Sunday, 22 December 2013

Personality quiz

1) You go to the cinema. There is one other person in the auditorium. Do you sit:
a) in front of them?
b) as far away from them as possible?

2) You get on the bus. There is one other person on the upper deck. Do you sit:
a) right next to them?
b) as far away from them as possible?

3) Why are people such assholes? Open question - no word limit.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Tis the season to be selfish, failalalalalalalala

I was very struck by an advert I saw on the cover of Time Out this week. It was for something like Night Nurse and urged the reader that if they wanted to snog Barbara from accounts at the Christmas party, to make sure they take their cold relief medicine before the party. But this stuff doesn'r cure your cold, it just covers the symptoms. In other words, let Barbara gargle your germs unaware, just so you can get your jollies.


I find the much vaunted John Lewis hare and bear advert to be similar. I see nothing to suggest that the bear is miserable at missing the tawdry commercial festivities. Nope, the hare is buying a present for the bear that the hare wants for itself, the bear's company at Christmas. If I were that bear and I'd found a way of sleeping through the horror of the season and someone had woken me up just to entertain them, I'd have ripped the furry little pest's head off and swallowed its ears.

This post is brought to you by Christmas music. When I'm in charge, and I will be, it will be banned for every day except the 24th and 25th December.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Good intentions?

I'm still not entirely sure what happened Tuesday evening. All I know for sure is that I started off being rather stupid. Rather than get the train back to the hotel before supper, I ate straight after work with the idea of taking the train back to where I was staying a bit later. As I walked back to the station in the dark, I decided to take a short cut through the underpass rather than the long way round above ground. It was about 7pm. Stupid, as I said, but it's a relatively safe seeming town.

As I entered the underpass, I heard a man behind me say, "Hello." There wasn't anyone else around. It wasn't a voice I knew and I hadn't heard him come up behind me. Fortunately for him, I completely forgot all my Krav Maga. I have however had a lot of experience in the past of talking myself out of potentially violent situations and that kicked in. I introduced myself. I asked his name, how he was doing. I established a link. We got the station and I got on a train that pulled out before he got to it.

He told me during the chat that he'd seen me going into the underpass, was worried for my safety and decided to escort me. I have absolutely no idea if that's true or not but in the end I came to no harm except getting a really severe fright. But what the hell was he thinking?

When I got home I found that someone had switched off both the heating and hot water. I presume the cat sitter was trying to be helpful. I had a cold shower this morning on the coldest morning of the year so far.

Stop trying to be helpful, people. Please.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Back in harness

Today's Observer relates the story of one Helen Morrison who in 1727 placed one of the first known personal ads in a local Manchester paper. As a result of this, the Mayor of Manchester had her committed to a lunatic asylum.

He may have had a point.

I'm at it again and have two dates this week. I really don't know why. I feel very little enthusiasm. Yes, the alternative is another thrilling evening in Woking Travelodge but with enough chocolate and a good book that surely beats awkwardness, tedium, rejection and potentially worse. If only the cats could talk and had more than another 5 years in them I think I could do without a relationship. I get more than enough of people from work at present.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Also wrong

Being princesses, the cats will only eat tne expensive stuff when it comes to wet food - Gourmet Ocean Delight in pouches. Like all cat foods this smells fairly repulsive and when I open the pouch, it tends to splatter. I usually get some on my hands in the process and have to wash them before dishing out the dry food to Rosa who doesn't like wet food for breakfast. This morning I absent mindedly licked my fingers on the way to washing them.

And it tastes good... A bit like Marmite but milder...

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Wrong, wrong, wrong

I saw something so beyond wrong yesterday that I've had a fun 24 hours thinking about a post about it. A driving school advertising driving lessons for 12 year olds. 'Junior driver' is what they call it. 'Encouraging joyriders' is probably a better name. I hope the lessons come with a free booster cushion.

I mean seriously, why?

Unlike some visitors to the blog, I'm not against teens doing adult things. Voting for example. I have no problem with 16 year olds voting as they will do in next year's referendum. If you were going to ban them from voting because they are ill informed, impetuous, only think of their own interests, short termist and the sundry other things thrown at Salmond when he announced it then logically you should be banning Tories from voting too and I don't see anyone suggesting that.

