Friday, December 29, 2006

Back home

Christmas was, I think, actually perfect. At one point I was reminded of those adverts where the families are always smiling and they're trying to sell you an idyll that could never be real - well we pretty much were the idyll for those few short days. I felt so lucky to be able to go home to a place where arguments and even bad feeling just didn't exist and where the laughter was long and loud, the food was fantastic and the festive season was exactly that.

Anyway, I'm back in Leam now and the port and truffles are just a memory until another year goes by. I've been feeling strangely miserable for the past two days with no real explanation for it - there's been a lot of staring into space and thinking about things, a bit of worrying about money, some feeling down about how I look and quite a lot of underlying stress about everything I have to do when I get back to work. Hopefully tomorrow I can begin to cheer up and be in good spirits for Sunday, although to be fair I intend to get totally hammered on Sunday night so it won't much matter how I feel to start off with! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and am hopeful that this time I'll finally enjoy myself at a new year party. I intend to watch Grumpy Old New Year tonight though, just in case!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


For many years, we have had a bottle of vintage port in our garage. It started out as just ordinary port that Dad was given by a friend, but having been saved for so long has become vintage due to the passage of time. We've never come across an occasion to open it, and Dad eventually decided that this Christmas would be the time, as there are now four of us who can drink it and it might well have gone manky after being kept in the less than rarified setting of our garage. This morning mum and I got back from church to find the men in the kitchen giggling like girls, drinking port. Simon had only just got up and was having his with his breakfast cereal. Anyway, I was instructed to ignore the niceities of hanging my coat up and to just get hold of a glass as quickly as I could, following which they sat staring at me eagerly while I took my first sip.

And believe me, it was GOOD. Very, very good.

You can apparently buy the same vintage on the internet:
"1963 Sandeman: One of the most famous of all port shippers, Sandeman's 1963 has that wonderful elegance so typical of the brand, together with the concentration from such a fine vintage. Superb."
for the bargain price of £115 a bottle or £90.15 if you buy twelve. We now have only a few days to drink it at its finest...this is going to be a very good Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Night out

So we went out in Leamington tonight. It was random. I am drunk but I feel more sober than I think I actually am. Muchos vodka and wine was consumed. Here is Simon.

I had a fun night out and didn't think the bar was as bad as Sarah did. However I have come back to be angered by many intellectual bellends ripping Borat apart on the newsnight review of the year. I knew I didn't like newsnight for some reason and now I know why. What a bunch of cocks. I am also in the position of having drunken much but not feeling that drunk. Meh.

Also, I made a kickass lasange. Go me.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On holiday!

Yesterday lunchtime, I picked up my bag, wished everyone a Merry Christmas and left the office for two weeks - and a fabulous feeling it was too. After dropping my stuff off at home I headed to Birmingham (on a very nice quiet train for once!) to meet mum in Victoria Square. We spent a really fun two hours exploring the German market, which we hadn't been to before. It was lovely to just wander round the stalls and gossip as we went. Mum bought stollen and some bowls, and she also bought me a wooden decoration to add to my tree. The highlight was definitely drinking Gluhwein from little painted cups shaped like boots, followed by a highly giggly ride on the carousel! We were the only two people on it and spent the entire ride cackling like idiots and feeling highly tipsy. After the market we went for dinner in Brindley Place before heading to Symphony Hall to see Trevor Pinnock and the European Brandenburg Ensemble performing all six Brandenburg Concertos. It was a great concert, and all the players seemed to be really having fun - it was just like gatecrashing a very high quality rehearsal among friends.

