Thursday, August 09, 2007

summer time, cider wine and sunflowers

Finally, it's summer - yes, the sun is shining, the rains have passed, breathe in the air.

Drinking wine with Cath and Becks and feeling good.

It's always special when you can wear your shorts and sandals to work, at least in the UK - there's a certain sense of freedom not having to wear a monkey suit.

I often wonder why some people feel comfortable wearing what amounts to 'school clothes' at work, even though they don't actually need to.

Oh yeah - summer, wine, cider, flowers - something like that.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Security gizmos, lost girlfriends and rain

The bank posted me this odd security calculator.

I'm supposed to use it as part of my online banking security.


The deal is, if I want to do anything other than view my accounts, I need my bank card which slots into the security calculator.

A random number is generated online which is punched into the calculator.
This generates another random number on the calculator.
In your banking account type the number in to verify you are actually the account holder.


It sucks.
It means I have to take the calculator with me just in case I need to do banking at the office, on holiday or stay over at friends or family.
There's no possibility of not using it, no choice in the matter.

If your a victim of card fraud, the bank has to refund your cash.
In other words, this is not a service designed to help the individual, but rather to help the bank.
Just like everything else they do, it's sold as being a benefit for the customer when in reality, it benefits the bank.

Don't you just hate these wunch of bankers?


I lost Cathy this morning, she's at Hogwarts with Harry and chums. She's been gone since 6.30am this morning.
Her body is on the couch, but the mind certainly isn't.

I was given prior warning - come the weekend of the 21st July, a marathon reading session would commence.

Perhaps the smell of roasting chicken and a glass of wine may return her to this world?


It's been raining, lots.

This year, it's a return to the British summer once so famous around the globe - unpredictable sun and showers.

For the last 8 weeks, it's been near impossible to gaurantee a fine day for outdoor events, barbeques, walking or gardening. In the last 48 hours, most of England and Wales have been the unlucky recipients of Julys average rainfall.
The misery of flooding continues.

When the sun is shining, it's warm and humid and a welcome relief - just don't forget the brolly.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Changes in direction, destiny, ramblings and love

It seems that uncertainty through change wills me to write more than I would normally, or possibly happiness makes the act of writing less immediate?

Who can say?

My life is far more busy than it was, leaving me little time to mull over the finer details or to question the path I'm following.

Cathy has bought more happiness than I knew I could feel, showing me an honesty and love that I was so cynical about before. Through her, I've found I can love and be loved, not that I ever doubted it, just that I'd never really appreciated it before. She has opened up the shell I denied I carried.

What I love the most, is how effortless it seems, how natural it feels.
It feels ... right.

I still wonder how this change in life came to pass.
A decision made to pack up and go?
How did I arrive here?

To sell everything and leave a country that had been home for so many years, to arrive in a strange city, finally find a job and move into the countryside - how amazing.

To meet Cathy and for it to feel like it was supposed to happen?

I suppose, looking back, my life has been one of constant amazement.

I'm never really certain how things which have happened began. How a single decision can change the course of a life. How the decisions of others can impact the very core of your experiences.

I have no allusions that there's anything special about my story, but for the obvious - it's mine.

I start to feel the "connectedness" of life, I think of my brother and my friends in other countries far away, and I'm certain we'll all bump into each other constantly throughout life, often with years inbetween meetings.

I could never say for certain that events in a persons life happen for a reason, but sometimes...

... it really feels that way.

When I talk with Cathy about her life and how she ended up in this small town, I can only wonder at it all. How did it come to pass that we met?

Isn't that the very essense of love? Destiny?

These chance meetings which appear to happen randomly, the butterfly that dances upon one specific flower in a field of millions, are they really so random?

Cynisicm falls away, the derision I could pour upon such feelings, the jokes I would make about these thoughts, they become meaningless when I consider this amazing path of life.

Talking of which, I think it's time for another cider ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

The meeting of two worlds?

What on earth has happened to me?

This evening I found myself in the garden, planning a vegetable patch.
Not only planning it, but actually toiling in the garden, turning manure into the soil and building small pathways.

I'm now sporting two symmetrical blisters, one on each thumb, after chopping down a small forest on Saturday.

The sick thing is, I actually enjoyed it.

