It is a beautiful day here in London. This morning it was cool but very refreshing and I sat watching the sky at the bus stop on the way to work- it looked like someone had dipped a dirty paintbrush into water and was then swishing and circling across the clouds. And now the sun has come out and the light is just brilliant, reflecting off every metal and glass part of the buildings surrounding the office in a way which seems almost summerish. In about an hour the light will have faded and retreated to reddish gold and the sky will have turned darker and softer, but for now, for a few minutes, the light is intense and yellow.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Just in case you're interested, Prague Tory has undertaken a little research into just how far Iain Dale's meme spread. I think he got bored after a while (unsurprisingly). Reminds me of the beacons that were used to pass messages. Anyway, here's the link...
So have just returned from what started as 'post work' drinks and ended as 'still being in the pub at closing time' drinks. Not perhaps the best start to the week, but still, it was an interesting night. Met C's colleagues (it was really her 'post work' drinks that I crashed) and realised that it is always interesting to be able to picture the people that someone works with.
Had a great weekend. Parents and sister came up on Saturday for lunch, followed by a view of 'Manet to Picasso' at the National Gallery and tea and pastries at Harrods102 before they returned to Berkshire. We then went to Hampstead on Sunday to watch Manchester Utd almost beat Chelsea at football before supper at an oriental restaurant. A lovely, busy but ultimately relaxing weekend as we managed to return home in time to catch Planet Earth and then watch a lovely film together (Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astair in Funny Face.
I know this is brief and hastily typed, but M is cooking supper and I really want to join him. Today would have been great if not for people not being able to hold a 'discussion' without the need to involve personal insults...
Thursday, November 23, 2006
So from Iain Dale, via Rachel, 10 Things That I Will Never Do:
10 - Become a scientologist;
09 - Mug someone;
08 - Vote/agree/sign anything that promotes joining the euro;
07 - Read Cosmopolitan, Company or Marie-Claire magazine;
06 - Become a politician;
05 - Live in a student style shared house again;
04 - Give up on my dreams to be a debt-free lawyer;
03 - Skydive/bungee jump or similiar unless death was the alternative;
02 - Buy non-charity Christmas Cards; or
01 - Stop drinking tea.
And now I tag: AdminGirl; Susie LawStudent; Lucy MarmaLADYa; Rachel Emma; Bunsen Burner; City Slicker; and MarmaLADYAwrites. I know it's not 10, but I don't have any others...
Hope everyone in America is having a nice day off. Popped into Primrose Bakery this morning for a cheer me up pink cupcake (I've got a cold, which is why I think I couldn't get warm last night) and noticed that they had made a beautiful range of thanksgiving themed cupcakes with American Flags on and so forth. We are going to have a Thanksgiving themed dinner party on Saturday night, where I plan to make cornbread and pumpkin pie, just like we used to eat when I lived in California.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The internet is a marvellous invention but it can also be extremely frustrating. I don't own a digital camera, so to get some holiday photos from a friend, I was introduced to yahoo messenger. The files were transferred in a matter of minutes and I was able to upload them to facebook with no problem. The issue now though is twofold: First all of all, everytime I turn on the computer yahoo messenger loads. And I can't work out how to stop it. And secondly, I wanted to print out some of the photos. So, I joined jessops and got 20 free prints. I worked out how to upload the pictures, but it won't let me print them because they don't have a high enough resolution. But two do. And I can't work out why some do and why I can't change the others. And now I am bored and frustrated. Ggrrr. So I have stopped and I might have some supper.
I am also going to watch Rachel on 18 Doughty Street again tonight. I really enjoyed watching her last week, so am looking forward to see what she has to say about the 7/7 Report published by the London Assembley today.
So I might post something else in a bit but I have to go and warm up as my hands are so numb I can't type. The heating seems to be on, but is really not making it much warmer in here. Moan moan...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Spent the evening experimenting with mince pie fillings. Am hoping they will taste nice enough to enter in the annual WI mince pie competition, so made a test batch to take into work for the boys in my office to sample tomorrow.
M is in bed watching Jerry Maguire so I think I will make this my shortest ever post, make myself a cup of tea and join him. Night night.
Monday, November 20, 2006
So we arrived back in London late this afternoon, having enjoyed a pleasant train journey catching up with one of M's friends from school. Our flat was cold and smelt of vegetables, but it was lovely to be home.
