Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wasps and Babies

Charles and I were invited to a tango party in south London this afternoon. I was a little bit nervous about going. I dithered about it for ages the night before, and then again when I woke up in the morning, and very nearly chickened out altogether. I’m never good in social, chit-chatty situations. I become frozen up with shyness and go into ‘awkward’ mode where I sit in a corner examining my shoelaces and trying to pretend I don’t exist. (God, I’m such fun!) However, I seem to be becoming a bit of a hermit lately, so I kicked myself up the bum and sternly told myself to get out there and talk to some people for once.

Decision made, off we went. We had a good drive to south London. The sun was unexpectedly shining, there was little traffic, it was very pleasant. We parked the car and found the house where the party was being held. Up the footpath we went. Charles rang the doorbell and quickly backed away, pushing me in front of him.
“You go first.”
“No way, you go first!” I scuttled around behind him again.
“It might not be the right house.”
“I know, that's why you have to go first, I’m a wuss!”
(We’re so grown up!)

He was the one in front as the door opened (ha!) and we were ushered down a long, mirrored hallway and into the kitchen. My eyes immediately skipped past all the people and alighted on a huge spread of food. Mmm! It all looked droolingly gorgeous – strange cheeses, sliced pears, various types of bread, huge bowls containing salads of every description – foodstuffs that it wouldn’t have occurred to me to put with each other, such as aubergine, courgette and roasted tomato salad. I could feel myself salivating wildly! I suddenly decided that there is actually an advantage to not really knowing many people at a party – you don’t have to say hello to anybody and you can just dive straight into the grub! Wahey – piggy heaven! However, after managing to grab a plate and fork, my cunning plan was thwarted by the fact that the kitchen was quite narrow and, whichever way I dodged and ducked, there was always some large bloke in between me and the food. Crap! In the end I had to patiently chew on some bread and houmous, which were the only items I could reach, until Charles had finished saying all his hellos (unlike me, he actually speaks to people!) – and he pushed a swathe through the crowd for us to move down the kitchen to the rest of the food and the garden.

Neither of us had realised that it was going to be a tango party. When two of the men started slotting wooden boards together in the garden to make a floor to dance on, we both looked at each other – we hadn’t brought our tango shoes! Oh no! Charles was in sandals, I was in sandals. Everyone else seemed to be better prepared and people began appearing outside shod variously in dance trainers and high heels.

The first couple to begin dancing were really good and we happily settled down to watch them. Not so happy, though, was the woman’s little son who must have been about 2 years old. He looked on in horror. What on earth was his mother doing leaving him alone at the side of the garden in order to go and do strange bodily things with this strange man?! It just wasn’t right!
“Mummeeee!” he wailed.
Mummy ignored him. She was enjoying her dance!
“Mummeee! Mummeee!”
Very fittingly, the singer on the record was crooning something in Spanish that sounded like ‘mommy’ so they had quite a duet going on. Another couple began dancing too.

In his distress the little boy started to toddle onto the wooden floor and was in danger of being mowed down by the dancers, so Charles very sensibly picked him up and sat him on his knee. This seemed to calm him down a bit. Eventually Mummy finished her dance and went off in search of a drink, so the little boy slid off Charles' knee to follow her, obviously very relieved that his mother was acting normally once more.

But, oh no – much to his dismay, she was out again a few minutes later with another partner, and again left him at the edge of the dance floor.
“Mummeee!” he wailed in disbelief.

Charles had by now wandered off to talk to someone, so this time I proffered my own lap and gave the little boy a cuddle whilst he looked on at the dancing. He settled down again immediately, but - hmmm, a child on my lap? Not a good idea! I’m so broody at the moment that all anyone has to do is point a small child in my direction and I'm guaranteed to end up running to the nearest loo to have a cry...

Sure enough, I could feel my throat tightening and my eyes filling up. Oh gawd, don't cry now you silly bat! I had visions of suddenly finding myself the centre of a concerned group of party guests, all patting my hands, clucking, and passing me tissues, whilst they tried to find out what dreadful thing was upsetting me - and I was sure that pointing at the little boy and squeaking, "It's a baybeee!" would just leave everyone thoroughly confused!

Sniff, gulp. How to distract myself… how to distract myself…

Distraction came in the form of a wasp up my skirt! When I felt the tickly insect feet crawling up my thigh I almost launched the poor child across the garden! Luckily he landed the right way up (albeit with a loud thump) and he ran off into the kitchen in search of someone less freaky whilst I frantically flapped my clothes about to try and get the wasp to come out. I have a wasp phobia so, when I say ‘frantically’, that is a weeny bit of an understatement. Jiggling about like a hula dancer on speed, I shrieked, "There's a wasp up my skirt! Ooooeee, there’s a wasp up my skirt!”
Everyone looked at me as though I was slightly bonkers.
“A wasp? Oh that's alright,” said someone, calmly.
Alright??! No it bloody isn't ALRIGHT, it's a WASP!! And it's just an inch away from my lady-bits!!! I flapped some more and the wasp fell out of my skirt and onto the patio, then flew off looking somewhat dazed.

