Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Special Gift

It was Christmas Day morning.  And me and the Chups were sitting cross-legged on our living-room rug opening up our Christmas presents.

I'd thrown my gifts at the Chups in no particular order whilst the Chups had pretty much presented mine to me in an arrangement that suggested that, whilst the pressies beforehand which were to be opened had been chosen with care, an extra special Brucie-bonus present was still waiting for me at the end.  This arrangement, whilst surprisingly organised by the Chups, did apply a certain amount of pressure on the present-opener, and it was for this reason that London-Lass found herself eyeing up the last remaining pressie on the rug in front of her and praying that it would be something nice.

Note to reader : London-Lass is really not ungrateful or high maintenance, but is aware of the Chups' limitations when it comes to gift-buying.  An example of which would be the present that the Chups had been making a big song & dance about six years ago, leading London-Lass to think she was going to be the recipient of a small item of jewellery, or something else of that ilk.

But which had turned out to be a pen.

A pen that London-Lass still uses.

But that's not really the point.

And, so with some trepidation, London-Lass began to half-heartedly tug at the sellotaped corner of the pressie that remained to be opened, whilst trying to ignore the fact that it was rather thin, rather flat and not looking like anything that could be nice - like, an item of jewellery, for example.

"You havent written me out a cheque or something have you?" London-Lass feebly joked, whilst finding a better bit of purchase on the Christmas wrapping paper.

"Open it!" the Chups responded with a knowing smile.

This response did not fill London-Lass with that much confidence and, expecting a postal order to slip out and flutter on to the rug in front of her, she did the only thing she could think of doing.

She ripped the present open and affixed a tight grin on her face.

Which seemed to have been the right route to take.  The present had held nothing but a piece of paper.

"So?" the Chups enquired, knowing smile still evident.

"Er ..., " London-Lass responded, "it's a bit of paper."  And then began to panic.  The pen they'd eventually made up about (after spending the afternoon six years ago arguing over what constituted a `special' present) but a bit of paper?  On Christmas Day morning?  Having made to keep it to last?

What cruel trick was the Chups trying to play?

"It's all there - you've just got to fix a time and date," the Chups rumbled on, totally unaware as to how sweaty and panicked London-Lass had become.

But then.

With the Chups behaving so oddly.

It then occurred to London-Lass to turn the bit of paper over.

And everything suddenly became clear.

The Chups had bought and paid for a classical piano lesson at a local music school.

At this point London-Lass may have gone a bit wibbly.  She'd only mentioned in passing (and a very long time ago) that she'd always fancied having a tinkle at the ivories and had not expected that the Chups had filed this brief aside away and purchased something connected to it for Christmas.

"Why are you crying?", the Chups enquired, in a concerned fashion. "I know it's not jewellery ..."

"No it's not jewellery and that's why I'm crying" London-Lass tearfully explained, snot and tears gathering on her upper lip.

The Chups did not respond but just looked on blankly.

"O God!" London-Lass screeched, spraying spittley snot everywhere and then, whilst jabbing the Chups angrily in the chest, she shouted : "I'm crying because it's special, you GREAT TIT!"

Which rather sucked all the romance and joy out of the occasion but, you know, there was an important point that needed to be made.


Eight months after the heartwarming moment above, London-Lass finally found the time to contact the local music school and arrange the lesson.

London-Lass had two days holiday this week and an hour classical piano lesson was arranged for yesterday afternoon.  At 2pm, to be precise.

In order not to run the risk of being a bit foul and smelly in a new social situation, London-Lass had made the sensible decision not to have any lunch beforehand.  Spring onions and scotch eggs (which had been planned as part of her meal) had always left her bowels rather lively so saving her lunch for after the lesson seemed like the best idea.

If only to save the tutor from great harm.

However, abstaining from lunch had not had the desired effect.  And whether it was excitement, or the fact that one had to walk up a hill to get to the music school, but by the time London-Lass was just a few minutes walk from the music school's door, she felt more windy than if she'd just filled up on a bowl of All-Bran five minutes before.

"What am I going to do?" London-Lass squeaked to the Chups, in a half-clenching, half-farting fashion, whilst nearing the music school door.

"You're gonna have to cork it for an hour" the Chups replied, all matter of fact. "Have fun!"

"Bloody arsehole!" London-Lass responded (which could have been aimed at either the Chups or her anus - difficult one to decide).

"Right here goes," London-Lass stated through gritted teeth and, whilst clenching hard, walked in and took a seat in the waiting room.

Suddenly a very small, rather swarthy, man shuffled in.

"Hi, I'm Tom - please come in," said Tom, leading London-Lass into his teaching room.  Which housed about three different pianos and a number of other instruments that were suspended from the walls and ceiling.

"Please take a seat," gestured Tom at the stool in front of the nearest piano.  London-Lass quickly sat down and then felt all weird.  The amount of keys twinkling away in front of her was just a bit overwhelming - how on earth could anyone ever imagine being able to play such a thing and remembering all the notes?  Madness!

"So you're a `beginner'", commented Tom as he picked up a book of sheet music from the floor.  Which London-Lass couldnt help but notice had a picture of a kid on its cover.  Together with a cartoon bunny.  And a maniacally smiling sun.  Really, all it needed was some fuzzy felt characters and a honking button on its cover, and you could have given it to a three year old as an educational present.

Undecided as to how to respond but, also at the same time not wanting to appear like a 42-year old thickie, London-Lass decided that the best policy was to answer in a way that no-one would understand.

And just grunted.

Which did not really help with denying that one was a thickie but it rather narked London-Lass that the only thing missing in the book that had been chosen for her to play from was lift-up flaps.

However, when the book was opened, it suddenly didnt seem quite so mocking and cruel.  The tunes were not childish but more simple arrangements, and each had the option to add in an accompaniment (if one was up to that standard - which London-Lass was not).

Anyhoo, the whole lesson then went rather swimmingly.  London-Lass almost got to use all of her fingers (this is not supposed to be as rude as it sounds) and at one point Tom even showed me a bit of his piano prowess.  Which was pretty good.  However, Tom had been a bit of a piano prodigy as a kid so had had a bit of an advantage over London-Lass who, at the age of 42, found that her fingers and brain refused to be connected (which got somewhat in the way of the piano playing).

By the time the lesson was up London-Lass began to realise that one's thumbs are `the first fingers' when it comes to playing notes, that she was not going to be an overnight piano genius, and that Tom had probably the bushiest nostrils she had ever seen on a man.

A second lesson has been booked in for next Friday.

So probably a bit too early to drop the Remington Nose Trimmer casually into conversation.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Conversations on the Train (Part I)

I do believe there is already a blog (or blogs) out there dedicated to some of the chatter one can catch whilst commuting in on local transport.

And I am not surprised cos it can be rather startling what people can spout whilst travelling to and from work - sometimes things that make you wonder if you are the only one to crave a bit of privacy (which cannot include a crowded train carriage) before spilling one's guts with such aplomb.

Much like the two building contractors I heard rabbiting away behind me as my journey took me from the superlatively grim and rather manic West Ham to the much more sedate and leisurely Upminster.  Whilst it was a busy train car at standing room only capacity, no effort had been made to keep their dialogue sotto voce and, even though I had my iPod playing away in my lugholes at the time, their conversation still somehow managed to bleed through.

