Friday, 29 June 2007

Friday by numbers

This Friday's entry is number orientated. No particular rhyme or reason for this, I just thought that it should be.

140 is the per cent above average, that the rain has fallen across the UK this month. I wouldn't be British if I didn't mention/moan about the weather. And boy have I been mentioning and moaning!
But the continual down pour has caused flooding, deaths, damage to property and homes, delayed Wimbledon matches (not that I'm a tennis fan but I know a lot of people are)and given me soggy clothes and damp feet.

48 is the number of teddy bears my mother has. I couldn't go to the gym last night, as the car is being mended in the garage, so I counted teddy bears instead. For your information, the car is having the dent sorted (supermarket car park problem) and the lock on the door fixed (knob mysteriously fell off in hand).
My mother has an impressive collection of bears, from all walks of life. Presents, holiday souvenirs, dressed and undressed, and some of them are even wearing nicer clothes than me.
I have bought my fair share for her, one of my motto's in life is - if in doubt, buy mum a teddy bear. A bear that I bought her a few years back, is wearing a rather fetching apron and carrying a tray of pretend baked cakes. This was a sorry present from myself. Sorry for breaking the kitchen chair while my mother and father were holidaying. I must remember that three normal sized adults are not meant for one normal sized chair.
Hmm. Do you also notice the accident theme that runs through my life?! In fact, when I asked if I could borrow my mothers alarm clock the other evening, she looked at me for a very long time before stating 'as long as you don't break it.' 'As if!' was my reply as I hastily retreated the room.

2 is the number of days left until the smoking ban in public places, comes into action in England. So all you nicotine lovers (and you know who you are!) make the most of it until Sunday.
And after Sunday, if you are caught smoking in a banned area you can face fines of £50. If you are in charge of public premises you can expect to face a £2,500 fine if you fail to stop someone smoking. And you can be charged on-the-spot fines of £200 or court fines of up to £1000 if you fail to display no-smoking signs. So it's best not to break the law.

14 is the number of staff in the office today, out of a possible 43. Told you there was severe lack of employees at the mo. We are not quite dead as a dodo yet, but we are an endangered species. Actually, it's not that alarming, most people are on holiday or on a training course.

5 is the number of sunflowers that I bought at lunchtime. I love sunflowers. Unfortunately I have to buy my own flowers, I am not like the training-course-lady who sits behind me. In one week alone her boyfriend sent her 4 bouquets. Show offs.
When I got into the lift after my lunch hour, with my sunflowers, unknown person said to me 'don't say you work on the 3rd floor, you can get hay fever on that floor with the amount of flowers.' 'Tell me about it,' said I. And then I looked at my yellow flowers and sadly said 'but I had to buy these for myself.'

And 3 is the number of hours until my weekend starts and I can get the heck out of here. Clock watching, me? Whatever gave you that impression?!

The magnificent sunflower

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Historical events and bad sleeping patterns

I did not get round to blogging yesterday, which was a shame, as I am poignantly aware what a historical day in history yesterday was - Gordon Brown became the new British Prime Minister. And it was the 40th anniversary of the hole in the wall.
Yes, the first 'hole in the wall' cash machine was unveiled at a Barclay's branch in Enfield, 40 years ago yesterday. And do you know who the first customer was? It was none other than Reg Varney, star of the sitcom 'On The Buses'. If you did not know that already, do you not feel that you have benefited from this fascinating fact?

The day before today was also the day I completed a new fictional story. About time too! Without giving the game away, it's a romantic, sensitive tale regarding forbidden love. It's not my usual writing style, i.e. nobody dies, so it made a refreshing change and stretched my writing 'ability'.
I have a couple of places in mind for this story, and it's all credit to the Freelance Market News.
I was also chuffed to see that there is a coupon on the back of this months newsletter. It's money off a book titled 'Photographer's Market 2007' and inside this book are details on selling photos to stock agencies, advertising companies, greeting cards, art fairs etc.
Now I am fully aware that it's a fierce, competitive world out there, and I am merely an amateur. But I am considering doing a photography course, and certainly it's something that I enjoy and would like to improve on. Not to mention earning an extra buck or two.

