Friday, July 27, 2007

Heads Up People

In between the make-up, the fragrance reviews and my constant navel-gazing, there are important issues which I try to discuss/raise/disseminate. What follows are two things which I would appreciate your following up on. In and amongst all the porn and video games, there's some good stuff happening on the internet and in Blogland. In my little reality, this is our stand for common sense, the belief in right and wrong and freedom of speech.

Random Acts of Reality flagged this and I think it's worth looking at. I won't go into great detail. Dr Crippen covers it well. Gobsmacked is the only word that comes to mind.

Twining, my favourite Pink Panther of the Black in Blue fame, blogged about this incident that happened at a council meeting. To say I am appalled is actually a bit of an understatement. Unfortunately, I've got no further information other than what he blogged.

Please have a look. Join the debate.

Dior Addict 2

I have gone over to the Dark Side. I have been trying perfumes from other Cosmetics' Houses. I know. I hear you gasp in shock and are rightly appalled. After all, on the Back Wall there are many hundreds of fragrances to try. But I was weak willed, and went back to an old favourite. There's a story behind it as well which I'll share with you.

Alix had been working on the Back Wall in the department store for a few months and she liked to give samples to her friends for odd occasions. She gave me the sample for Addict 2 to try and I really liked it. My boyfriend at the time didn't. In fact, he loathed it and moaned as I used my sample up. When I saw the light and good sense re-asserted itself and I was once again happily single I bought myself a bottle. For reasons that I still don't understand, it didn't smell the same as my sample, it still smelt good, but just not the same. Fast forward to present day and I find myself covering for Dior and once again sniffing appreciatively...

It is gorgeous. It's got hints of grapefruit, bergamot, freesia, grenadine, sandalwood and white musks. Yummy, yummy. If I was to have a gripe about it, I would say, it doesn't last long enough. After a couple of hours and another spritz is needed. Mind you it is an Eau de Toilette.

Work has been going just fine. One of the advantages of being an As & When person is that if I don't feel like working, I don't have to. If I want more work, I can usually get it. It also means that I don't get bored with it. I can turn up all enthusiastic, whirl around like a mini-dervish and bugger off again to eat fish and chips with my Boy.

I've also discovered that I'm a lousy star-spotter. Yesterday, I was on fire. I was selling like a little demon. I made two really big sales which sorted our targets for male fragrances before mid-day. About mid-day, I approached a past-middle aged gentleman in a very unflattering hat. However, I am professionalism embodied. He enquired about skin-care ranges, I pointed him towards Dr Hauschka (which is amazing) gave him a bit of info as I led him over to the other section. In awhile he went off and my colleague who I'd led him to said in hushed, awed tones:

"You know who that was?" says she.

"No," says I. She tells me three times who it was, and I still don't believe her. He was big in the 70s, brilliant in the 80s and is still around in various repeats on cable. He's also a well-known Norfolk resident. In his hey-day, I rather fancied his Irish good looks.

Unfortunately, I was blissfully unaware. Or perhaps, from his perspective, fortunately.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I wanna be like Osama

Another gem found during a blog trawl. Many thanks to PC Bloggs for this morning's laugh.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

definitely beautiful

Voila...behold the new blog! It's called definitely beautiful and there's a link on Bus Shelters should you so wish to come and visit. Send me your work via my e-mail (which you'll find under my Profile), your blogging name and the name you wish to be posted under. I'm not so sure about copyrights etc, but that should remain with you, the author/poet/artist. I've also put some guidelines up beside the blog, I know I'm being authoritarian, but I envisage this as being a safe space for writers to put bits of their work up, secure in the knowledge that they will be getting the best feedback. Trolls will be executed on sight/site.

I have been a bit cheeky and put links to sites of those in artistic endeavours, if you'd rather your work not be included I will sulk, but will immediately remove your link.

I've put up a poem to get things started, but it's not meant to be a site for my work, rather it's a resource for anyone to contribute. Send me stuff and I'll post it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Impotence of Proofreading by Taylor Mali

Thanks to CSI:UK for introducing me to this fabulous Slam Poet. I have been crying with laughter at this. It's so true.

