Sunday, 28 December 2008

150 songs...

...for my 30th Birthday. (Part One)

Once upon a time I wrote a post about music. Then I wrote a small follow-up to it.

I found those 18th Birthday Tapes the other day (they so deserve capitals) and was reading through the track listings and smiling at the memories that appeared.

So I decided to create my own playlist for my 30th. One hundred songs that represented the thirty years that I'd been around. Then I hit a few snags...mainly the fact that I couldn't narrow it down to 100. So I upped it a little. The list is now 150 songs, split up into 0-10, 10-20 and 20-30 sections so that each decade gets a fair shot. Not every song is in the decade it was released in, they fit in where I remember them within my life.

It's been very good fun - although Anthony is a little scared by some of the choices, and is very scared by some of the songs he didn't know that I then played him.

As I suspected in that first post, there are a few songs that have carried across to the 150. There are also a few that haven't due to not conjuring up a moment in my head. The Beatles are a casualty for this very reason, as are The Rolling Stones. I know. Shocking isn't it. They summon up a general time (sixth form and uni respectively) but no specific memories so I've had to be ruthless and chop them out.

While I'm working on the 150for30, here are my 100for18 - the result of three days choosing and locating the songs (as I had to find all the LP's/tapes with them on) and three weeks or so of Dad arranging them, copying them onto the reel-to-reel and then making the cassettes.

  • Queen - Headlong
  • Del Amitri - Driving With the Brakes On
  • CSN - Just a Song Before I Go
  • Eagles - Take it to the Limit
  • Livingstone Taylor - House at Pooh Corner (which I want on the 150for30 list, but this version isn't on iTunes so I've had to go for the version by Loggins & Messina - meh)
  • Neil Young - Pocahontas
  • Beatles - Revolution 9
  • CSN - Long Time Gone
  • CSN - Cowboy of Dreams
  • Billy Joel - Only the Good Die Young
  • Chicago - A Hard Habit to Break
  • Don McLean - American Pie
  • Jim Croce - Have to Say I Love You in a Song
  • Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Blinded by the Light
  • Oasis - Morning Glory/The Swamp Song/Champagne Supernova (since they all just flow into each other on the album)
  • Four Seasons - December '63
  • Beatles - The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
  • Jim Croce - Photographs and Memories
  • Eagles - Hotel California
  • Billy Joel - Piano Man
  • Elton John - Candle in the Wind
  • Neil Young - Rockin' in the Free World
  • Beatles - Yesterday
  • CSNY - Deja Vu
  • Jim Croce - New York's not my Home
  • Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Ash - Oh Yeah
  • Boyzone - Key to my Life
  • Levellers - Hope Street
  • Commodores - Easy Like Sunday Morning
  • Jim Croce - Operator
  • CSN - Suite: Judy Blue-Eyes
  • Beatles - Hey Jude
  • Neil Young - Like a Hurricane
  • Beatles - Ticket to Ride
  • Doors - Strange Days
  • Madness - Our House
  • CSNY - Our House (two very different songs with the same title - I always loved the fact Dad put them together)
  • Billy Joel - Always a Woman to Me
  • Stills-Young Band - Long May You Run
  • Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever
  • Queen - Radio Ga-Ga
  • Chris De Burgh - Lady in Red (on the tape track listing as by Chris Rea for some reason)
  • Dodgy - Making the Most of
  • Aerosmith - Cryin'
  • Ash - Girl From Mars
  • Who - My Generation
  • Bonzos - I'm the Urban Spaceman (Produced by Apollo C. Vermouth, otherwise known as Paul McCartney)
  • Fleetwood Mac - The Chain
  • Oasis - Wonderwall
  • Al Stewart - Song on the Radio
  • Mama's & Papa's - California Dreamin'
  • Byrds - Mr Tambourine Man
  • Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • CSN - Military Madness
  • Chicago - If You Leave me Now
  • CSN - Teach Your Children
  • CSNY - Ohio (These two songs are forever linked in my mind)
  • Eagles - Best of My Love
  • Bluetones - Carnt Be Trusted (When I wrote this on the list Dad asked if I needed spelling lessons, then he said the band needed them!)
  • Queen - We Will Rock You
  • Ruth - Fear of Flying
  • Neil Young - Round and Round (It Won't be Long)
  • CSN - Simple Man
  • Billy Joel - Uptown Girl
  • Huey Lewis - The Power of Love
  • CSNY - Helpless
  • Beatles - All You Need is Love
  • Mungo Jerry - In the Summertime
  • Bluetones - Putting Out Fires
  • CSN - Horses Through a Rainstorm
  • Billy Joel - Christie Lee
  • Doors - When You're Strange (With the voice of my friend David at the beginning saying "These really are strange days, and they're full of strange people too")
  • Beatles - Birthday
  • Bluetones - Bluetonic
  • Queen - Killer Queen
  • Dodgy - Grassman
  • Alanis Morrisette - You Learn
  • Bryan Adams - Run to You
  • Doors - Light My Fire
  • Neil Young - Unknown Legend
  • CSN - Blackbird
  • Billy Joel - The Ballad of Billy the Kid
  • Beatles - Good Day Sunshine
  • Crosby & Nash - Cathedral
  • Beatles - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • Jim Croce - Time in a Bottle
  • CSN - Chicago/We Can Change The World
  • Alanis Morrisette - Ironic
  • Crosby & Nash - Carry Me
  • Blur - Charmless Man
  • Queen - Don't Stop Me Now
  • Al Stewart - Year of the Cat
  • Billy Joel - Famous Last Words

  • Anyone still here?

    So lets see... at 18 I was in a phase of listening to a whole lot of my Dad's music, with occasional bursts of Billy Joel and Queen (courtesy of Mum), and a few dribs of current tunes.

    One of the reasons I split the 150for30 into three sections...

    Did you all...

    ...have a nice Christmas?

