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, July 31, 2008

In which I polish my medal 

"Did I tell you about the two further occurrences?" he asks me. He tends to operate in one of two modes, enigmatic or smarmy and slightly inappropriate. Today, he has chosen enigmatic.

Once again, my manager has chosen to start a conversation in the middle, rather than at the more traditional beginning. Call me old fash.

"Um, occurrences of what?" I enquire, brows raised in anticipation.

"Of people giving me good feedback about you"

"Ah!" I become slightly embarrassed. "Really? Who was it this time?"

"I, from [other department]. And E, from [my team]. They both said how impressed they were with the work you've done with them."

"Oh... well thanks for letting me know!"

These were to add to my growing collection of plaudits: the original one from N, the large bag of Minstrels from M (I like that sort), the verbal thanks from T and the most recent thank you email from A which was sent to my manager and forwarded to me. Plus, one of my functional design documents was heralded as an example to a new member of staff of how a functional design document should be.

I may have moaned about working at [insert original company name], but it seems that they taught me my trade very well.

And so it turns out that I might be a little bit great.
(At my job, that is. Wouldn't want to get over-excited...)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I admire it from the window.

"Look, Big, just look at it!"

With the sun beating down and a gentle breeze, it really is in its element. I smile a slightly smug smile, proud of my handiwork.

It had taken me a while to get around to it, I admit. I am not keen on drilling holes in masonry – the noise is unbearable and having had mishaps in the past, I tend to procrastinate when I know that future drilling is required. But that weekend, I had finally climbed the ladder, drill in hand, hammer action engaged, and finished the job.

At our last house, we’d had a free-standing model – no drilling required, but the results are not so satisfactory. The clustering makes the process take longer, and both of us being tall, there is always the risk of inadvertently clubbing oneself with the contraption which, like many domestic items of its kind, is built for those of a more average height. Such dangers with the new one are rare and, with its easily-stowed-away-when-not-in-use design, not of major concern.

Once, whilst enjoying a pub lunch with friends, a man whom we’d assumed to be the resident nutter approached us somewhat angrily, claiming with some conviction: "The evil is in the complexity!" and throwing what looked like a tarot card onto our table. Whilst at the time we’d laughed it off, I still remember that phrase and can’t help thinking he might have been onto something.

Simplicity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Simplicity is what I strive for.

Which is why, when I look out of the back door at my freshly washed clothes and bed linen, pegged to our new, retractable washing line which I'd just affixed to the exterior wall, propped up with the clothes prop, blowing in the wind, basking in the sun, I feel a little glow.

The glow of simplicity.

Friday, July 11, 2008


The envelope was hand-delivered over the weekend. As I came downstairs, Big was reading it and he handed it over wordlessly.

Damn. We thought we'd got away with it...

Not having been in Southampton at the appropriate time, and not being particularly close to them, we hadn't been included originally and neither had we expected to be. Everyone else had assumed, however, that we had - being part of the same social circle. Kept mentioning it and we kept having to tell them that no, were weren't part of it. But we were okay with it - secretly, rather pleased because it all seemed like a bit of a chore.

Maybe someone thought they were doing us a favour, and mentioned it to them. Or maybe, through seeing us out and about, they themselves suddenly felt guilty about it. Took "pity" on us when there was no need.

Either way, there we were with the envelope and we weren't sure what to do.

"Why don't we go to Manchester that weekend instead? That would give us an excuse"

I screwed up my nose. "K is coming down on Friday night - I said I'd go out for dinner with her, haven't seen her for ages. I'd rather go to Manchester over a long weekend - it's too far to go on Saturday and come back on Sunday...". He rolled his eyes.

And so we have been invited (at the last minute - as an afterthought? After someone else dropped out?) to yet another wedding. It's that time in our life when everyone around us is planning the flowers, booking the venue and choosing the dress. Or moaning about planning the flowers, booking the venue or choosing the dress. Or wittering endlessly about planning the flowers, booking the venue or choosing the dress. Or becoming stressed about planning the flowers, booking the venue or choosing the dress. Or failing to believe the cost of the flowers, the venue or the dress.

I must admit that marriage was "considered" very early on in my relationship with Big. When I say "considered", I mean that he proposed and I accepted. True. And apart from Big and me, no-one else knows this. You are indeed privileged, gentle reader.

However, the more weddings we went to (and being in our mid-thirties, there are plenty going on), the more we realised that we just didn't want it for ourselves. Certainly not in the form we'd experienced and perhaps not in any form at all. The idea of being the centre of attention for a day fills me with horror. The idea of having friends and family spend a fortune on travel, outfits and accommodation just for the "pleasure" of watching me prance around in a pretty frock for a few hours is just bizarre. And as for the idea of expecting a gift, vouchers or whatever alternative schemes people come up with, just because we've decided to sign a piece of paper, is weird beyond belief.

And so we carry on, me being me, him being him, fine on our own, but better together.

For all these reasons and more, we were perfectly okay with not going to this wedding.

And then we got invited.

There's probably still time to hastily arrange a "prior" engagement...

(Am I evil?)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Oh dear 

It's hard to know where to start with this one.

Suffice it to say, if you're going to give your sandwich shop a foreign name, do check the spelling, grammar and capitalisation with someone who knows the language before you go to the signwriters.