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...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Open letter 

Dear mother-out-law

Before I say anything else, I should point out that, as mother-out-laws go, you are pretty fabulous. Firstly, of course, you spawned Big and helped (sometimes unwittingly) to make him the man he is today, so I owe you one for that. Secondly, you're kind, generous, friendly, caring, funny (often inadvertently) and incredibly easy going - an ideal house guest these past few days.

But you really are as mad as a stoat.

I provide the following as evidence:

  1. Quite inexplicably, you call Lidl (of German discount store fame) "Liddell's" . Where, just where, did you get those extra letters from? You also call TK Maxx "TJ Maxx". Now, I know it's called TJ Maxx in the U.S., but in case you hadn't noticed, a) you're British and b) you've been living in Manchester for at least the past 40 years, so I'm not entirely sure what your excuse is

  2. When we're playing Nomination Whist, the sequence of trump suits is never-changing: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, No Trumps. Furthermore, after dealing, the dealer always confirms which suit is trumps for that round. Despite all of this, I cannot think of one occasion where you did not have to ask at least once again what the trumps are for that round whilst sorting your cards.

  3. You know when we were in that charity shop, the one where there were prominent posters saying "EVERYTHING 99p"? And you know when the shop assistant told you that everything was 99p? And you know how you kept approaching the desk, wielding items and asking how much they were? I felt like I was participating in a live comedy sketch...

  4. I really, really appreciate your helping out with the gardening. I will happily admit to being largely ignorant of things horticultural and bow to your greater knowledge of the subject. But is it really necessary to do the gardening dressed in only shorts and a bra?

  5. I absolutely respect your right to watch Australian soaps. As our house guest, I am happy for you to watch them in our house. However, attempting to engage me in a discussion on one of the above-mentioned programmes will only result in my looking blankly at you because I am Simply Not Interested

  6. Normally, people wait until someone has said something you haven't heard before saying: "Pardon". I've barely opened my mouth to start to say something before I hear you say "Pardon". And often, it transpires that you have actually heard what I've said anyway.

  7. I know you don't like waste. I don't like waste either. But that cream was over a week out of date and I reserve the right to throw it away.

  8. People buy things off the internet all the time. You know, like that cookery book you wanted, because your old one fell apart? One thing, though: you really don't need to send the vendor a thank you letter. No, really. Bless you for wanting to, though.

  9. I know you're used to cooking on a gas hob and that our ceramic hob might cause you some grief. But I couldn't quite believe it when you asked me: "On your cooker, is 6 higher than 1?"

If nothing else, though, you've kept us entertained.

Safe journey home, now.

Love Anx

Big Blogger 

Oh dear.

It seems that I have been nominated to go into the Big Blogger "house". Lord only knows what this will mean. You'll have to come over here to find out.

Thanks, Delboy's Daughter. I think...

Friday, May 25, 2007


It's that time of year again.

The time of year when I start to shrink away into the shadows of Blogland, marginalising myself and peering anxiously back at you all, wondering where, and indeed if, I fit in, wondering why I bother, wondering what it is I'm trying to achieve and whether what I'm achieving (if I'm achieving anything at all) outweighs the inadequacies and irritations engendered.

Is there still a place for my kind of blog today? What is my kind of blog? Natural, honest, earnest, a mish-mash of feelings, occurrences, memories. Undrafted, unrehearsed splishes and sploshes of the mundane existence of a not-very-interesting person. This is how blogs were when I started, nearly four years ago. Or at least, this is how it seemed.

Newer blogs seem to be more carefully constructed, drafted and crafted, enigmatic, only revealing snippets, the author distant and aloof, the themes narrow, the writing more self-consciously about writing than about the subject. In the face of this beautiful prose or that comedy masterpiece, my own efforts feel naïve, unsophisticated, too revealing, too earnest.

Whilst I try to reassure myself that I have just as much right as anyone to tell my story, I still can't help feeling like an eternal low-achiever, paddling clumsily in the stagnant pool of blogging mediocrity, my posts a pathetic bleating, lost among the herds of millions of blogging sheep with nothing to set me apart.

Yes, I'm having a little mope. It's just that time of year...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Health update 

Overall, using the scientific Yay/Boo ratio, I make that 8 Yays and 6 Boos, so the Yays have it. In other words, my consultant is very happy with my progress.

Stomach News

Curry: 1
Digestive System: 1


(Is it me, or is Haloscan having some sort of hissy fit today?)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Don't judge a book... 