    I had a very nice Christmas Day, a not so nice Boxing Day (due to being at work serving idiots who can't wait ONE MORE DAY to go shopping) and then a very very nice birthday.

    I have TWO new Leyton Orient shirts (a team shirt and a polo shirt) to wear plus some very scary boot-style slippers that my mother sent me and assorted other lovely things. These include a very very posh handbag from my darling sister who is trying so hard to make me elegant and grown-up. Pictures of this will follow, because it's just too damn gorgeous not to share!

    We also appear to have a breeding population of Terry's Chocolate Oranges since everywhere you turn there's another one!

    This may conflict slightly with my goal reaching on my lovely shiny Wii Fit that I got for my birthday. Chocolate Oranges are not exactly healthy food after all.

    Today is a day for chilling out even more, especially since Anthony is fighting off the lurgy. He's doing this by shooting people on his XBox (not a 360, he wouldn't let me get him one) while I work on my birthday playlist.

    Very unimpressed that "Leyton" pops up on the spellchecker!

    Monday, 22 December 2008



    (and I've had a haircut too).

    (Foley is in the box for the new computer chair that my mum bought me for Christmas. Silly cat could get in...but not out.)

    Monday, 15 December 2008


    ...happy things for the 15th of December.

    1. The squeaky noises that Foley makes when I get home. (Sounds like Broccoli Kitten).
    2. Having a beer when I get home.
    3. The smell of the pink lillies sent by Anthony's workmates.
    4. The super-duper graphics card I got as a surprise early Christmas present yesterday.
    5. The "care package" arriving for me at work sometime this week (containing Christmas presents sent all the way from deepest darkest Essex).
    6. My sister moving into her lovely flat in Colchester and therefore no longer having to drive up and down the A12 every day.
    7. Kettle Chips - like crisps tasted when I was little.
    8. The Christmas edition of the Radio Times.
    9. Hearing a good Christmas song I'd forgotten about (few and far between).
    10. Having a clean and shiny kitchen after the broadband conked out yesterday and we got bored...
    11. ...and having the broadband back this morning!
    12. Anthony coming up with the idea to snuggle on the sofa under a soft red blanket while eating Ben & Jerry's (Phish Food for me, Caramel Chew Chew for him).
    13. Looking through the new Waitrose wine list.
    14. A big bowl full of Lindor chocs.
    15. Buying broccoli for Foley...and watching Esme fight her for it.

    Thursday, 11 December 2008


    ...I still didn't have enough of it yesterday.

    The doc went for my right wrist first and managed to fill four sample tubes with what he got. Then it was "a bit of blind poking about" in order to find the nice vein in my left elbow that the nurse had found before. It turned up first try and provided enough blood to fill the other nine sample tubes. Unlike the nurse before, he didn't fill each tube up straight from me. Instead he had this giant syringe and then decanted it.

    Anthony was ever so sympathetic...sitting there and telling me my veins were crap while showing off the fact that his aren't.

    Got my revenge when the doc decided to take some from Anthony too as part of the screening process that now kicks in as that was my third strike.

    The big patch on my hand is where the catheter went for my nice general anaesthetic. That one (of course) bled like a bugger when they took it out.


    So I'm here, and I'm ok. Not great, but ok. Thank you for all of your love and best wishes, hugs back at the lot of you.

    Now I'm back to the sofa to watch more curling (love that sport) and be purred at by a possessive pussycat.

    Wednesday, 10 December 2008

    Third Strike...

    ...and I'm down but not out.

    I haven't been blogging much recently because I've been absolutely wiped out with a combination of extreme tiredness and nausea. Also because the reason for the tiredness/nausea was really the only thing I wanted to blog about.

    I didn't want to blog about it til after Christmas, until my birthday in fact.

    Then I could announce the fantastically good news that I was expecting a baby in late June and then everything was going well.

    And it was.

    Right up until the point during my first scan yesterday when I was lying there looking at the screen and making out the shape of my baby and the ultrasoundographer (is that even a word) said sorry. She said she couldn't find a heartbeat.

    So I'm afraid that instead of joining the many blogging friends and friends from school with happy baby announcements, once again I have to buck the trend and be the one with bad news.

    I'm off to the hospital this afternoon for what is referred to as "surgical management". Anthony is here and proving yet again exactly why he is the Yeti's polar opposite.

    You know what? Next year I'm going to have a bloody fabulous Christmas, cos last year and this one are just too pants to count.

    And if anyone would like to buy me an early Christmas present? I'd like this please. *grin*

    Love you xx

    Friday, 28 November 2008

    This time of year...

    ...there are lots of biographies about with incredibly cheesy covers.

    Yesterday I saw the worst one ever. It made me laugh so hard I almost wet myself.

    So for your amusement I present to you, the current F1 World Champion (you know, the one who can't tell the difference between a green light and a red one)...

    Mr Lewis Hamilton

    *rolls on floor in fits of laughter all over again*

    Although I have to admit that the picture on the inside front cover is worse. In that one he's taken the racing suit off and is standing there in a shiny suit, adjusting his tie with the hand wearing a big blingy ring and looking like a pimp.

    A cheap pimp.

    On this occasion however, I hope that this does sell. Mainly because if it doesn't (and we haven't sold a single book about Spewis since he won his Championship) then I will be spending the next 4 weeks shifting 96 copies of it to various places around the shop.

    Monday, 24 November 2008

    There was blood...

    ...lots of it.

    In fact I filled up the 70 million or so tubes that they wanted filling in about 20 seconds and got a compliment on my "nice veins".

    Obviously those "nice veins" had just gone on holiday two weeks ago.

    Sunday, 23 November 2008

    I'm still here...

    ...just mostly asleep.


    I'm tired all the time at the moment and I've gone from sleeping 2-3 hours a night (as I have been for the past year) to conking out at 8pm.

    Last weekend I went to bed at 10.30pm on the Saturday night (having forced myself to stay up so that I actually got to spend some time with Anthony), and I woke up at 1pm...

