Friday, July 30, 2004

I had a life changing telephone conversation today - with a cleaner! No more coming home on a Friday night to a grubby, untidy unwelcoming home - hello, shiny kitchen floor, clean windows, sparkling mirrors, dust-free skirting boards, carpet! She even irons!!!!

My life will be transformed - no more guilt, no more shame, no more piles of clothes threatening to swamp me like a mini Aberfan in my sleep. I had to keep my curtains closed tonight - we had 20 odd people down the garden - party for the Japanese. Mum had prepared a great spread - which was good 'cos i was starving - haven't had time for lunch this week - in fact I don't recall many breakfasts or dinners either, I did have a tin of cold macaroni cheese on Tuesday I think.

It's always the same people at these things - don't see much of them from one year to the next and then see them 3 times in a week- you start to run out of things to say - I almost told them about my online dating - good job I wasn't drinking - I might have started to show them some of my collected pictures!

I remembered at about 8.30 that I was supposed to be at a Singles Night in Leeds with Lorraine - I'm seeing her on Saturday - Eva's hen night - I'll make suitable apologies.

Talking of Eva - she's sold her flat in less than a day! Full asking price! First viewer bought! Look out Sheffield - here she comes! I'll miss the nights in Rodley - never did make it into the Barge - oh well! I'm sure the Lead Mill will more than compensate.


Thursday, July 29, 2004

Everyone should have a Japanese exchange student - but only if they also have a Mum like mine. Not only did she pick him up for me yesterday, take him out for dinner and then drop him and Jack off for their trip to lincoln this morning, she also took them both out for dinner this evening - Giovanni's this time. It was supposed to be a night for the adults only, but there were 2 spare places and they both seem to have had a really good time.

Tomorrow they are going to Whitby for the day and then there is a party at ours in the evening - I did offer to help out but Mum has it all under control, she says. Even so, I think I might come home early, well earlier, and make sure she has chilled the wine and defrosted the sausages - menopause can have devastating effects on a hostess' ability.

Friday they are going to York. I might have to entertain them in the evening - pizza and a video me thinks - and then golf and rock-climbing on Saturday. My lovely clients, Mark & Becky, have said they can go free but only if I promise to go in trousers and have a go myself. The idea of a freebie certainly appeals but I'm not sure my confidence has grown sufficiently to relish having my arse strapped into a harness and raised 12 feet above one of my favourite client's head!

I will be saying Sayonara to my guest that evening as I have a pressing engagement in Leeds - Eva's hen night - she says she wants it low-key but I think she protesteth too much - I toyed with the idea of borrowing the communal blow-up doll ensemble from Vickie, but as Eva's not in that particular circle of friends and is unlikely to respect our unwritten rules, I might have to purchase new accoutrements - either that or get in touch with Hannibal Lecturer and see if he's available for a cabaret spot!

Cute Suit has been in touch again today, third time this week - and it's only Wednesday! I'm hoping he's holding back on the suggestion of dinner at San Pietro knowing how busy (!) I am with my foreign visitor (I have no idea how to spell or properly pronounce his name). He knows Jack is going to be away for most of August and that I'll be home alone - fingers crossed for a sizzling month!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

This week is going to be a doddle! The Japanese boy arrived and was picked up by my mum. I called on Sally & Lee on the way home, ex-colleague and friend (& cheeky husband) who are  moving(by the grace of god and my superior conveyancing abilities) on Friday. They are coming over to the civilised, albeit 1950s civilisation, side of the river. Had a cup of tea, signed a few boring forms and caught up on the chinwag.

I got home just in time to limply shake hands with my new temporary Far-Eastern adoptee and wave him off for a meal with Jack & my mum. Hope she'll be this attentive all week.

So I have enjoyed a very leisurely night on the sofa - 2 hour telephone conversation with my Cruse Chair - she's lovely - and a brief snooze. The house is reasonably acceptable, the kids are sorted (thanks, Mum), my able assistant has everything under control at work, and work has started on decorating my new office, and Cute Suit is as prolific with his emails as ever. All is well with the world.
I feel like Julie Andrews. Last year Jack stayed with Soh, the year before that we hosted Koh - tomorrow Toh arrives. If my blog disappears, I may well have run off to Austria to be a nun! 