Last night I ate at my cousins house. She cooked one of my all time favourites, scrumptious lasagna, with salad and garlicky bread. Dessert was a juicy fresh fruit salad. And I brought another half price bottle of Chardonnay, to be sampled with the meal.
My cousin, bless her, commented on my weight loss. I'm not quite there yet, but it's nice my efforts have been noticed. Although I know only too well that if I knocked the booze on the head (as opposed to knocking it back)I would be half the girl I am. Still, size isn't everything is it?! I enjoy my wine, so I'm not willing to give up the wine AND the over eating, thanks very much.
Had a pleasurable evening with my lovely cous, and her gorgeous, cute, very active kids. She has another one due in November, and they are in the process of moving (literally around the corner to me, hurray) so she has her hands full at present.
Despite being tired and full of food and drink, I could not sleep again while in the comfort of my bed, with my four alarms set for the morning. My mobile seems to have a mind of it's own these days, when it comes to alarms, so I set three to be on the safe side, and borrowed my mothers alarm clock for good measure.
Now, wouldn't it be good if I could fall asleep in my bed as fast as I can fall asleep on a train? Especially on the train journey home from work. For it was only yesterday I ran to an empty seat in a carriage, sat down and opened my book. Right on cue, I fell asleep, and dropped my book on a fellow passengers foot. She was lucky it was a paper back and not a hard back.
Anyway, after willing myself to relax and sleep last night in bed, I couldn't. So I put a CD on which goes by the name of 'good night' by Fridrik Kalsson. It's music to promote deep relaxation and better sleep.
And low and behold, it done the trick. The next thing I knew I had four alarms ringing, reminding me it was time to get up and go to work.

So, a big gold star goes out to whoever can guess what I'll be listening to under the duvet tonight?!

Smile, you're on camera

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

In the midnight hour

You would be able to hear a paper clip drop in the office, if I were to drop one while typing this. There is a severe lack of employees and work load. Not to mention - no drilling from the outside world! Not yet anyway, a few concrete crashes earlier and a wobbly table again, but no earth shattering constant high volume drilling.
The summer is always quiet for the telecoms and media team (that's the team I represent) but this summer is especially quiet. Our next magazine is September now, two of the staff from sales have left for pastures newer and busier, and various people are out of the country, either in China drumming up new business or else on their summer hols.
As you know from an earlier blog, I am manager free, and the other production bod, Jo, is in Greece so I have to hold the production fort. As soon as she's back in the UK and back at her desk, I'm out of here for a week or so.
In the meantime, it's filing and all those other less interesting things which get put off as there is far more important, top priority stuff to do.
That and tracking down 35 missing boxes full of magazines, sent via a UPS courier.

Last night I had a very appetising and nutritious avocado and chicken salad, with new potatoes, followed by mouth watering melon. This was at Annie's dining table. Thanks Annie. And I brought a half price bottle of Chardonnay to accompany it. It was lovely to see her and swap idle gossip and updates in each others lives. Big Brother was on as background noise, and I was pleased to be able to say that this year I do not know all the names of the participants, and I do not know the latest shenanigans from the house.

Went to bed, or should I say went to her sofa with duvet, at a modest time. Although I am having a bit of trouble drifting off to sleep these days so I read 'where did it all go right?' in an effort to make my brain and eyes tired.
I'm not entirely sure why I am having a little trouble sleeping, as it's not as if I have much to concern or worry my mind with these days. Except getting old/getting fat/getting out of debt/getting on the property ladder/getting it right relationship wise/getting babies into my life and living happily ever after.

Tonight I'm going to attempt a fresh story idea that I have knocking around in my head. It involves outside activities at midnight (no, not those sort of activities!) I'll let you know how it goes, dear flying pink elephants.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Many happy returns of the day

I have just been showing whoever is interested (or pretending to be interested) my digital snaps of The Natural History Museum. Visiting The Natural History Museum was the high light of my weekend. Oh how I never thought I would say that. But all day drinking can become tiresome.
I booked the day off on Friday, and met my good friend, Claire, outside the train station and we travelled to the museum together. Once we reached our destination, we were both suitably impressed with the building and started clicking away on our cameras.
'I'm so hungry I feel sick' was my subtle way of saying we should do lunch first and then look around.
So we headed for the museum restaurant for a small plate of pasta, a small plate of vegetables to share and two small glasses of wine each. While paying for the lunch I muttered under my breath 'it's just as well it's free entry, with prices like this.' And notice the use of the word 'small' when describing the portions. Still, it was a nice (albeit expensive) start to our trip.
With lunch out the way, we began the tour of the Red Zone (exploring the ever-changing planet), the Green zone (investigating Earth's ecology), the Blue Zone (experience the age of dinosaurs) and the Orange Zone (Wildlife Garden). Buttons were pressed, screens came alive, interesting facts were learnt, glass cases were peered into, pictures were taken.
And after a few hours feet were killing us. Coffees were drank to perk us up and feet were rubbed under the table.
But we both agreed we'd had a most enjoyable day.
We decided to stay in town for the remainder of the evening and sip a few more glasses of wine. It was the perfect finish to our outing.

