Thursday, 30 January 2014

Multiple Orange Day

It's that time of the year again - Multiple Orange Day! The day to show your citrusy love to all in sundry - like Valentines day but to everyone you love. I have brought a bag of fruit in to work with me, I may run out of oranges at this rate.....

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

We Could Build a Fort

The perils of communal living! I put my laundry on last night on the basis that I had no pants left and it was nearly reaching crisis point... I thought I'd put them in the dryer over night, but no, someone's half damp washing was already in it, sigh. So I put the dryer back on and took my own washing up stairs. Several things should be noted at this point, not least that: a) I have quite a small room, and b) it was on a delicate wash and so sopping wet due to not much spin. Because of aforementioned point a, I don't have enough room for a clothes horse (is that what you call them?) to hang up wet clothes like any normal person and because of point b, I had to distribute the clothes somehow or they would have started to smell. I started by putting things on the radiator, which took care of about three items,...and I just had to get creative with all the rest. I had some socks hanging off the handles and over the edges of my sewing table, some tights from the top of my wardrobe and the back of my door, a couple of bras decorating the wooden monkeys that hang off my ceiling, and pants... well... pants everywhere. I got up to go to the loo in the middle of the night and it felt like I was in a fort made of wet washing. Needless to say I put them in the dryer first thing and now my tights are toasty and warm! Although, it looks like one of my bras is still hanging off a monkey... oh well.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Something a Little Different

I've been all the shook up the last few days and swept off my feet with work, so what better way to spend the weekend than catching up with friends. On Saturday I caught up with someone lovely for the first time since new year and on Sunday I went to Cindy's birthday celebrations.

Her birthday is sandwiched in between Christmas and New Year so most people forget about it which is sad. At some point the lads from work suggest going down the pub, but this year Cinders decided that she wanted to do what she wanted to do! So we all met for brunch at Macknades, a fabulous whole-foody, gourmet, exciting type place. We literally commandeered the downstairs room. At some point we realised that no-one had made a cake, so V and I ran around the shop on a covert mission to find vegan birthday cake. We didn't find any, but the lady behind the counter gave us a candle to present to her. At some point one of the ladies from the shop (rather than the cafe) snuck over and whispered that she had found something so we ran off and discretely paid, and slipped both the candle and the cake into someones pocket so that Cindy couldn't see. We had a fabulous lunch (just missed breakfast!) - I had brie and red onion and red onion chutney sandwich on whole grain bread - and then a rousing chorus of happy birthday. When I returned the candle to the staff they said they were impressed with how in tune we all were!

We then proceeded to do a bit of shopping, V bought some stripey pasta! so exciting! and then put all our goodies in the car. We then drove out of Faversham a little while to this little trail and went on a hike in the country. We started off by drinking from the natural spring at the beginning of the trail and then walked some way out towards the river. Even though it was rainy and muddy it was really beautiful, the way was strewn with shells, an abandoned boat and parts of brick foundations. The site used to be a munitions factory with a little village beside before WW1 but there was an explosion with a load of gunpowder and it decimated the factory and most of the nearby houses. You can still see some of the foundations if you look, it is strange to suddenly see a bit of brick pocking up through the mud. Then we went back a bit and in a different direction for a while we we got to a viewing point to look at birds. It was pretty cold and we were glad for the shelter, V got out the hot chocolate (with Bailey's!) and Cindy got out the vegan marshmellows and we all had a lovely time inside chatting and not really looking at any birds at all.

Eventually, we jumped in the car and headed home. I went to the pub with V and Mr. V to warm up and we played Trivial Pursuit (1983 edition, crikey!) - I won, amazingly enough. We headed back to theirs for egg and sausage sandwiches and a little bit of telly (The Three Musketeers - I liked it) before I headed home to bed.

It was really nice this morning to get up and feel refreshed, I'd had a stroll outside and had some nice company. A few people came who I hadn't seen for a while so it was lovely having a catch up. Perfect way to end the week.

Friday, 24 January 2014

A Few Days in the Life....

Sorry for the slight absence... a lot has been going on in my life over the last week:

* I got millions of hours from work - woo hoo!

* I got a pay rise - someone at work loves me!

* I handed my notice in leave the house - oh my!

* I will be sharing a house with Middle B as of 20th February! Yaaaaaaaaaaaay!
My room is about three times as big, there is a double bed, enough room for my sewing table, the kitchen has black and white tiles, the dining room has rickety chairs, there is a roll top bath (that is a nightmare to shower in, but you know, whatever), I already know all the flatmates, we'll be having shared Sunday dinners short, I'm very excited about moving in.

