Jan. 21st, 2015

My brain is currently going down some mighty odd pathways at the moment. On Monday I had a plan for lunch, and when Tesco didn't have that sandwich in I ended up wandering around for a solid thirty minutes, utterly baffled by the prospect of lunch in general. Today at work I flipped my shit at having to load the fucking dishwasher AGAIN and sent around an irate message to the whole company (well, I remembered to take out the India and USA offices but man MANCHESTER REALLY KNOWS ABOUT MY FUCKING DISHWASHER RATES) about people not doing basic cleaning. Actual phrases used included "I have frankly had enough!" and "There is no such thing as the Dishwasher Pixie to magic away your cups". I used that formatting and all.

I got a lot of emails thanking me sending it out, so that's a thing.

Anyway. I am still enjoying a head full of cotton wool and incessant fucking tinnitus whilst working full time and going to college and dealing with funeral arrangements so I am giving myself a lot of range for crazy brain.

Anyway. Yesterday I was, as you do, idly scrolling through Avengers fanfiction and wondering about how people manage to do such complicated AUs. Well, I reasoned to myself, it must be based on what they know. But I don't work in anything exciting, and the Avengers totally wouldn't work in terms of a HR department of a consultancy.

Well, my brain said suddenly. Thor would run the recruitment function. He's enthusiastic at making people join his leadership. And then suddenly it spiralled out of control and here goes my logic in the order it happened in my brain.

If Thor does recruitment because he's good at making people join a team; Steve runs employee engagement and relations because he really cares; Nick Fury is the executive HR director, obviously, with Hill being his deputy; Phil is Nick's PA, secretly running the place and absolutely okay with this; Clint and Natasha are generalist, sleek and deadly and able to move into any function when required. Bruce does occupational therapy. Darcy is the admin HR assistant, and she got the job because she used to work as Jane's intern - Jane is still a scientist - but needed a more appropriate job after uni. SO OBVIOUSLY THOR GOT HER A JOB. (It was at this point I realised I had moved from 'idle speculation' to 'hot shit this is coming into place'.)

So I still sort of don't know what company it would be or quite a few places and then I realised that OBVIOUSLY IT'S AN ENERGY UTILITIES COMPANY OBVIOUSLY. The department is nicknamed Shield but they all work for Warm Security Corporation (OR WSC DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE) which was founded by Howard Stark. Tony theoretically works in the R+D department but he comes down to HR because he has a gift for talent management, even if he can't manage himself. It's ironic that he is a CONSULTANT TO THE DEPARTMENT YOU SEE. Pepper is CFO. Happy runs security, obv. Sam is works in the legal department with an expertise in employment law and is parachuted in as a legal eagle DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE.

Loki works as a freelance recruitment consultant because HE IS EVIL YOU SEE. Hydra USED TO BE PART OF WSU BUT IS NOW A COMPETITOR AND DOESN'T USE AS MUCH CLEAN ENERGY and there are still corporate spies. Bucky went with them but now has repented and is working independently in citizens advice bureau to help out with employment tribunals and Steve has very complicated feelings about this OH GOD IT ALL COMES TOGETHER YOU SEE.

I don't have anything boring like a plot (well, except, maybe, dealing with Hydra trying to poach their staff...), or any particular reason why the Avengers are in a UK consultancy running a HR department, but my brain kept pinging up with ideas and adding to it completely unbidden. And, you know, I'll never write it because no one but no one cares about what would happen if the Avengers worked in a UK HR department. I don't know, though, I don't mind that my brain is going in these directions because maybe some mindless meandering is what I need right now.

Sue Westwood

My grandmother, Susan 'Sue' Westwood - Nanny Sue, Nan - died in her sleep at 1.10am.

I got to say goodbye yesterday evening. And it was peaceful and my grandad was there. I can ask for no more than that.

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

Jan. 16th, 2015

Was meant to be spending today battling NHS in order for GP appointment to try and deal with what I suspect is an ear infection.

Instead about to travel to Worcester to say goodbyes to my grandmother. Fuck fuck fuck.

