Monday, October 30, 2006

Another manic weekend

Open days are over!!!!!! Saturday was madder than ever but it's over now, and getting in, finishing my wine and watching the X Factor was just so lovely. Today we've been given lots of exciting new projects to do and I'm feeling refreshed and ready for new challenges.

Yesterday I had an adventure to Butlers Lane for my orchestral workshop. The Martinu was a fun piece to play and an interesting one to discover - not the greatest piece ever written but still worth doing. I think I sounded pretty good which I was pleased with, and my sight reading wasn't too awful either! I certainly wasn't miles behind the other girls from the Conservatoire which was a confidence boost, although as we know Conservatoire students are really not that good so I'd expect to be able to hold my own with them. Anyway, it was lovely to play in a group again and I also enjoyed sitting outside in the gorgeous sunshine at lunchtime. Can it really be nearly November?!

In the evening I decided to give myself a treat, and toddled off to the Apollo to see The Devil Wears Prada. It wasn't as brilliant as the reviews have suggested, but I still had an enjoyable 2 hours and I must admit the clothes, shoes and bags were all fabulous. I did however catch myself having a couple of very un-me thoughts that surprised me somewhat. The first of these was, "Who cares if she's upset her kind, reliable, cute boyfriend who loves her - she should get on with making the most of her opportunities and enjoy the parties she gets to go to without stressing about getting home for his birthday". The second was, "Hurry up and get rid of the boyfriend so that you can shag the gorgeous bad boy". I appear to be starting to think like a single girl who puts ambition and fun before men...really weird but I'm not sure it's entirely a bad thing!

Life gets busy in a good way this week. On Wednesday I'm off to see the Philharmonia with mum and Lucy, and then Friday is Mitchell and Webb with Simon who's coming up for the evening. Saturday is mum's big Traidcraft Christmas fair so I'm going to that and then cooking in the evening for mum and dad, and then on Sunday Gemma and I are going on our Bath adventure! Three nights in a country house hotel - it's going to be fab. Then I'm back at work for two days before it's Mark's birthday/housewarming on the Friday night, and then I'm going to see Ex Cathedra doing the St Matthew Passion in Birmingham with mum and dad before heading back to hopefully catch the end of Matt's charmingly named leaving piss-up. The week after involves our work away day at the very swanky Ardencote Manor Hotel, where we get to stay overnight and eat mountains of food, and then we're off to Ely for another weekend with the lovely Jo! So much to look forward to - I can't wait. :o)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Destiny or decisions?

I'm not one of those people who believes in fate or who thinks that everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe that our life is shaped by the decisions made by us and those around us. However, today I had the most supremely awful day at work and I started to wonder whether some days are just destined to be rubbish.

We have yet another open day tomorrow (the last one of the set!) and in the staff briefing this morning people kept suggesting things that were put down for me to action before 1pm when we were going to set up. Usually I just organise my time well, make lots of lists and everything gets done, but I hate having lots to do suddenly in a short period of time and I was on the verge of feeling stressed. At this point the catering lady chose to come in and mouth off once again about the fact that we're offering vouchers to our cafes this time instead of having a free catering table in the main building. Now if someone told me I didn't have to work on Saturday I'd be overjoyed, but apparently she has a greviance against the VC (who told us to try this so our cafes would make more money) and everyone below her who has any hand in the open days, and she feels the need to make her feelings known at every possible opportunity. Usually I just ignore her, but her timing today meant that by the time she'd finished I was about ready to burst into tears, which would have been fine if a little embarrassing had I just done that, but unfortunately I chose to utter the choice phrase "fucking hell" when I thought she'd left the room, and then turn round mid-tears to see that actually she was still there.

I was so cross with myself for the rest of the day, because however stupid I am in normal life, at work I always try to be professional and I've got really good at not being upset by people who obviously don't have anything against me personally. Today I managed to blow it in quite spectacular style in front of my line manager and our Deputy Director, and while they were very understanding I just felt so unprofessional and juvenile, and I feel like I've kind of screwed any chances I had of getting promoted in our office (I'm sure it's not that bad but it feels like it at the moment!). Then this afternoon Mike told us he's got a new job, and his role is the one I'd feel most confident about going for - I don't think I have enough experience yet but I'm definitely not thinking about it now having proved to the office that I can't deal with stress. My manager complimented me on Monday for never flapping in a crisis, and look at me now!

