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...

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The year in bullet points 

Carried forward from 2004 and still applicable (having checked the archives of the old blog - RIP)

In addition and in chronological order:

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, I hope 2006 will bring you good things.


Make yourself at home, why dontcha!

* with thanks to Alan for providing me with the title

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Oh dear.

He was not happy on Christmas Eve.

We plonked him outside on the decking and locked up the house ready for our trip to various locations in Hampshire to spend Christmas with my family, his family and our friends, in that order.

He glared at us through the double glazing whilst we oscillated between sympathy and sniggering. We were secretly pleased that he would rather spend his Christmas with us than with his real owners. Although I don't expect it was our sparkling personalities which drew him in, rather the warm places to sleep and the neverending supply of milk to sup.

Now we're back (just before the snow blew in) and there's no sign of him... So it's my turn to glare out of the patio door, looking glum yet hopeful of seeing our little companion.

Hope you all had a good Christmas. I did a little too much driving, a little too much eating, not enough running and was woken up a little too early by the youngest members of my family. But I had a lovely time and am looking forward to a little more relaxation before this year comes to an end.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005

In a bit of a flap 

It was a bit like a scene out of a very low quality, British sitcom.

We loaded the composter onto the flat trolley. As we wheeled it toward the checkout, it immediately fell off and rolled noisily and rather eccentrically on the ground in front of the carefully assembled display of dustbins, incinerators and other "waste management" receptacles. Our second attempt was more successful. We managed to transport it through the checkout and to the car with no further mishaps. Although I did realise en route that we would also need a small bin to collect kitchen scraps, a vital part of the composter's "diet". Big continued through the checkout, whilst I became distracted by Christmas gift tags and other twinkly things.

I located a suitable receptacle and made my way to the burgeoning checkouts, where Big had already progressed through to the other side. He passed a twenty pound note to me and I took my place in the queue. I wielded the barcode toward the checkout operator, congratulating myself for being so efficient. However, my efforts were entirely in vain, as the barcode wouldn't scan. He tried typing in various numbers which appeared on the label, all to no avail. He set his checkout light a-flashing and we both looked hopefully towards the information desk but all the staff were busy with queries, refunds and special orders. I could see Big waiting at the car, furrowing his brow and "prairie-dogging" at me as if this would speed up the futile process. He didn't have the car keys so couldn't make use of the time to load the composter into the car. Finally, a roving supervisor took the bin and set off to the display to find the "magic number". I looked around sheepishly, hoping that the other customers would realise that it wasn't my fault, I hadn't been negligent in my shopping duties.

At the car, we puzzled over how to get the composter in. The back seat seemed like the most sensible option. Whilst Big returned the trolley, I manhandled the bulky green article in, taking care to place its black door flap on the roof of the car temporarily, so as not to lose it. Yes, I think you know what's coming.

We got home. Big unloaded the composter and I noticed an omission:

"Oh no, where's the flap?"

Almost as soon as I'd said it, the realisation came to me. I remember putting it on the roof of the car to keep it "safe" but at no point in time did I take it off the roof to put it somewhere infinitely "safer" - i.e. *in* the car, rather than *on* it.

With the sort of sigh which can only come from the realisation that one has built a rod for one's own back, I drove back to the garden centre and retraced our "tyre steps" around the car park. Doubtless, the other patrons thought I was some kind of lunatic, capering around, peering under cars from time to time and standing, hands on hips, looking thoroughly pissed off. No flap, anywhere. So I did something naughty. I went up to the information desk with my receipt:

"Erm, I've just bought a composter and it doesn't have a flap" - well, it was kind of true. At that moment in time, it had no flap.

"Is it okay if I take one?"

Amazingly, they agreed to this.

As I guiltily drove home on the dual carriageway, there at the side of the road I espied a lonely, discarded, composter door flap on the grassy verge.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


"I just want to go to a beach somewhere with you and sit there on the sand, looking at the sea, feeling it, smelling it, holding each other, like we used to," I said, through the tears which he patiently wiped away with his thumb.

It had been one of those days. I get them about once a week, on average. Everything was conspiring to overwhelm me, to engulf me in panic, to fill my eyes with tears as soon as I was left alone to contemplate. The approach of the annual stress-fest that is Christmas, the never-ending stream of chores to be done, the cloud which hangs over our house (alluded to, though not in any detail, here), the stress of driving home every day in the cold and dark, the long journeys required to see my beloved friends, the feeling of never having any time to study, to relax, to just simply be.

