Friday, March 31, 2006

How nerdy are you? [Edited]

Thanks to Merserene for this quiz. She and I already knew we were, but it doesn't stop us being all girly and talking about makeup!

I am nerdier than 71% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

A bit tough, since Science, English, History and Geography were all my favourite classes. I wanted to be a scientist, but I used to correct the Geography teacher, and everyone loved my English essays. I made the highest grade in the class in US Government and the teacher said, "If I weren't married, I would kiss you."

Now it's your turn. (No, not to kiss me, but to take the quiz...!)


The Stupid Quiz said I am "Totally Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!

I did not want to be smarter than this. Although, I should not have taken it after skipping lunch, and before eating dinner...

On the phone with Mum this afternoon, I told her I wished I could be less intelligent and more outgoing. To use only want word for what I want to be. She said, "It's your fault for being born so smart." I said, "No, it's Dad's, Lizzy's [godmother] and your fault for feeding my brain all the time! And preemies are supposed to have learning problems!" (Specially as I was often deprived of oxygen in utero.)

You have to do this one too...

Thursday, March 30, 2006


How rude!

I sent a detailed cover letter and CV to recruitment at a company. Someone emailed me sending me to the vacancies on their website where I could apply - to the very same department I'd sent it to in the first place. Uh!

See? Every time I try to be different and pro-active, I get knuckled back into conformity!


I need a dose of Mutts to make me smile at times like this.

(Oh dear...sounds like me.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's a small small world

My mother sent my birthday card this week, over 10 days early. She's so lovely, in it she drew a little flying heart, with speed lines trailing after it and wrote, "Fly to your heart." I know it was a moment of inspiration because she knows what I am going through.

I mentioned the earliness of the card when next we spoke and she said, "Oh, so that's where it got to - I was looking for it today!"

Yes, it reached its destination...but by mistake!


I went to the interview today. The recruiter was American. She told me she'd lived in America and Canada.
Where in Canada? Toronto. I have relatives near there!
Where in the US? Texas. I used to live there!
I said, "Small world!"

But it was set to get smaller:
Where in Texas? "A small community called Kingwood..."
I exclaimed, "Oh my god, I lived in The Woodlands!"

(Kingwood and T.W. are both beautiful planned communities set in the pine forests north of Houston.)


I know it's an interesting social experiment for reality TV, but you don't go swapping a property heiress with a toilet cleaner.

I knew what the heiress felt like, wanting to spit while cleaning the men's urinals and the stench of it making her eyes water...but I didn't feel sorry for her.

I actually felt sorry for the toilet cleaner who was forced to live a luxurious, moneyspending lifestyle. She didn't like it. Just for a manicure, facial, and pedicure, she spent 130 pounds. Cleaning toilets makes her 50 pounds per week.

She is discontent and wants to be a social worker one day. Benefit: she might finally find the confidence to walk into college and the motivation to pursue her dream.


I've been meaning to post this picture for a long time. Jason, Vanessa, Johnny. Part of the Fabulous Four is missing: Olivia. Look, that person even got out the chair to leave an honorary place for me!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Busy Monday

This morning, I got a call from a recruiter I sent my CV to so long ago, I didn't even remember doing it. She said she didn't know when I applied, but her director put it on her desk this morning. Did it get lost down the back of the filing cabinet or what?

Sloane Ranger

Then I went off to meet Miss S at the BADA antiques fair on Duke of York Square. All the good-looking public school boys around there. I keep forgetting I can't set her up with my cousin because that's not her type. So I mistakenly told her to walk her dog around Sloane Square, she might get a date because he's so unusual that people will stop to talk. Then I thought, I'm the one who ought to hang out there, and she should go to California because she wants a surfer dude.

While at the fair, I became enthralled with the girls doing ceramics conservation demos. They studied conservation at Dean College, Chichester. Even before I left Christie's, my tutor encouraged me to consider conservation. I have the patience and dexterity for it, specially with my laboratory background.
But...I cannot be a student all my life. I almost wish my Dad hadn't forbid me from working while I studied, though I know I would have failed at both if I had.