I've been tagged by B with the following challenge. She says:

"Tell me 5 things that people wouldn't be able to tell from looking at you"

  1. I have a rare auto-immune disorder which causes my body to attack its own blood vessels
    Well, that was easy for the first one, wasn't it?

  2. I am common
    Yep, common as muck. Not immediately apparent, as I am pretty good (I think...) at adapting myself to suit the social situation, but once I relax in someone's company, the cockney accent sneaks out and reveals my true roots.

    At secondary school, because I was usually top of the class, I was branded "posh" and "boffin" by the other children (obviously...?) and aside from that, I truly believed that our family was quite rich. I certainly didn't feel deprived, but within the confines of one's own childhood, it's hard to know what the norms are. In fact, we probably were rich compared to some of the children with whom I interacted at school.

    While I was growing up, "posh" to us meant one of those big houses in Chigwell (yes, that's Essex - to us, that was posh). It meant going to a school where you had to take an exam to get in and the uniform was standard issue rather than ours which just had to be kind of the right colour. We felt posh going shopping at the mall in Ilford rather than down Walthamstow market. It was only when I went to university that I learned the true meaning of "posh" and "rich" and it was at this point that I knew I was neither. No. Where. Near.

    So, I am common. I am neither proud nor ashamed of this fact. What's important, I think, is that life and work have brought me into contact with people from many echelons of society and I feel enriched by the diversity I have encountered. I think it has made me into a tolerant and open-minded person.

  3. I am *not* a Goth, nor am I trying to be
    Bit of an in-joke this one. Not that I have anything against Goths, but I'm just not one. I am naturally pale and raven-haired and black suits me best. I have a couple of Cure CDs, yes, but what girl of my generation/background/education doesn't? I think I am probably mistaken for a Goth less often nowadays, but it still happens often enough

  4. I am *not* confident
    I seem to exude an air of confidence which belies the quivering wreck I actually am beneath the surface. Remember when I went to that blogmeet and various people said I didn't seem anxious at all? Perhaps it's my height and the way I carry it - I refuse to slump. Perhaps it's the way I speak - I have quite a strong, deep voice and a hearty laugh. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but my appearance certainly appears to suggest a level of confidence way above the actual.

  5. I do not drink alcohol
    I hesitate to put "I am teetotal" because that makes it sound both final and very conscious, whereas my lack of drinking is neither. I just kind of stopped drinking, it tapered off and I felt I could live without it. I will have a glass of champagne to toast a happy couple but will and can go for months (years?) without a drink. My life feels no less rich without alcohol. Okay, I know, I'm a weirdo. I shall now crawl back into my hole...

This list was compiled with the help of Big, who has the benefit of seeing me from the outside.

If you'd like to have a go at this, please do. Remember, I won't tag you!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A long night 


"Could you put your bedside lamp on?"
"What's wrong with yours?"
[a pause]
"Hmmm, didn't think of that..."

Big switches on his bedside lamp and turns onto his back.

"Are you alright, love?" I ask, wondering why he needs the light on.
"I feel a bit funny," he mutters.
"Oh great..." I think. Just recovering from a stomach bug myself, I wonder whether I've passed it onto him.

Within seconds, though, he appears to be sound asleep. The lamp is still on. I then realise that he has probably been asleep throughout this entire exchange. He does have a habit of talking nonsense in his sleep and, given his confusion over the lamp and his slightly slurred delivery, I conclude that if I were to question him about our conversation in the morning, he would surely deny all knowledge. This happens on a regular basis.

So that leaves me, awake at 1am. I consider getting up to turn off Big's lamp, but I decide against it as it would mean leaving the bed. And like Big, I feel a bit funny. After my stomach bug, I'd stuck to bland food for a couple of days but the previous night, I'd been brave and tried some pizza. It was a decision I was now regretting as I felt its rich, gooey cheesiness sitting heavily in my stomach, reminding me of its presence there with a series of gurglings, churnings and internal machinations, the precise nature of which I was not keen to know. Previously of a very strong constitution, rarely afflicted by stomach problems, I am given a stern reminder of how recent events have affected my body's ability both to resist and to deal with infection.

"Just turn over, shut your eyes and relax, it'll be fine," I tell myself in my most soothing voice, concentrating on my breathing. Deep down, though, I'm not convinced of my own reassurances and worry that the pizza will have turned out to be a bad decision.

