26 September, 2007


They were collecting for something called Haven House Children's Hospice at Canary Wharf station today. The lady stood forlornly there with her bucket while hordes of people charged past her through the doors to the escalators. I backtracked to put a couple of quid in her bucket, so that she would not go away thinking that City workers' reputation for being a bunch of rich selfish pigs was well-deserved.

Although I must say that on the one occasion when I went door to door collecting for something or other in Balham, I could not help but notice that while young and old, black and white, male or female, gave or did not give without distinction, the one set of people whom you could rely upon not to contribute were the middle-aged, white, well-off, clean-shaven, pink-faced, striped-shirt and chinos on a Saturday bunch. Clearly being a master of the universe leaves no room in your heart for the less fortunate. In fact, as a matter of principle, they probably think that it is the moral thing to do to let the weakest go to the wall.

24 September, 2007


On Sunday I was reading Nigel Slater on English biscuits in the Observer, while eating egg, chips and beans with the kids at our local Turkish greasy spoon, and felt impelled to go to the Waitrose across the street to buy:

Tunnocks Teacakes
Jaffa Cakes
custard creams
jammy dodgers
mint humbugs
orange sherbets

The children were stunned. What had happened to their lecturing-them-about-good-nutrition mother?

Now they are all in our breadbin (the treats, not the children) and I will not have to complain about there never being anything sweet in the house to eat after dinner for another week.

21 September, 2007


Paris was lovely. Why does everybody and everything look so much more exciting and exotic just because it is all French? The office is just off the Champs Elysee. From the outside it looks like a nineteenth century building, around a courtyard. From the inside, it looks like a French fifties office. It is LABYRINTHINE, full of very French inconveniences like locked firedoors which prevent you from reaching the office that you can see through the window of the firedoor, without going back down to the ground floor, wandering around for a bit, and then going up in another lift. They had two big wooden plaques up in the lift lobby, one for the dead of 1914-18 and the other for the dead of 1939-45, from the bank. Touching.

Did not meet any French hunks, like the one in the pic below. I travel all the way to Paris and no gateau de boeuf? What is the point?

Dentist again today. I complained that he didn't anaesthetise me enough the last time. As a result, this time, I couldn't speak for the rest of the afternoon, as the whole bottom right quadrant of my face was numb. It is wearing off now though. Ouch! ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch! I'm going to sleep and hoping that it will be better in the morning.

Have borrowed electronic keyboard from little sister and am trying to learn the alto part of the Cherubini. It has no tune at all!


Clement Poitrenaud - France

So my old friend at PWC was right, the Telegraph does have the best sports coverage.

17 September, 2007

Going Commando

I got out of the shower at the gym today and realised I had no fresh pants, so I had to go down to John Lewis pantless, to buy some more. I could not have felt more exposed if I had been wearing no clothes at all. It was a most peculiar experience and not one I wish to repeat.

First night of choral soc tonight - really enjoyed it. Cherubini's Requiem Mass in C Minor. I desperately need a piano before next Monday though.

Going to Paris tomorrow on Eurostar. Childishly excited.

16 September, 2007

Things Dental

We have broadband! Unfortunately the only place we can use it is in the kitchen with the laptop propped up on a shelf next to our wedding china.

Went to the dentist on Friday, where a very stern Iranian hygienist by the name of Tara hypnotised me into agreeing to a much more rigorous daily dental hygiene routine, by dint of repeating over and over her litany while scraping away in my mouth with her horrible high-pressure water pick - bacteria - saliva - plaque - chewing - scraps of food - etc etc. So today not only did I brush my teeth after breakfast, instead of first thing when I get up as I usually do, but since Larry was complaining about the state of her gums, I also brushed and flossed her teeth and got her to rinse her mouth with fluoridated mouthwash. Larry's mouth is now in a state of almost holy dental hygienitude. You could eat your dinner off it.

I mispronounced the word "desultory" at work on Friday. Irritating.

14 September, 2007


This McCann case is beginning to really bug me. I'm convinced the McCanns are being stitched up and a terrible miscarriage of justice is in danger of taking place.

