Saturday, July 16, 2011

Battered and Bruised

There’s a lot to be said about that “new car smell”. Just the words itself conjure up images of a sleek dashboard filled with shiny gadgets and gizmos; the upholstery, smooth and cool to the touch, free of any snags and rents; the door handles, gleaming to the touch, not a sticky fingerprint anywhere in sight. 
And although one cannot deny the appeal of objects shiny and new, there are some things whose appearance and appeal – I find – vastly improve with age. Books are at the top of that list.

It’s not just penny pinching that drives me repeatedly to the bosom of the second hand bookstore. Call it silly, but I actually enjoy reading a book more if it is an old battered copy rather than a pristine version from the shelves of a big soul-destroying chain store. To me, the old copy indicates readership; the many hands and hearts before me that have lapped up the words and lost themselves in the storyline. I am not a fan of notes scribbled in the margins, as I feel that one should be allowed to explore the story without outside influence or prejudice. I do however love picking up books that have a personal message or dedication on the front page; it makes me feel connected with the previous owner. Which is also why when I receive a book as a gift, I always ask the gifter to add in a wee personal message so that I will always have an association of the book with that person.

Some of the books I own are so battered that they are literally in need of medical aid as they are falling apart. When that happens, I hand them over to my mum who has been head nurse in charge of book care since I was a wee one. She has somehow managed to staunch the bleeding of the worst tears and has managed to rebuild most of badly cracked spines. Where book restoration is concerned, she is the Guru.

And, no matter how much the large chain stores will beckon, I will not be easily swayed. Clearly, I am not the only one. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011


There have been bomb blasts in my home city of Mumbai. Again.

Two years ago, we all watched in horror and disbelief as gunmen took over various points in the city taking people hostage for several days. The reports that come through on the TV seemed more like a video game than a real life situation. Before that, there was train bombings. Several of them over a few years. Before that, there were riots, burnings, looting, mass killings and more bomb blasts.

Each time, both local and international media sprung into action. Around the world, expats frantically punched in telephone numbers trying to get in touch with loved ones. We watched the news reports and read every article about the event. There was much discussion, lamenting, anger.

This time, nothing.

My dad texted me with the news. I went onto the BBC website and read the report, then read it again later in the day when there were more details. There was a sense of apathy as I read. Like I've heard all of this before and been through the motions. It wasn't much talked about when I got him and in fact we spent more time discussing the fall out from the phone hacking scandal in the UK.

There was a point where I felt a twinge of guilt. Was I supposed to be sadder? And it wasn't just me I realised. Mumbai, and by extension India as a whole seemed to have shrugged off the incident and moved on. Did that mean people were carelessly indifferent? And, does indifference necessarily have to be a bad thing? The cowards behind attacks like these are looking to cause chaos and fear. But, they are also looking to milk the aftermath of the media attention for their own cause. Taking their cues from the Hollywood A-listers, they know that the more people talk about them the more power they have to cause fear.

What would happen if no one paid any attention? I wonder.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

How to Build a New County

So map makers all over the world woke up to the reality of an Africa redefined. They're going to have to tear up old prints and draw new borders to accommodate the world's newest country South Sudan. The news was full of the hope and possibility for this new nation; the chance to establish stability in a region that has been plagued by civil war and conflict.

The news was full of the unfolding events and every station had all sorts of analysts and media pundits putting their own spin on the situation while I just wondered how soon it would take Lonely Planet to come up with a South Sudan version.

One news segment in particular caught my attention. The analyst was talking about the very practical aspects of "setting up a new country". She mentioned things like deciding on colours for a flag, choosing a national anthem, deciding on a currency and so on. Laughing, she mentioned that sometimes a simple thing like applying for an international dialing code could sometimes slow down the entire process.

I found just a wee bit reassuring to know that us tiny folk aren't the only people getting jerked around by the phone companies!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The End

I am writing this sitting in my bedroom in the T Dot. 

Everything around me is familiar and yet strange. Perhaps it is because my head is still reeling from the events of the past 4 days and my body is still fighting Eastern Standard Time. So much has happened that I hardly know where to begin. 

In between the bouts of jet lag, I feel anger. Rage. Sadness. Disbelief. Grief. And about a hundred other emotions that I cannot even fully comprehend right now. 

Sometime, soon I will have a story to tell. But for now I am too heartsick. Too homesick.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Mid Way and Lots of Plans

Bloody Hell! How did we already get to June? Wasn't I only just making new year resolutions? And speaking of, I do believe I've managed to do *quite* well with those this year. (Go me!) 

Mid way through 2011 and so much has happened.... and the exciting part is that there is even more to come! 

I wrap up work in a week's time as my visa expires on the 18th. Then, I have 4 glorious months of travel and adventures in store. Starting off with a 10 day visit to Iceland next week. Iceland! (Thrill). Parental visit follows right after and I'm so excited about that. Haven't seen them in two years and I'm just dying to show them around G Town and introduce them to my pals. I've all sorts of plan for when they're here: G Town and Edinburgh of course, rambles in the highlands, possibly Isle of Skye, a wee trip down to London where we can meet up with Drama and Dutch Boy. Lots to see and do! 

Then, I'm heading off to Italy for two weeks to work at a summer camp just outside of Turin. Very much like what I did last year, just in a different part of the world. A nice HOT and SUNNY part of the world!

I'm back in Scotstown just in time for August and the Fringe festival. Even better this year as I know so many of the comedians who will be performing there. Coz really, you're not a true groupie until you've been to a world famous festival and gotten into gigs for free coz the peeps at the door have recognised you and waved you in! (extract from the International Groupie Handbook; 2011 edition) 

As if the Fringe isn't enough excitement for August, Gingersnap and I are also heading off to the Emerald Isle for a week's road trip. Starting off in Northern Ireland with a few days at the Gingersnap family home, we'll make our way down and around stopping off at various Paddy pubs and bars along the way. Much fun is anticipated. 

To wrap up the summer, blogger friend Jules and I are thinking about a Grecian getaway for a week in early September. Which, if I can pull off, would be the perfect end to both the summer and my overall time here in the UK as I'm planning to be back in the T Dot for mid September for my mum's 60th birthday. 

For now.... everything begins with Iceland! Can't hardly wait!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Commandments for (Social) Life

Hear Ye, all the Facebook faithful. Read and obey:

1. Thou shalt not pepper my news feed with mundane status updates. What you had for dinner/lunch/snack time, the fact that you are now going to bed and that you've just showered are not in the least bit interesting and should not be shared with the rest of the world.