I'm beginning to wonder about all this hosting lark - I stopped cleaning at 11.30 tonight- missed a double run of Coronation Street - and had no tea ( fantastic! diet slipped a bit while yon Brow was plagueing us). I might have to ring Cute Suit's cleaner and book her from tomorrow.

I also bought a dress for Eva's wedding - silk, lavender, corset style :-/ it looked good in the shop and was in the sale - which meant a larger budget for the shoes, handbag and pashmina - decided against a hat - I think it might be too flamboyant amongst 6 other guests.

I've made the bed, put out clean towels, cleaned the house, but forgotten the flowers - last weeks' lilies are looking very tired - I hope Toh thinks they are an avant garde Ikibana display. Roll on August - Jack in Spain - me out of pain!


Sunday, July 25, 2004

Well the eye mask worked. For the first time in a week my puffy, cold-affected eyes looked acceptable, my hair fell perfectly about my shoulders and I took 2 changes of top and a spare pair of tights to work. Jack thought I should wear the stripey blouse - he's obviously acquired a sense of the slimming effect of vertical stripes osmotically, and has an inate knowledge that fabric stretched tautly across the female chest is good. Jacquie preferred the baby pink scoop neck - I went with her recommendation.

I was on tenterhooks from about 12.45 - I knew his hearing was at 12.30 and being a simple Directions, wouldn't take long. It didn't - my mobile rang at 12.55 - he was on his way into Reception. And there he was, looking just as I remembered him, smiling eyes, lovely broad shoulders and a well-fitted Cute Suit!

I wasn't sure how to greet him. I normally sweep confidently through the door and extend my hand to my waiting clients whilst introducing myself - but he wasn't a client - and I wasn't brave enough to peck him onthe cheek - something which I would normally do on a regular date - so I just popped my head round the door and said " Hi - are you ready?" Doh! I hope he couldn't see I was shaking mildly.

He asked if he could leave his briefcase somewhere, I took him though to my office, wishing I'd tidied it up a bit more. My large fan was on, and I stood right in front of it, well it worked for Debbie Harry!

We went to Venn - the newest and best restaurant in town - just got mentioned in the Michelin Red Guide - and had a drink whilst pondering over the menu - we both chose sausages and mash washed down with fizzy water. Paul, the owner, wasn't there which was a bit disappointing - I had wanted to look popular and well-known - but the waitress did a sterling job.

Lunch was yummy, the conversation flowed perfectly, the body language was very encouraging, and the leather seats clearly impressed him.  It was delightful - we had coffees and chatted and chatted and then realized it was 3pm - we reluctantly sauntered back to my office and he lingered about, I think a little uncertain whether to kiss me. I hung back a bit, not certain whether Jacquie was skillfully aiming her handbag mirror round the filing cabinets ( I discovered later that she had cleared her desk in one leap as we'd left and positioned herself under the blinds to cop a glimpse).

I got a text just after 5pm - very good sign - I think I will be hearing more from him very soon.

So today I spent the afternoon watching Jack & Byron try their hands at rock-climbing. They loved it - 3 hours of extreme exhilaration - and that was just sitting watching - both of them showed a flair for it - and it didn't go unnoticed that the regular guys had rippling muscles and six-packs. They were exhausted when we left - could barely grip a bottle of water. They want to go again next week.

Tonight was a party at Jack's Headmaster's. He was the only pupil amongst a number of teachers, fortunately all the ones he likes and gets on well with, it rained, but there were enough gazebos and a large well lit garage so spirits were not dampened. I was driving so there was never any danger of embarrassing him in the hot tub with his DT teacher. It was a very pleasant evening, good company, lots of well-prepared food and a beautiful garden overlooking the river.
I haven't felt this relaxed and happy in ages.

Friday, July 23, 2004

He's gone! Ca c'est formidable!!! It was well worth getting up at 4am and standing around the council car park. I started to get a bit nervous when they still hadn't driven off after 50 minutes, one person was late (and for once it wasn't me - we were almost first there).  Victor had swapped seats so couldn't see us, so I saw our opportunity and Jack & I legged it back to the car and drove off at speed, just in case there was a serious delay and they tried to make us take him back again.

