Monday, October 31, 2005

Oh look it's November

Remember when I was complaining about the bad vibes in October, and that I knew of 9 breakups and I didn't want to hear about a 10th?
(Why did I only notice this time? It's like when you buy a new car and you start seeing the same model everywhere.) The 10th case is a university friend of mine and her (much younger) husband.

And I am TIRED of it. Please God let there be no number 11....


Changing the topic - Blue tagged me ages ago. I can't do the lists of Sevens, not for a while anyway, but here is an interesting one:


Follow the instructions
1. Delve into your blog archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. find the 5th sentence
4. post the text of the sentence in your blog along with instructions:
Ponder it for meaning, subtexts or hidden agendas.
5. tag 5 people.

This was tricky. My 23rd post was a photograph, so then I went for the post on the 23rd day which was rather rubbish considering recent relationship disasters:

I think The Fig is gone (mentioned a couple of times despite my policy of silence).

I swear, that's not all that happens around here. Anyone remember the Fig? Rebecca might - we were all on St Katharine's Dock on the same day and didn't know it. The nickname, the first on my new blog, was an acronym for his nationalities.

To think, I did the Tag to cheer us up a bit...So in another attempt, if I count only the text posts, skipping the photos, this is it:
And I also rather enjoyed his Jungian discussions of the forest as the necessary uncertainty in childhood stories and fairytales.

We even have a subtext here. I was writing about a book I'd just finished called The Child That Books Built by Francis Spufford. It's a prosy memoire of a scholar's love affair with books from childhood to the present day. In one early chapter he plunges into a psychoanalytical discussion of the forest as the dark place which taps into our fear of the unknown.

Hm, that was coincidental. Just realised it's Hallowe'en. I don't DO Hallowe'en.


Twenty-Three for my 20Six

Canoodles and pasta :)

That's what was on the menu one evening...Delightful came for dinner.

Hm. How about if I count the 23rd day again?

Yes I am British, but I lived in America for long enough that when I get frustrated I have the right to disown you lot for a few minutes.

Slightly funnier! *sigh of relief*

Can't be bothered to rescue this weird post, I'll just let it flounder...Ciao!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

(Post-)Weekend Babble

From the 1924/1955 Weekend Book (yes, again...well it is/was the weekend...)


Bird Song at Morning

The House Sparrow [Do any of you London-dwellers even remember these???], Philip Sparrow, Spug or Roo-Doo. Length, 53/4 inches.

...Wherever man goes, the sparrow follows - but there is no disguising the fact that he makes use of us in the most impudent manner and gives nothing in return. He takes over our houses, eats our food, disturbs our sleep with his noisy quarrelling...but he refuses to make friends and remains aloof and suspicious. The sparrow is always bustling about, hopping perkily or in fussy flight, but a good deal of his activity appears to be entirely aimless. This is evident even in the ardour of courtship, when several males will hop jauntily round a female indulging in every form of noisy display and then, apparently losing interest, will all suddenly fly off together...

, Redbreast or Ruddock. Length, 53/4 inches.

There are certain birds which show a preference for the society of man...It is his original departure from the timidity characteristic of the race of small birds which endears him to us and invites us to woo him - especially with the irresistible bait of the meal-worm...[Indeed, my when my mother used to turn the flower beds with the trowel, he used to sit right next to her hand and dart in - taking his time too - whenever he spotted a goodie - and she would have to wait for him to hop up again to watch for the next dig.]...The song follows no set pattern, being at once ringing, exultant and full of timbre, but at the same time a kind of musing recitative with a sad and beautiful undersong.

Blackbird, Ousel or Amsel. Length, 10 inches.

The blackbird possesses an emotional quality quite different from that of the robin, being full of fears, suspicions and nervous reactions...When the blackbird begins to sing in February his low fluting is unrivalled for its pure and mellow tone, and is delivered with a leisureliness which draws out the full value of each note.
...The thrush's song seems to represent unreflecting joy and the blackbird's the fulfilment of experience...[I'm surprised the authors didn't wax more lyrical about the blackbird's song.]

, or Gowk. Length, 13 inches.

This famed and enigmatic bird looks on the wing something like a disconsolate hawk...[Have you ever seen a disconsolate hawk???]...Poetic associations have invested the male cuckoo with a symbolic romance as the messenger of spring, on account of the soft flute-like major third of his call...

A Tit-bit (pun intended) - Another name for the Blue-Tit is the 'Titty Todger'. I am not kidding. (You Brit readers may know what body parts they are).


I was going to do a little blurb on the Cadillac logo and how it's based on the family crest of a minor French nobleman. Why? Because I was tidying up and found my Caddy key rings. Well, Dad gets the car, I get the keyring. Yay. I never use them - too shiny for my taste.

Just in case you're interested:
A History of Motor Car Emblems

Anyone like the Cadillac XLR Roadster? This colour on some cars just makes my mouth water.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Why is it...

...with some people I talk too much, with some I talk just enough, and with others (when I most need it) my mind goes blank?

...all the people in the bank are annoying?

...Panadol doesn't sell an emergency, single-serving painkiller?

...Stephen Fry knows SO much?

...when I miss part of a programme and it's rebroadcast, I always pick it up at the same spot I did the first time?


Lines from QI tonight:

Fry: There are more molecules in a glass of water than there are grains of sand in the desert.

Fry: What do you get when you cross a camel with a leopard?
Jo Brand: A nice fireside rug you can have a good hump on.

Pliny the Elder thought that giraffes were a leopard/camel cross-breed.

A centurion was in charge of between 60 and 83 men, NOT 100.

In ancient times, the elephant "battle tanks" were only frightened by pigs covered in oil and set on fire.
Jo Brand: Is this how they discovered crackling?

Lake Manitou in Manitoba, Canada has the world's largest island in a lake in the middle of it, and this island has the largest lake on an island within a lake...


Jia Li: I bought my hair colour at Boots - Feria 3D bronze shimmer (a sort of golden brown which might be close to what you thought I should try)
Merserene: I got my yoga mat today! Na na nana na! It's niiiiiiice and it's black.

I found it at the Walk-in Backrub shop at Selfridges. It's thicker and softer than the others I looked at. Because my poor spine needs a little extra...
The part that I will always keep facing upwards is embossed at the top with the name "Wai Lana" and there's a fabric tab in the corner with the silhouette of a yoga pose.
Aaaand, it's not made of that nasty crumbly foam.
Best of all, it only cost 1 penny more than the thinner Gaiam ones in the sports department!
...But as usual, the price is the same number in dollars as it is in pounds, which means I paid double.
Apparently, Wai Lana is a popular Hawaiian yoga instructor who is now shown on PBS (America's Public Broadcasting Service). Her gorgeous yoga mat bags, in Chinese satin fabrics, lotus designs, hibiscus patterns, sell for just $24.95. I might be forced to buy a crappy mesh one here for £14.99 ($28).

On that note, I missed America today.
I miss:

discussing case studies
honeysuckle, jasmine and gardenia
the gas oven
my dad
big sky
birds singing in the trees and sunshine
did I mention driving?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Musical Evening

I met up with Miss S at Piccadilly, and of course where does one go to dinner from there? Chinatown, of course (ton yan gai, in case any of you had forgotten).
We ate at a neat little place on Gerrard St with a name like Ikkyu or something. They do Japanese, Thai and Dim Sum. So S ordered tempura prawn and aubergine with soy sauce and rice, and I ordered Thai chilli prawn in a basil sauce with two strings of green peppercorns, which are not piquant and taste rather like juniper berries.