Anyway, I started thinking - everything happened today due to bad timing, so was I destined to have a bad day despite my actions? In the end I decided not, as I could have handled the situation better had I thought about it. Plus this evening instead of going home and wallowing in self-pity I chose to go to the gym which made me feel miles better. Of course, we can't control everything that happens but I think if we think positively, as I usually do, things will generally turn out alright in the end. This was neatly demonstrated as I was walking home having finally decided that maybe life wasn't so rubbish after all - one of the choicer members of Leamington's chav brigade decided to invite me to "Go fuck yourself" which momentarily made me feel slightly crap, but I cheered myself up by responding (not out loud obviously, I'm not stupid) that actually I probably would have to as no-one else was going to do it for me. I think as long as you can still make yourself laugh you're not doing too badly!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I just joined a gym! I found a lovely friendly women-only place on Radford Road and this evening a really nice girl showed me how to use all the machines and booked me in for my introduction session. It's based on circuits rather than just using individual machines, so you go round three times in half an hour. All the women there seem lovely and lots of them are older with baggy tshirts so I felt right at home in my equally non-stylish clothing! I met Sue (of Simon and Sue) there as well and she said it was brilliant so I'm happy to give it a go. Hopefully I'll start seeing a real difference before too long.

In order to go along tonight I had to buy some trackie bottoms to wear. This meant I made my first trip to Primark! The prices in that shop are amazing. I was expecting to have to pay at least a tenner but they were a bargainous £4. I'm definitely going back to look at other clothes when I have a bit of money to spend. I know the low prices are probably down to sweatshop labour or similar, but I reckon I'll have a bit more cash to enable me to stick to my principles in a few years time, and I need to start really saving from January to enable me to go on my adventure down under. I'm slowly trying to change the way I think to enable me to live more cheaply and this seems like a good place to start.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fascinating fact

I meant to write about this at the end of the previous post but forgot. As far as anniversaries go this is a pretty good one - yesterday it was apparently 6010 years since the entire universe was created, at least if you believe Bishop Usher. Usher was one of the many scientists and theologians who have tried to work out the age of our planet and the void in which it spins, and his method (many years ago) was to work backwards through the Bible from the birth of Jesus, putting dates on all the births and events until he reached Adam. His amusingly accurate conclusion was that creation took place on October 22nd in the year 4004BC. The universe coming into existence around them must have been quite a surprise to everyone who was alive at the time...

Anyway, a happy result of this was that Radio 3 played Haydn's Creation yesterday morning in celebration, so I had a rather glorious soundtrack to my cereal and juice thanks to Bishop Usher.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend catchup

Well, having just endured one of the most horrible train journeys I've had for a while (jam packed full, standing up in the doorway, boiling hot, far too many bags) and got thoroughly wet walking home from the station, I'm now snuggled up in my chair reflecting on another good weekend. This was the third part of my extended birthday celebration, the one where I got to spend time with my parents and have free food!

Everything started on Friday night when mum picked me up from work and we went for a quick but delicious dinner at Ask (really good wine!) before heading to the Arts Centre to meet dad and Lu for a quite wonderful performance of Mahler 5 by the Halle. The preview in the Metro had said that the critics have recently voted the Halle the best orchestra in Britain at the moment, and I can well believe it. Every time I've seen them they've knocked my socks off, and again this time they were fantastic, with both technical excellence and a really inspirational performance. Mark Elder is a brilliant conductor and you can tell the orchestra were really with him the whole way. Special mention must go to the trumpet and horn sections which were both superb, especially the principal trumpet with all his many solos. I'd love to hear them in a decent acoustic! Another treat was the first half - in an unusual move, this was made up of a talk where Elder explained the structure and history of the piece with the orchestra playing excerpts to illustrate his points. In order to demonstrate the style that should be used for the opening section, he played a recording of a piano reduction that Mahler wrote several years after completing the symphony, and the recording was of Mahler himself playing the piano! The romantic in me was also delighted to hear the story of how Gustav sent Alma the sheet music to the 4th movement as his first love letter to her - he wrote no words on it but she read the music and knew just what he meant. I can’t think of anything more perfect :o)

Anyway, after that rather wonderful evening we went back to Bewdley and I had a fantastic lie-in on Saturday morning until 10am. I spent the rest of the morning pottering about and doing a kakuro puzzle, and we had lunch complete with a tiny chocolate cake and candles. We then headed to Worcester to see The History Boys at the cinema - I wanted to see the play but didn't think about buying tickets until they were all sold out, but mum and dad had seen it and thought it was excellent, so I decided the film would be a good alternative especially as it stars the original National Theatre cast, is directed by Nicholas Hytner and adapted by Alan Bennett. It turned out to be a good choice - an excellent film that I'd definitely recommend, with some brilliant acting from the (rather attractive) young guys playing the students.

Following the film we had a hot chocolate in Cafe Rouge, and then went to Tenbury Wells for dinner. Mum had chosen a pub that we hadn't been to before but is in the Good Pub Guide, and it's definitely somewhere I'd go again, with good food, friendly staff and a cosy atmosphere. I had crostini and partridge and a calypso coffee to finish, and very yummy it was too.

