A Room with a View

Friday, September 30, 2005


I'm very happy to say I'm back and I'm doing just fine. When I wrote my last 'I'll be back in a few days' post, I was frightened that this next post would be much bleaker, and I can't say how thankful I am that it doesn't have to be. I had been feeling pretty unwell in a whole host of different ways for a couple of weeks, including a reasonably large swelling on my right thigh. I won't go into any details, but the combination of the lump and other pains just completely freaked me out. I was utterly terrified and absolutely convinced of the worst. This wasn't helped by the fact that (until we move) my registered doctor is still in OUE City, so I had to make a three hour journey just to get to see her.
My appointment wasn't until yesterday, so for nearly a week I was trying to keep my fears under control, but really wasn't making a good job of it. At times I managed to stay calmish, but at other times I just lost it completely. I'm certain that losing my father to cancer when I was 14 has made me expect the worst in just about any situation. Other children's parents sometimes got ill, went to hospital, people worried, they maybe had an operation, they got better, and all was right with the world. That wasn't the case for me. My dad got ill, everyone told me things would be just fine, the doctors suspected that he may have gall bladder problems or something else not too serious, but things weren't fine. He went to hospital and never came home. He died within 3 weeks of being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. That's why I find it so hard to believe that outcomes won't always be bad.
I spent the week blaming myself for ignoring little niggling physical symptoms over the past year or two, which I just really didn't have the energy to deal with when I was depressed and struggling with side-effects (and later withdrawal) from anti-depressants. I decided that if there was something seriously wrong, it was my fault for not addressing these problems earlier. I was distraught and angry that just as I felt my life was really coming together for the first time in years, it was about to fall apart. I was about to fall apart.
And so, it was in this happy frame of mind that I went to the doctor. LLH was able to take a day off to come with me. I don't know how I would have made it through the journey there without him, I was just so nervous. In some ways I was desperate to get the appointment over with, but in other ways I didn't want it to happen. As it turns out, the lump is nothing sinister (although I may need to have it removed at some point), and my many other symptoms are a multitude of minor problems that my doctor attributed to the fact that I've been drained and rundown for quite some time. So I just need to put some energy into getting fully better. I need to eat, relax and exercise properly, and stock up on vitamins, natural potions and supplements. Basically I need to be kinder to myself, but that's another thing I'm not very good at. I seem to have an inner need to over-compensate for the fact I was unwell with depression over the past couple of years, which results in me pushing myself too hard and beating myself up for not meeting my own standards. Yeah, I just need to chill a bit...
I am very happy though. Happy that there is nothing seriously wrong, and that I can now look forward to our move, the next phase of my research and also just enjoying life. I feel very fortunate. I also feel very sleepy. So I'm going to go curl up on the sofa with LLH and a new book about cats that I got today. There's lots more I want to blog about (including 5 great questions that Running2Ks wrote for me, and the Seven Surprising Things meme), but I'll save all that for tomorrow. Until then, thank you so much for all of your supportive comments and good wishes - I really did appreciate them enormously. And, although I didn't really comment much this week, reading all your blogs was one of the only things that could distract me from my fears for a little while, so thank you for that too. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A little longer...

Just stopping by to say that I'm going to be taking a few more days away from blogging. I need to sort a few things out health-wise, but will hopefully be up and running again before the end of the week.
Thanks so much for all of the very kind comments that you left on my last post - I really did appreciate them so much. :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

A weekend off...

I haven't been feeling very well this week, just some aches, pains and annoyances that are making me feel crappy and drained. I don't think it's anything to particularly worry about, just one manifestation of the fact that I'm feeling pretty out of sorts in a lot of ways right now. I'm not depressed, but I am feeling quite down and am struggling with my moods and motivation. I just want to feel a lot healthier, and maybe just taking better care of myself (water, herbal teas, vitamins, exercise, good food) for a couple of days will make all the difference. I think some of the problem is the whole being in limbo thing. It's now three and a half months since I left OUE City, but as life's been pretty up in the air since then with planning to move etc., I just haven't settled down into any routine. I need to feel healthy, settled and to have some certainty in life, and the last two years haven't been good for any of those things. I know that in less than a month we'll (fingers crossed) be in our new home, but I'm just not dealing with anything particularly well right now. The combination of physical and mental niggles is getting to me, and I just want to cry or yell.
And so, I've decided to take a weekend away from blogging. I haven't blogged much this week because of how I've been feeling, but that has also been annoying me as there's a lot I wanted to post about. I'm hoping that telling myself I won't blog for a couple of days will at least stop me from beating myself up about it when I don't. Yeah, I know that probably doesn't make any sense, but I'm just feeling angry and frustrated with myself about everything right now, and don't want the blog to get added to the mix. When I say I won't be blogging, I should say posting. Reading blogs has been really helpful to me this week, and I'm sure I'll be reading over the weekend. Back on Monday...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bad luck comes in threes...

Yesterday, my watch fell off my wrist and smashed. This afternoon, an arm fell off my glasses. And, just now, as I was thinking of writing a quick blog post about what the third piece of bad luck might be, I accidentally stabbed a pen nib into my hand. Ouch! Guess that ends the speculation. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's the little unexpected things...