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

Jan. 5th, 2015


1. When You Wake by sevenfoxes. Live. Die. Repeat. Steve learns to navigate a life where his death resets time, robbing memories from those around him, changing the course of his constantly rewriting history.

It's an Edge of Tomorrow/MCU mashup and it's bloody amazing. I went into it basically expecting nothing and came out a whimpering mess, staring ashen faced at fellow commuters, resisting the urge to grab one of them and shout "JUST HOLD ME, FOR LIFE IS BUT NOTHINGNESS".

I am maybe not selling this. Seriously, just... read it.

2. Middletown: A Study of Surburban Life by M_Leigh. Or: the story of the year Bucky Barnes finally learned how to talk to at least one other human being, discovered J. D. Salinger, started to try in school (kind of), got a haircut, landed a punch, almost got arrested, and kissed a boy on the mouth.

The thing is, right, I don't really like High School AUs because I'm not American, didn't like high school, and I like it when they have superpowers. This is... not really MCU fic, I think. It could be any high school, albeit with an EXCELLENT cameo from the Red Skull. And that doesn't matter. It's just a beautiful, wonderful story. Read it even if you don't like Marvel, or slash, or fanfiction. Just... enjoy.

FICREC NINJA, BOOM. *scurries away*

Jan. 3rd, 2015

New Year's Eve was rather lovely, in the end. I stumped reluctantly into work wearing trainers and a slightly pissy attitude which dissipated quickly when I compared what I was doing a year ago. "Ah, this time a year ago I was throwing up on Richie," I said with a twinge of almost nostalgia. "Work is an improvement." Not least because nearly everyone else had gone home and I was blatantly reading my Kindle in the office. (I have to talk to you about books, soon. Remind me.)

Anyway, I still sauntered out just after three. Despite getting clearance from this from the one member of management still in the building - and giving him my personal number to phone if anything went wrong so I could come back in, and taking a route home that meant I would retain phone signal throughout - I felt sick and anxious about it. I am rubbish at skiving. However, I used the time to panic buy party food and clean the house. (I did not, as you might guess, get a phone call with panic about the office.)

In the end only Fiona could make it, but that was okay too. I Put On A Spread (okay, well, mostly crisps and pizza) and we played Cards Against Humanity and drank heavily. We saw in the New Year, watched the fireworks, raved to the expected Orbital Doctor Who section, and drank champagne. Richie wasn't feeling great so went to bed not long after midnight, and Fiona and I discovered it is in fact possible to rave to Taylor Swift ALMOST SILENTLY.

The next morning my neighbours had an actual rave at 8am. I had to go down and ask them to turn it down as the bass was in time with my headache. A few hours later, when I re-emerged from bed, I looked blearily at Fiona, checked out the alcohol cabinet on top of our fridge, and remained fuzzily grateful that we had at least not opened the vodka.

We had a quiet New Year's Dad, playing Monopoly and eating chips whilst wearing pajamas. Not quiet enough, though, as by Friday I was painfully tired and work was, as such, something of a struggle.

But then, but then. The City was dark, with all the buildings around us having their lights off, so I spent the afternoon feeling like I was in the sensoriy deprivation tank, or in a bunker deep underground - no outside noises or lights. When I did leave work, the moon was bright and cold, no one was around, so I walked up to Temple station via the river. At Temple, I think I saw Tilda Swinton. VERY EXCITING TIMES. And when I came home I made a meal from scratch (well, sort of, but I'm not making my own pasta) and went to bed early. Today, I have done some cleaning, got through the Ironing Pile Of Death, and later I'm going to the theatre for free because that is how I roll.

I am, basically, in quite a good place psychologically at the moment. 2014 was just a big pile of fucking awful with occasional high notes, that started with dystentry. There is still a lot of fucking awful potentially lurking in 2015, but I just feel so glad it's over. (See also: My Cursed Dissertation,June 2008-January 2009, involving breakups, hospitalisation, catastrophic hard drive failures and a car being written off.) Plus, we're got through the winter equinox, the light is coming back. All these things together are... jolly good, all things told.

Dec. 29th, 2014

Oh I am sooooo behind on this for this year.

