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Monday, July 31, 2006

Well as of Saturday I'm now all the threes, thirty-three, and may I say a big thank you to all the people who sent me presents, cards and professionally-taken photos of themselves in a leatherette presentation folder (thanks Sis, I'll treasure it). On the cards front, I received a handmade one from Carol, a hand-bought one from Dave, and a handful of ones in my Mum's handwriting claiming to be from my cat. Fortunately they all managed to fit through my front door, although Carol is on the brink of flouting the new postage rules by making cards more than 5mm thick. She could be in serious trouble come August 21st.

On my birthday itself, I visited Lisa's Mum in the hope that she might have a present for me (luckily she did, otherwise it would have been a wasted journey), after which Lisa and I went out for the evening with her sister and a bloke from Torquay who's emigrating to Turkey on the grounds that they sound similar. Or something. I told him I wouldn't be brave enough to do the same. I'm too chicken to move to Turkey.

We ended up at The Swiss Cottage in Shoreham, a picturesque pub on a lake, where attack geese roam the car park looking for victims, and all the drinks come with ice, lemon, and a live duck. We spent the evening discussing Lisa's sister's criminal past, and people who eat their own excrement, and I discovered that Lisa has a bloke's phone number on the back of her birth certificate. But that's another story.

Anyhoo, after a successful evening's Cottaging, I woke up on Sunday morning and attempted to share my dreams with Lisa. Unfortunately, having got as far as "I dreamt I had a friend...", she interrupted with Pizza Express"Well it must have been a dream then". I didn't feel like continuing after that. But I pulled myself together enough to welcome my family to my flat, before insisting they take me to Pizza Express down at Brighton Marina, a restaurant which apparently "looks like a boat", but only to people with good imaginations. I also allowed Lisa's 7-year-old nephew to come along on condition that he brought me a present. Which is why I'm now the proud owner of a Will Young CD.

The meal itself was fine. I ordered a starter with Gusto, my brother tried to leave without paying, Lisa called the waiter an Eastern European circus freak, and my Dad made a balloon parrot for the waitress. Just a normal family meal really.

We followed that with a game of football at the local park, which only lasted ten minutes after my sister-in-law hacked down Lisa's nephew in a nasty off-the-ball incident which went unseen by the referee. He had to be substituted, and I was forced to drive him home to wash the blood out of his t-shirt. That's the last time I'll be allowed to take him out for the afternoon. Fortunately though, he recovered sufficiently to play hide-and-seek, and beat me about the head with a cuddly aardvark, so I think he'll live. Which is more than I can say for myself - the diet starts again this morning.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

With the real taste of hedgehogs.Mmm... hedgehog cake. It's always good to be offered hedgehog cake on day two of your strict carbohydrate-controlled diet. Although on the bright side, by the time I was offered a slice on Tuesday evening, Lisa's 8-month-old Nephew Number Three had already stuck his hand into its side and attempted to carry out major veterinary surgery on its kidneys, so that helped me resist a bit. That and the fact that the birthday boy's reaction to sampling a hedgehoggy foot, was to spit it straight out into his mother's hand. Frankly I don't think I was missing much.

But that aside, the birthday party of Nephew Number Two went very well. He seemed particularly pleased with the jigsaw puzzle Lisa and I had bought him, which was good news as we had no idea what it was until he opened it. He also picked up well on my overwhelming generosity, by assuming that all the presents his parents had given him were from me as well. I didn't bother to correct him. It's about time I met someone with a high opinion of me.

Anyhoo, a quick game of Sally Sunflower, in which we randomly chucked bees across the room without reading the rules, and a manic dance to 'Monster' by The Automatic, and Lisa and I headed off to McDonalds for a Rolo milkshake. Which I nobly refused to share on account of the fact that I had cauliflower waiting for me when I got home. Roll on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It's official - I started my diet yesterday. Which is probably a bad idea, as I have an appointment to eat large amounts of pizza with a couple of 7 year olds (they're guests, not side dishes) at 5pm on Sunday. But I thought I'd bite the bullet (and the lettuce leaves) by making a start. And it's going well so far - I cheated within an hour and a half by having a fully caffeinated cup of tea, and spent £1.48 on a Vegetable Juice Cocktail which turned out to be cheap tomato soup in a fruit juice carton. But on the bright side, my fridge now looks like I've had a visit from Gillian McKeith. Which is quite spooky because...

