Sunday, 28 October 2007

Odd, not even

Feeling odd today. It is as though my hands are not filled with as much blood as they should be. As I drove home from meeting my friend I had to make a special effort to grip the steering wheel. At home, I lay down.

S and our rabbit, M, were there, too. M 'clucks' when she is stroked the right way (so that you get her ears and cheeks). She did a lot of clucking and scrabbled on the bedcover with her little paws.

Well, I am stressed – the reasons are far too long and complex and
would fill a book, not a blog... So, it could be that that has caused the oddness, but it could also be that I haven't had much to eat today. I had a massive piece of cake (plus breakfast) but maybe that just isn't enough these days.

* * *

It's 17:41 and very dark outside. Why do we end BST every year?
Why do we have the same debate about how it's so very silly that we change the clocks by an hour "just for the farmers"? The farmers, who are in the minority in the UK, have the same amount of daylight as they would if the time wasn't altered. It is, surely, a no-brainer? Can we please stop mucking about with the time?

Saturday, 27 October 2007

International relations, puffy eyes and deflation

I'm meeting my friend Inz today, so we can have a rare catch up before she goes back to France. She comes over now and then to get her hair done as she has never found a hairdresser in Paris who can do her locks justice – good for me as we get to meet. It may sound indulgent to those who can walk into a salon and have an inch snipped off, or whatever, but as Inz and I know, a good hairdresser who can do more than just cut in a straight line is hard to find. Plus, it's a great reason for her to come back to London.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting a friend I've known since primary school – she is visiting from her new home in the Ukraine, so we are meeting for brunch. Due to the sleep programme (which I abused today by having an extra hour in bed), I am usually up early, so brunch will be a good use of the morning hours (especially as we have an extra hour in bed what with British Summer Time ending – annoyingly – tomorrow).

My eyes are rather puffy. They have been like this for a few days now. It could be due to the cold/crying/infection. Either way, I shall go to the chemist and buy some medicinal eye cream. I may buy something for my bruised arms and legs, too. Kung fu was tough this week. One of the classes felt like it was designed to punish us for not attending religiously (and I mean religiously). Our instructor, N, is passionate about kung fu and gets frustrated at times, accusing us of apathy. Personally, I think it's those who are sat at home who need to be told that they are apathetic, not those of us who make the effort to go along. And I do make an effort.

I feel deflated by kung fu at the moment. I'm much stronger, as toned as I could wish to be, and can hit hard and fast, but due to a lack of any positive comments, my enthusiasm has
waned. Yes, I passed my grading, but was told "that can't be right, I'll have to check that", when I revealed my results in class (even though N must have known already...). I know our performance reflects on N, but I can only do my best. Which will never be remotely good enough, it seems.

Also, one of my classmates with whom I was sparring is frustrated at having to spar with me. He wanted one of the other men to be there instead. They have more experience fighting, and are lads, so probably feel easier kicking and hitting each other. Hmm. Also, I have rarely – if ever – been praised for anything in class, whereas others seem to elicit more praise.

I don't feel as though I am dire at kung fu – in fact, I know I am improving, albeit pretty slowly – but only hearing feedback when I've done something wrong (which may be a psychological device) is wiring a synapse with negativity and it doesn't motivate me where it might work with others. It makes me wonder whether there's any point me trying. I am so tired and pouring my energy into something that makes me feel low and useless may not be helpful...

When I was ill, N commented that there "was always something wrong" with me when my friend passed on a message that I was ill, which I found incredibly hurtful. I have chronic insomnia, am on serious drugs for a serious reason, and have taken up a demanding sport. Most people would curl up on the sofa and watch TV, eat comfort food and use shopping as exercise. I do sleep well after exercising but am in the sort of mood where I am liable to snap if told off for no good reason or have sarcasm levelled at me, especially if it's to do with my health. I am resilient but I am also human, and now is not a good time for me. So, I may give it a miss for a bit.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Things I saw today...

1) A man – just like the model-esque black guy in the Coca-Cola advert, smiling and singing to his iPod as he walked home after work. He didn't look crazy, just happy. I couldn't hear him so have no idea of how he sounded.