I'm really looking forward to having a change of scene - even the extra walk to work will be a nice way to wake up in the morning. All I need to do now is get packing and organise a lift to haul my stuff over there. It's even been suggested that we have a communal art project for the house. I think this is going to be fun!

I think you'll agree that's enough change to be going along with for the moment, no?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Miss R's Birthday Bash

It was Miss R's birthday the other day, and she always has a night out in London to celebrate. Now she's moved away but she still has a heap of friends in the big city so we still went up there for the evening. Usually she picks a different place every year, but this year she was lazy and booked a couple of tables at The Social again like she did last year. I really like it in there, it's tiny with lots of wood and each table has a light switch near by so you can adjust your own lightbulb. And the door to go to the loo is very well concealed so it feels like you might be going into some magical land like Narnia or something when you go through it. They have space with booths and a DJ upstairs and they have a dancefloor downstairs but there was a band playing and they were charging to get in so we stayed upstairs all night.

Miss R and I started the evening by meeting for a coffee in a little cafe near Oxford Circus (which played lots of cheesy 90s pop like Hanson) and then we went to the club for a bite to eat. They have a small menu, but the prices are low and the food is good. We had at least an hour to gossip before other people started turning up. The music got progressively louder and the place got more populated.

It was noted that a few of the guys now have beards and soon a plan was hatched to start a beardy boy band, sorry, man band. One would be on the air harmonica and the cow bell, one on the maracas, one on the banjo and one on the ukelele. A barbershop quartet, if you will. Their first song will be a cover of 'Stonehenge' by Ylvis. You know the guys who did 'What does the Fox Say'? I hadn't heard this before, but I looked it up today and it really made me chuckle.

At some point, Miss R spotted an old friend from her childhood by the bar, A, and we all got introduced and I had a good old chat with him. A was saying that he used to teach sailing, then he became a horse trainer and is now a barrister. A friend of his, B, turned up later and I spent quite a while sandwiched between the two of them telling stories about their misspent youths, their family upbringings, dangerous sports and what they are scared of (...that something will happen to their wives, as it turns out. Aw!). A was saying that if anyone represented him on screen it would be Captain Jack Sparrow, so then we had one of those conversations about who would play us in a film, we decided on Natalie Portman for me or maybe Sandra Bullock ('I like Sandra Bullock. Not Amelie though, she's a bit frail and you're not.') while B would be played by Simon Pegg and A by Jon Richardson (the comedian from '8 out of 10 Cats'). We went outside so they could have a smoke and B spent a lot of time trying to persuade me to have a cigarette which I gracefully declined. I have no idea how many drinks they bought me but I haven't drunk that much in quite a while!

The volume was turned up and more booze was consumed so some of us had a little dance around (me? dance? never) in the small space that was available. There was quite a bit of 90s hip hop going on, and the only way to dance to that is to posture wildly and expansively and jump around quite a lot. Those who weren't dancing around like mad things were hanging out chatting in the booths. Miss R had left her lipstick on the table and the guys started playing with it and taking photos of themselves. Eventually I pulled out some red lipstick and applied it to A so he spent a lot of time pouting and kissed one of the guys near by on the cheek. It did come off, but not before B had taken a photo and sent it to A's wife.

Later on A's little brother - who is incredibly cool, you know the kind of long hair, one earring, cocky swagger kind of cool - and his gorgeous, equally cool girlfriend turned up and hung out for a bit so I got to talk to them for a while as well. At the end of the night they all wanted me to stay in London and carry on partying, but Miss R was looking a bit worse for wear so I decided to go back in the taxi with her and make sure she got home ok. I hope I see them again though, they were fabulous fun!

A few people left to go onto other clubs, but four of us got in the taxi to go back to our sleepy little town. Miss R made it home alright (though we did have to stop so she could have some fresh air and I could use the facilities) and I was in bed (with my head spinning a little) by about 3.30am. Probably the least dramatic of her birthday parties... but one of the loveliest. Lovely venue, lovely bar staff, lovely food, lovely music and lovely new friends made. Smashing!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Anchors Aweigh!

So, much excitement in the world of Fox: I had my first work meeting yesterday, some training on Autism today and I start term properly on Monday. It's been really lovely to get together and see everyone before term starts, I got my timetable confirmed and I have quite a few hours this term which is wonderful, and also.... my boss recommended me for a pay rise! It was a total surprise, but quite delightful!

