Thursday, June 29, 2006

I was

I was going to do a good blog here, but I am falling asleep. Since finishing dinner after 10, I've been catching up on all the blogs I didn't see today.

Still don't understand how poeple who work full-time can also blog...

Worked for landlord today, did lots of things with giant files and boxes and folder and was so tired that I knew I would break something if I went into the kitchen. So I ordered Thai delivery and proceeded to drop each carton upside down on the carpet - see? - but thankfully I caught the lids in time...

I had told Steli on his site that I was going out afterwards to buy some Tiramisu, but forgot, and when I remembered, the shop would have been closed. Steli, however, did buy some tiramisu, and as much as I enjoy the one I buy, he is in France and I bet his is better. Well, he did say the French win every time.

France wins - best food
France wins - worst government
thatkind of thing...

Oh see, I blogging half asleep!


I felt like a Victorian. I changed 4 times today!
1) Started out with white t-shirt and brown floppy trousers.
2) Got really hot doing some work, so went upstairs to put on a tank top and white capris (dug out of the laundry basket - all capris in wash - I am wearing skirts this weekend, looks like...)
3) Put on a long-sleeved gypsy top with capri jeans (only one not in wash) to walk across the neighbourhood to the Thai restaurant, as it got a bit cool and breezy, but changed my mind and called out for delivery instead.
4) So after dinner, changed into a pink tank top to go down and make my tea because I was feeling hot again.

Seriously sleepy now. It's almost like "need an hour's nap before I can drag myself off to the shower" kind of sleepy...

Nite nite, peoples.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Engagement Kick-Off

It has proven impossible to store up all the engagement parties for one post. As I kept this resolution after the first, I've told you about the next two, and the expected 3 have become 4, and the fourth is not for another month at least, I think I will have to give in and blog about the first one so I don't get confused. No more engagements this year, I hope. I go my whole life without one, and suddenly there are 4 in two months.

Old friends of my Dad, whose son married a couple of years ago, have now engaged their daughter.

J and her beau A were betrothed in May at a giant ceremony worthy of most western weddings.
As at any Indian do, but especially Sikh, the food was delicious and filling. The bhangra drummers exciting. The girls' clothing just gorgeous.

I don't remember if I took my camera or not, but I didn't need to as the father's school chum had his professional kit in readiness.

Jaz encrusted with gold

But so many people. At these big events, I get really really shy and don't know what to do with myself at all. And yet, if it were my event I'd sparkle like a pro, I've done it before...

I am not sure what went on, but everything was lost to sight behind the bevy of cameras, lights and photographers, it was like paparazzi central! Most of the guests just wait to watch the DVD. I know I am.

The honoured girl relaxes

Leilouta, this detail of the red velvet coat is for you - sorry about the silly bag.

Monday, June 26, 2006

gosh [edited]

How boring am I? I opened this Compose window 8 hours ago. It is now around midnight.

You see, I meant to blog, then the afternoon went by and I went out to run errands, came back, ate dinner, still didn't blog....

Went to Reading again this weekend, so Nags and Diva drove Amy and me to Guildford for Sunshine and Gareth's engagement party.

Sarah and the Boy

Lots of cocktails and BBQ. A very chilled group with bean bags, a guitar, a harmonica, and a garden heater.

Once again, not a rowdy lot, although with lots of laughter coming from the four of us...I guess everyone's grown out of the silly stage.

Diva discovers I weigh nothing

I spot a satellite

So much food and cakes that Sunny sent us home with goodie bags.

We four dubbed ourselves the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

A bit oops though, coz I was looking to see what Diva did so I could mirror it, and Purple took the pic!

The next one is worse, everyone else is messed up and I'm the one looking at the camera.

Hmmmmm, looking dubious...


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Long time no post

Hi peoples!

Thanks for coming by to say hello, even though I haven't posted in a few days.

So let's catch you up, then...

Wednesday, can't remember what I did.

Thursday, registered at the last agency. No more. These last three promise to keep me busy, much unlike the first shiftless few.

Friday, I did another stint at the National Gallery, sending out catalogues to all the museums requesting them across Europe and the USA. It was hard work, but fun trying to unravel the extremely fuzzy-headed instructions from letters written in French and German. The Germans were more disorganised than the French!

All the interesting things I had saved up to tell you have now flown from my head, but I did take notes on some things I've heard. As you know, it's been ages since I wrote one of my hugely educational pieces, but sometimes a tidbit here or there is more fun!

