Friday, October 31, 2008

Assessing October

I so hate it that this month's last post is one about assessments and not what it really is about, Halloween.

But I am rather square and I like to finish each month as I've finished them all.

I only have one thing that resumes this fantastic, frosty October: book deal.

Enjoy the spook-fest tonight; I am at home editing.

And lastly, the Halloween classic that defined my childhood here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Marks Never Fail

There is a shop that is more dangerous to me than Harvey Nichols and Harrods put together at sale time. It is more dangerous because it is unassuming, everyday and familiar, so much so that the loss of income when stepping through its doors is neither as feared nor as thought about as any of the aforementioned. This is because thinking of Marks and Spencer as one of the gigantic retail sharks out there, poised to attack one’s own purse, is about as imaginable as your own grandama in Agent Provocateur undies, dragging on a fag and talking to her toyboy in a hushed tone.

Still, at least in my case, Marks has a lot to answer for insofar as mindless spending goes. They beat over and over Saint Laurent and Vuitton and Dior, despite their four-figure bags, of which I own five. Yes, because the last important bag I purchased dates back to 2003 (Yves’s Anja bag, if you must know), while Marks has seen the inside of my purse at least once a week since then. While at the uni these sprees amounted to no more than a tenner at a time (but, again, how often did we use to stop by for a ‘couple of cookies’ in those days when Twinings tea and indeed a Marks biscuit meant the height of sophistication among our flatmates?), these days I spend more than a tenner. A lot more. And a lot more often.

I have two probs with Marks. One, they are both in vogue and in Vogue which means that I am effectively trailing their floors to see whether the clothes look as good live as they do in print. This often prompts me to try something on, just to check the drape you understand, and you can imagine what happens afterwards, even though I know perfectly well that I will bin the dress/skirt/top before the season is out. They just do not look good for long.

Two, their Christmas tack is utterly irresistible and I really mean irresistible, especially when it hits the stores adorned with those ubiquitous red cardboard strips of 3 for 2. Thinking of which, I don’t think I ever saw the stuff sold on anything other than 3 for 2 which, I presume, really means it is naturally singly overpriced. Oh well, never mind. Today I left with an armful of lovely little things, including these adorable tins. Or are they actually biscuits? Or sweeties? Well, I wouldn’t know, for in all important matters, it is style, not substance that is the vital thing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This morning I got up not to the dashing leaves that have been dancing in the air for a while, but to a garden crinkled with frost and with leaves tumbling down with a crack. Well, I love it deeply, and I don’t care one bit if it’s cold, it’s not like I am a postbox anyway. It is a bit extraordinary for October to be so frosty but stranger things have happened.

One of them happened today. I got a publishing deal. I can make it even stranger now. I got a publishing deal not for the book I have been pushing for the past ten months but for one that I never even knew existed. And so I am going to be a bona fide author after all, the title of my oeuvre being Slaughter Is The Best Medicine, an affectionate throw-back to the whole Batman thing and seeing that this book is all about slasher horrors, we are really at home there.

I must admit to feeling part-flabbergasted, part-passer-by in this. I feel as if it hasn’t even happened to me; so much work over one project and then you have the perfect thing right under your nose. I suppose this is the validation I had been striving for for quite some time. It is fine and fair to know that you can do something but there is only so much good writing you can produce in the face of rejection. Eventually, you will feel a reject. No more so at long last. Watch this space for a string of self-promotion, of course.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Art & Fear

Sometimes we are stupidly blinkered even when we strive not to be. I know that I am more likely to pick up (and pay for) a book published by one of the big, better-known publishers, than one from some unknown publishing house. Yet, it is not uncommon to discover precious books otherwise drown in a cacophony of big brands shouting for attention once one starts to listen to the whispers. And & Fear, by David Bayles and Ted Orland is such a book.

