why the long face?

C'mon, gissa smile!

I met up with an old colleague (E) on the spur of the moment last night.  she is someone that I worked pretty closely with for many years, and someone who is very well known, liked and respected at my old workplace.

Her daughter (L) also used to work in the same department as me, and we too forged a pretty good friendship.

So, me and E were having a lovely catch-up in Camden – drinking, gossiping and she was giving me the lowdown on what was going on there.  and LOWdown seemed to be the right word for this, as everything seems such ‘bad news’ at the moment, and noone seems to be particularly motivated about anything.

Anyway, we’d had a few drinks, and this sleazy guy came over and started to try to chat me up.  Which I found cringey and E found hilarious.  she then wanted to go to the loo and I wouldn’t let her, as i was worried that the guy would come over and corner me while she went.  luckily, at this point, L called her and said she was in a bar in Charlotte Street and that we should go over and meet her.

So we did (E still busting for a wee).  When we got there, I was surprised as there were a few people from my old work there, and I hadn’t realised they would be.

And they all looked miserable.  All of them (apart from L who was a bit drunk by then, and is a very happy person anyway…and works from home a lot, which probably helps).

It made me feel so grateful that I left.  It was a hard decision at the time (after 17 years there), but whenever I speak to people still there, I love the fact that my life is so busy but stress-free at work.  the fact that I am appreciated, listened to and the fact that things get done without reams of red-tape, working parties, procedures for everything and the fact that my directors are inspirational, motivational and innovative.

Best move I ever made.

alternative? to what?!

Today I watched the video below in which Miranda sawyer (The Observer’s Radio Critic) gives her argument for why BBC 6Music should be saved.

What was the most interesting thing for me in this video (apart from her obviously brilliant and eloquent way of arguing the point – put so much better than my blog post a few weeks ago!) was that she suggests that ‘alternative’ is a mindset that you can’t get out of.

I’ve never really thought of myself as ‘alternative’ before – but I’m thinking perhaps I am in my mind.  It’s not a conscious decision but big Hollywood blockbusters don’t interest me.  I watch a hell of a lot of foreign films (especially J/K-horrors) – in fact I have a couple of French ones to watch this weekend from Blockbuster.  And theatre-wise, I am always more likely to go and watch something a little ‘odd’ at Barbican than go and see something like Cats (which I hated every moment of).  In fact, I would only really consider something like that because I’m taking The Girl or going along with somebody else (eg when i went to see Oliver! back in January).

I guess that also accounts for the fact that the thought of going to Disneyland/world fills me with a sense of absolute dread, makes me feel nauseous and therefore I’ve never really considered it.  Although that could be just because I’d probably stab someone.  Probably someone dressed up as an animal of some type.

Does that make my friends alternative too then?  Do they have to be alternative to like me?  Do THEY have to be alternative for me to like THEM?  Or is everyone alternative to something?

My brain is now confused.

like a teddy bear

I always seem to keep my tickets!

Last night, I made my way into the uncharted territory that is South London.  I think people make too much of the UK North/South divide (although it makes for hours of entertainment in my house – me being an Essex Girl, and The Man being a Boro Boy).  The REAL divide is that of Old Father Thames.

North London and South London seem to be totally different beasts – and people tend to be extremely loyal to which part they are in, and will argue to the death (or the hoarseness at least) as to why ‘their’ side is better.  Once you have lived in one part, you don’t tend to stray to the other.

Anyway, I digress.  I ventured to Putney, which amused me when I was on the train as I just finished reading The War of the Worlds, in which of course most of the action occurs in the places where the train I was on was visiting.  I kept thinking “Martians!” and then giggling to myself (not very loudly though, as I was on the quiet carriage, and hey, this was South London – there was no telling what might happen to me!).

One of my lovely friends is in a play at Putney Arts Theatre and me and a few of his other friends met up to go and see him do his thing.  The play was Round & Round The Garden by Alan Ayckbourn which is apparently part of a trilogy called The Norman Conquests which can all stand alone.

It was actually really really good, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Parts of it bordered on farce, but it was never really full-blown ‘whoops there go my trousers’, but just gentle and funny.  The cast were great and my mate was obviously the star of the show, playing a gentle slightly dim vet who kind of bumbled along and didn’t have a single clue about how to deal with women (not too hard a stretch for my lovely gay friend!).

