Thursday, 29 July 2010

A Digression

A lovely evening spent at Norris and Alison's 'I Digress' exhibition/event. Charlie's reading went very well, and I did good helping with the helium balloons for the squeaky fairy voices. Great to see everybody, from Nat to Nik to Big Dave to Andrew M, Andrew, Alex, Matty, Noz, Alison, Minky, Kirsten ... many people!!

Busy day tomorrow, then off camping for the weekend. Lots of fun ... I just need to pack!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Busy in the Bee Hive

Back at work, not a bad day with plenty of exciting bits and pieces to keep me busy and somewhat thoughtful. Sometimes difficult in life to decide what to do for the best, but as usual I need to get away from making the 'best' decision, and make as confident and realistic a decision as possible with the information available. Exciting times ...

Met with Charlie after work at the Hive to write, but ended up doing lots of chatting instead. Then helped him with his rehearsals for 'I Digress' on Thurs.

Oh, and you will have to see Facebook for SGP photos, too many to choose from!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Back to Reality

Up early at 7am to pack up tents and head off. Was sad but sweet to say goodbye to Ruth. Got back in pretty good time, dropping off Ryan and becky on the way. Got the washing on, did a bit of tidying, made lunch, trying to stay in the chilled out zone. hence got a bit worked up when we were going to see Toy Story 3 as we were running a bit late, which always gets me a bit worked up.

It was a lovely film though, well deserving the great reviews it has received. Catching up on jobs this evening, ready for work again tomorrow. Exciting times!

Oh, and will try and put SGP photos up soon.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Swim for Victory

Got up feeling brave, and joined Charlie and Ryan for their swim in the lake. Was cold on first entering, but loved it after warming up. Decided to take the rare opportunity to swim with nothing on at all, which was lovely and quite appropriate. Felt lovely to be a bit cleaner, and headed back to the tent to get dressed. Had Transform-a-snack crisps, a crumpet AND strawberries and cream for breakfast.

Between us all, we camped out all day at the Small World stage. Excellent music, endless tea and chai, and kind people bringing milkshakes too (ice cream milkshakes with malteasers, yum!). It was nice to have such a base, Charlie had his pyjamas on and we played a couple of games of chess. I tried to read Hound of the Baskervilles, but was too easy to drop off or just lie listening to the lovely music or chatting.

Ruth and I had our toes nibbled by some special fish who exfoliate your dead skin from your feet, very tickly but nice once you get used to it.

Becky got into full tooth fairy mode as she put on her toothy necklace and earrings, as well as her wings, posh frock and wig as the night went on.

Gravitated predictably back to Feast of Fools for the fire, the mead and the lovely conversation. A lovely last evening

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Fun Fun Fun!

Was in full fettle this morning, decided to ditch the slightly challenging ball dress in favour of shorts. As Ruth, Ryan and Charlie went off for a swim, I had a wander round and we all met up again for yoga in the Sanctuary (post breakfast crumpet). Very refreshing, especially as I went straight into a wonderful back massage by the fabulous Faye. Quite spaced out afterwards.

Saw lots of exciting creatures at the science tent, backing up a talk about fear. Held the small chameleon and a bit of the snake, coudl not go very near the tarantula though Ruth did hold it briefly. The larger chameleon was so cool, with beautiful patterned skin and the fastest tongue in the West.

Went back to the Sanctuary for a 'Flying for Freedom' talk about managing stress. Was ok, but not very inspiring.

Hung out at the Feast of Fools with their various oldie stylee acts including rope climbers and a gentleman rapper, drank a fair bit of mead and we all went to teh main stage to watch Caravan Palace, a speedy charlston act who were a great presence on stage, had the audience in the palm of their hands.

Then we all gathered by the lakeside to see the burning of the island, this year a massive blimp, along with fireworks and floating lanterns heading off into oblivion. Lazed around by Small World afterwards, then bed for Emmy.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Posh Frocks and Warm Socks

Awoke feeling much better after lots of sleep (on our airbed, hooray) though apparently I had slept through noisy neighbours ... that goodness for being a good sleeper. Dressed in my bright greeny blue ball dress to get into the spirit of it all. Grabbed a cup of chai and a crumpet before wandering round the festival to view all the food, show tents etc. Similar to last year, with a few location changes and additions.

Watched Mink and Dave's synesthesia show in the science tent, was good if a little confusing. Very good brain model! Combined with delicious thali curry.