On the side we ordered salmon skin and tempura sushi - this was deelish.
And an experimental Thai starter: pomelo*, a prawn, roasted peanuts, and a tasty sauce on a fragrant leaf which you wrap and eat. Alone, the leaf tasted like something between basil and soap but combined with the filling it was quite something else.
Messy! But yummy!

* Pomelo is an ugly green-skinned citrus fruit with mild pinkish large-grained flesh.


Miss S has joined a Japanese-European dating agency. I am excited because on Saturday she is lunching with a half-French, half-English doctor who is doing his residency in Newcastle.


Then we were on our way to the recital, but hold on! We had to run back to the restaurant to pick up the bag I'd forgotten, in which S had returned my book on the Wilton Diptych and my Tears CD.
Then we went to the Club, ordered some drinks at the bar, and found our seats in the Drawing Room.

It was one of those typical salon recitals harking back to earlier times. There were chairs, bergeres, a couple of sofas, all fanned out around the grand piano. The walls were red (used to be a nice Wedgewood blue until the renovation this year), lined with bookshelves, and the rest of the space was filled with portraits, landscapes and engravings hanging on brass chains from the brass picture rails. An intimate atmosphere was set using scattered floor lamps and lots of candles on every table.

Our pianist was Ronan Magill, who studied under Yehudi Menuhin and Benjamin Britten and has performed on the BBC and with the Royal Philharmonic, etc.
1) Two delightfully playful sonatas by Scarlatti - coincidentally he was in today's Sidebar birthday.
2) A few brooding preludes by Warlock, based on English folktunes. I thought they contained undertones of American blues.
3) A wild and tuneless suite by Bartok.
4) A pleasant mazurka by Chopin (though I prefer his preludes, etudes and nocturnes)
5) The "Waldstein" Sonata (no. 21 in C maj.) by y beloved Beethoven. I love the beautiful 3rd movement. It is once again clear to me why young girls were not allowed to listen to his music; call me biased, but my soul was stirred more than it should have been.
6) And for his encore he played more Beethoven, assumed we'd know what it is, and now I can't find it in my library...and having listened to a few tracks I've forgotten it...

I thought the Yamaha piano (or Mr Magill) lacked definition in some of the heavier sections of the Beethoven sonata.
But I am not here to critique the evening, only to report it ;)

I really really miss playing the piano, and my dear Kimball has been sold. I used to practice in the soundproof rooms at St Thomas, and in fact haven't attended any small performances since I used to go to lunchtime recitals in the music building.
Surprisingly, I found my right foot twitching every time I expected Mr Magill to depress the sostenuto pedal.
One day, I hope, I will once again be able to immerse myself in the poetry of Chopin and the power of Beethoven.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Did I mention...

...I love yoga?

Yesterday's class was awesome. I had missed last Thursday so I had to play catch-up but it was great! All sweaty and wobbly when I came out.
Unfortunately, I will miss this Thursday as well.

So today my ribs hurt because she made us hold our breath every time we raised our pelvises in the air. Then, "Breathe in!" *GASP* And when she said, "Last one for luck", we all burst into giggles.
And my vertebrae are sore from rolling into a squat from what I can only call a curled up beetle-on-its-back position.
Not to mention the hamstrings we stretch before going into "warrior one"position.

I love it love it love it, and am going to get my own yoga mat soon so I don't have to use a smelly one.


Today I didn't do the usual mileage on the Baker>Harley>Gt Portland>Oxford Street route. I only went halfway up Marylebone High Street and into Daunt's bookshop. I like Marylebone Village. I still gawk like a fascinated fish when I'm down there.

Have you ever been to Daunt's?
It is much like Hatchard's, only more 19th than 18th century, more Bloomsbury-ish than Mayfair-ish. If you know what I mean.

Jeremy Paxman said they sell books you never knew existed. And it's true: I bought 4 very small books there, some historical Penguin imprints with really old-fashined frontispieces, of works by Michel de Montaigne (On Friendship, 1580), Thomas a Kempis (The Inner Life), Lucretius (Sensation and Sex), and Gibbon (The Christians and the Fall of Rome). There were so many others, all of works (mostly essays and treatises) that have influenced history, changed lives, promoted paradigm shifts, creating the world we live in, like:
Machiavelli's Prince
the sayings of Confucius
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
Thomas Paine's Common Sense
Rousseau's Social Contract
The Confessions of St Augustine
A Vindication on the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollestonecraft (Shelley)
even the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels
and other works by Freud, Hobbes, Jonathan Swift, Voltaire, Kiergegaard....and loads of others...

Fantastic - I recommend a browse through. Penguin is really outdoing itself for its 70th anniversary.
When I handed him my pile, the cashier turned them face-down, fanned them out, scanned them and slipped them into the bag - never once reading the covers. I thought that was discreet and very quaint. I should have bought a sex book!

Anyway, I shall be sure to share quotes with you when I get around to them. I'm still on my Weekend Book.

I love this book. Not only is it informative, but it is reminiscent of earlier times and often casts old England in an overly romantic light. I am charmed by the quaint turn of phrase. Some of the descriptions fill my mind's eye with poetic images. Others have me shooting tea through my nose.
Excerpts from the 1924 Weekend Book [with my interjections!]:


The Corn Harvest
[On the advent of the combine harvester] ...there are no sheaves thrown out behind the machine to be stacked by hand into the lovely "stooks" which used to stand in the field until they were dry enough for ricking. The combine moves steadily over the field like some great juggernaut, devouring all. We miss the stooks which used to delight the eye when their long shadows fell across the golden stubble in the evening and the pigeons fluttered about them, taking their tithe of the corn...

The Hay Harvest
For hay was mown by hand, here and there, within the memory of old men. The mowers would start at the first light, when the dew was on the grass and the scythe cut clean; they would break off when the sun rose high, eat their bait and drink their cider, sleep a little, and start again in the cool of the evening; from six o'clock, say, they would work till dark...

[Did you know that a man's scythe was as personal to him as his iPod today? He'd never lend it out. And at the end of haymaking he'd hang it in a tree to get rusty. The rust would give him a better edge when the corn harvest came round.]

...The hayrick may disappear, as the loaded wain, so beloved of landscape painters, had gone into limbo already. [eg. The Haywain by John Constable] Perhaps our grandchildren, as they glance at old paintings some twenty years hence, will point at the hayricks and the wagons and ask: "What are those funny things?" Film-producers on location, trying to recapture Ye Olde Englysshe Scene, may build rickyards at colossal expense out of plastics in order to convey "the atmosphere of the period".

[But you know what? A generation later, I still see hayricks. The art of thatching has not died out, and old cottages are still repaired in the old way with wattle and daub.]

The Beasts of the Fields


...A female pig is called a gilt or hilt or yilt until she has had her first litter (i.e. farrowed); thereafter she is a sow. A good litter is ten or twelve. A pleasing phrase in a book designed to help novice pig farmers runs "see that your sow is equipped with a least ten or twelve teats" -- suggestive of a visit to the spares shop for supplying any deficiency...