Currently made available by the authors’ own imprint, Image Continuum (detractors of independent publishing please take note), Art & Fear has been around since 1993 and is now in its 8th print run (take note again). Once I started flicking over a bowl of hot porridge (which I find remarkably nice these days), it became apparent that a good book about making art is not likely to die a sudden death.

Because I spent the day with a friend and writing colleague, some of this book’s pages immediately rang with the certitude of deep understanding as we began talking about sharing our work and getting feedback about it when it is not quite ready. If you ever felt like you are your own fiercest enemy and greatest critic, believe you me my friend, you’re not alone.

‘To all viewers but yourself what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping that artwork. The viewers’ concerns are not your concerns (although it’s dangerously easy to adopt their attitudes). Their job is whatever it is: to be moved by art, to be entertained by it, to make a killing of it, whatever. Your job is to learn to work on your work’.

And the upshot is that learning to work on your work and learning to come to terms with the steps that constitute this process is not something that can be understood overnight. Here’s where Art & Fear comes to the rescue: if you’ve ever felt like nobody but you understands... go and order this from Amazon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

¡Hasta Pronto Joaquin!

I just read in the news that Joaquin Phoenix has announced his intention to retire from the acting profession. My first thought was one of shocked disbelief, followed in rapid succession by, why Joaquin and not Brad Pitt? Why Joaquin and not Travolta? Why Joaquin and not Gordon Brown? The first time I noticed him was as torn and impressionable Jimmy Emmett in To Die For and I remember that I thought him really unpleasant and even ugly. As I understood years later, this first impression was a good testament to his acting, for Jimmy is indeed that unpleasant.

But I won’t faff any further because, while I could reel example upon example, I know I would always return to his magnificent Cash in Walk The Line. At once at odds with himself and others, tender and insufferable, weak and yet determined, Joaquin pulled an ever-lasting performance rich and yet extremely subtle. If there is one actor capable to show without telling, to speak with his eyes alone, that’s him. I will slot Walk The Line in the player tonight, for I always think of it as the ultimate feel good movie, where the journey of the characters takes them someplace as opposed to back to full circle. And of course I am already praying that he will reconsider and if he won’t, at least he should convince Brad, Travolta and Gordon Brown to follow suit.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stormy Weather

It has been pouring with rain, so much so that I’ve got about two inches of water clogging up my garden, see this:

Here is where I used to grow those incredible purple anemones only a few weeks back and now there is nothing but slush and tufts of drowned grass. I do not really mind because now that the temperature has dropped to autumn proper, I have whipped out my favourite clothes, the tweedy jackets, the long riding coat and yes, even the waxed garments that I usually only wear for horsey, and these warm things make me really happy. There is nothing quite like a Barbour jacket to fend off rain and wind and while I must concede that they may not look like standard city wear, I can assure you that they are extremely well-suited to Manchester and its surrounding area.

I hobbled in the garden late this afternoon since I seem to have been struck down with sciatica. I feel awful even by typing that word. It makes me feel old, ancient, uncool as if I just confessed to having Alzheimer. In truth, I’ve had severe back issues for years. I am plagued with three prolapsed discs that have been indescribably painful and as of late my nerves have felt pinched and sore, so much so that I have been unable to walk straight without a great effort.

Well, at least I don’t have to go to an office and can safely hop around the house in the morning without raising eyebrows, if not my dogs’ and they really do not mind if I am not unwell, provided I am not so unwell as to have to forfeit filling their breakfast bowls.

Sore and narky, tonight I returned to some well-deserved knitting in the shape of a lime twist scarf. I recently found myself in Topshop (a bit shocking I must confess... now that I am thirty, browsing the racks full of flimsy whispers of blouses and ruffled mini-miniskirts makes me feel totally mutton trying to dress as lamb) where a particularly thick scarf hung right down to the floor from a ceiling hook.