Sat being lazy in Small World tent seeing a few good bands and individuals, especially Philip Henry who we saw more than once over the weekend. Also saw James and Theresa, friends of Becky's, who were very nice.

Had another pretty early night, still hoping to get refreshed as I was still a bit grumpy getting out of my usual work habits.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Busy on Holiday

Got up pretty early so Charlie could pick up the car. Quite excited as we picked up Becky and Ryan, only to be slightly concerned by the weather, and also getting as far as Biggleswade before realising that Ryan didn't have his ticket. Back to Colindale once more.

Finally arrived at the Secret Garden Party, and we were frustrated by the four and a quarter hour long queue to get in. On foot, partly sunny and partly rainy, it turned out that with more ticket holders and more stringent security, they might need to offset this with more staff ... which they didn't. I would love to see their risk assessment!

Eventually got in, put the tents up in the drizzle, and had a quick wander round to orient ourselves, however went for an early night to recover. A sternly worded letter shall shortly be in the post.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Secret Exhaustion

Still worn out after yesterday's travels, and this evening's preparations for SGP ... shhhh, it's a secret!!

Am ultra blinky and twitchy from work busyness and challenges ... bring on a few days of rest!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Swiss Alptitude

Up at 3:30 am this morning to get to Gatwick to catch my flight to Zurich to meet and present to our Swiss sister organisation. Mucho owchy. Overall a pretty good day, though starting to get the hang of people saying that certain attributes are 'very Swiss'. Oh yeah, and learned that the Swiss do 3 kisses (might pencil that in to my Schotts Miscellany by my bed for good measure).

Got home at 10:30pm ... have collapsed in bed, and fortunately arranged to come into work a bit late tomorrow.

Was glorious to run into Keith on the Tube, who had clearly spent a random day having a tipple or two in London. He does give very good hugs!

Also, 200 blog posts has now whooshed by without me noticing. Wow, what a lot of blog!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Countryside of Zone 2

Another long lie in today, then wandered over to Brockwell Park for the Lambeth Country Show. Met up with Matthew G, and we went to see the petting zoo and ate/drank coconuts. Then met up with Norris, Liam, Charlie and Mattie as we sat and had a lovely beer in the lovely sunshine with the lovely music and what seemed like the whole population of Lambeth.

Went to the Trinity for dinner, another drink and (for me and Norris) sticky toffee pudding. Alex joined us for a quick one after his weekend with Andrew and the Warwick crew in Newcastle. Now trying to get an early night in preparation for the week ahead.

Saturday, 17 July 2010


After a late lazy morning, and some pretty lazy tidying in the afternoon, Charlie and I headed down to Reigate to go to Connie and Faith's birthday party. Was lovely to walk through Reigate and by the golf course to get to the house. Was great to see the girls and David and Fiona again. Erika and Dan were there, and we had a shrieking and giggly time on the enormous trampoline.

Had a bit of a trial getting home, waiting for rail replacement buses, finding no more trains from Redhill northbound, jumping quickly on a train to Gatwick, getting the Gatwick Express to Victoria, then the N2 home ... in bed at 2am.

Friday, 16 July 2010


Was relieved to get through my to-do list today, as well as some interesting discussions about the future. Repotted some plants on my way out of the office.

Rushed to Bank to have my first excursion on the Waterloo and City Line, a bit strange, like a shuttle bus underground. Met with Charlie, Mink, Dave, Ryan and Erika T for Inception at the IMAX, and Matthew also turned up having bought a ticket last minute. What a film, so many questions ... as soon as it finished, you wanted to watch it again, although it made you feel exhausted just watching it.

Went to Pizza Express (minus Matty and Erika) for wine and discussion and lots of 'owwwch, my brain!' kind of discussions. Also joined by Kiwi Laura, and we pootled on to the Concrete Bar at the Hayward for more drinks. All in all, a lovely night!

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Turns out that embedding onesself in Pizza Express is a great way of focussing on the task at hand. Also got a few little jobs done this evening, so congratulating myself with a Big Bang Theory episode before sleepy sleeps.

Excited about 'Inception' at the IMAX tomorrow evening!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Getting Better

Feeling more on the mend today, though had a bit of a turn at lunchtime (maybe that luminous Chinese food we had for lunch). Met up with Kirsten for dinner after work, was really good to catch up as it has been a while.