It seems that I've spent my adult life moving on and starting over. Each time, I tell myself: "This is when my life really begins...". Each time I'm left with a strange ache, telling me I'm not there yet, I'm not living yet, I don't quite belong. The daily routine takes over and deadens me and I just feel I'm being carried along by life rather than actively living it.

I thought that being with Big would "fix" me. That nothing else would matter as long as I was with him. As a long-term singleton, it's easy to think that all your problems will be solved as soon as you find someone. In some ways, the things which need "fixing" in me which had been lying dormant during my singleton years have been brought to the fore all the more by finding my soul mate. He's the one person who understands the complicated mess of neuroses which is me. I am compelled to be completely honest with him. To the question: "Are you okay", I cannot just say: "Yeah, I'm fine". Not when I'm not. Not with him. He always senses it, and draws it out of me. Hopes, fears, worries and tears. And whilst he can stand there and hold me and stroke my hair and wipe the tears away and tell me it's okay, ultimately he can't fix me. I must do this myself.

But before you can fix something, you need to know the precise problem. All I have are the symptoms. Inexplicable tears, the feeling that I can't cope, that I'm chasing my tail, that I don't "belong", that I'm not "there" yet.

Maybe I'll never get "there". Maybe all I have is this journey.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Mum's gone out without you"... 

...they would chant, to the tune of "nerrr nerrr ner nerrr nerrr".

One of my abiding memories of childhood.

And proof that anxiety, far from being an adult trend, is something which has followed me throughout my life like a rather annoying puppy which constantly yaps around at my feet, slobbers on me from time to time and never really leaves me alone.

On Saturday mornings, when my brother was old enough to supervise his three younger sisters, my mother would take advantage of the free childcare to get the shopping done. Very sensible of her to decide NOT to take four kids along to the supermarket; I do remember a couple of fiascos from the days before my brother was old enough. Getting my arm stuck between the trolley handle and the trolley was one, and rushing out of the lift doors at the wrong floor, turning round to see that my mummy wasn't there and getting very scared indeed is another example which springs to mind.

So, on these Saturday mornings, we'd have a "getting dressed race" (which involved putting clothes on whilst still in bed) and troop downstairs to watch Swapshop or Tiswas.

Inevitably, there would come a time when I would start to worry.

"Mummy's not back yet"
"Don't worry, little Anx, she'll be back soon, she's gone shopping"
"B-b-b-but, she's normally back by now"
"Oh, she's probably chatting to [next door neighbour] or has run into [some other friend] in town"
"B-b-b-but what if something's happened to her?"

And so it would go on...
There's probably only so much whining the elder siblings could take, especially when it would get in the way of their enjoyment of "The bucket of water song". And so after a while they would sing their song of torture:

"Mum's gone out without you, mum's gone out without you..."

I love my siblings...

It seems that the torture continues today, albeit in a different guise. I am currently being bombarded by a constant stream of emails. Christmas lists, not just for my three siblings but for their partners, children and step-children too. I am drowning in "gift ideas". Yet another source of anxiety...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What I wish I'd said to my manager... 

"With reference to our conversation yesterday, regarding my working from home on Friday 25th November, I have reflected on the situation and would like to respond.

To summarise, you pointed out that I should have tried to travel to work in the snow and if I'd decided I didn't want to travel, I should have taken a day's leave.

I find this to be unreasonable. I shall elaborate below.

For these reasons, I can conclude that I was equally as productive working from home as I would have been at the [IT department] office. In fact, on this particularly day, I was probably more productive than I would have been had I attempted to travel to the office, as I did not waste any time travelling. I would also have found it extremely stressful to be forced to drive in conditions which, I later found out via colleagues, were treacherous and would have spent the day worrying if I'd make it home in one piece.

I do find it rather puzzling that I was essentially reprimanded (albeit in a light-hearted way) for taking what I believed were sensible, practical steps under the circumstances. I stand by my decision to work from home on that day and hope that I would be permitted to do so from time to time in the future if the circumstances merit it."

What I actually said:

"Oh... okay"