Monday, April 30, 2007

Hayfever - grooh

Every year in March I get a hayfever phase which lasts until May or June. Last year it wasn't too bad... at the very first sign of the sniffles I bought a big bottle of Beconase and faithfully snorted it up my nostrils morning and night for a couple of months. During that time I barely had to blow my nose at all. I could even kid myself that I was 'cured' of hayfever!

I was doing the same this year, although I did keep forgetting some of my evening sniffs so I have been a little more snotty than previously. Then at the weekend Doctor Charles was watching me sniff my bottle. "Don't use that stuff, it'll get on your brain!" he said. Whilst I'm not sure that this is physiologically possible, it does hurt my head if I sniff the stuff in too enthusiastically. So I stopped. For just 24 hours.

Now I have one of the worst bouts of hayfever I can ever remember. My head is throbbing, my eyes are puffy with tiredness... there's an evil little pixie up my nose and he's twanging elastic bands against the inside of my nostrils... and I sound like a defective steam train - "Sniff, choo, choo, sniff, choo, choo!"

I'm going back to the Beconase!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Run Until You Drop

Another run around Richmond Park today. I wasn't in the mood (well I never am, lazy moo!) but Charles dragged me out, and I'm glad he did. It was sunny and fine, a perfect day for being out in the park.

After last weekend's complaints that Charles hadn't pushed himself enough, which had been followed by him taking himself out for a run without me last Wednesday (can't have that, he'll be getting fitter than me if I'm not careful!) I decided that today he was going to darned well push himself. So I wouldn't let us have any breaks, we would stop for only a few seconds at a time, and then we had to keep running. And running. We even took a longer route around the park today which was nice as we discovered a sheltered area with good picnic potential and a big lake.

Without the stops in our running I really got into my stride and could have run on and on I think. In a converse way it became easier and easier the longer we ran (or maybe I'm just odd!). In the end though I felt a bit guilty at pushing us on, as Charles suddenly had an asthma attack and we had to stop, properly! Oops! Lucky he had his inhaler with him or I'd have had to chuck him over my shoulder to run us both home quick smart!

We decided to make use of our stop to have a stretching session, with Charles pulling and pushing my arms into contorted positions. As he was standing behind me, pulling me into a stretch, he said, "You're looking smaller today." (Another way of saying "Hey, your fat arse is shrinking!") It's a good thing though!

Anyway, I think Charles did feel that he pushed himself this week. And I think, too, that he might have changed his opinion of me as being a weak and feeble girlie who can't keep up with the boys!

I beat Charles! Ha!

(Now we'll just have to see if I can beat him on a day when he doesn't get struck down with an asthma attack!!)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hairy biker

I was watching The Avengers whilst I ate my tea last night. Emma Peel is a crap spy – when she shoots someone she closes her eyes as she pulls the trigger!

Does anyone else find Dave from The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook strangely attractive? I squawked out loud when someone draped a big cobra around his head and he said nervously, “I’ve only come to cook meatballs!”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I am Monica

I am so damn organised!

I have been working out a rough plan for our Spanish holiday. When I say ‘rough’ I mean I have researched every possible town, village and area of natural beauty within 200km of Malaga (which is where we are flying out to), I have looked up in my Lonely Planet guide all the nice things to do in each place, double and triple checked this information against several websites to make sure nothing was missed out, looked up photos on the internet to make sure every place is as beautiful as it is supposed to be, worked out a circular route that fits in most of the nice bits (an anticlockwise route and a clockwise route, which are slightly different!), decided which places we should stay the night in (both clockwise and anti-clockwise), looked up opening times and addresses of every tourist site in every town we pass through… typed all this information up neatly (with bold and italic for emphasis), printed it out and put it safely in a folder in the order in which it will be needed on holiday.

Last night I was watching Friends, the episode where Monica organises Pheobe’s wedding – and, oh my god, I am Monica! The only thing I am lacking is her headset! I wonder if Charles would like the “super-organised sex at 2300 hours” that Chandler was listed for??!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Got Any Spare Change?