Phroo, adventure over! That was scary! I was very wary of wasps for the rest of the afternoon. I sat there clutching my skirt tightly around my legs to make sure there would be no gaps for exploratory insects, every hair on my body twangingly alert for the slightest sign of another little waspy footstep or a little waspy breath.

In spite of the endless swarms of killer wasps that kept trying to land on me, and in spite of our inappropriate footwear, Charles and I managed to have a few nice dances together. I’ve been having a break from tango lately as I found I just wasn’t enjoying it in the way that I used to. I had begun to dread the Friday milongas coming around instead of looking forward to them and, when my calf muscle went ping and detached itself whilst I was running in Richmond Park one day, followed soon afterwards by someone spiking my foot with their stiletto heel during the Tango Extravaganza, which left me with broken foot bones, I decided that enough was enough - I just wasn’t meant to be tangoing right now and it was time for a break!

Today though, for the first time in ages, I actually enjoyed dancing! Charles danced in his socks, I danced in my sandals; we tripped over the joins in the boards or fell off the edge of the floor; we dodged the crab apple tree and the wasps – but none of that mattered, it was all just a really nice experience! I’m thinking now that maybe my tango break should come to an end soon. Perhaps I just need to find a way of making tango fun again? How I do that I’m not quite sure yet, but watch this space!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Channel Flicking

I was made to watch The One Show today on BBC1. Sulkily. I actually wanted to watch Jeeves and Wooster which is far more entertaining.

My friend Abdul is in a choir who apparently were going to be featured singing on the show and he gets a wee bit grumpy if you don’t show interest in everything he does – he never lets you hear the end of it! I think he feels that a ‘real friend’ would be eager to look at anything to do with him, in the way that over-keen parents have to turn up to every football match their child plays, every school performance, every ballet lesson. He keeps trying to make me listen to his choir, inviting me to every performance and complaining when I say no, and he even once expected me to buy a copy of the Times just to read a mention of the choir.

What he doesn’t get is that it’s not actually about him at all – I just don’t like the choir, I think they sound totally crap! ‘Cacophonous’ is the most apt word I can think of. It’s one of those choirs where anybody can pay to be a member and therefore singing ability doesn’t come into it – and, boy, can you tell!

This particular television show had even less to recommend it to me because the choir were going to be singing a song about redheads and how hard they have it in life, poor dears – not something I have any sympathy for, as I think there are far worse crosses to bear than a hair colour! Hey, if you don’t like it, dye it!

Anyway, in order not to get told off for not taking an interest, I decided that my best policy would be to watch Jeeves and Wooster but flick back to BBC1 every minute or two to see the choir when they came on. However, in the end my flicking came to nothing. Half an hour of grumpily back and forth (because of course the redhead article came on at the very end of the programme, typical) and I flicked back from Jeeves and Wooster to hear Bonnie Langford saying she doesn’t know what all the fuss is about, she never had a problem with her red hair. Yay Bonnie!

So all that flicking and missing Jeeves and Wooster witticisms was for nothing as I had missed the choir altogether.

Actually, maybe that’s a good thing!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Happy Face

Facebook is my Happy Place.

I can watch pretty coloured fish swimming about in my aquarium. I can go into my art gallery and look at all the beautiful pictures that I have put up there. I can get the weather forecast and read the news headlines. I can read Dilbert cartoons. I can look at my world travel map and reminisce about where I've been and plan all the nice places I still want to see.

And I can click on a picture of a hamster and make the poor creature vibrate, which for some reason has me in stitches!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I’m so tired today, I can barely stay awake – my back ache woke me up at 4.00am and I had to get out of bed to ease it, so I was in work at 6.15 – grooh! Raj is coming round this evening to help me shift furniture into the garage (I’m trying to turn my flat into a show home before I put it on the market). I hope he doesn’t mind if I fall asleep and let him drag furniture by himself!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


In the middle of getting dressed this morning, I was standing there wearing just my pants and a stripey T-shirt. Charles came over and patted my tummy.

“Aww, it’s all round and cute!” he said. “You look like a bumble bee!”


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tan Tropez

Standing at the coffee machine Pete remarked to me, “You look very radiant today!”

“Why, thank you!” I said, feeling rather pleased.

“Yes, have you got that Saint Tropez tan stuff on?”

No I blinking well haven’t! In order to quickly disassociate myself from all Essex Girl connotations, I explained that I had been quite tanned since coming back from Spain.

“Nah, that’s that Saint Tropez stuff,” he insisted. “You look all orangey.”

Speechless, I removed one of my sandals and showed him the white, untanned strap lines on my foot.

“Oh,” he said, disappointed.

Monday, July 09, 2007


I love animals, especially dogs and cats, and I think a home isn’t homely without a cat on your lap and a dog lying contentedly in front of the fire. However, Charles didn't grow up with animals as I did, and he isn’t keen on pets. He thinks they’re unhygienic when they lick their bums, and scary when they show their teeth – or even just when they look at him. But he kindly said I could have a cloth cat as a pet! Hmm, maybe I should put up giant posters of cats on every wall, showing their wide, staring eyes and their 6 inch long, glinting teeth in glorious close-up, and then a real one would seem so teeny-weeny and fluffy and cuddly by comparison that he will be begging me to swap!