So, deciding that it was not worth straining to hear Peter Frampton over the babble of the builders behind me, I packed up my headphones, stowed away my iPod and settled back for a seriously good earwig :-

Builder 1 : Is that who I think it is on your phone?
Builder 2 : Yeh, got a few texts from her.  She, er, came round last night. 
Builder 1 : What was that for?
Builder 2 : Well after I told her to do one-
Builder 1 : (spluttering) Pah! That always tickles me!
Builder 2 : Ha! Well after all of that she had a few things she needed to get back from me. But I got rid of her quick sharpish.
Builder 1 : She had it coming, mate.
Builder 2 : O I know.  
Builder 1 : How long was she round yours?
Builder 2 : Dunno.  I'm not sure if she'd intended to stay for a bit but I told her to get her stuff and go.
Builder 1 : O, so not long then?
Builder 2 : Nah.  Probably about 5 minutes.  If that.
Builder 1 : So why she texting you now?
Builder 2 : Well, I think she might have got the wrong end of the stick.
Builder 1 : About what?
Builder 2 : About me and her.
Builder 1 : What? Getting back together?
Builder 2 : Yeh.
Builder 1 : Where'd she get that silly fucking idea from?
Builder 2 : I had sex with her.
Builder 1 : (more spluttering) What? Last night? 
Builder 2 : Yeh.
Builder 1 : Well I can see how she might get the wrong idea from that.  You idiot!
Builder 2 : Couldnt help it, mate.  You should've seen her.
Builder 1 : Hang on ... thought you said she was only round for a few minutes?
Builder 2 : Er...
Builder 1 : So six months ago you catch her with her ex in your bed.  You throw her out.  She comes back last night, you have a quick poke and then you throw her out again.  And she now thinks you and her are back together?
Builder 2 : Well...
Builder 1 : Mate, this is better than Eastenders.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Since February our little road has been suffering from a bit of a crime wave.  Or, at least, been the subject of certain unwanted visitations by no-good types, and which has left me and the Chups feeling a bit uneasy.

The first (a burglary that took place in the wee small hours of a weekday morning) we shook off.  The poor blighters whose home had been targeted were old and frail and, when me and the Chups found out the house number from the local fuzz (several doors down from us and owned, as I said, by an elderly couple) we were able to separate ourselves from the incident and chalk it up as one of those unfortunate things that `happen to other people'.

Then, about a week or so later, a further burglary took place.  However, this time the burgled gaff was only three doors down from us, the homeowners were a younger couple (who had been out at work) and the burglary had taken place at a more civilised time of the morning after the thieves had deactivated their alarm!  Me and the Chups were now beginning to get a bit uncomfortable - especially as we had not seen or heard anything (and the Chups had been off that week from work).  Who were these burglars that could merrily half-inch stuff from a gaff a mere stone's throw from our home, have the capabilities of deactivating alarms and do so without anyone seeing or hearing anything?  I tell you, it set our nerves slightly on edge, and with both incidents in our heads we took to secreting our (most important) stuff in very secret places round our bungalow in a sort of `well if we're next then at least they would have difficulties in finding these bits' mood.

But then it all went quiet.  For a couple of weeks.  And, just as we were beginning to take a breath and think it was all beginning to die down, the Chuppies had his number plates nicked from his brand new car.  Now his vehicle is not parked in the street, or even down a driveway to the side of our gaff, but is parked slap bang right outside our living room window (Chuppies likes to park his car in a `snug' fashion) so that the number plate thieves would have had to walk almost up to our front door and be in direct view of our next door neighbours' front door whilst committing their heinous crime.

Feeling really rather peeved now, the Chuppies contacted the police straight away, and after leaving his statement with a young policewoman (who pretty much implied that there was little to no chance of the culprits being caught but that the Chuppies had done the right thing in calling to report the theft as soon as we found out) the Chuppies ordered in some new plates from the car garage from which he purchased his vehicle.  However, we havent been able to fix the reg plate to the front of his car yet as the thieves took the front `mount' and this is taking a couple of weeks to order in from Japan.

So, anyway, due to the above and, beginning to feel that our street had lost its homely/safe factor, I did start to find myself idly browsing on Rightmove and Google Maps, and wondering if we should give up on our gaff (even though we both love it), cut our losses and move to somewhere else.

But then I got talking to one of our neighbours.  And it would appear (as she is the queen of local gossip) that the police actually know who carried out the burglaries in our street - an old man who lives a few streets away has been recruiting school kids in an almost Fagin type style to carry out the crimes for him.  Apparently the fuzz are on his case and there is an ongoing investigation.  Or something.

Additionally the Chuppies received a call from the fuzz a few days ago.  His plates had been spotted on a stolen vehicle in a street a few turnings from ours.  They were unable to return the plates as they were naturally going to end up as evidence, but hopefully they might have something to go on from the dumped stolen car.

So whilst all the incidents above arent open and shut, at least we can see that the police appear to be getting close to getting the bad men.

Which has lifted our anxieties somewhat.  And prompted the Chuppies to recommence work on our front garden this morning whilst I watched him through the living-room window in our antique rocker.

Well it's cold inside.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Bit Meh

It wouldnt have been that long ago that an eclipse would have sent the human race into a mad panic. Stories of celestial monsters gobbling up celestial objects would have been shared over a fire, over a meal or perhaps used to make the underlings/children/vulnerable/thickies do the more powerful/less vulnerable/bit-more-intelligent people's bidding.

But today it was all a bit `well what was that all about?'.  Although this did not deter the media who have been their usual hysterical selves.  Whilst the BBC clearly had nothing to report with no sky or sun to see (huge blanket of cloud cover has been concealing most of the UK over the past week) this did not stop the constant update checking to various reporters dotted around the country.

An 85% partial eclipse is what was predicted in London today and this is where I am presently sitting typing this blogging post.  And, at around 9.30am, perhaps it got a little darker with the sky looking like it was just about to snow or thunder.  But really nothing to write home about or, should I say, post up to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat/Tinder/Flickr.

Now the 100% total eclipse in 1999 was a tad different and would have justified the media getting into a spin (particularly with the Millenium on our doorstep).  But the strangeness of that eclipse was not just because of what was going on in the sky.  I was 26 years old, living at home and wasting my time with a muscle-bound meanie.  (This neanderthal nobody has somehow managed to find someone to marry him and further research on the Net has led me to understand that he spent his stag do shooting small animals with an air rifle in Colchester.)

Whilst the impact today's eclipse had on us Londoners is rather small, I remember back in 1999 everything becoming rather strange.  The light became like twilight and all the birds stopped singing. Sitting in my parent's back garden I also became aware of how odd the blue sky looked reminding me of a cheap TV series representation of a night time scene.  Of course, the event didnt last long, but the memory has remained sixteen years on.

Including how I felt sitting in the back garden all by myself.

I had taken the day off as I had an `urgent smear' booked in.  The steroided-up sad case had also promised to take time off to go with me to the doctors but, at the point where the eclipse took place, the gigantic gorilla was a half hour late, and so I had sat and looked at the garden and at the sky (but not at the sun), and took in that moment's strangeness all alone whilst feeling a bit sad.

During today's total eclipse I was by myself again.  But with good reason.  Me and the Chuppies are both at work - although we did share a brief telephone conversation at 9.31am :-

London-Lass : "Notice anything?"
Chuppies : "Nah."
London-Lass : "Yeh, same here.  It's just a bit-"
Chuppies : "Meh?"
London-Lass : "Yeh, that's it, `meh'."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stifling the Tuts

I don't think there's anything that gets people's goats more in the middle of rush hour than a slow-coach.

And guess who that person is at the moment?  Yep, me.

For you see, I've done something to my foot.  The one on my right, that is.

Was walking to my local train station yesterday morning when suddenly my foot began to jip a bit.  Not thinking much of it (after all, our bodies will sometimes creak and/or ache for no reason but then be right as rain the next) I got on with my day as best I could, although all the while being aware that the jip was not going away (which, by yesterday evening, had transformed into a weird, almost `sprained' type feeling).

I am writing this blogging post to you this morning with my foot strapped up in a load of cohesive support bandage inside a fur-lined boot which has made it feel a lot more comfortable - however, the jippy achey feel is still in the background - particularly when going downstairs, or stepping off a kerb - so have a feeling it will be a while before I will be able to walk without limping down the road like an 80-year old bird.

As to what I have done to it - I'm not too sure.  The walk to my local train station (in my comfy flats) was without incident and, over the weekend just gone, I dont really recall doing anything out of the ordinary that could have caused this weird feeling in the right foot.  The only thing that comes to mind is something that took place about two days before Christmas wherein I recall jarring my right foot after stepping down awkwardly from the edge of our bath (whilst undertaking a thorough clean of the bungalow) but, as I didnt get any follow-on pain, I didnt really think much about it.  At the time.

So, is this what happens when you're over 40?  You have a minor incident with a body part and instead of the expected follow on pain, swelling and swearing, your body instead decides to store the injury for another time when it's really inconvenient.  Working on the principle that my body has decided to conspire against me in my 40s, if the after effects of my awkward stepping down had not been delayed I could have rested my foot quite easily at the time (I was off for the festive break) and then hopefully returned to work with a mended foot on which I could walk normally and not look slightly special hopping down one step at a time in the middle of a busy station entrance.

