I wish I could make a new year’s resolution to ditch the arachnophobia and start 2016 as a spider lover. Unfortunately it is not that simple. Here’s a little tale of how my Saturday morning was spent, with a spider. Happy new year.
It was the first time the boy had left the house without me since Christmas. It was no less than ten minutes after his departure – while I was sat indulging in some festive telly – that the eight legged brute creeped across the hallway like it owned the place.
To be fair, it now did.
I mustered up all strength to flatten it with a shoebox. It did a vanishing act. Distressed phone calls were made. I sat for two hours. Staring at the vacant space.
I was bound to my bedroom, all five feet two of my coward body disarmed whilst that five centimetres of audacity paraded around my house at will.
I’d admire their chutzpah, if only I didn’t hate them so much.
This past week has been a week of lasts. My last Friday night as a twentysomething, my last Sunday lie-in as a twentysomething, my last painful Monday morning wake-up as a twentysomething…. In case it isn’t slap-you-in-the-face obvious, this week I turn 30.
I am surprisingly not too tormented about the looming age milestone that many a woman has had a meltdown over. And I do wonder if now might be the time to stop panicking when I get asked for ID at the checkout when buying Burgundy… The wine. Not the place. Unfortunately.
As a child, I was one of the lucky ones. A birthday in half term, no school guaranteed, and one whole lazy day of presents and playing with them.
As an adult, it sucks.
Everywhere I go, I find myself amidst a crowd of little people. I am not saying I don’t like children, but I am perhaps one of those adults that only likes (and adores) the ones I know or am related to.
So, suggestions for child-avoiding, 30th-birthday-worthy weekday activities during half terms are most welcome. Answers on a postcard, please.
This time four days ago I was being kissed by the sunshine and caressed by silence. Today I am nuzzled by rain drops, sirens, children screaming and adults complaining. Goodbye Spanish campo, hello my old friend London.
Having just returned to the city from a holiday, it has taken me a moment to become accustomed to the sheer amount of souls I am once again surrounded by. It has also taken me a moment to become reacquainted with the types of souls this city is filled with…
While strolling down the aisle of a supermarket yesterday I decided, what with it being Sunday and the last official day of my holiday, I would see off two weeks of indulgent face-stuffing with a gooey cream cake.
As I perused the pastries I saw a pair of podgy fingers reaching for a chocolate lacquered choux bun; someone else had plumped for the same snack selection, although it appeared her decision needed a much more rapid wish fulfilment than mine. The bun was not her pick for the trolley, it was a mere little something to amuse her loose lips whilst she chose what she really wanted: a chunky Victoria sponge oozing with fresh cream and strawberry jam.
Now I am sure that her honest nature had her taking the empty cake box to the till with her to pay for her in store treat, but time and time again when I see these supermarket munchers, grazing on the stock as they shop, I wonder why. Perhaps they are safeguarding against that impending apocalypse that might just stop them from enjoying that box of Coco Pops the following morning. Or perhaps they can only prevail over the weekly food shop if there are tummy loving perks on the way round. It’s the ones that don’t close their mouths that are the worst. Munching on buns whilst in the middle of the supermarket, the congealed butter and cream swirling around their tongue and slapping against their cheeks.
I wonder if they’ll ID me after I’ve drunk the whole bottle of Vodka in my basket on my next grocery shop…
My Sunday was spent grappling with 3 hours and 58 minutes of film history.
As the sun was lost to the horizon and the light disappeared from the room, my tenacity was finally greeted with the line I had been waiting for. Eight of the most iconic words to be written since The Lumière brothers started this crazy craze known as filmmaking.
3 hours and 58 minutes of my Sunday afternoon spent and what did I learn?
Scarlett O’Hara is an imbecile.
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
I can’t remember exactly when I first started saying “one day”. I know I was very young. And I know I said it a lot. I also know that I say it as much now as I ever did then.
I am the dreamer of the family with her head in the clouds. I’ve grown accustomed to that face some people pull when I mention my plans for “one day”. Back then I made my aunt buy me an extra large sketchbook so I could map out the plans for my future abode. These days I lose minutes to the dark side that is daydreams and living in reverie.
Lucky for me while chasing my one-days I’ve found a partner in crime. Amidst seven years of citing one-days to each other, we almost didn’t realise when we were in the middle of a one-day moment last week.
Last Wednesday was a lucky day. The boy and I attended Wimbledon for the first time (the ultimate tennis event for those of you who aren’t into watching two people smash a ball around a court).
We sat munching our lunch and hiding from the rain in the corridors beneath Court 1, lamenting for the day we would be relishing in VIP treatment and swapping the overpriced ham sandwiches for the three course lunch whipped up by Michel Roux just a few doors down at The Gatsby Club.
As the usual two little words tumbled off my tongue I had an epiphany. I might “one day” be sitting pretty beside the privileged of Wimbledon, but I was also sat slap-bang right in the middle of a one-day moment right now, a moment I had dreamed of since I first found myself roaring at the TV screen alongside a nation of Tim Henman supporters in the 90s.
That said, I shall forever be a dreamer.
Without dreams, I wouldn’t have found myself back at Wimbledon again yesterday within touching distance of the almighty Roger Federer. In that front row seat the silence was palpable, the sounds were magnified and for that moment in time, the grass was a green as it was ever going to get.
