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!