There are basically 2 scenarios:

1. The McCanns, two doctors, accidentally overdose their daughter with sedatives before dinner with friends. They manage to hide the body and keep the decomposing body hidden for 25 days in a town and country which they do not know well, all the time under the 24/7 eyes of the world's media. This media attention is largely the result of the McCanns' own efforts to keep the case in the public eye. Then after a month, in spite of the breathtaking nerve, ruthlessness and cynicism which they are supposed to have displayed so far, they suddenly forget themselves sufficiently to transport the body in their hire car and leave incriminating evidence in the boot.

2. There is a paedophile living somewhere in the vicinity (and was in fact responsible for the disappearance of another little girl nearby 4 years ago). He kidnaps Madeleine, murders her by overdosing her with sedatives. When the parents do not go away quietly, in order to frame them for her murder, with or without the connivance of the local police (already under investigation for extracting a false confession in the earlier case), the perpetrator plants the evidence in their hire car.

Which of these 2 scenarios is more plausible? That 2 ordinary people suddenly start to display a range of self-contradictory behaviours, or that a criminal performs a crime and covers up his tracks by attempting to incriminate someone else?

11 September, 2007

Pretty Blondes

On my mission to talk more and e-mail less yesterday and it worked! Work was substantially less dull. Did I get more done? I don't think I got less done and some things were certainly resolved quicker. If I had e-mailed, I would still be waiting for the answers now.

Went down to talk to the boys on the desk yesterday as part of said mission, with one of my team, who is a pretty blonde Aussie. As we were in the middle of the conversation a passing trader tweaked her hair. She completely ignored him, so I assume the attention was not welcome, unsurprisingly, as she is married. It made me think it must be very difficult being a pretty blonde - certain men seem to think this gives them permission to take liberties with your person as if you were a sparkly toy.

10 September, 2007

The Great Tidy Up

On a course last Thursday and Friday, which was billed as a leadership development course, but turned out to be an assessment centre. All very stressful, especially as I was in a group with a loudmouthed overbearing Scots boor, who kept on interrupting me until I eventually had to keep talking right over him to make my point, which raised eyebrows. Results were the usual: brain the size of a planet, social skills the size of a mousehole. So anyway, I am back at work this morning, invigorated to TALK TO PEOPLE MORE and CHANGE MY LIFE, even though this involves no longer cutting people off at the knees who take too long to get to where they should have got five minutes ago, if they only spent as much time listening and thinking as they did talking.

Finished early on Friday because of the course so went to pick the grills up from school. Walked back across the common, stopping so Curly could eat a bit of someone's birthday cake that she got from school al fresco, and then again at the Nightingale for orange juice and lemonade. Larry amazed that it is actually possible to walk home from her school, a trip which by public transportation would involve two train rides and a platform change at Clapham Junction, the busiest railway station in the UK.

Got home to find that our stuff had been delivered from HK and was now covering our floors in a great tide of crap that reached halfway up the walls. Spent all weekend sorting, dumping and tidying. It is now almost manageable ie it is at the stage where all the papers are in a pile in the filing cabinet, all the clothes are in a porridge in the cupboards, and all the CDs need to be matched with their empty boxes - rather than all the papers, clothes and CDs being in a variegated heap in the middle of the floor.

Reading DG reminds me - the sexiest rugby player is NOT that French bloke who looks only half-human, but Olly Barkley, with the face of Pope Gregory's catamite and the thighs of a god. Hubby is discussing his form - Would you play Barkley, he asks. Yes, my dear, I certainly would.

05 September, 2007


What a day on Monday! It was going to be a big getting-last-minute-things-for-school day. But first LSS had to fall by Barnes to let the cleaners in. On the way, he thought Curly was wheezing rather heartily (I think this is not unrelated to the fact that she has made one of our large cardboard boxes into a bed, using a feather duvet and a sofa cushion, and is insisting on sleeping every night in her "bed in a box"), so he popped her round to Queen Mary's Barnes to be nebulised. But lo! there was no doctor at the A&E at QMB (I mean it's an NHS hospital, what was he thinking?) so they took them (in an ambulance!) to Kingston Hospital.

