Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Excuse me? Hello?
Right, now that I have your attention, I have an announcement to make:

Glasgow: You are flooding.
Apparently you have not noticed.

That or the Scots just don't really mind. They're so used to having lots of water fall out of the sky, that it isn't a problem that it doesn't drain away once it's on the ground.

I noticed though. I spotted that any gradient worth mentioning has a sizable stream running down it. I realised that most puddles are deeper than they appear and that it's very uncomfortable to step in them when this is the case. (You tend to forget where the potholes are when they're full of water).

I have seen the giant lakes forming at the bottom of hills. I have seen large vehicles hurtling towards them at break-neck speeds anyway. I have seen giant sheets of murky water narrowly miss me when I'm wearing pale outfits. I have shrieked.

I mentioned this to a Scot the other day. He said, "Oh yeah, we know. We just don't really make a fuss about it. This isn't England."

Um, what? Your roads are a foot under water at certain points. Most of your cars just will not cope with that. It is now appropriate to make a fuss.

My feet are wet! Get better drainage!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brandy Alexander

This past weekend I have been very productive. At least, I have produced many things. Some things. I made pains au chocolat and I began making Christmas puddings. I wish I'd started a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't have the perfect recipe. Fortunately there's two puddings, we'll have a young one this year and a mature one next year. It will be perfect.

One of the things you need for Christmas pudding is brandy. I don't drink brandy, not really. I don't even have brandy glasses. So I have no experience in choosing it - I selected the cheapest Waitrose had to offer and went home to be productive.

Archie tried the brandy and told me it was better than the last cheap bottle he'd bought, but not actually good. Archie likes to think of himself as someone who "appreciates dark spirits." He even drinks whisky. No one knows why. Either way, I am inclined to trust his assessment, I have no reason not to.

Later, after mixing a large measure with dried fruit etc, I decided to try a small measure myself. In a wine glass (this must change). I do not like brandy. That, or I only like really good brandy, and I haven't tried it yet.

It was only today that I remember how much I like Brandy Alexanders. It's one of the only creamy cocktails I'll drink. Booze with milk or cream is weird, milkshakes are excellent without being adulterated like that. It's unnatural. For Brandy Alexanders, though, I will make an exception.

So, now I need one. I don't have any creme de cacao so I'll either have to buy some or go to a cocktail bar. It's probably best that I do the former. Being in cocktail bars with the wrong crowd can make me inpatient. It's hard to lean back in my seat and maintain an air of complete relaxation when your companions have been nursing the same drink for an hour and a half.

I don't want to have to stab someone to death with my heels and drink their blood while demanding a mojito with no sugar* from the terrified bar staff. It always takes forever to get the blood out of the silk. Maybe if I wear a red pair? Worth considering.

Unfortunately, I have financially crippled myself by deciding to go on a weekend trip to Budapest (this weekend! Eeeep!) As such I can't really afford to be buying liqueurs. Much less showing up in court for murdering people in cocktail bars.

Now, they say that necessity is the mother of invention and they are right. I have made a discovery. Would you like to know what it is?

Brandy with cream and no creme de cacao is dreadful. I shall give it a name. I shall call it "Necessity." I truly hope it will never live up to it.

*Mojitos are better when people don't feel the need to sweeten them. Fact. I don't care that it's not the generally accepted way to do it, it's still better. Hell, I'd rather you just gave me rum, lime juice and mint, skip the sugar and skip the soda too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


After mild humiliation yesterday, I changed my clothes and decided I'd better brave the rain and walk to the market. We try to buy meat from the butcher there every week, because it's very cheap and means we don't have to buy rubbish, expensive meat from the supermarket. It's about two and a bit miles from the flat.

If I was going to brave the rain, I didn't want to get wet feet. I own many pairs of mind-numbingly beautiful shoes, but not one is waterproof. I own two pairs of boots that are mostly waterproof. One needs re-heeling, so I couldn't wear those.

The other pair is ever so slightly ridiculous. Also brilliant. They are viking boots, existed long before Uggs were cool and are basically here to stomp all over them. If my boots were a man, they'd be Chuck Norris, only beautiful. If Uggs were men, they'd sing for My Chemical Romance.

They are heeled (though not stilletto) black leather with fur which folds over the top of leather between my ankle and just below the knee. The fur is held in place with buckles. This never quite works because vikings have chunkier calves than me, but this does not ruin the look.

