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Friday, May 11th, 2012
6:01 pm - I've Moved

Hello *waves* I'm over here now - feel free to stop by anytime: http://tobetternessandbeyond.wordpress.com/

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Thursday, December 7th, 2006
9:41 am - Signing Off (For Now)
Can hardly believe in four days from now I'll be on a plane bound for Nairobi and about to embark on a nine month African adventure I've been planning for about the last six! Between now and then I'll have had my office Christmas lunch (at the Gaucho Grill in Hampstead where they serve the finest Argentinian steaks known to man - mmmmmm), been on one last night out in London with my Uni friends, had a get together with my best friends from school (where we plan to drink mulled wine, eat mince pies and reflect on how we came to be where we are today - along with other, far less intelligent, topics of conversation) and celebrated Christmas early with my wonderful Mum and step-Dad, who have been absolute rocks these past few months as I've grappled with the meaning of my life. It all just feels so surreal, but exciting at the same time. Giving up my home, my job, my car (and effectively my boyfriend for large chunks of time!) was not a decision I took lightly, but sometimes you just have to make changes before you can go forward, and this is mine.

I won't be writing in this journal while I am away as I've set up a special travel blog, so this will be my last entry for a while.  I'll therefore take this opportunity to thank all my virtual friends for their support and encouragement in recent months - and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This is intrepid explorer Bege, signing off.... 

x x x x

current mood: excited

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Friday, December 1st, 2006
10:23 am - Yay!!! And Random Mornings....
First and foremost I would just like to publicly declare I am a NANOWRIMO WINNER once again! Yes folks, somehow (and believe me I have no idea how I did it) I dug deep and made up the 15,000 word shortfall in the final TWO DAYS. Sleeping and eating? Pah. I have no need for rest and sustenance! My only need was for that little purple bar, and I'm glad to say normal life can now resume once more. I'm actually pretty happy with the plot and characters, though the writing leaves a little to be desired in terms of complexity and structure - nothing that can't be ironed out in the edit though (if I ever finish editing last year's novel, that is). Anyway, the long and short of it is that I have done it, and I am proud of myself.

Secondly, I thought I'd just share with you this morning's totally random experience. As I walked to my car (already running late for work, I should add) I was accosted in the street by a portly woman, laden with bags and with rather alarmingly scabby hands, who begged for my help as she wanted to get away from her abusive boyfriend and had no way of getting home. I can't honestly explain what came over me, but I gave in and agreed to drive her home (she assured me it was only five minutes down the road, but in reality it was substantially further). Several things soon became apparent:

1. She was still drunk from the previous night's antics ('I think I slept in a bush!' she laughed, whilst grabbing me with her scabby hands)

2. She was almost certainly high on cocaine (our conversation went like this:

Her: I used to have a really bad coke habit - got through 3 bags a day
Me: Really? And do you still do it now?
Her: Oh no, I'm much better now, I do it much less.
Me: Really?
Her: Well, I still do about £300 a week of the stuff, but it's better than it was.
Me: Oh)

3. She was a fantasist ('I was married to a millionaire','my boyfriend is a millionaire','I know Tara Palmer Tompkinson! - although, thinking about it I suppose all of those could be plausible, seeing as TPT's well known for her coke habit and this woman did pull out a wedge of £50 notes while we were driving. Sadly, she didn't give any of them to me).

4. She was a fantastist part 2 ('Do you want me to take you out to Stringfellows and show you a good time?' - er, funnily enough, no - 'Do you want to come in and meet the family' - again, bit pushed for time, sorry - 'are you a debutante?' - ??????????

She also, rather strangely, was carrying around several Christian Lacroix jumpers wrapped in cellophane, though I felt it best not to ask about those.

Very, very odd indeed. Don't think I've ever been as relieved as when she eventually climbed out of the car.

