Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Tattontastic!

Tattontastic is one year old today. As a celebration I'm having my favourite tipple - dry martini and lemonade. Tattontastic is feeling the effects. I've applied for several jobs in the restructuring which I felt very pleased about too.

And what has Tattontastic achieved in its (her) life? Not as much as me that's for sure, but of course we are intricately connected. It means the kittens are also just over one year old and they are (like the rest of the family) starting to podge out a bit.

Of course Tattontastic would be dead without me, but I wouldn't be dead without it (her?). But a bit like 'Sophie's World' one starts to think about existence, spirituality, realism and idealism. Can things exist without being physically present? Probably. Perhaps Tattontastic will revolutionise the world, but without me. Marx purportedly said he wasn't a Marxist, but presumably he was joking.

In the infamous words of Liam Gallagher 'Life is a game you play'.

Hello. Hello. Hello.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jeremy Kyle, Quincy, car booting and broadband

The wonders of broadband and Mum's lap top which she's lent me is that I can simultaneously do my blog whilst there's a break on the Jeremy Kyle show. Like now. While they're advertising rubbish I can talk about all the rubbish we managed to sell at the car boot sale a couple of weeks ago. My Yorkshire genes mean that my hoarding capacity could be listed in the Guinness Book of Records, and Phil's highly morganised approach is starting to have an impact. Anyway to cut a long story short, I really think it (car booting) should be the new National Service. It was amazing selling all these long loved objects that are worthless to us that people snap up. All the toys from crackers I've saved over the past ten years which people were cooing over. And of course you're at your own discretion as to when and to what extent you want to have a sale; I had three - a 50p sale with about three hours to go, a 20p sale with two hours to go and then a 5p sale with an hour to go. Remarkably a full length pink leather coat failed to sell for five pence. But some people did get bargains like the tall gentleman who took a new, still wrapped mobile phone ear piece for 5p. The reason it should be compulsory - I would suggest for twenty one year olds, is that, at least at Holloway Road you are selling to a true cross section of the community who are probably better at grasping the true market value of goods than the London Stock Exchange. And the diverse range of people buying all these items. The African woman who bought my rusty bread bin tut-tutting. It doesn't take much to clean it you know. Sold - 50p. The sprightly old man who bought 3 old magazines for 30p, Hello, Grazia - to give to a friend in hospital. The well spoken lady with a lot of make up who bought my old sunglasses and I threw in Phil's bum bag which was a free gift from the traffic police on Tower Bridge. I really enjoyed it and we might do another one, but Phil is addicted to chucking things in the bin. He's said he was going to sedate me and then chuck out everything in the flat. I said he could wait until a week on Friday when I have my eggs are collected.

Anyway on to more major issues - Jeremy Kyle . I still prefer Trisha. I find Jeremy too aggressive. He spends a lot of time laying into aggressive people then speaks over them and he says 'this is right, that is wrong'. I don't think life is as simple as that. Last week they did have a touching episode where a couple had had a baby, then split up because the guy's parents were racist, he never knew she had a baby. The baby is now a 21 year old young person. I say young person because he was born a girl and has had a sex change. Anyway the father was thrilled and said he was so happy, he wouldn't mind if his child was an alien.

Quincy - also addictive but for different reasons. I think I watch Quincy for its underlying subconscious subliminal messages - celebrating the work ethic, men are better than women, shout a lot and you might get your own way, people of different ehtnic backgrounds can help but don't put them in charge, never give up on an irrational hunch. Thank God real life isn't much like that. We hope. There was a spectacularly irritating episode last week when Quincy deliberately didn't tell one of his pregnant patients that one of her twin babies had died inside her. Rather than being prosecuted for gross negligence, the woman just accepted his excuse that she would be 'too upset' even though he also withheld information that this had potentially threatened her life too.

Got a lot of lovely things happening this week - more daytime TV (looking forward to more subliminal messages coming my way), which I'm offsetting with Proudhon, Marx and Friedan, acupuncture on Thursday, gardening.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wedding Planning

We've been engaged for 3 months, Tattontastic is nearly one year old and I've held my first car boot sale so it's about time I get the ideas for the wedding published so I can get all my "fans"' ideas.

Not just the colour but the ideology. The wedding will aim to be carbon neutral. We're planning to hire a bio-diesel generator to power the music equipment and lighting for the entertainment and meal. We're going to give tree seedlings as favours, which our guests can plant on wasteland or wherever they like. We hope to get photos and coordinates of these little trees so we can put where they are on our website. We will try not to fly for the honeymoon, instead going to Scotland, France or Ireland a more carbon-friendly route. People will have the option of giving us charitable gifts. Phil's Mum is making the wedding dress, Jennifer is making the cake, we're getting Hollinsclough Parish Action Group involved with the environmental issues (native planting on the verges) and seasonal, local flowers.
The invite will be a DVD/postcard/website with lots of family and friends photos from the four sides, possibly projected when we're having coffee at the reception.

This is a big deal for us - music on both sides - an area of great passion and compatibility for us both. So we're having a barn dance to start with (aiming at the over 50s), a band (aiming at the over 25s) and a disco (aiming at trying to make us feel like we're under 25).