    More blood tests tomorrow, assuming I actually BLEED this time!

    In other news I have been recording Silent Witness using my lovely shiny V+ box, and today I got a bit of a shock. I was watching it when all of a sudden I recognised the guy on screen.

    I couldn't remember his name at first but eventually my poor tired brain realised that it was the brother of a guy I house-shared with at uni. It was very strange to see him on tv, last time was about 10 years ago when he was starring in Hollyoaks. (Although his character Sash isn't mentioned on there at all...strange)

    Friday, 14 November 2008

    One of the...

    ...many lovely new blogs I discovered due to that nifty Black Boxes widget is Windmill Watching. At least I think I found it via the might have been via cJane instead.


    Yesterday she posted up some pictures illustrating the high high prices of petrol in the USA.

    As a Brit I laughed and laughed and laughed.

    Then I did some Googling and some Maths.

    With the help of, the X-rates currency calculator and Google itself, I discovered the conversion rates.

    Prices are UK averages from 12/11/08 (that's the 12th of November or 11/12/08 for the Americans)

    Type / Pence per litre / Pounds per gallon / Dollar conversion

    Unleaded = 95.4p / £4.34 / $6.42
    Diesel = 109.1p / £4.96 / $7.34
    LRP = 102.9p / £4.69 / $6.93
    Super Unleaded = 102.5p / £4.66 / $6.90

    While I do feel sorry for the Americans who have never had to deal with such high fuel prices before...this goes a little way to explain just why any British friends laugh hysterically when you complain about high fuel costs.

    Tuesday, 11 November 2008

    In the last two weeks...

    ...there has been a fair bit of singing at work.

    Every now and again a little snatch of a tune will escape from Richie Fingers and then he'll go "Kate, what's the next line?!?"

    It's all about Flanders & Swann. Now raise your hand if you've ever heard of them (not you Emily...we know you have).

    The song below is not one of the ones we have been singing, but it's the one you're most likely to recognise.

    The one we have mostly been singing is this one, but unfortunately this video is all stop/start on my PC, hope it works for you!


    funny pictures of cats with captions
    more animals

    Monday, 10 November 2008

    Good news...

    ...I'm not dead. Although, I don't feel fine.

    I went and had a blood test today.

    At least I was supposed to have a blood test.

    But I failed to bleed a single drop.




    And that was with two different people trying to get blood from me. Both arms tried, couple of different needles too.

    So, I am here still, and a bad blogger. And I also appear to have turned into a vampire while I wasn't looking.


    Saturday, 25 October 2008

    Last week... fact the very day of my last post, the lovely Michelle tagged me. Thank you Michelle!

    Since I am a bad blogger (and currently ill) I have not responded to her tagging. So while I am having five minutes of not feeling terrible, here it is.

    One word answers only. (and I've done my best not to expand!)

    1. Where is your cell phone? Sofa

    2. Where is your significant other? Birmingham

    3. Your hair color? Blonde

    4. Your mother? Essex

    5. Your father? Deaded

    6. Your favorite thing? Chocolate

    7. Your dream last night? Reading

    8. Your dream/goal? Ongoing

    9. The room you're in? Cold

    10. Your hobby? Cross-stitch

    11. Your fear? Loss

    12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Family

    13. Where were you last night? Bed

    14. What you're not? Organised

    15. One of your wish-list items? Framing (for one of my many finished cross-stitches)

    16. Where you grew up? Billericay

    17. The last thing you did? Yawn

    18. What are you wearing? TWO jumpers

    19. Your TV? Off

    20. Your pets? Crazy

    21. Your computer?

    22. Your mood? Poorly

    23. Missing someone? Yes

    24. Your car? Broken (still)

    25. Something you're not wearing? Contacts

    26. Favorite store? Work

    27. Your summer? Grey

    28. Love someone? Anthony

    29. Your favorite color? Turquoise

    30. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday

    31. Last time you cried? Earlier

    I am now supposed to tag five other people, but since the five other people I would normally tag have all been tagged already, I shall not bother this time. Edited to add: Emily has just done it off her own bat. I forget about tagging my sister!

    Now if you will excuse me, I'm going back to flake out on the sofa and feel ill. Although I shall have to do a little tidying as a man from Virgin will be here between 1-6 to fit a V+ Box. (and just to reassure my sister who worries about my money, I got mine for £30)

    Thursday, 16 October 2008

    Two and a half...

    ...years ago today, my new computer got fixed up with broadband.

    I can't believe that I've been with Anthony that long, the time has just flown by.

    Happy Anniversary my darling darling man.

    Here's to the day when "That was a real proposal but we can't get engaged cos you're still married" no longer applies.

    Now, I am a geek...

    ...for World of Warcraft and I freely admit it. Recently I haven't been playing so much, knowing that as soon as WotLK comes out I will be straight back into it again. I've even been dabbling with Guild Wars - Emily's MMORPG of choice.

    Then yesterday came a bright shiny new patch, the last one before WotLK comes out. I'm in love with the game all over again.

    They've done the usual thing and tweaked all the talent trees so you have to re spend your points, but they've also done things like adding your mounts and pets to your character. This means that instead of buying a mount/pet and having it take up a space in your bags, it becomes a little icon in your mount/pet screen and then you just click there. More bag space is always good!

    My favourite thing so far is the achievements addition. Now I like exploring the world I'm playing in so I tend to go wandering about areas where I don't have quests and don't really need to go - according to other players I'm "wasting valuable levelling time". For me the game has always been about the whole thing, I don't need to get my fishing skill up to 350, it won't make me level any quicker or get me l33t gear to show off to other people. I just like doing it.
    The achievements thing means that I will be earning points for all the "silly time wasting crap" that I like to do. That's a very good thing. It also means that I'll be playing my level 70's more, trying to finish off the last bits I'm missing for achievements. (My general love of exploring means I've got lots of points for that already!)

