Thursday, 30 October 2008

Tag time

I’ve been tagged by: and on this occasion the tagging involves telling you six things about myself. So, prepare yourself for a few self-indulgent me facts!

I believe in reincarnation and I think it’s probably likely that I drowned in a past life. The reason behind this thought process is my irrational fear of water covering my face. Of course I wash my face and I am not against water touching my face, but what I do protest against is having zilch control of water spurting out onto my face, or submerging my face into deep water.
I am a little embarrassed to admit this (hey, we're all friends in blog world) but certain showers send shivers down my spine, showers where you can not detach the shower head. If I’m staying in a hotel or at a friends house that I have never stayed in before, one of the first things I do is check out the shower situation. My heart will sink if I spy a non-detachable shower head.
I discovered this fear in my cousin's garden when a garden hose was let loose in my face. Boy, did I scream and cry. I was about five at the time but the unpleasant memory has stayed with me and I still hate water splashing in my face, it panics me. I try to justify this water situation with the possibility that I drowned in a former life and this trauma has stayed in my subconsciousness. Otherwise I’m an odd ball.

I am a day dreamer. I love to escape into my day dream world. Sometimes my head and my imagination are in another galaxy far, far away - a bit like Star Wars! This is all very well but it can interrupt or over lap into real life. Sometimes I’ll be so caught up in a day dream that I will forget where I am going or what I am doing. It has been known for me to suddenly realise I should be in the real world and I’ve missed a vital piece of information or I’ve left my belongings behind. I’ve simply got up and walked away from my bag/purse/book/umbrella/scarf. Life can be expensive if you’re a day dreamer, not to mention a little confusing.

I look forward to the day immensely when I become a mum. Although having said this, I worry that I’ll leave it too late for my biological clock (tick, tick, can you hear it ticking away?!) or there will be complications and having children will not be possible. This thought really scares me. I know I will be devastated if I can’t have kiddies and I’m not sure how I will cope if I’m told this. I do hope this is an unnecessary fear and one day I will have a mini me roaming this planet - may God help us! A mini me to love and teach and look after.

I once invented a friend called Brenda Gender. My best friend at the time was friends with another girl who she used to talk about constantly, and I regret to admit I was rather jealous. Don’t you just hate that green eyed monster? I was young and naive at the time. These days I rarely have a jealous mood or a jealous bone in my body. In fact, I despise that jealous emotion. It can eat away at you and cause painful, gaping holes which you might question if they will ever mend again.
Anyway, I pretended to have a friend called Brenda Gender and I began to talk about her and all the fun we had together. How childish, but then again I was a child at the time who had a lot of growing up to do. To this day I’m not sure if my friend believed me?! She either thought my friend had a very strange name or that I was a very strange person to invent a fictional person, with a very strange name.

If clumsiness was the same as lightening, it has struck me far too many times. I have fallen through a pane of glass, cut my hand open with a scalpel, fallen to the ground/into things so many times that I have sprained ankles, pulled ligaments, permanently damaged nerve endings, broken heels, ruined clothing and generally humiliated myself. Kermit the frog once sang It's Not Easy Being Green. My song would be It's Not Easy Being Clumsy.

Since as long as I’ve had an imagination it’s been a very vivid imagination and maybe a little dark. Often it is pitch dark.
I own folders full of stories that I have written to amuse myself. They began as love stories in my tender teenage years. But not your typical, happy ending love story. Oh no, these love stories were from my imagination, therefore disaster strikes and the hand of fate is not a successful hand. Not long ago, I stumbled across another folder filled with stories written in my 20’s. Characters hanged themselves, suffered with abusive, alcoholic mothers, lost their relations as a result of food poisoning, became paralysed due to a motorway accident, said goodbye to their sanity through drug addiction, etc etc. After reading the folder I couldn’t help feeling a tad depressed. Had I not written the stories myself, I would have questioned the writers frame of mind and perhaps thought they needed therapy for a deep rooted problem with death and destruction!
I think that’s maybe why I try to keep things light on FPE. Life can be hard enough without sombre and sad thoughts from me, causing manic depression to my readers! Don’t worry FPE readers, I am always in awe that people out there actually bother to read drivel that I have written and to leave a comment, so I’ll try not to let you down and leave you feeling down!

