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NotJustAHatStand

People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading*
 

Until next year...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I saw a number of signs on my lunchtime stroll today, that the Edinburgh Festival season is coming to an end. There was a distinct absence of jugglers, pantomime cows, spontaneous singing (well, unless you happen to be passing the Grassmarket), period costume and hippies with tambourines walking barefoot along Princes Street singing kum-bay-ah.

The ginormous purple cow referred to in a previous post is now udderless and legless, and swarming with men in shorts who are dismantling it ready to be taken back to it's stable. I, unlike the skaters who frequent the spot where The Cow is currently residing, am actually quite sad about that. I liked it's big googly-eyed face peeking at me from Bristo Square as I walk past on my way to the office. And seeing a giant set of udders bathed in the morning sunlight is an uplifting, if a little odd, way to start your working day.

It's great not coming back from lunch with a handbagful of flyers for crappy, amateurish shows that you're never going to go and see. The absolute best thing about having Edinburgh back from The Yahs and tourists though, is not having to walk at a snail's pace when trying to navigate the Royal Mile, the Mound, the Bridges, or George IV Bridge. It's a good thing that the Festival only lasts for a month - any longer than that and the tourists would be at a much higher risk of attack by locals who are about to miss their bus.

All in all, I love the Festival, but I also love it when the end of August rolls around and everyone goes home.

Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice!



I think I'm still a bit down after yesterday's news, but the atmosphere in my office seems really oppressive today. Not in terms of the temperature, but the mood. Hardly a word has been said since I came in. I'm normally in last because everyone else in here comes in at the crack of dawn (which I refuse to do), so when I came in I said 'good morning' to the room at large, and they barely looked up. We're now sitting in silence. I feel like screaming, just to generate some interest.

The only thing that cheered me up this morning was Geena Davis stepping right out of the 80's and onto my bus. I was trying to figure out how to surreptitiously take a picture of her on my mobile but then I remembered that I have no way to then transport said picture onto my PC to post it on here, and gave up. So you'll just have to take my word for it - this chick REALLY looked like Geena Davis, and her lovely 80's stylings (trouser suit with tapered legs, a weird looking blouse, and bouffant curly hair) were just the icing on the cake.

More than the Monday Blues

Monday, August 28, 2006

Well, I had a relatively eventful weekend (prompting at least 2 ideas for witty posts that have since disappeared into the Graveyard of Forgotten Blogs), and a rubbish start to the week (involving an argument with Fiance and an hour long bus journey before I even GOT to work), however this was all pushed out of my mind when I got to my desk and opened my email inbox.

I had an email from a girl I used to work with to tell me about a memorial service that is taking place this weekend for another girl that used to work in our team. I hadn't heard that anything had happened to this girl so I replied to the email asking what she was on about. I've not had a reply yet but I fear there can only be one answer. What makes it even worse it that the memorial wasn't just for my ex-colleague, it was for her daughter too (who she was expecting when I worked with her, and would've been 3 or 4 by now). I'm trying not to think about it until I hear for sure what has happened, but they wouldn't be having a memorial for two people who are alive and well, would they?

The girl was lovely, but she'd had a pretty rough life and didn't keep very well. When she fell pregnant with her daughter it was totally unplanned but she was ecstatic. She delighted in everything to do with the pregnancy, whether it was morning sickness or the baby hiccuping, she loved it. I'd left the company by the time she had the baby but I got regular updates from our mutual friend and she sounded like a fantastic mother. I've just realised that I'm already thinking of her in the past tense...

I've been on the verge of tears all morning, and have been furiously working away to try and not think about it.

Life can be so shit.

**Update
I spoke to the ex-colleague who forwarded the email, and she told me that our friend Chantelle and her 2 year old daughter Ellora died in a car crash about a month ago in Australia. Chantelle died straightaway, and Ellora later in hospital.

What a waste.

Because who doesn't want fashion tips from the sandwich shop dude?

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm wearing one of my favourite tops today, a black and white stripey number with 3/4 length sleeves. I like it because it's a nice fit without being clingy (as I have a bit of a pot belly these days, and not a sexy one like the girl in Pulp Fiction was on about), it's comfy and I think it looks a bit French when I wear it with nice silver accessories and possibly a red scarf knotted sexily at my throat (which I haven't bought yet but fully intend to).

