Saturday, 30 April 2011

National knees-up

That's absolutely as far as I'm going to go with any royal wedding stuff. I had a whole day of watching it out of the corner of my eye on the TV screens at work (they even turned the sound on for some of it! Momentous times), and then got to help on production, which was wedding wedding wedding. The number of nuptial-nudging headlines and captions I have seen written today...

In other news, although I am very tired, I will also have to think of a new nickname soon, because one of my awesome university gang is coming to London tomorrow (finally!) to join me, Percy and Whizzkid for exciting times. Stay tuned!

Absolutely must go to bed now, I'm good for nothing but staring blankly at videos of cats.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011


It feels like Thursday today, which isn't good since I only started my working week yesterday! Too many things going on and not enough sunshine! After a week of heat, I'm starting to feel entitled (although the colder weather is proving a popular topic for conversations with strangers in Waitrose, for some reason. I'll put it down to making friends!). 

As a result, all I want to do right now is go to bed and not get up until half past ten! (My laziness standards have been radically scaled back since this getting-up-early-every-day thing started.) In the spirit of semiconscious blogging (rarer than you'd think!), I'll have a brief ramble about an inescapable topic at work this month: AV (no more free publicity for the royal wedding from me! (Oh, bother))

We get heaps of letters and emails (if emails can be heaped) about the AV referendum, most of them either vitriolic or confused. Last week, a man got so upset that we hadn't published his letter (despite it being right and everyone else's being wrong) that he phoned up for a rant, and when I told him I was afraid he couldn't demand we publish anything, he told me I was 'wholly unsatisfactory' and hung up. I wasn't upset - insults from readers are something of a badge of honour. 

The respective campaigns are rather bizarre, too - the NO campaign is apparently basing its strategy on the idea that voters are basically idiots who will do whatever you tell them as long as you make emotionally charged but unsupported statements while showing them pictures of babies (or, indeed, you tell them that labelling preferences 1-3 is complicated, unnecessary and Just Not Cricket (better journalists than me have already pointed out that unfavourably comparing AV to a sport which expresses scores in terms like 24 for 6 (or whatever - I don't claim to have ever wasted a second of my life trying to understand cricket) is more than a little preposterous), preferably using an advert that could quite easily be mistaken for a sketch from Mitchell and Webb). 

The YES campaign, by contrast, seemed to be appealing to people's better judgement by not really doing very much (possibly a riskier approach, but definitely cheaper). Even the web address is pathetic - vs, anyone? Then there was the Ralph's Story video, in which a veteran shows how excited he is at the chance of a more democratic Britain by staring out of a rain-spattered window while moody piano music plays in the background. I quite liked Ralph, actually (at the very least, it's good to know there's one pensioner out there not foaming at the mouth at the prospect of voting reform), but his suggestion that he might as well have died in a war rather than live with the FPTP system sounded like something the NO campaign might have come up with. 

I wish there was a YOU'RE ALL IDIOTS campaign. I'm tempted to start one... 

Right, off to bed.


P.S. In case you were wondering which side of the debate I fall on (if I've somehow managed to be vague about my raving liberal tendencies), I support AV, but only as a step towards a proper voting system (such as one where only responsible, balanced people like me are allowed to vote (ha ha etc, but it'd get rid of UKIP...)). 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter pictures

And nary a bunny among them! 

Actual Easter Sunday was mostly spent reading in the garden in Woking, and therefore not much documented, but the boyf and I visited Camden Lock again on Saturday, so I thought I'd finally bring you a few pictures!

There's a bit of a horse theme going on there, for whatever reason - loads of statues everywhere. Sadly, most of them have people constantly posing in front of them, which makes it very difficult for important people like me to get decent pictures!

The market is a lot of fun, but also huge and very easy to get lost in. This happened to be the one day I forgot my phone, so I had to stick close by the boyf in case I got lost while incommunicado. I did wander off at one point when distracted by a basket full of antlers, but on the whole I did pretty well at the not-getting-lost thing!

Camden lock not only boasts the highest concentration of vintage shops I've ever seen, it also has some sort of giant robot temple/techno shop which you have to queue up to get into (sadly you're not allowed to take pictures inside, which seems like a waste, as they employ platform dancers!), and a shop called Oddballs, which sells all sorts of juggling paraphernalia, which is quite exciting when your other half is well on his way to joining a circus (and I of course mean that in the nicest possible way). 

This picture is actually from Sunday night, but illustrates the whole juggling thing rather well, besides being the only decent juggling picture I've ever taken. It's mid-juggle, incidentally - the boyf is actually really good, he doesn't just fling balls about for photographic effect! 

Right, off to bed now as I'm about to doze off!


