Thursday, April 28, 2005

I wish I'd never mentioned house-hunting to people - they keep asking me about it in tones which suggest I should be excited and as eager to bore them silly with it as they do me every flipping day of the week!

I've spent the last 2 years desperately trying to claw myself out of debt. I finally see light at the end of the tunnel and cannot muster enthusiasm at the prospect of burdening myself with a further £130 grand's worth!

Viewing houses is altogether grim as well, especially when it's the owner showing you round. You can tell those that have watched all the telly programmes and are careful to let you enter a room first and have switched lamps on at the height of the day to make a room appear bigger and brighter. Then there are those that are just desperate to sell, saying and doing all the wrong things, the fear of rejection smelling far stronger than the cinnamon they have placed in the warmed grill pan and the coffee bubbling in the pot. You come away with the feeling that you've led them on like a careless lover.

I'm shocked at the appalling lack of attention from the estate agents. 4 viewings in over a week and only one half-hearted attempt to call me for feedback - and that was about the wrong house that they'd sent me to! You wouldn't accept that from a recruitment or dating agency and yet they get away with it and get paid handsomely for it too.

I guess I've grown immune after years of seeing expectant home-owners disappointed by the whimsy and greed of others and won't allow myself to get excited unless or until it actually happens. I think I do that with relationships too. Perhaps once I have a mortgage and Sofa Workshop adiction to support, I might view both differently.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I am definitely starting to get sensible in my dotage. I have been house-hunting. Pride and the desire not to be homeless has finally gotten the better of me. I also stumbled upon a property marketed as "ideal for the active fitness enthusiast!" It may as well have been called Chez Chez!

It's fab! 26' party room, 24' purpose-built gym, double garage, 3 beds, utility, dining kitchen and downstairs loo, rural aspect and set well back from the road. It even comes with its very own house-trained Japanese Akita if I'm really lucky.

It was the first one I'd looked at so I've been to view a few others and convinced myself it's the one for me. Now I just need to persuade a major lender that I'm a good risk and use all my charms on my ex to try and raise a deposit ( and a little more besides to install the sauna and hot tub that are just crying out to fill a couple of empty corners).

I've really thought this through. If the mortgage repayments prove a problem, I could always charge the local hunks to use the facilities and at weekends, hire out the space for swingers parties ( I'd simply be there as site manager and not take any active role in the festivities).

It would have been the perfect venue for my informal birthday get-together the other night. I wouldn't have had to strip the lounge of virtually all its furniture ( the festering aquarium has finally gone - hurrah!) and everyone could have stayed over on the sprung floor that the lovely Richard will be installing for me as soon as the keys become mine.

I continued my sensible streak and stuck to Pimms all night. It served me well once before in Rome when it was vital I kept my head whilst those around me were losing theirs ( you know who you are!) Jack didn't follow my lead and after cartwheeling around the room from having received a kiss from the lovely-but-frighteningly-young Emma as she left, he promptly fell into bed, only to be hauled out of it spewing all over the place at 6.30 this next morning.

He was a bit sceptical when I insisted that the best cure for a hangover was to don a rugby strip and proceed to run up and down a steeply inclined pitch for the next 4 hours but it paid off - he scored a cracking try and helped his fellow teammates romp some very pleasing victories at the last tournament of the season.

I'm not sure if it's the prospect of nothing to do on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings for the next few months or the very real threat of monthly mortgage repayments and increased household bills that is depressing me slightly. Could also be the passing of yet another year and still no signs of the return of any semblance of my former figure. That and the fact that the promise of Neil Diamond tickets for my birthday failed to materialise.

Maybe it's just that I'm a mardy cow.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

After a full week in the office without any impromptu days off whatsoever you could be forgiven for thinking that I had a relatively quiet, relaxing weekend to recuperate - not so.