I went straight to work. The car park attendant was a bit surprised to see me pull up behind him as he was unlocking the gates, specially as my make-up was still in its bag and not yet on my face.

I always really like early mornings, I must try and see more of them at the start of a day instead of on my way to bed.

I had a pretty cracking day all round in fact. My new assistant started working for me, the decorator was booked and came and started measuring up my new office - I'm getting new carpet, paint, furniture and have been given the green light to go to IKEA and buy whatever I want to make it a bit more homely, and something else happened at the very end of the day that I don't want to say too much about just yet, in case I jinx it, but I am really really looking forward to tomorrow lunchtime.

Talking of which, I must get my beauty sleep - more important than ever. I have new shoes, eye mask chilling in the fridge for the morning, and I'm about to paint my nails. Zippadee do-dah, zippidee day, my oh my...............

Monday, July 19, 2004

I am despairing of my French ward. He has expressed interest in only 2 things - rugby and Lord of The Rings. Yesterday I took him into a Dungeons & Dragons type shop where they sold all sorts of models and battle gear - he just looked around, shrugged and walked out.
This morning he was invited to the rugby club for the training but he chose to stay in his room - all day! The boy is clearly bored at best, thoroughly miserable more likely. Ben came over with his motorbike this afternoon and he didn't even raise his brow! I was blagged into going and getting them some petrol and Jack & Ben disappeared off to churn up some field somewhere down the bottom end of the village.
Conscious that he hadn't come out of his room even for food or drink, I rustled up some Tuna Melt and a glass of apple juice and then invited him to Tesco with me - I know it's hardly the most tempting offer for a teenager, but I did explain he could choose what he wanted to eat in his pack-up tomorrow and that there were lots of things he might want to buy, cds, dvds, magazines,clothes, sweets etc. Personally I love nothing more than wandering around foreign supermarkets, I always come away with lots of exotic goodies and a few comics or magazines to look through. He swiftly rejected the idea and continued to make notes on Napoleon! I think he's still seething from Agincourt! Honestly! I cannot understand why on earth he got involved with this exchange when he obviously hates the English (I'm not so paranoid that I think it's just us - it really is a national thing). It's bothering me, but I do have to realise that you can't win 'em all.
He ate all the Lasagne I cooked this evening, left most of the salad (that was Italian, perhaps he just dislikes all things pas Francais) and did venture out long enough to watch some TV with Jack, although I'm not sure he ever spoke.
I watched a bit of the golf, just in case I bump into the Cute Suit anytime soon, helps to do a bit of homework sometimes, and I found myself strangely enjoying it - I didn't know you had play-offs in such an ambulatory sport - bet the ball would have ended up on the beach if Beckham had been taking a swing.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Darius is pleased to see me - he's just brought me a token of appreciation - the little wren who I've been watching build its nest in the Honeysuckle outside my bedroom window! :-/
Which is worse? Kids or cats? You love 'em but they can do the cruellest things!