Monday, 25 April 2011


I was going to go on about my very exciting sunny weekend, but blogger is being extremely weird at the moment, so I'm going to save it for when I have less IT angst. Which is annoying, because I remembered to take (some) pictures to share. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait until it sorts itself out.

I don't have any pictures from Friday, however, as I foolishly forgot to put my camera into my actual handbag (despite having remembered to pack it), so I suppose I can tell you about that!

I managed to get to Liverpool Street station to meet the boyf almost on time despite the best efforts of bank holidays, and en route back to the flat to drop off his suitcase, we went to Waitrose (the one outside my work! That's probably the closest I'm ever going to get to showing him what my Working Environment is like, thanks to all the security in the building) to buy some things for a picnic. We went slightly overboard, so when we eventually met Percy in Green Park we had quite a disgusting amount of food between the three of us (as Percy doesn't picnic by halves either). We sat in the shade, because we were sensible (along with most of the local populace, apparently - the only near-naked sunbathers I saw were Americans) and ate strawberries and watched Percy battle with his smartphone (not so smart now, eh?), and it was all in all a very excellent lunch.

When we were tired of the half-awed, half-disgusted glances of the passers-by who noticed our food mountain, we went for a wander into the more urban parts of town, via Buckingham Palace, ice cream and The Mall, which meant we accidentally took in quite a lot of the Royal Wedding Procession Route, as I only later noticed (sadly, I don't think they'll be stopping for ice cream). In the townier bits of town, we embarked on an epic search for a shop Percy's smartphone didn't want us to find, but we beat technology eventually, with some good, old-fashioned map reading.

I'm going to have to break off there and go to bed, as I had to get up unreasonably early this morning to see the boyf off and am thus shattered!

More anon (hopefully with pictures, if google can get its act together).


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Appropriate workwear

Today we have a teeny tiny picture of what would have been appropriate workwear today (temperature-wise if not office-wise). And I would probably have rolled the pyjama bottoms up. I can't wait to have some free time to be outside! Although I suspect I will still be skirted, legginged and booted, as is my wont.

I had a pretty good day at work. Everyone else was extremely busy, so I was just plugging away at the page by myself. I'm getting surprisingly good at coming up with ideas for things to see and do around the country in very little time. I just really want to get out and do some. There's an asparagus festival starting on Saturday that sounds amazing.

Off to pack now - staying in the flat tomorrow night so I can pick up the boyf from London Liverpool Street bright and early on Friday morning.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Train temperature update

I got home quite late this evening for various TFL-being-useless-jobsworths reasons which also meant I got to ride on a lot more underground lines than usual. It's getting warmer in London (up to 26 tomorrow! I'm not sure whether to be scared or excited), so I've decided to bring you the current status of some of the tubes, in case you've got some whizzing around London to do, or are just bored.

District line: Tepid, with a nice cool breeze in carriages with open windows

Bakerloo line: Roughly as warm and sweaty as a rugby player's socks at half time

Overground: About the same as outside (warm enough), but rather airless

DLR: Crowded enough to get that centre-of-the-penguin-huddle warmth

Jubilee line: No idea, but I hope for the sake of the people trapped on it by today's power failure it wasn't too hot

I had quite a complicated journey! Also, on the train from Waterloo a very fat and apparently blind woman stepped on my foot. Luckily, I was wearing boots and have not had to have it amputated. I want to stay in bed tomorrow!

Speaking of which, goodnight!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Secrets of Woking

 Ever since I heard about it from Paul (who has visited Woking since I've been here (although he didn't have time to visit me, the reprobate)), I've wanted to find the War of the Worlds statue that apparently exists somewhere in Woking. And today, I did!

The local populace don't seem particularly impressed, though
I also came across this 3D-2D mural thing, which is pretty cool: 

I was going to try to get my hair cut today, but apparently few hairdressers can accommodate a spur-of-the-moment sort of customer these days (well, one could, but £50 for a trim rather put me off, for some reason) so I am going to have to remain fringe-blinded for a while longer.

Today was another warm one. I met Jumanji in London and we had a somewhat halfhearted, easily-distracted look for Suitable Summer Attire (she has to survive a trip to Italy without melting or angering nuns) but alas the highstreet is still rather silly. Apparently your basic choice of Looks is either lurid or lurid and 70s. 

We also visited a rather intriguing Italian restaurant, as Jumanji hadn't had lunch. They give you a card as you go in, and you scan it every time you buy a dish (prepared in front of you) and then pay the total on the way out. It was pretty cool, although the system did remind me of the canteen at work more than a little.