The mortgage rates are set to go up again soon. Bloody hell, I’m barely surviving now – that will just kill me! The only reason I’ve kept my head above water over the last few months is because Charles has gradually been paying me back the money he borrowed for the deposit on his flat. I get the last bit this week, which will immediately be swallowed up by our Spanish holiday.

And then I’m pretty much not going to eat ever again!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Or not...

At midnight last night I was happily emailing Charles:

God this food tastes good! Verrry happy tummy!

Then at 4.00 am I was emailing him again:

I’ve got food poisoning. Bleurgh!

Serves me right for being too lazy/greedy to take the chicken shreds out of Charles’ mum’s rice! Normally I’m a fish-eating vegetarian and wouldn’t eat chicken – but there were a few small bits mixed up in the rice, and it smelled sooo good, and I was too hungry to care. Ha! That’ll learn me!

Luckily it turned out to be more of a dodgy tummy than actual food poisoning, so for a couple of hours I lay on the settee in a dressing-gowned heap and watched some programmes about mummies on BBC4. It was quite a nice way to be ill really, I must do it more often!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Food Glorious Food!

I raised myself groggily from a very deep sleep, showered, and staggered off down to Sainsburys to buy cakes for afternoon tea. Then spent a couple of hours tidying the flat a bit, hard-boiling eggs for egg mayonnaise, making sandwiches, and making mint tea to be chilled in the fridge.

My friend Abdul duly arrived a few minutes after 3.00. I’m not quite sure that Abdul understood the concept of ‘an English afternoon tea’. He turned up having just had his lunch and not remotely hungry! However, I was starving so I had my tea and he got to watch me and then eat stale sandwiches a couple of hours later. (Bet he was glad he came!!)

Abdul brought along a big box of burfi, which are Indian sweets. They have an odd kind of sweet/savoury taste which I wasn’t too keen on the first time I tried them – my uncultured English palate didn’t quite know what to make of the strange taste – but I’m not one to give up on a foodstuff so I kept at it(!) and now I think they are fab. The coconut ones are the absolute best.

I did really well for food pressies today. After Abdul left I had a short rest and then mid evening I drove into London to pick Charles up from Euston Station, on his way back from visiting his parents oop north. He had a load of food his mum had given him to take home, so of course I got to have some ‘samples’ to take back to my flat after dropping him off! And that unexpected midnight meal was finished off with a good few pieces of burfi. Mmm!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Viva La Diva

Charles and I went for our third (well, his fourth) run today. It didn’t feel any easier than previous weeks, but I’m obviously getting a bit fitter as I made it past our first ‘stopping point’ before I actually had to stop. Wahey!

Charles was a bit grumpy afterwards because he didn’t feel he’d pushed himself hard enough today. OK then, wait until next time Charlie-boy, you’ll see what pushing yourself is all about… I’m not going to let you stop the whole way round the park! Then you’ll have something to be grumpy about – beaten by a gurrl! (Woo, a challenge!)

We came out of the park at 6.20 and I was supposed to be at someone’s house for pre-dinner drinks at 6.00. I’d obviously need a tardis to achieve that one. But I sped home, performed the quickest shower and change in the whole history of humanity (shower, into posh frock, put up hair, do makeup – 20 minutes flat!!). Then zoomed down the, thankfully empty, motorway at 90mph to arrive just in time for dinner at 7.30. I have no idea how I managed that!

The dinner host was William, a friend from work, and our dinner was to celebrate the Queen’s 81st birthday. I’m sure she would have been impressed had she seen us! There we all were in our posh frocks and tiaras (the girls) and our suits and sashes (the boys), and even William’s granny had her tiara and sash on. Very nice! Wish I’d remembered my camera.

Eight of us being squashed around a four-person table made for a very cosy dinner atmosphere. Then afterwards we left a few people chatting in the kitchen, and William and Natalie started dancing around the sitting room whilst me and granny looked on. Initially I did my ‘po faced and stiff arsed’ bit and refused to dance with them:

"Oh no, I’ll look silly, I can’t do that kind of dancing. I can only do tango." Good grief, how boring am I?!

But then Natalie dragged me up and I soon fell into the swing of it. Wriggle, bounce and sing-a-long, hey it was fun! Who’d have thought it!

