Thursday, 31 May 2007

I never promised you a rose garden

A constructive thing I have done today:

Re subscribed to Freelance Market News. Full details can be found using this link: http://www.freelancemarketnews.com/thank.htm
It's a monthly newsletter which contains up to the date information regarding the publishing world.
The pages are filled with news and views for new publications and trends, and developments in established markets. It also contains competitions for short stories and poems, information on festivals and residential courses, plus book reviews.
So all in all it's a handy and informative newsletter to have, if the
publishing world floats your boat.

Writing this blog has got me in the mood to create fictional stories again. I have a folder at home titled 'I never promised you a rose garden' which is full to the brim of short, sometimes funny and often sad, fictional stories. Actually, to be honest with you, most of them point in the sad direction! I need to express myself a little more light hearted, and once the newsletter finds it's way to my letter box, I know I shall be fully inspired again.

Not such a constructive thing I have done today:

Surfed The Sun website and read bits about The Big Brother 8 contestants. Arrgh! I couldn't stop myself. As predicted, it's full of the usual attention seeking, odd and barmy people. Last year, one of the contestants rattled my cage so much I felt compelled to write into Heat magazine. And my letter was printed! Not quite what I had in mind when I said 'one day my words will be published.' I honestly didn't expect them to print it, I was letting off steam by writing:
Just read Heat. I still don't like Grace and I still think she has one of those faces you would like to punch.

Can I say at this point, that I am not normally so mean spirited and I have never punched anyone in my life. Nor do I plan to punch anyone in the future.
Shortly after I wrote this piece Grace was punched in the face. Not by me, I hurriedly add. But I wasn't very proud of myself for writing that.

Todays question from: http://thecenterforimprovedliving.blogspot.com/
What is your earliest memory.
My answer: Running around the vegetable patch in the garden and getting stung by a wasp on my big toe. I wouldn't go to bed, so I was being chased around the garden, with my Mum shouting 'if you don't go to bed soon we'll have a police man knocking at the door!'

I rememeber it like it was yesterday.
(Funny how sometimes I fail to remember what I did last week.)

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Busy bees, birthdays and Big Brother

I have been a busy bee buzzing around in the office today. One contact from our printers came in to apologise for the mistakes in our last magazine issue. Another contact from a different printing company came in to meet me and to provide me with new printing quotes. They have an impressive portfolio and I found myself getting a little too enthusiastic with their clientele and colour reproduction. Have I been working in publishing for too long?!
But I can't say I am too impressed with the working environment on this Wednesday afternoon. Our server is down again, the toilets are blocked and we have run out of milk. Just the one coffee today then.

Tonight I shall be trying to avoid Big Brother 8. Yes, Big Brother is back on our screens and in it's 8th year. I must confess to being a tiny fan of it in the past, even hosting Big Brother final get together evenings. Just an excuse to invite my friends over for wine and nibbles really. But as each series has progressed, the people are becoming less real and more wannabe weirdos and wannabe celebrities, and quite frankly I have slowly lost interest.
Instead of staring mindlessly at the telly tonight, I shall be visiting my special friend Chamelle and her lovely two children. It's also her daughters birthday so I will arrive with presents for her.
Chamelle and I used to work together many moons ago, for the medical magazines in a thriving publishing house. It wasn't until a few years down the line, that Chamelle admitted her first impression of me was that I looked rather prim and proper and that we wouldn't get along. How wrong she was! For it was one lunchtime session at the pub, witnessing me in my natural environment, that she realised my true personality and knew we would be firm friends for a very long time. Of course we were professionals in our medical publishing career, but that didn't prevent us from playing the odd trick or two on each other. It was fun working with Chamelle.
And talking of fun, I must get back to the heady world of telecoms publishing.

George Michael update: The tickets arrived today for the concert of the decade! The new and improved Wembley Stadium, NEXT SATURDAY!

Todays question from: http://thecenterforimprovedliving.blogspot.com/
What's the strangest thing you've heard in the last week?
My answer: This is pretty strange - to get noticed at a Big Brother audition, a wannabe contestant cemented his feet into a bucket.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Rain drops keep falling on my head

The bank holiday rain drops lasted through out the whole of the bank holiday. Unfortunately this put a stop to my agenda of barbeque, picnic and car boot sale. My mother still loaded her car in the rain for the boot sale, but there was only one other person selling and the rain came down harder, so she packed up again and came home.
As you would expect, as soon as the bank holiday came to a close, the sun came out to play.
I think all the water this weekend has gone to my head. Found myself logging onto http://thecenterforimprovedliving.blogspot.com/ to investigate todays question, which I think was quite random, and I typed an equally random answer.
What do you think baseball umpires do in their spare time:
My answer: In their spare time, baseball umpires like to collect frog spawn, bake fairy cakes, write on toilet cubicle doors and read to their budgergias. Oh and take their dogs for a walk. If they have a dog of course.

I was too busy doing work orientated things today, so there was no time for blogging. But this evening is another story, I am relaxing in front of the telly and trying not to think about my fathers blue cheese sitting in the fridge.
I feel an early night coming on too, and snuggling up to my 'Fallen' book in bed, which is a jolly good read.

Friday, 25 May 2007

This is the news

Around the world updates from Flying Pink Elephants.

The first clue? Bag was hissing
CAIRO, Egypt -- Customs officers thwarted what could have become the sequel to Snakes on a Plane. Yahia Rahim Tulba stunned them Thursday when he revealed 700 snakes in his carry-on bag. Among them were two cobras. He told officials that he planned to sell the snakes in Saudi Arabia to be displayed in shops, kept as pets or used by research centers. Tulba has been turned over to prosecutors.