Since we graduated from Christie's (I with my M.Phil., she with her 2-year diploma), Miss S has started her undergrad studies at Sotheby's. She says the Christie's programme is more academic and better-organised than Sotheby's. Unusual, because as an organisation, Sotheby's is in the 21st century, while Christie's is still in the 20th. Famous saying that Christie's is run by gentlemen pretending to be businessmen, while Sotheby's is run by businessmen pretending to be gentlemen....(And don't shoot the messenger.)

After the fair, we met up with one of her classmates and went back to her place for tea. She gave me two DVDs! Amelie and Pride & Prejudice! So I let her keep the Orlando (book and DVD) that I lent her last year.


Holiday Hiatus

She wants me to go to Turkey with her (a Sotheby's study trip): Cappodoccia and Constantinople, I think. Sorry, can't remember the new name for the capital...
Then she really thought she could tempt me with a supplemental trip to Ephesus and Troy. Arrrrrgh!
I would love to go.
She is also looking for "someone" to go to Verona with her. I went the year before last, and would go again. I like Verona and its people, and don't mind the opera.

She pays for hotel and tickets. I pay for food.

Must stay in London and get a job. This is my broken record for the people who ask me to travel.
Dear lord, I almost can't believe I am in this position; for the first time in my life, a job is not falling into my lap, and even with my hard pursuit, one is not forthcoming. I am not used to failure, but the last year has been one, bigtime, in every way.



So anyway, when I left her place, I took the bus to South Kensington, and as there were delays on the Piccadilly line, I decided to walk to Green Park. I've been walking through large swathes of London a lot recently.

I don't know how long it took, as I stopped off at Harrods102 for sushi and Krispy Kremes (shush!). Then I got lost on Hyde Park Corner. I could see Piccadilly but kept going in circles through the subway. It was dark by the time I reached Piccadilly and I was close to frustration. So I thought I deserved to go to my club for an espresso and a comfy sit-down. Something I never took advantage of since joining, shame on me...

Went up to the bistro/bar/lounge, put my feet up (not literally) and read Country Life while my coffee cooled and the gentle strains of smooth jazz filled the air. Then I discovered a flat screen TV surrounded by even comfier settees in the further recesses of the region. I am so going back there with my friends.

I just love how friendly they are there. Listen, I am in a mood. I even like the way they put my coat on and settled my collar on my neck for me, so there. Now I might go and have a little cry.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Avengers

Emma Peel and Steed are kidnapped and handcuffed to a bedpost. (The same one!)

Mrs Peel: Well, there's something to be said for an elaborate hairstyle...
Steed: What's that?
Olivia: Hairpins!
Mrs Peel: Hairpins.
Then she picks the locks.

Sure I wasn't around before 1977?


Speaking of The Avengers: Look my Daddy was a regular extra in 1963!

Again I will be like Steli and say: Don't forget to read my previous post! (The post-volcano one about the universe.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I can follow the volcano post...!

Indeed I can...if I can remember what this programme was all about.

Michio Kaku, a Japanese-American professor talked about Time. I only caught the last 20 minutes, however. I've seen his episode on Aging and enjoyed it, I like his style.

He talked about the infinity of the universe (Buddhism), also the fact that it had a beginning and will have an end (Christianity).
Both beliefs have been borne out by scientific evidence.

In 1919 (ish) Edwin Hubble used the fandangled telescope at the new observatory above Los Angeles to peer farther into space than any man had before. He saw a speck in one of the nebulae and realised it was a star. (Another sun probably (and the sun is a star).) This made clear that other galaxies existed other than our own. We were not the centre of the universe.

Oh, I diverged. I meant to get right to the point that jumped out for me, and that was the Ages of the Universe. Did you ever hear that scientists once thought the universe's expansion rate was slowing down prior to a collapse?

Well, now they find it is speeding up! I figure this must mean we are still closer to the beginning than the end. They ask, "Where are we going?"

[Admittedly, I missed a lot while I fixed my computer and argued with my mother on the phone (more later).]