I know a lot of people spend a lot of time on this, but for me anyway this isn't the bit I've ever remembered from any weddings I've been to. It seems to be much of a muchness and is always pleasant as long as we get the obvious bits in and it doesn't go on too long.

Food and drink
This is a big deal for us, but not being multi-milllionaires can't really promise the world. So we're plumping for bangers and mash. We really want a very decent vegetarian sausage which we need help sourcing. Drink we're going to get some champers bottled and go and get it ourselves. Ditto wine. A bar will be available on the night for those who like their spirits. The evening buffet will have the local delicacy of oatcake and cheese!

I want as many people as possible to come to the wedding, which isn't possible due to the size of the chapel and cost of a sit down meal. But for not much extra we're having about 200 to the evening so they can enjoy a barn dance, disco, nice hot buffet and excellent band.

A big deal for me as I love photography and am a bit picky about it, especially portrait photography. I spend hours and hours just looking at my photographer's website. I absolutely love his photos and can't wait for the years to come where it will my own wedding which I spend hours looking at! People think it's vanity, which it isn't. It's wanting to have a lovely record and see the wedding day as a story which unfolds. I want to be able to treasure every second and spending a lot on a photographer will enable us to do this! I think it's partly this passion for history I've got. Photography captures the moment. In an ideal world I'd spend a lot on videography but we haven't got the money and instead we're getting friends to do it which we can edit together.

Bit of an issue as Hollinsclough is in the middle of nowhere. So we're going to hire a couple of minibuses and drivers. Phil's little wedding project is to buy a cheap vintage merc or something which he can drive us around in for the wedding itself and the honeymoon.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Cath - 21 again [Resorting Next to Carrier Pigeon]

Yes, the computers are playing up in the library, not to mention the postal service. Can't seem to operate emails either. The phone, yes is an option but no one is in at this time.

Happy Birthday Cath!

And what wonderful memories of other birthdays we've got. Can you remember, was it your eleventh? When we were dancing to 'Don't Leave me this way' by the Commodores in the Village Hall... I was sick, purely from too much dancing and chilli con carne(those were the days). Your seventeenth - were we camping in France then? I remember getting our AS results anyway (two Bs between us, which we managed to just about maintain for our As). Then there was my eighteenth, which we postponed from my real eighteenth to the 4th July (which happened to be Angie's exes 21st birthday which I hijacked ha ha ha). Then there was your eighteenth - didn't you meet your beloved there? Camping on the Manifold. And the infamous black-tassled-leather-jacket story - I'm sure that was round about your fourteenth birthday when we got on that escapade hitchhiking to God-knows-where after we'd scraped together some cash to get the sorely wanted afore-mentioned item. Luckily you'd already tried it on I think and had decided it suited you. I had the pleasure of being given several leather jackets from people who'd disabled themselves falling off motorbikes, (including a Red one) so I didn't need to get one.

So congrats and many happy returns! Also thanks for the lovely card and photos which have gone into the ever-expanding 'Rainy Day Box'.

Love to all xxx

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Everyone email Nicola Baker, Head of Libraries Services at Hackney Council

I wanted to spend a long time writing today, having abstained for too long (nearly two weeks). However the ludicrous rules on the computers at the library mean that you only get an hour, which is more like 57 minutes when you've walked over from the stupid computer where you book yourself in (why you can't sit down at the thing and start God knows). THEY DO NOT ALLOW YOU TO BOOK MORE THAN AN HOUR IN ONE DAY.

Then I decided to complain about the stupid system to the staff which took up another five minutes, apparently they don't get many complaints. I asked for the email address of the person but they just gave me her name. Idiot. There's about twenty million paying computers just round the corner 'learn direct' ( I thought they'd gone bankrupt anyway?) where you can have unlimited time (£1 an hour). Then there's about five million unused 'children's computers' around another corner. But you obviously have to be a child. Why do children have enhanced rights compared to us other humans? Children don't have to apply for jobs or pay bills or write complaining emails to MPs about the cost of prescriptions for cancer patients and the selling off of the NHS so I really don't see why they should have free unlimited computer use when we're fighting like cat and dog for fifty free minutes on about three totally overused computers in the hottest part of the library. Rant over.

According to my fans (Mum, Dad and Phil) my best blogging is when I'm not complaining so I'll summarise in number form the other nice things which are happening and when Phil fixes the computer (it's Bill Gate's fault as usual but Phil's his number one fan so we'll probably have to wait another couple of weeks before he actually decides to complain):

1) Still off work - Hurrah! It's such a joy having all this time to do lovely things like
2) Holding Car Boot sale - this is worth an entry in itself it was so amazing
3) Been on holiday to Whitby with the in-laws - my new family I've marrying into, which was also wonderful and is going to be repeated on an annual basis
4) Saw all my Yorkshire friends, which made me think about Nostalgia, probably more material there
5) Got books out of the library - Hezbollah, Dave Gorman's Adventure, 365 ways to change the world, An intimate history of the orgasm, a Freelancing book and Tony Benn's condensed diaries
6) Started reading Stepford Wives
7) Rearranged house with Phil
8) Remortgaged house with Phil's name on it!
9) Refiled
10) Refreshed car at MOT

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dishwasher and Filing

This will be a very quick entry for various reasons:

1) I'm in the Library
2) There is a 'Scheduled Outage at 400PMPDT' whatever that means
3) It's too hot (Even though it's a hell of a lot cooler than last week for any international fans of mine out there who haven't got a clue what London weather's up to)

Anyway, To cut a long story short, I've given up (possibly temporarily) on the idea of publishing my short story which I wrote in my youth. I'm carrying on instead with documenting the minutae of my life at the moment which is apparently more therapeutic, and according to my Dad and Phil, better.

