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Monday, 18 November 2013

On coming full circle



Some of the die hard readers out there may remember that I started this blog way back in November 2010, and my very first post was about saving a flat deposit.  You may also recall that I swiftly learnt that I wasn't actually very good at saving money and abandoned that plan. I was young (er) and foolish and liked shopping in Zara.

But somehow, in a turn of events that is still quite incomprehensible to me, I have managed to amass just enough money to reasonably pass as a deposit.

I no longer live in the capital city, but I do still live in an expensive part of the UK where it’s not unheard of to pay 50k for a parking spot.

So, upon abandoning all hope of a parking space, a garden, or a kitchen island (the moment I will truly know I am an adult) I have begun the flat hunt.

I have learnt the following about flat hunting.


1. Estate agents are doing you the favour. Now I know you’re thinking ‘but they make their money by selling houses.’ You are wrong. Showing you around property is very inconvenient for them. It cannot happen at short notice. It definitely cannot happen outside of office hours. Learn this early on, lest be continually annoyed and frustrated.

2. The estate agent will constantly state the blooming obvious. You will be standing in a room with a sink, oven and fridge. You will be discussing the dinners you will make in said room. They will still insist on stating (for the record) that you are currently in the kitchen.

3. Windows are no longer called windows, they are called ‘aspects.'

4. Apparently it’s not good etiquette to look too closely at people’s family photographs or through their cupboards.

5. If you want a sea view you’ll have to be prepared to knock down walls, throw away half of your possessions, de-mould a bathroom and have serious doubts on whether your bed will fit in the bedroom.


Problem is I want the sea view. Seems I'm just as foolish three years on.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The magic of Christmas

On watching the John Lewis christmas advert 

Me: so, what do you think? Were you moved?

The boyfriend: yeah, I suppose I was.

I'm really pissed off with the rabbit. I mean clearly the bear needs to sleep.

Me: But he'd never seen Christmas.

Oh, never mind.


If you haven't seen it yet you can shed a tear, or be annoyed at the hare, here

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The lost art of travel

I don’t remember the heyday of travel. Way before my time. But you see it don’t you - in films or on Downton Abbey. The days when travellers wore their Sunday best, and strolled onto steam trains or stepped elegantly into propeller planes.

Flying was a luxury for those people who wore fur and knew not of ‘the weekend.’ You and I would have been on a coach trip to the seaside with a scotch egg in our back pocket.

But now, thanks to the wonder of budget airlines, we can all take to the skies. But there’s no Sunday best or elegance in the matter, as I discovered on a recent trip with our lovely friends at Ryanair.

Queuing for her onboard scratch-cards
First there’s the stampede. The flight is called and we run. Bags and limbs flailing as we sprint across the airport. Picture the scene of the Pamplona Bull Run and you’re half way there. Next it’s time to be manhandled into a waiting area where I learn how battery chickens reside. And that’s before we’ve even made it onto the plane, where cramped quarters bring out the ‘best’ in my comrades, especially when it’s announced we’ve missed the take off slot. But don’t worry, there are plenty of cheese and ham paninis on sale to keep our spirits up; cheap at half the 8 euro price tag.

And as you haven’t paid for an allocated seat, priority boarding, or simply been mugged on your way onboard, you’ll have to sit on a stranger’s lap the whole way. They’ll give you an infant’s seat belt if you’re lucky. Ah well, chocks-away.

But Ryanair, what you don’t realise is that the triumph is mine. Even with your detailed baggage dimensions and weight limit and strict policy enforcement there was no way I was paying £70 for the privilege of luggage. And now, sweet smugness. No check-in queue for me. No waiting at the carousel. No chance of you sending my bag to the wrong side of the world. Oh no.

Of course I haven’t really got enough clothes for a week, and there’s no glamour in washing your smalls in the hotel sink or running out of shampoo, but we’ll just gloss over that.


Travel’s not glamorous anyway.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Solving one of life's mysteries: Conversations with the Boyfriend

On the contents of the washing machine

Me: Oh, I've been meaning to ask you. Do you know why there was pasta in the washing machine?