The Universe has Five Ages.
The First was, well, self-explanatory.
We are in the Second Age.
In the Third, I assume we will start slowing down and planets will die (I missed that bit).
In the Fourth, only black holes will remain to absorb everything that existed, even themselves. (Scary!)
This is the bit that made me go "wow" and want to share it with you:
In the Fifth Age, all that will exist are PHOTONS! Yes, particles of light moving in random directions: chaos.

WOW, right???

The professor put forth a sparkling summation, but I seem to have forgotten it, even though in the middle I had an epiphany about...something...crap, must be this headache.

I want to see this programme again. In the meantime, have you ever read Prof. Greene's Theory of Everything, or heard of his String Theory? You should watch Elegant Universe. I blogged about it last year but can't find it. The Prof talks about various awesome things.

But seriously, if I try to imagine the area taken up by these photons in the 5th Age...
The mind boggles. You see, if the universe is expanding, into what space is it expanding? Our minds are so finite that they keep putting up walls, creating rooms, insisting on a boundary for the edge of the universe to bump into.

Oops. It would have been such a concise post if I'd stopped at the photons in chaos....!

P.S. Good heavens! You can watch the entire Elegant Universe on the PBS website! For blimming free!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Volcano Post


I spent yesterday into the wee hours running the system mechanic on my laptop. I spent half of today doing more. Short of opening up the actual machine, I have done everything I can to it.

Still not doing as well as it should. The fan is going, it's hot, and whenever this happens it slows. But at least it's not hanging, as I rescued some RAM.


Before I get to the volcano:

First a little somewhat related aside. I heard that some time ago, 50 tonnes of Mars fell on India as red dusty rain over the space of two months.
No one is sure what the particles are exactly, but they resemble bio-molecules.

Scientists posit that this is the sort of event that originally seeded life on earth however many millions of years ago. So perhaps in another million years something new will develop from this, be it a new organism, species or bacteria.


Geneticists have been discovering that, considering the age of the human race, there is surprisingly little genetic variation among modern humans. Why?

They think that at one point in history there was a genetic bottleneck due to a drastic reduction in the human population. It may have gone down to 5-10,000 people.

Vulcanologists have been making parallel discoveries through their studies of seismic activity under Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA. They predict that if the magma chamber under the park were to erupt, it would devastate North America and not long after that, dangerously affect the rest of the world.

Ashfall from a major Yellowstone eruption over 600,000 years ago has been discovered in geologic samples from the entire shaded area. Minor ones only occurred about 160,000 years ago.

This is a Super Volcano. It has no cone, but there is a caldera under which broods a subterranean magma chamber, deep in the bowels of the earth. Yellowstone's caldera is 85km long and 45 km wide.

If conditions coincide to result in a buildup of pressure, the whole thing blows. Huge areas would be covered in magma and pyroclastic flows. Tonnes of sulphuric acid and ash would be shot into the atmosphere. Imagine the acid rain!

Scientists know that a super volcano erupted 74,000 years ago in Toba, Sumatra (Indonesia). They say it was the loudest sound mankind has ever heard.

The geneticists are able to pinpoint this event through Mitochondrial DNA, passed only through the mother. Whereas most genetic information is found in our cell nuclei, the mitochondria (energy powerhouse) of the cell also contains a small amount of DNA. Mitochondrial DNA mutates at very regular intervals.

It proves useful in their clocking the approximate time of the event: 70-80,000 years ago.

Volcanic ash stays in the earth's atmosphere and deflects a percentage of sunlight. The earth's temperature would have dropped by 4-5 degrees. It might not sound like much, but
overall this would result in a nuclear winter - reduced crops, starvation, populations wiped out.

The genetic variation that existed before the eruption bottlenecked and only a few survived and it is from this small variety that the world population once again grew.
So we are all more closely related than we'd thought, thanks to the super volcano...

Pyroclastic Flow

Monday, March 20, 2006

Viva Italia

I went to the Italian exhibition yesterday with Miss S. Lots of free goodies to nibble on. Then we bought vouchers for little lunch plates in the "piazza".