I tag anyone who reads this and wished to indulge. Especially:

Picture of the day:

Seeing as this tag is all about me, here is a picture of me. It's also in preparation for Halloween tomorrow. Do I look scared? No? Maybe I should of read one of my 'love' stories first!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

My friend's wedding

Sometimes you meet somebody and you know almost instantly that you will become close friends. Have you ever felt like that? That's how I felt when I met my friend Annie. We met in a pub and we were introduced to each other through my ex boyfriend Martin. I was immediately attracted to her warm, genuine smile and her bubbly personality. Before long we'd exchanged telephone numbers and I was spending more time with her than my boyfriend. Sorry Martin! But that's another story, maybe I'll tell you about him one day, but for now this is the story of Annie and I.
For sixteen years we've shared laughter, tears and wine bottles. We've been on many holidays together, one where we accidentally returned to the hotel in a police car. We've seen the new year in together at many new years eve parties, one was spent in a tyre shop. We've been to countless other parties together, one of them we sat the majority of the night in a shoe cupboard. It was a very big shoe cupboard, someone else joined us and and various other people were searching for us for a very long time.
Annie has been there for me when I sprained my ankle, again, and she whisked me off to the hospital, again. (There was a stage in my life where I was repeatedly having accidents concerning my feet and ankles and it seemed I was permanently attached to a pair of crutches.) She's shared my triumphs and my failures and many other things in between. And now she is married.
Saturday was Annie's wedding day and what a spectacular day. It was held in a magnificent Abbey, with a roaring log fire, a quartet playing in the grand hall and a live band singing and playing instruments in the evening. The food was an excellent standard, all the tables were named after cheeses and the wedding cake was made from a selection of cheeses. (You may know by now that I like cheese, well Annie's dad likes it so much that he's written a published book about cheese.) The speeches were a mixture of sentiments and laughter. Her wedding dress was stunning and the happy couple have never looked happier.
I truly believe that she has met her perfect match and I know her husband will love her and look after as she deserves to be. What more could a girl want?
Apart from a huge plate of very strong cheese.

Pictures of the day:

Outside the venue.

Inside the venue.

The wedding quartet.

Meal time.

Cutting the cake.

The dessert.


Sunday, 19 October 2008

I'm not mad (in Dorset/Somerset)

Some people think that I am mad. Not mad in the sense that I am regularly told I should seek a psychiatrist or book myself into a mental asylum, but I do things that perhaps some people might not consider normal, or they fail to see the method behind my 'madness'.
For example, I have a car in perfect working order but sometimes I prefer to travel by train. When I state this to various people they can not understand how I can leave my motor vehicle at home and choose to travel by public transport. Although, to be honest, this is not always the case. When I need to visit the gym, or the shops, or a friend who does not live too far away, I love the fact I can sit in my car and nip to these places. In this case, I agree that my Golf GTI offers me freedom and convenience. If, however, my journey consists of travelling a fair distance, a distance that I have not ventured to before, I would rather travel by train thank you. Unknown territory, far away, scares me. I tend to panic about becoming lost, therefore I will become lost and panic.
I travelled to the cottage on the borders of Dorset/Somerset by first western railway. "You're mad," I was told by one particular friend. "Why don't you drive?" No thanks! A four hour drive, on my own, to a place I have never been to? I can't think of anything worse. Actually that's incorrect, I can think of worse things, such as having my leg cut off by a blunt saw, or listening to finger nails scraping down a chalk board, but in this instance I would rather let the train take the strain.
My parents travelled by car a couple of days prior to my journey. I booked my advance train ticket on-line and arrived at Paddington station with a packed lunch, a glossy magazine and a new fiction book, relaxed and ready to go. Had I been driving I would have been anything but relaxed, plus I would have been unable to read, eat, and soak up the scenery. Two hours (see, it can also be faster by rail) and two ham and mustard sandwiches with orange juice and mini Cheddars later, and one magazine read and one chapter of Our Spoons Came From Woolworths, I arrived at Bruton Station. My parents were in the car park to meet and greet me and off we drove to the holiday cottage.
And what a delightful cottage. Flag-stone flooring, original brick fire-place, cosy furnishing, fresh flowers and a stunning view that stretches for miles. After arriving at the cottage I took a little walk, with the purpose of familiarising myself with the local area. It's lots of bendy roads, green fields, cows, horses and sheep grazing in the fields. I then retired to my bedroom to write my blog. Unfortunately there is no Internet connection so I can not post my blog, but when you read this dear FPE readers I'll have Internet connection and this blog will have been posted. So, picture the scene if you can - I am writing this perched on a wooden chair and tapping away on my lap top, my lap top which is placed on the bedside table, next to my bed, with the gingham bed spread, which is in my bedroom that will be my home for the next five nights. (Without a hint or whiff of madness.)