I went out at lunchtime with the idea of spending an hour in the garden drinking cider, but ended up 4 hours later obsessed with weeds.

As a teenager I would do anything to avoid working in the garden. This usually involved lying in bed until 4pm and ignoring Dad mowing the same patch of grass outside my window for hours.

Into early adulthood I never really got the urge or the chance to give it any thought. It has continued that way until recently.
I dabbled briefly with growing certain kinds of herbs, but that was thwarted by a moment of sheer paranoia.

I've now spent about £120 gathering together various gardening essentials, from which I hope to raise a crop of vege which would probably cost, hmm, £10 in the shops.

There I was with a tape measure and a pen, plotting out where I'd plant the beans, onions, peppers - someone take my temperature.

I've taken up other alarmingly "fogey" style habits lately. I like walking. I like walking across fields in green Wellington Boots.
I've gained more than a passing interest in photography. I no longer play an unhealthy amount of video games.

On the flipside - and this probably constitutes a mid-life crisis - I'm dressing like a teenager. It's sad, but I don't really care. I got myself some Converse all-stars and an iPod. Sure, fashion wise I'm probably 10 years out of date and shape wise, more than 20. Gravity has taken it's toll!

Is this the meeting of two worlds?
Is this the "mid life crisis?"

If so, I quite like it...

... Bring it on!

See my Butt.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The horrors of moving home

It's time again, it's arrived, those final two weeks before "The Big Move"

I'd promised myself to be more organised this time, to not spend the last few hours throwing the last remaining items unsorted into black plastic bags and stuffing them into the car while forcing the boot door closed with three heavy weights.

This time, however, I have my partner to assist in this painful process. She has been incredibly good at sorting out various things around our "soon to be old" home.

The lounge and kitchen now resemble a chinese laundry as Cathy starts "processing" the various curtains, towels and assorted items in order to get the full deposit back.

I've been handling the daunting financial aspects of the new rental, getting a temporary bank loan, making deals with the letting agent, changing the utilities. It's a painful process.

We have the inventory of the current rental at hand, a bulky set of papers cunningly crafted by an "independent organisation" when I first moved in. The detail of this inventory is indepth and often inventive.

A clock radio which has never worked is labelled as "in working order", a couch which is clearly beige, is noted as being "pink". I hope it wasn't pink when I moved in!
Some groups of items are referred to as "assorted books / various blankets", while others are so carefully described we can no longer find them.

The detail is as much a blessing as a curse. It's the realm of the Devil himself!

(The rental here is fully furnished, so we have to leave it exactly as it was when we moved in.)

Moving home in this manner is akin to taking apart a large jigsaw puzzle with your toes and reassembling it with your elbows.

What amazes me is that I arrived in England with two backpacks of possessions. Everything I owned in the world fitted into a single passenger sized car backseat, with room to spare. Heck, I hauled it around the tube for 8 hours.

In just one year I have at least three full car loads.

Cathy, on the other hand, has enough stuff to fill the hold of a 747 (bless her little cotton socks)
We're talking decades of collection here folks!

Not that I mind. We live an eclectic life and have decided our way of furnishing our new home will be "bohemian"
We shall continue to live with interesting clutter in our new abode.

May this move be over soon and celebrated with a steamy bubble bath and champers!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A year in review, 2006

2006 started well, with news that I had a permanent job in the town where I now live. It was welcome news, after months of slogging around London looking for a decent job.

I view it now as a "sliding doors" scenario, as my life has completely changed because of that job offer, for the better.

It could've gone so completely differently. The obvious scenario would've been returning to South Africa with my tail between my legs, beaten on my quest to start again in England. Moral support from my Brother in South Africa and some financial support and advise from my Mom over here saw me through the tough part.

The first month of January was pretty hellish, the only thing keeping me going was knowing that I was now employed. I commuted from Wimbledon to Odiham (Basingstoke). I was living in a shared house in Wimbledon with 5 other people, one bathroom and next to no privacy. I'd awake at 4.30am, be at the station for 5.30am and finally arrive at work at 8.30am. I'd arrive home around 9pm eat and just crash. Often I'd drink a few cans of cider on the train journey home, listening to my CD walkman. Very surreal - Gorillaz, Nick Cave and Green Day inside the vacuum of the train reflecting on itself in the windows.

