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

I'm ba-ack!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

We moved into the new house successfully last week, and I love it. LOVE. IT (but more on that later). This is just a quick post to reassure my reader that I've not given up on blogging forever, and that normal service will soon be resumed.

I had all last week off work, and have come back to the most insanely busy week ever (just what I need after a week of moving furniture, unpacking boxes and cleaning). Unfortunately we STILL don't have broadband at home (wah!), so I am currently writing this at work, shuffling papers every couple of lines so my boss thinks I'm working.


The Beginning of an Era

Friday, September 15, 2006

This will be my last post until I'm settled in the new house with functioning broadband again, sometime next week (she says hopefully). I will once again be able to:

1) Hog the spare room while I endlessly write and re-write my posts for this website, forcing Fiance to watch football on the good TV (poor baby).

2) Have long leisurely baths on Saturday afternoons.

3) Enjoy sitting in my PJ's on this sofa, in front of a warm fire that isn't at risk of exploding.

4) Not freak out every time one of the cats gets her claws out because it's MY house, MY wallpaper and MY carpet.

5) Be able to see and touch ALL of my possessions whenever I want, without having to move approximately half a ton of junk and unpack boxes to get to it.

It's going to be SO GOOD! I am harbouring a slight nagging worry that I won't like the new house though as I can barely remember what it's like, having only seen it three times since June. Still, with the absence of this, this and this, and the presence of this, it'll be Paradise.

It's been emotional, Edinburgh Dental Institute

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I had my final appointment at the Torture Chamber today, and I was delighted to be told that my root canal surgery was a raging success (which I like to think is down to my body's superior healing power), and that I never have to darken their doorstep again.

I am very excited about this as it's been a long time coming. Don't get me wrong, they're very nice people at the EDI - they have looked after me well* and fixed my problem. But it has taken approximately two years, 10-12 appointments, lots of time off work (granted, that's not such a bad thing but I have to at least SOUND like a mature woman for whom appointments in the middle of the day are an annoyance, not an excuse to take myself out for coffee), and what feels like HUNDREDS of x-rays. But my idea of fun doesn't involve being asked questions by the dentist about my medical history, while I have a hefty dose of local anaesthetic and 2-3 pieces of equipment in my mouth. But I suppose they have to get their laughs somehow.

So I can now arrange to get my front teeth crowned in time for the wedding, and have wedding photos in which I am actually SMILING!

*I.e. they gave me drugs to knock me out while they did horrific things to my gums.

Day of the Triffids

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Our rental flat seems to exist a little closer to the animal and plant kingdoms than usual.

Exhibit A:

There is a shrub outside the window (I have no idea what kind of shrub, it may not even BE a shrub but it's my website so I'm calling it a shrub) that seemed perfectly normal when we moved in. It had it's territory, we had ours, and we co-existed peacefully. In the short time that we've lived there however, it has extended a long, evil-looking branch towards the house, which scrapes menacingly against the window in the slightest whisper of a breeze. Whenever we open the window, the branch ends up INSIDE the house, and if you try and poke it back out of the window again, it springs back inside, as if it's determined not to give away it's position so easily. I am convinced the branch is growing more quickly than is natural, and that it is merely a scout sent out by the Evil Shrub, which wants to take hold of the house and drag it off to its lair where it will slowly devour the house and any living thing still inside it.

Exhibit B:

I've mentioned the Giant Spiders before. Thankfully they seem to have figured out that their mission to gain entry to our house is pointless as upon achieving their objective they will be:

a) dismembered by a cat
b) imprisoned in a glass until they die from lack of oxygen
c) transported right back outside again

Exhibit C:

This morning, when I opened the blind at the patio doors, I recoiled in horror at the fat brownish slimy thing stuck to the window. Stifling a cry of 'those pesky kids', I looked closer and realised that it was The Biggest Snail I Have Ever Seen. Climbing up the window, as if looking for a way in. I knocked on the window to try and dislodge it. Nothing doing. I hastily closed the blinds again, made the sure the window next to the Evil Shrub was closed (they may be in cahoots, you can't be too careful), and ran for it. If it's still there when I get back tonight I may have to poke it with a stick.

Remembering 9/11

Monday, September 11, 2006

I remember where I was when the Twin Towers fell. Normally I wouldn't, as my memory is comparable to that of a mollusc, but like most people I have vivid memories of the 11th September 2001.

Fiance and I were on holiday in Greece, and we'd had a nice day at the beach, me turning an attractive shade of pink, Fiance going steadily browner. We walked leisurely back up to our apartment complex, intending to go for a drink in the bar (to replace the gallons of fluid I had lost in sweat - I don't handle the heat very well, in case you hadn't guessed). Fiance bypassed the bar to go up to our room, and when he came back down he found me standing in the bar, mouth agape. The bar was full, but silent - they had CNN on, and the 2nd plane had just hit. We watched, in horror, until both towers had collapsed and for a long time afterwards.

