Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cocktail night required

Well I've just been looking through my new Ann Summers cocktail book and I feel a drinks evening is required to try out some of the recipes. Let's just say the pictures leave absolutely nothing to the imagination...there's almost more cock than cocktail! Anyone fancy a Penis Colada?! :op

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Happy shiny person

Open day went well today! Woohoo! Almost everything worked out perfectly and I actually enjoyed the day. Now if only I got an extra day off in lieu...well at least I will be paid time and a half for my work. However, the best thing about today was being picked up by my mum and going for dinner with her and dad, and Poppa and Vi. We went to the Beefeater in Kenilworth for safety (old people and eating out etc) and had a fab time. Poppa ordered 2 bottles of wine of which I had lots, and it was yummy because it came from the Mosel valley - yay for Mosel wine. I also made the mistake of drunkenly ordering an enormous chocolate sundae which was delicious but somewhat derailed the weight loss plan! I probably put on the pound I lost last week tonight. Ah well. I tried my dress on again yesterday and it still fits so I should be fine as long as I'm good for the next two weeks and buy the M&S magic knickers! I'm off shoe, bag and knicker shopping tomorrow which is all good.

I'm generally feeling really happy and content at the moment. I'm totally in control of my life and am running everything according to my own rules which is great, and I'm just blessed with wonderful friends and a really happy state of mind. I love my job, I love my home, I love the town where I live and I love my little routines. I also love the simple joys in life, like singing wonderful music on a Thursday evening (Beethoven 9), having a girly giggle and gossip over a meal and a glass of wine (Lu, you're fab!) and sitting in a warm cosy room with a glass of something nice, reading a good book and generally being as happy as it's possible to be. Today I remembered again how glad I am to have finally made it to that place where I can chat easily with friends and strangers alike, while feeling completely confident in myself and my abilities, and feeling fabulous and professional in a size 12/14 suit! All those years of feeling outside at school, with rubbish hair and terrible clothes, have made me the strong independent person I am now and allow me to appreciate today all the more. Twenty-something is most definitely the best age to be! I am both happy in the now and excited to look forward to the future. Life - bring it on!

Friday, January 27, 2006

I like gin.

And I dislike having to work on Saturdays.
But at least my Ann Summers stuff is arriving tonight! Woo.
Mmm, gin.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A highly virtuous weekend

I have been very proud of myself this weekend! I have exercised twice - it really is true that getting your heart rate going and jumping about as soon as you wake up makes you feel great for the rest of the day. I have also eaten very well, with soup, salmon, chicken and sushi featuring highly. I'm in a "try anything once" mood so when Juicy suggested sushi I thought I'd give it a go, and it was so tasty! Recommended. I also managed not to drink at all on Saturday having designated this weekend the start of my 4-week fitting into dress programme which I was very proud of, although had I remembered I had half a bottle in the fridge on Saturday morning I may have been sorely tempted to neck it straight from the bottle, so it's probably a good thing that I didn't! I now have a new suit which I get to wear on Wednesday when the Connexions people come for their visit, and I've got halfway through one of my new books which is fascinating - it's the autobiography of Gene Kranz who was one of the flight controllers for the Gemini and Apollo space missions. All in all a most successful weekend.

This week should be fairly quiet - but then Saturday is the 2nd annual Ann Summers party! (Amusingly, there is now a Chorus member called Ann Summers. Made me chuckle.) I think there will be purchases made and alcohol drunk (but not too much, I'm quite serious about this health kick) and much general girly merriment to be had. Bring it on!

Monday, January 09, 2006


I picked up the new Arts Centre Diary the other day and I quite fancy going to see several of the comedians who are on this term. Does anyone want to join me for any of the following...?

Lucy Porter - should be good for a girls night out; one of the reviews says "Her bubblegum comedy comes wrapped in a sharp and savvy wit with a dollop of smut on the side". £10/£8, Sunday 19th Feb.

Dara O Briain - you may have seen him presenting Have I Got News For You. V amusing...and Irish, yay. £17, Saturday 22nd April.

Mark Steel - political satire. Used to have an excellent column in the Independent. £12.50/£10, Sunday 30th April.

Paul Merton's Impro Chums - Paul Merton, nuff said. £17.50/£15, Friday 5th May.

Not sure I can afford all of these but will definitely go to one or two (probably the cheapest two!) so let me know. Incidentally...I have now booked my speed dating. There's no going back! :o)

Saturday, January 07, 2006


My cousin Matthew opened a bookshop the week before Christmas. It's in London SE1, and it's called Crockatt and Powell. Matthew (Crockatt) and Adam (Powell) have a blog which you can view at and which has recently been named as Site of the Week in the Culture Vulture section of the Guardian. If anyone happens to be in London then please buy books from them! Otherwise visit the blog - it's an interesting mixture of thoughts about books and writing, and amusing comments about setting up the shop and the people who come to browse and buy. Flick through to their first post to find out more about the shop. Apparently they are already taking enough money to make a small profit, which in January is pretty good going!


