Friday, 31 August 2007

The camera never lies

I am pleased to announce, I had a full, good old fashioned, eight hours sleep last night. I am announcing this with triumph because I have experienced a few problems recently, while trying to fall asleep.
Can you think of anything as frustrating as retiring to your bed, feeling peaky, snuggling under the duvet, and then suddenly feeling wide awake? Moving from one side of the bed to the other, practising deep breathing and trying to blank out any unnecessary thoughts that are entering your head. And then you make the fatal mistake of checking the time and you realise how long you have been lying there, unable to sleep, wasting precious sleeping time, and knowing how irritable and tired you will feel the next morning.
I’m sure you will agree that when it comes to the frustration list, insomnia is right at the top.
Yesterday, fearing another sleepless night, I decided to jot down any worries that I thought were interfering with my sleeping pattern. The list went something like this: finances, achievements, printers contract, body fat, the aging process.
Hmm. Not a very long list really, and hardly nail bitingly scary stuff. And then I felt guilty. There are people in this world waiting for life threatening test results or about to have their home repossessed. Now they are problems guaranteed to occupy your mind and prevent you from sleeping. Maybe there is a small compensation that my worries are at least solvable.
So, I have banned myself from reading bank statements and weighing myself before bed time. I have emailed one of my photographs to a newspaper and flicked through the latest Freelance Market News for fiction story ideas (this comes underneath the ‘achievements’ woe). I have invested in face cream and struck a deal with myself to visit the gym on a regular basis. I have also discussed the printers contract with the extremely tall publisher. The ball is in his court now.
I’m afraid I don’t have the answers for world peace or Saturdays winning lottery numbers, but I did have a lovely nights sleep last night.
Of course the glasses of wine I drank might have contributed towards my new ability to drift into slumber land. My friend Eve invited myself and two other friends for dinner last night. It was a very pleasant evening.
Although I wasn’t quite sure what I had walked into at first, my friend Claire’s face was as long as a kite.
“What’s up?” I said to her, feeling very concerned.
“We’ve been looking at old photos of us. We were so young and thin,” Claire replied.
I took a photograph from her hand, to see the cause of her sad face. I actually stared blankly at one of the smiling faces on the photograph, and then I realised the smiling face was me! Now it was my turn to feel depressed. My skin was youthful and healthy. No blemishes, no wrinkles, no worry/frown lines! And just look at how thin I was!
Eve did not help. “Look how young, thin and pretty your face was,” she said.
I tortured myself further, I dug into my friend Eve’s box and took out pictures of us from a summer holiday, many, many summers ago. We managed to take a roll of film in one drunken night, and then when the film finished, we thought we hadn’t put the roll in correctly, so we put it back in and started again. The result was double exposure pictures. Heads that do not match bodies, and faces overlapping other faces. They are very weird. We were horrified when we first saw the pictures, but we soon found the funny side. It certainly was a night, with photographic evidence, to remember. That was also the night we accidentally went back to our hotel in a police car. Don’t ask.
"Look at my waist!" I screamed at one of the pictures.
That was the moment we decided to put the pictures back into the box, sit down, eat the hors d'oevres and crack open a bottle of wine.

Picture of the day:

The Rudbeckia's

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The last one

It was back to work today, after a nice, long bank holiday weekend. The last bank holiday weekend of the year for us English.
In fact, the next public holiday for me, is wait for it, dare I say it - Christmas Day. 119 days away.
I can't believe I am talking about Christmas Day in August, but I had to know when my next official day off is. And quite frankly, it's too far away. So I am fairly relived and grateful that I have a few days annual leave remaining, otherwise I don't think I would be able to cope with life. (Sorry to add insult to injury if any working Englishmen/women reading this have used and abused all their statutory holiday!)

This August bank holiday, the sun has actually been shining down upon us, which always makes a difference. I have seen various friends, eaten and drank in various restaurants and bars, and visited a local craft fair. I was debating attending the traditional Nottinghill Carnival, but after reading that two people were shot (not fatal, thank goodness), 336 crimes were reported, and 206 arrests were made, I am glad that I did not bother.
Today's pictures of the day are a couple of scenes from my weekend.
Oh and did I mention that Great Britain and The Netherlands have the least bank holidays in Europe? No, well consider it (unfairly) mentioned.