Wedding Recovery Position

For those people who believe in omens and like applying them to weddings, Alix's marriage is blessed. When we got up stupid o'clock it was like a January day; cold, windy and grey. Thank goodness my Viking is so impossibly tall, he managed to achor the paperchains really high on the plum tree in the front of G's garden. By the time we made it back from town for emergency purchases it was sunny and warm and it stayed that way for the handfasting ritual which was held outside. After the wedding toast, the guests were invited into the village hall for munchies and obligatory speechs. The heavens opened, I kid you not. It threw it down. We ate far too much food, enjoyed the wine and conversation on the table, then we were thrown out of the hall so tables could be re-arranged to make a dance floor. It was bright and sunny outside. When we were allowed back in...yep, you guessed it, it started to rain again.

The handfasting was brief and to the point and Alix looked absolutely amazing in her dress. I was fine during the ceremony until she became emotional while she was saying her vows. Boy did not need any prompting to pass the tissue. I was not alone, we passed tissues left and right.

The evening do was lovely, G and J are the founding members of the Staxx Band, and they and Alix entertained us all with some amazing Motown tunes. I had to dance. Thanks to some foresight and Boy, we took with us a back pack filled with emergency supplies of flat shoes, make-up, tissues and cameras. I even managed to get the Viking to shake his funky stuff.

All in all, it was a splendid day. A brilliant start to what I hope will be a long and happy marriage.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Wedding Marines

I've been married and I've lived with a few men (not at the same time) and I can honestly say, there's just something fabulous about weddings. A wedding is a public affirmation that the relationship is permanent, whatever the terms of the vows. It's a committment recognised by the couple's family and community.

I got married on a budget tighter than a duck's arse. I borrowed my wedding dress, Rowan's grandmother organised the wedding breakfast and the evening reception. We borrowed a cottage in a nearby village for the weekend as our honeymoon. We didn't have a hen or stag do, instead we gathered together our friends and had a meal out. I remember my wedding day with a great deal of affection. My marriage might have gone tits up despite our best intentions, but we began it well and I got the best of the deal, my Boy.

Alix is getting married today and I'm so excited. They've been together for 3 years and as a couple, they suit each other down to the ground. Both artistic and academic in equal measure, both OCD, they're even a similar height, bless them.

I rousted the men in my life out of bed at stupid o'clock to decorate the front garden of the house where she spent the night. A couple of days ago, I gratefully accepted Gertie's help to make loads of paper chains, we ended up making enough to fill a black bin bag. I bought rose petals, orange blossom, lavender and jasmine flowers, as well as some pink and cream ribbons. I had my very tall Viking artistically drape their plum tree with the paper chains, while Boy swept their path and I be-ribboned the gate. As far as military manoevres go, it was nigh on perfect except for the damned weather. The minute I strew the flower petals on the path, they blew all over the bloody place. It looked great when we left, I'm praying it'll look great when she comes out. I meant to take a photo, but forgot to take the camera with us. Bum. I will be taking loads of pictures later.

I ended up buying three dresses for this occasion, a cardigan, a wrap, shoes, accessories, but my Viking tells me I'm a disgrace to my sex because I lack a small girlie bag. I'm going to give Boy my back pack to carry spare shoes (little ballet pumps for when we're outside, or when my feet hurt too much), make up (for when I howl) and the wrap and cardi. Frankly the thought of forking out money for a white bag fills me with dread. Unless of course Primani can come to the rescue. Hmm.....there's a thought.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Interesting Times

This is but a quick update. I'm in my pink, fluffy dressing gown drinking my coffee while keeping a beady eye on the clock. I've got to go into work in a moment.

Basically, I'm picking up extra work at the department store to try and sort out the deficit in my bank account caused by far too much make-up, shoes and the buying of dresses to attend weddings.

Speaking of which, tomorrow Alix gets married. An event which I'm really looking forward to. I've known her since she was 18 and now she's all grown up and getting ready to tie the knot. It'll be my Viking's first taste of a hand fasting (wedding vows for pagans) which will be interesting for him. Especially since in August, I'll be attending his cousin's wedding. It feels like we're 'official'. A strange feeling for me, I can tell you.

Gertie has headed back South, and bless her, I think she deserved a medal putting up with me and Boy. I'm still knackered from the end of the degree and not doing a huge amount of anything and Boy is still enjoying his new, X-Box game, Oblivion, so he's not exactly moving very far from the futon or being particularly dynamic.

Right, I'd better head off. I doubt I'll have time to blog tonight as my To Do list includes: DIY facial and manicure for tomorrow.

PS. I solved the dress crisis thanks to M&S. Yay!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

News Flash

Just in from work. Now about to go out.