...A young cow remains a heifer until after her second calving. A bullock is a gelded male. [gelded = neutered] A steer is a fat bullock. It generally takes 30 months to produce a fat beast from a calf -- which is why beef can never be a cheap commodity...

...Bulls are often docile but no countryman would care to cross a field where a strange bull was at large. There is no panacea against bulls except to run faster than they do...

Other tidbits:
  • [Why is it in the shops we only get about 4 different types of apples?] When was the last time you saw a Russet, a Blenheim, King o' the Pippins, or Duke of Devonshire?
  • Hops [used to give beer its bitter taste and also a source of oestrogen, hence the appearance of man-boobs on frequent imbibers]...anyway, hops can grow 2 inches [5.08 cm] in 24 hours!
    • "The two most popular sorts of hop are named respectively Bramblings and Fuggles." [I didn't make that up.]
  • The wolf, the wild boar, the brown bear, the beaver, and the reindeer are now extinct in the British Isles.
...[I]n the course of our wanderings, we may come across a small patch of woodland...which consists of old birch trees...hawthorns, occasional hollies, and stunted, crooked oaks. These oaks, when the winter gales have ripped the leaves off them, seem to hold out gnarled arms in gesticulation to the sky. We have a sense of something primitive, druidical; for this is a fragment of the ancient, original scrub. By chance it has survived the encroachment of man. His plough has never ripped open the soil, his axe has never been wielded here. All around us, north, south, east and west, is spread out the garden that man has made; but we have come full circle, and where we stand is the woodland waste, that once was England.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

In defense of blogging

If you scroll down the sidebar and read my Quotation of the Day, you will see that William Makepeace Thackeray, one of my favourite wits, has said:

There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.

This is blogging!

In addition, Vanessa sent me a friendship email this morning. I would like to share it with you:

Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:
Today my best friend slapped me in the face.

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath.
The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowing.
But the friend saved him.

After he recovered from the near-drowning, he wrote on a stone:
Today my best friend saved my life.

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone. Why?"

The other friend replied, "When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."

Learn to write your hurts in the sand and carve your happiness in stone.

This, too, is blogging!

The story concludes thus:

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire lifetime to forget them.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Waking Inspiration

A bit out of ideas today, so just repeating my 20Six post here:

I've been worrying for days, what I keep doing wrong. (Jia Li please don't lecture me on this too.)
It takes two to tango.

It came to me as I woke up this morning. I get so chuffed at a really nice guy having an interest in me just for being me that I literally do not know what to do with myself!
Asking anyone to have patience with me while I settle into that whole thing is probably a tall order. I nearly got there this time, nearly. Arrrrrgh.

And when I was 18, 21, 25 whatever....I thought that by now I would have everything: a cool job, a cute house, a gorgeous man, and most of my kids already, dagnabbit!!!


Now for something completely different. And no I am not sitting at a desk in the middle of a field as I say it.

Ages ago, the Motimers were doing a Tag so I've decided to share it here too. Yet another. Well, they are great conversation-starters.

Twenty Random Things About Me:

  1. I was conceived in Barcelona
  2. I weighed 2lbs 6oz at birth (just over one kilo)
  3. I like Real Dogs, the hunting and working breeds
  4. I am getting too old to sleep on my stomach
  5. I have wanted to be a translator, a doctor, a vet, a pathologist, a counselor...
  6. I know how to grow E. coli, muahahahaha!
  7. I have never been drunk but would like to try it once
  8. I am a mezzo-soprano
  9. I'm supposed to have between 2 and 4 children
  10. At university I was *this* close to being accepted by the State Department
  11. I was nearly recruited into the US Navy's nuclear power training program (!)
  12. In primary school I cornered a girl in the loo for stealing my cardigan at playtime
  13. I can now turn the lights off after watching a scary movie
  14. Shoe size 5 (US) or 3.5 (UK); dress size 2 or 4 (US) or 6 or 8 (UK)
  15. I am ambidextrous
  16. At milk-time (this dates me) the teacher used to give me two straws so I'd drink faster
  17. I have a weakness for collecting and giving pretty boxes
  18. I hate beans but like spinach
  19. I project my little pinkie out when I do stuff ("Grip the fishing rod! Grip it!")
  20. At its longest, when wet my hair reached my bum (till it curled back up)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Weekend Miscellany

A word about my new profile picture. It is of the Greek sea nymph Nerissa by John W Godward. In Italian, it means black-haired. Shakespeare introduced the name in The Merchant of Venice as the character who played Portia's law clerk.
(One of my younger cousins is called Nerissa (and she does have black hair).)


I don't care if it is Saturday, I shall post. I missed Friday because I was too busy ranting on 20Six in order not to subject you all to my low mood.
So I am making up for it today.

The night before last, I watched the movie Unfaithful. I do not appreciate adultery being cast in a sympathetic light, but separating myself from my emotions, I was able to appreciate the film as a whole.
Diane Lane plays the bored upstate New York suburban wife who finds a spark of excitement with her accidental lover in SoHo (Olivier Martinez as French bookdealer Paul). Former hottie Richard Gere is now old enough to portray the boring and faithful husband who confronts young Paul with disastrous results.

I must say, the murder scene is one of the most intriguing I have ever watched and I replayed it a couple of times in order to grasp the extent of Paul's shock.
My favourite scene was of Lane running through a gamut of emotions in the subway as she recalls her first amazing rendezvous with Paul. Many of us may identify with her for that moment.

The soundtrack was moving and the cinematography quite beautiful at times, but do I recommend it? I leave the decision up to you this time.


Yesterday was a bad day. I told someone that for me, this year autumn is very symbolic. October seems to be a month of many ends for many people, and yesterday it was just too much for me. For a few hours, I felt as though on top of my own, I had tapped in to the pain of the entire world and I could hardly bear it.


So a good friend sent out a lovely song and I have transcribed the lyrics here for you. Hey, it's about tea. Never say no to tea.

Excellent Tea - James T Slater

Don't underestimate the value of your friends
Don't take for granted your family
A walk on the beach, glory of the sea
Sweet satisfaction of an excellent tea

Don't overlook romance or the joy of a spring
The glow in your children's eyes or the happiness they bring
A fine wine, a good book, dancing cheek to cheek
Warm conversation over an excellent tea

The destination is the journey, not the journey's end
So be where you are
Be well, my friend

Share your smile with someone, take time to laugh
Be curious, be bold, be strong and steadfast
Respect yourself, kindness is the key
Put a little love in your excellent tea

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Il Ciclone

Clogs is quite cool, he is always lending me DVDs when he borrows them from coworkers.
So I watched the Italian film Il Ciclone last night. It is quite a task finding the English subtitles for an Italian movie on a Japanese DVD.

It's about a slightly eccentric family in Tuscany, whose boring lives are changed by the accidental arrival of 5 flamenco dancers from Madrid. Lots of small-town humour and embarrassing situations. Italian humour is so cute. Odd thing, though, the Spanish dialogue didn't get subtitled.

I definitely recommend it.

Hey Rebecca, I unwittingly started the canon of good films...Have you seen this one?


And tonight, I am watching Unfaithful with Diane Lane, Richard Gere and Olivier Martinez. To be reviewed later...

I know I have been in London long enough when I thought the car was on the wrong side of the road.
And you know Richard Gere is getting old when he plays the older husband whose wife cheats on him.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Foodie Feast


Before I start, I was hailed today! But not by devoted subjects; rather, those little balls of frozen water...