So there I was, happy as a clam in my fave little top that was a total bargain from H&M, and when I went into the sandwich shop the man behind the counter remarked that he used to have a top like mine, but it had short sleeves. I didn't really know what to say to this (as he was a man, and I, clearly, am not and is he suggesting I wear manly clothes and oh my god I wish I had a spare top in my handbag).

I sort of said, 'oh, right' (as if I was interested and not freaking out because the manly man dude has the same clothes as me) and he said 'yeah, I don't wear it anymore though because one day someone told me I looked like a pizza chef'.

A pizza chef.

Probably sporting a moustache and a distinct smell of onion.

My favourite top has been tainted.

Normal service will be resumed. At some point.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'm finding it quite hard keeping the site updated just now. I know I keep wittering on about how crap it is not having the internet at home, and I'm trying not to whinge too much as it's only temporary and things could be worse, I could be a refugee with only one pair of shoes yadda yadda but... man I miss broadband!

I can put up with not being able to check emails and missing out on the things I'm bidding for on eBay (like a beautiful copy of the Swiss Family Robinson that I didn't win last night, BOO), but blogging is by far the most difficult to manage.

If I want to write about something that happened between 5pm one day and 9am the next, I have to remember what it was, what I wanted to say about it and, here's the problematic bit, remember all this overnight, and on into the next day. For someone with a memory like mine that is no mean feat, let me tell you. I'm sure I have lost some of my best material in this way. Well, all my material is good of course (#cough bullshit cough#), but there are some posts that have disappeared for good into the void inside my head, and for all I know they're the ones that could've won me a Bloggie or the Booker Prize or maybe even the first Nobel Prize for Blogging. Who knows? It's annoying.

It's also difficult actually writing the thing when you've got phones ringing, people chatting, emails coming in, and general officey stuff going on all around you. This post for instance, has taken me a good half hour to write. I know what you're thinking 'half an hour? don't waste your time woman, just hit delete, deleeete' but I'm soldiering on. I suppose my point with all this is that I have realised how important my blog has become to me, and I'm disappointed that I'm not able to give it my best just now. I recently discovered Technorati, and that I am linked to (thanks Sarah!). This gave me a warm fuzzy glow, as since I've been posting here I've always imagined my posts going off into the ether, never to be seen by human life again. Anyone stumbling across my burbling would surely click 'back' immediately, once they realised it was just some random blog about farting and cats. Wouldn't they?

In which the phrase 'weeny genius' is used, to debatable effect

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Radiohead last night were fab. They played lots of songs from Hail To The Thief and OK Computer and one or two from The Bends (including Creep, which Fiance was very excited about as they didn't play that the last time we saw them at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange). I was slightly disappointed with some of their newer material though, but they do tend to have quite long instrumentals at their live shows (which kind of bores me anyway, but I was also quite cold and needing a pee), so I'm going to reserve judgement until I hear the new album.

We also got to go to the aftershow party, which is always exciting. It was slightly less glam than I expected, being that it was in the staff canteen at Meadowbank Stadium, but still, I was in the same room as the band so I'm not complaining! Thom Yorke is weeny, but he's a weeny genius so that's ok.

It turns out that the guy who I thought was clambering around in the rigging is actually a fancy-pants boss man now, and is a globe-trotting lucky bastard. Dublin today, Paris tomorrow, two weeks off, then Hong Kong and back to somewhere-in-Europe.

I wonder if he needs a PA....

My Busy Schedule

Monday, August 21, 2006

I can't believe it's the 21st August already. I'm still getting used to the idea that it's 2006... Time just seems to be swooshing past at the moment, and August is always a busy month so it's going EVEN faster than usual. I've got a mega busy week this week:

Tonight: Book Festival event - Do I Have What It Takes To Write A Book? I'm paying £5 for someone to tell me that I don't.

Tomorrow: Free tickets to see Radiohead! I love having friends in high places. Literally - I know a guy that clambers around in the sound and lighting equipment, who has put Fiance and I on the guest list for the show at Meadowbank Stadium. I'm very excited because it's sold out and £32.50 a ticket. If we're lucky we might get to go to the after-show party as well.

