Sunday, 27 January 2008

Squeamish? Moi?

I took a funny turn while eating out at a decent Spanish restaurant last night. I was doing fine, then all of a sudden, I came over faint and dizzy, my forehead slicked with a cold sweat. All I wanted to do was put my head between my knees but I restrained.

I love Spanish food and I'd only had a glass of sangria too, so I knew it couldn't be an allergic reaction or the alcohol. Then it dawned on me: I'd brought the whole sorry situation on myself.

We'd been out to the pictures to watch Sweeny Todd, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But time was getting on when it finished and we'd had no tea. The tapas place was close by so we went there.

The last dish I ate was the Spanish black pudding, which I've had before and have eaten, no bother. It came with a spicy tomato sauce and looked fine, tasted fine. But I'd picked up an extra-chewy piece when I started thinking of Sweeny Todd, blood, pies with humans in them and that the stuff on my plate could easily pass for Mrs. Lovett's pie filling. Cue a very washed-out Northcountrylass, face practically in the black pudding, and a nonplussed boyf saying 'bill please' to the passing waiter.

Outside (and returning to almost-normal) I relayed my story to the boyf, who said: You're just squeamish.' 'I'm not.' I said. But then I started thinking about all the other fainting, dizzying incidents I'd had in years gone by:

  1. Fainted watching a birthing video, at the age of 12, in a school biology class. Oh, the horror and shame.
  2. Passed out during A-Level class with severe stomach pains (Ok, this incident is medical).
  3. Almost passed out watching horrific scene in disgusting, overly gory film. Think it was Saw III.
  4. The latest incident: Almost fainted, unable to finish Spanish black pudding because I started conjuring up stomach-churning scenario straight from a Tim Burton film.

I think the boyf may have a point.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Time for a change


I'm angry (well, I was. A rather tasty pesto and pepper omelette has pacified my anger). I was late in from work - again - tonight. Today, 21 January 2008, is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, according to various newspaper reports. After the day I've had, I can see why some people might reach that conclusion:

  1. Bad weather (snow, ice, wind, sleet, rain, slush and floods up my neck of the woods today) - check.
  2. Listless and despondent after festive season (well, festive season and birthday, which comes - somewhat cruelly - at beginning of year) - check.
  3. Getting a bad night's sleep on a Sunday - check.
  4. Effed off with job - check.

I finished work late - again - because of a complete lack of communication in the workplace. Communicating effectively seems to be a hard feat to manage in my organisation and it has come to a tipping point. I tried sticking it out for a time, what with senior management feigning signals that improvements are on their way, but they keep failing to materialise. So now I'm thinking I have two options - to give the benefit of doubt again, or to run for the hills (well, look for something else).

It's not healthy, coming home to your loved one, ranting and raving about how rubbish your working life is. There's only one person that can change my situation and that's me. Whether something can be resolved at work or whether I need to be more extreme and find a way out remains to be seen, but I reckon I've probably had enough. Rant over.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Tea time

Have just come in from work. An enticing smell is emanating from the kitchen. That can only mean one thing: the boyf is cooking up something tasty for tea. Oooh, a quick chat with him has revealed it is chilli. Yum. He makes a mean chilli. His mashed potato is also pretty good.

I like to think I'm pretty creative in the kitchen. I love to just chuck things in a pot or pan and see how it all turns out - normally pretty good, by all accounts. The boyf always says that I, like the little girl in the British Eggs advert, can make something out of nothing. As long as it's tasty I've got no complaints (and neither does he).

It's a rare occurrence that I have reason to dislike food or complain about food. I like most things, apart from sprouts, butter beans and rhubarb. Oh, and lychees. When I was a little girl we had a rhubarb patch in the garden and my parents would pick it periodically to make crumbles and pies. I've always thought that cooked rhubarb smells like vomit.

I was never fond of school dinners either. One particular incident put me off them for life. At the tender age of five I thought the concept of being served your dinner and your pud in separate compartments but on one tray was wrong. And I was right, as one day the dinner lady proceeded to slop indescribable grey-brown mush over my jelly and custard. I think it was cottage pie or similar - she'd inadvertently ruined my jelly and custard. I told the teacher I wouldn't eat it and promptly received a telling-off for my little outburst. At three-thirty, my mother told the school I'd be going on packed lunch.

Ooh, a steaming bowl of chilli has just been handed to me. Yum yum.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Funerals and phones

I attended a funeral yesterday. My father's aunt passed away after Christmas, after a short illness. She got a right royal send-off. Horses and carriage, decent wake, the works. And the whole family was there.

It's weird how death can bring a family together. I saw my uncle from London, who I haven't seen in a while. My cousins, my aunties, everyone. Then there were the people who I didn't know, but were familiar faces nevertheless - people from various social and family gatherings spanning a decade or so, faces you see in bars you frequent, etc. etc.

A somewhat antiquated, rusty and downright forgetful vicar began the service. 'How awful', I thought, as he paused to look at his notes to remember the names of my great-aunt's children.

At that point, I began analysing the vicar's performance. It reminded me of the Impressive Clergyman's wizened, bumbling and drawn-out ceremony in The Princess Bride (er, aside from the fact that this was a funeral and not a wedding).

Moreover, I thought that my great aunt would have been tapping her watch and yelling 'Come on man! They've got to go to the crem then the wake yet, you bliddy useless awld fart!' She liked the local social club - that's where the wake was. She loved any excuse for a family knees-up.

We carried on through the service. We reached the point of a prayer: 'let us pray', the vicar said.

Cue the effing Nokia signature tune made famous by Dom Joly ringing out loud and clear from the back of the church. A hushed murmur swept up and down the pews. My sister let out a gasp. I stood inwardly seething at the ignorance of this absolute fool who hadn't had the decency to switch off their phone. My great uncle and my second cousins retained a dignified silence though, and eventually the thoughtless idiot's Uncle Toby stopped ringing.

She wouldn't have appreciated her service being interrupted like that, my great aunt. She'd have whirled around and given a disgusted stare, tutted and then had words with whoever had committed the phone offence. Good on her, I say.