2. Some of you have decided to reproduce, that is a fine and valid choice. Do not however, inflict the hourly activities of your offspring onto the rest of the FB world. We do not care in the least that little Johnny has just done a poo, or had burped or has spit up. Updates like that make the rest of us want to spit up as well. That being said, if little Johnny or Jenny or Balthazar has done something momentous like taken a first step or shoplifted for the first time (and got away), by all mean, feel free to share.

3. If you are going to post about the weather, at least try and be creative about it. Merely stating "It's hot/cold/rainy/windy/snowing" etc. is both boring and unnecessary. I can look out my window and see for myself.

4. Using abbreviations when texting is considered acceptable, but that does not mean you can use text messaging language and terms on here. Also poor spellings and appalling grammar is inexcusable. If you don’t know how to spell something, look it up. I do. (mostly). And, replacing "s" with "z" in a word does not make you urban and cool. It makes you look like a cool, urban wannabe.

5. PDAs are bad enough. But when you clutter my feed with inane banter ‘tween you and your coochie-coo when all the while you’re sitting two feet away from him/her in the same room, THAT is more than I can tolerate. Stop it.

6. If you join a group or event that already has a pre designated purpose, kindly do not clutter their feed/wall with information or adverts for your own gain. That is just plain rude. If I wanted to know about 50% off dancing midgets for this Saturday night, I would have joined their group instead.

7. We get it. You're popular. You go out clubbing/drinking/partying a LOT. But, if almost every single photograph that you are tagged in shows you beary eyed,  with a drink in your hand and along with an equally drunken posse, then perhaps you should think about a stint at the Betty Ford clinic. Just saying.
8. If I've deleted you off my friend's list once, really, WHY would I want you back on? Quit sending me requests. It's just emphasising your neediness and making me all the more resolved not to want you in my life.

9.Just because I do not repost comments/status updates about pleas for cancer cures does not mean I am indifferent to the situation. Posting status updates for an hour about remembering lost loved ones and the likes does nothing concrete. Going out into the world and DOING something - planning a fundraiser, spending quality time with patients and their families, volunteering time towards a cause - THAT is real and valid help.

10. People who constantly moan that Facebook is silly, trivial and mundane and keep threatening to leave, but in fact are still on and judging by their updates clogging my news feed, are actually rather active users! Quit being so la-di-dah and uppity and jump in and splash around with the rest of the riff raff!  

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Groovy Kind of Love

We are all familiar with the sequence. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy. There is an attraction, they date. And perhaps they live happily ever after or else they split up and the cycle begins all over again. After an appropriate interval where broken hearts/wounded feelings mended with the help of copious amounts of ice cream eating of course!

That is exactly how things started out with Wookie.

We met last December at one of the comedy nights where I managed to make a complete tit of myself. Shockingly, that didn’t put him right off and over the next few weeks there was more talking (mostly on my part) and subtle flirting continued. He finally made his move one night as we walked home post comedy which resulted in a most lovely snogging session. The lad didn’t have much chat, but it turns out he had a talented tongue regardless. We made plans to meet on New Year’s Eve after he was done work, but thanks to a longer than usual shift (him), a dead phone battery (me) and general New Year’s Eve madness, that didn’t pan out. Feeling guilty about the whole fiasco, he contacted me the next morning and we made plans to meet up after I was back from Berlin. He suggested going to the Stand, which was actually quite nice; we both liked comedy and I’d never been there before. It was a perfect evening. Lots of laughs thanks to the stellar line up, an equal amount of private jokes between us two; meeting up with fellow comedy lovers and heading out to a pub post show and of course, more of that talented tongue. So when he called to set up another date for that Sunday, of course, I was more than happy.

And that’s where it all went so very wrong.

For starters, he showed up more than 20 minutes late. There was no explanatory text/phone message to give me a heads up and no apology when he finally did get there. Fortunately, I had a book with me and so I didn’t really notice the passage of time. I did however notice a couple of sympathetic glances from the serving staff who, no doubt have seen their share of poor stood up folk. Seated at the table, he was far more interested in focusing on his phone rather on me. I got staccato responses to my questions and no eye contact. At one point I even stopped talking mid sentence and started counting silently to see how long it would take him to notice the silence: I got to 11. To add insult to injury, he mentioned that he intended to head over to his parents place that evening and had a train to catch in an hour. I took that as a not to subtle request to eat faster so that he could get out of there. Upset and rather frustrated by the total opposite of our previous date and the entire sham of an afternoon, I choked down my meal as quickly as possible. We parted at the street corner and I walked back to my flat in a rage.

Not even a half hour later, he pops up on Facebook chat; GoodNews! My parents are here, so I’m getting a lift down to their place. Wonderful, I responded. And then, because I had nothing to lose and I was still hopping mad I added, Let’s just hope you’re better company for them than you were for me today. Nothing for a while, then I got a Whatever do you mean? which, Reader, was JUST the opening I had been looking for. I spewed out all of my rage and frustrations on to that chat message, holding nothing back. For the next hour or so, we chatted back and forth furiously, both attacking and defending. He claimed he was nervous. I said I was too. He said I was forceful, I said he was confusing. He said I didn’t know anything about football, I said that wasn’t even a reasonable statement. And so it went on until we were both out of steam. Look, let’s just forget about the whole thing and move on with our lives, was my final comment. He agreed, we both signed off and I imagined that I would never hear from him again and perhaps see him only occasionally at comedy events where there were enough other people around for us not to have to converse.

How wrong I was!

We ended up chatting online the next day. And the day after, and the day after that as well. In fact, since that fateful “date” not a single day went by without us chatting online or trading a barrage of text messages. We met at comedy. We met outside of comedy. By then, I had started to plan the fundraiser night and he ended up helping me out in little ways; introducing me to his sister who agreed to come photograph the event, running errands to pick up raffle prizes from around the city and sometimes just listening to me rant about various things that were driving me insane. We talked about everything. With other people he was shy to the point of playing mute. Yet, with each other we were never at a loss for words. I told him about the entire fiasco with Beans and he told me about the girl he’d been crushing on for the past six months. We plotted over ways to get her to realise his existence. He declared that I’d gone long enough without football in my life, and I became Padwan to his Jedi Master. And that is how it has been for these past five months.

