Monday, 21 April 2014

Lodinium review

Ah, London. The moment I walked off the concourse at Kings Cross station, it felt like I was back where I was meant to be. How can somewhere you have never lived feel like home?

I walked down from Kings Cross to Russell Square Gardens, where I stopped for around half an hour. One year, Mum and I saw a Chihuahua chasing after a grey squirrel, so ever since when we have been down we've kept an eye out. I saw a squirrel, but no Chihuahua this time.

The British Museum was next. I go there every time I am in London, love the place. I think we are so very lucky to have such a wonderful resource available to us, free of charge, so I always try to support it. After a quick wander through the Nimrod friezes and past Ramesses, I went into the Greek and Roman sculpture gallery. For some reason I have never been through here before. It was blissfully quiet, unlike the rest of the museum. I had a couple of the rooms to myself, which is a first. A quick refreshment stop, and then I headed out to get a taxi up to my hotel.

For this trip I had a room in Marylebone. It isn't an area I've stayed in before, and to be honest I wouldn't bother next time. It is just too far out to be practical. I worked out that on day one I spent nearly £50 on 3 taxi journeys. Crazy. Given that my hotel room was only £58, I would be better off paying a bit more to stay somewhere more central.

The hotel itself? Well, it is a Travelodge so perfectly adequate but don't expect any frills. It served my purposes just fine, although my bottle of Chanel No 5 looked embarrassed to be seen there. I was in a single room, and it was literally two small steps from my bed to the bathroom door. There wasn't an inch of wasted space. I'm glad I was only there for one night though. I had around an hour and a half in my room before heading out, so I relaxed and then slowly got myself ready.

So, to the 'do. I met up with a group of people I'd been chatting to on Facebook, at Bar 190 at The Gore Hotel, just around the corner from the Albert Hall. Fabulous, wonderful people the lot of them. Five of them already knew each other, and the other five of us had met only online. By the end of a couple of hours it felt like we had all known each other for years. I really felt welcomed into the fold.

The concert itself was just marvellous. I adore Mr B's musical stylings anyway, and to see him in The Elgar Room at The Albert Hall was just perfect. He played a brilliant set, Carshalton did his bit, and there was a wonderful opera singer who sang Straight Outta Compton to the tune of O Sole Mio. Surprisingly brilliant. Afterwards I had the opportunity to meet Mr B. He signed my CD and his lovely Mrs took a picture of us both. Turns out they know people in my home town. It is a very small world. I arrived back at my room just before midnight, and had an hour and a half talking to a chap I've been getting to know. Finally, sleep.

Friday, Good Friday in fact, dawned brightly. Messaged the chap a bit more, and then got myself ready to walk down to the V&A. I hate google maps. It said it would take 42 minutes to walk, and I followed their route exactly. An hour and 15 mins later I collapsed into a little heap on the V&A steps! I had of course got my overnight bag with me, and was in heels. Urgh! Anyway, met up with a couple of the people from the night before, and we had a great couple of hours together in the museum. We explored Japan, Islamic art, and some British too. They have the same sense of humour as I have, eg warped, and it was great to be there with them. Sadly, all too soon it was time to go.

The journey home, via coach, took over 6.5 hours. So glad to get home by the end of it. There was an EDL march outside a mosque in London which delayed up 45 mins, and an accident on the M1, but other than that it just dragged. Still, I had a few messages from the chap, and had plenty to read and listen to.

Would I do it again? Go all the way down there for a concert lasting less than 2 hours? Hell yes, especially if I were meeting up with any of this group again. I've made some lovely new friends, and spent time in the places I love.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Interesting people.

At the beginning of the year, before all the changes happened, I had decided that my new years resolution was to end 2014 in a more fabulous position than I had started it. One way I wanted to do that was by meeting new people.
Last month, after corresponding with the Interesting Chap, I took his advice and joined the magazine fan page. Best advice I have ever been given!
Not only am I going to meet with some of the people on there for the Mr B concert, but I have made the digital acquaintance of a few others, and they are fascinating people.
• I'll be meeting the Norwegian at the concert. I believe he is ex-military.
• The Greek is a poet who has travelled widely. At present no plans to meet but if he is ever in the country for an event I find interesting then who knows.
• The Pagan is someone I'm planning to meet in around 6 weeks time (diary clashes prevent it being sooner). We chatted for seven hours last night, on every subject under the sun.
• There are a couple who will be at the concert, and another chap who will be there though I don't know if he will be alone as I will. We haven't chatted other than on the concert thread.
• The Yorkshire man (lives in London) is another I have chatted with, and would like to meet if the opportunity arose. He and his family won't be in London when I will be this week unfortunately.
And everyone else has interesting view points and experiences to share.
So thank you to the original Chap. Thanks to you I have met people I wouldn't necessarily have done otherwise. I have a lot to learn from each and every one of them in some way, and I relish the opportunity.