Quiz of the YearCollapse )

Basically, I just... didn't enjoy a lot of 2014. Which is odd, because I rather enjoyed many individual events within 2014, and I met lovely new people, and I did new things. Overall, though, this is not a year I shall be sad to see out.

Dec. 14th, 2014

Things That Are Brilliant About Today:

1. Richie went to the gym today (that's not the brilliant part, although I'm happy he's really enjoying exercise and finding it relaxing) and left me in bed. I changed the sheets last night so they still have that satisfying 'new sheets' crinkle, so I pulled up the second blanket for some extra warmth and faffed about on the internet for a bit. To my delight, I found a fic that I thought was dead has been uploaded with wonderful new chapters. Decided to stay in bed and read. Bliss!

2. I have to do some college work this weekend but it is literally 'add in a paragraph'. I was cunning with my word count and as such can do this with no other alterations. WAHEY.

3. I am nearly, nearly finished with my Christmas cards, and am in fact about to do that next before eating some lunch.

4. I'm going to go and see The Battle of the Five Armies tonight. I am feeling very conflicted about this, because generally the Hobbit films haven't been up to LOTR but I feel like a 17 year old ago and getting very tearful because this is the last of Middle Earth I'm going to see. Last time I wept buckets all over Dad, so best of luck to Richie and Fiona for this evening basically.


Dec. 13th, 2014

It's been a jolly busy couple of weeks, all things told. I am, as I said, not dead or indeed pregnant, both of which are good things! However, I have dealt with a trip to Cambridge, my work Christmas party, a trip to see my parents in Ormskirk, a frankly horrible visit to my nan in hospital, and work remaining intensely busy.

I have not been dealing with a combination of stress and a lack of sunlight particularly well recently, which slightly explains my continued silence on LJ which I'm unhappy about. Sorry, all.

However, on Thursday someone at work passed out and I dealt with it admirably quickly, no stress at all, got her to A+E, came back to work, and just generally didn't freak out. So I am retaining my ability to be completely unflappable under a crisis - I'm just not doing too well at this low-level bleurgh. The Thursday improved things, though, and I took Richie out for his birthday on Friday, and I've had a productive day of sleeping, cleaning the house, changing the bedsheets, and writing my Christmas cards and getting the stuff parcelled up for parcel sending on Monday. It's a good feeling and I'm hoping that Christmas will push my into equilibrium again. Lights in the darkness and all that - plus, the sudden drop to cold temperatures is really helping to make stuff feel normal.

So that is the general State Of Colleen, for the moment.

Christmas cards!

I am horribly behind on it but I am now getting my head down on Christmas cards. Give me your address if I don't have - my address book is seeming a little bit out of date at the moment!

Comments screened.

Dec. 10th, 2014

Conversation yesterday, post-negative pregnancy test:

"You see, it's a good thing I'm not pregnant, OBVIOUSLY, abortion would mean time off work and pure effort, but the bad news is that yes, I am apparently THAT stressed and weird at the moment that my hormone cycle is completely out of whack."

"... huh."

I could - I should! - write a longer post about recent fun activities and trips to see friends and families but I dunno, right now that sort of seems to sum things up a bit.

(And yes, I did another one this morning to make sure. Two negatives plus no other pregnancy symptoms and I am about as sure as I could be I am not up the duff. Which, to be fair, is a relief.)

Nov. 29th, 2014

It's been a fairly stressful couple of weeks because of various reasons and to be quite honest I'm not particularly in the mood to describe them. I use this journal, still, to remember what I did in the past, but I don't really want to remember some of the general bleak busy-ness at work. So, in conclusion, I won't.

One thing I will remember is that I actually managed to get my Christmas shopping done. Yay! Oxford Circus is generally horrific but I had an amble down to Selfridges and got nearly everything I needed do, although I did end up taking a second trip to get some last bits on the Tuesday. A productive couple of days off. I also binge-watched Peaky Blinders, a show which from experience of the first season really suits it. I'm just watching the last episode now. It's a magnificant series and I think it doesn't get quite the claim it deserves because it's about Birmingham and poor people. Hmm. Seriously, any scene between Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy is just an acting masterclass. Two inhumanly beautiful people turn themselves into scary hardened criminals and you really believe it. Plus, the soundtrack!