Knitted in a very thick acrylic yarn and rather scratchy, the definition of the stitches inspired me to pull out my size 15 needles, the Cascade Magnum I bought in New York sure that it would, eventually, come in handy and I got down to work. I cast on 15 stitches and I am currently working following no particular pattern, simply alternating knit rows to purl rows as the fancy takes me. As is always the case with thick yarns and huge needles, the project is growing extremely quickly and since I’ve read in the news that more dreadfully stormy weather is expected in the next few days, this should keep me suitably warm (and rather fashionable). Oh and tomorrow I should set to write a piece about lace knitting for Italian broadsheet Il Corriere Della Sera. How cool am I, despite the tweed and the Barbour, really?!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Independent Means at The Library Theatre

Independant Means by Stanley Houghton is currently on at The Library Theatre in Manchester. Set in the city of Salchester in the early 1900s, this is a play that is both humorous and wry, as it tells the story, over a period of eighteen months, of the Forsyth family struggling with financial disaster. With all of the recent talk about recession and job losses, it particularly resonates in these times of economic uncertainty.

Independent Means is staged as a celebration of Annie Horniman’s cultural legacy to the city of Manchester, for this too was one of the plays that she premiered during her time as head of the Gaiety Theatre, which she bought and then sold, once it had become a so-called ‘lodging house’ theatre. Still, she is credited with having started the modern theatre movement, one that is not elitist and that encourages theatre enjoyment from all substrata of society.

The production is enriched by a greatly imaginative set design at the hand of Sarah Williamson, with beautiful costumes highlighting the starting privileged position of the Forsyths and their subsequent fall from grace. Starring Olwen May, Rupert Frazer, Ruth Gibson and Geoff Breton among others, the play enjoys great gravitas kindly of May and Frazer who, as Mrs and Mr Forsyth, bring cynical tenderness to their family’s tragedy. Breton as their son Edgar is perhaps the only weakest link, for his blown up performance as good-for-nothing Edgar left me under the sour impression that the ending was not only abrupt, but rather fictitious.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cabbage and Squashes

Today I received something extremely lovely in exchange for a hot chocolate and a slice of chocolate cake. These:

And I can barely begin to tell you how much I love food items for around the house décor. Perhaps I have really turned middle-aged before my time. Next thing I know I will be spending my weekends not at Tatton Park for a fast walk but in garden centres, sussing little bags of seeds and wondering whether I will be able to win next year's Biggest Marrow competition. It is particularly easy at this time of year to be enamoured with something other than flowers, for squashes are particularly interesting in their numerous colour and shape variations. I suggest you visit Martha Stewart's Halloween pages for some excessively fun ideas; she is the Queen of Halloween as far as I am concerned. I put some of mine in the entrance hall and I must admit that I cannot wait to post all of my Halloween-related pics next week. Watch this spooky space.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Years ago, a teacher of mine told me that 'your twenties are ok, your thirties are awful and your forties are much better than anything you've ever experienced before'. I asked her what it is about turning thirty that seems to plunge people into the depths of life despair, some of them entering a mid-life crisis even though they have not reached the supposed mid-point at all. She said: 'Well, it just feels like you haven't accomplished anything'.

I didn't know what to think of that, especially because we had that discussion when I was 21 and she had just turned 42 and when my thirties seemed like a lifetime away still. And they were a lifetime away because even now, I do not feel like only nine years have elapsed but more like twenty or thirty. It feels like that conversation took place in somebody else's life span, not mine.

And well I am exhausted. Exhausted by a lot of things that are in my life and by a lot of things that are not. And isn't that funny, even a little bit ridiculous to be exhausted by lack of? I could launch myself into a Lacanian lecture on lack but I will leave that for another time. In fact, I may never get to give that lecture on here, for I think that few people know Lacan and even fewer would be interested in hearing about his long-winded, unintelligible theories.

