Jublilee celebrations

I have my ipad in front of me with rolling commentary of the Jubilee River Pageant.  L is in call so I am celebrating by myself – typical British weather means the Juliblee weekend is a complete washout yet millions of people are lining the banks of the Thames to wave and watch 1000 boats sail behind the Royal Barge on this very historic occasion.  I do like the Queen, but I’m quite happy to be sitting at home with my Mad Hatter hat on in homage to the Queen’s 60 year reign (or rain!). Whoop Whoop!

Life drawing

In a recent bid to get myself out of the house more often, I decided to go to Life Drawing lessons with a friend of mine.  It’s been some time since I sat in front of a naked person (with the intention of drawing them), so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  

At previous classes, the model has been in the middle of a large room, with plenty of personal space for everyone.  This session was rather more intimate and my low chair meant my line of vision was, shall we say…unfortunate.  

Funnily enough, and without consciously deciding to, I managed to omit all traces of genitalia from my sketches.  It wasn’t until I started to draw the scenario in cartoon format that I realised what I’d done.    Anyway – I’ve just spent most of the day drawing this strip instead of doing my tax returns. 

THREE OOOOOH

Guess who’s who? Oh how graceful!

I have a fan!! Well I’m assuming he’s a fan – yes he may be a friend, and yes he may spend far too much time on the computer, but when he asks why there hasn’t been an entry for 2 weeks then suggests I crack on with it, I think he officially becomes a fan, don’t you?

The problem is, I was not born a writer. This stuff doesn’t just splurge onto parchment from my feather quill – I have to wait for inspiration and sometimes it doesn’t hit for weeks on end even with the copious amounts of coffee and the thinking I do. Writing also requires a good deal of brain power of which I have very little to spare. And lastly, I have to live a life! But seeing as my fan base has chided me into writing something – and you know who you are – I suppose I should get on with things.

Hmmmm what to write about?Well it’s been three days since I hit the big THREE OOHHH.I found another wrinkle, L has been tweezing out some grey hairs (mine not hers) and my boobs have moved another notch closer to my kneecaps but all in all I still feel the same!I have however, started to spend way too much time considering the meaning of life? Why do we spend so much time working to pay the mortgage, raise the kids, buy snazzy cars and go on fancy holidays when life is over before you can blink? I know it’s a bit morbid but if, lets say, I live to 60 then…. I’m now officially MIDDLE AGED!!!!

In our relatively short lifespan, what contribution do we actually make to the world?We take much, much more than we actually give.We use more than our fair share of natural resources, destroy the existence of other living creatures by removing their habitats and killing off their food sources, we over fish, over farm and pollute the earth with allsorts of waste such as methane, C02, plastic, dead skin and god knows what else. Then, when we’ve taken all we want, we just up and die. “goodbye and thanks for all the fish”I’ll leave you to mull this over…

Now, on to something more light-hearted…. L took me to Crufts last week! For those of you who don’t live in the UK, Crufts is the biggest dog show in the world (is that right?). They have competitors from Europe to Japan with over 22,000 dogs shown over 4 or 5 days. Now, pretty much everyone I mentioned this to, rolled their eyes and pretended to be happy whilst secretly thinking “I can’t think of anything worse” and “POOR L”.

I have to say, when L gave me the tickets I was shocked, not because of the nice gesture but because it had to be her idea of HELL.I’m afraid I have an uncontrollable reaction to animals of any sort.Anyone who knows me well will vouch for this but on discovering something cute and fluffy, I can’t stop myself grabbing the closest person to me, pointing to the animal in question and saying “isn’t it CUUUUUTE” in a pitch which is best suited for dolphin communication.I don’t know why, but the words are out of my mouth before my brain can engage.I have often been left stroking a stranger’s puppy and cooing while L saunters on pretending not to know me.

So now you can understand why I was so shocked at the gift – In actual fact, the day turned out to be great fun.Even L seemed to have a good time.The venue was huge and sprawling – after 6 hours of traipsing around we couldn’t possibly have seen everything.L remained patient throughout even though I screeched and pointed for most of the morning.But by midday, after seeing up to 60 dogs of the same breed, when there were over 56 different breeds, even I couldn’t muster an “aaah how cute”.

We amused ourselves watching people brush and fuss their dogs.Some wore ribbons, others had bibs on to stop the drool ruining their hair dos.Collies were practicing their heel work, and Great Danes were looming over their owners but mostly they all looked worn out and fed up with being poked, prodded and mauled by the judges.