(Although I did nearly weep when I got back to work on Wednesday and saw my to do list. We've got authorisation from the boss to get an admin temp in to try and regain all of our sanity before Christmas, and I'm angling to be the nominal supervisor so I can get some more experience on that under my belt. So that's helpful.)

We are now hurtling up towards the end of 2014 and I'm not particularly sorry to see it go. I'm seeing it out with a bang, though. In a couple of hours I'm going to get in the car and trundle up to Cambridge to see loneraven and tau_sigma. I have a bottle of Lidl prosecco to take with me, to celebrate our mutual fabulousness. It'll be fun! And during next week I need to sort out the Christmas tree and have the work Christmas party before heading Oop North for early Christmas with my family. So all of these things are good things.

Nov. 16th, 2014

There have been some positive things this week, which I am grateful for. I finished off a big project in work, which is a weight off my mind albeit one destroyed again with a less enjoyable and even bigger amount of nonsense. Oh, yay.

However, I did get my marks back for my first assignment. By 'marks' I mean 'I passed' which is all that counts. Apparently it was 'absolutely fabulous' which is good to know. The class on Tuesday is when individual responses are given back and I'm not going to go as I have a work event in Slough based around ladies being awesome and helping other ladies, which is also good to know. It was... a relief, all around.

Thus far I have spent this weekend having fun, having also managed to finish my other, terrible assignment by Friday evening. Yesterday Richie and I caught the train up to Oxford, a city I have been to a few times but never really done the touristy things in. We met Mary and had a wander around the Ashmolean, before going to the Eagle and Child. We had booked a table and had a very odd row with an old woman who had taken said table and refused to move despite intercession from barman and from bar manager. Weird. That said we had a fabulous time when we did eventually get a table, having a really good catch up, lunch, several drinks and general joy at being there. Tolkein, yay! We also had a wander around the city, saw Mary's lovely attic room, and got a sensible train back. I nipped to the loo in Paddington station and bumped into Dee and actually did the "Shall we get a drink?" chat which might sound odd but I have never done before. Came home much later and ate toast before falling into bed.

This morning I have had a ridiculous lie-in and failed to do any of the things I intended to do because in about ten minutes I'm leaving the house and going out for a Sunday roast at the pub. Bliss. And lest anyone think I am having far too much fun, I would like to point out that we have not one but two visitors next weekend: the landlord and then my mother-in-law. I'm taking my weekend off where I can find it. (Well, actually, I'm taking two days off work immediately after that weekend to prevent a nervous breakdown but that's not the point.)

Nov. 9th, 2014

Things are a little awful in my head, at the moment. It's a combination of a few things, really. First is that my grandmother is very ill - declining, really - and grandad has been told point blank she needs to go into a nursing home otherwise social services will get involved. Mum and I are both of the opinion that this is a good thing, and is the best place for all concerned, but it still sucks. Cut because you may well find this upsetting.Collapse )

So that's awful.

I feel really selfish because I do find myself thinking that it's just Another Bloody Thing in the litany of woe that is 2014, really. College is a mess. Tuesday night going fine, one assignment down, on to the next module. Thursday night teacher had a class rebellion which ended in her admitting she hadn't read the course requirements and was just going by the schedule of work wich she didn't really understand and 'wasn't necessary'. She fails to grasp that whilst we don't care if we miss out on the methods of learning we do still need to learn the actual topics because we have to prove we know them to pass this thing which will affect our careers. Don't even get my started on her assignment. We've been given an extra week on it, which is fine except for the fact we've all spent bloody hours on it as it is. I have now taken the option of 'fuck it', corrected a few bits based on the Thursday night meltdown, and now just doing the rest of it and if I fail then I technically get 'referred' and just told how to correct it so I pass. It's hardly inspiring, though.

My mood is also pretty low due to the changes in daylight. I'm trying to be proactive and take a route to work which means I get off a few stations early and walk and try and take into some daylight but I still feel quite... off. And strangely lonely, despite the fact I am socialising and now have plans right the way up until Christmas. I can't really put my finger on it.