I love London. I love the shops, the sights, the diversity, the vibrancy. I never imagined there would ever be a day when I was ready for going home within less than an hour of getting there.
The journey there passed rather enjoyably thanks to a number of text messages from Cute Suit. I'd managed to blag the front seat behind the driver - I'm not good as a passenger - too used to being in control - but it went downhill the minute we got there. We took the Tube fromMarble Arch to Westminster and walked along the Embankment, navigating hoards of tourists, across the Golden Jubilee Bridge to the Eye. There was a huge queue, but it seemed to be moving fairly quickly to my mind, not so to my 2 teenage companions so we decided to give that a miss and I rang Kathryn to meet us.
We walked along Whitehall, all the while cursing my decision to wear Shantung silk mules in British Summer, I stopped off at a small drugstore for industrial strength pain-killers (my left sinus was loudly heralding its arrival in the Smoke and my right ear was aching), whilst Kathryn and her 5th limb, her camera, tried to persuade Jack and Le Frown to pose for photos on the lions at Trafalgar Square. There was an anti-landmine demonstration going on - piles of assorted footwear all over the place - I was tempted to swap the rather fine numbers I was sporting for some comfy old trainers.
We quickly headed for Lillywhites - both boys like sport so we figured they'd be happy - Jack's usual enthusiasm for shopping was very evident and he came away with a few bags of assorted kit for the coming season - Le Frown did at least show a passing interest for some of the rugby wear but it was very shortlived. I had originally suggested throwing some money at them and abandoning them in the Trocadero which had been met with disdain by my sis but it didn't take her long to agree with my sentiments so we headed there - even that wasn't good enough. Jack had a couple of goes on various things - he was the fastest Bull Thrower today apparently - but Le Frown just well, frowned.
To cut the story of an interminably long day short, we just wandered about a lot - you will probably be appalled at my lack of imagination and poor host skills - I would be too were it not for the knowledge that I suggested loads of things, none of which raised more than a Gallic shrug. We strolled through China Town, Covent Garden, Soho - (by this point I was getting so frustrated at the lack of responsiveness from my temporary adoptee, that I was tempted to give him £20 and push him in a private club - see if that would make him animate!!)
Jack was happy because he bought himself some Nike Air Force Ones (cool, apparently) Kathryn was happy because I bought her a very fine evening beaded poncho as an early birthday present, I was happy because we had a tasty lunch in a bustling teppenyaki bar - Le Frown? No idea!! He expressed his usual level of emotion - nil.
I was so pleased to get back on that coach - which turned out to be the highlight of the day - the teacher in charge asserted her authority and sat next to me on the journey back up the A1. I'd never met her before this exchange. We had a terrific conversation which made the 5 hours pass like 5 minutes - I know her partner - an Italian Jew from Darlington who happens to be one of my co-bereavement counsellors - what are the chances of that happening?
In fact I enjoyed the chat with her so much I almost didn't mind the fact that not only had I missed the off-licence last night but I'd also got back after Tesco had shut so I've had the driest weekend in (my) recent history.
4 more nights, 3 more full days and a ridiculously early start and we can wave Au Revoir to our Bete Noire!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2004

To add insult to injury I got stopped by  a random police check on the way home from work tonight. Had I been drinking? No!! I had not! It was 9.50pm on a Friday night so he can be forgiven for thinking I should have been! I'm sure he had a look of pity on his face as he waved me on.
That small delay meant my regular offie was shut so I've had to come home after a gruelling 13 and half hour day to half a bottle of poxy cheap mid-week Chilean Chardonnay. It's the weekend! I know it! You know it! Will somebody please tell my life that!
I'm still sneezing, coughing and spluttering. I was very tempted to curl up in a ball under my desk and weep like a baby at one point today but I'm nothing if not determined so I fought my way through it. I've actually had a very productive day - Ling has gone! I haven't taken a lunch break all week (who am I kidding - all year!) so I hadn't bought her anything - not even a card - but as more and more people started asking me how to spell her name - is it "ra" or "orah"? I was finally shamed enough to pop out to M&S and get her a really stylish plant and card. I even splashed out on Vanilla Slices for the entire floor!
I was really nice to her as well - with hindsight I realise the whole experience would have been so much better if I'd tried that at the start of May instead of 2 hours before she left! Not that I was nasty - forfain!! I never am! but I can be a bit of a salty cow sometimes.
Anyway, my good deed paid off! I had an email from Cute Suit whilst I was away from my desk, followed by a phone chat ( I made sure the girls had gone home and shut my doors) and further text messages. It has lifted my spirits enough to decide to brave London myself with Jack and Le Brow tomorrow (I rang my Mum at lunchtime when I was feeling particularly poorly and sorry for myself and tried to bribe her into taking my place with the promise of lunch with my sister paid for by me, but she saw through the ruse and realised it would also mean traipsing around with 2 moody teenagers in the rain).
I figure I can sleep all the way there and back (I'll take my book just in case) and if all else fails I'll shove some cash in their hands, point them in the general direction of the Trocadero (hope they don't miss it and end up in SoHo) and Kathryn and I can head for a swanky wine bar.
Got to go! Up at 6!!!!! ( Lord! It is the weekend! Give a girl a break!!)

