Friday, 22 June 2012

hiatus/bye, london

So, it's done.  I finished work at 8.30 last night, leaving post it notes on all sorts of partially finished tasks and doling out my stapler, hole punch etc like stringy gifts to those vultures picking over my desk at the end of the day. 

I walked out, exhausted.  End of my London era. 

I spent this morning cancelling water accounts, subscriptions and booking rental cars (OK, so it wasn't all administrative - got my hair done too, god knows I needed it - we're talking a birds' nest with roots.  A friend has been calling me Medusa).  We're in this weird whirl of preparing to depart and I can't believe it's finally here.  Going to the theatre one last time tonight.  Having a goodbye and drink us dry party tomorrow.  A final English fling at Wimbledon.  The movers arrive Sunday.  It's really going to be over soon.

I won't be posting often, if at all, during our travels.  But I will be back, autumn for the northern hemisphere, spring for the southern.  I will miss your company, internets. 

(credit - our fab wedding photographer -
I hate goodbyes.  I think I need a drink.

Ka kite ano x

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


In the last few posts I've shown a disturbing pre-occupation with aging and death.  It is only natural given - nay, it has been BORN out of - my body's complete rejection of the lifestyle I've been forcing it to lead recently. 

Slight HED* there, yes.  However, I do think my body is rejecting the alcohol and takeaway food I've been cramming into it.  Tasty treats like zeppelins in Lietuva (more to come on this trip) were covered in sour cream sauces; P wolfed down some airport BK which I couldn't help but bite**; and I think I've singlehandedly been responsible for at least 50% of last year's juniper berry crop with my gin intake in the last two weeks.***

This morning, I woke with a cold that is now making me feel like cotton wool is rammed into my head.  It started with a sore throat last night, when (I shit you not) my throat swelled pretty much immediately upon contact with a very nice glass of rioja. I COULDN'T FINISH MY GLASS OF WINE, people.  That NEVER happens to me.

Also, the spots and greasy hair.  But we shall not speak of those, only continue layering concealer and dry shampoo in a vain hope that we do not look like a 14 year old with a hormone problem. 

Fuck, there's no way to finish this one, is there?  Messy as hell.

*Hyperbole Exaggeration Disease, a chronic illness that we diagnosed Hat Friend as having some years ago.  She is incapable of having mediocre or average experiences - everything is the WORST or BEST EVAAAAAAAAAAAH.  Most often, she claimed that she was "the DRUNKEST I have EVER been" (well, we were only in our early 20s but there was quite a high standard set the day she and I tried to join the hundy club and vommed in a tent in my backyard so I take leave to doubt this statement regularly).  If she got a parking ticket, it was always for the sum of about $50,000.  At the least.

** I can't believe we're both able to eat BK let alone BK from an airport after the 12-hour-plane-toilet-tag-team-relay caused by BK in Bangkok.  Horrendous.  When we got off the plane in Auckland, P's dad, generously there to meet us, recoiled. We were omitting a noxious odour so bad that it that probably required some kind of resource consent for release into the atmosphere. But there you have it, we never learn.

*** That makes me sound like some kind of 19th century lush floozy, destined for the almshouses of Whitechapel, the streets of East London and the knife of Jack the Ripper.  Didn't all those ladies drink cheap gin or geneva or methylated spirits or something?

Monday, 18 June 2012


A couple of weeks out from her birthday and I'm thinking of her.  I miss her terribly. 

My maternal grandmother didn't say all that much; at least, not during the time that I knew her.  She didn't need to, generally.  She was pretty eloquent just using the muscles of her face, sometimes accompanied by a snort, noise or other utterance.  Sometimes I wished I could work out what was going on in her head, but most of the time I just enjoyed her company.  I really did.  She was so easy to be around.

This afternoon, in a escapist daze (four working days until lift-off), I was reflecting on some of the traits that we shared, both physical and characteristic. (I just wrote share, not shared.  Three and a half years on and I still use the wrong tense writing or thinking about her).  What sticks in my mind are the adult things that we do/did - sometimes I feel quite sad that she was really the only grandparent I knew as a true, honest-to-goodness adult because I suspect I'd be better able to identify the adult in me from the other three grandparents, who I love dearly too. 

Gin drinking.  She had a distinctive glass that on a sunny (or cloudy, or rainy) day spat with tonic bubbles, emitted an aroma of juniper berries and quinine, and had a knobby wedge of home grown lemon in it.  My mother, her sisters and I are all very partial to a 6pm-ish G&T.  Even the clinking of ice in a glass reminds me of her.

