Tuesday, 31 March 2015

What a good job

Sometimes, I gaze out of a train window and imagine living someone else's life.
Not because I'm unhappy with mine. Far from it. I realise it's not the most glamorous or exciting life in the world, but it's all mine. And I kinda like it.
The fantasising is merely due to other people's job functions.
For example, did you know someone is employed at Barts Pathology Museum to look after 5,000 specimens? Basically, they are surrounded by and look after body parts all day long. That one really got me thinking. How creepy would you find that? Personally, it wouldn't be my ideal job.
Every week I read Stylist magazine, and every week I read the Work Life page and I'm fascinated by other people's occupations.
A fairly recent entry was a Fashion Curator, who visits designer's French chateau's, and scours castles to look at family photographs. Not a bad life, compared to little old me who visits an office every working day, which overlooks KFC in a car park.
Of course it doesn't always do to compare our lives to others. As the Fashion Curator stated, her job is not all it's cracked up to be - she once spent a month inputting shoe details into a spreadsheet in a chilly Paris basement. See, even super cool human beings have to do mundane tasks.
But I do enjoy reading about other people's lives, in particular the strange and unusual ones. Job titles which take me on entertaining journeys, days which are filled with incredible things. Which often leads to that ancient question, what would your dream job consist of?
I frequently ask people this question, and I've been met with a variety of answers. Only the other day, whilst lunching with a friend, I couldn't resist propositioning him with this thought.
"A monkey trainer," said he. "Or working in an orphanage for Orangutans."
Well, it would certainly be different from his current occupation in advertising. Perhaps that's the attraction? Pure escapism. Either that or his love for hairy animals.
As for me, I think you could probably accurately guess it. Have you got it yet? George Michael's PA. What else would it be?!
Or an artistic photographer. Or a talented writer.
Or a publishing company for magazines. Oh hang on, silly me, I do work for a publishing company for magazines. Funnily enough, when I was growing up, this did feature on my wish list. Okay, it's not flashy consumer magazines, and I don't circulate at posh media parties (although it has been known in the past, just the odd one, now and then), but neither do I really want to work for flash mags and attend parties.
I’m perfectly happy with my technology magazine and I’ve now progressed to academic books. I don’t really understand the books but I’m finding the new challenge interesting.
I work with nice people, some a trifle odd, but harmless enough. We used to receive a free lunch, but now we pay a £1 for three courses, which is incredibly good value when you think about it.
So you see, life isn’t so bad after all.
However, should you hear through the grapevine that George Michael is searching for a new PA, don’t forget to mention my name.
Many thanks!

Monday, 23 March 2015

The brie, the bullet and The Black Cat

The year was October 1942, and we were invited to the official residence of the Deputy Mayor of Casablanca, Monsieur Le Grandbutte, for a dinner where the guest of honour was to have been France's greatest living mime artist, The Black Cat. But the greatest living mime artist was no longer living. He had been murdered. And we were all suspects.

My name was Ingrid Pith and I was a Danish art-dealer, specialising in finding paintings from all over Europe. I was busty and flirtatious and having an affair with two of the men at the dinner party.

Over pate, beef, cakes and wine, we learnt who murdered The Black Cat. And why.

It wasn't me folks, it was the French lady who was actually a man in disguise. I can't remember her/his name now.
Oh it was a very funny evening.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Little things

Last Sunday was Mother's Day.
I bought my mum some vintage coloured flowers and some goodies in her 'Mum, you are my sunshine' bag.

The goodies consisted of, iced biscuits. "They're too pretty to eat!" declared my mum.

And a scented candle. "Too pretty to use!" declared my mum.

Tommy bought her a 'Why my nanny is brilliant' book. I found a charming online shop where you can personalise books.

I got a gorgeous card full of photographs of Tommy.

And a salt and pepper pot. Our ones are smashed. I am so pleased with them. Sometimes it really is the little things, don't you think?

We all went out for lunch at country pub for a roast dinner and chocolate brownies. Bliss. Tommy was a good boy and was treated to chips and chocolate. He loved them.

What a lovely day was had by all.

