Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Am A London Twat

Despite my country upbringing, I don't seem to be adjusting very well to this 'living in Cornwall' lark.

The first clue was when I pitched up at Costa Coffee yesterday morning at eight on the dot (I was hoping it might open at seven, but this proved unfounded) expecting to find it teeming with Falmouth's business and media elite ordering extra-shot lattes to go. Instead, I found it empty save for one barista sitting peacefully drinking hot chocolate and reading the paper.

And then this morning, as I was beetling back out of town in my fancy city coat, with my laptop bag on my back and skinny latte in hand, I found myself in the midst of the farmers' market, where I promptly demonstrated a total inability to a) correctly identify a goose's egg*, b) correctly identify any sort of fish at all, not even a cod, or c) express any kind of intelligent opinion whatsoever on the bacterial culture inside a lamb's liver.

Mr BC is going away for a couple of days on Thursday. I'm not sure I can cope on my own. I'll probably embarrass myself by accidentally trying to organise a flashmob outside Woolworths, or asking which zone Perranarworthal is in.

I really hope my London twatness will go away soon.

* Apparently it was actually a duck's egg, doh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Random Access Memory Lane

This blog's been going so long it's now a bona fide part of internet history.

Like every other website that's ever existed*, it's been archived by the Wayback Machine Internet Archive, a project that aims to preserve old web pages for the edification and entertainment of future generations.

Earlier I enjoyed looking at what my blog used to look like in the olden days, before there were comments and post titles:

I was clearly much cooler then than I am now, what with living in North London, going on trips to San Francisco, reading weighty books about feminism and technology, and writing things in lower case. And didn't my blogroll look all neat and lovely, sigh. Mind you, I was on medication then, which probably explains it.

I also rediscovered the randomly-generated spoof Elle Decoration article that my brother and the lovely S and I (but mainly my brother) created, and which you can enjoy at your leisure here. Click refresh for more silliness.

* This may be a slight exaggeration.

UPDATE: Also, some of my apocryphal missing blog posts from 2004!

UPDATE 2: Sorry all, I know this is of no interest to anyone but me.

Never Mind All That Now

News reaches London from the market town of Saint Chinian in the Languedoc that local estate agents Ariane Immobilier have sold my house!

Not only that, they've sold it to a young French couple who work in said market town, thus repressing the seemingly irrepressible tide of retired expat Brits who already make up the large majority of the population of the tiny hamlet where I have my house.

This is A Good Thing.

And even though I have to give half of the money to ex-Mr P, it means I'll finally be able to pay off the massive debts I accrued in 2004 from:

a) getting married

b) trashing my mum's car and having to buy her a new one

c) paying the rent for three months when ex-Mr P didn't have a job

d) paying for my Granny's house to be done up after she it mysteriously burned it down

2004 wasn't a great year for me, money-wise, and I've been practically penniless* ever since, which has been instructive, but not a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to paying off the credit cards and spending whatever's left on LEGO, TEA and MAGAZINES.

* Not literally, obviously - I've been able to keep myself in M&S microwave meals and Calexico albums and other necessities.

Monday, November 12, 2007

This Blog Post's Rubbish Too

I've spent at least some part of every working day of the last month meticulously crafting the text of a promotional postcard for a new client.

The client - the CEO of a startup software company - and I have discussed the semantics and semiotics of practically every single word on this postcard. I've dished out my best professional advice on how he should position the company and its product to his target market of procurement directors in large companies. We've negotiated over the placement of Oxford commas and capital letters. I've tweezed out widows and orphans to make all the bullet points the same length. We spent an entire week debating the most suitable URL to put on it.

After four weeks of delicate discussions and tiny, incremental modifications, the thing was finally declared by the client to be perfect. It duly went off to the printers, to be printed and delivered to a huge conference in California where the client's product is being launched.

Where it turned out they'd only been printed on one side.

And it wasn't the side with the text on it.

Over the past ten years I've occasionally been troubled by the thought that my contribution to society isn't perhaps among the most valuable. That if I had never existed, nothing would have been much different. That in fact the world might even have been a slightly better place. Today was one of those occasions.

The Remote Cove Cake Hut suddenly looks like quite an attractive proposition.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Women Too Ignorant To Blog - The Times

Just when we thought we'd seen the back of the whole 'women are too stupid/too busy cooking to blog' thing, LC has just sent me this article about this week's Society of Editors conference.

Apparently Anne Spackman*, the head of Times Online, thinks that online journalism (and that includes blogging) will be the preserve of men in future, because women lack the technological skills to, er, write stuff on the internet.

And I thought *I* was the one betraying the sisterhood!

* Insert your own joke.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Habitual Lack Of Forethought

One of my most vivid childhood (probably early teen) memories is of my Dad shouting at me for exhibiting a 'habitual lack of forethought'.