In other news:

Getting VERY excited about Africa now it's little over a week away  - had another delivery from Party Treasures today which I'm thrilled with.  Those kids are gonna love me!  Just so long as I can fit all their presents in my rucksack, which is currently looking unlikely.....

current mood: weird

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Monday, November 27th, 2006
11:20 am - Contrived People and OCD
Whilst driving down the M40 on Friday night I was pondering why it is that some people feel the need to be so contrived. Allow me to illustrate with an (entirely fictional) example. Say, for instance, that on the day I had agreed to go to the theatre with a friend an invite to Leonardo DiCaprio's 32nd (yes, I know how old he is - no heckling please) birthday party plopped onto my doormat. Obviously I would have to cancel the prior arrangement, and this would certainly result in aforementioned friend being disappointed, but I would tell the truth without question, because I think saying something like 'I can't come because my sister's fallen down the stairs and broken her leg' or something equally ridiculous would not only be unecessary but also very stupid. Said friend would see right through me and I would from that moment on be thought of as a liar (or at the very least have a significant amount of egg on my face if my lie was ever exposed - and believe me, these things do have a tendency of exposing themselves). See what I mean? So anyway, there have been a few examples of this kind of behaviour in my life of late, and I just wanted to put on record that it annoys me. Immensely. If you need to cancel your plans or have something to get off your chest just be man (or woman) enough to tell the truth, and tell that person face to face. Don't make up silly lies or use sarcastic comments to get your point across because it is both lame and insulting.

The other thing I feel it necessary to say is that my OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to those of you lucky enough to not know what it means) has worsened. In recent weeks (coinciding with the increased pressure of tying up all my loose ends and relocating to Africa for 9 months) my list-making has increased four-fold. Looking around my desk right now I can see not one, not two, but TEN LISTS, all vying unsuccessfully for my attention. I can't really pinpoint the exact moment I crossed over from being a relatively normal person to one who can only function with the aid of a full pad of post-its, but it's worrying to say the least. In relation to the above, I was so wound up about the contrived people thing on Friday that I actually felt compelled to make a list of all the people in my life who aren't contrived, just so that I'd know who my real friends were. How weird is that? Am I beyond redemption? In fact no, don't answer that. I'm happy enough in list-land, leave me in peace!

Now, back to reality.....

Reaching the NaNo finish line is looking about as likely as England winning the Ashes, but I'll still be writing to the very last second. I'm actually pretty happy with how my book's turning out, so it's definitely not been a wasted exercise.


(which is really just as well - the office coffee debate is really starting to wear thin now, was tempted to pour mine over someone's head this morning)

current mood: awake

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Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006
12:38 pm - Ramble Ramble
Yesterday the office coffee debate reached a crescendo, with certain members of the team voicing their displeasure about others' seeming lack of enthusiasm when it came to preparing beverages for their esteemed colleagues (yawn). Insults were hurled, and the unfortunate conclusion of the sorry debacle was that in future we should all just make our own. All I can say is this: 13 days and counting!!

Speaking of which, am getting extremely excited now. My first placement begins in less than 7 weeks and I cannot wait to meet all the children and fellow volunteers and get stuck in. Even the second placement seems finally to be coming to fruition - have narrowed my options down to four, but must admit one of those four is currently tugging at the heart strings more than the rest, so we'll see how it plays itself out. All I know is that I want to do something where I can be as much use as possible - and seeing as I only have three months to offer, I would rather be out in the community actively helping than stuck behind a desk getting tied up in red tape.

Aaaanyway, in other news: spent last weekend in Bristol with BF's old Uni friends (I say Uni friends in the loosest possible sense, seeing as once they'd met one another they collectively managed to attend approximately three lectures before dropping out altogether). Amazingly, it was the first time I've ever seen them without him being there, so was really nice to confirm we're friends in our own right. Didn't get off to the best of starts as had hardly slept the night before (thanks to Kendrick!!) so was exhausted, but after a twelve hour sleep I was good to go on Saturday - lucky, seeing as I had rugby and afternoon drinking to contend with. Watched the rugby at Jack's, followed by a spot of X-Factor. Half way through the programme I texted in to the 'win £1000' competition, and was ecstatic to receive a phone call shortly afterwards from a man saying 'Is that Belinda? I'm calling from the X Factor to tell you you've won our competition.' Embarrassingly, it took me a couple of minutes to realise it was a wind-up, but once I had I sprung Jack good and proper by walking into his room and catching him on the phone. Gotta love the old practical jokes! In fact, it brought memories flooding back of the many happy (and drunken) weekends we spent in Bristol years ago. Like the time Needham removed all of the slats from BF's bed after a night out, causing us to fall straight through the bedding onto the floor, or the time we lined his bed (beneath the sheet, obviously) with CD cases. Or even the time I sellotaped the toilet door while Needham was inside. Happy days - may silliness reign supreme forever!