But why do teenagers need to drive*? I don't even think 17 year olds need to drive frankly. Because given all the above qualities, it's a lot easier to kill someone with a car than with a vote.

*I can see a small argument in favour of farmers' kids being able to drive farm vehicles. But not on the road.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

No worries you say?

Whenever I go into the office I have to walk past a City AM vendor and every day he thrusts a City AM at me. Every time, I say no (have you read City AM? It's excruciatingly dull and I've barely any time for interesting work reading as it is) and every time he replies, "No worries."

No worries.

No worries. As if I require absolution for not taking his tedious instrument of capitalist propaganda. As if I have dealt him a grievious ill.

This makes me want to shriek at him and punch him in the face, a feeling that grows every time it happens.

It worsened round about the time of Glastonbury when his normal middle class Surrey twat hairdo got cut into something part shaved, funky and urban and just as rapidly grew back out after Glastonbury finished.

Today I was in Tesco and the checkout chappy asked if I wanted a plastic bag. I said no (as an old bag obviously I carry an old bag). "No worries," he said. I had to be restrained from leaping across the belt and giving him something to worry about.

Where did this hideous abomination come from? And more to the point, how can we eliminate it?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Explains a lot

I was in Spain last week visiting a friend and something happened to give me a view of a very unhappy future. I was out with said friend (50s, slim) and a friend of hers (indeterminate, slim). We decided to have tapas for supper. The friend's friend (FF) spoke good Spanish so took charge of ordering. The place we were in specialised in brochettes so that's what she recommended we ate.

Me: I'm not sure that will be enough, will it?
FF: It will be fine.
Me: Well, let's order several then (meaning several each - still not much food but...).

She ordered two. Not each. Between the three of us. And no bread. So my supper was three small mouthfuls of meat and a cube of red pepper. And they thought that was enough.

Is this what it takes to be slim in middle age? I'm screwed then - and currently the heaviest I've ever been and gaining 2-3 lbs a week.

Monday, 14 October 2013

A time of heroes is upon us (possibly)

I was watching the trailer to the latest Lord of the Rings wannabe when it suddenly occurred to me that in their relentless fight to demonise the ultra-fertile poor, the Daily Mail and the Tories may have missed something. It can only be a matter of time until we start seeing a spate of seventh sons of seventh sons doing heroic deeds. That's got to be good hasn't it? Combatting evil rulers and wicked witches and dragons and all that sort of thing and leading us back towards the light and the good.

Monday, 23 September 2013

More tragic news

Some of you may remember a while back my description of the unedifying spectacle of me throwing a major tantrum in front of the daughter of Alexander McCall Smith when she told me that I had elevated cholesterol and had to eat less cheese.

Grudgingly I complied and cut back cheese, butter, full fat yogurt, steak and other such delights and instead ate oily fish (blech) and vegetables (double blech). I also, as predicted, deprived of my stock weight control and comfort eating methods of eating a high fat, low carb diet, started mainlining sugar and other carbs and as a result have piled on a huge amount of weight.

I was therefore hoping that when I finally got round to repeat cholesterol test the results would be even worse and I could reinforce my new agish prejudice that sugar is the problem and fat is unjustly maligned and head back to the cheese and dripping with a cry of 'told you so'.

Tragically, my results are much improved, even though I'm nearly a stone heavier than 6 months ago.

Even more tragically, they are not so much improved that I am allowed go back to serious cheese eating.


*And an ever expanding one at that.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Recently received

An email from a gentleman I had a date with a few weeks ago explaining he wouldn't be seeing me again because the evening lacked 'spark, humour and fun' and he was used to spending time with exciting, interesting people. This appears to rule me out.

I actually had a really good time.

I mentioned this to a 'friend' who said that she felt he might have a point and that I should attempt to be more fun.

The general impression I get from female friends is that there is something wrong with looking for a partner who you like, find attractive and who likes you for who you are rather than for a facade you glue on until you have them 'trapped'. I find this odd. Yet they are all with someone and I am not.

Friday, 30 August 2013

It's probably just jealousy

Edinburgh's nice and quiet now and I've simmered down. I suspect at least some of the rage comes from envy and an inability to deal with the fact it's not me presenting at the Book Festival.