Not that we has a bad weekend; in fact, the very opposite. It was wonderful, peaceful and relaxing. M played golf with his father while I curled up on one end of the sofa and M's mother the other and spent the afternoon knitting. We watched my Songs of Praise (and I noted how odd it is to see ones self on television) and went to a black tie dinner dance at the Golf Club. We also went charity shop shopping and acquired some bargains and wondered around some beautiful Shropshire country towns. We also caught up with M's grandmother and took her shopping. All in all, a hugely enjoyable weekend.
And now, back in London, looking forward to the rest of the week. My parents are visiting next weekend, as well as possibly Alexandra. It is the final rehearsals of the choir before our concert on the 2 December, and there are mince pies to make for the annual WI mince pie competition. Must get practicing!
Friday, November 17, 2006
Am posting this from Shropshire - M and I have taken a few days off work and have gone on a mini holiday. We left London directly after work on Thursday - the fast train only took 1 hour and 20 minutes, which is unbelievably fast. So fast in fact, that I began to feel 'sea sick'. Anyway, we are currently with his parents at their house and his mother is cooking supper.
But back to the week in London. On Wednesday after work I met a friend who is a lawyer in a hotel bar she suggested so we could chat in peace. The staff were wonderful, we only had to finish a drink and they were on hand to offer another. Bar snacks (really nice ones) appeared from nowhere the minute we sat down and there was a lady playing a piano around the corner, so it was peaceful but not silent. An inspired choice of venue for post-work drinks (and so different from the O'Neills where my colleagues usually insist on dragging me. I then went from Holborn to Holland Park to meet M and a friend of his, L, after they had finished supper. We ended up chatting until past closing time, so once we had got a bus home and frantically packed for the weekend, it was 1.30am.
Thursday morning and I had to walk to work in the pouring rain, carrying overnight bag, handbag and a putter (to join the rest of the golf clubs which currently reside in Shropshire so that we can play a round on Sunday). I was juggling said items and trying to swap shoulders with the bags when I realised that I was stood outside the Engineer, and who should be sat inside at the window but Russell Brand. We made eye contact and he was wearing the smirk of a man trying not to laugh...
Today has been spent pottering and shopping. Managed to get some shoes to wear with the dress that I had bought in London to attend a dinner dance on Saturday night, as well as a jumper dress for the pricey sum of £8 from Primark. It really is a ghastly shop - it looks far more like a jumble sale than anything else - but occasionally it does produce some bargains. I also bought some pick'n'mix for the first time in years! A wonderful and relaxing start to the weekend; so enjoyable to not have to get up and go to work.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
After reading Rachel-Emma's blog and seeing her questionnaire I thought I'd have a go too. So unless you want to know what colour crayon I would be and my shoe size, you'd probably be better off reading something else. Here, here and here are a few suggestions of alternative reading material.
I'm now assuming that everyone is busy swotting up on what the Queen had to say earlier on, but just in case, here are my answers:
1. First Name – Rachel
2. Do you wish on stars – no, but I enjoy looking at them, particularly from the beach.
3. When did you last cry – last night (after opening another rejection letter)
4. Do you like your handwriting – Yes, I think I do.
5. What is your Favourite lunch – Sandwiches containing Mum’s Christmas ham, Daddy’s apple & chestnut stuffing, bread sauce and wensleydale cheese
6. What is your date of birth – 5 January
7. If you were another person would you be friends with you – I hope so! I try and treat others as they would like to be treated, so I hope that I would like me.
8. Do you have a Diary – no, I have a blog. Some would say they are the same thing.
9. Do you use sarcasm a lot – yes.
10. What are you nicknames – Rachie, Rach, Rapel, Garden Rake, Rah-Rah (I know, charming sisters…)
11. Would you bungee jump – I think it would depend on what the alternative was
12. Do you un-tie your shoes when you take them off – I don’t wear many shoes with laces. In fact, other than running shoes, walking boots etc I think that leaves a pair of Converse (which I do untie).
13. Do you think you are strong – In some situations, yes. In others, I’m getting better.
14. What is your favourite ice cream flavour – I’m not a huge ice cream fan, although I do make exceptions. I think I prefer frozen yoghurt, but if pushed to eat ice cream I’ll choose mint choc-chip.
15. What is your Shoe size – 5.
16. Red or Pink – I think it depends on what the object is and the situation. Each have their place.
17. Who do you miss the most – M when we are not together, my family, Annie and Alexandra when they are/have been travelling
18. What are you wearing at the moment – Black suit, long sleeved cream top, stripy v-necked jumper, black pointy shoes, black tights, underwear, black coat, red and gold Chinese pashmina.