So anyway, am doing a good job of seeing everyone I want to see before I leave, though I won't deny I'm shattered. Last night (after a totally pointless detour to my nurse when, on arrival, I was promptly informed that I needed none of the jabs the doctor had ordered me back for) I nearly hit meltdown, so decided to have a night off NaNo, watch some crap tv and hit lights out by 11pm. Am subsequently feeling much better today, though I'm slightly stressed to now be nearly 12k words behind. Think I'm just going to have to come to terms with being a NaNo loser this year :(

Can't believe it's now less than three weeks until BF and I are reunited and my African adventure begins! So excited, so nervous, so sad about missing my friends and family........but still can't wait!

current mood: awake

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Tuesday, November 14th, 2006
2:25 pm - Not Long Now.....

As you can see, I'm struggling to keep up with NaNo this year (am currently 7k words behind where I should be at this stage in the game) but that's hardly surprising given the fact I'm leaving for Africa in LESS THAN FOUR WEEKS and still have a ton of stuff to sort out and a load of people to see.  I'm not giving up just yet though - as my virtual friends have pointed out, even if I don't make it to 50k at least I'll have the bare bones of a (second!) first draft I wouldn't otherwise have had.

Went up to Brum at the w/e to see my Uni friends and had a fantastic night out - seventeen of us went for a Cantonese meal and then onto Jools Holland's Jazz Bar.  It was so good to see everyone again (especially you Plophead - I know you're reading this!), though when I got back on Sunday feeling tired and emotional the enormity of what I'm about to do hit me pretty hard - I'm going to miss everyone so much over the next nine months! :(

Last night I had an email from the data recovery company that I sent our broken hard drive to - according to them it's damaged beyond repair, which means we've not only lost all the digital photos that we've taken over the past four years, but also that I'm £250 worse off and have absolutely nothing to show for it.  I'm absolutely gutted, there were so many good pics on there and some really sentimental ones, like our anniversary in Bruges a few years back.  Oh well, people are more important than photos in the grand scheme of things so I mustn't grumble, but I have learned a valuable lesson about backing things up.

Just heard the fantastic news that Mark, my colleague, is going to be a daddy!  There's been a real baby boom in this office in the last year - first Damian, now Mark....it's just as well I'm leaving!!

Right, really must get on - work to do and novels to write!

current mood: calm

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Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
10:32 am - Random Assortment of Thoughts

Thanks tococoskeeperfor bringing this cool ticker thingy to my attention - have finally achieved the impossible and worked out how to insert it!  Woo hoo.


So yeah, as you can see NaNo's going pretty well - though I missed last night's session coz I stayed at my friend Anna's house so need to double up tonight......

Have three thoughts to share with you today.  

Firstly, as Remembrance Sunday approaches once again I feel it necessary to point out how vitally important it is that we do take the time to remember the heroes who died for our country all those years ago.  Without them we would not have the freedoms available to us today, and when the last of this country's war veterans has passed away we MUST instill in future generations the importance of never forgetting.  So wear your poppies with pride people!

Secondly, this weekend also marks an important personal milestone - the one year anniversary of my colleague Graham's death from a brain tumour.  My colleagues and I will be raising a pint of ale or two in his honour this Friday lunch time, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and daughter, Naomi and Emma.  Graham, wherever you are, you are and always will be sorely missed.

