Thursday, August 31, 2006

back on form

A long soak in the bath, the calmness of making soup and an early night with an Agatha Christie certainly did the job. By the time I turned out the light I felt beautifully relaxed. This morning I woke feeling awake for once and back to my normal smiley self. What a relief!

Today is an exciting day, although I didn’t know it when I woke. Today I hear that contracts are being signed on the house, which means that at least one side of my move is going well. I shall have a completion date shortly, and so I aim to spend the weekend packing what I can. I’ve so far trawled the offices and collected a load of boxes to fill with books, clothes and all those other things I’m not going to need for the next few months. (OK, I know I’m going to need books – but not all of them. I shall have to be very firm with myself and only choose a few to take with me, and just go to the library more!)

Next week I should also hear more regarding estimates taken today on my (hopefully) new flat. It is obviously all up in the air at the moment and causing me much stress, mostly because it’s out of my hands. Me? A control freak!? Never! But there is nothing I can do but sit back, wait and cross everything it's possible to cross.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

the blue funk

Today is a Wind in the Willows day. I feel as if I want to be curled up on a visit to Mole’s house one dark winters eve.

“The Rat paid no heed to his [Mole] doleful self-reproaches. He was running here and there, opening doors, inspecting rooms and cupboards, and lighting lamps and candles and sticking them up everywhere. `What a capital little house this is!' he called out cheerily.”

I want to be in a capital little house, with bunks and candles, a blazing fire and a parlour. I want duvets a plenty and warm mugs of honey and lemon, home made soup and chunks of bread, still warm from the oven.

Although the weather is gloriously sunny, I feel tired and worn out and know I’ve lost the battle to hold off autumn. I’ve even gone so far as to order a new jumper, and find my thoughts turning to winter as the evenings get darker and the mornings have that inescapable chill. I would be prickly but I’m too dulled for that, and instead just sit looking morose and sorry for myself. I have promised myself an early night, and some homemade soup, and hope that this raises my mood from the doldrums. I do so hate to be glum.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

acid brass

Yesterday Tom and I gave up on the idea of a picnic and headed out to Bexhill on Sea and the De La Warr Pavillion to see the Jeremy Deller exhibition. We wandered around the newly renovated building, gazing out at the rain along the coast and marvelling at the "thing" out in the sea which looked rather like an oil platform but wasn't.

After a brief wander for some food and a bit of rock pooling, we headed back for Acid Brass. It started as an experiment that Jeremy Deller set up, whilst sitting in a pub and thinking of the many links between brass bands and acid house music. There was a lovely range of people there, from chaps in their dotage to children dancing about and running back and forth in front of the stage. It didn't take long before the dancing started, with a couple of groups who were determined to relive part of their misspent youth.

I don't think I've ever heard anything quite like it, it was great fun but also quite surreal.

Friday, August 25, 2006

the weekend beckons

With the sunshine, my mood returns and I find myself gazing happily out of the window at the blue sky, listening for birds and dreaming of picnics by the riverbank. Tomorrow we shall head out into the countryside and find a place to spread our blanket, but beforehand I shall pick up the necessary delicacies on my way home and somehow keep myself from picking at them this evening.

It is a relief to be in such a chipper mood especially considering that yesterday brought a conversation with my surveyor, which could result in problems with the new flat. I had thought that the whole process was moving too well, positively swimmingly in fact. But until reports are made and quotes received there is nothing I can do but hold fire and try not to worry too much. It is a little frustrating, but then again not entirely unexpected. I have been repeatedly told, by numerous people, that the whole house buying process is a minefield of problem after problem and for once I paid close attention to this advice.

I shall put the whole business out of my mind for the weekend though, and delight in picnicking, and adventures into the wilds of East Sussex to see an exhibition and a concert. What better way to spend time with my lovely boy?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

dinner out

Last night Tom and I headed to Katharine & Rich’s for dinner. It’s only been a month or so since they moved in, and the new flat is already looking lovely and lived in, with the vast majority repainted. Sam has a larger room, which means he actually has space to play with his toys and although the sitting room is narrow and galley-like, there is actually more room for their dining table than at their previous flat.