I was wearing my glitteriest tango shoes because of the dressiness of the evening, and thank goodness for that – they may be high heels but because they are designed for dancing in they didn’t hurt my feet, no matter how much I jumped around in them. So we danced, jumped and sang along to a whole load of Abba songs, the soundtracks to Muriel’s Wedding and Priscilla Queen of the desert, Whigfield, Village People, Cher… it was a wonderfully gay music choice, absolutely perfect for having fun to. William was pretending to be a leery Scottish bloke on the pull at a disco, wiggling his hips and lips in an exaggeratedly meaningful way at us girls, and me and Natalie were responding in kind:

"Och, would you laike a flash o' ma dress?"

And so many bad pick-up lines were flung around:

"Hi I’m Fred Flintstone, I can really make your bed rock."

It was so silly, my tummy hurt from all the laughing!

And then, oh my god, William put on Adam and the Ants! Adam Ant was my big teenage crush, and I’m such a saddo I can even remember exactly where I was the moment Stand and Deliver went straight into the charts at Number 1 (lunchtime, sitting on the concrete ‘toadstools’ at my school, with a gaggle of girls all huddled around someone’s crackly radio). So I sang and imaginary-drummed my way through several songs, happily regressing to my childhood.

I was the first one to chicken out of the evening at 1.30 am, so I don’t know what time the party went on until. I left with Viva La Diva (Eurovision winner for Israel a few years ago) ringing in my ears, and a throat hoarse from all that singing.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fat Girl

It’s exhausting being fat. You take a pair of jeans, fresh from the wash, and by the time you’ve managed to heave them past your huge bum, and strained for several minutes to make the zip meet over your enormous stomach… you’re totally worn out and need a lie-down to recover!

I think I’m going to have to finally admit defeat with the size 12 trousers and unearth my ‘fat girl’ clothes from the top of my wardrobe. Pah!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Work Avoidance

8.00 am - arrive at work.

Turn on computer and trawl through emails looking for any personal ones. Answer those and delete some spam.

Update blog with photos of my garden and my Easter egg.

Tidy my work area. Empty a few boxes, stack some books neatly. Watch as books fall over and slide off end of desk. Can't be bothered to stack them again so leave them where they are.

Walk to canteen and get a coffee.

Make decision to tidy the stationery cupboard. Pat everything into place, nice 90 degree angles, everything straight and side by side. Can't reach the top shelf, however, and someone has removed the footstool, so I wander off in search of a chair to stand on. Most chairs are the kind that have wheels on the bottom and the seat spins round and round - decide not to risk climbing onto one of those as I'm not feeling quite that adventurous today. Instead, find a nice sturdy chair without wheels in a meeting room. Drag it to cupboard and stand on it. Chair seat turns out to have a hidden spring and almost catapults me across the corridor - pyoing! Wobbling precariously, I straighten files on top shelf of cupboard. Climb off chair which, as my weight leaves it, springs back again and this time nearly catapults me onto my bum. Drag chair back to meeting room. Kick chair.

Lunchtime. Walk to canteen and order a sandwich - brie, avocado and mustard. The woman puts a mingy amount of mustard on the bread so I ask her to put some more on. Her eyes widen, but she does so. Carry sandwich back to desk and take a bite. Wooooo, nearly blows my ears off! Manage to finish sandwich but it hurts!! Eyes water copiously.

What else can I do that's not really work? Decide to perform stock rotation on the contents of the toner cupboard. Old toners dragged out of cupboard onto floor, new toners positioned in back of cupboard, old toners replaced.

Trawl the internet for a picture of the queen (a friend is having a birthday party for the queen at the weekend - not that she is aware of this!). Print out picture.

Discover cheese and biscuits in bag and realise I had brought lunch with me today and didn't actually need to buy a sandwich. Eat second lunch anyway.