I thought it was great.  I love the venue (it’s a converted church – I have been before as another friend is heavily involved in the theatre) and the company was fantastic – I love it when you can relax into easy camaraderie with your friends’ friends!

I came home all warm and glowing…and then opened a letter that was a parking fine that The Man had got.  I am still not talking to him.

pretty little sweet things

Sweet little bites

It may just be because I am bored, but I have the urge to do something very girlie that I have never done before.

I would like to got with a couple of female friends and learn how to make gorgeous little cupcakes with cutesie frosting, or perfect little macarons of various flavours.

I’m not a baker.  I’m a pretty bloody good cook, but can’t follow recipes generally, and the science of baking has always totally freaked me out – it’s so damn precise.  And I don’t do precise.  I guess I’m a natural rebel.

But gorgeous little cupcakes are just…well, gorgeous.  And macarons are just so delicate and perfect looking in their awesome yummy sandwichness.

The trouble is that I believe it’s pretty expensive to go to a macaron making class – the only ones I know of are at the wonderful L’atelier des chefs, that I went to last month (and loved!!) but I wasn’t paying, and the macaron making classes are every saturday, but cost £72!!  And they always seem to be sold out well in advance, so they must be popular!

Cupcakes would be my second choice, but I wouldn’t even know where to start looking for classes.

If I had a bigger kitchen, I would suggest my friends coming round to me and us just making them from recipes, but it’s not an option.  I have a galley kitchen that is a squeeze to get two people into – not really good for a ‘class’.

I think I need friends with big kitchens…which I’m probably not really going to get in London, LOL.

Anyway – if anyone knows of decent, reasonably-priced macaron classes, or even cupcake decorating classes – please do let me know!

the night that was

Choose being an alcoholic

What with everything going on this week, I haven’t mentioned what an absolutely bloody fantastic night I had on Saturday to celebrate my birthday!

I’m one of these people who is a ‘nervous organiser’, and every time I arrange something, it seems to go well, and then I wonder why I was ever worried…but I’ll feel the same the next time.

People DO tend to come along on my birthday, and for the past 6 years or so, I’ve arranged to meet on the Saturday nearest to it and met up at a Wetherspoons bar in Angel as there are a few people that come from outside London and come into Euston, so it’s easy – and Wetherspoons are cheap!!  Which is great for alcoholics!

I actually had my hand forced as to when I was celebrating my birthday as I would’ve had it the weekend before, as it was closer, but loads of my mates informed me that my birthday was always ‘the first weekend in February’ and that they’d saved the date.  Which through me!

Over 25 people turned up, which was fab as a few (as always) had dropped out on the day, and I was having jitters as usual that noone was really going to turn up.  It was also great as a lot of my friends hadn’t seen each other for ages, and were happy to see each other again, and also that I had a couple of ‘new people’ that I introduced into my fold and who seemed to fit in really well!

It always amuses people though that a lot of my closest friends, I met 7 1/2 years ago on a dating site.  And my oldest close friend (longest-standing, not literally the oldest!) I met on the CB radio when I was 17!  I got a text from one of the ‘new into the fold’ friends (who I met on an application in Facebook of all places!) that said “I really liked CB woman and CB woman’s bf” which amused me 🙂

I had a fantastic time, I met a couple of new people, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  And as this is my year of getting back to my social self, I am considering just having a random meet at the end of April or something to bring everyone together again 🙂

another one bites the dust…

I would have preferred vodka!

…year that is.

Monday was my birthday, and I ‘celebrated’ it by being ill.  Oh yes, I did the whole snot, cough and ache thing that had been threatening for a few days, but that I thought I had kept at bay.  I think it’s mainly where I’d not been sleeping, and so got a bit run down and couldn’t fight it off any more.

So, as per my last post, my friends took me for dinner on Saturday night which was gorgeous, and then I met up with The Man again in the pub, where I’d left him about 3 1/2 hours beforehand!  I got to see some of our other friends, and then came home.

I had an awful night’s sleep and got up about 5am on Sunday feeling decidedly miserable and runny (ewww!) which lasted all day, so not surprisingly I didn’t do much, except watch TV and annoy The Man, waiting for The Girl to come home from her dad’s.  Then we all watched Survivors that we’d V+’ed (The Girl LOVES it for some reason – although the two of us watched Total Wipeout straight after, at which she collapses into fits of hysterics).

