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Friday, 9 May 2008


And then on to a weekend of glorious sunshine. Which was… disappointing. I hate summer. Yes, yes, yes. I’ve heard all the arguments but I’m sorry summer is foul. No two words strike more fear in to my heart than “Indian Summer”. Just extends the fear. I begin to dread summer around March, I know the good times of winter are about to end and we’ll be plunged in to misery. I just don’t get it. It’s filthy hot and all people do is talk about how hot it is. You smother yourself in cream that doesn’t rub in properly just so you can go outside and not burn to death. And even then you miss a bit and so have one very weird shaped patch of bright red skin, which then peels. Or you forget your factor 60 when you put the bin out and come back with a bright red face which you then put make up on making you look like some sort of trial cosmetic surgery patient or the result of a child attempting to find “flesh” colour in a box of crayons “well there’s nothing here that looks like flesh, I’ll use neon pink instead”.

Also you’re expected to be outside all the flipping time. Running around rejoicing in ants and gnats. You know what I thought would be fun? If we took all our dinner outside and ate off a rug. To make things more “fun” I thought we’d eat off some plastic plates, seeing as you have to eat off your knees it’s nice to have a plate with a bit of flex to it. And for extra special fun we’re going to do away with using the oven and char our food over an open fire. You know, like the cavemen did.

After all this “fun” you can return to your own oven, more commonly know as your house and sweat to death in your bed for 8 hours until it’s time to get up and take your first shower of the day. You will take the second one moments after stepping out of the shower and realise you are instantly covered in sweat again.

To enhance the joy there is a soundtrack. Every radio station in the land will play Summer in the City, In the Summertime, California Dreaming and of course Summertime by Will Smith. Which has the unique skill of making you nostalgic for summers you never actually had. I have never hung out on a basketball court watching little girls playing double dutch. Oh and a grown man who calls himself “Jazzy Jeff” should be shot in the face. Sounds like a paedophilic uncle.

People also lose the ability to dress themselves. I have no desire to see your mid-drift, your cellulite, your camel hoof or your weird peeling skin. Summer also seems to reveal that there are many people in this world suffering from the terrible condition of “four boob syndrome”. This is easily solvable – go up a size. Oh and while you’re there, hoik them up a bit.

But the worse thing is people unable to accept that you just don’t like summer. You ask to sit in the shade and you get told that you should be enjoying the glorious sunshine. You say you don’t like it. Oh but it’s wonderful. Oh but it’s not. Oh but it makes you feel so happy. No it makes me plunge in to a mood until I can put tights on for winter. Well I like it. Well good for you, I hate it now shut up. I don’t expect people to dance around all winter, revelling in the joy that is cold, I accept your short comings now accept that anything above 7 degrees sends me in to a mood. I spend most of summer praying for rain. Now let me get on with it.

Still hopefully over soon eh?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Sex and the City

Now bear in mind that these particular words of wisdom would have made slightly more sense ooooh about 4 years ago. But they didn’t occur to me then. So if you could imagine it’s 2004 then that may well aid your enjoyment. It was all triggered by a pretty crap weekend. Thought I’d cheer myself up by watching a bit of Sex and the City on Sunday evening, instead it set me thinking. Indeed, in the words of the horse faced Carrie Bradshaw: I couldn’t help but wonder….

If New York is the city that never sleeps, and these are all meant to be such fabulous women who loved themselves each other and their lives; why the hell did they all have such a crap ending? Carrie gave up a career which enabled her to live in Manhattan and wear Manolo Blanhiks in return for 20 minutes of work a week, to move to France with a craggy faced dwarf and be ignored. Luckily, Schnozzy bear who’d treated her like crap for the last 6 years went over and got her and then she returned to her apartment that the dwarf was paying for and wait for Schnozzy to move from Nappa. Girl Power! Meanwhile Charlotte, who gave up work after she made a million out of her first 4 month marriage (aka the ho route) changed herself and her religion to enjoy her second marriage, she then spent her days redecorating and cooking nice meals. Samantha finally admitted that she was better off in a couple and Miranda got to soap down her naked mother in law in a bath. Bet she was thrilled her law degree was finally put to good use.

