All 12 entries tagged Random Things

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July 30, 2005

A Letter to My Stalker

Dear Mr Rain,

It has got to the point now where I feel there is no option but to communicate my feelings on this matter in writing, as my gentle hints, patient attempts at mediation, and out and out abuse have all been to no avail. You will, of course, be aware of the matter to which I refer.

It is simply not acceptable or seemly for you to continue your behaviour, hanging about outside my house at all hours of the day and night, and making your presence felt by persistent tapping on my window. Now, I feel unable to leave my house without suitable protective measures, as I feel a continuing threat from your presence. I never know where or when you will appear next, and the one time I thought it was possible to leave the safety of my home, you exposed yourself just around the corner. It took me two hours to recover, with the assistance of both a hair and tumble dryer. Lately too, you have been showing no respect for my trusty umbrella, and employing a horizontal approach to your activities that reduces my poor spindly escort to a quivering mess of sticks.

You have been dogging my footsteps continually for the past four days, and as you are probably aware, this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue, for the sake of my general health, happiness, appearance and social life.

Please leave me alone, or I will be forced to contact the authorities regarding this matter.

Yours soggily,

Elizabeth Jenner

June 27, 2005

Kids, defrosting is funny AND clever

So, after a couple of weeks wherein I finished exams, produced a play, finally saw the publication of the anthology, went to several birthday celebrations, saw some other plays and Jim Broadbent in very tight trousers, did the Clueless viewing ritual, had lots of picnics, a little shopping, talked too much, consumed much alcohol, had a fantastic trip to London and the best chocolate cake in the world, it seems as if I will end my second year staring alone into the murky depths of my dripping fridge.

I have simply had too much fun… and now I must pay. Oh, if only cleaning the toilet could come out of my overdraft too.

June 13, 2005

Fourteen Hours…

… is the amazing period of time for which I was hung-over yesterday.

Let me just say, I'm not really into hangovers. On balance, my body prefers the muzzy stumble and fall into sleep of the slightly inebriated, waking only with a sudden desire for a shower and somebody to bring it a large cup of tea. It's not so much a hangover as a hanger-on. You notice the presence of some unusual forms of behaviour, but it does not really impact on your daily life.

So imagine my surprise to wake up at 6am, feeling really really rough. At times like that, there is one instinctive sequence of thoughts common to every human being, triggered as you stare into the toilet bowl, and it goes a little something like this.

Oh shit. (Yes.)

But how did this happen? I didn't drink that much last night. (Liar. Think back, my son or daughter, think back to that halcyon period between that civilised glass of wine and the full-on let's finish the dregs of everything situation. Remember?

Oh yes... bollocks. (And don't forget the absinthe.)

And I've just remembered what I said/what happened... (Hehehe, that was funny. You should have seen yourself.)

I am never drinking again in my life. (Liar, again.)

No, really, this time I mean it. (Well, I wouldn't worry, after what you said/did last night, you might not have the opportunity to do that again anyway.)

Oh shit. (Yes.)

And so on and so forth. It's a beautiful insight into the soul of Hungover Man or Woman.

(Of course, if you're foreign, imagine the above translated into your language of choice. I doubt many Greek people collapse over their toilet in the morning conversing with themselves in English. Because that would just be weird. And too clear thinking and clever. And would also signify they weren't quite hungover enough to qualify as part of my hugely intellectual study. So they wouldn't count anyway.)

For the record, that was the worst hangover I have suffered in my short and sheltered existence. I'm sure I used to spend nights like that quite happily at age sixteen, and wake up in the morning with birds singing and sun shining, and me hunched up in my duvet going 'ngggh' (but that used to happen as a matter of course every morning and was really nothing to do with sobriety or otherwise).

I warn you, I am growing old and decrepit and willl soon be spending every night tucked up in front of the six o'clock news with my mug of Horlicks with cats handpainted on it (which I did myself in my weekly cat-mug painting class, right between my 'Cross-stitch IS Fun!' and 'knit-your-own-slippers' sessions.) I may also start collecting numbered magazines about historic houses and china dolls, and would get very excited if they featured it on Have I Got News For You's guest publication slot, only I wouldn't be watching it because it's past my bedtime.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to wind some wool and listen to Terry Wogan. See you at the slipper-knitting circle tomorrow afternoon.

May 20, 2005

The long dark teatime of the bus timetable

Today, I had to wait 40 minutes for a bus.

This, in itself, is not a remarkable thing. I have sat many times for that amount of time upon the wall opposite my house, kicking my heels and cursing the bus company to hell and back, whilst minutes tick by and my life continues somewhere else without me. Every ten minutes, my lovely timetable promises me, every ten minutes you too can get on a bus and glide past Hearsall Common on your way to things glorious and new. Except it fails to tell you that three times out of five you too can sit on a wall and pull a muscle in your neck trying to crane round the corner for any sign of a doubledeckered vehicle – anything with wheels and a driver in fact – that will actually get you to the place you wish to be.