Mrs Roger popped over to see me and rescue my hair-do on Saturday afternoon. I'd specifically told the girl in the salon that I did not want barrel curls or sticky out bits. She gave me both! I looked like an extra from Pride & Prejudice! I was ready well before my lift was due which was nice as it gave me time to relax and ensure that my palms weren't clammy.

The evening was entitled " Last Night on the Titanic". It wasn't a total disaster however and I did do rather well on the raffle, coming away with vouchers for a particularly nice lingerie shop, champagne and some crystal champagne flutes. I was shocked when I looked at them in daylight and noticed they had " Bride" and "Groom etched on them - almost dropped them deliberately in fact. But then realised what a fabulously useful prop they might turn out to be - next time I have a chap beginning to outstay his welcome, I need simply hand him the crystal and I'll be guaranteed not to see him for dust!!

Sunday was spent at the rugby with Captain Condom. I was looking forward to it not least because I knew one of the players was a member of a dating site that I may have looked at ever so occasionally. I didn't know his name so studied the team list with keen interest. Nothing stood out as relating to his loggin. F*** me! I opened the program and he's only the flipping team Captain!! I was ever so discreet and only told the select few fellow lawyers in my Box about it - I'd hate to embarrass the poor lad!

Popped into a lovely restaurant in a very glamourous setting on the way back after dropping off the others and picking Sophie up - eyes bigger than belly syndrome again - wish I had taken some of that garlic bread home with me now - I'm starving, not having left my desk since early o'clock this morning - so home before the birds start singing again.

Monday, April 11, 2005

So much for a quiet weekend. I managed to escape the carpark without being impounded on Friday night - my offering of record tokens to my saviour, St. Stephen of the Mags' having been duly delivered and obviously favourably accepted. So then I sped down the motorway towards Shuddersfield to be greeted by a freshly run bath and the promising smell of good grub cooked by the fair hand of even fairer-tipped haired Nige ( pre-Christmas dinner date who had gallantly invited me to Texas for NYE and then promptly disappeared into the ether that is my dating life).

I thought I was relatively quick in the bathroom and even dried my hair without the aid of a mirror ( sure sign that I wasn't all that keen to impress). Food was served, conversation ensued and he made a point of kissing me. Pleasant evening, impressive dvd collection, nice house, stunning countryside, kicked myself when I realised half-way down the road the following day that I'd left my jacket and would be compelled to return at some point.

I had a couple of options on Saturday night - 40th birthday party in Dullthorpe, or my sofa - I chose option 3 as soon as I heard that Jack's match the following day had been cancelled and turned my car back the whence it had came towards Leeds. Hugely indulgent dinner with Lol, Tim Laden and his Germanic friend, and an earlyish, comparatively sober night rounded off by exploiting Lol's philosophy shelf as I dulled myself to sleep.

I was surprised to receive a call from Jack just as I was heading into the loos at the rugby club, anticipating my breakfast, coffee and some banter about my jig efforts, he'd overslept and not made it further than his bathroom so the day was unexpectedly freed to enjoy a late lunch with Rachel, Bacon Bits and a godson who had developed a strange foreign accent every time he disappeared out of sight.

I intended to come straight home and vegetate on the sofa but got waylaid by a family party at Marko's sister's - it must be 10 years since I last did that- the kids have grown, the girls suddenly find Jack extremely interesting, and I just amaze at how they don't seem the slightest bit different but I seem to have aged and spread enormously.

I was almost as grateful as Jack when Marko gave him his black and white wristband to arrive back to the sanctity of my lounge, to collapse, turn off the phone, watch the final episode of Fingersmith ( I've read the book so it mattered not that I'd missed the sandwich filling) and steel myself for my first full week in work since this year commenced.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Oh beating heart be still! At last a man taller than my son with hair in all the places God meant it to be. Even Pope John Paul II hung on long enough for the date to pass without him needing to go into National mourning.