Got a letter from college. I have an unconditional offer of a place on the MA!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Saucer Depth

I was thinking about the comment Mutley made on my last post. I read it this morning as I cuddled up to my cup of coffee. I must confess to being a touch irritated. Being called a chav before I'd finished my coffee was a bit much; and then I laughed. I was irritated because I had been wondering about it myself.

I meant to do some research before I posted here, but I'm running out of energy, so I'll give you my thoughts and if it means that much to you, you can go off and do some research yourself. To decorate the human body is one of the oldest pastimes besides sex. Consider primitive tribes all over the world. They find ways of decorating, tattooing, piercing, scarifying their bodies. Body art and decoration acts as a way of showing social status, marital status, gender, age. It also acts as the preparation for rituals, coming of age events, weddings, funerals etc. I remember watching a programme, I think it was the Discovery Channel, and there were a group of bare breasted women, plaiting each other's hair and painting each other's bodies with red ochre, then they all went off to the social event singing and dancing.

I never did the make-up thing before this Christmas. It seemed too indulgent, too selfish. I had a couple of lipsticks for a few years going furry at the bottom of my handbag. Very rarely bothered with it when I went in to work, might slap on some gloss for an evening do. When I got those 9 days in the department store I had to learn really quickly about fragrances, cosmetics, make-up etc. And I have to say, I liked what I saw. I've gone from 1 fragrance to 8 (a lot of them are testers), I've gone from one small bag with an eyeshadow, a gloss and lipstick, to 2 boxes and a basket full of cosmetics and make-up. I have moisturisers for day and evening, serums to hydrate and prevent wrinkles, toner. Not forgetting Touche Eclat, which really is a girl's best friend, hides all manner of sins. Then there's 3 foundations (2 powder, 1 lotion), pressed powders and blusher. I've got eye shadow pallettes and singles. I've got eye liners and lip liners, masscara and lip glosses and lip sticks and pots. Oh, I'd nearly forgot about the little pot of shiny loose eye powder. Then there's the latest, my nail varnishes and of course the nail varnish remover.

I admit that it's probably a touch over the top, but I love it all.

In my experience men don't notice very much about a woman's appearance. If you ask my Viking, I suspect he'd tell you he's completely unbothered by my wearing make-up. I suspect he'd rather I didn't bother, because there would be a chance we might get somewhere on time. He likes me just the way I am. Which is lovely beyond belief.

But I don't wear make-up for him. Or any other man, for that matter.

Although, it's lovely to think that appearances don't matter, I think of the women I know who are au naturel. They've generally had low-self esteem, seriously lacked confidence and were quite unhappy in themselves and in their relationships. The women I know who wear a bit of slap aren't necessarily any more sorted or together, but they tend to be a bit more spikey and pluckey.

I wear make-up for me. It makes me feel good. It might very well be argued that because I'm feeling good, I want to look good. I'm in a period of my life where I'm content with where I'm going, what I'm doing and who I'm sharing my journey with. Or perhaps I've just discovered that I've really got the emotional depth of a saucer.

By the way, the Bronzeberry still looks fabulous.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bronzeberry

For my male, hetrosexual readers - my apologies. More girlie stuff.

My Boy had his in-grown toenails done last Friday. An event I found equally as traumatic as he did, though he will tell you that the worst part about the whole experience was the sandals he was forced to wear to school for two days at the start of the week. Yesterday, the chiropodist gave his instructions for further care of the two big toes. Unfortunately, I have no brain of late and completely forgot to get the pile of bandages and stuff. So after coming home from work, I had to walk back into the city to the Boots in Chapelfield. Fortunately, it was late night shopping there and I was able to get the supplies.

When Gertie came in, she told me about Stuff that was on sale: foundations for a £1, lipglosses and eyeshadows going cheap. I was so good. I had a quick look as I went past going towards the pharmacy section, but didn't stop. I was strong. I bought the necessaries, I headed out the store. And then it happened.

I stopped and looked at their nail-polish. No 7 stuff, going begging. I rooted through the bin, like the bargain hunter I really am. I found Bronzeberry Speed Dry nail varnish. It was love at first sight. It sat there in the bargain bin, looking all lonely and lovely, all the while the banker in my brain is busy lecturing and wagging his thick finger at me. I did try and deny my love. But I couldn't. I was a weak woman. I hang my head in shame.