Now in HK when you take a child to be nebulised, it takes them five minutes and the after-patient-care consists of them saying, There you go, you've been nebulised, now give us your money and f**k off. In the UK, they say, we'll just keep her for a few hours to see how she goes. In the meantime, the cleaners are ringing from Barnes saying that they've finished and want to go but they can't get the door to shut (crappy Yale lock). LSS is unreachable by mobile because he's in an hospital. Chaos prevails. He finally escapes the hospital and has to go back to QMB to pick up the car, but oh no! he has no money for the taxi. At last he finds the bank (never has that red and white hexagon been more welcome), then he has to look for a taxicab firm. Gets rid off the cleaners, goes back to the hospital - now they have decided to keep Curly overnight, "just for observation". Curly of course is absolutely fine, bouncing around the ward, insisting that she HAS to stay the night, charming the pants off all the hospital visitors and regaling the nurses with the sad tale of how Daddy threw away her best friend, Johnny Stick - the aforementioned Johnny being, yes, a stick, that she found on Wandsworth Common at the weekend.

So my poor baby spent the night in Kingston Hospital. But don't worry everyone, she is fine and has eaten a mountain of hospital food. The big kids like the look of the hospital sausage, baked potato and beans so much that they insisted on it for dinner too. Which reminds me: there was a pastry star on top of Larry's steak pie on Sunday. "Look!" says Curly, "A star of meat!" That would make a good name for a band: Stars of Meat.

So of course absolutely nothing was bought for school on Tuesday and the big kids went off to school all askew, with hair untrimmed, emitting an air of general neglect and unkemptitude.

Went to the Dali and Film exhibish at the Tate Modern yesterday, organised by work. Fun to see the Tate after hours, especially as you go in through the staff entrance and have to wander round all these concretey back-corridors, just like the basement back at school.

Tube strike not too bad as the good old Northern Line and the fresh young Jubilee Line were not on strike, which are the only lines I use. So, I'm alright, Jack!

My visa has finally come through - Mexico City here I come!

Went to dentist this morning. He under-anaesthetises. I don't like him.

03 September, 2007


Spent the whole weekend crawling around in the very dusty boxroom and even dustier watertank cupboard under the eaves hauling out yards of old junk that we should have thrown out 8 years ago, so that LSS could schlepp them down to the Wandsworth dump in our Tardis-like Prius. Also sewed nametapes onto all the kids' schoolclothes and laundered mammoth piles of bedlinen that had also been sitting around waiting for 8 years for mama to come home. I am so virtuous! Also found some very bad poetry that I wrote when I was 21, which I could not throw away fast enough. Never write poetry. That is an important life rule.

Sunday lunch at the Nightingale - sausage and mash for Mo, steak and mushroom pie for Larry, cod and chips for Curly and me. Also went down to the common to play ball with Larry. We had a tennis racquet, a plastic cricket bat and a 10-year-old hairless tennis ball.

Tube very crowded today between LB and CW. I take back everything I said about British men. They are Neanderthal thugs. 72-hour tube strike tomorrow! On the first day of school! Oh, goody!

Home broadband not scheduled to arrive till 10SEP.

01 September, 2007


blogging at the local library - it's free! wonder why anyone bothers to use internet cafes. Spent the morning sorting out stuff and tidying up the place as people were coming to view at 1.15. Went off and had picnic on Wandsworth Common with the kids, lovely blue skies, big white clouds passing over, sunshine intermittent, grassy scents, and made the acquaintance of a beautiful chocolate brown Labrador puppy.

Were talking about the White Rose Movement and what a good movie it would make. What was that, asks Mo. Told him it was 3 students in Nazi Germany who resisted the Nazis for the length of time it takes to cyclostyle a few leaflets, hand them out, get arrested and executed. So more of a tic than a movement, really.

Went out and had a bit too much drink last night with the people from work (bonding).