10 Feb

I decided to peak my head out of hiding today because it’s my birthday.

The last two months have been spent under a black cloud of depression. Always the same in December and January.

As if to fit my mood, the Furry Princess had a near-death experience a couple of weeks ago and Roy, the 65-year-old newspaper at the end of the road, up and left without a hint of a goodbye or forwarding address. Just packed up his stall and went, taking his i’s with him.

He was my one-shot at happiness, my one stab at true love. Now he has gone. According to the man who sells newspapers in the Tube, Roy told every woman who purchased a paper from him that they were his girlfriend.

Add to this the fact that the only thing I received through my letterbox this morning was a council tax summons and that I have also been failing miserably in my recent attempts to get the i’s Word Wheel puzzlers and it all adds up to a feeling of… severe deflation.

Today, the one thing that stopped me from topping myself was a Facebook birthday message from Steadman Pearson of Five Star. Yes, Five Star. The pop group I loved as an 8-10-year-old girl.

I friend requested Steadman a few months back by telling him I used to be a massive fan. I never thought he’d go to such lengths to make me feel good about being 30ruddysomething. (“Oh shut the fuck up, I’m 104,” Samantha says to Carrie when she moans about being 35. This, I should keep in mind.)

Seeing Steadman’s words scrawled on my wall made me feel like a 9-year-old again – the one who once unwrapped a cerise pink desk tidy, too-big pastel pink slip-on shoes (that resulted in me failing my disco dancing exam) and a flashing, early games console thing from Tandy.

Thanks, Steadman Pearson. Thanks.



14 Dec

I get my kicks from the 65-year-old newspaper vendor at the end of my road these days.

He started out as an amiable old grump, telling me I was the only person in the locale who bought the 20p ‘i’ and taking the mickey out of me for not buying a “proper newspaper”.

As my visits for the ‘i’ started to become a daily occurrence, his mood lightened and he started wishing me a nice day as I disappeared through the mouth of the Tube station directly opposite his box.

And then he started getting psychic. Last week, newspaper man sensed my arrival at his boxy stall before I even came “into shot”. As I approached, scrummaging around in my bag for 20p, an arm suddenly appeared from within wielding my ‘i’.

However, then I realised the Tube man who was standing at the counter must have told newspaper man I was coming as newspaper man then asked Tube man: “So what do you think close-up?”

“Not bad,” replied Tube man. “Not bad? I’ve seen your missus, ,mate. My girlfriend beats her hands-down.” Looking at my head, clapped down on the iPhone balancing precariously on my right shoulder, newspaper man added: “Dunno what’s wrong with her neck, but I’m not complaining.”

At the weekend, 65-year-old newspaper vendor asked me where I’d been the previous week. At home in Birmingham, I told him. He shook his head and said “Poor you”, before adding: “But I bet you come from the posh part.”

Yesterday he greeted my arrival with: “Ahhh, my Birmingham beauty.” Needless to say – being pathetic, and with compliments thin on the ground, of late – I waltzed into the Tube with a smug grin on my face.

Today, there was a different Tube man standing at newspaper man’s stall. As I approached, newspaper man smiled and told his mate: “My girlfriend. She’s the reason I get up in the morning.”

“If she was my girlfriend,” the Tube man laughed lustily, “I wouldn’t be getting up in the morning.”

Cue: lots of old man pervy laughter.

I loved it.


2 Dec

…My Aussie friends have not witnessed what I’ve been wearing on my feet these past two days.

One of the many, many reasons I hate snow is because it really does create a footwear problem.

I have had to wear Uggs (or in my case the original Uggs, Emus) into work. A fashion faux-pas if ever there was one, Down Under. The boots are ridiculous, big, fat, furry bear-like things. I am girl on top, Bungle on bottom.

But I am not going to status update about the snow/cold on Facebook as it’s boring and a bigger cliche than “there are plenty more fish in the sea” (which we all know is also blatantly untrue.)

Meanwhile, what is the deal (man) with snow in November/December? This is supposed to happen in the dying months of winter, January, February, March, surely? If it’s this cold now, what’s it going to be like in the early months of ’11?

I hope it’s cleared up by this Sunday, anyway, as I am doing a 5K run around a major, south London park, dressed in Santa gear, with my work colleagues, for charity. I have just tried my suit on and you could fit at least 133 of me in there. I hope the trousers fall down while I’m running causing me to slip in the snow and break my leg.

I haven’t done any training either, ‘cept for a spot of ballet. I would like to pirouette over the finish line if I ever finish.