Man stays awake for 11 days
Matchsticks came in handy for Tony Wright

A man claimed a new record today by succeeding in his bid to stay awake for 11 days as part of his research into human sleep.
Tony Wright, 42, began his attempt on the 264-hour record at 6am on May 14 at theStudio Bar in Penzance, west Cornwall.
A qualified horticulturist, he relied on a raw food diet, including fruit, salad,seeds and nuts, to help keep him awake.
After setting the record just after 6am today, he said: "I feel pretty good but a bit shaky. It has not really sunk in yet that I have beaten the record.
"I do not feel tired yet, but there is a bit of adrenaline pumping around at the moment."

Killer banana rumour grips China

Producers say the rumour has causes big financial losses
A rumour spread by text message has badly hit the price of bananas from China's Hainan island, state media say.
The messages claim the fruit contains viruses similar to Sars, the severe respiratory illness which has killed hundreds of people worldwide.
Producers in Hainan say the resulting price slump is costing them up to 20 million yuan ($US2.6m) a day.
China's Agriculture Ministry has dismissed the Sars claim as baseless. Police are investigating its source.
"It is utterly a rumour," a Chinese Health Ministry official was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
"There has not been a case in the world in which humans have contracted a plant virus, and there is not any scientific evidence."

Oxford Museum offered head for shrinking
An artist has offered to donate his own head to an Oxford museum - if a collection of shrunken heads has to be returned to South America.
Ted Dewan has written to Oxford University's Pitt Rivers Museum to offer his own head for shrinking.
Museums have been facing an ethical debate about whether they should keep human remains on display or repatriate them for burial.
But the museum has now turned down Mr Dewan's offer of a replacement head.
Children's author and artist, Mr Dewan is offering to leave instructions in his will for his head to be shrunk and put on display, if the Oxford museum's current collection of 10 heads from the Upper Amazon region has to be repatriated.
Mr Dewan says that he hopes that any posthumous display of his head would have a "family friendly" appeal.
"I shall also leave enough funding specifically to cover the costs of storage, shrinking, curating, and maintenance of the shrunken head in the Victorian display case," says Mr Dewan.

Essex girl receives more freebies
A thirty something female has received yet more free items in her lunch break. (It was a summer top the other day).
She was over heard telling a work colleague that Spider Man 3 is 'good entertainment value' before stepping out onto the London streets. Here she was given a mango smoothie to experience, outside a busy sandwich bar. After downing the fruity liquid, with no obligation to pay, she made her way to 20 20 vision optical store. A free weekly trial for contact lenses was handed to her inside the store, which she is looking forward to testing this bank holiday weekend.
Although, upon her return from her lunch break, she logged on to the BBC website and was a little dismayed to see pictures of rain drops on this weekends weather forecast.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

What a tangled web we weave

Summer is here (well, nearly, but it is a hot one today) and I can't help wishing I was a stone lighter. In fact, I was so busy looking enviously at the skinny girls in pretty summer frocks this morning, that I nearly got myself run over by a black taxi. The driver lent on his horn angrily, and I turned around to see what idiot had nearly caused an accident this time. This time the idiot was me.
I am also wishing I'd had a decent nights sleep last night. It was hot in my little room and I was tossing and turning and sighing and getting more and more frustrated. I just know it's going to be another slow motion day, and on this occasion, I can't blame it on the Vino Callapso.
My tired eyes started a new book on my train journey to the office (thanks again Caron). 'Fallen' by David Maine. And I am looking forward to getting stuck into it. Extract from the back cover: What drove Cain to the unthinkable? Beginning with his death, Fallen rewinds through fury and jealousy, lust and despair right back to the bite from the apple and mankind's first taste of shame.
I finished reading 'Virgin Heat' last night,by Laurence Shames, and it was an enjoyable read, but I wouldn't say it was one of my favourite books. The plot was clever, the dialogue and setting were colourful, but I felt the characters lacked a certain something. I didn't really find myself warming towards them or relating to them.
Tonight, Caron and I will be dining in Nachos for our chicken, chips and coleslaw special (I may skip the chips, or I may not) and then making our way to the cinema to view Spider Man 3.

Spiderman, Spiderman Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web any size Catches thieves just like flies
Look out, here comes the Spiderman

Is he strong? Listen Bud He's got radioactive blood
Can he swing from a thread ? Take a look overhead
Hey, there! There goes the Spiderman

In the chill of the night At the scene of a crime
Like a streak of light He arrives just in time

Spiderman, Spiderman Friendly neighbourhood, Spiderman
Wealth and fame, he ignores Action is his reward
Look out, here comes the Spiderman

Spiderman, Spiderman Friendly neighbourhood, Spiderman
Wealth and fame, he ignores Action is his reward
To him, life's a great big bang up Whenever there's a hang up
You'll find the Spiderman!