I am writing a piece about Batman's Joker in comparison to Jorge from The Name of The Rose. I had this brilliant leap of intelligence a few weeks ago, when I was scribbling notes on The Dark Knight and it all made splendid sense. Now... it still does but I cannot be asked to flesh it out, as they say. I cannot be asked to put it into coherent paragraphs that would make an examiner go: 'Wow, isn't she good?!'. And so it's easy to feel exhausted. Exhausted by the lack of definition that the final stages of a PhD instill in people; exhausted by lingering in the no man's land of the writing up stage.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Calendar Girls at The Lowry

I am on a theatre roll. Tonight it was Calendar Girls, adapted for the stage by the movie's director.

Calendar Girls is one of my favourite movies, the sort of feel-good movie, despite its deeply sad sub-text, that I always have on standby when I want to hear familiar voices in the background while I knit alone. Perhaps this deep knowledge of the movie itself is what dampened my enjoyment slightly, for I knew well that what worked in the movie would have been cut-and-pasted in the play.

I happened to share the director's vision for the stage production, for his choices did not surprise me in the slightest and certainly did not disappoint. The exchange between Annie and Chris is right here, word by very word, as is Celia's hilarious turn as the first girl to be photographed, now known as the 'we are gonna need considerably bigger buns' scene.

As is often the case though, the live production allowed me to feel closer to the characters in a way that I was not expecting. I found myself sniffling in silence as Annie and her husband John enjoyed some last moments together and rather gloomy thoughts came to mind when his wheelchair was left empty, illuminated by the white spotlight.

The play is enjoying great success and is already slotted for a second run in Manchester in March 2009. I would watch it again, even though I was left wondering why the girls were only six as opposed to the twelve that we see in the movie. I would have quite happily played one of them; seeing them embracing their bodies so well and on every level suddenly made me feel unashamed of my dimples and extra-large bottom. Thank you girls.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Witches of Eastwick at The Opera House

My first encounter with The Witches of Eastwick took place on a seminal day, on the 9/11, when I watched in trace for more reasons than the obvious. Tonight was Rich's first time and what better occasion than his birthday to introduce him to Darryl and the witches?

I certainly loved it and I enjoyed it much better than the first, ill-fated time I saw it, but I just did not get all of the enthusiasm for Marti Pellow who played Darryl. It was soon apparent that the audience was infested with Marti groupies and even though he did a really good job overall, I surprised myself thinking overacting overacting overacting on multiple occasions. I never thought I would ever say this but I must admit that Tom Cruise as Lestat made a much better devil than Marti Pellow does in this musical.

The witches were Poppy Tierney, Rebecca Thornhill and Ria Jones who really impressed me, Poppy especially, with her capacity to linger in the shadows as required, without fear of being an on-stage surplus prop. Did you know that The Witches of Eastwick is in fact a novel, before being a movie and a musical? And, get this, author John Updike has written a sequel, The Widows of Eastwick. Coming next week, we will finally find out whatever happened to Lexa, Jane and Sukie, even though I am sure many would be more interested in knowing what happened to Darryl. It is the devil, after all, that always has the best lines.

Birthday Wishes

I said last month that we would do something special today and then it turned out that Rich decided against it. He is such a homebody, and me with him, that to stay at home or nearby seemed totally appealing. And so I iced his cake (one of), stabbed it with copious amounts of candles and sparklers and wondered all day what his birthday wish was.

When I was a child, I always wished for one thing, a dog. When the dog finally was granted as a graduation present, I started wishing for something else, something that I still wish for. Now I wonder whether wishes are granted in year-loops and whether I will have to wait 21 years for this one to be granted, like my first one was. But then, life may not be fair and yet, it can be extremely surprising, as I have found out this year. If only I had a crystal ball... Happy birthday Rich!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Birthday Baking

Today was a day of baking. It is Rich's birthday tomorrow and I thought that I should really go to town on the cake front. So I prepared the chocolate and peanut butter slices I already spoke about, Nigella's chocolate cloud cake, which you can find here, and the chocolate loaf cake that I spoke of here.