24 Nov

The government are putting together some kind of happiness survey to monitor the nation’s general well-being right now. Ugh, please don’t.

They say the results will be published regularly in the same way as crime rates. Yeah, makes sense.

Anyway, in light of this there have been lots of little segments on the news about the small things in life that make people happy. So I tried to think of some.

Charlie from BBC Breakfast named a bacon sandwich on fresh bread and a strong coffee as one of his pleasures. Charlie from BBC Breakfast, you are one of mine. There’s something about you. I wonder what lies under that neatly knotted tie of yours.

Here are three things that have made me do a mental Dick Van Dyke jumpy heel-click, today:

My daily caffeinated hot beverage in RED CUP, thus indicating Christmas is on its way.

Large skinny latte, please.

And my beloved WORD WHEEL (see, how I got the nine-letter word and how apt it is… Today I did it in record time, too. I had the nine-letter lovely by Turnpike Lane, two Tube stops from mine.)

This is telling me to get on with my novel

And finally, my new work computer screen saver. See how I moved documents from Don Draper’s face to give me a full view of his beauty. My new screen saver also has the handy side effect of making me look as though I am engrossed in my work when really I am only engrossed in Don Draper’s face.

Feel like I'm in the bar with them...

Come and get me now, David Cameron.


22 Nov

I gingerly picked up a copy of the ‘i’ today and despite trying to focus on the news stories at the front of the paper, I watched helplessly as my fingers began flicking to the back where the “word wheel” lies.

I felt a little sick, wondering if it would again defeat me – last week’s failure having caused the onset of a series of miserable events (yes, I’m aware I have OCD. But just because I know I have it, doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen if I don’t get the nine-letter word wheel puzzle.)

Oh, and the miserable events were punctuated by nice events, of course – which I’m trying to focus on.

Some of these nice events included:

* Getting tipsy with my writing class colleagues.

* Watching my petite wife-to-be, T, attempting to get us both a Pot Noodle from the toppest of top shelves of my local shop, at 2 am on Sunday morning. This saw T balancing on a jar of Polish pickled eggs while trying to bat the noodles down with an extra long packet of dried wholemeal spaghetti.

* Watching the manager of the shop approaching T as she toppled from the pickled eggs, picking her up and hoisting her on to his shoulder to reach the Pot Noodles.

* Going to my local pub and having a Sunday roast and a blow-your-brains-out Bloody Mary.

* Listening to the pianist, who’s a new Sunday afternoon fixture of said local, play modern hits in a classical style. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head and a piano-y bootleg of Andy Williams’ Music To Watch Girls By mashed up with Blur’s Boys And Girls were severe highlights.

* Watching Any Human Heart on Channel 4 – lots of tasteful nakedness.

And anyway, there’s good news. I did it. Take that, you puzzle-bugger, I cracked you in record time, today. Probably about 20 minutes.

My nine-letter word was “muttering” which came to me as I ascended the escalators in St Paul’s Tube station. Appropriate seeing as I was “muttering” under my breath like a drunk as I ascended the escalators in St Paul’s Tube station.

And that’s that. As I said, my life is all about the crossword and the cat these days.

I miss David Miliband.


21 Nov

I’m not writing about men anymore.

I have no men to write about which helps.

Writing about men I have any kind of a dalliance with is a sure-fire way of ensuring it never happens again. See in particular: the HOT Irish man who snogged my face off and caused me to giddily blog about it, while in the early throes of a death-hangover, the next day.

And others.

If by any chance I meet someone nice one day, I can never write about him on here. Or maybe I can get around it in some kind of coded way. I will look into this if I ever meet anyone nice. I know I have a bit of time on my hands.

From now on, I’m going to concentrate on the other main areas of my life: my cat. And the crosswords.

I have discovered that the foor-footed furry ball of fluffiness and I are utterly codependent, like a couple. We might even be in danger of morphing into the same person: a catson.

The other morning I was slurping on my blueberry-studded porridge when I looked over to see my clawful wedded wife in the kitchen, doing the same with her Tuna Felix.

After my breakfast I went to the loo and she followed, shuffled into her litter tray and had a wee while I was having a wee.

I turned the shower on, then went into my room to retrieve yesterday’s damp towel from the floor, and saw my furry partner having her own version of a shower on my bed (leg cocked behind ear, tongue deep in nether regions).

