Thursday, 29 December 2011

...And then she returned.

Do not fear, it was only another disappearing act. For most of December.
I could blame it on a malfunctioning computer, manic (and desperate)build up to Christmas, leaving the country, Christmas with Frank’s family, complete and utter tiredness and so much going on that I wouldn’t know where to start.
I could blame it on all of the above. So I will. That and… I was a little bit lazy and out of the habit. See? Honesty for you! Could it be any better?
1)      The malfunctioning computer.
It doesn’t work. Okay - It does a bit. But it’s slow. And the backspace key is broken (still). It’s too big and impractical (almost the size of a desktop but for your lap). To be honest (there it is again)– I just don’t like it. I think the time is near for me to enter the world of the netbook/notebook/small computer:- Much more convenient. Would anyone like to donate funds to a worthy cause?
Look at it this way friends, a new computer thingy-ma-bob means that you have more material to read more often, and I will have a shiny new tool for writing. It’s a win/win situation. Yes?
2)      The manic (and desperate) build up to Christmas
Usually, I’m game for a little festiveness. But this year ? Well it was just so difficult to find my inner ‘Ho Ho Ho’. I think I’m broken. We have a severe lack of little people and their Christmassy imagination in our home at the moment. (And no, I will not be getting pregnant to fill this void!) My sisters desperation to convince my parents that Father Christmas should still come and visit them doesn’t quite generate the same levels of excitement. There are no high pitched squeals as we count down the days to till the man in the red suit jumps down the chim-bley (I was never able to pronounce that word as a small child).  We don’t even leave food as a ‘just in case’. Unless mini-est Dodd leaves a glass of water and a packet of polo’s like she did one year – “ Everyone gives Father Christmas sherry and mince pies”, she said so innocently.
No more midnight visits from the Big Man and his sleigh, and Mumma Dodd’s decision to smash up our kitchen two weeks before Christmas which delayed our Christmas dec’s. Very unhappy.
Christmas scrooge 1 – 0 Christmas spirit.
But there’s always a way to be Christmassy - I had to rely upon the radio to help find my Christmas spirit.
Christmas scrooge 1 – 1 Christmas spirit.
But, there’s only so many times you can listen to Band Aid, Slade, Wham, Mariah Carey and The Pogues before you begin to resent them. 
Christmas scrooge 2 – 1 Christmas spirit.
I thought Christmas shopping might help. Mulled wine, festive songs, salvation army playing Christmas carols, sweeties…
Christmas scrooge 2 – 2 Christmas spirit.
But I hated the crowds, the aching feet, and the severe lack of ideas for the perfect Christmas gifts.
Christmas scrooge 3 – 2 Christmas spirit.
Never one for the ‘…that will do’ attitude, I continued my quest.
Christmas scrooge 3 – 3 Christmas spirit.
 I queued in traffic, to queue for parking spaces, to manoeuvre round shops like sheep, only to queue again to pay, and then to queue to leaving the car park.
Christmas scrooge 4 – 3 Christmas spirit.
 Sometimes I thought it was a good idea to break the mould and to walk the opposite way round the shopping area…
Christmas scrooge 4 – 4 Christmas spirit.
….I ended up with black and blue shins from being bashed with everyone else’s shopping, feeling dejected from the scowls of angry shoppers and being totally exhausted from fighting my way through.  (Never try to break the mould in your car – shoppers are even more angry when trying to get home and do not appreciate blocked roads!)
Christmas scrooge 5 – 4 Christmas spirit.
It took me weeks to eventually find something for all my nearest and dearest. I took great care over the wrapping: Traditional brown paper packaging and coloured tissue paper with bright ribbons that were expertly tied. It looked quite pretty
Christmas scrooge 5 – 5 Christmas spirit.
….but I knew that it was purely aesthetic and would be completely destroyed on Christmas morning.
Christmas scrooge 6 – 5 Christmas spirit.
However, Frank did take to me the school carol service, and I heard the whole of the nativity story – something I haven’t heard since I was at school, I’d definitely forgotten bits. I was taken to Berlin for some pre-Christmas fun. I drank lots of mulled wine, and ate roasted cashew nuts. It snowed (albeit VERY briefly and not heavy enough to be called snow). I listened to Michael Buble’s Christmas album. I sat by open fires at Frank’s house. I helped make an assortment of Christmassy nibbles with Mrs Frank . And drank a lot.
Christmas scrooge 6 – 20 Christmas spirit.
Hooray (finally!)
3)      Leaving the country
We weren’t extradited. Or fleeing the mafia. We didn’t elope. Or run away. Frank and I decided back in February that by December we would need a casual city break to escape the madness. What a fantastic decision. It was definitely my idea.
It was the most stress-free trip I think I have ever taken (apart from the excessive packing – we were off to Essex when we arrived home to spend Christmas at Chez Frank…I needed a week’s worth of stuff!!!)
The German capital is a fantastic city, and whether it was the festive spirit or just general welcome-ness, everyone was so friendly. We used the tram, and the underground, wandered the streets, visited the sites, found the Christmas markets, drank Gl├╝hwein and ate currywurst. We went in an underground bunker, built specifically for 3,000 people to survive a nuclear bomb.  Even spoke a little appalling German, “Sprechen sie Englisch bitte?” was about as much as I could manage. Oh dear.
But, when in Rome… you must attempt to be true Berliner’s.

So long story short, if you’ve never been, pack your comfiest shoes, layers (for the cold), sonnenbrille (for the summer time) and be prepared to learn lots. If you need reading glasses, take them. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on, so you need to act like a sponge and absorb.

4)      Christmas with Frank’s family
We arrived bearing gifts for the tree and a pot of Christmas pumpkin seeds that Frank had bought impulsively from a stall at the Weihnachtsmarkt. And we got heavily involved with decorating the house. A really Christmas tree decorated by yours truly (a first for me and very exciting). I made mince pies, sausage rolls and a christmas ham. Surprising since my baked goods turn out awful and the Christmas Ham is a Family Frank speciality – if I got it wrong I’d be sleeping outside with the goose.
But all’s well that end’s well – (I even made one yesterday at home to surprise Family Dodd, not sure if there is any left!)
Mr and Mrs Frank spoilt me with new Christmas jammies and lots of lovely treats, and Frank made a lovely collage of all our photos from Dublin. Oh and he encouraged my inner  child by purchasing a couple of Disney films. So exciting! I was drunk by 9am after consuming my Cosmopolitan (courtesy of Miss Hendo) unusually quickly, followed by a champagne chaser and sloe gin! Let’s face it, everyone drinks and mixes at Christmas – its only fair. And I didn’t even have the slightest hangover. Perhaps that’s what Santa gave me for Christmas!!
It was a shame to leave them all on Boxing day. But I promised to return to Chez Dodd for the post-festive madness that ensues.

5)       The complete and utter tiredness
So the Chris Rea song evokes a pain-free, exciting and merry drive home for Christmas. Mine was the opposite. It seems that Boxing day morning, the world and his wife go to visit his brothers and their wives. So there’s  no one to open a petrol station and the roads were madness. And there was I praying for a quick drive home. Already tired from a late night – it was made worse by guessing how far I could get with my fuel light on (and if the garage would even be open),sitting in traffic, peering through sheets of rain and navigating down narrow country roads and avoiding rabbits that ran out in front of me.
I wouldn’t have been on the country roads if I hadn’t decided to take a detour. And I wouldn’t have had to take a detour if the M25 hadn’t been solid. And the M25 wouldn’t have been solid if everyone drove correctly, left enough space between each other and stopped hogging the middle lane and causing accidents. [Rant complete. Thank you]
So I used my incredible geographical and homing skills and decided to aim for Hastings and the drive along the south coast via Brighton and pop out at home… eventually. I quickly realised that this was an insane detour and would take much longer than the original route. So I reset my friend, TomTom (who I rarely use) so he could escort me along a route that avoided the M25 and would rejoin the A3 and finish my normal journey.
Herman (the new ford) and I had a lovely little road trip, a scenic route, through lots of lovely little Christmassy villages in Kent.  And then I drove underneath the M25 and saw that it was moving at normal speed and rather than drive all the way to Croydon as TomTom suggested, I would set it to rejoin the M25 as soon as possible.
Outsmarting your friends who are helping to navigate you through unknown territory is a bad idea.
I drove up and over mountains in thick fog and sat behind tractors, only to rejoin the motorway just as it was slowing down for another accident.

I made it home , in one piece – almost four hours after I’d left. (that’s longer than it takes to drive to Ipswich and I was 40 minutes closer). Stupid Christmas traffic.
Christmas scrooge 10 – 20 Christmas spirit.
So here we are. It’s now the three days between Christmas and New Year. The big day is over. The hype is gone. The presents are open and broken. The turkey is almost finished. Families are starting to drive each other barmy. And it’s skeletal staff in the office because most people had the forethought to book this off as extended leave.
I, was not one of them. But Frank is driving down for NYE,( the biggest excuse for a party that never quite meets expectation) and will be meeting a few more of my family and crazy family friends.
Poor man.

And it’s time to write those dreaded resolutions of course. The ones that last little more than a week, and anyone who gets past a month is clearly exaggerating [a nice word for ‘lying’.]Regularly feature words are:-  ‘blog’, ‘more’ and ‘gym’.

Monday, 5 December 2011

...And then cinema tickets became suitable currency.

Alas, another Monday is almost over.
I am tired and achy. But oh it was worth it...