    So in conclusion, I am a geek. But a very happy one.

    Monday, 13 October 2008


    ...for a relaxing bath.

    iPod (in iPod dock) - for listening to audio books and therefore not having to actually hold a book.
    Lush bath ballistics - for lovely coloured & scented water.
    £1.50 - as credit on the electricity meter (as that's how much it costs to fill the bath with hot water using the electric shower - the boiler isn't up to the job)
    candles - for pleasant relaxing lighting.

    Added ingredient - Foley.

    Foley + inquisitiveness + candles = horrible smell of burning hair + Foley with singed patch on bottom.

    (She is fine, just lost a little more of the dignity she didn't have in the first place!)

    Sunday, 12 October 2008


    ...they all look so cute, and they all need haircuts!

    Scruffy Bugger Results:

    1. Alonso
    2. Kubica
    3. Raikkonen

    I have to admit that Hamilton fighting to unlap himself before Alonso crossed the line was a nice touch, little boy trying to make it seem like he had a chance.

    And now...I am going back to bed!

    Our boy...

    ...Kimi has just stuck in yet another fastest lap.

    If this one sticks (and I hope it will as everyone is now pitting) then Kimi will have himself another record.

    I just love looking at the DHL Fastest Laps page.

    That's always...

    ...nice to see.

    Hamilton doing his drive through penalty, and Jarno Trulli leading the Grand Prix.

    Ok, Massa got a drive through too which is a bit pants, but to be honest if you were going to give one to Hamilton for what he did at the start (causing Coulthard's accident among other things) then you have to give one to Massa - even if I just wanna hug the man for putting Hamilton dead last.

    WeeHoo! Watching Hamilton being lapped by Trulli is rather fun too!

    I have...

    "What, you think I could stay in bed with you making that much noise?!"

    Good morning my darling man, I love you.


    ...mwahahahaha again!

    Lewis is last!

    Silly little bugger.

    Trying to put the squeeze on Massa by driving him off the road, so Massa comes straight back onto the track and Lewis is the one who gets squeezed!

    I am glad I got up this early!



    So Hamilton thinks he's the best at the start, gets passed by Kimi, then brakes so incrediably awkwardly that he causes all sorts of problems.

    Hamilton into 6th!


    ...there must be something wonky in my brain to get me up this early.

    Anthony has stayed in bed again but since I know that if I attempt to watch this in bed I would fall asleep at a crucial moment.

    So I am awake and rather chilly.

    Kate + sofa + blanket + cats + cross-stitch + Grand Prix = not asleep + cosy.

    Friday, 10 October 2008

    My week...

    ...was pretty good really.

    Yes, the event was hellish in parts (I forget how rude teachers and librarians can be), the changeover was complicated by the staff shortages and the fact that half of my colleagues have a really nasty cold meant that we've all been flagging a bit.

    But I have been extra kind to myself in the evenings, doing daring things like leaving the electric blanket on low all night (so that I don't wake up freezing cold) and not doing any washing-up again (which sounds terrible unless you realise that this means dirty plates/forks/knives/glasses x 4, and that's it).

    Today I also finally got the affidavit for my divorce signed! I've been ringing the solicitors across the street ever day for the last few weeks and there's never been a solicitor in. (Always in court, says a lot about Wolverhampton). Today the receptionist went "Hi, there's someone here today! Will you be straight over?" (we've become quite chatty). So that is done and now just needs to be sent back to the courts and in 4/6 weeks I should get my decree nisi! The reason it's all taken so flipping long is that the Yeti took months to reply to it, I suspect his mother took her own sweet time about forwarding his mail.
    Anyway, step 4 is now completed, not too much further to go!

    I'm looking forward to this weekend. Anthony's car is still playing silly buggers, but he's being dropped off here later after work. Tomorrow we have plans for a lovely lie-in and then a day of doing who-knows-what. I have to get to bed early though, it's the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday - race start time, 13.30 local time, 05.30 BST.

    Now I do actually quite enjoy the early morning races, once I manage to haul myself out of bed. The one thing that always throws me is when I decide I want a beer about mid-way through the race. I walk though to the kitchen, get a bottle from the fridge, open it, turn to walk back through the dining room and spot the time on the clock on the bookshelf - 6am. Yeah...
    Never gonna be as bad as when I was tipsy by 8am after watching one of England's World Cup games back in 2002. That was the day I got together with the Yeti, think the match drinking might have been a factor?

    Sunday, 5 October 2008

    It's been...

    ...a pretty good weekend considering.

    That's considering the fact that I've been working both days and that Anthony's car is still playing up. The car thing meant that I saw him when he met me from work on Saturday night to go shopping (minimalist shopping since we had to carry it all) and that he spent last night and today here but has just left. He's very grumpy about his car, and very grumpy indeed that his car playing up means he has to cadge lifts from his dad - something he hasn't done for 17 years or so.

    I now won't see him until next Saturday, probably. That's the main thing that's making me grumpy - I never know when he'll be able to get here or for how long he can stay, and if he can't get here at all it's rather depressing.

    So last night and then when I got back from work today we did what Deanna describes as boating and what we think of as bed snuggling. We're not quite in the same league as her, for us it consisted of eating first (curry, yum), then lounging in bed watching Buffy until we both got too sleepy. The decision to do this last night was driven by the fact that neither of us could get warm and so bed with electric blankets was deemed very necessary.

    My solitary form of snuggling has become me curled up on the sofa listening to audio books (rather than watching TV) and sewing. I've just finished listening to I Capture the Castle - in a very disjointed fashion as I realised I'd heard half of part one, then half of part two so had to match the story back up again. On Friday I had to choose between Sabriel (read by Tim Curry) or Stardust (read by Neil Gaiman himself). I went for Stardust and boy is it good. It's fabulous listening to the author read their own work, it means you know it sounds the way they want it to.