I had a chat this evening with Blue about food. I went food shopping today (hence being caught in the rain) to stock up the fridge, and we were talking about our sense of food. When to turn off the heat, and how we somehow know what flavours will go together, or what seasonings to add to any dish. She said I seem like someone who would experiment in the kitchen. (Of course I would do more if I had my own kitchen.)

Blue also said it sounds as if I enjoy shopping for food. I stopped a moment to ponder that, and you know...she is right. Food inspires me, although I like it too much to work with it (do not want to go off it). I do enjoy picking up ingredients or dishes, and imagining what it will be like to eat them, how I will prepare them, what they will taste like.

So this is what I bought today, and it's more exciting than usual:
  • another veal escalope (been itching for this since I had the first one last week!) but I restrained myself and cooked instead the next one on the list, which Blue chose for me
  • Moghul Court Chicken with kohlrabi, sundried aubergine (eggplant), coriander leaf, in an almond and yoghurt sauce. I made coriander garlic rice to go with it. Not used to yoghurt-curries and am not sure I liked it that much.
  • Pork escalopes in a gruyere cheese and 3 mustard crumble. Maybe with mashed potato.
  • Cinnamon and honey-rubbed duck breast tournedos wrapped around a kumquat and ginger stuffing, with a citrus jus. With this I plan to do lightly stir-fried Asian noodles.
  • Chicken enchiladas from M&S - nothing like in Mexico - sort of their own version, but nice in its own right
  • and finally, some Yorkshire puddings just because they always come in handy with gravy on a cold Sunday
An exciting tip: try adding a dash of hot English mustard and/or a bit of rough-cut Dijon to your gravy and see what you think. Just kicks it up a notch!


Vanessa, you have sooooo much catching up to do on here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I thought I skipped a day...

That's odd. I thought I didn't blog yesterday. So who did??? I am two people now?

So today: mind-numbing research. Not one phone call or email from anyone. I mean, no one. Nobody. Not. At. All. Not even that promising arts job, so I will call tomorrow.

After the research, picked up my phone which had been on order. I see it as a bit of a consolation prize. Seeing as we're set for the coldest winter in 40 years, I picked up a quilted coat, since even last year I could have done with one, especially when it snowed.

Had comforting junk food at a diner: that is, hot dogs and onion rings. The 50s music on the jukebox may have been jaunty but the words were actually depressing. However, some British stuff came on before I left and I actually sang along with Lily the Pink. If you grew up here, you might have learned it at school.
Chorus: We'll drink a-drink a-drink to Lily the Pink the pink the pink
The saviour of the human ra-a-ace
For she invented medicinal compound
Most efficacious in every case

Verse: Mr Mears had sticky-out ears
And it made him rather shy-y-y
So they gave him medicinal compound
Now he's learning how to fly
The rest of the verses have to do with embarrassing conditions that were made worse thanks to Medicinal Compound, like the guy with a stutter who couldn't say a word is now seen but never heard and the skinny priest who didn't eat his meals is now moved around on wheels.

Then I went to Yoga. I love it! She complemented me afterwards: "You have a great back!" Finally, an exercise that I can get into. I definitely can see that if I were to skip a class, I'd be upset.


That plane crash dream has stayed with me for 3 days. I rarely have nightmares, and this one is so stuck with me right now, I did a little research (my forte, eh) on dream interpretation and symbolism.

This is what various sources stated:
  • Planes, like all other vehicles, symbolise a portion of your life's journey, especially as related to career and relationships.
  • The fact that you survived unhurt indicates that it is merely symbolic. It signifies a feeling of incompetence and inadequacy.
  • Loss of power and uncertainty in achieving your goals are also signified.
  • That which you had set a goal to achieve may now come crashing down.
  • To dream of being in this event indicates a dramatic negative change in your life.
Spot on.


Tut. Anyone know any jokes?

Oh, and I will post pics from the twins' party if I can finish the roll and get it developed.

Monday, October 17, 2005



My tongue really really hurts right now; I tell you this because I am eating an apple while blogging and it’s stinging. I burnt it severely on Friday night. Embarrassing story involving a long piece of steaming crispy chili beef which got wedged between the underside of my tongue and my cheek. It was stuck for about 15 seconds and I couldn’t get it out! A lady stopped to smirk at me afterwards as I sat there with my eyes watering.


Have you ever had a plane crash dream? I had my first frightening one on Saturday night:

I had a window seat in a plane with 2-3-2 seating, and the guy sitting next to me was a stranger. They were just serving drinks when we heard a crack, and suddenly we were plummeting nose first. Somehow, the stewardess was able to move around to comfort us and help us move into the emergency position: arms crossed against chest, head between knees. And then…she covered our heads with a blanket.

I remember thinking we wouldn’t know the instant we hit the ground, however, I was conscious and aware of the rest of the plane piling up above me, yet I was fine. In fact, we all survived totally unscathed and met up later at a bar.


Overheard: surprisingly deep one liner for a sitcom: Normal? What’s normal? You could waste a whole lifetime waiting around for normal…


Look, my secret project: Palazzo Olivia ;)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Party Saturday

Yeah...wild it was - lots of balloons and crisps.
It occurred in the far northern wastes of the city, where all the Ben Sherman-wearing Islington-ites move when they start families.

It was Nat and Theo's birthday, but most of the kids were Zack's friends. Nearly every house in the neighbourhood contains children under 5, so lots were there. I blew up the balloons and manned the gifts table. I often found myself seeing the children as they may be in a few years, and then again when they're teenagers.

One little boy - I swear - all he did for three hours was hurl balloons on top of each other shouting, "Die, die die!"
Crazy balloon boy aside, they were all amazingly well-behaved. Only two of them cried, one needed a plaster, and none of their parents were required to shout.

When cake time came, you'd think Michelle was the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Everywhere she went with the cake, they all followed.
I liked the bit where they were all told to sit in their seats, so they all arranged themselves around the table. When they were asked, "Who wants cake?" they all raised their hands shouting, "Me, me, me!"
It was lovely, though the guests of honour slept through it. Michelle thanked everyone for their physical, emotional and financial support over the past year. Most importantly, she thanked Zack for being such a good big brother with two babies to take care of. Everyone clapped, Zack jumped up and down, and I nearly cried.

Near the end, Michelle took me by the hand and dragged me outside. I tend to avoid her when things go wrong, which is why earlier I had turned down her invitation to go home with them. However, I can condense an entire summer into three sentences.


When everyone went home/to another child's birthday party, we immediate family emptied the hall and went back to the house where we had tea. The boys' grandparents are here for the weekend from Zumerzet...where the coider apples growwwww.

I asked Tony what clever things Zack has been saying lately, so it turned into a story swapping session. Let's see if I remember anything.

  • Daddy, what's skin for? Is it to hold your bones in?
  • (I've forgotten the one that reeeeaaallly made me laugh!)

Cool Tidbit:
One of Tony's school chums T was at the party, apparently they formed a close trio with Hugh Bonneville. At Tony and Michelle's wedding, T was best man and Hugh read a poem. (Most would know Hugh as Bernie in Notting Hill - he's a bit like that in real life.)
While we're name-dropping, the "(in)famous partner" in yesterday's post is a former paramour of Joan Collins...When their first son was christened, the newspaper quipped that Debbie K had finally tamed the playboy Bungalow Bill.