In the meantime, it appears that while I have not sold enough copies of the novel for Amazon to pay me anything, I nonetheless as a self publisher on Amazon have to register for tax in the US. This is my idea of hell.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Another festival over*

And I'm slowly emerging from the annual three week rage fiesta. What rage?

  • Rage at all the crowds.
  • Rage that I spent £££ on events and a lot of them were absolute mince.
  • Rage that despite spending a lot of £££ on events I still missed the don't miss.
  • Rage that the don't miss turned out to be Bridget Christie who I saw a few years ago in her Charles II phase and thought remarkably unfunny but who now apparently has the funniest feminist set (even though some of it sounds a lot like certain Amazon reviews**).I even thought I'd bought a ticket for her in a gala but instead the person in the gala was a Canadian who looked and clearly thinks like Mel Gibson if his stream of misogynist and racist jokes were anything to go by. I was especially ragey about staying up till after midnight for him.
  • Rage at all the happy couples having a lovely timewhen I'm still single.
  • Rage at the ugly bloke in shorts who took time out of his fun packed evening to tell me how pathetic I was at being out by myself on a Saturday night at an event and reading while I waited in the queue.
  • Rage at myself for having entirely lost my funny so I no longer enjoy anything.
I did however get to live the dream. The dream that one day a comedian would pick on me in the audience, insult me, and then ask me what I do and I'd tell him I'm a journalist and then watch him tie himself in knots out of fear that I'm there to review the show. OK, strictly speaking that was a lie because I'm not a journalist any more but it was still satisfying. I think I may be a horrible person.

*OK, technically there are still International Festival things on but they are sold out. Which enrages me.
** Her act has a lot about Bic for Her. Check out the Amazon reviews of Bic for Her. Of course it's entirely possible she wrote them.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Premonition of a death foretold

I know how I am going to die.

It will be from blunt force trauma to the head.

When I crack my head on the sanitary bin in the loos at Kings Cross after I fall off the bog in shock at a blast of cold water to the privates when the auto flush misfires when I'm checking my email in the loo. Again.

I ought to be used to it by now but it comes as a surprise every damn time I move even a fraction on the pedestal.

That's why they moved platform 9 3/4. So the happy shrieks of the kiddies young and old enough to know better drown the screams from the ladies.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Security questions

My bastarding bank has just 'upgraded' its online banking security.

Now I get a one time code delivered to my mobile to enter when I logon. Thanks a fucking bunch. I wasn't planning on taking my mobile on holiday, now I have to, just in case I need to get on the bank site.

I also have to answer three out of 8 security questions. Most of these questions are irrelevant to me. Does anyone over ten have a favourite food or place that doesn't change regularly? Of course, the end result is that I'll have to write all this down, which you aren't supposed to, because it's hard to remember an answer you've just made up.

Monday, 5 August 2013


The most remarkable thing about #twittersilence as far as I'm concerned is that discovering that there are people for whom not going on Twitter for a whole day is a big fucking deal.

Thursday, 1 August 2013


In an attempt to get over the previous disappointment and egged on by someone at work I signed up for Match again. And then I immediately realised that I wasn't going to have time during July to meet anyone (and I certainly wasn't willing to use the site from my work PC) so I decided to delay paying till August. Now, what happens on Match if you are a non-paying member is that you can look at all the 'pretty' pictures but can do precious little else. In particular, you can't read emails, reply to emails or even see who wrote them. During July I received lots of emails. Since I paid up a couple of days ago I have received none and none of the people who look interesting who emailed in July have bothered replying to me. In fact one of them has blocked me.

I'm not sure if this is just sod's law or evidence of something more dodgy.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

In which I fail to live up to expectations

I'd like to think that I'm a better person than I was at 20 - nicer, more interesting and easier on the eye too. However it appears I'm wrong, if two recent meetings were anything to go by.

The first was with someone who was very briefly my best friend at school. She got in touch over Linked In and turned out to live near where I work so we met up one evening for dinner and a catch up. I thought we had a good evening, with plenty to talk about. She said at the time I should come round to dinner next time but she has ignored subsequent attempts to organise next time or indeed get back in contact.

