All entries for July 2006

July 30, 2006

Tropical triffids and brummie curry

Weekend in Brum visiting Rebecca = great, except for the 5 hour trek on a multitude of different forms of public transport to get back to London this evening, which I'd best not talk about as I'm only just calming down from the whole sorry experience.

Tropical section in BWe went to the Birmingham botanical gardens yesterday and watched the pitcher plants play with their prey, which reminded me of my class in Taiwan and the module we did on carnivorous plants. I remember that I was dead impressed that a class of 6–year old Taiwanese kids learned how to spell carnivorous so quickly, let alone grasped its meaning, but then kids are gruesome like that I suppose. Certainly they would particularly relish it when I explained to the class in graphic detail exactly how sundews, pitcher plants and venus flytraps capture and digest their prey. Yum.

Speaking of yum, we then went for curry in Harbourne at a very nice restaurant, followed by a couple of drinks, while today we braved the city centre for a couple of hours of shopping.

Tomorrow's my last day as a pensions presenter – sob. One of my colleagues has introduced me a great vegan Chinese restaurant near Leicester Sq (£5 all you can eat buffet), so we had a little outing there on Friday lunchtime to celebrate my leaving. But planning more drinks tomorrow night with my team post–pensions conference, and possibly more still on Thursday, just to make sure I really balls up the first week in my new job by turning up every day with a stinking hangover.


July 27, 2006

Love junk fizz

Met Helen, a friend from my MA year, this evening and went for happy hour cocktails and cider at a couple of bars in the west end. Wow I did actually have more than 1 friend at Warwick – amazing – in fact I think that makes it 2…! It was a nice evening, anyway, lovely to catch up not to mention hear another northern accent which can be something of a rarity in London.

Bloggaday project may suffer as I'm going away to Birmingham all weekend to visit Rebecca, a friend from university. Ah well, twas fun while it lasted – all 7 days of it, and i think i missed one of those too. As somebody once said though – only good girls keep diaries (blogs), bad (or at least semi–interesting) girls don't have time.

Just watched the news. What a mistake. I'm going to lock myself away and cry now.


July 26, 2006

Curse of the werecat

pantherThe next time the local inbred posh freak of a cat wakes me up at 5am with its relentless yowling outside my window ("it's just what Burmese cats do"), it gets the water pistol treatment.

I have never disliked any animal as much as I dislike this cat. And as I love most cats, these are harsh words… fighting words in fact.


July 25, 2006

Pie Mission

Made disgusting watery red thai vegetable curry for tea tonight – note to self, must not use reduced fat coconut milk in future as it mingeth and tasteth of very little. Made me feel even mankier than I already did. Have spent the past 2 days feeling very sleepy and sneezy and sore throat ridden. Can't seem to get comfortable – being outside makes my limbs feel all melty and heavy, but being stuck inside an office gives me a headache and I can barely stay awake. Thank god for iced coffee and intravenous drips, I mean straws (for the purposes of maintaining a steady flow of caffeine into the system). And vodka.

burekOn a jollier note, I've been researching hostels in Zagreb this evening for Bosnia trip (well for the 2 nights we'll be spending in Croatia at beginning and end). Am so so so so so excited about Bosnia, especially the pie-eating and coffee-drinking this will hopefully entail. Adam et al may be on a fact-finding mission to investigate needs and capabilities of local community, but my personal mission will involve sampling the local burek, sirnica and zeljanica (PIES! PIES! PIES!) and drinking strong turkish coffee and that nice homemade plum brandy stuff.

Is dead exciting to be going somewhere interesting rather than just lounging around on a beach (not that I have ever really done that). I went to Bosnia in my first and second years at university and helped to set up and run a couple of summer camps there with some other students from oxford – such an interesting experience, really rewarding and a lot of fun. Very excited to be going back this August.

Denby Dale pie villageOn that note, I would definitely urge anyone at Warwick with an interest in travel / teaching / languages / "making a difference" (in a non-cheesy sense) to get involved in this project that Adam is setting up if you possibly can.

If nothing else, the pies in Bosnia are stupendous and have to be munched on to be believed. And since I'm from the (in)famous Pie Village it is even possible that my pie appreciation palate is more discerning than most!