Another blog I can recommend: http://threebeautifulthings.co.uk./
Each day the writer records three things which have given her pleasure.
I am loving reading it as it's too easy in this day and age to forget and not appreciate the simple, but often beautiful things in life.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

You thought I was cheap. You were the sale of the century

There may be no such thing as a free lunch when you are calorie counting - with reference to 3rd May's blog - but there is such a thing as a free top.
Yesterday I went shopping. And I do apologise for not blogging, as I was far too busy working hard in the office during the day (shopping at lunchtime) and far too busy having a hard work out at the gym during the evening. Anyway, Urban Outfitters was my choice of clothes shop as I noted the word SALE. Here I managed to find myself two summer tops, both half price, and looked reasonably okay on my slowly getting slimmer figure. However, after patiently queuing for a till (I'm not the only one who notes and loves the word SALE) the smilie sales assistant only charged me the price for one top. I immediately assumed I had read one of the labels incorrectly, and there had been further reductions. But just in case she had made a mistake, I swiftly removed myself from the premises and examined my receipt and labels in the safety of the street.
Upon examination, I realised I had indeed a free top in my plastic bag. Which made it probably the best SALE I have ever been to.
Naturally I couldn't help sharing my good fortune and showed a fair few colleagues in the office my free top. Things like this do not normally happen to me, so you have to make the most of it. Except, of course, when I accidentally stole two green silk scarves (with the velcro on my lap top) at a Singapore airport. But I didn't really care for them, so that does not count.

Today's question from http://thecenterforimprovedliving.blogspot.com/
What's the best thing that has happened to you in the last two days?
My answer: My successful shopping trip where I did not get charged for my little summer top. Incidentally, I am wearing it today.

Bringing me down a peg or two, I'm not too sure on one of my friends, the lovely Sarah, choice of email matter. The title was 'why am I single' and the email pictured all sorts of freaky looking people. But of course, I'm not paranoid in the slightest, so I took it in the good faith it was meant in and laughed out loud, pointing at the odd bods, and asking others in the office to take a look too.

Until tomorrow. In the mean time, watch out for those SALES and freaky looking people.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Bonus time

Today's blog is coming to you live from the luxury of my lap top in the lounge.
I've had an extended weekend due to booking today off, although it didn't quite go according to plan (life never does, does it). I had a jacket potato lunch in a local cafe with my old friend Eve, and big chats. Then I was supposed to be seeing my even older friend, Ann, as it was her daughters sixth birthday. But I didn't realise her little girl had a dancing lesson, so I would only have seen her for thirty minutes. Instead I wondered around the shops and brought some toiletries and went home for a roast dinner. Thanks mum! With roast beef and plenty of vegetables in my belly, it was off to Ann's to see her little girl (after her dancing lesson), wish her a happy birthday, and watch her open her presents. And I can't believe her son is off to senior school in September. Where does all the time fly to?!
I'm home now and ready for my bed, so I can be ready to fight another day in the office tomorrow.

I have good news to finish on - it was pay day today and bonus pay day at that. And a larger bonus than I anticipated. Which means it's going straight into my savings account, ready to be topped up next month, and new car here I come! Well, it will be a new car to me, bonus wasn't big enough for a brand new car.
Alas my last car, which I had the pleasure of driving spanking new out of the show room, finished it's life as a write off. Unfortunately it was broken into, stereo stolen and steering lock wrecked. After the break in, the ignition made a peculiar noise and it conked out, refusing to start. The insurance company inspected it and confirmed it was a write off, after stating, "It's not the best condition Peugeot I have ever seen." That's nothing, when it was valeted the valeter commented, "This is the worst condition car I have ever seen."
Not my fault - I hasten to add! I should never have lent it to a certain person.
So, I'm sure my Mother will be pleased to hear she will soon have her car full time again. And in the not too distant future I will have a car to call my own again. This time, aint nobodies name apart from little old me, to go on the insurance details.

Weight update: Lost over the half stone mark now. Getting there slowly and surely and hungrily.
George Michael update: 19 days until I'm lucky enough to be in the audience for the opening night at the new and improved Wembley Stadium. (Although the first football match was played at the weekend - FA cup final. 1 nil to Chelsea.) Roll on 9th June!

Friday, 18 May 2007

You're not the only one...

I am experiencing a few mixed emotions today. As Mick Jagger sang in 1989 (button your lip baby, button your coat, lets go out dancing, go for the throat).
On one hand, I am delighted that it's Friday and pleased with myself for booking Monday off. Another long one coming up. But I'm wishing it was pay day today, instead of Monday, so my bank account and pockets were lined with cash to spend this weekend. Going to have to take it easy and hope the petrol in the car lasts.
And on the other hand, I can't help feeling sad because my nans house is no longer hers as from today. My dear nan, who is now in a care home and has to have around the clock supervision.
It's the end of an era as we know it. All the Christmas days, boxing days, birthdays, mothers days, family tea days, etc, that the rest of the family, and I, have spent in those four walls.
I know my mother will be feeling it today. She has spent the last few weeks clearing out the house contents with her sisters, coming across precious family photos and presents long forgotten, and coming home with slightly redder than usual eyes. Today she is visiting her mum, my nan, at the care home and you know what makes it worse? My nan has absolutely no idea that her house has been sold.
Probably has no idea what day of the week it is, or any idea of anything come to think of it.
Of course we are all grateful she is getting the attention and care she needs and deserves, and we visit her as often as possible. But it's not the same is it. She's a shadow of her former self and selling her house seems so final.

On a lighter note, it's the extremely tall publishers birthday today. Which means writing rude comments in his card, and all traipsing to the pub at lunchtime. Followed by the cakes and nibbles tradition this afternoon (watch out for those not so hidden calories!)
After work there will be more relaxing beverages. As for the rest of the weekend, it will have to be spent as cheaply as possible. Need to visit my Nan, have a run on the treadmill, hopefully do the pilates dvd which I haven't got round to yet, and take some photos on my digital. Want to catch up with some friends, and catch up on sleep too. And maybe listen to my Rolling Stones cd, particularly 'Mixed Emotions' at full, blasting, singing along to, volume.

