Number of unique takeaway menus I have received in one month of living here = 12
(8 pizza, 2 Chinese, 2 Indian.)
Number of times in my life I have ever ordered a takeaway while on my own = 0
I think I may break that rule tonight as I rather fancy a Chinese, but haven't yet got a good storecupboard of spices, and I've had my fill (literally) of proper cooking for the last few weeks. Also, it is payday. Well it is theoretically payday, but they have 'forgotten' to pay my 32 hours overtime and my bonus, so I am just allowing a tiny treat until I can be assured they're going to sort it out (by which I mean, see the cash in my bank.)
What shall I have? Considering the minimum £8 I need to have a starter so that will be crab & sweetcorn soup. And then I am spoilt for choice, and torn between duck with green pepper in black bean sauce, or beef in oyster sauce, or king prawn with hot chilli sauce... And maybe some mini spring rolls. Or a big spring roll. And then what rice? Special fried rice? Mushroom fried rice? Shall I get prawn crackers or just bump my order up to £10 and get free ones..?
Damn, now I've just glanced at the Indian menu too - you wouldn't believe I've just had a big lunch.
I was going to take myself for a day out sometime in the next few days, under the proviso 'somewhere with sea, that I've never been before.' But it seems that to get to say, Margate, 60 miles away, it will take three hours and two changes of train. And the tourist industry wonders why people prefer cheap flights abroad.
I am also doing that thing I do roughly this time every year, which is looking into swimming lessons. and getting annoyed at the same problem I have every time, even though this is a completely different service provider - there is absolutely no hint of what times these lessons might be available. I can see that it's a ten week course, costing £49, which is all fairly reasonable, but I work alternate weeks and need to know if I'll be expected to go in 'the middle of the night' for half of the lessons, in which case I won't bother. And I'll be away at the end of June, which is roughly ten weeks away is it not? Perhaps I'll take up the kayaking lessons instead. Or the RYA Seamanship Course, which will allow me to be capable of manoeuvring a dinghy in a seamanlike manner and making seamanship decisions in moderate conditions. That's a bit like swimming.
To be honest I have absolutely no idea why I regularly get this idea of wanting to learn to swim in my head. I have so far in my life never actually needed to swim, or been hindered by not being able to do so. It would probably be more 'useful' to learn to ride a bike, but that doesn't even look a vaguely enticing prospect. Not nearly as enticing as a deep blue sea on a nice summer's day (sigh, is it June yet?)
I am staying in tonight as I am monumentally skint until payday, which is at least tomorrow, at which point I will benefit both from 32 hours overtime, and being the recipient of the highly contentious new bonus scheme. Under the old system, depending on reaching a particular target, everyone in the office would get £100, £150 or £200 each. Every month. Under the new system one team only gets £300 each, seemingly at the manager's whim. As you can imagine, everyone in the office now hates Goverment team. This will probably only stop once everyone has been randomly allocated the monthly bonus, which makes it not much of a reward for hard work anyway does it?
I had some odd feelings of suicide the other day. I had seen about ten minutes of Ten Years Younger, the bit where they get some yoof to comment on why this woman was mutton-dressed-as-lamb, and the woman was three years older than me. So I realised that in other people's eyes I am old, and that there's no escaping that fact, and maybe I should get a haircut and stop falling out of nightclubs at 4am. And from that it logically followed that if I am that old, I am pretty much done with life and I should end it. This wasn't in any way a feeling of hopelessness, or 'what's the point?' but simply a logical feeling that I've done most things worth doing, and I don't have much to look forward to, and nothing's going to change from here on in, so why carry on? Again not a woeful, depressed thought, but logical in the way that you'd get rid of any other thing that had reached the end of its use, like throwing out a pint of milk that's gone off. I am slightly worried that this still all feels like an eminently sensible idea to me, but then I have just done 32 hours overtime in three weeks and may perhaps be a little tired and screwed up.
For those of you who were concerned, the reason I am hating StreetView is that I have lived in eighteen different places in two major cities, and practically nowhere I have lived makes it - one place I lived in when I was three, one in which I spent a largely unhappy time, and one I loved but which is completely obscured by a giant tree.
