Slash and Shrek

I flew back to England (by way of an aircraft, of course) two weeks ago after a lovely Christmas break at home. All my breakable Christmas pressies were safely wrapped up in items of clothing in my hand luggage. Of course I got my bag searched at security because they couldn’t work out what was in it.

That’s just a teacup and saucer

Careful, there’s a mug in that hat

There’s a jar of socks wrapped up in that top

The security guy laughed: We get all sorts through here

Next he pulled out the autobiography of former Guns n Roses guitarist Slash, followed by a ticket to see Shrek the Musical.

Is that why you stopped me?

There’s a world outside of the television

My television broke about a week ago. I mentioned that in my texts to my mum today. Soon after my dad phoned to see if I was ok.

I thought you’d be sitting in the flat staring out at the snow, bored with nothing to do.

Nope, I’ve been working, cooking, reading, seeing friends, watching DVDs, going out walking, going to the cinema, that kind of thing… 

The whole conversation was about the telly, apart from the joke he told me before he said g’bye. Then he put my mum on and we talked about soup.

Charity-related twattery 2: The carrot cake disguised as a chocolate cake

Continuing with my theme of how my charitable efforts are often marred by, well by me…

Today at work we hosted a coffee morning to raise money for MacMillan, the cancer charity. I volunteered to bake some cakes to bring along.

The stuff I bake usually turns out fine, but I thought it would be a good idea to take extra special care last night when baking instead of simply fecking things into the bowl like I usually do. I made banana and date muffins (and a couple of banana-only ones for Wale because he’s fussy).

I also made a carrot cake.

Or what was intended to be a carrot cake. There were carrots in it so what else could it be?

Well, here are some of the questions I was asked:

“Why is it so dark?”

“What are the green bits*?”

“Ah, so it’s not a chocolate cake?”

“Did you make up the recipe yourself?”

“What is it?”

It may have been the most controversial, but it was the first to be sold out. And people did say it tasted nice.

*These were pecan nuts. No, they’re not supposed to be green

Special note of thanks to the lovely Jo for being my expert taster last night

Charity-related twattery 1: Elite athletics

It’s nice to do things for charity. Although when I do I often end up doing twatty things.

In July I was bullied into running the British 10K to raise money for The DIPEx Charity which runs (albeit less athletically) http://www.healthtalkonline.org a wonderful website containing brilliantly researched (ahem*) information for patients about living with various health and illness conditions.

Setting off at stupid o’clock, and passing a bike disguised as a zebra, Abi (fellow athlete with prior running experience) and I travelled to London on the bus. We made our way to the starting line and decided to join the crowd at the very front because there was hardly any of them there. That looked like as good a place as any for us and we certainly didn’t want to be stuck with all those people behind that rope.

Heather Small sang “What have you done today to make you feel proud?” and we stopped singing along when we realised that nobody around us was. They seemed to be taking this  running malarkey pretty seriously.

The starting thingy went and we set of at a reasonable pace, not wanting to peak too soon. Everyone around us whizzed past, practically jumping over us to get ahead of us. We soon realised the enormity of our error: we had accidentally joined the elite athletes who were probably pretty pissed off with the pair of us. Oops!

What I learned from this is that I am not an elite athlete and that if I were accidentally to become one (again), other true elite athletes should see me as a challenge, but definitely not a threat.

Honourable mentions go to Jo, who also ran, but with the non-elites, and Laura, who wasn’t able to run on the day, but came along anyway to cheer for us and give us cupcakes at the end.

*I am one of the researchers who conducts the ‘brilliant research’ – self praise is no praise and all that, but what we do is pretty cool. 

Moving

I am a serial house-mover. For some reason I have been unable to settle anywhere for longer than a year. In the last six years I’ve done the moving thing eight times. That’s a lot of moving.

For the latest move, we decided to hire removal men. Two weedy Scousers turned up late and drunk to move our pianos, furniture, carefully packed boxes and less-carefully packed bin bags to our new flat at the bottom of the street.

After taking a long time to do the move, complaining a lot about the distance they had to carry the things, breaking several times for a smoke, having a spin on a bicycle that appeared from nowhere and dropping a few items, we paid them and sent them on their merry way (probably to the pub).

I’m never moving again.

 

A very happy birthday

It was my birthday this week and I was completely spoiled rotten with messages, cards and gifts from my family, friends and colleagues. Nearly two years ago I moved to this town knowing not a single soul. In that time I have met some of the loveliest, kindest people imaginable, who make my life extraordinary.

One suggested to me last night that I create a list of things I want to accomplish in this year, the number of which correlates to my age. What a great idea. Getting older doesn’t seem so bad if you get to do more and more things each year that you want to do. I just hope my ageing self is up to it!

Thanks so much for making my birthday so special.

Reflections

The most precious gift anyone can give is their time and you gave yours everyday: helping with homework, reading stories, chauffeuring, clapping in the audience, shouting encouragement from the sideline, working tirelessly to ensure we had all we needed.

When we fought with each other and complained to you about it, you said, Don’t tell tales on each other; support each other. And so we tentatively built sibling bonds that today are unbreakable.

You once chastised me for using the word ‘crap’ saying, Someone of your intelligence should be able to think of better words to use. It made me think of worse words than ‘crap’ that I could have used, but also of other ways to express myself.

When I was apprehensive you told me to try: It doesn’t matter if you fail or how many tries it takes; the scenic route still gets you there. And with that encouragement I managed to avoid the scenic route most of the time, but faced it when I had to, you by my side when it got too steep.

When you met my old boyfriend for the first time you wouldn’t speak to him because you thought he would break my heart. When he broke my heart, you hugged me, wiped my tears and said, It’s a shame because I thought he was a really nice fella.

I remember you telling me the story of the day I was born. You said, I was the first person in the world to see you. I was the first person in the world to hold you. And the first time I held you, you pee’d on me.

Well, I wouldn’t pee on anyone less, Daddy.

Happy Fathers’ Day.