Friday 18 December 2009

The boiler man cometh

What a thoroughly splendid time I had at the School Carol Service last night. Feel that my performance should guarantee co-option into the choir next year. Of course, this is the first time I'd been back to the church since my first year at the school. The class had been taken there in the run up to Christmas to practice for the Service at which we would all sing. I was picked out to practice singing a solo. Obviously my angelic looks, and blond wavy hair made me the ideal soloist. Barely two bars in though, it seems my voice was not quite as angelic. I was halted in my tracks and returned to the massed ranks. I can't quite remember what was said to me, but what I can say is that ever since, I've loved listening to music, but barely sing above a whisper in case I cause mass offence. Amazing how a few poorly words can affect you for the rest of your life. Thank heavens for the Mulled Wine after the service.

We left the church to a fabulous is that...just the perfect start to Christmas.

When we arrived home I wandered off to take a couple of photos....everyone assumed I was indoors, so the front door was slammed on me, leaving me to ring the door bell to be let in.

This morning we woke to not quite as much snow as we were expecting...but it was still lovely and white, the tubes were still running, so no need to jump in the Jeep to get to the office. As I gingerly stepped across the drive, a man with a big smile on his face opened the gate and shook my hand. Yes he has come to replace our nearly 40 year old boiler. Perfect timing. There'll be no heat in the house tonight.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Skating on thin ice

With increasingly monotonous regularity, I am abandoning the boy at home whilst I'm out gallivanting. It's only fair. He'll be doing that to me soon enough, so I might as well get my revenge in first. As I'm not returning home to he smell of cigarettes, empty vodka bottles or used condoms, I assume he's still at the stage of gluing his eyeballs to the computer screen to chat with friends on MSN. My only worry last night when I called him to check he was OK was that his response to the question about food and evening meal was "I've just had porridge". I guess that's good training for University.

Last night I was ice skating at the Tower of London. As the snow started to fall yesterday afternoon, it seemed we were going to be blessed with a skate in enchanted surroundings being gently covered in snow flakes. What a shame then that the snow turned to drizzle and we just got soggy. Also a shame that I confused the Tower of London with Tower Bridge, so arranged to meet my friends south of the river, rather than the north. They thought the pub was an odd choice, and so indeed it was. But it wasn't more than a ten minute walk across the river in the rain and bitter wind. Our only delay was Tower Bridge being raised...we gazed on like tourists, instead of the weary Londoners we are who cross it every day.

Our skating prowess was unquestionably improved by the two large glasses of red wine we had before launching on to the ice. But for some reason we were a bit wobbly. I think the wine also helped minimise the impact of noticing that everyone else was still in the twenties. Clearly this is a young persons' sport. Apologies to my fellow skaters who I barged past when I didn't know how to stop.

Tonight it's the school Carol Concert. After our office Christmas lunch. I fully intend to be joining in and bellowing out some traditional Christmas tunes. Apologies to the boy in advance.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Dennis Severs

Last night we were out on a school night....well it is the season to be jolly. As ever nothing went quite a smoothly as it should....I drove into London having driven to Cheltenham and back for a 45 minute meeting at 12. I got a coffee, but not even the hint of a sandwich let alone something more seasonal. Jeeeeeeez.

Anyway, when I found where I needed to park, it had one of those meters that you can pay by phone. As I had no coins, it was a good option. It's a bit of a phaf (faf?) as you have to keep pressing digits on your phone. Did I want to park my motor bike? No. Did I want to park my scooter? No. Did I want to park a new vehicle. Yes. Please enter pin number or last four digits of credit card (FYI, the card was replaced a couple of weeks ago). PIN not recognised, please try again. PIN not recognised. Goodbye. Repeat six times. Sh*t, damn and blast. So I turned to the concierge on the door of the restaurant that I parked outside. Could they break a £5 note for me? "I'm sorry sir we don't carry cash here. But don't worry I'll look after your car. It'll be fine" And indeed when I returned the car was still there, and no parking ticket. I felt the need to tip him. By this stage I had just a £10 note, so he got that...somewhat more than the £1.50 it would have cost if I'd had the coins!

Anyway, we went to Dennis Severs House. Which is an amazing experience. Especially in the dark. Especially at Christmas. It's hard to describe what it's like....a sort of living, breathing museum. But don't look at the objects individually. Soak up the atmosphere, start to believe in and experience the 'story' Truly amazing stuff.

If you don't know anything about Dennis Severs, it is worth reading up on him. A real character. Here is his obituary...but it misses some of the madness of the man