This weekend I am off to YET ANOTHER engagement party outside of London - for Sunshine and Gareth, who were at Nags and Diva's party last week - so I am doing laundry and throwing a few things into an overnight bag.


Buzz Aldrin was at Car Park Number One, no less. It is the greatest honour to be nominated for a parking space there. It's where they get to have their picnics. I know, I know - a parking lot...! Lords, Ladies, and the most exalted beings, as well as a few others, vie for places. For instance, one man - I know not what he did - but he's been coming to Ascot for 33 years and patiently awaited his nomination.

There is also the restaurant, which costs 1300 GBP per head. That's about $2600.

Yesterday was Ladies' Day at Ascot, where the focus is on the hats. Like peacocks strutting their stuff. And the men, even in their top hats and tails, fade into the background.

A fantastic creation for Ladies' Day

The Royal Carriage

It's all about the horses...really!


Potatoes changed the course of history. After the wreck of the Spanish Armada, they were found washed up on the Irish coast, and like nothing before they thrived in the cool climate. (I often wonder who had the bright idea of sticking them in the ground...)

You may remember that the Spanish explorers brought back potatoes from the New World, as well as tomatoes, corn/maize, chilies, tea, coffee, chocolate, many things we take for granted, so many staples, and so many things that give us guilt and pleasure...


Gothic cathedrals resemble rocky crags. This is why they attract bats, pigeons, kestrels, and stone martins, thereby making them unwitting city dwellers. As such, they must survive.

Stone martins control the rat populations in churches and cathedrals, but they also love to camp out in car engines, comforted by the warmth and small spaces. It nearly goes without saying that small furry mammals with teeth chew things as often as babies put junk in their mouths.
One night in Berlin, one stone martin damaged 100 cars. Looks like he didn't get much sleep.

A bit of a complaint...
On BBC Breakfast, I saw an interview with a temp who got in trouble for her tattoos. All over her neck, arms, and back. She was ordered to cover up.

This brought to mind the girl I saw the day before at the Customer Services desk in Selfridges (of all places). Face to face with customers and tourists in a very busy area at a prestigious department store, she had dyed hair and numerous facial piercings, including two on her bottom lip! Help me to understand how she got that job...?


Back to the top hats and tails of paragraph I, I watched the drama on the life of Beau Brummel, inventor of the suit. In the early 19th century, during the early Regency period, men were still wearing makeup, powdered wigs, pretty floral embroidered waistcoats, breeches, tights, and slippers. They were called Fops and they were lazy, sneering, even somewhat effeminate.
"Beau" Brummel was the son of the secretary to a Lord, but he became close friends with the Prince Regent and this is how he became the arbiter of fashion, and the prince's sartorial advisor.

Brummel wore riding trousers, boots, plain sobre colours, dark coats and top hats, and carried a silver-headed stick. Just picture Mr Darcy.
Also, in an age when no one bathed and used French perfume to cover the whiff, Beau and his followers (dandies) bathed regularly with soap. It was scandalous!

At the height of his fame, crowds gathered at his front door to be allowed admission to his dressing. That's right, they got to see him dress. It was an art. He went through reams of linen each morning to produce the perfectly tied necktie.

He was also quite a sharp wit whose words still survive. The drama showed the seamier side of his continual debt, his "affair" with Lord Byron and consequent break with the Prince Regent, and the beginnings of his insanity.

It was because he had been cut by the prince that his troubles began. Most gentlemen of the age were in debt and habitual gamblers, but just being a gentleman ensured almost continual credit at the jewellers', tailor's, tobacconists, butchers' , etc. To refuse a gambling table was a social no-no, so they were all pressured into it for appearances' sake.

Beau's creditor was the Prince, so when he was "excommunicated" from the protective circles of society, the creditors descended like vultures and his faithful manservant had to leave. The footnote at the end stated that he fled to Paris and died some years later in penury in an insane asylum.

That's it for now. See you again at the end of the weekend, and enjoy the weather.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

An update and 20*mumble* things [EDITED]

Quick little update before I get to the 20*mumble* things about me, after Jia Li's tag:

Got the call from my St James's consultant yesterday, informing me I did not get a second interview at the historic architecture firm. I wanted to cry after I hung up and called my Mummy.

Oddly enough, an hour later, my consultant at Artemis asked if she could put me forward for a job at an architect's firm in Hammersmith. It's a bit far, but I said, go ahead...

