Thursday, 28 October 2010

Just What the Doctor Ordered

You know something's wrong when a doctor looks at your throat and says "Eugh!". Now call me old fashioned, but I thought doctors were supposed to be super-stiff-upper-lipped hard-asses. Surely nothing should phase them! After all, they've cut up dead bodies. The mildest reaction I would expect from myself in a morgue is a "yack!", but I imagine a more accurate depiction would include me turning green, saying "I'm going to barf" and collapsing in a heap (the whole time hoping none of the other doctors think I'm dead and start cutting me up. Yikes!).

Anyhoooo, so I have tonsillitis. Again. Third time this year. Stupid tonsils. When I was little I used to think of my immune system as little people, like the berries in the Ribena advert, wearing little hard hats. Well, right now they're getting their asses kicked. To help them, I am taking eight antibiotic tablets a day and eating an inordinate amount of mint Matchmakers ("are they not too scratchy?" I hear you cry. Luckily not, I just feel like I've been shot with a tranquilizer dart big enough to take down a hippo. Speaking of hippos, have you seen that programme about the domesticated hippo?! Weird.).

To help me get through this difficult time, I have sought out the advice and wisdom of another doctor: Doctor Mark Sloan. Yep, that's right, Diagnosis Murder is the only thing standing between me and cabin fever. If I didn't have Mark in my life, solving all these murders, I don't know what I'd do. Although I never got that whole thing about his son being all attractive and sexy-like. AND he's Mark Sloan's son on the show and Dick Van Dyke's son in real life. Whaddada chyances?! (Though, what's up with the name Barry Van Dyke? Really? Barry? Was that the best you could come up with, Dick?) Shamefully enough, I've discovered I've seen all the episodes that have been on this week at least once...or maybe twice...alright, it's closer to three times. This has to be a wake up call for my immune system: if you've seen an episode of Diagnosis Murder more than twice, it's time to reassess your life.

Well, all that's left to do is get better. My favourite motivational quotation of the week came in the form of Mathew's little brother. It has brought a smile to my face every time I've thought about it:

(Re: spending the weekend with Mathew's family) Mathew: ...Alana has got tonsillitis again.

Dan: Well tell her to get her shit together before the weekend.

Hehe. Fo shiz!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Tell Tale Heart

I walked through my favourite park the other day (you know, the one with all the conkers) on the way to the hairdressers (again?! Isn't it, like, only two weeks since the last time?! Well, yes, but this time was for colour!) and I always park my car in the same place and walk down the same street. Every time, I pass this art gallery that always looks beautiful from the outside but, for whatever reason, I've never ventured in. This time was different. The week before, I walked past the window and saw a little sculpture; from that moment, I was hooked on it. So hooked, that a week later I couldn't walk past the gallery without going inside.

At this point, it's necessary for me to vocalize a very important point. You know when you walk into a shop and see something you fall in love with instantly? You think, "Wow! I can't wait to go home and tell my friend/spouse/dog (delete as appropriate) how amazing it is!" So you go home and attempt to describe said-object, but something truly remarkable and mysterious happens. In the distance between your brain and their ears, the beloved object morphs into something truly hideous.  Being a relatively-almost-typical girl, I will use the example of shoes. It would go a little something like this: "I've seen these shoes I absolutely love! They're like high heeled-sandals and they're red and they've got suede-y bits on them but the strap and the bit at the front, which is kind of like a butterfly, are shiny and they have little metal studs on". See? They sound shit. In real life, they're sexy as hell. (I got them for £29 reduced from £100 last year. Frickin' bargain!)

Anyhoooo, what I'm trying to say is that when I describe the sculpture it's going to sound like a piece of tat. It's like this grey cartoony, completely non-scary looking, wolf standing up on it's two legs giving this girl a cuddle and she looks really happy. (At this point, my brain - maybe because of the association with the red on the shoes, or because of the word 'wolf' - totally jumped to the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Dammit. I can assure you, the wolf looked in no way like it was trying to trick the girl with cuddles and then eat her.) I don't know what it is about this sculpture, but I bloody love it. If only my bank balance loved it too.

I made the mistake of wandering around the gallery and it wasn't long before I saw another sculpture which my heart then leapt out and clung to. It's a sculpture of this little girl (the one with the shark!) wearing a viking hat (a viking hat?! Is that actually a thing?! Like, is that what they called them?! Surely not, there's no way some buff viking dude said to his wife "darling, have you seen my viking hat?") and she's sat on the back of this huge, gruff, bison. I can't explain what it is about it, but it's amazing! It's like when you're little and you see something you really, really, really want and you think you might die if you don't have it. As I walked away I felt like I left a piece of me behind; a piece shaped like a girl sat on the back of a bison and a girl being cuddled by a wolf. 

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Ah, Autumn. I was sat in a crappy traffic jam the other day when I looked over and saw leaves falling slowly, like blossom, from the trees. They reminded me of those funny helicopter seedling thingies that you used to throw into the air and watch pirouette back down to the ground when you were a kid. Come to think of it, I haven't done that in aaaages! Why do adults to crazy things like have civilized drinks with friends when they could be outside throwing stuff back up at trees that has just fallen down?! You know, like pine cones, or sticks, leaves, mini-helicopter-seedlings (especially two at the same time so you can watch them race!). When you've finished watching gravity do it's job, you can turn little conkers into real soldiers (what is it with me and conkers?!) by threading string through them and bashing them against another kids' conker. The winner should be promoted to Chief Conker!

