Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I'm picking up good vibrations

Soundtrack: Beach Boys - Wild Honey

Aargh - work to do! This is a good thing, but it means I haven't had time to blog, so apologies to my demanding audience (

I had quite a fun easter break doing what seemed like not a lot, but when written down looks a lot more eventful than it is:

Thursday afternoon - Pizza Express to celebrate Tim's impending marriage, and a fair bit of white wine.

Friday - Hung around Windsor. Left my purse at home due to payday not being for another week. Watched Thom clothes shopping.

Saturday - Hung around Reading. Left my purse at home due to payday not being for another week. Watched Thom clothes shopping (he bought lots of lovely clothes that make him look dead sexy). Watched Thom win his Dexy's ebay purchases at the last minute. Drove back to Tooting and ate pizza.

Sunday - Disastrous "baking" of chocolate mini egg nests. Added butter to the melted chocolate, confusing myself with the mars bar cake recipes I'd read earlier in the week. Chocolate congealed. Ran to Sainsbury's to find it was SHUT. On EASTER SUNDAY. Made the nests anyway. Finished the scarf I was knitting. Went to see Love at the Le Beat Bespoke Weekender*. Was deafened by the lead guitarist's monitor.
Monday - Tinnitus. Watched Return to Oz in bed. Ate dodgy chocolate nests in bed. Demoed some songs in bed. Left bed to order curry. Watched Mullholland Falls. Went to bed and watched Ikea Drives me Crazy on't telly.

*writing 'the Le' does not sit well with my inner-grammar alarm, but it just doesn't sound right without it


In between my extremely busy day of listening to Welsh people yesterday, I was having quite a heavy emailing session with Thom and Kristin. Thom explained why he has a deep love for The Byrds. Apparently they prompted him to get with his first ever girlfriend. I knew there was a reason I didn't like The Byrds! Is it wrong of me to have an inferiority complex and paranoid schizoid tendencies when the man who loves me talks about his previous infatuations. Yes, it probably is.
Anyway, to get him back I told him all the bands I got into due to previous blokes. He'll probably hate all the music I listen to now:

1997 - Joy Division, Gong
1999 - Bobby Womack, Orange Juice
2000 - Neil Young, Bert Jansch, Fairport Convention (although they took a bit of reignitiion from Thom to really sink in)
2003 - The Features, Beach Boys (again Thom became the main fuel for this burning ember)
2004 - Dexy's Midnight Runners, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Sparks, Gene Clark... and XTC are finally sinking in

Rather interestingly, I had a resistance to quite a few of those bands at first, but it took breaking up with the bloke to really begin to appreciate them. I like the way I barely show resistance to what Thom listens to (bar Steely Dan). He must be doing something right.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

say it with words

Soundtrack: The Lovin' Spoonful - Lonely (Amy's Theme)

Today's a good day. A half day with the promise of Pizza Express at 12.30. The whip-round seems to have been sorted. And my beautiful boyfriend should finally be offered a permanent contract at work. This is after months of being messed around, so it's about time. Signs are good for a nice relaxed Easter break. And then the week after my dear friend Rick is coming over from North Carolina for the week. A long weekend in Glasgow imminent. I love it when everything is sailing along.

I had a lovely email from Rick this morning, just checking in before his arrival. Rick's not one to shy away from saying how he feels about someone, and his email saying how much of a dear friend I am just had me glowing this morning. It got me thinking - friends rarely say what they feel about you. My boyfriend tells me he loves me. My parents tell me they love me. But a friend rarely says 'You know, you're great, you are'. I rarely say it either. I should.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Soundtrack: Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information

If there's one thing I hate, it's the work whip-round. The card and collection for someone marrying/dropping sprogs/leaving is traumatic - and it's an expected.

A close colleague is getting married next week. It occurs to us today that it's his last day tomorrow, which is a half day because Queenie lets us have an extra half day at Easter. A card has been sent round, but barely anyone in our division has signed it. And for some unknown reason a collection wasn't started, despite the jiffy bag being the symbol for 'fill this with money'.

Everybody has been having babies recently, so I think everyone's a bit bored of forking out. Not that this help me. I'm freaking out today about there being nothing to buy a present with - myself and my other two colleagues aren't contributing to the collection because we're going to the wedding so will take something on the day. And I'm taking the stress of this personally because if I don't take control of the situation, then no one will. But time's running out and everyone is being a skinflint. Aargh.