Also watched the firemen playing volleyball from her balcony, not a bad view :)

Now back at home, and bemused by all the sounds you can hear with the window open. The town hall bells chiming at 11pm, the wind blowing, and some suspicious moans that may belong to two of our neighbours ...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


So, I hadn't beaten it. Woke up this morning feeling worse than I did over the weekend. Dragged myself into work, making the call to the docs as I walked to the Tube. Spent most of the morning trying to cancel my afternoon meetings and dashing to the bathroom ... fun!

Eventually left in the early afternoon, and worked from home as I waited for my appointment. Nice doctor, and i'm now on antibiotics. Feeling like they are working already, which is a good sign. Also finally managed to get the Traidcraft order through, I don't know why the website was being so horrendous.

So, now in bed for the evening. Matthew is back from Prague and Andrew has come round, but I am determined to be feeling better by tomorrow.

Sleepy time ...

Monday, 12 July 2010

So Many Words ...

Have started compiling a list of every book I have ever read. Trying to work retrospectovely where possible, looking at shelves, Amazon and Art Garfunkel's vast reading list for memory triggers. On almost 100 books so far, avoiding reference books, novelty books and books I can barely remember reading so far.

Went out this evening for dinner with Cate Baril from our sister organisation in the USA. Is always reassuring to discuss how similar our organisations are.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Second Hand News

Alex came round this morning to go through our pile of books, CDs and DVDs that we will shortly be giving away ... Andrew and Norris also looked through them. We would sell them, but the time and effort it would take to get them to a Car Boot Sale or through ebay is just not worth it.

Carried our CD towers round to Alex's, as he thinks he might have a use for them. And if not, just down the road is the new BHF second hand furniture shop. Which I approve of massively. Lots of very good quality second hand (and some new) furniture at excellent prices. We got our tough old blue sofa from a similar shop in Birmingham, and we love it still.

A bit more sorting, and harassing Charlie to get some writing done, then round to Andrew's to watch the World Cup Final. The Dutch seem a little rough, so most of us are rooting for Spain. Oh, and the English referee. We shall see ...

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Summer Cleaning?

Woke at 1am to hang out with Jon, Ana and Natalie who had come back with Charlie from Andrew's flat where they were with Erika T and her cousin Steve. Tried to lie in, but ended up just having a lazy conversation about sorting the house out.

So, spend most of the day cleaning and tidying the lounge. More to do, but it is looking much better now. After a Chinese take away, met up with Andrew, Erika and Steve for a drink at the Trinity Arms.

Feeling quite a lot better, but drinking lots of water just in case.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Run Down

Rushed through my work this morning to joing together with my colleagues at our summer party in Regent's Park. Started to feel pretty light headed and not quite the ticket when I got there, seems that I might have a UTI ... oh no! Took it easy for the afternoon, but really struggled to get home on the sweaty, uncaring, full Tube. Was pretty broken when I got home, falling asleep on Charlie, spilling my glass of water over myself in the process. He very kindly went out to get me cranberry juice.

We agree, that this is just another indication of my run down state ... all week I have had a sore throat and dodgy sinuses. Will take it easy this weekend ... though will of course need to see if Paul the Octopus is right on Sunday.

Jon and Ana staying tonight, will be good to see them. In bed and in 'jamas, but will definitely at least say hi!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Sent to Daventry

Spent the day in Daventry at a Fairtrade Conference by FDIN.

Met up with Fish after work in the Hive, unexpectedly joined by Andrew who was seeking inspiration for a weekend of fun with Erika T and her cousin, who is staying.

Now watching The Big Bang Theory with Fish ... bliss!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Achy breaky throat

Woke in the middle of the night at 4am with a very painful throat and a nose full of snot. Thought I had woken Charlie up, but turned out that he had not slept yet! He is so busy with all his projects (and of course going to the pub with Ryan) that I don't think his brain knows how to slow down for long enough to sleep. Turns out he is a workaholic like his Dad, just in relation to his writing rather than his day job.

Intended to leave work early as I was not feeling great, but as always my best laid plans were thwarted. Had a good lunch with Vic, who is leaving to go to Unilever. Very interesting new role she seems to have secured for herself.

Had done some sorting and tidying, and now resting and planning for an early night to help my sore throat and head recover. I didn't even drink that much, seems a bit unfair :)

Up to York tomorrow, train times not too mad though. Phew!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

A Peaceful Conclusion

The ladies woke up pretty early, considering the 3am bedtime. Everybody picked up all their bits and pieces, and half the ladies headed off home. Those who remained left our bags in the house while we walked into town again. Tempting as it was to go punting again, we went into Kings College Chapel which was so impressive. Such a distinctive shape, tall and thin with the most incredible stained glass windows.

