Monday, July 31, 2006

Drunken debauchery

People react to the imbibing of excessive amounts of alcohol in different ways. With some people it's quite hard to tell if they are drunk.

Some people get a bit quiet and sleepy. Others begin to slur their words and demonstrate a distinct lack of co-ordination. Some get slightly aggressive. Some are just themselves - but more so. It tends to be very hard, for example, to tell if HF is drunk. Because if he thinks he's drunk, he just goes to bed (actually bed to sleep, rather than curling up on the table of a nightclub. That would be pretty obvious).

With me, it's very, very easy to tell if I'm drunk. I have distinct memories of schemes I hatched when half-cut and about 16 to fool my parents. Eating a large bowl of cereal was one - taking a shower (at 12.30am) was another. I'm not sure I fooled anyone. Neither of these, however, was as spectacular as the time when my sister came back from the pub and threw up over the staircase. Which was wooden and had slats between it, through which the vomit began to spill.

So, Frangelita drunk... I become considerably louder, filled with self-confidence, will talk earnestly about the most random of subjects to people I really don't know who I then declare to be the best of friends and ensure that I hug and kiss goodbye at the end of the night, I find it impossible to resist a challenge of any description (eg do a backflip/down that pint/tell that woman you can see her knickers), dance and/or sing with gay abandon (and while I'm convinced my dancing ability improves in this state, I have no such illusions about my singing skills) and generally have a whale of a time. A side effect of the self-confidence is that I am liable to expound loudly and perhaps somewhat dogmatically about things on which I have strong and quite possibly not universally acceptable opinions. For example, I'm quite pro-immigration and feel asylum seekers for the most part get a pretty rough deal. I may also conjure up wild plans for things which will probably never happen.

When I was out with my friends a few weeks ago at a very bad nightclub with some very bad music, one of them asked me if I was on speed. No, no uppers needed, alcohol and good company just seems to trigger a euphoric rush which gives me the energy to keep on dancing long after everyone else is drinking tea and eating toast.

As visitors to my mum's blog may be aware, there was some kind of family party going on at the weekend. I arrived after spending three and a half long, hot hours in traffic and immediately started imbibing Pimms. That ran out before long, so then there was wine. When that became in short supply (many, many hours later), I somehow ended up with a can of stella artois in my hand.

I suspect all the members of my extended family could now corroborate the above description of a merry Frangelita. Strangely enough, they still all seemed quite happy to talk to me the next morning.

Having taken numerous painkillers and endured another three and a half hour drive (really, horrible traffic this weekend), I went to bed on Sunday with a very bad headache. And lots of new family blogs to look up.

More on that story later.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Ever since I booked my flights to Thailand my mind is busy processing all the things we should be doing. I keep googling various beauty spots and picking up fabulous images that just make me want to go now!

These are all from Koh Tao, where I think we're going to stay for most of the time. How gorgeous is it? I can't believe I have to wait until October. Want to go now.

Instead, this weekend I get to go to a big family barbecue which could be interesting if the crazy unbearable heat/shocking electrical storms dance continues. I am also expected to sleep in a tent, so am just hoping that it's not pissing it down when we arrive to put it up. I am fairly convinced it won't leak, as I took it to Glastonbury last year where everything flooded - there were people carrying their tents away from newly created flowing rivers - and our little tent stayed water tight.

At least I will be allowed to use indoor washing facilities on this occasion. Well, I think I will, anyway, but who knows.

More on that story later.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Things that make me happy

I'm a pretty happy person, me, so there are quite a few things that make me feel happy and warm inside. Aww. Sickening,no? Anyway, I thought I would list some of them. Being as it's been a while since I did a list.

1.Hugs. You can't beat 'em. I am quite a touchy feely person (not to strangers, though, unless I'm really quite drunk) and there's nothing quite like a hug for a bit of a pick me up. This person gives hugs really rather well...

2. Being an aunty. I love being an aunty, it's ace. Much less messy than being a mum (in more ways than one), plus you get to be the favourite. And no punishing, not your job. My niece is Summer is the most gorgeous, lovely little girl, and she tells me she loves me all the time. Well, I don't see her that often, after all. She can be quite speedy when she spots something she likes the look of, mind you...

3. Friends. I don't think I have to explain this one. I have an ace bunch of friends, some I've known since I was at school, some from university, some picked up along the way. Rather like herpes (no, I never had that). Here are some of the best...

