Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bank Holiday Bliss

I sometimes find that I get bored during bank holiday weekends - for some reason they're often quieter than my average weekend and apart from being a lovely excuse not to think about work for three days, I don't find much to enjoy in them. This weekend, however, is shaping up to be much better than the average.

It all started yesterday at about ten to five (well, that's close enough to the weekend to almost count) when I received a letter from our Director to say that as expected I've been awarded an pay increment for my work this year, which in real terms means a pay rise of £1063 pa effective from this Friday's pay. This will be mighty useful given that we're entering the most expensive third of the year, and kicked things off on a high note. This morning the weekend proper started well too, when my new (pink!) phone was delivered. I hadn't been able to select a delivery time when I ordered it so I was half expecting to be sitting at home all day unable to go out into the sunshine, but it came at 8.45 which was excellent as it meant I could do what I liked with the day. Also in the normal post was my free Ghosts CD which I ordered this week in place of one I ordered ages ago that HMV couldn't get for me - and mighty excellent it is too.

To add to all these happenings, the weather has belatedly remembered that it's August and has put on a display of sunshine and heat that reminded me why I love England. Other countries may have a reliable summer each year, but there's just nothing like this country on a glorious day. I wandered down to the farmers market this afternoon to buy speciality sausages for tomorrow's bbq, and then headed to the library where I borrowed some chick lit and a book about Newton to get my brain going, and sat in the park reading for an hour or so soaking up the sun. I love having such a wonderful park so close to my house - it almost (but not quite) makes up for not having a garden.

My dinner's now in the oven and I'm sipping a cold glass of Sauvignon and watching comedy military bands at the Edinburgh Tattoo on tv (don't ask me why). Tomorrow I'm seeing all my lovely friends at one of Juicy and Stu's excellent bbqs, and then on Monday I'm going to the cinema with MGL. I'm having one of those moments when life is just grand, and it looks like that's going to continue for a while yet. Hurrah.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Loving Ludwig

I just sat and sight-read the Appasionata sonata. Beethoven really has to be my favourite composer to play - huge chords, gorgeous harmonies, beautiful slow movements and exhilarating fast movements. I could sit and play all day if it didn't make my hands and wrists hurt so much! Damn my small span. I love my piano and I love Ludwig!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The big reveal

I feel I must apologise to you, loyal readers, for not being completely honest with you over the past three weeks or so. Something has been going on in my life which, while occupying a lot of my time and thoughts, I haven't wanted to write about. However, this evening I have sat down with the intention of telling you all about me and my new relationship with MGL.

MGL may be better known to many of you as Raquel's Housemate Who Isn't The Scary Hungarian One. We met a few months ago at a random night out and exchanged a few words, and then got chatting properly at Bar 44 last month when everyone went for cocktails and I got enormously drunk. He walked me home and we giggled about Bourbon biscuits (for some reason these had great significance at the time - something to do with them sounding a bit like my surname...) and the next day in my immensely hungover state I added him to Facebook (ah, romance in the digital age) and sent him an extremely garbled message. About a week later he asked if I wanted to go for a drink, and off we toddled to spend a very nice Sunday evening discovering that we still had things to talk about when sober and finding out all the things we had in common. He walked me home again, we lingered on the doorstep and, well, you know the end of that story.

Over the following few weeks we've been to the cinema, had a really delicious and very expensive meal at Rhubarb (for which I paid absolutely nothing), and cooked dinner for each other. The latest event was on Saturday when I made a kickass lasagne and a quite frankly excellent chocolate pudding, and we sprawled on the sofa watching films and drinking wine. It was something that I've really missed doing, and was followed by something else that I've rather missed - let's just say that the date ended after lunch on Sunday at about 3pm...

So there you are, right up to date, and I'm sure that more tales of MGL and me will follow. I don't know if there's any future in this and I don't know where I want it to go, but I do know that I'm having loads of fun right now and it's brilliant to finally have someone to dress up for, go out with and look forward to seeing. I've really missed it, and I'm going to make the most of my lucky break for as long as I can.

Oh, and why MGL? Well, those of you with longer memories may recall this blog's fine tradition of assigning nicknames to all my disastrous dates. Evil Wanker Car Man is a particularly fine example and the name is still used to evoke all that's bad about dating today (or it should be anyway). I felt, therefore, that I should continue with this tradition for my less disastrous romantic encounters, and have named my current bloke to reflect one of his best qualities that can be very hard to find. Mr Genuinely Lovely listens to what I say AND remembers it, puts his arms round me when I'm falling asleep and refuses to let me pay for dinner. Worth hanging on to, at least for now? I certainly think so.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I have just spent 11 hours at work. My eyes hurt. My ear is hot. My cough is developing into a fullblown cold complete with nose trauma. I feel sick from eating too much buffet. I had to wait half an hour for a bus home.