Friday, July 16, 2004

Rush! Rush! Rush! That's all I seem to do at the moment - even my nose is streaming at a rate of knots. If I'm not dropping off kids, I'm picking them up, or making them pack-ups, or washing their clothes. 
I treated my car to a rinse through the wash, she's sounding almost as poorly as me so I'm being uncharacteristically nice, before having a quick nap in the car wiating for the kids to stop snogging. Net result - I left work at 5.30 but never actually saw the inside of my lounge until after 10.30. Great for weight-loss! I always try to see the positive.
I can't even look forward to the weekend particularly - having booked us all on a day-trip to London. We have to catch the coach at 7am, which means a 6 o'clock start (!!) and won't get back home til 11ish. I hope St Swithin's on a career break!
On the plus side I've done 4 swears today, bought the girls on reception a big box of posh chocolate biccies in the hope that they'll keep passing them my way - it all helps toward the Send Jack To Spain For The Entire Month Of August campaign! And I've had some more emails and texts from Cute Suit - all unsolicited (no pun etc) - and my new office is now vacant and just waiting to be decorated and recarpeted for me.
There's a bit of a power struggle going on between my long-standing secretary and my new assistant as to who gets the seat closest to the Lord's right hand - or my side door as the case may be - I may have to interevene and decree that Jacquie gets it - from a practical point of view it would be convenient to have Lisa within hollering distance - but then Jacquie knows when my face says Do Not Disturb - Important Cute Suit on Line 1!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I'be dot a dold! I thought I was just in a crabby mood when I woke up yesterday but the sneezing started by about 10am and it was rapidly downhill, mainly down my nose in fact, and by last night I was shivering, coughing and could barely breathe - I just about managed to stay up to watch Grif and his ruins and then turned in for the night - wish I'd realized that the non-drowsy Sudafed meant stimulant! I endured one of those nights where you toss and turn and seem to look at the clock every hour and only 5 minutes has passed - I then fell asleep at about 6, just before the alarm went off.

So I felt rubbish all day, perked up a bit when I got some emails from Cute Suit ( I got one at the weekend from his home address too :-)) and then had to sit through almost 3 hours of boring meeting before waiting in the car for 45 mins for Jack and Le Brow to leave their disco - I utilised the time by reclining the seat and having a snooze - God! when did I start to turn into my Dad!

I hope I feel better tomorrow - I want to start looking for an outfit for Eva's wedding and nothing looks flattering when you have a big red shiny nose and puffy eyes. But then again, it's nice to have an excuse to look awful rather than the fact that you just do!

Monday, July 12, 2004

The French boy's Unibrow has more personality than he himself has! I have rarely come across someone so uncommunicative. It's going to be an incredibly long 2 weeks. He's polite and all that, but he just doesn't do or say anything - and it's not the language barrier, I'm sure - I can babble on about rubbish just as well in French as I can English.

He came with me to Presentation Evening tonight. Granted, it's dull, even I was beginning to lose the will to live, especially when the orchestra started up with Mambo No.5 and we were expected to clap along - I think that was just because they didn't have a conductor and needed help with the timing. To think what I must have put my mum through for all those years - and at least this was quite modern and upbeat - not Gaslight Gaieties and The Dambusters! We did The Winner Takes It All once - I had to do the Intro on the sax - took me weeks to get it right and once I had that's all I played (and The Muppet Song)for months, nay years after.

Jack got the Sports Prize - bless! He's supposed to be taking part in the District Athletics tomorrow but has suddenly developed a surprising desire to ensure that Le Brow doesn't feel excluded and has rather opted to go on the day trip with the exchange students - I suspect the fact that they are calling in at Meadowhall for a few hours has more to do with it - all his birthday money burning a hole in his pocket.

Just got off the phone from Eva - she's set a date - the Glorious Twelfth! And I'm invited!! She's already worried about what I'm going to wear - especially when I mentioned this PVC fetish site that someone had told me about. Well she said I wasn't to choose anything too pale to ensure she shines on her big day - what can be more different than a boned quarter-cup corset and matching spanking skirt! The PVC trench coat would prevent any embarrassing photographs! She's such a control freak! - lol

Sunday, July 11, 2004

The party went reasonably well. The 28 or so teenagers were well behaved and polite in the most part and my hot dogs and Nigella Onion Mush was well received. There was only one casualty - Laura was a bit pooorly, bless her. I put her to bed and kept a close eye on her - couple of hours later and she had made a remarkable recovery. Boo was bouncing off the walls a bit too but she managed to keep her dignity.