It may be because work is so hectic at the moment, the kind where I hesitate to admit this because it goes against every one of my principles but I've e-mailed some work to myself to do today. It's definitely a one off, and I'm rewarding myself by taking some time back later this month, but I can't help the nagging feeling that it might be a slippy slope. But that said, I'm not being that productive in work, either, in the same way I'm struggling with this assignment; I know that if I just stop staring at the computer, if I just take ten minutes to really think I can get through this paragraph/booking this interview/dealing with this HR enquiry/make this shopping list but instead I just get a bit paralysed and go and read fanfiction or do a task that absolutely does need doing but is easier and lower priority.

Er, reading over all of the above I sound quite a lot more angsty than I really feel. I'm not that bad, I promise. It's just... well, I'll be glad to see the back of 2014 to be quite honest. Despite the long list of genuinely lovely things that's happened. For example, I went out last night and sort of started tentatively Making A New Friend with a uni acquaintance. That was good! And next week I'm going to go to Oxford and have a pint in the Eagle and Child and that is VERY good! There's just a lot of rubbishness at the moment as well, that's all, and I would like it to stop making my brain feel so flat periodically.

Nov. 2nd, 2014

I spent last night without my glasses on. It was weirdly blissful. I spent the entire party not being able to see people, and vaguely peering at my co-workers. Streetlights looked like dandelions in the night. It was sort of like I'd stepped into an impressionist painting.

The moral of the story is that I am never, ever, going to be one of those people dedicated enough to cosplay to not wear my glasses. Good grief.

Nov. 1st, 2014

It's Halloween! Well, it was yesterday but tonight I am off to a party that has caused no end of difficulties for me. We've been invited to a Halloween party at a colleague's house that my manager is also going to, and the colleague in question, when talking about it, said "You can't go as Thor! Maybe zombie Thor. Is that a thing?"

(I decided not to mention the zombie universe things I've read about.)

Anyway, it meant I was trying to rein my my geeky tendencies and Richie's tendencies to go WAY TOO FAR with any kind of costuming in between ALSO trying to look awesome. Any kind of couple's themed costumes is right out, although in our brainstorming we have decided to go as Bill and Ted next year because why not.

In the end, I have gone for 1960s Catwoman (in a little black 1960s dress and boots rather than a catsuit) and Richie is going for Phantom of the Opera. If anyone asks we are going to maintain separate cover stories, wherein I told him I was going as a cat and he thought we were going as Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals; if anyone asks me then the story is that he told me he was going as the Phantom and I thought we were going as comic book characters with poorly received solo movies.

Okay, so we're still being a little niche and geeky but eh. Also I have an amazing mask but I have mentioned before that I am hilariously blind without my glasses. My left eye is now the type of squinty where the lenses are specially thinned, and gosh am I grateful that technology exists and that at least I'm still at the point where it can be thinned. However, I am going to spend a chunk of tonight WITHOUT my glasses on. I've warned R that she needs to introduce me to people with really big and definable hair and preferably wearing bright colours.

Anyway. The most important thing is that tonight I'm not going to drink red wine as I have a really weird experience on it at that party in Nottingham last week. I went from 'fine' to 'hammered' in about one glass (okay, after several other glasses but not as much as I have been know to drink and stay upright), threw up spectacularly (and again, not merely a tactical chunder AND YES I AM CLASSY) and then went to bed. At 10pm. Woke up the next day as fresh as a daisy, if you exclude being woken up at midnight and throwing up, and waking up at 3am and having a little lie down on the bathroom floor. I do exclude these things. Anyway, the point of the story is that tonight is a cider night, particularly since I have to battle with coming home from SOUTH OF THE RIVER. This is, in London terms, roughly the equivalent of travelling to Mordor.

Before all this fun, I need to write my second assignment. I have at least finished the first, and just need to spend an entertaining hour or so tomorrow or on Monday wrestling it into a report folder and checking my appendices are labelled properly. The second is theoretically more interesting, if you exclude the fact I sort of haven't done any reading for it. Ah well.