This morning, bright and early, a call from St James's: "Luvvie, I had an idea last night! Let me do a bit of juggling and get back to you!" Instead of the secretarial temp I would do on Friday, she is putting me back in the National Gallery :)

Also, news of another perm job coming up from her, will hear more later.

And then a call from an agency about an admin job at a diamond mining co. Registration interview tomorrow.

This is like the soothing balm of mercy, so soon after my disappointment.


OK...TWENTY-NINE things about me. I am NOT doing this next year :o

1) I have a huge weakness for wonderfully-scented soaps, room and linen sprays, and lotions. I even have a collection of handsoaps that I use according to my mood. At the moment, a choice between rose, aloe vera, and royal jelly.

2) I love gadgets but rarely own them because they're expensive, obsolete after a few months, and often redundant. One can wait indefinitely for the newer, better, cheaper models.

3) As I get older, it is harder to dress. There are a thousand different combinations and in a new phenomenon, I end up with a pile of tried and discarded clothing on my bed, like so many other girls. I am looking at one now.

4) I prefer to do laundry, folding and ironing in company because chatting makes the time fly.

5) Gosh only at number 5? I love eating unique, new, and different things. This week: Yogurt with crunchy aloe vera bits in it. Highly recommended from Selfridges...

6) I have a new tic this year: Answer the phone with right ear, and after saying hello, swap round to the left, thereby missing the first line of what the person on the other side is saying, because I only have to swap back to the right so I can write notes with my left hand. Happens, to my annoyance, every time.

7) I am between a UK dress size 6 and UK 8. Why don't they make a 7? Between US 2 and 4, some manufacturers make a 3. Help! If I take up yoga again, I will return to a perfect 6, so I stick to buying that and putting up with my - hehe - subtle curves, for now.

8) I can't handle a dancefloor. Even when learning, I miss and forget. Which sucks because I am told I have a dancer's body. Mum taught me the foxtrot and Dad the Charleston, all forgotten.

9) If I have a son, I would like him to serve a stint as a choirboy at a cathedral school.

10) If I have a daughter, maybe she can stay in ballet. I'll tell her how crap quitting made me feel.

11) I've got lazy this year and stopped cooking, with the aim of spending less than half an hour in the kitchen. However, I am inspired daily when I want to please someone special with my culinary tendencies.

12) Crikey, still 17 to go! How'd I get so old?

I'm putting this on hold so I can go to Orange round the corner and get myself a new mobile with free broadband...the thought is now haunting me...

Probably won't make it back until tomorrow coz I have another 20six meetup tonight, and that interview tomorrow.

Laters people!
I'm back!

12) I am verily angered to the core by dirty smelly old kitchen towels, cloths and sponges. They don't clean a thing!

13) I have dissected a piglet and a few cats. No big deal.

14) Eh, you already know I was born at 27 weeks (2 months early) weighing 2 lbs (about 1 kilo) and am an only child.

15) I can draw (not people), I just forget that I can and so I don't. I draw in too much detail anyway.

16) I have never been to the lands of my ancestry: Guyana (India by extraction), Iceland, Cyprus, Greece. Oh, but I have been to France and while I was there, completely forgot about my ancestors...

17) I took a French spelling test today. I got 22 out of 30. It's been a while...It would have been 24 if I had gone with my first instincts on a couple of them.
Telling someone to choose the correct spelling of a French word is no way of testing if they can make a business call to Marseille.

18) I have not been treated in a hospital since I was a baby.

19) Dad says I look like a Botticelli when I cry.

20) My computer is beginning to hang and I have run out of ideas.

I will maybe come back after a cup of tea and watching Francesco's Italy.
He is asking Maggie Smith (A Room with a View) about Florence:
"Why the English they love so much here?"

As she stands in the Brancacci Chapel with her nose buried in Baedeker and he stops her with his hand on her arm, pointing at the fresco. "Sometimes you English, you read a little too much."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Abduct me!

I was hoping I'd remember my dreams last night, and I did!


I was getting ready for a wedding. It must be because of all the engagements this year, but I was about to be a bridesmaid. I don't know who these people were, by the way.

But somehow in this busy place with banquet halls and shops and a big park, I met a really cute guy. We got talking and walking through the shops and the park. He was wearing a navy blue blazer, pink shirt, and brown trousers. He was very preppy! At one point I put my hand in his arm to stand on my tiptoes so I could emphasise a point I was making. Then he had to leave, and by this time my friends were all calling me to come get changed into my gown. So I walked with him to his little sports car and he drove off.