< /rant>

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

revenge is gonna be so... sweet.

Soundtrack: The Mamas and the Papas - Shooting Star

There's quite a spurt of people getting sprogged-up recently, and for some reason I was considering this on the tube this morning. My train of thought led me to remember a nightmare boss I had. I was working in a photo developing shop, and I loved my job, but when I transferred to the branch closest to my university I had the bitch troll from hell as my boss. I think she resented me going to university, and used to say the usual nonsense about how a degree is worthless these days blah blah blah.

I was minding my own business one day whilst listening to a conversation the boss was having with a customer:

'So when is it due?'
'Excuse me?'
'You're pregnant aren't you?'

Of course she wasn't, but that was one of my favourite moments this lifetime.

I had another boss ('Suckers') who was quite endearing in hindsight, but he used to wind me and my sister up, saying how a degree is all very well these days but we'll inevitably end up working in McDonalds. He used to pipe up with 'Would you like fries with that?' which obviously had me rollings in the aisles.

The company went bankrupt and I never heard from him again. Until my dad had a temporary delivery job. He bumped into Suckers - in his new managing role - whilst delivering bread rolls. To McDonalds.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Ok, so starting this blog has been a bi-product of my daily ritual, bowlie, shutting down for an Easter holiday. I am enjoying my time here, but is that because of desperation?

To find out the TRUTH, I tried this quiz that retro forward to me:

A regular Bowlie, who will no doubt be happy when
it's back. You've missed it, certainly, but
it's disappearance has not made your world
stop. Let's hope everything can settle down
now, and we all play nice.

How addicted to Bowlie are you?

So I'm not an addict. Well thank goodness for that.

It's the sun, and it makes me shine

Soundtrack: Remains - Don't Look Back

I have no idea what I've been doing today, but I've somehow managed to not do any work and still not have time to update my blog. I'm sure I've been doing something important. Anyway, it's lunch now (just), so I thought I'd bring you a recap of my delightful weekend.


SUN!!! It's officially springtime (well it is today, with the
vernal equinox) but it certainly seemed it on Saturday. Thom and I woke up with the sun in our eyes, and were determined to do something with our day.

Let's go to the Chalk Horse! Oh, there's three Uffingtons, do you know which one it is?

Let's go to Swindon! Why Swindon? It's only full of roundabouts.

Let's go to Bournemouth! Look at how packed the M4 is - it'll be heaving.

We made it a couple of miles, replenished with a can of Diet Coke with lime in it, before heading back to Thom's house to sit in the garden for a while. Then a flash of inspiration - 3 men in a boat stylee. We traipsed down to the Thames (through the hoardes of tourists crowding around Windsor Castle) to a pretty secluded spot. And we sat there and ate SCONES. How frightfully British!


Band practice! It's been a sad week with Jess dropping out of the band due to work commitments, but we had a great practice. We also finally agreed on our name.

The Gresham Flyers:

Thom Allott - chief bass-meister/guitar
Martin Hall - guitar/bass
Sharon Leach - keyboards/vocals/glockenspiel/percussion
Dan Morton - drums/Roland/vocals
Andrew Newman - guitar/keyboards/drums/Roland/vocals
John Waring - guitar/keyboards/bass

Not bad really. I look a lot more impressive than I actually am there, too!

It's so much fun though. We're already knuckling down four original songs - one I absolutely love for it's summery-vibe. I think the vocals are going to be the icing on the cake though - providing we can be nearly 1% as good as the Beach Boys.

Oh how delightful - Polyphonic Spree's It's the Sun has just come on the radio. Today's a good day.

Friday, March 18, 2005

my mate

Poor marmite. It has to be the most misunderstood product of yeasty goodness in this world.

Complaints for a commercial that portrays this beauty as a terrifying big brown blob have just been upheld by advertising watchdogs. They say it's because it scares young children. But I know that they're marmite-hatas really.

(Sharon earlier today)

The problem is people just don't know how to eat it right.

Just the tiniest cm-long blob is necessary for the uninitiated - your tolerance (and infatuation) will grow over time. Spread it underneath a layer of cheese for a stunning cheese toastie. Coat your toast before putting beans on top. Add it to your spag bol!

Here's the best way to prepare a simple toast and marmite delight.

Toast and Marmite Delight:

1. Toast 2 slices of WHITE bread

2. Butter one slice.

3. Place the second slice ON TOP of the first, and butter.

4. Put the top slice UNDERNEATH the bottom slice. The bottom slice will now be fluffy. Coat your knife with approximately 1cm blob of marmite. Spread.
There's no need to cover the entire slice with marmite, patches are fine, and offer you a break from the yeasty goodness.

