Nothing to do with Charlize Theron or Bob Dylan.

Location: Norwich, United Kingdom

Keep on Truckin'.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Sun Has Got His Hat On


On Saturday night, we enjoyed our inaugural barbeque. Twas also the night I discovered my aptitude for 'Who's In The Bag', as Mr. James marveled at my knowledge of politics and mastery of description.

'She's an MP. I can't remember what she does now. You know who I mean [...] Yes, you do. You do! You know the one! [...] Er, Education? Er, her surname [...] She's not 'Tall', she's????'

It turned out, after many horrified looks, that Clare Short is MP for Birmingham Ladywood. Ooops.

I also received this photo on Sunday afternoon, depicting the now-infamous 'flaming-knees' incident, in which the protagonist squats too closely to the clearly not-ready coals. Fortunately, Mr. James, his eyes filled noticeably with loving concern*, distracts with his dodgy facial contortions and even-dodgier apron. Now, THAT is romance.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Grad Is Rad

It seems almost possible that I've finished my degree. Pending proof that I haven't made any unforced coursework/exam-errors and the AUT getting their (well-deserved) pay-rise. Some of us poor students haven't had so much as our shoes marked since January because of the strike, and my exam won't be marked until it all gets sorted. Why our Universities aren't paying up to our underpaid and overstretched lecturers, working despite very low morale, is a mystery. Hmph.

Anyhoo, I've been thus far making the most of the season, and have spent my free time as lady-of-leisure sporting 'comedy' headwear (see above) and eating Haagen-Dazs before breakfast. Yum.

It's raining again. This would normally make me feel rather angry and want to start flushing the toilet excessively in an irresponsible protest to Mother Nature, except that I really don't want to be queueing at a stand-pipe this year so that I can wash my smalls. I bought an official UEA sweatshirt the other day and it occurred to me that it might be worth a bob or two in a few years time, when Norwich gets swallowed by the ice-caps. On the plus side, Northampton wouldn't be so far from the sea any more. Joke.

I did get quite angry, though, reading Moo's copy of New Woman (featuring Billie Piper. Scoff) the other day. After pages and pages of 'The Save Britney Campaign' and 'Binge Yourself Skinny', I flipped finally to an article on the Environment and Eco-disasters. Which featured the following:

'IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT TOPSHOP...The high streets dead now the oil has run out. Planes are grounded and imported goods are a thing of the past. Vintage clothes shops are rammed, and you use charcoal as eyeliner'.

A very credible point there. Personally I'd be more pressed to find sanitary fresh water, but I can see how it would be quite inconvenient if a pair of your Topshop-brand footless tights got a hole in them, and you didn't want to wear your other ones, cause they were red, and didn't go with your outfit, and OH MY DAYS where would you buy new ones?!

I'm on such a liberal tip today. Loving it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Don't Shoot The Messenger

I spent most of Wednesday in the Sun, poring over defeatist novels in a white bikini and sunglasses. When I finally gave way to the goosebumps (about 5pm) I fled indoors to find I had missed not one, but four MSN conversations. And as I clicked on each, boy did I feel loved.

Jo: Georgie???!!?

Cat: Oi, Miss Harris, you there?

Lotte: Yo Ho Bag!

Sam: Where the fuck are you, you rotten slaaaaaaaag?!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

I realised when I saw this photo that the Sun makes us all go a little cuckoo in this country. Personally, I wouldn't blame anyone for clutching their children a little closer at that smile; "Now listen, Johnny, when Mummy and Daddy said not to look strange people in the eye, that is who we meant" etc etc. As for James, he looks like a disillusioned football hooligan who has just realised the only plastic garden chair he has to throw is the one he's sitting on; "And my Adnams is going to get spilt, too."

