Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Well I wasn't expecting that to happen. No sooner had I resigned myself to spending yet another lonely bank holiday having been stood up by the very same mate who had been attempting to cheer me up, than I get an invitation to dinner from a copper.

Being a reformed speedster, I don't get many opportunities to chat to traffic cops anymore so I accepted and spent the next 2 hours delousing the house. I figured I had time to jump in the shower, sort out my unruly hair and even paint my toenails before he arrived ( I didn't expect him to break the speed limit coming across from the Lake District).

He was here in just over 2 hours - I was dripping wet and bare-cheeked, literally. Fortunately, Jack had just arrived home from watching my hunky step-brother and Team Bude battling it out at the National Water-Kayaking Polo tournament ( I wasn't allowed to go - something to do with blood pressure and threat of lewd behaviour). So he greeted him, made hima cup of tea ( without complaining) and bought me suficient time to make myself decent and presentable.

We had a wander around Lincoln ( again, I hope the locals aren't counting how many diferent men I take there), tried to get into every worthy eaterie this side of the Pennines and ended up in a decidedly average Italian in Dullsville. I made coffee when we got back ( authentic, I brought a year's supply of Danesi back from Rome).

Today I popped over to see Grim Jim and his photos from Rome, got his scanner working and then came back to search for my MOT certificate and motor insurance policy. I have found my MOT but my schedule is currently alluding me - I've found the last 4 years but not the one that arrived last month. Well, if filing had been my strong point, I'd have been a secretary instead of a boss.

I shall be calling Directline in the morning and praying I haven't started a stampede of traffic coppers in the meantime.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I knew it was too good to be true. Why did I have to go and blab about my platonic drink date? He's cancelled - girlfriend's back early! Bugger!

I shall have to comfort myself with the fact that at least now I get to enjoy the stawberries and champagne all to myself and don't have to drop 2 dress sizes in the next 8 hours.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

My mood has lifted considerably since the gorgeous Dynamo offered to meet me for a drink tomorrow night. I'm really looking forward to it.

I might pop into town later to try and find something that will make me look slim and attractive - do they sell Fairground Mirrors at Tesco? Failing that I shall take concilation in the fact that we're only meeting as mates, as he's almost married, so it's better that he doesn't fancy me anyway.

I'm so excited.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I've been a bit depressed today. Not sure if it's 'cos

a) I was up at 5 o'clock ( didn't know it was possible to do anything other than meet it at the end of a night before now) so I'm shattered; or

b) my friendly Northern lender has still not scanned in all my bank statements, fingerprints, blood samples and profiles( including family tree) of the last 3 men I slept with ( I only had to go back 5 years) and may well insist I transfer my currently under-control and nought-percent credit to their very reasonably priced 25 year term before they will promise to lend me sufficient to buy my dream home and only hope of escape from my mother's clutches and thus secure my soul to them for my foreseeable lifetime; or

c) there's another bloody Bank Holiday coming up and as happy as I am to choose to spend it alone, it would be nice to have some chuffing options.

I'm rationalising that it might just be d) - I'm hormonal, my period is due, and my present feeling of being on the brink of tears will transform overnight into Bitch-Troll on Speed who wipes the floor with Friday inefficients and hung-over weaker colleagues. ( The department went out tonight - I lasted 25 minutes and 1 Diet Coke before retrieving my car - call it damage limitation; I was tired and not prepared to humour people).

On a lighter note, Jack got made Senior Prefect and is in the shortlist for Head Boy. I have to hope none of the selection committee read my blog and recognize a hand in any letter he might write to the Board in favour of his appointment ( I made him outline his ideas for what he might put, I was impressed but couldn't help giving the odd tip - well! for goodness sake, if I'm gonna write it may as well serve a purpose).

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Jack's had a good day.

First of all he gets a letter inviting him to the Three Counties residential course in the summer, then he gets another letter from them confirming he's got a place in the 2006 Australia touring squad ( and would his mum kindly send a cheque for £800 for the deposit within the next couple of weeks!)

And he's just been nominated for Head Boy or Vice-Head Boy for next year - not sure he'll get either but it's more than likely that he'll be a Prefect at least ( but don't tell him I told you). Turns out quite a few of the teachers had voted for him and a huge majority of the kids too. I'm so proud.