The most interesting thing I ate was a sebada. It's Sicilian. Gran padano cheese mixed with mint and lemon rind, stuffed in a little pastry case and deep fried, then sprinkled with honey. Mmmmm.

Then we went on to the wine-tasting. 3 quid for a (crystal) glass in a neck pouch. Two aisles of wine. I overheard some bottles were worth 45 or 60 pounds. I tasted 3 reds and one white. Surprisingly, even though two of the reds were well-aged, very woody and 14% alc. - and I drank the equivalent of half a glass total - it didn't go to my head as usual...

Miss S went home and rather than take the bus from Olympia to South Kensington, I decided to walk. Up Ken. High Street, along the park, up Queen's Gate, along Cromwell Rd to the station. Of course, with diversions to take photos of interesting things, such as some trees and sky and rooftops on Melbury Rd (near the house of the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward, Lord Leighton) - a very pretty neighbourhood, although while I was walking up there I thought, "It's not too different to St John's Wood." No wonder so many of those artists lived in both neighbourhoods. The last time I was there, at his house, I wasn't living in SJW yet.
My other diversion was near Queen's Gate road, I saw the actual Queen's Gate. Looked sort of Queen Anne-ish.

Along Ken. High St., there was a PC World! I have needed to go to one for months now. Hi-speed internet has burned out my USB cable, which isn't meant for the purpose, and resulted in lots of disconnections lately - but it's all I had at the time. Now I have a proper extension cable and it's longer.
I also bought a program to try and fix my ailing laptop since I can't afford a new one.

[Hate to admit this, but "I can't afford" has never been part of my vocabulary...But now, my dad is getting fed up with me...I'm getting fed up with me too...]


I watched Poirot: Cards on the Table last night. He always says things that make me laugh, but yesterday's rant topped them all:

Poirot: The question is, can Hercule Poirot possibly by wrong?
Mrs Lorrimer: No one can always be right.
Poirot: But I am! Always I am right. It is so invariable it startles me. And now it looks very much as though I may be wrong, and that upsets me. But I should not be upset, because I am right. I must be right because I am never wrong.


Some of you are waiting for the Volcano post. I will do it separately later today.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Long Live Morris Dancing!

Right! Earlier this week I promised you I'd write about the Morris dancers and the super volcano.

But first a little tidbit. I can't remember where I read about the origin of Goodbye.
It started out as "God be with you." Phrases inevitably become shortened, "God be wi' ye." and so on.

Anyhoo. The other morning I was watching Morris Dancers. When people all over the world think of English folk dance, does anything come to mind? I doubt it. When you think of Spain, India, Greece, Thailand all sorts of traditional costumes and dances spring to mind.

Why has England lost its lyrical and musical heritage? The Irish still sing ballads, play instruments, and dance their reels. The Welsh still fill the hills with song. The Scots still love a good jig and the bagpipe shows no sign of fading. Furthermore, the Gaelic language has undergone a huge revival in Wales. Many school-age Welsh children can switch smoothly between English and Gaelic, so well done them.

What the hell happened to England???

Morris dancing very nearly died out but thankfully some small villages try to preserve the old traditions like summer fairs and the Maypole dance on the green. Morris has its origins in ancient pre-Christian ritual, and so in the 19th century it was spurned by the mainstream as being a bit too pagan. I suspect the modernising English man began to think it was a bit effete, leaping about on the grass with a load of men dressed in white, waving white hankies, and jingling the bells on their ankles...

You see? Good Morris images are rather hard to find...

Here they are dancing with sticks which they clap together in various patterns. It's called the Bean-something or other, because it is for the bean planting season. Knocking the end of the stick in the ground symbolises planting the bean.

Women do clog dancing and molly dancing. Please, please visit this page, it is full of wonderful images: Brighton's Morris Day. (opens new window.) I want you to see that this can still happen in England!


I hope the next generation grows up appreciating the past rather than trying to ignore it. History is NOT naff. If you lose your heritage, it is gone forever, be it language, music, song, costume, myth and legend...