It was Glastonbury at the weekend, so I watched a few clips on the television and learnt today that 236 crimes were reported, 1,000 people injured themselves (mostly as a result of the rain and mud) and one 26 year old man died of a suspected drug overdose. I have also read that Dame Shirley Bassey had to make an emergency landing in her helicopter.
I must admit it was good to watch the new and old bands, but I didn't envy the people who were actually there in the rain and mud, and having to use the portaloos with the stench stretching for miles.
Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed a festival in the past. The Virgin festivals were attended 5 years on the trot and lots of fun was had at the time. Apart from the time we couldn't get a camping permit so four of us tried to sleep in Claire's Ford Fiesta. Half way through the night I flung myself out of the car, onto the grass, complaining of lack of sleep and being uncomfortable. When I awoke the next day, I realised the grass has somehow caused my face to swell and I looked in the mirror and screamed 'I look disgusting!'
That was the year we went to Sainsbury's and qued for goodness knows how long to use the toilet and freshen up. And to the horror of people queuing, and our shock, and then amusement, Claire proceeded to wash her hair in one of the sinks.
Then there was the year I went to Reading festival. But that was like sitting on a giant rubbish dump, and I would rather not talk about that day.

I also began one of my 34 books at the weekend - 'Where did it all go right?' by Andrew Collins. The back cover reads as follows: Where did it all go right? Is a memoir about being normal, coming from nowhere and not doing much. It's Andrew's tale of happy, everyday childhood years, where the worst thing that happened was Anita Barker mocking the stabilisers on his bike.
And so far, so good. It makes a change for me not to be reading about death, destruction, depression, drugs, despair and the dark side of life.

Tonight I have accepted Annie's invitation for dinner, and I'm looking forward to seeing her.

And finally, happy birthday to George Michael. Today he is 44 years young.
Many happy returns of the day George. I hope you're having a blast.

Ever feel like you have the whole world on you shoulders?

He went that way!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

I wish it could be pay day every day

Today is pay day. I seem to centre my life around pay day. 'I'll be okay then because I'll have just been paid' or 'it's the weekend before pay day so I won't be able to afford that' are sentences I have repeated many, many times. And what I don't understand is people who say they didn't realise it was pay day. I have witnessed someone in the office saying this today. How can you NOT be counting the days until money is transferred into your bank account? 'Oh I forgot it was pay day' is a sentence you will never, ever, hear leaving these lips.
I have decided people who say they were not aware it was pay day must be earning too much money. Or more money than me. Or they are lying through their gold plated teeth.

Last night I was invited to Caron's abode for dinner, where I polished off a plate of delicious quorn bolognaise. And a bottle and a half of white wine to compliment it. As always, it was great to see her and catch up with the latest events in her busy life. We always chuck in a few references to the 'good old days' as well. Such quotes as: 'back in ten days' 'you know your pop' 'put your posh frock on and join the party' 'should think so too, crikey' 'have you got a girlfriend? Do you want one?' will never fail to amuse and have us laughing out loud.
We watched the film 'Layer Cake' in between conversations and quotes. Quite an entertaining film, although I think we missed a vital part whilst chatting.

As a white wine and late night consequence, I have the attention span of a gnat today. The second I prised myself off Caron's sofa bed, I was fantasising about an old fashioned 8 hours sleep and a detox.
And being pay day, and suffering from the side affects of a little hangover, I am going to stick two fingers up at the ryvitas in my desk drawer and treat myself to a jacket potato with tuna and salad. And what the heck, I'll push the boat out and buy an energy drink too.

Latest question from:
What was your closest near death experience?
My answer: I got hit by a car on my 22nd birthday.
I'd organised a mini bus load of friends, and myself, to dance and drink the night away at a local night club.
But I got too excited, stepped off the mini bus and ran out into the road without looking. The side of my head hit a speeding car windscreen and I went flying into the air.
Apparently, the first thing I said when I smashed onto the ground was 'can I still go clubbing?'
I didn't. I spent the night in hospital being x rayed and avoiding mirrors.

Okay, on reflection, the car wasn't exactly speeding but it was a moving vehicle and I did have to be carted off to hospital in an ambulance.
It was a very distressing, scary birthday. I was lucky there were no broken bones or brain damage (!) I avoided mirrors and people for a fairly long time afterwards, as a result of the bruising and swelling on my face, and on the right hand side of my body. Plus, I felt a first class twit for not remembering my green cross code and being so foolish.