We joined the crowds to watch the agility heats and developed a new found respect for Poodles. Don’t knock ‘em, they may look poncey but boy they are masters of the agility course. We ‘Oohed’ and ‘Ahhed’ when the dogs did a round in a particularly fast time or got eliminated by jumping over all the wrong jumps in overwhelming excitement. I cried at the doggy dancing and laughed at the police dog antics.It was all thoroughly enjoyable. And for your perusal, here are just a couple of pictures:

Above: Poncy Poodle “look at meeee”
not a great pick but it gives you the idea

above: This Dog is famous!! She was one of the
Corgis in the film The Queen!

above: with a face like that, is there a
reason for living?

above: some people prefer dogs that don’t
require much looking after.

above: this bearded collie was one of the stars
in the film Holiday and some other movie I can’t remember.
Watch the video to see what happened when he completed his round!

Over my Birthday Weekend, (this has since been extended to a Birthday Week) I was graced with the presence of BOTH my parents.It’s extremely rare to have a visit from Mum and Dad at the same time! So in preparation for their arrival, I spent two solid days cleaning frantically and chastising the bunny for moulting everywhere.I screamed at L for not doing her fair share, grumbled at the lack of space to hang washing out to dry, and had restless nights worrying about the sleeping arrangements.

By the time they arrived I was worn out and there was still bunny hair floating around!However, we had a lovely weekend filled with fine dining, walks, card games and a trip to the world’s smallest cinema. With 21 seats and barely enough room to sip your luke warm tea from a polystyrene cup, it couldn’t help but maintain the air of the seedy, peepshow room it once was.

Cinema aside, everything was good fun and the weather added to the occasion by being bright and sunny for the full three days.By the end of it, I was sad to see my parents go… that’s odd. Aren’t we supposed to sigh with relief when our parents leave?

Anyway, now that I have satisfied my one fan with another entry, I shall get back to sorting out my portfolio for an interview next week! Yes, some paid freelance work with a design agency no less. If all goes well I might be inspired to tell you about it.So until next time….

Christmas Cheer

I’m here in France avec mes parents with only three days to go until Xmas! It has been interesting trying to shop for pressies with a student budget. No matter what your parents say, you can’t turn up empty handed and sit around a bare tree base on Christmas morning.Even if your present is little more than a few hand made cookies or some poorly sewn cushions, the gesture still has to be made. I didn’t do either but I did make an effort.

Unlike some people, I actually enjoy Christmas shopping.I love to take my time sauntering around the shops, eager to see what useless inventions they’re selling as the next MUST HAVE! The first things that spring to mind are tongs for rescuing toast from the toaster without electrocuting yourself. Sorry L, I know they were just a stocking filler but I had to mention them! I’ve survived the last 29 years spearing lost toast with a fork so why would I need tongs now? AH HAA, I get it! Once I hit thirty I’ll start to get frail and uncoordinated so they’ll definitely come in handy!Thanks for thinking of me.

Anyway, this year, shopping was frustrating – my jolly spree was downgraded to trudging around the shops, picking up the gifts I’d like to buy, checking the price tags then replacing them on the shelf! Alas the self heating slippers were not meant for dad this year.

The general feeling of melancholy was exacerbated by the hoards of people pushing and shoving through the stores to get to the novelty gifts like the electric nose hair plucker or the game of chocolate Table Top Twister!I hardly had a moment to commiserate with an interesting gift I couldn’t afford before I was swept helplessly along in the rush.

Where do these crowds come from? Every inch of Nottingham over the last few weeks has been crammed with shoppers. Even getting a cup of coffee is impossible without fighting off a flock of hot, harassed looking ladies with fists full of bags.

I’m sure this frantic last minute shopping frenzy is purely a British phenomenon.I assume this because I’ve just spent the last three hours in a mall (in Switzerland) that was positively dead by comparison.There are only two more shopping days left!In the UK the frenzy would be reaching a crescendo by now.Unlike their British counterparts, the Swiss and the French seemed relaxed and cheery as they float between shops. So, either everything in Switzerland is far too expensive (quite possible) or everyone is terribly organized and finished their shopping two months ago.