This time however, I made into more of a damp, almost gingerbread-like cake. Follow the same procedure as per older recipe, but change the ingredients to these:

250g soft unsalted butter
400g dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g melted dark chocolate
200g flour
1 tsp bicarb of soda
100ml boiling water

It is incredible and especially so if you could only manage to keep it aside for a couple of days instead of cutting through as soon as you take it out of the oven.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

... Into Square Holes

Many years spent as a prisoner of corporate thinking and faking brought me to despise networking. Not just the act of networking, not just networking per se, but even the term, net-working, working the net. It always reminded me of disgusting spiders scuttling across their own nets, ready to eat stuck victims alive. As it turns out, I am not too far from reality, for networking in my own life always meant observing from the sidelines as weasels would make friends over supper only to plant knifes into their respective backs as the occasion called for.

Mind you, it was natural, expected, even normal if you will. I understood early on that that was the essence of networking; getting to meet people in order to use them and discard them like unsavoury chewed gums. And so I did not network, I limited myself to making friends. The people I could not stand never became friends, the ones that were scattered along my path like rare precious stones were quickly saved up and safely stored. This networking business however seems unavoidable and has returned to bite my vast bottom in more ways than one. My career advisor mentions it ceaselessly, I talk about it with a few trusted friends and I am worried that I too will have to turn myself into a hairy, fat spider with eight eyes who works the net.

Take this afternoon for example, when a perfectly acceptable talk at the Knutsford Literary Festival was again foiled by networking. I went to listen to Poppy Adams of The Behaviour of Moths fame. She said that once she finished the novel she started submitting it to agents but very quickly realised that there was no luck to be had. So she began working her network and asked all of her contacts whether any of them worked in publishing or knew an agent or publisher or knew someone who knew... etc... etc... You get the drill. Fast forward to the present day and Poppy has a very interesting book out for readers' consumption. What would have happened to her novel had she not worked the net? Would have agents continued to reject her? Paul, who once suggested me to generate some scandal around my life in order to get an agent, says yes, without a doubt.

I returned home to a rejection letter to my spec query. This agent calls my work a novel, except I explicitly describe it as a lifestyle narrative non-fiction offering which, for the uninitiated among yourselves, does not mean novel. I filed the letter away with the rest of them, pursing my lips and thinking, for a change. But do contacts that work in publishing grow on trees? I am gonna have to find out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fitting Square Pegs...

I've started seeing a career advisor, one of those people who, while not holding a keyring full of jingling keys that open lots of doors to lots of different careers, should be the one to see the best of me and gently ease me out of this no man's land working limbo. The guy is nice. In fact, he is more than nice. He is very level-headed, open and sensible. He has many years worth of career transition experience, as well as a decade spent as a head-hunter. I've only seen him twice and he has already sussed me out pretty well, not simply because I am no mystery to anyone once I start prattling on but because, and credit to him, he looks and acts like Good Listeners look and act; with eyes fixated in the distance, sometimes I cannot even tell whether he is in the room with me or not, but as it turns out, he has listened and grasped everything I told him really nicely.

Except he is being sensible and I cannot deal with sensible at the moment. In fact, I am not sure I will want to deal with being sensible ever again, mostly because I do not want to wake up at his age and regret not having been brave, not having pursued the activities that would have transformed my working life from just a facet of an otherwise opaque crystal, into the sparkling bit of magic that only the arts, carefully blended with passion, can create. Before I left today I promised that I would start looking at jobs in retail and PR, even though I feebly protested that I do not want any of these jobs. And so it was another one of those occasions whereby I left a meeting with a heavy heart and heavier legs, when I went out into the windy streets of my beloved Manchester and wandered aimlessly for a further three hours, which brought the parking tally to a very respectable £ 8.70.

I don't know what I'll do with my life, but one thing is for sure: whatever my very sensible career advisor has to suggest in his multiple fits of pragmatism, I can tell you that retail and PR are not the path to this girl's promised land and I know this even before I start looking.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nigella Changes Name - Part II

Ever since I posted about Nigella and her latest pseudo-literary effort, I discussed the title of her book with a handful of people all equally appalled at the missing 's. Still, you should not take everything I say literally, you know? As I was talking to one of these friends, we both pondered on the feeble pun that was at stake here; Nigella seeing herself as a Santa-like figure to the extent that she becomes Nigella Christmas, the wife of Father Christmas, just as I suggested in my last post on this matter.