I'm on annual leave tomorrow, for lie in, Natural History Museum and food and drinks with friends. I can not wait.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

One stormy night

A bolt of lightening, a roar of thunder and black clouds bursting with rain. That was the weather forecast from last night. It did not, however, prevent me from visiting the gym. Well, it nearly did but I decided I was being lazy lying on my bed in my tracksuit, listening to the storm and staring at the telly. Instead, I drove the short distance to the health club, wind screen wipers working over time and New Order blasting out of the speakers.
Once at the gym, I made my way to the machine that I am never quite sure the name of, and watched Gordon Ramsey's 'The F word' on the television screen.
I also watched the calorie counter slowly going up in numbers. 'I'll burn that cheese cake off from Sunday' I was thinking to myself, while mesmerised by Janet Street Porter and unknown man making black pudding. If ever I needed another reason not to eat that putrid stuff, it was seeing how it was produced.
Next I had a little jog on the treadmill and spied my next door neighbour on one of the exercise bikes. She was looking as enthusiastic as me, with her exercise regime.
I left the gym with slightly jellified legs and a face the colour of a prize red tomato. But satisfied with my work-out in the storm.
I promptly weighed myself once I reached home and the bathroom. Alas, the pointer on the scales still pointed at the same black marks as last week.
'At least you haven't put weight on' (heaven forbid!) my mother said, as I was moaning about the bathroom scales. I knew she was referring to the cheese cake and champagne at the weekend. But you have to have some joys in life, don't you.
After my soak in the bath I retired to my bedroom to finish reading 'carry me down' by M.J. Hyland. It's based in Ireland and the narrative is a twelve year old boy who is rather odd and very much a loner. He believes he has the special gift of being a human lie detector, but delves too deep into his families affairs and everyone is less than happy with the outcome. It's a very sensitive book, sad in places but utterly convincing of the characters and observations. I loved it.
I had a look on my book shelves after closing my book, to see which other one caught my eye. Hmmm. Quite a few unread books waiting to be opened. I decided to separate the unread from the read, into a little pile on my bedroom floor. The pile got bigger, and so I cleared a whole book shelf to rest them on. I then discovered I had 34 unread books. On average I would say I read a book a fortnight (story subject and social life permitting) which means I have 17 weeks of solid reading. I best get cracking.

For the next 17 weeks, I shall be reading:

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Dreams can come true

Last night I dreamt I began a new job. And with this new job one of the perks was a fully furnished, brightly coloured flat, with mammoth balcony, swimming pool and jacuzzi. Yes please! During my first evening in my new flat I invited friends over for wine and crisps. It was then that I learnt a witch had cast a spell over the accommodation, so it would forever have a black cloud dominating it and I would always be in darkness.
Why do my dreams always seem to take a turn for the worst?! How should I analyse this dream?
Is the dark cloud my own suppressed negative feelings towards my life? I feel a little uneasy if this is the case. I like to think I am an optimist, not a pessimist.
In a crazy mixed up way is the flat associated with where I used to live, which seemed to attract chaos and destruction?! Is my dream saying you may miss the independence of having your own space and entertaining friends, but remember the dark side that came with it?!
Or, due to my bosses redundancy and cancellation of magazine, am I worried about finding and starting a new job and another change in my life? The change that I may seem to benefit from at first, but then I realise this is not what I want and how things should be?
Maybe it's all of the above? And maybe I read too much into my dreams?!

This morning I posted two self addressed envelopes for entry forms for two short story competitions. The June issue of the Freelance Market News has arrived, and with much anticipation, I have sent for further details on the competitions. Once I receive these guidelines, I will be fully informed of what kind of stories they are looking for. I have a couple up my sleeve that I could submit: 'The journey' and 'My favourite things'. One is a ghost story and one is written from the point of view of a small child, but these could be the two subjects they are NOT interested in reading?! And on the other hand, it would be nice to get my creative juices flowing and write something fresh. Inspiration please!

So today, while at my desk being productive with production things, I will try to expand my imagination for new ideas and links for short stories. Wish me luck.
And I'll try not to get too distracted with the champagne and cakes afternoon in the office - marketing manager is getting married at the weekend.
I joked to my colleague Jo that I was going to write in her card: 'Don't bother. It's a complete waste of time and money.' But instead I wrote: 'Hope you have a magical day and enjoy every second.'
See, I'm not that unkind, or pessimistic?!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