So what to do?  Well as I can put weight on it and can walk on it (albeit it slow and shuffly) I shall continue with the strapping up and wearing of fur boots, and see how I get on.

I do miss, however, dashing out of the office, skipping down the road and pelting down the platform for my train - all the while tutting at any slow-coach that got in my way.

But I think, after this incident, I might stifle my tuts and be a tad more patient.

For a bit, anyway.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reason for the Season

Gosh it's been a while hasnt it?  Last time I blogged the sun was out (sort of), the sky was blue (I think) and everything was growing and blooming and lush.  Etc.  At the time of writing this entry, it looks like it's already getting dark outside, the sky is that cold watery blue that makes your eyes prick with tears and your nostrils run like a tap (although this might just me) and everything is either dried up, dying or dead (again, this might just be me).

So, where to begin?

Well it's pretty much the same as always in London Lass Towers.  The bungalow is still 'effing marvellous and the front room is almost done.  We've got cupboards either side of our fireplace, a real wood floor and all the central heating pipework is finally boxed in.  We've also acquired a gorgeous cottagy rug and a 19th century rocking chair that sits on a small jute rug shipped in all the way from Arkansas.

We've got a picket fence installed in the front garden and some rather wonderful shutters are now hanging in our also rather wonderful new uPVC windows.  The new glazing means that now that the cold weather has set in I am no longer finding myself having to wipe ALL the windows and frames in the morning, thus risking a late departure for work.  There are still a few original windows in the bungalow but these only take a third of the time to deal with and dont seem to be as bad as when we still had all the original windows in the bungalow.

The Chuppies is also doing rather marvellously.  His direct manager thinks the sun shines out of his rear and the majority of his stress/anxiety problems seem to have melted away.  In his last job it wasnt uncommon to find the Chuppie in bed in the morning coming to in a river of sweat (which would mean a constantly tiring schedule of stripping and making the bed 2-3 times a week) - however, now the Chuppie sleeps all the way through the night and is usually bone dry in the morning (like a well-trained, albeit rather large and hairy, baby).  The fact he's now taken to wearing nightwear in bed (t-shirt with or without pajama bottoms - dependent on the weather) means that if he does get a bit of a sweat on - which are in no way comparable to the way he used to get completely drenched - means that the clothing will absorb the sweat and can be chucked in the laundry basket to be dealt with in the next wash.

My job is also rather splendid.  Yes, it can be so busy sometimes that I have to cram down my sandwich at 3.30pm and spend the rest of the afternoon wishing for some Gaviscon but, as I still get the odd day like this (when it's just me in the office drinking my Diet Coke and having a bit of a blog), it all works out even in the end.  Last week was the turn of our Christmas Do which was a very civilised affair.  For once we didnt end up having to traipse the streets of lunchtime/Christmas shopping London trying to locate our restaurant and hoping they werent going to give our table away due to lateness.  This time we had a table booked at an eaterie a mere 5 minutes walk away and the food served in the place was rather nice.  Ok - it wasnt big plates of turkey and roast potatoes smothered under a bed of pigs in blankets (which is what we all secretly crave at this time of year) - but there was food served up that actually resembled what it was supposed to be, the wine was rather nice and the waiting staff were friendly.  During the course of the meal one of my bosses described me as `dashing' - which I usually ascribe to noble heroic figures and/or horses.  Anyway, as the boss in question is usually a bit of a misery and not one for paying any sort of a compliment at all, I decided that I would go with his word choice - I am in my 43rd year after all!

But returning back to the bungalow and the time of year.  It wouldnt be cricket if myself and the Chuppies didnt hang up a bauble or two, to celebrate the season, etc.  And so we found ourselves a coupla Sundays ago downing hot Koopaberg Cider With Cinnamon and making the bungalow look lovely and festive :-

We've even temporarily procured a 6 setting dining table for the back room which may or may not have been decorated in a Santa Claus theme (I am holding a Christmas Champers Brunch on the 23rd so this may or may not have decorated for that).

My last day in the office is the 19th following which I have two weeks off.  Those 14 days are much needed and I have a few things that I'd like to do/try whilst I am off but suspect the majority of time will be spent gorging on chocolate and cheese in loose fitting bottoms whilst watching TiVo'd Christmas tele.

Ah well - tis the reason for the season.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I dont want to be THAT PERSON

You know the type.  There's you, minding your own business, perhaps having a lovely convo with someone brand spanking new at a party, or even quietly commuting on the train when, suddenly, you find yourself having to listen to THAT PERSON who decides that you need their guidance, or the benefit of their advice, on a topic that really does not concern them, or has anything to do with them.  At all.

To explain - one of my bosses has acquired for himself a dog - a gorgeous 7 months old female Mini Schnauzer (who, for the sake of this blog, we will call `Plop').

Plop is probably the best rescue dog that could have been landed on my boss and his missus (she is playful yet calm, quick to learn, eager to please and has had a good bit of basic training instilled in her already).  For, you see, neither my boss nor his missus have ever had a dog, nor really knew that much/read up about them, before deciding (after the unfortunate demise of my boss' very old cat) that, yes, they were going to get a dog, what a whizzer idea, and all would be fine and dandy.  Of course, you cant argue with their choice of getting a rescue (definitely commendable) and more power to those that go down this route, etc.  However, their decision to acquire `Plop' was not through reading up on breeds and working out which would be best for them and their lifestyle, but more whether they looked pretty (from their online adverts) and ... erm ... that's about it.

(I'm really trying not to sound mean here ... and, as that's exactly the sort of thing THAT PERSON would say before unleashing a huge amount of unwanted advice, I'd best stop)

But perhaps I can shirk responsibility for becoming THAT PERSON (if I have indeed become one) as the situation I find myself in - following the aforementioned purchase of `Plop' - has meant I've had to sort of step in to the role of giving advice.  For you see, they asked me to :-
"London Lass, we are not worthy, bestow us with your knowledge of canines, o powerful one" the boss' missus said one morning, whilst cringing at my might.
Ok, so I might have added a few embellishments to the above, but I think you catch my drift.  The boss' missus (who had brought Plop in to the office for the first time) was looking for a bit of help as she appreciated that she and my boss were slightly duncified when it came to all things doggy.

And, so (without trying to be too Cesar Milan about the whole thing), I mentioned a coupla wee things they might want to change when it came to their interactions with the `Plop', and everything seemed rather splendid.
"London Lass, the thingie you mentioned to do when coming in, and leaving, the room is brilliant.  I double-checked with the lady down our street (the one who has dogs and knows all about them) and she said that the advice was spot on." marvelled the boss' missus, with shining eyes and a big smile.  "If there's anything else you think we need to know please dont hold back - we need it!"
So I gave her a few more tips but nothing too fancy and left it at that.

In the meantime, the boss has been brooding in the background (which I hadnt realised until only recently). My boss' late dad used to work as a gamekeeper and kept a whole gaggle of beagles at one point at my boss' old family home back in Ireland.  The boss would often be left as a young' un to muck out the beagles and feed/water them.  I am not sure, however, if his routine interactions with the hunting pack were quite the same as one you would have with your very own domesticated pet (the playing, talking, cuddling, walking and everything else that goes with it) since we are talking about a gaggle of canines that were kept outside by themselves in a group and would be mucked out once a week like a horse.  They were never let in my boss' house and were certainly not treated as pets.  Aside from this interaction - and the odd visit by a next door neighbour's dog - I think this is where my boss' canine knowledge begins and ends.

And, unlike my boss' wife, I began to feel that my tips were beginning to stick in my boss' craw.

So I stopped.  Reined it all in and shut up.  And which, I guess, means I cant be THAT PERSON since they never know when to quit and will only cease when they've either run out of breath or spotted another person in the vicinity to talk at.

But then, about a week ago, my boss was looking for some help re. Plop :-
"I really do feel as though it's those two girls (my missus and Plop) and then, way down on the list, is me!  The missus asks me to call Plop to her - when she's busy and doesnt want to be interrupted in something - and I do call her, but Plop takes no notice of me.  I think I've become invisible!" the boss mused, whilst looking a trifle concerned.
So I gave him a small tip.  Without trying to sound like a big fat know it all.  Which my boss and his missus carried out and happily reported back that it had quickly worked (it helps that Plop is an intelligent soul) and all was right in the world.

