Sticky Stuff

Seven days seems like a long time having not put fingers to keyboard here and I’ve missed it.

Indeed, it has just been one of those most irritating sort of weeks where there has always been something demanding my immediate attention – leaving me absolutely no provision for carrying out any essential maintenance tasks such as eyebrow sculpting, moisturising  elbows or engaging in full body exfoliation (my plan is I don’t have to give up cream cakes if occasionally I can just ‘sand’ bits off my person). I have however become resigned to the fact that in times such as these you just have to let yourself go a little, so this week I’ve made do with a bit of lip balm and avoided unflattering lighting….

Plus moustaches are ‘hot’ this season according to my friend Hannah (pity she was talking about Tom Seleck at the time)…

The major disappointment of this week however, is that despite my apparent busyness I have relatively little to show for my hard graft apart from a Telecommunications Register, a half finished essay and a stunning Shepards Pie with sweet potato and baked beans (not to blow my own trumpet – in a hypothetical sense of course)….

In fact I was probably of most use at the Doctors yesterday morning when I took on the role  of ‘Phlebotomist Guinea Pig’, allowing (clearly a student) nurse perform what was possibly her first ever blood test. In all fairness to the girl, she did pretty well achieving three of those little test tubes full of my red stuff (forever disappointed it doesn’t come out blue) although her technique did have a little to be desired…

“Right I’m going to put this needle in your arm”


“You will feel a sharp prick….”

<She inserts needle into my arm and starts drawing blood>


I have to admit to being a little confused as to whether this was a delayed reaction on her part or mine – but still my very smiley and enthusiastic nurse did give me the biggest lump of cotton wool you have ever seen to mop up her efforts, and secured it well with a healthy amount of surgical tape to boot. Indeed, my most impressive dressing survived 2 full blown washes AND a bath, and probably still had enough life in it to undergo some serious pressure hosing without peeling away at the edges. This morning however, I was painfully forced to remove most of my nurse’s proud creation with some cuticle scissors as my long sleeved blouse wouldn’t fit over the small woollen hillock protruding from my upper arm…

Unfortunately this was a task a little more easily said said than done, and I’ve had to leave some of the excess binding in certain places where the tape and my skin have formed a special relationship with each other – particularly about my elbow – so after a lot of yelping and a few tears, I have decided to let them part company on their own terms.

There is no point forcing the issue. 

So all in all that has been my week which has seen me a little stressed, a little unkempt, and develop a whole new respect for medical students armed with anything adhesive…

I’m just glad that (given I was wearing my favourite jacket)  I’m old enough my bright young nurse didn’t feel the need to give me an ‘I have been brave’ sticker.

Wonder how long it would have taken me to get that off….


Cut above the rest

Not wishing to be rude about the individuals to which I am referring, but isn’t it refreshing when you meet someone genuinely a lot thicker than you?

For me this is a fairly rare event seeing that I am blonde and from Reading, but a trip to the hairdressers today left me feeling almost on the verge of applying to MENSA.

You see Fridays are ‘stylist days’ at my hairdressers which generally means that students in their last year of a BTEC in ‘Hair Management and Follicle Technology’ (or whatever they call it now) are let loose on the general public with their shiny new scissors. Today I was presented with one of these people called ‘Rhea’, who was suitably bright and perky and wore enormous slouch socks over her ugg boots. Admittedly she was very pleasant and chatty and we discussed the weather, her holiday to Marbella and seeing the Spice Girls in concert (her boyfriend bought tickets for her birthday). It was when we got to the inevitable question of ‘what I do for a living’ however that my hair stylist friend became a little confused.

“Plannin’, so what do you do for Plannin”?

I help look at where we can build houses and schools and things“.

“What, like you can build a house”?

“No, that’s what a builder does, I plan where it goes and what it could look like”.

So like what carpet they have”?

Yes, that’s right”….

Oh god bless her! Another endearing moment came when I went to settle the bill, which as a result of it being ‘student afternoon’, was a lot more reasonable than I was expecting…

“You bin here before”?

“Yes I have”.

“Last name please?”


<Having witnessed what she was tapping on the keyboard> “That’s Turner with a ‘U’, not an ‘E’ (I could see that that was fair enough – the girl is called Rhea, she is probably unaware of names not made up of her mothers name and a bowel condition).

The next bit however was my favourite – after being questioned about my address…

“You live in Readin’?”


“Same one spelt like the festival?”


“Is that Walk with a ‘W?”


And an ‘L'” – (her pronunciation made me fear she was about to add another ‘w’).

Having paid my bill and retrieved my velvet wonder and stripy scarf from the coat cupboard, I was very pleased to have been given a small sample of designer shampoo and was waved off in a very friendly manner;

“Nice one, fanks Emily, see you in 6 weeks then”…

Oh you certainly will, for my ego if nothing else!