* * *

From the Favela Chic Tango MySpace page:
“This new and exciting social club night aims to bring, diffuse and expand the music and friendly dancefloor mentality of tango to a wider London crowd.”… friendly dancefloor mentality… ha ha ha hahaha ha haaa!

* * *

I have just found someone who has 261 Facebook friends. How can he possibly have met that many people in his entire life?!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Talk Talk

I met up with Rachel at Petworth House this afternoon. The drive down was good, it only took an hour, but I was so tired. I’ve had backache every night recently and it makes for very unrestful nights.

I had a fab time with Rachel though – lots of chatting, two lots of tea and cake, a good shopping spree in the National Trust shop – and a quick sprint around the rooms of the house as we had spent too long doing the other things and it was almost closing time. Our cars were, funnily enough, parked right beside each other, so we carried on chatting in the car park. Yak yak yak. Eventually we had to be asked to leave because we had been gassing for so long that they were waiting to lock the gates!

In the shop I had bought Charles a posh mug with ‘His Lordship’ written across it. He likes to refer to himself as Lord Charles of Richmond Hill, so it seemed very apt! I dropped it round to his flat on my way home and left it in the kitchen for him to find.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Charles gave me a present of some little butterfly pins for my cork noticeboard. They are so cute! He does give good presents.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I’ve just had hopi ear candling done on my ears. Incredibly relaxing, but a little weird! Basically the therapist sticks a candle in your ear and lights it, and you lie there for 10 minutes while it burns down, at which point she takes the candle stub out and turns you over to do the other ear. It is supposed to massage your ear drum and relax you - worked for me.

Now I have very hot ears (come and warm your hands in front of my orifices, my dear!).

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I have a new obsession – Facebook! My brother has a MySpace page and it’s kind of like that but oh so much better. MySpace seems messier somehow and a bit pointless, it made me want to run away. But not Facebook – I have to go into it about a hundred times a day and fiddle with it and see what my friends have been up to. It’s fun!

When I first joined Facebook a couple of weeks ago my only friendship link was Charles. Every time I logged on I read the comment 'You have 1 friend' - that sounded so pitiful! Ditto when it said 'You have just two entries on your wall' (which is the space where people write you messages). Does it really have to use the word just?! Basically Facebook thinks I’m a pathetic Norma No-Mates!

But as of today I am up to 11 whole friends! (This sounded not too bad until I went into some of those friends and saw numbers like 43 and 56 – blimey, I don't think I even know 56 people!)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Supermarket Sweep

I read in a magazine that if you eat two eggs for breakfast it fills you up all day and then you don’t eat any crap. Worth a try! I duly hardboiled two eggs as I got ready for work this morning and stuffed them into my bag to take to work along with my lunch. Result? Hey, it works! My morning eggs with a carrot and orange smoothie kept me filled up right until lunchtime… and then I couldn’t even eat all my lunch! Woo hoo! Easy diet!

Then along came this evening. I was an hour late leaving work, due to a crappy meeting, then stopped off at the garage to pump some air into my car tyres. So by the time I’d done all that it was way past my normal tea time and I was pretty damn hungry. Hmm, I thought - I know, I’ll pop into Tesco and get some ice cream to take home for my tea.

Silly me! Why oh why do I never learn that I mustn’t – under any circumstances – go into a supermarket when I am hungry?

I came out with…

3 packs of daal
6 chapatis
Pack of Cadburys cake bars
A bag of 13 chewy cookies
Salmon and cream cheese sandwich filling (even though I never make sandwiches)
6 eggs
A pack of roasted root vegetables
A tin of spaghetti
Brie cheese
Mashed potato
2 tubs of ice cream
8 chocolate brownies
A sushi box
A tube of Pringles (and I don’t even like crisps!)

Grooh! Going to be offloading a whole heap of crap food to everyone at work tomorrow!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Army's Way of Caring

Charles emailed me to tell me he’d done a good poo! How nice, I’m so pleased he shared that!!!

* * *

On the television at the moment there are a couple of army recruitment adverts doing the rounds - 'adventure mechanic' for the boys and 'saviour nurse' for the girls. I saw one today and it was the biggest load of army propaganda bollocks ever! A woman (to emphasise the feminine, caring aspect of course!) dressed in camouflage trousers is doing something with a group of sweet-looking, well-behaved children (no young yobs swearing and chucking rocks at her here!) when a hysterical mother carries her injured and bleeding child into scene. Capable and caring army woman instantly drops everything and runs to rescue the little boy, concerned look writ across her face. Then the army recruitment line flashes across the television screen saying hey this is what the army is all about.

Yeah, right - because caring people go into a job where you learn how to shoot people dead, to bomb them, to gas them, to blow them up with tanks and with landmines, to knife them and hurl grenades at them, to murder and maim (and where you unofficially learn how to beat them up, torture them and rape their women)… where the actual purpose of your job is to kill people! That’s soooo much more caring and humanitarian than, say, being a doctor or a teacher or a community worker!