Someone was reading The Ghosts from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Hiawatha poem on BBC Radio 4 just now, and it reminded me so much of my Dad. When I was little, he used to read parts of this poem to me before I went to sleep at night. I love the rhythm of the poem, it's almost magical and draws you in. In my head I can still hear my Dad reciting it. I still miss him so very much.

Property Addict...

Okay, you all know only too well that we've found a new home, and that, given all the hassles we've had in securing it, I am never ever moving again (well, not for many years anyway). So why am still trawling through the many e-mail alerts that I receive from real estate agents everyday? Is it a morbid fascination? Another form of procrastination? Will someone please TELL ME to unsubscribe from them.
In the same vein, I must stop reading the property section of the Sleepy Boring Town newspaper. I keep tormenting myself with how much you can get for your money over here, compared to what we're paying in Trendy Seaside City. Why can't I accept the utterly obvious reasons for this? You know, like the fact that property is going to cost more in a popular city where stuff actually happens, rather than the latte-free boringsville that's my current hometown.
And, finally, I must, must, must stop watching so many home selling/buying/improving shows on TV. I knew it had gone too far when I found myself sobbing and yelling 'I feel their pain' at the TV when someone's house purchase fell through...
So, d'ya reckon there's a Property Addicts anonymous, or specialized therapists for this kind of thing? ;)

Doing well...

It only took me an hour to find the business card with my Mortgage Advisor's telephone number on....Clearly, I'm going to be steaming through my to-do list today!
Next up, rearrange hair appointment. Fortunately I know that number by heart. Priorties, people, priorities...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sleepy and content...

On our way home from a cultural day of castles and gardens, we stopped off in a seaside town and ate traditional chips out of a paper parcel on the beach. This is something that most English people readily associate with family days out at the seaside, but I'd never actually done it before. We also took a long walk down the beach front. The sun was getting lower and the sea air was warm and comforting...it made me very sleepy. I've been flopped on the sofa all evening, although I did manage to find enough energy to eat a bowl of LLH's wonderful homemade chilli. Yum. I'm cosy and content, and everything would be perfect were it not for the fact that Atlanta are already 20 points down and LLH is sitting next to me looking very dejected in his Michael Vick shirt. Damn Seahawks! ;)

Exactly how a Castle should look...

I find this castle mesmerizing. I first visited it on a school outing when I was seven years old, but more than 20 years later it still takes my breath away. I think it is absolutely how a castle should look. From the rounded towers, to the moat, to the bridges and the portcullis...it's every bit the stuff that legends and fairy tales are made of. If you asked people who had never visited this place to draw a quintessentially English castle, I'm sure that many would come up with something almost identical to this...

We took quite a few more photos today, so when I finally get around to sorting out a flickr account, I'll put the whole set up.

One of my favourite places...again

Today, LLH and I revisited one of our favourite places yet again. As I've blogged before, it's a National Trust property with beautiful gardens and a fabulous tea room that we sometimes go to when we want to plan and talk about things. Our planning and discussions were perhaps not quite as focused as usual, but we did make lots of lists of things we need to do, and it was really nice to just have the time to sit outside and chat for a couple of hours over lunch and coffee...

Saturday Morning in Soon-To-Be Home City...

On Saturday morning, LLH and I drove aross to Trendy Seaside City, our soon-to-be home. You can take a coastal route for most of the way, and the views of the sea and cliffs are quite spectacular, particularly on days like yesterday when the sky is bright blue. You also pass through some beautiful areas of rolling green hills and fields. It's a great journey to start the weekend - lots of wonderful scenery and no stressful traffic.
The journey put us in the perfect frame of mind to re-visit Dream Flat. With the dramas of the week behind us, it was reassuring to see it again and to know that (barring huge disasters) it should soon be ours. We took some measurments and began to think about the first refurbishments we're going to make. The kitchen is completely hideous (I didn't take internal photos as I thought the real estate agent might think it was a little strange, but I'll definitely blog it one we move in), so replacing that is first on the list. We're keen to put our mark on the inside of the flat, but want to make sure that what we do is sympathetic to its age and style, whilst also being practical. I'm thinking that a trip to Borders for home-styling magazines may be in order, and I'm also very interested in researching more about the period in which the property was built. I certainly feel a sense of responsibility about living in a listed building which was built in 1830 and is in a conservation area, and I really want to learn more about it.
After we'd spent a while in the flat, we walked down to the end of the square and strolled along the seafront, before stopping for breakfast at a cafe on the beach. Perfect. I meant to take photos of the sea, but I was a bit too taken with my cappuccino and bacon sandwich. Mmmm. We did however take some photos of the square that Dream Flat is in. Yes, I know I've blogged some before, but they were from the estate agent's details, and I'm completely in love with the buildings, so I just can't help myself... :)
I love the way that the buildings curve...
The sea is only a couple of metres away from the bottom of this photo...

And finally, one containing Dream Flat...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Things that make me happy...

I've been a grumpy blogger recently. :( Most of my posts have been house-buying/selling whines, and even those which have nothing to do with my house dramas have been down right grouchy. Sure, I'm tired, stressed, have had PMS, but whatever, I need to snap out of it, I have tons to be happy about and thankful for. I love that Running2Ks has a Thankful Thursday post where everyone can write about what they are thankful for. I looked at this week's post just now, and it really helped me to snap out of my sulkiness. I do have so much that I'm happy about. It's after 5pm on Friday, so LLH will be home soon. We've had a stressful and tiring week, so it will just be perfect to get some dinner and wine and flop out on the sofa. He's not at college this weekend either, so we can spend two whole days together. We've already got a couple of outings planned (photoblogging will follow tomorrow!), and I'm really looking forward to chatting about our plans for Dream Flat and other things. Not long until he gets home...better tidy the house a bit. ;)
Have a wonderful weekend! :)

The people on the bus...

  • To the rude and obnoxious lady...Don't be surprised that your small children are badly mannered and out of control, where do you think they get it from?
  • To the man right behind me...Has nobody ever told you that you should put your hand over your mouth when you cough and sneeze? It might have taken you by surprise the first time, but after half an hour of solid coughing, you had to realise you were doing it. And while we're on the subject, did you really have to sit in a crowded area of the bus when there was a lot of empty space elsewhere? I really hope you're better soon, but I don't want to share your germs.
  • To far too many of my fellow travellers...Why can't you guys wash? I'd totally understand if you were homeless or had been in some other situation that made it impossible for you to attend to your personal hygiene, but I'm betting that wasn't the case for any of you. Soap and water isn't expensive, and even if you don't care how you smell, spare a thought for the others who are stuck on the bus with you. Ewww!
  • To the feisty elderly lady...How do you manage to carry so many bags of groceries? I just couldn't hold that much and I must be about a third of your age. What's your training regime? Plenty of spinach?
  • To the lovely elderly lady who lives in my road...Thanks for chatting to me as we walked back from the bus stop. I'm glad the weather stayed good for your afternoon of gardening, and I hope you have a great weekend with your son and his family.

Friday wisdom...

Period cramps + waxing/hair-removal = Too, too painful. Ouch!

The Rules of Cricket for Foreigners :)

When I posted about England's cricketing triumphs earlier this week, Scrivener and Julie requested an explanation of the rules. I think this poem should clear things up....

The Rules of Cricket for Foreigners
A Foreigner will possess the essential knowledge of cricket when he fully understands the following:
You have two sides: One out in the field and one in.
Each man that's in the side that's in goes out and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out.
When they are all out the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.
Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When both sides have been in and out including the not outs,
That's the end of the game.

Simple, huh? ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mess fairies?

Can someone explain to me how my house can be perfectly tidy and then be in a huge mess within hours? Even when I'm home alone? I can't see the living room floor anymore for papers, and the stuff on the kitchen work surfaces is balancing pretty precariously. Having said that, the laundry is reproducing so fast that I won't be able to see the kitchen soon anyway. Do I have mess fairies?! If I do, I'd better get them in line pretty quick, as we have friends coming round for dinner tonight. I had such high hopes for making them a lovely meal. They always make a real effort with lovely home-cooked food when we go there, and what am I going to give them?? Freakin' pizza. I'm the lamest hostess ever, but this week's been so crazy that I've lost all creativity on the culinary front. So instead of the baked salmon with watercress potatoes and asparagus that I'd planned, the best I can do is extra cheese and pepperoni. You'd still want to come, right?!? I mean, the company's more important than the food, isn't it? And, of course I won't bore them with my house selling/buying stories. Honest. ;)

Damn paperwork...

One of my tasks for today is to complete these huge forms relating to our house sale. Everyone selling a house in the UK receives these forms from their lawyer and I have to admit that I thought they'd be pretty easy. Boy, was I wrong! Half of the questions are incomprehensible, and the others don't make much more sense. What bothers me most is that these forms were designed to help make the conveyancing process readily understandable to non-lawyers. Well, ummm, LLH is a lawyer (corporate, not property, but whatever) and I graduated top of my year in Law School, and neither of us have a bloody clue what's going on with them, so I'm not sure that a non-lawyer would get very far. If you ask me, it's all a conspiracy by the law firms and their regulatory body (who designed the forms) to make even more money from their poor clients. Grrrr and double grrrr!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Warning: House-buying rant ahead...

I really hope that my blog won't be single-issue for much longer. I can't take much more of this house-buying stuff...I just want to blog about something (anything) else, BUT right now, I've gotta vent...
The guy we're buying our new flat from is a major league asshole, and that's about the most polite thing I can think of to call him. He's a complete and utter shyster. Just thinking about him and the way he's behaved is making me seeth and go red in the face. As you know, we sold our house last Thursday, at which point I immediately informed the real estate agent dealing with the flat, who immediately left a message for the Asshole Vendor (AV). Despite the estate agent constantly calling and leaving messages for AV over the next 5 days, he didn't call back until yesterday morning. At which point he informed the estate agent that HE HAD ACCEPTED ANOTHER PERSON'S OFFER TO BUY THE FLAT. Excuse me?! Okay, yes, the way our weird property law works in the UK, you can turn down an offer that you had originally accepted, and then accept another offer. This is quite rare, but occasionally happens when a buyer is slow to proceed and a much higher offer is made. But even in such a situation, it's virtually unheard of for another offer to be accepted before the original one is turned down. Plus, we weren't delaying at all. We want to push things along, and after all, it wasn't us that didn't return calls for days. And, what's worse, the other offer that was accepted was lower than ours.
So, why did AV prefer to sell to these other people instead? Well, actually he didn't. He didn't care whether we bought it or they did. He just had this great idea (yeah, he must be a real smartie) that he could string along a couple of buyers and see who actually got through the whole process first. He clearly didn't give a damn that we didn't know about the other buyers, nor they us. Nor did he care that we were all spending a lot of money on surveys, legal fees etc. He's just a bad ass businessman who doesn't care about people trying to buy a home. Even the lawyers and real estate agents were horrified by this guy's behaviour. And, me, well I was just freaking out big time...shaking, crying, the works!
Fortunately, LLH went into lawyer mode and held it together brilliantly. He managed to negotiate a new arrangement for us which is as watertight as it can be. But we are having to pay £1000 more for the property, and it galls me that AV (who absolutely doesn't deserve it) is going to get his grubby litttle paws on even more of our money. Plus, I feel awful for the other people who lost the flat. None of this was their fault, we've just all been treated really badly. It makes me so mad. If we didn't love the place so much, we absolutely would have walked away yesterday, but we just couldn't. We're hooked.
I hope it's plain sailing from here on in, but I'm not holding my breath... :)
Okay, better stop thumping so hard on the keyboard...

Wednesday's Done List...

I've got tons to do over the next few days, but I can't face making a hugely long to-do list, so I'm just going to list what I've done, and update it every now and then...

  • Sorted through e-mail inbox.
  • Called bank to discuss further details of mortgage and insurance policies (awaiting call back).
  • Made dental appointment for LLH.
  • Laundry (second load in).
  • Contacted house purchasers regarding their solicitor.
  • Call back from bank. Discussed various issues and made appointment for next Thursday.
  • Sorted paperwork relating to our original purchase of this property, so LLH can pass to solicitor.
  • Drafted documents to send to purchaser relating to sale.
  • Compiled details of property to send to purchaser's solicitors.
  • Wrote letter to bank concerning documents received in mail this morning.
  • Wrote letter to our real estate agent.
  • Answered far too many e-mails relating to house sale/purchase. (Are you spotting the theme here? I'm spending WAY too much time on all this house stuff...)
  • Telephoned bank to rearrange appointment because LLH said 'I can do any lunchtime next week', and once I'd arranged the appointment for Thursday, he added 'but not Thursday'. Grrr!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Woo hoo!

I'm probably the most pro-European English person you will ever meet, but that in no way detracts from the fact that I'm very English. I love tea, scones, cucumber sandwiches, Pimms, Shakespeare, tennis and CRICKET. Yes, CRICKET, and I can't help but take this opportunity to say a massive YAY to our wonderful team, who spectacularly won back the Ashes from Australia after 18 years, in what was indisputably one of the most amazing test series in memory. I love every single one of them...the wonderful Lancastrian, Andrew (Freddie) Flintoff, our adopted South African, Kevin Pietersen (go his 158 runs in the last innings!), and the oh-so-English captain, Michael Vaughan. It's not often that we English can have real national pride in our sporting achievements, but we definitely can right now. We beat the best in the world fair and square, and I'm going to enjoy rubbing that in with my Aussie friends in a few e-mails and calls tomorrow...GO ENGLAND! WOO HOO!

The Poseidon Adventure...

Okay, I'm gonna keep this short, but our endeavours to finally secure Dream Flat are really involving more twists, turns and breathless moments of despair than the great disaster movies...On Friday we thought everything was absolutely fine, then on Saturday we found out that the person we're buying from had gone AWOL. Since then the real estate agents have been trying to contact him, but so far only one garbled message has been received back. There's no indication that anything's wrong, so it's not all bad, but there's no indication that everything's right either. Damn it, my nerves are so frayed that I just need a little certainty. I just want to know that we're full steam ahead. LLH (who NEVER gets nervous about anything) is also jittery as anything, and is about to drive the poor estate agents insane. I mean, who wants to receive around 20 calls from a lawyer each day? We're both behaving like expectant parents...watching too many house-selling shows on Discovery Real Time, and consuming far too much medicinal pizza and wine. I wasn't going to blog about this (hence my silence over the weekend), but I pretty much blog all my hopes and fears, so what the heck, why hold back on this? Here's hoping that we'll get confirmation that all is okay tomorrow...I don't have many fingernails left. ;)

It's not Friday and it's not random...

Last Friday, I'd intended to post a Not-So-Random Ten list of songs that make me feel upbeat and happy (because, as you all know, I was elated about selling my house, did I mention that ever!?!), but then Scrivener posted a list of REM songs, which, given that i totally love REM, inspired me to do the same. Except that I didn't finish it, and now I'm in trouble with Scrivener. Ooops! :) So feeling like a naughty student who hasn't done her homework, here's my list. Okay, it's late, but do I get extra credit for writing a little explanation of why I picked each one?! ;)
  • Find the River - Automatic for the People My. Favourite. Song. Ever.
  • I've Been High - Reveal This is a song that I've always really liked, but fell for even more after hearing it live for the first time. The lyrics take my breath away, especially the final line: 'Make my make believe, believe in me.'
  • At My Most Beautiful - Up I used to think this song was beautiful, now it makes me cringe a bit. I can't blame REM for that, rather the complete lack of coordination that both LLH and I possess on the dancefloor. We chose this for the first dance at our wedding, without considering how difficult it would be to dance to, and how long it would leave us in the spotlight, flailing around in front of a couple of hundred of our family and friends. *shudder*
  • E-bow the Letter - New Adventures in Hi-Fi This summer, I got to hear Patti Smith sing this live with REM. Need I say more?
  • Electrolite - New Adventures in Hi-Fi. In my humble little opinion, New Adventures is such an under-rated album. In fact, it's my favourite, and Electrolite is my favourite song on it. I think the lyrics are uplifting and light, yet powerful at the same time: 'Don't be scared, you are alive. You are alive. You are the star tonight. Your sun electric, outta sight. Your light eclipsed the moon tonight...'
  • It's the End of the World as we know it (and I feel fine) - Document Because it's just so much fun to sing out the lyrics and yell 'LEONARD BERNSTEIN' with thousands of other sweaty REM fans, right?!
  • Permanent Vacation - Available on itunes LLH thinks this should be the theme-song for academics and research students. Funny? No, I don't think so either. Grrrr!
  • Country Feedback - Out of Time LLH's favourite REM song, and I can't dispute that it's awesome. At bad times in my life, I've cried buckets over the song's bleakness and lost hope, at other times, I've been oddly inspired by it.
  • I Wanted to be Wrong - Around the Sun For me, the lyrics (and also the lyrics of Final Straw, also on this album) capture so much of what so many are feeling about the way the world is going right now.
  • These Days - Life's Rich Pageant It was in Summer 2003 that I first realised that REM fans are getting quite old. I'd never really noticed it before, but when I went to a pretty small concert at the Brixton Academy (which was mainly REM fan club members), it dawned on me that it wouldn't be a million years before we were heading for all-seater concerts. ;) Such a hardcore audience really appreciated the band's opening medley from Life's Rich Pageant, and the many balding heads and rounded stomachs really seemed to feel the line 'we are young despite the years'.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My new home...

Halloweenlover asked if I could post some photographs of Dream Flat...I don't have any of the inside right now, but here's a couple of the outside of the building (which is nearly 200 years old) and one slightly broader view of the square. The sea is at the bottom of the square. Our flat is on the second floor (third floor in the US). It's the one with the little triangular shape above the window.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Woo hoo...Time for celebratory cupcakes!

I'm a bit too excited to type right now (plus it's hard to type and sip champagne at the same time, although with practice I'm sure I could improve...), but just wanted to put up a quick post to say that WE'VE SOLD OUR HOUSE! Yay and double yay...This is of course wonderful for us as we can definitely secure Dream Flat now, but I was also really touched by how genuinely the buyers love our house. Whilst Sleepy Boring Village is not for LLH and I, it is absolutely perfect for them. They apparently spent the morning walking around the area and loved seeing all the children and families. It's exactly what they want. I totally had to fight back the tears when they made the offer, although that probably wouldn't have been much worse than my desperate sales pitch, which wasn't really needed anyway. You should have seen me, I was like 'You can have the BBQ, the garden furniture, the bike etc. etc. etc.'. They could probably make millions on e-bay with all the extras that we threw in. But, I just don't care, they are first-time buyers, so it helps them out, and we don't need all that stuff for our new flat anyway. I'm happy for us and them.
I also just want to say the BIGGEST THANK YOU to all of you for being so supportive throughout my house-selling roller-coaster. I can't tell you how much I've appreciated your supportive comments and positive house-selling vibes! I would have freaked out so much more were it not for you guys. And, yes, Limon, you were absolutely right that viewer #3 would be the one to buy, but I do hope LLH doesn't get any ideas about a 60 inch TV. ;)
P.S. My house selling attempts were nearly thwarted by a MASSIVE GRASSHOPPER! I dashed home from a bank appointment to quickly clean around the house before the viewers came back, only to find this gigantic jumping thing in my bedroom. I tried to confront my bug phobia to catch it...but it just kept jumping at me and I couldn't get it. Ewww. Ick. I had visions of the potential buyers being smitten with the place and then seeing the bug and freaking out. I was hysterical and all our neighbours were out, so I was a bit short on the bug catching accomplice front. Eventually I got hold of my Mum and we managed to capture it together. You should have seen us jumping up and down on the bed chasing this thing. Not funny at all at the time, but pretty damn hilarious in hindsight.
P.P.S. Unfortunately, I didn't bake the above cupcakes to entice the buyers. They're from a set Shrinky's already linked to on flickr.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Deep breathing...

Okay, you are forewarned that this is a post about selling my house, so I totally forgive anyone who decides not to read on. ;) In the absence of our Estate Agent actually being any use, my mother has taken it upon herself to try to sell our house. Now, my mother has her faults (actually plenty of them), but when she wants to be she's certainly a forced to be reckoned with. She's been touting our house to her friends and their families, and today the daughter of one of her fellow teachers came to see it. She really, really liked it, as did her Mum who came with her, and she's coming back tomorrow afternoon with her fiance. What's more, she says that it's between our house and one other, and that they'll make a final decision tomorrow evening. Arrrrrrgggghhhh!
So yes, it's very exciting that someone actually likes it that much, but it's also pretty nervewracking. Not knowing what else to do (I mean, I honestly can't clean the house again today, can I? I'm in danger of getting high on cleaning products!), LLH and I decided to scope out the competition. We drove by the 'other house' and found all its details on the internet. It's definitely quite a lot bigger than our one, but the location is not good at all. Also, it's a lot older and needs quite a lot of work, whereas ours is only five years old and needs absolutely nothing doing to it. This is good for us to some extent, as they're buying at the top end of their budget and are worried about the expense of having to do work to a property. And, they did say that our house was in their dream area. In their own words, 'the area where we want to raise our children and send them to school'. That's gotta be a good thing, no? I guess it just comes down to the age old conundrum of space over location. I hope they choose location and lovely new house. I mean, you would, wouldn't you??! You'd rather live in Pink Cupcake's little house??! :)
So, tomorrow is judgement day...I'm trying to keep positive, without sounding desperate. I tried not to sound too desperate when I showed them around. I mean, I said we'd leave the lawn mower, garden furniture, curtains and pretty much anything else they'd like, but I did stop short of promising them our first born child or a vital organ (although I reckon LLH thought I should). We've offered them a fantastic price as they're first-time buyers and can move really quickly, which is the only way that we can ensure we get the Dream Flat...Oh, the Dream Flat...Breathe deeply...Breathe deeply...Happy jolly thoughts... :)

Meet Freddie...

LLH's parents just sent us this photo of their new dog, Freddie (on the right). I'm really glad they've now got a friend for their other dog, Pepper (left). I think they make a pretty cute pair...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Random ramblings from a fuzzy brain...

Yesterday I wanted to plan and organise. I wanted to get my head together about where my life is going right now. Both big-picture and small day-to-day stuff has been overwhelming me recently, and I need to take control of them. I know this will make me feel better, but my brain's not playing along. It feels as though my head is full of cotton-wool and that I can't extract clear thoughts on anything, and that's pretty draining. I haven't even felt as though I could write about what's bothering me and how I want to resolve it. I'm not even sure that I can now, but I think that even semi-coherent ramblings would be a good start...
  • Not having a desk or a study area is proving really difficult right now. When I moved home from OUE City three months ago it wasn't a priority for me. So much had happened in the previous few weeks that I felt exhausted and drained, and I was happy to just have a little time away from papers and organisation and thinking. Also, we spent my first few weeks at home clearing out all of our surplus possessions (soooo many trips to the rubbish tip/charity store/recycling centre!), and getting our house ready to sell. This felt quite cleansing and freeing, but it did mean that we had to turn our study back into a second bedroom to show the house at its full potential. We had to collapse our desks, book cases, box up the printer etc. etc. Yes, our house is that small! I still didn't mind too much, as I imagined our house would sell quite quickly, and that even if there was some time before we actually moved, I would at least know how much longer I would be deskless....
  • But, unfortunately, our house selling isn't going anywhere fast. It's been on the market for around a month, but only two people have been to view it. We're permanently cleaning and gardening so that it's just right, but nobody comes. This frustrates me so much, partly because we've already dropped the price so that it is more than competitive, and also because we're just about to lose the amazing flat that we found in Trendy Seaside City...
  • I can't tell you how much I love the flat. It is perfect. Spacious, bright, amazing location. Exactly the kind of place I dreamed of living, but by the end of this week it's very likely that it will never be ours. That makes me sad, and not just because of the property itself, but because TSC would give me so many more opportunities for getting out and involved in a community...
  • I really need to move away from Sleepy Boring Village, nothing happens here and I'm pretty lonely. I'm sure this is exacerbated by the fact that I was surrounded by people in my College accommodation in OUE City, and that everything I could ever want to do was close by. I knew it would be hard to move away, especially as I'll still be a student in OUE City for the next three years, but it's more difficult than I expected. I love living with LLH again, I wouldn't change that for anything, but he works long hours and is also still taking professional exams (for which he has to travel to London every three weekends for classes). SBV is so small that there is absolutely nowhere to go. We have one shop, but absolutely nothing else. So I can't even go out to grab a coffee or something. Plus, it's very difficult to get to the local town from here, and even if I can get there, there's not much going on. It's a largely retirement community, so local groups and associations are not particularly close to my interests. I suppose I could find something to do, but my heart's just not in it. I truly hope not to be here much longer, and I also don't feel like meeting new people or anything right now. I just want to move somewhere new...
  • But, I have to accept that this may take a bit longer than we had originally hoped, and I have to get to grips with life in the meantime. I can't put everything on hold. I have to figure out a way of working in the house, and I need to get organised...
  • Organisation is a word that I keep coming back to, but probably because I'm usually a hyper-organised person, but I feel completely disorganised and behind with everything at the moment. I'm massively behind with returning e-mails and calls to friends, which makes me sad and angry with myself, as I miss having my friends around, so the least I can do is keep in touch, right? I also have moutains of paperwork that I need to get through (both personal and professional), and I really need to think about my research. I'm officially taking time out from university until early January (that's if I ever complete the necessary forms!), but I want to be able to hit the ground running then. I want to have adjusted to living away, and I want to regain my confidence in my work, which completely disappeared whilst I was unwell last year. I need to show others that the faith they have in me is justified. I need to prove it to myself.
  • Which brings me back to the depression...I still have the odd bad day, but I'm definitely so much better than I was this time last year. I've been off medication since January, and I do honestly feel far less bleak about everything. But I am finding it all incredibly hard work. I often have to make an effort to do things that used to come naturally to me, and this still shocks me. I also have a lot to work through in therapy, and I'm still conscious of the physical effects of the whole thing. It took a long while for most of the physical side-effects of my last medication to disappear, and even now I still haven't regained the energy and vitality I used to have. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy things are much better, but it's still incredibly frustrating.
  • So, how do I get myself back on track? I think I need to start with lots of little goals. Making lists on pretty notepads is sure to be a good start. :) Clearing my Inbox, sorting through mail, filing papers...these are all things that will help me to feel like I'm getting somewhere. First priority is finding somewhere for a desk, even if it is a fold-down camping table that I can move when necessary, then hooking up my laptop to the internet here (I'm so sick of using this old laptop without any of my stuff on it), and organising at least a couple of storage boxes to keep things that I'm working on in. That way I would have some sort of space for me.
  • I really do think taking control of the little practical tasks will be a good way of helping me feel more postive and more able to face the bigger issues. And, I'm going to use the blog to monitor my progress (feel free to ignore my constant lists if they get boring!).
  • Gosh, I've rambled a lot, but I do feel a little better already. I was feeling quite sick and overwhelmed when I sat down to write this post, and I'm not sure if it makes any sense at all, but whatever. I feel almost guilty to post about my problems, as so many horrific things have happened to others recently, and I know that I'm immensely lucky and fortunate to have all that I do in my life. Nonetheless, it is important for me to figure out how to be more at ease with myself, my work and my surroundings.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Art for a Monday morning...