The other thing that happened is that I started to look around at rooms that are available in the city. I still want a shared house, and I found a place that was pretty central and went to see it today. It was very swish, with views of the Cathedral, lots of pine and chrome, a bit of a showhome really, and as lovely as it was it wasn't really my cup of tea. I had a chat with one of my friends, however, and it turns out that one of her flatmates is moving out! She has passed on my details to her landlady and it looks like she is happy for me to have the room.... so all I need to do now is to give my notice at my current place, pack my stuff and then organise someone with a car to help me move. It is a bit terrifying - I mean, I have been here for 6 years and I'm somewhat institutionalised - but I'm pretty happy with this decision, I feel like it's time to spread my wings in a new environment (literally - the room is at least twice the size of the one I have now!) and grow and move some energy.

I had an acupuncture appointment today and she thinks I'm going through this change just fine and that I'll come into my own and really blossom when I have the space. She says I'm really good at staying in the present which is nice to know.

Ready the sails!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Jive at Five

It seems the Universe is thwarting my efforts to get fit - I just got back into aqua last week and I was hoping to be able to continue, but it looks like my timetable is going to be choc-a-bloc. I've still got a bit of politics (hooray!) but this term I'll be doing some classics, some sociology and some social policy as well (yippee!). Hopefully I'll find time to go swimming at some point.

Luckily for me, Ingrid and the legendary Phil have started another jive class - this one is in Margate on Saturdays at 5pm - hence 'Jive at Five'. They've been going for a few weeks now, but yesterday was the first time I could make it along. P, Miss T and I all put frocks on (in my case Dress no. 1) and headed to Morgan's bar. It's a lovely place with chandeliers, delightful bar staff and a wooden floor that's perfect for dancing on. There were two new couples, a few of us regulars and even a 12 year old girl who was learning how to jive wearing doc marten's (and her 14 year old brother who sat at one of the tables looking bored senseless). There were more leads than follows so I sat out a few dances, but I got a fair few dances in, enough to make my heart race at any rate! The class was a bit more formal than my normal Weds night, but I rather liked that, and the atmosphere was very congenial and welcoming. There was a 50s themed birthday party afterwards but since we didn't know the lady in question and we hadn't brought a gift we decided to head on back to town and go out for dinner. The three of us ended up at Kudos, a dinky little Chinese where all the waiting staff wear sailor hats. The food was yummy and we stayed out pretty late as usual. I'm sure that I'll make it back to Jive at Five on the odd Saturday, it's lovely to get more time to dance and it was rather nice to get dressed up.

In other news, there are some changes a-foot: I usually take quite a while to make big decisions and sometimes take a while to get moving on them, but I think it's time to move...not just my body, but also myself. Needless to say, I'm excited but also terrified (me? scared of change? really?!) but I just think it's time to shake it up a bit. I have no idea where this adventure will lead me but I'll keep you posted when there is some concrete news.

And then last thing... I started writing down things I'm grateful for a little kindnesses that I receive and putting them in a jar that I have so that I can pull them all out at the end of the year and relive all those lovely little things that I most likely will have forgotten.... I finally found a legitimate use for that 1kg tub of organic hot chocolate, wooo!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Instructions for a Bad Day

I spotted this poem on Upworthy today. I'm not having a particularly bad day, but I really loved it anyhow. I hope you're as inspired as I was! The poet is Shane Koyczan, the video is put together by Jon Goodgion.

The images are from this wonderful video 'Life in a Day'. It's pretty long, but very beautiful - all those moments captured from around the world. Stunning.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
I went to Resolution Roulette and the resolution they gave me was: 'This year I choose happiness'. Just proof that the Universe tells you what you need to know sometimes!

Other resolutions this year:
* Move! No stagnating here, thank you, both in terms of my body and my situation.
* Travel more - my feet, they're itchin'
* Try sincerely to finish the Periodic Blanket. Really.

Things I have planned:
* Get a piece in the Sketchbook Project in for Mid- February
* PAE meeting sometime in March - ring the alarm!
* A couple of my pieces will be entered into the Imagining Science exhibit on symbiosis in March
* Go somewhere exciting with Mrs Im

I had a really lovely time with Mrs Im and Mr-is-Thinking over the new year period.... we had plans to go to the exhibit at the Ashmolean museum but they went by the wayside given the weather. New Years Eve was spent with Mr.'s parents and Im's mum - we had dinner and watched some David Attenborough and then Hogmanay with Jools Holland which was a lot of fun, the mothers had something to say about everyone who came on screen! The rest of us got rather tipsy and everything quietened down once all the parents went to bed. Im and Mr. and I stayed up until 2 am drinking and having fun. The next day we lounged about for the morning and went to Im's mum's for dinner in the evening which was filling to say the least, the woman could cook for an army!

Now that I'm back it's time to shake myself up, dust myself down and get on with things. Here I come! Well, maybe after I finish this coffee...