The second was with someone who I barely knew at university. He was older than me, in a different college and hung with the rich kids whereas I only wanted to (see, told you I'm nicer now) and I don't remember talking to him more than once or twice. He snogged me once at a party but nothing came of it. He also got in touch over Linked In and seemed fantastically keen to see me again. He took me out somewhere extremely expensive, spent the whole evening telling me how much he'd adored me at university and had never forgotten me. Given that he had turned into someone incredibly handsome, charming, interesting and attractive I thought that finally all my birthdays had come at once. Admittedly I did get the third degree about why I hadn't felt the same about him at university (maybe I would have if he'd only told me at the time - the one thing that hasn't changed was that then as now I was intensely unhappy about being single) but on balance it swung towards romantic (although weird) rather than creepy. Or I thought so at the time. Things got a bit erm heated and there was a lot of talk about seeing each other again, what we would do together and so on. And I haven't heard from him since (yes I did try contacting him). In retrospect it seems clear that as the evening progressed he seemed less and less keen so it seems that four hours of current day me was enough to destroy 28 years of fantasy me.

The whole thing really unsettled me. Did he get me confused with someone else? Am I really that awful now? I found myself really regretting that nothing had happened at university because my life could be so different if I hadn't ended up with the clown I married.

I could have done without this. I'm really lonely at the moment but I think that was the final straw in the dating sense. I didn't even enjoy the fancy meal because the romantic tension was so high neither of us could eat. And that is a real tragedy.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Sadness is

Scoring a pair of £250 shoes on Ebay in the right size, right colour and right design from a brand that always fits me for £30, having them arrive in good time, well packed and in near perfect condition and being unable to cram my hideous hooves into them because this particular pair are too tight for my plates of meat.

I think maybe 25% of the shoes I buy turn out to be comfortable. Obviously I'm not improving my chances by buying online but even shoes that felt like a glove in the shop hurt or tear gashes in my skin within seconds of wearing them in real life. Even M&S Footglove hurt (and that really was a case of compromising style for comfort).

Am I the only one with this problem? It's such a waste of money, never mind the disappointment.

Friday, 3 May 2013

A brief history of the next few years

March 2014 - After another year of spurious Coalition inflicted austerity, polls in Scotland show pro-independence opinion moving towards 50%. Alarmed, the Tory party launches an all out dirty tricks campaign to save the Union. Labour tacitly supports this.
October 2014 - The no vote gets 50.1% of the vote. Faced with no further chance of independence for another generation, the SNP considers its options.
2015 - Funded by Sean Connery and Tom Farmer, the SNP fields candidates in every English constituency on a platform of free university education for all undergraduates, free prescriptions, free eye tests and free care for the elderly (all things the Scots already enjoy). To everyone's surprise, they win a huge overall majority at Westminster, with the Tories forming the opposition. The only remaining Labour MPs are in Welsh and Scottish constituencies. Alex Salmond becomes Prime Minister.
2016 - A referendum in England on Scottish independence is scheduled for 2017.
2017 - Despite predictions of an overwhelming vote for independence, following a Tory volte face and a resulting campaign to 'kick the whining bastards out', Salmond is horrified when the English vote to retain the Union. Opinion polls show that he is the most popular Prime Minister since Churchill.
2018 - His majority at Westminster means that he has no problem forcing through a repeal of the Acts of Union of the Parliaments and of the Crowns, followed by a vote to fold England into Scotland. Unionist pressure at Stormont also leads to Northern Ireland voting to become part of Scotland. The UK now consists of the Independent Socialist Republic of Scotland and the Principality of Wales.
2019 - Prince Charles stops being the Prince of Wales and becomes King of Wales. A small movement in favour of restoring a Stuart monarch to the Scottish throne fails and Alex Salmond becomes President for life.

Monday, 29 April 2013

I think it is time to accept that I am not a finely honed killing machine

A while back I signed up for a course of 6 Krav Maga lessons. I think some self defence skills would be useful and more importantly it's cathartic and fun too. Unfortunately though I'm failing to get to the classes. Since January I've made it along to 4, partly because I'm not here much during the week and partly because when I am, I'm so knackered I can't face it. The problem is that it incorporates some pretty hardcore fitness work and I am not fit. My various health problems  make it really hard to get beyond a certain level of fitness and while I think I'm doing OK at the hitting people bit it's the rest that's a problem. Two weeks ago we were made to do press ups with someone lying on our back and I put my lower back out.

