Friday, January 25, 2008

Rabbie Burns night

O my luve is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonny lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel, awhile!
And I will come again, my love
Though it were ten thousand mile.

I've known this poem for years but for some reason I've only just realised how beautiful it is. It's always nice to find passion where you least expect it. Apparently Russell Brand once drunkenly recited this ode with a random Scot he met in an off-licence in London's Soho in the wee hours. It's random moments like that which make life more interesting. Some of my favourite anecdotes involve Soho, drink, and impromptu encounters. Hmmm. Maybe I need to get out more.

Tonight Wine Lover, She of the Handbag and I are embarking on a five course Burns night supper in celebration of the bard. I am quite sure there will be a rousing chorus of auld lang syne from the three of us at some point, whether the rest of the pub joins in or not, even though it's nowhere near New Year's Eve. It's the only Scottish song I know, and, even more relevantly, the only other Rabbie Burns creation I know and will still remember after the inevitable 49 bottles of wine have been consumed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Secret

I've finally got round to reading The Secret, the book that swears it will change your life. It is perhaps symptomatic of how desperately I need this change that I waited until said Holy Grail was half price in Borders before I took the plunge.

I want to believe in the secret. I really, really want to. It's a nice idea: basically that whatever you think about, you will attract. If you think about what you want, you will get it. The book itself is predictably littered with stereotypical American evangelism (interesting because the author is Australian but - typically, some might say - all the 'teachers' of the secret are based in the US). One example, and I swear I'm not making this up, is a quote from a man who claimed to be blind until he read the book. Yes, exactly. Spot the flaw in that little statement.

Anyhoo, as I said, I like the idea. So I'm going to try it out. These are the things I hope to initially gain by practising the secret:
Good health
An exciting new career opportunity
A size 10 figure

I shall let you know if any of these miraculously materialise just because I think they should. Don't hold your breath.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Icelandic adventures and a realisation

Whatever you´re doing, wherever you are right now, make me a promise that one day you will come to Iceland in the winter. Yes it´s cold and yes, there´s not a lot of daylight, but a country covered in thick powdered snow has an ethereal mystique that I for one have never seen before.

In the past 48 hours I´ve watched geysers spit huge clouds of water and steam into the sky, a kind of earth burp that will never end. I´ve seen a giant waterfall and felt like I was on the edge of the world as the water crashed down around me and the spray showered my cheeks with droplets of ice. I´ve swum in an outdoor thermal spa, in the dark, surrounded by steam and mist and wondered whether this is what it´s like at the border of life and death. If so it´s something to no bad thing. I´ve covered my skin in white Icelandic mud on a promise of eternal youth and watched the northern lights dance their crazy green dreams across the stars. I´ve also bought the most fabulously kitsch Viking-themed tat for one and all (this country has the tacky souvenir factor down to a T), walked around a Viking longhouse (go to a museum called 871) and lost my phone in a Rejkyavik nightclub owned by Damon Albarn. It is yet another tribute to this country that within 25 minutes I had said phone back. In London it would have been bought and sold on eBay by now.

The only thing I have realised is that I am too old, mentally if not biologically, to party here. Yesterday, after attending three parties in the warm up to the night out itself, I found myself falling asleep in an Irish bar at 3.30am and begging for a taxi while my Icelandic host wanted to dance the night away. While there is a lot to be said for getting the drinking done first (booze here is prohibitively expensive. I spent twenty pounds last night on a pint of beer, a vodka/lemonade and a bacardi/orange), my sad old body can´t cope. Once the drinking stops, it´s time for bed these days. I have somehow lasted til 5am the last few nights - but it´s been a challenge. My sister (without whom I wouldn´t be here, we are staying with friends of hers) has ventured out again tonight, our last night. I meanwhile have opted gratefully for a night of blogging and composing a love letter to MC (we nearly split up last weekend but I don´t want to marr this post with all that right now). In any case being away from him here has made me realise just how much he means to me. I am pathetically excited about seeing him tomorrow. Even though I don´t want this current adventure to come to an end.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Iceman cometh

That´s what I resemble here in Iceland among the impossibly glamorous Icelanders. I have a big blue thick jacket that is essentially an interestingly stitched sleeping bag (courtesy of mum), long johns under my jeans (ditto. My mother is seems has spent years preparing for her daughter´s eventual sojourn to colder climes) and a beany hat from MC. Sexy, it is not... but frankly it´s too cold to care.

Today we´re off to look at frozen waterfalls. That´s how cold it is. There is also talk of visiting the Blue Lagoon, a thermal spa. I´m fine with this but can´t quite grasp the concept of getting from the changing rooms to the outdoor spa itself clad in nothing but a swimming costume in minus temperatures. I am already campaigning for the return of Victorian bathing huts. I like the idea of somebody wheeling me down to the waters edge in the comfort of my own little house. Any volunteers?

It´s wonderful here. The country is beautiful - all covered in a carpet of snow. The people are beautiful too and their English is perfect. I´ve noticed that they don´t really believe in prepositions but who needs those tiny little words we fill sentences with? Oh - and tonight we party, Iceland style. This apparently involves some serious drinking. Ah well. When in Rome....!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

show me the money

I had a very depressing night last night catching up with a load of former colleagues. Don't get me wrong, it was lovely to see them all - they're now a selection of the great & the good working for blue chip companies/government departments etc. They all told me that if I worked for their companies I'd be fired on the spot because I don't tow the party line. They then urged me to go down the corporate route in order to get on. Why is that the only way forward? It seems ridiculous to me that in order to double my salary I have to start writing things that nobody wants to read. There has to be another solution. Surely the position I'm in now, with all its flaws and megalomania, can't be as good as it gets?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It's a London thing

The anti-London brigade will inevitably tell you that one of the reasons they loathe London with such a passion is because nobody talks on the Tube. It's an obsession with them. 'I hate it there,' they will say, scowling in absolute horror. 'You get on the underground and nobody even looks at you!'