All in all though I was very pleased with my hair cut. It is choppy and layered and exactly what I wanted – and at 18 years young, ‘Rhea’ has plenty of time to find out the spelling of names and places, and who knows might even make it into a planning office one day…

Even if it is to choose carpet.

And sew I am

Man I’m tired, although to be fair it is my fault!

Last night, after quite a busy weekend, I sat down and attempted to produce some cushions for our newly decorated master suite and guest quarters with some left over curtain fabric I had. Being tired anyway, I managed to cut the material wonky, pricked myself so many times with pins that quite a few of them are now bent, and impressively was able to hand sew one of my socks (still on foot) into a cushion seam without noticing (even when walking to the bathroom with flailing upholstery attached to my person)!

In short my evening of soft furnishing did not run smoothly – although it probably doesn’t help I’ve never really been taught how to sew!

Last night however did prove useful in reminding me of a part of my personality I often forget about – namely my stubborness, but also the fact I just can’t seem to give up on things when they go badly even if it would be the most sensible course of action. This has been both a useful attribute in my life, getting me through such tough times as my ‘Camp Skills and Survival’ badge when for ages I just couldn’t get my tent pegs to bang in at the regulation angle – but has also prevented me in moments when I know I should have let something go, from actually letting go. Instead I clung to an empty optimism thinking that if I ‘kept ploughing on’ everything would work out ok.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

And I have to learn to make peace with that.

Until that revealing day however I shall suffer endless holes in my fingers, sleepless nights in front of a sewing machine and masses of thread absolutely everywhere! At the same time however I am entirely grateful for having an ‘other half’ who is very skilled in talking me off a ledge, has endless patience during my grumpier moments (especially those cushion induced) and very helpfully does the ironing whilst I unpick decorative artifacts from my socks.

Oh – and despite a lot of higgeldy piggeldy stitching I got there. Eventually…


Looks like I’m too stubborn to change.




What’s in a smell?

I don’t smell, and to be frank I am rather disappointed.

Perhaps I should explain further….

I am a girl (I hope that didn’t come as a surprise), and like most girls I am partial to the odd splash of perfume every once in a while and very much enjoy buying/receiving little containers of unnaturally coloured liquid that promises to make me smell of a spring meadow, or clean linen, or a bowl of rose petals or something else that is equally fluffy sounding and heart warming. The problem I find however, is that having applied these substances to my person, it doesn’t take long until the scent of ‘fresh morning dew’ or ‘woodland glen whisper’ has worn off, and I go back to smelling of Fairy non-biological and quite often tea that I appear to spill with great frequency.

So I put to you the question – what is the secret to smelling good for longer? I have tried almost every technique of using a little bit and a lot, spritzing behind the ears, the wrists, the collar bone, and have taken advice that perfume squirted about your knee pit is a sure place for giving off an alluring waft, but that doesn’t work. I have tried putting ‘smell’ on my clothes, in my hair, on my eyebrows – and once I even tried to make it last by applying it in layers over the period of an hour, but this dried in a sort of shiny film and made me appear as if I was laminated.

I can’t quite put my finger on it…

So really, if anyone has any advice I would greatly appreciate it, as I too dearly want to be one of those ladies that occasionally you pass by in the street who smell delicious, I want to just for once in my life smell as good as a branch of Interflora, I would love to actually feel like I am making a worthwhile investment in the duty free shop when buying scent, when really I’d be better off with a bottle of Grouse and a novelty biro…

Maybe I just have excessively soaky uppy skin that likes to eat nice smell?

Or maybe.. could it be possible? Indeed, perhaps (as my friend Helen has just suggested….)

Am I pointing the nozzle the wrong way…?

Now there’s a thought…

The coming of age…


On Sunday I turned 26 – a sadly unavoidable chronological event that, admittedly, I was putting off mentally for as long as possible. Having reached this grand old age however – as with previous birthdays, I feel relatively unchanged – albiet a little wiser after trapping my hair in the car door this morning, rendering me without head movement until I reached a set of traffic lights. Being 26 therefore has so far taught me:

a) Don’t panic when experiencing restrictive head movement whilst driving an automobile. This can lead to the accidental pushing of buttons on your steering wheel and your radio will set itself to Rude Boy FM- ‘the indecipherable music mix’.

b) People will not come running to help you out of your predicament if you are shouting in a car on your own. No one can hear you. Instead people willl think you are either mad or suffering from a sort of travel induced turrets and will try to avoid you by overtaking, or will keep at a safe distance to your rear.

c) Shut car doors with caution in blustery conditions.

