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Friday, 17 March 2017

flashbacks

i'm babysitting young f tonight. it's his dad's 50th birthday so they're off to a posh hotel to celebrate with dinner and a night away. after an evening building lightbulbs (disclosure - i had no idea what he was doing - his electrical knowledge surpassed mine some time ago and my role is wire holder, tape cutter, and general enthusiast), he's gone to bed without complaint. his bedtime story is the lion the witch and the wardrobe - good heavens - it is really quite scary! edmund nearly had his throat cut tonight! i don't remember being scared when i was a kid and i read those books over and over again. now i'm drinking a lovely glass of wine (his parents bribe me shamelessly) and watching tv. it's a flashback to how i spent many evenings as a teenager except there was no wine then and in my memories i was always watching moonlighting. it can't all have been moonlighting but that's all i can remember.

it's been a trying week. last friday the stopcock under the kitchen started leaking - well - it may have leaked for ages but that was when we finally figured it out. cue limited water, and what quickly became a complete (yet typical) british farce trying to get it all sorted out. it took until tuesday lunchtime, involved 2 plumbers and the water company, and included the phrase "we think we've found the external stopcock but there's a car parked on it". i had an awful cold so i was less annoyed than i might have been about having to work (sneeze and splutter) from home for two days whilst a parade of muddy-booted plumbers and water men traipsed through the house but it didn't do much for my general mood.

and today my phone died. it just won't turn on at all - it has bricked. as in might as well be a brick. i bought it off a colleague a few years ago so i suppose it has had a good life - but - dear god - i really do everything on my phone now. i keep reaching for it. f's house doesn't even have a land line so we are reduced to updates through my laptop and facebook messenger. i hope i can figure out a way to fix it as spending a few hundred quid on a new phone is not in my budget plan in any way. on the other hand, maybe a phoneless weekend will be quite - well - if not nice, at least liberating. i sure am used to being connected all the time though. i feel a bit - shipwrecked. slightly bereft.

i wonder what i was worrying about when i was watching moonlighting. school probably. growing up. pining for adulthood (i was never very good at being a kid). i'm glad it's now, and even if things are frustrating sometimes and there's bits of adulting that are ridiculous and even faintly psychotic, it's much much better than i could have ever imagined back then. it's probably good to remember that every so often.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

the highlands

wow. wow wow wow wow wow. i was prepared to be impressed but wow. neal's cousin lives an hours drive north of inverness. it's not in the middle of nowhere, because we drove to the middle of nowhere and it took about twenty minutes, but it's close. they live in the most charming, cosiest house i have ever seen. it is heated with a wood stove and a rayburn (a sort of wood stove/boiler/magician combo), stacked with books, and "guarded" by brodie, a rescue german shepard who is my new best friend.


i am brodie, and these ears do not scratch themselves, you know!
studying
outside the house is a whole bunch of this:


on sunday we went on a road trip further north. we made a big loop through unapool and kylesku, around scourie and down past loch shin, through laird and back to ardgay. mostly i was too busy rhapsodising about the colours and the light and the moss and the heather and the light - did i mention the light? and i didn't take very good pictures but this gives you an idea.




that night we sat up in the "summer house" drinking whiskey and talking - they were such fantastic company and great story tellers. hearing about the characters they've met and how things work in this environment - it was a fascinating window into another world and the hours flew by. we braved the cold (although we did have a fairly good whiskey insulation!) and looked out at the stars - no light pollution there - just bright bright stars as far as you could see.

on monday we woke up to this:



and after a few walks in the woods we went up to the beach at dornoch - all soft sand and gentle dunes and a sky that went straight to the arctic circle!



video

i had no idea there was that much space in the uk. we really are all crammed in down here. coming back to the south was a bit of a shock - gatwick being rather horrid at the best of times. luckily our friend picked us up from the airport and drove us home so we didn't have to face london after our weekend of serene calm.

it feels like we've been away for a week. i'm so glad we finally made it up for a visit - i have a feeling this will be the first trip of many. i hope so. there's a lot of exploring to be done.