3.00pm - finally get around to checking my intray!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Weeny Baby

Feeling very broody! One of the girls in the lab brought in her new little baby this morning. She was born prematurely - not even due for another two weeks yet - so, very tiny, yet perfect. I cuddled her for a bit and then had to go to the loo for a cry. I wish you could go and buy babies in Mothercare!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

To Sit and Stare

Our recent day trips to the beach and our afternoons running through the park in the sunshine have done me so much good! Lately I've been feeling a bit depressed, felt cooped up and wanting to get away from it all. I've really needed a holiday. Hopes for our forthcoming Spanish holiday have (for me) centred around wangling as much time as I can to just sit and stare blankly at nothing whilst the sun shines down on my head... sitting on a beach, sitting on a hilltop, sitting eating food, sitting digesting food... staring mindlessly at the sea, staring mindlessly at my tapas, staring mindlessly at Charles. This was my ultimate wish!

But suddenly I don't feel the need to do the mindless thing any more. Well OK, maybe a bit! But I also feel like doing some sightseeing and other things too. I feel like exploring Spanish caves, hiking up those hills that I'm going to sit atop, maybe even visiting an aquarium or an art gallery. Hey, Spain - fun!

Obviously spending some time away from it all in the open air, even just for an afternoon, is good for the soul!

Monday, April 16, 2007


My patio is blooming! On my way home from work I bought a whole carful of plants, plus some herb seeds, some potting compost and a dear little cream coloured watering can. My patio garden is now filled with greenery, bushery and blooms.

I feel like having an 'At Home' day like the aristocracy, so that people can come and take tea and admire my lovely garden!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cool Runnings!

Our second run today. And another hot, sunny day for it. We set off around Richmond Park, on the same route as last time, and today I think it was just a weeny bit easier.

Charles took his skipping rope along with him and stopped running periodically to do 50 skips. I didn't take a skipping rope along and I stopped running periodically to have a walk!

We always walk the last part of our route as we have done a good long run (and skip) by then... plus it's uphill and there's no way I'm bloody running uphill! Today, as we came to our walking place, we saw a herd of deer in the shade of the trees. We quietly tiptoed around them and sat on a fallen tree trunk to watch. It was very peaceful and nice, sitting there watching and chatting. Charles even collected a baby caterpillar in his hair, which I put on a fern. Eventually a load of people came and the deer started getting a bit agitated, so we walked off up the hill.

My only problem with today's run was that I hadn't eaten a proper breakfast before we set off, so an hour later I had a severe blood sugar low and could barely support my bodyweight on my weedy, collapsible legs! Managed to wibble and wobble my way to the cafe in the park though, and had some very nice poached salmon sandwiches and some scones. Just what I needed!

I like our runs!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday 13th

Friday 13th. Hah! Too bloody right!

My plans for today were simple: try to leave work a little early, go home and get a couple of hours sleep, then put on my very best dress (if something I bought in a Tesco sale can be considered ‘very best’!) and go off to a tango party.

Then yesterday happened!

As soon as I got into work yesterday morning Patrick (who is not my boss) pounced on me and said that Jill (who is my boss) had volunteered me to create some posters for him, and that he needed them in draft form by 5pm. Great. I just love being given work by people I don’t even work for.

I was just settling down to start the posters when the Visa Office phoned. Jill’s application for a visa for China, which I had couriered off to them yesterday, had been refused by the Chinese Embassy on the grounds that there was not enough room for the visa in her passport. What did I want them to do? Er – magic up a visa anyway?! There then followed a series of frantic phone calls with visa/passport people and conversations with my boss to see how we could get both a new passport and a Chinese visa in a turnaround of just two working days. This was not helped by the rather dim lady at the Visa Office who said she was going to post Jill’s passport and the application form back to us to arrive by Monday latest. Erm, no… we’ll have a courier bike it to us today I think!! Anyway, it seemed as though everything might just be possible with some very tight organisation, so I set about getting all the logistics sorted out. Panic panic! The horriblest thing, though, was that, because Jill had meetings on Friday, it looked like muggins here was going to have to travel into central London and spend my day queuing to make the passport application and then waiting for four hours while the new passport was prepared. Lovely.

In the middle of a phone call with the Visa Office Jill popped her head around my computer and motioned that she would like me to find a lead for her laptop, as she was just about to go to a meeting and needed it to give a presentation. Right now please. I had Jill in one ear, the Visa woman in the other ear, both talking to me at once… I was supposed to magic up a laptop lead from nowhere at the same time… and it suddenly occurred to me that I was also supposed to go and fetch the teas and coffees for Jill’s meeting. Aaagh! Jill ran off, leaving me to finish talking to the Visa Office. But no sooner had I put the phone down than she rang me… there were strange people in her meeting room, what time had I booked the room for?