People may undervalue so called "heritage" preserved for tourist enjoyment, but consider the possibility that if it were not for the tourists showing an interest, many cultures might have lost their traditions. For instance, few Japanese show an interest in the No opera today, but it is the wide-eyed tourists who keep it alive.
A number of Oriental artisanal skills have been dying a slow death, but now with a renewed interest from the West, it goes to show that Japan's isolationism will not preserve its culture. So many Westerners are learning the Eastern arts, taking it global. So what if there is dilution or integration? At least it will still exist, and in this age of knowledge it is not difficult to discover the true origins of an art.

Anyway, I didn't mean to rant and I have taken you on a huge tangent, but I hope you have enjoyed the journey!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Met the infamous Mr B for dinner last night, and Doc joined us an hour later. It was at this truly quirky hole in the wall in Shepherd's Market (off Piccadilly). French name: L'Autre. Run by a Canadian and a Pole. Serving Mexican and Polish food. Confusingly charming, charmingly confusing.

I had seafood enchiladas but wish I had chosen beef. The other two opted for Polish fare: Doc had kielbasa (sausage) with sauerkraut and mustard and Mr B had pierogies (stuffed potato dumplings) with borscht. It was like being back in Texas...with BOTH cuisines!

Once again, they both refused to let me pay :)
Can't wait till I get a job so I can be normal again.
Actually, they spent a few minutes wrangling over the bill. Mr B wanted to pay all, Doc wanted to cover half. I piped in and said to B he'd better listen to the Doc!

Then we wandered off to a pub. As soon as we got in, they started going on about whether or not we ought to go to a bar because I seem to be more of a martini cocktail kind of girl. Honestly....I said that as we were here already, we'd better stay.

We left with Mr B feeling rather poorly, as he is undergoing chemo and even on good days shouldn't push it too far. He has another session today, poor chap.

But all in all - I am happy when my different spheres of friends start to meet each other.


Forgot to mention, Doc was excited about making it back into my blog. He said when he asked to be called "Stallion" last year, it was only because he wanted to see my reaction. Meanie.

He also wants me to mention that he came up with a unique business plan for me to be the only tour-guide art historian go-go dancer in London...



Want to see the 20six post on one of my fave actors??? Hugh Dancy here. (Link opens new window)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


It was A Day and a Half, if you ask me...

Met my tipo J. Last year he wanted to be on my blog as...*cringe* Stallion, but he's too neat to have such a naff name. So let's just call him Doc (not practising).

First Bit

Doc flew in early from Saudi, and somehow because his father was a dentist in the US military, he gets to have a room in one of the reciprocal private clubs on St James's Square. He says, however, he thinks it's a converted closet. London is full of converted closets.

The Net

We met at a coffee place and then set off to start the day. First on the list: Easy Internet cafe on Piccadilly so he could keep tabs on business. He says he still hasn't figured out how to make people keep working when he's not there. Oh dear...and he wants to commute half the week from London?

Broadcast request: Do any of you Londoners know of nice rooms to let in a very central location, within seconds of either Green, St James's or Regent's Parks? The guy is a park addict and needs a replacement for Central Park.

Chinese Emperor

Our walk in Green Park was prevented by the rain, so we decided to go to the Chinese Emperors exhibition at the Royal Academy. In the queue to get the tickets, Doc asks for two. The lady turns to me and asks, "Under 18...?" I shake my head in bewilderment.
Oops, the last time that happened a few years ago, I was in Canada and my Dad was taking my cousins and me to the movies. The lady there asked me if I was under 18, and as I hesitated, Dad, who never skips a beat, said yes! It seems I have been a teenager for nearly 20 years and show no signs of letting up. No one but the hairdresser knows I have 9 greys, oh and now you.

If you have not been to the RA yet, go to that exhibition. Be forewarned, though, patience is a necessary virtue. I will never get over the fine carving on wood, lacquer or jade. Always wonderful materials. Painting on silk, I am sure a one-hair-thick brush was used: the people were small as your thumb but perfectly detailed and there were hundreds of them on one scroll. Not surprisingly, I was the only person there to put my nose up to the glass after taking in the whole. What do these people get by standing 8 feet away from the object and then walking off???

