Sunday, January 28, 2007

Things I Love

Green & Black's organic milk chocolate
Butterflies
Photographing things
A really tasty meal in a cosy restaurant
Beautiful art and intense colours
Warm sunshine and fresh air
Paddling in the sea
Cuddles
Flowers

Adobe Photoshop
Warm bread with butter melted in
Having my head rubbed/hair brushed
Reading a gripping book
Exploring new places
Cute animals
Bubble baths

But most of all I love... Charles! He's the best!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Togetherness

Men – they have no idea! My water tank has been broken for a few days and I desperately need to wash some clothes. Charles offered me the use of his washing machine, which was kind of him, and so I sent an email suggesting I give him a lift home from London tomorrow night after our evening classes and do my clothes then.

There was me having girly visions of togetherness… happily chatting in the car about our day as we drive home, cooking a nice dinner together while my knickers swoosh around in the washing machine, chatting over our nice meal, hopefully some wildly energetic bonking… and what do I get? A totally practical reply email that says “if you want to go and use the washing machine tomorrow night I can email you photos of how to do the switch settings.” Huh? Where’s the togetherness in a set of emailed instructions?! Does he not get that he’s supposed to think, “wahay, a chance to see Jodie during the week, how fabulous!” Or at the very man-like least, “wahay a chance for a shag!” Romance is soooo dead these days!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Freedom of Being 'Proper'

I'm finding a nice feeling of security now that I am officially 'a proper girlfriend'. In terms of how often we see each other, and what we do together, I think things will carry on pretty much as before, as Charles is very much a creature of habit and routine - Tuesday night is for this, Wednesday night is for that, 3pm is for this, 11pm is for that, and not earthquake nor tsunami will move him! Therefore a label shouldn't really make a whole lot of difference... but I am finding that actually it does. All our enjoyable moments last year were afflicted, for me, with a slight sense of sadness that maybe this might be the last time we were together, or maybe there were other women around that he might be seeing too (I totally closed my mind to that one - ooh horrible thought, far too painful, I'd rather sit naked in nettles eating dog poo!). That said, Charles really isn't the sleep-around type, but with a 'casual' status that worry always has to be in the back of your mind, however teeny-tiny it is (that's a teeny-tiny worry, not a teeny-tiny mind please!). The only time I felt totally relaxed was on holiday in Spain last August, a glorious, sun-filled, happy week when I knew I had his company for a specified amount of time and could just enjoy it.

But now I can refer to Charles as "my boyfriend" rather than, awkwardly, "my - um - friend - kind of - you know". Now we can plan things to do in advance without my suggestions being met with a glazed look of panic at the thought of the horrifying committment that arranging next Saturday entails. Now I don't feel the need to grab every possible moment of his company with both sweaty, gripping hands, but instead feel totally fine about saying, "Actually I think I'll clear out my airing cupboard tonight, you go ahead without me."

It's given me a new sense of freedom and I like it!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Aww!

Awww, the nicest email I’ve ever been sent! From Charles…
“PS Since I’ve been with you so much recently it feels like a gap now that you’re not around!”

And the nicest text...
"I'm missing you now that you're not around. Seems odd!"
That brought a little a tear to my eye!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Not Dumped

A total turnaround in my ‘dumped’ status! Last night in bed Charles woke me up and said that he wanted us to be together again, and this time for it to be a proper, official relationship. The whole of 2006 we spent pretty much every weekend together, ate together, slept together, laughed, cried, went on holiday together and were to all intents and purposes a couple. However, Charles in his mind needed to label it ‘a casual relationship’ in order to be able to cope with it. (It’s a man thing, I’m sure!) But suddenly here he is saying that he wants me after all and, not only that, but he wants me to be a proper girlfriend!

I feel a little wary, just in case he changes his mind again. But also extremely over-the-moon happy!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Dumped

Yesterday was the shittiest day of my entire year! Yes I know it was only day one and there are still another 364 to go, so how do I know? But nevertheless I do know… and was quite probably the shittiest day of the decade too!