19. What are you listening to at the moment – The sound of people typing.
20. What was the last thing you ate – A chocolate cornflake cake which I made on Monday evening and a cup of coffee.
21. If you were a crayon which colour would you be – blue (turquoise)
22. What is the weather like where you are today – Dark now but was relatively warm, slightly windy and occasionally sunny earlier.
23. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone – One of our panellists.
24. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex – Shoes, smile, hair, clothes, smell, subject of conversation
25. Favourite Drink - Tea
26. Favourite sport – Surfing, sailing, gymnastics, ballet (although I really only do the first two these days and not even much of them now that it’s Winter and I am in London). I like going snowboarding and I enjoy watching 3-day eventing, gymnastics, ice-skating, ballet and tennis.
27. Hair colour - Blonde
28. Eye Colour - Blue
30. Favourite food – Christmas ham, satsumas, Daddy’s apple & chestnut stuffing, Wensleydale cheese.
31. Last Film i watched – Breaking and Entering
32. Scary films or Happy endings - Happy Endings
33. Do you like Summer or Winter – Both. During the summer I am convinced it is my favourite season, but when the leaves start to turn and there is a nip in the air and it is cosy in front of the fire, I am convinced that winter is best. Then the days start to draw out, the blossom starts to form and I am back with my summer conviction. At least I am always pleased…
34. Do you like Hugs or Kisses – Both but it really depends on who they are with.
35. Roses or Daises – Neither really. Some forms of roses, especially the very dark ones that are almost black and the daisies which made the GA go mad (!) but in general I prefer tulips.
Now don't you feel you know me a little better? This is an idea I was considering earlier and wondering whether or not one could truly 'know' someone if you didn't know what they looked or sounded like. I reached the conclusion, that to me at any rate, physical sound and sight are important. I like to be able to visualise what someone looks and sounds like. Lain argues that she is often disappointed when she meets or hears someone whom she feels that she 'knows' through a written medium and that to her, looks and sound are less important. This disappointment is a familiar one. But I have not been on television recently, so if you, like me, find you need this visual confirmation, you will be unfulfilled by this questionnaire.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I fear that this blog is getting boring. I find that since I decided to stop blogging at lunchtime, I have not managed to find the time to write something every day. And when I do, each entry seems to start "it's been a busy week..." etc. But this is true. I have been busy. I have been for a job interview and spent many hours in fruitless preparation. I have been to visit Alexandra at university and friends in London. I have walked many times round Hampstead Heath and drunk many glasses of wine in cosy pubs and busy bars. I have also cooked many cakes, many puddings, read several books and entertained many friends. But this was all shunted into perspective when I received a message on my blog from Rachel Emma. Who found my blog by searching for other bloggers called Rachel and who is suffering from a rare form of stomach cancer. And is only 20. Rachel also writes a blog and takes photographs, beautiful photographs. And (this may be presumptuous of me) who longs to be busy and leading a 'normal' teenage life of shopping and bars and parties and friends. So I am thankful for my life and those whom I love who fill my life and hope that Rachel finds something through the marvels of the internet which make her feel more 'normal'. And my heart goes out to her and her family and I pray that she is healed soon.
Am sat here watching 18 Doughty Street TV and reflecting how interesting it is finally seeing someone 'in the flesh' when you feel rather as if you already know them. I am of course refering to Rachel North, a blogger who I frequently refer and link to in my own blog. Her blog was one of the first that I read and which I have followed (to the extent that I wonder if she is ok of she doesn't post something new after a few days) and which inspired me to set up my own blog. But I have said this already, elsewhere, in other posts, and do not need to gush again here.
I read and tried not to cry when I read of Rachel's experiences, of being attacked, beaten, raped and left for dead. Of 'recovering', facing her attacker in court and providing evidence to see him jailed, to find love and happiness, only to be blown up by the thoughtless and cruel selfishness of another teenager leading an empty and unfulfilled life last July. I have also read of her holidays, her home, her dancing and, on occasion, what she eats. I also know her political opinion on a number of issues; in short, I feel I 'know' her. But I don't. Not really. And although I'd seen her profile picture, until this evening I didn't even know what she looked like. She looks slightly older and fuller than I expected (although they do say that the camera adds pounds), less clothes conscious (although I shouldn't be surprised given this post) but infinitely more human than ever before. And that's really saying something, given how the level of human detail that seeps out of blogs.