But now we come to the sticky part.

There seems to be a growing eagerness to spank.  And I'm not talking the good kind - involving me, the Chuppies and a shovel full of lingerie - but the kind that is being administered on the Plop by both the boss' missus and my boss.  For stuff that I cant really fathom.  Making me feel rather sorry for Plop.

The first I heard mention of it was by the boss' missus.  Apparently there's a patch in their garden where a rotary washing line used to sit.  Plop, being the curious pup that she is, decided to have a go at digging at this patch.  The hard work had already been done so Plop, I guess, took to digging at this spot to find out what wonderful marvels might lie within the soil.  The boss' missus, catching sight of the Plop hard at work, shouted a firm `No' and pulled the Plop away.  The boss' missus then returned to whatever task she'd been involved in, only to find a few minutes later that Plop had returned to the digging with even more gusto than before :-
"So I said `No' and dragged her away once again, and it all seemed to go quiet.  Plop went in and was busy with her reindeer chew, and I continued on with my jobs.  But, blow me down, not quarter of an hour later, Plop was back at the hole and digging as frantically as before.  So I yelled `No', smacked her and she hasnt bothered that patch of grass since," the boss' missus explained.
Now the above is not the issue.  Short sharp shocks we all know about.  Administered correctly, they tend to prove pretty effective and, as far as I know, Plop has not dug in this spot since the smack.

However, a couple of days after the digging incident, Plop escaped from their house.  Now, bearing in mind, Plop has only been in my boss' care for a few weeks you would've thought that leaving the front door open and then not stopping the Plop from leaving the house but letting her cross the road to greet another dog (all the while, whilst off the lead) would not be a tremendously good idea.  The boss' missus apparently came to her senses a little later and voiced her concerns to my boss (upon seeing Plop in the street) who quickly replied that Plop was fine.

Plop obviously did not agree with this sentiment, for shortly after making friends with the dog in the street she bolted.  And ran so far that in order for my boss to find her again, involved taking the car and searching for her across quite a vast distance.

But then, when they found Plop, my boss grabbed her by the scruff of her neck, and walloped 10 bells out of her.
"It's the only way they'll learn," he stated, whilst I looked on mute, fighting back a response that I was sure would earn me a P45.
The Plop is also a bit toothy (puppies, like babies, are all about their mouths) and whilst she does not bite you, will not be too shy in mouthing you during `play'.  This is quickly rectified with a sharp retort or a `No!'.  One of my other bosses (in the vicinity of the boss' missus) thought that Plop had bitten him when he went to stroke her.  The fact that he'd been fiddling with her face/teasing her chops beforehand might have been the catalyst but I am still not convinced it was a bite but a precursor to a bit of `rough play'.
"If she does that, smack her", my boss' missus stated, sharp as you like.
And not really sure why I did, but I stepped in at this point.  And said there was no reason to smack.  Just either make a sharp `No' or similar sound, or make a quick high pitched noise.  A push to the side whilst doing this would help.

My comments did not go down well.  A look flashed between my boss' missus and the other boss as if I had recommended Plop go to a dog psychologist to cleanse her canine aggression and, it was at this point, that I realised I could very well be on the edges of becoming THAT PERSON.  And, not just that, but THAT PERSON WHAT HAS NO JOB.

Since the next time I see my boss I'd really like to whack him several times up the face, all the while shouting "It's the only way you'll learn!!!"

So I guess I'll have to remain mute.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


So, following on from this post, I made my way over to see the gynaecologist yesterday morning (accompanied by the Chumps).

The clinic I'd been referred to was a little private hospital about 20 mins walk from our plump bungalow and, whilst it was a sunny day, it was not too hot (which was good as I wanted to keep me vitals fresh and not arrive all damp, pungent and moist for my internal examination).

On arriving at the hospital (about 10 mins before my appointment) I checked in with the receptionist who handed over some paperwork for me to complete.  This was done in a trice and after receiving an A4 yellow file for me to bring in with me for my appointment, I sat back down and stared at the floor.

"Oo, hand me that" the Chumps parpled, eyeing a discarded Essex Life magazine on the empty chair next to me.  "O, and a sparkly coffee machine too.  Nice one.  Do you want anything?"

Turning round I took in the rather exotic looking coffee dispensing paraphernalia behind me.

"Nothing there for me, thanks", I sighed, so as to remind the Chumps that I am not a coffee drinker, and after eight ruddy years together shouldn't he really know this?

"There's water", the Chumps pointed out, trying to be helpful.

"No I'm fine really" I replied, glancing at my watch and hoping to speed up time so I could nip in for my appointment and get it ruddy over with.

And it was at this point that I suddenly discovered I would have to wait quite a bit longer, for a small efficient looking nurse appeared to my left and announced to the waiting room that anyone seeing my gynaecologist could re-book their appointments as he was running forty minutes late.

"Shit sticks" I quietly replied (whilst being careful not to let it echo around the waiting area).

"What you gonna do?" the Chumps questioned, whilst keeping half an eye on the coffee machine behind me.

"O, wait I guess," I replied, again sighing slightly.  "We haven't got to be anywhere else today."

And so I sat and waited in a quiet fashion (all the while praying that my crotch would keep dry and not suddenly decide to break out in an impatient sweat and ruin my earlier efforts at making my flaps as pristine as a new shiny pin).  The Chumps, in the meantime, helped himself to a generous serving of Café Mocha courtesy of the coffee brewing gadget just behind us.

Twenty or so minutes later I was eventually called and escorted in to the gynaecologist's office by a friendly Febreze-smelling nurse.

On opening up the door I handed over my A4 file to the gynaecologist and grabbed a seat next to his desk.  The effervescent nurse quickly departed leaving myself and the gynaecologist (who, for the remainder of this blogging post, I shall call `Bob') to have a chat about me bits and what was up with them.

Our conversation was a little bit meandery at times - largely due to the fact that Bob came equipped with a rather heavy Indian accent and a tendency to talk as quick as a rapid firing machine gun - but eventually we got my history down on paper (termination in my 20s, loop diathermy in my 30s, subsequent smear test regimen, all test results coming back negative, no pain, no discharge, no mid-cycle bleeding, no history of cervical cancer in my family - just something spotted during my last smear test that had both the nurse and my GP scratching their heads over).

Bob, at this point, sat back in his chair.

"Before examining you I can tell you it is likely to be one of two things.  Following your loop excision there might be scarring to the cervix.  Or it might be a polyp.  Both look different - the polyp hangs down and away from the cervix whilst the scarring forms a ridge or bumping to the surface of the cervix.  Let me examine and scan you, and we will find out."

Bob then pressed a button under his desk and an efficient looking nurse bustled in and escorted me in to the examination room next door whereupon I undertook the usual routine of taking off all me bottom half clothing and hoping on to the trolley.  Bob then appeared and it wasnt long before a speculum was produced allowing Bob to see what on earth my nether regions had cooked up.

"Ah I see it.  Yes, it is definitely a polyp.  I shall just grab my tools and have that quickly removed."

So, saying, Bob was then handed what looked like a large set of tweezers by the efficient nurse and after assuring me that it would not hurt, he fished around inside my flaps and yanked out a small piece of flesh - about half the size of a Birds Eye packet pea.  And, he was right, the removal of the polyp was painless which was a good job as, after plopping the first bit into a small plastic pot held by the nurse, Bob went in a second time and yanked a further bit out.  Satisfied that it was all gone he instructed the nurse to seal and label the pot whilst grabbing a swab doused in a chemical that he took to dabbing at the recently plucked polyp area and then turned his attention to a small machine next to the trolley.

"As I want to make sure you dont have any others growing inside you I am now going to do a scan," Bob explained whilst getting himself comfy, removing the speculum and applying a jelly to a large white stick containing a mini camera.  After inserting the device (which was certainly a lot less uncomfortable than the dratted speculum), Bob then took to examining my internal mechnanisms and after rattling off a ream of dimensions to the nurse in a happy fashion, Bob said something that I did not quite catch.

At first, I thought he was talking to the nurse, but on noticing the nurse looking at me as if waiting for me to answer, I asked him to repeat what he said.

