Tuesday, May 30, 2006


It's amazing how sleepy even a little bit of country air can make you feel! Today Juicy and I drove out to Henley - well, to be accurate Juicy drove and I stared blankly at the map going "Where the hell are we?". We went from Leam through Warwick and then onto the A46 back up to the Leamington junction before I worked out that we needed to go to the big Stratford roundabout. Error. Anyway, once there we ambled up Henley high street looking at all the pretty shops, and then hiked up a muddy hill in the wind and ate a picnic on a bench at the top of said hill. There was only a little bit of rain and we had a good chat and were generally very British about the whole thing. The only thing missing was the blanket and Thermos! After lunch we walked back down the hill and neither of us fell over - I even managed to perform a spectacular stunt to save myself from falling on my arse in the mud.

After that we took the world's most bizarre route to Stratford, thanks once again to my fabulous navigational skills. Let's just say we did 3 sides of a square instead of the 1 that we should have done, and ended up far too close to Redditch. We then wandered round Stratford looking at lovely dresses, and found a fab alcohol shop where you choose a funny shaped bottle and then choose what to fill it with. They even had Limoncello so I'll have to go back when I have money. Finally we went to a tearoom and had cream tea with a free chocolate cake, which left us feeling very fat but happy. After all that we managed to make it home without incident - even we couldn't mess up getting from Stratford to Leam! It was generally a lovely day out and a great way to end the bank holiday. There's nothing like a good girly gossip!

My plan now is to make dinner and watch a film. I think a good cry over Deep Impact may be in order. Morgan Freeman making gravelly-voiced speeches, Tea Leoni resolving her great family conflict before getting killed by a tidal wave, and astronaut types sacrificing themselves to save the world - it's too cheesy for words and I will therefore enjoy it far more than is normal.

Four-day weekends and three-day weeks. Can we do this every week?

Monday, May 29, 2006


That's quite enough of all this "it's late at night and I'm feeling wistful" romantic poetry from yesterday. Time for an update on the saga that is my "love life". This was a weekend of two dates, both of which were very nice and good fun. However, I didn't fancy the first man and the second man (who happened to be really quite attractive) didn't fancy me. So the magical mystery tour rolls on! I have however been cheered up by the fact that a good date is possible. Plus I've had 3 glasses of Pimms which has to be a good thing!

Other good things about today include me not doing anything stupid, the sun shining, watching Sense and Sensibility, and watching The Sound of Music which I just love so much! Julie Andrews is a goddess and a legend, and the whole film is a work of genius. I also had a nice chat to my mum who is coming to some of the concerts with me, and very excitingly she and my dad are coming to the Mahler as part of my birthday celebrations. Yay! I love arranging things and having stuff to look forward to. Currently I'm looking forward to tomorrow's adventure with Juicy. Bring on the cream tea!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How do I love thee?

This poem is beautiful. It's one of many places I can look to see that love can and does exist, and it describes some of the types of love that I would like to experience. "I love thee to the level of every day's most quiet need, by sun and candle-light" evokes for me that underlying love that isn't outspoken and which is only obvious to the two people who feel it, for whom it is the rhythm of their life. The final sentence is how I know love should be, expressed much better than I ever could. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was clearly a very lucky woman.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ever had one of those days?

Or in this case, one of those evenings. I think it might be best if I just became a hermit, living in a cave with only water to drink and absolutely no forms of communication with the outside world. Just me, some books, my CD player and my sewing - and even then I'd probably manage to embarrass myself somehow.

On a positive note, the new concert series programme is out. I'd thought about not subscribing this year as I get fed up of having to rush round madly on a Wednesday evening to see a not particularly inspiring concert and then get home late. However, concert one features Sibelius 2 which I adore (the last performance I saw made me cry, although that was by the Royal Concertgebouw under Janssens so was something of a treat anyway), concert three has the Grieg Piano Concerto which is fantastic and concert four is Mozart, including the Reqiuem, conducted by our very own Paul McGrath. The real clincher, however, is concert two - the Halle doing Mahler 5. The Halle have the best fortissimo I've ever heard. My subscription forms are going in the post tomorrow.

Friday, May 26, 2006

With apologies to all my male friends...