Whatever the case my shopping is complete whilst mum is still writing lists and worrying about last minute gifts.My brother arrives tonight – thankfully he didn’t fly as I hear Heathrow is cancelling flights left, right and centre because of the fog… ha hah it sounds like that 1980’s movie…. THE FOG! With the tag line ‘What you can’t see won’t hurt you… it’ll kill you!’

So the year is almost over and 2006 was the last full year as a twenty something! I’m acutely aware that I only have three months left before I need to start applying the Revitalift eye cream, thinking about botox and generally make arrangements for the downward spiral into decrepitude.

Alright! Alright! Calm down boys and girls – I know most of my friends have already made the transition and yes, I know it’s not that bad! So why does society make us believe that the big three ‘o’ should sound more like the BIG THREE OOOOOHHHH!!? By now, according to the rules of society, I should have a career, a house, a marriage and possibly children on the way. Well I can certainly tick off one of those things, namely the house!

The marriage?Hmm…after seven and half years my relationship certainly feels like a marriage. And as for the career, well you already know that the last one went out with the 2006 trash and now I’m scouring the shelves for a brand spanking new one! The course, I might add, is going well.I had a rather hectic last few days when four projects and an essay had to be handed in but surprisingly, this time round, meeting deadlines and writing essays has been sans hair loss, palpitations and general paralysis.

Hang on, where was I… ah yes Children. Well that would be great but for the moment, without a career, and therefore the income and because the next two years are dedicated to student life, they’ll have to wait. Anyway, I don’t need to worry about kids until I’m approaching my 35th birthday (the point at which your reproductive organs start to falter – delicately pointed out by L) and I’m not prepared to contemplate that yet.

Anyway I think I have ranted enough. I’m not actually this bad in real life… or am I? Well, I hope it won’t be so long until the next instalment but just in case, Merry Christmas everyone and have a Happy NEW YEAR!

hangin’ out wiv da kids!!


Last night was the graphic desgin party in town. It took me a good chunk of the day to decide whether I was going to go. I was bombarded with horribly adult dilemmas such as, can I really have a night out on a weekday; I need at least 8 hours sleep so I can function properly in the morning; I should be saving my money and gosh ‘Town’ seems horribly far away (15mins by bus)’.

L convinced me that it was a good way to get to know my peers so I set about putting my glad rags on. It didn’t take long to reach the ‘OH MY GOD’ I have nothing to wear’ crisis mode. How can we have three cupboards full of clothes and NOTHING to wear??!

A full hour of stomping around the house huffing and puffing because nothing in the cupboards says ‘hey, I’m a designer, I’m cool and I fit in with the crowd even though I’m 11 years older than most of you and officially the granny of the class’! … Can clothes actually say all that?… I’m sure they can but unfortunately the most my clothes can muster is a feeble ‘help! I’m a fashion disaster’. Even the temporary blue hair dye, which a week ago had been my half hearted attempt to look slightly less ordinary was starting to fade into a lovely snot green. It was the proverbial icing on my very own burnt cake!

Several pairs of trousers and 20 tops later I resigned myself to jeans and a nondescript top – woo hoo!

It was L who drove me to the venue wearing pyjamas ‘because they’re comfortable, I can’t be bothered to change and I’m not getting out of the car’. We argued most of the way because I ruined her evening by making her drive into town, get diverted as far away from said bar as possible (via the one way system) and hit every red light on the way. I despair! Every Day we are a little closer to becoming the couple from One Foot in the Grave with L taking on the roll of Victor Meldrew.

Then I spent the first 30mins in the trendy bar on my own, trying to look like I wasn’t alone, friendless and unfashionably early… (I’m learning). Needless to say, it eventually turned into a fun evening… I now have a sore throat from shouting over the loud musica nd my ears are still ringing. Tell me, how can one have a good, hearty conversation and get to know people with such LOUD music???!

It is 10:48am, I have a horrendous hangover – the first in a long, long time and I’ve only had 6hrs sleep … But it was worth it and now I know a handful of the design student clones. I say clones, because many of the boys have the same quirky, spiked hairdos with a scarf tied jauntily around their necks and the retro golfing jumper… yes, I did say golfing jumper. Don’t you know they are IN?

I will now commit to memory via this blog, that I have met Nick, Phil, Graham, Tim, Steve, Paul, Lee, Will and a girl called Amy! Not bad recall for someone with a pounding head, ringing ears, a swimming stomach and bleary eyes! The joys of student life.