"What made you decide to have the termination and not have children?" Bob enquired.

"Er ... " I began, not quite sure why he needed to know.

"Was it for medical reasons?" Bob questioned further.

"O, I see," I replied, understanding his reasons for the probing. "Nope.  Just personal."

For just a brief moment a strange expression passed over Bob's face but, as soon as it appeared it quickly vanished, and then Bob was turning the monitor to me so I could see for myself what my internal workings looked like.  And it was all rather strange.  The last time I'd seen my inner sanctum was at the termination but, of course, this time I was empty inside, and the only thing on the screen was my womanly mechanisms which, whilst proclaimed to be in good working order (in fact, according to Bob, rather perfect), had remained unused, were devoid of any history and although primed and ready for breeding, had been left to work away in silent fashion, without event.

"This is your womb here - lovely, textbook - your ovaries here - you can see an egg just here - all nice and healthy - and no sign of any other polyps."

And, as I lay on the trolley, and took a last look at all my gubbins I knew that the decision I had made in my 20s had been, without question, the right one.  As Bob described my perfect fertile status in almost misty-eyed fashion I remained unmoved, non regretful and without any longing.

A further speculum examination was then in order (to ensure the bleeding had stopped from the earlier polyp removal) and then it was all over.  I was allowed to get off the creaking trolley, to get me kecks back on and return to a more civilised state of dress.

After swapping a coupla chitty chatty bits with the nurse, she briefly touched my arm for just a fraction and, quietly said : "Sometimes - for us girls - it's not right." And I think I understood what she meant - and nodded at her quickly before returning back to Bob.

"So, how are we?  Are you comfortable?  Any pain?"

"I'm fine thanks - what happens now?" I asked.

"The polyp is sent off and, once we have the results back (which is highly likely to be negative), I shall send you a letter by way of report.  Of course, if the results are positive I shall contact you straight away.  But from what I've seen today I see no reason for you to have to return for further tests."

And, after shaking Bob's hand (and the nurse's too) I departed his office, and the clinic and with the Chump (who was now beginning to trip after all the dispensed coffee he'd managed to get down his throat whilst I was being seen) we hot-footed it back to our gaff to an early lunch and much welcome showing of `The Burbs' on ITV4.

The off and on (extremely light) bleeding (following the polyp removal) has now more or less stopped and whilst I have my results to wait for I am not overly concerned given Bob's seal of approval following the scan.

And, as for the nurse - I think she has it spot on.

Friday, June 13, 2014


I am finally off the conveyor belt of having to have constant smears.

The other week I received a note from the NHS confirming that my most recent smear results were negative and, as the yearly inspection programme for the last 5 years had finished, they were putting me back to the standard 3-yearly check up regimen - which means that I wont have to get my legs up in the air again until mid-2017.


However, during my last smear the nurse spotted a `thing'.

"Oo, what's this?" I heard her question as she busied herself between my thighs.

"Erm, what's what?" I questioned back, trying to sound all calm and normal whilst a woman with a series of inspection tools was having a good old forage of my most intimate of crevices.

"Well ... you appear ... to have ... something ..." the nurse responded as slow as you like.  And then, without finishing her sentence, removed her speculum and asked me to close my legs.

"All done?" I asked whilst sitting up on the examination trolley.

"Yes, you can get yourself together again" the nurse directed, whilst returning to her desk and writing on my smear test-tube label.

"Er, so what was this `thing' you found?" I asked, whilst sorting out my knickers and and trying to untangle my leggings.

"It looks like it might be a polyp," the nurse explained as she finished off the test-tube label.  "Here, take a seat, and I'll show you some pics."

So, after dressing myself, I picked up my stuff and sat opposite the nurse, who had produced a card with pictorial representations of what could be possibly found up one's love bucket.

"Now this you'll see is a cervical erosion," the nurse said whilst tapping the top left pic. "This is not what I found."

"The second pic shows an example of a polyp," the nurse explained whilst gesturing to the pic at the top right.  "This, I think, is what I saw."

"You ...`think'?" I asked, whilst studying the pic, which didnt look that far off a pendulous grape hanging from the middle of a doughnut.

"Well, I'm not 100% certain, so I'll refer you back to your GP, and she can have a better look at it," the nurse continued whilst opening up her appointment page on her PC. "But dont worry, polyps are very common, and are almost always benign."

About a week later I had my legs up once again for my doctor who, unlike the nurse, was not at all convinced it was a polyp.

"Your cervix bleeds very quickly on contact and I can see what the nurse spotted.  However, it's not a-typical of what you would expect a polyp to look like - more like a general inflammation," my doctor explained.  "I can see, however, why the nurse thought it might be a polyp.  Anyway, I note that your most recent smear results were clear, which is obviously good, but I think we should get a gynaecologist to take a look and investigate further."

A gynaecological appointment therefore awaits me on Sat 28th June.

So whilst I no longer have to get my legs up in the air, I am still having to get my legs up in the air.  And far more frequently.

Is this what they call irony?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

And They're Off Too ...

My current next door neighbours, that is.

A couple of weeks ago whilst browsing Rightmove on the pot I spotted a listing for next door's bungalow which came as a bit of a surprise.

Our neighbours, a relatively elderly couple, had moved in to their gaff about six months before we moved in, and we thought that they might be around a little longer - well hoped, really, as they're rather lovely.

Anyway, some THIRTEEN DAYS after advertising their bungalow as being up for sale there is now one of those natty `Sold STC' triangles plastered on their property ad.  Even though it was generally felt to be over-priced.

"The price? Yeh. Well we just thought we'd have a punt, stick our toes in the market, and see where it got us," murmured our next door neighbour on being confronted by the Chups, before running inside and slamming his front door.

See, I told you they were nice.

Anyway, with their property now being sold, this means that :-

  • we are losing a pair of lovely neighbours who were friendly, chatty, would take in parcels for us and were an all round decent pair of wotsits.
  • we could possibly end up with next door neighbours who are not quite so lovely (and quiet).
  • within the space of 18 months our next door neighbours have made a profit of around £45,000 on their bungalow without hardly doing anything to it from purchase.
  • their property is now worth over £77,000 more than ours.  Which cant be right.
But, anyway, the possibilities of who the new next door neighbours might be are as follows :-
  • a `wealthy-looking' couple (white guy, oriental bird) who viewed the bungalow over the weekend and spent a fair few minutes looking up and down the road (and also gogging at the outside of our bungalow) after their viewing.
  • another couple but this time two ladies (one looking in her 40s and the other of pensionable years) - so either a property for the mum, or daughter bringing her mum to take a gander at her potential purchase.
Didnt see any `families' viewing but then the bungalows down our way dont generally suit a family set up - loads of land front and back and nice room sizes, but the lack of bedrooms would put a lot of families off.

Additionally the stigma attached to bungalows (i.e. `for old folk to move in and then peg it in') hasnt really (pardon the pun) died so my money is on the old bird getting it.

Lastly - and how's this for irony - but I'm sure glad that me and the Chups bought our property at the time we did, as we certainly wouldn't be able to afford our bungalow now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

She's Off

Remember, Sapphire, my (ex) next door neighbour from hell?

Initially of the constant loud & clangy bedroom shenanigans stuff and then, latterly, of the doorstep row as a result of the almost constant barking from her effin' spoiled shit-pieces?

Well it would appear that Sapphire's on the move.

Yes, that's right.

My brother had gone to tinker with his wheels outside the front of his gaff (where I used to reside) and, on leaving his house, spotted an agents `For Sale' sign-board had been erected in front of Sapphire's driveway.

On checking Rightmove at the weekend it would appear that she has listed her property at an extremely high price (naturellement), the photographs indicate that she has no taste whatsoever (qu'elle surprise) and that she has furnished the house as only the entitled-never-want-for-anything-whose-daddy's-little-girl-then can (sacre bleu!).

For who else would possibly dream of hanging a mirror like this in their bedroom :-

or of fixing blimmin' gold painted tin hearts to their walls like these :-

For the record, she has no kids.  It's just her, her two barking shit-heads and her 6ft tall dingus of a bloke.

And she would, by now, be hitting her late 20s.

So it's a mystery as to why she's decided to kit her house out to resemble a spoiled Little Lord Fauntleroy type nursery.