I'm feeling surprisingly crap about this. I've never been really, really fit and I would like to be but even if I can't achieve that surely being able to defend myself is important.

Sunday, 28 April 2013


I bought an iPad recently (mainly for work). I've only just discovered that it has Siri installed so having done obvious things like asking Siri about the best local place for cocktails and coffee, I thought I'd ask him (my Siri is a man) where to find a boyfriend seeing as that's something pre-occupies me somewhat and this is what he suggested:

in first place -  the local playground

then there was:
the Polish Combatants Association
the local branch of Leonard Cheshire (a charity for the severely disabled)
the Campaign for a Scottish Parliament (I thought we already had one...)
the Royal British Legion
the Parkinsons Disease Society
the International Network of Overseas Development Organisations

I can honestly say that I had never before thought of trawling any of those places for men and this clearly is why I remain resolutely single. Now all that can change. Thank you Siri!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

I'm not surprised we want out of the EU

No, not because the Commission bogs.

One of the things that struck me forcibly in Brussels, as I sat in the Lord Jenkins room listening to someone drone on about something Lady Ashton was doing, was how completely and utterly ludicrous we are as a nation. I can understand why a country might want to give a 'prominent' or 'successful' person an honour, but why these idiotic, archaic titles? And why would anyone, even if they accept one, use it? It doesn't make them sound better than anyone else, it makes them sound like a twat.

I can only assume that the rest of the 27 spend much of their time sniggering at us, not just because of Cameron's hot air and posturing but because of the Lord Jenkins room. And so on.

It's clear that the only solution is to leave. Given that comparisons are odious, once we're out, we need no longer disguise the chips on our shoulders with ceremonial chains. Safe in the knowledge that we really are better* than Johnny Foreigner, we can maybe grow up and get over this idiocy. That or wallow in it in splendid isolation.

*I am convinced that much of the hatred of Europe comes from the knowledge, stamped down and forcefully denied, that they and everything about their countries, are better than us. All of them. Even the Belgians.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Business travel and shame

Don't get me wrong - I think good food is worth spending money on. I occasionally have the extreme good fortune to go to Michelin starred restaurants (although only at lunchtimes for the set price menu) and I generally think it's worth every penny.

However Thursday night I did something that makes me feel all dirty inside and not in a good way.

I spent £17 at Haagen Dazs.

What did I get for this, you might ask. Did I eat my body weight in dulce de leche icecream? Did I add every topping known to man?

No. I had 2 scoops on a waffle and a cup of tea. No toppings. And the waffle was stale.

£17. I should have walked out or refused to pay or something*.

In mitigation I was in Brussels and Brussels is very expensive and I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. But seriously. People often complain about the attitude of Parisians to tourists but Paris has nothing on Brussels in my opinion. I like the architecture but otherwise the place stinks in my view.

Take my first visit to a restaurant in Brussels many years ago. I ordered a fancy duck dish. I come from a background of boarding school food and a mother who hated cooking and I'd not had duck before except shredded in chinese pancakes but even I knew that what I was served with was a lamb chop. I complained but to no avail. It was duck, insisted the restaurant proprietor, and for duck I was charged (a lot), even though it was without a shadow of a doubt a lamb chop.

I stayed in a rather ropy hotel this time (nice hotels in Brussels are completely unaffordable) and on leaving, I told the hotel receptionist (in English) that the rail in the bath was hanging off the wall and could cause an accident. It was dangerous, he agreed, and made the following call (in French):
Receptionist: Can you take a look in room 607, the rail in the bath needs fixing.
Other person: [I couldn't hear but I suspected it was something on the lines of 'so?']
R: Because I want the lady to think we care
OP: [couldn't hear]
R: yeah, well, whenever.

Furthermore, the bathrooms in the European Commission building smell appalling. And the conference I was at served a standup buffet lunch on side plates and provided no biscuits with coffee so I was starving for most of the event.