“1.30 till 4.30”

“But I’ve told everyone it starts at 1.00! They will all be here in a minute and there’s people in the room!”

“Well you can go in and kick them out, their meeting was supposed to finish at 12.30.”

“OK, I'll do that. By the way, when you go to get my laptop lead I need you to walk via the canteen and pick up three people to bring them to the meeting. One of them has white hair, so you’ll spot him.”

Dear god! Visa on hold for the moment, I dashed off to IT, rudely interrupted a conversation someone was having in order to ask for a laptop lead, picked up a pile of completed printing while I was there, carried lead and printing off to the canteen, managed to snag the correct white-haired man (not easy on a site of 1000 people!), dragged him and his confused colleagues round to the kitchens, grabbed my trolley of coffees and teas, rattled and clinked at some speed to the building the meeting was in like the Flying Tea Lady (strange men still in tow), squashed us all into the creaky old service lift along with the trolley, and got everyone and everything upstairs to the meeting.

Trolley back to the kitchens, printing back to my desk, sit down and carry on with the passport application process. Bugger – the London Passport Office is full. But they can make me an appointment in Peterborough if I like? Peterborough!!! I don’t want to go to bloody Peterborough! I want my nice early home time, and my nice sleep, and my nice tango party in my nice dress! Not getting up early and stinky crowds and trains and a long day and late home! Crappy flipping crap!

The next few hours were spent running to reception to pick up the couriered items, filling out application forms, dealing with a couple of urgent emails that had popped into my inbox inconveniently demanding my attention, running to clear up the meeting room, take coffee pots back to kitchens, laptop lead back to IT, and sending boss off to get passport photos done in town.

I finally got round to Patrick’s posters at 4pm. That’s my normal home time. I wanted to go home. I wanted to punch his nose and run away. I wanted to tell him to go stick his posters up his bum. But I sat there for two and a quarter hours doing one poster. And doing my best to do a damn good job of it too.

And then he actually had the cheek to look a little pained and ask me when I would have the second poster done!

“Erm – not tomorrow, I’m in Peterborough!”

“Can’t someone go to Peterborough instead of you? I need you here to do these posters.”


Anyway, here we are. Friday 13th. I’m in Peterborough Library waiting until it's time to go back to the Passport Office to pick up Jill’s new passport. I am frantically emailing one of the admins at work to arrange couriers for Monday. I’m tired and I have a sore throat. I am surrounded by ‘teenage’ books and chatting people and a very sniffy girl with loud headphones (I thought libraries were supposed to be quiet places where librarians go “sshh”?) and on a shelf next to me is a book called “Does Snogging Count as Exercise?”

I think I’ll go and see what it says…

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I babysat for my little niece and nephew this evening. Nephew is 2 and niece is 9 months and they are both so cute. When the babies were being put to bed my little nephew asked if I could go upstairs and kiss him goodnight. He’s never done that before!

Aww! I like being an aunty.

My brother's house is cool. Wherever I sit - every room, and even in my bedroom - there is an internet connection, ready to plug into my laptop!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fit (not!)

I woke up this morning and lay in bed, thinking, “Hey, my legs don’t hurt at all, I must be fitter than I thought!”

Then I got up.

Ha ha ha ha hahaha ha ha!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007


Tired today. I woke up in the middle of the night having heart-thumping panics about the amount we spent on dinner last night. I can be a bit dim when it comes to numbers and I suddenly realised that we must have spent pretty near £100 by eating from the A La Carte menu when, if we had chosen from the set menu, it would be more like £50. And I’m sure everything would have tasted just as nice! I lay there for ages mentally adding up all our courses over and over again (trying to make the numbers shrink with repetition!). Didn’t sleep a whole lot after that!