Pictures of the day:

The Cats

The Butterfly

Saturday, 25 August 2007

The Italian restaurant and the Chinese wine bar

Well here I am, still in my pink dressing gown (it was a late night), eating a currant bun and reminiscing on yesterdays activities.
It was the August Friday half day, and my friend Laura travelled to London town to meet me for lunch. Both talking nineteen to the dozen, we entered a little Italian restaurant and asked for a table for two. Wine, garlic bread and olives were ordered. The olives were for Laura's benefit. If there is one piece of food on this planet that I dislike with a passion, it's olives. I can not bear them. Anyway, moving on from the olives. The menu was packed with lots of other appealing food, but we both settled on the vegetarian and sea food risottos. They did not disappoint. It was lovely to see my friend, our healthy appetites were discussed, work schedules, my new car, her son and her (fingers crossed) new house. We finished our lunch date with a cappuccino each, and having exhausted all avenues of conversation, we made our way to the tube station and said our goodbyes.
After my three train journeys, with 'The Bonesetter's Daughter' for company, I arrived home to make my arrangements for the evening. I had planned to spend the evening with my friend Chamelle, and I invited my friend Claire along. But unfortunately, in the cab driving to our destination, Chamelle telephoned my mobile to explain she had babysitting problems and wouldn't be able to make it. Which was a real shame.
The cab driver, after patiently waiting for me to find my red high heeled shoes (I still can't find them, and I have no idea where they can possibly be) and patiently waiting for Claire's train to arrive at the station, dropped us at a new wine bar. Well, it was new to us, we had decided to sample it's delights, to see what all the fuss was about. It is actually an extension, via a little wooden bridge and running water, from a Chinese restaurant. I was pleasantly impressed with the atmosphere and decor. There was even a live band performing inside, but Claire and I sat at a table outside, by the heaters. And who do you think we bumped into? Unbeknown to us, our other friend Helen (otherwise known as patience of a saint) was sitting outside too. What an unexpected treat. White wine was paid for, and we were all chatting as if we hadn't seen each other for years. The wine and conversation flowed, the band continued playing, and a jolly good time was had by all.
Clarie's flat mate, very kindly, collected us at the end of the evening and dropped me home. Once dropped outside my house, I proudly showed my friend and her flat mate my new car. And then I zig zagged my way on the stepping stones to my front door, where I happily and merrily made my way to bed.

Picture of the day:

A glass of wine, anyone?

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Now where's my straw hat?

You're Adventures of Huckleberry Finn!

by Mark Twain

With an affinity for floating down the river, you see things in black
and white. The world is strange and new to you and the more you learn about it, the less
it makes sense. You probably speak with an accent and others have a hard time
understanding you and an even harder time taking you seriously. Nevertheless, your
adventurous spirit is admirable. You really like straw hats.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I am a sucker for these little quizes.
Hmm. Is it a good thing to be compared to the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? I suppose there could be worse things/books to be compared to. I would be concerned if I was, say for example, Misery by Stephen King. Or Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
So on reflection, I am not a psycho or a monstrous man made creature, merely a straw hat lover with an adventurous spirit. I think I can live with that.

Picture of the day:

Pink Geraniums

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

The return of the purse and other strange tales

Anyone who read ‘The Order of the Phoenix’ dated 27th July, will know that I mislaid my purse during the course of the evening.
And would you Adam and Eve it, 28 days later and it’s in the possession of my friend Caron. She kindly collected it for me yesterday, after I received a telephone call from lady at the cinema.
It had mysteriously been found, all bank cards, store cards and office pass in tact. But not so mysteriously, the crisp bank notes from the hole in the wall were missing. It does, however, still have 38p inside. How nice of whoever took my hard earned bank notes to leave me with 38p.

But stranger things do happen, according to the:

Man with 78 kids plans 22 more

A one-legged, sixty-year-old father of 78 is lining up his next two wives in a bid to reach his target of 100 children by 2015, according to reports from the United Arab Emirates.