He looked like this:

In reality, this is Daniel Lapaine. He was Byrne in The Abduction Club, set in 18th century Ireland. I saw this movie last night and remembered that the first time I saw it, I had a crush on him. He was also the South African swimmer in Muriel's Wedding.

In the dream, sad to say, he did not give me his number but I assumed he knew where to find me.


I'd definitely let him abduct me...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Weekend caper

I went to a party with some fellow 20six bloggers. Diva and Nags hosted us at their cosy home in the next county; on Nag's side there was his (fit!) friend Ryan, an ex, her current beau, and another couple. On Diva's side there was her friend D and school chum Rosie. Then there were the bloggers Sunshine and her fiance Gareth, and Amycady.

This is the "Grecian" top I wore, only without the black bits or the belt now that it's hot, and a pretty ivory and jade necklace.

Nags and Diva, the couple of honour

Sunshine and Gareth

Rosie, fit Ryan, sleeping Darryl

Me (in Diva's big cardigan), Amy, Diva, Sunshine

I took a bottle of Grey Goose orange vodka which impressed them so much, they used it for the toast shots.

We spent a pleasant few hours eating the bountiful food, drinking lots of cocktails, and chatting. We were in a lovely gazebo under string lights that looked like stars.

No one got loud or moody or did weird things or fell over; all the alcohol did was make us laugh more and make me shut my eyes for photos. This is only the second time I've drunk so much; the first was also with them.
Another notable thing I've noticed about these Reading gatherings is no one uses foul language; instead, they make up words like "arsebiscuits" or "bumfluff".

At one point, some of us went into the living room to see the video of Diva's fashion show, the culmination of her fashion degree. This was 10 years ago, but the styles were timeless and luxurious. All satin, silk and lace in shades of champagne and cinnamon.
We were all agreed that she should start up again.

Everyone who wasn't staying overnight had gone home and the rest of us turned in at about 3am. Ryan and Rosie were in the living room, and Amy and I in the spare bedroom. Hot hot hot night, and thank goodness for the fan.


I woke up and checked the time at around 5 am. I'd had a dream, possibly alcohol-fuelled:


I was in the same house with the same people, but the house was different. There were 3 staircases and one of them led to the adjoining house. I kept getting lost and going up the wrong staircase, and the 2 female neighbours and I would exclaim "Oooh!" and I'd turn around and go back.

All of a sudden the house was a mansion, and we were all still there, and someone turned up called The Governor; we had to greet him rather formally. There was also the appearance of an actor who looked like a skinny Martin Sheen, but kinder and more uncle-like.

[This is when I woke up to check the time and went back to sleep to continue the dream.]

In the second dream Martin Sheen turned up again and I told him, "Oh, I just had a dream about you in the last one!"

In this dream, Diva was busying about, and I kept getting in her way, sort of like we were wind-up toys on two tracks that intersected at the wrong times. And I'd say "Sorry" and walk in a circle to let her pass and then end up back where I started.


Woke up again at quarter to 9, and Amy was awake so we chatted a bit and then we put in a couple more hours of sleep because no one was up yet.

The house began to stir at about 11am. Every time I woke up, I would drink water from my bottle, but when I got up for the loo at 8ish, I was still a bit wobbly. However, by 11 I was fine. They told me I must have an excellent liver; I know I have a fast metabolism. Diva commented on how sunny and sparkly I was on waking, even though she says she knows I was drunk last night.

I wandered about and met Ryan drinking water in the garden, and ended up telling him the dream. He was pretty blown away by it and was sure he would dream it tonight - at the time, I remembered more and it really was odd.

Amy couldn't handle anything more than dry toast, but the rest of us breakfasted on sausages in rolls with ketchup and HP sauce. Diva gave me the "I am a genius" mug, Ryan got the "Must not follow boys" and Amy and Rosie got naughty ones. We all lolled about chatting and laughing far more than I have in the past year put together. It really was a good thing for me.

By 2pm we were all on our way home. Diva and Nags took us into the station and waved us off into the train.

Lovely weekend.


At Paddington Station, I was going to buy a couple of Krispy Kreme donuts, but I ended up being a good girl and bought a salad and lemon cheesecake slice at M&S.

Then I went home and called my Daddy for father's day. We seem to have revived our "mutual adoration society" (as I used to call it), so there is a nice balance restored and I am once again the happy daughter.

OK now there is an educational French film on and I have to go so that I can practise. It's called L'Anglaise et le Duc.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty

Ahhhh! Today was the Trooping of the Colours. It happens every year for her official birthday, but this year is special of course because it is her 80th birthday.