But what really got me thinking was this: I feel that I 'know' Rachel better because I know what she looks (and sounds) like, rather than simply what she thinks about things. It is as if my mental picture of her is complete. So, if I couldn't see (or hear) someone, would I really 'know' them? Or is it because I, also Rachel, realise the concept of 'knowing' people through a combination of visual, audio and intellectual stimulation? So does this mean that blind and deaf people relate to people in other ways - perhaps smell and touch are much more important - or do they simply not 'know' people in the same way that a person with all senses. Or, is it personal to me that I need to know what someone looks and sounds like before I feel I 'know' them... I rather think not - it is much easier to create an illusion if something is kept back. Take Kate Moss for example. We all know what she looks like; a very few people know what she sounds like (although the Virgin and Agent Provocateur adverts have dispelled this somewhat) and even fewer people know what she actually thinks about (most) things. And, I would imagine, therefore, very few people would claim to 'know' her. Do we need to experience ‘everything’ before we can ‘know’?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Spent last night at Vinoteca drinking wine and sampling their bar food. The wine was lovely and, so I am led to believe, well priced. I was also pleasantly surprised at how nice the food was. I had read some pretty shocking reviews earlier in the day, so ordered a cheese souffle with some trepidation. And it was actually very nice.
This evening went to the pub at the end of our road with C to have a couple of drinks after work. Managed to time my arrival home nicely - just as I walked through the door, M took a beautiful joint of roast beef from the oven. It was excellent and I look forward to eating the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Have spent rather too much time this week on a website called Facebook. It is fascinating looking up old friends and boyfriends and seeing what everyone is up to. This months Vogue, however, exclaims that if I am a social butterfly who still uses Facebook to communicate, I am not only last season but also very american. Well, it may be last season and american, but where else can you join a group where everyone in that group has the same surname as you do, American and English people and you can debate the origins of your family. Which is apparently related to pirates...
Sunday, November 05, 2006
The theme of the weekend has been fireworks. Metaphorical ones between two friends on Friday evening and actual ones both Saturday and Sunday. Battersea Park's organised display was spectacular; set to music and well executed, it was exciting and beautiful to watch. We took a thermos of mulled wine, a hip flask of whisky and a packet of sparklers - all the ingredients for a perfect bonfire night. We then headed to the Kings Road for a few drinks before returning to Camden and Marathon bar for beer, chips and a spot of late night jazz. It's what living in London is about.
Sunday and after a lie in we headed to Hampstead Heath for a walk. Watched the sun set from Parliament Hill before wandering back to the Well House for a cup of tea. As we walked back along Well Walk we managed to pass a garden just as some fireworks exploded over the top of the wall into the road. I thought I was going to have a heart attack... We decided to walk back to Primrose Hill - it was a beautiful walk on a wonderfully crisp and clear evening. Fireworks were going off around us all the way back to the house (it sounded rather like a warzone, although rather prettier). M cooked a wonderful supper and I made cornflake cakes whilst we watched Planet Earth (and I cried over the dying polar bear) before I chatted to my sister on-line. Oh the beauty of technology! And now, tea and to bed. Work and WI await.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
It's been such a busy week. I realised this morning that I had not posted anything for most of the week. I also realised when Vogue arrived this morning that I had not bought any other magazines since the last issue of Vogue was delivered. This is perhaps the first month since I started purchasing magazines that I did not buy one. And the weirdest thing? I haven't really missed them. I can get celebrity gossip and fashion (free) from the internet and I am so much better informed. Where I would once have read InStyle in my lunch break, I am now reading political blogs, newspaper websites (both UK and US) as well as other publications.
Spent Thursday night rehearsing Beethoven's 9th Symphony for performance on 2 Dec. I then rushed to a cafe in Camden called the Green Note to watch a friend play an acoustic set. I was really pleased that we managed to get there in time. The last time I had seen Tim play was at the Purple Turtle in Camden, which was a bigger but grottier venue. Somehow he seemed more suited to an intimate acoustic setting. Check out his website here or his myspace page.
Friday night and B & C came over for supper. M had brought home some wine samples which we proceeded to taste. He also cooked a beautiful supper based on a Heston Blumenthal recipe, which was delicious, followed by apple crumble which I made from a combination of Berkshire and Shropshire apples, grown in our respective parents' gardens.
And now I am waiting for M to get out of the bath so I can have one myself before we head out for a spot of shopping on the Kings Road, followed by a drink and then Battersea Park Fireworks with L & B. Must go now as M has emerged from the bathroom, branding me a "lazy monkey" as I am still in bed at 3 in the afternoon...