I hardly slept Sunday night as I couldn’t breathe, and got up at 4am…although I had to wait until the other two were up to open all the cards and pressies I’d accumulated!  I spoke to my boss who said “Ewwww” when I coughed over the phone at him, and told me to stay away until I wasn’t coughing.  I then got an email from him a couple of hours later saying “I forgot to say happy birthday, we’ll take you to lunch when you’re feeling better”…how sweet 🙂

I sat on the sofa and watched TV and played online and was swamped with happy birthdays from my mates, which was lovely, and The Man made me a gorgeous dinner, and also a butterscotch birthday cake, which was totally scrummy!  I even had happy birthday sung to me FOUR TIMES, inc from Florida and Australia, which was lovely.

The day passed nicely, but quite unbirthday-like…but I have my big drinks do on Saturday, which a lot of my friends are coming to, so THAT is when it will feel like my birthday 🙂

a bit selfish, i know

I can sulk like a good'un!

I guess when I wrote this post about all the bad aspects of my personality, I should’ve included being a wee bit selfish.  Although I don’t do it all the time – it’s just right now that I’m having to fight off that monster.

I love my birthday, I’m not sure why – maybe it’s because I don’t like Christmas, but it’s always quite close to Christmas.  maybe it’s because it brightens up that Jan/Feb period that people seem to think is gloomy (which I never have by the way!).  Anyway, today is exactly a week before my birthday – and part of me feels a little downheartened about it this year.

I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends – I tend to have a good turn out for drinks for my birthday – but there’s a little spoilt brat of a child really trying to come to the surface at the minute.

The Man has been out of work for over three and a half years.  A long time!  This usually doesn’t bother me – he was made redundant three times in three years – and the last two roles, he really wasn’t happy in.  At the moment, it kind of suits us.  We’re skint most of the time, yes, but we manage to get by, and we manage to have a bit of fun while we’re doing it.

But just now, I would LOVE to have a treat or surprise for my birthday, and I get a little bit sad knowing that it’s not going to happen.  I am NOT going to pay out for a present for myself because that just feels very self-indulgent, but he doesn’t get any money at all (jobseekers allowance stops after 6 months and we get absolutely zilch benefits because I work).

I always make sure I treat him as much as possible on his birthday, but for some reason this year it’s really hit me that he can’t do the same for me.  I don’t remember feeling like this the past three birthdays, so I’m not sure why it’s getting to me this time.  Perhaps it’s because I usually have my ‘big birthday night out’ drinking with my mates really close to my birthday, and this year, everyone decided it’s the first weekend in February and they all kept the 6th free, whereas I would’ve gone for the 30th – so it feels like nothing is actually going to happen on/around my birthday.

I’m thinking next weekend is my birthday weekend, and yet I’m not going to be celebrating it in any way.

And that is what makes me feel selfish I guess – I’m still going to have a great night out, just a week later, and I still have exactly the same situation as I have for years.  I just seem to want something more.  And I feel bad about that 😦


Far harder to give than 20p!

I am generally a pretty happy person.  I’m happy with my life, and as long as I feel good about getting up and going into work every day, and can eat, drink and have the occasional good time (ooer!) I’m definitely content.

However, every now and then I get those thoughts “Maybe one day I should get around to…”  or “I wonder whether I should…”

These are aspects of my personality/being that I generally accept as traits that make me ‘Me’, but just occasionally I wonder whether I should some time and effort into changing them.  Obviously in the past thirty-*ahem* years I haven’t been moved to, but I’m thinking that in an attempt to face those ghosts of ideas it would help me to get them down and out of my head!  So here goes (I’ve actually been working on this post in draft for days!).

I love a good crisis

This is just my own crises, I love it when other people have a crisis too.  I love problem-solving and I love psychology, and it gives me a chance to exercise both.  I always feel really energised at times of great trauma.  I can deal with huge problems – it’s the little ones I flap about.