I was too distracted by pasta to get a good picture of the place, but you can just see it in the background of this OK picture of Jumanji:

I watched the first episode of Game of Thrones tonight. It's going to have to be a very long-running series if it's going to get to the end of all those plotlines! Still not 100% decided on it yet, though - I'll tell you after the next episode gets things rolling properly. 

Off to bed now, as I have work in the morning.


Saturday, 16 April 2011

Exorcist soup

Actually, it's watercress. The Godmother whipped some up this evening, and W was unkind enough to remark that it reminded him of the film. It was nice, a bit like eating salad in soup form, if that makes any sense.

I have had a completely boneless day off today! Wasn't feeling like doing anything at all this morning, so I curled up in bed with my laptop and watched lots of 90s TV. A brief shopping trip this afternoon (nothing exciting) means the day wasn't completely wasted, though. It was surprisingly warm outside, too. Apparently it's going to reach 22 degrees on Thursday (although this information comes from BBC Weather, so I wouldn't get too excited), with thunderstorms in Woking. I love storms, so I really hope they materialise while I'm here!

I'm going in to work tomorrow (you may recall me whinging about getting there) so I'm going to sign off for now.


London life

I have decided it is time to reflect some more on life in the big city, mostly because I am having to take an unusually strategic approach to getting to work on Sunday, thanks to the London Marathon. This has made me realise several things (in a rambly, mad-old-woman sort of way):

1. Getting in and around the city on Sundays is not usually all that challenging. Fewer buses and trains, maybe, but it's manageable. Considering the abysmal levels of local services and how depressingly early everything shuts on Sundays in the rest of England, this is impressive in and of itself. Then consider that Sunday is one of the two days off a week most people get, and how many people live and work in the city, and I'm impressed I manage to get anywhere!

2. Leading on from 1, life must be pretty hard if you live in the city centre. Where are the supermarkets? Where are the fields for impromptu football games and picnics? People must have to catch buses to get to their local pharmacy. How does anyone live like this?

3. If you take out the commuters and the tourists, the actual population must be comparatively small. Coincidentally, I think if you took all the commuters from my train route alone, you'd have quite a sizeable city's worth of people.

4. What is the point of Clapham Junction as a railway station? They're practically in London, they get tubes, and yet almost every train I catch stops there to pick up extra passengers, even on the way in.  Highjackers!

5. Why is everything more expensive in London? Do they bring it in on barges?

6. The section of the Overground I take every day runs underground, and I've been on Underground trains that have emerged from tunnels to travel overground. What is the distinction, exactly?

7. I am being asked for directions quite frequently these days. I have realised that I dress in black and usually have a bored-but-slightly-exasperated expression - I'm starting to look like a local.

That is all my ramblings for now - bed is starting to look very inviting, even though I don't have to get up in the morning (hooray!).


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Return of the spreadsheets

They're back! I'm now collating the April birthdays and it looks like it's going to take a very long time. I have also agreed to go in to work on Sunday, and am down to cover a great many Sundays and bank holidays (mostly by myself, alarmingly) over the next few months. Nevertheless, I am still enjoying work! I must be going senile early.

There was much excitement today, as a market which usually resides in St Katherine's Dock had set up at the base of our forbidding skyscrapers (I work in the modern equivalent of Castle Doom (it is the seat of the Murdochs...)) and there was fresh produce aplenty. I fell victim to a cherry tart, which made quite a decadent end to my (otherwise packed) lunch. Why is it that every time I decide to cut down on spending money, markets appear before me? I suppose I should be glad this one wasn't a dedicated chocolate market...

Some tree surgeons arrived this morning to do something to one of the trees in the back garden. When I answered the door, they asked if my mum and dad were in. Do I look so ignorant of trees? Or is it my apparently extremely youthful face? (A woman in Dunfermline's Boots told me sternly that the hayfever medication my father and I wanted to purchase was strictly for adults, and asked my age. She was rather embarrassed when I told her.) It is currently too dark to tell what they've done, but hopefully they cut the right tree.

Off for an early-ish night now.


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Night time

I'm back into the routine, and back into being very tired by the time I get round to blogging! Tomorrow should hopefully be better, as I don't need to make any stops on the way home (tonight I had to do a minor grocery-and-toiletries shop, which meant I got a later train, which meant I had a later supper, which means this is going to be quite a short post!), which might even make for interesting reading.

Currently, I am semi-tucked-in in bed, as today was not really all that warm. Having left my coat in Scotland, today was a layering day. Thankfully, I have retained my ridiculously long fluffy scarf and it only started raining when I was almost home, so I didn't fare too badly. They say it's going to stay like this for a while. I really hope not!