It seemed a rather bizarre end to a show based on the concept of four single women living in New York who enjoyed their lives. It’s almost as though they wished they could have ended on a giant sign that just read “GROW UP” and in order to grow up you have to get married and have children. Until then you are just being silly. Now I know this wasn’t the most realistic of shows and I’m not really that upset about it but it seemed very strange that not one of them ended up on their own and was fine about it. Is that not considered an ending? Is marriage an ending? Now they’re paired off their story is over? If so I find that equally as sad, surely it would be far nicer to see it as a beginning. I know, I know, they’re not real.

Many tv shows do that. I was ridiculously pleased when Joey and Phoebe didn’t get together at the end of Friends. I was delighted when This Life ended with Millie smacking Rachel and we never knew what happened until This Life + 10. I was equally annoyed when Will and Grace ended with them all grinning at each other in an overwhelming burst of smugness and cheesiness which went completely against the rest of the show.

I couldn’t help but wonder… should I get a life of my own?

Still I suppose SATC (as no one calls it) had to end some how. Samantha was getting on a bit and had exhausted all the men in New York, literally. Miranda had an astonishingly ugly child so had her own problems. And I suppose pairing off is slightly more up beat ending than watching Samantha die of syphilis. That said I am really looking forward to the film.

Standard of Living

It would appear that I have a slightly different standard of living to everyone else. Not in status or level of living (I live like a troll and survive mainly on cornflakes) but in what I feel is acceptable. This came to light when I was at a friend’s house and I went upstairs to use their bathroom. Whilst I was there I thought I’d have a nose through their bathroom cabinet, sadly the door came off in my hand and I made rather a lot of noise. When I went downstairs I was asked what I’d been doing. Unable to think of an excuse quick enough I said “I was looking in your cupboard and the door came off”. From the looks on everyone’s faces you’d think I’d said “I was being sick in your bed”. Now if someone was going through my pant drawer, or I came upstairs to find them dressed in my clothes using my toothbrush, then I’d be a bit miffed, but looking in my bathroom cabinet wouldn’t bother me at all. It made me think of all the other views I hold that no one else agrees with.

Scarlett Johansson is not attractive.
In fact she is quite unattractive. I went to see ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ the other day. It was very good. Only enhanced by the woman behind us saying at the end “So is this based on a true story?”. Natalie Portman was very good in it and was stunning. Absolutely stunning. Scarlett Johansson looked like Pob. If Pob was ever so slightly deformed and had a flesh beak for a mouth. And she can’t shut her mouth. It’s constantly hanging open. She just mings to be quite frank.

Fawlty Towers is not amusing
I understand that is very well written and beautifully performed and has stood the test of time etc etc. It should be admired on it’s own terms and respected as it set a new bar for comedy etc etc. But after watching an episode, usually on a plane where I have no choice, I am usually reduced to shouting “oh come on. Just explain”. It’s incredibly frustrating and irritating and there are better things out there. Some Mothers Do Ave Em affects me in a similar way. I do not find Frank Spencer amusing. I want to beat him. About the face.

Ice Cream is Disgusting.
It is dirty, dirty filth and should be banned. Whereas calipos and frozen water lollies are great, ice cream is grim. In fact the majority of puddings are horrible and the whole course could be done away with and replaced by a nice cup of tea. Now I know that I don’t look like I turn down a lot of puddings, but I find that I am able to maintain my fatty boom boom status through savoury alone and the odd bit of chocolate. Especially the odd packet of chocolate buttons. Indeed ever since I threw a tantrum in the office over my need for chocolate buttons, I have been overwhelmed by them. But it doesn’t happen often. And I have never longed for ice cream. When I was younger I was at a friends house and his mum offered me an ice cream float. Having never heard of one I accepted and then saw her heavily soil a perfectly good drink by putting ice cream in it. The resulting mess she gave me repulsed me and made me realise that not only is ice cream disgusting it is also evil as it ruins good things.

