, but you can only react to what is happening - anything else is merely a long-range forecast. Which incidentally is for hot and sunny weather for the rest of the month (!).

Friends over on Friday evening. Watched Big Brother - I for one was really pleased that Pete and Nikki were reunited. Less pleased this morning to discover that the Big Brother website is referring to them as 'Pikki'. Where did this craze come from? I blame Heat magazine. Suspect I am somewhat of a romantic at heart - I think they are sweet and really don't mind watching them kiss and cuddle. Other people seem more cynical and tell me that Nikki would do anything to win. Seems to me like she has fallen in love - or perhaps she's just a great actress... Who knows, you decide...

Spent Saturday morning with the gorgeous and oh so stylish Julia, of - a new online magazine which launches at the end of this month. As it features Primrose Hill in the first edition, Julia interviewed me about my neighbourhood, where I shopped and ate etc. It was my first ever interview - she bought me tea and set up her Dictaphone and I felt like a (rather lousy) celebrity. I could get used to taking about myself! Thankfully she arranged the photograph for another, sunnier, day as I was really not looking my best.

Sunday afternoon saw me spending some more time in the shops of Primrose Hill - Liverpool v Chelsea turned me into a football widow, so I compensated with a look in Press and Miss LaLa's Boudoir, where I bought a Day Birger et Mikkelsen bra in their sale for £5. It is the most gorgeous little shop and worth buying something just for the scrumptious packaging. I also bought E's birthday present in Graham and Greene, which I won't spoil her surprise by mentioning here, and had a look in some of the other boutiques.

Sunday evening came all to quickly. M and I ate supper on our bed watching Match Point - a brilliant Woody Allen film. The plot was full of twists - just as you thought you'd worked out the imagery, it was turned on its head. Lots of glimpses of places in London as well, which I always enjoy seeing on film. The music was also very enjoyable, rather like one of the early 'silent' films, where people stalk/prowl around to rather silly over-the-top French music and bad things happen. Lots of opera too.

Pole dancing lesson tonight. Hope I have brought along a suitable outfit. Am really looking forward to it, and so grateful to Rachel for her advice. Will let you know how it goes...

Matthew Williamson

At the risk of this starting to sound like a 'celeb spotting' blog page, I saw Matthew Williamson walking his dog on Friday evening. He was really small and gaunt. Matthew that is, not the dog,(which is cute black and furry) and wearing some very unfriendly black shiny jogging bottoms with orange stripes down the side. Still, a small piece of excitment on my way to buy some vodka.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Big Friday

If you like surfing but live in the city, have a look at the Big Friday website - running surf trips from London to Cornwall most weekends of the summer season. And particularly pleasing to me, they also run competitions on a weekly basis - one of which I won last week. My goodie bag arrived at 7.50am on Tuesday morning - an excellent wake up and something to be cheerful about on my first day back to work after my own surfing trip. And the contents? Davidoff Cool Water Game perfume, shower gel and body lotion accompanied by a Ripcurl handbag. Neither is my usual style, but great to try something new (and free).

That Friday feeling... one of tiredness. Since returning to London on Monday, it's been one long week. WI on Monday night, hairdressers on Tuesday at Mowgli (trainee prices that you can't beat but which unfortunately take up the entire evening), Tim's gig on Wednesday, supper with A&A and then a long phone gossip with Sz on Thursday. And then its Friday and I'm completly exhausted. Much as I was looking forward to TJ coming down for the weekend, I'm rather glad that its been postponed until next weekend. This way I get to watch Big Brother in relative peace, although I think that I will be accompanied by B and M as we await my M's return from work. Which reminds me, I must try and get home before they arrive, as all our suitcases and bags for the holiday are still in the kitchen and there is a large pile of washing awaiting a cycle in the washing machine.

And next week looks set to be as busy. Pole dancing lesson and photoshoot on Monday, haircut on Tuesday, drinks on Wednesday etc etc. And we still have to find time to move a car from Berkshire to Shropshire... All this activity and I still can't find anything interesting to write about. This blog is starting to resemble a 'to do' list.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thursday 10 August

Only time for a quick post today. Am off to meet A&A for some supper in Covent Garden.

Work manically busy - still trying to catch up from last week's hols. Hangover from going to watch Tim's band didn't help. Will re-edit and post the link when I get a chance.

Worried about critical level of country at the moment, though so very pleased that they have so far foiled the plot and nothing seriously untoward has happened. Will be interested to read Rachel's perspective when she returns to the country - if she can get back that is. Poor thing.

That's all for now, as my Auntie says in her texts.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A few thoughts

I found this game on another blog. Managed to fill in 105 tube stations before my lunchbreak ran out. It is rather addictive! The writer of the blog I found it on filled in double that. Perhaps he's lived here longer than me. Still, the days not over yet!

And discrmination against mac users is rife in recruitment circles. I was sent an on-line reasoning test to complete by a potential employer - all well and good until I discovered that it is not compatible with macs. At all. How annoying.

And finally, a chance to take a pole-dancing lesson has arisen. A potential career change? Well, we'll see... it came about through the WI of all places! It is next week. And part of a photoshoot, so should all round be an interesting experience. I'll keep you informed...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

One more thing

The best salad dressings, dips and marinades come from this little shop in Cornwall - Halzephron Herb Farm. And the great thing? They do mail order over the internet with free p&p. Totally organic and free from additives - they taste great.


Hugh Grant and Jemina Khan must share our love of Cornwall. Just after M&C (another friend also staying with us) had thrown L into the estuary, who should drive up the road into Rock, but Hugh and Jemima. And I missed both events as I was on board a Shrimper...

And so to home

To cornwall - to Bodmin and then to Rock. It was only a week, but feels at least a month. I am refreshed and full of life. I keep expecting autumn weather...

Spent our time well - surfing, sailing in a Cornish Shrimper on the Camel Estuary, played two rounds of golf on the St Enodoc's Holywell Course and visited almost every beach and harbour from Boscastle right the way down to Penzance. Bedruthen Steps was a particular favourite of mine - a glorious walk along the cliff paths from a National Trust carpark followed by about 100 steps down a cliff side to reach a secluded beach with golden sand and beautiful rocks. Spent an afternoon reading, exploring and playing with only a few other people on the beach. Also to the Tate St Ives and to my favourite of places, the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden. Spent a good long time looking, drawing and relecting.

The farm that we camped on was beautifully quiet and full of families. Also full of free-range animals including ducks, geese, hens and turkeys. These gaggles spent a good deal of time wondering around the camping field; on our last morning the collies from the farm appeared - the puppy practicing his herding skills with a flock of turkeys. He managed to get one stuck right up inside a hedge, much to the turkey's disgust. He wasn't that good with cars either given his attempts to herd our car.

Then to Rock, to stay with our friends B&L. His parents house, right on the middle of the St Enodoc's course. Meal for L's birthday at the St Enodoc's Hotel, cocktails (mine was a gorgeous raspberry bellini which I can still taste if I picture it) and then a night of playing 44 not out in the dark on the dunes. An evening only surpassed by the sheer size of the bonfire we had the next evening, around which we slept wrapped in blankets until 5am. As we walked home through the village as the fingers of the sun began to creep up over the horizon and the sky changed from deep blue to a paler shade, I was reminded how beautiful the early morning is - epecially on a walk home just before climbing in to an exceedingly comfortable bed. That hour just isn't quite the same when it is the beginning of the day...

And so to home. Back to our little flat in Primrose Hill, which isn't big or grand, beachside or full of beautiful Kurt Jackson prints, but it is ours, and coming home felt so very good.