29 November, 2008

Stupid People

oh, what a busy past 10 days or so. Nottingham Nurse came down to visit his bro, but unfortunately (for him, fortunately for us) his visit coincided with our new washing machine arriving and the kids coming down sick. So he spent his visit hefting machinery around and mopping the childrens' brows. Never mind, the brothers did manage to squeeze in a trip to the Imperial War Museum and staggered out of the Holocaust section, wan, traumatised and wanting to hug their children.

Mo went to see Boy in the Striped Pyjamas with some other kids from the ADD therapy centre and also staggered out wan and traumatised.

We went to see Ivanov at Donmar West End last night with the Moaning Accountant and her husband, the Lovely Teacher. It was really good and made me realise that, all this time, when I thought Chekhov was a bit dull, actually it was that I was just too young to appreciate him. You have to be over 40 and have tasted despair, defeat, failure, the death of all your hopes etc, to really understand Chekhov. Which is odd, since he wrote Ivanov when he was a 27-year-old successful glamorous doctor/playwright.

Dinner afterwards at the Cafe de Hong Kong, which gave us a welcome nostalgic blast of HK, with all the right details in place - specials under the glasstops of the tables, luncheon meat and fried egg instant noodles on the menu etc. I had stewed pork belly and preserved mustard with rice - yummy!

Poor old Larry is not enjoying her tuition. First she complained it was boring because it was too easy. So LSS mentioned it to her teacher. So the next week, the stupid old trout gives the class an incomprehensible maths problem, doesn't explain the techniques you need to solve it, doesn't check whether anyone had any trouble with it and leaves Larry miserable and feeling useless - as if to say, How dare you suggest that my classes are too easy! I'll show you, you arrogant little twerp.

This, I need hardly say, is not the attitude one wishes to find in a tutor that one is paying GBP40 a session for. If I needed someone just to hand out impossible questions, not explain how to do them, and not check to see if they had been done properly, I could do that myself.

I asked Larry why she had not asked the teacher for help. She said she was too scared to. So this week, LSS has been posted of to tell the tutor that Larry finds her scary and could she be less terrifying.

I don't expect this approach will work, so I will end up having to pull Larry out and tutor her myself. Just heading off to Smiths to buy old 11+ papers.

It's strange how the world is full of people who, superficially, seem to be sane pleasant people - but when you scratch the surface you find that underneath they are living in a world of self-delusion and fantasy, and will go to any lengths to preserve that delusion, rather than risk discovering the unsavoury truth about themselves - rather like Ivanov. In his case, unwilling to accept the truth that he is really as cowardly, selfish and money-grabbing as everyone thinks he is, he shoots himself. In the case of someone I once knew at work, the unsavoury truth I fear was - gasp! - that he was not one of life's natural accountants. Frankly, I think there are many people who might have been able to see the bright side in that, and take themselves off to go and find a career that they were better suited to.

19 November, 2008

The war is not yet over, Englisch Schwein!

Got a free incredibly heavy Ikea sideboard today from two drunken girls in Putney.

Was talking to a German girl today who had just finished moving all her stuff from her place in Dusseldorf. Apparently her parents-in-law were moving to London from Germany, so she and her husband were going to move in with them. Must be a big house, says I. Yes, she said. Where is it, I said. Belgravia, she said. Nuff said!

14 November, 2008

People eh!

All kinds of minor people incidents today.

First of all some irate bloke in the office came storming up while East End Boy and I were on the speakerphone talking to a confused guy in nostro management, saying, You know there are other people trying to work over there, indicating Legal. It was after 6pm on a Friday in an office in London - there were about 2 people left on the entire floor. I said pacifyingly, we're nearly done, and East End Boy did the male now-I'm-going-to-add-five-minutes-to-my-conversation-because-you-can't-tell-me-what-to-do thing. Anyway, stroppy guy stomped off and EEB and I looked at each other and said, Who was that? He wasn't even from Legal. God knows who he was. Some over-strained lunatic.

Then on the train on the way home, this pompous guy came and insisted on sitting in the seat next to me where I had placed all my bags of shopping, so I had to move them all onto my lap. So then he says, Can I help you put those on the rack? Which sounds like a nice thing to say, but it really isn't, because it is just as inconvenient for me to get all my shopping off the luggage rack 10 minutes later when I get off the train as it is for me to hold the shopping on my lap. And what he was really saying was that it was not he who was inconveniencing me by making me hold my shopping on my lap, but in fact I who was inconveniencing him by not putting my shopping on the luggage rack in the first place. Passive aggressive tosspot. So sod him too.