Actually, before I get on to the sour-faced tyrant, can I just say Happy Birthday to Lisa's middle nephew who's three today. When I first started e-mailing Lisa, he was still flopping about in the womb - little did I know that just three short years later, I'd be his only friend. No seriously, according to Lisa's Mum, no one else likes him. At least I think that's what she said.

Anyhoo, back to the shrivelled old witch. I had the pleasure of sitting in a doctor's waiting room for an hour and a quarter yesterday afternoon (purely coincidental, and nothing to do with collapsing from hunger), and having flicked through a few copies of Vogue, Woman's Weekly, and some kind of upmarket porn mag, I made what is possibly the most important discovery of my life. It was a magazine called 'Vision', which describes itself as "Spiritual, Paranormal and Holistic From Cover to Cover", and proves it by having headlines such as "Nana sat on my bed today - but she died yesterday!" and "Harry Potter - Is Harry fact or fable?" on the front. But spookily (or perhaps paranormally) it features Gillian McKeith as its covergirl for May. So naturally I stole it and brought it home. As well as being fateful, it meant I had a picture to stick on my dartboard.

Marhie. Or Marie if you're not paranormal.The magazine itself though is a cracking good read. It features adverts for professionals like Marhie, whose second-sight doesn't quite penetrate the covers of a dictionary, but who'll tell you you're going to die with a smile on her face. Possibly whilst wearing a kilt.

Samantha Hamilton - Psychic to the StarsMarhie, however, is clearly not as talented as Samantha Hamilton ("as seen on TV", probably doing Whitney Houston on Stars in Their Eyes), who not only offers future predictions, but past and present ones too. So she can accurately tell you what you had for dinner last night. Something only she and Gillian McKeith are capable of.

But far and away my favourite section of the magazine is the two-page article on Kyle, a 17 year old medium (although judging by the pictures, he's more of an extra large) who apparently "offers readings, parties, workshops and stageshows and currently works only in the West of Scotland". So he obviously hasn't passed his driving test yet.

According to the caption below the main photo, 'Kyle can hear Spirit'.

Kyle can hear Spirits. After he's drunk a few.And here is Kyle hearing that Spirit. Or possibly suffering from earache. One or the other.

What I won't do is mention Kyle. Sorry, I mean Donna.what Lisa said to me. Which is that Kyle looks like a male version of Donna. I don't know where she gets these ideas...

Friday, July 21, 2006

My new flat had its first official visitor last night, when I welcomed over the threshold the lovely Lorraine, friend of Lisa, and mother of evil twins Oscar & Timmy. And like any good host, I laid on a sophisticated spread of nibbles. Well, I gave her a glass of Ribena and a digestive. She seemed quite happy.

Having undertaken the grand tour of the flat, Lorraine complimented me on my kitchen by saying that ordinarily she hates that shade of green, thinks it looks awful, and would never choose it in a million years, but that in my kitchen it works. Which was very sweet. She then settled down to tell us about her recent near-death experience in Canada. Apparently she was flung out of a 12-man raft at the RiverRun Whitewater Resort in Ontario, leaving her up the creek without a paddle, and trying to swim wearing nothing but heavy shoes and sunglasses.

Her exact words were "I didn't think I was going to make it, and all I could think of was Oscar & Timmy". She then started talking about wills, and what might happen when she dies. So it's official - if Lorraine drowns in a freak boating accident, I get her cats. I've never been so keen for her to stay at home.

