Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Twelve lovely ladies, one Italian city.

We're off to Rome for a hen weekend. Back next week.

Arrivederci tutti voi gente bella

Monday, September 26, 2005

The worst bridesmaid in the world

Have you ever felt so incredibly sick to the core of your stomach about something you've done even though you didn't do it on purpose?

Babs's wedding is in exactly four weeks and yesterday we decided that I should try on the incredibly expensive, 100% silk bridesmaid dress that she bought for me in Paris last month. I took it out of its protective bag, put it on, and to my utterly abject horror we saw a black stain about the size of the palm of my hand.

Babs was, understandably, gutted and I felt like I'd killed a kitten. I'm taking it to a specialist cleaner tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Back to school

Monday was officially an "incredibly strange day". I went back to university for the first time in nine years. Although it has been in the pipeline for some time, the whole newness of this change in my life only became real as I sat down in the lecture theatre, lifted my bag onto my desk and took out a pad and a pen. A peculiar feeling swept over me: familiarity and unfamiliarity all at once. I've carried out that action countless times in my life but somehow it felt like a flashback rather than something that was actually taking place in real time. It was at that point that I actually felt like my life had changed. Until then it had all been an idea, a concept. Now it's real and it feels very, very strange. I wonder where I'll end up. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

My Flat. Episode I: The Inside Story

I went to a blogmeet in London yesterday and without exception every single person who reads my blog asked me the same question.

"So Laura. How's your flat coming on?"

At first sobriety enabled me to hide my true feelings about my "beautiful" abode. Alas by drink number four I reacted to this question by covering my face with my hands, putting my head between my knees and hyperventilating.

You see the thing is, if I'm absolutely honest, the flat isn't quite as progressed as I would have hoped. At first glance the place doesn't look so bad. The living room is finished bar the carpet and the lampshade; the bathroom is finished bar the cabinet, the loo-roll holder and two light fittings; and the bedroom is finished bar the plastering, scraping, sanding, papering, painting and the bare floorboards with nails that rip my feet to shreds in the morning. Oh, and I've lost a couple of radiators along the way and it's getting a bit chilly.

That's the good part.

Some time ago (18 months give or take) I had to have the kitchen completely gutted, its dodgy walls knocked down and its rotten floorboards pulled up and replaced. Miss Millwall and I then set about the task of tiling the floor, a process that involved more tea, fags and sunbathing than it necessarily required and in consequence the three weekends we'd allowed ourselves to complete the task stretched into three months. We both had lovely tans though!

My dextrous and ingenious father then took the baton from Miss Millwall to help me put together a makeshift kitchen so that I could move back. He brought over a double camping stove complete with a half full Calor gas bottle. He gave me a microwave that he and Mum bought in 1989, a microwave so unbelievably enormous that it takes two people to carry it and requires its own special supersized table. Then we popped to B&Q to buy a few cuts of wood, some two-by-four, a plumbing kit and, hey presto, my Dad conjured up a sink-unit out of thin air. Brilliant.

Thus it was that I moved back in. I had no kitchen units or oven and was chopping vegetables on top of the washing machine, but I was back and it was my "home, sweet home." Naturally, I started to get excited. I knew that I was going to release some equity when I re-mortgaged and so I was looking forward to choosing my new kitchen.

That was until John the Builder delivered the cruel and shocking blow last month... both my bay windows appear to be rotten to the very core (a fact he demonstrated by ripping a chunk of wood away and crumbling it between his fingers) and my back door is about as secure as Jordan's chastity belt. These all need to be replaced by the winter (*checks calendar and panics*). Cost? £3,800.


There goes the kitchen money. I've just given up a well paid job to go back to college. ETA of next well paid job? September 2008. ETA of kitchen? January 2009.

Arse... again!

Monday, September 05, 2005

A message from the unknown

My home phone rang this evening and I ignored it because I was watching a film. I often do this. There are times I just want to have to myself and so I shut the front door and block out the outside world until I'm ready to rejoin it.

Once the film had ended I checked my messages to find the following from an unknown Scottish man in his late twenties or early thirties.

"Hi Jen. Sorry I haven't been in touch. I've been in Brighton all weekend visiting Inger. There's something I need to tell you. Love you."

He sounded regretful, downbeat, beaten and aprehensive all at once.

This message has intrigued me. What has he got to tell her that he sounds so regretful about? Perhaps he and Inger had a big fight. Perhaps Inger is an old friend of them both and he has some bad news about her. For my money, though, this particular Scotsman has been a naughty boy. I've heard that tone of voice before.

Poor Jen... whoever she is.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Little Miss Muffet

I have an air raid shelter at the back of my garden. Not one of those small Anderson ones but a big reinforced concrete shelter with a blast door and room for about 6 people. It's pretty cool really. When I first bought my place I had some nice ideas for it. A dark room for photography, an office, or even a sauna. Sadly, all it is at the moment is a "place to put things in", like my bike, spare bits of wood, paints and a lawn mower. I don't like to call it a shed as I feel that would demean it. Its previous life was much more noble: a place of protection and safety as bombs fell all about it. But I guess that's what it really is at the moment. A shed.

In the last few weeks, however, it has become something more sinister than just a shed. Oh yes! It has become a "place where lots of big spiders live" and I'm just not happy about it. There are so many spiders in there that they are now spilling out into the garden. It's like a scene from Arachnaphobia, a film I watched when all around me warned me not to. I should have listened!

When I have to go the shelter I hold a rake out in front of me so I don't walk through any invisible webs (top of my list of worst ever things to happen). And when I get there I run in, grab what I'm after and run out checking my clothing for renegade arachnids.

The problem is getting worse. The other day I was sat in the garden with a friend. I couldn't concentrate on what she was saying. Over her right shoulder in the flower bed was the most ENOURMOUS spider web I have ever seen. On the one hand I was gobsmacked at the intracacy and scale of this stunning bit of architecture. From end to end it was over one and a half meters long. On the other hand I was scared shitless. A big web usually means a big spider.

If that wasn't enough to tip the balance of my phsyche, a small spider interrupted our conversation by abseiling down from the branch above us. It was tiny, but that's not the point is it? Spiders grow don't they? I gingerly grabbed at the thread it was hanging from and dropped it onto the grass. (nb: I couldn't have done that if the spider had been any bigger than 2mm in diameter). Ten minutes later, another tiny spider did exactly the same thing. And then it occurred to me. Spiders have lots and lots and lots of babies (or at least according to Charlotte's Web) to increase the chance of at least a few of them surviving. So, does that mean that there lots and lots of baby spiders all abseiling down from the tree in my garden? And if so, is it morally wrong to set fire to the tree?