Wednesday: Usual visit to my mammy after work. I will get to sit on an ACTUAL SOFA. With cushions!

Thursday: Another Book Festival event - Seamus Heaney Meet The Author. Will I remember anything from 5th year English...?! I think not. Better swot up before I go.

Saturday: ANOTHER Book Festival Event - this time a Writing Workshop. Or, Another Chance To Feel Inadequate, in the company of ACTUAL WRITERS. OMG.

Eee By Gum

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's Friday afternoon. It's the best time of the whole week - I love the anticipation of the weekend on a Friday, it's almost better than the weekend itself (which these days seem to fly past like lightening, in a flurry of visiting family, shopping and housework)...

However, I'm looking forward to:

The Big Brother finale tonight (Pete to win)
Retiring to bed with my copy of Heat and a cup of tea
A day out with my mum and sister tomorrow
A lie-in on Sunday

and...

most importantly...

Not having to listen to Mrs Moans-A-Lot stomping about the office for TWO WHOLE DAYS. Ahhh, bliss.

Trumpet Trousers

Thursday, August 17, 2006

At the party on Saturday night Fiance and I were sitting with two of my colleagues and their husbands and the conversation, as it is wont to do when we're around, turned to the subject of flatulence.

I am known for my bottom burps in my family (I have trouble with my digestion anyway, and I am also unable to burp so any gas has only one direction in which to escape). So Fiance delighted in telling our table that I have a bit of a problem in that area, and that seemed to open the floodgates, with both husbands excitedly joining in and relating stories of their wives' bottom burps. I have known one of the two colleagues for years so I have heard her pump and it is honestly the most LADYLIKE fart you have ever heard, but for a group of co-workers it was a fairly intimate topic of conversation. Both of my colleagues looked totally mortified, but I am used to Fiance embarrassing me in this way so I was kind of non-plussed. I was also a little tipsy by this time so I didn't care.

What I found funny was the enthusiasm with which both husbands divulged these fairly personal details about their wives! Nothing like a bit of toilet humour to liven up an evening...

If a burglar HAD broken in I don't think I would've cared

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I didn't think I was going to sleep very well last night as Fiance is away on a golfing trip. It was the first time I've stayed in the new flat by myself, and as it's on the ground floor (instead of the 1st floor like last flat) I was a bit jittery. I'm normally fine until it comes to the switching off of lights and locking of doors etc, but last night was Lost night as well so the creepy music and tension had me kind of nervous.

Thankfully, Coco had appointed herself my Official Guide and didn't leave my side from the moment I walked in the door, to the moment I went to bed. So my wee black shadow with the gammy leg was there to reassure me every step of the way (actually I think she was just hoping I would drop her a piece of cheese, but I like to think she sensed my unease and was looking after me)...

Anyway, as it turned out I slept like a log - I woke up this morning slap bang in the middle of our (king-size) bed, with my arms and legs spreadeagled like I was doing a charity skydive, and my face jammed into the pillow.

It was great! Fiance's back tonight :o(

Longing for the day I can sit on my couch eating Doritos ALL WEEKEND...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Another busy weekend.

I had a terrifying experience on Friday night, as I was babysitting for my friend's wee boy. It was the first time I have babysat without a responsible adult present. It all went fine though - his mum and dad fed him, bathed him and got him to sleep so all I had to do was listen to the baby monitor whilst watching Big Brother and cuddle him if he cried, which he obligingly didn't. Still, terrifying.

We then had to collect Fiance's mum's dog from the kennel on Saturday. It's always fun picking him up because he is SOOOO happy to see us (at one point all four paws left the ground). However as Fiance was settling the bill, the kennel lady decided that he wasn't excited enough, and thought a biscuit would calm him down (at this point I should clarify that I am talking about the dog, not Fiance). I was holding his lead when she said the 'B' word and merrily trotted off to the kitchen. Of course the dog, who is a black lab and very strong, shot off after her like a rat up a drainpipe, almost severing my finger in the process. My fault I suppose, for thinking that she would know how NOT to get him so excited he peed a little.