Sometimes, the memory of those kisses return. But there is no lingering on a “what if.” I know that this is the better way. Had we not had that disaster date, there may have been a few more meetings, a few more kisses, perhaps even sex. But that is where it would have ended. I am sure of it. I do not want a long term relationship right now and he is not ready for one either. A long term friendship however, we can both handle just fine. Our friends joke about us being a couple and yes, it does seem so; all the hallmarks of a relationship just minus the physical intimacy. And yes, there is love: a lot of it in fact. Somehow, Wookie has managed to make me open up again and trust in love again. Perhaps the next time, I will be ready to go that one step further. But for now, I am happy with this kind of love. And when alls said and done, he is so handy when it comes to the changing of the light bulbs!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Epic Fail

About a month ago, Beer Baron emailed me about making a potential trip out to Scotland. After a few emails back and forth to confirm availability, within a few days his tickets were booked and *boom* just like that - I was finally having my first T Dot visitor! Full of plans for what we would do when he got here, I made sure to book a few days off work so that I could show him around, hang out together and generally do a lot of catching up over the past two years.

The night before he arrived, I was at the comedy club as usual. When I made to head home after the show, my pals pulled me back pooh poohing my efforts to leave citing that since I had the day off on the morrow, I was duty bound to stay out with them that night. I'll be honest, it didn't take much persuasion. We headed to our usual watering hole on main street which was followed by a wee stint at the casino. Because apparently, 3am was too early to head home to bed.

Post casino (and a few more rounds), Roo and I were last men standing and we stumbled in a homeward direction. Roo professed hunger and because I was CLEARLY not thinking straight, I told him he could come over and I'd make him a sammich. (Note: I make darn good sammiches. Even at odd hours of the morning) Roo took me up on that, came over and ate and drank his way through two sammiches, crisps, some of Flatmate's beer and ginger cookies. About half way though his feast, I went off to bed telling him to shut the door behind him when he left. I figured, I could get at least two hours of shut eye before I had to head off to the airport to meet Beer Baron who's flight was scheduled to land at 8:30am.

Oh. The mistake.

The alarm rang, I turned it off and slept soundly right until 9:30 until Flatmate happened to drop something in the kitchen and startle me awake. Upon which I leaped out of bed and dialed BB's cell phone frantically. Turns out, he had made his way over to the city centre and was trying to figure out the underground. I told him I'd pick him up at my station.

Dragging on some jeans and runners, I brushed my teeth, ran my fingers through my hair and made my way to the station to sit and wait for my friend. Gone were the grand plans of meeting him at the arrival hall with a great big hug and escorting him back to the flat. Instead, I sat in the corner of the station looking like a bag lady and with the stench of yesterday's alcohol seeping out of my every pore.

When Beer Baron did arrive, there was still a great BIG hug waiting. At least I couldn't screw that up! And then, I took him home and made him a sammich.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nothing But the Truth?

On the heels of my previous post about "whole truths", I started to wonder about expanding that concept to other parts of my life. Parents teach their kids that honesty is the best policy, and then proceed to undermine that lesson with the infusion of little white lies. Eat your vegetables or else the monster will get you, You can't watch cartoons because the TV is broken, This is not going to hurt at all. 

And why stop with just the kids? The tendency to infuse these lies into everyday living seems to increase exponentially as we grow older. Nice haircut, I can't make it, am feeling under the weather, It's not you, it's me!!

Of course, I understand full well why we all season our conversation with these wee white lies, and the consequences of everyone speaking the truth every time all the time has already been explored quite thoroughly. Still, I did wonder about the consequences of total and utter honesty in one area of life that for many is the centre of their very universe of being.

I speak of course of Facebook.

What would happen if status updates read Horny beyond belief and desperate for a shag. Or perhaps a comment on a photo that says, That's your baby? Wow, he got your husband's gigantic nose, didn't he? Or a post on a friend's wall stating, Yes, we KNOW you two are fucking cute and totally soul mates and everything. But do you have to post that on his wall? Can't you just turn to him and say it so that it doesn't show up on my newsfeed??? 

What? I'm just being HONEST! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wheeling and Dealing

As if I wasn't already eyeball deep in the fantasy world of Westeros (am now on book 5), Wookie recently introduced me to another feature of the series; the Game of Thrones board game. Given that it is strategy based and requires players to think about three turns ahead a la chess mode, it goes without saying that I'm totally rubbish at it. But Wookie is desperate for more people to learn to play this game, so he waved aside all protests about my inherent rubbishness re anything requiring sneaky strategy moves and proceeded to tutor me in the basics.

We've played it twice now and although I got royally thumped both times, he insists I'm learning and doing better. Me thinks he just needs me as a player. More importantly, he needs my friends.

So we have a deal.

I put together game nights with my pals and he buys the beer and downloads movies for me and comes round to change my lightbulbs. It's a win-win! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Whole Truth

It struck me the other day just how much about my personal life I post on here. Although I have done my best to stick to using pseudonyms and deleting all identifiable photos and references, the veil is but paper thin and anyone with even the tiniest bit of detective skills will be able to pierce through.

Call it a new wave in personal confession, but I know that especially when I am troubled, sad, angry or upset, writing about it always seems to make me feel better. And when it comes to the happy and exciting times, I want to put it down on the blog just so that I have a reminder of the crazy, mad, wonderful things in my life that make giggle on the bad days. 

Many of my friends and even other blog buddies have cautioned me about this; told me to stick to neutral topics and leave out items of deep personal nature. But I cannot. True, that would be a better and more effective smoke screen, but it would also end up hiding so much of who I am. I'm sure "real" authors are able to do it all the time; write about versions of themselves. As I am merely a fake one (author, that is) I'm going to have to carry on with the only way I know how. With the Whole Truth. And nothing but.

And per chance I do get "found out", well, it's no biggie. There's nothing on here that's fake or made up. If someone comes looking for me, well that's just what they're going to find.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

On Mother's Day

Always on the look out to make a bit of extra cash, I picked up a couple of shifts working over the weekend at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) here in G Town. It wasn’t until I showed up for my first shift yesterday morning that I realised the event in question was the annual Girls Day Out weekend, Scotland’s biggest health, lifestyle, fashion and beauty event. Two things immediately came to mind; 1. Holy Hell, there’s going to be a LOT of oestrogen packed into this place and 2. Just how much of a crap girl am I that I didn’t even have the slightest inkling that something as big as this event was happening!

At this stage, Dear Reader, you should know that there is nothing even remotely “girly” about me. I don’t pay attention to clothes… or fashion in general; my idea of make up is a tube of chap stick and I’ve owned a hair straightener for about 3 years but still cannot really get my hair properly unwavy each time I use it. Mainly because I’m too afraid of burning my ears. But that’s a story for a whole other blog post. For now, just pop in the mental picture of a straight talking, no make up wearing, plain dressing girl suddenly surrounded by the largest number of women she has EVER seen together in one place at one time.