So Friday I was poorly.
Poorly like you've never known it before. Left work infact, only to spend the entire day sleeping like a baby - restless, grouchy and unable to get comfortable.
A poker hot feeling in my tummy and a clammy feeling left me unable to attend an unofficial Christmas do (the official palava is next week).

So I lay in bed, cursing the day I'd chosen to eat rice in a very nice restaurant. Who knew rice could cause problems.

And so I ate only one piece of dry toast over the course of twenty four hours.

Then the panic began to set in...

What if I had to cancel my plans for the weekend?
Now this was a big deal. These specific plans had been pen-ed (not even pencilled) in my little black book months previously.
My delightful London friends were leaving the familiarity of the city and joining me in the suburbs of the south coast.
I had no idea what to do with them - they didn't know that though.

By the powers that be, on Saturday morning I was feeling much better. A bit wobbly but alive enough to leave the comfort of my bedroom. And I needed to. Cabin fever sets in very quickly.

So they arrived.
Dumped bags and assorted sleeping materials.
We did the standard love-y greetings and air kisses.
Drank a quick cuppa and jumped in Herman for a little drive.

By the time we got in the car, I'd made up for my lack of planning and had made some slightly spontaneous, 'not set in stone' plans.
We went to a city of great Naval history. Not that we were there for the boats. We did see that one that the bloke with one eye and the funny hat sailed for a bit.
So we parked (finally) using an amazing system of lights (green = vacant) that you could only see when you drove the right way round the carpark (aka. following the arrows). We had a fairly quick mooch around some outlet stores (not too quick for Charlotte though) and paid for a few games of ten-pin bowling.

Nothting like a bit of the old Flintstone moves to inspire a little friendly rivalry. Competition brings out the best in everyone.
It is worth noting that whilst the boys won the first game, the tables turned for the second and the girls stormed ahead.
Apparently this was the result of the football being on too, "heads not in the game..blah blah blah". Sorry lads, the scores said it all.

Oh and then, because after beer and bowling you must have pizza, we found a very chic pizzeria. Who knew you could have curry on a pizza?
Obviously it was described a little more delicately than that, otherwise no-one would buy it. Or would they?

Bellies full (and a detour via a supermarket where 'every little helps' for more of the evening's sustinence) we arrived back at Chez Dodd for more frivolities and booze.
Next thing you know its 3am, and you're crawling into bed with Carrie.

Carrie and I have to share a bed, its an unwritten rule.
That's why Mr BMW (two wheels not four) had to have mini Dodd's bed. Only it cost me.

In order for mini Dodd to vacate her bed for one night - ONE - I have to take her to see the next installment in that vampire series.

I tell you what, Mr BMW had better have had a good kip.


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

... And then it's almost December 1st.

....I have an hour left of November 2011.

To paraphase friends, family and everyone who's talking about it - Where has that year gone?

So now - to get you in the festive mood?
A little original 'poetry'.

A Poem

Santa Claus is on his way
With a gift or two.
Better fill those reindeer up
And make sure they have a poo.

They have to go before they leave,
It's bad to stop mid-flight.
It's not a plane. Is it a bird?
Heads up! It's reindeer s***e.

Monday, 28 November 2011

....And then I almost became a thief.

I say thief, but actually I was almost guilty of breaking, entering and complete humiliation.

Apparently it will take me a while to get used to Herman. And the fact that he is a silver ford fiesta, rather than a black Ka makes it all the more difficult.

I got out of work and wandered round the car park after a loooooooong day. And with keys in hand, unlocked my car.
And unlocked it again.
Then again.
Tried again.
But the door wouldn't open.

I swore and took my phone out of my bag ready to call home and give Papa Dodd an earful for letting me buy a rubbish car that had broken already.

Then I realise Mon-keh was missing. Y'know the little monkey from the teabag advert? ...He lives in my car.
And he wasn't there.

Then I realised what I'd done.

Luckily, there was no one else in the car park - at least none I could see. I found Herman, got in and made a quick get away.
Chances are the security team were watching me on the CCTV, so I'll here all about it when I go in tomorrow. Sure of it.

I'm sure this week will bring me wonderful adventures.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

...And then Herman came to stay.

Herman is the Dennis who isn't a Dennis.
It turns out my ford fiesta doesn't look like a Dennis.
So he's a Herman.

He seems happy enough on the driveway.

At least it will be nice to drive again.

I'm back on the road!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

...And then there was the one with the Pox.

Tomorrow is Friday. Which means I have only one day to go until I see Frank.

I haven't seen Frank for three and a half weeks. I can't help but think that something might go wrong.
His little car might break down ... or worse still I might contract the chicken pox.

Like poor Phoebe in that television programme about six aquaintances who live in some very expensive apartments in New York.

Her submariner man friend comes to see her for the first time in eight months.
She's super excited but then a small child with two mothers, and one neurotic father, contracts the pox!
Phoebe, alas, is the only one who has not buffed up her immune system to handle that childhood virus.

The plans she had for her man friend are ruined.
They spend the weekend incessantly scratching each other, and are forced to wear comedy oven mitts taped on to their wrists.
What a rubbish way to spend his first weekend above sea.

I've already had the chicken pox so I might be alright. But I will be using a lot of antibacterial gel tomorrow to stop the germies from invading.

I will not be poorly, Frank. I promise.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

...And then there was a diary of a working girl

I mean working girl in the truest sense of the word, none of this double entendre nonsense.

So we have the commuting - a bore in itself, unless you're lucky enough to have one of those train buddies. Always highly sought after.
- Never fall asleep on the train. You might perhaps wake yourself up snoring.. or drooling. Or your phone might ring in the silent carriage. Or you might sleep through your stop. Or miss the train. Or...
- No matter how hungry you might be, never buy food at the station. That Chicken Royale never tastes as good as you hoped it would. And you feel just as hungry as you did before you atre, except you also feel greasier. Mmmm. What a nutritous meal for a £5.

And there are the days at the office (conversations at the coffee machines, rolling about on office chairs, looking important as you wander the office with files of paper work, and the brief moments of panic when you can't find your friends in the canteen at lunch and are perhaps doomed to eat lunch alone.)
Then you have the client meetings. Where you actually leave the office to meet people other than colleagues at sales meetings.

These are a fairly new occurence. But involve getting out of bed exceedingly early and painting your face in the dark whilst trying your best to disguise the dark bags under your eyes. Those bags are only there because you forgot to go to sleep early, and the brain wouldn't switch off.
But you get into the company car they have supplied you (which technically is a great chance to test drive different models, but unfortunately they are brand new and therefore totally out of my price range) and begin to drive.
Of course you have allowed for traffic. And lots of it.
And there (of course) isn't any.

So you arrive in the city of meetings two hours early. Very punctual.
You find somewhere to park and pay a lot of money for a ticket - because let's face it you are an outsider and have no idea where the bargain car parks are, or even better... the free ones.
You grudgingly push coins in the machine, knowing that the company will pay you back.

With the car secured, and paid for, you wander in what you suppose is the direction of the town centre. You are desperate for a coffee. You didn't manage to have one this morning because you couldn't afford to be late - funny really, since you are now two hours early.

But you continue to wander, knowing that you will eventually see the comforting green sign that tells you coffee is close. It's might chilly. You'd forgotten that you had to walk about, so the coat you wear isn't thick enough and you aren't wearing layers.
You do have an iPhone which has an app specifically designed for locating coffee houses, however, earlier this morning whilst navigating with a satnav you think you jumped a red light, so you are reluctant to rely upon this method - not that you could do any damage walking. But one can never be too careful.

Ahead of you, through the early morning gloom, the green sign appears, and opposite? Well, well, well ... is that a competitor coffee company, with a burgundy fascia? I do believe I am torn.
But Starbucks make better muffins.

So you sit, in the warmth, nursing a skinny caramel macchiato and a skinny blueberry muffin (it just had to be done). Across from you sits a man talking to himself. You smile to yourself.  You always have had a soft spot for these people. You look again, then see the script he is holding.
Ah, the actors of the world.
And next to him you spy an elderly man. You believe he has shares in the Apple store. There is a iPhone charging in the wall, an iPad in his hands and some rather impressive looking headphones, actually 'ear cans'. He looks very content. Breaking the mould. My grandmother doesn't know how to use her basic Nokia and Mumma Dodd has only recently learnt how to use our three television remotes.

The meetings were good, and the drive home was exhausting. Concentrating makes you tired.

You think perhaps the office isn't so bad after all. The coffee is better in the real world.

Monday, 7 November 2011

...And then the banging stopped.

And the mutt was able to breathe a sigh of relief as Guy Fawkes night passed for another year.
(Not that I saw a single 'guy' over the entire weekend - do we still burn those effigies?)

Apparently we can set fireworks off as early (?) as Halloween (a hijacked 'festival' if ever I saw one  - but that's a whole other conversation to have), but as soon as November 6th shows its tired face, the noises stop. How bizarre!

So having spent saturday morning perusing internet sites for replacement automobiles and partially watching Frozen Planet, I jumped into my borrowed car to zip along to the royal land of Tunbridge Wells.

Ah, and what a weekend of frivolities.
I arrived at Miss P-ray's house mere moments before the arrival of Miss Ray-Ray and her reliable friend Tina, who wasn't allowed in the house on account of being a Ka and too wide for the door.
We were greeted warmly by some lovely parents and the gift of homemade toffee apples.