Today's question from: http://thecenterforimprovedliving.blogspot.com/
What were you thinking before you read this?
My answer: World peace. Why did I put my jeans on still damp this morning?I hope there's a coffee cup in the cupboard that isn't chipped.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Fame at last

Imagine my immense surprise when I opened the newspaper today and read an article about myself!



What do you mean 'that's not authentic'?!

To name a few of the comments taken from various readers of the article:
Sad.
You wish.
You had me going there at first.
Good work.
I knew it wasn't true when he called you Princess.

Look out for updates in the 'Daily Whatever.' Such a (un)reliable source of information.





More newspaper articles for you. These two pieces below have made me think twice about ordering a McDonalds, the next time I feel the hangover urge (or I’m out with George and we fancy fast food).
Taken from: http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/article.html?in_article_id=49428&in_page_id=2


An 8-year-old girl in Illinois got a slightly happier meal than she bargained for at a branch of McDonalds, after she was served with a Happy Meal containing marijuana.
Along with the pot, the meal also contained a pipe and a lighter.
The girl's mother, Andrea Irelan, explained at length: 'She just said, “Mom, I have a lighter in my Happy Meal,” and I said, “you have a lighter in your Happy Meal,” and she said, “yes, I have a lighter in my Happy Meal,” so I told her, “go show your dad.”'
According to Ottawa, Illinois police, the drugs belonged to a 17-year-old male, identified as Brandon Scott, who was an employee at the McDonalds. Having mistakenly brought his drugs into work with him, Scott had to think quickly, and regrettably chose a sub-optimal place to conceal his stash – a Happy Meal box that he then forgot about, allowing another employee to pick it up and use it.
To complete a bad day for him, not only did he lose his pot, but he was sacked from his job and charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Naturally, the parents are now considering suing McDonalds.


In an interesting twist on the concept of the 'Happy Meal', a McDonalds restaurant in New Zealand managed to give away a condom with one of its children's meals.
For the seven-year-old girl who was on the receiving end of the condom, however, the meal was maybe not so happy.
The condom was discovered by seven-year-old Maia Whitaker and her grandparents, Suzanne and Rowan Hatch, in a McDonalds in Wellington. The condom (a green Durex one, with packet, in case you were wondering) came inside a small sports bag that came free with the meal.
'I was pretty horrified really, the fact my granddaughter was going to look in the bag and find this thing. It would be difficult to explain, she's only seven,' said Mr Hatch.
A spokesperson for McDonalds explained that the sports bags were a late substitute for the previous Happy Meal toy, which had sold out.
The one that Maia got had been unsealed for display purposes, said the spokesperson. 'Somehow' the condom ended up in the bag, and the bag ended up with the customer.
The staff let Maia swap the condom for a pencil case.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

In Vino Veritas

In other words: In wine - the truth. Today's title is a Latin gem courtesy of Caron.
Or it could be this one if you prefer - Carpe diem. Which means: Seize the day.

I had a couple of bizarre dreams last night. In my first one, I was walking along a path when I suddenly fell into a swamp, infested with crocodiles. Naturally, I was scared of the prospect of being buried alive and/or playing a part in the crocodiles dinner, so I began screaming for help. Strangers were walking by and told me not to worry, they would try to pull me out by jumping in the swimming pool next door and entering through the trap door.
Luckily I awoke from my sleep then, in a slight panic, but with the relived feeling of 'it's only a dream.'
I soon drifted off again, this time I was contributing to a family get together (so much nicer to be surrounded by ones family and not crocodiles). We were all standing in the garden, throwing stones at humongous blades of grass. These blades of grass magically turned into mischievous creatures, who tried to break into the house and damage the property. My dearly departed dog, Muffin, also featured in my dream as he does on many occasions. Muffin was so scared by these creatures that he ran into the house yelping and I had to chase after him to sooth him. I then turned to the creatures and shouted at them 'If you've hurt my Muffin, I will never forgive you!'
My alarm rang then, signally the start of another day.

I managed to remember my shoes today, which were patiently waiting for me in the hall way. So I am a little taller and ready to face the world and our printers.
I had to arrive in the office earlier than normal, due to magazine errors and the pile of work I have to amend.
Just taken a breather and decided to look a few dream subjects up on: http://www.dreammoods.com/

Crocodile
To see a crocodile in your dream, forewarns of hidden danger. Someone near you is giving you bad advice and is trying to sway you into poor decisions. The crocodile may be an aspect of yourself and your aggressive and "snappy" attitude. Or maybe it reveals that you have displayed some false emotions and shedding "crocodile tears".

To dream that you are chased or bitten by a crocodile, denotes disappointments in love and in business.

Swamp

To see a swamp in your dream, symbolizes aspects of yourself that are repressed and dark. You may be feeling insecure. The dream may also be a pun on feeling swamped from work, a relationship, or other emotional burden.

To dream that you are walking through a swampy area, foretells that you will be find yourself in an adverse situation. Disappointments in love may also be implied from this symbol. You will suffer much displeasure from unwise conduct of those around you. On a less negative note, walking through a swamp, denotes that you will experience prosperity and pleasure, but through dangerous and intriguing means.

Grass

To see green grass in your dream, suggests that there is a part of yourself that you can always rely on. The dream is also symbolic of natural protection.

To dream that you are planting grass, indicates that your hard work and efforts will pay off in the end.