It'll look great on his CV when I send him out looking for work to pay the rest of the £3200 he'll need for his 3 weeks in Oz next year.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The birdlife wasn't quite so abundant on my drive home tonight but the journey was just as magical, given that it was Friday night and I have 2 whole days to indulge my book addiction.

I was tempted to call in at the bird sanctuary on the way home to see if I could spot the elusive Bittern but I decided against it as I was wearing a rather nice pair of kitten heels and it had just been raining.

I also avoided popping into St Tesco's and am currently waiting for the oven to heat up sufficiently to put my home-made lasagne in rather than eat the usual post-work lazy straight out of the tin Macaroni Cheese ( I often don't even bother warming it up - I'm sure Nigella would approve, it's wicked with a pinch of cayenne).

I may need to pay an emergency visit to the book shop tomorrow - down to my last 2 unread tomes ( if you don't count Dr Phil's Ultimate Weight Loss Solution - still not quite got my head round why my long-lost friend sent me that - not that it's not needed but still an odd thing to buy).

God! I swear I just heard the Big Brother theme tune coming from the sitting room - is it not bad enough that we have to endure Abi Titsout and Rebecca Fast'n-Loose without another bunch of wannabes - now is definitely the time to dust off my trainers, recharge the batteries in my Walkman and clock up some mileage. I'll just have a glass of wine while I formulate a training schedule.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Glorious drive to work this morning, made especially so as I had taken the decision to actually go to work early rather than to my wearisome breakfast meeting. I can't say I wasn't sorry to miss my fry-up, but the sight of a Marsh Harrier gracefully swooping over a large field immediately to my left, and knowing I was the only one watching her, followed by gaggles of Greylags, Canadian and goodness-knows-what-else geese, culminating in the first pair of swallows that I've seen this year darting beneath the pillars on the Bridge as I ascended it put me in a rather good mood.

Having just finished the Da Vinci Code, Moses Legacy and Rubicon in the space of 4 days has also heightened my spirituality. Tomorrow I shall make serious inroads into the Secrets according to Dan Burstein. My thirst for knowledge is teetering on the edge of an addiction problem. It worries me not as I am foregoing vast quantities of wine in an effort to actually remember what I am reading ( in fact, I'm quite heady on the experience).

To top it all, my survey came back with full marks, my seller has sourced an identical door so I'll be spared the prospect of my teenage son and his mates behind opaque glass and I've got out of actually walking the Lyke Wake Walk by being the only eligibledriver of the reasonably-priced mini-bus. Top Day!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Roma, ti amore. I have left at least 30% of the skin off my feet on the stones once trod by Cicero, Caesar and Anita Ekberg. She had the better deal - at least she got to cool them in a fountain.

Rome was a delight, Grim Jim's snoring was very loud, the scammers were perfectly charming as they took my cash, the accommodation was clean and perfectly acceptable for a short sojourn, the transport knocks Ken Livingstone into a jauntily cocked hat, the ice-cream only managed to seduce me once, and the Pope blessed me and the other 200,000 souls who had bothered to turn up in St. Peter's Square on Sunday morning.

I swear the sun glinted off his keys just as the papal blessing showered me, a good portent for my imminent home-ownership. I fetched a Gucci key-ring back for Jack, something to remind him of the Dolce Vita days when Mum had spare cash to throw around.

Everything comes with a price and mine was a desk groaning with about 200 files, an Inbox straining at the seams and a phone glowing red with the volume of calls it was having to deliver - I've just completed a 15-hour day and managed to get through about 75% of my backlog - if i keep going at that rate I might just have time to throw my dirty linen in the wash come the weekend.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Well that's Plan B scupperred! Apparently, I'm prime lending material ( Yeah! Right! I might look it but am I prime repayment material?)

They'll give me enough to buy the house, pay all the costs and have enough left over for a) emergencies; b) a rainy day; c) a new Nissan 350Z; d) food for the next 5 years ( where else is it going to come from?). I chose option e) I'll just borrow what I need right now, thanks all the same and perhaps you can keep the other £20-odd grand on the shelf for eventualties.