Wednesday, 22 February 2017

anticipation

my cold is still little (yay!). it is just enough to drag me down a bit - not enough to be actually sick. at work today, brooke and christina diagnosed this as classic man-flu which at least made us all laugh. i have to be up early tomorrow - i have a safe cracker coming to one of our sites to bust into 5 safes for which we have no keys. surprisingly few questions have been raised about this entire escapade - not from the company who supplies the safe-man nor from anyone who has signed off the purchase orders. i asked if it would be noisy and they said "not if he can pick them - otherwise he'll have to drill." i admit, i am curious.

in light of this i have declined to join n who has gone off to hear some of our friends playing in a pub tonight. the amazing terry, in fact, who did our kitchen. small town england is a small world. i have to run tomorrow as well - and since i need to be on an early train and i'm meeting a friend for a drink after work - that means hauling my running gear into work and running at lunch. phhhttttpt. i shouldn't complain - i work close enough to regent's park to run there and down the regent's canal - past london zoo and camden market. it's a run many people would dream of - but i hate getting all sweaty and the showers at work are cold and you have to stretch on the bare (dirty) lino floor. but, as per yesterday's post, not running is no longer an option.

i am more excited because we are going to inverness on saturday for a long weekend. how thrilling is that? i've never been north of edinburgh or glasgow in the uk and n's cousin, whom we are going to see, lives some way north of inverness. we bought cheap easyjet tickets ages ago but - as the last 6 weeks have disappeared into the ether - suddenly it is upon us.

i am determined to be healthy and have a very good time indeed. so early to bed for me, and running at lunch time. at least "man-flu" doesn't slow you down too much!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

behind....

so that 10k race i signed up for in the autumn is in four weeks. with the best intentions in the world, and with all the optimism i can muster, even i can see that this is going to make it difficult to start and complete my eight week training programme. i have been running, and even some long(ish) runs, but they've been sporadic - one week loads next week not so much. so i have devised a new plan - it is part get-your-sorry-arse-out-of-the-door-and-run-no-run-further-than-that and part lowering of expectations. i mean i could run 10k now, it just wouldn't be much fun for the last few ks. so, if i have to walk on the race that's fine, and if i'm really slow that's fine too. i'll try to build up my long runs by a k a week for the next month and i won't be far off. still have no idea how the last 6 weeks have just evaporated though.

i did get in 6k this morning. spring is in the air. i ran by crocuses (crocii?) and daffodils, and the willow trees have sprouted bright green catkins. no new leaves yet but - there was just a hint of the smell of spring - green and fresh. yesterday was freakishly warm (that won't last) and the sheer delight in being outside in just a cardigan was wondrous.

it's tuesday so it's brass band practice tonight i have a bit of a cold which is going to make playing my trombone somewhat challenging tonight. we have a concert in a few weeks so our bandmaster is working us hard. luckily "all by myself" has not made a reappearance for this concert. one of the pieces we are doing is a selection of tom jones songs - the bass trombone part in "delilah" is so much fun to play!
da da DA DAAAAA!!!!!

but before that there's supper and getting ready for tomorrow and n should be home from work soon. and the beat goes on...

Sunday, 22 January 2017

foggy frozen morning run




Friday, 20 January 2017

it's friday evening....

.... and the possibilities are endless.

we've survived a bit of a brutal week. n got sick sick sick last weekend with a horrible fever/flu/cough deal that slayed him for most of the week. i can't remember the last time he was that sick. he's on the mend now (thanks to antibiotics) and was even (shakily) back to work today but ugh. poor puppy.

i have been in rude health but work has been full on and there's been some pretty intense meetings/coercion sessions (i am the one who is supposed to be doing the coercion but i have moments of - self-doubt? clarity? where i am not at all sure who is coercing whom).

and remember that incredibly well paid city job? well, one of my friends at work went for it after i declined and got it (the position above it actually - even more money!) and his leaving do was last night. i have to admit, i'm relieved it's him and not me. he is panicking at what they are going to expect with this much cash, although with even a fleeting knowledge of how messed up the world is, i don't think he should be worried. still, i really like my job and i'm glad i'm not leaving just yet. and for him this is perfect - it's a good fit. it was a robust send off and i was suffering this morning. project strategy meetings all afternoon did not help. i sank into my train seat on the way home like a drunk into a bar stool. take me home.

probably much like last night come to think of it, although entirely less literal.

but tonight two days of freedom stretch out endlessly before us and all is well.

happy friday.