And thirdly, whilst on the train this morning I felt very heartened to see so many people reading books (didn't mean that to sound quite as pompous as it did, but you get my point!)  I just think it's nice to see that in this age of technology nothing can be done to quell the public's appetite for a good, old fashioned read.  And long may it continue (well, long enough for me to get my books into print, preferably!)

current mood: thoughtful

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Friday, November 3rd, 2006
9:26 am - Sobering Thoughts
Today I'm feeling a bit depressed. Not because of anything that's happening in my life - far from it, everything's just peachy with me - but because I've been thinking a fair bit about the environment, and the world in general, and it makes me sad that before long we will have ruined it all through pollution, climate change, deforestation, over-fishing, poaching, poverty.....all things that could be stopped, if only we had the collective will. Don't get me wrong, I'm hardly someone who lives by example - I drive a car to and from work, don't always recycle (though in recent months I've been getting better on that front) and think nothing of turning on the heating at the drop of a hat when I could just put some more layers on. I have been known to use aerosols (God, that sounds dodgy - I was referring to the use of deodorants rather than implying I was a 'user' of aerosols!), occasionally eat endangered species of fish such as cod, take regular flights abroad.....the list goes on. But what I find particularly depressing is the number of people who are like me, or indeed far worse in terms of the damage they're doing to the planet, and simply don't care. This 'it's got nothing to do with me' culture really gets to me - how can people be so selfish?  This planet is a gift, what right do we have to abuse and kill it?  Everyone can do something to help in their own small way, whether it be a big change like cycling to work instead of driving or a smaller one like recycling milk bottles instead of throwing them out.  All I know is I don't want my children and grandchildren to inherit a dying planet in the knowledge their ancestors could have done something to prevent it.

So endeth today's sermon.

On a more positive note, today is day 3 of NaNoWriMo and I'm happy to say things are going well so far (famous last words).  At 4,400 my word count is looking healthy, and the characters are all doing a great job of telling me how they want to be portrayed - so much so, in fact, that I felt a bit like a woman possessed last night whilst sitting at the kitchen table writing a scene between my MC and her best friend.  The latter has emerged to be nothing like how I originally pictured her, but she's shaping up very nicely.  Ah, the joys of writing when it goes well!  Here's hoping things don't go belly up a week from now....

In other news, BF is now in Southern Sudan with the seven mad Russian pilots he met in Northern Kenya last week (none of whom speak English) - phone contact hasn't been possible so far this week but he's sent a few texts to let me know he's okay, but madly busy.  I'm just so glad he's got something to get his teeth into - though I must admit I'm praying he doesn't get a taste for this nomadic lifestyle!

Still loving being at home with the parents, but still hating the drive to and from work which, in recent days, has become almost unbearable.  Am plodding along slowly but surely though, whilst constantly reminding myself it's not for much longer.  Africa's going to be quite a culture shock compared to the home comforts I've become so used to.  I'm sure it'll be character building though!

current mood: contemplative

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Monday, October 30th, 2006
10:15 am - Update
Another Monday morning has rolled around, which can only mean one thing: 6 weeks until I leave for Kenya!! Really can't wait now, the countdown is well and truly on.

Had a nice, quiet weekend for once, after the carnage of Vicki's b'day in Camden last weekend - speaking of which, have I already mentioned that? Went to a reggae night at Electrowerkz, a rather odd and very seedy club behind Angel tube station. When we went upstairs to put our coats in the cloakroom we came face to face with a queue-load of goths wearing white face paint, body armour, ten inch platform heels, red hair extensions and swigging from bottles of rose which, let's face it, would be quite surreal at the best of times, let alone at midnight after a few mind-bending cocktails!  Turned out there was an 'alternative' club upstairs (no sh** sherlock), and though they both shared the same cloakroom the bouncers had roped off the top of the stairs so we couldn't get in!  Ended up having a barney and being granted temporary access into the madness, though we beat a hasty retreat once our jackets were safely stowed away.

