Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Kell's Bell's! Recommendations: Part One

For listening to while driving along a winding coastal road with the sun breaking through the clouds:
Tori Amos - Scarlet's Walk

To remind you what a tragi-comic genius Woody Allen was back in the day:
Crimes and Misdemeanors

For the most delicious dark chocolate/berry experience this side of a Cherry Ripe:
Cote D'or Experiences Noir Framboise

To remind you that your family isn't all that crazy, comparitively speaking:
My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell

Monday, April 24, 2006

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

I've never really been a "girly" girl. You know; the girl who applies make-up expertly from the first day of high school; who can't wait to buy her first pair of high heels; who spends long, giggly afternoons with her sisters/friends in the "boudoir" acting out the romantic scenes from Top Gun and swooning over Tom Cruise. (Well, alright, I did have a bit of a thing for Keanu Reeves in Point Break).

I am a strictly no- to low-maintenance girl (don't shave in winter, make-up inexpertly applied and worn sporadically, never owned a blow dryer).

So how the hell did I end up with this hair??

This hair that reaches nearly to my bra strap. This hair that gets caught between my back and the bus seat, so that I can't tilt my head forward. This hair that is a tangled mess in the morning if I've had a restless night. This hair that is too long to tie back in the old "looped-through ponytail".

This hair that makes me look like Marcia Brady.

I have to agree with my boyfriend, however, that it is a marked improvement on the short, red, lesbian crop which features on my old drivers licence (horror!), and the short, blonde, lesbian crop which features on my passport. Not to mention the gelled-up double-fringe which was the bane of my early highschool years. I can't look at any pictures of myself circa 1989 without hyperventilating with shame.

Lately I have been wondering how much my lustrous/lank locks (depending on how close/far away wash day is) would earn me should I decide to sell them to some upper-crust wig-makers. For a few hundred squids, I would be thinking hard about returning to that lesbian crop.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

All creatures creepy and crawly

So, Spring has finally arrived (2 weeks late! Tut, tut, Big Guy). And with it, a horde of insects who all decided to come out of hibernation this Easter weekend. I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in the country, going on long walks, breathing deeply and saying things like "ah, yes, the sweet taste of fresh air - how I remember it from days of yore", and enjoying the boisterous company of Jack the border collie (and the in-laws, of course).

All of a sudden, everywhere I looked there were lady-birds. Now, I may be getting mildly myopic in my old age, but close-up details in my immediate surrounding are still pretty sharp - and a shiny red thing, no matter how small, stands out against a green/brown background. And there were loads of these cute, shiny little things out and about - climbing up monumental grass shoots, hurrying along branches on invisible legs, humping in the lawn.

I also saw my first bumble-bee of the season - and believe me, these couldn't be any more different from your typical Down Under bee. Picture a fuzzy pom-pom buzzing around, about the size of a malteser, on his way to a Richmond v. Carlton match (barracking for the Tigers, of course).

But it's not all non-threatening cuties in the insect world, of course. When we got home yesterday, we had a few creepier things to deal with - firstly, a big mamma wasp in the bathroom (that got my boyfriend out of the bath quick smart), and secondly, a daddy-long-legs which came in through the kitchen window. Now, I know you're thinking "Daddy long legs? Pff! Try a huntsman or a redback, lady!" - but there is one crucial difference between the Daddy's at home in Oz and the British-style ones, namely, the Brits have wings. Actually, I think it's the idea of a "flying spider" more than the actual creature that is a little scary - it is basically nothing more than your standard daddy-long-legs model, with 4 wings like miniature helicopter blades. Typically seen weaving through the air towards your face in a drunken manner, especially when you are making dinner and both hands are full.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I can't get no sleep

Bleeearrrrrgh. I have not been sleeping very well lately. Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I am not a good sleeper - the bags under my eyes are one of my defining characteristics. There are a few London-specific factors which are not helping. One is the fact that London never actually gets dark, it just kind of glows orange for a while (hence the eye mask - cute, huh?). Another is the sudden boost in temperature. And yet another crazy thing about living in this city is that the birds get really confused by the lack of day/night distinction and start singing at around 4 in the morning.

Crazy birds! What I would give for a great big, warbling magpie to scare all those wimpy little robins and sparrows off.

Oh well, at least we are no longer living next door to the "psycho beast", a woman who used to scream at her children all day long and have violent fights with her boyfriend all night, before calling the cops out for the weekly stand-off in the middle of the street.

Ah, London!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ugly veg

Not attractive, are they? These knobbly little wonders are Jerusalem artichokes - and I am in the process of transforming them into soup. Ever since I tasted a bowl of heaven in the form of "Jerusalem artichoke soup with white truffle oil" at a restaurant in Kew - a little village east of Melbourne - many years ago while I was working at kbr design, I have kept the recipe idea tucked away at the back of my brain for future use.

The other day, serrendipitously, I came across some reduced packs of them at Waitrose - 20p for 500grams, which is a bargain. That no one wanted them possibly has something to do with the fact that people will no longer buy ugly fruit/veg - for instance, there is a delicious variety of nectarine which used to be grown here, called the "Fantasia", but because it is a funny yellow colour with spots, no one will buy them. We have become so used to perfect, regularly-shaped, blemish-free produce that anything less will be rejected - what is this world coming to?

The National Trust is fighting back with an "Ugly Veg" competition. I do have a soft spot for these "runts" - my Dad has been secretly backing ugly veg for years. Whenever he spotted an odd or slightly rude shaped vegetable, he would always make a point of buying it and giving it pride of place on the kitchen window sill. Lovers of two-legged carrots and bum-shaped apples, unite!

Friday, April 07, 2006

London in the Springtime

Well, somebody was obviously listening to my original post, because every day this week we have woken up to a *brilliant* blue sky with sunshine bursting through the windows! I had almost forgotten that most agreeable sensation of the sun warming your back - so much more glorious and benevolent than the pathetic effort that the radiators manage.

I even went down to the newsagents last weekend in my thongs!! (The British insist on calling them "flip-flops" but I refuse to budge). The whole way, I was marvelling at how great everything looks in bright sunshine, and how nature and the flowers seemed so...grateful. Cherry blossoms up and down the street have all burst into flower almost overnight.

If only my relationship was so easy to keep happy - a little water (praise), a little sunshine (love & affection), and everything comes up roses. Instead, we are struggling to keep this fragile little plant alive in the current (emotional) climate...
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