Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer Ends

London seems so grey in comparison to Brittany where the sea sparkled and the sky was the deepest of blues. The August bank holiday always seems to signify the end of summer and the weather this week hasn't dispelled this image. I know I have PMT at the moment which is no doubt not aiding the lift of my mood but I feel a little restless. In many ways September is a gorgeous and beautiful month but I can't help but wish we had got past the in-between stage and were properly in the boots, cardigans and autumnal colours phase rather than this grey one.

Spent much of the week sailing but when we weren't sailing I was reading: The Devil Wears Prada (again), The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (which was surprising compelling), Wives & Sweethearts by Lilian Harry, School's Out by Sarah Tucker and then I am part of the way through Andrew Marr's The History of Modern Britain. Marr's book is interesting and explanatory and reads well. I will comment further when I have finished it. As for the others, they were holiday reading through-and-through.

Morton's The Forgotten Garden was the most interesting read as I was genuinely gripped by it at one point and the twists were enough that you weren't quite sure what was going to happen, although you did find out all the answers in the end. Satisfying, but somehow works that leave you guessing a little are more appealing in the long run. My little sister made surprisingly short work of The Secret History by Donna Tartt - she had asked me to bring her two books, so I chose that and Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood - which was perhaps not all that surprising since she has just returned from a year in an East Coast university, although I hope she did not identify too closely with all the material.

Perhaps when I can summons some more energy I shall post a review or two. For now though all my spare evening time is spent wedding organising. For further details if you are interested see here...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Carte Postale

Dear Little Miss Rachel
Being the 21st century a little less of a postcard more of an electronic message and perhaps even a photo if I can manage it (which I can't as connection too slow). Currently somewhere in Brittany 'checking the weather forecast' otherwise known as an excuse to visit a bar for some bière and a little wifi action. Listening to a live french band and drinking something alcoholic. Weather has been a little off, it was blowing a gale for the first three days so no sailing rather holed up in port witnessing Petite Anglaises' comments about married french men being utter s***ts firsthand. And no we didn't go with them to le discothèque in Carnac despite their best efforts.
More sailing tomorrow, back to Angleterre sometime soon.
Au Revoir

Thursday, August 14, 2008

High Street Rage

I went shopping briefly after work yesterday; a quick 45 minute dash around some of the shops in Angel before my visit to the beauty salon and some pre-hols maintenance.

It is August. As far as I am aware the majority of British holiday makers take their vacances during the school holidays. So mid July - end August. Others without children perhaps start earlier, say Mid May onwards and the entire holiday period probably stretches until at least mid-September, perhaps later.

Being as I am going on a sailing holiday which I hope will contain at least a few hours of sunshine (although judging from the weather forecast we shall be lucky if we get a day without rain) I will need a bikini or two. I've grown a little since last summer and one of my bikinis no longer fits properly. I decided I could probably do with another one, so I started my search in Accessorize. They had a few bikinis on the sale rail - all size 16 and larger, mostly bottoms. A more thorough search of the shop revealed three styles on a rail at the back, again all 14-16s and no tops. A quick check with a sales assistant confirmed that indeed these were all the swimwear they had on sale.

"We've got the autumn stuff in now" she trilled.

"But it's August. I'm going on holiday. Don't you think people might actually want to buy summer/holiday items when they need them? (i.e. the month they go, not three months before) Not have to make do with the few sizes left in the sale".

"Well, they've been in the sale for a few weeks now, that's all we have left" she replied

So even if I had gone on holiday in July I still would have found the bikinis in the sale. And when I asked her to pass onto her manager that most people perhaps might like to be able to buy things in the season when they need them she responded "complain to customer services then". So I left.

A quick look round the other shops in the area confirmed the same thing: swimwear in the sale, if in the shop at all. No sizes on sale smaller than a 14 - no tops. I wonder if the shops order more bottoms than tops or whether there has been an odd run on people buying tops but not bottoms?

So I shall make do with last years too small bikini and the rest of the time I shall wear pants and shorts. If it is not p***ing with rain...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not feeling terribly inspired this week, I have to say. One of those weeks where work is a little dull and you feel rather tired all the time. This cross blogging is also a little strange as I am not sure where I should place this post. Perhaps I will be lazy and cut and paste it onto both...

We did manage to do some more to the flat this weekend though, in amongst some dinners and a birthday party. We have reorganised what we call the 'garden' room (i.e. it opens onto the garden and there is no other obvious use for it) so that it flows better and I have a space now to do wedding (and hopefully not wedding related) craft and diy projects. We have also done a lot of de-cluttering - we have got rid of another 2 bags full of old clothes on free cycle as well as a bread bin and we threw away another 2 boxes of paper recycling and some assorted odds and ends which were not in good enough repair to be passed on.

The bedroom looks more like a proper room too now. Previously we have had both the doors open but one of them blocked off by a chair. We eventually decided this weekend to just close the door and use the space for storage, placing the chair in front. I hadn't anticipated what a difference it would make but the room looks much larger now. We have also put all the books back in the sitting room, recycled a good proportion of our 'sentimental' wine bottle collection and put up a print on the wall as well as bringing in some candles and finding places for all the clothes. Where once someone commented "is that a bedroom, or the world's largest cupboard" on peering round the folding doors which separate the bedroom and sitting room, it is now clearly a bedroom, and a relaxing one too.

Our next task I think will have to be the bathroom. Sorting out all our clothes meant that there is a huge mound of laundry as you cannot put something in a drawer which is not clean. Sadly we have had a rainy weekend so I didn't manage to dry any washing outside and the dehumidifier has already pulled 2 and half litres of water out of the air (recycled straight into the watering can) so it might well have to be a trip to the laundrette at the top of the road. Alternate weeks of hot and then rainy weather have doubled or even tripled the mould growth on the ceiling above the shower, so we need to clean it all off and then paint it with some anti-mould paint. Once the washing has gone and the mould, I think it should feel emptier and lighter in there. Larger than our old Primrose Hill bathroom, but it is still definitely tiny.