Anyway, I digress.  So this w/e I spent my third Friday night in a row having a curry with my parents in Addlestone (which, incidentally, is listed on here[Unknown LJ tag]

current mood: chipper

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Monday, October 23rd, 2006
1:58 pm - Romance Is Not Dead!
When I woke up this morning I had very little expectation of BF doing anything to mark our 8 year anniversary (if he remembered at all, that is!); partly due to the fact the last bunch of flowers he bought me was at least a year ago (that could be an unfair statement - I can't remember exactly when it was, but it was ages ago, in woman terms) and he's not big on soppy sentiment, and partly because he's thousands of miles away in Nairobi, Kenya. But at lunch time today I was completely taken aback by a phone call summoning me to the reception, where an enormous bunch of flowers and box of chocolates were waiting for me. And sure enough (after frantically scrabbling around for the card and repeatedly pinching myself) they were from BF. My faith in love and romance has been duly restored (she says tearfully).  Only seven weeks to go......

 Aren't they beautiful?

current mood: touched

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Friday, October 20th, 2006
9:59 am - The Great Coffee Debate (and other thoughts)

In recent weeks the controversy and anger surrounding who makes the coffee in our office has reached a crescendo.  Admittedly, there has been an imbalance of labour for quite some time, with two out of the four of us making rather more effort than the others (I, you may have guessed, was one of the two who didn’t), but I have always argued that they drink more coffee than us anyway, so it’s only fair that they should make it more often.  Well, it would seem that argument is no longer washing with said colleagues, who have now (driven to desperation) drawn up a ‘coffee chart’ to monitor how many times we all make hot beverages each day.  One full round equals 1 point, half a round equals half a point, and so on.  Oh - and apparently it doesn’t count if you only make your own (drats).  

Problem is, since the new system was introduced we’ve all got a bit power-hungry for coffee points.  Now whoever gets into the office first races to the kettle in a desperate bid to be the first person there, thus securing their point by preparing the mugs with their quota of milk/coffee/tea bags/sugar (if some or all of these are in the cups when the second person reaches them they must, by law, allow the person who prepared them to finish their round - hijacking a round is frowned upon, and possibly even punishable by death).  Worst of all, we’ve taken to jumping out of our seats at totally random times during the day shouting ‘coffee anyone?’ at the top of our voices (even when we don’t want one) just to make sure we’re not bottom of the league table come Friday afternoon.  It all strikes me as being a bit anal really.  Pathetic even.  But can I stop?  Can I hell.  I’m just as competitive as the next person!

Anyone else have any office foibles they would care to share?* 

In other news......the one and a half hour commute is beginning to wear me down, but I'm doing my best to remain upbeat.  Wasn't easy last night though as I had to get a tube into town after work for my rabies, meningitis and hep B jabs, then get a tube back to my car before driving home.  Unfortunately I've got another FOUR such appointments lined up over the next week alone, but it's a necessary evil if I want to avoid contracting any nasties when I'm out in Africa (though colleague helpfully pointed out it was a shame none of the jabs would protect me from being robbed and/or murdered.  Which was nice).

Am missing BF.  Lots.  It's weird him not being here.  But.....must......remain..........positive.......

....at least I've got my idea for this year's NaNo now to take my mind off things (though when I'll find the time to write I don't know, considering I'm getting home late every night).  Quite excited about it actually!

*I confess I have already posted this over in the Chick Tale Lounge (Finally! I hear you cry, she's worked out the links!), and yes, that was a blatant plug.  But whyever not?  It's my blog and I'll shamelessly plug if I want to.....

current mood: weird

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Tuesday, October 17th, 2006
2:01 pm - Here It Is Folks (What You've All Been Waiting For).....

Yes, this really is my skydive video - posted on my blog thanks to the marvellous technical wizardry skills of my colleague, Craig Murray (with a little help from YouTube).  Enjoy..!