In other news, I got a letter from the TV Licensing people this morning informing me that due to my flagrant disregard for the law, officers from their Enforcement Division have now been authorised to visit my flat and interview me under caution, taking a statement in compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as their first step towards my prosecution. Which was obviously good news. Especially as my TV Licence was transferred to this address on June 27th. Fortunately another phone call to them this morning confirmed that my new address is registered with them, but apparently they can't be held responsible for the threatening letters their computer sends out by mistake. Marvellous.
Life's a Beach
Anyhoo, while I'm waiting for my court date, I've decided to go on a diet. I've put on a stone in the past year, due to the stress of moving and the fact that Lisa's Mum won't stop giving me biscuits, and it has to stop (preferably the stress, not the biscuits). I've chosen The South Beach Diet, partly because I now live two minutes north of the seafront, and partly because the first line of The South Beach Diet Cookbook, which I bought for a bargain £3.99 (so I've already lost almost four pounds) from Book Depot the other day, is "The South Beach Diet was made for people who love to eat". I didn't really need to read on after that.

Personally I like to think I have Prader-Willi Syndrome, but Lisa assures me I'm just greedy, so I think a diet is in order. Unfortunately I can't start it for another week, due to having lots of tasty food in my fridge, and the fact that throwing it away is against my religion. It's also my birthday next weekend. But having bought the cookbook the other day, I went into town this afternoon to buy a peppermill (you can't start a diet without the proper equipment), and wondered whether I should get the original diet book as well. Not inclined to fork out ten quid for a paperback, I started to ponder my chances of finding it in a charity shop. Whereupon I walked straight into Age Concern and bought it for 99p.

So if that's not fate, I don't know what is. Unfortunately the book's in pristine condition, so the previous owner clearly didn't get beyond day one. But I'm not letting that put me off.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Back in November last year, in the midst of a long day's flat-hunting, I snuck off to a charity shop and bought a painting. Not that I wasn't committed to finding a flat, but I'm probably more committed to buying junk from charity shops. And it's always good to turn up to a meeting with the Halifax mortgage advisor with a bin bag tucked under your arm.

Changing Rooms with Paul CollicuttAnyhoo, seeing as I thought I'd found the flat for me (needless to say I hadn't), and would be moving to Brighton within a couple of months (needless to say I didn't), I put the painting away, to save it for my new flat. And a mere eight months later, it's finally up in my living room, above the other most important possession in my life - the TV. What's spooky however, is that having taken that painting back to Shotley Gate for six months, then to my parents' house in Chelmsford for a few weeks, and finally back down to Brighton, I've ended up living less than a hundred yards from the charity shop where I bought it.

Most exciting though, is that as of yesterday afternoon I've finally deciphered the signature of the artist, and looked him up on the internet. It turns out it's an original watercolour by Paul Collicutt, a Brighton-based illustrator, and author of numerous reference works about trains, planes and automobiles. So having paid a fiver for this painting, it's clearly a collector's item and worth a small fortune. At least that's what I'll be telling that camp bloke with the scarf when the team from Flog It hits town.

In other news, I've bought a second wardrobe. Officially it's to house Lisa's clothes when she stays for the weekend. Unofficially it's so I can buy more stuff from charity shops. I got it from the young Christians at the Portslade YMCA shop, where, having stood there measuring it for half an hour on Tuesday, I finally accepted that it wouldn't fit in my car, and agreed to pay £10 for delivery.

So imagine my delight at 10am this morning when it arrived, accompanied by two of the God-fearing youngsters, who brought it inside the exterior door of the flats and immediately said "Can we leave it here mate, coz we're parked in the bus stop". I replied with a highly dubious "Um...", allowing the men just enough time to add "It's as light as a feather", and walk off. Leaving me standing alone in the entrance hall with a five foot wardrobe. I must admit, at that point I didn't feel I'd quite got full value for money out of my £10. I'd have waited for Lisa to come home and help me, but unfortunately that would have depended on none of my neighbours wanting to get in or out of their flats for the rest of the day.

So I've just spent an enjoyable half hour manoeuvering a solid wooden wardrobe through my two-foot-wide front door, down my hallway, through my living room, around a tight corner, and across to the far side of my bedroom. Alone, and without the aid of Christianity. And they say charity begins at home.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I don't want to harp on about celebrities (and I use the term loosely), but since writing my last post, Lisa has deigned to inform me that Patsy Palmer's children attend the school directly opposite me, and that she (Patsy Palmer, not Lisa) frequently walks past my front door during term-time in a white flowing summer dress, with a child attached to each hand.

