Wednesday, November 29, 2006


You are hereby advised to stay indoors and avoid all roads in the Leamington area between the hours of 8 and 10 on Saturday morning. For the first time in 6 years I'm getting behind the wheel, and I'd hate to drive into anyone I know...

Although to be fair, the first time round my biggest problem was finding the biting point and getting the thing moving in the first place, so you're probably still reasonably safe.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Excitement vs equilibrium

Is it better to live in a state of equilibrium or in a world of extreme feelings? I know what I want someday, and I know I need to look for it now, but to be honest it just seems much easier to carry on with my happy, stable routine. I've had such a good week this week because it's been quiet and ordered, with everything in its proper place, neatly timetabled, and exactly as I want it. My budget is down to the pound, my timing is down to the minute, my meals are planned and my evenings are quiet and peaceful. Frankly it seems easiest to retain the routine that keeps my highly anal mind happy and minimises extreme emotions.

Easiest, but not brave enough. I think I should strike out there, dare to step outside the routine and look for someone who will disrupt my life, make things difficult and cause those highs and lows of emotion that can only happen when you begun to really care about what someone else thinks of you. I haven't felt those emotions for a while, but I remember a vividness and a colour to life that created feelings I still dream about now when sitting idly on the bus with nothing to do but let my mind wander. I remember what it feels like to chase and to catch, to love and to dare to give your heart, and I know that it makes life brighter and more worth living...yet I don't have the energy to go out and grab those feelings again. At the moment I feel like I'd far rather carry on with my ordered, easy, single life and aim for all the things that I can control and weave into this timetabled existence, rather than the one thing that I can't. Part of my knows this is wrong but most of me thinks it can't be bothered to disrupt my happy, quiet, stable little life. Will I ever want to slip out of equilibrium again?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Calling all techies!

I have a problem with my email and wonder if anyone can help me. I haven't received any new messages for two days which I thought was odd as I usually get several each day, but this morning I received an email at work that had been sent to both my work and home addresses and I still haven't had that one to my home address. Usually, messages are sent to my domain name address which forwards them to my Yahoo! account. I've checked 123-reg and Yahoo! and I can't find anything that might have gone wrong with the settings, but I don't really understand much apart from that so I wonder if anyone can suggest what might be going wrong. I can provide more information if you need to know anything else. All help most gratefully received!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I've just come back from Ely where I spent a really lovely weekend with Jo, Mike, Juicy and Stu. We had lots of fun discovering Cambridge, eating noodles, doing the cathedral etc, but I just thought I should mention for posterity part of a round of the game of Taboo that was played on Saturday night while under the influence of wine and Blue Lagoons.

For the word "Beauty Spot":
Stu: "It's supposed to be very sexy on a woman".
Mike: "Vagina".

For the word "Kebab":
Stu: "You might have a dirty one of these after a drunken night out".
Mike: "Shag".

Genius. I should just mention that despite this the girls' team still lost...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Concert reviews

I've been to two fab concerts recently and thought I should review them so that I remember how good they were when I look back. The first was on Saturday night, and was a performance of the Bach St Matthew Passion by Ex Cathedra. My parents love this work and have several versions on CD; dad often listens to it with the text in front of him, following along. I've wandered through the living room while it's been on and heard bits of it, but never really known how the whole work is structured. I always thought it sounded a bit samey and difficult. Anyway, the best way to get to know a piece is to hear it live so when mum offered to pay for my ticket I said yes...and I'm so glad I did. This was just a magical concert, the like of which you don't go to very often, which kept me entranced all the way through a three-hour work. Ex Cathedra as always were superb, with singing of the very highest quality, and the soloists who came from within the choir were just amazing. The staging was quite dramatic, with the characters almost singing to each other, and the chap playing Jesus was so emotive and really made you understand this familiar story in a new way. As for the Evangelist - well if he doesn't make it as a professional soloist there's something wrong. He was absolutely fantastic. Towards the end of the work I felt like this was a far more meaningful religious experience than I ever get in church, and it really inspired me. As the promotional flyer said, "The concert you've been waiting for. The one that will move you to tears. The one that will break your heart and lift you up at the same time. The one that will make you resolve to see more live music. The one you will always remember. The one you didn't know you would love so much. This is it".

