Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Whine whine whine. (Not to be confused with wine wine wine, which is considerably more fun and less annoying to read about.)

I have now been ill for about a week. Not ill enough to justify lying around delicately looking wan, refusing food and being all Jane-Austen-heroine, but just ill. Crap, boring, hating-everything-but-mostly-myself ill. Coughing my internal organs out by night and wandering around freezing cold and miserable by day.

The meeting I was meant to have this morning (and cycle six miles to) has thankfully been cancelled, but I still have to go to Leeds and back and then host Thirsty Music tonight, and then lead a choir workshop tomorrow and a music workshop on Friday. WOE. Oh GOD I have so much NICE STUFF to be doing. Indeed I am to be pitied.

I feel so dramatic about it. I want to shout and demand to be wrapped in a slanket and placed in front of every episode of Charmed ever made. I want a little bell I can ring when I want the cat to bring me tea and toast and large doses of sympathy. I want it not to be bloody February, I want warmth and comfort instead of cold, hard snow-imminent crapness. It's got to the point where, when people ask "how are you?", I am actually telling them. This is not good.

I am meant to be planning stuff, and instead I am sulking, blogging and listening idly to the next door neighbours as they kill each other (a daily practice). The walls are so thin that I can hear every word, so much so that, if I wanted to, I could take sides. I don't want to, though. Partly because I am terrified of them, but mostly because both sides of the argument are completely insane. I am sometimes a bit envious, though. I've never really gone in for the shouty, screamy style of arguing, preferring instead the pursed-lipped, tense low discussion technique. I wonder if they would do a seminar.

("Hi there, yes, I'm from next door. So sorry to bother, I just wondered if I could borrow some of your rage? Just a cup of salt-of-the-earth, working-class shoutiness, I don't seem to have any in. I can exchange it for some middle-class terse, passive-aggressive, bottle-it-up-until-you-need-therapy anguish, I've got loads of that.")

My guitar is gathering dust and my valentine's roses are dead. I am sulking. The cat is asleep, oblivious to the fact that if he just got off his arse and made me some tea, he would make me eight billion times happier (approx.).

The neighbours have quietened down. Perhaps they can hear what I am typing and are going to kill me for referring to them as working-class. I WAS JOKING! Look, I put that bit in capitals! Oh, God.

Right, off to do be morose and self-pitying until I have to get on a train to Leeds. Good times.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Meet Glinda, Darlin'

Today I got a new bike. I reserved it a few weeks ago, making the kind of decision I like to make ("That one's nice. And it's on sale? I'll take it. No, I don't need to see the others.") and finally today managed to actually go and collect it. Complete with basket, helmet, lights, wheels, brakes and those other things you're meant to have. Pedals, that's it.

She's light blue, and more elegant than I could ever hope to be. I have decided to call her Glinda, after the Good Witch of the North. If she was a human she would have blonde ringlets and shy away from swearing. She would wear pastels and gilets and never have missed work because she was hungover on a Wednesday. Her notebook would be covered with line drawings of kittens and she would say "golly" a lot. In spite of all of this, I like Glinda, and suspect that she will be a good influence.

Ben and I cycled to B&Q today. My first outing on Glinda. She went calmly and without a fuss, as if B&Q is her natural home. It isn't of course, now that I have decided she is female. I'm not saying women can't cope with B&Q, I just mean that I feel like the workers there, all men, clustered around bits of wood talking about padlocks, looked at me a bit askance as I trailed in behind Ben. I crept past the planers, singing their siren song to a few unfortunate men who stood lost in woodwork dreams. I was dwarfed in the roofing aisle, where glorious clouds of loft insulation billowed to infinity. We discussed shelving and stuff that makes damp rooms less damp, then Ben piled our spoils into his trailer and we set off home again.

Back home and Ben clomped about in our diminutive yard, affixing all three bikes to some heavy weights and chains, while I made some tea. (Finally, back from B&Q, in the kitchen messing about with jam, where I belong. What a relief! Please note: I am embroidering this blog post.)

Where we live you have to weigh things down to prevent them being nicked. (That is why I have been eating more crisps recently.) When my family was up this weekend, my Dad wandered into our kitchen, gazed out over the redbrick terraces, and began quietly to whistle the Coronation Street theme tune. I do not want Glinda to get stolen. Other people might not know she's a Good Witch, and just think of her as some kind of mode of transport. The horror! Luckily she is sleeping restfully underneath some lovely blue tarpaulin with two bodyguards. I might sneak out in the middle of the night with some faux fur and a sleeping mask.

I have been meaning, recently, to write about a word I hate. Darlin'.

It isn't principle. It's experience. It reminds me of being addressed by patronizing, put-you-in-your-place men. It's the lexical equivalent of a wink and a gentle bum squeeze. Thanks, darlin'. You're a love, you're a star, oh, that's lovely, darlin'. Just take your top off and make us a brew, be a love. Cheers, darlin'.

Not all men are Like That, very few, in fact. I'm not being sexist, most men I know wouldn't, you know. You're looking fresh you're looking so good, oh I could just. Have you washed your hair, it's looking nice. You're looking. Nice. How could I not believe blue eyes like that? Stand still, let's have a look.

(Laughter) Don't, you're scaring her!

(I'm not scared, I'm being sick in my mouth.)

Stand still. While I mentally undress and airbrush.

I'll have some salt and vinegar crisps, please, darlin'. Those ones, on the bottom shelf. Not really, just wanted to see how you bend over! S'alright, darlin', I'm only kidding. Just a joke! Don't look so. She's scared, you've scared her!

Slavering eyes and indulgent chuckles.

Sorry, darlin'. Thanks, love.

It isn't principle. It's association. Most men aren't Like That but those who are stick in my mind and my ears with their comments and their obsequious false respect.

I know why I hate that word. How can I sum all this up? Does that make sense?

Tomorrow I will take Glinda for a spin, after I have been to Birmingham and back (on the train. I am not over-estimating my cycling prowess quite that much). I am hoping that, as a good witch, she will be able to plow over any sleaze who calls me darlin'.

Mmm, nice (pannier) rack.