Notting Hill is one of my fave movies.

Spike, William's roommate, was priceless. Wouldn't be the same if he wasn't Welsh:
  • I knew a girl at school called Pandora. Never got to see her box, though.
  • Just going to the kitchen to get some food, then I'm going to tell you a story that will make your balls shrink to the size of raisins.
  • Bugger this for a bunch of bananas.
Spike: There's something wrong with this yogurt.
William: Ah, that's not yoghurt, that's mayonnaise.
Spike: Ah, right-o then. [Continues eating]

Bernie: But she said she wanted to go out with you?
William: Yes - sort of...
Bernie: That's nice.
William: What?
Bernie: Well, you know, anybody saying they want to go out with you is... pretty great... isn't it...?
William: It was sort of sweet actually - I mean, I know she's an actress and all that, so she can deliver a line - but she said that she might be as famous as can be - but also... that she was just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.
William: Oh, sod a dog. I've made the wrong decision, haven't I?

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Twins

It's Nat and Theo's First Birthday Party tomorrow. It seems only the other day I was holding them in my arms.

Theo takes after his mother, my cousin.
He's the light and fluffy pudding. He will sit there doing nothing but looking at everyone. He likes to flirt with the girls.

Nat takes after his father. He's heavier and really wiggly! Last time I held him I had the bruises to show for it. He might be a footballer.

My mother's family could populate a small village:
  1. There are 10 of them.
  2. I have 24 cousins.
  3. They have about 17 children.
  4. Neil is my eldest cousin.
  5. Eve is my youngest aunt.
  6. Neil's eldest son Adrian is a year older than Eve's youngest son Paul.
So, there is no shortage of anything in this family. BUT Nat and Theo are our first twins!

On the other hand, my father's family could fit into one house:

  1. There are only two of the four boys left:
  2. My dad the youngest and John the eldest (but he and his wife are childless)
  3. Lawrence the artist had two boys but Andre was childless (1960s nuclear physics...)
  4. There are 3 cousins: Charles, James, and me
  5. Should I count the 2 boys their mother has with her (in)famous partner?
  6. If I don't, the family numbers less than 10.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wish me well...

Hey Everyone!

I just got off the phone with a recruiter and have submitted my CV for a job as a Graduate Administrator in European Art and Victorian Pictures. (Not many people like Victorian pictures, but I don't really mind, so hopefully this improves my chances?)

Cross your fingers and hold your breath...It's the most relevant thing to come along in weeks.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rainy Wednesday

Before I start: I want to hear your opinions on the difference between a movie and a film.

It's raining seriously out there. Well, we needed it and we can't complain as we've had quite a mild and sunny autumn so far...but it certainly doesn't help elevate the mood around here and I am feeling a bit queasy.

I overheard two women on the street talking about how warm it is for October, and they're right. We're nearly halfway through and the weatherman said that we were in for an Indian summer. But you watch, now that we're talking about it, the winds will change.


I have just sent my CV off to Laura Ashley. This is because I have a particular fondness for textiles/fashion/home decor. Last night, every time I closed my eyes, I came up with a new design for a top or a dress. There were 3. I can just about remember one. I should have tried to note them down. Wait, I just remembered another one.


Right, last night I nearly swore in the kitchen. I reached up to put a bottle away in my cupboard, which is above the dishrack. When I lowered my arm I smashed my elbow right into the handle of a pot, which was sticking out more than a handle ought to.

I yelled something, I forget what, and then huffed upstairs with my tray thinking, "That's it, I want my own kitchen and I want it now!"
When M&S are home, there is always a pot on the top rack. For the daily porridge, you see...

More at 33:

I haven't seen a glimpse of Y since she held our housemates' dinner the other week. I've seen Clogs a few times in the kitchen, splashing the water about as is his wont.

So, Y says that Clogs sleeps with his door open. She also says he sits on the stairs in order to poach a bit of next door's Wi-Fi connection. She has to step round him whenever she has to get up at night to go to the loo. All of this is immensely embarrassing to a Japanese female, especially as Clogs is also Japanese (and married) - I have no idea what level of traditional social rules the two of them observe up there on the top floor.
It's funny because when Vanessa was here, she ventured up that last set of stairs to take a peek and she said she saw a door ajar and glimpsed a pair of feet on the edge of the bed!


Yesterday the Polish guy who served me at the counter said, "So how long are you visiting London?" Imagine that, a Pole picking up an accent on me. I laughed and he corrected his mistake, but I did tell him that if he heard any accent at all, it's because I lived in America for a number of years.

Because I use Bond street tube, I usually stay on that end of Oxford Street. So after my Alexander class, I took a stroll down the other end of the street. I saw (the newly opened?) Urban Outfitters, so I went in. They played really cool music in there, but what an expensive shop for what it is! While in there I had a huge vibe on the stairs. It was a moment when I got a whiff of the shop smell, and that combined with the music and the overall edginess, I suddenly thought it had to be Canadian. (Confirmed yesterday when I chatted with my cousin in Ontario.)
One track came on, my ears perked up - and you know when that happens you have to find out what's playing. I asked at the counter, and they sent me to the DJ in the basement. With menswear there's an area called Carbon, where this DJ has 3 digital turntables (for CDs) a bank of 4 for customers to sample their selection of indie chillout/house/ethnic/electronic CDs. I was the only female down there - all the other girls were too busy with the overpriced clothing upstairs to bother.

So I walked out having tried out one of the cool turntables, and as the proud owner of East Rain by Shri. I listened to it 3 or 4 times last night and I am surprised that I didn't wake up to strains of it in my mind this morning.
Instead, I was dreaming about a white clay Meerschaum pipe which woke me up with a bit of a puzzled frown. And lo and behold, when I got up and turned on the TV, there was someone holding a picture of a dog smoking a .... guess what?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Nip over to Nipon

Sean said:
Oribia-chan, anata wa kawaii da!

(Olivia, you are so cuuuuute!)

(This is my name in Kana)


We have reached the month of perpetual afternoon, longer shadows and 7pm sunsets...Old Man Winter approaches...


I've been reading a lot this week so forgive me for sharing my favourite excerpts. Once again, laundry. Yesterday, clothes. Today, sheets. Plus, taking a break from my weird research job.

Come, visualise something with me from The Bloomsbury Book of the Mind:

Aldous Huxley in The Experience of Supreme Beauty, quoting the Irish poet A.E./George Russell in his book Candle of Vision:

I was sitting on the seashore, half listening to a friend arguing violently about something which merely bored me. Unconsciously to myself, I looked at a film of sand I had picked up on my hand, when I suddenly saw the exquisite beauty of every little grain of it; instead of being dull, I saw that each particle was made up on a perfect geometrical pattern, with sharp angles, from each of which a brilliant shaft of light was reflected, while each tiny crystal shone like a rainbow . . . The rays crossed and recrossed, making exquisite patterns of such beauty that they left me breathless . . . Then, suddenly, my consciousness was lighted up from within and I saw in a vivid way how the whole universe was made up of particles of material which, no matter how dull and lifeless they might seem, were nevertheless filled with this intense beauty. For a second or two the whole world appeared as a blaze of glory. When it died down, it left me with something I have never forgotten and which constantly reminds me of the beauty locked up in every minute speck of material around us . . .