There are few things I find harder to cope with than insomnia. One of those things, however, is feeling sick. The combination of both, then, makes for a truly terrible night. I just didn't know what to do with myself in those dark, slow-moving minutes.

I try reading. Reading at any other time is almost guaranteed to leave my head a-bobbing and eyelids a-drooping within a few minutes but that night, nah-ah. Wide awake.

I try my anti-anxiety breathing exercises, but when these are constantly interrupted by pizza-flavoured belches, it's hard to relax.

I try sucking a polo mint but this makes me feel sicker.

I get up a few times and walk around, wondering if it would just be better to throw up and get rid of the pizza once and for all rather than waiting for my body to deal with it in its rather long-winded way. This, despite my morbid fear of vomit, such is my desperation for sleep.

I end up grabbing a spare duvet, going downstairs and setting up camp on the sofa with the television on a low volume. Somehow, with the background burbling of whatever happens to be on, I feel less alone and more able to cope. But, despite the soothing tones of the looping news stories on BBC News 24, no sleep is forthcoming. I return glumly upstairs to bed a couple of hours later and Big stirs.

"You okay, love?"
"No, I haven't slept, I feel sick..."

We have a cuddle, he strokes (what's left of) my hair and before long, I hear his deep, steady breathing, his ease in returning to the land of nod reminding me painfully of my own inability to perform this most basic function. Big always tells me to wake him up if I can't sleep, but I just can't do it to him. Aside from the fact that after a no-doubt reassuring cuddle, he'd be asleep again within seconds and I'd be back to square one.

By this time, the dawn chorus has begun, it is light and there is no hope for me.

Attempted digestion of pizza by put-upon stomach and related anxiety - 1
Sleep - 0

Back to the bland food for a while I think...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A girl with a dot com? 

Being an eternal pessimist, I held back on progressing my idea of starting a freelance translation business until I got the results of my exam. Now that I have passed it, and particularly since I have some time on my hands at the moment, it seems an appropriate time to set some wheels in motion.

Like every business worth its salt, I need a website. It only needs to be simple - a few pages on what I do and how to contact me. But I want it to look professional as it will essentially be my shop window.

I have found a domain name which is available, but I'm afraid I'm a bit hazy on what I need to do to get it all up and running. This is where you, my readers, might be able to help.

As I understand it, I need to:

Geeks, I need your advice!

No jargon, please. As many of us know, possession of a blog does not a web-techie make!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

From the trough... 

... to the peak:

I'm getting there. Slowly.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I've realised what I am. I am a counterfeiter.

Everything I do is a (poor) imitation of what someone else is doing. I'm not good at doing anything from scratch - I'm only good at copying things.

I can play things on the guitar - but only things that other people have composed.

I listen, I copy.

I can draw and paint things - but only if someone else has already drawn them first or the things I'm drawing are sitting there in front of my eyes.

I look, I copy.

I write a blog - but it's a mish-mash of the styles of other blogs I read.

I read, I copy.

I'm good at languages - but only because language acquisition is all about imitation.

I listen, I copy.

I am a copycat. Nothing original here.

Yes, I thought it was about time I indulged in a bit of glumness. I've been far too chirpy of late, smiling and laughing and "yes-I-feel-great"ing - who do I think I am? It's time for some good old-fashioned moaning.

Take my hair, for example. Still clinging on for dear life but it is so wispy, so lank, so utterly lifeless. I try to distract attention with hairbands, I apply product after product to try to bestow upon it some kind of body or shape, but no, it is hopeless. My one good feature, screwed.

Then there's the sale of this house. Yesterday, we received an insultingly, pathetically low offer which I, of course, have taken as a personal affront and constructed a scenario whereby we will have to sell it at a loss or we won't be able to sell it at all and will be saddled with it forever. Like the rational being I am.

And there's "work", who are taking weeks to work out what to do with me. Just exactly how long does it take to fill in a P45 and put it in an envelope? I'm not asking for anything other than to leave quietly.

I'm not allowed to run - doctor's orders. In the four years before I was taken ill, I barely missed a week. I now haven't run for over two months. I dread to think how my thighs are going to react to this.

It seems that this is the downside to my current life of leisure. Too much time alone to think, to ponder on my failings, to fret about the coming months but not actually do anything useful to prepare for them.

If I could just press the fast-forward button and find myself there, back in Hampshire, settled at last, doing something I enjoy, rather than being in this uncomfortable limbo.