...who are all lovely people. However, I thought the little fact box I found in yesterday's Metro just had to be reproduced. I have no idea which survey was used to get these figures so it's probably highly inaccurate, but anyway.

94% of men won't abandon their football teams no matter how badly they play, yet 52% of men would walk away from a relationship that was going wrong.

57% of men admitted that they would miss a partner's birthday, a relative's funeral or an operation to watch their team.

63% of men would happily miss a game to have sex.

PS - I have a date tomorrow! Following on from Bob the Stalker and Mark who shall forever be known as Evil Wanker Car Man, I shall post details of John the Probable Weirdo as soon as it's over...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Anyone fancy a free holiday?

Right, given the torrential rain and howling winds we've been experiencing recently, I thought it was time to think about summer activities. I have two proposals for you, gentle reader...

1. As some of you may know, my dad works in Swansea during the week and commutes home at the weekends, because he's a nutter. While in Swansea he lives in a rather lovely flat on the marina (I'm told it's lovely - to my shame I haven't yet been there!). Anyway, he and mum are going to the Lake District for a week this summer, leaving behind a very empty flat in Swansea city centre, close to the beach, the countryside and the bars and restaurants. My plan is to spend the entire week there, and this is an open invitation to you all to join me for any part of my holiday. I welcome small groups of all types for one night or more, and all you'll have to pay for is your travel and whatever we decide to get up to while we're there. The flat only has one double bed and a sofa bed but I'm sure there'll be enough floor space provided you don't all descend on me at once! The dates I'll be there are Saturday 29th July to Saturday 5th August. If none of you want to come then I really won't mind - I'm happy to make my own entertainment for the week; however if anyone does fancy a bit of an adventure then just let me know how many people and what day/time and I'll send you some directions. Hurrah.

2. For people who fancy a day trip - my parents live a 10 minute drive from West Midlands Safari Park and when I was small a visit there was the ultimate treat. I haven't been for about 13 years (back when it cost £4.95 to get in!) but Raquel and Tim went last summer and had a great time. Basically your entry fee lets you drive round the animal park (sadly no monkeys to climb on your car since they got a disease and all had to be shot) and then you pay extra to go on the rides. If anyone fancies taking a couple of car loads for a day out I'm sure we can arrange a suitable date, and as a bonus my mum has offered to provide dinner and drinks when we've finished in the park. Again, just let me know.

Yay for summer! Can anyone think of any more excursions we should do? Bring on the sunshine.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Onwards and upwards

Ladies and gents, at the age of 23 years and 7 months, I have resolved to grow up.

That is all.

PS - There are new photos up on my space.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Money, money, money

Or rather the lack of it. Today I finally logged into my online banking to find out how bad it was, and discovered that with 2 weeks until payday I have £5.81 left of my £500 overdraft. I actually had to phone my mum from work to ask her to transfer a tenner into my account so that I'll have enough to pay my internet direct debit tomorrow and won't get cut off. If you never hear from me again it's because it didn't go through quickly enough! Following this I had to withdraw the rest of the money I need for food etc this month...on my credit card. Ouch.

The worst part about this is that I know that technically according to my budget I'm absolutely fine for money, but it's just waiting for it to come through while still having to live and pay bills that's driving me mad. You'd think nobody ever died in this country - 5 months on and dad still hasn't been able to open a probate account because of the incompetence of Barclays, and the accountants are being absolutely useless over the trust fund. The day my cheques finally come through will be a very very good one - until then I'll have to cut back on what my mum calls "going out on the ale" in a major way. Apologies in advance for being anti-social...and for throwing what may turn out to be a very rubbish party on Saturday!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Today I have been thinking

Actually, recently I have been thinking and today I have decided to write.

It started with films. I watch a lot of films and noticed a theme in some of the ones I've seen most recently - they all involved a lead male character who was fiercely in love with the lead female in the way that people can only be in films. I know that films are not reality and that life can never be like that, and I wouldn't want an intense passionate relationship because they rarely end well. What I'm after is a quiet but happy life, shambling along with someone who makes me laugh, occasionally makes spontaneous romantic gestures and will carry me home when I've been on the wine. However, I also need this person to be in love with me in the way that the men in the films are, in the way that I have been once and in the way that in my more cynical moments I doubt whether an actual man can be.