Sunday, 6 April 2014


For a couple of years now, I have been off alcohol. As a teen and student I had more than my fair share, and I found that I simply wasn't bothered by it any more. Ex doesn't often drink as he is generally on medication that precludes this, and I was never keen on the idea of drinking alone. This past week though...

I have rediscovered Gin. My Mum introduced me to the joys of a Gordon's & Tonic, while Dad instilled in me a love of a decent ale. None of this lager stuff, oh no.

I was in the supermarket on Monday evening, purchasing victuals for that evenings meal, and the urge came upon me. I therefore purchased a bottle of Gordon's finest London Gin. I have in the past purchased Tesco Value, but that has always been for the purpose of turning it into Damson Gin. For actual drinking, I have always stuck to the green bottle of bliss.

Except for Thursday, I have enjoyed a good Gin every evening. Only one, bar for Friday night when I treated myself to two. No risk of binge drinking around here! I'm not supposed to have fizzy drinks (because of my surgery) so I'm limiting myself because of the Tonic Water. 

I am a member of The Chap Magazine facebook fan group, and I posted this week asking for recommendations for other Gins to try. I have been provided with the following list:

Tanqueray - this seems to be the clear winner, therefore will be next on my list.
Hendricks was the next most recommended.
Sipsmiths - they look to do a distillery tour which might be interesting.
Bombay Sapphire
Plymouth Gin.
Plymouth Navy Strength
Number 3 Gin. 
Old Tom style gin.
Tanqueray 10
No. 3 Gin
Juniper Green Organics
Beefeater London Dry
Liverpool Gin
Mother's Ruin of Walthamstow
Martin Millers.

In terms of Own brands, Waitrose and Aldi have been recommended.

So, I think once the Gordon's is finished, Tanqueray will be the next one to try. I'm never going to dislike Gordon's, but it is definitely going to be good to broaden my horizons in future.

Do you have any to add to this list?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


If I ever have children then I hope for their sake that it is through either adoption or marrying their father.


My teeth. Any biological children I may have will have a 50% chance of inheriting my problems. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, and certainly not on the fruit of my loins.

A fully grown adult should have 32 permanent teeth, including 'Wisdom' teeth - mine didn't give me any wisdom, sadly, though I count myself fortunate that I didn't have any pain when they came through. Small mercies, given all the nights when I woke my parents up crying out in pain at toothache through my late childhood to mid teens. Yup, even through thick walls (17th century farmhouse), they could hear me.

Having just had a quick count up (it didn't take long) I can confirm that I have... drum roll please...  21 teeth. 9 on the bottom deck, and the remainder on the top deck. That is appalling. 4 were removed in my mid teens to create space in my mouth because of crowding (which helped ease the constant toothache), and the remainder have gradually crumbled and had to be removed. There comes a time when it just isn't worth carrying on trying to rebuild them. The vast majority have had fillings, and new fronts or backs welded on.

I found this link, which shows the numbering typically used - and I've lifted one of the diagrams to show below.
My teeth are constantly trying to move forward, creating a lot of pressure and eventually 'popping' the ones in front of them. I have yet another appointment booked for tomorrow, because the back of one of my central incisors (9) is on the verge of coming off. Again. Why? Because number 11 is trying to sneak further forward. No reason why it should, since I don't have number 12 to push it. 13 and 14 are there, but 15 and 16 aren't.

I was trying to work out which ones I'm missing on the bottom deck, but because so many of them have moved forward from their original places, I'm no longer sure. I'm fairly certain that my number 18 is now where number 19 should be, as 19 is one of the four spacers that came out. 17 crumbled to dust. On the other side, I don't have a space where the spacer one was removed, so who knows which is which now.

What I'm expecting my dentist to say tomorrow is that I've 3 fillings which need to be replaced because of movement, and that I need the back of number 9 fixing. I have asked repeatedly to be considered for complete extraction, but because I'm only 34 they really don't want to. If I lose any more then perhaps they will consider it. It isn't worth fitting braces, I don't think, as there just aren't enough teeth to anchor them to! My teeth are straight, it is just their migratory pattern that needs to be stopped in its tracks.

Ho hum, here we go again.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Film: The Grand Budapest Hotel

I've just returned from a trip to my local cinema, a one screen affair that probably hasn't changed much in the last three or four decades. Dated it may be, but it was the perfect surroundings in which to watch:
The Grand Budapest Hotel.

I'd seen a couple of trailers for it, and I knew it wasn't something many of my friends would like, so I decided to go on my own. Glad I did, rather than missing out.

I can't say too much without giving the plot away, and there are plenty of sites out there that can do that for you. What I will say is that it is told from the view point of the lowly lobby boy, who becomes a key player.

Visually, it is stunning. The sections filmed in the hotel are a candy-coloured cinematographic delight, and the story itself is compelling. The cast is brilliant, and the characters are well written.

Go and see it if you can.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Learning from life.

I'm trying hard to learn something about me from everything I experience. To try and turn negatives into positives, because of the learning opportunity. It isn't always easy, but I feel it is more healthy than wallowing, even though that would definitely be easier.