This morning we went to church where I joined in with music group who were doing the communion hymns. I used to be a key member of music group and I loved rehearsing every week and playing the gorgeous piano parts to all the songs, but these days they don't have a pianist and only rehearse on the day of the service and decide on the arrangements as they go along, so it was easy for me to slot in on my tenor recorder. By the time of the service I had lots of lovely alto lines and twiddly bits to play, and we did some beautiful songs which I really enjoyed. In fact I was inspired to get my old folder out in the afternoon and play and sing to myself at home after lunch! I also played my favourite Beethoven sonata and was pleased that it still sits under the fingers well despite a lack of practice. Lunch was my favourite roast chicken a la mum, with a big bowl of bread sauce for me, followed by crumble and cream...another addition to an excellent weekend of food.

As ever, one of the best parts about going away has been the getting home to my own space, where I'm now sitting contemplating another week at work. Final open day of the cycle next Saturday...can't wait until they're over!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


So, as you might be able to tell, I had rather an excellent birthday yesterday! Today I took the day off and had a lovely lie-in, followed by finishing my birthday cake in bed while reading Cosmo. How decadent can one get on a Tuesday morning?! Following that I toddled off to Birmingham to buy lots of new clothes with my gift card from mum and dad, and I'm pleased to report that my mission was successful. I've bought a red polo neck which will go perfectly with my suit for the colder winter open days that are coming up, a pair of charcoal grey trousers with a very slight pinstripe and funky buttons at the top and turn-ups, a gorgeous grey skirt which I can wear to work or to parties/evenings out, and a black wool coat which will be my staple coat for the next two years. I did go slightly over the amount on the card, but all that means is that I effectively bought a £70 coat for £40 which was my coat budget for the year anyway. A most productive day's work.

Now I'm curled up at home in my long snuggly jumper, listening to Elgar. I'm about to finish off this week's Heat magazine and read some more of my book. It's raining outside and I'm warm and cosy, and I don't have to go out into the rain later because I'm not at work! This birthday weekend just has no bad points to it at all. Happy Sarah.

Monday, October 16, 2006

And lo, it has come to pass

That I am 24. 24 has always been a bit of a seminal age in my book. And thus I will elaborate after I have stopped trying to make my fingers work properly. All very draxy.

So today is the glorious day of my birth. I went to work and was given mnay presnets - a bag, a necklance, earrings, hair straightening stuff and some wine. I have had many fav presents generally. Thusly I shall write.a list.

3 bottles of wine
1 bottle of plum wine
1 bracelet
1 necklace
2 pairs of earrings
2 bags
1 lots of very nice Next bouchers to spend tomorrow
1 set of whale-shpaed candles (lit with my clow torch)
1 set of little Juicy Lucy cards
1 ottle of mint baileys (juicy and stu are legendfs)
1 set of lush stuff
muchos cheques
hair stuff
box of chocs
and stuff still to come! fabulous

So I am a very lucky girl. Tonight I went out with Juicy, Stu and Andy for a Thora hardcord pizza evening at Pizza Expres. muchos wine and yum yum. Spoke to Alicia for about a minute and she managed to call me an old slag. Nice.

I always thought I'd get married aged 24. Am very glad I'm not. However this the age I'm supposed to meet someone so I can get married when I'm 27. Error. Nice men come forth right now! General summoning with fire and stuff. But seriously, 24 is a very major age to be. Scary. But generally good I think, and hopefully better than 23 which has been a bit mediocre and very devoid of stuff. By stuff think Helen and Paul and you'll get what I'm on about.

Ooh Greenday.

Thankyou to the fabulous friends for being so fab, espeically Juicy who is awesome! Yay.

PS I shall probably regret this tomorrow but I'll be shopping so I won't care

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Family day

Today mum and dad picked me up and we went down to Amersham to do our duty with the old people. It was my great aunty Dodo's 95th birthday, and she had a tea party with sandwiches and cakes from a caterer, champagne, fruit juice and birthday cake. We took Grannie out for lunch along with my uncle Andrew and aunt Sue, and I had a really lovely chicken dish in a very nice pub just up the road from the house. Mum, dad and I then had a bit of a walk in the afternoon to escape, before several more old people descended and the food was eaten. My cousins and I did serving duty which excused us from conversing too much and it was actually a very nice do. I saw five of my cousins and lots of uncles and aunts which was lovely, and the definite highlight was meeting my cousin's baby for the first time - amazingly cute! My mum went all gooey and declared that she wanted one. Now I'm pretty sure she isn't intending to have another one of her own so I guess she's implying that it's up to me...the comment "don't leave it too late dear" also kind of suggested this! I told her that she'd just have to wait. Anyway, it was great to see mum and dad and to get more presents - I'll actually have something to open tomorrow now! I also took delivery of the strawberry gateau which I have as my birthday cake every year, and which will make me the most popular person in the office tomorrow. My colleagues have been looking forward to this ever since last year's cake! Mum really is a legend.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Spotted in Cosmo...