Well, it went well today and was actually a good day overall. I did my reading really well (though I say so myself) and lots of people thanked me which was nice. I then no longer had any need to hold myself together so spent the rest of the service crying buckets. I got myself together afterwards though and had fun chatting to my cousins and drinking lots of champagne - apparently Grandpa's only two requests were that there should be no eulogy, and that we all had to have a good party! I even saw my Grannie laughing at one point which was lovely.

Anyway, the poems that we had in the service were so beautiful that I thought I'd reproduce them here. Grandpa's four children chose them and they really made the service. It was definitely the lovely words that made me cry so much! We had the Bible reading first and then the other poems in this order.

A passage from Tintern Abbey by Wordsworth
These beauteous forms
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration: feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; That blessed mood,
In which the burden of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened: that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

Let Evening Come by Jan Kenyon
Let the light of late afternoon shine through chinks in the barn
moving up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chaffing as a woman takes up her needles and her yarn.
Let evening come.

Let dew collect in the hoe abandoned in the long grass.
Let the stars appear and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.

Let the wind die down.
Let the shed go black inside.
Let evening come.

To the bottle in a ditch,
to the scoop in the oats,
to the air in the lung,
let evening come.

Let it come as it will and don't be afraid.
God does not leave us comfortless.
So, let evening come.

By Henry Scott Holland
Death is nothing at all...I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy ways you always used.
Put no difference into your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort,
without the ghost of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was;
there is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval,
Somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well.

You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
Or your heart can be full of the love that you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone,
Or you can cherish his memory and let him live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn back,
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love, and go on.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Five men!

So there was once an episode of Friends where Ross & Rachel chose five people they were allowed to sleep with and not end the relationship. Here are my five (although to be fair, I'm pretty much allowed anyone at the moment!).

Colin Firth

Matthew McFadyen

Andrew Lincoln
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
David Tennant

Richard Hammond

This list was dreamed up on Tia Maria night and the piece of paper with the names on was randomly found in my bra when I went to bed! I have however made one small alteration after being reminded of the existence of Andrew Lincoln today; he replaces Orlando Bloom who himself was a substitute for Aragorn who doesn't exist in real life. The actor who plays him does, but he is actually quite minging without the long hair and the opening doors in a noble and heroic fashion.

Hmm, this absolutely vile wine seems to have had quite a significant effect! It must however never be purchased again. A warning: do not buy Tesco Frascati for £2.98 even if you intend to use a third of it in cooking - having to drink the other two thirds is really quite unpleasant.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Big thoughts

I was going to call this Thoughts About Death but then I thought everyone would worry that I'd got all depressed again so I changed my mind! Anyway. I just spent half an hour talking to my mum about Grandpa's funeral which is happening on Saturday, and it really got me thinking. I haven't been at all upset about him dying up to now and now I feel a little differently. I think this is going to be a random stream of consciousness entry so apologies if it makes no sense!

We only saw my grandparents about twice a year, and recently I was often busy when we visited so it was really only once a year. On these occasions it felt like a duty visit - me and Simon didn't really know how to have a conversation with Grannie and Grandpa, and they weren't really sure how to talk to us, so we tended to sit and read the paper or talk to each other while our parents made conversation, and we were both glad when we got to go home. So although I loved them obviously, I wasn't at all close to them. Plus, Grandpa got cancer a few years ago and recently it had got much worse as it started spreading, so we all knew he was going to die sooner or later, and when we visited just before Christmas it was very clear that this would happen within the next two weeks because he basically looked like a living dead person. I've therefore not been at all upset since he died on Friday.

However, I was talking to mum just now and felt quite emotional talking about funerals. I have to do the Bible reading on Saturday and I thought I'd have no problem with it but I'm worrying now that I'll cry! This is silly as I've read loads in church before and I'm not nervous about it; it's not even an emotional reading, but I'm worried that I won't be able to do it without wobbling. Mine is the first reading though so I'll just try to hold it together until I've finished. It's weird, I'm not sure exactly why I'll be crying even...currently I feel sad but not necessarily all about Grandpa. I think it's the thought of my parents dying - mum was telling me about all the things they've been doing like sorting out the will and the trust and phoning the utility companies, and I was just thinking about when I'll have to do all that. I don't know how I'll be able to live without my parents and I really don't want to think about that anymore.