Daad Mohammed Murad Abdul Rahman, 60, has already had 15 brides - although he has to divorce them as he goes along to remain within the legal limit of four wives at a time, Emirates Today reported on Monday.

'In 2015 I will be 68 years old and will have 100 children,' the local tabloid quoted Abdul Rahman as saying.

Man surprised by face bug infestation

One doctor thought the bleeding, strange bumps on Aaron Dallas' head might have been a gnat bite. A specialist thought it was shingles, though both doctors held out the possibility that it was something far more disturbing.

Then the bumps started moving.

A doctor found five active bot fly larvae living on Dallas' head, near the top of his skull, a few weeks after a mosquito apparently placed them there.

'I'd put my hand back there and feel them moving. I thought it was blood coursing through my head,' said Dallas, of Carbondale.

'I could hear them. I actually thought I was going crazy.'

Dallas said he likely received the larval infestation while on a trip to Belize this summer. Adult bot flies are hairy and look like bees, without bristles. One type, dermatobia hominis, attacks livestock, deer, and humans.

Mosquitoes, stable flies, and other insects are used by female bot flies to carry their eggs to the host, where in this case it was Dallas.

'It was weird and traumatic,' said Dallas. 'I would get this pain that would drop me to my knees.'

After a specialist told him he may have shingles, Dallas tried different creams and salves. But the pain got worse, so Dallas returned to Dr. Kimball Spence.

'When I saw him again, it was pretty obvious something else was going on,' said Spence, who could see the spots moving on Dallas' head.

'There's an open pit. You see a little activity, not necessarily the larvae, but a fluctuation of the fluid in the pit,' Spence said.

The parasites, which were living in a pit 2- to 3- millimeters wide, were removed Thursday. His wife teases him about it now.

'It's much funnier to everyone else,' Dallas said. 'It makes my stomach turn over. It was cruel.'

Picture of the day:

The orange flower. I am not quite sure of the correct species. Any takers?

Monday, 20 August 2007

Curly food and being rude

How rude! I have been absent for a while and I do apologise. I would like to say that something incredibly exciting has happened to prevent me from blogging. But if were to say that, I would be lying to you. And that will never do.
It's been work, work, picnic, work, television, gym, cooking, reading, work. In more or less that order. See what I mean?!
Last Thursday was the re scheduled lost picnic, which was renamed the re scheduled wet, disastrous picnic. I completed my list of things to do in the office at double speed, to join the rest of the crew at Regents Park. I managed to scrounge a few left over curly sandwiches with dubious fillings and a pint of wine. Yep, a pint of wine. The plastic pint glasses were the only ones I could find, and work colleague and friend, Sophie, filled my plastic glass a little too enthusiastically. If one person commented on my pint of wine, five people did.
Not ideal was the telephone call I received after drinking my pint, on a sales managers mobile phone. It was a client from France asking me to talk him through using our ftp site for his advertisement. I would like to think I explained it clearly with my slightly wine fuzzy mind, but then again I am still waiting for the advertisement. Luckily it's not urgent.
Just as I was getting used to the curly sandwiches and had spied the crisps, down came the rain. Umbrellas were opened, bodies dashed under trees, laughter turned to annoyance. Our picnic was ruined! I decided to return to the office to dry myself. I was also feeling guilty that my new boss had been too busy to attend the picnic, so I stopped off and purchased chocolate for her (and myself). If all else fails, there is always chocolate.

After the chocolate came the desire to burn off calories at the gymnasium. I was particularly frustrated to see the MTV screens were showing skinny bikini dressed women, prancing around suggestively. But then again, it did make my little legs work faster in an effort to 'have a body like them one day'. A girl can dream. But I have lost a couple more pounds and I can fit into the white linen trousers again! They may look loose fitting, but believe me, the waist band has never been that loose.