We had had a pretty crummy New Years Eve at a very boring tango event. It was nice to be with Charles at midnight, but I wish we had done something nice by ourselves instead, or at least gone out for a good meal. Unfortunately he gets grumpy at tango when the dancing doesn’t go right (which is frequently!) and starts oh-so-helpfully pointing out all my dancing faults, as though he thinks I will go, "Gosh Charles, thanks so much for telling me, I didn't realise how rubbish I was!" and become perfect immediately. Cos of course it's that easy! And at these special tango events people tend to dance only with whoever they came with, there is not a lot of swapping of partners throughout the evening to vary things. So I got picked at all night without remission. The venue itself was also too small with not enough seating, and there was nobody we really knew to talk to, so when we weren’t dancing we were just standing around like spare parts. Not a recipe for a good evening! We should have left I think!

The following day, 1st January, was then just a total nosedive from waking up until going to bed. I think we would have had a better day if we’d just sat there and stuck pins into each other! I'm sure poor Charles was feeling horribly hemmed in because of having to stay at my place, which is in the middle of nowhere, and all the pressure of moving house was getting to him… so I can’t blame him for feeling cruddy. But of course muggins here was the one he took it out on!

I tried really hard to be jolly and cheerful, foolishly thinking that if I was cheerful he would be too... however Charles is far too determined for that, bless him! He wanted to moan, so he moaned! My first attempt at jollying him up was to take him to Kew Gardens for coffee and cake… but, typically, there was no space inside, so we had to sit outside in the freezing cold (moan moan)… and of course then the rain started (more moans). We managed to find a nice, warm greenhouse to walk around in, and he even began to perk up a little… but then we got chucked out as it was closing time (moan). So, back to the car to find I had got a flipping parking ticket. Great! (That was my turn to moan!) Then Charles listlessly wondered whether he might like to go into London but, when we checked the timetables, the trains were finishing early because it was New Years Day (moan) and he thought that probably the caf├ęs would be shut anyway (moan). Then he wanted a newspaper, so we trawled around every shop and garage I could think of… some were shut because it was New Years Day (moan moan), others just didn’t have any papers left (moan). In the end the strain of hours of trying to keep up my bright and breezy impression got too much and I burst into tears. That didn’t please him either!

Finally our glorious day culminated in Charles, lying next to me in bed, dumping me. As I lay there in a wrecked and sobbing heap, with my life falling apart around me, Charles turned to me and said… “You know I feel so much better now!”

Gosh, that’s OK then!

Anyway, that was yesterday. Today was moving day and I had to pull myself together. God I looked a sight… red watery eyes trying to squint out through puffy slits, a puffy swollen face, and a tendency to start sniffling and squeaking every time I thought of life without Charles in it, which was about every ten seconds. But I managed to get a grip on myself just about, and we went into Richmond to get something to eat before meeting Charles’s friend Ben. Charles was in a better mood today – I think actually getting on and doing something useful rather than being cooped up in my flat was doing him good – and he was being ever so kind, trying to encourage me to eat something and even holding my hand across the table.

We met up with Ben, who politely refrained from commenting on my red, fat face, and drove down to collect the van. Woo scary! My car is a little midget Fiat Punto and suddenly I was faced with driving this monstrous great elephants-could-herd-in-it van. The front seat was three people wide, the gear stick moved about a foot in each direction whenever you clunked into a different gear, I had no rear view mirror (due to having no back window – oh of course) and the pedals felt like I was pushing a weights machine at the gym. However, much to my surprise, I quickly decided that driving this huge great thing was fun! I felt like a trucker! I even began to sing a song from Not the 9 O’clock News in my head as I drove along… I like trucking, I like trucking, I like trucking and I like to truck…

We reached West Hampstead without crashing or losing a wing mirror and filled up the van with Charles’s remaining furniture. We had spent the best part of the previous two weeks decanting boxes of books, etc, to my garage so there wasn’t actually too much to move today, just the larger items of furniture and odd bits and pieces like clothing and computer, and we got the van filled quite quickly… then back to Richmond. Unpacking the van was harder than packing it had been, and I was so grateful that Ben was there to help. We had two flights of narrow, crooked staircase to heave things up, and the futon just wouldn’t shift past the first corner. For a horrible half hour Charles and Ben battled and sweated with it… grunt, heave, grrr, mind the plaster, try it this way, no turn it that way… but it just wouldn’t go. They eventually had to admit defeat and I was imagining the thing becoming firewood but it apparently unscrewed and came apart, so it finally went upstairs in pieces.

Lastly, a trip to Don Fernando’s restaurant to refuel with tapas and yet more tapas. Then Ben left and we drove back to my flat for the night, as Charles’ flat is currently in no state for him to sleep in. A good day’s work, if somewhat emotional! And I sure as hell like trucking!