When I got home the cat had pissed all over the carpet.

*Still better value than £10m on a funeral no-one wanted.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Helpful tip or worrying indictment of marketing practice?

My attitude to a housework schedule is as follows: ignore it till it's too repulsive to ignore any further then ignore it some more.

Today nonetheless even I felt moved to clean the bath. However, there was a problem. The bathroom cleaning wipes were in the kitchen where I had taken them several weeks ago in a fit of enthusiasm about a chore I still haven't done. Walking five yards to the kitchen seemed a little too much like hard work so I used some Tesco wet bog paper wipes instead. And they did a wonderful job, far better than cleaning wipes.

So, my concern is, is this the sort of handy tip that twenty years ago, when wipes didn't exist, I would have shared with a women's magazine. Or are wet bog paper (gentle, soft) and cleaning wipes (strong, disinfectant) actually exactly the same thing? In which case, should I worry more about my bottom or my bath?

Sunday, 24 March 2013

I'm repulsive and I just don't care*

It would appear that I'm 90% repulsive as I tick the box for 9 out of the 10 top turn offs for men (according to the Daily Mail).


  1. Hairy upper lip
  2. Dirty sheets
  3. Hairy legs
  4. Untidy nails
  5. Body hair
  6. Ungroomed pubic hair
  7. Messy hair
  8. Bad outfit
  9. Ugly footwear
  10. Lack of perfume

Nobody could ever accuse me of a lack of perfume but it seems to me that a lot of these come down to a) being human and b) having a life. The sheets, I should emphasise, are courtesy of Trilogy Rosehip Facial oil, which while doing wonders for the complexion, dyes sheets and pillowcases a shade of yellow that resists every stain remover I've tried.

As for the female equivalent:


  1. Dirty sheets
  2. Untidy nails
  3. Untidy room
  4. Unshaved face
  5. Bad outfit
  6. Ugly footwear
  7. Lack of perfume
  8. Hairy upper lip
  9. Ungroomed pubic hair
  10. Ugly underwear
the only one that bothers me is the dirty sheets (unless of course he uses Trilogy Rosehip oil too). Where's (in no particular order) bad breath, smelly feet, racist attitudes, homophobia, misogyny, annoying voice, being boring, talking about football and weighing less than me in there?

*Actually I do care because actually I find being repulsive quite upsetting but not enough to do anything about most of the things listed there and more so in that such shallow things matter more than being good company. Bad smells however are beyond the pale, in man, woman or animal.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Free to a good home, 2 cats, not in full working order

Failing that, can anyone indicate how much it might cost to convert the entire flat into an actual litter tray, given that to all intents and purposes, that's what it has become?

Friday, 15 March 2013


I'm now down with the kids (and as of today totally out of date) and have moved from my lovely Blackberry to a smartphone - the Samsung S3. I've just spent the entire evening trying to set up my 123-reg email on it, without success. I can't figure out whether the problem belongs to Samsung, T-Mobile or 123-reg. My work email I can set up fine. My virgin email I can set up fine. So I suspect the problem is 123-reg's but who knows why - certainly not their help page which is no use whatsoever? The outgoing pop3 setup works OK but I can't get the phone to access the SMTP server - it keeps rejecting my username and password, even though it works just fine for Pop3. Anyone? Halp?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

What would you have done?

I took today off because I had a long standing booking to watch a matinee of one of the Met Opera broadcasts at the local cinema. It was Parsifal, starring Jonas Kaufmann who I mentioned a few posts back.

It started at 1pm. At about 12.40 I was at the bus stop waiting for a bus. I wasn't late but I wasn't especially early either. At that point a rather dishevelled older woman, who I'd never seen before, approached me and started talking. She said she had shingles, had a hospital appointment and was feeling very unwell. Then she started crying about how she had no-one to go to the appointment with her. The thing is, I know how that feels. I've been in that position and it's awful.

But... day off... very expensive prepaid opera ticket... favourite tenor... only chance to see it...

So I told her to sit down and to take the bus to the hospital instead of walking which is what she had been planning to do. I then told her I really hoped her appointment went well and got on the bus to the cinema, where I simultaneously really enjoyed the opera and felt like an utterly awful human being. And still do.