Today, I saw no Mad-Dogs wandering about in the heat (unless you count that frisky Doberman with the oversized testes) but I saw plenty of Englishmen, heading off the afternoon in a wave of emaciated, gangrenously inked and milky-white stomachs, leaning out of lorries and beeping at me because my sallow, stick-like calves were no longer swathed in wool, but in a pair of knee-length shorts. Quel miracle!

By 4pm, people were starting to redden and the air filled with tear-inducing smoke because of a city-wide epidemic of shiny new barbeque metal and lighter fluid. I remembered that my Dad used to light ours by shoving a wand of old newspaper into the toaster and then running his rudimentary splint out into the garden as it went up like a polyester sofa in his charred hands.

Personally, I think Mad-Dogs and Englishmen are one in the same when it comes to the heat, but then I also thought it was possible to use a hole-punch to er, punch holes in my hair. Oh, and before you ask, the standards of our beloved universities are categorically not slipping.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Chomping At The Bit

Let it be known, people, that this post is a miniature miracle. For the last two months I've been living off internet so basic that to even read e-mails was to copy and to paste, and to read between all the random colons that crept in between each letter. Oh, colons as in the literary kind I mean.

Life in The Shire has been fairly good to me these last few holiday weeks, to the point where I feel fairly certain that to leave, as I will do tomorrow, will incur doom. Doom, doom, death, doom, death and doom.

I spent three days at my Dad's house in Hampshire and looked after it solo for only one, during which I had the misfortune of encounterng their octogenarian neighbour, Brian, who is in the habit of bringing radishes and various brasiccas to the back door. Brian's parents were first cousins, and this could go some way to explaining why he speaks in an incomprehensible mix of snorts, grunts, and what sounds suspiciously like St. Lucian patois, often for hours at a time. I managed to hear out 45 minutes of his rambling tirrade (the only sentence of which I understood was, 'Arr, they pulled that littl' nipperr outta the 'umber yesterrdayyyy') before running inside to bury my head under a cushion.

I had also been instructed that day to mow the field (on the exciting Forrest Gump tractor-mower) and incurred further doom by allowing the dog outside with me. Rummaging through the bushes she found a deflated football, a large branch and a crow-bar (which my Dad assures me he knows nothing about) and put all three items continually in my path so that to save myself and the machine I had to engage with some proper swerves. When the parents returned, the field did not resemble the straightly-striped football-pitch-style job I'd evisaged, but looked like something someone with wall eyes would have done.

Today is Bank Holiday Monday and rather dark-clouded, as is the tradition. Last week we reached rocketed heights of 18 C which, as some of you might know, is almost room temperature! It was all getting quite sweaty, I know I was. I saw not one, but two women wearing bikinis. There they were on the Village Green, besunglassed and beshorted, huddling together for warmth on a small towel which blew about underneath their trembling limbs. The English Summer mentality. That's the kind of thing that could make a girl homesick for her Fatherland.

I am now twelve days from starting AND finishing my exams. Which means that I'm almost a graduate. Oh Lordy.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Now Touring the UK

This week I embarked on a veritable tour of two of my favourite places: Liverpool and Southwold. Not that from past experience they should be my favourite places, for Southwold is beautiful but turned my demi-cold into something much more ugly and sinister with a lot more goo, and Liverpool only ever taught me two things: not to stare at a scally in a partially blacked-out Honda at a petrol station, and to never choose to sleep in my brother’s bed rather than on the floor.

This week’s sojourn was intended to be far more wholesome however, since it was with my Mum who took her birthday week off work to spend it with her darling offspring, namely Offspring #2 (Simon) and Offspring #3 (me). Offspring #1 (Caroline) has contracted the dreaded Pox and is currently counting her spots in the spare room where she has been shunted by her husband. Chicken Pox is extremely contagious and likely to turn other people into poultry (probably) which was why Mum insisted she didn’t come on our little outing, although so vehemently that one suspected the Pox was simply a cover for the fact that she was actually projectile vomiting with her head spinning about 360 degrees.