The Original is not always best.
Now I know that the majority of things should be left alone, classic films, classic songs, Melanie Griffiths face. But the original is not always the best and there is nothing more annoying than mentioning a song and someone butting in and saying “well of course it’s not a patch on the original, oh my god have you never heard it? What a philistine you are, you obviously don’t know music and should have your ears cut off”. And I am not saying that I prefer Ray Quinn’s version of “My Way” over Sinatra’s or CandyFlips version of “Strawberry Fields” over the Beatles. I am saying that I like “The Tide is High” by Blondie rather than the Paragons. Just because it wasn’t the original doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved. Then someone goes and releases a remake of “The Italian Job” and you realise your theory has a massive flaw in it. Perhaps my whole belief system is flawed.

French Exchange

I am thinking of a holiday in France. Well more than thinking, planning a holiday in France. God, I am so proactive. Well actually I am not. I have given my input and someone else is planning it. I originally put a plan together but given that my Geography skills are non-existent (I gave it up at 13, didn’t really want a life of wearing wellies and going on strange field trips. We went on one once where a man ate mud. I don’t need that in my life), my plan would have involved a good three days worth of driving and shares in Esso. So I was removed (therefore my actual plan, worked perfectly).

So I am off to France. I have been there before. I went on a school French exchange when I was 15. I think I can safely say that it was one of the more horrific experiences of my life. My exchange partner was a fat voluntary mute who stayed with us for two weeks without changing her clothes once. As you can imagine I was longing to get to France and stay with her and her family. I arrived and was told to sleep in a room full of dolls. Admittedly they weren’t to know of my terrible fear and my French didn’t stretch to “excuse me I am scared the dolls will come to life in the night and kill me” so I waited till everyone was asleep and slept on the sofa every night. Mute remained a mute. To be fair I didn’t help her much. I was always reasonable at French but actually being in France demonstrated to me that I had been cruelly failed by the education system. I was completely unable to talk to anyone. If Mute had been willing to have an animated conversation about sandwich fillings or directions we would have got on like a house on fire. I could have even sung her a song about things I could see (voici le port, voici le camping, voici le chateau, et le sandicat d’incinative). But sadly she wasn’t interested. So instead we sat in silence. Her mother seemed to watch insane porn on the tv, it could have been a French soap opera as it was on telly at reasonable hours of the day and her father amused himself by walking in on me having a shower. Occasionally we were summoned to the table to eat some under cooked horse and then we resumed our silence.

Thankfully I was away with the school so was able to escape now and again. This also enabled me to hear stories of other people’s exchange families which made me think I was quite well off. One girl was kicked out by her family when she refused to let her exchange partner sleep with her boyfriend in her bed. Another was taken to an all night rave where she was abandoned. Another girl’s exchange partner went on holiday for the last week so she came to stay with us. She was made to share a bed with me. Which was nice given that we hadn’t ever spoken to each other at school. Also meant I couldn’t escape the dolls. On our trips out we pooled together knowledge for survival. My friend was given no food. I was sent off everyday with 2 french sticks filled with sweaty ham, a family sized bag of crisps, a WHOLE BAG of fun sized Mars bars and 4 litres of water. All I needed was a pack horse to carry it around on. I practically fed everyone on the coach. We must have been the only people in town longing for traffic jams so we didn’t have to go home.