The Great British Sunday

I am tapping away this evening from the comfort of the lounge, with one chocolate brown eye on the television, which is now showing 'The Great British Village Show.' And a very proud woman (wearing sunflower ear rings) has won a rosette for her 15 feet tall sunflower. 15 feet! That is a lot of feet. And a welsh lady has just won a rosette for her cake shaped as a welsh lady, which took her 15 hours to make.
Today I lunched at a charming local restaurant/public house with my parents for fathers day. The lunch was on me, and the bottle of champagne was on my fathers visa card. Roast turkey with all the trimmings was thoroughly enjoyed, and Irish cream cheese cake was naughty but nice. All washed down with the finest bubbles, and a very strong coffee to round it off.
With full and satisfied bellies we arrived home to read the scandals in the Sunday newspapers and watch the Sunday afternoon film 'Superman 2.' Dated but still good.We all had a little doze after the film. I love the simplicity of Sunday's.
And tonight it's the final of 'Britain's got talent.' Will the winner be the opera singer? The bar wizards? Or maybe the little girl dressed as and singing as Mary Poppins? All shall be revealed at 10.30pm.
I'm off to prepare a salmon sandwich now and take my place in front of the television to view Britain's most talented.

10.30pm and two million votes later - Paul Potts, the mobile phone sales man, singing 'Nessun Dorma' won. His voice takes your breath away and I think most people will agree he deserves his cash prize and to sing in front of the Queen at this years' Royal Variety Show.
What a patriotic day is has been.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Big delays and small buildings

What a journey I had this morning. It got off to a promising start, the sky was blue, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. I left my house at an unusually early time and took a stroll to the train station, admiring the flowers blooming in the gardens and making the most of the 'it's Friday' feeling.
I reached the station with five minutes to spare for the train where I normally get a seat - many a time I can hear the train just before I reach the ticket barrier and end up running to catch it, so it made a pleasant change. This is my favourite kind of train, where I manage to find an empty seat. When you fork out £165 for the pleasure of travelling to work each month, the seat factor comes high on your list of priorities. That, and your designated trains actually keeping to the time table.
This morning, despite me being early, my first designated train was late. Therefore, when it finally decided to reach the platform, there were far too many hot and irritated people trying to board it. I managed to squeeze on though (I still had another two trains to catch so I couldn't afford to let this one go). Unfortunately, someone in the carriage had toe curling B.O. This is not ideal when you are in a confined space. Someone else was talking irritatingly loudly on her mobile phone, and kept prodding me in the back with her elbow every time she got excited. And she was extremely excitable this morning.
A very long twenty five minutes later we arrived at Fenchurch Street. I hurriedly exited the station, where a small queue had gathered for free Dairlylea lunchables. What the heck, I thought, I'm running late so I might as well be late with a small cheese and ham roll x 2.
With my Dairylea lunchables (good source of calcium) tucked in my big red bag, my second train journey commenced. Still no seat, but slightly less crowded, so all was not lost. But then, as I have had first hand experience of on too many occasions, the train decided to stop in tunnel. For quite a while. People were tutting, using their copy of The Metro to fan themselves, and glancing at their watches every couple of seconds. No apologies or explanations from the train driver either. After a fairly long period of time the train moved again and you could hear people silently cheering. It rattled along until it reached my stop, where I let go of the pole too fast and too enthusiastically, and I went flying into a not very amused over weight man.
But my embarrassment quickly turned to annoyance when I realised the staircase was blocked for my third and final train connection. And commuters were wondering around like headless chickens, unsure of where to go.
I found a station guard who told me I would have to walk to the next station to catch the Bakerloo line. Walk?! I could already feel a small blister forming on my heel, due to wearing my red summer shoes, and my feet adjusting to the non socks day. I slowly limped to the exit and pulled out my mobile to text work, to inform them of my late arrival.
And then I started to feel uneasy, as I was limping to the next station I realised there were police officers and sniffer dogs everywhere. So what exactly were the causes of the delays on the trains this morning? It was then that I was reminded how dangerous London can be these days.
I arrived at the office feeling exhausted.

And now it's lunch time. Which means half the working day is over with. But I seem to be developing a sorer throat by the minute, and a few sneezes have escaped my nose and mouth. Just in time for the weekend. My friend Chamelle has texted me about drinks tonight. But at this precise moment in time I'm not sure if drinking in a smokey environment is the best move? I'm hoping to keep on top of this maybe a small cold, as I would like to visit my nan again this weekend (saw her last Sunday and she seemed quite cheerful) and I'm taking my parents out for lunch to celebrate fathers day. Plus, I checked the calorie and fat content out on the Dairylea lunchables and it was much too high, but I was already half way through munching them so I continued.
Note to myself: must go to the gym this weekend before I become the size of a small building again.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