This slightly traumatic event aside (I still have an unusual kink on the right hand side of my barnet), becoming 26 was a delightful event that I managed to arrange over a long weekend. The frivolities began on Saturday with a meal and a trip to the theatre, which once again tested my friendship with a dear companion whom I seem to personally (and quite accidentally) terrorise on each of the outings I plan. So far I have confirmed for her she is afraid of heights, does not like ghost stories, the smell of a pork sandwich turns her stomach, and she is particularly terrified by plays where there are moments of darkness, loud noises and a horror plot. I can only apologise, although next time I may test her squimish tendencies and arrange an appointment to donate blood…

Sunday – ‘the actual day’ of my birth was equally lovely with a superb lunch in a favourite pub and a stroll about the village of Goring which is (as family history and my frequency of visits would have it) officially home as far as I’m concerned. The day ended as well as it began with nibbles, friends, family and an extrodinary amount of my Mum’s delicious carrot cake – something that one doesn’t mind getting older for!

On Monday Neil and I ventured to Southampton, where (and no doubt he will give a more detailed account) we looked to purchase a swanky new wagon. A deal struck beforehand also meant I was allowed a visit to Mottisfont Abbey near Romsey, an extremely pleasant place with a stream full of large trout, a restaurant that serves a hearty creamy chickeny potatoey lunch, and was occupied by staff with a penchant for naming their cars (it is only at the National Trust you find these people. I admit to being one of them).

So indeed, I may now be 4 years away from the big ’30’, but if the moment occurs in as much style as being 26 did – I say bring it on!

I just may need more carot cake in condolence.

Please note:

Photographs of the weekends events will shortly be available to view on the ALBD gallery.

A short break in the schedule

I’m going to disappear now until at least next Wednesday.

As my friend Catherine kindly reminded me: ‘a neglected blog is the sign of a full life’.

Seeing as I have blogged almost everyday since the birth of ALBD, I feel a short absence may be in order before I start being able to write Perl script and actually know what ‘Nagios’ means (although I will be disappointed if it is not an aged Spanish horse as I imagine).

You see this weekend I shall be celebrating life on the ‘grown-up’ side of 25, a new era for me, although one where I doubt I will see any significant changes in my ability to become a ‘grown-up’.

But in my opinion that’s overrated.

Have a lovely weekend.

I’ll be seeing you on the dark side.

The fate of Graham

Thursday 4th October 2007,11:27am. 


There is one mini muffin left in the box at work,

One mini muffin all alone,

I know it has calories in it I shouldn’t consume,

but I’m desperate to give it a home.

I’ve called it Graham – you see my thinking is,

I won’t eat it if I think it a friend,

But none of my other acquaintances contain chocolate chips,

My will power has started to bend….


Thursday 4th October 2007, 4:30pm. 


Sorry Graham, I really did try,

and I did make it till half past four!

Problem is you were the only one left,

…and small… and now I want more….

Girl Flu

I have found something ultimately much worse than Man Flu.

Girl Flu.

For years women have poked fun at men for complaining at the slightest sniffle, for declaring themselves bed bound when prescribed lemsip, for fearing they have a pandemic disease with every cough and sneeze, or for feeling they can not go on in life because the Kleenex box is hindering their view of ‘Robot Wars’ and they can’t summon the energy to move it.

To a degree I sympathise with women who suffer partners with piffling symptoms that render them unable to wash up, put out the bin, mow the lawn or even organise their dirty boxers into the laundry basket – it must be a nightmare!

I on the other hand have this problem in reverse.

The man I own is of a different breed, one that doesn’t complain when he is poorly, never takes days off sick, offers to sleep in the spare room when suffering an infection and doesn’t even reach for the vicks vapour rub when the situation gets particularly congested. Instead he battles on through, takes vitamin C, drinks plenty of fluids, and is annoyingly perky despite being surrounded by a sea of tissues or looking like he could head Santa’s fleet.

‘So what are you complaining about?’ you might ask, what more could a woman want!

Well you see I have a cold. It’s gunky and snotty and sore and miserable, and nothing would make me feel better than to have a good moan about it.

But I can’t….because women don’t do that.

So instead I am stuck with having ‘Girl Flu’ – a condition you want to whinge about but are unable to because girls have set a precedence of dealing with most/any ailment with a ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude, a teasing smile and an extra application of blusher…


I guess this one is just going to have to be filed under the ‘annoying things about being a girl’ category, along with ‘wearing lipgloss in windy conditions’, ‘evil foot eating shoes that look nice’ and ‘bra strap bingo’ (underwear that escapes your clothing). I’ll just have to be grateful I will never experience male pattern balding and windward nostril hair…

On a lighter note (an attempt to steer away from mucus now), I returned to the office this morning after a few days away to find someone had arranged my name in clothes pegs.


How thoughtful.