2) A torn blanket, a plastic sheet and a small carrier bag left in a pile by a busy roadside in central London. Someone's home for the night.

3) Lavishly decorated Christmas trees in the windows of a public building. They weren't lit, but still, it is only October.

4) The view of the London skyline and the Thames at dusk. A twinkling, beautiful, historic, modern, busy, interesting, quiet (if you know where to look), wonderful place. Delicious.

Monday, 22 October 2007

I wish I was a superhero

I am stupefyingly ANGRY at this so-called 'sentence' for the 'man' who left a 96-year-old war veteran blind in one eye and so ill he must now be cared for in a home. If this doesn't make your blood boil, nothing ever will. A three-year supervision order? Are you fucking joking?????

I had to stop thinking about it on the way home as it was making me cry in public.

I would like to have 10 minutes alone with the 44-year-old fuckwitted cowardly lowlife scumbag who meted out an unprovoked beating to this old man who did nothing but 'stand in his way' on a train.

The old man walks with walking sticks. I would like to make the 44-year-old walk with walking sticks. And blind in one eye.

WHY THE FUCK IS STEPHEN GORDON NOT IN JAIL? WHY??????????????????? I hope there is a hell.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Dark pictures

My beloved digital camera is behaving strangely. It flashes – seemingly at the right time – but when you look at the image, it is dark. Don't understand it. I've fiddled with the menus and controls but it doesn't make any difference.

I poked my head outside this morning to take in the very cold air. The sun shone into my face and I pointed and clicked. That was OK. I have a picture of the glaring brightness of an autumn morning, which is no bad thing. I may have to invest in a new camera, though.

* * *

Didn't sleep much. Had just one glass of wine as we had a visitor last night, but I kept waking up to a pounding heart, feeling hot. Horrible. I'd rather be teetotal than put up with that, especially seeing as the same thing happened last Sunday, after two small glasses of champagne. What's the point?

Friday, 19 October 2007

Deterrent? Crapola

Hmm. Two years for stoning a man who then died of a heart attack. Apparently, the punishment – two years in a detention centre – will 'act as a deterrent to others'.

The boys cried and hugged their parents as they were sentenced. Call me a cynic but I'd wager the only people they cried for were themselves.

Reading about the father and son, the mundane details – that they put up a makeshift set of cricket stumps so they could practise bowling – make me want to weep and scream.

I hope the offenders' guilt, if they feel any, stays with them forever, especially when they have children of their own and realise what they stole.

Two sodding years. What a joke.

I have no doubt (judging from previous posts) that there will be people reading this who will be bursting to tell me how badly the boys' lives were/are and oh, what a hard fucking life it is, deprivation this and poverty that. Well (and yes, I am bloody furious), I'll have no truck with that, for a million different reasons. Come on, I dare you...

Estate agents are liars (not exactly a revelation)

So, I'm sitting here, in my dressing gown (yes, it is 1.30pm but I am still not feeling quite right and I am working at home, so who gives a damn?)...

I hear a rattle of keys at the front door and make a noise, thinking that someone maybe had the wrong flat, or was going to the neighbour's place, and heard: "Mell, Mell, it's [insert name] here from Estate Wankers."

Conversation through a closed door:

Me: What are you doing here?
Estate Wanker (EW): Nick left a message yesterday.
Me: I am off sick, I didn't get a message.
EW: But he called.
Me: I didn't get a message. It is not convenient now.
EW: So, we can't come in?
Me: As I said I am off sick, no appointment was made, I expect a call when someone is coming round. Will you check it with Nick?
EW: Yes, I'll go back to the office and check it.
Me: Good.

Then I called up the office and complained to the manager about the EW feeling perfectly free and easy as far as entering my property is concerned. How fucking difficult is it to pick up the phone to ask whether it is convenient?

I do not like being lied to about such things. Am furious. Suppose I was in the middle of an important interview, in the bath, or walking around with my pants on my head?


Which reminds me, I had a call from a different estate cretin earlier this week. She congratulated me on my 'pregnancy' on the basis of me and S looking at a few properties in the area. The idiot called me up at work and went on and on and I had to say that she had got that wrong. This is the same twunt who told me I looked like her sister and that that made her want to slap me. I really need to write some searing, arse-burning letters. Pronto.