Anyway, I woke up at ten to ten after the most amazing dream, and please don't tell me 'other people's dreams are boring,' that's rude. In the dream a load of us had gone to some all dayer and I'd booked a hotel room that we were all in. Alex (don't expect me to start arsing around with LJ tags, you either know Alex or you don't. Am I sounding rather belligerent today? Sorry.) got very glassy-eyed at one point and started weaving my hair into amazing plaits with some steel blades, and I decided I really needed to nip across and use the toilet even though the blades were still holding the plaits together. So I went across to this other place and realised the 18 Carat Love Affair, who we were all there to see, were just about to start. But I couldn't let everyone else know as Alex, who had come with me but was now a cat, had my phone in/as his brain and unfortunately it had fallen out and smashed. I spent ages trying to piece back together my phone/Alex's brain while the 18CLA were getting annoyed at me because I was interrupting their set piece audience participation extravaganza. And when I finally got the phone put together Alex (the cat with no brain) had run off into a massive garden where there were hundreds of cats, and Kasia and Kate Dornan had to go and find him while I explained the hilarious story to Steve of 18CLA (who I don't really know IRL.) Kasia and Kate finally found Alex (the cat with no brain) and I managed to reinstall my phone into his head and sew it up. Hurrah! The end!
And then I woke up and it was ten to bloody ten.
And then I went back to sleep and dreamt that I was having sex with Cheryl Cole and she was absolutely rubbish.
If I have discovered one thing with my advancing years it is that I am only truly able to settle in a 'home' if I live within reasonable distance of a Peacocks, a Superdrug, and a 99p Store. Therefore I am giving 10/10 to Elephant & Castle shopping centre for being 6 minutes away on the bus and fulfilling these criteria, with a bonus 98p store too, and a WH Smiths thrown in for good measure. My only other experience of Elephant & Castle was going to a gig there where the door signs said NO GUNS NO KNIVES (and the shopping centre says NO HOODIES) so I was a little, well I was going to say nervous*, but what I think I mean is snobbish about the area. But it's no worse than Holloway I suppose.
The thing is, I'm a fairly ordinary working class Mancunian, and the fact that my accent's disappeared over the years could mark me as classless, but every time I hear myself speak around South Londoners I sound markedly different, to the extent that I imagine they think me to be really posh. Whereas in North London my non-accent was fairly standard. This is difficult to explain without me sounding like a complete bitch isn't it? So I'll shut up.
I am cooking chicken chasseur. Well I haven't looked up any sort of recipe so I'm cooking something that thinks it's chicken chasseur, so let's not disappoint it by telling it it isn't.
*For the record, I have never, ever actually felt threatened or unsafe while walking in an allegedly 'rough' area.
Anyway I have just had a dream (no I have not had a nap because I was bored, I have volunteered to work tonight (because I am bored)) in which I had just woken up and wanted to tell everyone about the dream I had just had. And then when my 'for real' alarm went off I was really confused because it had been at least forty minutes since I had got up, in the dream. It then took me a while to shake off the annoyance that hundreds of people were having a banquet in my house on the way to some live action role-playing meet, and they'd even opened both the bars, and I was damned if I was going to clean up after them. Aren't dreams supposed to be one of those psychological indicators, and if so, what does this mean?
Their apple slice is quite good, by the way.
Anyway, what the frick was going on with Skins last night? I immediately preceded it by watching last week's Skins, which was quite a sweet little story, so I was still in a cosy, warm 'aww' mood, and then this week's was like watching a horrific psychological thriller. Ye gods.
Oh it's Comic Relief day isn't it? In the spirit of 'comedy' then, I give you the best EVER local non-news story. (Read the comments.)
Today I have done a Tesco shop and need to spend about 15 minutes making the flat spotless, and that's it. Bored. Must do something useful instead of playing Spider Solitaire for two hours and then having a two hour nap, like I did yesterday. I really need an actual hobby.