Doc didn't have a coat, not needing to take one to Saudi from NYC so while I was gaping and dawdling at the RA, he ran off to Lillywhite's for a 7 quid deal. Later while we were walking, I commented on the interesting hook on the neck, and was about to ask if it was so I could drag him back from crossing the road at the wrong time (actually for an American he's good at it) when it nearly came off in my hand!

Ton yan gai

We had a late lunch/early dinner in Chinatown, where he made me eat 2/3rds of the food and then paid for it. Bless him - said that while I am unemployed he pays.

Back towards Piccadilly, and we parted ways until dinner tomorrow with the infamous Mr B.


Girlie Stuff

That was not the end of my day. I went off to pick up supplies at Boots. I use the No7 natural effect mascara, and the deal was if you buy No7 products worth 15 quid you get a gift worth 33. So to the mascara I added an eye base and voila!

Look what's in the gift bag: 7 things!...........Oh, haha, very clever of them...

1) a little pot of Uplifting Day Cream - hey, I have to keep up my 10 years younger winning streak!
2) Stay Perfect lipstick in just my shade!
3) ditto nail colour in ditto.
4) Protect and Perfect beauty serum, see 10 years younger comment above.
5) Intelligent Colour foundation, which seems to be my summer shade
6) Full Impact mascara
7) Younger Longer time resisting hand cream. Alright, an age concession: this winter is murdering my hands - I think they're 10 years older.


This morning I wanted to tell you about the Super Volcano that changed the course of human history, and the lovely Morris dancers, but that will have to wait until tomorrow...or the day after...

P.S. I got a place on the voice training course!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Le weekend

New doll for March, it's a chilly month:

I can almost replicate this entire outfit.

Saturday I had the usual fish n chips in Richmond with my grandma. Afterwards, she made sure I did not go straight home by picking up a raspberry jam and cream sponge cake at M&S. So we took it back to her place and we had two cups of tea. I ate half the cake, yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

.....I could eat more RIGHT now.....


There were so many interesting things I thought of this weekend to blog about this week, but they have all vacated the premises, and all I can think of is that sponge cake...*drool*

So you don't mind if I inflict you with thoughts of it too? I bet it will be in your mind all day.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Three Thing Thursday

What a day I had yesterday, but first I would like to share one of the best puns I've ever made.

Lunch with Sighvatur

I met an old oil industry friend of my Dad's for lunch.
"Red" is an Icelander living in Houston, but he was in town on business and got in touch - he, of course, also hopes to meet my Amma (grandmother) tomorrow.

Having just visited Iceland last week, he did a little research on my great-grandfather Olaf and said it was unusual that Olaf, being such a high profile individual, joined the British service and was killed in the war...something like that. Hopefully he won't be called away after all and we can meet up and learn more.

He knows all sorts of people, somehow. Like Roman Abramovitch (owner of Chelsea) in Alaska on his yacht, or tea at the Ritz this week with the Scottish Earl of I......... and the Indian businessman who has taken over the family's tea company.

The earl has a permanent table at the Ritz.


Red's longtime girlfriend is from the Orkneys. Funny how things go in circles - all these northern connections:

Iceland was settled after the 700s AD from the Orkneys --> Icelander Olaf working for Thomas Lipton (tea) --> Scottish earl in tea with another title in the Orkneys

He seemed to be going through his mental files for people I should meet, so we shall see.


After lunch I took Red to Sotheby's so he could ask about a painting his father had bought in the 1920s. It was nothing special yet.

The valuer took me by surprise by looking just like a German girl who used to live with us (not my au pair) - eyes close together, big lips, same facial structure. Only she is blonde and he is brunet. (Is brunet a word?)

Then I dropped him off and doubled back to the Handel House Museum. Not at all noteworthy although I am glad I went. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know, but had fun scaring the young American exchange student at the reception over her art history/philosophy degree.