I hate them. Idiots.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The smoke alarm

It started beeping yesterday when I was in bed during the afternoon: a short, sharp screech, just the right pitch to be heard above everything else. It then started again this morning for an hour or so, was quiet all day, and has been going for about an hour now. The sound is emitted every minute, I think.

I have been irritated by the smoke alarm and sit here waiting for the next mini-scream. A bit stupid really, seeing as it's only doing its job, and a damn good one at that. I need to buy new batteries, not waste my energy being annoyed with a clever and rather useful contraption.

As I am still not quite right, I shall let myself off for not buying the batteries today, and for forgetting to ask S to bring some home. I mean, I didn't even venture out to buy the lemons I needed.

Hmm, I shall cook some delicious M&S fish (ready prepared), put on a DVD and try to relax. Not easy, but I shall try. For some people this would be effortless but for me, when I am under the weather, I feel an absence of what I could/should/would otherwise be doing.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Words and paracetamol

Sitting here in my dressing gown with ears that prickle, a throat that is swollen and a head that is heavy, I am pondering a variety of things. (My harsh boss – me – has given me the day off, as I feel as rough as sandpaper toilet roll. I am so nice to me...)

Words is on my ponderance list: heavens, they have the propensity to cause all sorts of problems, don't they? I could write reams of words on words but to do so would be tricky at the moment due to the unconnectedness of my verbal reasoning synapses and the call of the leftover curry I'm heating up for lunch.

Curry fact: the heat from chillies in a hot curry cause the brain to think the mouth is burned, so it releases endorphins, which is possibly why so many
people crave spicy food. Works for me.

So: words. This way we have developed of communicating with
one another has evolved from non-verbal communication and grunts. Supposedly. But let's face it, non-verbal goings-on and gut feelings – intuition – can have a huge impact on us and can rule out the misunderstandings caused by words.

I set great store by my gut feeling, and the more I do so, the more it tells me, like an indistinct voice to which your ear becomes attuned. It is literally a persistent, simmering, throbbing feeling in my solar plexus, and I can know certain things (people's motives, whether someone will do what they have promised, whether something is advisable, more mundane things, too), with certainty, because of it. I consult it.

ho is to say that those areas of the brain about which we know nothing are not operating on what is naively described as 'another plane', but are governing such hunches and 'illogical' moments that most of us bury under a pile of steaming reason?

The trouble with words, as much as I love them, is our tendency to see what we want to see, to draw meanings according to our limited experience, and to interpret them in infinite ways. The more limbic things – the scent of one another's hormones, the smell of fear, a sense of danger – are often far more reliable simply because we do not translate these through our flawed, word-mangling, word-strangling, biased brains.

And on that note, I am going to take some paracetamol and lie down.

Listening to: Portishead - Sour Times

Sunday, 14 October 2007


I had alcohol for the first time in six months last night – two glasses of champagne.

It tasted good.

I got home late... have slept for about an hour.

I feel awful.

It is not fair.

I am tireder than the tiredest person in Tiredland.

Tireder is a strange word...

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


I like watching people, and sometimes I watch people watching other people.

On my way to and from work I observe them, like ants, scurrying this way and that. All in their own secret worlds. It can make me want to cry, these people and their mysteries, weaving their way through my favourite city in the world.

Why is she smiling to herself?
Is he holding in tears, or is that anger? Where is she going? What is he thinking? Can any of them read my mind? If they can: hello...

If I listen to my red thing I feel as though I am travelling through a film script, especially when I'm in central London. Today's random shuffle began exquisitely and started with the song I most wanted to hear:

Love Like Blood (Killing Joke)
Sour Times (Portishead)
The Unforgettable Fire (U2)
Protection (Massive Attack)
O Mi Babbino Caro (from Gianni Schicchi)
Strangers (Portishead)

Listening to: Björk - Human Behavior

Monday, 8 October 2007

Broken finger, mended friendship

It's called a comminuted fracture, which means that S's little finger – which he fractured back in May, and has broken again this weekend thanks to cricket – is in pieces. He's on strong painkillers and won't be swinging a bat or catching a cricket ball for a while. Work will be tricky, too. And so is bathing (I showered him today and yesterday as he sat in the bath, his poorly hand draped over the side).