Until yesterday, I had not worn them for two years.

My outfit was carefully selected to keep me warm and dry without making me look like a mountaineer or a farmer's wife and I was ready to go. I'd made it about a mile before my toes started hurting. Secretly, I had always known this would happen.

The boots don't rub, they're not even terribly high, but if you walk in heels of even a slightly different height to those which you are used to, your feet will complain. Anyone enthusiastic about shoes knows this is worth working through. When you get home, you take them off, give yourself a quick footrub and pad around in flats for the rest of the day. You don't wear the heels for a week, and when you do, it hurts less.

Sometimes you need to repeat this a few times, but eventually, you will win. The prize for conquering the heels is being able to wear them pain free whenever you want. If you really love them, you'll do it.

Unfortunately, I had another mile to walk, and two miles to walk back when I got to the market. By the time I got there my usual swift stride had dropped to the pace of someone slowly and casually browsing shop windows. I could not persuade my legs to move me any faster.

I made my purchases, and set off home. Slowly. In the end I gave in and got the subway. A random guy complimented me on my footwear and I even managed a smile. It was still worth it.

Finally I got back, removed the boots. Stood up and immediately collapsed. My own dumb fault. Got back up, hobbled carefully to the bathroom and bathed my feet in cool water. I assessed for blisters, a few very small ones, nothing to worry about. I put on a big pair of fluffy socks and my old comfy trainers.

This enabled me to walk again. Very slowly. I had been reduced to old lady speeds. Very annoying when you want to get things done. Only my feet were unable to move quickly - meaning it would take me a full minute to get from the kitchen to my bedroom, but only a few seconds to complete a task there. Rubbish.

I remembered there was a cane in the umbrella stand. Less rubbish.

My feet are better this morning, still sore, but I can walk like someone who isn't in their 80's now. I have, however, discovered that I will make and extremely efficient and vicious old person. I suspect I'll need a little practice, though. Who wants to come stand in the queue at the post office?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Good Morning

It matters to me that I make a good first impression. When meeting someone for the first time I replace the foul language I learned in Glasgow (read: high school) for phrases like "gosh" or "crikey.*" I only put them down if they set themselves up for it. I try to remember their name, though I stop if they forget mine, and this only lasts as long as the encounter. For the time being at least, I want them to think that I consider them important.

The fact that when I first met my flatmate Gav, I was stealing glasses from a bar is by the by. I impressed him with my brilliant wit instead. The fact that I was doing the same thing when I first met my flatmate Archie is also by the by. He was way more drunk than me, and neither of us knew we'd be sharing a flat one day.

So I may be slightly immoral. Perhaps I got out and get wasted occasionally. Sometimes I fall on my face because I'm wearing ridiculous (incredibly cute) shoes in Glasgow when it's snowing. But, I'm a basically good person, and, at least before they get the opportunity to know me better, I want a new acquaintance to believe that. I care about first impressions, I'm just not very good at them.

I'm also not very good at breakfast. Or rather, I'm not very good at organising it. I eat cereal with yoghurt, or toast with butter. If I have neither, it's going to be a bad day for someone out there who has already passed the "good first impression" stage, and who's opinion I no longer care about. Unless it's the weekend. In which case I can spend time making a delicious and more interesting breakfast.

Such a thing happened today. I decided to make a French omelet. Not complex, but very tasty, light and fluffy, designed specifically to melt in your mouth and make you want to spend the rest of the day lounging around and drinking good wine. They don't seem to have any negative effects on me. I began, and had got to the stage where I should fold the omelet, when the buzzer rang.

Postman? I have a lifelong grudge with postmen everywhere, but we won't go into that. I casually and perfectly flipped the omelet into the folded shape I wanted, moved it off the heat and let whoever it was in. Switched on the lights in the hall, and opened the door.

The guy came up the stairs. "Hi... Is uh... Jamie about?"
The need to make a good impression kicked straight in.
"I'm sorry, Jamie? He doesn't live here, think you've got the wrong flat."

He apologised and left, I couldn't help but notice he was stifling a giggle as he did so. Weird. Went back to my perfect omelet. Sat down to eat. There's a mirror on the wall by the table, so it was then that I noticed the huge, white, eggy stain on my top.