Dog
To see a dog in your dream, indicate a skill that you have ignored or forgotten, but needs to be activated. Alternatively, dogs may symbolize intuition, loyalty, generosity, protection, and fidelity. Your own values and intentions will enable you to go forward in the world and succeed. If the dog is vicious and/or growling, then it signifies some inner conflict within yourself. It may indicate betrayal and untrustworthiness. If the dog is dead or dying, then it indicates a loss of a good friend. Alternatively, it represents a deterioration of your instincts.


Hmmm. Kind of makes sense. Alas I was in a very snappy mood last night, with thanks to work pressure/hunger/store card. I was chased for the third time from my over priced high interest store card, who I have told on three separate incidents that I will 'settle up' next week, on my pay day. Is no one listening to me?! So I had to explain this for the third time last night to the gentleman down the telephone, who again said 'okay that's fine.' To which I replied 'no doubt you'll be calling me again to ask me when I'll be paying.'
As for dreaming of swamps - 'there are aspects of yourself that are repressed and dark.' Tell me something that I didn't know! Also went to bed thinking of the work load so the 'swamped from work' cap fits.
And the grass? Relying on and protecting myself are two qualities I have to possess these days!
Re dreaming of my dog, the beloved Muffin, well, a girls allowed to miss her Muffin isn't she.

Todays question from 'The centre of improved living':
Name some things that are easy for you.
My answer: Over eating. Over drinking. Over sleeping. Goodness, how fat and lazy I sound!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Reprints and questions

What a day! Major print problems in the office, with our flag ship monthly magazine. Copies are suppose to be heading to busy, important conferences today, as well as the usual thousands of addresses on the mailing list.
They now have to be stopped and reprinted. My contact at the printing company telephoned to confess 'someone is going to die for this! It's the worst thing I have ever seen.'
As you can fully imagine, it's a serious situation.

For some light relief this lunchtime I am viewing other blogs.
One of my favourites is: http://thecenterforimprovedliving.blogspot.com/
Every day it throws a new question in the air for willing people to participate in.
Just a few of the questions below that 'the centre for the improved living' blog has pondered over:

What's the worst job you've ever had?(Details encouraged)

My answer: Working at a pornographic publishing house.
May be some peoples idea of the best job, but believe me it wasn't too nice.
I was pretty much conned into working there and I had to work with some very shady, dodgy, manipulative people. And look all day at male and females over the age of 50 with their clothes off.

Name something you can live without.

My answer: The bad smells the person sitting opposite me is making.

Name one of your biggest dreams.
My answer: To meet George Michael.

See how much fun it is! Of course there are some very serious, thought provoking questions too, and some answers are very honest and heart felt.

Last night I spent the evening at one of my favourite friends, Annies. Boyfriend was out for the night so I kept her company on her sofa with some very agreeable pasta and wine. We kept ourselves entertained with watching 'Nighty Night' on dvd, which is hilarious. Poor taste in parts but hilarious.
We also asked each other questions such as, why can't I make my money last longer each month? And how many calories do you think we have devoured tonight?

Just noticed the time and my email beeping, so it's back to work and to the reprints I must go.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Thanks for the memory

Another weekend, another fire! This time the victim was Orsett Hall, a beautiful Grade 2 listed building, where I've had the honour of being bridesmaid twice, and a wedding guest a further three times.
The before and after pictures, from the link below, shocked and saddened me so much that I emailed them to my friend Caron, who's reply was 'the irony of it!'
She then asked if I remembered that her and our other friend Claire became locked in their room the last time we were at the venue. My reply was, 'No I don't remember that.' Worryingly I say that a lot to people these days, that I don't remember certain events/conversations. I'm seriously concerned that the vast amounts of alcohol have damaged my brain. It seems to have caused huge memory loss holes.
Anyway, apparently Caron wrote a letter of complaint to Orsett Hall, stating it was lucky there wasn't a fire while they were locked in. And a member of staff failed to let them out immediately after receiving a distressed telephone call from their room.

http://www.essex-fire.gov.uk/pages/index.asp?area=5&id=38&folder=224



While the 70 fire fighters were frantically hosing, I was frantically celebrating a very close friends birthday, Annie's birthday. There was a decent amount of us out to toast her a happy birthday. A table was reserved at a bar in her new home town, with live band and expensive wine. (Thanks for the generosity Claire).
After dancing, drinking, talking, drinking, dancing and drinking some more, it was back to my very good pal Claire's to stay the night, with gratitude for the lift from Helen. Claire was quite tipsy and headed off to bed immediately but I found my head in her fridge with a severe case of the munchies.
Finally stumbled to her bed at no idea what time, and had a rather pleasant dream of an exotic garden with birds sunbathing on the freshly cut grass. But there was an ugly Halloween costume hanging on rusty nails. I had to go and spoil it, didn't I.

The remainder of the weekend consisted of me complaining about a headache, reading my 'Virgin Heat' book (it's a cocktail, don't you know), a surprise visit to the gym, listening to classical and jazz music (very relaxing) and catching up on some sleep (even more relaxing).

Today, I am away with the fairies. It must be that Monday thing. I am staying at Annies tonight but forgot to bring Glamorous Gabby with me. That's the name on my cosmetic bag, by the way. I have also forgotten my shoes today! It's not as silly as it sounds, I wear trainers to briskly walk to the station and change into heels once I reach the office. But my heels are in the hallway at home today, probably wondering why they have been left behind. I didn't, however, forget my lunch, (as if!) so I am taking my don't-you-look-short-in-trainers self off to the kitchen to compile my salad, reduced fat quiche and ryvita's.