Obviously when I say 'frequently', I mean that Lisa's seen her once, but the point remains - I've been here for over two weeks now, and not once has Lisa bothered to mention that my flat's situated directly on the main route for celebrity school runs. I was already aware that Chris Eubank's kids attend the same institution (at least they did before he was declared bankrupt - they've probably been installed in a ghetto comprehensive for the terminally poor by now), but he tends to stay in the Hummer rather than approaching my front door in a dress.

So I'm not very happy about Lisa's oversight, but let's face it, this is a woman who said to me yesterday afternoon "Can you do toast in your oven?", so she's clearly got other things on her mind.

Anyhoo, on Saturday I attended the leaving do of someone who'd rather move to Newcastle than work in the same office as Lisa. I met some interesting people, including someone from High Wycombe, an eight-year-old Arsenal fan, an habitual tea drinker, and a close friend of Jimmy Somerville (he's met him once) whose wife knows Noel Edmonds' daughter, and who both have dealings with the man who fitted Lisa's shower. It's a small world. Unfortunately the conversation didn't get much beyond the type of grass their horses like to eat, but that was probably my own fault for choosing to stare into space rather than join in on the "It's going to be hot next week" debate.

As for today, well I've walked along the seafront to the marina to investigate possible eateries for my birthday meal in two weeks time. My route back took me past the Brighton naturist beach, which, it turns out, is right next to the Volk's Electric Railway. Unfortunately passengers are denied the chance to ride a genuine scenic railway by the carefully positioned bank of pebbles which has been placed between the family-filled choo-choo train and the naked people. But one freak tide and that'll soon be gone. I was going to take a souvenir photo of the nudity warning sign, but having walked a few yards towards the boundary between respectability and depravity, I unexpectedly came face to face with a pensioner's privates, and was forced to beat a hasty retreat for the sake of my sanity. It wasn't pleasant.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Well I've lived in Brighton for two weeks now, and here's what I've learnt...

The purple dot is where I live. (To be honest, I worked that out in less than two weeks).

The pink dot is where Jimmy Somerville lives.

The green dot is Patsy Palmer's pad.

The blue dot is the home of Cate Blanchett. Complete with £100,000 bath. Apparently.

So it's official - I live close enough to hear Jimmy Somerville singing 'Don't Leave Me This Way' in the shower, and Patsy Palmer shouting "Rickyyyyy!!!" through the bedroom window. Under those circumstances, you'd think property prices would be a bit lower.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

One Day My Prints Will ComeMy new printer arrived yesterday. Which is just as well, because I needed something to cheer me up after my broadband stopped working. Oh yes, not content with being unable to receive incoming calls, my phone decided to stop me making outgoing calls as well, before disconnecting my shiny new 8meg broadband for good measure. In fact my phone line was so buggered, even my old-fashioned dial-up refused to work. Meaning that by 4pm yesterday afternoon, I could only contact the outside world by post.

I considered writing Bulldog (the chirpy face of Cable & Wireless) a stiff letter, but as I only had second class stamps, I eventually resorted to my mobile. And rang my Mum. Who joined the customer services queue on my behalf. I refuse to be put on hold on my mobile for anyone.

Anyway, I could go on, but to cut a long, tedious, and life-sapping story short, an engineer came out, fiddled about underground like a maladjusted Womble all afternoon, and at 5pm this evening I was finally reconnected to the modern world. If there's one thing I've learnt, it's that I'd be no good on Survivor. I can't even put my Woody Allen videos in order without going online for half an hour.

But anyhoo, back to my printer. It is in fact the Canon MP150 (that's Labour's majority) printer, scanner & copier. In Argos it's £69.99, at PC World it's £59.99, but on the PC World website you can get it at the web-exclusive price of just £43.25, including delivery. What I didn't know when I ordered it last week however, is that it comes with a black ink cartridge worth £14.99 and a colour one worth £18.99. Meaning you get the flashy printer, scanner & copier for £9.26. So if I can find someone willing to give me a tenner for a brand new Canon 3-in-1 printer, then it will actually work out cheaper to buy a new one every time the ink runs out.

