Friday, June 27, 2008


MC and I are off to the seaside for a few days. We're going to drink cider, eat candy floss and generally act like tourists without shame. I can't wait. This week has been utterly exhausting and I will be glad to see the back of it. Have a fab weekend y'all.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

what would Zuzula do?

Unbelievably, this was what my boss told a colleague who is being rocket-propelled out of her professional comfort zone, by him, right now, to think about. In all honesty it's not a bad thing - if she were in a rut that was any deeper she'd probably find oil down there. I'm not sure I'm the best role model right now though (this coming from the same boss who, approximately two weeks ago, told me I was 'off the rails').

And what indeed would Zuzula do? Well. Zuzula would quaff a large glass of sauvignon blanc before attempting to bluff her way through the challenge ahead with a heady combination of bullish charm and mild peril. It hasn't failed me yet.

In other news, this morning I saw the doctor. Turns out that, in a virtual homage to the vagina dentata (anyone seen Teeth yet?) I have an 'angry' cervix. Gggrrr. I am being referred to a specialist to find out exactly what it is that's pissing it off so much. The doctor said it's more likely to be 'a nuisance' than 'anything sinister'. Let's hope so. It's quite special to know that even my cervix is annoyed with me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Too much information

(disclaimer: not for the squeamish)

Thankfully I am overall in fairly good health (touch wood). As a result I rarely come into contact with the UK's famously, um, underfunded, National Health Service, although each time I do it's routinely excruciating. At university, every single complaint was diagnosed as potential pregnancy. Laryngitis? Are you using condoms? Twisted ankle? Have you considered the contraceptive pill? Seriously.

And let’s not forget the horrendous embarrassment of the male doctor forced to give me a rather intimate examination earlier this year. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone quite so mortified at the prospect of me getting my kit off.

So it is with great trepidation that I find myself once more on the road to certain humiliation. Following a light spot of adult entertainment at the weekend I discovered that I was bleeding. As it’s not *that* time of the month something has clearly gone awry. For various tedious reasons (namely the number of times I have moved from place to place in recent years), my GP is miles away from my current abode, and getting an appointment there is more difficult than getting a table at The Ivy on BAFTA night. They only take appointment bookings at 8am. And with over 10,000 patients on the books, it is absolutely impossible to get through on the phone. Your only other window is 2pm when you may/may not get an emergency appointment some time that afternoon. But as I can’t exactly get there in my teabreak this is not really an option either.

So I did the next best thing. We have a national helpline staffed by NHS nurses, called (unimaginatively) NHS Direct. After giving four different people my address about six different times (apparently in case I passed out during the call and they needed to send an ambulance. Safety first! Jeeez), I finally got to explain what the problem was. The nurse, to be fair, was fabulous. Kind, reassuring, and the purveyor of some very weird questions. Is the skin peeling from my hands and feet? (is she running a manicure/pedicure salon as a sideline? I know our nurses are appallingly paid, I suppose I should applaud the ingenuity). Have I had any ‘internal investigations’ lately? (she KNOWS about the trouble at work!) and my ultimate favourite, was I having ‘natural sex’ at the time? I was tempted to make some wisecrack about that being a matter of opinion but managed to resist.

But yeah, there’s no escape, I need to see a doctor. My wonderful mother, of all people, has managed to burrow through the endless bureaucracy and get me an appointment on Thursday. I can’t wait.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back in the room

Just returned from a blissful, broadband-free break on the Isle of Wight with my best friend, Ms Handbag. The primary reason for our visit was the festival - definite highlights were The Zutons, James and The Police; the less said about Iggy Pop and the Sex Pistols, the better. Overall it was great fun, but Ms H and I are clearly getting a bit crabby in our old age because, boy, did we find plenty to complain about.

The festival itself has got a bit big for its boots. What started out as a fairly small, cool homage to the 70s has inevitably sold out. there were some 80,000 people there this year, meaning that even the simplest trip to the fetid portaloos took at least 30 minutes. At one point we queued for over an hour to get drinks and were quaintly horrified by the amount of rubbish strewn as far as the eye could see. I'm sure this sort of thing didn't used to bother me.

One of our friends who was camping had £200 lifted from the pocket of his jeans as he slept, which is definitely not in the spirit of things. We couldn't even be too smug about our hotel accommodation as on the first night we ended up on the nightbus from hell. It took 90 minutes to go 10 miles up the road, looping interminably around a deceptively small town called Sandown. I honestly don't know how the driver managed to make a short journey so long without driving into the sea. The entire island is only 71 miles (metric folk, go figure) in circumference.