Who am I trying to fool? How can a responsible home-owner consider going to Rome with a man she barely knows, let alone likes, when she can't even pay her Valuation Fees without buttering up the Office Manager for a loan and using thumb screws on not only her own but other firms' receptionists for Swear fees?!!

All this independence lark is very empowering but a joint income would really do wonders for my worry lines right now! It might even bring my Mortgage Protection payments down - you're only how old next birthday? But you have the face of a 52-tear old!!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It was that easy. I just offered and he said "Yes!" - that quick. The Man with the Mortgage isn't such a pushover, he's currently saying " Maybe, Baby". I should get a more definite response tomorrow.

I'm saying " Bella! Bella! Arrivederci, Roma e Mortgage Millstone - Ciao, Mamma, mucho gracias for the digs gratis for the last 8 years!"

Jack is saying " Yes! Yes! Can I have that new double bed we saw the other day? Have you got Emma's number yet? I'm hungry, have you got any food in? I want another motorbike. I'm selling my paintball gun to buy one. Can I invite all my mates to the house-warming? I'm having the front bedroom. God, Mum, you never go shopping. Can we call at BurgerKing on the way home? I do looking, listening and talking - I don't do reading. Can we order a kebab? God, Mum, you're so square, why do you always have to learn all the time? The gym's mine, you'll not use it anyway. Can we get a massive sound system? Have you cooked me anything yet?"

Stephen's saying " You are a wonderful woman, Cheryl. You've done a great job with Jack. Thanks for not taking away my beer money".

I'm thinking one day I might just be able to look back and see how far I've come but that step onto the first rung is going to be very shaky and likely to be my home, with a very tight grip if I'm lucky, more likely an incredibly wobbly start, for the foreseeable future.

Oh! Yogi, the dog comes too.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The notion that Bank Holidays see house buyers out in force does not appear to have occurred to the local agents - mine was closed. I toyed with the idea of knocking on Bernie's door, suitcase in hand, and offering to move in there and then, but thought better of it and headed towards Lincoln for an afternoon of culture with Jack.

He broke out in a sweat when I suggested the Castle, started to shake after spending 45 minutes in Ottakar's book shop, especially when I asked for directions to the Bibles ( really need to get my own instead of borrowing Nick's every time I get a Swear) and almost passed out when I led him into a saecond-hand book shop which could easily have doubled as a set from Harry Potter. He would have needed rescuscitating if I'd insisted on joining one of the Ghost Walks.

We compromised and came home via Blockbuster armed with assorted dvds and enough Minstrels to cure the gripiest of period pains. I settled down to enjoy Gael Garcia Bernal and his not-so-attractive motorcycle while Jack lay on his bed watching Flying Daggers and dreaming of Ninja Princesses.

Tomorrow is Offer Day. Are they butterflies in my stomach or have I just overdosed on chocolate?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I'm starting to appreciate the mania which overtakes people when they decide to buy a house. I sensibly checked out my attractiveness to lenders before wading in head first with a pie-in-the-sky offer on my perfect property. With my track record of rejection, you can understand my hesitancy.

Anyways, turns out my extra poundage ( and lack of readies) isn't as off-putting to the mass market as I assumed, so I decided to book a second viewing of My House. Some have-a-go buyer had only put an offer in already! Above the asking price too! Some people have no appreciation of the etiquette of good house purchasing.

I remained remarkably calm and only called the estate agent back once to remind her of my incredible desirability ( as a first time-buyer with no irritating chain) and the disservice she'd be doing the seller if she didn't give him the opportunity to sell his purpose-built gym to one of Engalnd's up and coming future hereos. It worked - Jack, Dawn & I enjoyed a private viewing with Bernard, the Host with a Chest to Boast.

I'm going to call the agents first thing in the morning to put in an offer including carpets, curtains and Japanese Akita. May even ask the seller to stay on as Handy Man.

So decisions made, I headed off to the weekend delights of Blacktoft Sands, signed myself up to the RSPB ( sexy bloke in hut helped), booked a room in a rather extravagant Roman hotel and then spent the next few hours tearing strips off Rachel's bedroom. That done I picked up Jack who was sedately walking the dog with Boo - complete with beige cardy, and came back to a clutter and dust-free home to chill.

Early night is a must to ensure an early start with the house-buying.