Monday, 29 August 2011

London Underground

Apologies for the extremely lame title. I have spent today trying to create as much text as I could as fast as possible. If you look at the DUR page tomorrow, it is all by me. And probably riddled with errors, but there you go.

Thanks to the resulting brain crash (much like pushing it with physical exercise, I find too much stress on my brain creates a massive slump later on) I do not have much to share today, so I will let off steam about something which is on my mind every day, twice a day, because I commute.

Tips for Tube travellers: 

  • Your journey is the most important. Anyone who gets in your way or is trying to get past you is merely unaware of this. Let them know as often as it takes. 

  • It's really boring sitting on a train speeding through a tunnel. Liven things up for everyone by having a loud, inane conversation with a friend, or any random stranger foolish enough to make eye contact.

  • Don't bother working out your journey before you go through the barriers. There are lots of maps and signs on the walls and it is customary to congregate in front of them in large groups. 

  • Bringing a pushchair on the Underground is a great way to help beleaguered commuters relax by exposing them to your charming children. They will also enjoy the obstacle course you create for them by parking it right in front of the doors.

  • The right side of the escalator is reserved solely for you to stand on. Enjoy!

  • If you can't be bothered to work out a route, don't worry - grab a member of staff and demand that they give you directions. Better yet, ask a fellow traveller, especially anyone who looks in a hurry. Bonus points for changing your mind about where you want to go and refusing to take the Bakerloo line because you don't like the colour brown. 

  • There are two approaches to getting off a Tube train. The first is to wait until after all the other passengers have disembarked and then dashing after them, stepping on as many feet as possible and pushing past anyone trying to get on. The second is to hover in front of the doors for several stops before yours, just in case the announcer is lying. 

  • When getting off a Tube train, be sure to stop right in front of the doors and look around you slowly. 

  • When boarding a train, try to stand directly in front of the doors before they open. As soon as they do, push your way inside through all the people trying to get off, ignoring all signs, announcements and protests that suggest the opposite. You want to get a seat, after all. 

  • Repeating "Mind the gap" after every announcement is a joke that never gets old. Ever. 

  • If you are travelling with small children, let them take turns in pulling the emergency alarm. 

  • Wait until you are positioned right in front of the ticket barrier before fishing in your bag for your ticket or Oyster card. 

  • If you have a large bag or backpack, make sure you board the most crowded carriage you can find. Give yourself a bit of a rest by leaning on other people. 

  • The Tube is basically one big book club. If you see anyone reading anything, ask them what they think of it. If they don't answer, it must be really good - press them for information. 

  • Newspapers are strictly rationed, so it is customary to read over other people's shoulders. Feel free to let them know if they are turning the pages too fast for you. 

  • A crowded Tube train is the perfect place to try out all those new ringtones you downloaded. 

  • When leaving a Tube station, bear in mind the sad fact that there is never enough London for everyone. Push, shove and step on people. 

I'm sure there are more, but that's enough helpful advice to be getting on with for now. Bitter, moi?


P.S.: If the song is still stuck in your head, you are probably a destined commuter. My commiserations. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

10 things

I am trying not to be lazy about blogging,  even when I am knackered and nothing interesting happened all day unless you happen to be an obituary fan, so:

Today I bring you 10 things which have been on my mind at the moment.

  • I am so not ready to turn 23 in two months

  • I'm not sure what to get Whizzkid for his birthday, which was yesterday. Happy birthday! 

  • I am looking forward to my day off on Friday so much it hurts

  • I still need to wash the soup off my umbrella (don't ask)

  • If I don't wear wellies to work tomorrow, it will bucket down and my shoes will be soaked. If I do, however, it will be a lovely day and I will look a right lemon carrying wellies around

  • How do I turn the five cold new potatoes in the fridge into a delicious lunch for tomorrow?

  • Current trends demand that I dress like a Hitchcock heroine this Autumn, but my budget is more Shaun of the Dead

  • I need another cup of tea

  • It's getting past my (new! Revised!) bedtime

  • One of the old men at work said that when you get older, you don't catch colds as often because you've had them all. Is this true?

That's it for now.


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Meet my little friend

He's been reading over my shoulder for a while. This is B.J. Vorster, former hardman of South African politics. He creeps my parents out when they skype me. 