4. Gymnastics. I don't do too much of this these days, being rather larger and older than your average gymnast, but I still love it. Coaching it, watching it, and occasionally *looks away, slightly embarrassed* doing it in inappropriate venues such as nightclubs. I'm no Olga Korbut, but I can still do the splits and the odd flic-flac. If you ask me nicely. This is me back in the day when I was training about eight hours a week - and loving it.

5. Family. This doesn't always make me happy. Sometimes, it makes me really quite mad. But more often than not, good times spent with my family do bring a smile to my face. Plus they're all quite good at hugs too.

Okay there were going to be more pix there, but apparently blogger isn't playing anymore.

6. Finishing stuff. I don't run marathons or anything silly like that, but finishing something off, anything, be it cleaning the bath or writing a story, an exercise class or a book, gives me enormous satisfaction. It's a good feeling.

7. HF. Yep, I'm that soppy. But if he didn't make me happy, why would I want to stay with him? All those people out there with other halves that don't make them happy, maybe you should ask this question.

8. Cooking. I love cooking, it's something about making something from a bunch of things that are okay on their own but when they come together they're amazing.

9. Great music, great books and great films. Without them, life would be a lot less rich and I would probably have a lot less interesting thoughts.

10. Writing. Well, obviously.

More on that story later.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A cry for help

I am calling on all my readers (all three of you) for your assistance in a difficult dilemma.

Okay, I may have slightly overegged that, but the situation is this. I have booked flights to Thailand for the second half of October, where I will be staying with my boyfriend for two weeks. We are planning, for the most part, to sort out our accommodation while we're out there but would quite like to book our first night in Bangkok.

Where should we stay? We are decidedly not rich (I'll play the journalist/archaeologist card one more time here) and I at least am not massively fussy. HF is slightly more so. What I'm after is suggestions for somewhere to stay for approximately three nights, as I anticipate this will be the longest I can take the most polluted city in the world for.

Our requirements are as follows - somewhere reasonably central so that we can get to all the sights without too much difficulty, I'm thinking either Banglamphu or Chinatown or somewhere slightly further from the sites but well linked with the sky trains or what have you. I can stomach a little shabby, but secure, clean and with a separate bathroom which is not home to cockroaches are a minimum of what I need. I also feel a mattress which is sleepable would also be quite vital. I am also keen to be in a location where the famous night markets are within easy access. And the clincher - seeing as it is Bangkok, cheap as chips, I don't want to spend more than £25 per night tops.

I have been reading reviews of a place called Buddy Lodge (was nearly put off by the name) in Khao San Road which sounds pretty good as it's right in the thick of things but a nice "boutique" style place. Any thoughts?

Anyway, leaving Bangkok aside, we are then planning to head south to the Islands for sun, sand and snorkelling. I am reading very mixed reports of what the weather will be like in various places in the second half of October. Is anyone out there familiar enough with all the monsoons to make an educated suggestion? I've got my eye on Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand but don't want to go there if it will be too rainy/stormy to enjoy the idyllic, deserted snorkelling.

I realise I am going to get rained on at some point and that's fine, I just want to know that I will be able to get some sun and beach-lying and be able to make boat crossings without fearing for my safety and swimming without risk of drowning. The appeal of Koh Tao is that it's a little bit off the beaten track so you still get quite deserted beaches, views of big lumps of rock in the ocean, and nice foresty mountains to climb.

Any help much appreciated.

More on that story later.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Sorry, that's a bit poncey, I haven't really got my head on straight as I appear to have got yet another winter cold.

Anyway, I was going to tell you about my weekend. About a month or so ago, my friend T announced he was getting engaged. This was something of a bolt from the blue as I've known him nearly seven years and I've met his fiancee, S, once. Dressed as a naughty air stewardess. Her, not me, I was wearing my famous technicolour sixties outfit with the purple wig. After some toing and froing (I think there should be hyphens in there but it looks MUCH funnier without)the date for the event was set for Saturday, and the location a remote Berkshire village within a stone's throw from my parents house.

Then, my friend John decided he was going to be having his birthday party that same weekend. In London.

Naturally, I decided to do both.

So, to get to London at a reasonable hour Friday I had to go straight from work on the train without having a chance to change clothes, meaning I had to wear something smart and plain enough to wear to work and funky and trendy enough to wear to a gay club in London - the appropriately named trash palace. I went for a little black dress of the not too slutty variety and did my make-up on the train. Arriving at the bar where everyone was, I saw a friend I hadn't seen since December. His jaw dropped when he recognised me and he said: "Hello, skinny!" He's gay, by the way, hence the overdramaticised nature of the compliment. Anyway, that felt pretty good.

