Monday, July 31, 2006

She's moving home/Cambridge Folk Festivities

The move went as smoothly as you'd expect, given that I was recovering from a mystery illness and The Boyfriend's back was playing up. We both skipped off work early on Thursday and got stuck in, finally falling into bed at around midnight and falling instantly into a deep, sleep-of-the-deserving type slumber (Note to Self: could this be the answer to my insomnia - the carting of heavy furniture up and down stairs all day?)

I am happy to report that the new flat is about a million times nicer than the old one - it already feels like home. The unobstructed view over the treetops all the way over to Hampstead Heath is really quite amazing. It is like being in a different country - you almost expect to see spider monkeys peering out of the foliage.

Friday night, after moving the rest of our accumulated junk to the new house and scrubbing the old flat top to bottom, we drove up to Cambridge (with matchsticks propping up our eyelids, natch). The following day, despite being barely able to move, we dragged ourselves to the Cambridge Folk Festival - and it was fantastic. I cannot rave highly enough about this festival - it was sooo much better than any festival I have attended before (Big Day Out, Falls Festival, Homelands). It was just the right size, with just the right mix of old and young in the crowd, and the music was freakin' brilliant, bar the "mariachi with a message" group right at the end (although that didn't stop me dancing to them). Standouts of the day included Seth Lakeman, Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, Teddy Thompson and Salsa Celtica (for the dancing and for the mystery artist who showed up in the middle and sang the most gorgeous, heartfelt song with the voice of Janis Joplin's ghost).

Sigh. So many new CD's to buy...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Make-up shake up

I work for a rather large firm, with a huge community of people who rarely see each other except at the odd corporate event. At the last such gathering, it was suggested that we have a "ladies night" just for the chicks in our particular department to get together once in a while, to which everyone of the female persuasion politely agreed.

So, we just had our first Gathering of the Womens the other night (not arranged by me, obviously - I never got further than prep level in "Organisation & Tidyness") - and it was great! We had an evening of champagne, posh nosh and make-up at the very swish Space NK. Of course, being so notoriously shambolic at make-up, I was first in line for a makeover. Pictures to be posted shortly...lets just say, my boyfriend was very happy to see me when I got home, with my new extra-long lashes, expertly applied eyeliner and shimmery, greeny-blue eye-shadow. I didn't recognise the mysterious vixen leering back at me from the mirror.

I tried to recreate the effect the next day for a swanky farewell lunch we were having, but my eye-liner application skills were so laughable I gave up after the first few stabs (literally).

Monday, July 24, 2006

Kell's Bell's! Recommendations: Part Three

A "new" Australian muso discovery (where have I been for the last 3 years?!):

For deliciously "natural" fruit smoothies (in all their lumpy glory):

I didn't take much notice what was happening in Rwanda in 1994 at the time - watching this filled in some gaps:

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Music for uncertain times

Sometimes I feel that I was born in the wrong era, music-wise. Then I remember Thom Yorke, and I feel a lot better about coming of age in the 90's.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hot, hot, hot

Too... hot... to .. type.. must.. find.... life-giving... ice-cream!

It has been seriously broiling over here. And I do mean "broiling", as in cooking in one's own juices, which is exactly what happens to a body if you get on public transport in London in this weather.

Seeing as they still haven't invented teleportation, I have two non-air-conditioned transport options to choose from for my daily commute:

1. The bus.
Pros: Windows allow access to "outside" air (I would hesitate to call it "fresh"). You can get off if it gets really - ie. nausea-inducingly - oppressive. Cheaper; hence more money for ice-cream. Head room.

Cons: Windows only crack open about 1 inch. Seats are made for child-size people; chances are you will spend the entire journey vying for elbow-room with a businessman in a full-length woolen suit. If you find yourself stuck on the Non-Shady Side, you might as well kill yourself now. Duration (1 hour 15 minutes in this traffic), ensuring you arrive at your destination red-faced, dripping with sweat, and harbouring an inhuman hatred for your fellow man.

1. The tube.
Pros: Duration (45 minutes). Free Metro paper to distract yourself from the horror which surrounds you (grasping at straws here).

Cons: Ridiculously, outrageously, hideously packed. 500 different whiffs of underarm BO, all clustered around your face. People who feel it is perfectly acceptable to press their whole, full-length body against yours, crotch and all. No windows. No air. No head room. All ensuring you arrive at your destination red-faced, dripping with sweat, and and harbouring an inhuman hatred for your fellow man.

Time to purchase a pedal-operated machine of the two-wheeled variety, methinks.

Monday, July 17, 2006

London Swelters In Summer Heat Wave

Wow. It's getting hot over here. Amazingly, the weather for our camping holiday in Wales was actually pretty good, with balmy-to-warm days and light-showery nights (except for that one night we camped through the longest, loudest thunder-and-lightening storm In The World). We even went swimming in our bathers on a couple of occassions. No matter that we needed resuscitation and silver blankets to resume breathing afterwards.

Wales itself was gorgeous - huge, practically empty beaches; massive sand dunes to run down; loads of beautiful walks where you found yourself tripping over ruined castles and ancient monuments (check out this 5,500 year old burial cairn); enough surfing and body-boarding to keep my knees and elbows nicely bruised; all with fresh air filling your lungs with every inhale. It's amazing (or maybe not so) that after living in London for so long, clean air actually seems to have a taste - and that taste is good. Almost as good as the raspberries and strawberries we spent picking one sunny afternoon on the farm where we were camping. But not quite as good as the home-made raspberry jam you could buy from the farm shop. Which, by the way, is best consumed on the day of purchase, spread liberally on a fresh, cloud-soft scone, with a generous dollop of clotted cream on top. Heavenly.

We also had a lovely piece of local bass from the fishmongers (so thats what non-supermarket-bought fish tastes like) which we ended up baking in the oven, after smoking out the entire apartment block with our "disposable BBQ" on the balcony. (Note to Self: naked flames and rental properties don't mix. Also: does it mean you are getting old when your best memories of a holiday are all food-related? Never mind).

Anyway, I also got to meet the Boyfriend's extended family - his paternal auntie, her welsh husband and two of their grown-up kids, at a lovely (if somewhat red-wine hazed) BBQ - the proper full-size, outdoor, established kind. She is a very talented print artist and makes a lip-smacking aubergine pickle.

All in all, it was a very good holiday. Ultra-relaxing, with enough surfing and coastal walking activity to prevent one's muscles from atrophying. I just wish I was still bobbing on the waves in Llangennith, with nothing to look forward to except a slightly smoky piece of delicious, freshly caught fish for dinner, with freshly picked raspberries for afters.
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