    I have tomorrow off before a week of doom starts (out at an event on Tues, changeover Wed, generally short-staffed all week) and I think I just might have to listen to some more of it then. In fact, I shall put it on my to-do list for tomorrow.

    Thursday, 2 October 2008

    This evening...

    ...has been a relaxing one.

    I have finally caught up with reading all the lovely blogs captured in my Google Reader. I also found some delightful new blogs after playing with the Black Boxes widget a little more. Plus I went delving back into the archives of one new discovery and read some things that really rang true for my life at the moment. So I'll be thinking on those a bit more.

    I've tatted about with my sidebar a little, and added a hopeful something at the bottom of my blog.

    I also finally added notes to my blog header picture on Flickr, so if you ever wanted to know what anything was in that shot you can now find out. (Added bonus - if you go to the next item in the photostream you get to see live action kitties being funny and cute).

    My statue photos are still very much a work in progress but I have a day off tomorrow so will do some more organising then.

    Oh dear, watching that video has given the little darlings ideas, WWIII has just broken out in the hallway - I'm off to break it up.

    Wednesday, 1 October 2008

    This evening...

    ...I had to work some unpaid overtime in order to get out on display the 13 big new titles that are being published tomorrow. This way as soon as we open in the morning people can start buying them.

    One of the books was the new Jacqueline Wilson book, Cookie.

    It's in a very nice pink tin (for you to keep your cookies in) which was easier to stack that I thought it would be.

    Ahhh...Jacqueline Wilson, a signatory on this statement against age-banding on children's books.

    Hang on a sec, what's this on the back, just next to the price and the bar code...



    Jacqueline Wilson has been age-banded.

    I am not a happy bunny.

    Update: Wilson's Cookie age-banded (and yes, I know it's What Katy Did rather than Katie - I was typing fast.)

    My sister...

    ...needs your help.

    In fact, she needs Shoe Help!

    Since everyone knows that I am not good at shoes, you guys will be much more useful than me.

    Saturday, 27 September 2008

    The company...

    ...that Anthony works for do an event each year for their top drivers. People at each depot put themselves forward for it and the winner at each gets some Supercheques (that you can exchange for vouchers for most high street shops) and also gets to go on a jolly.

    They all go up to ProDrive and speed around in fast cars, play golf, or demonstrate how well they can reverse park an HGV (eep), for doing all these better than anyone else they can win prizes too, but bascially they have a very nice time. At the end of the thing the company announce an HGV winner, a van driver winner and second and third place winners (either vehicle).

    Two years ago Anthony won himself an iPod (my iPod...) and last year he won a video camera. Last year he also won the second prize, which was a weekend away in the UK - which we still haven't taken yet. That was a great win as he hadn't been going to go as it was the weekend after Dad died, but my mother insisted and then he won that!

    Last night I'd gone to the pub with Angie (my ex-next-door-neighbour) while he was out on his jolly. About 11pm my phone rang.

    Partly it was so he could tell me that Tim Harvey had driven him round the track in an Aston Martin DB9 (jealous drool), but it was also to tell me that he'd won another prize.

    This time he won the big one.

    H.G.V. Driver of the Year

    I'm so immensely proud of him that I could burst! But I'm not going to. Otherwise I would miss out on my weekend away in Europe...

    Monza in September 2009 has been suggested...

    Tuesday, 23 September 2008

    This day...

    ...last year was more than a little bit pants.
    So when I woke up this morning I had no great expectations, I just wanted to get through the day without falling apart.

    In the end it's been a pretty brilliant day.

    • I've had paperwork from the divorce people at last. I just have to get an affidavit signed and then that's one step closer to my divorce coming through.
    • Lovely Caroline's book arrived at work. I sent her pictures, and she has blogged them. (Yes I am pink, three flights of stairs I ran down to open the box they were in). I am up to page 275 and loving every second of it. Loving is a strange word to use about this book, but it works.
    • My iPod has been spooky and played just the right songs at just the right moments.
    • It rained a bit today, but whenever I've been outside it has been glorious sunshine.
    Basically, life is good.

    I am aware that it may all go a little pear-shaped later on in the evening, and it certainly will in the wee small hours when my usual night-time routine kicks in (sleep for two hours, wake up after a nightmare, cry for a bit, fail to sleep until about 5am then get two more hours of sleep).

    But at this time, and in this place, life is good.

    Monday, 22 September 2008


    ...(oh yes, you knew that was coming)

    I have never been a big fan of soup. I don't remember it coming up as a regular meal option at home, it would always be a choice of last resort when I was ill and particularly grumpy. Then it had to be Cream of Chicken, no other type would do.

    But recently I have been wanting soup.

    So I went out and bought some.

    That receipt has had to be saved as proof that I had a soup moment, although the entries on it do not do my soup shopping justice.

    Farmers Soup = Heinz Farmers' Market Roast Parsnip & Caramelised Onion Soup.
    Soup = Heinz Farmers' Market Beef, Mushroom & Red Wine Soup
    Ckn Broth = Heinz Classic Chicken & Barley Broth
    Soup = Tesco Finest Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Soup
    Soup = Tesco Finest Cream of Chicken Soup

    (the Finest ones come in very cool pouches, and I was glad as the bag was very heavy anyway!)

    As you can see, if I am going to eat soup, it has to be fancy soup.

    We bought some nice ones from Waitrose yesterday too: Frances Robson's Tweedside Honey in English Parsnip Soup and Laura & Simon Thearle's Goats Cheese in Red Pepper Soup.

    I have even been looking at some cookbooks at work to find myself a soup I can cook in the slow cooker one day. It's all part of looking after myself with this horrible lurgy that just won't go away.

    I'm probably never going to eat soup in a restaurant (they always have either goats cheese or pate for a starter) but at the moment my diet is becoming soup based which is rather scary. I think it must be Anthony's influence, this last couple of years I've taken to eating all sorts of things that I would never have touched with a bargepole before.