I was a bit concerned when I discovered one of the girls was still in Year 6 - I think she was someone's younger sister - but she tended to hover around the kitchen near me so I think she was pretty safe. One of the boys was a bit older too - 16 - just left school - he didn't look it - but he was fine - think he was after one of the girls.

They were all nice kids, very chatty, I can't be doing with shifty quiet ones, and they all slept down the garden in the tents eventually - apart from Victor, who had mixed really well but had the common sense to grab a comfy bed.

It was all cleared up and back to normal by the time I surfaced this morning. The kids had all gone home, camp had been broken, all the cans and bottle tops had been picked up and even the brazier had been swept out. Jack had even hoovered. I think they had such a good time, they were keen to keep on my good side so they can do it again the next time Mum and John go away. I don't mind as long as they stay down the bottom of the garden and don't disturb the neighbours - that's my job when I have a party every couple of years.

I'm cooking traditional Cottage Pie for Victor now. I had thought about doing a proper roast but the fridge is so full there would be nowhere to keep any leftovers. Jack will pretend not to like it but will clear his plate soon enough. Then strawberries and ice-cream. I like all this entertaining lark!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

This could be a very long 2 weeks. When I said Victor was quiet, I hadn't bargained for just how uncommunicative he is - all he does is lay on his bed reading comics. Jack is really making an effort and trying to get him involved with things, suggesting games to play, films to watch, music to listen to, but Victor is having none of it.

Byron came over this morning - he's back from Spain for a few weeks - and has come to stay for the night - he and Jack optimistically set up the tent at the bottom of the garden and carried armfuls of blankets, duvets, pillows etc down there - Victor just lay on his bed - didn't show the slightest bit of interest. They've all walked over to the next village this afternoon to meet up with some of the others and attend the Summer Fayre. Victor has gone too, I hope he's not dreadfully unhappy or homesick.

I've had an even lazier day than normal. The housework is all done, all I had to do was push the Dyson around and put in the odd load of washing. I was so bored I found myself cleaning the cooker! I even took the heavily-baked-on rings off and scrubbed them til they were gleaming. I've toyed with the idea of cleaning the windows or doing the ironing, but I need to leave myself something exciting to do tomorrow after rugby-training.

I think I might go and bake some Nigella Snickerdoodles and Granny Boyd Biscuits now - the girls will be dead impressed with Jack's mum then - beautiful, clever, immaculate house and wholesome ability to bake and not worry about her enviable figure!! I need to get out the house - I'm becoming delusional! Quick! Tesco! Help me!!

Friday, July 09, 2004

Victor est arrivee! (if anyone knows how to type accents, please let me know - I can do it in Word but not sure on this site). He is very polite, if a little quiet. Jack and he seem to share a common love of eating and generally lounging about making my newly-decluttered house look positively hovel-like. Fortunately, they can spend their time in my Mum's lounge while she is away.

I managed to get them to school on time, I was a bit late picking them up again and then again for the meeting tonight but 1 out of 3 isn't bad for me. The meeting was over and done with very quickly so I needn't have worried aobut getting to the cricket. In fact, I really needn't as it was cancelled due to a water-logged pitch. I was looking forward to that too!

I dropped a card and some B&Q vouchers through Vickie's letter-box, she saw me and beckoned me in so I had a coffee, saw her fab dress and heard all about her day. Jack and Victor had originally not really wanted to go in, but after 7-year old Tom showed them his hamster, gerbil and the mini-fridge in his bedroom, they were quite happy. I swear I even saw Jack help Olivia dress one of her Barbies.

I've just dropped them in the next village so Victor can meet some of Jack's friends. Apparently a dozen or so of them are coming over for a party tomorrow night. They were meant to be camping but given the typical British weather we are having I imagine I will have a houseful of excited teenagers lolling all over the furniture instead. I can't argue, well, I could, but as Jack knows about the party I had when I was 15, which still gets mentioned to this day by total strangers and has featured on Friends Reunited, I have a very poor defence.

