Friday, August 29, 2008


I went to have breakfast this morning, and there was no milk for cereal, so I pulled a slice of bread from the bag, turned around and discovered.... Clare has freecycled the toaster!! All that is left of the funky toaster with leaves and ladybirds on it was a sad little pile of crumbs. So, it was a croissant on the way to work for me...

This is all about moving, and getting rid of stuff in order to fit two people's belongings into the same flat. Clare and Nick both have a full complement of Stuff, so they're having to shed a lot. The Man and I have the opposite problem - we've both lived so far mainly using other people's stuff. I believe as far as kitchenalia goes he owns a steamer and a George Foreman grill. But it's kinda fun to set up a house together, rather than have it all there already, and choose things you both like. And get unnecessarily excited about a box of plates and a new hoover. *:)

I am shattered, but tonight I will pick up the keys to the new flat and start the task of moving boxes. Living with Clare has had its ups and downs, but on the whole it's been great fun and I've loved being in that flat. It's been a two year transition period, and now that part of life closes and the next chapter begins. It's exciting, and I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tired out but loving it

Apparently I look tired but I keep jumping up and down and clapping my hands. I'm moving in with The Man this weekend! As well as trying to juggle work, I have to move on the Saturday, go to a wedding on the Sunday, and another wedding next Saturday, and do another all-night work stint next Thursday night, and possibly work the following weekend too.... Hey ho. By the middle of September I will have time to sit down and have a cup of tea.

The puppies are going soon, I think there are only a couple still looking for homes. Very sad, they are extremely cute, but they'll have lots of fun where they're going. Hopefully by the time Mir has another litter we'll be in a position to keep one ourselves. We being me and The Man. How domesticated! Some even sadder news is grandma dog Millie, Mir's mum, had a nasty medium-grade tumour removed from her leg last week. It's just a case of wait and see now in case it metastased, or however you spell it. No jumping over fences for her for a bit.

The cable cardi is nearly finished, I just have to make myself sit down for a couple of hours to complete the cuffs. The rest is all blocked and sewn together and looks very smart. I love seeing construction detail in the knitting on finer knits - slanting decreases three stitches in from the edge around the arm hole, that sort of thing. I think my finishing is getting better, I am trying to take a hint from The Knitting Curmudgeon who was talking about seeing it as a whole other skillset rather than just an annoyance you have to tack on the end of knitting. I'm sure thousands would disagree but I use backstitch which creates a lumpier seam but also gives a really crisp finish. I'll play around with other ways of doing it I'm sure.

I've also finished the knitting on a Dumpling Bag from the Fall edition of Interweave Knits. Perhaps it was a good issue but there was loads in there I loved! I just need to felt the sucker now, will do that tonight, once I've sorted the rings of the strap handle out. Pattern is complicated in its explanations, but the proper way of doing it came to me in a flash as I was waking up this morning. Will post some pics when it's done.

Right, off home shortly to cook dinner for poor Fenella and Andy who have been working like stink on their new house, rewiring, reflooring, sanding floorboards, sorting out deliveries, massacring the hedge... They're moving the last of their boxes out of the flat tomorrow, and then on Friday night, after the cleaner has been (isn't Fenella sweet to book a cleaner?) I can start moving stuff into our new flat!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yes or No?

Fenella can be priceless sometimes. We were sitting around on the carpet, drinking champagne in their new house (which had been theirs for all of fours hours) and she somehow turned the conversation to jewellers, and a specific jewellers in town, and commented to The Man that they do beautiful rings there. Poor Man collapsed on the floor, defeated by her lead brick approach, while we all creased up.

The Man has said before that he really is not fussed about marriage, he would rather just save the money and go to the kids stage. For me, that's not an option, I need the security of marriage before considering kids. I can see what he means about all the hoopla that goes with a big white wedding. In fact, I've heard from a few people recently that weddings fill them with dread and they find them really stressful. But I love weddings! It's a huge romantic party with everyone determined to enjoy themselves, what's not to like?

So, you can hopefully realise why I am pleasantly surprised and also slightly confused how to react by a sort of show of committment of looking into getting a personalised number plate for the new motor with both our initials on it. (For info, I'm told the most expensive plate at the moment, coming in at £100,000, is PEN15.) (Also for info, on the DVLA site, you can mock up an image of the plate on your model of car, which is kinda nifty.)