I’ll always chase the “one days”, but thanks to this week, I will also remember to stop and smell the rosy aroma of those that are happening right now.
Embracing the Odd.
I was often told that if I wanted to be a writer I would need to grow a thick skin.
My papery epidermis has taken a tear or two over the past couple of years, but a comment I received last week was to prove to be my biggest test yet.
It is never nice to be told your work isn’t good. So far, I haven’t yet come across too many unhelpful comments, and most of what I am told is justified, even if I am a little reluctant at first to admit it.
Last week I was given some feedback in relation to a freelance job I was bidding for. The company had asked if I would write a trial piece for them, which is industry code for “we want you to write something for free even though we can see a huge portfolio of your work online.”
I obliged, and it was within an evaluation of this piece (which came from an anonymous ‘evaluator’ that hid behind the name of the company) that I found this pearl of wisdom…
“Your words seemed odd.”
Baffled by the buckets of brilliance that it must have taken to come up with that little whip-smart nugget, I didn’t quite know what to say.
It took the strength of a superhuman not to reply with an equally insightful observation such as “your face is odd”, but instead I printed it out and I pinned it on my pinboard.
Over the past few years, I have started to embrace my eccentricities. So if it shines through my words I’m afraid it’s just the mark of someone who’s becoming a bit more comfortable in their skin… which, funnily enough, is getting ever thicker.
I have reached the age where weddings and babies are a common occurrence amongst my friends, and so for the second time this year I find myself organising a ‘hen do’.
Whilst emailing prospective ‘hens’ my brain started to whirl and wonder, why the hell am I referred to as a ‘hen’?
The groom and his boisterous group of roisterers get to be called stags.
It made me think.
I want to be a sodding stag. A stag makes a great first impression. A stag is powerful. It’s proud. It’s got integrity, it’s got poise and it demands respect.
But as I paused for thought I asked myself, what is the point in lusting after unoriginality? Why set my sights on what the men have got?
So I have decided to go one better. I’m going with something magical, something mystifying, something that’s got grace and vigour by the bucketload, but is also shrouded in a superhuman, supernatural strength that no one can ever quite put their finger on.
When I get married, I’m having a fricking Unicorn Do.
Much like my Monday pondering, The Daily Post is asking what sparks our ideas this week. This post was inspired by my whirring brain and a couple of the many eclectic treasures I have hidden around my home.
You will have to excuse my meandering mind again today. As I was laid face down on a surgeon’s table this morning, I couldn’t help but wish I was sat on the riverside bench that the boy and I had perched on just 20 hours previously with two portions of chips and a can of Dr. Pepper. I’ve always loved what we Brits can do with a potato, but I hadn’t sampled the magic for at least six months.
So as I studied the speckles of a blue vinyl floor, I started reminiscing about chips…
I was a fussy eater until I was around 25 years old. As a kid, I was often left sitting at the dinner table long after everyone else had finished, staring at a plate filled with greens.
I would long for a portion of fries.
My Dad used to tell me I’d turn into a chip. I used to think it wouldn’t be as bad as turning into a cauliflower or a piece of broccoli. At least I could be a supermodel skinny fry with a French accent.
This afternoon I realised that it takes me four minutes and 29 seconds to peel a satsuma. That’s over 31 minutes a week, which is around 1,631 minutes a year… otherwise known as 27 hours.
It has come as quite a shock to me that such a block of my time is dedicated to one of my five a day, and it has had me wondering how much time I waste on other humdrum tasks.
Five minutes more wasted and I have come up with this little list.
- Trying to get rid of pins and needles – 260 minutes
- Hiccuping – 312 minutes
- Stifling a yawn – 60 minutes
- Proofreading my text messages – 1,820 minutes
- Figuring out the meaning of an emoji – 60 minutes
- Trying to decide if I want sugar in my tea – 260 minutes
I hope you can understand why I am keeping this post short. I’m off to invent some time-saving, multi-tasking techniques.
NB If you think my satsuma peeling time is excessive, it’s because I have a fear of the straggly white bits.
Oxford. The city that saw me trawling museums as a child and drinking holes as a teenager. It is also home to a reprobate character or two…
Five things I learned this weekend.
- A man (that you do not know) will find no qualms in stealing a sheepskin rug from under your bottom on the rooftop of a bar because he is cold and there are no blankets left.
- A man will also find no qualms in standing with his bum pressed up against your shoulder even though there is a shedload of floor space around him and you have spent the last 30 minutes shifting your chair across his toes.
- The Ashmolean Museum is filled with staff members on ‘backpack watch’ (probably because they’ve seen a knuckle-headed tourist wipe out an irreplaceable Ming vase with the oversized load on their back). The dunderheads always ruin it for the rest of us.
- Massage therapists will touch your feet even when you ask them not to (and then look shocked when they narrowly miss a roundhouse to the face when they do lay their paws on yours).
- Waitresses no longer find it necessary to apologise when you inform them that there is a hair in your cucumber sandwich, and they will only replace it once you’ve fully tucked into your scone and hence no longer have the palate for savoury. Of course at this point you have also forced yourself to power through the high tea, forgetting all thoughts of said hair and her return only reminds you of the discovery and makes you want to throw the jammy creamed cake at her phlegmatic face.
Otherwise the city of spires is quite a delightful place to spend your hours.
Thank you to the Daily Post for inspiring my photo-taking for the second time this week.