She's got more issues than The Beano

Simon did it! The feeling in my bones proved to be incorrect. And in case you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, I am referring to The Apprentice final last night.
Before the show began, Helen and I went to our favourite haunt for dinner, wine and beer. Mushroom lasagne was ordered, and very nice it was too. We sat outside in the garden, ignoring the grey clouds which had craftily moved to above our heads.
During mid dinner and mid conversation we felt a few spots of rain but pretended it was in our imagination and carried on regardless. The few spots of rain unfortunately grew more persistent so we moved to table with umbrella. Then gradually and suddenly the heavens opened and it became impossible to carry on sitting outside, even with table umbrella. 'I look like I've wet myself' said Helen, with reference to the rain dripping on her bench. It was then that we decided to make a dash for the safety and dryness of inside.
Never the less, it was great to see her and a very pleasant evening was had. We vacated the premises just as a text message rang from Caron. But clever me (hmmm not two words I am use to seeing next to each other) realised The Apprentice final must have reached it's conclusion and she was texting her opinion on the winner.
So, I ignored the little envelope on my mobile phone screen and went home to put pink pyjamas on and watch the recorded episode, with duvet wrapped around me for comfort. And as you know from the opening sentence on today's blog - Simon did it!
To be honest, I wanted and thought that Kristina had nailed it. How wrong and disappointed I was. I then opened Caron's message, which went something like this 'I am outraged. Sir A has lost it'
You said it Caron.

PS Today's title is a quote from the winner, Simon, when talking about vile fellow contestant Katie. I thought it was worthy of today's title.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

The Freebie Lover and The Apprentice

Working in London does have it's advantages. Not only are there half asleep sales assistants giving away tops, and eager shop keepers giving out mango smoothies, I have been lucky enough to come across many people outside tube stations/inside shops, promoting products with free samples.
Take today, for example, outside Oxford Circus tube station, samples of Kenko coffee fusions were being handed out. That will do nicely thanks! And this lunch time I ventured into Boots and a tube of Clarins extra firming day cream was placed in my hand. This has already been smothered around my eye area.
And the other day ( I forgot to mention this) I collected a bag containing a Lemon rehydration drink (my body is often in need of rehydration)and a cereal bar which I have forgotten the brand name of, and an Olay moisturiser, with a touch of sunless tanner.
And last but not least, my new prescription contact lenses have still not been delivered to the opticians, so I have another free weeks supply.
Not bad hey.

I am looking forward to this evenings schedule. Firstly, I am seeing my very good friend Helen for food and drink in one of our favourite local venues. The sun is shinning too, which means we can sit in the beer garden - eating, drinking and chatting to our hearts content.
Secondly, it's The Apprentice final. I have to admit, I have been hooked. It may be a reality television show, but at least it's full of real people who have a brain and use their brain (take note Big Brother!) I watched last weeks repeat last night (before my much needed trip to the gym) so I now know the two competing finalists are Kristina Grimes, pharmaceutical sales manager, and Simon Ambrose, the internet entrepreneur. May the best man, or woman, win! But I have a feeling in my bones it will be Kristina. I shall be watching it tonight from the comfort of my bed, on video, after my evening with Helen.
Expect full reports in tomorrows blog.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Books, books and more books

This morning, I finished reading David Maine's 'Fallen' during my train journey to the office. Wow, what an intriguing read. The book unravels the story of God creating the world, the garden of Eden, of Adam and Eve and their first born Cain, and the tale of Cain's brother Able. It's a story of learning, survival, jealousy and temptation. It certainly comes highly recommended by me.
Thanks again for the loan Caron.

Next book I am itching to start is 'carry me down' by M.J.Hyland. This time I have my work colleague and friend, Sophie, to thank.
Paragraph from the back cover: John Egan has a gift. Her can tell when people are lying. Hoping that this talent will bring him fame, he has written to the Guinness Book of Records. But while he waits for a letter in return, his obsession with uncovering the truth begins to threaten his already fragile family.

When I reached the office today, switched on my apple mac and logged on to my microsoft entourage, an email popped up from the Stephen King fan club. Yes, I am a fully fledged member. The email contains details on a Richard Bachman book, Blaze. Apparently, it's a chilling tale that takes you inside the mind of a career criminal. There are also competition details to win this book and a Stephen King tote bag.
Now, what has Richard Bachman got to do with Stephen King, I hear you ask. Or maybe you're not. Well, did you know that during the years 1966 - 1973, Stephen King was actually two men. Stephen King wrote (and sold) horror stories to magazines such as Cavalier and Adam, while Richard Bachman wrote a series of novels that would not be published until the early 1980s and were then collected as The Bachman Books. Bachman died of pseudonym cancer in 1985, shortly after another of his novels, Thinner, was attributed to Stephen King; but a sixth Bachman novel, The Regulators, surfaced in 1995 and was published simultaneously with Stephen King's Desperation, to which it bore a weird resemblance. Blaze -- both brutal and sensitive -- was the last novel written during Bachman's early period. It is his legacy.
And if you don't believe me, here is the link

No doubt I will be purchasing 'Blaze' in the next couple of weeks or so.
How dull my life would be without books. Or should that be, how dull my life is as I read so many books?! I'll stick with the first sentiment thanks!