We then went to my boss's 40th birthday party on Saturday night. Fiance managed not to disgrace me too much - he didn't even get that drunk until about half an hour before we left, when he thought it was a good idea to buy a whisky and drink that while he finished his Bacardi. After 6 pints of beer. Thankfully there was no vomit, just a spot of verbal diarrhoea.

By Sunday, I was ready to collapse in a heap. About all I could manage was a bit of housework, and lots of reading and watching TV. Having finished this*, I started reading The Colour Of Magic, the first in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. It's shaping up to be quite good (even though it's sci-fi/fantasy, which I have derided before on this site), they are supposedly parodies of other fantasy series so are witty and sarcastic, which appeals to me.

*While I enjoyed TMFOQL, I got a bit fatigued in the middle part of it. I think this was because I was taking so long to read it (I was only managing little bits at a time, therefore I was getting bored because it seemed to be dragging on). Thankfully it picked up at the end, and I enjoyed it overall - it was quite a different reading experience, and it was also the first time I've actually finished a novel by Eco so I was quite chuffed.

You don't know what you've got till it's gone...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

#Sniff#

No internet. Not even dial-up. At first we thought we just wouldn't be able to have broadband, but we can't even have the Slowest Slow Method of Slow Internet Connection Did I Mention That It's Slow? because BT want £130 to install a phone line. Pah! Like that's gonna happen.

I miss GOOGLE.
I miss email.
I miss BBC News.
I miss Dooce and Amalah.
I miss Amazon
I miss eBay.

I came up with a really clever idea for a post last night while I was sitting at my stupid useless non-Internet-connected PC fiddling about with iTunes just so that I FELT like I was on the internet. Do you think I can remember today what it was? It's disappeared into the black void in my head where are my best-selling novel ideas are.

I feel like I've lost a limb!

Festival Fun

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's amazing what you see during Festival season in Edinburgh, as the out-of-the-ordinary becomes the norm.

I nipped out for a sandwich at lunchtime, and in the 20 minutes I was out I saw a ginormous purple cow, a busker wearing a hat shaped like a piece of Swiss cheese and singing a song about a whale (I only heard the first line but it went something like this: #baby beluga, swimming in the deep blue seeeeea# - GENIUS!), and an elderly gentleman, dressed impeccably in a lovely suit and a trilby hat, tripping over a paving stone and shouting 'FUCK' very loudly, right in my face.

Yesterday I saw a man dressed as a tomato handing out flyers. And when the fire alarm went off in the building next door to my office, the flyer-hander-outers descended on the poor evacuees like a swarm of locusts. Within 5 minutes there was an impromptu circus underway, involving fire-eaters, gymnasts and a lion tamer.*

I'm used to the Festival having lived in Edinburgh all my life, and I love working in the city centre during this time of year** but it can get slightly annoying trying to go about your daily business with all these tourists ambling about the place (see footnote below). I'm also quite disappointed with how expensive it's getting. I'm going to a couple of things in the Book Festival, and a couple of things in the Fringe, but that's probably all I'm going to be able to afford. However as I realised today, even just walking about the Old Town is entertaining enough, and that's free. Auld Reekie puts on a damn good show.

*Ok, I'm exaggerating, but wouldn't that have been FUN?!!

**Well, I do until I have to actually GET SOMEWHERE FOR A SPECIFIC TIME. Oh my god why do tourists walk so damned slowly? And MUST they walk 4 abreast so that they take up the ENTIRE PAVEMENT? Don't they realise some people still have to work and catch buses and get to Kookai to return a pair of ridiculously expensive trousers before it closes?!!

Multi-tasking

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I saw a girl walking along the street today reading a book. I was quite amazed by this feat of multi-tasking. I remember reading somewhere that an author (Bill Bryson maybe?) couldn't go for a walk without taking a book with him, but I've never actually seen anyone reading a book whilst walking. Browsing a newspaper? Yes. Reading a NOVEL? No. I don't understand how it's possible to do that without falling over!

I'm a bit of a bookworm (as you may have noticed), and would love to be able to do this - do you know how many more books I could get through if I could use the time I spend walking around to read?!! Who cares about stupid scenery (Edinburgh Castle? Pah!) when I could be READING, people!