Honestly, what's wrong with it? It's a fabulous flat, you can walk to London Bridge or bus to Liverpool St or Holborn in fifteen minutes. You'd have the place to yourself half the month when I'm working. The only thing I can think of is that I have mentioned that working nights, I need to sleep during the day, which for anyone working full time during the day would only necessitate a bit of consideration on alternate weekends. But someone did e-mail me yesterday to ask about that as their major concern. I said that it would only be a problem if someone was at home all day practising the trombone, but that was enough to put them off getting back to me. I have advertised on about six sites, but here's my newly reworded Gumtree ad (for which the Googlemap is actually slightly wrong and should be half an inch higher) if anyone can suggest what's wrong with it, or indeed pass it on to someone interested. Please. This is so wearing that I'm beginning to crack up. If you see me in public, e.g. tonight at the New Royal Family, please don't ask me about the flat unless you know someone genuinely interested, because all the tension is ready to LET RIP and I wouldn't want to have to glass someone.
Anyway I am mildly annoyed as my nice red hat blew off last night in the Weather. Right into the middle of Tower Bridge, where the pavements are all fenced off so there was no way of rescuing it. And it had gone by this morning. I'm also quite confused by my landline which should be put on by today, but there are at least four phone sockets in the house, some of them linked by cable, and I have no idea which one will be activated. All the cable is tacked neatly under the skirting board so I can't figure out what's connected to what either. What the hell are skirting boards for actually? I have tried ringing myself with my mobile, but clearly I'm not in.
No really, this standing ovation thing is getting comical now. And 'we' have just given Ted Kennedy a knighthood, apparently for not being dead yet.
Bah, I should know never to speak of anything until it's 100% guaranteed, or even over and done with entirely, but my potential flatmate has pulled out. For family reasons, which I can't really have a beef about, but still...
At least the bright side is that even if I have to live off 20p noodles for ever, I have my lovely big flat all to myself. I can just about pay the rent and bills for two people on my own, leaving me with less than the dole to live on*, but this has been on a month where we didn't get the bonus, and I have the internet and TV and phone and all that, and I can walk to work. So, cosy, cosy, cosy.
I suppose I should still say 'if anyone knows anyone who's looking for a flat etc etc etc' though.
I have just been to Nat West to change my address and set up my rent standing order. It never ceases to amaze me that the actual human beings you deal with in branches are unfailingly efficient, friendly, and polite, but the people behind the operation are completely incompetent dolts.
*To live ON, or to live OFF? What's the difference?
I seem to have had a much less exciting weekend than everyone else don't I? I did, however, get paid time-and-a-half for having no mates and had quite a laugh at work composing a Song for Jade (Goodbye England's Pig) and inventing the Oxo travel card (for the gravy train.) I also achieved some other things outside work. I broke a new year's resolution in quite a satisfactory way, I seem to have found a
wig flatmate by a happy accident, and I grassed someone up. Dobbed them in. Turned stool pigeon. I was looking at the menu for a Chinese restaurant that had dropped through my letter box when I noticed that it was illustrated with a picture of the adorable Ching He Huang. And initially I thought, which presumably was the intention, that maybe it was Ching's restaurant, but something in the back of my mind told me that was wrong. I Googled (as you can if you have no idea who she is) and found that I was right, Ching is a Chinese cookery writer, and occasional TV presenter, but does not have a restaurant. So I did the decent thing and used the 'contact us' button on her website to 'wonder' if the image had been used with her permission. Either her crack team of lawyers will have the place shut down by now, or she'll cheerfully say it's all good promotion for Chinese food (which I doubt, as she's trying to get people to cook their own instead of buying it.) Either way it will be nice if she comes round to thank me personally and cook me up some noodles.
(Note: I am not attempting to bankrupt some struggling family - the leaflet says they have four other branches and gives a number for anyone interested in a franchise, so the use of Ching's image is quite a mercenary move.)
Also I ate a pie that says 'serves two,' which was nice. I am now going to have some crumpets for breakfast.