Monday, 11 June 2007

You gotta have faith

George Michael performed the opening concert at the new Wembley Stadium, Saturday 9th June 2007.
My ticket was purchased months ago, the day before they officially went on sale, from the George Michael fan club. My friends and other George Michael fans, Vikki and Darren, also requested a ticket.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances - Vikki very much regrets that they may have been thrown with the rubbish - the tickets were no where to be found the day before the concert.
As I'm sure you can visualise, my friends house was torn apart in the search for the missing tickets. Frantic telephone calls were made to Ticket Master and Wembley Stadium. But their policy stood at - no ticket, no entry.
Tempers were lost, voices were raised, tears were shed. It did not make any difference that the money had been extracted from Darrens bank account, or that he had proof of ticket delivery. No ticket, no entry.
So Darren done the only thing he could do, scanned and surfed the Internet to buy some more! He then drove us to Wembley, with Vikki and I nervously biting our nails, and praying that the tickets and 'Pat' were genuine and that we wouldn't miss the beginning of the concert.
Someone was looking down on us, as we completed the journey in good time, met Pat, tickets were the real McCoy, and we were in our (new) seats before the first note was sang. Although, due to the last minute panic, the tickets cost more than they ought. And our seats were quite a distance from the stage. BUT WE WERE THERE!!
And it was worth every penny and every stressful, anxious, nail biting, moment.
The atmosphere was electrifying, his voice was superb, and he gave the performance of a life time. Of course, I would have expected nothing less from George.

I sang my little heart out to the likes of: (and my personal favourites)
Everything she wants
I'm your man
Edge of Heaven
Careless Whisper

And it was on the telly! When I reluctantly arrived home, still on a natural high, I watched it on video, singing along to the lyrics and thinking to myself 'I was there!'

The second ticket!

I won't let you down
I will not give you up
gotta have some faith in the sound
it's the one good thing that I've got
I won't let you down
so please don't give me up
because I would really, really love to stick around
oh yeah!

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Interesting things

Yesterday afternoon, while I was working my fingers to the grindstone (well, sort of) a variety of items were delivered to the chalet bungalow - beautifully arranged flowered window boxes, a delicate blue and white china dinner set, a blue and white bread bin (see how colour co-ordinated I am) and copper cooking utensils.
All of the above are in fact, miniature replicas for my dolls house. I'm hoping when it's completed it will be the best, most tastefully decorated dolls house for miles. Am I sad?! Maybe, but it's like a little project. The grand Edwardian style house comes bare for you to dress from the monthly catalogue. This includes buying and installing light fittings, wallpaper, flooring, and choosing and purchasing your furniture for each individual room.
It's a darn sight cheaper than the real thing! And who knows, maybe one day I can pass it onto my daughter and my daughters daughter can pass it on to hers, etc etc!
Here's the link if anyone is interested:

Another little project I am setting up for the summer is titled 'interesting places to visit.' With the lack of magazines to publish - confirmation has arrived that the next issue of our monthly magazine is cancelled but Septembers should pick up - I will have some time on my hands to do as I please. Bearing my finances in my mind, I won't be able to have an expensive going abroad holiday (unless I visit my uncle/God father in Spain!) But as nice and relaxing as beach holidays are, there are vast amounts of places to visit in the UK with friends and family. For example, I work in London which is bursting at the seams with museums, gardens, theatres, exhibitions, etc. And which ones have I visited so far? Not very many I'm afraid. My mind has been preoccupied with the pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Now the aim of all this is to do it as cheaply as possible. And according to the Natural History Museum, it's free entry, with charges for some of the exhibitions.
So, looks like the first stop on the project could be The Natural History Museum, with my friend Claire. We had a little chat about it on the telephone last night.