Pictures of the day:

This is where we stayed.

The cottage kitchen.

My dad, engrossed in the newspaper.

The view in the garden.

Peeking through.

The colour of autumn.

Hey mister Cat, are you looking at me?

Hello Horsey, why the long face?

A splendid, long day, in Sherborne

With its abundance of medieval buildings, magnificent Abbey, world famous schools, Sherborne House arts centre and two Castles, Sherborne is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful and historic towns in England. It's a vibrant shopping town with a large choice of handcrafted goods and elegant fashions, and it has become a poignant regional centre for arts and antiques.
My parents and I loved Sherborne so much that we spent five hours browsing around the shops and the market stalls. Okay that five hours does include a lunch break and a lemon cake and coffee break. Our lunch break was spent in the Zest Cafe, run by The Four Leaf Clover Club. The club is a registered charity, welcoming and promoting a positive and social atmosphere, whilst raising awareness for mental health issues. Jacket potatoes and sandwiches were ordered, to the sound of the guitar and a male vocalist. It's a lovely little cafe and worth popping in if you ever find yourself in the area.
A Sleeping Beauty theatre set, a jazz book, card making material, a black and white coat and a slab of Dollceato strong and smelly cheese were amongst our purchases. My mother often jokes that she wears a 'Born To Shop' badge, and I am in one hundred per cent agreement with her. I have never known anyone to embrace shopping quite like my mum. However, after five hours and a swollen ankle, even she had to admit defeat. Plus all the shops were closing.
It was back to the cottage to sip wine, nibble smelly cheese and read our books. What a splendid, long day, it has been.

Pictures of the day:

Sherborne Abbey.

Sherborne market.

Another market picture.


The Four Leaf Clover Club.

The Zest Cafe.

Castle Cary and the photography bore

Welcome to Castle Cary. Full of charm, character and friendly inhabitants it's easy to fall in love with this near perfection town. Upon arrival I immediately started snapping away on my camera and taking pictures for FPE.
"You're in danger of becoming a photography bore," said my mum, whilst watching me clicking away. I wasn't offended. I've been called far more offensive things. Well, not that offensive. Please don't think that I am regularly called vicious names or that I suffered an abusive childhood where I was ridiculed beyond belief due to my looks/personality/hobbies.
Anyway, I quite like being a photography bore.

Pictures of the day:

The street.

The museum.

The bank. (I liked the building, maybe my mum has a point.)

The post office. (I thought it was quaint and colorful. Okay my mum does have a point!)

We stopped in this coffee shop.

For lemon cheesecake.

Glastonbury. Without wellington boots.

I have often watched Glastonbury the music festival on television. But I have never been tempted to actually attend the festival. Too much mud and not enough toilets. It's not that I am totally against festivals, there is a local one I have danced around on five separate occasions, but I've been safe in the knowledge that I can go home at the end of the night and jump into a hot bath, and it's only ever rained once, believe it or not.
At Glastonbury music festival I think it rains every year, every second of the festival. I have witnessed attendees on the television, covered head to foot in mud. Literally. Their wellington boots almost unrecognisable with the amount of mud they are caked in. I'm afraid that doesn't really appeal to me.
Glastonbury is steeped in history, myths and legends, and thereby giving rise to its popularity as a ‘new age’ destination. Various myths include Glastonbury as the final resting place for King Arthur and the Holy Grail, and for such a small town there is much to see including the 7th century Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury Tor and the Chalice Well.
So it was with interest I visited the town of Glastonbury. The aroma of incense lingers outside many shops, atmospheric music can also be heard, and the streets are filled with White Witches, Hippies and Gothics.
Nothing or nobody is too strange and unusual for Glastonbury.

Pictures of the day:

The Glastonbury experience.

Glastonbury church.

The man playing the flute.

There are many quirky stalls...

and shops in Glastonbury.

And hidden lanes.

Lots of weird things.

And a colourful high street.