Finally I decided I might as well get up and I had a lovely hot bubble bath in the funny bath cabinet thingy. Charles managed to dig himself out of his pit at 8.45am – no mean feat when you think that his preferred time of rising is usually more like 2.45pm. It’s about the equivalent of me getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning! We both yawned our way down to breakfast and again they had the nice classical music playing in the background, and a French waitress, and endless food…

I really didn’t want to leave the hotel. We creaked back up the staircase to our room after breakfast and I lay on the bed to have a last stare into the wallpaper and try and imprint the room onto my memory… but finally it came time to go. Poo! If ever I become a squillionnaire I am going to buy that hotel and live in it, all by myself! (Well, me and my French staff!)

Back to Charles’ flat. We had decided that today was (long drumroll) Running Day. Time to Get Fit. Time to Lose That Flab. The sun was shining brightly, and I had my tracksuit and trainers in the car, so we had no excuse to put it off.

Running, yuck! I was convinced I was going to hate it! But hey, guess what, it was really fun! We entered Richmond Park and jogged along (well OK, we sort of hobbled with intent), we chatted (wheezed – and – huffed – a – few – words – out – gasp), we stopped to admire the view a few times (collapsed onto various fallen tree trunks to rest) and it was all really companionable and fun and sunshiney and nice. Blimey!

I bet I ache tomorrow though!

Once we had returned home and showered, we set off for Bournemouth. We were hoping it was going to be as nice as Poole had been on Saturday.

Silly us!

Bournemouth was noisy and yobby, with funfairs, amusement arcades and dirt. The chip shop was dirty, with loud thumpy music, staff who had no idea what the words ‘service industry’ meant, and the most disgusting fish and chips we have ever eaten – semi-cooked chips and burnt battered fish. Bleurgh! At sunset, gangs of yobby teenagers began to arrive in their cars, playing their music so loud that my skull vibrated in time with the beat, and smoking very strong-smelling pot. I’m sure I sound like somebody’s granny here, but I really don’t like stuff like that. Give me a quiet picnic on a pretty beach any day, but save me from the common people!!

It wasn’t all bad though. When we arrived we walked down the beach away from the pier area and sat in the sand for a while, looking at the sea and chatting. Then we found a little, red, plastic spade in the sand and played beach cricket with the spade and some pebbles. My cricketing style was more like badminton for girls - ie, arm windmilling in all directions and not much connection of spade to pebbles. But it was fun!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I Wish All Days Were Like This

Today was another lovely day. The sun was shining, my patio was blooming, so Charles made us a breakfast of fried eggs, sugared strawberries and a fruit tart and served it to me out on the patio. How perfect is he?!

Next stop was Richmond, for Danieli's ice cream. If you have never experienced this then I tell you "Go now!" It is the best tasting ice cream in the whole history of my stomach! I had a scoop of cherry ice cream with whole cherries in it, and a scoop of real pistachio - creamy, tasty, mmmmm!

But the biggest treat of our day was still to come. We had booked a night in a hotel near where I work, a creaky old 16th century building with beautiful gardens and ghosts in the woodwork. We arrived at the hotel and Charles, bless him, pulled his pyjamas out of the car boot and was going to carry them inside just like that - looking like an armful of laundry! I hurriedly thrust a carrier bag at him so that he had something to put them in, which was just as well, as our bags were carried upstairs from Reception by the hotel porter, and I'm fairly sure he has never been given an armful of laundry to take to someone's room before! Even so, he looked a little confused at being handed a carrier bag by Charles and a cloth carrier bag by me - no suitcases!

Our room - oh my god, our room! It was fabulous! It was large, with the most enormously wide bed that we could both sprawl out on and barely even touch each others fingers together. There were even secret cupboards. I opened one cupboard to find a walk in area with nothing in it. But I walked in anyway - to find another huge cupboard inside the cupboard. This I hid in and called Charles.

"Come in here a minute!"

In he walked.

"Huh? Where are you?"

He walked out again. I found that hilarious! God I'm such a child!

Another cupboard opened up to produce a television, yet another one produced an entire bathroom! The wallpaper was gorgeous. It was filled with pictures of birds and butterflies and bees, all intertwined with branches and blooming flowers. We lay on the bed and stared at it for ages, losing ourselves in the pictures.