5. Repeat for slice 2.

6. Eat whilst hot.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

atlantic soul

Do you ever have one of those moments when you're just doing your thing, minding your own business, and then a song comes on that makes you stop still. Goosebumps down your back?

It just happened.

I love those moments. They happen once a year if you're lucky. I'm going to write out the lyrics - but it won't even do it justice. I URGE you to hear this song.

Barbara Lewis - Baby, I'm Yours.

Baby, I'm yours
And I'll be yours until the stars fall from the sky,
Yours until the rivers all run dry
In other words, until I die

Baby, I'm yours
And I'll be yours until the sun no longer shines,
Yours until the poets run out of rhyme
In other words, until the end of time

I'm gonna stay right here by your side,
Do my best to keep you satisfied
Nothin' in the world can drive me away
'Cause every day, you'll hear me say

Baby, I'm yours
And I'll be yours until two and two is three,
Yours until the mountains crumble to the sea
In other words, until eternity

Baby, I'm yours
'Til the stars fall from the sky
Baby, I'm yours
'Til the rivers all run dry
Baby, I'm yours
'Til the poets run out of rhyme


My quiche tastes like dog food.

ebay my life away

Soundtrack: Ben E King - Spanish Harlem

+ SUN! +
- scabby forehead -

When I worked between Christmas and New Year, we had nowt to do. This meant I was very naughty and bought a 40GB iRiver online. It's mid-March and I still haven't managed to put all my CDs on. Not due to laziness, I'm at it every chance I get! Still, it's helped me to streamline my collection a little, which in turn has made me discover the (potential) delights of ebay.

Do I listen to Fin de Siecle? No. Do I listen to Trailer Park? No. So up they go. Great, that was easy. Oh, they didn't sell. Ooh, I can re-list for cheaper, and if they sell I get my listing fees back. Great! Do they sell? No.

I swear I've spent more money listing the CDs I want to sell than I have made on selling ONLY ONE album. Can you believe out of all the albums I've put up - including the "much loved" Green Day (it was a birthday present) - the only item I seem to be able to sell is Go-Kart frickin' Mozart. Sheesh. I'm not sure this ebay malarky is all it's cracked up to be.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

bananas in pyjamas

Soundtrack: Kaiser Chiefs – Employment

I'm not very good at this healthy eating malarky. I really am trying. I have to work on so many 5 A DAY campaigns that I'm indoctrinated with the mantra, yet have you ever tried to eat that much fruit and veg a day?! It's bloody impossible - not to mention the associated trauma of fluid bowel movements. And then there was last year's horrific experience of a mis-ordered online grocery shop, which resulted in 30+ bananas, 30+ apples and 30+ carrots being delivered straight to my door. After several months’ abstinence, I've finally forgiven the humble banana.

Anyway, yesterday I well and truly experimented. I bought a butternut squash - so far advanced in the fruit (? it has seeds) kingdom, it isn't even included in Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course book. I didn't really know what to do with it, so after breaking my hand while trying to cut it, I just used the stalk in the end. I made my invented-that-evening Traffic Light Surprise Pasta Bake (TM); the surprise being the condensed mushroom soup that snook in, much to Thom's mushroom-hata chagrin. It was pretty good actually, it just needed a bit of fresh basil or something. But I now have it to eat for the next 3-days.

If you're interested, and because I'm bored at work, here's the recipe:

Traffic Light Surprise


1 butternut squash

5 handfuls of fresh spinachhalf a red pepper

1 handful of pine nuts

1 can of Campbell's condensed mushroom soup

as much penne pasta as you need for the dish

a liberal sprinkling of cheddar cheese for the topping

fresh basil, garlic, salt and black pepper to taste


1. Dice the butternut squash and roast in a baking dish for 20-30 minutes at 230F.

2. Cook the penne pasta until al dente.

3. Halfway through roasting, drain the remaining oil into a frying pan. Gently fry the red pepper and garlic for 5minutes. Add the spinach, fry until reduced.

4. Add pine nuts, butternut squash, mushroom soup and basil. Season well. When mixed, stir in the pasta until covered, and then transfer into baking dish.