Now - a little secret for you all. Having never liked Halloween, I never had trick or treat candy, never did apple bobbing (until my second year in Exeter), never toilet papered cars or threw eggs at someone's house. And nor had I had a toffee apple. Ever.
Until Saturday night.
P-ray and Mummy P. had been slaving away in the kitchen to produce some high quality homemade toffee which was expertly poured over granny smith apples.

It was these delightful treats that P-ray, Ray-Ray, Mr.S (Ray Ray's chap) and I munched on as we wandered along to the country park for an epic firework display.

Not only did the toffee hinder our attempts at conversation with it's remarkable ability to stick our jaws together, it could also have been sold as ammo. When fired at high speeds, these chunks of hardened toffee had the potential to be deadly. And this is of course, no disrespect to the hard work and labour of two gifted women - but what would those entrepeneurial dragons think of edible weapons. Too much perhaps?

I would like to apologise to anyone who has a toffee shaped dent on the front left wheel arch of their car. I think it was silver car I hit. I would just like to say that it wasn't fired or intentionally thrown. I was displaying it's stickiness to my amigos by demonstrating how it would stay stuck to my leather gloves when it (the toffee) chose to break loose, reaching its terminal velocity of 'very fast' just before it hit your car.

I did inspect the damage. But it seemed fine.

So onto the fireworks. We now have delightfully sticky fingers, and I feel like a small child. We find a perfect spot to observe the fireworks. There were no crowds and no mud. Then we saw the whopping great tree.
A natural explanation for the vacant area around its perimeter.
So we squeezed ourselves amongst the other royal town's residents and watched the longest fireworks display ever, complete with soundtrack.
I say soundtrack - it was two tracks. The first was the Star Wars theme, followed by the ET theme. On repeat. But obviously it's the attempt at a cinematic wonder that counts, and actually it was a bloomin' excellent display.
Thank you Miss P-Ray for paying for my ticket. It was lovely. Until those god awful girls decided to sing Katy Perry at the tops of their voices. Ladies, just because you have the captive audience of a bottle-necked crowd, it does not mean you must take it upon yourselves to entertain them. This rule is even more important if you are unable to pitch notes correctly.
Now I may not be able to sing (at all!), and am therefore an unworthy critic - but I did yell at you to "Shuuuuuuutup" much to the appreciation of my fellow crowd members. You chose to ignore this polite plea for peace.

And with a quick drive back to the Faro residence (via a corner shop for some vino), and it was time to kick back and relax.
Good job we bought the extra bottles, because one just wasn't going to be enough.

Sunday morning.
Awake at 8.30am.
What is this madness?
I may have had a slightly groggy head. Must remember to drink plenty of non alcoholic fluids, adult bodies don't recover aswell as their student counterparts.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if ever you visit Tunbridge Wells, perhaps on the off chance, a sporadic drive through, or something more planned - you must pop your head into 'Juliets'.
Now I cannot tell where this is, other than at the bottom of the high street just before The Pantiles.
It is the quaintest little tea room without being twee and O.T.T
Mix matched cups and saucers, odd chairs and tables, and room for twenty-five people, tops! But oh, you must go.
Lovely little homemade breakfasts.
Ray-Ray : Eggs Benedict (without the benedict)
Mr S.: Eggs Benedict (as it should be!)
P-Ray: A big fat bacon sandwich on sourdough. Looked amazing. And even better with a couple of splodges of Heinz.
Me: Why, what should one eat when in a very British little tearoom? American style pancakes with fruit and yoghurt of course!
What a feast.

Mr S. made his excuses and left shortly after, something to do with a hockey game. Personally I think he needed a testosterone fix after a very girly weekend. Can't say I blame him. Female conversation is defintely a polar opposite of Male Banter.
With Mr S. abandoning us in the Royal Town, we resorted to using our legs and mooched back to Chez Faro.
Who knew that Tunbridge Wells was so hilly? Well aside from it's residents of course, who I'm sure are very much accustomed to its steep inclines. I think it was worse because in addition to breakfast we also had to squeeze in  a bit of homemade cake!

Like Exeter, our educational home, the geography of the land actually improves muscle definition, metabolism, lung capacity and weightloss.
Maybe I should move there, if I can't get to the gym!
Thank you ladies (and gent) for a wonderful weekend of autumnal merriment. We must attempt to synchronise those diaries and a get another date March 2012?


Also on another completely separate note, but one that I find quite hilareous due it's perfect display of bad timing.
Last night, I drove to the airport to pick up Miss USA and Sailor Bob. I collected my cargo and began the drive home.
I had been speeding (marginally) on the motorway to get there, because I was (marginally) late.
It was an uneventful journey, until a white car with black markings and blue lights on the roof appeared behind me.
Now, I know that I cannot be the only one who panicks when the Police drive behind me. I overcompensate, by trying to drive perfectly and actually end up driving worse.

Exemplary moment #1
Location: dual carriageway /  me -outside lane/ white car with blue lights - inside lane just behind.
Situation: "Oh poo, wrong lane!"
Dialogue: "Why won't that stupid car go past me so I can move over." "That would be undertaking Amy. And is illegal."

See, even the foreigners (obviously I mean that in the loosest sense of the word) understand driving etiquette and road law. I, however, had the law on my bumper and completely lost my head.
Luckily I didn't lose my cool  ( or what was ever left of it!) I checked all mirrors, and my blind spot, indicated and moved over slowly so as not to cause alarm.
By now the police car has been following me for a little while, and I'm a little concerned that I may have missed a subtle sign from them asking me to pull over.
As I approach the left turn that takes me home I notice two young lads, complete with hooded sweaters standing very suspiciously next to a builder's fence. I saw them. But they didn't see me. Which mean's they didn't see the vehicle I was escorting/ following me (two ways of looking at every story).
They lept over the fence.
Ah the joy. The ignorance and the foolishness. I was lucky enough to see two legs disappear over the top off the fence just as the police car indicated left and pulled over.
"You're nicked son!"
Clearly, he wouldn't have said this, and even if he had I would never have heard - but just for entertainment's value I like to imagine that he did.

I think when I die, I'm going to a bad place for taking an extreme level of satisfaction in this moment.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

...And then the search began for Dennis.

It is the circle of life, as a family of lions might suggest, so when one loses a car to the great scrapheap in the sky, there is another to take it's place.

And so we say farewell to Brian, and begin the search for Dennis.
I'm not sure what Dennis looks like, nor where he lives, but I know that when we meet I will know immediately.

So the search begins on the internet.
I feel like I'm car dating. Checking out the credentials and suitability before going to meet him.
It could be a long process.

And so as I lounge here listening to the soothing tones of David Attenborough presenting 'Frozen Planet' ( a programme I have many episodes to catch up on), I wait for the parents to return to aid my search.

Later, I will leave in my temporary car and drive to Royal Tunbridge Wells for a firework display of stupendous magnitude with P-ray and Ray-Ray,
Oh what a night to be had.

Enjoy your bonfires, toffee apples, and fireworks.
And don't forget your gloves when writing your names with sparklers!

Monday, 31 October 2011

...And then I left the country for a bit.

I flew for the first time in nearly five years.
Apparently that makes me a nervous flier.
I don't think it helped that the aeroplane was only marginally larger than the tiny ones little boys fly round their heads at the speed of light, making that delightful 'neeeeeeee-awwwww' sound. You know the one? Very irritating.

So yes, a nervous flier and a super excited Frank who had only found out about an hour before boarding that we were flying to Dublin for this birthday surprise. Much better than driving to Scotland which is what I had originally led him to believe.

If I have learnt anything in the last two and a half months, it is that 1) as a blogger you must regularly blog, 2) getting fit requires exercise and 3) I am an excellent (if that can be a good thing) liar.
Poor Frank had no idea and he'd heard so many tit bits of information and mistaken conversations that he really had no idea what I had planned for this birthday.

I must say I am a little smug.

We landed in a somewhat soggy Dublin, do not fear my friends, we are alive and well and arrived post flash flooding. I had eaten even less than when I had boarded the plane and desperately wanted coffee. But alas.
We had to fight our way to the baggage carousel to collect the lone bag I had paid to check into the hold because this little moron is incapable of reading a baggage measure scale thing. When I paid this particular low cost airline who's name coincidently rhymes with my car, an additional £50 for oversized bags - I was reading the 'lb' measure rather than 'kg'. (Much to Frank's amusement as I relayed this to him on the transfer bus from the car park)
I think perhaps I told Frank that it was fine, it was quite funny - but actually I was seething at my level of stupidity.
I have a degree and I am still unable to read scales. Wonderful. That £9,000 proved to be a worthwhile investment.

Anyway - we found our bus to take us to the centre of Dublin. Then we found the hotel. And then we wandered the streets. Aimlessly.
We hadn't yet located a local map.

Being the English tourists we were, Frank and I jumped onto a tour bus. We picked up a set of complimentary head phones and plugged ourselves into the sockets to listen to the tuneful renditions of traditional Irish ditties, as well as insightful facts about important buildings along the route.

Frank will deny it, but I am sure that he shut his eyes and slept part of the way round, we had been up since 6am. He argued his lack of sleep the following day by reboarding the tour bus and reciting each of the important facts before the recorded Irish man could say them. Some say Frank is gifted, others say he is wise. Me? I say that sometimes he is annoying (honestly I don't really Frank!) and I don't know how he does it. If I had been me 'sleeping' - I would have been out for the count, and no version of 'Whiskey in the jar' would stir me.

Frank awoke on Wednesday morning to a little pile of perfectly wrapped presents. These had caused no end of problems in security at the airport  - that and the fact that my bag was so overloaded that the scanner couldn't actually see inside it. Oh and I basically had a full body search. Bloomin' ridiculous, how is one meant to smuggle a weapon in skinny jeans and fitted sweater?