(I do not recommend working full time with night school. Good things about working full time: having money, having evenings to self without worrying about homework. Good things about being a student: extra sleep, having daytime to self, can study in a library. All of these things: NEGATED BY COMBINING THE TWO.)


Oct. 25th, 2014

"When I was a student," I said, a lot, to anyone who wondered how I would balance the time between a full time job and a busy evening course, "at one point I had three jobs and a full-time degree AND looked after societies. I am all about time management. I'll be fine."


Which is why I am procrastinating on LJ rather than doing any of the things I should be doing, like finishing off one assignment; starting the other; cleaning my filthy cesspit of a flat; preparing to go away tonight because I promised in August I'd go to a houseparty. In Nottingham.

I am not especially motivated to do any of things. This is because the first assignment to complete is dull; the second is just plain baffling due to poor teaching. I don't want to party tonight because our neighbours thing dubstep is appropriate at 8am on a Saturday morning, so I'm already kind of sleepy. And I don't want to clean because I really feel I shouldn't. I do the lion's share of the housework because neat freak but Richie solemnly agreed to cover more of it so I wouldn't get stressed by the state of the house when I was meant to be doing an assignment. Instead he is spending a lot of nights in the gym. I don't mind him exercising AT ALL but I do get peeved when I come home ay 9.30pm and he's watching TV or in pajamas and the house is a TIP and the excuse is 'oh, I was at the gym and didn't get in until 8pm.' Grrr.

Right. I am going to make a cup of tea, try to avert my gaze from the dusting, polishing and hoovering that is desperately overdue (already cracked and put on laundry, cleaned away old laundry and done washing up and that was AFTER I had gone out to the shops so we have food in for the week and booze for tonight) and do a personal development plan. Because that's a fucking useful way to spend my time because I definitely don't already have a comprehensive work appraisal system as it is. But at least then my first assignment will be done. Only seven more to go until June! They're Pass/Refer, at least, i.e. all I have to do is pass and if I don't I just get told how to do it again and pass this time. Good grief, it's like first year.

(I was in such a lovely mood, briefly. I went outside, the sun was shining, it wasn't too warm, the leaves were crunchy. Oh well.)

Sep. 21st, 2014

Not dead, despite the best efforts of my First Full Week At College. I am typing this in between breaks of reading and doing my homework. Homework, ahahaha. Mostly it's reading which luckily I am AMAZING at. The course itself does seem quite interesting, although the Thursday night teacher is chaotic. I also have to use Internet Explorer to use the college site, which is frustrating as that is where all of my sources are. Gah.

Anyway. Been a strange week, course stuff not withstanding. I have been mainlaining Defiance (only one season behind the rest of the world! Improvement, self!) which I am quite enjoying. The aliens could stand to be a great deal more alien, but I enjoy a good dystopia and world-building. Also, Stahma Tarr. Oh my god. Best character by a mile and oh my girlcrush is enormous. She sets off all of my Gul Dukat buttons, although minus the spoonhead thing.

Paying attention to fictional politics has been deeply preferable to paying attention to actual politics of late. For those not in the know, this week was the independence referendum in Scotland, where Scotland voted whether or not to stay in the UK. They voted to stay in the Union, which I personally gave a deep sigh of relief over. I wanted Scotland to stay part of the UK. Love Scotland, am married to a Scot, am personally English, like everyone else in the situation we sort of clung to our spouses and quietly calculated how we'd get to the visa office. THE THING IS THOUGH that it got quite nasty and personal, and a lot of the Yes voters are understandably deeply disappointed and unhappy. I get that, I do. And also? I want this to lead to proper constitutional change, with more powers for Scotland BUT ALSO Wales and Northern Ireland and England to make their own decisions. I also get quite antsy at the accusations that supporting the Union somehow makes you Nigel Farage, cackling over food banks and child poverty. It... doesn't. The whole thing just makes me a bit edgy and I've been trying to stay away from it on social media because I don't want to get involved or hurt anyone's feelings. Or, to be more precise, let myself take it personally.