    Next thing you know I'll be drinking coffee!

    Sunday, 14 September 2008


    ...that I didn't post about soup the other night, I didn't get out of the bath til about 10pm (mmmmmm, lovely three hour bath) and then I got distracted by the widget again.

    There will be a soup post at some point.

    In the meantime I would like to say HELLO! to all the lovely people who have been here via the widget and hoped that I get better soon.

    So hello and thank you to:

    Trousers, nmj, spacedlaw, ken, Susan, Lady in red, Country Girl, Ashley Ladd, Kathryn, Papercuts, Brom, hullabrouhaha, liz fenwick, Nik's Blog, DK Green, Twinville, Pamela Terry and Edward, Crystal Jigsaw and Leigh. (I now have 35 new blogs in the Widgetness folder on Google Reader - wah hoo!)

    Also big hugs to Michelle who has also had the lurgy (as have her two adorable boys), and of course the fabulous Caroline who wrote the book that needed the widget (as built by Stray) in the first place!

    I am feeling much better today after an unfortunate incident yesterday when I laughed so hard at Lewis Hamiltwunt qualifying in 15th that I actually made myself sick.
    Luckily the afternoon/evening spent flopped on the sofa, flicking through cross-stitch magazines to find my next project (this one at last) while watching Season Three of Buffy has restored me to nearly normal again.

    As I am feeling better I have been very grown-up and written myself a To-Do List.
    1. Do washing-up.
    2. Watch Italian GP, hopefully laughing at Lewis throughout.
    3. Do some work on either my mothers present, or this cross-stitch (that I found in a drawer, half-finished and neglected since 2003).

    I hope that you all have a very nice Sunday and I will leave you with Sebastian Vettel's reaction to getting pole position in qualifying yesterday (and becoming the youngest driver ever to do so)

    (I just want to give him a hug!)

    Edited to add: Hooray!!! Vettel just won his first Grand Prix. Youngest driver to do so and an absolute sweetie to boot!

    Friday, 12 September 2008



    I have got the horrible lurgy.

    I hope it is not transmissible by widget because it is so nice meeting all these new people and I would hate to make everybody ill.


    In an attempt to feel better for tomorrow (when I will hopefully see my man since he has been on night shifts and had car problems all week), I shall be spending this evening in a hot bath.

    A hot bath with a Blackberry Bath Bomb in it.

    With a mug of Lemsip, and possibly a large mug of an Instant Tea too.

    Also a relaxing lovely book, haven't quite decided which one yet though.

    Of course, I might well be really lazy and just stick the audiobook of I Capture the Castle (read by the lovely Jenny Agutter) on.


    I shall try and post later, possibly about soup.

    Wednesday, 10 September 2008

    Widgets are very, very...


    Lovely Caroline has a new blog widget for her beautiful new book Black Boxes.

    <---- There it is! (possibly down a little bit too)

    This is a brilliant widget because:
    1. You get to go and visit loads of blogs that you may not have been to before.
    2. Loads of people come and visit your blog!
    However this is also a very bad thing because:
    1. You get to go and visit loads of blogs that you may not have been to before - therefore you spend all your time reading so that when,
    2. Loads of people come and visit your blog - all they get to read is a post from me saying I'm busy and not actually writing anything new (plus a scary Maths post).
    So thank heavens for the Google Reader. Everywhere new that I end up I am adding to it (in a new folder called Widgetness) and everyone new that comes here and comments gets added too!

    This way I still get to read lots of lovely new blogs and meet lots of new people, but when I decide to have one last go on the widget before bed, I can just add the new blog and read it when I have time.

    I now have to go and read some of the 178 posts (!!!) that are waiting for me in Reader, so I shall leave you with a picture of some of the planes that hang from the ceiling at the Imperial War Museum.

    (I am working on the rest of the London pictures, but you might get to see a few this week...if I can tear myself away from the widget!)

    Monday, 8 September 2008

    I fully intended... blog tonight.

    I was going to blog about my holiday week, statues, flooding, Lewis Hamiltwunt and my new passion for Cranberry & Raspberry Tea.

    But I went back to work today and the first book I saw when I walked in the door was this. (and then I bought this one too).

    So tonight, this is me...

    You can always read my sister's insightful piece about Lewis instead.

    Tuesday, 26 August 2008

    I hate Maths... really, I do. (Emily - please ignore the fact that I decided to do it at A level for a minute here, I got a U anyway)

    Every time I do some Maths, I get horribly depressed.

    Usually it's because it's payday and I've just logged on to my internet banking and transferred over half my wages across to go on my rent. Then I have to divide up the money left onto council tax, water, gas and electric. Then I take one look at the amount that I have left...and buy myself some books with it in an attempt to distract myself from the fact that I'm skint.

    I don't think that's going to work this time.

    I've just had my gas and electric bills for the last year. Now they're not actual bills because I have those pre-payment meter thingies. The ones that I decided to keep an eye on like a grown-up.

    I read them again the other day and once again had to press millions of buttons on the evil gas meter and just one on the lovely electric meter. I carefully wrote down the numbers in the same way I'd written them down before so that I could compare the figures - and then I found a letter from British Gas with a nice little booklet in giving me the new prices and checked that they matched.

    Well when the bills came today I thought that I would be very very grown-up and do some clever Maths to work out how much it cost me last year (cos it doesn't tell you that, just how many kWh's you've used) and then how much the same amounts would cost me this year.

    I really wish that I hadn't bothered.


    Electricity usage = 4126 kWh.

    Last Years Rate = 11.89p per kWh + 11.72p per day standing charge.

    355 days between 31/08/07 and 20/08/08 means that the standing charge total was £41.61.

    11.89p x 4126 = 49058.14p = £490.59

    £490.59 + £41.61 = £532.20

    This Years Rate (so far...) = 13.10p per kWh + 11.85p per day standing charge.

    Using the same amount of electricity as last year at this years rates = £582.58.