This is committment indeed, from a bloke's point of view. Branding your man-mobile with your missus' initials?? Good grief, must be loved up.

But, personalised number plates? Yes or no? Please, I need advice on this one!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mice and Men

Cities are funny old places. If a mouse ran under the table if you were at the farm, you would have stern words with the cat about responsibilities and layaboutish tendencies, and spend some time evicting the mouse while mentally scripting a good story to tell everyone later. In a London restaurant, everyone goes, 'Oh look, a mouse!', pushes their handbags around with their foot a bit (I suppose to scare it away from jumping in) and gets on with their meal. Any thoughts about Health Inspectors are not (loudly) voiced.

Anyway, I was having dinner with an old uni friend, let's call her The Lawyer for the time being, otherwise I'd just have to call her CRAZY!!! because she was telling me, again, about her working hours which make my last week look like a walk in the park. I mean, I know lots of my friends work long hours, but she never eats at home, all her colleagues get takeaway dinner in the office every night, they usually work until 10 or 11pm with no lunch breaks, and several regularly work until 2am. To me, this kinda screams sweat shop and employment law and so on. One presumes there's something in the contract to say that they will work until they drop. You can keep it, frankly.

So, a deal has recently fallen through which is bad but it does also mean that work is quite quiet for her at the moment and she can escape at a reasonably time (read 7 or 8 ish) each night. After two weeks of this, she's finally realising that there is actually a Real Life out there, and you should indeed have a couple of hours in which to do things you want to do in the evenings. Like, meet up with friends for dinner, or go to tango classes (which we didn't quite manage, but hey, the intention was there). And you can see in her face that this is an amazing realisation for her! Huh?

I do get concerned about the slightly crazed and hunted look behind the eyes that some of my friends get in times of greater stress at work. I really don't think it's right that work should impact that much on your psyche. After all, the company doesn't really give a shit about you, you're just a grunt (at whatever level) who can be replaced if necessary. The company might shrug and go, 'it's a shame that Vladimir/Horatio/Bob has gone', turn around and get on with the next thing, while poor Vlad is instantly forgotten (until they can't find a file or spreadsheet that Vlad made about something, then his memory is cursed and secretaries are sworn at).

Perhaps I don't get it. I suppose the friends with the hunted look also are the friends with bloody-great and gorgeous houses, and the ones who can afford the sharp suits and gadgets and posh holidays (but, I'm guessing, struggle to get the time off agreed and then never turn their blackberries off). To be honest though, I'd rather live a little more humbly and have time to enjoy myself between the posh holidays.....

Smug-making incident of the week: seeing a fat-cat executive Audi being towed, and as the truck moved off the car alarm starts shrieking.

Ew! incident of the week: Woman on train, having spent the entire hour-long journey talking about her baby (how cute / how strong / teething / nappies / botty burps etc) to her poor un-fecund friend who is now bored to stone, then starts breastfeeding in a carriage full of commuters.

Happy of the week: Getting a text from Fenella saying she'd been up since 3am, then another that she was cross she'd not heard anything, then finally one saying she'd just had a call and that they have completed on the purchase of their new house. Hurrah!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Quite appropriately titled, that film. I have not seen quite such a concoction of cheese and tenuous story lines (or lack thereof) in quite some time. And Pierce Brosnan singing? Please, someone, anyone, make it stop!! But the absolute best bit, worth the price of the seat alone, was after the end credits when the whole cast are up there, spangly lycra jump-suited to the nines, singing Waterloo. Including Brosnan and Colin Firth. Seriously, I will never be able to watch Pride and Prejudice the same way again.

Terrible film, great tunes, Meryl Streep valiant in face of all - go see it, it's hilarious.

In other news, The Man has bought himself a new car. It's the same, but newer, and the sports version, and blue. As far as I can tell the only differences are the colour, there are two fewer doors, and the suspension is 'sports' which means I need to bring a cushion. Oh, and it's got that new car smell which makes me want to heave. You can get that stuff in a spray-can now. Why, for the love of god??

We have commenced battle with the buyers to our flat. I should have known it was all going rather too smoothly. They want some ridiculous amount retained from the sale price in case they get a big stinking bill from the management company at the end of the year. Having done some homework which took about 20mins, this appears to be about three times too much. Why doesn't our solicitor investigate this? Surely that's what we pay them for? Sheesh. I should do my own conveyancing in future. A friend who did her own tells me it's not that difficult. Anyway, the upshot is that we still have not agreed an exchange. Pah. I want to move house in two weeks people!!