Even though about 25 years have gone by since then, I don't really think my capacity for forethought has improved any.

One indication is the fact that right in front of me is a whiteboard, which is divided up into three to-do lists: one for my current job, which I'm leaving at the end of the month; one for my new company, which starts trading on the 1st December (a Saturday, but I'm keen, and I've got a project to start with the Economist, which is terribly exciting for me because I like the Economist in the same sort of way that Apple fanboys like the iPhone), and one for The Big Move.

The first two lists are terribly busy and organised, with tick boxes that are progressively being ticked off, asterisks to denote urgent items, scrawled-on phone numbers, meeting appointments and exclamation marks.

The to-do list for The Big Move is a different story. It has one solitary item: 'Call Removals people'. This has a tick next to it, because I *have* called the removals people, on several occasions, to the extent that I'm now almost sure they're going to turn up next Friday and take all my stuff to Cornwall.

I think that a large part of my brain is actually convinced that I've now done everything I need to do to prepare for the move. A mild ripple of concern ruffled the stillness earlier when I suddenly half-remembered that normal people tend to make entire spreadsheets for moving house, but I managed to put it to the back of my mind. I've called the Removals people, after all. Everything will be just fine.


6.30am: Get up, write and send off a detailed proposal for fantastic new project that on its own would constitute half of my entire first-year revenue target for the new company I'm setting up. Woo!

7.30am: Wander into Hammersmith with the lovely Mr BC, source grande skinny latte from Caffe Nero. Mmm.

8.00am: Walking back to Shepherd's Bush, notice lone magpie hopping about conspicuously in Wingate Road. Think 'Nice try, magpie, but I'm having a brilliant day. Nothing could possibly go wrong.'

8.30am: Arrive back at desk, do some work, carefully prepare documentation for opening new business bank account, using the checklist the bank gave me on Monday. Everything is in order. Am very proud of self.

09.30am: Walk to Chiswick, arrive at bank.

10.00am: Leave bank. Apparently I can't open a business account today as I was given the wrong information by bank staff on Monday.

10.30am: Arrive back at desk to find that the detailed proposal I wrote and sent at 7.00am had managed to send itself as a blank email, so I have to write the whole thing again.

Bloody magpie.

Monday, November 05, 2007

House For Sale, Languedoc, France

Public Service Announcement:

If anyone fancies (or knows anyone who fancies) buying a house in the lovely Languedoc region in the south of France, here's the ad for my place, which (as you can see) is on the market for 110,000 euros.

Tell all your friends!

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I'm quite worried about moving to Falmouth. I've lived in London for nine years, after all, and before that I lived in Slough, which is practically in Zone 6, and before that I lived in Windsor, which is practically in Slough, so all told I've lived in the Greater London area since about 1873, which is one of the reasons I find the idea of moving to the other end of the country quite alarming.

Here are some of the things I worry might happen in Cornwall:

1. I will be lynched by Cornish Nationalists, paraded through the streets of Mawnan Smith and then burnt at the stake, naked and tied by the tongue to Jamie Oliver, while the Owlman of Portreath recites ancient incantations as our flesh starts to melt and combine.

2. No one will give me any work, and I will become penniless and eventually starve to death in Costa Coffee, slumped over a nice flowery notebook from Becky Biddle's Notebook and Lampshade Emporium, in which I will have made copious notes for my never-to-be-published anti-chicklit novel.

3. The lovely Mr BC will go to seek his fortune in Hollywood, leaving me to fend for myself. After ten years he will return to find that the Owlman of Portreath has claimed me for his bride, and that I have borne five owl-children and grown old and pock-marked.

4. I will turn into some sort of hippy.

5. After four months without access to a Caffe Nero, I will suddenly snap, leg it back to London for a grande skinny latte and an almond pain au chocolat, and never come back.

6. A seagull will make off with me in its beak.

7. That's enough bad things that could happen in Cornwall now.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NHS Fails To Live Up To Expectations

The other day I had occasion to visit an NHS hospital for the first time since 1976.

(I haven't gone private or anything; I've just never been ill or injured.)

My only knowledge of NHS hospitals having come to me through newspapers and television, I was expecting it to be like a cross between Bioshock and 28 Days Later: filthy, cracked windows; floors swimming in blood; groaning, MRSA-infested patients swarming through pus-encrusted corridors, etc.

Instead, I found it to be an oasis of hygiene and efficiency: I was attended to straightaway by nice people with clean uniforms and fancy equipment, there were pleasant cafés and shops, and a general atmosphere of lightness, airiness and commodiousness.

I was most disappointed.

Still, perhaps they were hiding the zombies in the gore shed round the back.