Moving on...I've also been having fond memories of when I was little and I used to spend a few days with my grandparents every summer. I remember Grandpa took me to St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey one day - we went up into the whispering gallery in St Paul's, and saw where all the famous people are buried in the Abbey. We then had a baked potato at a cafe in the basement of a Methodist church - for some reason I remember this really clearly! I also remember helping in the garden lots - Grandpa grew vegetables and I used to pick beans etc. I have a picture of me up a step ladder picking them, wearing the most awful turquoise denim shorts! I remember being very upset when I had to go home because I'd had such a good time, and crying because one day my grandparents would die and I wouldn't see them again - it's odd that this closeness disappeared.

Grandpa was an amazing person and had such a great life. I don't know all that much about it but I've been told some things. He helped with the development of radar during the war, and had to postpone his degree when war broke out. He went back to university at Cambridge after the war, and because he was married to Grannie by then he took his degree in 2 years instead of 3, presumably so that he could start earning more money, and got a double first...pretty impressive really! I know he was managing director of a company but I'm not sure what the company was...I think they made kitchenware though as mum has red-handled knives which I think came from him. After he retired he and Grannie were always going on holiday all over the world. He used to read lots of factual books and knew all about paintings and history. He also played Bridge and was extremely good at it - I guess the kind of brain that gets a double first at Cambridge is the kind of brain that is also good at Bridge! He and Grannie were so kind and generous to all their friends and relatives - they even adopted a girl who came from a bad background
at one point and turned her life around.

However, I think the most amazing thing about Grandpa, and Grannie too actually, was that they were very happily married for 62 years. They met during the war - it's such a romantic story! My Grannie was on a walk and got lost, and she and her friend decided their only option was to knock on the door of a nearby house. A young man answered the door, and Grannie knew that day that she was going to marry him. 62 years, 4 children, 10 grandchildren and a wonderful life later they were still sleeping in the same bed. I think this is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard and I can only hope I find anything that comes close to a love like that. Love is about endurance, strength and companionship and they just illustrated that so well. I can't begin to imagine how Grannie is feeling now - if I was her I just wouldn't know how to even begin carrying on.

Right, I'm going to stop rambling now having written all this down. I'm just going to hope and pray that I can get through Saturday ok and get my reading out. Actually it should be a rather nice occasion, with the whole family there, and it's intended to be a celebration of his life. We're going to Guido's restaurant afterwards which is where we've had various wedding anniversary and birthday parties that Grandpa hosted, and there's going to be champagne flowing all day! I'd be really grateful if people could think of me on Saturday, and think of my Grandpa too - even though you didn't know him he was definitely one of the better people in this world and he could teach us all what love is about.

I'm off to find a box of tissues! I thought I'd finish with my reading. I don't know which version we're having, but this is the Revised Standard Version.

John chapter 14, verses 1 to 6.

Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."

Monday, January 02, 2006

Review of 2005

I just read a very interesting review of the year on my brother's blog, and thought I'd do one of my own in the same format. I'm having to use my old calendar as a prompt so will probably miss loads out, but it's better than nothing. Here goes...

- Getting happily drunk at Raquel's birthday meal and having lots of random conversations

- Hosting a quite legendary Ann Summers party
- Singing through the Verdi for the first time and discovering just how fabulous it is

- Throwing up after the quite legendary Ann Summers party...
- The entire day after the quite legendary Ann Summers party

- Getting £500 of tax back from the Inland Revenue! The stuff of dreams
- The Music Centre Ball
- Performing the Woolfenden octet in Stratford

- Some losers breaking into the MC office on Valentine's Day and nicking Owen's stuff
- The temperature of the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford where we performed the octet

- Running to the Jug before, during and after the WO concert in Leam
- Performing the Verdi, getting shivers down the spine and making mum cry (because it was good, not because it was bad!)
- Eating a yummy roast dinner at Alicia's house on Easter Sunday, and having two bank holidays!

- Being embarrassing while drunk on at least two occasions...and saying things that maybe I shouldn't have. Error

- Going to Prague
- Having a totally fabulous girly night in Old Orleans with 2-for-1 cocktails
- Joining the Birmingham Phil, even if only for a term
- Hannah and Anthony's engagement party

- Getting back late from Prague and getting up at 6.30 to go to a horrible rehearsal which lasted all day
- Getting up at 7.30 on Sundays to go to the Birmingham Phil!

- Going to see Honk! and laughing all the way through
- Having a delicious meal at The Cross
- The annual Eurovision party
- Having no BPO rehearsal on bank holiday weekend and getting a lie-in!

