March 04, 2006

I am the one and only

Meeting someone for the first time is always a delicate issue for me. Many is the time that I have begun getting to know someone, letting them know a bit more about me and then I unguardedly release the one piece of information that I shouldn't.

The effect is instant and damning, my character is called into question and I am denounced as spoilt, reclusive, self-obsessed and socially inept. Now some (or all) of that may be true, but I'd like the opportunity to ruin my reputation based on my actions rather than on preconceived ideas.

So what is it about me that is so deeply unforgivable and socially unacceptable? I am… an only child.

Yes, that is the shameful secret I carry. Since I can remember people have told me how spoilt and selfish I must be. I must admit, there are some advantages. I have a very high boredom threshold – many is the time that I have whiled away long hours with a lollystick and some pipe cleaners. My imagination was stimulated by the creation of several imaginary friends whose complex social lives and confidences became almost as real as my school friends. I was also absorbed into the inner sanctum of adult dinner parties, gradually getting sleepier and silently slipping under the table to have a nap with the dog.

No, it's not all bad being the only one, but I was informed today by my helpful housemate that for when the agonies of social exclusion gets too much, there is help at hand! There is a website dedicated to helping only children with social issues, loneliness or who just want to share their experiences. A breath of fresh air for when the burdens of unsiblinghood become too much.

February 03, 2006

Sad tidings

Follow-up to A new arrival from My name is Layla, I'm not a showgirl

I know that it is fairly unlikely that anyone cares about my Ken Hom 14" Sensai wok with 10mm base, metal utensil proof non-stick coating, life time guarantee, cool handle and of course lid (mustn't forget the lid) but I thought an update was needed.

True to their word Amazon delivered it to our door. Sadly, on finding that The Lid Which Must Not Be Forgotten did not fit, it was soon discovered that the wok itself was heavily dented.

The re-packed box is now sitting rather forlornly on the floor waiting for collection next week. No stir-fries for me until after reading week then.

Life is cruel.

February 01, 2006

A new arrival

It's due any time this week! It wasn't really planned as such. To be honest it was a moment of weakness, you know how it is. One thing led to another and well, here we are. There were admittedly some testing times when I wondered if I'd been hasty and stupid. Was I really prepared for this sort of commitment? Thinking about it now, I don't regret a thing. The moment I saw it on the screen I fell in love, the thought that it was mine, a part of my life for ever and ever.

Now all I can do is wait. The waiting is the hardest part. I find myself thinking about it at the strangest times, imagining how it will look, what a huge change it will make to my life. Today on the bus I realised that it was one thing that my life had been missing. I keep feeling little flurries of joy in my stomach when I imagine all the special times we'll have together.

And it only cost £24.97.

Quite a bargain for a 14" Ken Hom wok with a cool handle and 10mm thick base with a special metal utensil proof non-stick coating and life time guarantee. And a lid. Mustn't forget about the lid. Ah, internet shopping, my life would be truly bleak without you.

January 25, 2006

I have just learnt to love a hyacinth

I have not had the most scintillating of days. I have been in bed with a stomach bug and unfortunately discovered that you can only play the sympathy card so many times before it loses its potency.

Having asked for hot water with just a dash of lemon juice and demanded that my pillows be replumped one too many times I have pretty much been left to my own devices.

In this state of thumb-twiddling boredom (obviously I'm far too ill to get any work done…) I looked properly at the hyacinth on my desk that my mother very kindly bought me for Christmas. It's really pretty and smells incredible, particularly when I first come into the room. I'm not usually very good with plants so I am very proud that this one isn't brown and crackly yet.

It's thriving so much in fact that it needed supporting with a stick (found it in Jephson Gardens, who needs a garden centre?). Apparently pink hyacinths are associated with playfulness. Now you know.

Right. That's about all I can possibly say about hyacinths. It looks like yet another opportunity to alleviate boredom has been exhausted. Spider solitaire here I come…

December 31, 2005

Rebel without much of a cause

As Christmas has passed uneventfully by for another year, I have accumulated a nice little pile of those bags of silica gel that come in jackets and boxes of things. I have a strange relationship with silica gel. I don’t know if it’s the rebel streak in me, but there is something about the peremptory way they print DO NOT EAT in no nonsense ‘don’t question my authority’ style letters that just makes me want to disobey.

The first time I did, I was actually quite scared, I slipped the little packet into my pocket and took it upstairs where I could be alone to discover what horrors occurred should I actually consume this strange substance. I ripped open the packet and was quite surprised. It clearly wasn’t a gel for a start. Why call it gel if it isn’t one? There was clearly something that the powers that be weren’t telling.

I tentatively licked at them and soon found that the little balls were rather firmly attached to my tongue. I swallowed a couple of them (with difficulty), threw the others away then waited to see what would happen.

Not very much. Except they are possibly addictive because ten years on, I am still incapable of doing my duty as an obedient citizen and throwing them away. It still gives me a little thrill to stand up to the dictatorial system that forbids me to eat something without telling me why. Here’s to eating things that I am told not to! Next up, raw potato, yew berries, mercury…

November 18, 2005

It's so cold it smells like Kendal Mint Cake

'Ee bah gum ber ahm cowd' as the great song goes*.