This weekend (I say weekend, I mean yesterday), I ate a lot of strawberries. 

A lot. And plenty of cream. 

I also did a wee bit of shopping, of which more anon. I don't wish to alarm anyone, but I may have solved the world's skirt problems. 

This evening I have also been eating lots! Almost all of it from the garden. The Godmother's vegetables all seem to be ripening at once, and I feel like I'm living on a farm. We've had corn from the garden"

(The remains)

Also broad beans and French beans and probably other kinds of beans I've forgotten about. My favourite way of eating them is straight off the vine, so I can pretend I'm some sort of garden-raiding outlaw. Also they make a wonderful squeaking sound when you eat them raw.

Also diverse other produce. I think she should set up a farm stall!

The potatoes and raspberries are particularly sublime. 

Right, I'm going to have to go to bed now, as I have had a long day at work and seem to be coming down with something. Not convenient!


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Almost Autumn

Today was properly chilly. I went out wearing a cardigan, a jacket and a scarf! Goodbye summer, we hardly knew ye. 

There is one upside to colder weather, though. I may actually get to wear my new coat:

I bought it in some sort of sale last month for £20, so I'm feeling smug already. 

In some ways, cooler weather is a lot easier to dress for, as you just assemble disparate elements, rather than trying to find one clean item of clothing that will cover all the necessary areas without adding to your body temperature too much. I will have changed my mind by October, though! 

I'm going to bed now, as tomorrow will be my sixth day in a row at work, and I need all the sleep I can get!


Monday, 15 August 2011

Here, fishy fishy

I made these earrings last week, with extremely awesome fish beads that my parents brought me back from South Africa. Making jewellery is a surprisingly relaxing hobby, apart from the mental strain of coming up with designs. I like these, though - they're the kind of jewellery that cheers you up! 

Although it was Monday today, it felt like Tuesday as I was working yesterday. The upside of this is that I didn't have the same Monday bad mood as everyone else and was positively cheerful by comparison! We had to fill another whole page at rather short notice. In some ways, it's quite good fun to race against the clock, but only when people don't want you to do other things at the same time! All was well in the end, though, and I even got to work in a topical fragment of news from 1819, about the aftermath of the Peterloo massacre. Today's rioters should be glad that the police aren't allowed to bayonet them. 

I have also been given sole charge of a work experience person, as I am going to be the only person in the office who will be in all week! Very nerve-wracking - I think I need to get used to being in charge of people or I will never make it to editor!

I'm off to bed now, another exciting day tomorrow!


Sunday, 14 August 2011

The best bit

Look familiar? 
I am going to get back into blogging properly, I promise. Just as soon as things are a bit less hectic at work and I actually get to do fun stuff to tell you about. Until then, I'm afraid snippets are going to have to do.

Tonight I want to mention something incredibly important in my life, as illustrated by the delicious, sadly 2D carrot cake above. Without getting too oversentimental, my family is awesome. My little brother is somewhere in the Pyrenees at the moment, eating horrible blue cheese. And I have just gotten off skype to my parents who, despite the recent swamp-ifying of the sitting room, are just the most incredibly cheerful, cheering people I know. So, even though my vision is starting to go a little bit fuzzy through lack of sleep, I am going to go to bed in a good mood.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Tickets, please

It feels like Autumn is already drawing in. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I'm not going to be on holiday again for a good while, so a change of seasons would at least be something of a diversion. On the other hand, I'm not that keen for it to rain all the time.

Today's picture is a handy visual demonstration of something I complain about a lot:


This picture also represents a few thousand pounds. Those are some expensive little pieces of card. 

I have been taking steps to make my commute more bearable. Most recently, I have started reading on trains again. I got through Ian Rankin's Tooth & Nail in two days, and will be starting another one tomorrow. I think the trick is to pick the lightest books possible. 

I am going to have to go to bed now, as I am back at work and back to not getting enough sleep. 


Tuesday, 2 August 2011


All I want to do this evening is listen to the Corries!

I had another busy day at work (full page again, so lots to come up with), but I did manage to put Superchef's blog in the paper, and fully legitimately. It's here, in case you want to check it out. Lots of recipes with very few calories!

I am hopefully also meeting Normandy for lunch tomorrow, if all goes to plan. I haven't seen her in ages, so it is quite exciting!

That's about as much as I can type for now, so listen to the song!