I am now a Bronzeberry woman. My nails are really red and sparkley. I've lost 2 hours tonight indulging. Pure bliss. I go to bed tonight a very happy woman. Even if I'm £5 the poorer.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Crash and Burn

Since graduating on Wednesday, I've been sobering up and slobbing. Gertie is with me for the next few weeks picking up some supply teaching while she can. Boy is busy recovering from having his in-grown toenails operated on. The cat is busy teasing her beau next door and sleeping. All in all my household is limping along.

Tomorrow, I've got my interview for the MA in Digital Art and in my usual fashion I've done nothing but think about it. So, rather than get on and prepare my presentation I'm blogging. No change there then.

While having a coffee in my local cafe, I had a brainstorm (no, not a thought-shower) and then I thought I'd run it past you guys, see what you think. I was thinking of setting up another blog, but for it to be dedicated to looking at poetry and bits of prose. So that someone would e-mail me a piece of writing, I'd post it and everyone would comment on it...constructive and useful comments that is. I'd be the moderator, so the site would be troll free. Whatcha think? Anyone interested?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Proof


I did it! I did it!

I graduated! What a fab day. Boy was chuffed to have to leave school really early. Gee came along as my mater-in-standing. I couldn't stop smiling.

Unfortunately, I couldn't stop drinking! Not helped that my CL bought me a large glass of wine and he and the God of Poetry then sat down and swapped tales of cats and poetry.

Gee had to be the responsible adult and headed us home. Gertie has come to stay for 2 weeks, and when she came home after a hard day's schooling, I had to drag her and Boy off tut pub for food and drinikies, kicking and screaming.

It doesn't feel real, but I know I really did do it. Really. I did it. Me.

How cool am I?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pictures

You can now find images of Dublin and journeying here. Enjoy!

Meme Me Baby

Because I'm so awkward, I've decided to do G*N*D's tag as a meme.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING 10 YEARS AGO?
Recovering from my divorce, enjoying my new surname.

SONGS TO WHICH YOU KNOW ALL THE LYRICS?
Under the Bridge - Red Hot Chillis
Killing me Softly - Roberta Flack
Rotterdam - Beautiful South
Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode
Send in the Clowns - ?
Hurt - Johnny Cash
Please Forgive Me - David Grey

Loads of Chants courtesy of the Norwich Chant Collective

FIVE THINGS YOU WOULD DO IF YOU BECAME A MILLIONAIRE
Pay off my mortgage
Travel
Shop
Buy a house with 4 bedrooms, a garden, a sun room, a big kitchen with a dishwasher
Do more voluntary work

FIVE BAD HABITS
Untidy
Hate financial paperwork
Procrastination
Low boredom threshold
Low bullshit tolerance

FIVE THINGS YOU LIKE DOING
Writing (I include blogging in this)
Reading
Socialising
Creative Stuff
Cuddling

FIVE THINGS YOU'LL NEVER WEAR AGAIN
Leggings
Platforms
Hippy Skirts
Mini Skirts
Cat suits

FIVE FAVOURITE TOYS
Camera
Computer
Mobile Phone
MP3 Player
DvD Player

Feel free to copy, paste and let me know your results.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Serendipity

I must admit I was a bit worried when the Viking produced a Lonely Planet with book marks and stars at the beginning of our journey. He had his backpacks, his travelling shoes and was ready to go. I had stress, hayfever and two hours sleep. At Stansted, I found any surface that would prop me up enough so I could breathe and doze. The flight was delayed for an hour, I didn't mind. I could snooze some more.

My father H, was a pilot. He captained for Singapore Airlines in the 80's and flew the star of the fleet, the Big Top Boeings. I spent much of my childhood flying. I loathe and detest it. Take offs and landings, I find particularly horrid. Taking off from Stansted, I squeezed Viking's hand so hard, I'm sure he lost the feeling in his fingers, bless him, he didn't complain. After we made it into the sky, I then did the Squirm as I tried to get comfortable enough to doze. I don't know how the Viking managed to be so relaxed and comfortable. I I'm 5 foot fuck all and I find the seats really uncomfortable. He's like 6 foot plus! When I finally dozed off it was time to land. After we bounced down the runway and came to a stop, Viking turns to me and says 'I'd give that a 4.5'. I cracked up.