The Boyfriend: No. Well, I mean I did cook some pasta, and maybe some has got into the washing machine.

Me: Right. But I mean, any idea how it got in there?

The Boyfriend: Was it cooked?

Me: The pasta? Yes it was cooked.

The Boyfriend: But I mean, maybe it went in raw and cooked in the machine.

Me: I'm not sure a washing machine boils for 13 minutes.

The Boyfriend: Oh well, it's solved then. We know it was cooked before it went in.

Me: Yes, but why was it in the washer?

The Boyfriend: Oh that? Yeah I've got no idea.

----


For more conversations with the boyfriend, you should click here

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Being Patient

The computer in my office is from, at best, 1998. It's slow. It can't open images. A PDF takes around 17 minutes to open. As you might imagine, this drives me up the bloody wall. In 2013 patience is hard to come by.

Everything goes at super speed. Remember the days of dial up internet? Heaven forbid we mention LBTI (life before the internet.) But even broadband wasn't quick enough, now we need it to be 'super-fast.' We run for the bus, rush to the next meeting, think the world has ended when we lose 3G and hurry through life, barely stopping to take breath.

But on a recent break to rural Devon I was forced into thinking about patience. Staying a hut, in a field, it can't help but come to mind.

Want a cup of tea? No problem. That'll just be an hour to get the fire going and boil some water. Dinner? Give it two. Need the loo? Just give yourself enough time to wind up the torch and get down the track.

The Boyfriend tending the kettle


It's a shock at first. Time may not wait for any man, but modern man certainly doesn't wait around either. Every minute not going at super-fast speed is a minute wasted.

And then you begin to get used to a slower pace of doing things. The sound of the owls outside as you wait for the kettle to boil. The warmth of the fire. The chorus of the thousand crickets in the grass outside.

And the waiting becomes part of the task itself. An enjoyable part too.

But now we're home, and the hut and her fire is behind us. The kettle boils in under 30 seconds and light is but a switch away.

But luckily for me the PDFs still won't load, and so I'm going to use that time to daydream, doodle, or simply write this blog post. I'm going to slow down and give being patient a bash.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A family portrait

Everyone's parents do things that annoy them. My father constantly tries to take my photograph.

To set the scene: I am visiting the parents, relaxing in a sunny spot in their garden.

"Oh no, dad please don't take my picture."

"Now just sit up a bit straighter."

"Dad I'm relaxing."

"Ok so just relax."

"I was relaxed."

"And smile."

"Dad stop squatting. Do you know how many chins you give me when you take pictures from underneath?"

"I know you're protective of your image."

"I am not protective of my image. STAND UP. You're giving me chins."

"Cover them with your wine glass."

"You're meant to say I don't have a chin."

"Oh sorry."

"Are we finished?"

"Enjoy yourself"

"I was enjoying myself."

He pauses and looks through pictures.

"Sit up straighter.That's it. Now look straight ahead."

"I think I'm better from the side."

"You can delete any you don't like."

"I'd really rather not look at them, thanks."

"I know how it feels to be unphotogenic."

And with that I stand, leave my sunny spot, and go inside. I need to make a run for it before he suggests that on my next visit home I wear block colours. 

They're more flattering you see.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Double standards


This weekend I painted some chairs. This was not a well considered spot of diy-ing. No, rather the case that I awoke on Saturday with the notion that our wooden chairs would look better if a different colour.

So I got up, went to the diy-shop, purchased paint, returned home and set about the task.

I understand that this is not the done thing with diy-ing. There is apparently planning that needs to take place. Dust sheets to buy and sensible painting clothes to adorn.

And so it is that I now have four newly painted chairs. And very nice they look too. I also have paint in my hair, all over my arms and a few spots on my clothes.

Oh, and there is a fair amount of paint on the patio too.

The Boyfriend comes outside and notices the large smears of paint on our slate patio.

“It’s fine” I say confidently. “Going to get some wire wool on it tomorrow.”

“Would it be fine if I’d done that?” he asks with a smirk.

I am silent. We both know the answer to that one.