Anyway, this latest mishap (all sustained while S was fielding or keeping wicket) follows the breaking of another finger (keeping up?) a few weeks ago. That break was a hairline fracture.

So, in summary: we have finger A, which was broken in May, then healed (albeit at a strange angle), then was broken again, badly, at the weekend, and finger B on his other hand, cracked a few weeks ago but now OK. That, hopefully, will be the 'three'. Finger A is blueish red and very fat. Thinking about the shattered, twisted little bones inside makes me feel queasy. He chuckled as he told me about it.

* * * * *

My friend, P, who I have known for 20 years, drove us to have a lovely cream tea at the weekend. We had lost touch for more than five years for various reasons (I had things going on; she went abroad) but I realised in the course of our latest conversation that the good bits of P are very, very good, and that the not-so-good bits (as I had perceived them while not in a great state of mind) were really not at all not-so-good (double negatives necessary, I'm afraid). Perspective is a great thing.

Not one of us is perfect, and it became apparent to me as we chatted and ate scones slathered in jam and clotted cream that we have both grown up a lot during the hiatus. Certain insecurities are not there any longer, confidence has replaced what were growing pains, but most importantly, what made us friends as teenagers hadn't changed a bit.

I don't know anyone who hasn't said something that, if I so choose, I can perceive as hurtful. And I know I can be sharp at times (especially this summer with my insomnia, but the people who genuinely care see past my fug of deepest, darkest exhaustion; those who choose to see the negative, such as my ex-friend R, focus on themselves only, saying things like, "You aren't the only one with problems"...). Hmm, yes. Whatever. This isn't a fucking contest.

If I turn this thing round on its head, maybe P could have chosen to feel victim-y and cast me as a bad person... At the last meal we went to – a meeting of friends – weeks before she took a job abroad, I barely spoke to her despite her best efforts, and I walked away at the end of the evening, putting in place the first brick of a gap in our friendship that was actually quite damaging to me, as I added it to my feelings of being wronged. I remember it clearly. My breath rose in the air as I marched back to my car and drove to the flat I lived in alone. I'd said goodbye to everyone bar her. I don't blame myself for behaving that way, as I had stupefying things going on, but it's not a happy memory.

Anyway, when I contacted P at New Year after discovering her new mobile number (well, I'm not a journalist for nothing), I wasn't sure if I would receive a response. But I did, and when she remembered my birthday, months later, I suggested we meet. She called me up immediately and we met a week later. It was a little odd talking about big events such as my wedding to S. But it was also not odd, not painful, not embarrassing. It was OK, it was really OK. And that spoke volumes.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Fighting fit(ish) and a birthday

This week has been rather too busy. Sleep has been a friend for a few nights and a foe for the others, which hasn't helped in the light of the amount of work I've had to do lately.

I woke up yesterday with a scratchy sore throat, feeling drained and dizzy. My head is blocked this morning – I doubt I recovered from the virus thing last week. The scratchy throat thing has extended to my left ear today – you know that feeling when you have to wiggle your ear as the sensation is so deep in your eardrum? I shall ignore it. Pah.

Anyway, I am now allowed to fight. Yes. Fight! I passed my kung fu grading (though when I attended class recently I was very uncoordinated and felt about as worthy of my new belt as Britney Spears would be if she were crowned mum of the year). I was embarrassed and frustrated at my ineptness and my instructor joked that he thought me passing the test must be a mistake. I smiled but I felt bad. Maybe I should have just stayed at home and rested. But I'm not that sort of person. Even when I should be.

* * * * *

One of my dearest friends, Inz, celebrated her 40th birthday yesterday. It was a lovely gathering of people she'd collected from various times in her life. I rarely see her as she lives in France but when I do it's great. We met at a writing class in the early 90s, and clicked immediately. She is funny, lovely, caring, warm, and as cute as a button.

The music – which was courtesy of the radio – was an appropriate mixture of 70s, 80s and 90s tunes. The food, provided by Inz's mum, was delicious. It was an evening of easy reminiscing, devoid of angst, as it should be.