In other news, I've discovered that no matter how many times I wash my new biscuit barrel, it's impossible to place a chocolate chip digestive inside for more than two minutes without it tasting of lethal chemicals. So I think I'll have to take it back to Asda (the barrel, not the biscuit. The biscuit may have tasted of lethal chemicals, but that doesn't mean I didn't eat it).

I've also set up my music stand, my microphone stand, and taken my mandolin out of its case for the first time in five years. I can only actually remember three chords on it, but it's enough to play most Hanson songs, so I've spent an enjoyable afternoon doing the folk version of Mmmbop. Tomorrow it's Take That on the penny whistle.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I was a bit annoyed with the timing of my last blog post. Obviously I was having a good day, and had a lot of joy to share, but if I'd just waited another half hour I could have mentioned the visit from the debt collector. He was a friendly chap, whose bosses clearly didn't want to bother him with trivial details like the correct flat number, as a result of which he was a little unclear as to which door he should be breaking down. I just happened to be the only one who answered (you can tell I'm new here). But we had a nice chat, and he left me with a letter informing me of their intention to get a court order "to enter the premises and disconnect the electricity supply, if need be by force, whether you are there or not". Which would be a bit of a shame when I've just got broadband.

Talking of which, my broadband does work. Unfortunately my phone now doesn't. But the good news is I've contacted customer services, explained to them that I can't receive incoming calls, and was promptly told they'd ring me back to discuss the problem. That inspired a lot of confidence.

But not as much as the fine people at AA Insurance, who were informed yesterday of my change of address. They were naturally disappointed to hear that I'd left Shotley Gate, took one look at my new Brighton postcode, and immediately raised my car insurance by £300. Which kinda pisses on BT's £13 cancellation fee. They need to try harder next time. So anyway, I now can't afford to run a car and eat. Which is good news for my diet.

Illinois Virtual High SchoolAnd talking of good news, having checked my website stats for the first time in a dog's age this morning, I've discovered that my Micro Fiction has been getting hits from the Illinois Virtual High School, more specifically from a section of course number 2355130 (probably a module on common mistakes in English). Unfortunately, not being a registered student (I'd only fail the entrance exam), it won't let me access the page in question, but I have read their inspiring mission statement:

"The mission of the Illinois Virtual High School is to use new and emerging technologies that expand the boundaries of space and time to provide Illinois students and their teachers with increased equity and access to the highest quality educational opportunities".

Which is clearly why they're linking to me. I expect Ms Cutrell's moved to Chicago.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I received news this morning that my Big Sis has recorded a score of 100% in her American Pilot's License* exam. Which was obviously very exciting news. Particularly as I didn't even know she was taking it. To be honest I thought she was already a qualified pilot, but I expect they have a different kind of sky over there, and on past experience I do think it's important she knows where they keep the fire extinguishers on American planes. Congrats anyway, Big Sis.

The more exciting news of the day however, is that I'm now just one hour away from getting broadband for the first time in my life. Which is the advantage of moving away from a village out in the sticks where people have barely heard of lightbulbs. Considering the amount of rubbish I've managed to publish to the worldwide web on a 56k dial up connection, it doesn't bode well for the general standard of internet content from 8pm tonight, but on the plus side, I now have the tools to build the worldwide porn empire I've always dreamt of.

Anyhoo, while I'm waiting for my super-fast broadband to go live, I've had an enjoyable day chatting to a woman from BT, who rang me up in a last-ditch attempt to persuade me not to leave them. I think her exact words were "This call is not an attempt to influence your decision to change your phone provider", after which she outlined why Cable & Wireless are rubbish, BT are great, and threatened me with a £13 cancellation fee. I told her I'd happily pay it, as I've been looking for another bill to push me over the £3,000 mark for the cost of this darn move. The van hire had left me a few quid short, and I do so like a round number.

On the bright side though, I took a stroll down to the seafront today, in a sort of must-get-out-of-this-flat-before-I-go-insane kind of a way, and discovered that I live less than five minutes walk from the nearest Crazy Golf course. Which is enough to cheer anyone up. On the downside, it's next to Duke's Mound, which, I'm reliably informed, is where the city's gay community go to make sweet love in the open air. So I wouldn't want to lose my ball in the bushes.