It was rather interesting watching the long lines stream past me. Women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Fashionable ones and fake tanned ones. Carefully coiffed ones and carelessly dressed ones. Moms with daughters, Sisters with Mothers and Grandmothers, Gaggles of Girl Friends…. all out for a day of fun together.

I found myself focusing on the more carefully put together women. For some, looking good seemed effortless. How did they know to match that top with those jeans? And how do they get their hair to fall in such bountiful curls? Even my colleagues were very well put together young ladies who had eyed me with blatant disbelief as I tumbled into the staff room, hot and sweaty from the 30 minute walk from home with windswept hair and sensible (read non cute) shoes.

For the most part, I am comfortable in my skin and very happy with being me. Still, every now and then I do feel a twinge of regret re the whole “girly-ness” issue. My mum is just as bad as I am, worse even and I’ve often wondered if I would have benefited from her teaching me how to do my hair, or wear makeup or properly wield hair straighteners.

But that regret usually lasts just moments. I usually shake out my unruly mane, stick my hands into my non fashionable jeans and focus instead on all the things that she DID teach me.

Honesty. Loyalty. Friendship. Love.

Just a few examples of her life lessons. I guess she wasn’t so focused on teaching me to be a good girl. Instead, she tried to teach me how to be a good person. So much better than being able to tie a French braid, don’t you think?

Friday, April 29, 2011

To The Most Wonderful Man I Have Known. With Love.

A year ago I lost the man who had been the biggest and best constant in my life. Mere words aren't enough to describe how amazing a person he was. Still, we tried to him justice.

My grandfather's eulogy, written by cousin Scribbler and myself. 

Most of us who are here are here because we knew my grandfather --- whether as L, or uncle, or Irmao, or Padrin, or Mr M, or Daddy, or Papa. Some of us will, indeed, remember him most vividly for pinching our cheeks really, really hard. So since we all know him, it hardly seems necessary to talk about him --- but perhaps this will help us relive some memories.

Ever since Thursday, when he left us, I have been thinking that I will never be privileged to meet a more gracious person than him. We all know that, despite not having much education, he took every opportunity for learning in establishing a career, moving up from being an accounting clerk at West End Watch co, to being the General Manager, the first non-white person to hold that position. But many of us will also know that along with this achievement, Papa never forgot his duty and responsibility to share his success with others and help them make their own successes and build their own futures.

He was such a kind man and a generous one. Generous to a fault maybe, always giving without counting the cost. But generous in giving materially as well as in spirit --- he forgave people who wronged him and didn't hold grudges.

Career apart, he was a wonderful family man --- a loving and loyal husband to Grana, a dutiful and caring son to his mother and mother-in-law, a good father, an affectionate grandfather. He may not have been a modern guy -- you would never see him carrying babies or changing diapers -- but he carried us all in his heart and did whatever he could to protect and nurture us.

He lived a full life in other senses as well. Many of us will remember how fond he was of reading, especially his favourite books, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Song of Bernadette. Some of us will also recall that he was quite a movie buff. And many of us would have enjoyed the fulfillment of his dream of having a house in the hills, at picnics and holidays in Khandala, the house he delighted in for more than 2 decades.

He enjoyed discussion and was quite opinionated, so that birthday parties sometimes seemed like meetings of the debating club. Without question, he was very stubborn -- a trait several of his children and grandchildren have inherited. But this stubbornness also helped him stand up for what he believed in and defend anyone he felt was being treated unfairly. He had such a solid sense of ethics.

We will miss his deadpan sense of humor, making unexpected jokes that were always memorable.

Above all, he was steadfast in his faith. He was devoted to Our Lady. At the end, even when he struggled to find the strength to speak, the words of the Hail Mary and the Angelus flowed freely.

Yes, he was gracious. Till the end, when he had become a man of very few words, those words often expressed concern, hospitality, gratitude. "Eat and go," "How is Mummy?" "Tell her not to worry," "Take care," Thank you, " "Kind regards, " and if you said you were going to visit, "Most welcome." These were the things he said most often.  Whatever suffering he faced in the last year or so, he bore silently, without a moan or groan or a word of complaint or frustration. Till the end he was saying "Thank you" to his doctors and caregivers.

He was given to us by God for nearly 96 years. Yet it seems as if we got to journey only a few miles together. Still, I know I'm luckier than many who never knew their grandparents, for they had died or lived far away. And even as we know we'll miss him, and miss the second home that Grana and he made for us, we are thankful for that irreplaceable gift of Papa and the memories we have of him.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Attention Star Deck. Mission De Cloak has been a Success!

She walked briskly up the street and over the hill. There was a stunning vision of architecture all around, but she was blind to it all; her entire focus was on getting to the meeting place. Hurry, hurry! she said to her companion. We musn't be late! He gave her a bemused smile and pointed out that they were well within time, but she waved him away impatiently and skipped along just a little bit quicker.

The thoughts were rushing through her head at lightening speed, always coming back to one nagging thought. What if she doesn't like me?

They got to the pub and she stepped in, tentatively looking around. A slim girl with laughing eyes got up and approached her. Pixy? I'm Wynie!  They hugged, looked at each other, burst out laughing and hugged madly again while their respective companions looked on. Introductions all around - pausing to clarify real names - and more hugging!

And just like that, everything fell into place.

In reality, there was no real need for introductions since they already knew almost everything about each other! It was just one brief evening, but it was filled with fun and laughter in the company of some amazing people.

Later, when said goodnight and turned back for one last hug, she knew it wasn't really that it was going to be goodbye. This was the continuation of a beautiful friendship.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dungeons, Dragons and other major Distractions

If there is anyone out there in blogland who is still tuning in to this space and wondering what rock I am trapped under, then the answer is this; I'm besotted. Smitten. Infatuated even!

My friend Wookie introduced me to a fantasy series about a month ago and I have gotten wholly engrossed in this world of politics and plots, epic battles and the constant struggle for characters to outwit each other and stay alive in the dark and dangerous world of Westeros. George R. R Martin's first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series was first published in 1996 and since then three subsequent books have been released which have all gone on to being roaring successes. The highly anticipated fourth book is due for release this July.