When I do my makeup in the living room mirror, she watches me intently from her rug. Probably to check I get my ’60s black eyeliner flicks just right. Milli naturally has said feline eyeliner thanks to the luck of her colouring. She is black and white and I have been dying my hair darker of late, almost to the point of blackness. See: we are turning into the same person and I didn’t even realise.

So then we come to the crossword bit: I am obsessed with the “word wheel” puzzle in the new ‘i’ newspaper.

I have developed mild OCD as a result: I have to get the nine-letter word hidden in the “word wheel” otherwise something bad will happen. Or I’ll just get really annoyed with myself.

Last Thursday, for the first time in three whole weeks, the unthinkable happened: I didn’t get the nine-letter word.

I had to look it up in the answers section after raking my brain for almost a day. Ironically, the word was: authoring.

I completed my creative writing course yesterday and felt quite emotional about it. I’ve enjoyed going to the Groucho Club on a Saturday afternoon and “creating”. But my classmates and I have all swapped emails.

In fact, I ended up in the pub with two of them last night. Not the sloaney girl and the boy with curtains I predicted would be, against all odds, my best friends by the end of the course, but a boy and a girl I always thought were nice and had potential to be friends with. We’d not had more than ten minutes’ weekly conversation before last night but somehow we ended up being the last ones in the bar, talking complete hilarious filth about our esteemed writing teachers (who are also successful published authors.)

In the meantime, I have agreed to enter into a civil partnership with one of my bezzies, T, if we are still single at 40. Our first dance is either going to be Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing (this has a strong emotional resonance for us both) or Only You by the Flying Pickets.

I am leaning towards the latter because we have agreed our relationship will not be of a sexual nature – Marvin is just going to confuse us. We’re going to have the perfect marriage: the weeks will be spent watching Miranda, Mad Men and eating pasta. The weekends will be filled with wine and young boy-snogging.

T has decided to put her body forward for the production of a child. She is going to use a turkey baster and one of her best gay friends, but the child will be ALL ours. However, she told me she doesn’t want me there at the actual birth as she might feel a bit weird. I have told her it is essential that I’m there, thank you – and that it will only deepen my love for her.

We have 6/7 years to play with, but something tells me I’ll be in that delivery room one day watching T scream her little eyeballs out while the Flying Pickets play on a loop in my brain.


10 Nov

Many people – including me – are looking Gordon grey-faced and sounding down-in-the-dumps at the moment.

Bloody Seasonal Affective Disorder.

If only God – or whoever it is who decides these things – would listen to all those economist-type people who say leaving the clocks just as they are would increase business and productivity levels and lower depression.

Why does God insist on us pushing that hour hand back and plunging us all into the doldrums?

I knew there was a reason I didn’t believe in her.

It is essential in November, if you suffer from the seasonal blues, to come out fighting, I find. Before Winter drags you into its neck-breaking icy depths where all you see looming ahead of you is a black frost-bitten hell.

I am combatting this by:

* Not getting up until 8.05

* Eating a Multibionta every morning and singing “Multibionta” to the tune of Dirty Diana each time.

* Drinking a Berocca on the day after drinking.

* Attempting to be creative. Mine and the sis’s play – with a topical nod to the current “swingeing” government cuts – is coming on in leaps and bounds. Sort of.

* Saying “swingeing” a lot.

* Doing a ballet class on Thursday nights. (And looking like one of the hippos from Fantasia in the process).

* Attending my writing class with as little hangover left from Friday as possible (with the help of Nurofen, a Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle and 1.5l bottle of fizzy water on Friday at 11.53 pm). In Saturday’s class we had to describe the strawberry – look, taste, smell – sitting in front of us on the table, in as much detail as possible. I used words such as ‘slimey’, ‘acrid’, ‘bitter’ and ‘greasy’. Then I had to incorporate that description into a narrative. The class told me my description of the strawberry would lend itself excellently to a story about sexual disappointment. It’s like they were staring through the window of my very soul without permission.

* Rejoicing the fact I’ve shaken off the Sophisticated Aussie – (see above).

* Going to bars and clubs with ’90s-tastic garage basslines.

* And, er, that’s it for now.

Oh, and in other news, it’s the three-date-fling-sexual-pervert’s birthday today. Feeling kindly, I sent him a text saying: ‘Happy Birthday, you x’, to which he replied with a question after my schedule. I made a joke about us falling out over naked-text-just-don’t-show-your-face-gate and he seemed quite worried that I was serious. The text rally ended with him telling me: “I love you!! X”

Maybe he does…