Damn good day though. Woo for Confirmation!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Punting, Poserbility and Picnics

This weekend Juicy and I drove across to Ely to visit Jo and Mike in their lovely new house. We had glorious weather all weekend and I had a really fab time. On Friday night we had a delicious dinner including a most excellent homemade lemon meringue pie, polished off a couple of bottles of wine and some creme caramel Baileys, and played a very silly and entertaining game called Poserbility. It's a bit like statue Pictionary, with each person picking a card with a pose on it, and then modelling someone from the other team into that pose for the rest of their team to guess. The complication comes when you have to do it blindfolded... Much chaos ensued and many giggles were had by all, with the comedy highlight being Mike's comment on me trying to get Juicy to lie on the floor whilst I was blindfolded and unable to speak to her - "It's like a very slow rape". Jo and I won and a very jolly time was had.

The next morning was boiling hot and gorgeous, so after sitting in the garden for a while we headed to Cambridge and went punting down the Backs. We had an excellent student punter/guide who told us lots of interesting information and did a brilliant job steering us between all the punts being piloted by foreign tourists who were absolutely incapable of going in a straight line and tended to end up horizontally across the river. I took masses of pictures and dreamed about college life and wearing gowns to dinner. After that we pottered across town and had a drink and some food in a lovely bar and kitchen place that sold fantastic Pimm's cocktails with added gin and apricot brandy! They looked great and tasted gorgeous, as did the sharing platters which we demolished very successfully. A walk in the sun and an icecream completed our trip out, and we returned home for a BBQ in the garden and another slice of lemon meringue, before collapsing in front of the tv with bloated stomachs and the obligatory Blue Lagoons.

This morning we had another late start and then drove into Ely to buy picnic food which we ate on the river bank. I discovered that Honey Barbeque Kettlechips are very yummy indeed, and then proceeded to eat far to many mini doughnuts, including the last one which I won triumphantly in a game of Uno. After a few more games we headed back and then Juicy and I waved goodbye and drove home. All in all a fantastic weekend with excellent hosts (thanks you two!) and some really glorious sunshine.

This week I'm going to be far too busy, but in a good way. On Tuesday my mum's bringing Grannie to visit me - she'll be seeing my flat for the first time and also seeing the piano that I bought with Grandpa's money. Then on Wednesday I'm out (more on this subject to follow at some point I think) and then Thursday is A level results day, so I'm spending 12 hours in the office answering the phone and eating free buffet. Saturday morning brings the Clearing open day, before I rush home at 1pm to cook lasagne for the evening, of which more in the afore-mentioned post that I'm planning to write at some point soon. I think the theme of far too much food being consumed looks like continuing, and there won't be enough free evenings for the gym, but I'll be having a good time and I guess it's either get thin or have fun so I'm going to settle for the latter. It would be nice to stop feeling bloated at some point though! Hopefully being good tomorrow will restore me to full health - and it's bed on time tonight too in preparation for those reams of results that will come flying off our printer tomorrow.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Those of you who commute on public transport will know all about the vacant head space that you slip into the moment you settle into your seat. It's impossible to think about anything relevant to your day - you either have a complete gap in your mind or you drift off on a completely random tack. Recently, my bus thoughts have turned to all the lovely things I would like to have one day far in the future when I am earning enough to be able to afford them.

I will have a detached house, tastefully decorated, with a modern sparkling kitchen and a clean, white bathroom with green frosted glass. In the bedroom will be an 8-ft square bed and a huge closet containing my stylish and colour co-ordinated wardrobe. I will be able to play my music as loudly as I like. There will be a garden with a lawn and a small patio area for eating outside in the summer. I will have a wooden recliner that flattens completely for sunbathing, but also enables me to sit up and read.

In my garage there will be a small and funky car which will take me to work and to visit friends at the weekends.

My job will be something that involves wearing expensive, tailored clothing and gorgeous smart shoes of which I will own at least twenty pairs including one in teal suede and one in burgundy. Many of these will have killer heels as I will no longer need to walk across town every day from the bus stop.

I will have a ginger cat named Gustav.

I will host fantastic dinner parties at which I produce delicious food without getting stressed. My friends will be able to stay over as much as they want as I will have several bedrooms to offer them (yes folks, one day it won't be just the airbed and the sofa!)

I will take at least two holidays each year. One of these will take place in the summer and will involve exploring a far away country and seeing the sights that it has to offer. The other will happen in the coldest, rainiest part of the year when I will drive to a cottage somewhere in England. By day I will wrap up warm and visit local towns or go for long walks, and in the evenings I will shut myself indoors, bake huge dishes of comfort food and watch films with a bottle of wine. I would love to take a further holiday with my friends as well, if they'll have me!

This is as far as my thoughts have led me this week. However, while writing this I have realised that many aspects of my dream are things that I already possess. I will still have a great social life and see my many friends often. I will continue to have cosy days in with a book, the tv and my piano. I will still enjoy giggling at stupid things and getting tipsy on wine and cocktails. I will continue to watch terrible tv and when I'm playing my loud music I will still be walking round conducting madly while grinning/crying/full-on sobbing in the good bits. And my family will still be the most important thing in the world.

I like this dream. I also note that, totally spontaneously, I have conjured a world that doesn't involve a special someone sharing my home. Yes, it would be very nice indeed - but it doesn't seem essential any more, and in fact hasn't done for some time. What a happy thought.