What started out as taking up a friend on a reading suggestion, has now turned into an obsession for me. Always a fan of fantasy and fascinated with the ideas of parallel worlds and the likes, this series has finally met my craving for a story on a large enough scale with characters that are varied and amazingly multidimentional. As fond as I am of Tolkein and the LOTR series, I am want to despair at the firm lines that he has drawn between the "Good" and the "Evil". In the case of non human species such as the Orcs and Uruk-hai, that were created by evil for the purpose of evil, it is fine. But with the human characters, I wish there was more depth and dimensions. The Good remain Good and the Bad remain Bad throughout with no hope for redemption for one or slip ups from the other.

Here though, I find myself questioning the value of characters imbibing the very virtues I had initially admired them for, just a few chapters ago. Other characters, who at first glance show repulsive personalities have later revealed sterner, more morally staunch sides. And most of all, the "Good guys" are not allowed to live simply because they are the good guys. Sometimes, with the turn of a page a beloved character is felled.

Such is the world of Westeros. I have been ensnared in this trap of rabid reading, and the only way out is to devour every word of every line of all the books. Pray that I make it to the other side!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

In Which the Author Gains a Modicum of Legitimacy

And what I'm really trying to say with that very cryptic title is:


The article that I submitted back in February was accepted and the issue is just out. The editor sent over a PDF version of the story to me and they've used some of my photographs to accompany the piece. So, well chuffed with that.

There's just one patch of cloud to gloom up my otherwise sunny day and that is because of some edits they did to my title and bi line - sans permission. My original submission was: Bonnie Scotland - Lifting back the Veil of the Tartan Curtain.

That got changed to: Bonnie Scotland. Scotland is not just about whiskey and bagpiper. There is much more to it, says *my name*

Badly worded, miss spelled and grammatically incorrect. With MY NAME attached to the end of it! The cheek! And the horror! Am so worried that people are going to take one look at that title and bi line and not bother to read any further. Oh dear. 

So right now, I'm trying to focus on the being published part and not bothering about the rest. Each time I feel bad about the cock up, I log in to my online bank account and look fondly at the money in there that's payment for the same. It does help take away the sting a whole lot. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When Death Us Does Part

Four months ago, I sat curled up on the couch watching snowflakes swirl outside my window, turning the streets of G Town into a winter wonderland. Two days later, it hadn't stopped snowing and the wonderland had fast turned into a monster vale. The freezing rain hit after that, and thanks to the total lack of grit and salting, the entire city turned into one giant ice rink. It was one day soon after, as I gingerly made my way to work one morning, watching people all around me falling over like skittles, that I was keenly aware of just how easy it would be for me to fall over and badly injure myself. Especially since I was a major calamity on even regular roads. From falling over and getting hurt, my thoughts turned to more darker outcomes such as just one false step spelling disaster, and leading to my head being cracked open on the curb.

Lights Out. Curtains. The End. Without the possibility of an encore performance. THE BIG FINISH.

And although I found myself rather unperturbed by the entire concept of my life coming to a sudden (and tragic) halt, it was the idea of my send off that started to bother me even more.

Coming from a large family, I've been used to celebrating all manner of events from a very early age. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, christenings, graduations; they've all been attended with gusto. Funerals on the other hand have always been an alien event. My family tended to keep children away from funerals and death in general. And the one time I did attend one, I was too stressed out by the overwhelming atmosphere. The person in question had been a rather aged member of the family and had died after a good long life. Yet, there were people all around wailing and beating themselves with grief. Literally. Many years later, I found out that those women who had been weeping copious amounts of tears were what my dad referred to as "professional mourners." They regularly attended funerals of all and sundry and made sure that the overall atmosphere was rank with grief and despair. At the time, I did not know this, and I was scared and uncomfortable with the whole situation. And, as I often do in such times, I began talking and joking. Inappropriate sentences tumbled out of my mouth and I was powerless to stop myself. My grandmother and aunt who were the relatives closest to me promptly marched me out of the room and into the custody of a random cousin with instructions to take me home at once. Said cousin has often thanked me for getting him out of a claustrophobic room and uncomfortable suit. It was later decided that for the sake of the family, I was not to attend any more funerals; a decision I was more than happy to abide by.

But now, I was consumed with thoughts of my own sendoff. I knew what funerals are supposed to be and I also knew most certainly that I wanted mine to be nothing like a "regular" funeral at all. I didn't want sadness or grief or tears. Not unless they were going to be tears of laughter. Because, let's face it, when thinking about me, most of the time you're going to remember some sort of crackpot thing that I've said or done and that's just going to make you giggle.

And that's what I want. A room full of people who I love and who hopefully love me in return all sitting around sharing their personal stories about me. No one is to wear black, unless of course it is for the slimming effect and you have a LBD that you've been dying to wear. I would like folks to bring along their favourite picture of me. That way, everyone can see just how great my hair actually was!

I want music playing. Not some somber ponderous rendition of Amazing Grace either. But music that is reflective of me, of my life. Pink's Raise Your Glass comes to mind right now. So too Glee's Loser Like Me. Both terribly apt I'd say! These are the notes I want blasting through that room. And I DO mean blasting, so there's no way this is going to be in some stoggy funeral hall or prim and proper church. The party room of some pub would be a far more suitable venue.

If there is to be a eulogy, then I want it told by the three people who I know will do me justice. My cousin Scribbler, my big brother Beer Baron and the love of my life, Maestro. They know all the good stories spanning my childhood, my teenage years and in to adulthood. Also, by picking 3 writers, I'm increasing the odds of them being around after I've kicked it! I can count on these guys to leave off the flowery tributes and focus on the really and REAL stories instead. Even the ones that made me look like a complete tit. Especially those ones!

Please don't bother with flowers. Wreaths especially. Take that money you'd spend on lilies or carnations or whatever and instead put to towards some concrete way of remembering me. Plant a tree. Put a bench in park so that people can sit down and read on a fine summer's day. Donate it to a charity. Whatever. Just don't waste it on an ugly wreath that costs too much and will just wither away in a few days anyway. 

I guess what I'm saying is, don't treat as the end of my life, rather, a celebration of it. Make it a great big party and by golly, I want people to be hungover as hell the next morning!

And if you are going to play Amazing Grace, at least make it a damned good version!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cold Hard Truths

Me (to friend): So, how’s the new job going? Like it better than the other place?

Friend: Yeah… its good. This place is much… um… swankier than the last though.

Me: Oh? How do you mean?

Friend: Well, for starters, they’re really picky about their staff and how they look. The waitresses are totally stunning!

Me: Ah well.. makeup does wonders. If I knew how to wield a mascara brush, I’d have a job there as well.

Alleged Friend: No, you don’t understand. They want REALLY beautiful women.