Also, you can check the Official Monarchy website.

It has been a week-long celebration with a big service at St Paul's Cathedral, followed by lunch at Mansion House with the Lord Mayor of London - the banquet itself having been chosen by the voting public watching the month-long competition between chefs from all over the country.

So after the Trooping in the Horse Guards Parade overseen by the Queen and Prince Philip on their dais, everyone trotted back off to Buckingham Palace and she appeared at the balcony to watch the Guardsmens' feu de joie, the 21-gun salute in Green Park (performed by the Royal Horse Artillery housed round the corner from me), and the big 49-plane RAF flyover. There were all sorts, including old Spitfires and a Lancaster from WWII, the new European Typhoons, and the Red Arrows.

It was exciting enough to see on TV the crowds were overjoyed, and even my heart swelled.

This particular Lancaster saw service in the Battle of Britain and although now restored, still bears a bullet hole in its tail. After they flew over, the commentator said they would now be heading back north. I thought nothing of it, but pretty soon I heard a hum which became a rumble and tripped over everything getting to the window. Shouting "Oh YESSSSS!" as the beautiful dark green planes, glinting in the sunlight, rumbled right over my window, I was frozen to the spot.

When I was living at home, Dad and I would drop anything to scramble outside to see things fly over. We saw Apache helicopters circling overhead on practice, NASA F-15s, and around 9/11, even Air National Guard jet fighters patrolling the Houston airspace.

The picture of the Lancaster is only in my head. Or wait...

How beautiful is this???


Anyway, on to other things. The above was a very large tangent.

I did my day at the National Gallery, in the Exhibitions department. Before any exhibition, they make scale models of the gallery to plan the hang, so what I did was prepare the scale model paintings - how did they know I do microscopic handwriting, and that I would take along one of my fine line pens?
I got title, artist and catalogue number on pieces of card ranging in size from your little fingernail to a postage stamp.

Anyway, my neck aches and I think before I toodle off to the party tonight, I deserve a walk-in backrub at Selfridges.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Oenophile. It's the word of the day from my sidebar, and very timely because wine played a large part in my evening.

But first things first:

This week I found myself at an agency that fits me like none before it and has been in nearly constant contact - most assiduous in follow-ups. I've never seen this level of service before and it's mind-boggling.

As a result, I had an interview for a real job at an architectural firm that does historic restorations (at recognisable national levels, though low-key themselves). To obtain an invite here is very exciting and an accomplishment in itself. However, I got abominably lost and arrived 30 minutes late, while my agent attempted to walk me there on the phone. It was a mistake - we ended up confounding each other. Once I found the mews-within-the-mews address, I realised I could have corrected my mistake in mere minutes.

Despite the fiasco of my arrival, the interviewer told my agent that she found me charming and she liked much of what I said, so let's hope I get asked back for a second interview.

And what is more, I have a temp booking Friday at the National Gallery.


What would I do without the infamous Mr B? Once again he called me to ask, "Are you going to the Christie's do tomorrow night?" And once again I said, "What Christie's do?" while feeling very left out...they are usually alumni events...

So today after the interview, I went to me old school and got them to update all my info in the database, and bought my reservation at the reception. Then I went home to change and attempt to rid myself of the nasty migraine that I'd had all morning but was steadily worsening as the day wore on.


An hour before the reception, I met up with Mr B and we caught up with all the gossip we've missed since his major operation and long recovery. Bless him, all he wants is to see me happy in love and often expresses his disappointment at my lack of progress. He says these young fellas are fools for not snapping me up a hundred times! Hear hear.

Then we toodled off to the do. It was at La Fromagerie on Moxon Street, off Marylebone High Street.

Basically, it is shop by day, venue by night - so a very rustic space with big hewn wood tables and benches, sporting baskets of interesting produce such as glace flower petals, herb teas that looked like pot-pourri, cheese knives, and so on. There was also a little cool room with sliding glass doors off to the side for the various cheese wheels.

Mr B, Elizabeth and I were the only alumni from our year among the 30 attendees. All the tutors were there: Andrew (who says he had a good read here some time ago), Peter (my priceless masters tutor), Richard (my PG.Dip. tutor, who now has my blog address and might be reading this), Patsy, and the director Dr Michael whom Richard calls M-squared because his surname is the same as his first.

