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

Karma? Please?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I know all my recent posts have been quite negative, but unfortunately today's is too... After a really nice day yesterday (it was my birthday), my mum and I had to endure a particularly unpleasant incident today, that made me sick to my stomach.

We were in WH Smith in the Gyle shopping centre and were chatting on our way to the checkout, when a man in his 50's, who should have known better, barged right in between us to get ahead in the queue. He didn't have the decency to apologise or say excuse me, so I made a sarcastic comment (as I generally do when confronted by bad manners, one of my pet hates), along the lines of 'oh please, after YOU'. Maybe in retrospect I shouldn't have, but if he's going to barge in front of me, without at least saying excuse me, then I think I'm perfectly within my rights to voice an opinion about it.

Anyway, although he didn't hear me, his fat and ugly wife did, and said to me in her best snippy tone 'Excuse me but he is coming to join ME in the queue'. I retorted that that was fair enough, but that he could have said excuse me after he barged right in between my mother and I. She then proceeded to tell her husband in a loud voice exactly what I had said, what she had said in reply, and huffing and blowing about me giving her husband dirty looks. I ignored her, and that was the end of it, as far as I was concerned.

After I paid for my purchase we went to leave the shop, but unfortunately we had to pass The Twits on our way out. Mr Twit was a big man, he had a load of shopping, and the aisle was relatively narrow, so we had to squeeze past him on our way out. Normally my mum (who is, by the way, a polite well-mannered person) would have said 'excuse me' or something to that effect but in view of the way he and Fat Ugly Wife had behaved she didn't, she just walked past. As soon as she brushed past him he immediately (as if he were prepared for it) WHACKED MY MOTHER WITH HIS SHOPPING BAGS. He actually HIT HER.

There followed a horrible scene where he screamed at my mother (who I'm glad to say stood up for herself), pointing his finger in our faces and screaming abuse at us in front of the whole shop.

Afterwards my mum was left with a big red mark where this neanderthal's knuckles had caught her arm.

If the big bullying twat doesn't get struck down by haemorroids the size and shape of Wales all is not right with the Universe.

I have never been so angry in all my life.


Friday, May 19, 2006

I thought I'd update my non-existent readers on the situation with our new house.

We've now sold our flat (for a very good price too), and were well on the way to getting the new flat that we wanted, in the area of Edinburgh that we wanted but thought we couldn't afford. All was going swimmingly until the very last hurdle when, in keeping with our luck recently, everything went tits up for want of a better expression. We'd had the place surveyed and though the report mentioned a couple of wee things, they were no serious problems.

All good so far.

The surveyor couldn't get up on the roof at the time of the survey though, and because the property had a flat roof we insisted - thank the high heavens - that the roof be checked before we signed anything. It turns out that a new tar covering had been put down on the roof, ON TOP OF the old rock/concrete covering. This had caused air bubbles to form, which in turn had caused cracks. The surveyor estimated that within a couple of years the property would need, at best, major roof repairs, and at worse, A WHOLE NEW ROOF.

Estimated cost of all this: £7,000 - £10,000, for OUR SHARE. The other 3 owners in the building would have to pay the same amount.

We were disheartened, but because we liked it so much we told the seller that we were still prepared to buy the place if she lowered the purchase price by £7,000. Our solicitor advised us she was unlikely to accept this, as her solicitor's advice would be to wait for a buyer who DIDN'T get the roof checked. After two days of thinking about our offer to buy her turkey of a flat that needed major roof repairs (we assume the only offer she'd had), she declined to drop the price by so much as a penny. And we told her where to stick her flat.

But it's ok, because we've moved on. We have found a nicer place that DOESN'T have a flat roof, and (hopefully) won't be in danger of burying us in falling masonry while we sleep soundly at night. But you never know with us - it's probably got the only case of termites in the British Isles.

From Pratchett to Socrates (it makes sense when you read it honestly)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I found some fab quotes about books and reading, which I thought I'd post here as they are two of my favourite things, EVER (although it's tough to choose between tea, cats, handbags and shoes):

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
Ben Franklin

"When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food."
Deciderius Erasmus

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends: they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers"
Charles W. Eliot

"I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library..."