My phone beeped with a text message at 7.30, just as I was waking up. It was Liam from work; 'Hi rhoda we're looking for extra cover on Govt team tonight, could you come in a night early?' (I had already volunteered for Sunday o/t.) Lots of things go through your mind when faced with a question like this, and the first is that the whole principle of going in for overtime on a Saturday screams I HAVE NO FRIENDS AND NO SOCIAL LIFE, which is quite pathetic because I do have friends and a social life, I had just planned to stay in this weekend as I don't want to spend any money until I find a flatmate. The second, quite ridiculous thing that went through my mind was that there might be something great on telly tonight, and perhaps I'd check the TV guide before I replied. What? What could possibly be such a television event that it was worth turning down a night's pay for? And quite apart from the fact that I've dozed off in front of everything I wanted to watch this week, most things are available online anyway. The third thing I thought was that at least I have some notice, as Liam usually texts around 9.30pm to see if you can come in, and only a mental case would volunteer to work overnight having been awake all day. So I said yes.
This means I am going to completely fail to finish the bottle of wine that I have been ploughing through for three days. I have become absolutely useless at drinking at home. How odd.
Last night I dreamt that me and Rory had joined the police. Not Sting's lot, the actual Met. And we were waiting for our uniforms to be ready so we were wearing corrugated cardboard bulletproof vests in the meantime. I am going to patent the idea before Boris jumps on it.
Today I am umming and ahhing over re-attempting to dye my hair. Which I can possibly now 'afford' as I think I may have good news on the flatmate front, but am put off by the extra energy dyeing my hair will use before a night shift. The walking to the shops bit, not the sitting around for half an hour and washing my hair.
Inspired yesterday by shewho saying I should 'photoblog' my Vesta chow mein experience, I realised that I'd not yet checked if my camera would talk to the new computer. I got the camera a year ago, and swiftly got bored of it, especially when there was no way to upload pictures onto my old computer. But yesterday I found that it's now as simple as plugging the memory card into a slot, and away they go! Unfortunately having spent a month figuring out how to use the camera, given no instructions and an ex who had conveniently instantly ''forgotten' how it worked as she'd upgraded to one far superior, I have now spent an entire year not bothering to use it. So it took me a few hours to remember that I needed to completely ignore the hundreds of complicated modes, buttons and settings, and just leave it on SCN mode (no idea) for everything. Do not touch any other buttons, and then it works. And now I can upload pictures, brilliant! I am slightly disturbed that flickr knows I am using a Sony DSC P-200 though, that's just creepy.
So it was an obvious next step to create my first ever photoblog, indeed on the subject of Vesta chow mein which, for the unaware, was one of the original 'ready meals.' It came before oven ready meals and jars of ready made sauces, and we used to have them occasionally when I was a kid as they were the only way to eat something slightly 'exotic,' before every corner shop had a massive range of Asian spices or frozen korma. So I simply had to recreate the experience when I saw Vestas still on sale at Tesco. I kept the experience authentic, with no adding a splash or touch of anything to glam it up - the only difference being that in the seventies every house had a chip pan full of oil that was constantly reused, but my crispy noodles were done in some quite pricey grapeseed oil.
Apologies for any technical ham ups - this is my first day of taking photos/using flickr.
( A taste of the orient... )
So that is my first attempt at photoblogging. Was it good? To be honest I won't be offended if you don't even bother looking because my brain usually goes onto autoskim when faced with someone's photos so I can't expect anyone to look at mine like I've just invented the thing. I might have to ask for some useful tips on photos, and on flickr, but god forbid that I become like a photographer workmate who checks it every day and gets thrown into deep depression if he 'didn't make it onto explore.' I've never asked what that means, I just nod sympathetically.
I shall now get back to the tedious chore of advertising for a flatmate, only with photos...
You may remember a particular statement in the news yesterday, 'The Cameron family asked for their privacy to be respected at this very difficult time.'
You may now contrast this with the Daily Mail's spash page front cover photograph, taken 'just hours after the death of their eldest son,' and the special reports, page 2,3,4,5,6,&7.
*And my Vesta chow mein, which I am quite excited about!
The proposal is:
...change of use of the library building from offices (Use Class B1) to a buddhist centre (Use Class D1) with ancillary residential accommodation.