Other than the picnic and the gym, I have been up to my eyes balls in the work load. One magazine (with photograph of my New Car Keys) has gone to print and two more publications to go.
I have watched my three favourite television programmes (and cooked a sweet and sour pork stir fry after 'Come Dine With Me') and I have started a new book.
I am now reading 'The bonesetter's daughter' by Amy Tan. Set in China in the 1920's and 1930's, it's an intensely shocking and tragic story all about lies and barriers in a culture where women are valued only as brides or servants. Extraordinarily vivid and moving.

Back to the white linen trousers, today's picture of the day is actually two pictures of the day! Before the rain at the Regents Park picnic, and for a rare treat, there is a picture of yours truly in the mentioned white trousers. Enjoy.
I'll try not to leave it so long next time.

Pictures of the day:

Before the rain.

A rare treat.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

King of the swingers

‘Darling of course I love you, but it is not in our make-up to be monogamous.’
Do not fear, this does not relate to my newly found status of free and easy love, it is merely the title and opening sentence for one of the articles in our flag ship magazine.
I thought I would mention it, as my New Car Keys also appear in the article! They are featuring in the photograph which accompanies it. (The last time I became involved with photographs in the magazine, I managed to get a friends dog on the front cover.) My keys are in a bowl with a few other sets from willing colleagues. It’s a cheeky reference to the swinging parties, in a humorous link to brighten up a story regarding Wimax Forum, Vodafone, and the GSM Association.
The quiet period in the office is officially over. Advertisements are flocking in, the editorial department are knocking articles out, left, right and centre, and genius marketing campaigns are being released to the general public. As for me, I am busy doing production things with our monthly magazine, and the two daily newspapers which are to be circulated at a conference in Dubai. Unfortunately I will not be flying to Dubai to attend the conference, I just get to do all the hard work before hand. Whoever said life was fair?
I even dreamt about the office last night. I was not a wizard in this dream, but your average human being who was contributing to an office meeting in an aquarium. The aquarium which contained a Great White Shark, and this shark decided to hunt me down to feast on my ample body. It was scary stuff. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, to avoid his razor sharp, blood stained teeth. Relief flowed through every pore when I awoke, and sat bolt upright in my bed.

The observant reader will have noticed the picture of the Flying Pink Elephant, now included on my blog. This is being used with thanks and kind permission from my friend at: who apparently found it from the following site:
See, Flying Pink Elephants do exist.
Right, it’s back to work now, and please, no one mention the word shark.

Picture of the day.

Is it lunch time yet?

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

About last night

Today’s title is not referring to the film starring Demi Moore and Rob Lowe (I have seen the film a million and one times during my Rob Lowe school girl crush days) but I am talking about my eventful reading material last night.
I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The book has taken me longer than normal to read, as knowing it was the final, crucial installment, I have wanted to absorb every single word. Although I have avoided any reviews/conversations about it, like I would avoid the plague.
I won’t spoil it for anyone who is in the process of reading it still, or contemplating buying it. Let’s just say, it does not disappoint. The climax at the end had me scanning the words at lightening speed, for I couldn't wait to hear what would happen next. My eyes read the very last word about midnight last night.
Phew, I felt exhausted and fulfilled when I closed the book. Isn’t it great how a book can do that to you?!
My head hit the pillow, still thinking Harry Potter type thoughts, and I drifted off into dream land. In my dream land, I was, wait for it, none other than Harry Potter!
I was a wizard with a magical wand. I commanded order and attention where ever I ventured. And I possessed magical powers like no other. And would you be able to guess what I decided to do with these magnificent life changing powers? I decided to stop toast from burning. Yes, Harry Potter strikes again. In my dream I flew high on my broomstick, circulating houses where the toaster was in action. Here I cast a spell on bread, and to the amazement of the toast loving muggles, I prevented it from being over done.
I have no idea why I limited my new powers to toast. Disappointed when I awoke? A little.

Before all the excitement of the final chapter and the toasters, I came across a very unusual tree while walking from the station to my house. In fact, I had to do a double take, as out of the corner of my eye it looked like a giant nose jutting out the bark of a tree. Can you see it too?

Picture of the day:

The tree with the nose

Monday, 13 August 2007

My three favourites

I do try not to be a telly addict, and to not centre my life around the television screen. But sometimes the television can be a welcome distraction, not to mention full of fascinating facts and thought provoking ideas.
For example, my three favourite programmes at present are as follows:
'Countryfile'. This is broadcast by the BBC and presented by John Craven (who funnily enough reminds me of my uncle John). It covers the latest in countryside and environmental stories, often with breath taking scenery and inspirational tales.
One of my favourite episodes appeared last Sunday. This episode concentrated on generations of writers, poets and composers and how the British countryside has inspired them.
The composer, Sir Edward Elgar’s birthplace was featured, which is the area around the Malvern Hills on the borders of Worcestershire and Hertfordshire. And the Elgar Birthplace Museum. This museum was set up by his daughter, Caprice, after his death in 1934.
The little town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk was shown, which is associated with Sir Benjamin Britten. In this picturesque seaside town you can find the Britten-Pears library, which was originally assembled by Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976) and Peter Pears (1910 - 1986) as a working library built on their personal collection of books, manuscripts, printed scores and sound recordings.
The home town of the authoress Daphne Du Maurier also featured. This being in Cornwall, where she soaked up the atmosphere for her stories of smuggling, murder and intrigue.
And the famous Bronte sister’s home in Yorkshire was displayed, where the surrounding countryside inspired them to write novels including Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
One of my favourite books was mentioned, Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame and how The River Thames caught his imagination.
And probably one of the world’s best known mystery writers is Agatha Christie. Her house in Devon, Greenway House, was shown and how her imagination was fired by the area surrounding it. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in more than 45 foreign languages. She is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.
And yesterday’s announcement of the Countryfiles photography competition caused my little ears to prick up and my imagination to run away with me. The theme is ‘All creatures great and small’. Photographs should be taken in the UK and have the natural world or the countryside at their heart. I best get my thinking cap on and my camera lens off.
The second programme I enjoy viewing is 'Cash In The Attic'. Another BBC production where the presenter visits a family's home to find out what it is they need to raise money for. They then explore the house, finding antiques and valuing them, with the help of antique expert extraordinaire. They then go to auction with the aim of making their financial target.
I love admiring the family heirlooms and hearing the stories behind them, or the car boot sale bought items, which to their surprise are an exhilarating part of history and worth a small fortune.
And last but not least 'Come Dine With Me' on Channel 4 is in my top three list of viewing. Here five amateur cooks take it in turn to host a 3 course meal, dinner party. The nosey parker part of me enjoys taking a step into other people’s homes and lives, but I also love watching and collecting recipe ideas. It’s an entertaining programme, sometimes fiercely competitive as they are all marked out of 10 at the end of the evening, and the winner receives a cash prize of £1,000 on the final night. Yesterday’s episode featured dinner parties in the houses of Cambridge. The owners being an ex nightclub singer turned market researcher, a mother of three, the perfectionist estate agent, the house husband and home grown produce fan, and German born domestic goodness. Some unusual and not so unusual dishes were served, food such as strawberry kebabs with white chocolate and baked figs with ribblesdale goats cheese and pink peppercorns.
My appetite grew wildly while watching 'Come Dine With Me' last night, and so I decided to cook a roast dinner. Cooking on an empty stomach always brings out the greedy side in me and the plates were over flowing with food. Still, there were no complaints as chicken seasoned with herbs, roast potatoes sprinkled with rosemary, carrot and swede mash, butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot batons and sage and onion yorkshire puddings were served.
Yes I have eaten well this weekend, and admired antiques and the countryside, with a photography competition idea rattling around in my tiny mind.

Picture of the day:

The English countryside.

Friday, 10 August 2007

I am not a penguin

I have noted the I list which has been circulating the bloggishere, and so not wishing to be left out, and having a few moments to spare, I thought I would see what I could come up with.

Are you sitting comfortably? Okay I shall now begin.

I know ~ it will all make sense one day.

I believe ~ that everything happens for a reason, good or bad and it’s all character building.

I fought ~ with the bathroom scales, but I think I’m winning now.

I am angered ~ by thoughtless selfish people.

I love ~ my family and friends.

I need ~ something to look forward to.

I take ~ nothing for granted.

I hear ~ George Michael's voice and it makes me smile.

I drink ~ too much! I don’t drink every day but when I do drink I tend to binge.

I hate ~ the sound of my alarm clock.

I use ~ too much bubble bath.

I want ~ to live a happy and fulfilled life.

I decided ~ to take control of my life.

I’m entirely ~ open to new ideas and suggestions.

I like ~ to be on my own sometimes.

I am ~ the ever optimist.

I feel ~ very sensitive sometimes.

I left ~ a life behind which wasn’t working.

I do ~ try to appreciate everything. Big or small.

I hope ~ to be a mother one day.

I dream ~ the most bizarre things at night, but I like to think my dreams during the day are not unreachable.

I drive ~ my new car!

I listen ~ to everyone’s point of view. There are always two sides to the story.

I type ~ fast enough.

I think ~ things through a lot more these days.

I wish ~ I had a magic wand.

I compensate ~ for my faults by remembering my strong points.

I regret ~ the debts I built up.

I care ~ about my family and friends.

I should ~ be in a stronger financial position next year.

I said ~ I would do it, and so I will. It may take a little while but I’ll do it and I’ll get there.

I wonder ~ about too many deep issues. Things we don’t have answers for.

I changed ~ my bedroom around last night.

I am not always ~ disciplined.

I cry ~ when someone looses someone, whether it’s true life or a film or a book.

I am ~ who I am.

I am not ~ a penguin. (It was the first thing that came into my mind)

I lose ~ purses and mobile phones too regularly.

I leave ~ an imprint in peoples lives. Or so I like to think!

Picture of the day:

The house by the river

Thursday, 9 August 2007

There's a mad man on the loose

Zodiac was the title of the chosen film, viewed at the cinema last night, with my work colleague and friend, Sophie.
At five thirty on the dot, we escaped the office and walked to Leicester Square to collect our tickets. Well I say walked, hobbled is a more accurate description for me. I have yet another blister on my foot, caused by yet another pair of ill-fitting summer shoes. The red shoes have fallen apart now. I was sorry to see them go as we have been through a lot together, and for once in my life I had found shoes which did not hurt me. At present I am wearing brown sandals from last seasons purchase, but for a reason unknown to me, they are suddenly rubbing my skin. They were fine last year, and I haven’t found any others that are suitable.
Anyway, Orange (the mobile phone people) are doing a Wednesday night promotion - 2 cinema tickets for the price of 1. Hence the decision to watch Zodiac. Leicester Square was buzzing with activity when we arrived, tickets were purchased and a near by bar looked very welcoming. Especially the two words ‘happy hour’. A bottle of white wine was ordered and we sat at a silver sparkly table situated outside, and watched the world go by, while discussing our favourite films and books.
After the last drop of wine had been consumed, we made our way to the cinema once more and hungrily looked at the food menu in the kiosk. I bought a family size packet of doritos, although I was a little dismayed to see they did not serve cheese and salsa sauce to accompany them, and for me to drip the sauce all over my clothing. Sophie spied the popcorn and treated herself to a family sized bucket. And a family sized coke was paid for, to share.
Laden down with food and drink, we trotted off to the screening of Zodiac. Great film, based on Robert Graysmith’s two non-fictional books about the Zodiac killer. The film tells the true story of a notorious serial killer, known as ‘the Zodiac’ who haunted the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960’s. The cast consisted of Robert Downey Jr, Jake Gyllenhaal and Chloe Sevigny. Dark, atmospheric, nerve-racking suspense, it’s not for the faint hearted or those with a small attention span. I recommend it.
After the film, Sophie and I travelled on the tube back to her house where I stayed in the spare room. Nearly jumped out of my skin as I entered the room, I forgot about the black panther in the corner. I wrapped the duvet around me, and tried to get my heart beat back to a normal rate, and not dwell on evil and chilling monsters lurking in the shadows.
Yep, Zodiac is the kind of film which stays in your mind for hours, days, weeks, or months maybe.

Picture of the day:

At the end of the day

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

21st century Britain and the animal revolution

So as not to be become a complete New Car bore, today I will be covering different topics. I won’t even mention that the first thing I did this morning (apart from opening my sleepy eyes) was to rush to my bedroom window and take in the view of my newly parked motor vehicle.

Instead I will talk about, browsing the internet where I have come across a survey regarding the 21st century Britain.

Kate Moss and chavs 'now sum up UK'
Press Association 
Monday August 6, 2007 3:48 AM

Britain in the 21st century is best represented by a multicultural society, "chavs" and Kate Moss, according to a survey.

Harper's Bazaar surveyed 1,000 people for an issue of the new-look fashion magazine celebrating "everything British".

The poll found that "old Britain" is epitomised in the nation's collective consciousness by a stiff upper lip, impeccable manners and wartime leader Winston Churchill.

But Moss, 33, whose career was almost wrecked over pictures of the model allegedly chopping out lines of cocaine, best sums up modern Britain, along with multiculturalism and "chavs".

One in three believes the Queen is the nation's greatest living icon and 76% say fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood is the greatest English eccentric, according to the survey.

The research also found that mashed potato is the nation's favourite comfort food, while the countryside, the British sense of humour and a cup of tea is what Britons miss most when they travel abroad.

Asked what they would change if they could, 91% of people selected the weather.

On a scale of one to 10, the British rate themselves eight for sexiness.

The Burberry trench coat is Britain's most iconic fashion item, while 54% say Topshop is their favourite brand.

So that's Britain summed up, in the 21st century, according to 1,000 of us. (They didn't ask me though.)
I totally agree with the weather answer. We have far too much rain over here, and if you listen really carefully I'm sure you will hear a fellow Brit complaining about it right now. It's bound to be raining somewhere in Britain.
And how many times have I heard the earth shattering words, whether a tragedy is unfolding or a chin wag with friends is on the cards (especially in the soap opera 'Eastenders') - 'I'll put the kettle on and make a nice cup of tea.'
Personally I would rather have a strong coffee. Although I suppose the kettle theory still stands.
But mashed potato our favourite comfort food? Stick some bangers with it please, and tomato ketchup, then we're cooking with gas!
Not sure I agree with the Burberry trench coat bit? But I am a fan of Top Shop. Particularly the vintage stuff. Although a girl could get lost for days in the Top Shop store at Oxford Circus. So many clothes, so little time, normally.
As for chavs - I blame the comedy show Little Britain. Vicky Pollard has a lot to answer for.
And no, we are not all hoovering chemicals up our noses, like it's going out of (Kate Moss) fashion.

Another item I would like to include is the badge from:

He has a very entertaining post on his site ‘Revolution Update!!!’ Get the animals before they get us!

I have nicked some of his pictures for the pictures of the day, which I think are rather cute and amusing. (I hope you don't mind me stealing them Mike)

Monday, 6 August 2007

The unexpected twist

As weekends go, it has been a good one, with an unexpected twist.
The weather has perked up, and it has been glorious sunshine all round. Although the heat has been a little stifling at times (are we ever satisfied?)
As you will know if you read ‘ Media Solutions Away Day – with historical facts’ the office shuts early August Fridays. I think it was just as well last Friday, as I doubt very much it would have been a productive day. I took my slightly jaded self home and sat in the shady part of the garden, reading the latest adventures in Harry’s life. I have nearly completed the book, and I am surprised, but pleased, that I have not read or heard of any leaked plots from the media.
Saturday was met with a welcome lie in and the ‘thank goodness it’s the weekend’ feeling. I then went to meet my friend Laura. We spent the afternoon wondering around acres of land belonging to the Royal Horticultural Gardens. Established in 1804, the Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening. I have a link if anyone cares to take a look:
We admired flowers and plants and enjoyed the sunshine while eating our cheese wraps and drinking our elderflower wine. During our garden visit, my friend Helen telephoned with news of a Volkswagen motor vehicle for sale, within my price range and literally around the corner to the house she shares with car mechanic husband and seven children.
Immediately images flashed through my mind, images of me zooming around inside the vehicle, with my favourite tunes on the CD player. I telephoned the seller, and arranged for me to view the car the very next day.
The very next day was spent trying not to get too enthusiastic and hopeful regarding the Volkswagen. I was particularly disappointed when the Car Without Key/With key turned out to be a potential liability, so I was trying to protect myself from another great big reality fall.
When the arranged time arrived, I borrowed my friend’s husband and off we went to check out the car. First impression was - I can see myself driving that, but must not get too carried away! Friends husband done all the necessary checks and I found myself caught off guard, the car was in full working order, and it even received compliments on the engine and condition!
Friends husband negotiated the price (never pay full asking price, said he), money was exchanged, and I found myself filling in the New Keeper details. So it’s official, I am the New Keeper for a New (to me) Car.
A celebration Indian take away was devoured with my parents, on return from the appointment. It’s been a while since a chicken korma has passed my lips, and it was just what the doctor ordered.
The weekend was rounded up by me lying on my bed, all windows open and electric fan blowing, watching ‘Educating Rita’. Superbly acted by Michael Caine and Julie Waters, it’s a thoughtful, funny and sad tale. But my mind repeatedly wondered to happy thoughts of my new car and I.
I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship. And my first step towards living an independent life once again.