On the way back I popped into the local hardware shop for some coat hooks. The young man behind the counter was reading 'The Molecular Biology of Cancer', so something tells me he wasn't planning for a career in DIY. I attempted to feign a smoker's cough to see if I could start a conversation, but all he said was "That's £7.47 please". Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

* Don't even go there, spelling enthusiasts.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Cat on a Hot Tin Record CabinetOne of the challenges of moving from a large two-bedroom flat into a small one-bedroom hovel, is finding a place for everything. Since floor space is at a premium, I've tended to build upwards, with the result that I can now no longer have a bowl of Frosties without reaching for a stepladder.

But the good news is that just six days after I chucked my belongings in a van and left Shotley Gate for greener pastures (there's a lot of mould around here), my cat has finally moved down to Brighton, and what's more she's fitted right in. It was touch and go for a while, but I finally found a space for her...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I had to make two phone calls yesterday, one to cancel my old internet connection, the other to cancel my phone. The first took me to an Indian call centre where I spoke to a man from Mumbai, the second to a British call centre answered by a chap from Newcastle. Guess which one I struggled to understand.

And talking of people I don't understand, I had an e-mail this afternoon through my website from someone called Steve (hi Steve). He says...

"im a big fun [I think he means fan] of Julie Reinger, so can you please send me her email address so that i can contact her if possible.Im a single blackguy aged 33 from southend on sea Essex & i always switch on to BBC WEATHER report everyday so that i could see her. Hope to meet her live since its always my dream to meet this beautiful lady.Thanks"

Clearly Steve needs help. And unfortunately I can't provide it. So if anyone else has Julie Reinger's e-mail address, do let me know and I'll pass it on. I'm sure she'd love to meet him.

Man in the MirrorAnyhoo, despite the fact that Lisa hasn't yet managed to stay the night, I went out today and bought her this dressing table (ignore the idiot in the mirror). And what's more, I managed to get it into my flat without the need for power tools or wood glue. In common with my sofa, it came from the Martlet's Hospice Furniture Warehouse, meaning that its previous owner is probably dying from a hideous disease (possibly Dutch Elm) as we speak. But hey, for twenty quid you can't complain.

Most interesting though is that it's made by Harris Lebus, who according to this article, made bi-planes in the first world war, Mosquitoes in the second, and secretly manufactured wooden Sherman tanks for Lord Beaverbrook. Although a couple of days with Lisa's hairdryer and it'll probably fall apart.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Seagull of DeathThis is the view from my living room window. It might look like a Lowry painting, but it's actually a scene of death, destruction and violent crime. Shortly after snapping this photo yesterday evening, in a sort of "aw look, you can tell I live by the sea - there are seagulls everywhere" kind of a way, the big seagull in the middle, who seems to be the boss of my yard (in an Aisleyne from Big Brother kind of a way), fluttered peacefully down to within three feet of my window, and started hacking one of his mates to death.

Of course, when you're dreamily gazing out of the window, and suddenly see a young seagull (far right) being pinned down on his side, with the beak of an older gull (front & centre) around his neck, while an onlooker (far left) makes enough noise to wake the dead, what you shouldn't do is shout "Oh my god, there's an adult attacking a baby seagull!". Lisa naturally assumed I meant an adult human, panicked, started locking all the doors*, and was halfway to phoning the police.

Anyhoo, yesterday's post brought another gas bill for the previous tenant, who's clearly determined to be run out of town with as many creditors as possible behind him, plus a card from Lisa's mother, congratulating me on the move, and saying that now I live in Brighton, if I ever need any help with anything, don't bother calling her. She's got a heart of gold, that woman.

I spent the day moving bedroom furniture around in circles, before giving up and alphabetising my CD collection instead. It seemed like a more important job. I may not have been able to get to my bed last night, but at least I've decided whether albums by 'The 4 of Us' should go under 'T', 'F' or 'Numbers'.