So Frank had a lovely birthday morning, I treated him to a very swish breakfast in one of Dublin's oldest cafes. If ever you go - you must visit Bewley's on Grafton Street. It was lovely. Frank wolfed down a good old Irish breakfast (the distinguishing factor from its English counterpart was the absence of bakes beans and the addition of white pudding - bleurgh!)

And then?
Well when in Dublin...
Do as the Irish do.

Drink Guinness in the Guinness Storehouse of course.

Now, I ain't no fan of that heavy stuff, but actually I managed to drink a little more of it than usual without scowling. Maybe it was the fear of being lynched by Irish locals that made me keep it down!
Of course I am joking.
The Irish we encoutered were the most welcoming people I have ever met. Now Frank loves a good natter with anyone, and usually I smile apologetically to people - but here? Well I just let him chat.
In fact, I found myself conversing with strangers, and even  with some Canadians.
Did you know that Ireland has the highest population of Americans and Canadians outside of North America?

Obviously I am lying. But it felt like it.
It was quite odd, but very funny to listen to their excited exclamations about "little Irish buildings", oh and the squillions of photos of ... "Me and Chuck by some bricks, me and Chuck on these cute little cobbled streets and ...oh these were good weren't they Chuck? What were they again? Oh yeah, pubs that's right - all those pubs. Here's me and Chuck eating Irish stew and ....."
Oh dear, I actually pity those poor folks back home!

Frank's biggest surprise, perhaps bigger than the actual trip, were the secret tickets to see Lee Evans on his last night at the Dublin O2.
Now, I'm not biased or anything, and he didn't pay me to say this - but he was absolutely fantastic! Frank had a cheshire cat grin throughout the entire stand up, and my tummy hurt from chuckling.

And to all those people who left early - yeah you, the guys who left when you thought it was the end, you know to beat the queues? Well you didn't get your full money's worth did you chaps? Oh no - that little sweaty monkey man continued for another twenty minutes!

We walked back a long the river side into the city centre. The River Liffey was exceptionally high, (because of the floodwater) but had a fat man jumped in - he would have displaced all the water onto the pavements and roads that ran along side.
It was quite a pretty walk. Dublin is very flat. Very pretty. But has a lot less street lights than London. There were a lot of dark patches. And some rather obscure sculptures of what looked like emaciated people.

And then all of a sudden it was our last day in this lovely little city.
We spent the afternoon in Cafe En Seine, Dawson Street (another little hotspot to visit). It was all art deco and very suave. I felt like Frank should have been wearing spats and a suit and hat, and I should have had finger-waved hair, a fur coat, and a cigarette in a holder between perfectly painted red lips.
But no - we were not so overdressed.
We enjoyed the paper, drank coffee, and maybe a cheeky liquer coffees and then decided after a long afternoon of doing very little, that we really should move on and find somewhere else to consume our very last truly Irish Guinness.
That and the fact that we were being goaded to clear our tab by the waitressing staff who were trying to prepare the bar area for the evening.
Oh dear, we always seem to be in the way.

The only thing to put a little downer on our lovely week, was that Brian - my poor little Brian who was carted off to hospital last Friday, has been fighting a losing battle.

It turns out that his fight with Discovery wasn't quite so victorious. He came away more wounded than any of us would ever anticipate.
He has a damaged chassis.
The mechanic told me he was beyond economic repair.

Naturally I feel a saddness, and ache in my body (perhaps though this is the whiplash), but I know that letting Brian go is the right thing to do.
He will be donating his organs to other needy Ka's who have been injured and need help to recover from less serious incidents or merely to prolong their lives. It's what he would have wanted,.

I will say one last goodbye to Brian tomorrow, collect the last of my possessions from his trusty care. He will wish me all the best for the future.
I shall look longingly back at him as I leave the compoud - playing a montage of images and treasured moments in my mind to a beautiful soundtrack playing softly from his speakers.

(It will have to be softly because, well to be honest, his speakers never worked that well...)

And then back to reality, and the dreaded shopping for a new set of wheels...
Almost as important as purchasing the perfect pair of shoes.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

...And then Brian got shunted.

Yes, you read this correctly.
Brian had his rear ended rudely barged by an orange Land Rover Discovery.
(Who buys an orange 4x4 anyway?)

I was moments away from work, let a pedestrian cross and smash!
Poor Brian.
But somehow the 4x4 came off worse - cosmetically at least. I don't what what Brian looks like inside.

He's gone to hospital to have his bottom checked. It was just a bump but Mumma and Papa Dodd were concerned about invisible damage. So he's gone for an internal examination.
I had mine - just a bit of whiplash but Brian?

Still no news.
I feel like one of those people who pace up and down outside the operating theatre, but obviously with less drama.

And the worst of it all... While Brian is hoisted up in the car hospital and crying out in pain as the mechanics poke about his insides (no anaethestic for inanimate objects), I am cheating.

Yes my friends, cheating on Brian is the worst feeling of all, and with a brand new Corsa. How will my little Ka ever forgive me...
Perhaps if I tell him I thought of him every time I drove the Corsa, and he meant nothing to me?
Will that numb the pain of me deserting him for another who works better?

Oh the shame.
Come back to me Brian.

Monday, 17 October 2011

...And then I learnt a certain amount of etiquette.

( I also wanted to teach some too.)

Today's classroom of learning?
The gym.

Or more specifically perhaps - studio 2.

This evening, in studio 2, I decided to partake in a class. Gone are the aerobics and legs bums and tums that I can't keep up with... replaced with Pilates.
Having done it once or twice, buying a mat and DVD to do at home, and then losing interest, I'm not really sure what inspired me to go back. I think it may have been my lack of motivation to do anything remotely exercise based.
Unless it involved walking the mutt. Which I don't mind. Unless its raining or cold. Both of which it was this evening after work.

But today? Well something came over me.
I ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill in the gym before going down to the studio so I was already suitably exhausted. And incredibly sweaty.
However, I had the forethought to take a change of clothes.
So I mopped the sweat off me, redressed in clean clothes (never that satisfying when your body feels gross) and walked into studio 2.

Lesson #1
Don't take someone else's Pilates space. People are (by nature) very territorial and the exercise studio is no different.

Lesson #2
Arrive early enough so that you don't have to place your mat by the door where you have to listen to the banter of lads preparing for an indoor football game whilst trying to find your centre. (It also means that you will be well and truly surrounded by other Pilates-ers when the person who's space you pinched by arriving early enters the room. This is tatical pilates play and should not be attempted by beginners. An advanced Pilates-er has a much stronger core than you. This is a secret strength and is deadly when used correctly.)

Lesson #3
It is advisable to do a little bit at a time. Don't try and be the best ever, most super pilates-er ever. Never overestimate your stretchiness because my god, does it hurt and you look like a moron huffing and puffing by the door. If at this point, anyone had not realised you were new... they will now.

Lesson #4
Never copy someone else. Chances are they're doing it wrong. The instructer doesn't have the heart to tell the woman who's been attending for weeks that the moves are wrong and actually she isn't doing pilates at all, instead she will tell you. Infront of the whole class and pull/push your body into muscle destroying stretches, while you do your best to hold back the expletives and tears of pain.

Lesson #5
If you have eaten brussel sprouts, beans, bananas, shredded wheat, raisins or any other fibreous food find a way of releasing the trapped wind before entering the class.

Lesson #6
If someone in the pilates class does happen to experience the ever-feared passing of gas - DO NOT laugh. You will be the only one who does so and there will be lots of stern expressions.

Lesson #6a
If the pilates-er who ate brussels was the same person who's space you pinched, laughing will make the situation much worse.

Lesson #7
Position yourself in such a way so that when attempting these core building exercises you do not touch anyone. At all. Pilates-er's do not like to be touched. Even a little foot graze is too much of an invasion of space. Apologise. Sincerely. Without giggling like a school girl and reposition yourself so that you hit the wall every time you move. Thus only injuring yourself without destroying the calm and serene atmosphere.

Lesson  #8
Do not offer your towel to anyone else. Regardless of how sweaty they are, or how much you think it might help. They will not only be utterly disgusted (more so by this than the wind with no owner), but they will think you barbaric and uncivilised.

Lesson #9
Avoid drinking lots of water. And if you must (because you did cardio before arriving) at least remember to go the toilet. Pilates is all about core muscles. Core muscles control your bladder. Excessive squeezing and releasing plays dirty tricks on your mind and you may think that you will wet yourself. If this is the case ... grin and bear it. Leaving a pilates class before the end is a sin, and you will be punished by the muscle stretching instructor.

Lesson #10
A true pilates-er does not flick the exercise mat in the air when rolling it up. A true pilates-er knows the health and safety risks of this method and will instead roll it along the floor, thereby removing the risk of whipping a fellow pilates-er in the face.

If you have learnt these 10 basic lessons, you may return to your second class. Or avoid the humiliation and never attend again. Perhaps try yoga instead. Similar exercise but you can start afresh with a new set of people.

And the etiquette lesson I should like to teach?

Lesson #1
An all-female changing does not allow you to walk around starkers. Women may appreciate that they are all-female, but do not need to see it all. Get yourself a towel for the shower (infact make that two towels so that you don't use the only one you have to wrap your hair up) and go into a cubicle.
The locker area is for changing shoes, removing layers and blow-drying hair once dressed, not for stripping down to bare it all.