July 23, 2006

Sunday night feeling

Tired and feel crap after too much alcohol and not enough sleep for past 48 hours or so. Been drinking copious amounts of wine with Rob and Adam in Gordon's wine bar this afternoon – always dangerous. Don't want to go back to work tomorrow :(

July 22, 2006

Crisp–munching freaks

Kate and guestsKate and Ben's wedding was so lovely, and Kate looked really beautiful. I let out an almighty sob as she entered the room on her dad's arm (not just a restrained sniffle and dignified tear slipping discreetly down my cheek, but a proper strangulated wail type thing), but besides that I managed to behave myself and had a really lovely day. Completely knackered now – just had lunch with my grandma – and about to get train back to London for party no 2 this evening. Hopefully will sleep on train, at least if I don't get stuck next to obnoxious mobile–phone–using crisp–munching freak, which would be just my luck.

July 21, 2006

Wedding of the year

Up in Huddersfield chez ma mere preparing self for Kate and Ben's wedding this afternoon. Should have bought proper Wedding Outfit like proper grown up person instead of cobbling something together out of existing wardrobe, as so far I have managed to break my dress strap and had to perform emergency operation on it, burn (v v v) small hole in said dress (old rag that I have had since I was 17, so what do I expect?), and broken one of my shoes, with the result that Stephen (mum's partner) is now in our driveway trying to nail it back together! Disaster.

Sure wedding will be lovely though, even if I look like mess and cannot move for fear of something else breaking.

I drove up with Rhiannon late last night, and we had a nice catchup on the way up, and I'll be getting the train back to London tomorrow for my aunt's 50th birthday party tomorrow night. So it's a whistlestop visit back home – which is a bit sad – and my cat died this week so it's strange to be here without her constant yowling and demands for attention. Mad inbred Burmese creature that insists on calling on me at 5am every day in Clapham flat is just not the same.

Have to go and sort face out now – hope that doesn't fall off too over course of the afternoon.


A blog a day…

…helps you work rest and play

My new aim for the next month is to write a blog entry a day – not that my life is terribly interesting or anything like that, and I don't expect anyone to actually read it, but one day maybe I will look back and reminisce (spelling?) about how wonderful life was when I was 25 and living in London.


July 08, 2006

Lakes

View of Grasmere and ConistonI'm putting off the gym this morning by doing laundry / eating stuff / booking train tickets / lying about in bed blogging when really, deep down, I know I'll love it (well maybe that's a bit strong!) if I actually do go…

Leonie and I had a week's holiday in the Lake District at the end of June. We went for lots of long walks during the day and a short run every morning before breakfast (admittedly this was a full english every day, so it's a good thing we were exercising), and we hired mountain bikes one day – which made me realise that I'm actually not very fit at all, esp not when trying to cycle up 25% gradiant hills.

Tim and Claire, the B&B owners, gave us puzzles to do over breakfast each day which Leonie solved diligently and I consistently failed to complete, except on the odd occasion when six year old children who also happened to be staying at the B&B showed me how.

And we also did a thing called Go Ape in Grizedale Forest, which involved swinging from tree to tree on high ropes and zip slides 40ft up in the air. All very terrifying, but fun!

More pics to follow when I find the time to upload them…

I'm moving jobs at the end of July to the Office for Disability Issues. This is still within DWP, but it will involve working closely with other departments (health, education+skills, local gov) as well as lobby group experts on a 12 month project reviewing the barriers to independent living for disabled people.

The team is brand new and very small, and although the work is still high–profile, it won't attract the same media coverage or involve the same degree of ministerial contact as my current job. Anyway, I'm feeling enthusiastic about the prospect of doing something completely different, and looking forward to starting work on what promises to be an interesting project come August.

I'm also doing a week–long attachment in the Jobcentre plus chief exec's office next week covering for the office manager, which I'm a bit concerned about as I think it involves working long hours and being stupidly organised!

Anyway, enough talk of work. I must make a decision now either to go to the gym and run for an hour or so, or go and find something interesting to do. Either way I need to stop lolling around in bed and get up properly.


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