So, what have I learnt this year, and what from?

My marriage ending showed me that actually I'm braver than I thought. I always thought I was a lot more insecure, but if that was the case surely I'd have clung onto the relationship even longer? Why would I be enthusiastic about striking out on my own otherwise? I've also learnt that being on my own doesn't scare me as much as I thought it would.

Weight loss has revealed an inner confidence I didn't know I have. I catch sight of myself sometimes, and rather than grimacing and moving away from the mirror, I try to appreciate what I like about myself. Love my eyes, and I've been told I have a nice smile.

Passing Exams has taught me that actually, I'm not thick. I didn't feel I had a decent grasp on certain areas of my job, but if that were the case then I wouldn't have passed both first time. I've currently got the highest combined score in the team, and I need to enjoy that. Yes, there are areas I still need to improve on but then there will always be.

Communication with a chap down south has taught/reminded me that I find people endlessly fascinating, and that a little mild flirtation can be fun, especially when you have absolutely no intention of it leading to anything.

Studying for my exams has taught me that I can be quite self disciplined when I need to be. By booking in my exams before I was ready, I ensured that I had to set aside time to study. Left to my own devices I'd still be putting it off now.

A (very) short romance with a new chap has taught me lots. It lasted just over a week, but got too serious too fast, I think. It taught me that actually, I'm a hopeless romantic and I should try to be a little more detached. I threw my whole self into it, and don't regret it, but would it have lasted if we'd taken a slower pace? Who knows, no point in dwelling on it. That in itself is a new thought - through my teen years I was the sort to analyse every little thing. It has also taught me that maybe, just maybe, I can make this 'being just friends' thing work. Hopefully he can too, as he's a great person to know.

The pending house move has taught me that I'm still rather lazy. I should be getting on and doing things, but other aspects of life have been rather more appealing. This last week especially!

So, on the whole, I find I'm a lot more resilient than I used to be. I'm not nearly as emotionally immature as I thought I was, I just need to learn to take a slower pace and not take everything at face value.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Town & Country

I grew up in a very small village called Arncliffe, in the Yorkshire Dales. There are around 35 houses, 1 pub, 1 Church. The village school closed a couple of years ago, and the post office around a decade ago I think.

As a child, it was idyllic. There weren't many kids, but we all played together. We could head off in the morning without our families worrying about us - no concerns about paedophiles or abductors. TV was fine, but playing out was better. I practically lived on my bike.

My grandparents (on my Dad's side) lived 2 miles further up dale, and I was able to walk/cycle up there on my own without supervision, even as a kid. The roads are quiet, even now, and everyone knew me anyway.

As a teenager, the sheen started to wear off. I went to school 7 miles down the road (Threshfield), and the majority of my school friends lived in the nearest 'big' town (Skipton), a further 8.5 miles away (I say 'big' because it really isn't, but always seemed it to me). All of a sudden, it hit home that I couldn't just go out and see my friends, as there was no public transport that could get me back home. Sure, we had sleepovers, but remember this was a time before the internet and before mobile phones were popular so there was no texting/emailing/messaging on an evening. It was either school, sleep overs, or no contact (I've never been a huge fan of phone calls).

6th form took me even further away, to a school 21 miles from home - Cross Hills. This meant getting the school bus at 7am, arriving around 8:20. I've never been good at getting up in a morning, so my saint of a Mother made sure I did. Breakfast was usually eaten on the bus and my friends lived either in the villages around the school, or a further 3 miles down the road in Keighley. We'd grown out of sleep overs, so it was literally only at School that I saw them. I still loved my village, but it was darned inconvenient living there.

University saw me spread my wings. I went away to Lancaster, which is only round 40 miles away, but took an hour and 10 minutes on the train, plus 30 mins in the car from Skipton to home. Living in Lancaster was wonderful - I was with my friends all the time, in a properly big town (bordering on a small city really), and experiencing lots of exciting new things. Home was a respite from the hustle and bustle, but I still couldn't wait to get back when holidays ended.

Everything changed when I finished college, in summer 2001. The tranquillity turned to isolation. I lived back at home for perhaps 3 weeks before getting a job in town and moving in with my sister and her husband. 3 months later I got my first mortgage. I've lived in town ever since.

This brings me to now, 13 years later. I'm having to consider where to live, as the house is going on the market asap, and I find myself considering Arncliffe once again. Only problem is, I can't drive! So, looking towards Colne at the moment. This is in (gasp!) Lancashire, but the prices are right. It is on a good bus route, but is where my brief romance chap (next post) lives, which could be awkward. You'd hope it wouldn't be, but really who knows. I don't know anyone else over there, and wouldn't want to turn into a limpet.

I also have to consider access to amenities and to culture. Living in the village would mean poor access to either. While it would be good to be back in my home Church, I have to consider my wider interests too. However, village life would give the the peace and quiet I love, as well as time to evaluate what I actually want from life.

Hmm, decisions decisions.