I got to spend some time with my lovely godson, who is coming on leaps and bounds but was feeling a little grizzly due to the terrible weather. He is adorable, and cuddled up to watch the teletubbies with me for a short while.

Katharine cooked a lovely chicken tikka massala, washed down with liberal amounts of wine, poppadums, nans and chutneys that left us feeling distinctly well fed. A sticky toffee pudding followed, which I unfortunately had to pass up due to the fullness of my belly.
We talked autism and politics, privatisation and the Royal Mail, generally putting the world to rights. But home time eventually came, and Tom and I strolled out into the dark night to get soaked to the bone in yet another torrential rain shower. It is probably time I invested in an umbrella; there is after all a big difference between being optimistic and just plain damp.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

come back summer...

I’m trying desperately hard to hold onto the thought that it is still summer, that autumn hasn’t yet started and that all this rain and gloom is simply a bad patch of weather that will soon pass and reveal lovely sunshine like July.

Despite the aid of chocolate biscuits, I can feel this glimmer of hope quietly disappearing. Surely summer can’t be over? Surely that can’t be it? It’s only August – and only half way through August at that.

Of course a part of me quite likes autumn, if only because it provides another season in which I can wear jumpers. Jumpers and me get on. They’re warm, cosy and soft. I’ve stolen a few in my years too, normally from boys. There is something even better about boys jumpers, and stolen ones better still.

As much as I love jumpers, and boots, which also remind me of autumn and kicking up piles of red leaves, it’s just not time for it yet. There is still warm weather to be enjoyed, evenings basking in the slowly cooling light, days on the beach or driving through the glorious green countryside. And most importantly, I still haven’t had a picnic this year. It simply can’t be over until I’ve had a picnic!

Monday, August 21, 2006

school photo

Every year a group of us get together to document the past year with a photo, an event we fondly call the “school photo” simply because it is similar to those posed affairs where you had to stand on metal staging for hours on end, staring into the sun and sweltering in blazers, ties and the like.

Yesterday afternoon I made my way, via Katharine’s, to Preston Park and our usual meeting place on the rockery. Of course, just as we reached the park the heavens opened and torrential rain fell out of the sky, soaking us to the bone. We leapt from cover to cover, and dashed across the bare grass when there was none until finally meeting up with James and heading for the cover of the cafĂ©.

The usual tomfoolery followed, with cups of tea a plenty and much brushing of damp hair. We sat about waiting for the stragglers to catch up, before Kate; our photographer, ordered us about like a true professional. We sat obediently, before leaping up and down stairs, dashing from left to right and generally making artistic fools of ourselves.

Whilst some staggered off to the pub, braving the prospect of more rain, I tramped my soggy and cold self home for a much needed bath and the promise of warm, dry clothes. However much I love the romance of summer rainstorms, there does need to be a deliciously warm bath at the end or else I fear the dreaded summer cold.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


It has been a glorious week off but a part of me can't help but be a little sad that it's nearly over. We spent a relaxed weekend, with a drink on Sunday afternoon to celebrate Glasnost's birthday, before settling into the seemingly endless unplanned days.

Tuesday became a busy day with my interview in the morning, followed by lunch at Havana's and a brief meeting with my solicitor. Fortunately though we still had time to lounge around on the beach, gazing up at the bright blue sky, or lying on a pile of cushions on the decking, absorbed in our books.

We met with Donovan & Sam on Tuesday evening and headed out for a night of indie at Audio, much dancing ensued and Wednesday was therefore a day of relaxing and hiding away from the light.

Yesterday we headed up for London, abandoning our Plan A of Kew Gardens for Plan B and headed to the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. I saw my first IMAX film, a beautiful piece of film about deep sea creatures, wandered around amongst dinosaurs, fossils and stepped through a fake earthquake. We then headed out to the Nordic Bar off Oxford Street for a fabulous cocktail before heading to the much loved Ping Pong for steamed parcels of deliciousness.