From The Weekend Book (1924):

Chapter, Epigrams:

There was a young woman named Bright
Who travelled much faster than light.
She started one day
In a relative way,
And returned on the previous night.
-- Anonymous


Chapter, All Creatures That On Earth Do Dwell:

The Living Things
[...] There is a very rare and lovely butterfly, the Large Blue, which exists in precarious colonies here and there in two or three English counties. The caterpillar feeds on wild thyme; but when autumn comes it falls to the ground and is picked up by ants, which carry it into their anthills not, as you might suppose, for the purpose of devouring it but to keep it alive as a source of some sticky sweet secretion which the ants love. For this reason they cherish their captive, feeding it upon their own offspring, the tiny ant-grubs which are less precious to them than the stuff which they "milk" from the caterpillars. In the spring the caterpillars crawl forth, turn into chrysalises, and ultimately hatch out as Large Blue butterflies. The butterfly therefore requires for its continued existence (a) the wild thyme and (b) the ant, to be present in conjunction; its caterpillar could not survive the English winter without the shelter of the anthill.
Here is a very intricate relationship not of predator and prey but of mutual benefactors. It is called symbiosis.
The butterfly, however, is the victim of a predator -- Man with his butterfly-net; for it is now so rare that single specimens fetch 5 shillings* each. The farmer with his ploughs and his tractors also threatens its existence, destroying both thyme and anthills. So the Large Blue, which has become too specialised to adapt itself to changing circumstances, may shortly join upon the scrap-heap the millions of failures labelled Extinct. [...]

* 5 shillings equalled 60 pence in 1924. Today that translates to nearly £10.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

My Asian Duck Dinner [Edited]

Before I forget what I did, this is for those of you who wanted to know.
Just eyeball your amounts, use your discretion, it will be fine. This is what cooking is all about.

Pak Choi:
Chop and saute in toasted sesame oil cut with a bit of extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
a few slices of Thai green chilli
some roughly chopped coriander leaves and a handful of spring onion

Duck fillet strips:
Fry to brown edges in olive oil with a bit of salt, pepper, and herbes de provence
Remove from pan

Add more olive oil to the pan if needed
a crushed clove of garlic (and the rest of the chilli if you wish)
a couple tablespoons of oyster sauce
a teaspoon or so of soy sauce
a teaspoon of honey
slightly caramelise
add ready medium or fine rice noodles
drop in the duck
sprinkle at the last minute with coriander leaves, spring onion and toasted sesame seeds

Serve and enjoy, preferably with a rose or sweetish white wine.

[Edit: I had forgotten to mention the soy sauce!]

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Weekend discoveries...

Whew...! I avoided a drunken party in Soho tonight....none of them read this blog...


I made a few discoveries today.

I want my own little Samarost! You have to help this tiny fellow, in a white bodysuit with a pompom on his head, to save his little planet. One tip: just keep clicking wherever you can and you will soon work out the pattern...
It is the oddest and coolest discovery game ever!

The Czech design company behind Samarost have also created a game for the Polyphonic Spree. They've been around for a few years and I saw them on NBC's The Morning Show. Just think they've been time-warped here from Woodstock. There are lots of them, they wear white robes, they are happy, and their concerts are full of bubbles and balloons.
...Actually, the Oompah-Loompahs sound like them in their song after Veruca Salt gets pushed down the chute...

Play the game The Quest for the Rest here. Turn up your speakers. (Flash)

See a v. cool TV spot for the Polyphonic Spree here. (Quicktime) I want some o' that!

*gasp* Saturday Evening Post

(Anyone get the pun?)
I broke my no weekend post rule...but I have so much to tell you all, well not really. Then again, why would I not blog while waiting for the laundry?

I forgot the rest of the Psychologies tidbits from the day before yesterday.
Plus I saw a movie last night which made me cry like a baby.
And finally how I will prepare the duck tonight.


End section The Five Senses:

The Power of Scent
Intro: our sense of smell is neglected in favour of vision. Plato denounced it as the sense of lust, desire and impulse, and placed it firmly at the bottom of the sensory hierarchy ... Animals have acute senses of smell whereas human beings, standing upright, rely on sight.

The Sensual World:
the sense of smell can save our lives. People suffering from a total loss of smell (anosmia) can become depressed. [Taste too, in psych I heard of a man who tried to commit suicide because he'd lost his sense of taste due to a head injury some years before.]
Our sense of smell is found in the cortex, connected to the limbic system, which generates moods, emotions, and memory.
Scientists are still unclear as to how scents trigger memory.

Creating an Identity: Your choice of perfume gives others a strong sense of what makes you unique, and is never meaningless.
Everyone has their own odour identity, determined by our genes, skin, mood, environment, diet, and lifestyle - which combine so that no fragrance smells the same on two people.
A pleasurable fragrance tends to attract us to the person wearing it.

Consciously tuning into fragrance takes time, but the rewards are worth it.

[I'm very much into scent. Vanessa will attest that every product I own smells good. I won't buy it if I don't like the smell. I take ages just choosing a hand soap...In fact a few years ago I almost wanted to become a professional nez, the expert employed by parfumeries.]

Then a section about hair and makeup.

How to obtain a peaceful sleep: stick to the same hours, even on weekends. Don't nap in the day. Avoid caffeine in the late evening. Make the evening meal light and mostly carbs and include these sleep-promoting foods: lettuce, oats, fish, turkey, bananas, wheatgerm, avocados, warm milk. [They all contain tryptophan...and Beatrix Potter described lettuce as having a "soporific effect" on the Flopsy Bunnies...]

The therapeutic virtues of writing: According to an American clinical study, writing can alleviate physical symptoms. Patients suffering from asthma or rheumatoid arthritis, writing for 20 minutes a day for 3 days, felt better and took fewer drugs.

'Writing is a form of therapy,' wrote Graham Greene. 'Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness...inherent in the human situation.'

In moments of high stress, the body's speech production centre is deactivated and there is a pronounced activation of the visual cortex, so turning the images later on into words could alter the way they are encoded in the brain.

[Of course blogging is a sort of therapy, but still not as effective as the personal journal, which would remain private and express all sorts of things one would only discuss on the proverbial couch.]

The Food Section:
Sour cream leek tartlets. Yum. And how to plan a pleasant dinner party for a few close friends.
[Heh, riiiiight, it's like herding rabbits...]

A cozy winter cocktail idea: organic apple juice + Calvados apple brandy + soda or ginger ale.

Join other volunteers on a conservation effort for a couple of weeks.

Unexplained: they're still not entirely sure what causes deja-vu. It could be triggered by having had a similar experience which was, until that moment, forgotten.
Or you could have seen but not registered someone a moment before, so that when you do see them, you're left wondering where you'd seen them before...this is called priming.

The End.

If I buy this magazine again, do you all want a more condensed review? I'd be happy to oblige. Just let me know if you're interested...


Brokedown Palace. Starring Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale. Two girls on holiday in Thailand are imprisoned for smuggling heroin. One girl (Danes) makes the ultimate sacrifice for her innocent friend (Beckinsale).
No spoilers but this beats any previous record for me: it was a 4-tissue film and that was only in the last 5 minutes. And it wasn't just the wet-eyed dabbing, it was actual heartbroken sobbing.
I am surprised at this...