He was there, by the spire, tall, magnificent and Throbbie!! I'd spotted him from the top of the Dublin Tour bus - that was a bit of a disappointment - all she had to say about the GPO was that they had a very nice Stamp Collection, no mention of the 1916 Rising or Michael Collins or the bullet holes still visible in the edifice! - and then he was there, Throbbie!! My Throbbie - the one from the pictures and the chats and the phone calls.

I can't tell you too much about the day - we walked, we chatted, we ate, we did a gallery and a few parks and a bar and generally had a good craic. We had the Best day, relaxed and comfortable ( I'd chosen the sensible pants knowing that he'd not want in them even if they were the gossamer string contraption I'd optimistically packed a couple of days before). And then he was gone not before leaving a very big impression on me. Not sure if I'll see him again but I really hope to and I won't forget the day in a hurry.

I did the right thing and went to the rugby tournament the next day - it was good and the boys played well.

I came away with a war wound - handy hint - don't try and audition for Riverdance in the middle of the road when you've drunk your own body weight in Guinness.

Cead Mile Failte, Throbbie xxxxxx

Friday, April 01, 2005

Ok! So I haven't managed to lose that essential 2 stone in the last 3 days - I tried but what can a girl do when faced with dates wanting dinner and plates needing cleaning? Is that really enough to send me behind bars? I think not.

So why did I find myself locked up behind 8' gates in a multi-storey car-park a good twenty minutes before they were contracted to close tonight? Conspiracy ( poor punctuality) or just sheer bad luck?

Ok - so they close officially at 6.30pm - I know that, everyone knows that - but I also have it on very good authority ( courtesy of Mr. Potato-Head) that they are not supposed to leave the premises until every car is accounted for by 7pm. That means that most of us in the know, the regular users, tell them if we are staying overnight so they don't have to wait for us. I'm very strict about this because I know how easily my watch, phone, computer, local church clock etc can lose accurate time from the force of my own magnetism alone. I'd hate the thought of them sitting there while I'm merrily knocking back the first G&T of the night just to re-engage my tonsils into soft, sultry speak.

I saw the Attendant getting into his car as I started to ascend the stairs - I have accepted that I cannot expect the lifts still to be operational when I fail to make the gates by the appointed time. I ran to the top of the stairs, complete with over £60 worth of toiletries and cosmetics swinging in a Boots carrier bag, dashed across the asphalt and dived into my car, tore down the ramps and came to a screeching halt at the bottom to find them locked , lights out. Ta Ra!!!

My phone chose that exact moment to lose all charge and tell me just as it was doing so that I had no credit left. The gates re-open at 7am!!! The exact time that I should be waving my son and his leopard-skin-thong-encased gonads farewell on their Dublin tour. I would like to think that I didn't panic. Swore a bit perhaps. Contemplated climbing over the fence. That would have landed me in hospital at best, police custody with one of my former colleagues to bail me out at worst.

My Saviour came in the form of Steve, The Most Charitable, Charming and Thoroughly Decent Young Man I have had the fortitude and sheer bloody luck to encounter in all my long days. Not only did he lend me his phone ( my miserable fossil of a specimen slowly solidifying into a rock in my handbag) to call the cops but also to ring the Car Park Manager as soon as he spotted an out-of-hours number which was inconveniently positioned outside the gate.

I was free within 20 minutes and managed to collect my son and his newly-acquired Tour Kit - v smart - pop into Tesco and get home to oversee the bag pack ready for tomorrow.

Tomorrow I head for Dublin. I managed to persuade the Court Clerk ( ahem, Senior Legal Advisor to the Magistrates) to adjourn the hearing and excuse the attendance of both Stephen & I on the grounds that he has not yet secured a job and might miss crucial interviews whilst travelling over here. I didn't mention that it gave me time to pack, co-ordinate make-up and outfits and shave my legs.

Sooooooooooo! I'm meeting Throbbie!!!!!!!!!! Hoorah! Hooray! Oh Heck! Why did I not stop eating when I had the chance?