Fruitless Call

From the museum, I went on to buy a desk tidy at John Lewis and saw all sorts of other pieces of furniture with which I could whip my room into shape. While I was there, I received a call from yet another agent who thinks my CV is perfect for Christie's and I should therefore call them directly.


Then I ran back home for the Wine Tasting Evening.

On the way up the street I saw landlady helping to set up the Killik's that had graciously loaned their office for the event.
Got home, and when I was halfway up the stairs, landlord's voice asked me, from behind the door where he was putting on his tie (there is no mistaking the sound of silk pulling through silk and starched collars) if I was going to the party. I thought, "How does he know it's me, he must be wearing his hearing aids for once."

I never put together an outfit in such a rush. Ten minutes: Black skirt, dark top softened by a flyaway piece, boots, and up the road I marched.


We tasted New World wines. A Pinot Gris from Argentina (ok) a Riesling from New Zealand (too fizzy). A California Zinfandel (perfectly light and floral, just like a bouquet of roses), and a really heavy Chilean red (Carmenere). It started like oak. To me the middle was like church incense (!) and the end was like 80% dark chocolate.

Interesting story about this Carmenere grape, though. For years the growers and the consumers believed it was a Merlot brought over by the European settlers. Along comes DNA testing to prove it is a completely different grape no longer found in the old country. The growers panicked and considered tearing out all the Carmenere vines to replant with Merlot. Duh.
Thankfully they reconsidered when they realised that everyone already enjoyed the Carmenere, so methinks changing the bottle labels was easier.

I stayed with the rose for the rest of the evening while we got fed with every canape under the sun. You name it, we had it. The tiny samosas, and tiny toad-in-the-holes with hot English mustard were best. I also enjoyed popping the caviar against my palate. (Don't ask me why people insist on calling lumpfish roe "caviar" just because they're at a party.)
I dared myself to go for a beef and horse radish thing which made me cry and had landlady's son J in stitches.

Oh, so finally I have had a conversation with him, two in fact. Usually we're like ships passing in the night. The quickest hello you can imagine, even when he arrived and landlady reintroduced him to me and Michael's assistant D, with whom I was chatting.

And yet one of the three times she invited me, she thought I would be good company for J. Tut.
So it must have been the wine because by the time we got to the dessert canapes, I'd moved from D to J, and we were having a giggle over the potency of the horse radish and how nasty our childhood snacks were, and we ended up having a good chat.

After I left, it was not long before landlord and J returned.
Landlord got a handful of wine glasses for the incoming after-party guests. J said, "More wine?" (Landlady had specified coffee but as she was wrapping up the event, while the cat's gone the mice will play.) Landlord looked at J like he'd said something ridiculous, and said, "Of course!"
J stayed in the kitchen where we tripped over each other making coffee and tea, respectively.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Eggs and Butter

Did you hear that? Kate Moss has a very expensive pill case. She travelled with her drug stash in a FabergĂ© egg worth £65,000!!!
See the Australian news article here.

That's probably more surreal than the Sudafed-inspired dream I had last night:

My mother had toasted white bread and the butter had melted just right. Unfortunately, this being a dream, I didn't notice and buttered them again. It melted too, but all that butter made the bread soggy so as I was biting the bread I was practically drinking the oil.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006


If these allergies had known it would start raining today, they might not have started.

I've been having itchy ears, a slightly sore throat and sneezing for a few days now, but today it hit and I am hugging the tissue box. More often than not, I want to sneeze but it doesn't let me - just want to take my head apart and give my sinuses a good scratch.

I only realised what it was last night and took a Clarityn, but probably too late...
I can't taste my food today :(

If I can pull it together, I need to go to Holland & Barrett for some starflower oil and spirulina. Waitrose for a supply of milk choc digestives, lamb chops, veal escalope (craving a bit of meat this week).
Boots for another box of Kleenex Balsam, and maybe more Clarityn for later in the spring.
Possibly Homebase for a trolley to organise all my chairside snacks and condiments.

MUTTS from January

Monday, March 06, 2006

Front Page News

I have been featured on the Blog in Space Homepage for today as Most Likely To Be Contacted.