Part way in to this delightful trip the mute broke her silence to tell me “we are going to my grandmothers today”. How lovely I thought. I collected my book and my purse and was good to go. I was wearing a light summers dress; it was a lovely day, no need for a jumper. Mute and Mother gave me some odd looks but I ignored them as I settled myself in to their Citroen ready to enjoy some delightful French pop music (sadly not by the group Téléphone, made popular by the Tricoloure books – Fifi LeFolle was a massive fan). 6 hours of driving later I realised the meaning of those looks. We stayed with her grandmother for four days. Not only did I spend my days in that dress, I also had to sleep in that dress as I had to share a bed with the mute. It was also about 90 degrees for most of the time I was there. No one commented. The grandmothers flat was decorated with posters of the tour de france, so I was able to use my vocabulary of transport words. In many ways these were the halcyon days of the exchange.

This trip to France will not be like that. I shall take a variety of outfits, I shall speak about topics other than the Tour de France and I shall put a lock on the bathroom door. Bon Vacance.


I don’t behave badly when I am drunk. It usually follows three stages and then it’s all over. Stage one: drink a lot less than everyone else but get a lot drunker due to being a lightweight. Stage two: Invite everyone back to mine for a party. Stage three: realise I don’t actually want to hold a party and so run away and go home to bed. Stage three usually occurs around 8pm. However it is not so much the nights out that are doing me in but the hangovers, which aren’t getting worse as I get older but are getting more bizarre.

Back in January I decided to meet with some friends for a couple of lovely drinks after work on a Friday. The night ended with me waking up at 5am wearing my bra, pants and a cardigan (not one I had gone out in) on my bathroom floor (due to drunkenness, Beth hadn’t interfered with me or anything). I had bruised my cheekbone from falling asleep with my head down the toilet and was not feeling very well at all. So I thought the best thing to do would be to go to a small child’s birthday party. A small child’s birthday party which involved me making two large salads and picking my Nan up on route. The ingredients of the salad were residing in Sainsbury’s and her birthday present was as yet unbought. After retching my way round the supermarket I admitted defeat and called my Dad and was chauffeured to the party. Where I slumped in the corner. Briefly rousing myself to drink 18 pints of water.

Last Saturday I went out for St Patrick’s Day. Knowing my limitations I didn’t start until 4 and paced myself very well throughout the evening. I got the last train home and was tucked up in bed by 2. What a good girl I am. Until I woke up the next morning (at 8:30- brilliant) with a strong desire for a hash brown. Now I am used to weird hangover cravings. I normally find that a pint of diet coke and a bag of chipsticks sorts me out right nice but the heart wants what it wants and in this case it wanted a hash brown. And so I found myself sitting with some very strange people in McDonalds at 9am on Sunday morning. Do people really breakfast in McDonalds? There were whole families sitting there eating their breakfast out of paper bags. A friend of mine went to McDonalds for the first time when she was 96, she felt she should. She rang me when she got back to confide “well it was quite tasty, I had a fillet o fish. But they gave it to me in an egg box!”. As has previously been established I am a bit of a snob but if someone was going to make me get up to breakfast with them I would like it if I actually got cutlery.

But one hash brown later I felt much better and decided to round off my Sunday chav party with a trip to Primark. I had heard a rumour that they had Cath Kidson esq bedwear. That is debatable. Perhaps the person who designed it had once heard of Cath Kidson or sat next to her on a bus but it was more in the style of “horrid”. But as I was wandering round something caught my eye. Now I am used to insane hungover shopping, coming home from the supermarket with your week’s shopping to find that you have to create meals out of 50 pre-cooked cocktail sausages and a tub of chocolate nesquik but never before has this infliction strayed in to the world of clothes. As a result I am now the proud owner of a navy velour “leisure suit”. Words can not express how foul this is. It comes complete with a little anchor on the zip and an enormous elastic waist band. Luckily it was only £8. I spent the afternoon amusing myself by wearing it around the house. Now I know I live on my own so am very good at amusing myself but surely 3 hours laughing at myself in a tracksuit borders on needing to be hospitalised? In my defence I had decided to wear it J-Lo style so had done it up round my boobs. As I was pottering around there was a knock on the door and I was forced to fling myself to the ground. I simply could not have been seen in this thing. Put it this way, if there was a fire I would stop to change. But it’s now 4-30 on a Tuesday and I am looking forward to going home to my velour suit. Perhaps the people in Maccas were in on something. Buy your breakfasts in McDonalds and your clothes in Primark. Not only will they stretch to fit but you won’t want to be seen in public anyway, leaving you free to eat as much as you like.