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Friday, October 13th, 2006
9:27 am - Oops I did it Again!
Have officially taken leave of my senses and signed up for this year's NaNoWriMo - swore I wouldn't put myself through it again this year given all that's going on in my life but, never one to shy away from a challenge, I've allowed myself to be seduced by the idea.  I blame the following people for sowing the seed (amongst others - you know who you are!): luisap  [info]alixir [info]kerisss 

current mood: creative

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Thursday, October 12th, 2006
2:04 pm - Life Goes On..
BF left yesterday morning at 7am - I drove him to Gatwick (we only realised it was Gatwick and not Heathrow at midnight the night before, which was far from ideal) so we were up at 4am and feeling pretty knackered. When we got to the airport he was charged £500 (!!!) in excess weight too, so not a good start all in all! The goodbye was very tearful, as expected, and I certainly didn't enjoy the two hour drive back to London afterwards, but, all things considered I handled it remarkably well. Tried to get some kip when I got home at 8.30am but didn't feel right lying there all by myself in a half empty flat, so I got up and spent the rest of the day packing the last of my stuff (and watching all the crap tv I'd Sky-plussed and not been allowed to watch over the last few weeks - knew there'd have to be an upside to him going somewhere along the line!).

Didn't really get a chance to feel sad last night coz at 7pm my good friends Mouse and Anna descended upon me armed with gallons of wine and bags of sympathy, and we ordered a Thai takeaway and chilled out - just what the doctor ordered. This morning was a different matter though - as I locked up the flat for the last time I couldn't help but shed a tear for the end of the era :(

Now I'm counting the minutes to five o'clock so I can hit the long road home (for the first of my 1 1/2 hr commutes) with my car load of stuff and get properly settled in with the rentals. Quite looking forward to it actually - the last few weeks have been so manic I need a bloody good rest.

BF arrived in Nairobi safely and will hopefully be in touch at some point today.

And so the new life begins....

current mood: drained

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Monday, October 9th, 2006
1:46 pm - I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I DID IT!!!!! I jumped out of a plane at 12,500 feet!!! And I'm still alive!!!

Was the scariest thing I've ever done though - and didn't help having to wait around from 8.30am to 4pm before I had my jump. Unfortunately I felt sick all the way down, think I'd tried so hard to keep a cool exterior that my insides were all over the place! When we did eventually land I sat with my head between my legs for a good five minutes before I could move!

On the upside, there were several extremely gorgeous instructors there, one of whom I took a particular shine to, much to boyfriend's amusement (or maybe slight annoyance!?). I was meant to be jumping with him but a last minute change meant I went with his colleague instead - just as well considering I was sick as a parrot the whole way down!

Video evidence to follow (if I can work out how to post it that is, which is, let's face it, unlikely).......

In other news, had a great b'day yesterday - big family lunch with my parents and BF's family in their local gastropub, complete with a group rendition of Happy Birthday and a sparkler in my creme brulee!  Was sad when it came to the goodbyes though, as it was the last time we'll all be together for the next 18 months :(

Speaking of goodbyes, had to bid farewell to our friend Olly on Sat too, who is also heading off on Wednesday but will be seeking his fortune in the Big Apple rather than East Africa!  Must admit I cried like a baby when it was time to leave the pub (which, I can assure you, had nothing whatsoever to do with the three double vodkas and white wine I'd consumed over the course of the evening...).  Doesn't bode well for Wednesday morning....

On the upside, my boss has agreed to me taking the next two days off as unpaid leave (I knew I'd regret using all my holiday at the beginning of the year - drats), so I'll be able to get a proper handle on my packing etc (the etc referring to my emotional stability, or lack thereof!) by the time BF leaves....

Tonight we're having The Last Supper (!) at the Gaucho Grill in Piccadilly - mmmm, 400g fillet steak here we come....

Still can't believe by the end of this week I'll be BF-less and living back home with my rentals - talk about all change...

current mood: melancholy

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Friday, October 6th, 2006
12:46 pm - Less than 24 Hours to go...
...until my skydive (not that I'm counting or anything) and a slightly disquieting sense of calm has descended upon me. Can't imagine why that is, but hopefully it will stay with me at least until I wake in the morning - by which time I'll no doubt be a bag of nerves.

Have decided to pay for a video of the experience - after all, it's not one I'm likely to ever repeat, so I thought it'd be nice to have a reminder (even if it is just 30 minutes of me turning a progressively more vibrant shade of green). Unless, of course, I don't make it and end up as little more than a jammy blob on the drop zone, in which case I think it would be sensible for them to destroy the footage and deny all knowledge of its existence.