Until the next one. Providing I do not become even more forgetful and forget I have created this blog. Stranger things have happened at sea, and in my life.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Sunflowers

I'm sure you will be pleased to hear that I'm feeling my old normal self today. Whatever normal is in this day and age.

Last night I had dinner with one of my old school friends, the lovely Laura. Her husband was away on business and she cooked us a yummy chilli con carnie, followed by delicious (and low fat) strawberries. This time I chose not to drink an entire vine yard.
It was good to see her and take a peak at her adorable sleeping children. In fact, we spent most of the evening discussing children - The terrible, heartbreaking news of the missing girl, Madeleine, in Portugal and the torture her parents must be going through. Her sisters pregnancy, my cousins pregnancy, and all the many many people we went to school with and who are with child now.
I left her house at a fairly reasonable hour, but feeling childless. And I couldn't help thinking, when will it be my turn? I'm not getting any younger and I can't carry on having a relationship with a wine bottle. But I went back to my (single) bed trying not to feel too deflated. Maybe one day I'll have my house with garden, filled with sunflowers and screaming children. Not to mention of course, my loyal, devoted, charming, kind, good sense of humour, romantic and loving partner.
Do I ask for too much?!

In the meantime, I'm helping my friend Annie celebrate her birthday tonight.
I have a sneaky suspicion that there will be lots of wine and a very good time will be had by all.

And just incase you were wondering. I have some interesting facts on Sunflowers:
The botanical name is Helianthus. The Greek word "helios" means sun and "anthos" means flower. It is aptly named after the sun which it resembles.
There are now so many varieties owing to its popularity and sunflower is one of the top ten best selling cut flowers in UK. 'Snittgold' cultivar, which is the classic sunflower, has more than 15 different varieties from the small-flowered 'Sonja' to the large-flowered 'Orit'. 'Sunrich Orange' has the darkest yellow of all the sunflower varieties. Other bi colours such as 'Prado Red' and 'Floristan' have reddish brown petals with yellow bordering.
Sunflower stems were used to fill lifejackets before the advent of modern materials. Low-pollen sunflowers have been developed in recent years which not only helps asthma sufferers, but extend the flower's life,
In Peru, the Aztecs worshiped sunflowers. They placed sunflower images made of gold in their temples, and crowned princesses in the bright yellow flowers.
Sunflowers made their way to Europe in the early 1500s. They were used for gifts, carried by Spanish settlers returning home.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Slow motion

Have you ever felt that you are living your life in slow motion? No? Well then you have probably never drunk the amount I did last night.
Okay, it wasn't as much as an all day aren't-we-having-fun drinking session. But it was a substantial amount for a school night.
I met my super friend Caron at the train station after work, and we stopped at the bar at the top of her road (handy location for a bar) for a couple of large ones. We then popped into Tesco's for a bottle of 'what's your cheapest that doesn't taste like paint stripper' white wine.
With bottle in hand, it was back to hers for a tasty pasta dish with side salad, and to hurl a few obscene comments at the telly during The Apprentice.
Next the Vodka bottle was opened and we logged onto Flying Pink Elephants. We received quite a shock when we saw the blog counter and the number read 444,818! I'm sorry, but even my life is not that exciting.
We tried to fathom the figure out but gave up after a little while and reminisced about drunken health spas.
Finally and merrily made it to her sofa bed at approximately one am this morning.
After what seemed like five minutes sleep, at seven thirty this morning, I was searching for my socks and asking Caron how she felt. She replied 'I feel alright but I didn't drink as much wine as you.'
No, nobody ever does.
I slowly and painfully made my way to the station, but had to turn back half way as I realised I had left my mobile phone charger plugged into her hallway.
Take-two to the station, a button fell off my jacket, and I heard the dreaded words 'delays' and 'signal problems' and 'over crowding.'
Great. Do they not realise I have a hangover and I'm finding it hard to cope with life and confined spaces?
Upon reaching Oxford Circus I had to stop at Bagel Mania (just like the good old days) for carbs and coffee.

I fear it's going to be a long day.

Blog counter back to a normal and respectable 281.

Oh and the prime minister, Tony Blair, resigned today after ten years of 'running' the country.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

In memory of Rose the goat

A story which has stunned me:

A man who became an online celebrity when he was forced to marry a goat has become a widower, after his four-legged wife died from swallowing a plastic bag.
Sudanese farmer Charles Tombe was caught having sex with Rose the goat last year.
Tombe was arrested and told a judge he was drunk at the time and didn’t realise what he had done.
But the judge equated Tombe’s crime with that of a man sleeping with an unmarried girl, who should be ordered to marry her to protect her honour and that of her family under tribal law.
The judge told Tombe to pay the owner of the goat a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars (about £25), and marry the animal.
Tom Rhodes, editor of the Sudanese Juba Post, which first ran the story, said: “The idea was to embarrass the man”.
But the story came to a sad end when Rose swallowed a plastic bag as she scavenged for food, and choked to death.