It was dark when I left for work for the entire journey except the last half hour and dark all the way home. Winter in England can get very bleak at times.

My next break came when my Mom agreed to loan me the money to put a deposit down on the High Street flat where I now live with Cathy, so on the 27th of January, I finally had a place to call my own, four long months after arriving back in England.

To say I was in absolute heaven at the time of moving in would be an understatement. A picturesque little town, my own cool little pad right on the High Street and a great job - there was only one thing missing - friends!

The next five months were all a bit of a blur. I went up to London several times, up to Warwickshire to visit Mom and generally enjoyed the freedom of my own place again. I didn't really meet anyone, aside from a few nods here and there in the High Street and my work colleagues.

I suppose around April/May I was noticed by Cathy. I have no idea what she thought of me then, but she said she liked my bum. Not too long after, she discovered my Blog and I clocked on that the girl in Number 81 and Wine Rack was Cathy after discovering her Blog.

An interesting turn of events took place whereby Cathy was determined to get me to notice her. She invited me to a barbaque at 81. I got ready that evening but for some reason chickened out - I got all the way to the door, got stage fright, went home and Blogged about it. As luck would have it, Cathy and Garrett were online at the time, saw my Blog post and came around and knocked on the door to fetch me.

The Barbaque was fun. The next month or so, I kinda played "hard to get" and Cathy, bless her, was patient. I wanted to make sure I didn't rush in head first to a relationship.

Since then, Cathy (and Smodge cat) has moved in with me and life has been very interesting. Cathy's year has been really trying as has the life of her friends. With the loss of a business and the numerous upsets and issues that go along with it, 2006 was hardly a good year for her.

For me, it's been very interesting. Life changing in many ways, but then, that's what I set out to do when I left South Africa late 2005.

What 2007 will bring, I have no idea. One thing I do know, I'm back at work tomorrow and I'm starting to think a change on that front is due at some point this year.

Sliding doors - how strange that a simple phone call "you're hired" can so completely change things. Destiny?

Then again, I suppose leaving South Africa in the first place was opening a new door - a daunting and exciting action I'd heartily recommend to anyone!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Escape from Crumbley Castle

Get me out of here, this home of geriatric crumblies slowly revolving around the dancefloor to music played by balding men.

Breakfast at 8.30, on the coach at 9.30, trapped for 2 hours listening to people talk about operations and death, followed by a brief burst of excitement in some hokey little scottish town, then it's back on the coach. Arrive at 17.00, dinner at 19.00, 'entertainment' at 20.30 and then bed.

Rinse and Repeat.

All the time, the scottish glens entice me, the fact that out there is wildlife, whiskey, walks, boats, young people. Glasgow just 50 miles down the road with bars, clubs and night life. City of culture.

This is a hotel of culture, but it's the kind you find in a petri dish, otherwise known as mould.

I wonder down the corridors chanting "Red ruuuum" "Reeeddd Ruuuuum" - I'd take that scenario over normality. Perhaps someone will break down my door with an axe this evening. I'll leap out the window running naked screaming for the hills, clutching bottles of single malt whiskey to my chest, being pelted with shortbread and haggis.

This is Scotland for christs sake, it's NOT supposed to be like this, is it?

Perhaps it is, which is why most Scottish people leave as soon as they get the chance.
How many lochs, glens, castles and wee twee towns can you really take before you either leave, or hit the bottle? It's no wonder that the Scottish perfected the art of Whiskey, there's fuck all else to do up here!

It's either that or start a fight, or do both.

I protest too much, I do. This is fantastic scenery, it really is, if I could actually get to WALK on some of it, instead of sitting on the coach for bum numbing hours with people a million years older than me.

"oooh, look dear, there's a deer, dear."
"Yes love, Agnes had hers taken out last week, she's been ever so poorly you know"
"oooh, look dear, isn't that a castle?"
"Yes love, my legs ache and my face is falling off, is it far to go?, I need to pee myself again"
"What dear?"
"I said isn't it a luverley twee dee dear"
"yes, yes it is, what day is it? I had a nice fish supper last millenium, it was ever so good, except for the bones, they get stuck in my ears you know."