Christie-ites always manage to have the most energetic wine-fuelled conversations. We always promise each other we'll meet up again and almost never do, which is silly because we always have so much to talk about. I keep putting off inviting various bodies to the Arts Club. Andrew said a bunch of us ought to get together for dinner or something - though he's the one who suggested picnics along the river a couple of summers ago to ease the stress of writing our theses, but after the red wine wore off he probably forgot. I've an idea for a wine and chocolate tasting evening at Pierre Marcolini. Elizabeth invited some of us to cricket in Hampton - an excuse to get out of town and loll about in grass and sunshine.

I say we make it all happen this time. Hanging out with former classmates and tutors IS actually fun.

We started with Prosecco and the cheese and meat platters came around frequently. Oh to remember those names...but it was so hard to hear them. There was a stinky one, a washed rind, apparently. Richard took the last piece, but he let Elizabeth and me have a nibble, and it was worth it, perfect with the Prosecco.
There was a goat's cheese, various medium cow cheeses, one mild blue. Followed by finger nibbles like guacamole on black tortilla chips, shredded celeriac and rough mustard wrapped in prosciutto, and various smoked salmon/aubergine/hummus type dips spread on mini toasts.

Oh's word of the day: Oenophile: - a lover of wine.

The Greeks called it oenos and exported it all over the ancient world in amphorae. Just to show I haven't forgotten everything, the Greek wine vessel is called an oinochoe. It has a pinched lip for easy pouring.

And finally, Terry Jones of Monty Python fame stated something that I've known for a long time: The Romans didn't invent anything, they stole it all from the Greeks.

The Greeks were so cool, they set invading Roman ships on fire by directing the sun's energy onto them using giant, highly-burnished mirrors.

Monday, June 12, 2006

If I had a snowman...

Well, poo in a pocket...

I had a finely crafted blog going there...

And my blasted computer turned itself off.


Into the fray once more! Into the fray!


If I had a Snowman, this is what it would do:

That's how hot it is in London. I have been wearing an ice pack on my leg tonight, then it melted and I started pouring the water on my stomach to evaporate and cool me off. (You there, stop thinking about my stomach and pay attention.)

When I had my wisdom teeth extracted, I went without painkillers. By the fourth day I said to my mother: "Mummy, please make it stop."

It's like that with the temperatures here. Basta! So they said we'd have a thunderstorm this evening and of course, like clockwork, it didn't happen.

That's how it is with weather in the British Isles. You can be sure that it will be exactly the opposite of what they say. So one day you have an entire nation running in circles to escape the rain, and the next carrying silly big umbrellas in the sunshine.

No, I am not even on the track of what I was saying when I lost the last blog....I was saying that on the other hand, in Texas, when they say it will rain at 6pm, it does - because they have watched the front come down from the Pacific over the past two days and can pinpoint when it will arrive. So you can plan your day accordingly, and be in before the light show.

Also, in Texas, we'd get a week's worth of rain in an hour, whereas in the UK, we get a day's worth in a week. In Texas, it rains like the Dickens, filling up the water table and everything, and then the sun comes out and you wouldn't know anything had happened, apart from the really perked up pine trees. It did that in London once and Lambeth got flooded.

In Britain, it does it half-heartedly, so the weatherman's use of "spits and spots" or "dribs and drabs" is, well, spot on! And then when the clouds do finally decide to cease drizzling on us, they figure they can hang around for another week or so, while they watch us leave the house with umbrellas "just in case", and the weathermen can forecast rain that never happens...

...rather like the hurricane that did happen in 1987. Michael Fish said, "Oh don't be silly, there won't be a hurricane..." and there was one, and we woke up with all the trees lying down, and we never forgave him.


In other news, I walked from Thurloe St (South Kensington), into a couple of galleries at the V&A, then out along Brompton road, all the way up Knightsbridge, through Hyde Park, to Piccadilly, then through to Regent Street. Got myself a pair of linen suit trousers so I can be smart AND cool, then took the bus home.

Tomorrow I shall tell you why I was at Thurloe Street, but today I want you just to enjoy the very English weather rant. :)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Still and moving pictures


Just read a post on Rebecca's blog that reminded me of something I forgot to mention.

I visited Christie's last Friday - they had a bucketload of things on view, and I saw part of the plate books and cartography sale. There is a heavy 19th century Orientalism theme going on between the three big auction houses this month!

Anyway, at Christie's I saw some charming pieces from Princess Margaret's collection. To think: one could own Queen Mary's dainty little dressing table with fold-out leaves, with her coroneted monogram stamped in gold upon a corner of the leather surface - for a catalogue price of GBP 1500-2000. I wonder how far the competition will drive that up, though.

