Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Because lettuce tastes lovely - doesn't it?

Watch out World, I'm on a diet!

I shall spurn your luscious chocolate cakes in favour of limp green crap. I shall laugh in the face of blubber. I shall be thin!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I am having problems finding a place to live with Charles. We looked at the most gorgeous place yesterday - posh as hell, with ornate gardens leading down to the river, and two, yes two, bedrooms - but, because it's on the 'wrong' side of the river, all I got were moans from Charlie-boy. Basically he wants to be perched on the very top of Richmond Hill, as Mick Jagger's neighbour, and nothing else will do! The trouble is we don't have the budget for anything up there, they seem to start at around £2000 per month for one bedroomed flats, and anything up to £4000 for 2 bedrooms.

Convinced that I just hadn't been looking in the right places, Charles sent me a load of internet links for flats in Richmond, and I spent some time looking through those this morning. However, although initially they all sounded promising, none of them were as good as they made out. When I looked closely at the photographs, or read through the details, I realised that they were all pretty much studio flats masquerading as one bedroomed places, or basements with 2 foot kitchen 'areas'. We both got excited about one particular 1 bedroomed flat that we could actually afford, which was half way up the hill - only to find, when I phoned up the estate agent, that it was a single bedroom which could, in fact, barely fit a single bed in it! Hopes dashed on every single internet link!

In addition to the posh flat I mentioned, I have also seen two others by myself. On reflection, I think I made the wrong decision in trying to save Charlie-boy some time by viewing them without him though. The two flats were just about affordable and I must admit I had high hopes. However, one was an ex-student flat (and, boy, couldn't you tell - it had a rusting tin bath in the garden, and curtains instead of doors!) and the other had a kitchen only big enough for one person to stand in at a time (if they breathed in), and a shower but no bath. Crap, basically. And they were only one bedroom - no room for a study for Charles. But as Charles hadn't seen either place he was under the impression that the posh flat we viewed was a bit cruddy and we could do much better! O to live in Charles' little world!

Anyway, I now have to try to convince him that we would be lucky to get the flat we saw, and that cheap Richmond Hill flats only exist in a parallel universe. And quickly enough that some other person doesn't snap the nice flat up before us!

And if I go to see any other flats I'm blooming well dragging him along with me!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Va-va-voom! (not)

I was wearing my new, black, see-through, Ann Summers number with silky black stockings. Over the top I had on a hip-hugging pencil skirt and a lacy red top. All very clingy. And I wore my stiletto-heeled boots for good measure.

I hid everything bar the boots underneath my coat and drove up to the station to collect Charles.

When we arrived back at my flat I pulled him in through the front door. I slid my coat from my shoulders and let it fall to the floor, showing him what was on offer. He liked!

I moved into the kitchen and began to prepare our food - honey roast parsnips.

"Charles!" I called, "Would you come in here and take off my boots?"

He obliged and, bending down at my feet, took off my boots, one at a time, sliding his hands up my legs as he did so. I heard an appreciative "Mmm!" from below. He stood up and squeezed his arms around my waist. I could feel things stirring just where they ought to be stirring...

"Now take off my top!" I sighed, seductively.

There was a pause.

"Oh no, let's do that later." he said.


"I'm trying to seduce you!" I prompted, just in case he hadn't spotted it.

"Yes, I know, but can't we do that after tea?"

* * *

I obviously have less va-va-voom than a parsnip!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Colour Me Beautiful

My workplace is very good at giving us interesting things to do over lunchtimes. As well as the sporty things like yoga or gym, there are often interesting meetings and external speakers.

Today I went to a colour and style workshop. It was really interesting. I found out the colour clothes I should wear to suit my colouring (warm tones), and the styles I should wear to suit my body shape (full hour glass – which sounds so much nicer than fat lump!) and my style personality (romantic) which apparently means that I should dress like Nicole Kidman. If only!

