take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Ten years ago 

I had just received the results of my final examinations from London University. The day the results were published, I went to see my friend who lived in Stepney – he had been awarded first class honours, but was anxious to know what I had got, since we had spent a lot of time revising together in his cramped flat, which he shared with his wife and two young children. He was aware that I had actually read all the books (girly swot that I was) whereas he had gleaned some knowledge from me and made the rest up using his not inconsiderable talent for sounding authoritative. He felt it wouldn’t have been fair if I hadn’t also got a first, but it wouldn’t have surprised me – he was (and still is) one of the most intelligent people I have ever met . Not that a first class degree is any sign of intelligence – it can’t be, because I managed to wangle myself one...

My mother wasn’t able to attend my graduation ceremony as she was in hospital at the time being treated for a second occurrence of cancer. I went alone.

I was in an 18 month old relationship with a Frenchman who was approximately 10,000 miles away from me (and would be for another 8 months). My only ambition at that time was to get a job in a Francophone country so that we could live happily ever after when he returned from military service. The first part of the plan worked, I got a job in Brussels as an overpaid, bilingual secretary. On his return, after only 2 weeks of communal living in what should have been “our” “maison de maître” apartment, he went back to France to work out what he wanted, having realised that he didn’t actually know. A couple of weeks later, he told me he wouldn’t be coming back…

Five years ago
I had just moved into my first owned property, a 1930s apartment in Southampton which had (and would continue for some time to have) much untapped potential. I may not have been in a position to buy it had it not been for the untimely death of my mother and subsequent sale of the London home the year before, the proceeds of which were split between her four children. An unhappily early inheritance which allowed me my first step onto the property ladder at a very opportune time.

As a result of my sending out a batch of change of address cards, I received a very unexpected letter from the Frenchman who’d broken my heart four years previously. A brief attempt to rekindle the old flames turned out to be a raking-over of old coals but, ultimately, allowed me to close the door on that chapter of my life - a door which had been ever so slightly and painfully ajar for four years.

One year ago
I had just moved to Somerset, to start a new life with the man with whom I was clearly meant to be. I was just about to lose my car (and to an extent, my nerve) in a terrifying head-on collision, the reverberations of which still send a shudder through me whilst driving on single carriageway roads. I’m quite proud that we managed without a car for several months – until I got a job in a town not served in any useful way by public transport.

The cat came in again and hid in a box, peering out in a cute and amusing fashion, clearly delighted at his discovery. He then joined us on the sofa and proceeded to attempt to pierce the skin of His thigh until a (fake) leopardskin cushion was securely wedged between paw and thigh.

After 3 days of post-work sporting activities (tennis, running and running – in that order), I have spent a relaxing evening cooking, watching “Property Ladder” and… erm… writing a blog post!

I will be implementing a change to a barcode labelling system in a factory. I shall return home to find a houseful of men preparing for a weekend of gaming, whilst I shall prepare for a weekend of sisterly activities in Milton Keynes. Of all places.

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