I am officially cool - see my new badge:

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sunny Weekend

I had a pleasant weekend and still managed to get laundry done :)

First I refer you to Daydreams to read Steliano's post for some original thoughts on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

This afternoon I went dogwalking with a dog whose name, when she arrived at the Battersea Dogs' Home, was Open Top Carriage ... (What???)


On Saturday morning I met Miss S at Kensington Olympia to see the Art and Antiques Fair. There were lots of wonderful little netsuke (the whimsical mini figures of wood and ivory) and even a few inro (the decorative flat cases worn as a kimono accessory).

We stopped at a stall that I remember from last year, but this time Miss S spent about 800 quid on two obi (the great swathes of decorative silk wrapped around the kimono waist) dating from between 1890 and 1910.

I ogled the card cases and tea caddies ... I am a great lover of small, decorative boxes. If you have been my friend for long enough, you have probably received one from me.

One day I shall invest in them. Netsuke are over-popular and overpriced, as are objects in satinwood, which people were practically giving away in the 70s! I like both but am happy to be restricted to boxes.

But oh did we drool over the sleek lines and voluptuous curves of the art deco furniture. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
That has got to be design unmatched to this day! (Please, don't mention Bauhaus.)

Some may think it is only sterile and geometrical:

But the correct use of natural woods will create the warmest atmosphere:


After the fair, we went to South Kensington for a Thai lunch and then round the corner to Christie's to look at the costume preview. We bumped into former classmate Tom, remember at the reception a couple of weeks ago I learned he is a porter there now.

Lots of Dior, Ossie Clark, Zandra Rhodes, Yves Saint-Laurent, Balmain, Pucci, Courreges, even the Biba and Mary Quant labels...

The most popular item, I think, was the chocolate silk satin double-breasted Dior dress coat with wide lapels, wonderfully pinched waist, and full skirt. All the ladies who tried it on will be fighting for it next week.

Items from the '80s were absolutely shameful though...what were we all thinking???

A classic Courreges:

Too bad there were none of these in the sale to go with it:

(Got my first payslip from the finance company. They gave an additional 8% "holiday pay". Hm?)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Blogs iiiiin Spaaaace...

MY Blog is in space. It was transmitted at 200 degrees Azimuth. Wait a few hours I will figure out where it was directed......after dinner.

And don't forget to read my previous post about the Tube Mystery. (Shameless plugging, learned it from Steli.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mystery in the Tube

I started this post last night but then lost my internet connection.

In the Tube on the way to Bond Street:
We were just pulling out of Baker Street station, when suddenly the train braked hard and we stopped.
Time stood still...

In the carriage we waited for the driver to announce something.
People began to gather on the platform thinking this train had just pulled up and they were going to get on.
But we were locked in...

[Time passes]

And then London Transport mobilised the orange-jacketed walkie-talkie people.

All I could gather was that the driver had moved through a red light and was now nowhere to be found...(?!?!?!)
Delays would run indefinitely while they tried to figure out what had happened.

Obviously I would be missing class.
So I left the station, yoga mat under my arm, and walked all the way down Baker Street to Marble Arch. Once again I was approached by someone needing directions, and fortunately he was asking the way to St John's Wood. Yes I knew which way it was, but whenever people ask I go blank for a second - but not this time - I was able to tell him Regent's Park was that way too, as further proof.

(One time, a Japanese girl ran across the road to ask me for directions!)

Along the way, I saw many amazing things through the shop windows, found my phonecam inadequate, and came to the realisation that I really ought to walk with my camera...I see pictures everywhere these days. Dreamer.

Then I heard the words "Sorry, love" uttered not far from my ear, as I nearly fell into the lap of a man coming along swiftly in a wheelchair. I yelped, managed to totter backwards, thus narrowly escaping embarrassment, and apologised as he whizzed off.

Picked up some food at M&S and walked back to Bond Street. (I got yum yums! Have just finished the last two.)


Overheard in London

Oxford Street near Selfridges.
Girl: So what's your name: