Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

The first flakes were falling just as I got home from work on Friday night. We'd been expecting it all day; there was that sharp chill in the air that just screamed "Snow's Coming!" People around me pulled their coats tighter and stepped up the pace, eager to get home as soon as possible. I spread my hands and turned my face to the heavens. There was something so magical about the first snowfall of the season that it always felt like an almost spiritual experience.

As I watched from my window, the wind rattled against the pane whipping up the light flakes into a flurry frenzy. By the time I woke up the next morning, it was a Bing Crosby dream world outside. But Ma Nature wasn't done.

The snow continued to fall all day on Saturday, then through most of the night and as I sip my Sunday morning cuppa it's still falling. Knowing just how ill prepared Scotland is for this kind of weather, I am already dreading the commute in to work tomorrow morning. But for now, I am warm and cosy on the couch watching hangover TV and very glad that I have nowhere to be, but at home.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In Sickness and in Health

Spain was amazing, but coming back to bone chilling temperatures has done nothing good for my body, already tired out from the long days of sightseeing coupled with the even longer nights of wine and song! I boarded the flight home with a sore head and an itchy throat and by the time I landed in Scotland it had escalated to a full scale fever and horrid swollen glands.

Speaking (or rather, croaking) to my mum the next morning, she poured out all sorts of Mother type home remedies to me. Haldi (turmeric) and milk, that's what Nana would always say, was her advice to me. I rang off promising to take a dose immediately. Except when opened the fridge I saw that we were all out of milk. And I really wasn't feeling well enough to drag myself down to the store to get some.

I curled back on the couch and buried myself under layers of quilts willing myself to get warm. The heating was on, and yet it felt like I was sitting in an icebox. My mum, ever vigilant called back in an hour to check if I'd followed her instructions. She clicked with impatience when I told her the situation. I hastened to reassure her. I've mixed brandy and honey in hot water and I'm sipping that right now. It's soothing my throat and warming me up as well. 

Mama laughed and said that she wasn't sure that would have been Nana's first choice. Nope, I replied. But I'm sure that's what Papa would have suggested!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait. Eventually!

The vacation that was supposed to be is, finally the vacation that actually is!

And if you don't happen to speak cryptic, that just means that after all the cock ups, cancelled flights and various other bureaucratic glitches, I'm finally packing my bags and heading off to El Torro land tomorrow. Five days in Madrid where I'll meet up with university pal Peaches and his wife. Sadly, its not going to be possible to reconnect with my Spanish pals from over the summer as this is exam time and they're all loaded down with assigments and cannot make the trip over. Hopefully I will get to grab a couple of minutes with the one that lives in the city.

From Madrid, its on to rival city Barcelona where there are more lovelies to meet up with. Old family friends who I haven't seen in about 10 years. Its going to be quite the reunion.

So, look after yourselves my lovelines while I'm away and I'm sure there will be much to chat about once I'm back in two weeks.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Only Constant

Last summer my parents finally got down to replacing the front bay window. They took away the old one which was the original window from when the house was built back in the 60s and also (thankfully) got rid off the butt-freaking-ugly awning that resided over the window. This spring my dad and brother revamped the garden putting in flower beds and planting a plethora of perennials and annuals that have totally transformed both the backyard as well as the front garden into a riot of colour and beauty.

When talking to my mum earlier today she told me that they've just finalised with a contractor with regards to doing up the kitchen. The old and outdated flooring, counters and cabinets are all going; new appliances are moving in and the old walls are literally getting busted down to make way for a window/counter top looking into the dining room.

We knew that there was work to be done when we bought the house. Some of these changes were long overdue; we didn't even have a properly working dishwasher for crying out loud and the backyard had been a tangle of weeds when we moved in. Everything was moving according to plan.

I love that my dad, the consummate gardener has the rose bushes that he has always wanted and that my mum will finally have a kitchen that is a help, not a hindrance. But I'm just a little sad that I'm not there to share in these little (and big) events. So much is changing. Will I even recognise places and people when I get back home?

But then again, so much has changed about me as well. I am, in many ways not the person I was when I left. Will they recognise me?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Lady Justice, You are Blind Indeed

Somewhere in the midst of the fun and laughter and revelry of the night out in Soho last month, my credit card was stolen. I didn't notice the loss until the next morning and called the company right away. They canceled the card and assured me that there had been no charges made although someone had tried - unsuccessfully - to use the card to buy train tickets to Manchester. Cheeky sods! The new card came in the mail some days later and life went back to normal.

That is until I received my bill and the first thing I notice is a £300 ATM withdrawal made the same night my card was nicked. Raging, I called the credit card company and filed a disputed charges claim. This was on a Friday night two weeks ago. Today, I get a notice in mail dated the Monday after that first call informing me that "their investigations into the fraudulent claim is complete and I am liable for all charges".

When I called the fraud investigations department, they were unable to tell me what kind of investigation they had completed. They only thing they kept saying was that because my PIN number had been used, I was liable. The inference was that the chip and PIN technology was fool proof against fraud. Apparently they haven't been reading the papers or following the news. And sadly for me, it is the same bunch of numpties who are apparently the "experts" in the world of fraud. These are supposed to be the gatekeepers and the watchdogs of finance.

No wonder then, the whole bloody world has gone to hell in a hand basket.
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