I suddenly feel all excited as I never really knew what to buy before, my clothes purchases have always been a bit hit or miss!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thumb, Part 2

I had an appointment with my very annoying GP this afternoon. He’s a strange man. He doesn’t seem to like touching people, which is odd for someone who has chosen to be a doctor, where you have to examine icky, ill people all day long.

In his last surgery he used to have the most enormous wooden desk as a barrier between him and his patients and, if he needed to examine you, he would lean across his desk as far as he could, straining to squint at you, but he wouldn’t walk around it to be any closer. Today was the first time I had seen him in his new surgery. No big wooden desk this time, but instead a very long desk with him sat at one end and a chair for the patient to sit on a full four feet away from him at the other end.

I went into the room and sat down on the faraway chair, and told him that the doctor at work wants me to have a blood test to rule out rheumatoid arthritis and an X-ray to rule out anything to do with the bone in my thumb. I held out my hand, expecting him to examine and squeeze it as the nice Occupational Health doctor had done. He just looked at it, sideways.

“I suppose you can have a blood test, although it’s unlikely to be rheumatoid arthritis,” he said, “but you don’t need an X-ray. I’ll write you out a form for a blood test.” And so he did.

Well pardon me, but how can he possibly know what’s wrong with me just from looking at my hand from four feet away? Does he have X-ray vision?! Silly man! Whilst he's probably right about the diagnosis, I hate his dismissive attitude. I will be glad when I’ve moved area and can change to another GP.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Geek Speak

Charles is in IT and often talks in Geek Language, which is something I have never learned. Whenever he says an unfamiliar word I find myself giving it a meaning dreamed up by my own head.

Today we have ‘zope’ and ‘plone’ and ‘web application layer’.

Zope sounds to me like a word for when you are all energetic, and zopeing about all over the place. Zope zope zope!

Whereas plone sound like a word for when the day is grey and miserable and slow, and there is nothing nice to do. Rainy Sunday afternoons are really plone.

Web application layer makes me think of lots of sticky spider webs all layered together on a bush.

On that subject, it was really foggy when I left for work this morning and all the teeny tiny water droplets had ‘lit up’ hundreds of spiders webs on all the bushes outside my flat. It was so beautiful, like bushes wearing jewellery. I wished I had time to run back inside and get my camera to take some photographs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Damsel With a Dulcimer

I’ve booked our final night’s holiday in York. Whee, holiday!

I was dithering over which concert we should book for that last evening. I had narrowed it down to either Handel’s Messiah in York Minster, which is bound to sound amazing – a choral work in the massive echo-chamber of the Minster; or, alternately, a group called Safar, singing and playing music from along the 13th Century Silk Road in the lovely sounding venue of a candlelit church – different, but possibly weird, given that it includes music from the Mongol Empire and other odd places. I ummed and dithered, and asked Charles for his opinion. He had none, not being familiar with any of the music.

So in the end I’ve booked us tickets for Safar, reason being;
1) I like candles,
2) They will be playing some funky-sounding instruments that I’ve never heard of before such as a gittern, a darrabukka, a tombak, a daf... but also a dulcimer, and ever since my teens I have wondered what a dulcimer is…

From Coleridge’s poem, Kubla Khan ‘a damsel with a dulcimer in a vision once I saw.’

So now I shall know!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bedtime Story

I went round to my brother’s house this evening and, while I was there, did my aunty bit and read a bedtime book to my little niece and nephew. It’s the first time my niece has joined in story time, she was always too young before. How nice!

They both sat together in my nephew’s bed, perched on his pillow, grinning expectantly at me, and I sat further down the bed facing them. However, as I opened the book, it suddenly occurred to me that, because I was facing them both rather than in my normal position seated beside my nephew, I would have to read the book upside down. That’s not as easy as it sounds when you are reading out loud and with suitable expression AND doing funny voices! I just about managed but there were a few ums and ers and stilted bits. My sister in law says it gets easier when you’ve read the same story sixty-two times and know it off by heart!