I tend to think this reveals quite a lot about a person with such obviously significant insecurities that being anonymous for up to half an hour at a time is a fate worse than death. I also think, in certain circumstances - notably bad hair/skin/eyebrow days - the fewer people notice you, the better.

I formed this opinion on the tube to Euston this morning (have been dispatched to the north to cause trouble) while earwigging in on a really quite tortuous conversation between two guys in suits, who I'll call Aussie Boy and Older Colleague, because that's all I know about them. When Aussie Boy got into the carriage Older Colleague was already there. Aussie Boy attempted to pretend he hadn't seen him... but too late. Aussie Boy, by the way, is a twat. You will see why. If I was Older Colleague I wouldn't have bothered making eye contact in the first place.

OC: Happy new year Aussie Boy!
AB: (flashes pearly white teeth) Older Colleague! Hi!
OC: First day back?
AB: Yeah, Just back from two and half weeks in Australia. Got off the plane this morning but hey - it's only jetlag. (see what I mean? twat)
OC: Ah right. Good time?
AB: Oh yeah, hung out with friends and family, had BBQs and parties... after two weeks the family was starting to get on my tits though, you know what I mean?
OC: (how dare you speak that way about your elders) hmmm. Do you go back often? (please go back often, in fact please go back and stay back).
AB: once a year? yeah, about once a year. Actually while I was there I dropped in on the Brisbane office. Just wanted to put a few names to a few faces (see, not only is he a twat, he's an arselicking twat). They were real busy but they said next time I'm there, they'll take me out for dinner and drinks so we can get to know each other (yeah, don't hold your breath mate). They really know how to do business down there.
OC: (you really are an arselicking twat aren't you? But shit, you're after my job, you smug bastard) Oh great. That must have been... interesting...
AB: yeah, sure was (why don't you want to know more about my great story? You've realised I'm after your job, haven't you, you pensioner)

After that, painful silence until the next stop, When Aussie Boy leapt off, presumably to catch up with the London office on the way to the, er, London office.

And that, my friends, is why you should never, ever make eye contact on the Tube.

Monday, January 7, 2008

small world

One of my friends is dating somebody I dated ten years ago. He was a shit to me and he is showing all the signs of being a shit to her too. I'm not sure what the etiquette is, or indeed should be, on dating the crappy exes of one's friends but personally I wouldn't recommend it. While I find it all a bit odd (and honestly, having spent the weekend with my friend I am now in possession of far too much information about what they've been up to in the bedroom), we were an item such a long time ago that I can't muster the energy to be too upset about it.

The one thing that did touch a nerve though, was when she said he'd told her he had always fancied her. That's as may be, but it was ME he went out with, and we were all friends at the time. I don't really like the thought that he was lusting after her while we were hooking up. Especially as she is the gorgeously petite blonde to my more, um, buxom brunette. I simply didn't need to know that. This particular friend was back of the queue when tact was dealt out, although she's hypersensitive about anything concerning her. Maybe we're all a bit like that deep down.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy new year

I have been in an internet wilderness for the last ten days thanks to the untimely demise of my blackberry. In truth it's not untimely at all, how the thing creaked onto this great age is beyond me. Two blackberry years must be at least 150 human ones. Hopefully they won't be able to fix it this time (last time I swear it came back covered in bandages), forcing my lovely employers to give me some up-to-date equipment that will actually enable me to do my job (and blog, naturally).

Anyway how are you? I hope channukah/eid/xmas/new year etc have all been good round your way. I tackled Christmas dinner myself this year, having somehow managed to invite the family round to my flat for the big day. We sat down to eat at 4pm (I put the turkey in the oven at 2am. 'Low heat,' said my mother, so I opted for such a low heat that essentially the turkey just sat in a warmish room for 5 hours. So at 7am up went the temperature. How the stupid bird didn't cremate is beyond me). Of course the food was all gone in ten minutes. And as per usual, there weren't enough roast potatoes. This prompted mum to suggest that we spend next xmas being pampered and, more importantly, cooked for, in a hotel in South Africa. I don't know why she has SA in mind particularly but it's all good - am booking that flight right now.

I received some truly wonderful presents this year but perhaps the most poignant gift of all came from my dad. He had bought my sister and I a gold coin each before he died and I just could not stop crying when Mum gave them to us on his behalf. Dad was of the post-Holocaust Jewish generation who believed in hoarding bits of precious metal in the event of having to flee something nasty rather suddenly. 'Always have gold,' he used to say to me. Well dad, now I do. Thank you.

New year was fun. The lovely Confuddled and I managed to turn it into a two day celebration when our pre NYE recce became a bt of a party in itself. Still we bounced back just in time for more champagne and a host of other lovely things and at 2am were happily dancing around with MC in my local pub. New Years day was devoted to decadence - MC and I spent most of it eating chocolate truffles, playing scrabble and generally being rather saucy (Confuddled had gone home by this point, I hasten to add). I really do not want to be back at work today.