    Ok...that's not too bad I guess.

    Now for the gas.

    Gas usage = 19923.33 kWh.

    Last years first 2680 kWh rate was 7.501p. So 2680 x 7.501p = 20102.68p = £201.03

    Last years rate for the remaining amount was 2.865p. So 17243.33 x 2.865p = 49402.14045p = £494.03

    Total gas cost = £695.06

    This years rates are 9.084p for the first 2680 kWh and 3.814p for the rest.

    Using the same amount of gas as last year at this years rates = £901.13.



    I had to work that through again to make sure I hadn't made a mistake...but I hadn't.

    This year it will cost me more than a months wages for my years gas. That's just a little bit wrong, surely. Surely?!

    Last year I would wear two jumpers, tights under my jeans and fingerless gloves at the computer in an attempt to keep warm...I don't quite know what more I can do this year.

    All that is why Maths is hateful. Yes, ok, I get that it's useful for allowing me to work all that out. But now I need to go and buy books...big thick books...for building a well-insulated book hut for me to live in!

    Wednesday, 20 August 2008

    You may remember me...

    ...raving on about Stoneheart and Iron Hand by Charlie Fletcher over on my old blog.

    Well the third book, Silvertongue is technically not published yet, but my ordered copy turned up at work last week.

    Oh. Oh. Oh.

    It was brilliant.

    It pulled all the threads together in the nicest way, even if one particular one came completely out of the blue (but I adore it, it was a perfect conclusion).

    It has made me even more want NEED to go wandering around London to find the statues that are such a huge part of the story.

    Now as I said in the other post:
    I've managed to find some photos of a couple of them, The Sphinx and The Royal Artillery Memorial, but I want to see all of them. I want to see the Grid Man, the clock where they hide, the statue of Icarus and the lair of the Minotaur
    I've managed to track down the Minotaur in his lair, find the Icarus in his cage and see the Last Knight of the Cnihtengild all in one place, this nice pdf of a City of London leaflet (which is a bit of a bugger to load).

    I've also discovered (via Google Book Search) an amazing book called Public Sculpture of the City of London (Public Sculpture of Britain Volume Seven) (link goes to the Icarus page), which I am absolutely going to have to get from the library!

    New "characters" from Silvertongue include the Queen of America (part of the Albert Memorial), Hodge, and Bulldog; Plus the Knight of Wood and an unnamed but helpful character holding a quill who George finds in Southwark Cathedral after being sent there by Richard the Lionheart.

    So when I go to London I shall be trekking from Hyde Park down to Southwark (and beyond as there's a statue named as The Bosun and Jack Tar that's even further downstream) in my quest to find them all.

    I'd better wear some sensible shoes.

    Tuesday, 12 August 2008

    First day back at work today...

    ...and naturally it was pouring with rain this morning.

    So I put up my umbrella and turned up my iPod.

    and Drops of Jupiter by Train (that I can't embed).

    All in all, a damn good start to the day.

    Monday, 11 August 2008


    ...I'm crazy.

    I have one day left of my holiday (although Anthony is back at work tomorrow) which is actually perfect timing as tonight/this morning it's the Olympic Cross Country.

    The first few have made it round the course (and very cramped and twisty it looks too) and they're all getting quite a few time penalties.

    Oh, and an American lass has just fallen off and a German has just had a refusal.

    I'm not going to be blogging this like I blogged the Australian Grand Prix, instead I'm going to pootle about on FaceBook for a little bit and then snuggle down on the sofa with my stitching and my cats...

    ...and the video recording just in case I fall asleep.

    Sunday, 10 August 2008

    Things to do...

    ...on a rainy Saturday in August.

    • Stay up into the early hours (of Saturday) to watch the dressage.
    • Get up earlier than you wanted to in order to go view a house.
    • Think that the house had a nice kitchen and sun room - shame about the rest of it.
    • Come home and change into snuggly warm clothes (and hang soaking jeans up to dry).
    • Play a little bit of WoW, until you get fed up with having Star Trek on and then you let Anthony have the computer.
    • Watch the evening session of the dressage.
    • Have crumpets with peanut butter, or alternatively with honey and liquorice allsorts...

    • Watch the men's gymnastics while cross-stitching and snuggling with Foley..
    • Snuggle down on the sofa and doze off watching the football scores.
    • Wake up an hour later to be told that although the Leyton Orient score was 2-1 when you went to sleep, they lost 2-3.
    • Discover that boyfriend is taking the proverbial and that they did actually win 2-1.
    • Watch a very good film while doing more stitching and snuggling with Esme.
    • Go to bed rather than watching more dressage (being aware that it's the cross-country on Monday morning).

    I hope you all had a lovely day too.

    Wednesday, 6 August 2008

    My mother's birthday present...

    ... (due 20th October 2007) is still a work in progress.

    But it's getting there.




    Wednesday, 30 July 2008


    ...I should quit while I'm ahead.

    After seeing this story about the huge British Gas price rises, I thought I'd better look at my pre-payment meters to see what they say at the moment. That way (like a grown-up) I can keep track of how much my gas and electric actually are, rather than just thinking "Blimey, that £10 went quick".

    So I looked at the electric one first. It says that I have £5.84 on there (good) and that my standing charge is 82p and that I am paying 11.89p per kWh. (I will find another grown-up to explain to me if that is good or bad).

    Lulled into a false sense of security by my lovely electricity meter (where I just pressed one button a few times and it gave me those numbers), I decided to look at the gas one too.

    Biggest mistake of the day.

    For the gas one you have to put the card in, and you have to press the two buttons in sequence, and then you have to go through millions of tiny hard-to-read screens before you find one that looks as if it makes sense.

    Also, if you try to just crouch down to do this, forgetting about your dodgy ankle, your ankle will give way and you'll start to fall over. So you'll grab at the gas box, and it will pull away from the wall (just the box, none of the piping - don't panic about that).
    Then you will fall over onto your back like a drunken beetle. In front of people.

