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.