And finally, the duck. I am not hungry enough for it. I will pop a quiche into the oven and prepare a scrumptious rocket, tomato, parmesan, olive oil and balsamic vinegar salad.

Something I have learned through two failed attempts: Never order a salad for your main course. They are best eaten as a side dish at home.
I once had a fortified sort of rocket salad at Patisserie Valerie (I think with peppers, olives, feta, etc.) and they were all stalks. Delightful described them as shrubs.
Rocket is supposed to be tender and tasty, not woody.
The second failure, again with Delightful, was at some Daisy-pickin' California place in Crouch End...I ordered a jerk chicken on a bed of those earthy tasting red-stalked leaves. Such hard work it was.
And that is when I made my resolution. I will make one exception only: the exceedingly good Caesar Saltgrass Steakhouse or Red Texas (!)

So if any of you ever catch me ordering a salad in THIS country, please holler at me. Though I doubt I will forget...


P.S. Just got a phone call from Brian. (He's one of the only Brits who calls to talk on the phone!) Hi Mr B for when you read this! *wave*
He invited me to the Institut Francais to see a documentary on ballet in the Paris Opera next Wednesday evening. Since discovering that I like ballet, and he being a man isn't supposed to, he's taken to inviting me to a few ballet-related dos so he doesn't feel as guilty about going alone. Hehehe :P
Except in a moment of dismay he remembered he had chemo the day before, so the ballet event at the IF is off. None of you other heathens are into it, are you?

P.P.S. Two of you have complained about my comments section, so I have returned it to the much better old format. So keep the feedback rolling in!

Friday, October 07, 2005


I ate the veal escalope for dinner with a glass of Cotes du Rhone and I enjoyed it. I had no cream and a dead apple so I didn't follow the Anonymous (Delightful) recipe, so this is what I did: Lightly dusted it with flour mixed with salt, black pepper and herbes de provence, and pan fried in a mix of light and virgin olive oil.

This is a flavour that will return to haunt me...and I am going to build some serious jaw muscles if I keep it up!

Tomorrow, strips of duck fillet...I will let you know what I do with that.


I went for my Benefit makeover this afternoon, thanks to the not very suitable tint I own.
And, um, I feel ... a bit too made-up. :(
But she told me I have beautiful eyelashes :D


Delightful fainted this week, tore his knee ligaments and had to go to hospital. So he's gone home to mummy and daddy this weekend to "play the enfeebled cripple" and get pampered.
He was up to more than 12 miles, so let's hope he can do the November marathon after all.


If any of you are interested, there's a spate of mouse stories going around on 20six, so if you pay my little 20Six blog a visit you can read the story!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wine and Psychology

Woo! I bought some wine today, and because I ate oriental food, I opened the Gewurtztraminer (from Alsace) which is the sweetest white I've ever tasted. It can also be an aperitif. It is nearly as sweet as my orange muscat dessert wine.

I am three-quarters of the way through a small glass and I am feeling warm and fuzzy, so by the time I finish the glass and this post we might be having more fun.


Because I have decided I need more protein, I bought 3 servings of meat today - and of course the grocery bill increased by 20%.
I tried to pick up some beef but ended up compromising with veal (please don't yell at me for that). I also bought some strips of duck fillet, lamb steaks, and sausages, but I always get those. Waitrose does some nice organic pork and bramley apple ones.


Picked up the new Psychologies magazine today. Kept wondering why so many articles were numbered "2" until I realised I missed the launch last month, but I have just bought the November edition and we're only in the first week of October!

(Ironic that while I am blogging about Psychology, my BA, I have started ignoring The Culture Show, related my MA in Art History. OK I saw the gallery and the Reubens bits, but am skipping the drama bit.)

Some interesting thoughts I want to share with you:

  • Our inhibitory ability is affected by strain and fatigue, meaning we are more likely to say the wrong thing if we are tired or under pressure. Some are able to remain discreet at such times, but most people should avoid situations requiring tact, such as interviews or dates, unless we've had a good night's sleep.
[Sorry I couldn't make it to the interview this morning; I went to bed at 3am and didn't want to risk putting my foot in my mouth...]

  • French studies have shown that diners are more likely to stay longer and spend more money if they can smell lavender.
[Study sponsored by the l'Universite de Provence? (shush, I made it up ok?)]

  • Here's one that will blow your socks off: What is your comfort food? Researchers have found that men and women opt for different comfort foods. Guess who goes for snacks and who goes for steak or pasta? They think it is due to conditioning, but men equate lovingly prepared food with affection so are likely to cook up something labour-intensive such as casserole, while women see the kitchen as a chore and are probably going to go for the crisps and chocolates. (Didn't we all think men would pop off to McDonalds?)
  • Then there's a huge article on how men think (less communication, as if we didn't know).
  • Another on the best psychotherapy - the oldies are the best: Philosophers! Socrates, Seneca, Epicurus (oooh), Descartes, Sartre (NO!), Bertrand Russell...
  • Goal setting to achieve your cherished ambitions.
  • How fathers influence their daughters' relationships (repeating patterns)
  • Is there a life after death?
  • How we find new ways to relieve guilty consciences.
  • Do we care what other people think? Useful Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques:
1) Internally monitor your positive and negative self-thoughts.
2) If someone says something negative about you, think of three positive things they could have said instead.
3) As soon as a self-critical thought enters your mind, change your body posture to mirror the way you would if you were feeling proud or confident.
4) If you can't think of any positive opinions, focus on the pleasant nuances of the world around you, such as the sunshine outside or the bird on the grass.
5) When someone is putting you down, translate the situation into a caricature, give the person a squeaky voice.
We have to be good to ourselves and accept ourselves first of all, before we can change towards our own happiness.

  • Then there's a rather large dossier on women's lives. (What do you want to bet 90% of the people who buy this mag will be women?)
  • And the last quarter is taken with beauty and food. See? A woman's magazine, unmistakeably.
More tidbits tomorrow...


OK the wine wore off and we haven't had fun yet. Never mind. Should I pour another glass? Let's see what happens.

Oh golly, I hope I have enough milk for tea...If not Clogs will let me use some...

I poured a few swigs of Orange Muscat.
It's very different to the Gewurtztraminer...much sweeter. Very full-bodied. Quite delightful really.

Major Overhaul

After a few fruitless phone calls to my workaholic friends, I decided to knuckle down and confront my new template.
I toiled all yesterday evening and am not doing this again in a hurry, although it is nice to see the results. Next time, I should be paid...

I have now learned how to tweak the widths and colours of the text, sidebars and menus, but still can't adjust the width of the blog itself. I also want to nudge the title further up into the top bar...I think it's slipped somehow. I even changed the width of the Word of the Day section so I could keep it for you all.

So…do you like it???


Miscellaneous thoughts I had while eating dinner:

Thai chopsticks are absolutely useless. Always go for the short Japanese bamboo ones, they're much more handy.

Have you ever slept between satin sheets? Unless you want to fight a losing battle all night, don't try it.
One time (at my aunt's house), I woke up without my pillow and found it all the way over by the door.

Do you remember the early days, when Ctrl+C used to centre text in Word? Or did I just make that up?


The best-preserved dinosaur fossils which include skin imprints show evidence of feathers. Tyrannosaurus rex had crest-like feathers! First bird-hips, and now feathers.
...Yet more evidence that has the ornithologists jiggling in their seats.