Is anyone else really tired of wedding fever? I opened three different letters today, the authors of which were practically foaming at the mouth at some article in Monday's paper which dared criticise the Kate Middleton. I'm bored of all the articles and 'news' stories too. Perhaps this is the true dark side of journalism - being unable to escape an irritating story.

Off to bed now, as I managed to get in early this morning and would quite like to attempt it again!


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I'm back!

I have returned from the North, which was surprisingly warm, and my new family home, which is impressively awesome. I won't bore you with too many pictures, but I had a very enjoyable trip!

There was much exploring of Fife, a visit to a historic town (with an excellent tearoom) and a braai (barbecue to you) in sweltering weather. All in all, a very good trip!

I have also brought down a few of the things I left behind (OK, mainly clothes), and have spent most of this evening trying to find hangers for them. It's going to have to be summer now, because I have left my coat in Scotland. 

I shall leave you with this picture of me looking sage in a tearoom garden, as it is late (as usual) and I need my sleep!

The only thing left to say is that I saw Graham Norton today, out walking his dogs. He looks and sounds just like he does on TV, and he has a big hairy dog and a small hairy dog, neither of which is very well-behaved. The excitement of living in the Big City, with celebrities around every corner!


Monday, 4 April 2011

If this was a letter, it would be an illegible scrawl

Very quick post tonight, because it has been a busy busy day and I need to sleep!

Work was pretty mental, because it was just me and Cat in today, as Olivia was having her day off, having worked on Sunday. This meant that a) there were only two of us working on what turned out to be a full page (and Cat had lots of other things to do too (and I suppose so did I, as my opening-letters-and-cutting-up-papers has to get done!)) and b) I was sitting at Olivia's desk, which is basically the switchboard for the whole department. I got so many phonecalls! I did realise, though, that although I was getting a bit muzzy (really need to get some non-drowsy hayfever medicine), I am much more switched-on on the phone than off it. Maybe because I don't need to use my eyes...

The Godmother and W also came back from sunny South Africa today, so I have been chatting to them this evening. They had a lovely time, apparently, but sadly they have to go back to work tomorrow. We also found and filled in the census form (my bits, anyway - they can finish it at the flat). My life looks weird on paper!

That really has to be it, or I'm going to fall asleep on some malodorous businessman's shoulder on the train tomorrow.


Sunday, 3 April 2011

Sunday shenanigans

More pictures without too many words! I'm tired out from a very busy (but fun) day out with Jumanji, so I will let images speak for themselves again (with the help of a few captions). 

We went to Spitalfields market, and later braved Bond Street for a serious Uniqlo binge (there was a sale! What were we supposed to do, not buy things?)

Lunch: a pancake rather optimistically named 'I'll Have What She's Having'

Jumanji is not only a bakery fixer but a pastry ninja

Market times

Jumanji recovering from our shop-a-thon with lemon cake and iced drinks

Apparently the alien face of cake was ready to take a bite out of me. I don't seem that perturbed
That's all, folks! Bedtime.


Saturday, 2 April 2011

Worth 8,000 words?

I was clearing out my photos today (I seriously need some sort of external hard drive device!) and have decided to bring you a selection instead of a briefing on my day (not too bad, in case you were wondering - ate quite a few bagels). I've had my camera since Christmas 2007, which is a fairly long time! 

In no sort of order, therefore: 

Whizzkid and Percy - The Early Years

Spotted in a shopping centre in Dublin (I think)

Ziggurats at UEA

Obligatory arty shot

My brief term as a pirate captain was surprisingly successful

Jumanji and I go back before even my fez days

Whizzkid has always been a Man of Mystery

London: blurry and light pollution-y
That's it! I'm off for another dose of nostalgia.


The weekend starts here

This is actually true! For once, I am going to have a Saturday-and-Sunday weekend. Weird, I know. I'm probably going to be busy for a lot of it and Jumanji and I have a list to work through, but still. Hopefully I'll be able to find time for plenty of cups of tea!

Not much else to say for today. My section produced loads of pages, because the Saturday edition is usually pretty huge, and I did almost the entire DUR page for Monday. There was lots of post and the elastic band ball I made tried to escape into the Arts section.

I should report, while I remember, that Tuesday was officially my first Being Too Hot On The Tube day this year. I'm sure there will be many more.

I saw some of Frank Skinner's Opinionated this evening. A bit stilted and charmless (and weirdly awkward, when they brought on the 18-year-old 'super hero' with no front teeth), but I did learn that Ross Noble owns both a digger and a tank. This will probably make Percy very jealous.

Going to bed now.


P.S.: Congratulations to the boyf for handing in his dissertation today! Also congratulations to my friend (hereafter known as Paul) for getting onto the PCGE course at our old university!