I spotted a charming painting of two girls in stylized shepherdess dress sitting by a cottage garden wall. Their names were Olivia and Sophia. One of my first girl friends in Texas was called Sophia.

There was also a painting called
Making Friends, depicting a country girl of about 7 or 8 years old reclining in the grass, surrounded by curious rabbits standing to inspect her, or straining forwards to take a sniff. They were silently communing, little human and bunnies. I identified with every facet of the scene, and what's more, the little girl looked just like I did at that age.

Don't ask me how I end up here or there in London...a little later that afternoon I found myself in Sotheby's catching the tail end of their Orientalist sale.

Sotheby's and Bonhams really should not be on the same street, and both waving blue banners...because I meant to go to Bonhams...



I watched
A Very Long Engagement with Audrey Tautou, same director as Amelie. Even the smushy-mouthed lurker from the cafe in Amelie played her uncle in Engagement. His growing a beard in this movie hardly rescued him. When he grows old, he will lose his teeth and suck his gums.

Anyway, it is an utterly charming and touching film. I tried to watch it in French with French subtitles, but no go. You could get English subtitles for the hearing impaired, but not French.....*sigh*

Anyone notice Jodie Foster was in it? At school we read a French teen magazine called Copains that published an interview in which Jodie said she went to a Francophone school, so she's fluent. I had never seen her speak it before, and I couldn't help but notice she sounded more feminine en francais.

The director is distinctive. Just as in
Amelie, he tells many incidental stories at the beginning, and ties them into the main. Some are necessary, some are superfluous, but none would you want to cut. And just like Amelie, Mathilde is a flawed, quirky orphan. She measures life in her own way: If I reach the corner before the car, Malech is alive. If I can count to seven and the conductor asks for the tickets before we reach the tunnel, Malech is alive. If the dog comes into the room before dinnertime, Malech is alive.

It was the last scene, though, which made me nearly cry:

Dans la douceur de l'air,
Dans la lumiere du jardin,
Elle le regarde...
Elle le regarde...
Elle le regarde...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax

This is a blog I wrote on 20six when Blogger was broken earlier this week...

I jotted a blog down on a napkin during a lunch break when I was working last week. I fished it out of my handbag this morning. It was on that cold windy grey day. (Hard to remember, as it's 30C/80F and blazingly sunny today!)

Sitting at a bistro window or on the terrace of a cafe watching the world go by is one of the best urban non-activities to not-do, so here are some thoughts inspired by the passing humanity:

1) Tights go with slippers! Who knew?

2) Some people blindly follow the calendar and, figuring as it's early June - sod the snowstorm - they'll put on sandals, cotton skirts, t-shirts, even shorts. "I bought this new wardrobe, and by Jove, I'll wear it before the season's out, even if I do get frostbite!"

3) Some do the smart thing and put on a jacket. Even a scarf. One girl went too far and wore gloves.

4) It bothers me when tourists read maps on street corners for hours on end, not daring to ask directions from one of the hundred people who are are trying to get past the bottleneck they have caused.

5) And when people topple over in the Tube. They absolutely insist on it! The train starts off the platform and passengers make like dominoes. All the years of learning to stand up, to no avail.

In a full train with no handholds, I can stand free and not fall over. I mean, just because I am a girlie, I'm not going to pretend to be all silly and unbalanced. (end rant)

6) Women and shoes. There are the comfy driving moccassin-wearers, and there are the stiletto-wearers, as if they're not already tall enough. Their feet are killing them at the end of the day. I have seen them limping home while trying to look like they're not.

Me? I do the ballet slippers with capris and skirts - kitten heels if it's dressy - and if I go jeansy, I got me a delicious pair of tan driving mocs, not to mention my innumerable square-toed loafers.

I've know how I like all shades of turquoisey blue and mint green? When it comes to leather, I seem to be drawn to tobacco leather - always soft, pliable, a rich shade of tan. Mmmm. The thought occurred to me when I sat down the other day to oil my pencil case and cream my moccassins.

And finally - fashion rules I grew up with, to be broken today without impunity:

1) no white before 29 May, or linen for that matter

2) green/orange/yellow do not go with your skin tone/hair colour

3) those colours don't match!

4) but the jacket is shorter than your shirt!

Can you think of any more?


Tuesday, June 06, 2006



I hate computers, I hate the internet!

I love computers, I love the internet!