We couldn't believe what we were seeing - at first I'd thought it was a horrible wind-up, or a disaster movie, and then I saw the CNN logo and realised that it was actually happening. I remember thinking that we were watching history unfolding in front of our eyes. The man sitting next to me at the bar obviously agreed - he was British, very lean and wiry, and darkly tanned and lined (his face looked like a leathery old football). He had sat in silence like the rest of us, watching quietly, smoking a cigar and drinking a G&T. Then the second tower collapsed and he said, to no-one in particular:

'The Arabs are in for it now.'

I have such a clear memory of that moment, it could have happened yesterday.

He was right though (a bit politically incorrect maybe, but right nonetheless).

The Home Straight

Friday, September 08, 2006

We have 10 full days left living in our rented accommodation until we become fully resident in our new house. This weekend I plan to start repacking. It's amazing how much of our stuff has made it's way out of the boxes/bags/suitcases in which it was so carefully stored (For 'carefully stored' read 'crammed in so tight it will never look the same again').

It's going to be SO nice to have hot water again. From a tap! We won't have to boil 3 kettles every time we need to wash the dishes! I can have a bath! I can soak my feet and file all the hard skin off! I don't have to scamper to the bathroom in the nuddy, shivering because it's so cold and damp in our bedroom! Ok that was maybe a bit too much information, my apologies I'm excited.

The cats are looking forward to moving as well. Well, they would be if they had the necessary physiological tools to anticipate events in the future. At the moment the most they are able to convey is that they are PISSED OFF because damn it's cold in here! They have no warm heater to squidge up next to, so they are reduced to hiding under the cushions on the futon and shooting me dirty looks that clearly say 'we're cold, it's all your fault and YOU WILL PAY YOU BITCH WHORE FROM HELL'. So they'll love the new place, with it's fully functional boiler and lovely living flame gas fire. (God help my new leather suite though - the claws, the claws!)

The cold damp flat with wallpaper hanging off, hazardous electrical equipment and GIANT SPIDERS will be nothing but a distant memory, which we will laugh about while frolicking in our fragrant flower-filled garden on a warm summers day.

Bitter and Twisted

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I've been away for a couple of days so I've not posted anything for a while (I know you've been manically clicking 'refresh' since last Thursday, mythical readers, but fear not - I have returned!). I had intended to write about my lovely weekend in Wester Ross today, but I'm so sad that Steve Irwin is dead I'm going to have to get all mushy (again).

I stumbled across an episode of the Crocodile Hunter years ago (the one where he was in East Timor or somewhere awful like that) and thought it was a normal nature documentary. Then this mad Aussie guy leapt on top of a 16-foot crocodile with just a pair of khaki shorts and a piece of rope, and I couldn't believe my eyes. My heart was in my mouth as I watched him, but after a few minutes I started to realise that this wasn't his first time wrangling a croc with his bare hands, and that he did it on a regular basis! After that I was hooked, and watched Crocodile Hunter anytime it was on. His enthusiasm for conservation, ecology and the environment seemed boundless, and he wasn't some dusty old academic droning on about sustainable fishing from a studio somewhere.

My absolute favourite Croc Hunter was when Steve was in Madagascar and he came across a hedgehog. He'd never seen a hedgehog, and he was SO EXCITED to see this little baby one. It didn't have poisonous fangs or sharp claws, just little spines and the propensity to curl up into a ball - but Steve LOVED him. I couldn't believe this dude who wrestled crocodiles, snakes and spiders was so impressed with a wee beastie like a hedgehog.

I've been reading lots of reactions from other naturalists/Australians/people-with-opinions and they seem to be pretty divided. Most are sad to hear of his untimely death, others are firmly in the i-told-you-so camp, like this lovely lady. I used to respect Germaine Greer, but I'm afraid I found this diatribe pretty crass. She may not have agreed with his approach, but it was well-intentioned, and a lot of people who know and care about conservation now might not give two hoots if it hadn't been for Steve Irwin. That's no bad thing if you ask me.

And that's not to mention the huge amount of time and money he poured into stopping the trade in illegal animal products, and preserving the habitats of those animals whose species have been forced to the point of extinction because of the selfishness of humans. Would Greer prefer that Steve Irwin had spent his life working quietly in anonymity making a tiny difference to these issues, or that he used his TV-friendly personality to promote them and bring them to a huge audience, in order to save her delicate sensibilities being offended?

But I must come down from my soapbox.

Whatever Greer's feelings are about Steve, he was still a person with a young family - a family who are grieving and contemplating a life without a loved one. Maybe I'm a bit sensitive to this, having prematurely lost my dad last year, but Greer seems to be revelling in Steve Irwin's demise without thinking that his family might one day read her little column and be hurt by it.

She should save her cynicism for over her own dinner table (I bet Friday nights are a hoot round her house).

I heart the Metro

Friday, September 01, 2006

I almost inhaled my own tongue this morning, as I read the best headline EVER, in the Metro:

'Fun run piddle pervert bagged by big banana'

That is absolute genius! I had to read it twice before the meaning was fully absorbed by my brain.

The story was about a man who was lurking in bushes during the Great North Run in Tyneside, filming unsuspecting female runners having a wee. After about 15 minutes of filming the man was seen by one of these women, who alerted her husband. The husband gave chase to the man, accompanied by a male runner dressed as a giant banana. They caught the guy and he was arrested and charged with voyeurism.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

*Logan Pearsall Smith

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