Sunday, 15 January 2017

5 buttons! take that, everest

human beings are capable of great feats of strength, determination, and the will to succeed against all odds. traversing the south pole, climbing everest, sailing around the world, swimming the english channel - all unimaginable accomplishments.

until now.

for today i can count myself among this mighty pantheon, having sewn 5 - (FIVE!) - buttons onto felix's christmas cardigan a mere 3 weeks after i was supposed to give it to him, and a good three months after i finished knitting the damn thing.

it must be an incredible achievement for it took me months to work up to it and the final push involved a lot of huffing and swearing which we all know is the hallmark of genius. not for nothing all those weeks of guiltily catching sight of it and quickly averting my gaze and muttering darkly about "really needing to get down to that sometime soon". the weaselly rationalisation - "no kid wants clothes for christmas anyways" and "you know helen won't mind if it's late" - came through in the end. the (admittedly idiosyncratic) training really paid off.

and henceforth we can safely assume that all future cardigans will have zippers, as no one in this household has the appetite to go through that again.

genuine brilliance, after all, can never truly be repeated.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

aha

i've just caught myself meaninglessly scrolling down facebook and hopping from blog to blog on the blog reader with no new content to speak of and no purpose in sight. i am too lazy to go get a book (the windowsill - so so far). dinner is in the oven (jacket potatoes that will be stuffed with salmon and cottage cheese). it is tuesday so there is no wine to drown out the drifting ennui. there is the matter of young f's christmas jumper that i still need to sew the buttons on - but - eh. i'm not bored, just trying to get out of the habit of mindless clickbait consumption.

how can it only be tuesday? i need to summon up some verve.

at least to get to the windowsill and back.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

reading and writing

happy new year and all that jazz.

i'm not too into resolutions but i am a planning and goal junkie so it's easy to get caught up in things this time of year. i do want to write more though. i've been quite lazy (oh - you noticed!) and i've been reading - online reading (which does not count i think) - not novels or anything useful. facebook, link bait, blogs, more link bait, newspaper op eds, anything to enable me to crash on the sofa and not have to think too much. needless to say this is not making me any happier. i would be a lot better off writing something instead no matter how inane. you on the other hand may not be better off with my new plan and may have to stop reading and go write something yourself! good luck.

it's a transition day today. it should be a work day but i was working from home and frankly worked more around home than from it (prepositions matter, kids). i've had 17 days holiday (the last 12 with the lovely n) and i now have the concentration span of a drunk puppy. we've gone for long walks, drank a lot of wine, eaten a lot of very good food, and even went to a few parties. we've done jigsaws and watched movies and baked and eaten some more. it's been good. i don't want it to stop. this is perfect - maybe this is my passion! do what you love and all that.  i love laying about - eating cheese and drinking wine. why is that never a long-term option? i need to work on that. career goals - i have them.

london town tomorrow - back to the big smoke - always a shock after almost three weeks of rural bliss.

i'm going to have to put on pants and everything.

gah.




Friday, 9 December 2016

priorities

it's been a strange week. i've had to think a lot about what is actually important to me, and what i value, but i'm finding this is going head-to-head with my sense of responsibility and, at a more base level, i suppose, greed. (it sounds so much better when you call it a sense of responsibility, no?!)

i think i made the right decision - i'm pretty sure i did - but - but - but - it's one thing to think about earning copious amounts of money metaphorically - it's another entirely when it's actually offered to you. which it more or less was. in a job offer for a bank. doing more or less what i do now - but for a bank (a very very big bank).

aaaaannnnd - i've declined. more than one of my acquaintances has expressed their disbelief at this decision. (it all happened at work through one of our ex-colleagues - there was no way to keep a lid on it.) i myself wonder if it is a sign of extreme sanity or insanity. and i know - it is sanity - but i wonder if maybe in this life a little insanity is what we all actually need. maybe i really am looking a gift horse in the mouth. or maybe i understand the true value of life and live accordingly.

or maybe - it actually doesn't matter and the timing just wasn't right and opportunities come again and you don't have to weave a damn philosophy around it.

it's the last one isn't it?