Then it was time to explore the gardens. These were styled like a knot garden, with shaped trees and little shaped hedges. There was a stream with a little arched footbridge crossing it and blossoming trees dropping their petals onto the bridge. On the other side of the bridge there was another, circular garden with seats to rest in and a fountain in the middle. And there was a more natural area with a lake and some swans, which stretched into the distance. We even came across a little outdoor swimming pool (although it was closed) which had wonderfully old-fashioned wooden changing cubicles alongside it.

After a happy couple of hours wandering outside we went back to our room to change for dinner. Woo, they did things properly here! The dining room had gentle classical background music, all the waiters were French and very attentive, the menu was scarily expensive... I loved it! And oh my god, the food! Every bite was heavenly quality, just perfect! In spite of the expense, I think I will come back and eat here again every time I feel in need of a real treat!

After dinner we wandered the gardens again in the dark. We found a little Summer house with seats outside it, and sat peacefully chatting for ages. Eventually we were driven in by the thought that they might lock the hotel doors and leave us outside, otherwise we'd still be there now!

What a heavenly day!

Saturday, April 07, 2007


A nice day today. We started off in Richmond Farmers’ Market, buying hot flatbread and mint tea from the Algerian stall for our breakfast. We carried it down to the river and sat there gazing at the water, with our bellies getting happily warmed while our heads slowly woke up. Afterwards, Charles gave me a bunch of beautiful, golden-coloured tulips. Flowers for no reason blimey! That put a smile on my face for sure!

Then off to Poole for the afternoon! We drove into the town and tried to find the beaches… round and round we went, following the brown sandcastle signs. Suddenly the sandcastle signs stopped and so, with the water close by on our right, we found a car park and got out of the car. There was a lone ice cream van in the car park, so we bought the obligatory seaside ice creams, and wandered off in the direction of the water. Disappointingly, it wasn’t very beachy. There was a low, concrete wall running along the shoreline, and on the other side of this the water lapped gently at the mud and pebbles. But we ate our ice creams and took some photos of the seagulls anyway. Eventually we decided to get back into the car and see if we could find somewhere nicer further along the coast.

Off we set. And soon came across sand and people and proper beaches – we had been nowhere near the beach before! Dur! And to think that we might have driven away, thinking that a bit of grass and mud was all there was to Poole!

Anyway, we spent hours wandering along the beach. We paddled in the (icy) water, took photos, collected shells, felt the sand between our toes (and the odd sharp stone!). A dog stopped her walk to play with me at one point. I was throwing pebbles for her to retrieve – not that she was picking them up, but she liked chasing them into the water, watching them go splash, and then waiting for the next pebble to be thrown. Eventually I spotted her owners in the distance, calling and waving, and as doggy wasn’t keen to finish our game, I took her on a little walk back to them.

We finished the day eating fish and chips in a picnic area on the cliff top, watching the sun set, with a rather cute rat looking wistfully at our chips from the bushes! After we stood up and moved away from our picnic table, Charles paused to take some photos of the lights across the water, so I stood beside him and watched the rat snuffling around. Suddenly a noise startled the bushes, which shook all over – and I realised just how many rats must actually be hidden in there! Glad I didn’t know that when I had been sitting just six inches away! One rat = cute, whereas 50 rats = bloody scary!

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Best Easter Egg

Charlie-boy gave me such a brilliant Easter egg today! It is a posh one from Fortnum and Mason, and has cute little sugar flowers and sugar butterflies decorating it. I've never had such a pretty Easter egg!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Male Logic

Having decided to cancel my home phone because I don't use it enough to justify the £10.99 per month it costs me in line rental, I sent out an email to all my friends telling them that the phone number would not be valid any more.

Raj replied with this piece of male logic:

If you register with BT as a low user then you only pay about £11 a quarter... you can then get ADSL to have internet in the house. It may cost some money, £10 a month is about the lowest I've seen or usually a full high bandwidth connection for £15 a month on top of the phone connection but you'll have an internet connection.

Once I'd managed to decode his dodgy grammar... hmm, basically I'm getting rid of my phone to save £11 per month, and suddenly Raj has got me paying £15 per month plus phone charges on top!

Yes, that's really going to make me rich!