Many thanks.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

...And then it was 7 days late.

Obviously I'm talking about a post.
Not anything else, don't worry Frank. Or Mumma.

This has post has been a long time coming and I don't even have any exciting news to fill it.
Except that even though I should be the most stressed out person in the world, I'm actually a little too laid back right now - aside from literally reclining into a deep pile of cushions.

I blame it all on my weekend.
I had the most uneventful and stress free journey to Ipswich.
I saw my first most perfect and complete rainbow (practically drove under it, even though I know it's the refraction of light through water droplets in the sky so you can't possibly 'drive under it'... it felt like a girly and magical moment all the same.)
I became one of the people I hate the most on motorways ... not a lane hogger, just a slow driver. And we're talking Grandma slow.

And it meant that I arrived at Frank's calm. There was no anger. No frustration but I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep.

I was taken out for a lovely lunch on a boat. I knew it was posh when I saw tablecloths, fabric napkins, too many glasses and more than one set of cutlery. It was such a treat.
Mmmm and so good. Thanks Frank!

Then we drank a lot in the evening. Call it 'teacher bonding' or 'team development' if you like, I like to call it 'Getting off yer face'. And it was a right laugh. As always.
Sunday was lunch with Frank's family. Good old roast dinner...  mmm
I'll I've done is eat.
And its great.

I don't even feel that bad about not going to the gym.
Maybe I'll get around to it later, but I doubt. Too much else going on right now.

Ooh must dash, dinner smells done.
mmmm fish pie!
God I could eat a horse if I wasn't utterly disgusted by the idea/

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

...And then there was a walk with the Mutt.

The sky was clouding over.
The wind was picking up.
The dark night was setting in.

But... Well the Mutt can't walk herself.
She might.
But I don't think she'd make it back.
And if she did, it would take hours.
I think she would lose herself in sniffing strange smells.
So I must act as a chaperone.

Actually it was quite a nice walk. I plugged myself into a music playing device and had quite a varied soundtrack.
And I forgot all about the potentially terrible weather.
I even had a bit of a sweat (or glow) on by the time I got home.
What a lovely Tuesday.
And winter is definitely on its way...

Monday, 3 October 2011

...And then there was an innoculation.

Yes, that's right my friends - this less than sickly child has had a flu jab.
(Much to the disgust of Miss USA who couldn't see the point in protecting myself against three particular strains of flu... out of hundreds, if not thousands of mutations of the flu virus. When put like that - neither can I.)

I'm not really sure why I opted to have a needle jabbed in my arm.
The worst I get is the sniffles.
I've never had a flu jab.
My immune system is pretty hardy.

But what if... what if, this was the year I get struck down by the virus!

So yes, my am may be aching a whole lot more than is perhaps deemed necessary but I'm hoping I'll be healthier than usual.
Watch this space!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

...And then there was an omnibus **.

** "...Pertaining to, including, or dealing with numerous objects or items at once..."

Which is precisely what I am doing now, having not written since Monday. A downright shocking attempt at being a regular blogger. However, at least I didn't let it drag into two weeks of silence.

I feel I must begin with the overtly British topic of the weather, since that has been all that has graced various conversations this week. I am aware that we are having lovely weather, and yes I am also aware that yesterday's temperatures make this the hottest autmn on record... but please can we stop talking about it?

I know it's hot.
I don't really like that it's hot.
I want to be wearing boots and scarves please. It was September and now it's October. I want proper autumn clothes please
This morning, I did almost succumb to the heat and consider (albeit briefly) wearing shorts. It meant foraging for them in the depths of drawers and now that our calendar summer is gone, my 'tan' has faded. I say 'tan', really it was a skin shade darker than my natual British glow... or translucence, if I'm being honest.
Rather than display this less than worthy attempt at a summer body, I opted for a simpler (and safer) combination.
I resorted to jeans and a pretty camisole, choosing to save the eyes of the British public. But some did not act with this level of thought or common courtesy. I saw bottom skimming shorts on bottoms that were eating them, and topless men who were sporting larger and considerably more wobbly 'pecs' than some females.
It appears that our judgement of appropriate attire flies out the open window as soon as the sunshine rears its happy yellow face from behind usual English blanket of grey cloud.
I beg you people, please consult a full length mirror before leaving the house... and if in doubt - don't.

Call me harsh, rude, unnecessary, mean, bitchy ... but you will all thank me for the preventative measure since I know (and secretly you do too) that we will never be able to say "Joe/Joanne Bloggs, I don't think you should wear that."  It's so much easier to smile (covering the grimace) and say "Oh I like your shorts."

So aside from bizarre wardrobe choices, what other events must I share with you this week?

- On Tuesday, Reese's Pieces (a staple of the American candy store and delivered with love by Miss USA) saved my life at 3 o'clock. Or choc o'clock as it has become known by the team. It appears our sugar levels drop simultaneously so we pull various assortments of cocoa-based snacks from our secret hiding places (never trust sugar deprived women, even if they are colleagues) and enjoy a brief mid afternoon siesta - without the sleep. Except my chocolate stash was empty and I had forgotten to replenish my stores. Apparently Miss USA has two stashes - her draw and her handbag! Excellent planning.

- It was announced this week by the Transport Minister that they were considering raising the speed limit on UK motorways from 70mph to 80mph.
Phillip Hammond, Transport Secretary, was quoted on the BBC Radio 1 news saying
"...We will be bringing all those drivers who regularly speed back on to the right side of the law..."
May I just say that this is a truly wonderful plan. Rather than fining those drivers who speed we'll just raise the limit to encompass them instead.
I will admit, and not proudly, that there are occassions on the M25 when my speedometer is waggling furiously over the 80 mark. And I slow down again. But if we make the limit 80mph, doesn't this mean we'll probably end up doing 90mph before saying "..Whoopsy! I must slow down"
And surely Mr Hammond (not of Top Gear fame - who I'm sure will have something to say about this new plan), increasing the maximum speed will increase the number of accidents. We aren't used to driving at 90mph and will probably underestimate the thinking time and stopping distance...
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Besides Brian can't drive at 90mph, so I'll be one of those annoying drivers. The ones I hate.

- I also needed a hair cut. Nothing extravagent. Nothing exciting. I realised that it was time to face my hairdresser. There were some serious split ends to sort out and I had to admit that I'd been dying my hair myself.
I would happily say I was quite assertive. I'm quite happy to speak my mind. But when faced with a skilled hairdresser brandishing sharp scissors... You say anything to keep your hair safe. I walked out with a perfectly normal hair cut. And an appointment for colour.
It's fine, I can cancel it later.

- There was a moment this week, when I thought I could move out. And rent. Ha. Fat chance. Turns out that I can't do either. My maths skills and saving aren't too great. I thought they were alright. So that was a bit of a reality check. I set a new goal though -  so I'll be a grown up little girl soon. (Living on baked beans again.) 

- Oh and I don't like Pop Tarts. (Sorry Miss Hendo, I know they came all the way from Vegas)

And here we are... Sunday night.
I'm full up with roast dinner (and a cheeky Wispa), the headache I had is gone, I've done nothing (sometimes that nice)... oh I dyed Mumma Dodd's hair (sorry, I lied) and now? Well I'm sat ready to wait for a bit of Downton Abbey.
Can't wait.

Have a good week everyone - lets fast forward through Monday.

Monday, 26 September 2011

...And then I forgot my purse.

Usually forgetting (or thinking you'd misplaced) such an important item, and a staple of any woman's handbag would cause utter panic.
I have on occasion emptied out the contents of my bag onto the floor, cash desk or end of checkout only to remember quite shame faced that it is infact on my bed/in the glove compartment/ ...actually lost.
I have done all three.
Today however, even if I had my purse, it would not have helped the situation.

I didn't have my purse because I was using my spare key's for Brian.
I had taken my actual keys and purse out of my handbag and left them on the telephone table while I searched for the shopping list.
I didn't even need my purse because Mama Dodd had given me her card to pick up some bits that she'd forgotten.
But I always take it most places, as a security blanket. (Except on Saturday night when I went out with Frank and his friends. I refused to cart around my bag and hadn't thought to pack a clutch bag. So I gave him my driving license and cash!)
In the hunt for the list, I had quite forgotten where I had placed my things.
I got in a huff.
I grabbed the spare keys and list and left the house.

Whilst on my way to the shop, list in hand, I thought to myself "Oh poo!"  - Yes, that was the extent of my expletive.
"Oh poo! Frank still has my driving license."
This wasn't such a strange, non sequitur thought, rather it would be quite sensible given that I was driving. However, considering that I have never been asked to present my license in the four years I have been on the road, perhaps it was more fitting that I remembered my lack of license because the first item on my list was wine.

"Oh it's okay " I continued to think to myself (ah, the nonsensical ramblings of a car loner!), "You are twenty-two and a little bit, you won't be ID'd."

Famous last words.

True to sod's law, (I will congratulate the not-so-moronic person who wrote that law, because in most instances it happens to be undisputably correct) I was asked to present some proof of age.
Now, my younger sister of fifteen may, on occasion, look older than me, but I am pretty sure - infact almost adament that I look older than a mere eighteen years.

Apparently not.
The thing with this "Think 25 " policy (and I know from experience as a electronic point of sale operator aka. checkout staff) that the requirement to "Think 25" is only really necessary when faced with some spotty scrawny adolescent who couldn't possibly be 18. Well that was how I deployed that rule. I think some people just interrogate everyone who walks through their checkout on a drink, knife and glue mission.
The problem with uttering the dreaded words, "Have you got any ID?", is that often once they slip out, you release that the person isn't the age you thought, they're more like 40, but since you asked you now can't rescind them. Proof of age must be provided to satisfy.