But still - she's off.  Which of course means blessed sighs of relief all round for my brother (and all the other neighbours in close proximity).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thanks (but why?)

Obviously it's nice when you hop on to a crowded Central Line carriage and someone offers you a seat.  I mean, in this day and age, someone offering you anything for free (or without any sort of obligation on your part to do something equally nice in return) is a rarity in itself, but for it to take place ON THE UNDERGROUND is almost unheard of.

Which is why I really do not want to come across as an ungrateful doughnut by posting this ... erm ... post.  But I am becoming most concerned as to why I keep getting offered a seat.

When, really, I dont want one.

And (as far as I know) I dont need one.

Plus now that my Central Line tube train journey has been drastically reduced to 5-6 stops (about 10 mins) I am finding it more than a little ironic that all these chaps are suddenly (and very gallantly) offering me these seats when they were nowhere to be seen in my more lengthy commuting days.

So why is it?

  1. My Age?  Whilst I may be in my 42nd year my mirror confirms that I dont (yet) look like an old woman.  The Chuppies/bosses/immediate family tell me this too.  O, and the secretary who works on the floor above me is convinced that I am still in my early 30s.  But she is a bit mad (although for the sake of this post we will brush this information to one side). 
  2. Possibly Pregnant Looking?  After studying my reflection for about half an hour over the weekend (both dressed and - gulp - undressed) I am pretty much satisfied that I dont look `with child'.  Additionally, on the occasions when I have been offered the seats, I have been wearing a teeny tiny black jacket that tightly belts in the middle.  
  3. Problems with Halitosis?  A possibility.  I mean what could be worse than having someone suddenly standing over you with stale morning breath that reminds one slightly of sewers?  And, whilst not an immediately obvious solution when faced with a halitosis sufferer in one's close proximity, if one were, say, a couple of stops from getting off, perhaps it might make sense to quickly spring up and offer one's seat (thus to escape the thick pervading morning fug being breathed all over one's personage)?  However, the seats which have been offered to me have been from people located quite a fair distance from where I am standing - so far, in fact, that on one occasion one of the seat offerers had to stretch out a long rolled up newspaper which he took to tapping my arm with in order to get my attention to the seat that was being offered.
  4. Look faint?  Would like to instantly dismiss this one but, given that I am as pale as an A4 piece of Xerox Premier copier paper (although this is more to do with my Celtic heritage than any sort of medical disorder), there might be something in this.  However, the average LU commuter is not usually that sensitive to problems which may occur.  Yes, I have seen the odd fainting victim helped out but this is always well after the event has occurred (e.g. a seat has been offered up only after someone has fainted into someone's lap and made it impossible for that person to continue reading their newspaper, etc.).  To offer up one's seat out of concern that someone may faint based on the pallor of that person's skin is perhaps grasping at straws here.
So I am stuck.  I have absolutely no clue as to why the last couple of weeks I am being offered more seats than I have in all my years of travelling on the tube (which is coming up for 24 years).

But I am truly grateful.  

Even if slightly paranoid ...

Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Nearly a Year

And, whilst we feel that we're getting more of a handle on the area we've moved to there are still a few nooks, crannies and crevices which remain to be explored.

So this weekend we decided to put that right.

The weather was good.  Dry.  Bit chilly.  But no rain.  And no wind to whip round you, play havoc with the nerves of your teeth and ensure you come home with a tired wind-battered face complete with headache.

The plan was set.  We would get up early (or at the time one would normally rise for work), leave at about 6.15am (or thereabouts) and walk from our little plump bungalow all the way to Hadleigh Castle.  Whilst the Chuppies does not survive well when venturing out long without fodder he had decided that he would be fine to shlep the 3 hours or so to the Castle on little more than a coupla glasses of water.

"Are you sure you'll be OK?" queried London-Lass (all concerned 'n that). "What about one of your breakfast chewy bar thingies?"

"I'll be fine," replied the Chuppies all impatient and huffy.  "Besides I dont want to be carrying anything with me."

"They're light snack bars not luggage.  And you know what you get like when you dont eat anything," London-Lass replied full of portent and doom.

"I'll get something whilst we're out," the Chuppies heckled back and, then before London-Lass knew it, they were both outside the bungalow's front door and starting their walk to the Castle.

Which turned out great.  So early was it in the morning that only the occasional jogger and the odd over-enthusiastic cyclist could spoil the serenity of the spectactularly soul-souring sunrise. (try saying that after a coupla sherries)

But then just over an hour in it started.

"Breakfast", the Chuppies mewled, whilst eying up a seafront poster promoting a joint that might just deliver the tastiest southern fried chicken you could possibly ever consume in your life.

"I told you to bring something with you," London-Lass barked back whilst hurrying the Chuppies along.

Reasons for not venturing into the café that promised to serve exquisitely cooked poultry of the southern fried nature?  1) I had already planned a home-cooked brunch of bagels, salmon, scrambled egg, yoghurts, fruit juice, tea and a toasted hot cross bun on the side, 2) the Chuppies eats too much sweet beige fried stuff when left to his own devices, and 3) the café was shut.

So the Chuppies manfully continued on as we began to move away from the more commercial end of the front and into the more historic/wealthy/prettier area full of cockle sheds, eccentrically named public houses, ultra expensive but tiny fisherman cottages and a train station that would mark the start of a maze of footpaths, fields and dirt tracks that would take us to our final destination.

But just before we left the seaside village and ventured into its pretty countryside London-Lass espied a nifty little café-cum-seafood-merchants wherein the Chuppies was rewarded with a sugary coffee and a bit of a sit before making our way to the Castle.

Which greeted us after a further 20 minutes or so.  

3 hours on the hoof without breakfast - my brave soldier

and whilst only small portions remain of this once grand property you could really get a sense (when standing up close and having a bit of a gog) as to why King Edward III was so drawn to the gaff and spent so much filthy medieval lucre doing it up to enjoy it in his dotage.

So after lots of marvelling over the majestic ruins and cooing over the view from where the Castle had been perched, we nimble-footed it back to the closest train station and choo-chooed it back home.

The Chuppies has just now woken up from a 1½ hour napping session whilst I have been quietly typing away with a half empty bag of M&S Chiccy Choccy Mini Eggs by my side.

Arent long Bank Holiday weekends the greatest invention ever? 

Friday, March 28, 2014

That's The Way (Uh-Huh Uh-Huh) I Like It


You may have heard of 'em.  But, in case their name means nothing to you, they are a parcel delivery company (operating here in the UK and worldwide).

And they are aces.  No, really they are.

I mean, look at the delivery status update that was waiting for me when I got in the office this morning ('bout 30 minutes ago - yep I start my working day that early) :-

Not only does this company provide you with the delivery person's first name and an hour timeslot for delivery but, if you study the above image closely, you see that you (the recipient of your very important item) also have the option of changing some of the delivery details (whilst the package is on the van!) perhaps to another date, have your delivery upgraded or get it delivered to a neighbour (that is, if you trust the person living near to you to be able to take in your very important item and not accept it from the DPD driver on your behalf and then attempt to sell it on E-Bay for a quick buck).

O, and in case, anyone is interested, the very important item being delivered is a little Photobox pressie I've created for the Chuppies to marvel over on our 1-year anniversary in our bungalow (3rd of May).

So, to summarise : DPD are ruddy marvellous.

Now let me tell you about a company what isnt.

City Sprint.

Now I would agree that the name makes 'em sound rather good.  Nothing quite excites the mind's eye than the addition of the word `sprint' conveying images of a delivery driver racing at break neck speed through the snarled London streets stopping at nothing to get your parcel delivered.  Maybe you also imagine him (as I do) in his van cabin loosening his top delivery driver's uniform button, hurling abuse at other drivers on the road and downing multiple cans of energy drinks just to ensure he gets the parcel delivered on time to keep the customer happy.

Unfortunately their actual delivery time is cack.