The story was about trains (my nephew having picked out the book) and halfway through my niece got bored and tried to climb out of bed to go to her own room – sensible girl!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Birthday Girl

Happy birthday to me! Today I am – erm – twenty-three years old. Not.

Charles is officially the best boyfriend ever! He sent me a huge bouquet of lilies and a box of Bouja Bouja chocolates at work. After years of collecting flowers from Reception for other people it was finally my turn, and it did feel nice! Someone who saw the flowers said, “Wow, a man who sends you flowers! And in public too!” which made me giggle.

One of the girls in my group came up to me with a birthday card. Not for me, unfortunately, but to sign for somebody else whose birthday is tomorrow. Tact obviously isn’t her strong point – she saw my birthday cake on my desk and said, “Ooh we can use that for Katherine’s birthday cake, we can pretend we bought it for her!” Erm, no, I don’t think so, that’s MY birthday cake thanks! She could hardly have missed the fact that it was my birthday with the cards all over my desk and Charles’ lovely flowers (which I made a point of getting her to smell – sniff those, look it’s my birthday!) yet it didn’t occur to her to quickly run off and get everyone else to sign another card for me. Hmph! I felt like scrawling a grumpy It's my birthday too, you know! all across Katherine’s card, but thought I’d better not.

This evening Charles – becoming more and more like ‘Super Boyfriend’ by the minute – gave up his tango class to cook me dinner. That might not sound so amazing but Charles never gives up his evening classes for anything – not snow, not earthquake, not even if he’s so ill he can barely crawl. Even when he’s 92 he’s still going to be tottering down to his tango and Spanish classes four times a week, knocking people over with his walking stick if they try to get in his way. He did spoil the ‘romantic dinner’ effect slightly by saying that I had precisely two hours to eat because then he was going off into London for the evening… but he did rethink a little later and said I could stay a bit longer if I wanted to as it was my birthday. Gosh thanks! (Hopefully he’ll eventually get it that an evening together means a whole evening and not a tightly timetabled small slot in between going to London and watching Newsnight… but baby steps, baby steps!) Anyway, the dinner itself was gorgeous – cod cooked in cumin and garlic, with spiced potatoes. Mmm mm, dee-licious! Thank you Charlie-boy, much appreciated!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Early Music Festival

Charles has decided he would like to come with me to York in December for the Early Music Festival. I’m so pleased! I went a few years ago, by myself, and got a bit lonely at that time. The music was lovely – beautiful 11th century religious songs sung in echoey, old churches, just as they were meant to be – and I was lucky enough to hear a choir in York Minster practising a Thomas Tallis piece as I wandered around the Minster doing my tourist bit. However, it was cold, snowy weather and there were lots of homeless people sitting about the pavements, shivering, and one tiny little homeless puppy with sad eyes really tugged at my heartstrings – so I ended up spending a good part of my holiday walking around York doling out hot pasties from the Cornish pasty shop to every homeless person I could find. In addition to that the owner of my guest house had an altercation with some people right outside my bedroom and I didn’t feel particularly safe in my room after that. Not a very happy holiday!

So this time around I will be glad to have Charles’ company. I have booked our first two nights in a 3* hotel with a good restaurant (ie, not a grimy guest house with a shouty, scary owner, but hopefully a more refined experience!) and I have also booked our first two concerts. We have The Clerks' Group with some 12th Century chant and polyphony to listen to (not to everybody’s taste I realise, but I like it!) and also the Rose Consort of Viols with Catherine King as soprano. I heard her sing the last time I was in York and she has a beautiful, piercing, clear voice, so I’m very much looking forward to that.

And, hey, that makes two holidays for me in December!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I had an appointment with the doctor in Occupational Health this afternoon. I’ve been having problems with a burning pain in my thumb joint for several weeks now and thought it might be RSI. Any excuse not to use my mouse (ie not to work) for a few weeks would be nice! So I was horrified when he said he wants me to have a test to rule out rheumatoid arthritis. God I hope it’s not that!