Well, this was the last thing I needed. I even knew the girl who asked me for it.
She knew how old I was. We were in the same year at school.
I tried to remember if I had ever said anything mean, or let her leave the school toilets with paper stuck to her shoe and her skirt tucked into her knickers...
No, she was just spiteful.
She told me quite smugly, "I'll hold the shopping for you while you get some proof of your age, or bring someone back with you..."
"No thank you" I said politely but wanting to break my cucumber over her head, "I'll just pick up these bits from somewhere else".

So I did.
In Tesco's. Their wine was on much better offer. The wine cooler was colder and all they asked me was if I would like a bag. Well actually since you asked, yes please.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

...And then I wasn't hit by a satellite.

According to NASA, yesterday's satellite (the one plummeting out of orbit) was presumed to break up into twenty six pieces. This was the equipment that would withstand re-entry.
The NASA scientists had (yesterday morning on the 8.00 news) no idea where these twenty six pieces would land because of the satellites orbit. But if you were in Quebec or Scotland - you would be safe. Apparently.
They couldn't predict exactly where they would land but they had a 1:3200 chance of hitting a human. Thats more likely than winning the lottery. Or being hit by a bus. However the liklihood of you (specifically) being hit was 1:1 trillion.
Quite good odds really!

I won't lie to you all though, I did spend the duration of my drive to Ipswich looking at the sky, hoping to catch a glimpse of falling debris. I only found out this morning that it landed in the Pacfic Ocean... it was always going to really since water covers 70% of Earth's surface. Had I been smarter, I would have realised this sooner, without Frank telling me.

So I didn't get hit.
But a rabbit did.
By me.
Or rather by Brian.

Like the woman in "...And then it all went up in a puff of feathers." [July 2011] I was a mess.
I called Frank (hands free) through my uncontrollable sobs. The poor bloke thought I'd had an accident. When he realised that I'd only flattened a bunny, he laughed. Not that he's insensitive (of course not!), just relieved that I was actually perfectly alright - if just a little shaken.

My defence for hitting this poor fluffy creature square in the face:
- It was a contra flow on the A12
- I was sandwiched between two lorries (the one behind me was already right up my rear end ... Had he not read yesterday's blogging plea? Perhaps he thought he was exempt because the A12 doesn't constitute a motorway)
- There was no where to swerve
- The animal should have moved. True to form, they really do freeze in headlights.

I've sussed it though. These rabbits that like to dice with death by crossing busy A-roads have got a little plan. Like a suicide plan. By freezing, the driver gets a good look at their little innocent furry face before, wham! Your car bounces over a bump. They know, at least I think they do, that for the rest of the drive, the sensitve drama queen that I am, I would keep replaying that moment. Oh the guilt. Oh the shame.
I can't even bring myself to check the front of Brian for rabbit remnants. Maybe I'll ask Frank!

Perhaps these rabbits want enough people to be disturbed by these killings, so that we will all tell our friends. And our friends will tell their friends about the horrible feeling. About the guilt. About the sleepless nights ( just a small exaggeration!). And then we'll all swerve to avoid these little furry creatures.
The sacrifice of a few rabbits is but a small price to pay for the indefinite guarantee for all rabbits safety on the roads, even at the risk of injuring a few humans.

Or may be they're just aren't particularly clever.
That's what sets us apart. They may breed like ...rabbits, but we are more selective. Thus resulting in less stupidity, we know how to cross roads, and therefore have higher survival rates. And don't need to breed like rabbits to maintain our population.

So I'm sorry Mr and Mrs Rabbit that your son Peter didn't come home last night, but please teach your spawn road safety and I will endeavour to avoid you and your friends. Thank you. ( I will donate some carrots to compensate for your loss)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

...And then I found I could time-travel

 Salutations from the 1940's.

Currently I find oneself sat on my bedspread.Quite comfortable in fact, one might say. And would you quite believe it if I told you, dearest friend, that my hair is in curlers?

Okay, so I'm quite clearly not time travelling. Just being a moron. But my hair is wrapped up. Don't ask and I shall explain.

I decided after a long day at work (and another face painting lesson witha skilled gentleman from the Tom Ford Beau-tettes) I am exhausted and what better way to reach maximum R&R than to wash your hair and wrap it round bits of foam with a scarf tied on top.
As mini Dodd so kindly put it,
"You've aged 20 years"

Personally , I think it's more than that, but a mere 20 years is far more flattering.
To be honest I have no idea how my mop will look in the morning, having never tried this particular 'curling' technique before. So I will be dragging myself from my bed much earlier than usual just to make sure I have plenty of time for damage control. I'm hoping for loose waves, modelled perfectly by Miss Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean. But I'll think it'll be more "electrocuted fuzz"...

I will also be dragging my tired and weary body from the comfort of my pillows and duvet so that I can pack my bag. Indeed friends, tomorrow is Friday. It took long enough arriving, and I can't wait to see Frank.
Just a quick plea while I'm here as it would be rude not to make full use of this broadcasting facility:

"Dear M25 users, 1) stop hitting the brakes and just step off the gas, 2)stay off the arse of the car infront and 3) get out of the middle lane. Follow these simple, simple rules or a crazy looking angry girl in a black (and battered) KA will hunt you down. Thank you"

I don't know how many drivers read this, and indeed I don't know how many of those spend Friday's on the UK motorway network-   so as a precautionary measure Frank has been instructed to have a gin and tonic on ice ready for the moment I step in the door.
He's well trained now, having seen me arrive frazzled and frustrated often enough. When you don't see your girlfriend for two or three weeks the last thing you want it to have her cursing and spitting feathers when she arrives. Alcohol, it seems,  has medatitve qualities and eventually shuts me up and knocks me out.

If indeed these hair curlers do have time travelling capabilities, I would happily walk into work tomorrow morning at 9am proudly sporting this ridiculous look, and poof! suddenly arrive fresh faced, calm and collected in Ipswich for 9.30pm. (30 minutes covers the time difference, and gives me time to remove these foamy worms from my head.)

Scientists, I'd love it if you could work on this for me please. Call it a favour!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

...And then it was wasabi Wednesday.

What I learned today:

- One shot of coffee is more than enough in one mug.
- I don't like the Pain au Chocolat from the staff restaurant.
- My lovely red nail varnish (courtesy of last month's Elle) doesn't like keyboards.
- Filing nails doesn't make chipped nail varnish look better.
- I'm still terrible at typing on my iPhone.
- I've been doing my job for six months now and I'm still making silly mistakes, lik simple addition.
- I can't drink water and walk at the same time.
- I make a regualar habit of leaving things in the print room.
- I still have a bladder that desperately wants the bathroom every time they are closed them for cleaning.
- (If I drink less to avoid the above problem, I get a headache)
- It is 30 steps from my desk to the printer in the office.
- I love Tom Ford lipstick in 'Cherry Lush'.
- A man (who confessed he wasn't a trained make up artist) can apply my make up better than me.
- I love purple eye-shadow. It was the first colour I ever bought aged 12 and I still love it now.
- I think I can I apply it better now though.
- I like wasabi peas.
- I don't like wasabi peas at 10am after a peach yoghurt.
- I can't eat a whole bag of wasabi peas.
- I can, however, eat an entire bag of peanut M&M's.
- Be careful where you put your fingers after eating blue M&M's.
- Neutral trousers are fine, if you plan to only eat beige/white food (plain toast, plain rice cakes, ryvita, weetabix... cardboard)
- I can't wear neutral colours.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

...And then it was Tom Ford Tuesday.

 For those of you who mistook this for the ageing welsh singer, read again.

Tom Ford is a designer. A top-notch one at that. With beautiful advertisements in Vogue. Oh the beauty. He designs clothes and has a line of fragrances. He launched a fabulous range of lipsticks last Autumn (another reason for a great season). They were hugely popular, in their gold and white casing - not too disimilar to the women's fragrances.
So, now you know a little of the background, you can hear the exciting stuff!

He's launching a full make up line.. postively expensive at £68.50 for four eyeshadows - but we ignore this fact, and concentrate instead on the Tom Ford beauty of it all.
And, the nature of my work in cosmetics means that we share a cosmetic brand. Which means, ( I can't hold my breath much longer) that the training which all the Tom Ford Beauty team have to have ...happens in our office.

And they request make up models. Not real models. But actual members of staff from the office. Actually really! I have watched my friends and cohorts disappear for a couple of hours to return with a perfectly dewy complexion ... and fabulous eyebrows.
Guess who shall be having her face painted with gloriously luxorious products tomorrow by the Tom Ford Beau-ettes?

Secretly I'm most excited about having my eyebrows properly shaped with pencil and shadow. I have longed for Julia Robert's brows for many moon's and fingers crossed, I shall learn the art of faking them!

Monday, 19 September 2011

...And then it was very much Autumn.

It is that time of year, my friends, my favourite season has descended upon the country. 

Yesterday's downpour was an indication of the potentially soggy months to come, but the chill in the air at 5.30pm (this time is not so precise that it is only chilly at 5.30pm, obviously) makes me happy. Almost time for wrapping up in scarves, gloves and little woolly hats to sit outside and drink hot chocolate, or coffee... or push the boat out, combine the two and have a mocha with marshmellows!