- Not staying up to watch the election because I had to work the next day

- Having lunch with Gemma in the Pitcher and Piano
- The usual comedy fun at the WO Memorial Park concert
- Going to Old Orleans again!
- Performing in a brilliant concert with the BPO in Leominster, and actually playing well!
- The Chaplaincy Ball, especially our legendary jazz recorder rendition of Blackadder
- The Gala Concert

- Performing in the Adrian Boult Hall on the hottest day of the year with broken air conditioning: sweat all over the keys before we even started
- Tour (apologies to those who organised, the actual tour was brilliant but the other stuff sucked!)

- Discovering I have the best friends in the whole world
- Sam's birthday meal at ASK
- Drunken girly nights with Chelsea and Julia
- Getting very drunk at Baby B and phoning my brother ("I'm in a toilet!")

- Don't really need to spell it out...

- Having a week off work!
- Simon coming to stay: curry and drunkenness
- Visiting Jo and Mike in Ely
- Having lots of meals out with other employed people (I still owe you all dinner!)
- More drunken girly nights with Chelsea and Julia
- Finding a flat!
- Warwick regatta

- Not much actually! Yay for August

- Listening to an absolutely incredible performance of Sibelius 2 in Symphony Hall
- Moving into my flat, then eating gorgeous salmon pasta in ASK at 9.30pm
- Playing a blinder at interview...and getting the job!
- Fabulous girly night out in Bar 44 with Julia, Juicy and Lesley
- Eating sausage at the beer festival and then randomly going to Baby B...again
- My housewarming party!
- Eating tapas after work, getting very drunk, going home and cooking the contents of my fridge

- Almost freezing to death after Baby B
- Eating pasta with wine, cheese and Irish Cream Aero. Most definitely NOT recommended, even when drunk

- Singing in the free concert, then drinking in Spoons for Juicy's birthday
- The awards dinner at work going to plan against all the odds
- Getting highly highly drunk at the awards dinner after realising it was going well, and ending the evening doing Living on a Prayer with my team on the dance floor
- My last day at work the day after the awards dinner - going to Zizzi with my colleagues and getting highly highly drunk...again
- Juicy's housewarming party the day after my last day at work - dressing up and spending a fab evening with all my friends. Surprisingly though I didn't get highly highly drunk!
- Starting my new job and meeting some great people who bought me birthday prezzies!
- Going to Spoons and Nando's for Lu's birthday - and getting highly highly highly drunk (the extra highly involved memory loss and inability to walk)
- My birthday!
- Going to a very swanky hotel for free on a work jolly
- Meeting my parents for dinner and a concert in Birmingham

- Being so hungover on my birthday that I couldn't drink and felt like crap - again, not recommended
- Working on two Saturdays out of four and losing all feeling in my feet

- Sam's fireworks party complete with 1812 overture
- Girly pampering evening and cocktails with Juicy and Kel: "Drinking through cream - recommended!"
- Dressing up for School Days
- Meeting my parents in Birmingham for dinner and another concert
- Going to the NCBF with WO
- Drinking wine and being girly with Juicy before Andy's birthday do
- Watching mum perform in Britten's War Requiem
- Singing in the Chorus concert
- Enjoying the cheese at the WO Christmas concert

- Being too tired to properly enjoy Andy's birthday do
- Getting home far too late after the WO Christmas concert

- Going for my first post-work drinks with my new colleagues
- Watching everyone play well in Leeds and then eating a yummy dinner and drinking at Raquel's
- Going to the greyhounds for our work Christmas party
- Having Buck's Fizz, Lambrini and party food at our work Secret Santa party (a highly tasteful event!)
- Singing as loud as I could at mum's legendary Christmas concert
- Going out for lunch in my last week at work before Christmas
- Eating pizza and icecream and drinking wine with Simon after my last day at work
- Driving home for Christmas singing our heads off to festive cheese!
- Going to see Harry Potter and eating at Little Venice afterwards with my family
- Christmas Eve dinner, wine and card games - hilarious
- Getting highly tipsy on Christmas Day with sparkling rose and champagne!
- Going to see Narnia and eating at Little Venice again
- Drinking a bottle of Tia Maria with Juicy and sending text messages/singing into wine bottles
- Dressing up for New Year at Raquel's

- Grandpa dying
- Being too hungover and knackered to properly enjoy New Year

Well, overall 2005 has been absolutely fabulous (a word I have used far too much this year). October and December in particular were legendary months...I seem to notice alcohol playing quite a starring role! Thankyou to all my friends for being brilliant in a crisis and hilarious on a night out: you are just the best. Bring on 2006 - let's hope it's even better!

(Ooh, I just copied this in case it doesn't publish, and it's 4 sides of A4! What a year.)