So, assuming I do make it I will doubtless spend the rest of the weekend with a stupid smile plastered on my face and a large drink in my hand - due, in no small part, to the fact it's my birthday on Sunday.  Wow, that first quarter of a century's gone pretty fast!

And as I enter my 25th year, I'm pleased to report that - hand on heart - everything is good.  Yes, I'll miss BF like crazy after he leaves on Wednesday, and yes, I'll miss my friends and family like crazy after I leave in December, but we're doing something we believe in, something that could prove to be the making of us.  

Change is scary, admittedly, but it's also a necessary part of life.  Without it, where would we be?  

My African adventure is very nearly here - and I can't wait.

current mood: excited

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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006
9:22 am - Stop the Rollercoaster - I Want to Get Off!
Am shattered.  Really, truly shattered.  Our party on Saturday was fantastic - great bar and a really good turnout, which was a relief.  I was slightly less pleased about the number of people who came back to our flat for the after-party - at one point, when there were nigh-on 40 people in our tiny living room, I got so stressed out I grabbed a bottle of gin (first thing's first!) and three of my best friends and holed up in the spare room until BF came back to sort everyone out.  It was a free for all, but soon calmed down and ended up being pretty good fun.  Even woke up on Sunday feeling remarkably sprightly, cleaned the flat and cooked the boys who'd stayed over bacon and egg sarnies for lunch!  Sadly I now seem to have crashed and burned somewhat, after neglecting to get a decent night's sleep ever since.  

Last night nine of us went for a 'farewell dinner' in our local pub, which was just lovely - so nice to spend proper time together after the madness of Saturday.  It was sad though, as Olly is about to go to New York for a year or so, and BF and I are obviously off to Africa, so it was the last time we'll all be together for a long time.  Does feel strange doing all this farewell stuff when I'm not actually leaving for another couple of months.  

And tonight (I know, I know, it's madness) we're having dinner with our good friends Ben and Kathryn in Covent Garden - couldn't let BF leave without one last meal with those guys, though I shall have to restrain myself if I want to avoid ending up in Casualty with exhaustion and liver damage!

BF leaves ONE WEEK TOMORROW and I'm feeling sick to my stomach.  I'm going to miss him ENORMOUSLY.  But I have to remind myself it's only for ten weeks (although after spending Christmas together we'll have another three month separation......and then another after that......will it ever end?!!)  After eight years together I have no doubt we'll manage, but it still hurts.

Have to get through the skydive first though.  Thankfully am so tired right now I'm hardly even thinking about it, though I really should do some mental preparation to avoid my legs turning to jelly as soon as I catch sight of the airfield.  A couple of friends have said they might turn up to support me (BF is definitely coming!) and everyone's urging me to get the video done, though I suspect that's more because they want to laugh at how ill I look pre-jump than because they want me to remember the experience for the rest of my life.  But still, I'm considering it.

current mood: exhausted

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Wednesday, September 27th, 2006
12:43 pm - There's a Name for People Like Me....
Ah yes, that's it: Headcase.  Why?  I'll explain.  When I feel like I have too many things going on in my head to deal with*, the intelligent part of my brain shuts down (assuming there actually is an intelligent part of my brain, which is still in debate) and I switch from Normal Mode over to List Mode.  This involves writing lists like there's no tomorrow - so many lists in fact, that by the end of my manic brainless period I have lists about lists, so many of the damn things that the sheer volume makes them all redundant.  Needless to say nothing on the lists ever actually gets done, which only adds to my stress levels.  After List Mode I therefore lapse into Mad Paranoid Android Mode, the most dangerous phase of all, which usually involves me convincing myself I'm utterly unloved (particularly by BF, I've noted, much to his exasperation) and dwelling on all the negative things in life rather than seeing the many, MANY positives (don't worry, I'm not clinically depressed or anything, just mad, which is okay.  I think).  So anyway, when in Mad Paranoid Android Mode I am liable to burst into tears over absolutely anything, spending a large proportion of my time crying even when I'm not entirely sure why I was crying in the first place.  Like PMT but much, much worse.  This morning, for example, I nearly cried when it occurred to me I'd probably never take that tube route to work again - I mean, honestly!  Get a grip, woman!