The crisp autumn mornings are on their way. A bit of frost. Scraping the car in the morning. And to be honest, I can't wait. Frank's school looks beautiful in Autumn. Just as the leaves turn golden and red. And time to crack out the winter wardrobe. Trench coats, capes, leather boots. Yipee!

The saddest thing about this Autumn is that it took a 'special' event for me to notice it. An event, which in itself is quite disgusting, but very problematic.

So I had partially observed the season's change, but not enough to warrant a significant reaction, when I decided to walk my pooch - Charley Dog. After a failed attempt at having a motivational Monday morning, I needed to escape the house and get some fresh air when I finished work.
Charley Dog and I walked all over the place. She had a good sniff. A rummage in a hole. Chased a squirrel. Casual dog sort of things.
Then we walked through a wooded area. The mutt began to slow, and I grew increasingly frustrated (the result of the Monday Blues). I let her wander and mooch and I whipped out the new gadget to make a phonecall.

Frank's mobile clicks straight to voicemail. Limited coverage in Ipswich, don't you know. I leave a brief message, moaning about Monday's and the like. I hang up and turn around to see pooch squatting.
Delightful, but she has to go. I don't stalk up on her too quick, give her some privacy.

Only I leave it a little too long, and before I can get there, she's walked off the mark and left me scouring the crisp autumnal leaves for a suspicious looking... well you know.
The problem with autumn walks, is that you have to be quick on the scoop up otherwise other people on leisurely walks look at you like you are slightly deranged person peering curiously at fallen leaves.

Honestly, if I didn't spend 15 minutes trying to locate it (I did) then someone would have walked in it and trodden it through the house,then you hear the yells of obscenities, and a cacophony of... "why can't those [insert choice phrase] dog owners pick up their dogs [insert another choice word]?" and children crying (it's more often the children who kick through the leaves, but I've been known to have a good 'scuff.)

But if I pick it up (and take a stupidly long time doing so, because autumn means you have to search for the present)... I still get looked at.
It's a lose/lose situation.

Charley Dog, grow some opposable thumbs and pick up your own in future.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

...And then another week flew by.

What with my body revolting against me again, attending motivational training sessions, joining Team iPhone, jump-starting Papa Dodd's American truck in a monsoon and catching up with 'Dowton Abbey' ... I can't say I'm entirely sure what happened here.

Monday seems so long ago and there it is peering round the corner again. But oh no my friend (or foe), you shall no longer wear me down on those dreary mornings.
Mind over matter and after Friday's refreshing course I will not be beaten.
There are new goals to strive for, and shockingly ... completely unrelated to shoes. And I've even managed to stay off the caffeine this week. Completely. The wine was necessary by Friday night though - its tough to give up coffee and alcohol.

I don't wish to cause a conflict but I am now a converted iPhone user.
Now don't get me wrong, I happily plodded along with my Blackberry (and I loved it) - infact it was quite hard to make the decision, but I think subconsciously I knew that about a year into my new Blackberry contract there would be a blog, "...And then I wished I had an iPhone"...
So I made the decision (surprisingly quickly for a 'die hard berry fan') and have a shiny new gadget in my hand!
Now why didn't I have one of these sooner?

The jump-start? A laugh and a 'arf. Papa Dodd thought he might successfully kick start his whopping V8 monster engine with a solar panel. Funny things about solar panels is that they require sunlight to function... there isn't much of that in the the middle of a thunderstorm, when the sky is black and you've just experienced a heavy hail storm.
So Papa Dodd sat in his car, I sat in mine and had a telephone conversation side by side through two car doors. A bizarre experience since usually you can't see the person on the other end, but I entreat you all to try it.
Then I had a cheeky game of 'Angry Birds', better late than never. And I had to pass duration of the rainstorm somehow. I had inpractically worn flip flops and a white tee shirt and Papa Dodd wasn't up for getting wet. And neither was I!

Good thing is, I may have failed at my first level of the bird game but I can jump start a car ... If you supply jump leads because I currently do not own any. And I don't intend to. I got my hands covered in grease, so I think I might just play the distressed damsal card if ever I need a handy start up.

Apparently Monday is almost here, so I'd better start preparing my new positive mental attitude, it's all about self affirmation ( according to Friday's course). So here goes, wish me luck!

Monday, 12 September 2011

...And then there was a hot water bottle.

I haven't fogotten about you all. Although, I'm sure it appears that way.
There have been a great many projects demanding my attention, and for someone so good at multi-tasking -it appears I have failed.
There will be an update shortly. Hold your breath for a substantial one.
Grab a cup of coffee (tea if you prefer) and meet me here the same time tomorrow.
I bid you Adieu, as I snuggle down with a gloopy and luke warm hot water bottle, and leg warmers.
Until tomorrow.

N.B shutting the windows keeps the gale force winds (hurrincane remnants) out, but it doesn't half make this here little room quite a stuffy place to sit.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

...And then there was a glass of red

So here I am. Reclining on the couch after a hard day in the office.
Odd for a girl who swore she'd never be office bound.

As a student when I had a lot more time on my hands (comparartively of course, because actually students are pretty busy dontcha know?) I never fully appreciated the moment suspended so delicately in wine.
It was always drink because I can, but now? It's so completely different, it's relaxing and I deserve it. The whole glass. Or two. Sometimes if I feel reckless I make it three... and on Friday's? Wow, well how about an entire bottle...

Or I could really push the boat out and drink a few more glasses on a 'school' night. Then I really would be a student again!
Perhaps it's best that I left the bottle alone. I dont think the office is ready for this hangover.

Friday, 26 August 2011

...And then it was time to prepare for the last 2011 Bank Holiday.

"Ah, and how will you spend yours?" I hear you cry.

"I'm going to London with Frank" I will respond

"How lovely, where are you staying?", your retort may be... or else "What will will do you do?"

I know the answer to the first question but sadly not to the second.
I have booked a lovely room at a surprise hotel - oh that's the other thing, Frank doesn't know where we're going. He knows which tube station to meet me at, and that's... well that's about it.

And unless I plan something lush and fun to do, we shall just spend two days in our hotel room looking at each other and twiddling our thumbs.
(Quite obviously this is not the case, but I do need some ideas and sharpish!)

I have the standard things in mind, places to visit and the like, but I want something special. I shall now speak in hushed tones in order to keep this secret from Frank...
I can't get us in to afternoon tea anywhere. It's all booked. So if some delightfully well-connected reader would like to pull some strings so that my chap and I may enjoy a lovely pot of tea and crustless cucumber sandwiches, well then good golly - that would be wonderful!

But Frank likes other things too, so it's not too much of a lost cause if we don't.

It all has to happen on a small amount of pennies though. I forgot that I have to pay lots of train fares this weekend. I also forgot about my lovely phone bill. Oh phone company, you shall remain nameless, but thank you so much for charging me a measly £90. So generous.
My Mastercard has taken a bit of a battering too, what with car insurance and other pretty things. I even stuck a bright yellow post-it note to it. "IS IT AN EMERGENCY?" but even the shame of removing the sticky paper would not prevent me from sliding it into the chip'n'pin reader....
Oh you reckless spender, why can't you save more!

I have very few pennies to my name.
In fact so few, that I'm poorer now than when I was a student.

Frank - would you mind if we just sat in Hyde Park in the bank holiday rain and searched for scraps of food in restaurant bins.
I hear you can create some rather delightful gourmet dinners.

So ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the last of the long weekends, the nights are drawing in and its almost time to bring out the winter woolies.

Friday, 19 August 2011

...And then Frank took me to Essex

For the first time in our relationship Frank is driving me home for a weekend in Essex. Finally, after many moans, blogs and rants I have a date for friday night. The inbetweeners at the cinema? Dinner in a very nice restuarant? Or a film and takeaway on the sofa? Of course not. True to form and my ongoing passionate affair with the M25, we are sat in Franks peugot with The Wombats for additional company. We have taken a break from our stop-start traffic jam and had a frappuccino at South Mimms services. A wee and coffee always calms you when 2 of 3 lanes are closed, everyone knows this! Including those sad and distressed faces that littered the airport style services. I treated myself and offered Frank a starbucks too. I am no stranger to this coffee company or its soothing effects. "C'mon I'll buy you a coffee" I said to the slightly disgruntled Frank - we were meant to have arrived an hour and a half ago. "No thank you, I'll have a milkshake". So he queued at a famous fried chicken fast food chain. Ladies and gentlemen, never purchase a "krush'em". They are not worth your hard earned £2 pieces! Frank was mightily impressed. I'm quite enjoying my tall skinny coffee frappuccino in the comfort of the peugot. And yes, I have been sharing it with Frank. You have to keep your driver sweet. So it appears the traffic has picked up and I've put my fruity smartphone to the test.... Well done blackberry!! N.B If we're still here at midnight, I'll hunt down some flares and flag down some help! Enjoy your friday evenings!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

...And then it was a quiet sunday afternoon.

What a delightful afternoon.
The sun is warming my toes as I write this.
Whilst being warmed, I'm also online window shopping.

Obviously, I'm meant to be doing other things. I have e.mails to send and other sensible things. But instead I have shopped.
Oh and the things I have seen.

If money were no object.
Christian Louboutin.
Jimmy Choo.
Manolo Blahnik.
Christian Dior.

I looked at handbags and the Mulberry which I have been admiring ever since I decided I would treat myself to a graduation present. Well, the sad thing is Graduation was a year ago. And still no bag.

I have Brian, but as loveable as he his, he's pretty useless. Sure, he has wheels and helps me get around... But he isn't quite the beautiful accessory that shoes and handbags are.