"Omelet splash" is literally the worst euphemism I have ever thought of. Somehow I think the opportunity to make a good impression on Jamie's mate has been lost forever. On the other hand, I do have a hilarious new euphemism, so maybe it's not been a truly dreadful morning.

Perhaps though, I should stop claiming that I'm basically a good person.

*Actually, I'm just generally loving any opportunity to say "crikey" at the moment. Also "gosh," "goodness," "cripes," "blimey" etc. Haven't quite managed to pull off "golly" just yet, but I'm working on it.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Luck does not actually exist. However, unlike many things that don't exist it can be bought, sold, traded or earned*. You might feel that you deserve some good luck, or that you don't deserve some bad luck. It also seems to come in bursts - hence having a lucky streak or, alternatively, "one of those days."

Earlier this week I had a lucky day. Not the kind of luck I wanted, nor the kind I felt I deserved.

I got up and discovered someone else was already in the shower. This meant I'd have to rush my morning routine, and probably be late. During the day I lost my ring, my glasses and the stylus for my phone. In spite of this, the day wasn't actually that bad - I was even in quite a good mood, until someone I don't like decided to talk to me.

I won't tell you who it was, but anyone who knows me through physics at uni will probably suspect. Yes, that one. Incidentally, if you know me through physics at uni and you don't have a clue who I'm talking about, it's probably you. Get off my blog, you cretin.

Even this didn't entirely ruin my mood though, I was angry for a couple of hours (perfectly natural after speaking to this individual) but not lashing-out angry. Just general background simmering anger, of the kind that causes people to go completely postal every once in a while. Don't worry though, I manage my anger by buying copious amounts of shoes, and thus hardly ever go postal.

On Thursday, Harry had a much worse day than I had. He accidentally left without his keys. He lost £5, which he discovered when he wanted to buy lunch. He went to the cash point to get more money, and had his card eaten because it had expired (he should have known, because they sent him a new card and a letter telling him this would happen). He lost an ear-piece from his headphones. He lost his student card. He lost his laptop power cable. He got rained on.

He tried to call one of us to see if there was anyone around to let him into the flat, and discovered there was no money on his phone. He would have topped it up, but his card had been eaten. He could have gone to the library or med-school instead, but that would have required using his student card. He couldn't even find a cafe with wifi and email us, because his laptop was dead.

Fortunately, someone was at the flat to let him in - but it seems that was the only good piece of luck he had that day.

Naturally I found it hilarious. But, I have spare headphone earpieces. I went to find them, to see if they would fit his headphones, and found a spare stylus. Earlier I had discovered my glasses in a drawer I hadn't previously looked in.

My ring showed up in the pocket of my other jeans. Why it hadn't been there the first time I looked is beyond me. Either the mice are getting smart, and also developing a complex set of ethics, or I'm a moron. I prefer the former explanation.

So, now I'm expecting to see my other two flatmates have days that are even worse than Harry's was, approximately on Saturday and on Tuesday. They can decide between themselves who goes first, but the smartest will choose Saturday. I also expect Harry's luck to be canceled on Saturday, and everything that was lost should be found.

At least I would, if luck existed at all.

*Interestingly, merchandise based on things which don't exist is almost always bought, sold, etc, but you just try selling the actual Loch Ness Monster, and you'll see what I mean. If you succeed, contact me, I have a business proposal for someone like you.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Why I Usually...

...Wear jeans and a t-shirt. Approximately. You'll let me off for including almost any jeans and top combo here, I hope. Not sure how you'll stop me.

This morning I got up, decided I didn't want to wear jeans, and selected a day-time dress from my wardrobe. It's stripey and purple and made of wool. It's quite pretty.

I put it on with a pair of tights, since it's Glasgow and Glasgow is cold. I looked in the mirror and swapped the tights for thicker, darker tights. I looked again and decided I needed a black vest top under the dress as well.

Having added the vest I looked again. Now, I'm not showing leg or cleavage. You can see my forearms, hands, neck and face. This cannot be slutty, right? I decided it wasn't and went to make breakfast.

Post breakfast I looked one more time in the mirror. Realised the dress was very clingy. Thick tights and extra top didn't help that. Felt like a whore - changed into jeans and t-shirt.

What can I say? Maybe I should give in and buy some more jeans. I blame the parents, frankly.