(Why is it whenever I do that love/hate thing, I think of Gwyneth Paltrow in the scene in Emma: "I love John. I hate John"?)

I have been over at 20six, where we have undergone a major and long-threatened platform change. Everyone is wandering around in the dark, bumping into each other, in a daze, rather like beached whales, and whatever related mixed metaphor you care to apply.

What's more, my laptop is still cutting off or hanging at the drop of a hat. And if I look at it the wrong way, it loses internet connection too. I came very close to dashing it to the floor and jumping up and down on it, but that wouldn't benefit either of us.

I haven't been around for the most part of a week during my temp job because I haven't yet figured out a work-life balance. I guess I haven't developed the stamina.

And you know what? It's not easy getting back into the swing of things!


Friday, June 02, 2006

Ex-Mobile Message

This post was supposed to be a photo I posted from my mobile phone, but it did not show up! So it was blank, and silly Steli replied with a +).

FYI, +) is the happy cyclops. Steli, how come we've never tried the sad one? +(

Anyway, I digress.


I am sneezing more today and really stuffed up and I do feel tired.........but today is so gloriously sunny that I thought the world was in LCD when I opened my curtains. Do you know what I mean?
So in this weather (it will be 24C, or 75F), which is really spiffing when it happens in London, I want to go out! I've even dressed for it, so maybe later, though tomorrow will also be lovely.


This week, I started reading the short stories of Saki (H.H. Munro), something I haven't done since High School! I didn't remember he was so funny!
If you like P.G. Wodehouse, you will definitely appreciate Saki. There's even an Aunt Agatha in it. Today is catch-up day, so it will be a bit long.


Reginald at the Garden Party

I found everyone talking nervously and feverishly of the weather and the war in South Africa, except Reginald, who was reclining in a comfortable chair with the dreamy, far-away look that a volcano might wear just after it had desolated entire villages ... At that particular moment the croquet players finished their game, which had been going on without a symptom of finality during the whole afternoon ... Conversation flagged, and there settled upon the company that expectant hush that precedes the dawn -- when your neighbours don't happen to keep poultry.

"What did the Caspian Sea?" asked Reginald, with appalling suddenness.

There were symptoms of a stampede. The Archdeacon's wife looked at me. Kipling or some one has described somewhere the look a foundered camel gives when the caravan moves on and leaves it to its fate. The peptonised reproach in the lady's eyes brought the passage vividly to mind.


Reginald on Christmas presents

There is, for instance, the female relative in the country who "knows a tie is always useful" and sends you some spotted horror that you could only wear in secret or in Tottenham Court Road. It might have been useful had she kept it to tie up currant bushes with, when it would have served the double purpose of supporting the branches and frightening away the birds ...

Then there are aunts. They are always adifficult class to deal with in the matter of presents. The trouble is that one never catches them really young enough. By the time one has educated them to an appreciation of the fact that one does not wear red woollen mittens in the West End, they die, or quarrel with the family, or do something equally inconsiderate. That is why the supply of trained aunts is always so precarious.


...she dwelt on the sin of an empty life, which always seems so much more scandalous in the country, where people rise early to see if a new strawberry has happened during the night.


Reginald on Worries

Of course, one just loves them for it [sweet, uncomplaining women who have seen trouble], but I must confess they make me uncomfy; they remind one so of duck that goes flapping about with forced cheerfulness long after its head's been cut off. Ducks have no repose.


Reginald on House-Parties

You see, they had asked me down to shoot, and I'm not particulary immense at that sort of thing. There's such a deadly sameness about partridges; when you've missed one, you've missed the lot...

And they tried to rag me in the smoking room about not being able to hit a bird at five yards, a sort of bovine ragging that suggested cows buzzing round a gadfly and thinking they were teasing it. So I got up next morning at early dawn - I know it was dawn because there were lark-noises in the sky and the grass looked as if it had been left out all night - and hnted up the most conspicuous thing in the bird line that I could find, and measured the distance, as nearly as it would let me, and shot away all I knew. They said afterwards it was a tame bird; that's simply silly because it was awfully wild at the first few shots. Afterwards it quieted down a bit, and when its legs had stopped waving farewells to the landscape, I got a gardener-boy to drag it into the hall...

Just typical. The day I have to make my demo CD, the very thing that sells my voice, I have a cold. And my head aches. One good thing, I'll sound a bit gravelly. Must try not to sniffle or sneeze in the middle of my romantic Paris river cruise ad. Laters! Miss y'all!