This isn't Glastonbury. This is Shaftesbury which we visited on our last day. Nice view hey!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Farewell, take care and see you soon

I’m a huge fan of lists. I’m the kind of person who will write a list to remind myself what lists I have to write.
Shopping list, things to do list, finances for the month list, the list of lists is endless!
As from tomorrow, I’m on annual leave until the 21st October, so you can imagine the amount of lists I've been writing.
I entered the office this morning with my cinnamon bagel and humming a little tune to myself - the last day in the office before a well needed holiday, yippee! I knew the first thing I would do, other than eating my bagel and drinking my coffee and checking my emails, so actually it would be the fourth thing I would do, was write a list.
I immediately stopped humming when I realised how much I still had to do. I booked my annual leave way back when the sun was shining and the schedule for October was empty. I thought I was booking the ideal week away from office worries and magazine press dates. But I should of realised, what is a schedule for if you can’t change it. It’s changed vastly and I have spent the last few days convincing advertisers that it would be beneficial to them if they sent their advertisements / advertorials / loose inserts / paper work /etc nice and early. Unfortunately not everyone is convinced that this is a wise idea. I’m doing my best. Needless to say I have my work cut out today and I’ve had many lists to compile.
Other than office commitments and duties, I have to write a list of what to pack and what do at home tonight, before I close the front door and head to a picturesque cottage on the borders of Dorset and Somerset.
My tonight list looks something like this:

1. Pack. That's a different list all together. I must remember:
My camera and camera charger.
My mobile and mobile charger.
My lap top. No Internet connection (sob) in the cottage but I'm still hoping to write stuff.
My digital photography book, amateur photography magazine and a new fiction book. I'm hoping to find time to read all three.
Toiletries and make up. This includes contact lenses so I can see.
Glasses. So I can see if I wish to allow my eyes a contact lenses break.
Clothes. That's another list as well, but I won't bore you with my wardrobe contents.
2. Post a birthday card already made and waiting inside my special box. Make another birthday card and post.
3. Put the finishing touches to the scrap book photo album. See below.
4. Text a few people with reminders that I'm away and when I'll be back.
5. Bath and face pack and try to have an early night.

Ohhh I'm getting excited now. I hope I can leave the office at a sensible time and leave my desk in an organised and calm state.

Take care bloggers. I'll miss reading about your adventures and replying to your comments. Don't worry, I'll be back before you know it, hopefully with some adventures of my own.

I'm off to write another list.

Pictures of the day:

Number 3 on my list

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The streets of London

Today, at lunch time, I actually stepped outside the office. It's been too cold and wet recently and I've had blogs to read and food to eat. But today I needed to visit the photography shop to develop the hen weekend photos for my scrap book. I'm making a scrap book photo album for the bride-to-be. I just need to stop going out and dedicate valuable and sufficient time to the scrap book.
During my lunch hour, I thought FPE readers may be interested in having a nose at the streets of London situated around my office.
Please see below!

Pictures of the day:

The office. Where it all happens.

There are plenty of bars and hotels in London.

And pink restaurants. Okay, maybe the pink theme is rare, but you're spoilt for choice for eating out.

No entry streets are a common thing.

Quiet streets are not so common, but I managed to find one.

Plus a man dressed as a donkey. Don't ask me why!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Where ever I lay my hat...

Let’s pretend it’s Saturday. It's not a bad game to play on a Monday afternoon, as let’s face it, I think the majority of people prefer Saturdays to Mondays.
There is a reason behind the game playing by the way. For as much as I would love it to still be the weekend, I’m asking you to imagine it is, so that today’s blog entry makes sense. I meant to write on Saturday but after relaxing for one hour I went out again. So here you go, this is what I meant to type the day before yesterday…
Finally, I’m home. After 17 different trains and travelling over 4 different counties (Essex, London, Surrey and Kent, to be exact) and not sleeping in my own bed since Tuesday, I’m home. It’s good to back in familiar surroundings. The clock is ticking and chiming in the lounge, the green armchair is patiently waiting for me to sit on, and stare at the television screen or read my book. The house is filled with the sound of my mother chatting on the telephone and my father practising his saxophone. Yep, it’s good to be back.
For the past four days, my big white bag has been crammed full with soup, cereal bars, bananas, clothing and toiletries. The extra contents have been necessary to ensure I had everything I needed for three nights away from home. After the blue cheese please evening, I boarded two trains straight from the office to my friend Caron's house for a vegetable curry please evening. It was delicious. Her forthcoming wedding was discussed and I’m honoured to report that she has asked me to be her bridesmaid and assist with bridesmaid duties. I’m looking forward to next August already and playing my part in her special day. (This will be the 4th time I have been a bridesmaid, not that I’m complaining, I feel privileged to be asked.)
Following the vegetable curry please evening, I boarded three trains straight from the office to my friend Claire's corner of the map. This time I had a chicken casserole please evening, with a few glasses of white wine at her local pub. Thanks for the dinner Claire, much appreciated and very tasty. The wine was nice too, after the usual stresses of the office, incorrect advertisements, late deliveries and other problems.
I awoke on Saturday in Claire’s bedroom and I wasn’t quite sure where I was when I first opened my eyes, but my memory soon came flooding back. And then I remembered that I needed to get out of bed, get ready as fast as possible, and board another 3 trains to meet my friend Chamelle for lunch. I had a few delays on the trains (thanks public transport) so I was a tiny bit late meeting my friend and her daughter. We headed straight to TGI Fridays where I ordered chicken pasta and a tomato and mozzarella salad. Once fed, the three of us walked around Ikea, moaning that we had eaten too much and questioning if it was too early to be selling Christmas decorations. I think it is, but then again I've already bought a few Christmas presents, so who am I to complain it's too early. Chamelle bought some bits for her home and then, finally, after my enjoyable lunch date and shopping trip, I headed back to my home...
I had all good intentions to stay in, write my blog and sleep in my own bed again, but I received a text message from another friend inviting me out for a drink. After debating whether to go out for, hmmm, about two seconds, I decided to say yes. I ended up staying at my friends house for two nights, eating, drinking and watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Tonight, I promise myself faithfully that I will go home and stay home, oh after my photography club. After the photography club meeting I need to be reunited with my own bed once again. I hope it remembers who I am, it's been a while. Although I must admit, it's been fun.

Picture of the day:

The butterfly, on his way home.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Blue cheese please

Text messages are a convenient and fast way to keep in touch. They’re also a handy way of informing a cheese lover that this week is British Cheese Week.
Last night my colleague and friend, and I, decided it was about time that we indulged in a night out. As we were making our way to the nearest public house for wine and beer, a text message beeped from one of my dear friends. “Turn to pages 16 and 17 of The London Lite,” it simply read. I was intrigued. “I expect it’s George Michael related,” was my colleague and friends response. Hmm. I decided that she was probably right, and prayed to God that he hadn’t been caught in another shady situation. I drank two glasses of wine and tried not to fret about him. After our beer and wine we came to the conclusion that we should eat something, so off to the tube station and towards The London Lite we ventured. Upon receipt of this free newspaper we eagerly turned, with bated breath, to pages 16 and 17.
'British Cheese Week' was the headline on these mentioned pages. Phew. I let out a sigh of relief. All was well and quiet in George world. And what a cheesy coincidence that we’d agreed to head toward the nearest Gourmet Burger Kitchen for a blue cheese burger, with chips and blue cheese sauce. Once we knew it was British Cheese Week it seemed rather apt and the perfect excuse to eat lashings of cheese. Not that I ever need an excuse to eat cheese. I just like it. Fact. And another fact is this – Britain now produces more cheeses than France, and our favourite cheese is Cheddar, we eat more than 300,000 tonnes of it per year. Actually that’s three facts, if you wish to be pedantic.
The blue cheese burgers and blue cheese sauce were, as predicted, out of this world. I was one happy and content girl. After our cheese experience we went back to my colleague and friends house to chat, watch rubbish television and open a bottle of wine. The ideal way to spend a Wednesday night.
The spare room was my sleeping quarters for the evening, and a little later than my normal bed time, I retired to the spare room. After almost instantly falling asleep and probably dreaming about animals attempting to eat me (I can’t actually remember if I dreamt and if so, what the outcome was), I awoke to the sound of my mobile beeping another text message. “Check out page 27 of The Metro,” was this mornings text alert.
As soon as I could lay my hands on a copy of The Metro, which is another free newspaper circulated around London, I turned to page 27 thinking that it was probably another cheese reminder. 'George Michael is God' was the opening sentence, in reference to an article regarding the Eli Stone series where George’s music is heavily featured.
“George Michael is God,” I read out loud to my colleague and friend, liking the sound of it.
Hey, who am I to disagree?!
I closed the newspaper and smiled to myself. From that moment onwards, I knew it was going to be a good day.

Pictures of the day:

St Paul's Cathedral is situated near the Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

The blue cheese burger and the blue cheese sauce.

Colleague and friend eating.

Me eating.