Me: (thinking) Time for some new friends.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On Dating

While chatting with a girly pal the other day, we got talking about the murky world of dating. We'd like to think that we are both smart, savvy and moderately good looking lassies. Yet, between the two of us we have amassed a rather alarming number of dating horror stories. Our conversation lasted for about 2 hours and over that time we made some very interesting observations.

For starters, we figured out that guy time is a lot like dog time, just in reverse. Every minute to a girl is about 7 hours to a guy. Which would possibly explain why when they say, I'll call you soon, and then don't call for about a week. And also why when they do finally call, they they wonder why you're so mad that they've seemingly ignored you for a good many days. Even when you're on a date, the canine like behaviour tends to persist. Chances are, about mid way through the meal they're just going to want to doggy bag the rest, go back home and get you to play with them.

Then again, I've been so far removed from the dating game that I'm not even sure where to begin. Unfortunately life is not like a game of Monopoly with a convenient start point at GO. Incidentally, if you could collect £200 at the start of each new relationship it would certainly help with all the drinks you sometimes need to consume just to be able to get through the some of the dates!

Boy speak, like boy time is another mystery. Men are always going on about how women are cryptic; honestly, they can be just as bad. For example, I was recently at a bar with this guy I fancied, and who by all accounts fancied me as well. The conversation throughout the night consisted of him trying to break down a computer program for me followed by a long analytical discussion on why the TV in the corner had a blinking light. If ANY of you out there can interpret if I am to take that as a " I like you", please, let me know.

I did try to consult my handy dandy pocket dating book, but again because its been so damned long the copy I have is hopelessly outdated and missing a few chapters. An order has been placed for a replacement - with an entire chapter devoted to computer geeks as well! However, knowing my luck by the time it arrives, I'll have met an artist or musician or space cowboy and will need a whole new edition.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Been There, Done That!

Almost 3 weeks later, and I'm still receiving birthday prezzies which, I have to add is totally awesome! My friend Penguin Pal is all about the "birthday month" and I'm rather liking the concept. A package just came in with all sorts of goodies from my besties in the T Dot. The accompanying card has a list of things that was titled "30 Things to do for 30". Here's a reproduction of the same. I am happy to report that I have been able to cross a fair few items off already!

Shop till you drop - HATE shopping with a passion, so this one might never get done.
Eat cookie dough
Quit your job
Buy some bling
Speed date - Was signed up for it once, then genuinely fell ill on the day so had to drop out.
Sing karaoke
Do the birthday dance - Not quite sure what this is, but am up for all/any kinds of dancing!
Streak - Am rather surprised that given my group of friends this hasn't already happened.
Wish for something outrageous
Party! Party! Party!
Eat Cake
Play spin the bottle
Take a hot air balloon ride - Actually want to do that here before I leave. Virgin sometimes does really good discount offers.
Bungee jump from a bridge - Was all set to do this in New Zealand, then my busted knee put a kibosh on those plans.
Date online -Probably another thing that will never get done. Can't seem to get into the zone for this kind of stuff.
Moon somebody
Pimp your ride - Have never owned my own car, but does glitter and stickers on your bicycle count?
Get shot out of a cannon - Um, NO. I am accident prone as it is! But, would like to try trapeeze swings at some point.
Kiss a stranger
Splurge on something frivilous
Go skinny dipping
Runaway and join the circus - So wanted to when I was little and reading about Mr. Galliano's circus!
Go crazy
Drop it like its hot - Again, not quite sure what is required of me here. Anyone reading this who speaks Snoop Dog?
Play strip poker
Write your memoir - This blog kinda counts, doesn't it?
Go skydiving - Dunno about solo, but a tandem dive seem like a piece of cake! (I say, with my feet planted on terra firma)
Call a party line - Again. No. Waste of money that I can spend on pints and chatting/flirting with someone in person.
Cry over lost youth
Live it up!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Tribute Act

Five weeks of hyper intensive planning activity all came to a head on Thursday night at the charity gig. The last week of planning was especially difficult. Ticket sales were nowhere near where they should have been and my supposed "helpers" were doing anything but. Three days before the event, the compere called to say that he wasn't going to be able make it and a day later the headliner sent me a message on Facebook (on Facebook!!!) to say that he'd gotten a paid gig and so couldn't do the event.

Suffice to say, by the time the day came around, I was stressed out of my mind and trying to desperately to juggle everything that had to be done all the while attempting to give off an aura that I actually everything under control. Thankfully, I have the world's BEST friends and they all rallied round to help out in every way that they could, even making sure I got a bite of a sandwich every time I ran past them!

The turn out wasn't as large as I'd hoped, and we had to wait a half hour to start the event so that the room looked filled out. Still, once it actually got going the crowd all seemed to be loving it and the acts were all in top form. We raised a tidy amount on the night from ticket and raffle sales and donations are still coming in.

It is two days later and I feel like I'm still recovering. But, it was worth every minute of anxiety and stress and I'm going to be a very happy bunny on Monday when I hand over the money to the charity. The evening was dedicated to the memory of the two grandparents I lost to that bastard disease. One was taken when she was barely 50; a life only part lived. The other I watched as the disease ripped through his frail body making the last months of his life a living hell.

This is the only way I know to honour them. Make them proud. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Aftermath

 The last guests have just been ushered out the door and I turn back to survey the disaster zone that is my flat. If there is a direct correlation between how great the party was as compared to the mess left behind, the I'm thinking this was the party of all parties!

The clean up will take a while, especially since I'm feeling rather tender right now. But it was one helluva night. A fitting close to a week of birthday celebrations, and a terrific start to wonderful new decade ahead.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Turning 30

As the clock struck midnight, there was the epic noise of a door slamming shut as I crossed over the threshold and landed firmly into the third decade of my life. My friends decided that making an announcement over the mic and getting the entire pub to sing for me would be appropriate. There was a rousing cheer of "Happy 30th" at the end of the song and hearing that out loud was a very odd feeling indeed. I knew this moment was coming. In fact, the entire evening I kept checking my watching thinking, Just 4 hours left in my 20s.... just 3..... and so on.

I am now about 8 hours into my 30s having just stumbled home after the comedy night at the pub which was followed by the post comedy night at another bar. And if these past few hours are any indication of how the rest of the decade will follow, then Mercy, this decade is going to be even more manic than the last!