*as now, when my To Do List** for the next fortnight reads:

1. Organise joint birthday party on Saturday for 100 people (why oh why oh why do I do it to myself?!!)
2. Move out of flat (where I've lived with BF for four years) and back in with parents
3. Jump out of aeroplane at several thousand feet (and raise enough money to make risking life and limb seem worthwhile!!)
4. Kiss boyfriend of eight years goodbye for two whole months   

**oh dear, just can't help myself....

current mood: distressed

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Monday, September 25th, 2006
10:53 am - Happy Birthday BF!

Just wanted to wish my gorgeous boyfriend a VERY HAPPY 26TH BIRTHDAY!  Can't quite believe in just over two weeks you'll be off to Africa and I'll be staying behind for two months, but as you keep reminding me, we're strong and we'll survive!  I love you with all my heart, have a great day.

In other news.....woke up this morning to find my jewellry box missing, which is extremely strange as I can't think what could have happened to it.  It's hardly likely someone walked in off the street and swiped it, especially given that my two most expensive items of jewellry were lying on the table in front of it and are still there (thank God).  What is possible is that it had something to do with the random girl BF's brother brought home on Friday night, but she was only 21 and seemed really sweet - plus I can't imagine her having the audacity to steal from us when we'd been so hospitable.  It's a shame I was so hungover all w/e or I might have noticed sooner - as it is the theft could really have happened at any time between the early hours of Sat and Sunday night - not great in terms of narrowing things down.  Mind you, I did notice a key missing from my key fob on Sat afternoon - thought nothing of it at the time because keys have been known to fall off before (the clasp being a bit on the loose side) but now I'm starting to wonder.  Luckily we have a gate in front of the door so in order to get inside the flat you need both keys, but nonetheless I think we'll have to change the locks now on the off-chance.  But honestly, what kind of stupid thief would go to all the effort of removing one key from a key fob (when they could have taken the whole thing -  car keys and, in fact, car included) and stealing one jewellry box but leaving another jewellry box and two expensive necklaces behind?  The mind boggles.

current mood: annoyed

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Thursday, September 21st, 2006
1:12 pm - Mardy Bum
I posted the lyrics to the following song (along with some rather unsavoury comments about BF, but let's gloss over those as harmony has now been restored!) on our WW chick lit blog at  http://chicktales.wordpress.com/ (shameless plug, I know) but seeing as they hold such resonance within my relationship I figured I'd put them on here too.  Can anyone else relate, or are we just particularly weird?

(It's Mardy Bum by the Arctic Monkeys btw)

Now then Mardy Bum
I see your frown
And it’s like looking down the barrel of a gun
And it goes off
And out come all these words
Oh there’s a very pleasant side to you
A side I much prefer

It’s one that laughs and jokes around
Remember cuddles in the kitchen
Yeah, to get things off the ground
And it was up, up and away
Oh, but it’s right hard to remember
That on a day like today when you’re all argumentative
And you’ve got the face on

Well now then Mardy Bum
Oh I’m in trouble again, aren’t I
I thought as much
Cause you turned over there
Pulling that silent disappointment face
The one that I can’t bear

Can’t we laugh and joke around
Remember cuddles in the kitchen
Yeah, to get things off the ground
And it was up, up and away
Oh, but it’s right hard to remember
That on a day like today when you’re all argumentative
And you’ve got the face on

Yeah I’m sorry I was late
But I missed the train
And then the traffic was a state
And I can’t be arsed to carry on in this debate
That reoccurs ,oh when you say I don’t care
But of course I do, yeah I clearly do!

So laugh and joke around
Remember cuddles in the kitchen
Yeah, to get things off the ground
And it was up, up and away
Still it’s right hard to remember
That on a day like today when you’re all argumentative
And you’ve got the face on

current mood: amused

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