Looking at myself in the mirror, I can see that I've got a pretty face and occasionally good hair. I'm no longer too fat (although I'd love to lose another stone) and I'm a fun and interesting person when I make myself come out of shy mode. Basically I think I'm likely to find a few people who think I'm attractive. However, the thought of actually being able to find that one person who is willing to go on life's journey with me is a very very scary one. I've never believed that there's only one person for everyone - I think if you have a connection and fancy someone, and have similar life goals, you can make a life defining relationship with them. But there are some crucial things that I find it hard to believe I will ever find. I want someone who will love me to the last, who will fight for me until their dying breath, who will want to build their life with me. Someone who will know within their soul that they could never leave me, even while I am irritating them and annoying them and driving them crazy. I need someone who will stand with me all the days of my life and will want to share their bed with me when we are young and hopeful, middle aged with children, and old and grey. Being a bit of a wedding nutter (hopefully not in a scary way!) I know the marriage vows off by heart and I have absolutely no intention of saying them until I am standing in front of someone whose eyes I can look into and mean every single word, and know that they mean it too. Is such a thing possible? Can such a person exist? Are there really any men out there who can make me laugh, make me want to jump on them and throw them into bed, truly appreciate the wonder and joy of music, share a desire to travel the world, genuinely want marriage and children, love getting drunk and dancing, really appreciate the perfection of a summers day, be happy to deal with me when I can't form coherent sentences, occasionally be romantic for no reason, do the thousand other small, silly and insignificant things that make relationships so great, AND love me with their whole heart and soul until the end of all things? And can such a person be found in the rough locality of CV32?

This is one of those moments when I think such a thing is ludicrously impossible. May I please be proven wrong.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Star of BBC1

So this week Juicy and I have spent two evenings recording Songs of Praise! On Tuesday we did the audio recording and tonight was the pictures. We both dressed up smart and went to Stratford to sing for 3 hours, and the best part was when the camera man came right to our row and adjusted how I was holding my book and then filmed us for 4 lines! Let's hope it makes it to the final edit... Anyway, the programme is being broadcast on 3rd September so I'm sure there will be a Songs of Praise party to watch it - bizarre or what?!

After the recording we went to a pub for a very well deserved drink, and discovered that while Stratford pubs are gorgeous and full of nice well behaved civilised people, the prices are quite extortionate! We had one drink and headed home via the Emscote Road Tesco, where we ran giggling through the rain to buy pizza and throat sweets. A shelf stacking man thought we were from The Apprentice and the checkout lady talked to us about folk festivals. Then Juicy dropped me off and I ate pizza and drank chocolate goo and mint! Now I'm watching Friends on video and contemplating another pizza. Major fat error.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Getting old

I had to go to bed for an hour today because I was falling asleep in my chair while reading! Worrying.

Annual leave day 4

Highlights of yesterday include...
- Lunch with Juicy in the Slug: a club sandwich, two white wine spritzers and girly gossip
- Finally getting my ears done at the grand old age of 23, and discovering that it doesn't hurt!
- Accidentally buying a pair of obscenely high heeled red polka dot wedges in a tipsy/post ear excitement moment
- Staggering from Earlsdon to Cov in said obscene shoes and my new sundress, and feeling very 50s but being unable to walk and getting enormous blisters
- Watching Confetti with the girls
- Lu having a 50% off at Old Orleans voucher, enabling us to have dinner and drinks for six for £40!
- Juicy bringing the emergency flipflops so that I could actually get home (I honestly will be eternally grateful!)