I love being on leave for Christmas. There's so much happening in the next week and it's all stuff that I'm looking forward to. Tomorrow however is a quiet day when I intend to clean the house, go to the gym and then snuggle down to watch the Muppets and Love Actually - a brilliant girly filmfest of unashamed slush and tears, with my tree lights in the background to make me go even more gooey. I'm such a soppy wench!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Speed dating follow-up

So today I had an email from someone who, in the tradition of men being given blog nicknames, shall be referred to as Man With A Girl's Name. Let's see what happens, shall we?!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Yet another fab thing about Christmas

The Famous Grouse is back! I love those adverts.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

So, I speedily dated

and it wasn't as good as last time. On the positive side, I only ticked three people and I remained sober so I can remember who they all were and I know they were all nice! EWCM was there which led to a slightly awkward three minutes but gave me a good story to tell some of the other guys.

Life in general and at work in particular is currently far too busy. Roll on this time next week when I break up for Christmas!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A little moment of magic

Today I rushed around like a mad thing, as many people do at this time of year, to get my Christmas shopping finished and buy a tree and some food for the week. I also had a two-hour driving lesson (turn in the road, get me!) and went to Stratford to do some of my shopping, and generally tired myself out. Then, at about 3.15, I shut the door on the world, put on my CD of anthems and carols (it's a lovely compilation of all the less well-known ones) and decorated my home for Christmas. As I put the angel on top of the tree, I was listening carefully to the words of the carol that was playing - it was the Candlelight Carol: "How can you measure the love of a mother, And how can you write down a baby's first cry?...Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger, Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay, Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation, A child with his mother that first Christmas day".

I paused, and thought about the real reasons why I personally celebrate Christmas, and about the fact that I only celebrate this special day and this special birth because of what happened to the innocent baby when he grew up. I stood back from my finished tree with tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face - amidst all the busy-ness and the routine traditions that we carry out almost without thinking, Christmas still has that capacity to surprise me every year. A really magical moment.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Unexpected development

I opened my email today during my lunchbreak, and found a message advertising a half price offer for next Monday's speed dating event. Naturally this was too good an offer to turn now I have dates with 20 men on Monday night! Excellent.

I seriously hope Evil Wanker Car Man doesn't turn up though...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


So, here I am sitting in my office, waiting for our Christmas party to start! We're off to Pizza Express for dinner at 7.30 but I didn't have time to go home so I've just got changed in the stock cupboard, straightened my hair (yes I did take them to work...) and done my face, and now I'm waiting for one of our new girls to be dropped off and we'll walk into town together and go to the pub before dinner. I may possibly have a slight headache at work tomorrow!

I've had a really busy but excellent weekend. Saturday morning brought the dreaded driving lesson, which I actually really enjoyed - for the first time in my life driving was fun! My instructor is great and explained everything clearly, and I ended up driving to Offchurch and Cubbington as well as round the roads of Lillington. Hurrah for me! After my mini triumph I had my second achievement of the day by managing to get nearly all my Christmas shopping done, which was great fun especially as there was a (not terribly good) brass band playing festive cheese to add to the general atmosphere. Then in the evening it was off to Northampton for Julia and Andy's housewarming - a most excellent party at which Tia Maria was consumed, red shoes were worn (by Skinner), handbags were carried (Skinner again) and amusing photos were taken of Juicy whacking me with a fly swot. Class.

After a surprisingly good sleep on my airbed, we got up early-ish on Saturday morning, I celebrated the achievement of sleeping in a new sleeping bag for a whole night without covering it in port-flavoured vomit, and then we headed back to Cov for a shower and a rehearsal. The afternoon saw our performance of Itaipu which was actually fun to sing through, if a little painful. The effect with the video was quite atmospheric and we sang well. I'd rather not have been rehearsing the piece all term, but for the performance I enjoyed it. Next term, as I hoped, we get our reward...Mahler 2 and The Music Makers! Bring it on.

Yesterday I was out again at the WO/Rev Christmas concert, which was a fab evening of cheese and tinsel. I really enjoyed the concert and had lots of fun, and sang my first carol of the year too. WO and Rev were a good combination and I hope they can do things together again.

I think that's my report finished for now. I shall spend the next half hour messing about on the internet and looking forward to my dinner. Mmm, pizza.