Oh, and the completion with the Cute Suit went very smoothly, all done by 11am - we had a very brief conversation to confirm it before he dashed off to court. That would normally have been sufficient, there was absolutely no reason for him to call me back just after lunch for a general chat. I felt a bit sad that the matter had come to an end and reminded him that we would have no cause to speak again but he reassured me that there would be some "snagging" issue that was bound to come up next week. I hope he thinks of one quick!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I very nearly drove to Lisa'a last night for Vickie's hen night. In fact I did drive there, after waiting 20 minutes outside, my shiny smooth hair getting blown all over the place, for Vickie not to pick me up. We'd spoken earlier and I had thought I'd arranged a lift, but apparently not. I passed Vickie just as I got to Lisa's, having arrived without me and being immediately sent out to fetch me. After a bit of toing and froing, I was persuaded to take my car back, with Vickie following behind - bless she'd done that short stretch of road 4 times already.

Lisa had recycled some of the gifts she'd been given on her hen night in Newcastle 4 years ago, including Blow-Up Brian who we'd handcuffed her to for a while wearing a flashing sash and Neil's leopard skin silk boxers(!)a whip and vibrator the size of a small child. Vickie is the new custodian of these items, to be passed on to the next one of our group to get married. I'm not losing any sleep over where I would have to store them!

We had a really good laugh and I took full advantage of not having to drive - particularly as I had today off work. I wasn't up too early though - managed to start cleaning by about lunchtime - and I have worked like a demon. I can now confidently welcome the French Exchange Student into my home later this evening without worrying about the state of the place. I needn't live in fear of anyone dropping round unexpectedly either. I am going to make a concerted effort to find a cleaner before it deteriorates into squalor again.

I am worrying about how on earth I am going to juggle work, school runs and all the other social activities that are planned over the next couple of weeks. Mum and John are going to Silverstone tonight to see the Grand Prix at the weekend, so I can't rely on them for transportation.

Tomorrow, I have to get both boys to school for 8.15am, then get myself to work across the Bridge, hoping my completion with the Cute Suit goes well, then head back for 3.30pm to pick them up, feed them , get them back into town for a Welcome Reception for 5.30pm and then over to the KC Stadium for a cricket match at 7pm, picking Sophie up on the way. And that's just the first day! There are 13 more to go like that! I can feel some more weight-loss coming on!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I am doing cartwheels! Metaphorically - not literally - though for the first time since I was about 12 I am actually tempted!


Can't talk now - got to write to the disappointed candidates - but you can bet I'll be back later tonight.

Happy Days are here again! :-)

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Yesterday was Jack's birthday. He didn't get the motorbike he wanted - had to make do with new aggressive in-line skates. He seemed pretty chuffed with them - and so was I - they were half price! And he knew it - so I ended up taking him and Boo out for a Chinese - starters, duck, main courses, skipped the puddings - Banana fritters don't really do it for us, coffees, I drew the line at brandy and cigars - he is still only 14, even if the tarty young waitress thought he was about 17! Flirt!!

We were the last to leave the restaurant - maybe I've created another hedonist in the family - we can even have a good time on Coca-Cola.

I was in sensible parent mode all night and even went to bed when I got in - sans wine, sans chatting, sorry, Throbbie! It did mean I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning - had a stupendously productive day today - both Ling and Lang were back at work, and one of my colleagues lent me a spare secretary so I'm almost up-to-date - think I may even have found a suitable assistant at long last - but I've got 2 more to interview tomorrow so we'll see what happens by the end of the week. I once considered HR as a career - don't think I would have been cut out for it though.

I also managed to exchange contracts on that case with the Cute Suit from North Lincolnshire yesterday - I was tempted to drag it out a bit longer so as to prolong the need to continue the flirty banter but then I'm secretly hoping he is being professional and waiting for it to finish before he invites me out - then again, he's probably just being professional and that'll be the last I have to do with him for another 10 years or so!

I had intended to rush home from work at 8pm tonight to start delousing the house before the french exchange student turns up on Thursday night - a fortnight - not sure my shoolgirl French will last much beyond Friday morning - but Sophie called and asked me round to her posh new pad for supper - (this must be how a midwife feels being invited to a christening of one of her deliveries). We had a lovely evening - the time flew by - it was 11.30 before we knew it and I had to say my good-byes - not before having a good old yarn about Martin - another of my potential successes bringing those two together - that was pure inspiration!