And you know something? I don't like it. Maybe I am lacking a sense of humour (among many of my other downfalls) but, really, I do not think that we can take any chances when it comes to the state of the nation's literacy. My impression is that most people will not grasp Nigella Christmas as a version of Mrs Christmas, as, I would hope, it was probably intended, but will think that we can dispense with the 's. And this is a worrying prospect because when younger people are encouraged to be computer literate, I think it's time they start becoming English literate too. I am often fearful that not many youngsters know the difference between two weeks' notice and two weeks notice.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Magical Autumn

There was a time in my life when summer was my favourite stretch of the year. This, of course, was when summer meant a definitive season, when it meant the seaside where big palms would swing in the wind and salt and sand and the hot sun where all that there was to it until September. But autumn is so much better and now that I am free to walk about parks when I should be in the office (insert big grin here), it feels special, magical, even wicked, yes. Today I went out with a friend of mine and as we were ranting about work and the future, we came across beautiful things such as this:



And these:

As we were walking, I experienced a flashback to a year ago, when I used to spend my lunchtime hour (more like my lunchtime half-hour actually) on a bench by a pond infested with Canadian geese, staring into the distance, dreading the two o'clock meeting with the stakeholders (a word I could never ever stand; I always expected these people to turn up holding stakes as opposed to Costa coffee cups, which is really what they used to hold during these meetings). At this time I would take my work notebook with me, a very inappropriate pink flowery pad which rose many eyebrows on many occasions and I still wonder why, and I would write. I would write and re-write the beginning of Cinnamon Sticks for Breakfast - A Summery Tale of Christmas Madness, a children's book whose idea I had been toying with since Christmas 2004.

Unbelievable, yes? Me writing a children's book? Me, who can lace up each and every conversation with a torrent of uncalled for profanities, me who is more f-worded than Gordon Ramsey, me who very nearly cannot stand children, me writing a children's book... Well yes. There is plenty of unfinished business to tackle before I continue Cinnamon Sticks yet it's funny how a walk in the park can solicit a whole afternoon of plot-planning and character-defining. Goes to show that we really never know where our ideas come from. I am just glad that, eventually, they come.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Press Pause

Unusually insightful, in one of my PhD chapters I say:

'Happiness is often defined as expectation or as a fleeting state of mind that, like trance, can only be identified retrospectively. History and horror, as well as their combinations, share the same elusive quality as happiness: they are not experienced, they are remembered in a fashion that is both clean and detached because life may only be understood retrospectively but must still be lived forward'.

Press pause on the crinkling leaves, on the orange, low sun, on the contemplation of freedom, on the blend of insecurity and certainty, on the thrill of novelty and the fear of it, on the decaying of what does not happen anymore and it is like it never happened. Pause on the trees, on the wind, on the rain, on the coffee and the books and the pen, pause on self-doubt and self-righteousness, on impatience, on patience, on holding back and on hope. Pause right here, in a limbo that is so very happy, for once not just remembered but finally experienced.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Slacking On Reading

I've been told by a couple of readers that I've slacked as of late and that I have not recommended new readings. This shocked me; not the realisation that I had not recommended books but that someone had actually noticed. I suppose it was one of those cases whereby The Book shone by its absence.

But of course I have been reading; books about writing, creating, knitting, about changing careers, about fashion and about cooking. Only last week I was perusing shelves and found an inexplicable pull towards something new and totally uncharted. Say, Russian poetry or decorating French style. Which made me wonder why we are so obsessed with emulating French style when there are so many people trying to emulate English style. Grass always greener and all that.