Oh dear, listen to me, Miss Materialistic. I promise its not always this way.
Its a monthly thing.

I buy Vogue and ... well, my brain gets carried away. It makes me want all these beautiful things.
I don't think that it helps that I have the 'Sex and the City' movie on.

On busy days I can avoid all these materialistic urges and my list of "When I get paid I will buy this...." but on quiet sunday afternoons when you haven't made plans?
The quiet just doesn't cover it up....
Thank god my mastercard is upstairs, and right now I'm just too lazy to move. It's all probably a good thing. My shrinking bank balance won't cry with pain.

Monday, 8 August 2011

...And then two weeks had passed. Again.

"Golly Gosh, two weeks!" I hear you cry.
Yes, Yes I am afraid dear people that I have left you to your own devices for two whole weeks (it might be more, but two is a nice easy number). I have left you to read other things, to delve into the inner most workings of another human being. But... you have returned.
For this, I thank you.

I have returned to reality (a soft landing with a minor bump - but no cuts or grazes). To say that the last fortnight has been a bit manic,would be a substantial understatement. "A bit manic" does not justify one's lack of commitment and complete disappearance. Even my friends did not see me, many thought I might have mysteriously fallen down a rabbit hole. I was caught up in a drama of sorts. . However, I am back, raring to go, and with a new respect for words, their strength and subjectivity.

I have had a little holiday in the meantime and a visit to Clapham, but in the reverse order. I drank myself silly in the sunshine with friends at an assortment of establishments, and decided it was high time for a summer holiday and found myself curled up in a chilly tent whilst everyone around me was jumping onto a surf board.

Clapham, for once, was a sad and sobering place. Sobering for the fact that Carrie was moving out of her very lovely top floor apartment to a house in Balham. Of course in order to pack and move one's life possessions, one must be in possession of their brain.
Unfortunatley mine was laying at the bottom of a bird cage, shrivelled and craving water, diet coke, gin.....liquid of some kind. I opted for the safer H20 option. Followed later by the cold and sugary goodness of a pint of Diet Coke. Like Carrie moving in to another place with old friends, the ninja hangover joined and cohabited in my tiny, hurting brain with the small pain hiding at the back. Together they wreaked havoc.

We hadn't consumed a lot of alcohol. At least, I hadn't. I had gone to "The Falcon" at Clapham North, with the best intentions. A pint of lime and soda between every slightly alcoholic drink would build the defence against the tiny ruthless japanese attacker that hunts me down about 3 o'clock the following afternoon. Alas, my plan did not suceed. On one  (of many) trips to the crowded bar I had forgotten to ask for my 80p worth of hangover cure, and the rest they say is history. It takes a long time to build a habit, but a moment to destroy it. I found out the hard way.

Anyway I'm sure the soda tap went quite unused for the rest of the evening. Our companions, Carrie's assortment of friends (Charlotte included of course) who had joined her for birthday merriment took advantage of the celebrations and laced poor Carrie with multiple glasses of wine. Then, there  a sambuca shot shot was purchased. However, I don't think it made it too her because I'm sure it was at this point in the evening that she slid slowly off the bench into a small Carrie shaped heap on the floor. A little while later we escorted her home.
Now I lack any sort of scientific evidental proof that in the process of sleeping on the floor on a drunkenly engineered bed made of sofa cushions and IKEA blankets, her hangover dripped out her ears and into mine. Many would deem this impossible. However, it did set up camp and Carrie was feeling quite sprightly whilst my health deteriorated rapidly.
I didn't think I even drank enough to warrant a poorly head. Well, think or not, it was there. And it hurt all the way home.

The girl moving into Carrie's very empty room, made it very apparent that she wanted somewhere to live. We packed the last item into a pillowcase at just after 12 noon. Then went for breakfast/lunch/brunch. (If ever you get the chance, you must try 'Bread Etc'. I won't ruin the surprise, just go. Be prepared to queue and don't eat anything before. Whatever will I do when she lives in Balham -  aaah, fear not, "The Nightingale".)
 With the room only freshly emptied of every trace of her existance, the new girl wanted Carrie's keys at 2 o'clock. Now, I thought this all a little insenstitive and too much like grave jumping. I wanted to remain in the cold shell, and mourn Carrie's life there. All the times I had lost make up to the depths of her floor and the piles of stuff. All the times I had left half drunk glasses before leaving for nights out, only to find the smell of wine/rum/punch positively revolting the following morning. Many a night I have shared with Carrie in her bed, unconcious with the fumes of unknown beverages and the grime of London on my feet. Oh those happy, happy times - only to be masked by some other randomer's excursions and adventures. I wanted Carrie to sign her name on the wall, a lasting memory of the previous tennant. But as Miss O'Riley put it so eloquently, " London has no sentimentality."

Many might argue this fact, but in this instance, I nodded solemly.

I spent Sunday afternoon on the sofa in my very quiet home, sleeping. I should have been packing. But like most (and I make a severe generalisation) women I hate packing. I hate that I have to have a vast selection of outfits. What if I get to my destination and suddenly realise that "oh poo, I wish I had packed my scarlet sequinned strapless dress." I don't have a scarlet sequinned strapless dress and if you're focussing on that obscene concoction  then you have quite clearly missed the point.
I had not bought anything for my holiday. No new bikini. No new flip flops and not even a new pair of sunglasses. Even the suntan that I (eventually) packed had been gathering dust at the back of the bathroom cabinet.
Now a new bikini or any of the aforementioned items were really not important. I (and Frank) were going to be joining my family at our caravan that they had towed and pitched on a site in Croyde, North Devon. The neighbouring site was called 'Surfers Paradise'and there I rest my case. I was told I would just be living in  a wetsuit. We've all seen the extent of my fitness and I'll admit now quite shamefully that I don't like getting my face wet, (with the exception of showering) and the concept of standing, or attempting to, on a piece of fibreglass (?) as it flies through the water, did not appeal to me at all. My little (surf obsessed) sister was utterly disgusted. Even Frank donned a wetsuit and ran into the waves, while I lay on the beach trying to catch the few summer rays and completely engrossed in one of many books I had purchased only a few weeks ago. Oh how wonderful to have the the time to read and not worry about all those other idle things one should be doing instead....

In my haste to pack, because I'd left it so late, I forgot to cover every eventuality. I had packed shorts, three 'vintage' (not in the trendy use of the term, more like - these are old because I haven't bought any more) bikinis, t-shirts in every colour, for every combination.
I think secretly, I had hoped that my geography was wrong, and that Devon's climate actually resembled that of the Caribbean. Having studied there for three years, this was most unlikely. Perhaps Frank was included in some practical joke and actually we were going to be driving to the aiport and flying to the tropics.

So I didn't pack thermals, wellies, waterproof jackets, blankets, woolly socks, jumpers and coats. Last week I would have paid a lot of money for these on the black market. When you live in a house with central heating, and work in air conditioned office, and drive a temperature controlled car - you forget how cold it is a night. Especially when the wind rushes up off the sea and whips itself into a frenzy.
Poor Frank. I think I spent most of the evenings wearing his clothes. My bikinis made it to the beach once, my shorts left my suitcase twice - quickly replaced by a pair of jeans that were packed last minute, and my poor pasty white body saw the sun once. I'm sure to some of the small children building sandcastles I looked like a ghost in a huge floppy hat. ( I was protecting my newly coloured hair from turning ginger in the sunshine - or what there was of it!)

I really should refrain from berating my holiday, I sound so unappreciative. It wasn't all bad. We ate a lot of BBQ'd food. If I eat another prawn, I might look like one. Drank copious amounts of wine, apparently my liver had given up punishing me. And played one too many board games. Obviously they're much more fun when played with other slightly tipsy adults.

The highlight of my very brief holiday in the west country was saturday night. Now, I have never been one to sleep all that well in a tent. I like beds. I like heating. I like being able to shower in the morning without having to walk across a field. But I can put up with a tent for a little bit. And put up with it, I did.  I may have moaned about being cold, but I did not once whinge about the tent. (My sister and Frank might suggest otherwise).

But Saturday night, oh saturday you feisty little weather witch! The wind wanted to pull Frank's green and purple tent out of the ground, with us inside. Had it not been for Frank's expert pitching skills, I'm sure we would have been whipped up like Dorothy's house in "The Wizard of Oz".
We spent the night camping through a hurricane, or the dregs of one at least. Never in my life have I heard such ferocity. Such power. And so much bloomin' noise.

Actually, I was quite frightened. I burrowed beneath the duvet (yes duvet, no sleeping bags for me) and stuck my fingers in my ears. But it was to no avail. If Frank had heard it, he made no indication other than his initial "It's actually quite soothing", before falling asleep. Git.
I think I was awake for most of the night. We woke on sunday morning (the last day of our holiday) to bright blue skies and singing birds.
There was no trace of the hurricane other than in the the bleary sleep deprived eyes of those residents who were not knocked unconcious by the potent west country ciders.

We packed our tent, bid farewell to my family ( who are remaining in this beachy haven for another week, and if they return with caribbean tans I might weep and hang myself, cocoon-like from a tree in a sleeping bag) and drove home in the pouring rain.
Naturally I welcomed my home, the big sofa and my lovely comfy bed. And a bathroom at the end of a corridor. With hot water and no screaming children. Hoorah.

I returned to work this morning and already it feels as though I never went away. Oh and I'm broke.
Maybe the further away you go, the longer it takes to return to reality.

Frank - we're going to Oz next year! Better start popping those pounds in a piggy bank, eh?