What would you have done?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Doing it wrong

Spot an attractive gentleman at Krav Maga class. Get chatting. Promise to see each other at class next week. Decide I would be more alluring a few pounds thinner. Go on diet. As result of diet by following week feel so faint and ill that I have to miss Krav Maga class.

Learn from me. I'm the master.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

You can take the boy out of the Bullingdon

According to today's Observer, part of the current initiation ritual for joining the Bullingdon Club is to burn a £50 note in front of a homeless person. This seems a perfect symbol, in microcosm, of the current government's policies, a government run of course by ex-Bullingdon boys.

Annoyed of Tunbridge Wells has a night at the opera

Have just fired the below off into the ether:

     "On Saturday 23rd February I attended Scottish Opera's Werther at the Theatre Royal Glasgow and sat in the Balcony. An otherwise enjoyable performance was thoroughly spoiled by the amount of noise made by the Balcony front of house staff throughout the performance. Starting within minutes of curtain up and continuing throughout there was thudding about, doors slamming (presumably the bar door), rustling, whispering, squeaking (plastic or polystyrene type noises) and walky talky sounds. I can appreciate that there might be some noise 5 minutes prior to the interval opening the bar but this was throughout the performance and ruined the standout aria in Act 2. While the performance was not well attended that doesn't mean that people who did pay for tickets should have to put up with this. I couldn't see what they were doing because of the wooden barrier at the back of the Balcony seating but whatever it was should have been done outwith performance times, especially during an opera where it's all about the sound quality.

I'm currently in the habit of attending Scottish Opera performances in Glasgow rather than Edinburgh but if this happens again, the Festival Theatre will be getting my custom in future."*

Now, one could argue that all that's a reasonable response to Werther which may qualify as the world's most annoying opera, featuring as it does winsome kiddies, rustic yokels and the most pathetic 'hero' ever. But still...

The performance seems to have been well reviewed and musically was pretty blameless (what I could hear over the noise from behind me) but the staging was ugly and conceptually really creepy - what was going on with Werther continually mistaking his beloved's little sisters for her?

What's more, the production was advertised with this, which looks moody and rather romantic:

Yet the singer, while blessed with a beautiful voice, looked more like an Edwardian railway clerk with an overexposure to Brylcreem. However no-one (except followers of Jonas Kaufmann) really expects to be visually as well as auditorily stimulated by their tenors so that's only a minor niggle.

*Have I ever claimed not to be pompous? No, I have not. I own it.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

What would Bertie say?

The low cholesterol diet has not got off to a good start. I'm not particularly proud of how I took the news at the doctor's, to begin with. My doctor is Alexander McCall Smith's daughter and I keep thinking about how he would portray a middle aged, middle class woman throwing a massive tantrum because she's been told not to eat cheese.

Her recommendation was to replace butter and Greek yoghurt with Benecol products. One look at the ingredients list for the yoghurt was enough to shelve that idea - 4 different types of sugar and sucralose (which I can't tolerate even in tiny doses). There is no unsweetened version - the 'light' one just increases the amount of sweetener. How is that supposed to be healthy? I did try the spread but the 'buttery' version bears no relationship to butter - it's basically marge. Again - how is that good for you?

Before I get properly started on this low fat bollocks I'd like to lose a bit of weight (which means Atkins, which means high fat). Once I shift to a high carb low fat diet, I'll blow up like a barrage balloon. But I'm travelling quite a lot at present which also makes controlling my diet pretty difficult. I'm supposed to go back to the doctor in April for a follow up blood test to see how I've managed to reduce the cholesterol but I don't see that happening.

The only supposedly positive change I've made is to 'introduce' linseed into my diet on the suggestion of the local healthfood store. But on reflection, I already eat Vogel linseed bread (it's the only non-white bread I've found to date that doesn't worsen my IBS) and that hasn't helped clearly. Or did, given that Tesco recently seems to be using its unparalled customer data analysing powers to stop stocking anything I buy on a regular basis.

Given I'm single with no family and expect to get Alzheimers at some point over the next 20 years, frankly keeling over with a massive heart attack while wallowing in a bowl of foie gras doesn't sound that unappealing really.