Raucous laughter when particularly tickled by something.  Like her, when someone says something deliberately naughty I can't bottle it up. 

Most of all, potato peeling.  It took me years to realise that I adopt exactly the same position as she did (and my mother does) when peeling potatoes - sans cigarette in the bottom lip.  Leaning elbows on the edge of the bench with arms over the sink, one knee cocked slightly, head up to catch the conversation. 

There's so much of her I wish to emulate - I know my Mum does too.  There were flaws, sure, I wouldn't deny it.  I don't know if the grieving process ever really finishes, but when I think of what aspects of her character I wish to possess I feel simultaneously as if I'm wallowing and yet rising above.  It makes no sense. 

Love her.  Always.

Friday, 15 June 2012

a new decade

30 feels much like 29 did, only more tired and a little hungover.  I joined P and a couple of his colleagues for a drink to watch the football last night, following which we injudiciously imbibed some sake with sushi for dinner.  I rolled home boozled and skyped my parents (which? drunken skyping with relatives? BAD idea)...and woke up this morning feeling fairly average.

You know what though? I'm happy.  In a week, I'll be unemployed and getting ready to roam.  I've got a lovely husband, a great bunch of friends and adventures ahead.  This is (at 10.20am) turning out to be a pretty good birthday. 

I TOTALLY feel like I should be writing something DEEP and INSIGHTFUL about turning 30 but that's because I overthink EVERYTHING, IN THE WORLD, EVER.  Instead, I'll go with the flow - I have to find treats for the office afternoon tea (bday shout), do some work, catch a plane tonight.  Just keep it simple. 

Thursday, 14 June 2012


I haven't got a lot for you today - just a link to a fab article by Kathryn Schulz on Robert Frost. 

When we were living in the States, we went on a wee roadie through New England, pitching up in Vermont to visit Robert Frost's grave.  I'm not usually a cemetary groupie (I don't seek out the tombs of the famous or infamous; though I love the history of a graveyard, celebrity spotting in this manner leaves me dead - no pun intended).  However, there is something about Frost's poetry that made we want to see where he was buried.  It was leaf-peeping season in New England - he is buried in a quaint, quintessentially colonial graveyard on a hillside, looking down onto a tree-lined valley in Vermont.  It was perfect.

Grandad loved Robert Frost (though he loved Burns even more.  Scottish heritage was big for Grandad T).  He was thrilled when I could recite Frost's poems to him verbatim as an 8 year old.  They used to make me feel a little hollow - his poems were so rhymey, conjuring very distilled scenes. However, they have very happy memories for me now on reflection - and this fantastic article made me see the cleverness of that crystal feeling of hollow articulated by Frost. 

Anyway, more words than expected on a dead poet.  And miles to go before I sleep. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

post-holiday; almost post-London

Back again, briefly. 

The highlight of my husband's stay in Dubrovnik?  Witnessing pigeon necrophilia.  Honestly, sometimes I wonder about him.  OK, to be fair he said it wasn't the highlight, simply the funniest thing he saw while we were there.  I would have put my money on the enormous man in a thong, but you know, whatever floats your boat. 

My personal Dubrovnik highlight?  Wandering out to the Old Town at dusk, bare armed, bare legged, salty lipped.  Sipping on a light white wine, shoes slipped off and old, shiny paving stones underfoot.  Dubrovnik was lovely; in the mornings crowded with cruise ship visitors but hot and perfect in the mid-afternoon. 


Croatia was simply beautiful everywhere.  Stunning vistas of craggy mountains jutting straight up out of the Adriatic, studded with green and grey islands. 

After a day of terrible sea-sickness (compounded for several of the crew by a serious gin hangover), we settled into a wonderful rhythym of swim, sail, sun, sip, repeat ad nauseum.  Our six travelling companions and our skipper were wonderful, low key company. Crude jokes, midnight skinny dipping, dolphin diving and spotting a whale in the Adriatic. 

I even managed to achieve something of a tan (which will vanish, within days.  It is 12 degrees and raining back here in London). 

Returning home in the rain was bittersweet.  I walked in the door of the flat to find it shiny and clean; homely.  I slipped into bed, nestling into the pillows and recalling how very happy I've been living here.  That chapter is about to end.  Eight working days of employment to go - a fact which makes my heart sing.  Less than two weeks left in the flat; 15 left in London - my heart shrivels a little.