I got home post-curfew and walked past cars covered in condensation. Everything was that bit quieter, stiller and there was ice in the air. Autumn has definitely arrived. The ivy that was green and red is now blazing scarlet.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Poisonous waters?

Feel a bit better today, thank goodness. Maybe I sweated out the remainder of the virus – or the weird stuff that I found in my bottle of mineral water (more later) – at kung fu. Yes, there was a lot of sweat – we were all drenched, exhausted and loved every minute of it. Instructor N was on good form – tough but good-humoured – and the class was a pleasurable mix of pain and triumph.

I still have big bruises on my arms from last week's class. One is purple, one is red with a yellow patch in the middle. It was funny, N told me to "calm it down" when we were in pairs sparring. I have plenty of enthusiasm and speed but my technique needs sharpening up (as is the case with all of us). I quite like that I need to be told to calm it down w
hen sparring with a six-foot man. Ha ha.

But, yes, the water-poison thing. Well, we were out on Sunday, having a relaxed day, stopped at a café for lunch and I bought a bottle of mineral water to take away. I sipped from it. All fine. Later, I put the bottle by my bed, drank half of it and went to sleep – a fitful sleep. The next day, I felt utterly horrendous.

Before we went out (once I felt vaguely normal), I came across the bottle and found that the water was now green, slightly frothy, contained what looked like the large remains of a capsule – floating like pieces of a giant tapeworm – plus tiny purple globes of stuff.

Now, I don't know what it was – it may have been a vitamin.
All I know is that I felt like death warmed up the morning after (but then again I had been ill for a few days...). But I couldn't lift my arms or stand. Hmm. If I go back to the café, I'll only get an apology and free bottle of water, and I can't prove anything (though I still have the bottle with the now-purple water). Ugh.

* * * * *

M the rabbit had to go to the vet today. She hated it and tried to hide under the scales (she weighs 2.5kg, a fact that makes my heart melt for some reason). The vet gave her two injections and a check up. M tried (as much as a bunny can) to cling to me. It was very sweet. When we got home, she raced around, annoyed and in discomfort. I gave her a carrot top, which she ate, but I know she was disgruntled at being taken to the vet. She looks so sleepy now, poor little thing. I'm playing my iTunes favourites softly, which seem to soothe her. She likes God Only Knows by The Beach Boys, I think. One ear has swivelled towards the computer, you see.
Listening to:
Duran Duran - Rio This may seem naff but I remember being 13, in a plane, flying over the Rio Grande and listening to this song on my Walkman. Fucking amazing... "You make me feel alive, alive, alive..."

Monday, 1 October 2007

Faint – but with fab hair

Ended up sprawled in the bath in my night clothes this morning, while my hair was saturated in hair dye.

I had been having breakfast, with dye-damp hair piled on top of my head, when the blood rushed from my brain, from my limbs, and I felt horrendous. I have never passed out but must have been very close to doing so.

Had I not been in a hair-dying situation, I'd have somehow crawled to the bedroom, or called for S. But no, my tresses (and arms – on account of slumping with my head in my hands) were covered in this deep, dark stuff that was ready to be washed off, and I imagined that if I left it, it would burn my scalp away. So, cold and perspiring frighteningly, I let some time pass, barely able to move. Then, I walked – very slowly – to the bathroom, careful to hold the walls (but not stain them in the process) to keep me upright. I felt, with every step, that I might fall, and was terrified that I'd hit my head in the small bathroom, and S would find me out cold or worse. It was that bad.

Eventually, I slid into the bath, clothed, and lay there for a while. Then, with my head swimming, I shifted underneath the shower head and let warm water flow over me, which soothed me slightly. It took ages for me to have a shower as my body felt like jelly and my arms and legs were like a rag doll's. Even typing this – an hour later – my fingers feel bloodless. My face is white.

It's very odd. I've been eating well... so I don't know what caused this. I just hope it doesn't repeat as S and I have a longed-for day off and he's taking me out to a lovely place celebrate our third anniversary of nuptials.

I shall wear my red dress and damn this bizarre dizziness.