The looming future of being a bridesmaid has pushed me in to a punishing exercise routine. So far I have leapt around to Jennifer Ellison’s West End Workout (surprisingly enjoyable), Davina McCall’s Power of 3 (very hard work but ultimately satisfying) and Pilates for Dummies (insanely hard, sweated like a racehorse and walked like I had soiled myself for about a week). I have also restarted swimming every morning before work. At a swimming pool filled with people with absolutely no body issues at all.

Yesterday I was forced to shower with a completely naked woman in a VERY small shower cubicle. She was scrubbing away, baps to the wind, whilst I was rammed in to a corner trying not to look anywhere. Then as I was getting changed I nipped across to a dry cubicle to put my socks on and a woman took that as a cue to pull back her curtain and have a lovely chat to me whilst she was completely naked. Why? Why? Why? The curtain is there for a reason. Use it. None of this however is as bad as the guy at my brother’s gym who regularly puts his foot up on the bench and blow dries his bits with the communal hairdryer. My brother is considering changing gyms.

Perhaps it’s me. I could well be too uptight. Looking for both bridesmaid dresses and Soap Award dresses has meant that I have spent a lot of time seeing myself in unflattering changing room mirrors. I seem to have modelled my look on the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. Hey! There’s a thought, maybe I don’t need a dress for the Awards. I could just find a sailor’s cap, go nudey rudey and pretend I am a guest presenter! But it wasn’t till I’ve spent this time with a mirror that I’ve realised just how many scars I have, and how many I have utterly no idea how I got them.

Some I obviously have total recall of. I can remember my finger being cut off in a door (surprisingly). Seeing your own blood hit the ceiling and then fishing your finger top out of a hinge is something that stays with you. I also have the reminder through having no feeling in that finger. Which is actually incredibly useful for helping you know your left from your right. 5 fingers= right hand. 4 finger= left hand. I can remember getting the scar on my knee (falling over on to broken glass), the scar on my arm (dropping the grill pan on to my arm when I was waitressing – the skin actually sizzled then shrivelled up, like when you chuck a crisp packet on a fire), the scar on my hip (It was claimed – by my brothers – that they were able to jump me on their bikes. All I had to do was lie there whilst they rode off the ramp they had set up and they would land safely on the other side. Sadly we became a bit over confident and I moved further and further back. The co-ordinated one on the lighter bike was successful, the less co-ordinated one on the heavier bike imbedded his pedal in to my side. I believe parental sympathy went along the lines of “well why on earth did you let them do it?”).

But I have absolutely no idea at all how I got the scar on my face. It’s not huge, about an inch long, right by my mouth and it’s not in photos of me when I am younger, so at some point I was hit in the face. Now I know it not huge so it’s not like I was mauled by a dog or was knifed or anything but you’d think I’d remember being smacked in the face by an anvil or something. My parents don’t remember either but given that our childhood incidents involve: one of us falling off a cliff (they held on and were pulled back up), 2 of us cutting our fingers off (different doors), one of us nailing a flip flop to their foot and a fish-hook going through a finger, I guess the lesser incidents are forgotten. My mum only really looks pale when she recalls looking up one day whilst she was on the phone and seeing me coming towards her. I was being carefully lowered from 4 floors above. I was wearing a pair of reins and was tied to a skipping rope.

Actually looking back it’s no wonder I have so many battle scars. But they have done me good. If nothing else I keep my clothes on in public changing rooms.