After a couple of drinks at a very funky bar in Soho, we went to a funky tapas type restaurant and had some tapas (unsurprisingly) and some paella. One of my dining companions who was sharing the paella decided there wasn't enough meat so complained and believe it or not we got this paella for three people for the price of one. Result! Then on to trash palace, which was extremely cramped but madly cheap for a gay club in Soho. Also quite good fun, although as I had my overnight bag with me I was quite concerned about it getting nicked/covered in alcohol/stamped on by overenthusiastic dancers. Fortunately none of these things happened.

Then back to Brixton to stay at John's, who shockingly enough had no milk so therefore there was no tea to sate our hangovers in the morning. Terrible.

On Saturday John and Dan (who also lives in London and attended both parties) had to go to a play which they left until the last minute. They were due to travel on to Berkshire with us later and during the interval at the play, they called us to say they wouldn't be able to catch the train if they stayed so were planning to leave straight away. While me and SC (who had travelled up from Cornwall for the events) were on the train, which was just about to pull away from the station, we started slagging the boys off saying there was no way they were ever going to make it. At that exact moment, they walked into our carriage.

This was followed by a long, convoluted, and quite heated argument about whether or not we were going to go to Sainsburys.

We didn't, by the way.

Once we got to Newbury, HF, who had driven the car down, met us and drove us (a total of five including myself) to my parents house where we had approximately half an hour to get ready to go to a two-hour engagement party in the middle of nowhere. (I wore my floaty purple nonsense dress and the ballerina shoes, by the way, pix to follow). My Mum had never met John or Dan before so had a very whirlwind introduction. Mostly involving requests to use irons etc and resulting in Dan being so rubbish at ironing his silk shirt that my sister, who was also briefly there, ended up doing it for him.

Anyway, after all that rush, we got to the party and my was it a swanky affair. There was a marquee with a bar and waiters/waitresses wandering around handing out peach bellinis, pink champagne and pimms. There may have been some non-alcoholic stuff going round too, but obviously we weren't after that.Approximately every 10 minutes, a tray of minuscule but heavenly canapes appeared. After a while I got quite adept at ushering the trays in my direction, but somehow it felt rude to take more than one at a time. T seemed happy and S looked beautiful and we all had a chance to chat to her and decide that yes, after all, we would accept her as Ts special lady. Lots of very interesting people all living in a completely different world involving public schools, designer dresses, ponies and large fistfulls of money served with breakfast. I felt a tad out of place (despite the fab dress) and was acutely aware that my shoes probably cost about the same as one of the tiny links in one of the ladies' necklaces. But everyone was lovely and it was quite possibly the most civilised and by far the most posh occasion I have ever, or am ever likely, to go to. Until the wedding, obviously.

Anyway, after that it was time to lower our standards again so we headed off to Newbury's premier nightspot,
liquid. I'm not sure words can do justice to the entertainment at this bitchin' establishment, suffice to say John and Dan were not loving the music. I pointed out that they were playing Britney Spears, but unfortunately at that moment, they mixed it up with a truly heinous jungle track. Oh well. Takes all sorts.

When we tumbled home at about 3am, we quickly discovered two potential problems. Not only was John allergic to cats (my parents have two) he was also allergic to the feather bedding my parents had thoughtfully laid out for him. So we had to do a certain amount of chopping and changing to do before we got down to sleep.

Approximately three hours later, John knocked on my door apologetically and told me rather sniffily that the allergy was beginning to be somewhat problematic and he didn't think he could spend any longer in the house.

He spent the rest of the night sleeping in SCs car.

The climax of this weekend was a meal in the restaurant my sister runs, The Pot Kiln, which was rather delicious and involved a special extra course just cos she's my sister. Mmmmm.

Anyway, after all that excitement, it was time to drive home and get into my own bed. Which had been eaten by giant beavers.

Oh, no that's right, I was hallucinating from too much sun. And probably too much fun.

More on that story later.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happy feet

I spent ages yesterday subtly altering some pictures of my new footwear. Then when I tried to upload them Blogger pulled a moonie and farted in my face. But I think we've made peace with each other now, let's see.