Anyway, rant aside, yes. My point was that Mr Bus Stop and I are old friends, and many a bloody miserable happy hour we have spent together. What was remarkable about today's little encounter was that the 40 minute wait was actually a scheduled 40 minute wait. In the middle of the day. Buses (supposedly) run every ten minutes every weekday, apart from this mysterious 14.53–15.28 vacuum.

So what happens in this time? It's too late for lunch, and too early for tea. What do the buses do? Where do they go, if not chugging by my house? Is there some mysterious bus convention where drivers impart the wisdoms of the bus world to the young and uninitiated? Or is there some secret rite, known only to One That Drives A Double-Decker, which must be faithfully observed during this period?

It's all very mysterious… (and all very distracting from revision, which is also good.)

May 15, 2005

'The Bluebellyness of Bluebells'

… or indeed the 'thinginess of things.' Poosoc (poetry and society) people will know what that means. Or not. Depends how hard you were listening in an Emma Mason lecture…

Anyhow, Gibbet Hil bluebells today, at about 3pm. They're on the turn now, so get down there to see them while you still can.

It's not bluebells, I know, but it's still purdy.

May 08, 2005

The end of the Euronovel affair

Yesterday, I dumped someone.

I'd been seeing them since the beginning of Easter. After we were first introduced at the end of last term, for a while I thought about them before I got up the courage to find out more. Then, over the holidays, we gradually became inseparable. They were the last thing I looked at at night, and the first thing I thought about in the morning. Even when I was with my friends, I was still thinking about them in the back of my head, though I couldn't talk about it too much to my friends, because they didn't understand. They said it was boring and didn't matter, and I should just go out with them and have fun.

And then term started, and a whole load of other things started happening. For a few weeks I didn't think about them much… although they were there, clingy, demanding my attention, every time I got home or was about to go out with my friends. They became an irritation, something to keep me awake at night, make me feel guilty. We only have two more weeks together, they used to say, before I have to leave. Surely you won't begrudge me that?

This last weekend, I tried, I really did. I spent hours with them, gazing into their eyes. I ignored my friends. I locked myself in my room with them, drinking coffee. We stayed up till late in the evening, and were up again at dawn. Every time I wanted to go out, they stopped me with a guilty look. They even made me cry with frustration at one point. Every second I spent away from them they reproached me for. And I came to realise that this was a dead-end relationship in which I didn't have to be trapped.

So I took the initiative. I looked at them, with one long hard last look, and then I let them go. I told them they'd used up enough of my life now, that there was nothing more I could do for them, and it was time for them to leave me for good. I wanted to go outside – I wanted to see my friends and go shopping and have a life, and they were holding me back. It took guts, I'll admit, and letting go was hard, but I felt so much better after I'd gone up to the English department, and handed in my essay, two days early.

And I won't feel guilty about those two extra nights I could have spent with my dear essay before it had to go; I won't feel guilty that I'll go and see a film tonight with friends I have neglected in the past week instead of spending precious moments poring over it; I shall simply smile and continue to enjoy myself.

The sun is shining, it is a beautiful day, and my essay rests quietly in the English office, neat and grave and pallid in its headers and footers. Do not mourn for me, it seems to say, for I forgive you.

I always suspected it was too pious for its own good.

April 19, 2005

Flatpack Fun

Do I really look that incapable? I know I sometimes maybe laugh a bit stupidly or trip over a non-existent step, but do I really give out that vibe that says do not trust this woman with a hammer? Ever? (Jenner definition: 'Incapable' = unable even to know which way up a screwdriver goes.)

For example, my family and I had a fun evening out to Ikea last week. We did the grand tour, sat in the grubby bucket seats, and marvelled at the sheer amount of plywood in one place, and then we came home with the requisite amounts of tupperware, wicker storage baskets, and also some bookshelves for our hall, and a set of drawers for my room. My drawers. For me.

The first thing my mother said, when we got through the door, was: "If you speak nicely to your brother, I'm sure he'd put them up for you in the next day or so." There are two things wrong with this statement. One, the fact that this involves being nice to my grumpy teenage brother, and two, why would he need to assemble my drawers? To reiterate: my drawers. For me.

So, I said "Oh, I'll do them tomorrow," and was greeted with a sideways look and a timid… "well, are you sure…?" When challenged to explain exactly what she meant, all she could come up with was "well, surely it would be nice to make sure it was a proper job – you know.. so they're done well…" And on being told that it was flatpack furniture, not an artisan working in a hamlet in the south of France with a solitary rough hewn chisel, she still said doubtfully, "but darling, I just, you know, want you to have furniture that…"


"Looks nice, you know."

I didn't know. And told her so. And woke up the next morning with a burning resolve to show the world that I too could read diagrams and fit pieces of precut plywood together. I mean, if a girl's not got that, what has she left to her? I'm as spatially aware as the next person. I built all the Lego spaceships and things in my day – and that was before Lego got all creative and started including bits of huge pre-formed plastic boats and spacecraft that you didn't have to build yourself. Hell, I even dabbled in Technics for a bit (but got bored because they didn't have it in such pretty colours). It hurt that even my mother didn't trust me to build my own furniture (my drawers. For me) and I realised that I needed to salvage what was left of my reputation in a glorious burst of flatpack action.