I fell in love with Dublin at the airport. It's exactly what you'd envisage a 3rd World airport to be: people sleeping on benches, on the floor, children running in the aisles, no signs, no officialdom to point the way. On the other side of the chaos, on a comfort break I saw a poster advertising the Dublin Pass, money off loads of attractions and stuff from participating outlets and restaurant. We were served by a cute french woman who spent ages with us, showing us the guide book, giving us practical advice, generally being lovely and welcoming.

Joy of joys, a bus trip to Dublin City. My first impression of the city on the walk to the hostel, was damp. But it didn't stop me looking about and enjoying what I saw. Dublin is far more European than any of the British cities I've visited. Part of it is the bi-lingual signage, the Euro and their amazing pedestrian crossings which make a noise that you'd find on a space ship. Viking outdid himself choosing the hostel, it was bang in the middle of things. Bless him, he didn't think an unseasoned traveller like myself would cope with dorms, so we had an en-suite double room. Unfortunately, it was up 4 bloody flights of stairs. *You'll have to use your initiative with the following links, I suspect you'll have to play with the interactive map.*

Hunger overcame the tiredness and we went in search of sustenance. We found the most amazing fish and chip shop, Beshoffs on O'Connell Street. I'm a woman who loves good food, and that was good food. As we ate, I spotted a McDonalds across the street. I was amused to see that its patrons have a universal uniform: white shell suits, lots of gold. The haddock and chips were just what the doctor ordered. I then very happily went back to the hostel and to bed and got some much needed shut-eye.

It's funny, I knew I was stressed, but I really hadn't appreciated how strung out I really was. When I woke up, I could feel the difference, the absence of tension and angst. Bliss. We hit Temple Bar, which was so my kind of vibe. It's the groovy part of the city, lots of pubs, cafes, restaurants, shops, theatres, exhibitions, galleries, craft shops. Stunning, absolutely stunning.

In the 4 days we did: Temple Bar, Trinity College - Book of Kells, Grafton St, St Stephen's Green, Iveagh Gardens, Guinness Storehouse, Christchurch Cathedral, Charles Beatty Library and managed to do some shopping, both touristy and otherwise. I found the most amazing bead shop. How I managed not to buy more than I did, I have no idea, and I spent some serious money there. I like making strings of beads to hang in my windows and by doors.

Rather than give you a blow by blow account of our time there, I'll give you a list of my impressions, take from that what you will.

Irish Guinness. Absolutely fabulous. Tastes nothing like the horrible, bitter, thick stuff you get over here. Go to Ireland. Drink lots of the stuff. It's good for you.

We saw more people from other countries than the Irish. The staff in the hostel were from NZ and the Baltic states. We were served by the French, Egyptians, Chinese, Estonians to name but a few.

Dublin on a Saturday night was absolutely heaving. Temple Bar, where we spent most of our time, was packed with groups of hen nights, with flashing bunny ears, L plates, completely plastered and tottering around on high, high heels; stag nights had matching t-shirts and silly names, champagne bottles. When the groups of pre-nuptial revellers bumped into each other, there was much good natured ribbing and random snogging. We saw lots of scantily clad orange-painted women, and I'm sorry, but fake tan doesn't look any better on Irish women.

Dublin has amazing buskers. We saw living statues, opera singers, fire eaters, fiddlers, samba bands, pavement artists. All of this added to the jovial, party atmosphere of the city. They were talented and not at all pushy.

Dublin is a musical city. Most of the pubs we passed by advertised live music, Irish and otherwise every night of the week. There were 3 major gigs happening while we were there: The Who, REM and Justin Timberlake. On an off chance we managed to acquire some ticked for the JT tickets (I can't abide The Who and REM's live rehearsal was sold out) for Saturday night. We had a brilliant night. I think my Viking nearly suffocated under the weight of all the oestrogen from the screaming female fans. As a tall young man, I think there are worse fates than have lots of young, pretty Irish girls pressing against you. JT was on fine form, his performance was outstanding. I didn't realise he was such a good musician, he played keyboards as well as a guitar, as well as his trademark dancing and beat box.

Dubliners when they are trolleyed are some of the best natured and fun people I've ever met. I never once felt concerned or threatened. I just struggle to find the words to describe the atmosphere. I mean the weather was rubbish. It couldn't make it's mind up, so one minute it would be sunny, the next it would chuck it down and weather can really influence how people act in an urban environment. Not being funny or anything, but Norwich in the wet is miserable. Not the Dubliners, they were damp and bouncing, up for anything.