It has been so nice to relax and unwind for a week, especially with the previous week being so stressful. Although the weather hasn't been it's best, we've had a good mix of getting out to do stuff, and staying in curled up hiding from the rain. Books have been read, films have been watched, take away has been eaten and culture has been absorbed. With the remainder of my holiday likely to be taken up with moving, its been lovely to have had such a week to enjoy.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

offer accepted

My offer has been accepted. And I have a job interview.

My day has suddenly got a lot more exciting!

waiting game

I've found a flat, made an offer and am now sitting, wracked with nerves whilst I wait to hear if it's been accepted. Calmer than yesterday evening, I still find myself unable to think of anything other than when the phone will ring. Every third glance is to the mobile on my desk, I occasionally check it to make sure it's on and panic that if I leave it for a second I'll miss it ringing.

I feel completely irrational, emotional and ever so slightly insane. But now that I've got over my initial abject fear, I'm actually starting to enjoy this. Yes, it's terrifying and bewildering but it's also exciting. It's edge of the seat stuff!

The only thing that could make this better is for my boy to come home, but for that I will have to wait until Saturday. I just hope that the phone call doesn't take that long.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

peaks and troughs

The flat hunting has been more difficult than expected this past weekend. On Saturday I saw a flat that, on first viewing was promising but on second became quite clear would not be suitable. It was a shame; the sitting room was lovely and light for a basement, with patio doors that led out onto a lovely garden. But there were too many “bad points” which out-weighed the good ones, meaning that I decided in the end not to make an offer.

I found this in itself depressing enough, but spent the rest of the day trawling estate agents and finding that there simply is nothing on the market at the moment that fits my needs. Tired and hot, by this time I was beginning to feel not only depressed but despairing of ever finding a flat at all.

Fortunately a late afternoon nap soon meant that I was feeling more myself, as did booking in a viewing for this evening. Finally I started to feel that there was an end in sight.

I spent a much more relaxed Sunday in the countryside, celebrating Dad’s birthday with a BBQ in the dappled sunshine. It was a lovely way to spend the day, and a welcome break from Brighton. We bickered and teased, ate steaks followed by home made strawberry ice-cream and sipped on Pimms or red wine. And it was with a peaceful heart that I set off home, top down on the car, through the orange-turning sunshine.

With the start of the week, it’s back to the grindstone and back on the phone to agents. I suspect that I will be spending a considerable amount of my time on the other end of a line, desperately trying to track down that elusive flat, but with hopefully a cheerier disposition than of late.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

and now the fun starts

This afternoon we accepted an offer on the house. So now the whole wheel is in motion, appointments with IFA's, viewings, offers of my own to make...

I feel this incredible excitement and also this deep terror. Here I am, about to embark on one of life's biggest adventures and all I can think of is wallpaper. Still, it's good to know the creative part of my brain is enjoying this!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Alexander's Feast

Dad and I trotted up to London yesterday to spend the day being cultured. We started with the Tate Modern, gorging ourselves on Mattise, Dali and other surrealists before having lunch whilst admiring the fabulous view across the Millenium Bridge. We next took a trip on the Eye, which despite the cloud cover gave us lovely views across London. Ever since going on it for the first time last year, I've been dying to go in the evening. I'm sure looking down on all those twinkling lights must be a beautiful sight.

By now feeling a little tired, we headed for a quiet meander through the V&A, taking in some original 60's art work that left Dad in a state of smiling nostalgia, harking back to his school days and playing tennis on the croquet lawn (surely that was a disgraceful thing to do?)

Finally we headed off for the Royal Albert Hall to hear Mozart's rearrangement of Handel's Alexander's Feast. The chorus were enchanting, but unfortunately we sat to the side and didn't get the best acoustics. It's the longest choral piece I've heard, and the only piece with two harpicords.

We caught the fast train back to Brighton to get me home to rest my tired and achey feet. A tiring but definitely worthwhile day.