Friday, 13 March 2015

The tutu and the almost smashed house

I was having a lovely dream about ballerinas (no idea why, never liked ballet or watched ballet) when Mark decided to wake me and tell me the news from outside the cottage.
"A car almost crashed into next door's house!"
Suddenly, pink tutus and arabesque positions (I cheated, I Googled that position, it's when the dancer stands on one leg and looks v elegant) vanished. Instead, my head was filled with visions of next door's house crumbling at the foundations.
I then realised the bedroom was full of flashing blue lights, streaming through the white blinds. What on earth was occurring whilst I was busy dreaming?
I staggered out of bed, peered through the blinds and almost shouted at Mark, "My God, how did I sleep through that! What the heck has happened?"
Outside our bedroom window there was carnage. A car was abandoned in the middle of the road. There were police cars and neighbours everywhere.
Apparently, the car had smashed into a parked car outside next door but one, spun around in the middle of the road, hit another car, narrowly missed our car, then crashed into the back of next door's car which was parked on their driveway, which had nudged their car forward and narrowly missed exploding into their house and outside gas box. The driver of the car had fled the scene and was nowhere to be seen.
This was all too much to take in from behind the bedroom blinds. I followed Mark downstairs and we joined the other neighbours, gaping at the abandoned car.
"Oh it's so exciting!"
This was the seven year old girl's voice from next door. Well I'm guessing she is seven and at seven years of age you can be forgiven for thinking your house almost ruined, your mother's car a write-off, a potential death, and a maybe nearly dead driver is exciting.
Her mother did not look excited, she looked shocked, horrified. I hadn't really spoken to her before but I kept asking if she was okay. I couldn't think of anything else to say.
Everyone speculated on the driver. Off his head on drink/drugs probably. Must have stolen the car. By the damage, he'd been travelling at a heck of a speed. I wonder where he fled to and what his injuries were?
Mark and I kept quietly stating and reassuring each other that it could have been worse. And how lucky were we that our car was without a single scratch. When we looked at the sorry state of the other cars, we couldn't help but feel relieved.
It was a funny old night. I remembered feeling slightly embarrassed that I was still dressed in my pyjamaas and then realised half the street were. And we all kind of bonded. People I had never spoken to before spoke to me. We cracked jokes and comforted each other.
And then when it seemed nothing could be resolved, the driver was still on the loose, and the car had been towed away for evidence, we all trickled off to our separate homes. Probably never to see or speak to each other again.
I was yawning. I was tired. It was late.
I almost crawled back into bed, snuggled under the duvet, closed my eyes, and waited for sleep to take over.
Then I realised I was wide awake, thinking about cars and crashes. Dream land and ballerinas were far, far away. I longed to relive ballerinas performing demi-ronds (half circles - amazing what you learn on Google) but alas they had danced their way out of my imagination.
I couldn't sleep.
Don't ya just hate it when that happens?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Remembering February

So March is marching on, but let's not forget February.

It was half term for the kiddies, so I visited my cousin and her crew. Her daughter baked us all yummy cupcakes. I had 2.

I saw my friend Laura. She made me the best sarnie ever, then we walked to the park to take Tommy on the swings and so her dog could run about and chase a bulldog.

I bought Tommy a beanbag armchair so he can watch his favourite television programs in comfort. He's got the hang of this relaxing lark - sometimes!

Yippee, the daffodils are finally sprouting in the village. I couldn't resist snapping this during a recent walk. It will be Easter before we know it. And this year I am planning an Easter egg hunt. Expect pictures, no doubt.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Human nature and the universe

I no longer read newspapers and watch news bulletins.
Maybe this makes me slightly ignorant. I understand that it's important to know what's going on in the big wide world. If I hear of something that interests me, through chats with friends or social media, I will investigate further. I will ask questions and Google.
I stopped reading newspapers and watching news bulletins simply because no good came from them. It was always bad. I was starting to despair of human nature and the universe.
Of course I realise if we all had my attitude we could be quite a clueless nation. Please let me confirm, that I'm not completely clueless. And I do care about the world, just for the record.
But that's the problem, sometimes I care too much. I'm a sensitive soul, and soggy newspapers and tears before bedtime are not great ways to conduct your life.
It was all becoming too much.
Only yesterday I remembered why I've tuned out from headlines. My father-in-law came round to supervise Tommy whilst I was working from home.
"Have you heard they've arrested the girl's step brother? Her body parts were found in his home."
Whoa. This is why, sometimes I like being ignorant. I was blissfully unaware that such a terrible ordeal was unravelling before our eyes. Body parts? Her own step brother? I was feeling nauseated.
The conversation progressed and became worse.
"And what about that 15 year old boy who was stabbed riding his bike!"
This was too much. I imagined Tommy as a 15 year old boy, happily and innocently riding his bike.
What has happened to us? Why are we doing this to each other?
This cemented my decision to abandon news. But unfortunately, on some days, I still can't escape the destruction beyond my front door.
Besides, I've rediscovered my love of reading books. I can't get enough of thrillers at this present time. Any spare time I have during my commute, or my bedtime, my head and mind are lost in pages of novels.(Not newspapers.)
Also, it's a great excuse to do a book club with my friend. Well, we've done one book club, we met at the pub by the train station and drank wine, ate chips, discussed our reading material, and swapped.
The Gone Girl, The Good Girl, The Husband, Apple Tree Yard, to name but a few I have recently read. Currently reading The Book of You.
And what corkers they have been, and are turning out to be.
But the funny thing is, I am strangely attracted to creepy and compelling, terrifying and gripping, oozing with suspense and fear, psychological thrillers.
You could say, that it is not strange or unusual for me to read a quite disturbing novel about the strange and unusual.
Which surely, is what I am escaping from in real life?
Sometimes, I really do not make sense.
Do I?
Do you?
Maybe this is the consequence of human nature and the universe.

Monday, 2 March 2015

When the tractor carried chocolate eclairs

It's not every day that you see a tractor carrying chocolate eclairs in its trailer. However, this is what happened during my nephew's birthday celebrations, thanks to his mum.

Treats for the birthday boy and his guests.

The trailer of chocolate eclairs, they were delicious.

This Xylophone played canapes.

You won't like me when I'm angry!

More cake please, said Will and Tommy.

Here comes double trouble.

It was a splendid way to spend an afternoon. My nephew Will was thoroughly spoilt with his presents, a remote control BMW, a pretend steering wheel and sticker books to name but a few. And us adults stuffed our faces and ran around after Tommy and Will. Or was that just me?!