Then on the bus further along on the way home, this South American guy suddenly started on at some girl, saying extremely loudly and expletive-ladenly: Take your f**king foot off the seat. She just ignored him. He kept on and on (not really doing his cause any favours by swearing quite so much) until eventually she said, in a really posh up-herself voice, Oh, stop talking to me as if you know me. And he persisted in telling her to take her f**king foot off the seat, and she kept on refusing. Then the woman sitting opposite her said, He's right, you know. Then Sweary Guy had to get off the bus, so he went down the aisle, still cursing and swearing about her foot on the seat and all the way down the aisle, people were saying to him, You're quite right, well done, we all agree with you. One guy who was coming down the stairs said to him, You've got to have manners. And Sweary Guy says, Wouldn't take her f**king foot off the seat. Born with sh*t in her mouth! And Stairs Guy said, Oh, yes, manners are very important, to this guy who was turning the air on the bus absolutely blue with oaths. It was hysterical. The whole bus was united in its loathing of the horrible posh blonde bitch who wouldn't take her foot off the seat. We hate people who put their feet on the seats. We HATE them. In fact, we f**king hate them!


I have become the world's biggest fan of Freecycle. Since we desperately need furniture and we have no money, everyday I eagerly check my Freecycle folder to see if anyone in Wandsworth if giving away any good stuff. So far, we have got a couple of nice solid dining chairs and I have a line in for an upright piano. Hoping to get another four Heals' dining chairs next week and also a desk for Mo and some topsoil for the garden. It's amazing the stuff people will just give away! We've also managed to find a taker for the long mysterious strips of pine that were left behind by the previous owner of the house. And we've acquired a perfectly acceptable sofa (although that was just from the father of one of Curly's friends at school). OK, none of this stuff is our dream furniture, but it will all do perfectly well until we can afford the dream furniture. And we are also being green and not consuming the world's resources and all-in-all coming over all WW2 frugal and Blitz spirity.

09 November, 2008

From our special correspondent, Curly:

Dear Diary it is going to be my birthday soon and I am going to have six presents.One of the presents is a surprise present these are the clues I have found it is a soft toy it is lumpy I will find more clues on the day.

Local Shopping Opportunities

All those people who complain about the homogeneous high street full of the same old boring chain stores should come on down to Garratt Lane, which is jampacked full of the most diverting range of curious businesses all apparently in the last stages of terminal decay. We have Mr Wandle's Workshop, who seems to specialise in old junk, a place that repairs lawnmowers and nothing else, a secondhand clothes shop, the aptly named SJ Roots hairdressers, our local Thai greasy spoon and for the times when it is closed, our Turkish greasy spoon, Sultan's Cafe. On Merton Road we have the Villeroy and Boch factory outlet where I am planning to spend most of my time in the run up to Christmas, as nothing speaks to my soul like fine china, unless it is stationery, also a place called Chomette where yesterday we bought 6 lead crystal port glasses for GBP6, and the beautiful art deco Southfields Tyre Company.

06 November, 2008

Connected again!

Ha ha back on the internet at last! Getting into the routine at the new house... alarm is set for 5am, so that I can switch on the light and just lie there waking up till 5.30. Get up, have bath, stumble downstairs to where we are forced to keep the wardrobe because we can't get it upstairs until we can get rid of said wardrobe. Get dressed. Make lunchbox. Have breakfast (hot buttered muffins and Marmite today). Give Mo his fishoil. Everybody else asleep. Leave house at 6.25. Catch bus at 6.27. Get to Earlsfield Station at 6.33. Catch 6.35 to Waterloo. Get to desk at 7.10. Work all day. Leave work 6-6.30. Arrive home 7-7.30. Help Mo with homework. Have dinner. Work on draft 5 of novel. Play some Brickbreaker. Go to sleep. Repeat till weekend.

House is virtually devoid of furniture. Trying to get some chairs from Freecycle. Had a real fire the other night. Felt like a person of substance.

Went to all-day Alan Ayckbourn fest at Old Vic - the Norman Conquests with Stephen Mangan as said Norman. Really enjoyed. Saw Michael Winner in the audience. LSS says it was not Michael Winner, it was Ken Russell. All I can say is, he needs glasses. It WAS Michael Winner. Paid for GBP10 seats but enjoyed the vacant GBP25 ones instead, which was a result. Lamb curry for lunch at the undeservedly empty Spice of India. Whitebait and chips at Livebait for dinner. Yum.