Home is not so sad

January 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Posted in art, cooking, dreams, family, gardening, home, house, money, mortgage, women | 1 Comment
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It’s official – the owner of what will very soon be my new house has agreed to my offer!  I am absolutely thrilled. The house is beautiful, it’s in a road down which you only drive if you’re specifically going to that road, and it will blatantly sell for much more when the markets improve.  Not that I have any intention of selling it in the next ten, or even the next twenty, years.

Obviously, I feel extremely lucky.  How many people of my age own their place outright, let alone have mortgages?  It’s scary out there for people of my generation when it comes to home ownership.  Yes, I know that renting’s always an option, but I for one would rather have my own place which is mine and mine alone, thank you very much.  An Englishwoman’s home is her castle, as the saying (almost) goes.

I’m already envisioning the sheet music on the piano, the tomatoes I’ll grow in the greenhouse (once I’ve babyproofed the entrance with crime scene tape), my cookbooks, food-splattered, dominating all four corners of the kitchen.  The art I’ll put on the wall is my favourite fantasy; some years ago, I saw a painting of The Deal Beach Parlour and I would absolutely love to see that hanging on the wall.  it would make me a very happy lady indeed.

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Kaffee und Kuchen

January 16, 2011 at 8:31 am | Posted in friends, love, men, relationships, work | Leave a comment
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I appear to have entered the caffeine-free zone – save for a sachet of Nescafe which I discovered speaking to me in the cupboard.  I cannot stand starting a work day without a coffee and a cigarette (tea is suffiecient on a day off), and although I cannot expect Emma to stock the latter, I fully expect to see a Willy Wonka’s factory – size coffee jar the next time I come to visit.

I am not a coffee snob, a fact I’m sure you’ll have gathered from my allusion to Nescafe (although if I’m out, my preference is Caffe Nero, then Starbucks, the Costa), but I cannot abide awful tea bags.  Ideally, it has to be Sainsbury’s Red Label, Twinings or Yorkshire Tea, and the bag has to brew for a good two minutes – none of that gnat’s piss malarkey for me, please.

My dear friend is getting married in April to a guy whom I have been informed is a coffee snob of the highest order.  I am sorely tempted to greet him with a cup of Nescafe’s finest instant when I finally do meet him.

Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh…..

January 16, 2011 at 2:25 am | Posted in books, dreams, family, house, insomnia, work | Leave a comment
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…………or not.  Not only can I not sleep, and have been forced to confront the Clipper Sleep Easy tea which smells of manure and other unwanted countryside fragrances, but I also still have the freaking Carpenters in my head (Goodbye to Love, to be precise).  Nice and uplifting for 2am on a Sunday morning in winter.

If I lived here, I would go outside for a cigarette, or, better still, have a cheeky fag in the flat, but this is my friend Emma’s place, and she probably wouldn’t be too impressed by the smell of tobacco, given her ex-smoker status.

So, I have work tomorrow at 9:30; great, let’s hope I’ve managed to actually get some sleep by then, given the fact that I have to drive to Thanet and may have to cash up/operate heavy machinery (ok, well, Phoenix is neither ‘heavy’ not a ‘machine’, but there you go.

I’m not prone to imsomnia, but I am susceptible to bouts of nervous energy; it’s one of the reasons for my recent weight loss, along with too many fags and an aversion to breakfast.  My brain is at its most active at the most inconvenient times, lately, mainly because I am no longer living with my son and therefore no longer need to be a lark.  I’ve never quite decided if it’s a lark or an owl I am naturally; I was an owl at university until prescribed Prozac, which turned me into the larkiest of larks, for want of a more suitable epithet.  If you need to be wide awake and raring to go at 5am, I heartily recommend it.

It is now 2:10am and I am starting to worry, given the fact that my morning shower and subsequent attempt to get a comb through my sodden hair really require me to rise at 7:30.  Yes, many an all-nighter was pulled during my university days, but I would not advocate doing so when you actually have to work for a living.  Nevertheless, despite the hour and the fumes of toxic, manure-esque Clipper tea invading my nostrils, I am decidedly bright-eyed.  I need a lullaby from W H Auden.

The other day, my dad (I am chez parents while waiting to move into my new house) walked in and woke me from a delicious dream.  I was playing a clown on Eastenders and Hilary Mantel had offered to give me free piano lessons and pay me £350 a week to write.  Nice work if you can get it, eh?

Beautiful things

January 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Posted in friends, house, love | Leave a comment
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I’ve seen some beautiful things the last few days:

1) My new house.

2) My new pair of tobacco-coloured trousers.

3) Cambridge.

4) My new bookmark.

5) My best friend in love.

What will survive of us is love

January 15, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Posted in books, debate, men, Waterstone's, work | Leave a comment
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The Doobyman

When I was but thirteen or so (ok, sixteen, but I wanted to go all poetical), my parents started giving me £100 a month pocket money (what a spoiled brat I was).  It never went very far, for on that first Saturday of the month, I would hotfoot it to Canterbury in search of the finest gin, kitten heels and new publications.  Yes, I would dabble with Methuen, the charity shops and the independent bookshops, but Waterstone’s was my favourite.  Back in the day, there was only the one in Canterbury, the ‘chip shop one’, as I call it, and I would linger there in the poetry section, hoping to meet my future husband (what a ridiculously romantic teenager I was).

 I am no longer that sixteen year old in her secondhand Burberry trench, scouting the Sylvia Plath section for lines to rip off.  Twelve years on, and my lyrical tastes are more Thomas Hardy and Hugo Williams than the suicidal poets (although Anne Sexton’s verse is truly beautiful).  But I still believe in beautiful bookshops, and I still rage against the company which offers half price chocolate at its tills and employs someone who thinks The Life of Pi is a cookbook.  I still believe in bookshops in beautiful buildings, where the booksellers actually know if Nigel Slater wrote a cookbook called Simple Suppers and who the author of The Master and the Margarita is.  And I really do believe that the company for whom I work will rise, Phoenix-like (how fitting), out of its slightly financially dubious ashes and remain the bookseller’s in which I once loved to roam and for whom I now love to work.  Simples.

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