Anyway being the shamelessly fairweather festival goers that we are, Ms H and I had gorgeous rooms in a lovely little B&B on the clifftops of Shanklin, where I inexplicably managed to blow £210 in 20 minutes in the town's one and only decent clothing boutique (oops). We had cooked breakfasts every morning, then retired to the poolside for a couple of hours sunbathing and general hangover recovery time before inevitably heading off and beginning all over again.

On our last night (we stayed on after the festival had ended), even we couldn't face any more alcohol so we stayed vino-free in a lovely old country pub, then returned to the hotel bar to drink decaf coffee and play cards. Good clean family fun, for a change.

We really are getting old.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

MC bites back

MC has joined the blogosphere! I am afraid...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hovis Presley

Yesterday I spent a good four hours sitting in traffic. Fucking south circular. The journey to my grandma's house is only 20 miles across London but if I manage it in two hours I feel like Lewis Hamilton. I might as well walk.
Anyway I soon tired of all the music stations (note to London radio stations. Can you please stop playing Timbaland’s stupid track Apologise every ten seconds. Enough already) and turned to the more cerebral Radio 4.
I got there just in time to catch the tail end of a wonderful little documentary about a northern British comedian I had never heard of. Annoyingly I only caught his first name – Hovis. However, I am a journalist, so, determined not to be beaten by the 8000 pages of Google containing mentions of the bread brand, I tracked him down.
And so, dear readers, I present to you, the late, great Hovis Presley. And courtesy of him the most lovely poem I’ve read in a long time:

I rely on you

I rely on you
like a Skoda needs suspension
like the aged need a pension
like a trampoline needs tension
like a bungee jump needs apprehension
I rely on you
like a camera needs a shutter
like a gambler needs a flutter
like a golfer needs a putter
like a buttered scone involves some butter
I rely on you
like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
like an HGV needs endless derv
like an outside left needs a body swerve
I rely on you
like a handyman needs pliers
like an auctioneer needs buyers
like a laundromat needs driers
like The Good Life needed Richard Briers
I rely on you
like a water vole needs water
like a brick outhouse needs mortar
like a lemming to the slaughter
Ryan's just Ryan without his daughter
I rely on you

© H Presley 1994

Of course after about five minutes of this charmingly obscure little cultural interlude the show ended and Gardeners’ Question Time started. I’m relieved to report that I’m not THAT old. Yet.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

musings in a short skirt

I am accidentally wearing an indecently short skirt in the office today. I'm sure it wasn't quite this small when I put it on this morning. Ah well. It's having a funny effect on my male colleagues. They have all had a good look - some furtively, others less so - and then been completely flustered upon making eye contact and realising that, yes, I did just catch them checking out my legs.

I'm writing a feature about different online identities and I'm almost tempted to 'out' the blog. It annoys me sometimes that I can't own up to it. I tell people that I blog and then go all coy about the blog address. It's been my guilty little pleasure for a long time and I'm not really sure why - after all, I'm a writer, and this is writing, right? But it just feels more open somehow, more candid, this way. I've blogged before about how Zuzula has taken on a life of her own and it would be a shame to take that away now. Besides, I wouldn't be able to brag about my bedroom skills in front of my peers, would I? And I certainly wouldn't be able to slag off my boss. Which wouldn't leave me with a great deal of material.

Anyway I'm not completely hiding my light under the proverbial bushell it seems (whatever a bushell is). According to google stats my little blog had 1500 visitors last month. That is just insane. Rather hilariously, one visitor found me by typing 'being a dissapointment' (sic) into Google. Thanks guys! I mean. Give me some credit. At least I can spell.

If I'd known you were all coming I'd have put the kettle on... I guess you'll have to make do with the short skirt instead.

Monday, June 2, 2008

domestic bliss

MC and I are now officially living in sin. The big move involved seven car journeys between our respective abodes and the new pad (round of applause to my little Peugeot 206 for being positively tardis-like with the backseats folded down).

The flat is currently in a state of carnage. The only possible explanation is that The Packing Monster shamelessly broke into my old place and replaced all my treasured, beautiful belongings with a pile of useless old tat. Do I really need fairy-shaped biscuit cutters? And why did I bring that old throw which I know has never been the same since my best friend, bless her, accidentally dropped her dinner on it five years ago?

Unfortunately for all concerned the real icing on the cake about the upheaval was that it coincided with the worst bout of PMT I have ever had. I rarely get it, if at all. But Sunday afternoon was a real tantrums and tiaras affair – especially when MC tentatively reminded me that I’d promised we would go to the cinema that evening to see the new Indiana Jones film (hint: don’t bother). Poor MC must have wondered what on earth he’d let himself in for. So I made amends at bedtime by, and I quote, giving him the ‘best’ bj he’s ever had.