Ordered a little item on Amazon on Wednesday.  I'd opted for one of those nifty `One Day Delivery' thingies that you get gratis via your Prime Membership (which has now vavoomed up to £70 per year - watch your wallets, people).  The parcel was loaded on to the City Sprint van early yesterday morning and yet did not get delivered to my Mayfair offices until just before 6pm last night.  How is that possible?  Yes, we all know the streets of London are pretty chocc blocca the majority of the day but there is no possible explanation as to how a parcel can end up being loaded on to a van (presumably in Shoreditch - the address of their London Service Centre) and then not delivered in the West End until ten hours later.  The fact that someone was still at my office at just before 6pm was pure luck - I think we would all agree that the majority of offices these days close around 5pm anyway - and so the absolutely marvellous one-day delivery service (included within your £70 Prime Membership fee - watch your purses people) does not seem to be being adhered to that well by Amazon's chosen courier, City Sprint.

I have another parcel being delivered on a `One Day Delivery' service via City Sprint today.

I suspect I wont see the item until Monday.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pretentious, moi?

Beetroot emulsion.

Tree syrup.

Tiger's milk.

Yes, these and other wonderful curiosities were what were awaiting me and my office crew when we arrived at our elected venue for our Christmas Do this year.

And, whilst you may think that `nouvelle cuisine' has long since died a death in your neck of the woods (ask for `Breath of Quinoa' in any of my local eateries and you're likely to get a smack up the chops) in Central London it is bubbling.  And, to make it worse, people are paying for it.  And, on some occasions, actually eating it (Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and all other skinny celebrities aside).

"So what's your preference, London-Lass?" Boss No.1 queried as I re-scanned the menu in the hope of understanding just one frigging word of its daftness.

"Er, probably the scallops to start ... " I hesitantly began, "followed by ... not really sure yet."

"Yes, that's the thing with this place," Boss No.1 replied, "There's just too much wonderful stuff to choose from."

Righty ho.

But it was then that I was saved.  For one of my fellow office chums mentioned something about the restaurant having turkey as the day's `special' (tis the season after all and perhaps that ideology had even made it in to this joint) so, on taking our orders a little later, I proudly announced to the waitress that I would, yes, have the scallops to start with, followed by turkey for the main.

Happy with my choice I then began glugging back the vino (it was not cheap so to waste a drop would have been bad economics) and after lots of happy Christmas bantering with my office chums the starters were served.

And I suppose that, yes, they were scallops.  However, they had been sliced so thinly you could see the pattern of the plate behind them in addition to being dressed so heavily in a rich spicy sauce you couldnt taste the thin slithers of scallop when you took a mouthful.  And a large mouthful was pretty much what was on the plate anyway so after a coupla seconds it was back to the vino again.

A little while later our mains arrived.  Which were, to be fair, a fraction larger (say a couple of mouthfuls more).  Although certainly not recognisable as a `turkey dinner' in any shape or form.  Even though there were plenty of shapes and forms on my plate (little tubes of this and patterned loops of that) and I guess you could have called the finished dish rather `pretty' (if you're of that ilk).  However, I didnt want to frame my meal and put it on the wall, I wanted to eat it and not fight my way through the artistry to try and discern what the ruddy hell was on my plate.

"So how was it?" enquired Boss No.1 burping contentedly and patting his stomach.

"Ruddy marvellous," I parpled back, not wanting to come across as an ungrateful merchant with all the social manners of a turd.  "Any more wine?"

At this point my glass was refilled and the rest of the evening is a bit of blur (recall drinking a bit more at a teeny tiny Victorian pub and then getting absolutely drenched whilst fighting my way back to the Central Line later).  I possibly might not have got so loaded if the majority of the food I'd eaten hadnt included so many ingredients with `mist' and `breath' in their descriptors, and if I hadnt had so much in the way of the champagne at the start, but ...'tis the season to be jolly :

Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la !

Monday, December 16, 2013

More Christmas Stuff ...

So on Sunday we kicked things off with a late breakfast (or `brunch' if you're of that sort) :-

Toasted bagel/granary toast, smoked salmon flakes, cheesy scrambled egg
with a pinch of spring onion, and pigs in blankets (burp)

Now I'm not usually one for such massive meals in the morning (unless I'm in New York) but as I've been planning for a while to cook up a nice festive brekkie on Christmas Eve morning for the last coupla weekends I have been doing a few `dry runs' of the breakfast (to ensure nothing gets burnt).

The Chuppies has been nobly assisting me in the eating of said `dry runs' and we both agreed that the Sunday tester was pretty much spot on.  Naturally for Christmas Eve we shall be popping open the champagne which was generously donated by our next door neighbours when we moved in to our new gaff.  The Chuppies does not feel he can face the champers neat so we shall be procuring some fresh orange juice so he can make his own Bucks Fizz(es).

After brekkie I then took a look at the Chuppies' recent handiwork.  He has started on the shelving either side of the fireplace (which will also have a cupboard either side at the bottom) and, whilst it's the bare beginnings of what will be done, is already giving a loose idea as to how it will feel with storage either side of the breast (the chimney variety) :

All ready for Santa

The Chuppies has a habit of leaving-things-lying-around-everywhere-and-never-putting-stuff-back-after-he's-used-it so it will be nice to have a coupla little cupboards for things to be stored in (even if it's still me picking stuff up and putting stuff away).

And, so, in the afternoon we headed off for a rare treat : a chance to see National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation at the Palace Theatre in Southend.  Whilst me and the Chuppers had seen the film many times before, the novelty of sitting in a theatre and seeing it on a large screen was enough for us to purchase two front row tickets in the circle and what a cute 'n intimate little theatre it is :-

Projected Christmas Stars

Gorgeous Old Fashioned Film Studio Reel

Whilst the theatre itself is a little bit tired (it could do, as estate agents blather, with a `bit of TLC') its original elegance, intimacy and grandeur (albeit on a small scale) was marvellous.  Whilst the boxes could not be booked for the film (viewing the screen from the angle provided would have been nigh on impossible) it would be tempting to return to the theatre to watch a play just to find out what it would be like to sit in one of the boxes and feel all sophisticated 'n that.

Proceedings at the Palace Theatre started with a bit of banter from a christmas hat wearing theatre manager :-

who was very Christmassy and jolly-y and invited us to sing along with a pre-film cartoon that dated back to 1949 and featured a very long rendition of `Jingle Bells'.

Shortly after Christmas Vacation was shown :-

"Cant even see the line"

and, whilst the theatre might have been quiet during the `Jingle Bells' sing-a-long opportunity everyone suddenly found their voices during the film with the opening song sung from beginning to end and much merriment had over the funniest lines in the film (of which there are many).

Following the film we returned back to the bungalow to sit for a bit with our Christmas tree and eat (a fair bit of) chocolate.  The Chuppies ate too much so retired to bed early with a massive stomach but a happy face.  London Lass quickly followed (after picking Chuppies' stuff up on the way).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fireplaces are fantastic arent they?

Me and the Chuppies are endlessly fascinated by ours, at any rate, and it's not even finished yet.

Ok - so we have the log burner in.  And the mantle up.  But the painting's still not 100% finished.  And there are still a few fireplace hearth tiles to lay.  Not to mention the ropey old carpet that needs taking up and shelving to be built either side of the chimney breast.

But, by Christ, add a few ceramic decs, a bit of garland and a coupla stockings and you've got A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS ON A PUMPKIN PIE PLATE :

O, and throw in a coupla log baskets and you might as well be back in Ye Olden Days when Christmas was all about mulling and wassailing and carolling and merry-making :-

The Chuppies has also managed to procure some sweet chestnuts from one of his work sites and I fear that with the burner lit and the chestnuts roasting on top of the burner I might very well combust.

O, and this is our tree (recently purchased from John Lewis) :-

Kindly avert your eyes from the disgusting curtains in the background, the aforementioned ropey old carpet on the floor and the exposed heating pipework on the walls, and concentrate instead on the bushyness of the tree, the over abundance of decorations on its branches and the tastefully decorated pressies on the floor.

These are all for the Chuppies, by the way.  I understand that whilst my pressies are all bought and paid for (online) they are still `in the post'.  This does not fill me with confidence as we all know how crappy any delivery service gets at this time of year but the Chuppies seems quite calm about the whole thing and does not see a problem that we are only about fourteen days away from the big day and the only gifts to be opened in the house are all for him.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


I went to get me locks seen to over the weekend.  This was done with a bit of trepidation (not so much to loosen one's bladder, or fill one's crotch with pools of sweat, but just enough to make one think "Is this really such a good idea?" as you squeeze in to the extremely busy salon and try not to cry).