On a less conker-related note, Autumn makes drinking warm, yummy, lattes in quirky cafes even more satisfying. Especially when there's a cool old dude with long white hair and a salmon pink shirt two tables up from you reading the Guardian and muttering and folding his arms and saying 'humph!' with every turn of the page. I have to say, I LOVE sitting in cafes and listening to people. My awesome salmon-pink-shirted friend made me laugh with his not-so-subtle moral indignation. At this point, I knew if I looked over he would take the opportunity to share his wisdom. I couldn't resist. Hidden within that fleeting moment was, what would become, my favourite quote of the day: "These bloody Liberals (i.e. the Lib Dems...), going back on their promises! All they care about is being in power. They should be ashamed!" 

True dat, bro. True dat. 


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Divide and Conker

It's one week following 'Operation Conker' and things are looking good, I have yet to see a stinky spider (please don't let that jinx it, please don't let that jinx it) in the house. If only the same could be said for sleepy world. I've been dreaming about spiders an awful lot; damn and blast! I say dreaming, really it's more like 'nightmare-ing'; clearly, spider-proofing doesn't extend to non-conscious happenings... Hmm, maybe I should have a go at that lucid-dreaming lark and strategically place conkers all over the shop (armed with a hoover, of course).

On the way to the hairdressers I walked through the very same park where my spider-fighting-hero and I found our magical horse chesnuts; ah, memories. Sadly, I didn't see my little spider-proofing-squirrel friend. I did, however, see loads of little kiddies scampering all over the place hunting for conkers. One little girl had the most gargantuan bag full I've ever seeeeeen! What a month for kids, conker fights; Halloween; Bonfire Night! Wow! Maybe I should save a conker or two for an old style conker-dual with the Guest-atron. Then, we shall prepare for Hallows Eve! How I wish I had a doggy just so I could own one of these bad boys.

All in good time, Banana... all in good time...

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Conker All Evil

So, it's that time of year again. The rain comes and the sneaky spiders of the world decide that the great indoors are better than the great outdoors. Imagine this: a hard day at work, driving home in the rain with little hope of ever seeing the sun again until...well, who the hell knows! You get out of your car, run and put the heating on, make yourself a nice dinner then snuggle under a blanket on your sofa. Sounds like heaven. But then, out of nowhere a giant eight legged beast runs across your living room floor striking fear into the hearts of all in it's path. Now, at this point, the audience will be split. Like my Nana always used to say, "don't worry, they won't hurt you, and they eat flies". What a proverb. Flies, aside, I'm telling you when I jump up that fast you can pretty much guarantee I'm going to get hurt. In addition to bashing one of my flailing limbs on the furniture, there's the sheer mental anguish that ensues from one of these confrontations. This is where the annual ritual of spider-proofing comes in.

Picture this: a couple walking hand in hand through the park when one cries "look, conkers!" And there they were, like manna from heaven. Be still my beating heart. So, like the squirrel just across the path from us (incidentally, it looked like he was spider proofing his home too. I saw him patting his little hands over a leaf. The erudite among us understood, he was hiding little conkers.) we gathered up those sweet horse chesnuts. With my pockets full, we ventured home.

For those of you who haven't heard about the conker's magical powers and are hugely confused, I suggest you visit google then come back. For the skeptics, all I can say is: I'll try anything!!! Personally, I think it works. Now, whether that's because deep in my subconscious I believe that the conkers are keeping spiders away therefore I'm less likely to see any; or because conkers are actually magic and they deter spiders; or because there's some yacky chemical that spiders hate: I don't care! Anything is better than living in spider town. Back to the original story...

Today was the day. Operation Conker was set in motion. Armed with the hoover (just in case) and my conkers, I set out into the world of the spider. Venturing into the darkest corners, nooks and crannies, ready to face the creatures of the deep. I pulled back the draft excluder, which had spent it's summer pressed against the wall, and jumped for my life: hiding in a little cranny of it's own was a dreaded spider! Thank God I'd brought the hoover. I maniacally released the nozzle, powered it up and sucked the dreaded beast into the abyss. However, the abyss isn't so 'abyss-ey' given my hoover is a Dyson so I kept it going for a while, watching the dirt whirl around until I was sure the spider had breathed it's last. Battle over. Banana, one: spiders, nil. I couldn't let this little scare stop me, I was sure he was a decoy, sent to prevent Operation Conker from continuing. Nevertheless, the show must go on. So on I went, hoovering and conkering until each corner of my house was covered.

I can now snuggle under my blanket in peace, safe in the knowledge that my house is manned by those little, round, incredibly brave, spider-fighting-soldiers. Conkers, I salute you!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

He Drives Me Crazy

In a situation where the non-teetotal partner can drive and the teetotal partner cannot, it's only so long before the crazy-wine-lover cracks and demands a chauffeur. Either that, or the teetotal amongst us have to bite the bullet and book a driving lesson. So in the spirit of patience and love, I took my better half out in the car for his first taste of the road. Sadly, it didn't look quite as exciting as the open road in California:

Exhibit A

Nope, we had to settle for a car park outside of an abandoned warehouse in Newton Aycliffe's Industrial Park. Wowee! After stalling a few times and scaring the bejesus out of me as we headed towards a giant crash barrier at full throttle, the Guest-atron finally got the hang of it. Go Captain Guest!

In the meantime, we'll be learning how to drive the Nintendo Wii Way with Super Mario Kart. Letsa go!