So you are saying I used to have a library two minutes walk away, but now it's going to be overrun with people being careful not to tread on ants? I've never been in a position to have a say on a planning decision before, but unfortunately any objection can only be toward the architectural changes, and cannot be 'personal.' Where's the fun in that?
Last night I completely failed to dye my hair. It's not that I forgot to do it, or didn't get round to doing it, but that my hair completely failed to dye when subjected to an hour of Light Ash Blonde. What? I know that the reds and brunettes I've dyed it in the last couple of years are hardest to bleach out, but seeing as I haven't dyed it since the first week in October you'd expect the roots to have gone Light Ash Blonde at least, particularly as they are only Dark Ash Blonde to start with. And I have been dyeing my hair for decades and it's always gleefully taken whatever I threw at it. (I started dyeing my hair when I was 10, and my friends' mums always told them mine would fall out by the time I was 20. Not only has it not fallen out, I've only got a couple of greys. In your face, my friends' mums.)
It's lightened very slightly, but not noticeably, and I don't know what to do now. Should I send a hair cutting off with the receipt and have a good complain? Should I go over it again straight away, which I don't want to go the expense of as I'm watching the cash until I secure a flatmate? Or should I leave it and do it 'a bit' again in a few weeks so it very gradually changes colour and people will suddenly realise I used to have a different hair colour? Or should I ask the buddhists when they all move in round the corner?
Speaking of flatmates, if I don't find one within about two weeks I will starve to death, as I have paid six weeks rent and deposit on my own. So if anyone knows of anyone looking, please point them over here. It's very nice, we have buddhists and everything. And the Co-operative sells a very nice walnut cake that I have plenty of.
And I got up at 6 and have done all my washing, had a cooked breakfast, (with my first ever double-yolker!) and done a Tesco Online shop. Tesco online shopping is brilliant! Tick, tick, yes, one of them, some of that... It's convenient for me as I'm trying to restock a storecupboard, and my arm's still not up to carrying much, and it also means you can take advantage of bulky/heavy multipack offers, like 3-for-2 cartons of juice, and buying nine toilet rolls instead of two. (And now I just have somehow managed to change the font and font size in Semagic while hitting the letter T. Does anyone have the faintest clue how I did that? I'm still not used to a lot of the keys on my little notebook computer, and I have no idea how to access the End, Home, PgUp and PgDn keys, which are marked in blue, but pressing the blue Fn key doesn't do it.)
Anyway, Tesco. I have randomly bought crumpets as I haven't had them for years. But they won't be here until this time tomorrow, and there's no point trying to satisfy the craving at the corner shop, as my butter won't be here until tomorrow either. I have also bought another massive pack of potatoes, as I have eaten most of the first massive pack. I was disappointed to read recently that 'the kids' are going off potatoes and tend to eat pasta instead. I would take potatoes over pasta anytime. I would take potatoes over chocolate, or cheese, or even booze anytime. How can anyone not love the versatility of the humble spud? Boiled, mashed, baked, roast, chips, rosti, dauphinoise, duchesse... yum.
I've just been put off Richard Bacon. There are two phrases that will instantly make me reassess people as soon as they use them:
1. 'It's like that episode of The Simpsons where...'
2. 'It's like that episode of Friends where...'
I am also vaguely thinking of having some sort of a housewarming. I don't want a massive house-wrecking blowout PARTY, but some chums visiting for a few sociable beers and snacks would be nice. Are people free for a housewarming next week/end?
I am also vaguely thinking of returning to blonde.
But speaking of gigs, I am going to hike up to North London prior to work this evening to see the Sex Tourists, whose songs also get stuck in my head despite me not knowing any of the words. Hand out song sheets, chaps.
The best newspaper quote of the last couple of days was from the story of the school that had got all the kids to list a load of swearwords in class and, most importantly for it reaching the papers, write them down in their schoolbooks (my header is the Sport's choice of headline.) One of the papers (I am guessing the Mail) had a quote from an enraged parent who said 'some of the words were so obscene, I had never even heard of them'