On Wednesday, we bought Mum dinner in a restaurant which was initially lively, but silenced by the arrival of a pianist who looked unnervingly like Michael Gambon, and stared at his audience under beetled brows with an intensity which implied he had concealed a small warhead inside the
instrument. We also took her to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, from whose tower you can see the entire City in all its Mersey-glory. However, to get to the top meant taking two lifts interspersed with a 108 step climb around the belfry. The lift itself spoke. At the UEA Library, The Voice of the Lift is a breathy young lady who lewdly purrs ‘Gooooing Dooowwn’ to bemused students. The Voice of the Cathedral Lift sounded like Darth Vader, if Darth Vader had joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, played Oberon in A Midsummer’s Night Dream on an outdoor stage, and it was all very difficult, and there wasn’t any amplification and he’d had to rely on his projection alone. Thus:

(Heavy Breathing) Levellll Tenn: The TOOOOOOOWWWWWWerrrrrrrrrrrr

Levelllll Foooouuuuuuuur: Elizabeeeethan Embrooiidery Ex-hi-bi-tionnnnnnnnn

Like many tourists, I came home (to Lydia’s own birthday celebration) with some very bad photos (coincidentally blurry whenever Mum happened to pick up the camera, see right) and a Beatles mug. Unfortunately, the God of Mugs, He giveth and He taketh away, because yesterday I managed to break Emma’s.

Now its Sunday, and sunny. Spring may (MAY) be just around the corner. Let’s not jinx it people.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Stating The Obvious

It's St. Paddy's Day people. Do I really need to tell you this? OK, so you're about as Irish as Chicken Jalfrezi, and your hair is NOT fashioned into auburn ringlets, nor do you have leiderhosen-esque britches on or live at the end of the rainbow.

But all your friends are down the Pub without you.

A Bohemian Life

These last few weeks are a fooking killer, and my ever-tightening purse strings are doing nothing to help the rabid persona I have adopted about the house, nor cure the literal twitchy eye I had last week, that went away in Dublin, and came back on Monday evening, approx. 7pm. People are starting to look at me as though I may gag them with my own two fingers. Today, in a misunderstanding, Moo and Em thought I was retracting meal vouchers needed for her 21st! Birthday! for my own private candelit dinner, such is my reputation for being resident über-bitch and Someone To Actively Avoid™.

The fact that I can currently only afford one meal a day (sausages) and am, at all other times, living solely on honey-on-toast (which is NOT filling and has made me headachy and constipated to the point of wondering whether faeces can, in fact, be retched out) has, thankfully, gone unnoticed. Because I may look as pale as Tony Blair when he heard the recording of Cherie singing, 'When I'm 64', but at least I still have my pride. Unlike Cherie. Although she probably doesn't discuss her bowel-movements online. I call it 1-1.

In other food-related news, I notice that KFC are now shockingly doing a "Mum's-Night-Off Bargain-Bucket", conveniently in the run up to Mothering Sunday (the 26th of April, kids- Pritt-Sticks at the ready!) I was thinking that if I were to get my Mum a bucket o'something for her nigh-on 22 years of trouble it might have to be more than chicken. This year, I'm guessing she'd probably quite like a bucket o'grenades, or even a bucket o'cats, to hurl at various men, passers-by, and anyone who blocks her in because of a wedding, the purpose of which she sees only the following:

(a) An Oscar's Red Carpet-style "Fashion Hits and Wardrobe Malfunctions" run-through.
"The bride is FAR too dumpy to carry that off".
"Halterneck? With her arms?"
"What. An. Ugly. Hairstyle", etc etc

(b) A mock-Tomorrow's World POTENTIAL DEATH-TRAP! run-through.
"Those kids are going to hit my bloody car with that shoe if they're not careful!"
"If that horse steps back a bit more it's going to crush that baby!"
"One day, they'll tug on a tombstone like that and it'll fall on them and break their leg!" etc etc

OK, I'm resident evil. But you can see where I get it from.