    Luckily I missed cracking the back of my head on the wall, I hit the bin instead. The graze on my hand has almost stopped bleeding now too.

    Of course, after I'd hauled myself upright again the meter had gone back to the original screen so I had to press buttons randomly again.

    My evil gas meter says:
    credit £12.67 (good)
    tariff 4 7.501 (uh-huh)
    tariff 5 2.865 (errm)
    wid4 7.34 (wid4? wtf???)
    C.V. 41 (??????????)

    If anyone knows what the fuck that all means - I don't care anymore.

    I shall be aware of the rate on my lovely electricity meter and ignore the evil gas meter.

    And I shall continue looking for a new place to rent. Somewhere without big gaps round the doors, with double-glazing that is actually effective, and where the gas meter is not of the evil pre-payment type.

    Tuesday, 29 July 2008

    Sunburnt feet and legs...

    ...are hurting more than I'd expected.

    I've never burnt my legs before and I was so careful to slather my arms, back and face in cream that having burnt legs is annoying.

    My right ankle disappeared last night cos it was so swollen. I like my ankles and was not happy to see one of them go.

    These are my feet today after a day at work (in my slightly too big shoes that are currently too tight)

    After sleeping with my feet on three pillows last night my ankle had looked normal this morning, but now it has gone huge again - a good reason for lying on the sofa this evening I feel.

    I bought this today, so I have something good to read while I flake out and recover. The cover is just as beautiful as her first book too!

    I have added Oulton Park/feet/rain/badges photos to my Flickr too.

    Monday, 28 July 2008

    Weather... a funny thing.

    It has been hot and sunny (and muggy) all day.

    About three minutes ago the sky got really dark.

    In the time it took me to walk through to the kitchen, the heavens opened.

    Looking out of the window it looks like the world is under water. It's hard to see the houses that back onto mine because of the heavy heavy rain.

    Esme has vanished to a safe place, Foley has decided that I am the only safe place and is either sitting on my lap or following on my heels.

    I am so very glad that it didn't do this while we were at the racing yesterday. Even though my right leg is more than a little swollen with sunburn...

    Thursday, 24 July 2008

    My most favourite book in the world... The Dark Is Rising. Ideally I would be able to cheat slightly and make it the 5-in-1 edition that has all the books in, but if not then just the one will do.

    There is a very beautiful hardback edition available (with the same publishers price as the paperback) which is permanently on my recommends bay at work. If you follow the link you can read my review...

    *waits for people to do that*

    I have to confess that I hadn't actually seen the film, just read its Wikipedia entry. The thought of the story changes made me furious!

    Then today it arrived from LoveFilm (I don't actually remember selecting it) so I thought I'd better watch it.

    Oh. Dear. Me.

    Let's take a story about a boy who is the youngest in his large family ( he has 5 brothers and 3 sisters). They've lived in the same village all their lives and know everyone there. The family are close, the boys sing in the choir at the local church and one of the twins (Paul) is very musical. On Midwinter's Day (his eleventh birthday), Will discovers that he is an Old One and must find Six Signs (wood, bronze, iron, water, fire, stone) to ward off the rising of the Dark. Will is aided by Merriman Lyon (described as a tall man with a fiercely curving nose and lots of thick, wild, white hair), temporary butler to the wheelchair bound Miss Greythorne from Huntercombe Manor . Despite storms and flood Will manages to find all Six Signs and this allows Herne the Hunter to lead the Wild Hunt against the Dark and banish them for a time.

    Now lets see... We'll make the family American, they've just moved to a small English village. There are still six boys, but we'll lose two of the girls and make the remaining one the youngest. We'll make Will 14 instead of 11, make his brothers "typical" teenagers, mean to their little brother whenever possible, and we'll make the twins into proper little horrors. Instead of Will being the seventh son because the family's first child died a few days after being born, we'll make it that he had a twin who mysteriously vanished. Let's make that the fault of the father, that gives a good reason for him being totally detached from family life. Then we'll make Miss Greythorne able to walk, and make Merriman into Ian McShane. Have we ruined it enough yet? Nope... Ok, let's cut out any possible references to British folklore and mythology, stick in a random love interest, and make Will have a few "superpowers" along the way. Oh, I nearly forgot, let's make one of the Signs Will's soul and give him his vanished twin back at the end of the film.

    Oh. Dear. Me.

    I can't think of a book/film adaptation that has been so wrong. I'm not a fan of the Narnia films, but at least they seem to be sticking fairly true to the spirit of the books. This one just takes a few names, a general premise and then invents everything else that it can. Fair enough, the film of Practical Magic did this, but it remained true to the spirit of the book. I'm not keen on David Jason as Rincewind, he doesn't fit my vision of him, but Terry Pratchett was happy with it and ultimately he's his creation.

    I would quite like to hunt down every single copy of this film and destroy them.

    All I can do is say that if you've seen the film (poor you) and not read the books then please, please, please read the books! Read the books and discover Susan Cooper's mythologically enhanced fantasy masterpiece.


    (I do have to say that the only character in the film I actually liked was Christopher Ecclestone as The Rider. Ignoring the whole silly English doctor part he also played, as The Rider he was pretty spot on - he'll be the only bit of it I care to remember.)
    Oh good, someone else feels the same way, and managed to express all the hideous changes in fabulous list form!

    Monday, 21 July 2008


    ...I was going to blog about the lovely time I had in Cardiff last week watching my baby sister graduate.

    But since my shoulders are bloody killing me and I couldn't get a doctor's appointment until Thursday - I am going to have a long hot bath with a Big Blue bath ballistic in it.

    I shall probably have a glass of wine (in one of my pink glasses) too.

    Sunday, 20 July 2008

    Welcome... my new pad.

    Grab yourself a beanbag while I pour you some wine.

    I hope you like it here, I just felt it was time for a little change...