Friday, 1 February 2013

It's official

I'm a vain, deluded, old fool.

I'm in the process of applying for a new passport. You only have to get your photos endorsed if you 'are so changed from your previous passport photo as to be unrecognisable'. So of course I didn't bother. I don't think I look greatly different to how I did in my mid thirties.

Apparently I'm wrong.

My application just got knocked back because I didn't get my photos endorsed.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Apoocalypse now

Got back from a few days away to a total apoocalypse. Firstly, the fur horsemen of the apoocalypse* had displayed their love for me and concern at my absence by creating an interesting abstract installation in mixed media on the sitting room carpet and in the hall. Secondly I have just been told that for health reasons (I now have dangerously raised cholesterol) that I have to go on a low fat, high fibre diet. There are some very good reasons I eat a high fat, low fibre diet and avoid most vegetables and grains - it allows me to leave the flat for a start (good old IBS), prevents me fainting and stops me looking 8 months pregnant from bloating. I am not happy about this. I'm not especially sure I want to live longer if that requires giving up cheese and butter.

Does anyone have any experience of eating a low fat, low carb diet? It seems like I'll be limited to fish and that's about it. My doctor doesn't have a dietician on staff.


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Summoning the law of sod

Following Tuesday's paeon of praise, my lovely watch has stopped working. It's probably just in need of a new battery (a procedure that is expensive and takes about a week) but even so...

Update: OMFG, I am never going to even come close to boasting about something again. £75 for a new battery. I want to cry.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Round and round we go

Not that long ago, it seems, people were no longer buying watches because who needs a watch when you've got a mobile to tell you what the time is? I was never particularly convinced by this - my 20 year old Raymond Weil watch is a thing of beauty that gives me pleasure to wear every day. My mobile rarely leaves the house (cover your eyes, Citizen Dave*) because a) I don't want to be bothered when I'm not at my desk and hence not able to do something about whatever it is whoever it is is ringing about and b) it's an item that gives me no pleasure whatsoever, reminding me as it does of my desert of a personal life, while still acting as a source of extreme anxiety - the hour before bed-time every day when I was dating in 2011 while I waited to see if I was going to get a text from Him or not contributed considerably to last year's meltdown and c) what if I lose it or it gets nicked and d) I don't need any extra weight in my handbag and I would ALWAYS rather carry an extra lipstick than a phone and e) T-Mobile absolutely screwed me on my contract this year and even looking at the phone throws me into the sort of rage that only looking at my lovely watch will calm.

Now, the latest thing from CES Vegas is apparently the Pebble. Kickstarter funded, it's ready to ship, with 85,000 pre-sold. What's a Pebble? It's a watch (a bloody ugly one mind you) which can receive data from your phone to save you having to get your phone out. While I don't think you can leave your phone at home like I do, it's a step in the right direction. Plus it's kind of Star Trek isn't it?

*I'd happily make payments with my watch. Or something else like a ring that I don't have to open my handbag to get at.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

There must be a name for this

Does anyone know what the following example is an illustration of, other than stupidity?

It was (still is) lunchtime. I thought about what to cook. There isn't much in the fridge so initially I thought of boiled eggs. I ruled this out on the basis that it wasn't filling enough (supper will be late), considered a few more options and settled definitively on ravioli, which is about to go off so needs eating today. I then walked to the kitchen and boiled the eggs*.

I do this a lot. It's as if the brain does not register negatives - I will not eat boiled eggs, turns into I will eat boiled eggs. Is this a *thing* or am I just heading for early dementia (like my mother)?

*and am still hungry as a result

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

How it is

Just back from a Hogmanay event at which a draw was made for a fairly substantial travel related prize in Scotland.

A crowded street scene.

Presenter: And now the results of the draw. The winning ticket is 1280 and the winner is Dino. Dino, are you here?
Crowd: [Cheers]. Yay! Dino! Woohoo Dino!

Dino comes up and collects an envelope.

Presenter: Congratulations Dino!
Dino: [inaudible].
Crowd: [Cheers]. Yay! Dino! Woohoo Dino!
Presenter: And where are you from Dino?
Dino: [loudly] Birmingham.
Crowd: [stunned silence. It appears that Dino is English. More silence, then] Boo.