I've got Vickie's unexpected hen-night tomorrow - nothing ostentatious, but that's Vickie for you: self-deprecating, shuns any form of attention, patience of a saint, incredibly kind, thoughtful, and sensitive, wickedly funny,- I'm sure it will be hilarious - we all go back over 20 years and have been recent partici"pants" in Knicker Exchange thanks to our host, Lisa (I'll save her description for another blog - and an update on my most recent underwear parcel).

And thus ends another perfect day when I have yet again managed to avoid any form of housework or domestic activity whatsoever.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

I wasn't sure whether Ian was joking when he promised to wear his thong to bring breakfast this morning. I was so relieved when Lynn, his recently-installed girlfriend knocked on the spare bedroom door and handed me a coffee and a plate of warm buttery crumpets.

I used to work with Ian. He's a real sweetheart, 56, ex-CID, came home one day to find a note from his wife of 35 years to say she'd left him for a younger man who she'd been seeing for the past year or so whilst he underwent surgery and chemotherapy for throat cancer. It gutted him as you would imagine, but he's turned the corner now and seems genuinely happy with his new lady.

We were all going to a party at Ian's cousin's. I now work with Neil and was looking forward to meeting some of my colleagues and their partners out of the office. It was a fun night - not as riotous as the one last week - and thank goodness for patio heaters. I think I was the only single one there but it didn't stop the women from talking to me - which was nice!

Thankfully, I had very little to drink, by my standards, so I had no trouble getting up early and home in time to pick Jack up from rugby training. We then had to hot foot it over to the Showground where Jack was taking part in the Athletics at the local agricultural show. He came third in his race - his school second overall and it stayed warm and sunny -result!

We've just popped home for him to have a shower and then we're going over to Rachel's. Wonder what room she'll have decorated this time? There's a different colour every time you go round - wonder if she'll hire Steve out? I might feel more inclination to tidy up if it didn't still look so grubby after I'd finished.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

I've got another quasi-celebrity claim to fame - but I can't really tell you about it - and it isn't really that great!

But do you remember Survivor - that reality show where they put a load of dreadful people in an even worse place to see who started to eat each other first? Well it turns out, a chap I've been emailing on a particular matter was part of the show! Gosh! I might have been even nicer to him if I'd known - you know how Starstruck I get!

Anyway, that brightened up an otherwise boring afternoon - I've had a pretty uneventful sort of day really, trough after the peak maybe - not that it was low in any way, nor that the last few days have been high! Mind you, I did like getting texts late from that cute solicitor - and I blush now when I remember suggesting we bunk off work for the afternoon and go to the park - I didn't think for a minute he would bite - and he didn't - good job, too, as I had appointments booked this afternoon - now I just pray something proper happens on this case so I have a serious rather than tenuous reason to make contact.

Got to shop for birthday gifts for Jack this weekend - he wants a motorbike - I was thinking more book tokens! Maybe we'll meet in the middle somewhere - like a biking DVD - or I could take him to Cadwell - now that's a thought - men in leather.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I was in bliss for an hour and a half tonight! I cannot remember the last time I felt so relaxed.

I had a facial complete with head and shoulder massage. I think I dozed off a bit - cos Gianna re-entered the room just as Mum was about to tell me that all my Received Files had been sent to her PC too! That would have been a total nightmare - no expert needed to analyse that dream!

It's funny - you encounter all types on here - and some you accept, some you reject, some you are indifferent to - much like reality really, only easier - you can press a "Block" button and instantly all is well with the world- but I wonder how many of the people that you actually choose to correspond with would be chosen in everyday life! How many people do I dismiss as not clever enough, not witty enough, not interesting enough, not attractive enough? Would I gravitate away or towards them in an ordinary situation? Surely, we'd never meet otherwise.

I quite liked getting text messages from that sexy blonde (not my usual type) solicitor at this morning - I didn't reply - he needs to think I am wholesome and in bed at that time(as of course I alomst was) - it put a smile on my face and I didn't even mind being at work when he and Jack (seperately) had the day off to go and watch the Test Match at Headingley.

Now I'm just wondering what he will think of tomorrow as an excuse to email me! and also wondering if this is all just in my head and he really is just thinking about the particular case in hand. Time will tell.