To commemorate the awesomeness that has been my life thus far, I've put together a list of what I consider my top 30 moments of glory. Begging your indulgence with this little piece of self promotion, I give you (in no particular order):

30 Things I did before 30

  1. Learned to tie my shoe laces and ride a bike all on the same day. Or so my mother says. 
  2. Won a dance competition. Toronto Swing Dancing Championship, 2008. West Coast Swing Beginner Category - First Place! 
  3. Saw wild elephants up close. A little too close actually.
  4. Took part in almost every extra curricular activity my high school had on offer. Art, music, drama, sports, science fair - did it all. 
  5. Completed the Tongararo Crossing; a 21 km alpine trek that climbs as high as 1900 mts. Ok, so I had to be carried down the last 1.5 kms by six German guys coz I'd fallen and twisted my knee. But it still counts. 
  6. Been carried down a mountain by six German guys. Hey, how many other people can claim that? 
  7. Sang the National Anthem at a major league sporting event.
  8. Was bridesmaid at my Very Best Friend's wedding. 
  9. Quit my job. Twice. 
  10. Took a six month sabbatical and went travelling. Then carved a niche for myself in the new career path. 
  11. Tried both skiing and ice skating. Both were epic FAILS. But hey, at least I tried. 
  12. Moved to a new country and started from scratch. Twice. 
  13. Led a successful boycott of my high school Christmas pageant in protest of exam dates clashing with production rehearsal times. Have I mentioned that I went to a catholic school run by Carmelite nuns? And that my aunt was a teacher at said school? It was my very own Norma Rae moment. 
  14. Slept outdoors under the canopy of stars in the Australian Outback.
  15. Skinny dipped in the ocean.
  16. Watched the sun rise over sand dunes in the Thar desert. 
  17. Posed nude for a charity shoot. No Photoshop was involved! 
  18. Eaten at least 5 kinds of "mystery" meats. And lived to tell the tale. 
  19. Was the youngest person ever to sit on her Parish Council. And boy did I shake things up during my tenure! 
  20. Graduated debt free. Not even a library fine to worry about. 
  21. Held my own for 4 years working as the only female in a department of 47 men in a testosterone dominated industry. Helped that I could drink most of those pansies under the table.
  22. Fallen hopelessly, passionately and totally in love. Because no matter how it ended, it was an incredible feeling while it lasted. 
  23. Dragged myself out of the cold bleak well of heartbreak and clawed my way back to the top. Three times. 
  24. Presented at an international conference on youth leadership. Again, one of the youngest presenters there. 
  25. Learned how to cook well enough to have friends around for dinner and cook yummy goodies for them. Hardly award worthy I know, but sometimes the company of good pals is worth more than a million dollar prize. 
  26. Taken a chance. On life, on a job, on love. 
  27. Nurtured and maintained several long lasting friendships that have stayed strong even through years and miles have separated us. 
  28. Co-produced a book chronicling the lives of two of my personal heroes - my grandparents. 
  29. Introduced a fair few people to the wonderful world of dancing as a Dance Instructor. 
  30. Made a cameo in a Bollywood movie. It was for about 3 seconds and I am barely visible, but I know I'm there! 


    Friday, February 11, 2011


    In a world where so much is already going so very wrong; where wars and violence, famine and floods, murder and mayhem all seem to take centre stage, do people post pics of their truly ugly babies??? I understand if you have an adorable, cute, rolly polly, wee oompa loopma like kiddo; who doesn't like to see pics of that?

    But if you have somehow managed to give birth to something that looks a bit like that thing that popped out of Sigourney Weaver in Alien, then WHY WHY WHY would you share that face with the rest of the world????

    For anyone who is even remotely confused, let me illustrate. Bellow is an example of a cute kid.

    This, on the other hand is most certainly and definitively NOT
    And ok, even if you have just reproduced and produced something that looks like it supports Darwin's theory of the missing link, that's why useful programs like Paint and Photoshop were invented. Just saying.

    Now, I realise that some of my readers are mums and two in particular with brand new wee men and it may be that this post unleashes the Mommy Dragon in them. Understanding that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and that parents especially see cuteness where non exist, I might come across as an ogre right now. But seriously, give us a break. Just as Picasso doesn't appeal to everyone, no matter how much the critics gush over his work, it is the same with babies. There are some of us who refuse to play along with this "all babies are cute" charade. I'm just vocalising what a lot of people are thinking. Perhaps that makes me the bad guy, but even bad guys have a right to their own opinion.

    **In response to Elli's comment, I'd like to say that yes, the reason I chose the pic of the new born is to lay emphasis on my point. That no matter how thrilled you are with the little leprechaun that you've just squeezed through your vajayjay, do not share these first pics with us, the rest of the uncaring world. Give the child a few days to get over the trauma of the close encounter with your intimates, let their heads get to the normal size, let all the swelling and redness subside.... and THEN post the pics. The one's where they are about a second old should be tucked away in an album marked PARENTS ONLY. 

    All I'm saying is, don't force me to share in your delusion.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Raining and Pouring

    No reference to the weather. It has actually been rather bright and sunshiney over the past few days. I am instead talking about the tendency that just as soon as you are busy beyond belief, the universe, like a cruel and sadistic boss will turn around and make sure to pile on a couple of extra tasks into your already overflowing in basket.

    Like right now. As if working two jobs plus planning a charity fundraiser that's happening in just about 3 weeks wasn't enough, I've just gotten an offer to write an article for a travel magazine. 2000 words on travel in Scotland by the end of the month. Additional problem, the magazine caters to the luxury travel clientele. So not my forte at all! And since I don't have any time to do proper research, I'll just have to go with the places that I've already been and try and write something that will turn my budget backpacking experiences into an article that will appeal to folks looking for that uber chic holiday extravaganza.

    And yet, how can turn down the amazingly fantastic offer? Finally the opportunity to write about something that I am passionate about, and get paid to do that as well! And, if they actually like my work perhaps this would mean the start of a long term business relationship! If I can get it written in time. And get stuff done for the charity event. And go to work at my two part time jobs as well.

    Pressure, much?

    Monday, February 07, 2011

    You've Got Mail

    Heard a tap at the door this morning. Opened it to find the postman there. Grinning from ear to ear, he handed me a postcard. Odd, I thought. He could have just pushed it through the mail slot. Then I looked closer and saw the address, and realised why he wanted to hand deliver this particular piece of mail.

    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    Scheming Governments

    It has been widely acknowledged that the Scotland has one of the highest percentage of obese people in all of Europe thanks to deep fried anything being on the list of your 5-a-day. The Scottish Government has been doing its best to combat this problem with a multitude of campaigns and initiatives to get the population to think and live healthy. Apparently, they have also recently teamed up with Royal Mail on a rather unique "get fit" scheme.