I read when I'm stationary. Bed is my favourite place for reading but failing that I'll read on the bus or train, at my desk during lunch-break, or in the dentist's waiting room. In short, anywhere I can get a seat and 5 minutes relative peace.

I was thinking about the mechanics of trying to read a book while walking along the street, and I don't think you could read anything more challenging than, say chick-lit, or a non-fiction book about deerstalker hats. You'd have to constantly check where you were going, what you were stepping on, who was coming towards you and whether any cars look like they might mount the pavement and squish you. I think I could just about manage The Compendium of British Caterpillars/The Comprehensive Guide to Shipwrecks of the North East Coast: Volume Two (Volume One was fascinating, but sequels are never as good) or something similar, although it would take all my powers of concentration to absorb anything I had read.

If I tried to read anything in the realm of Flaubert/Sartre/Dostoevsky I would end up getting lost, stepping in dog poo and probably getting hit by a bus after stepping into the road without looking. Not that I'm suggesting I read Sartre even whilst stationary. That would just be silly.

A post which starts off badly but picks up by the end.

Monday, August 07, 2006

What a rubbish start to the week.

After having a sore head and neck all day yesterday, I woke up with a headache again this morning, which is never a good start. Despite getting up ON TIME I managed to leave late, miss my bus and end up being 10 mins late for work. By the time I got here I was too hot and in a crap mood. I have retreated behind my PC and am hoping that no-one speaks to me as I want to just curl up and go back to sleep.

I did actually have a nice weekend though despite all this! I was at a wedding reception on Friday night, and the Pittenweem Arts Festival on Saturday during the day with my mum and sister, which was lovely. It's a showcase for local artists and there are venues all over Pittenweem, which is a tiny wee place in the East Neuk of Fife. Some of the venues are in people's front rooms - it feels kind of strange just wandering into someone's house, but I saw some lovely works of art. I didn't spend any actual money as I'm skint, but in my head I spent a fortune.

I then went to the Jim Henson Puppet Improv on Saturday night, and oh my god it was funny! I would definitely recommend it, as it's like no other show you'll see at the Fringe. Because it's based on suggestions from the audience it's different every night and you get some totally random and/or outrageous suggestions - they will make those puppets do ANYTHING!! Apart from the comedy value, it's also quite cool seeing the puppeteers doing their thing - they're not hidden behind a screen or anything - and they're as much a part of the show as the puppets are. It must be an incredibly difficult thing to do twice a day (there's also a kids version without the swearing and shagging), and I take my hat off to them. Well I would if I was wearing one.

Seriously, this show is not to be missed - get your tickets now before it sells out, because word will travel fast.

Another fine mesh he's got me into

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I sent Fiance the link to this article today, with a note saying that this could be a solution to our whole married-name quandary. As I expected, he was distinctly unimpressed with the idea, and flatly rejected every possible combination of our 'meshed' surnames that I had come up with. Admittedly, they were terrible.

Unfortunately, our names don't offer much scope for meshing and the only one that sounded like it could actually be a name rather than just a made up word was really just my name with the suffix 'ford'. Which defeats the purpose.

So back to square one.

Revelations!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Oh. My. God.

HOW GOOD was last night's episode of Lost?!!

Turns out Claire was drugged and injected with the bubonic plague, Rousseau has a daughter, Henry Gale is adopting a 'divide and conquer' technique, Sun is going to birth a fully grown velociraptor and Cap'n Birdseye's beard was fake.....

Wow.

Stage One - Complete

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Well, the move went without a hitch. Nothing got broken, no-one got killed and me, fiance, both cats and all our belongings stayed the night at the new flat in relative peace and harmony.

There was a slight hitch with the handover of keys for old flat (our solicitor managed to lose 2 sets of our keys, and by the time we realised this the third set had been put through the letter box and were sitting behind the locked front door), and we didn't have any hot water in the new place until last night, but other than that it has all gone very smoothly.*

I don't miss the old flat at all. I thought I would, but I was at the point where I was totally done with the place, and I've already moved on. The best thing of course is no more Psycho Ginger Bitch! It's bliss!

*There was a slight moment of tension caused by a rogue curtain pole and a screwdriver that wouldn't behave, but thankfully disaster was averted.
 
   

*Logan Pearsall Smith



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