Knitting news - all pieces of cardigan blocked, ends are being woven in, and then I can start sewing up! Yay!

Monday, August 11, 2008

It was a long week...

...and unfortunately it got the better of me on Sunday night. I'm just not used to working a full day and then on until 1am under a lot of pressure (breaking and restoring our whole network), and then back in for a long day to do the same thing all over again. So by Friday night I was somewhat emotionally exhausted tense, but managed to get over to the The Man at his mum's while he watched the golf. Now, The Man is usually wonderfully considerate, but he has never worked in an office environment, much less under pressure. I expect the nearest he has come to feeling how I did would be after a 24hr flight with delays and transfers. Kinda like you've been through the wringer. Perhaps I should point this out to him, so he can empathise a little more next time, instead of teasing me and not being helpful. He did however quickly take the hint when I stopped playing along and has been an absolute sweetie since.

The rest of the weekend was wonderful but not restful. My brother was having his 30th birthday party, complete with hog roast (yes, a whole pig) and 50 people or so, so on arrival at the farm at 11am I just walked into organised pandemonium of sorting out catering and beer and balloons and lighting and music and more beer and wine and babies and people arriving and beds and feeding puppies and so on. My brother invited some of my good friends too which was lovely because we don't get to catch up often, and serendipidously another friend from Hong Kong was over to go to a wedding the previous day just down the road! It's kinda weird but kinda nice that my parents get on well enough (ie very well) with my friends that they all get drunk together and laugh at each other. Dad, at midnight, came into the house to find his ancient Russian phrase book because he wanted to show some Russian bird who had come to the party around the farm in his Land Rover. We all told him not to because he would probably drive off the bridge into the river. Mum just laughed, rolled her eyes, and asked for more wine from the bottle she relocated from the bar table for her own purposes. (Later on it turned out the bird was German anyway.)

(This kind of makes it sound like my parents are alcoholics...)

So anyway, after a lovely lunch and mooch around in T Wells on Sunday, I retired to the settee with a cup and tea and a DVD of Becoming Jane, and half way through, from a combination of relief at work stress being over, happiness at spending time with lots of the people I really care for in the world, general tiredness, time to sit down, and PMT, I just burst into tears and cried for about half an hour. And I still easily could if I started thinking about it all again. I am so lucky to have the option of immersing myself in such a charmed life. Some people would say that coming away from all that back to work in London is coming back to the real world, but more and more I think it's the other way round.

(Sigh.) Life is good.

(Apart from crappy work, but we won't talk about that.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


OK, so this is not a new thing, but what is it about men and communication?

Communication + testosterone = Talking About Sport

I know this is always true:

Men + Beer = Talking About Sport

It also appears that just two blokes sitting together on the train = an hour long chat about baseball. But this morning I also had a guy call me for something and proceeded to try to make some chitchat, which is fine, I'm not a machine and I like chitchat, but this chitchat was about football! And worse, Celtic / Rangers!! Do I look like to care about football, least of all Scottish?

Good grief. Someone issue all staff with a social skills handbook, please.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Puppies update!

Gratuitous puppy pr0n but here they are with eyes open, rough-and-tumbling and starting to look like proper Andrex puppies.

I love those little tails sticking up like aerials! And their ears are so silky and the pads on their paws are still soft as anything. You could just snuggle them for hours - apart from the atrocious puppy breath. They just don't tell you these things in the text books. *:)

We now have a moving date so in under a month The Man and I will be living in sin together. Today I've ordered a box of plates and a hoover from Amazon, about which I got unduly over-excited. I'm nesting, and it's the PMT time of the month, which makes it worse. I can't help it!

Here is The Man, in the snows in March.

Special big golfing mittens apparently. Not a big soft southerner at all! We are having Discussions about settees. There are two black leather sofas kicking around, and we're short of a sensible size sofa for the new place. As it will only be temporary, I say we take one of my huge ones and split it in half (they are designed to do this, it won't be me getting trigger-happy with a chainsaw) to have two chaise longues. Please, no, not black leather. Massive flatscreen telly with playstation plus and sky 360 and setanta I can deal with, but don't make me have black leather!