It's hard to describe quite how fabulous these are, even the picture barely evokes their sheer wonderfulness. Pink - tick. Furry inside - tick. Embroidery - tick. Suede - tick. Comfy - tick. The boots of a three-year-old - oh definitely.

Mmm, happy warm thoughts.

As for these, what can I say? Yet another bargain purchase ( a tenner from the peeps at New Look) and instead of pink fur and suede, we have shiny beads and ribbons that tie up the leg in the style of the ballerina. Who wouldn't want such amazing things? Plus, they've got a bit of a wedge chunk at the back to make me look less like a midget but are still really comfy. Haven't had occasion to wear them yet, but you can bet your ass (wager my donkey? Okay, I'll bet you 5p instead) that they're going to make an appearance with my gossamer nonsense dress at the engagement party I'm going to on Saturday.

In other news, me and HF have booked flights to Thailand which has proved a surprisingly stressful experience. Particularly as we worked out after we'd made all of our decisions that we would be flying on Friday 13th. No wonder the flights were cheap.

Oh, and did I say 24lb lighter frame? Silly me, of course I meant 26lb lighter *smirks with the look of someone who has not only just lost more weight but also just polished off a great big greasy curry*

More on that story later.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

New acquisitions

Sometimes I wonder if I'm perhaps a little too attached to things. When I was looking into buying some speakers for my MP3 player and talking to the photographer at work he made some joke about me being quite into my gadgets.
I laughed it off, of course, but there may be some truth in it. I care very little about my car and am not generally very vain. But in the past few years whenever I have won some money or something similar, I have bought myself a little something.

Once it was my lovely Creative Zen player. Then there was when I bought my SLR (really must learn what that stands for at some point) camera, complete with two rather sizable lenses. I look rather like a Japanese tourist when I have it and every time my mother sees it she asks me if I have borrowed the camera from work. Umm, no, it's mine. And I do love it, although the zoom, being roughly the size of my arm, is not terribly practical for candid night out shots. I'm also quite passionate about various kitchen things, not necessarily gadgets, but I love my blender, my huge would-probably-kill-you-if-I-whacked-you-on-the-head-with-it chopping board, and, err, my Denby plates. But they were on sale. I'm a terrible sucker for offers, when I went round my friend's house and saw his fancy built-in cooker and Smeg fridge I was full of shock at the cost. He retaliated by saying that all my furniture was probably built of cardboard. It's not, by the way, but the less said about my table the better.

Anyway, there is a point to this post. At the weekend, me and HF went shopping and I bought the best boots EVER. Not only were they reduced (down from £70 to £7, yes, that's right baby), they were pink and furry inside with cute embroidery on them. The sort of boots, in fact, that my four-year-old niece has loads of and make me green with envy every time I see them cos they don't do them in grown-up size. But ha, they do, and I've got them.

I also bought a fabulous purple halter-neck dress that makes me look thin for a swanky engagement party I'm going to next weekend. That was £20 down from £70.
I bloody love TK Maxx.
Sadly, all this is not enough for me. Now I've got my eye on this strange little device called a Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC which is the size of a hardback book but acts like a full-on computer. All the reviews question whether it's actually the sort of thing anybody needs but I don't care, I want it, I can type shit up in bed while HF is asleep using the backlighting and take it to cafes and look busy when strange men try to stare at my tits. Plus it plays films and music and has a sexy touch-screen. It does cost about £800 though and as HF sensibly points out I need to buy a car slightly more urgently and book my flights to Thailand (we're allegedly going in October but have done little about it due to the chaos of moving). I still want it though, I just might be forced to wait until it comes down in price. Or sell my body to make the extra cash, with my new, 24lb lighter frame I'm sure to make a packet in minutes.
Saw Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean yesterday, that man is far too gorgeous. Loved the film but am now desperate for more Depp porn. Any suggestions?
More on that story later.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

How to break everything in sight

A few weeks ago, in the middle of watching Lost, my television stopped working pretty much without warning.

As the weather was somewhat stormy at the time, our first thought was there had been a power surge and the switch had tripped.

This was not the case.

Then we thought perhaps the fuse in the plug had blown. So we put the fuse in a different plug and it worked fine. All the other appliances seemed to be working okay, so eventually we picked up the television, moved it onto the kitchen table and plugged it into a different socket. It still didn't work, and as it was still under warranty, we called up the good folk at Argos and demanded they fix it (okay, I asked nicely and they arranged a time when a man could come out and have a look at it).