Holiday Planning

On the way home from work I popped into Waterstones to look for a decent book on Spain. We’re off on our holidays soon and need to decide where we’re going so that we can book our flights. So far, apart from thinking “woo Spain” we’re having trouble deciding on the places we want to visit, the airport we want to land at, whether we relax on a beach or run around museums, go where we’ve been before or explore new places… Spain is all so lovely that we kind of want to go EVERYWHERE and it’s a job to force our minds to settle on just one area.

I found the Spain section on the second floor. Surprisingly few books for Spain so I didn’t have to spend too long choosing between them. I looked at the – ooh, whole three – books available that covered all of Spain and settled on a Lonely Planet guide as it looked pretty comprehensive. I walked over to the till and gave the man my book – then, as I was fishing around in my purse for my credit card, he thrust another book under my nose and said grandly, “May I offer you a guide to Europe for just £5?” Bloody hell, we can’t even settle on one teeny tiny part of Spain – don’t give us the whole of flipping Europe to ponder on, we’ll never get anywhere!

I had a bit of running around to do before going on home so, after leaving Waterstones, I dashed into Marks and Spencers to pick up a sandwich to keep me going. It was a real party atmosphere in there this evening! I don’t know whether I was just in a really good mood or whether it was the combination of the glorious sunshine outside and the music inside (we are family, ooh sing it to me) but the man packing bags at the till was having a good bop, my foot was tapping away, and everyone seemed so very smiley! Parteee! (In M&S??!)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Day 1 of lardbusting. Gave away some chocolate Easter cakes to some people in the office. “Ooh what are these for, is it your birthday?” one of them wanted to know. No it pigging well isn’t!

At lunchtime I had to put a cheque in the bank so walked to town and back. I went the short way, but hey, at least my legs moved!

Later on I glumly wondered whether walking to the canteen to get a cappuccino would use up all the calories said cappuccino would inflict on me… and decided it wouldn’t. So didn’t.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Oh my good grief! I haven’t weighed myself for two weeks and I’ve put on half a stone!! How in the name of crap did that happen?!

I haven’t eaten any more than normal so it must be purely down to not exercising. Bleurgh, I’m going to have to unearth my trainers from the dust and do some huffing and puffing.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Early morning. I dragged myself out of bed after only a few hours sleep, kissed a very sleepy Charles on the forehead, and pointed Molly, my car, in the direction of Suffolk – home of my friend Rachel. I felt very unprepared my phone was low on battery, I only had a biscuit with me for breakfast and no water to drink, I had little petrol in the car, and hadn’t checked the tyres either, nor was there any windscreen wash ready to squirt over my windscreen if it got dirty. Quite unlike me as I do tend to worry if I'm not fully prepared for every eventuality! But I needed to get going before the roads filled up with traffic and so pushed all my worries to the back of my mind and just drove, hoping all the while for a petrol station where I would be able to deal with everything except charging the phone. As it turned out every petrol station I came across was either on the wrong side of a dual carriageway, miles off a motorway turning, or invisible until I was just past it! But, despite being convinced that my tyres were going to pop and the car run out of petrol, I really enjoyed the drive... once east of London and off the North Circular the roads were empty, with more squashed pheasants on the roads than there were cars, the sun was shining, and I could just put my foot down and motor along.

I managed to get all the way to Stowmarket without getting lost or spluttering to a stop. Phew! Once in the town I asked directions to Rachel's road and ended up parked in a supermarket car park. I turned my phone on and rang Rachel who came to find me. We found that I had very conveniently parked only two minutes from her house (and had actually been just by her house when I was asking directions – I should have just shouted out of the car window and she would have heard me – save on phone calls!)

It was so nice to see her again, we haven’t met up in absolutely ages. Not since my birthday last year in fact, and there were far too many other people around then to have a proper chat with her. So all through the afternoon we chatted and chatted until our throats were sore, and then chatted some more! She cooked a lovely meal of salmon, roast potatoes and honey roast parsnips, with two puddings and Battenburg cake for tea. My tummy was very happy, I can tell you!

I was quite sad to have to leave. However, I didn’t really want to drive home in the dark because that makes me sleepy, and it was already 6.30pm with sunset looming and a two and a half hour drive ahead of me, so I had to go… but could easily have stayed chatting all night.