However, it all turned out rather splendid.

And, whilst there may have been a few odd moments during my hair appointment - the most awkward being my having to take the most central seat in the place - thus allowing anyone queuing in the barber-ing section to sit and bog at my gonk whilst I sat in my chair reading my mag and pretending that I didnt have endless amounts of paper stuck in my dripping wet hair and that I really didnt have my gi-normous forehead on show (with fetching smear of hair colourant marking in a very obvious fashion where my extremely high forehead finished and my hairline actually began).  In fact, anyone walking past the salon would have had an extremely good view of me whilst working the full forehead effect - which the Chuppies attested to after having confessed to walking past the salon and having a bit of a look in to see how it was going.  He quickly went on to say that he hadnt nipped out especially to look at me but had needed to get his watch battery replaced in a nearby jewellers (o, and the salon just happened to be on his route) but I'm not so sure ...

Anyway, even though I had what felt to be the central throne in the salon nothing untoward happened.  No-one threw down their mag in the barber-ing waiting area and pronounced me to be the oddest thing they'd seen (which, after studying my reflection with all the clips and papers flapping, I am quite surprised they didnt).  Nor did I get one tiny pointing finger or even a muffled giggle.  Even the hairdresser didnt seem that concerned that I had morphed into a weirdo as he flapped and whirled around my barnet.  "Hmm ... this is very attractive!" I giggled to him whilst pointing up at all the clips 'n that.  And my massive forehead.  "Darling" he crooned, "you look just like Cleopatra!"

I think I should point out here that my hairdresser (whoops, sorry, `Chief Colour Stylist') was as camp as a box of feather boas and that through constant bantering (from the time I entered the salon to my departure 2½ hours later) I discovered that he'd been single for nine years ("It would be nice to be with someone - you know, when you get home, to have a moan with - but, apart from that, I'm pretty happy to be alone - I've got me house, me garden, and me 200 cacti"), he is rather sensitive about his age ("I mean you walk in to anywhere round here - pub, club, whatever - and all you're finking is `shit, they're all at least 15 years younger' ... "), he's not into effeminate man ("Oo no .. dont want a camp one ... he's gotta be big and burly ... you know .. quite macho") used to work as a Pastry Chef in the Ritz ("But it was long hours, babe, and hairdressing has always been my first love") and is a `silent partner' at the salon ("I havent got a friggen' clue when it comes to paperwork and maths, you know, I leave the other manager to sort that out ... he tells me what we've earned, what I can spend, and it all works out OK.").  When I likened him and the other manager to a sort of typical 60s `husband & wife scenario' (as in the husband would bring in the reddies and then set a household budget for the missus) he giggled so much he had to quickly sit down.

And, so, after 30 minutes of allowing the hair colour and highlights (and everything else) to do their thing, the Chief Colour Stylist (or `CSS' for short) had a quick peak at one of me locks, announced very loudly "Sam, I need these colours rinsed!" and, before you could shout `Head & Shoulders', I was whirled round to a nearby basin and having my hair washed through by Sam who was still buoyant after having scored a VIP ticket at a club I'd never heard of and had, as a result, been able to get free entry and free drinks all evening. "Where do you go?" she asked me, all wide-eyed and young.  "O I dont - I'm a bit old and tired these days to do anything other than collapse on the settee when I come home from work."  As Sam had a 10 minute cycle commute to the salon (and she was about 20 years younger) this allowed Sam to enjoy the clubs and pubs during the week.  But I dont think Sam really got that and I suddenly found myself naming a few venues in the area as places I sometimes go to in an effort not to look so old, and drawn, and dead.

CSS then re-emerged and I was wheeled over to his `favourite chair' - which I was relieved to discover was the furthest one away from the shopfront (although, as by this point the barber queue had disappeared and the salon had gone rather quiet, where I was sitting in the salon didnt really matter any more).

"So, how are we for layers?  Where's your parting, babe?  And how would you like your fringe?" these questions were fired in rapid succession as he took out his toolkit of goodies and began to style, and puff, and dry my locks, until they were all shiny and fresh.  CSS then ran his hands through my hair and began to puff the bits up at the sides whilst saying "Oo, babe, you could really pull off the `big hair' look!" - but I had to stop him there as last time I dared to tread the boards of `big hair' was back in the 90s with my constant perming and that was a path I did not want to go down again.

Whilst all this pampering was taking place a chap fell down outside the salon.  Wondering what had happened, me and CSS stared out in confusion as the chap had his glasses and hat handed back to him (they had come off in his fall).  "Oo no" CSS bleated, "I hope the poor guy's OK."  But I think it was at this point that both CSS and myself noticed that the chap (although laying down) couldnt seem to keep balance and his sobriety (or lack of) was confirmed a few minutes later by the other salon partner who had just returned with a sandwich he'd procured down the road, and had witnessed the chap who'd fallen over weaving around the pavements only a few minutes earlier and swearing at anyone and everything whilst clutching half a bottle of Scotch in his paws.  When I retold this incident on my return back to the bungalow the Chuppies confirmed he'd also seem the same guy when he'd nipped out to deal with his watch battery.

"Yes, I saw him too.  As I got near your salon he was just a bit ahead of me.  He was reeling all over the place and, as a group of young lasses walked past, he started waving and shouting `Merry Christmas' as them.  He then turned and looked at the `White Horse' pub and told it to `Fuck Off'."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I am not (very good at being) a Grown Up

I mean, look at me!

Sitting here (alone) in the office and what am I doing?  Blogging.

That is after checking my (personal) e-mail.

And eating all the office (chocolate) biscuits.

I might well be coming up to my 41st birthday this weekend but I'm not really doing a very good job at being someone in their forties.

OK - so I have a mortgage now.

And, yes, got proper grown up utility/council bills to pay.

O, plus a house to keep spic 'n span (which may, or may not, include waking the Chuppies up at just before 7am each Sunday before I spend the next 4-5 hours blitzing the gaff free of hair, snot, splashmarks, spiders and any other wee critters that have decided that outside is far too cold to exist in at this time of year and a short vacation in a cosy bungalow is more their cup of tea).

So what?

I still have my greasy spotty teenagery skin.  My greasy lanky locks.  My mood swings.

And my simplistic naive approach to life.

For look at what I was doing this morning at just before 8am.  On Regent Street.

Whilst getting in the way of all the other (properly grown up) commuters.

That's right.  Taking piccies of the lights.  Cos they are cute along this thoroughfare.  And gradually spell out the `Twelve Days of Christmas' carol.  I mean what could be nicer?  And set your heart a-glow?

Except this is not the proper grown up approach.  I should have instead just been walking along the street.  Head down.  Listening to my iPod/mp3-player.  And looking all stern 'n that.  Christmas lights?  Pah!  Them's for kids.  Not us adults.


And I definitely should not have been taking piccies of the next door neighbour's cat at the weekend either.

It's only cos it's quite blessed (for a cat).  And has snow white paws.  Which look all furry and soft.  And, whilst taking the photo, I definitely should not have been crooning over the fact it had a weird sleepy expression that made its face go all warm and wonky.

Nope, I should have just got on with cooking in the kitchen.  In a stern fashion.  Head down.  Perhaps whilst listening to an iPod?

And it's definitely not on to be marvelling at some weird little crinkly pink trumpety flowers that have emerged from a small planting bed on our front garden either.

Which, after much researching on the Net, have discovered to be part of the Guernsey Lily family (or, to be formal, Nerine Sarniensis).

I should instead have strode past the sprouting flowers whilst out shopping at the weekend with my head down.  Perhaps whilst listening to an mp3-player?

It's also not very grown up to be all excited about our 6 footer we picked up from John Lewis a coupla weeks ago.

The `Dexter Pine', a veritable 11kg bundle of delight.  It is all I can do to stop myself from cracking the box open now and rubbing its little branches.

But that's not right.  I should instead be ignoring the whole Christmas debacle.  It is nowt but a heavily commercialised marketing vehicle, after all, for large corporations who just want to get at our dough.  Yes, there is nothing to get excited about at Christmas.  Except if you're a kid of course.  It's the most wonderful time of year (for children).

So, move on all you 41 year olds.  You're supposed to be adults.

There's nothing to see here.