I also managed to successfully poison Lisa, who discovered that my Rich Tea biscuits taste strongly of some kind of lethal chemical, after I completely failed to wash my shiny new biscuit barrel before filling it. Personally I see it as a handy diet aid, but Lisa felt that being thin would mean less to her if she were dead.

Make a StandIn other news, those two hours I spent on Monday trying to get a nut onto a screw which was clearly designed for something else entirely, proved to be time well spent, as this photo of my new guitar stand clearly demonstrates. Although anyone who says that my new sofa is too flowery for a man of 32, clearly knows nothing. I hacked two legs off that thing with a big saw, and you can't get any more macho than that. And besides, this is Brighton, and I'm living underneath a gay couple. I have to blend in.

Anyhoo, Lisa, who's too scared to look at my blog at work in case she's accused of accessing porn sites (I seem to trigger some kind of questionable content alert) (probably for incorrect sentence construction), e-mailed me yesterday with the kind of website that makes you glad the internet exists. You know it's going to be good as soon as read the title...

Cats That Look Like Hitler

I particularly like the ones that have the moustache and fringe. They're so much more authentic.

* who am I kidding - I only have one door. I have two windows though.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

As One Door Closes...It's official - I live in Brighton. And this is the view through my two-foot-wide front door and into my state-of-the-art des-res. (That's seven hyphens and I'm only two sentences into this post). I'd like to think the boxes are only a temporary feature, but that hinges on me finding somewhere to put their contents, which at the moment is looking a bit iffy. But on the bright side, my new Cosy Cream carpet looks nice. The twelve inches of it you can see, anyway.

As for the move itself, I think on balance it was pretty much a living hell. But a hell populated by angels - namely my brother and parents, without whom etc, etc. I may have to consider stretching to a thank you card.

Anyhoo, things started well enough on Friday evening, when we found that my beautiful £350 wardrobe, which is basically worth more than my car, wouldn't fit through my bedroom door and had to be hacked to pieces with a hammer. I think, for me, that was the highlight. Although at that point of course, I was still unaware that I'd left most of my bedding in the airing cupboard.

But by 11pm on Friday night we were able to look with satisfaction at a fully loaded removal van. And then wonder why half my stuff was still in the flat. But hey, why hire a van for a weekend if you only plan on making one trip, that's what I say. And it's only 140 miles to Brighton. So we set off at 11:15pm for my parents' house in Chelmsford, my brother enjoying the role of 'white van man' by cutting up everyone on the road, while I considered what the chances were of me winning the lottery the next day, and moving straight into a bigger flat. Zero, as it turned out.

A night (well, a five hours) in Essex, and it was off down to Brighton. We were joined by my sister-in-law and niece, both enthusiastic and keen to help. I responded gratefully by getting one to carry some boxes, and sending Lisa out for the day with the other. Unfortunately for Lisa, she got my niece. But it did mean she was able to broker the first ever meeting between my niece and her nephew, who at seven-and-a-quarter is just one month older, and therefore perfect marriage material. They spent their first date eating pizza and talking about Doctor Who, which is spookily reminiscent of the first time Lisa and I met. Apart from the Doctor Who bit.

Anyway, I spent Sunday discovering that my shower doesn't work, and unpacking my printer to find that the ink had leaked everywhere. Which is what happens when you don't take the cartridges out before you move house. So I spent Monday having a bath and going to PC World for a new printer. In between all of that, I've been unpacking, sorting, and attempting to put together a simple guitar stand in under two hours. I also decided, in the light of the fact that I can barely move, I have stuff stacked to the ceiling, and a simple trip to the kitchen is like a major mountaineering adventure, that I really don't have enough furniture. So I went to Argos for some more.

My Mummy also bought me a new stereo as an early birthday present. And if I could get across the room to plug it in, I'd tell you what it's like.

So basically the whole thing's been stressful, unsettling, and enough to push me over the edge into madness. But hey, at least I'm now with Lisa. Of course, she can't actually stay the night, because I don't have any pillowcases and you can barely get to the bed, but she's waved to me from the hallway, which is nice. Another couple of days and we might be able to hold hands.