"18 is the number of men it's acceptable for you to have slept with by your mid-twenties" apparently, if you want a bloke to think you're a nice girl. Erm, firstly, who are these women, and secondly, where are they finding the men?!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Playing my oboe again

Yesterday I had a rather exciting email from the first oboe at the BPO, who I played with for a term last year. They've since asked me to play in several other concerts but I've always been away for either the performance or the rehearsals. However, this time they're doing a one-day workshop at the end of October and I'm actually free to take part! This is great for me as I haven't played properly for ages and the BPO are such a good orchestra. It's really nice that she's remembered me and that she still thinks I'm good enough to play. I'm only going to be 4th oboe which is fine with me (hopefully nothing too scary there) and we're doing the Martinu 4th symphony. Better get practising...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ever so slightly worrying

So I just looked at Kel's pics of last Saturday, and there are many of them that I really don't remember posing for. The ones of Juicy trying to eat my breast and of me with Stu in Revolution are a complete blank, as are all the ones in the club including me waving my arms about in the air! I look like a total plonker but at least I seem to be having a good time which is certainly something I do remember.

Excellent pics of the Safari Park, the House of Hogg BBQ and Baby B though! And in most of them my hair is quite fantastically straight. Hurrah.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Last week

Firstly, I thought that if I tried to write a proper write-up of Thora it would go on forever, so I'm going to do it through the handy medium of keywords.

Beef dripping. Double cream. 12 packs of butter. Comedy vicar. Bracken. Flamingoland. More food. Harrogate. The world's most beautiful pink handbag. Impossible sports questions. Champagne-wank-Reims-"Is it sugar production?". York. Betty's tea room. Cocktails. Wine. Baileys and creme anglaise (recommended). The Game of Life. Absinthe. More pudding. World's longest journey home - Fellbeck to Leamington in only 7 hours. Relaxation, happiness, battery re-charging and lots of laughing. Fabulous.

And then when I came home it wasn't to normal life quite yet but to our birthday party! I spent most of the morning stressing slightly and running about trying to get everything done, but then I had a lovely relaxing two hours in the hairdressers having red bits put in my hair. I'm really pleased with it as it's not too in-your-face but it's different enough for people to notice. I then pumped up the airbed and went to get Jess from the station, and we sat and chatted and ate dinner and drank hardcore Rose. Lesley came for dinner as well, and we were all sitting having a nice conversation in the kitchen when she suddenly realised it was 6.30 and we had to leave for the bus in 10 minutes. Major error (I seem to be saying that a lot recently in relation to my timekeeping!). We ran about hysterically putting on jewellery and clothes and resolving to do our makeup on the bus, when Lesley remembered that she had her car outside and we could just drive to Coventry. Panic over. The second panic then ensued when my new dress which fitted two weeks ago when I bought it now no longer fastened up in any way. I blame the beef dripping. My wedding outfit didn't fit either which was also highly depressing, so I ended up wearing a top and skirt and being mighty annoyed with myself.

However, after this I cheered up when we got to Juicy's house and I had a good strong vodka and orange. Everyone was there and it was so lovely to see people I hadn't seen for ages - and Juicy had very gorgeous hair! And then the limos arrived. I want my own limo. Seriously fantastic. Sparkly lights in the roof, very sweet bubbly on ice (sparkling perry - quality!) and cheesy CDs. Speeding along with glasses in hand all singing along to Don't Stop Me Now was definitely one of the best party experiences I've ever had.

When we arrived on Broad Street we went straight to Revolution where I had 12 shots of yummy vodka and a chocolate cocktail. Absolutely brilliant. Then we managed to get all 16 of us out and into the club just before the end of the free entry time, where I spent the next 3 hours dancing to cheese (only occasionally falling into the wall) and generally floating on that alcohol high you get just before it all goes wrong, but without it actually going wrong. They played Amarillo (conga!) and Living on a Prayer and it was all fab. At 2pm we left and I stole some of Lu's chips (very delicious they were too) and we managed to get all of us home again which I was very impressed by. Falling into your own private limo is so much better than trying to flag down a taxi. When we got in, Jess, Lesley and I had toast and finished the pasta, and got to bed at about 4ish. I woke up at 11.15 this morning minus any form of hangover. Result. Best night out I've had for a very long time and quite a brilliant way to celebrate (almost) hitting the 24 milestone. Thankyou to everyone who came and made it so much fun!