Yesterday I was back at Symphony Hall for the Czech Philharmonic. We had a Janacek piece first which I didn't know - mum and I both thought there was a lovely piece trying to get out but it didn't quite make it! The second half was Dvorak 9 which I didn't think was that inspiring although mum really enjoyed it and felt it was played from the heart. However, the piece that made the admission fee all worth it was the second piece in the first half. They wheeled the piano on, and then this gauche young pianist shambled out, wearing a cheap black shirt and ordinary black trousers, with long-ish greasy hair and a vague air of having wandered into the wrong building. He bumped into the piano stool while bowing, plonked himself down, hunched over the piano...and proceeded to give the most stunningly fantastic performance of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini. It was far and away the best live piano performance I've ever heard - often they're a bit woolly and going-through-the-motions. I'd always suspected that a Steinway could do a proper fortissimo and I was proved right by this - he absolutely walloped the thing, but with style and a beautiful tone, and the quiet bits were as lovely as the loud parts were thrilling. On top of all that he looked like he was enjoying every minute and genuinely loved the music he was playing, which is sadly all too rare among the soloists I've seen. I couldn't take my eyes off him for the entire piece, and at the end I had this huge involuntary grin on my face because it had just been so good.

It's concerts like these that mean I'll always be happy to spend far too much on tickets. The experience of live music is a unique and wonderful thing, and although you do have to sit through some dull performances it's all worth it for the ones that make your heart race and your lip wobble and lift you up in the way that nothing else can. I'm looking forward to years of amazing moments still to come!

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Hurrah for extra tour dates! After all the other gigs selling out, I've just managed to get tickets for Simon and I to see The Feeling at the Hammersmith Apollo in March. Quite absurdly excited about this right now! An excellent cure for feeling very tired and slightly maudlin.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrg. Head hurts. Feel sick. Baaaaaad.

Bloody wine. Why does it hate me so?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The wanderer returns, with some exciting news

Yes, I'm back! You can find out all about my Bath adventure on the travel blog where I've written my usual diary for those who are vaguely interested. Before that I was in Bewdley for mum's Traidcraft sale - I had fun taking the money while she had lunch, and then I cooked a very well-received dinner which we had with sparkling wine. I do like visiting my parents. On Friday night Simon came up and we went to see Mitchell and Webb who were very good indeed and made us laugh all the way through the show. Having to wait 35 minutes for a bus at 11pm in sub-zero temperatures was slightly less amusing (thanks TWM...) but cooking dinner at midnight was all very jolly and I didn't even wake up when Simon got up at 6 the next morning to get the train back to Reading for rowing training at 8.15 (Simon, you're a nutter).

So, my exciting news. Well, item one is that Dad has offered to buy me driving lessons! He told me that if I needed to do a further degree for my job he'd have paid for that, so seeing as I need to be able to drive to gain promotion he's going to pay for that instead. If we need to go out for work we get hire cars so I won't get my own car unless I can pay for it myself, but the lessons will be brilliant and definitely something I didn't think I'd be able to do for a while without help. The thought of getting behind the wheel terrifies me slightly, but the idea of spending the rest of my life on buses is a lot more scary so I shall try my best to overcome my nerves and become a good driver!

Item two is that having complained that my salary appeared to be less than the minimum salary on our new pay scale, I received a letter today from Personnel letting me know that yes, in fact I should be getting £500 more per annum, and that yes, I will be on the right salary from now on and that yes, this will be back-dated to 1st August. Excellent. Bring on the next pay cheque - 18 hours of overtime plus back-dating equals no problem with buying Christmas presents!

Now I have to go into work for two days and then it's the weekend again. What a hard life I do lead.