As we weren't about to spend an evening without television (yes, I am being slightly sarcastic) we plugged in HFs old telly which has to have the on switch wedged into the on position all the time otherwise it cuts out and set that up, and carried on with the rest of the evening.

At about 2am I was awoken by an almighty crash coming from the kitchen.

I ran in, naked, convinced there were noisy burglars in the house (not sure how I would deal with them in my naked state, but at least I would have had the element of surprise).

The television which is a big bastard of a thing had broken one of the table legs and crashed to the floor. Somehow, there was no damage to the screen itself.

This left us in something of a quandry. The tv had genuinely broken, unaided. But there was bound to be some internal evidence that it had been dropped on the floor, which I suspect would invalidate our warranty.

Anyway, we decided to brave it out and if questioned on the matter, just lie. Not that I'm great at lying, but I was damned if I was about to let some minor accident cheat me out of my free repair job.

When the man arrived, I explained what had happened, omitting the middle of the night "incident". He told me he thought he knew what the problem was and proceeded to take my television to pieces - which was surprisingly interesting, most of the inside of a tv is just air - and replaced one small diode.

It didn't work.

He did some cunning circuit related tests then ummed and aahed for a while then told me he had to take it away and do some other stuff. Possibly rebuild the circuit board, I'm not sure.

About a week later, I got a call. They had fixed the machine. When I tentatively asked what the problem had been, they told me several parts had to be replaced.


Anyway, as I may have mentioned earlier, the table sustained some damage in this whole debacle. A makeshift arrangement (jamming the leg back on and hoping it would stay there) was reached in the interim, but following moving house, it became clear this was not an entirely satisfactory arrangement. As in, if you put any weight on that side of the table, it falls over. That includes sitting at it to read/eat. Although you can still use the other side of the table.

Closer examination suggests that the damage to the table leg is pretty well terminal. So I'm now in the market for a second hand table with all four legs fully functioning...

It's a real pain in the arse having possessions, they break and you have to get them fixed or replaced. Maybe I should go and live in a tent or something and eat my dinner from a leaf with my hands sitting cross-legged around an open fire. Or maybe not.

More on that story later.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Post-moving depression

Well, as predicted, I did cry once just a little bit on moving. This was because the washing machine (which looks brand new and was already in the place) failed to drain, so I had to spend half an hour wringing out my clothes by hand. This upset me most because when I moved into the last place I spent about two months waiting for the stupid washing machine man to a) figure out what was wrong with it b) bring the correct parts and c) actually fix it and I just couldn't take the thought of going through the whole thing again. So when HF said "we can do x y and z" I said, "no HF, I'm not doing it, you can do it". Which didn't go down well. Apparently, he's permitted to be moody and have little temper tantrums but I'm not allowed to have one bloody strop. It possibly didn't help that I discovered this problem during the England Portugal match. He perked up after buying a pizza from some takeaway (really quite foul and over-cheesed) which, rather worryingly, had a picture of a horse on its front window.

Apart from that, I found the whole experience of moving quite hilarious. Maybe I was just weak from dehydration and heat exhaustion, but us wandering the streets of Newmarket with various items balanced on our heads seemed very funny to me. I suppose all the cleaning liquids we used to make our old flat pristine may have had some slight effect on me as well. HF was just grumpy.

HF - It's not going to come off.
Me - Yes it will, just give me the Cif.

A few moments pass.

HF - Have you actually removed the paint from the wall?
Me - Err, yes. But they'll never know.


HF - It's not going to work, it's too big.
Me - Hang on and give me that screw driver. And lift the bed so I can get my head under.

A few moments pass.

HF - That leg's not going to carry the weight, it'll split all those slats.
Me - What? Just give me that screw driver and the hammer. And stick your bag under there.

A few moments pass.

Me - See, we can carry it like this.
HF - Hmmph.

Later still.

HF, looking at some black marks on the new wall which have mysteriously appeared since transporting various items of furniture upstairs - I have no idea if this is going to come off.
Me - Of course it will. Give me a hug.

Are you getting the picture of who is the eternal optimist and who is the pessimist in this relationship?

Missy the moggy has been moved - after lots of unsuccessful attempts to coax her into the catbox, I put the box on the side, picked up the cat and pointed her head in the direction of it and she walked straight in. Ha. I am a genius.

I was going to talk about issues with tables and televisions but I think it may need a post to itself.

More on that story later.