Meanwhile, back in the office, I have been rushed off my size 4's today and very nearly worked through my lunch hour instead of writing my blog. Imagine that!
Such things as providing shipping quotes, checking web proofs and updating data bases have kept my mind occupied today. And my 'to do' list seems to be continually growing.
On my journey into the office, I finished reading 'The Killing Jar.' Another riveting read courtesy of Caron. If any one out there is under any illusions that drugs are glamorous, just read the 'The Killing Jar.' I found myself on several occasions wanting to dive into a bubble bath and lay there thinking of pretty things and looking at pretty things. The book totally absorbs you into the pages and you do feel you are reading a true account of someone's aggressive and drug fuelled life. When I finished the book, I returned to the info on the first page, where it explained that the author had written the book 'inspired by the lives she witnessed on the council estates where she grew up.'
Next book from my over flowing shelves 'Virgin Heat' by Laurence Shames. A boot sale bargain which, according to the cover, is a tale of love, the mob, revenge, redemption and some minor cross dressing.
Tonight, once I have escaped the office, I am meeting my dear friend Caron for white wine, book swapping, pasta and The Apprentice. Perfect.
I shall be avoiding goats at all costs.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Wet weekends and George Michael

Typical is a word that springs to mind when describing the weather this (bank holiday) weekend. During the week days the sun has been shining and I have caught a glimpse of it through the blinds in the office.
But as soon as the weekend arrived - the temperature dropped, the sky turned grey and the rain came down.
Never the less, I managed to amuse myself, although I would have been more amused if I had seen some sunshine.
I met up with various friends and we drank a few cheeky glasses of Vino, and decided on a spot of shopping where I purchased more books. Four bargain ones at a jumble sale and one 'Sun & Moon signs' by Marisa St Clair, in an incredibly cheap book sale.
Also watched telly, the brilliant Stand by me starring the late River Phoenix and based on a novel by Stephen King. Cheaper by the dozen featuring Steve Martin, a feel good family affair. And The history of Mr Polly an H G Wells story and surprisingly good even with Lee Evans/Norman Wisdom cast as the bumbling Mr Polly.
My lovely cousin has now announced to the family that she is pregnant with her 3rd child. I can't help feeling a tad excited already and looking forward to meeting the latest addition to our family. November 13th is her due date, which will make her/him a Scorpio. The very same star sign as yours truly. Last night I had my nose in my Sun & Moon signs reading all about the planets and the zodiac signs.
Just a little extract from my new book, focusing on Scorpios:
Scorpians are concerned with esoteric matters, with the paranormal, mysticism and the after life, and often believe passionately in reincarnation. This is not always as negative as it may sound: Scorpios understand the concept that death is always followed by rebirth, and they can rise like the phoenix from disastrous events in their lives to start again with enormous positive energy. Disappointment, bereavement, bankruptcy, illness and natural disasters can depress and seem at the time to demolish them, but not for long. Soon they are back on their feet, building new lives for themselves and others with amazing cheerfulness and genuine joy at being given the opportunity for a fresh start.

I can certainly relate to the above.

This bit made me chuckle, although developing diabetes and liver and kidney problems does not:
The Scorpio moto is 'what the hell' so, to them, moderation in anything is for wimps. They throw themselves into orgies of eating and drinking that would shame a Taurean. But whatever the quality, their lifestyle will catch up with them (usually sooner rather than later) in the shape of stomach trouble, liver and kidney problems, even diabetes. A shocking health scare however can be an abrupt turning point for Scorpio and can turn them over night into the most zealous, non smoking teetotaller or strictest vegan. Similarly they can go from couch potato to marathon runner just as easily, and enjoy both lifestyles with equal gusto.

While we're on the subject of star signs, my favourite Cancerian, George Michael, pleaded guilty today for driving while unfit through drugs. However, he claims he was guilty due to 'tiredness and prescribed drugs.' The case continues. I'm thinking of you (as always) George!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Dreaming of cheese burgers

Conversations I had this morning:

How are you today? - Publishing Director.

I'm fine thanks. It's bank holiday weekend so life suddenly seems so much nicer. - Me.

Oh my God! What on earth has happened to your arms?! Look at the state of them! - Friend in the office.

Hmmm. They are rather gross. I think I should nip to Boots at lunchtime. - Me.

In fact, the more I looked at my arms, the more I felt embarrassed to be seen in public.
So, trying my best to cover them, I marched to Boots and said to the jolly man behind the counter 'Is this normal?' I explained about the stinging nettles and he shook his head and pointed at a tube of expensive cream.

I'm all creamed up at this moment in time and have googled 'rashes'. Have made myself feel quite ill looking at the unsightly pictures, insisting of course that the rest of the production crew take a peep too.
They've put me right off my Tuna crunch.
I have also found my way onto The Sun website (it's a habit which I'm failing to shift) and viewed the video of a drunk and topless 'The Hoff' (trying) to eat a burger. I know it's cruel but it's funny. I have always thought that if someone was to record myself after a drinking session, I would probably become T Total. I sincerely hope no one does, so my ignorance can carrying on being bliss.
I have a fattening craving for a cheese burger now. I'm hoping this will pass as soon as.

Only another 4 hours to go until the long weekend commences.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

There's no such thing as a free lunch - not when you're calorie counting

I'm tucking into my cucumber slice as I type this, for I have a busy lunch time planned with eating my salad, writing my blog, surfing websites, and popping into WH Smiths to flick through Heat magazine and check out the top ten best selling books. Life doesn't get better than this!

