Friday, June 29, 2007

And Relax...

Supple. That's what they used to call me. They called me a few other things too but the toilet walls have long since been painted over and those who do remember are probably now married and would never dare risk their wives finding out.

Flexibility was something I took for granted. I thought everyone could do the splits and walk like a crab. Bendyness just never entered my consciousness because I was never conscious of it.

I only notice it now it's not there in anything like its former quantities and I mourn its passing and curse my neglectfulness.

I can still get into the crab position. I just can't get out of it. Not elegantly or without a lot of swearing and some assistance. I can't get my toes to touch my eyebrows from the back of my head anymore and I can only chew the big toenail on one foot ( my right).

I discovered this after my first yoga class. It's been 3 weeks and I already have a rather lovely dog of which I am quite fond, a Natarajasana that is never going to win me any prizes on Come Dancing, a Tree, well-rooted just above my knee but quite some way off my groin and half a gibous moon. In fact, I'm getting so confident, I may even start eating baked beans again in a few months time.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I intended to rush home this afternoon to do justice to my wonderful host, Cream, a man of limitless charm, the twinkliest eyes, the cheekiest smile and most generous of spirits. I wanted to savour the flavours of his menus, the ambience of his restaurants, the combinations of his cocktails until you could smell the boureks and taste the tagine, hear the laughter and feel the warmth of our meeting.

We talked about lots of things yet barely scratched the surface of this amazing man's knowledge and experience, or my ability to waffle on at length getting nowhere in particular, other than ever so slightly sozzled.

Finally I would reciprocate the offer of hospitality, albeit on a completely amateur and significantly humbler scale.

Unfortunately there has been a temporary change of plan.

I am going out to find more sandbags just as soon as I can locate the canoe.

I refuse to use the 'F' word for fear of plagiarism. What I will say, though, is FUCK!

PS Elsewhere in the news today, this was released and promises to be big. I liked it so much, I bought it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Missing The Action

Rome. Eternal. Majestic. Hot. 'Specially when a young Aussie took a shot.

Florence and Tuscany. Breathtakingly beautiful. Weather. Extreme. Mudslides. Biblical.

The Venue. Palazzo Vecchio. The Red Room. Most Grand.

Occasion. A marriage. Tim & Lorraine hand in hand.

My Reading. Emotional. Choked and quite proud.

Nevertheless the delivery. Characteristically loud.

Gucci. A welcome haven from torrents. Belt. An early 17th birthday present.

Lucca. Puccini. Verdi. Seduced me.

Then finally Italy, Arrivederci.

Nobody's bothered about other peoples' holidays. Particularly ones that took place weeks ago now.

My meeting with a delicious and illustrious blogger last night would be far more interesting. But right now I shall continue to savour the broad smile I caught from him. I won't pass it on. It would be too cruel to the immune if they couldn't catch it too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Missing In Action 2

So I did get home. Eventually. Thanks to the taxi-driving boyfriend of one of my secretaries, who rescued me from almost certain collapse and let me owe him the fare until I got back.

I had all of 5 minutes to pack my case, halve the pile of clothes Jack planned on taking, pack his case, have a shower, wash my hair, get changed, wash the pots, tidy up generally and feed the cat. I was less than 50% successful. Fortunately, the food remains in the washing-up bowl kept the cat going until my Mum called round to feed him a few days later. She washed up and tidied round too. I wish I'd given her a key years ago.

We arrived at the airport shortly after midnight. Our flight didn't leave for another 9 hours but I was just grateful to have had a lift there at all. Jack laid on my best Missoni beach towels and managed a few snores beneath the Travelex desk. I tossed and turned a bit on the cold stone floor before giving up and going to find some nail polish in the all-night Boots. I gave myself a great pedicure at 3am sitting in the crowded, but hushed departure hall. It was about then I started to relax.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Missing In Action 1

I can explain everything. It's not my fault, you see. I'm not like other people. I do things the hard way.

For example, most people faced with an imminent holiday would start to organise, make plans, heck, maybe even save up for it some time, perhaps months in advance. Not me. Oh no! Why plan ahead and miss out on all those wonderful appetite-suppressing stress hormones?

Far better to leave everything, including the cost, until the last minute, coinciding perfectly with serious car trouble lasting all of 5 weeks and the related logistical nightmares that entails. Watch the pounds drop off.

I'm not entirely stupid. I do know where to make economies, both time and financial. So I cancelled the bikini wax appointment when I found a forgotten tube of Immac at the bottom of a drawer whilst rooting around for old suntan lotion. I then rang Rachel for a quick 5 minute chat while the depilation took effect. 35 minutes later, after lolling on the sofa completely engrossed in her wedding preparations, I suddenly remembered the carefully applied cream. It had spread a bit in the heat. The effect was less Hollywood, more 1980s asymmetrical popstar. Think Phil Oakey and the Human League.

I didn't fail to cock up the travel plans either. Saving £20 on flights from the airport furthest away seemed like a good idea when I'd booked them months earlier. Getting to Stansted from Hull after work but before 6.30am the next morning without a car wasn't as easy as you might think. It took a near-asthma attack ( I am not and never have been in the slightest bit wheezy) during a telephone conversation with my mum before receiving the offer of a lift from my stepfather, which was particularly kind of him given that we've barely spoken for 5 years.

Now all I had to do was clear the work on my desk, catch the last bus home, there's a stop almost outside my frontdoor and pack my case. I switched the dictaphone off at 20.45, typed a quick Out of Office note in my Microsoft Outlook, checked the windows were shut, closed the door on the office, went back upstairs twice to make sure I really had closed the computer down, fastened the windows, picked up the flight itineraries, currency etc, turned out the lights, went back updatirs once more just to be sure then sauntered down Whitefriargate to the bus stop on the other side of town. There was no-one else waiting but I figured I was early.

I hadn't anticipated that the last bus left Hull at 6.25pm. 2 hours earlier.
The next was at 8.30. A.M.

Second asthma attack of the day was threatening. I checked the timetable in case I'd misread it. 4 times. I kept staring at it expecting it to magically change before my eyes. How could I be stuck in a city, 17 miles from home, before it was even dark? I had a purse full of Euros but less than a fiver in anything a taxidriver would accept. Neither my Mum, Dad, Stepfather ( I know I was already pushing the limits of my favour-seeking there) or any of Jack's mates with cars were answering their phones.

I was stranded in Hull. A perfect start to a dream holiday.