I'm off to eat my noodles now.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

It's a weird world

Today, Flying Pink Elephants has a few weird and wonderful stories for you.
Taken from:

Drunk lawn mower man gets hit twice

A man was put in jail for riding his lawnmower while drunk then fined for not mowing his lawn.
Disabled Robert Wendt, of Illinois, spent two nights in jail after being found driving his lawn mower on the wrong side of the road holding a six pack of beer.
He claims he had previously drunk two beers but was not drunk when police pulled him over while he was driving his lawnmower in Caseyville.He said he rode the mower to a nearby store to buy petrol and get a six pack of beer but did not open the cans.
However he did admit to drinking a couple of cans before going out and police say hefailed a field sobriety test and refused another.
He has a prior Driving Under the Influence conviction. When he was released he was ticketed for not mowing his lawn according to ABC7 news.

Toilet better than no home
Bog standard's not so bad
A family who were fighting to move out of the public toilet they lived in now wished they were back.
Aze Adine Ould Baja and his wife Khadija Makbout spent some of the best years of their life in the Sidi toilets, in Sale, Morocco.
But after seven years living in the toilet and now with a new born added to their clutch they felt it was time to move up the property ladder.
Mr Baja worked as an attendent at the loo for 23 years earning less than 50p a day and lived there for seven.
He decided the only way to make a clean break was to go to his local newspaper to see if they could help make the authorities give them better accomodation.
He said: 'I was fed up with the situation and I was becoming more and more ill,
'There were lots of vermin in the toilet. My little boy is only seven months old but he is also a Moroccan citizen and deserves better.'
But a few days after the article appeared the local authorities moved in to block up the toilet's entrance with concrete.
Mr Baja, his wife and three children now find themselves with no home at all.

Top dog in the hot dog world
An American man has set a world record for eating hot dogs.
Joey Chestnut downed 59 to topple the Japanese title-holder, Takeru Kobayashi, who scoffed 53 of the snacks last year.
Chestnut, of San Jose, California, achieved his feat at a contest in Arizona.
The 22-year-old, who weighs 100kg (15st, 10lb), was second last year, munching 52 'dogs' in the allotted 12 minutes.
'Two years ago I never thought I'd make it this far,' said and ecstatic Chestnut.
'But the last month of training all the numbers kept going up, and I knew I was going to be able to break the record today.'
One official said: 'He is unbelievable – he just keeps on going'.

Feed our elephant or the zoo keeper gets it
A zoo in Pakistan is appealing for donations to help feed its sole elephant Suzi which gets angry and beats its keeper with a stick when its meals are late.
'When Suzi is not fed on time it holds its master's cane in its trunk and starts beating him,' an official at the zoo in the city of Lahore, in the Punjab, said.
The zoo is hoping philanthropists and schools will 'adopt' Suzi and pay for its food, the Daily Times said in a report on Monday.
'We don't have enough funds to feed Suzi and its expenses are more than our budget,' said zoo director Yousuf Pal.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Good God Almighty

Life in the office is a trifle unsettling at the moment. On Friday (and I was too shocked to write) my boss was made redundant. I only popped to Sainsbury's to buy carrots and came back to my desk, and he was gone.
The department was called into the publishers office and notified of his departure. I actually sat there for a few seconds with my mouth open in astonishment. We were then informed that the sales team were at risk of redundancy, and the next issue of our monthly magazine may be cancelled.
I've had better news on a Friday afternoon.
I sincerely hope the market picks up and future pages are sold. But it's all feeling too familiar. I have seen many magazines fold in my publishing career and been the victim of redundancy three times.
I actually like my job here too. I've been here a fair few years now, so I would receive a nice redundancy pay out, if it came to it. But obviously the money wouldn't last forever, and I would have to get my finger out looking for a new job and playing the new girl again. A thought that doesn't bode well.
So fingers and toes crossed, that this is a blip in the market and come the September issue all will be well again?! In the meantime, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to keep my ears and eyes open for any vacancies else where.

Well, it's Monday again and the weekends activities involved watching the friendly football match after work, on the screen at the public house. England and Brazil scored one goal each.
The weather cheered up so I was able to sit in the garden and read 'Fallen' which I am finding very entertaining and interesting. Extract conversation which put a smile on my face:
- They have another thing called wine.
- Which is?
- A drink made from grapes.
- Sweet then.
- It makes you laugh at first and then puts you to sleep. You should try it.
- Extraordinary, Cain says with venom. And for this foolishness father is willing to part with his hard earned crops?

I had some of this laughing and sleeping sweet drink at the weekend, while at the pub, and at an Asparagus Festival which was in a nearby field. Live music and craft stalls, and if you fancied any Asparagus you could purchase it with your wine.

Today's question from:
What outfit do you imagine God in?
My answer: I can honestly say I have never thought about this before.
I imagine him to have a white curly beard but I have never got as far as the clothing.
Maybe something comfortable and loose fitting for when he is looking down on us and listening to our prayers.