Last nights meal was delicious by the way. And nice to treat my parents for once, after all the many, many things they have done for me. Although I could have kicked myself for not bringing my camera along, as there was a very attractive Peacock strutting around outside the restaurant. It's not every day you see a Peacock walking past.
It was a cosy, wooden beamed, lots of nooks and crannies kind of place. My Father used to play his saxophone there, in his jazz trio band. But the jazz evenings have now been replaced with karaoke nights. It will never catch on. You'll never catch me singing at such an event!
It was stuffed aubergine, Moroccan style, for me and fishcakes and steak for the parents. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw my Fathers cheese board, but I opted for the lowest fat content dessert on the menu - raspberry pavlova - and enjoyed every sugary mouthful. And not forgetting the Sauvignon Blanc fruity little number. I also remembered not to 'knock the wine back' because I was with parents.
Not too long ago my Father was horrified at the (fast) rate in which he saw me drinking. This wasn't long after my Mother spied an empty wine bottle in the dustbin and enquired as to which guest I had been entertaining. 'No one' I said, 'I drank it with some crisps while watching the film.' 'Don't lie' my mother replied, 'you can't polish off a whole bottle by yourself!'
Erm, I hate to admit it, but that's nothing Mum. Still, I don't wish to worry them and give them any false pretence in thinking I have a wine problem.

I've just looked to my left and spotted one of the staff writers, struggling, with a food hamper that's been given to him by someone who obviously wants him to write nice things about! They're often getting freebies, jammy lot, and I often think that I am working in the wrong department.
'There's free cheese and cakes in the kitchen!' he has just shouted.
Predictably and greedily, everyone has now rushed to the kitchen for the free food.
Quick, I'm out of here. WH Smiths here I come, before I eat my body weight in cheese and cakes.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

No peace for the wicked

Things which are annoying me today:

The deafening noises from outside the office. The building opposite is being demolished and rebuilt. Some days, like today, it's constant drilling and vibrating desks. And let me tell you, it's a little unnerving when your desk is moving by itself.
It's virtually impossible to hear yourself think sometimes, and I consider myself quite a loud thinker.
The 'building update' stuck inside the lift keeps reminding me every morning that we have to listen to these offending noises and watch our desks move until November 2008. Only 18 months to go then.
However, the other day, I must admit it was pretty entertaining to stand by the window and watch the crane flatten one of the crumbling floors. Practically everyone on the 3rd floor of our building was staring out at the scene when the Editor noted 'how come no one from any of the other buildings are watching?' to which I piped up 'perhaps their jobs are more interesting than ours?' I'm not sure if he appreciated this comment or not. We all trooped back to our desks after that.

The lack of low fat humus next door, in the Sainsbury's local, is annoying me. Why have they stopped stocking it? The normal full fat one is shockingly high in calories for me to dip my organic carrots in. And is it just me or does it not taste the same?

Hay fever. Despite my one a day tablet I have swallowed, I am still sneezing and itching my nose as if it's had a thousand packets of itching powder shoved up it. I may have walked to the station jacket free this morning, with shades on (for the first time this year) and thought 'yippee summers coming' but it also means the hay fever season is upon us. And it's not funny if you are a hay fever sufferer.

Talking of itching, my arms are still lumpy and bumpy and itching me like hell.

Okay, moans over with.

I had a lovely evening with my friend Alison last night. I haven't seen her for a little while so it was good to have a chin wag in her lounge. Alison is my friend who I had the worst holiday ever with. No offence to her, and that was not a reflection on our friendship.
We had rats scrambling on the balcony, rust flowing from the taps, my hair turned a disgusting shade of orange, and I caught an excruciatingly painful infection in my left eye and could not open it. Plus, our apartments flooded due to the torrential down pour of rain nearly every day. And there was the incident with the police, which I won't go into.

Tonight I am taking my Father out for his belated birthday meal. As his favourite restaurant is fire damaged, my Mother, Father, and I, are off to a nice cosy country pub/restaurant. It's in a very picturesque setting with fields and a duck pond. I must try not to drink too much. Or too fast.

Oh and my boss has entered the office and announced he has just walked past Sir Paul McCartney. He has stars in his eyes and a smile on his lips. For it's not every day you walk past a Beatle.
Beats my Brian from Big Brother any day.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

She's in fashion

Whilst minding my own business last night and walking to the station for my journey home to commence, (wondering what healthy, low fat concoction was for dinner) I looked up to find lots of trendy looking girls in a very, very, long queue by Top Shop. It could only mean one thing, the launch of the Kate Moss range. The 'Kate Moss loves Top Shop' range being displayed in 225 shops nationwide.
In the not too distant past, I would have thought nothing of queuing for God knows how long and spending God knows how much money (but no doubt Barclays would be sending me a letter about it) as I just had to have the latest trousers/top/dress/shoes.
How times have changed. Don't get me wrong, I try my best to look okay, money permitting these days, but I no longer feel the need to buy a whole new outfit just to brush my hair in.
Instead, I carried on my merry way and arrived home carrier bag free for salmon and vegetables and finished reading 'in the miso soup.' I thoroughly recommend the book, unless you have a weak stomach of course and slicing off ones ears is not your cup of tea. But never the less, sliced ears or not, it's a thoughtful and interesting read, regarding cultural and moral corruption and lonely and insane people. Thanks for the loan Caron!
Next book on my shelf 'The killing Jar' by Nicola Monaghan. Extract from the back cover reads as so: Chilling...Direct and deceptively simple. In spite of the suffering there are surprising touches of humour and tenderness that bloom like flowers on asphalt.
And, just thought I would mention it, some exciting news from me - I have lost half a stone, or just a wee bit under to be precise! As I am writing this I can't help a tiny smile forming. I've still got a way to go yet until I reach my target this-is-how-slim-I-used-to-be weight but the calorie counting has worked. It also means that I'm one step further towards fitting into my white linen trousers again.
Incidentally, they're the trousers I bought 3 summers ago. See, I wear my clothes more than one fashion season now. Who needs the latest Kate Moss range?!