3 months ago today I moved home from OUE City. A lot has happened since then. In some ways I've accomplished a lot. In other ways I need to refocus and renew my efforts. Today is going to be a day for organisation, planning and thinking. I'll definitely be blogging about all of this later, but there's no doubt that a day like this is going to require plenty of caffeine....

Unfortunately, my morning latte wasn't this beautiful, but I did enjoy browsing through Tonx's photos whilst sipping it...If you feel like a caffeine fix, you should definitely check them out.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Pink Cupcaketastic!

Shrinkykitten made these great Warholesque pink cupcake pictures for me....I LOVE THEM!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Saturday Afternoon Meme Time...

Everyone's doing this, and as I don't want to blog about the fact that I'm feeling sulky and sorry for myself right now, I'll give it a go too...

  • A - Accent About as quintessentially English as you can get. My boarding school days definitely had a huge ifluence. If I hear myself on an answerphone or video I'm quite shocked...in my head I don't sound nearly as well-spoken as I actually am. It's not quite a Pride and Prejudice accent, but I could easily pull-off being Hugh Grant's sister. ;)
  • B - Bra Size How random is this question?! It's D.
  • C - Chore you hate I'm totally with Russian Violets on this one. It's cleaning. I. Hate. Cleaning. I hate cleaning the bathroom and oven with a passsion. I especially hate it at the moment because I spend half my life cleaning my house so that someone might come and buy it, but nobody ever does. Ungrateful bastards. And so I'm stuck here...cleaning. Waaaaaaaaaw!
  • D - Dad's name Charles
  • E - Essential make-up None. I cleanse, tone and moisturise, but almost never wear makeup. Only for evening funcions, and then not very much. I guess it's partly laziness, and maybe I'll start wearing more at some stage, but for now I'm quite content with my natural look.
  • F - Favourite Perfume I used to be really into Calvin Klein perfumes and also Dune by Christian Dior, but now I go for much lighter fragrances. My favourites are Clarins' Eau Ressourcante and Eau Dynamisante.
  • G - Gold or Silver? I don't wear a lot of either, but silver generally, although both my engagement ring and wedding ring are gold, and I adore them.
  • H - Hometown Sleepy Boring Seaside Town
  • I - Insomnia Yes, for as long as I can remember I've had trouble sleeping. Grrrrrrr!
  • J - Job Title Graduate Research Student in European Union Law.
  • K - Kids Definitely not. The whole thing scares me too much. Cats? Yes. Kids? No. I have endless admiration for those who become parents, it's just not for me.
  • L - Living Arrangements DON'T ASK ME THIS!!!! This meme was supposed to distract me from the things that are annoying me! ;) Currently living in a 5 year old house in Sleepy Boring Village, which we are in the process of trying to sell. We found a perfect flat in Trendy Seaside City, but unless we sell our place in the next couple of days (which is looking pretty unlikely, considering that we've had only two viewings in 3 and a half weeks - gah!), we're going to lose it to another buyer. I'm so not a happy bunny right now. *big sigh*
  • M - Mum's birthplace London
  • N - Favourite Noldo I have no idea what this is. Does anyone else know??
  • O - Overnight Hospital Stay A couple of weeks when I was born, as I was 6 weeks early. Since then, just adenoid removal when I was 7, and tonsil removal when I was 25. For what it's worth, I don't recommend having your tonsils out in your mid-twenties, it hurt like hell. I am glad they're gone though.
  • P - Phobia Bugs. Bugs. Bugs. Pretty much any large ones, and especially those that can jump, fly and bite. I'm also scared of butterflies and moths, which I realise is pretty pathetic. It's the fluttering that gets me.
  • Q - Favourite Quote 'By indirections find directions out.' Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 1. I have this quote stuck beside my desk to remind me not to get despondent when my research seems to be going nowhere.
  • R - Religious affiliation I was christened and confirmed as a protestant when I was much younger, but I don't go to church anymore and I don't hold any particular beliefs. Having said that, I do often feel a sense of peace and balance when I visit churches and cathedrals.
  • S - Siblings No, I didn't mind when I was younger, but now I'd love to be part of a bigger family, or at least have a big brother. LLH is an only child too, so we're a bit family-lite.
  • T - Time I get up At the moment, around 7.30am. At times it's been quite a bit earlier. Either way, I'm better if I keep to a regular schedule, and I get very grumpy if I sleep in for too long.
  • U - Unnatural hair colours Always just blonde, although I'd like to get a bit more adventurous one day...
  • V - Vegetable you refuse to eat Can't think of any at all. I'm a good girl. ;)
  • W - Worst habit Worrying and obsessing about anything and everything.
  • X - X-rays you've had Lots of dental ones, and my wrist, when I fractured it roller-blading on the very first day that I had a new pair of roller-blades.
  • Y - Yummy foods you make Banana bread, scones and a pasta/pesto/vegetable concoction. I've only gotten into cooking in the last year or so, as LLH is a very good cook and tends to make most of our meals. (Yay for LLH!)
  • Z - Zodiac sign Aquarius.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Easy Option Music Meme...

Right now I'm not sure that I have the stamina to trawl through a 100 songs from the year I left school as nearly everyone else has recently. Just a quick glance at the 1995 list is enough to make me want to puke with embarrassment. It certainly wasn't a vintage year. In fact, it was down right tragic. So, I've decided to do an easier option music meme that I saw at Liz's place, and also over at Scrivener's...
Instructions: List five songs that you are currently digging - it doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now.
  1. Remember Me - The Zutons (Who Killed...The Zutons) I'm totally into The Zutons right now. If you haven't heard of them, you should definitely check them out. I don't really know who to compare them to, their style is pretty wide-ranging, but it's definitely upbeat and catchy, without being populist or kitsch. LLH and I bought their album as they were due to support REM in London in July, but they ultimately couldn't play on the date that was rescheduled as a result of the devastating London Bombings. So I haven't seen them play live yet, but I'd definitely walk over hot coals to do so. Remember Me is one of my favourite songs on the album, but I could so easily have chosen several others, not least Zuton Fever.
  2. Head Over Feet - Alanis Morissette (Jagged Little Pill - Acoustic) I've always loved Jagged Little Pill, so just had to buy the recently released 10th Anniversary Commemorative Acoustic Edition. I picked Head Over Feet because it's always struck a chord with me.
  3. Best of You - Foo Fighters (In Your Honor) Just. Love. The. Foo. Fighters. Just. Love. This. Song. I was so excited when the new album was released, and am peeing my pants excited about seeing them play live for the first time in December. Woo hoo! :)
  4. American Idiot - Green Day (American Idiot) Green Day's Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) is my all-time second favourite song (and it had to beat off a lot of REM competition for that spot!), so I've been into Green Day for quite sometime. American Idiot (the album and the song) did not disasppoint one bit. What did disappoint was that I missed seeing them play live this summer because LLH had professional exams. Grrrr! Yet another good reason to remain an academic lawyer. ;)
  5. Animal - REM (In Time - The Best of REM) How could I possibly have five songs I'm into right now without including one by REM?!! Whilst I'm not a completely besotted geeky fan who knows every single detail about each band member, I am the girl standing next to you at their concerts who knows every single word to every single song and isn't afraid to sing loudly. And, yeah, I guess I'm kinda weird because Michael Stipe is pretty much my ideal man, and damn, what I wouldn't do to have Bertis Downs' job. ;) But why Animal? Well, I have to admit it took a while for the song to grow on me, but having heard it live several times recently, it's really stuck and I've been listening to it tons since then. Who can't love a song with the lyrics 'I'm vibrating at the speed of light'?