As winter seems to have descended in full force and we are supposedly going to experience the coldest season for 50 years, I thought I would pass on some of my survival tips for the cold but miserly student.

How to Stay Warm Without Wasting
Money on the Frivolous Luxury of Central Heating

1. Find a corner
2. Round up all the things you are likely to need for a good few hours, e.g. books, kendal mint cake, tv remote, large glass of brandy (purely for warmth of course).
3. Get a hot waterbottle/ wheatbag or a hot brick if you are really miserly.
4. Find two double duvets (try stealing one from a housemate – they will be so cold they won't move very fast to stop you.)
5. Sit on the first duvet. Pull the top over your head like a hood.
6. Pull the bottom end of the second duvet underneath you and the top up to your neck.
7. Tug the edges of the second duvet up to your thighs.
8. Draw the top corners of the first duvet under your chin
9. Put the hot water bottle or equivalent under your feet.
10. Realise you really really need the loo.

So there you go. Ten easy steps to make your own den. I am the Ray Mears of surviving in the great indoors. Good luck for a toasty warm cocoon and a healthier bank balance.

*for full lyrics and a cd of me singing to the accompaniment of the paper and comb, please send a SAE to me.

October 08, 2005

Novelty Cakes 'R' Us

Writing about Guess what I did this weekend? from Fluff And Nonsense

Not content with one culinary masterpiece in a week, another exquisitely detailed creation is born.

In honour of my father's half century, something special was needed. This is his pride and joy…

and this is its small but perfectly formed cakey equivalent…

Note the attention to detail, the indicators and headlights, the mud splashes on the wheels. Perfection in confectionary form.

Talents such as ours should not be hidden in suburban obscurity. It is our duty to society to make our mark on the great world of business and provide a range of cunningly crafted sweetmeats for the discerning consumer.

Suggestions as to what we should call this new but growing concern would be gratefully received.

August 24, 2005

PGCE panic


Here was I fully intending not to write any entries over the Summer (not least to annoy Lizzie who persists in encouraging me) but I have been driven to it. Put briefly, I'm panicking.

Having spent two weeks in a primary school at the start of the holiday I have confirmed once and for all that there is no better way to spend my working life than as a teacher. I can't remember ever wanting something as much as I want to do this. Unfortunately this means that it is really really important to me that I get accepted onto a PGCE for September 2006, preferably at Warwick.

I have been madly trawling the internet for tips on making my application as perfect as a perfect thing, but maybe I'm not looking in the right places. To be honest, I haven't even found exactly what's on the flipping thing which makes it somewhat harder to pre-plan.

So anyway, I thought I'd take a break and have a bit of a moan. At best, perhaps anyone with any knowledge of the application process will give me some tips on the alchemy of turning random facts about me into a golden personal statement, and at worst, I have at least vented some of my frustrations.

Ah blogs, where would we be without them?

June 16, 2005

They can't close Raffles!

I can't believe Warwick Hospitality are closing Raffles! I really can't understand why they would want to. They describe it as 'A relaxed coffee bar overlooking the Japanese garden, offering a range of sandwiches and snacks with hot and cold drinks.' which doesn't begin to show how comfortable and relaxed it is. Most of the time it is packed with people who use it as somewhere to meet, a convenient place to get a quick and badly needed coffee before seminars or most importantly, somewhere that sells decent hot drinks and food that doesn't have the feel of a motorway service cafe like 'Café Library'.

I had a quick look on the at the Warwick Hospitality website.

They say: "we provide a wide selection of places to eat and drink on campus".

I say: Closing both Raffles and Westwood restaurant cuts down on that selection pretty dramatically.

They say: "We are in the 'people' business and both our staff and our customers are very important to us."

I say: It doesn't seem like they have put the customers' interests first in this situation.

They say: "We have 14 outlets (restaurants, cafes & bars) across campus, each with their own unique identity."

I say: If Raffles has such a unique identity, how can they suggest that going to Café Library is an acceptable alternative?

They say: "Our aim is to build a long-term relationship with you. We want to anticipate your needs and exceed your expectations."

I say: My needs don't appear to have been anticipated and my expectations have certainly not been exceeded.

Now ok, I realise that Raffles is just a coffee bar, maybe it shouldn't get to me this much, but frankly, it's been a huge part of my experience at university so far and I don't relish the thought of spending third year without it.


June 12, 2005

A Tale of Woe and Costcutter

I am decidedly put out. A couple of days ago I bought a 2 litre bottle of milk in good faith from Costcutter. I joyfully carried it home, eagerly imagining the tea, coffee and bowls of cereal it would make. It was a ray of hope in these dark days of exams.

This morning as I tucked into a quick snack of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes I found to my horror that they didn't taste quite as 'delicious and nutritious' as usual. In fact they tasted rather like mackerel. I like mackerel mind you, but not in cereal.

Sure enough I discovered that the milk did not smell as sweet as milk should. It hadn't yet reached lumpy, sick inducing levels, but it certainly wasn't right. It has been kept in our small but efficient fridge and the sell by date is June 14th. My fellow housemates and I have been cheated out of a litre of milk.

It's not fair. Damn you Costcutter!

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