Oh, I saw Ruby Wax yesterday, signing autographs on her new cosmetics at the big Boots emporium on Oxford Street. She is an obnoxious American so-called comedienne who has made a name for herself over here.
That Boots outstrips the one at Piccadilly. I went in for tissues and came out with the best shampoo and conditioner ever, even better than Aussie. I have Dream Hair - just like it says on the tin.
And no tissues.

Speaking of comedians, I've often wanted to tell you about my favourites over here. (Btw, I don't think women make good comedians.)

  • Jimmy Carr - dry, acerbic, often insulting, but he gets aways with it in his preppy Home Counties style.
  • Ross Noble - free-associative, abstract, waffling and completely immature. Long-haired Geordie, reminds me of my cousin Nick from Lincs. Noodlemeister (QT)
  • Lee Evans - he is made of elastic and energy and endless physical humour. For you Americans, he was the little crippled guy in Something About Mary. The scene where he falls off his crutches is classic.
  • Paul Merton - somewhat cerebral, dry. Has a show in which he consigns with a celebrity guest their pet peeves to Room 101.
  • Al Murray - plays the outspoken Cockney pub landlord. Only the Brits will gettit.
  • Alan Davies - naive, obvious, the shy one who has the funniest angle in QI with Stephen Fry. Plays a psychic detective in Jonathan Creek, and a barrister in something else soon.
  • Steve Coogan - best known as Alan Partridge, the arrogant, self-important, foot-in-mouth, second rate radio announcer. Makes for some painful moments. Americans know him as Phineas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days.

My fave Alan Partridge Clips (Media Player):
SORRY - I've found they don't click over for some reason.
To view, right-click and Copy Link, then in Media Player, Ctrl+U (open URL), then Ctrl+V (paste), hit enter and Bob's your uncle...

Airbag Deploys ***
Funny Story
Annoying the Builders
Middle Class Moment ****
The Moment (continued)
Embarrassing as James Bond (my fave! *****)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Texan bits

Today is a dead day that all of you job hunters will very well understand. No phone calls, no emails, no feedback, no response whatsoever to the applications I have been making for the past few days. Eh?
So for now, just waiting for my research start date.


I'm beginning to remember my dreams again! Last night I dreamt that someone nice, not sure who...someone who looked at me sideways with a nice smile...asked me to sing a song. I sang something which in the dream I knew, but I don't actually recognise it now.
I ought to build a small repertoire, just in case I am ever asked! LOL

Vanessa sent me a funny email entitled "Things I have learned as a Texan". Here are a few of the best bits:

There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in Texas, plus a few no one has ever seen before.

If it grows, it will stick you. If it crawls, it will bite you! [Yes, and if it flies it will chase you!]

In West Texas the wind blows at 90 mph from Oct 2 till June 25; then it stops totally until October 2.

"Coldbeer" is one word.

People actually grow and eat okra.

Green grass DOES burn.

"Fix-in-to" is one word. [The year before I moved back to London, I started using that word...then I knew it was time to get out!]

"Sweetened ice tea" is appropriate for all meals and you start drinking it when you are two. [And then I started drinking this without complaining...]

"Jeet?" is actually a phrase meaning, "Did you eat?"

You measure distance in minutes. [Exactly! 10 mins from one end of The Woodlands to the other.]

You can switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day.

All four seasons are: Almost summer, summer, still summer and Christmas.

You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good chili weather.

I'd love a good bowl of chili right about now, with some monterey jack cheese and tortilla chips crumbled on top, with a dash of Tabasco. (What the Brits don't know is that real chili does not contain kidney beans.)
Yep, every now and then I remember I'm a naturalised Texan ;)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Resolutions etc.

Things that annoyed me yesterday at the bank:
  • The cashier shuffling a large pile of Twenties and reshuffling them every time one popped out.
  • The woman in front of me who kept taking calls on her mobile and looked like she had just got through mucking out the stables.
  • The American lady at the information desk who kept asking questions and demanding something.
And then Christopher the bouncy Polish handyman is back, and started - in fact, stepped up - the usual flirting session, while Clogs stood holding the door open and laughing at me. I was running late for my Alexander class, too.
So the Pole tells me I look (ok he said beautiful) and that I don't need to exercise looking the way I do.

Yes, well, you can look like anything, it's how you feel that matters.


Now, on to the related resolutions. I went to my new doctor yesterday and the first thing she said when she saw me was, "You look underweight, are you anorexic?"
But I can't eat more than I already do. All of you who have seen me at it wonder where I tuck it all away, and so do I!

After I thought about it a bit, I realised that I don't eat much meat. I avoid beef because it is not easy to digest. I love lamb. There are no other red meats. There must be a way of making beef more agreeable.
Jia Li suggested protein shakes, but I sniffed at all four of Delightful's powders the other day (he is building up for a marathon), and they stink stink stink.

This will all fall into place quite nicely once I start my proper exercise regime.
Protein + exercise = muscle mass
(Which is not the same as weight gain. More mass, not fat.)


Just got a message - Yes, you can DRIVE, you can DRIVE. Delightful can drive!
Oh wtf...
John can drive! I can't wait!
This has sent him off the Cool Scale, you know.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Mutiny on the Blog

Three hurrays for Delightful: He has passed his driving test on the fourth attempt!
It has taken the better part of a year. So pretty soon, I might be driving something around a car park, in first gear, with something-other-than-Dido in the CD player...


I have a lovely new template to put up, but deep down I am having a blog crisis.

Why do I blog? For me? For you?
I started so that I could express all the thoughts in my mind, things I wanted to share with the friends who were not with me at the moment each thought was born.

Then it evolved into a sort of smorgasbord of whatever came to mind each day.

But still, why do I blog? I enjoy your feedback and your comments. I enjoy the banter and the witticisms and the arguments and the discussions - with you, the people I know and love, and the people I do not know...
And then there are the ones who lurk. Daily visitors who will never speak up but never go away.
Worst of all are the people I know who yet remain silent and it always goes like this:

--I read your blog the other day...
--Oh, DID you...? (miffed at the lack of feedback)

I write partly for myself but partly for you and therefore if I have no feedback I will lose the inspiration.

Although it has made me a better writer, I'm beginning to have the sneaking suspicion that I was more talkative before I started writing. I stored it up in my mind and let loose on the next friend I met. Now I store it up and put it onto the internet for all and sundry to find and I can be lazy and stop sharing across the table.

And so, why do I blog? This is my conversation with you. A conversation is not a monologue.

If I stop storing it up, will I have more to say to those I see every day?

I think so. Look, my muse is already waving at me...Shall I let her go?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Forgot to tell ya!

Hey peoples! I forgot - all of you who keep asking over and over again - I finally received a start date for my new research job: October 7.
Yay...well I waited so long I lost the spark, didn't I...!


Jia Li (Michelle) has really jazzed up her blog. I was speechless yesterday when I ran into it. Anyway, go on over and take a peek: Good Old Times

In other news, she has drawn me as an anime!
Jia Li impresses me twice in one day. She says she has another pic coming up for me soon, but I will leave that as another surprise for you all.

Keep your eyes peeled here too; all I will say is that I've never dealt with quite THIS much HTML before...Tell me not to give up...I spent today avoiding it, yes I did.

But that's also because I had little patience for anything. I spent the day like this:



*cough cough*