The highlight of the week is the arrival of the DISHWASHER which is absolutely amazing and my God, I'm amazed I've got to this age without having one. It's already changed my life and I've only had it 12 hours.

I've virtually completed the FILING of every document in the house. This has thrown up some interesting questions. I asked Blaglady for her views on filing. She says she puts everything in a drawer. This is my method as well, but due to my hoarding genes, this means as each cupboard fills up, I fill up another. Currently the volume of paperwork stands at a large wardrobe capacity. The reason it raises interesting questions is the categories I've given myself:

The 'Sentimental' Category takes up about 40%
Politics - 15%
Career - 20%
Work - 2%
Writing - 2%
Union - 2%

Anyway haven't got time to check if that adds up. My point is that my 'Sentimental' Category contains bits of all the other things anyway so why I'm bothering to separate it all God knows. What is sentiment anyway?

I might go for the Tate Britain method of chronological rather than the Tate Modern method of category. I know the TB way is more boring but I am a historian (or trying to be one) after all.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Introduction to my first on-line publication

Getting ready for chemo has meant chucking out 90% of the contents of the flat, as if any family were ever known for hoarding, mine is the one. I am marrying into another, much more morganised family and am doing the decent thing. I have found every piece of paper I have ever lost (apart from the really important ones like the Deeds to the House and my PhD proposal.) A few pieces of paper I am pleased about finding is a short story I wrote in 1988. When I split up from my ex-boyfriend, and was being bullied at work, and had an arson attack from an idiot, I understandably got a bit depressed and anxious (about three years ago). Mum, did the decent thing as Mothers do, and got out some things to cheer me up. In my case, being the genius I was and am, it was my old school work. Being the proud, sentimental type, she had kept my pre-GCSE English language work. It did the trick and I was quite surprised as to how entertaining some of these short stories and what-not were.

ANYWAY, one of the stories, which I am hoping to publish on this blog, entitled 'Zero Hour' was particularly errm, weird. A playwright friend of ours (N) who Phil has referred to a lot on his blog made fun of writing in the future in her play which we went to see a couple of months ago. There is a scene when the main character (a writer) in N's play makes fun of another character for setting his story in the future. Based on my experience, perhaps what he really needs is a strong brandy.

To make a short story quite long, what I'm trying to get at is is that this story ('Zero Hour') which I wrote in May 1988, and which I set in 2008, had quite a number of what most psycho-therapists would call 'Coincidences'. Everyone else would be reaching for their particular alcoholic tipple, or if you've ever been to the Haven Breast Cancer place, a broccoli juice.

The first major coincidence was that the main character was called 'Louise Powell'. By pure chance, the person dealing with my bullying case when I re-read the story for the first time 15 years later, in January 2004 was 'Louise Powell'. A very common name, according to my therapist who also knew someone by that name. For this reason the story stayed in my mind as you can imagine for the next few weeks.

The second, more tragic coincidence is that the one of the main plot lines also actually happened, in that one of the characters dies. I did reach for the brandy and was most upset about this. In the story, the main character Louise, tries to save a character M, and tries to contact him 'in the future' to save his life. She succeeds in the story, but in real life the person who very much coincidentally resembles this character died, I think in June 2004. It is though, just rather an unpleasant coincidence.

The third coincidence is nicer. The whole story is called as I say 'Zero Hour' counting down to a particular date. The date mentioned is '19th May 2007' which is now of course our wedding day!

There are some other little details which are quite cutish, looking back. My predictions of 'tele-tact' which is a contact lens TV, 'so popular that the tutors do spot checks at school'. Not that I know, but sounds a bit like the mobile phone phenomenon. Back to the Future was probably 90% of the inspiration for this story and there's a not so subtle reference to this in the first paragraph - our heroine watching 'Teen Wolf'. And then there's the predictions I made in developments in food retail marketing; families shopping at the older 'complex.' even though it's less efficient. Sounds a bit like me doing my bit for the British Olympic Queuing bid at Stoke Newington Farmers Market every Saturday.

Haircut Update

The Hair looks really lovely. It is 1920s/30s ish slightly curly and short. Most people can't tell the difference because I wear my hair up so much. But everyone likes it including most importantly me and Phil.

I have taken some photos of it and when I eventually get some IT skills I will put the photos up here. I feel glamourous and it's much easier to maintain so I'm pretty pleased. The people in the hairdressers all wanted to know how it was done so even they were impressed.