"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket."
Chinese proverb

"To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend: to read it for a second time is to meet an old one."
Chinese saying

"A home without books is a body without soul."
Marcus Tullius Cicero

"These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves."
Gilbert Highet

"Old bookshops are so much fewer than they were, but they are still a good place to take leave of your troubles."
Barry Humphries

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us."
Franz Kafka

"We read to know we are not alone."
C.S. Lewis

"Outside of a dog a book is a man's best friend, inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

"Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond."
John Milton

"...not a book to be put down lightly but to be hurled with some force into the corner of the room."
Dorothy Parker

"It looked like the sort of book described in library catalogues as "slightly foxed", although it would be more honest to admit that it looked as though it had been badgered, wolved and possibly beared as well."
Terry Pratchett

"Prefer knowledge to wealth, for one is transitory, the other perpetual."

"Look upon books frankly as a vice, but one which leaves some respectable evidence of its pleasure to show for it."
Norman Strouse

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."
Mark Twain

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."
Mark Twain

"Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house."
Henry Ward Beecher

"In every fat book there is a thin book trying to get out."

(click here for the full list)


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

So we've set today as the closing date for our flat - we've had six notes of interest so far, and one of those people have made us an offer. Our solicitors reckon we can get more than they've offered, so are advising us to accept bids from all interested parties. We'll find out what price we're getting for it about lunchtime.

We've also put in a (scarily high) offer for our new flat (which has just about been accepted) so we really need to get a good price for our flat.

Thinking about it makes me need to pee - I'll be so dehydrated by the end of the day I'm gonna look like a prune...


Sunday, May 07, 2006

We had our second open viewing of our flat today. It went on the market on Tuesday and we were inundated during Thursday's open viewing session - we lost count but we had at least 10 separate groups of people traipsing round the place, peering in cupboards, prodding the cats and asking lots of probing questions about the neighbours, the roof and the colour and consistency of my poop.

We thought it was a freak occurrence and that today between the hours of 2pm and 4pm we'd end up amusing ourselves by racing the cats and making them jump homemade obstacles made from blu-tak and pens.

We were wrong.

They started showing up about 1.45, and by 3pm we'd had at least the same amount of people we had in on Thursday night. By 4pm we'd run out of schedules and were having to push our tongues back in our mouths with our fingers - we reckon we had approx 20-25 viewers. I know my spiel off by heart, and when my mum and sister came for a visit later on in the afternoon I attempted to give them a schedule and show them the storage space.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

There was a man walking just behind me on my way to work this morning, who was having a quiet chat with himself. At first I thought he was one of the weirdos that seem to be attracted to me whenever I'm out and about, but then I heard him making a phonecall to someone. It was a very terse, short call:

'Hi it's me, I'll be there in five minutes... No I'm dreading it'.

So, nosy bugger that I am, I started wondering what he was dreading... Root canal surgery (which I have to look forward to at the end of this month)? A rectal exam (which I have no plans for, thankfully)? Was he on his way to dump his girlfriend?

I was dying to turn round and ask him but, in view of the fact he had previously been chatting to the voices in his head, I decided it would be a bad idea...

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Monday, May 01, 2006

I finally finished my book last night. I've been so busy recently that it's taken me way longer than it would normally to get through a book I enjoyed so much (as I tend to grab every opportunity to read if I'm into a book), and this was a particularly long read. It's taken me a good couple of months but I finished at 11.30pm last night, and despite really enjoying it I was chuffed to have finished.

Cheesy as it sounds I feel like I've been on a journey with the characters, partly because I've been reading it for so long and partly because the plot covered such a long period of time, so many different events and lots of characters. Having said that though, I wasn't bored with the characters. They were very well drawn and I ended up liking even fussy Mr Norrell. Worringly, I think I saw something of myself in the little man who lived in his library, jealously guarding his books! Regardless, I was totally drawn into the world the author had created.

I was rooting for a happy ending, and it was, but not in the way I expected. I don't like predictable endings, so I was happy with the end but still surprised at the way it turned out. I can't believe it was Clarke's first novel - as an aspiring writer I find that quite scary!

I'm ready for something different now but I'm not sure what to read next. Possibly Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, or Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which I bought ages ago but have never gotten round to reading. I love finishing a book, and knowing that I only have to decide where I want to go next - Dickensian Britain, Imperial Japan, Middle Earth or 19th century Russia. My shelves are full to bursting (to the consternation of Fiance) and there are so many books that I want to read, I just have to pick one...

Thanks SO much

I know he will never read this but I would just like to send a big f**k you into the universe for the guy whose car alarm was going off intermittently right outside my bedroom window ALL WEEKEND.

It really helped my hangover being woken up by it at 5am on Saturday morning, and then again at 7, and again at 9, 9.30, 11 and for the rest of the day until I went out again at 7pm.

Oh, and ALL DAY on an otherwise beautiful, peaceful Sunday.


I hope his engine falls out on his way to work today.

*Logan Pearsall Smith

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