And so I do have a recommended reading, but it is not a book, it is an article that filled me with joy because it unravels along the same tracks as my PhD research. Heck, it even mentions Dr Wertham and I do exactly the same. From The Times Literary Supplement: The Rise Of Fan Fiction And Comic Book Culture. It is time for the detractors of popular culture to wake up and smell the ink.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Smile, You're On

I can never get a decent pic of my dog Victoria, who seems to be repulsed by the idea of posing for a camera. I should not be surprised; she is a girl through and through. I expect that one of these days she will wolf at me that she is getting fat and that she would prefer not to be photographed thank you please.

William on the other hand finds the camera compelling. I have countless pictures where I had to fight him off the lens in order to photograph the original object of my interest and most of the time, a paw, an ear, a nose, a nail still managed to sneak into the frame. And you can see why there was no way I could take a picture of my latest knitting venture, a cashmere lace scarf that is going really well, without a fight. So I did not fight him after all because I think that his blissful smile made for a suitable live backdrop.

Friday, October 3, 2008


When it doesn't rain, it is an event. It is even more of an event when autumn has just started and the no rain situation yields a very rare, but very beautiful, sunny and dry day. I suppose that's what I get for living in England's wettest county...

When the weather is like this, I always feel a very sharp pang of nostalgia. Nostalgia for the so-called Michealmas Term at the university, when we had just rolled back into our carpeted rooms, ready for weeks of lectures, seminars, essays and general frolicking in more than one way. You know how people always say that the university was the best time of their lives? I am one of those people and the funny (or sad) thing is that I started thinking that way when I was at the uni. It was not a realisation that hit me many years down the line, oh no, it was a realisation-in-the-making, as weeks turned into terms and terms turned into years. I knew then that I would have never been as happy and as intellectually fulfilled as I was then and, boy, was I right.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nigella Changes Name

Today is a seminal day for Nigellites the world over; La Lawson has revealed that her last name is not Lawson at all or not even Saatchi at a stretch. Oh no, from now on Nigella goes by the last name of Christmas. I am nearly speechless on this one, and it does take an awful lot of grit-like ignorance to reduce me to a state of keyboard-dumbness, I can assure you. I have emailed Lynne Truss with my thoughts on this problem, although I realise she may have died and gone to Grammar Hell on account of my missive.

Figure 1. Nigella admits she has no editor. What the fuck, let's go eat!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The World At Seven

When I used to get up early in the morning to get ready for work, I felt like I was torn from the warm arms of a gorgeous, unknown lover. I remember that, on a couple of occasions, the tearing intrusion of the alarm clock had dissipated Jon Bon Jovi and Christian Bale into the vague mist of early morning, my mind still reeling from multiple could have beens if only that damn clock had not gone off. Now that I do not have to get up for such bourgeois crap as going to the office, I wake up earlier than usual, generally rearing to go. And this is what the domestic world looks like at seven in the morning, especially when it has rained all night and I cannot even see my own desk without the aid of some artificial light.

It is the best moment really, when Rick is still sleeping and William and Victoria, albeit watching my every move, are decent enough to still stay in their beds until some piano music starts blaring from the speakers. It was even better this morning because I had heard the rain all night and there is nothing quite like bad weather to make one's appreciate the comfort of the home. The home needn't be a mansion-sized wooden chalet in the Swiss Alps either; my house, which in turn can be 'A Sweet Home' or 'A Shit Hole' , depending on how I feel about life, is great at providing maximum comfort on rainy days with minimal architectural effort.

An extra thick duvet is a must, as is a super-comfortable Tempura mattress; the swooshing of the kettle coming to the boil as I am grinding coffee is always a sound that makes me smile at this time of day. And I can definitely see how some deluded would-be house sellers make fresh coffee prior to a buyer's visit; the aroma that pervades the house and lingers all morning is usually enough to make me put on a second latte even before I have finished the first one (but I am still skeptical of its merits in the house selling process). All of this even without a proper coffee machine! The miracles of familiarity... October is here in all of its misery, all hail October!
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