I have no sense of adventure

I don’t feel the need to travel.  In fact, thinking about going ‘on holiday’ often fills me with an enormous sense of trepidation.  I spend the day before I go abroad in tears generally as the thought of being away upsets me.  This could have its roots in all sorts of past issues (eg how I never felt ‘at home’ during my childhood or first marriage) or could be my whole social phobia.  However, I always have a great time on holiday – it’s just the best part is that feeling when I’m on the home stretch, returning to London.

I hold a grudge

Oh I am a complete bugger for this.  It takes a LOT to get to me, my bullshit threshold is quite high (although has reduced over the years of course) but once you’ve disappointed me, upset me or pissed me off it would take a HELL of a lot of work for me to get over it.

I’m fat

Of course, a lot of this is because I have no metabolism, and I forget to take my pills (literally) half of the time, but it’s also because I love food.  All sorts of food.  and if something tastes good, I’ll want to eat more of it!  It’s also a bit because of the next issue.

I’m lazy

As I mentioned before, I love my home, I feel so…’at home’ I guess, and this often makes me loathe to be anywhere else!  I can quite happily stay indoors for a whole weekend.  If I lived alone, I’d probably feel different – when I was single I used to go out at least 4 times a week, even though my two best friends lived with me and in the next road!  Maybe I’m making up for years of excess!

I don’t believe in ‘forever’ / I always feel like running

The Man reckons I’m not a commitophobe, which I don’t agree with – however I don’t believe that we can be sure that any relationship (romantic or otherwise) will last forever, so I am loathe to make promises I can’t keep.  This is something I’ve accepted in myself since I split with husband #2.  And I feel happier for it.  Although I don’t think The Man feels the same way, LOL.  Unfortunately, when things aren’t going right, my first instinct is always to run away (probably a reason behind two divorces) and having a child makes this impossible, scaring me beyond belief!

I can be scathing about things I don’t agree with / I can’t be wrong

Oh I can be a bitch.  “Why the FUCK would you want to live in Milton Keynes?  Where’s the character?”  I’ve often said this to my friend who does.  “X Factor?  You really watch that shit karaoke show full of talentless nobodies?”.  “Don’t talk to me about bloody Christmas, commercial fucking nonsense!  No, don’t send me a bloody card!”.  Yes, well. If I don’t like it, it must be wrong, and I will argue it to the death!  Also, along the same lines, I find it hard to say I was wrong about something, and lose face!  not so much with friends, or at work, but definitely with The Man, it’s like admitting that the other one is better somehow – but as we both do it, is it that bad?  😉

I don’t confide easily / I’ll laugh everything off

I’ve mentioned before, the fact that I have ‘circles of friendship‘ and hardly anyone ever gets through to my inner circle.  I don’t like burdening people with my problems, I will hold them close to me and try to work them out by myself.  I didn’t even tell The Man when I thought the flat might get repossessed about 14 months ago as I didn’t want to upset him, and I didn’t want him to think I couldn’t cope.  I only told him the day I got a letter detailing the repossession timeline!  in my head, my problems are my own and noone else should have to deal with them.  If anyone does ask me things, I’ll generally laugh it off.

I’m painfully shy

Not with people I know obviously, but as mentioned before, it’s with new people.  I get scared witless talking to them, especially in a group.  A swift couple of vodkas usually solves it, but I shouldn’t really have to rely on Mr Smirnoff and his friends.  The Man amazes me, he will talk to anyone anywhere, but then hardly say a word in a group of close friends!

I have no qualifications / talents and have learned nothing new for years

I can’t ‘do’ anything!  I don’t play a musical instrument, speak another language (apart from schoolgirl French and a little sign language) and about the only thing I feel I have a natural talent for is cooking and writing, which aren’t exactly unique – and I’m not outstanding at either of them.  This mainly links in to me being lazy, and just wanting to have fun.  I also think I’m pretty good at human psychology, but in the way that I can predict how someone will act in a given situation, or how they will act when faced with something.  I always spend parties curled up on a  sofa or bed with someone I’ve met that night, sorting out their love-life etc, and getting really into their deep-set emotional issues.  I guess that may be a talent, but it’s nothing discernible really.

So – that’s me.  Not very pretty really when it’s all listed out like that, LOL…and I’m sure there’s other stuff that I haven’t put down.

However, as I mentioned, this is stuff that I know about myself, and have accepted about me – and I guess the people around me must have as well.  So all is not lost.

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