5. Add a final layer of cheese, season, and then bake at 200F for 30minutes.

A voila. That's yer tea sorted for the next week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

move to this

I was just looking in the bathroom mirror at my newly-dyed hair and a horrible thought struck me. The combination of bright red flicky hair and a green cardigan has turned me into a cross between Cathy Dennis and Carrie Grant from Fame Academy.

(I had to research her name, by the way, I don't actually watch it).

I'm scared.

knit one, perl one

Soundtrack: Dexy's Midnight Runners - Too Rye Ay

I stayed in Windsor last night which meant another relaxing train journey into work this morning. I much prefer to come in from Windsor. Not that I'm one to stress about getting to work on time (if I did I wouldn't have survived 5 years in London so far), but the journey from Tooting every morning is pure hell. First you have the Northern line, then there's the 8.30am crush. There's an obvious lack of seats, and everybody splutters all over you. Then you get a bad neck from reading at a funny angle/carrying a heavy book in your bag. I much prefer the calm of commuting from Windsor.

I was knitting on the train to Paddington this morning, as I'm want to do, and I remembered my dad's reaction when I told him that I like to knit on the train:

On the TRAIN???
Doesn't everybody stare and laugh at you?"

Well thanks dad. You'd think I just told him that I like to jack up when using public transport or something. Of course, my retort should have been the story of when I saw a boy cross-stitching on the tube once, but he would only have denounced my reasoning with 'he'll be one of them gays'.

Monday, March 14, 2005

me, me, me

Inspired by several friends, I've decided to set up this journal. Partly due to anticipatory boredom at work (we have a quiet spell coming up), and partly due to the fact that I'm useless at keeping in touch with everyone - especially now they're depriving us of personal email access at work.

So anyway, just what has been going on in my life? Well, on Tuesday 8th March I entered my 26th birthday with a bang (well, with Radio 2 playing Pulp’s Common People), and it’s all been pretty good from then on. From playing my new birthday glockenspiel and seeing the glorious Arcade Fire in concert, to spending a lovely birthday weekend with my parents (ending in my dad falling into the Rochdale Canal). Yeah, life’s pretty good right now.

If only I could overcome this burgeoning cold that’s hanging over me. Damn workmates spreading their germs.

Recent Films:
I saw The Life Aquatic at Leicester Square’s Empire Theatre. What a magnificent place to be in the morning! Twinkling starlights, reclining seats, and just 5 people in what seemed to be a potential capacity of several hundred. It’s just a shame the film wasn’t that much cop. Fun, but trying too hard to be kooky. Too many topless Bill Murray shots, and Cate Blanchett seems to make a poor Gwyneth Paltrow substitute (are you seriously trying to tell me Wes Anderson didn’t want Gwyneth in the role?!). Still worth it for the Portuguese Bowie cover versions.

Also Thom bought me Magnolia for my birthday. Well, he bought it for himself really (which was made apparent when he asked whose house the DVD should live in), but he gave it to me under the pretence of my birthday present so it’s living in Tooting! Pretty good stuff, even at a daunting 3+hours duration. Tom Cruise is as detestable as always (I just can’t stand the man) but thankfully so is his character, so it works. Amazing scenes at the end, but I won’t spoil it for you. Definitely worth watching.

My current playlist:
Can I just say Arcade Fire Arcade Fire Arcade Fire Arcade Fire Arcade Fire Arcade Fire!
Wonderful band. I’ve been constantly playing their album Funeral since December, and I thought I’d never get to see them live - then they go and announce a date on my birthday! And seeing as they’re playing London Astoria next, I don’t think we’ll see them playing dates as small as King’s College for quite a while… Crash helmets, instrument swapping and borderline hysteria. Yum.

And another current favourite are De Novo Dahl. They’re a Nashville band that I saw there 2 years ago now, and they’ve finally released their debut (double!) album on Theory8 Records. God bless her, my friend Ashley went and bought me Cats and Kitten at the launch party, and got it signed for me. I had high hopes for the album, and it’s 98% there for me. I think releasing a 2CD debut is very ambitious – but Kittens (disc 2 - all remixes) is rather inspired, and often completely different to the original tracks. Cats (Disc 1) is just full of pop nuggets. They wear their blur/SFA/Beach Boys influences on their sleeves, but certainly have stamped enough of their own originality onto the songs. My only criticism is that the first disc could possibly be 2 songs shorter.

You can listen to mp3s at the websites I’ve linked.

Well, that was longer than I anticipated, but finger’s crossed it’s a sign of more regular mundane life-updates to come!