My week of leave is over, and it really couldn't have been any better. Sunshine, bbqs, shopping, friends and icecream! I'm actually now looking forward to getting back to work, which I really wasn't before I had the time off. Hurrah.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Annual leave day 3

Today I decided to amble round Leam town centre before going to the park. This turned out to be a major error. I remembered later on in the morning that bright sunshine gives me a great desire to go shopping and buy things - however this memory returned only after I had purchased the following:
1 sundress
1 bag - possibly the most gorgeous thing ever seen in the history of the world
1 bracelet
1 pair of earrings (eek, I really have to do it now!)
1 pack of knickers
1 bra (necessary for the dress)
1 pair of pyjamas (with both summer and winter tops so actually a saving...in a way...)
1 bottle of shampoo
1 bottle of Dove holiday self-tan moisturiser type stuff
2 bottles of suncream
1 baguette for lunch
1 newspaper


I have now decided to apply for a new credit card with 0% interest on balance transfers, and whack the whole lot over to that. Logically this means I should buy the other things I want on my old card so I can transfer the whole lot in one go - I'm therefore going out again tomorrow looking for a summer jacket, a sunhat and some t-shirts. I also plan to get a digibox. If someone would like to remove all my plastic from me and confiscate any notes higher than £5 in value this would be appreciated...

Anyway, after this mad spending spree I re-applied my suncream in the hope that putting on extra now will take away the big red patch on my nose that I got in Warwick yesterday before I realised quite how sunny it was, and went off to the park with my lunch and the paper. It was so amazingly hot but I managed to find a good shady tree by the river with a nice breeze, and spent a happy couple of hours there. After that I ambled home again and then went out to Chorus for a jolly rehearsal with Lucy and Naomi. Another excellent day!

PS - I apologise in advance for any possible summary of tomorrow that I may attempt to post rather late on. The girls and I are going to the cinema and to Old Orleans, and Juicy and I are meeting for lunch first, so my fingers may have gone all draxy by the end of the evening!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Annual leave day 2

Today was one of those perfect days that make me very happy indeed. This morning I packed a book and a picnic and walked along the river to Warwick, where I sat under a cherry tree in St Nicholas Park for 2.5 hours reading and eating lunch. The walk was gorgeous - it followed the river for most of the way through trees and fields, and there was a brief stretch along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal where I found a family of ducks swimming next to a pretty little cottage that was almost falling into the canal. I saw masses of blossom trees and smelt wild garlic, and I also saw tortoiseshell and orange tip butterflies. The sun shone and it was hot and the sky was blue, and it was just fantastic!

After lunch I walked back along the same route, then popped home briefly to get changed - today turned out to be the first day of skirt and sandals which is always a momentous occasion. I then went via the newsagents to Jephson Gardens, where I sat for another hour reading the paper and eating a delicious clotted cream and summer fruits icecream.

To round it all off, this evening I went to the Arts Centre to see the LSO. Having not been at work I was actually in the mood to go to a concert, and this didn't disappoint - after a lovely Mussorgsky overture we had a super performance of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto, followed after the interval by Prokoviev's Romeo & Juliet Suite, complete with timp/bass drum playing to rival Sam and Colin in the Verdi! I was a little disturbed to see not only a bassoonist with the same hair and bone structure as Stuart Dunlop but also a clarinettist who looked like a cross between Colin Touchin and Rory McGrath! However, this was more than compensated for by some very sexy horn players and a rather attractive percussionist. ;o)

I now have Tesco finest chocolate cookies (they were on offer...) and a rather yummy mixture of Mozart Balls chocolate liqueur and creme de menthe, and I'm going to watch Shakespeare in Love and drool over the lovely big eyes of Joseph Fiennes. I recommend a total week off to anyone - life at the moment is rather grand.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I love annual leave

This morning, while my colleagues had already been at work for an hour, I was chopping fruit and making a smoothie. After that I went for a completely random walk - I followed the riverside path for a bit until it got muddy and overgrown, and then I explored the back streets of Leamington and got completely lost while knowing that at some point I'd see somewhere I recognised. It was brilliant. At some point I was walking along a tree-lined avenue and the air was thick with the scent of cherry blossom, and the sun was out and it was just lovely. Tomorrow I plan to do the riverside walk in the other direction and hopefully make it all the way to Warwick if such a thing is possible. After lunch I sat and listened to about every Baroque CD I own (currently on Brandenberg Concertos) while reading a book my brother lent me on Blair's foreign policy. This is the first proper week of total rest and nothingness that I've had since Christmas, and it's fantastic! Plus, while doing all these lovely nothingy things I have the knowledge that I'm being paid exactly the same amount as I would be if I was at work. Brilliant.