    At least, that is the only explanation I have as to why the postman would leave a package notice at a time when both flatmate and I were home. He didn't tap at the door, just pushed the note through the mail slot in the door and took off. By the time I got to it, and opened the door he was gone. That meant I had to walk 20 minutes up the road and over the hill to the post depot, stand in line for 10 minutes, collect the package and walk back another 20 minutes home.

    On the other hand, it DID get me out of my jammies and out and about on a particularly lovely sun-shiney morning.

    Who knows, perhaps the Scottish government might have hit the nail on the head after all and this cockamamy new idea might just work!

    Sunday, January 30, 2011


    Last summer, when I told people about how we disciplined kids at camp through manual labour, I was sometimes met with shock and outrage. Yeah, sure. YOU spend 8 weeks with a bunch of rowdy teens and see if you'd react any different!

    Apparently, us Activity Leaders weren't the only ones who'd thought to go with that kind of plan. The Scottish government have similar ideas. 

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Mammoth Task, meet Pixy.

    Somewhere in the latter months of last year, after attending a couple of Tuesday night comedy gigs in a row I was bestowed with the dubious status of "Comedy Groupie". Considering some of the things I have been called in the past, this wasn't all that bad! It also meant that I had a brand new - and ever increasing - circle of friends all networked into Scotland's comedy circuit.

    It was a chance remark by one of my comedian pals that got me thinking about pairing up my new found friends with my energies as a fundraiser to get another event going. This time, it would be one that the "regular" folk could actually attend; no black ties, no £100 a plate tickets!

    I approached the charity I'd worked with on all of the past eventsand outlined my plan to them. To me, it was a no brainer. If they covered my initial costs like venue hire, I could make sure they get that downpayment back.... and then some. However, they didn't think so and came up with every excuse in the book as to why they weren't able to support me and my idea. It was a stark reminder of my disaster interview from last year.

    Not wanting to give up on a good idea, I went ahead and emailed a couple of other local charities. One of them got back to me and set up a meeting for this morning. We met, we chatted and in about an hour we'd worked out most of the details on how the charity could support my fundraising efforts. March 3rd is the magic date. And now I have the mammoth task of planning and executing a comedy nightcharity fundraiser in little over a month's time.


    And, for the record. I really prefer Band Aid as opposed to Groupie!

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011


    While waiting at the cross walk on the way home from the underground station, I happened to glance at the couple standing next to me. I remembered that they had been on the same subway car as me. The lights changed and we crossed, they a few steps behind me. I could hear snatches of their conversation. It IS.... I'm sure....just ask, why don't you?... Because its weird, that's why!....Do you think so?.... yes, I'm positive. 

    Odd conversation, I thought, but didn't really think too much about it. As I turned off the main road onto my street, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the couple. Excuse me, but do you live in the first block of tenement houses on this street? A little bemused, I nodded; the girl hastened on. You live on the first floor don't you? Again, I nodded. Do you live in the same block as me? I asked. I didn't know we had new neighbours come in! 

    The girl looked at her partner and then back at me. I could see she was blushing slightly. Actually, we live across the road at number 9. But we can see into your living room..... and we can see you dancing around most days. We've always wondered who you are.... and well... now we know! 

    It was my turn to blush.  

    Saturday, January 08, 2011

    New Year's Revelations

    Berlin was a spur of the moment decision. A question of, where can I go for a few days at minimum cost? Two days after I booked the tickets, I found out about the lay off. Panicking slightly, I wondered if I should go ahead with the trip. The wander lust won out in the end. And besides, the tickets were non refundable.

    Being in a new city was always a time for discovery. This trip, the biggest discovery was all about myself. Well, not so much a discovery as much as a confirmation of a lot of facts!

    For starters, I have figured out that I am socially outgoing AND socially awkward both at once. I am also too old to play the pickup game. And I'm a wee bit afraid that I may just be too old for the entire travel/backpack/hostel experience in general.

    Let me expand.

    When I travel its all about seeing a new place; visiting the sights and taking in the local culture and history. I truly cannot be arsed with staying up late and partying till the ass crack of dawn. Its far too expensive - and very often for a single girl traveller at least - a wee bit dangerous.

    It is almost a direct throwback to my high school days. Through 10 years of primary and secondary school, I pretty much had the one constant pal. I got along with a ton of peeps, but they were all largely generic. When VBF wasn't around, I would tend to flit around the periphery of other groups; always on the very edge, never quite in. There were times when I was hugely bothered by this and I was acutely aware of my solitary status. As I've grown older the solitude has become more and more like an old pal in itself. We are very comfortable together and there no pretense of false popularity is required.

    Back to the travel, I get the distinct feeling that most other travellers don't quite know what to make of me. I do wish that social conventions allowed me to just state my agenda (or rather, the lack of one) loud and clear. Dear Fella at the bar, I have zero interest in snogging or being snogged. You seem like nice enough blokes and I just want to have a few laughs. 

    I am painfully aware that most times I come across as a right weirdo. Like a mirror of my high school days, I am sure that most of the time first impressions are that of eccentric kook who will probably end up like Mrs. Haversham. Fifteen years ago that might have upset me. Today, its not so bad. Heck, Mrs. H got to dance around all day and did exactly what she wanted without a care as to what the world thought. Not a bad life eh?

    Sunday, January 02, 2011

    Paving the Road to Hell

    Got back from the very awesome and totally manic New Year's eve party at about 6am yesterday morning. How's that for a banging start to 2011?

    There were a lot of surreal moments during the night. For starters, the air in the room was so thick with smoke I could have carved out a centre piece sculpture. And I wasn't talking about just cigarette smoke either. Then there was the boy who decided to get his hair shaved right in the middle of the living room. Half way through the event, the clippers broke and the boy ended up with a most unusual look. And let's not forget the pair of hussies that had taken it upon themselves to play an interesting game of Pass the Chlamydia as they made a lot of fellas very happy in the early hours of the new decade.

    Regardless of all those shenanigans, or perhaps because of them, it was one heck-of-an-interesting night. Even the walk home at 5am was fun as I met a bunch of fellow west enders all heading home and it was a case of each one helping the other along. Now that's called being neighbourly.

    Since I got home yesterday morning, I've been installed on the couch in the living room watching whatever has happened to be on TV. That has included Two Weeks Notice, Bridge Jones: The Edge of Reason and yes, that ringleader amongst flims of heartstring tugger variety - Love Actually. Also, it is now PJ wearing hour number 36.

    So much for the good intentions!
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