I really liked travelling with the Viking, he's organised but not anally so. He'd made a list of things to see and do, but wasn't upset or put out that I needed to take it slower. We probably got through half of the list. St Stephen's Green and Iveagh Park were fabulous, especially Iveagh Park. We spent some time there chilling on the grass, barefoot and being silly.

It's good to get away from all the stress and angst. Had it not been for Boy, I could have cheerfully stayed there a lot longer. Now Boy is old enough to appreciate differences in cultures and histories, I think I'll start him travelling soon. I've been bitten by the bug.

The Show

I'm not sure whether I can do justice to the last week in one go, so you'll have to put up with several parts. Patience.

I knew things weren't going to go to plan; I knew people weren't going to do what they said; I knew there was a lot to be done; I knew I somehow had been placed in charge of it all...it didn't stop me wanting to bang my head against a wall - or preferably, someone else's. I think if I'm daft enough to do this again, I'm going to have to become far more West Indian and laid back in my approach, otherwise a heart attack/insanity will be unavoidable.

Two weeks ago, I called for work to be submitted for posters to line the stairwell to the broom cupboard. I was still getting work at 10 o'clock Tuesday night. So, Wednesday morning I was bugging the print workshop and guillotining A1 posters. In the midst of it poor Monkfish finally made it off the M25 and over the county border to arrive with me going 'flap, flap effing bastards!' I hope that first impressions really don't count, cause I was stressing big time.

I also had to set up my presentations. Now, the projector that was borrowed for my assessment, wasn't the projector I used for the Show. What should have taken 5 mins, then turned into major hassle. In the meantime, other exhibitors were wondering around shrugging their shoulders and disappearing for 2 hours to walk 5 mins up the road to the DIY shop. Plinths, extention leads, table cloths, sticky pads etc all had to be sourced last minute. At about 3 o'clock, I upped and left to go buy the drinkies and munchies and ready myself for the night to come.

I had visions of matching my nailpolish to my eyeshadow, a face mask, a leisurely shower beforehand. Yeah right. I did however, insist on putting on my slap. Something had to cover up the dark circles. Back again to college, via wine merchants to pick up the drinkies, then dash into college to set things up. Of course we're running late and people are beginning to turn up, fortunately not to our bit, cause we're out of the way...that will be the only good thing I can say about the broom cupboard. The Viking was an absolute love dropped us and gear off, then went back home to drop the car off. He then picked up the bits I'd forgotten and got absolutely soaked walking back into town. Hottie turned up to watch me start scrambling around, arranging food, drink, coolers, I think we managed to hug and say 'hi'. Boy will make an ace barman, he helped me sort out the table and kept an eye on my bottle opener, put beer and white wine into the 'cooler'.

After it was set up, I took a deep breath, poured my first glass of red wine and started to greet people. I have to say I looked at the spread and worried that I'd be left with tons of food and drink. Yeah right. The Viking said to me during the evening, that he'd overheard two students chatting as they helped themselves, they'd made sure not to eat after breakfast.

I was upstairs in the broom cupboard, when one of the stars of our course touches my arm tentatively.

"Can I have a word?" he says.

"Sure. What's up?" I say.

"I don't mean to be a diva, but..." my heart sinks. "The line breaks in my poem haven't come out properly. Can you do it again?"

This was at 6.15.

You'd be so proud of me. I didn't swing for him. I just said. "If you don't like it, you'll have to take it down." He took it down.

I had many glasses of red wine. Hottie says I shmoozed with style. I believe her. I do remember making a complete arse of myself with the God of Poetry and his fabulous wife. In a way, I'm glad he's defected to UEA, saves me having to hang my head every time he looks at me.

Don't ask me about the later part of the evening. I have vague recollections of eating, leaning nonchalantly on plinths, chatting to my Course Leader, being chucked out of the building by the caretakers and taking off my high heels for the walk to Pizza Express. I think everyone had a good time and I remember Hottie oggling the very cute waiter and Boy being embarrassed by me. Somehow, I've ended up souvenirs as well.

I do know that I only had a couple of hours sleep thanks to my hayfever which kicked in with a vengence. At least I was wide awake at 4 am when the alarm went off. Getting ready for Dublin was lovely. Hottie was already up and chirpy - biatch, but she made us coffee (so you're forgiven - just). , We somehow managed to squeeze Hottie, Monkfish, Boy and the Viking and me into my two-bed flat, without any flares of temper. The sunrise was amazing. It was the perfect start to our time away.