Picture of the day:

August in bloom.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Media Solutions Away Day - with historical facts

Today’s topic is the Media Solutions Away Day. 10am at the Commonwealth Club, London, was the kick off time and venue. Not wishing to be late, I arrived ridiculously early, an hour before the designated time. To pass the time I walked and sat in the Victoria Embankment Gardens. Apparently, the development of the gardens was proposed by Sir Christopher Wren, after the Great Fire of London, but it took until 1862 for the scheme to be approved. It’s a well presented public park, containing statues of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, and William Tyndale, who first translated the bible into English in 1484, and was promptly executed for doing so. The gardens are also slap bang in the middle of the noisy busy, London traffic.
After my hour spent passing the time in the park, I hurried along to the Commonwealth Club, home of the Royal Commonwealth Society, which was founded in 1868. It’s a premier private members club, situated in Central London, and the first chosen place for the office away day.
Coffee, biscuits, bottled water and a power point presentation followed, in that order. Words were repeatedly thrown into the air, words such as Positive, Creative, Branding, and Webinars.
Next we had the light buffet, which consisted of asparagus caesar salad, smoked haddock and leek tarts, and open roast beef and horseradish sandwiches. Followed by an exotic fresh fruit platter. Nice.
After the break for lunch we had brainstorming, and ideas for the flag ship magazines 20th anniversary. An awards evening sounds high on the agenda, with maybe even a celebrity to present the awards.
Feeling quite drained from all our constructive and Positive ideas, black cabs were called and we were all taken to the Elbow Room in Islington. Cocktails, wine and a pool competition. I am not the best pool player in the world, but it’s the taking part that counts, or so they say.
Dinner was booked at a private dining room in Kettners, Soho. And the snip of history regarding the restaurant, is that it was founded in 1867 by the former chef to Napoleon lll, Auguste Kettner. At Kettners, more glasses of wine were poured, and I ordered a buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad and a pollo salad for my main course. Notice the low calorie choice of meal, trying to compensate for the vast amount of calories I was drinking. Although, unusually for me, I did not eat most of my food, as I was so busy waffling about goodness knows what, to anyone who would listen. Oh and my work colleague and friend, Sophie, decided to hide my Harry Potter book and watch me flap.
So as not to be travelling home alone, I stayed at Sophie’s house. The house she shares with boyfriend, crocodile and black panther. Guess which two are fake? She has a plastic crocodile in her bathroom and a stuffed toy panther in the spare room. Her boyfriend is real.

Due to yesterdays busy schedule of team bonding and excessive drinking, there are many pale faces in the office today, with vacant expressions. And if you inspect very closely, you'll be able to see the question marks above some peoples heads. Myself most definitely included.
Although I do have a little spring in my step, as it’s August. And August means half days on Friday. So that leaves me just enough time to gobble my jacket potato with tuna and salad, and rush off home to do nothing.

Picture of the day:

Victoria Embankment Gardens