We were slightly sacriligeous and mocked up Erika's wedding (as she had her veil on) with Judy pretending to be Robin, and Sam pretending to be Dan at the front.

A quick lunch at The Eagle, where Watson and Crick announced the discovery of DNA, then a speedy walk back to get our train (which worked perfectly well on the way back).

A lovely group of girls, everybody was really chatty and friendly with each other, and got on really well. Erika seemed very pleased, so Gilly and I had various high fives and hugs to celebrate.

When I pulled into Brixton on the tube, I really felt physically and mentally exhausted. Happy and proud and so pleased for Erika, but definitely pooped! Zoned out at home in front of films, as Charlie was out at the pub with Ryan. They eventually came back and I think I was not particularly coherent. Was very pleased to snuggle up in my bed ... snoooore ...

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Cambridge Rocks

Up at 8am to start sorting out the smoked salmon bagels for breakfast. People rise slowely from their beds, a little sensitive from the previous night, but not too bad. Everybody acutely aware that we need to stay hydrated given the gorgeous sunchine and blistering heat, which we are so pleased has come along for the weekend. Gilly feeling much better, thank goodness!

Walked into Cambridge, now 15 of us as we are joined by the final 2 hens. Arrive at 'The Cow' for our Burlesque lesson. Kiki Kaboom does a great job teaching us the wiggle, the grind and a particular hand gesture that cannot be named :) Erika has to do a burlesque forfeit over lunch every time she gets an answer wrong in the Dan Quiz ... as she gets 9/20, she does a lot of dancing!!

Walk leisurely through Cambridge to get to the river for punting, in awe at how beautiful the city is in the sunshine, especially Kings College Chapel. Find out that it is even more beautiful from the back as we jump onboard two massive punts with our chauffeurs. Steve, our 'driver' is fun, and teaches us some history which he tells us is not made up. We crack open the bubbly, strawberries and cream and indulge in the sunshine, the spectacular views and the fun commentary on the other river goers .... from foxy (and fit!) girl punters, to the bat under the bridge to the topless and tanned boy punters (come on, it was a hen weekend!). Steve even let Erika have a go ...

Feeling quite zonked after the bliss of the river, we take a ghist tour around Cambridge, we go for a ghost tour around Cambridge and find some lovely places like The Eagle pub and the proud front of Trinity college. Wander back to the house, where we try to revive with a quick cup of tea. We also present Erika with her Snow White costume for the evening, and the news that she will not be alone in dressing up. Two bemused taxi drivers arrive at 7:30 faced with a plethora of Disney characters, including a Tigger (my mother-in-law is just incredible!)

Have a fun and silly dinner, entertaining small children in the restaurant with our costumes, playing with helium and red lipstick. Find our way, after much hollering in the streets, to a Wetherspoons where dancing and drinking continued. Sam, Pauline and I headed back at 12:30, the first wave, where we had a lovely couple of cups of tea before the others arrived home. At least two ladies quite sozzled!

Friday, 2 July 2010

#I am woman, hear me roar!#

Once we arrived in Cambridge, the hen weekend was off to a fabulous start. But that was a close call, as Gilly texted me on Fri afternoon to let me know that train lines were down from Kings Cross and trains were not working. I was pretty chilled out, knowing that at this late stage we would just have to do what we could, but on checking discovered that there were still two trains per hour.

So we all met up, sweaty ladies with big suitcases, at Kings Cross, and piled onto whatever carriages had room. The house we were renting was just around the corner. And it was just lovely, flowers everywhere and a big kitchen for tea and chats.

After dropping off our bags, we immediately headed off to Browns restaitrant for our first feast. The Mums were on exceptionally good form (Theresa and Judy), and although Gilly had to go home as she was not feeling too great, we had a less 'low-key' night than I was intending, knowing how much energy we all needed for tomorrow. It was so much fun to get everything started though, letting Erika know the topline detail about our plans.

Were joined later by Jodie, Jocelyn and Anna (a Sundt cousin), and with a couple of glasses down me was not hard to drop off to sleep.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Busy Busy, Sleepy Sleepy

Lots to get ready for the weekend, just can't wait to get it all started now!