I didn't start until 1pm. I couldn't find the toolbox. In my defence, it was buried underneath the huge pile of homeless books in our hall (hence the need for bookshelves) and once I had located its big shinyness it only took me a couple of minutes to identify the tools I needed for my mission.

I'm not sure how long the next bit took. It's all a bit of a blur. All I remember is I switched on the TV, and somehow got all the way from Neighbours to the end of the Channel 5 Afternoon Movie (sponsored by people who make dentures – I'm thinking I'm not really their target audience) by way of Doctors, Angela Lansbury, and a brief burst of scary hyper children's dayglo gabble (with lots of people dressed up as bigger muppet people that if I was 5 would have really scared me) before I had a freestanding object with slidey slidey drawers.

And guess what. It stood up. There were a couple of extra screws which worried me for a bit. But I pushed it around a bit and it didn't fall over. Nor did bits fall out of it or go clunk in that horrible oh-bugger-I've-just-dislodged-something-crucial-to-this-whole-contraption way. It did not even wobble. And the drawers went slidey slidey swish. It was a thing of beauty.

So I expected the praise. I expected the sighs of wonder. I even thought there might be tears. But when I told my mother I'd done it – oh so casually – she walked calmly upstairs, and surveyed it, head on one side, with no visible emotion.

"I didn't have any help," I said, just in case my brother was going to pinch the credit.

"I can see that," she said, "it's just a teensy bit squint."

Reader, I defended my drawers to the last. But I still maintain, if they're crooked, that is surely the fault of the person who cut the shapes out in the first place. Whatever. Anyway, my drawers are still standing, and holding stuff, and going slidey slidey swish, and I love them all the more because you can race marbles from one side of the top of them to the other. I have expanded their purpose in life, and surely that is a skill all of its own?

(And for the record, it's the ridged metal pointy bit you use. The black bit is the handle)

March 03, 2005

Why was nobody in the 19th century happy? (apart from Jane Austen)

Or How EuroNovel is the Most Depressing Course You Can Do

Right. So as not to spoil the ending of these books for anyone keen enough to actually want to read them or take the course next year (think hard about that), but yet still prove my point, here, in no particular order, are some of the joyous endings to some happy shiny euronovels you too can enjoy:

Dies horribly of a fever.
Jumps under a train.
Lives, but only after pretty much everyone else has died and his dreams have been shattered.
Marries Mr Knightly and lives happily ever after in a blessed union of love and friendship.
Takes an overdose.
Lives and eventually marries, but only after they're both old and there's been a lot of rather dull stuff about property law.
Goes to prison for many years.
Just dies, in a somewhat indecipherable fashion.
Lives a short and chaste life of penury (then dies).
Lives, but only after his lover has died in his arms, he's split another man's skull open, someone else has been strangled and there's been an unpleasant incident involving castration. I wouldn't be surprised if he did die soon after that, as he's got next to nothing left (literally).

No prizes for guessing which one Jane Austen wrote.

What's wrong with Euro-novelists? Was there not a single person, apart from dear Jane, who led a contented and fairly happy life?

Or maybe it says more about the tutors who picked the texts for this course. Hmm… I think I ought to make this entry student-viewable only, just in case I have accidentally alluded to the fact that some of the English staff might be somewhat depraved…

February 25, 2005

First Floor Humanities – does it actually exist?

On our jolly way down from English today (fifth floor), the lift stopped on another floor, and the doors opened. Fair enough. This happens quite a bit. (We have long since had to come to terms with the fact that Literature is not the only thing that happens in Humanities, painful as it is)

But instead of looking out on to the green felt world of languages (fourth floor), or the haphazard scarfy world of theatre-studies-or-whatever-happens-on-the-third-floor, the open doors revealed a long dark corridor, stretching blankly off into the distance, with no sign of human habitation. This, apparently, is the first floor of Humanities, and it has since transpired that nobody I know has any idea of what goes on there, or even knows of anyone who has actually been there and survived the experience. Until today, I had no idea it actually existed.

So what does go on on the first floor? The lights are dimmed. There are no notice boards, no neon posters saying 'Look, here are People doing Things.' There is, in fact, both a distinct lack of people and things. I think it might be a bit like Narnia, only appearing when someone or something wants you to see it… only Narnia had snow and talking animals and lots of warm wholesome meals and milk before bedtime, none of which I think would happen on the first floor.

I get the feeling that once you set foot here, you might never be allowed to leave again. So be warned. If you're alone in the lift, and it suddenly slides open on a dark lonely corridor, don't be tempted to get out. You may never find your way back…

February 21, 2005

Pink that is yellow

My pink grapefruit is yellow inside.

I think the world as I know it may be collapsing.

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