Okay. Time for more Davis Ulrich, who apparently I basically need to accept as my new lord and master. LOL HR ACADEMIA JOKE *facepalm*

Aug. 28th, 2014

So. I'm a student again! How exciting. I enrolled on Tuesday, trying to damp down the voice in my head muttering 'in my day it was called matriculation' and 'for fuck's sake it's an undergraduate MA it is NOT THAT HARD to process'. Also my photo for my ID makes me look like a serial killer, but who cares because I have student ID with NO END DATE on it.

So. I am officially a member of the Management And Higher Education department of Barking and Dagenham College. Alumni include Idris Elba. Whilst I doubt Stacker Pentecost ever did a diploma in HR Management, I CAN DREAM.

First day on 9th. So, woo!

Dad sent me a text saying he had a new job. (Dad is retired now. Or, well, perhaps he is now un-retired?) It's the job he's wanted for years on the mental health board checking that patients needs are cared for. It's absolutely zero pressure, only about four days a month, and using his many many years of expertise to do something more than 'prevent very ill but very dangerous people killing colleagues'. (Dad worked in a hospital for people who used to be known as criminally insane. Being a steady, level-headed sort of guy, he worked for about 30 years on the wards with the chaps who were genuinely quite dangerous and in many cases had killed a few people. Nine times out of ten he actually spoke highly of the people he spoke for, and that when they got the treatment they needed they weren't too bad. The one out of ten was generally the problem.)

Between me being a student again, and Dad getting a new job for the first time in 30 years, I spent twelve hours in work today doing graduate recruitment. Things have come to a pass when you are vaguely excited just to go to work at nine AM. Weirdly, getting up at 6.15am just feels like being a student again although admittedly this time I didn't have to go and clean toilets before going to lectures. CAREER PROGRESSION YOU SEE.

Aug. 24th, 2014

It's a bank holiday weekend. Once again we are being used as a base of operations by a friend who is in town seeing us but also other people, so I spent this morning having a long and blissful lie-in with the prospect of nothing more stressful than making a big Sunday roast this evening just because I can.

Well, nothing more stressful than a leaking toilet which is all kinds of argh, but have phoned landlord and left message and sent an e-mail, so not much else we can do there. It's not catastrophically leaking but, well, I feel a toilet is on that list of 'things that absolutely shouldn't leak at all', like gas pipes. It's sort of coming out in the gap below the cistern, if that makes sense? Plumbing is not my forte. This is the joy of renting, if a problem is too big to handle it is officially Not My Problem, Not My House. Although I do love living here and quietly refusing to move, but still.

(Richie is very keen to shutting off the cistern and using a jug, to which my response is NO THANK YOU. Seriously, we'll just put something absorbable down and wait for the landlord to phone back. It is a bank holiday weekend, there is nothing that can be done today!)

In other news, I watched Doctor Who last night. OBVIOUSLY. I currently have conflicting feelings about it. Hrm. I think what is basically comes down to is that whilst I am obviously going to stick with it, I still can't get my head around Clara. Sorry, Clara. The shadow of the Ponds is a long one.

Aug. 21st, 2014

HI EVERYONE. Am back, am not dead!

I went away two weeks ago (two!!) and travelled with Richie up to the West Midlands, where we were embarking on the first stage of our Summer Holiday/Wedding Road Trip Adventure. Our first port of call was Claire and George's house, as they were the first couple to be getting married and we were going to housesit for them, i.e. use their place for free accommodation. We briefly spoke to both bride and groom before they went their separate ways, and we picked up two old Richie's old housemates at a nearby rail station and settled in for what is one of my favourite kind of nights - red wine, food to share, catching up with old friends. Claire and George's wedding wasn't until 2pm the next day, either, so we had a leisurely morning too, getting ready and swapping hats (I had lots of weddings! I had to be prepared!) and enjoying a drive through the darkest West Midlands to the actual wedding venue.

Okay, I had to drive, but such is life.

The wedding itself was really, really lovely. It was a beautiful old mill in the middle of the countryside. They had friends sing during the ceremony, the bride looked beautiful, I wept through the vows as I now do at ALL weddings. The rest of the day was lovely, too. Richie had FAILED TO RSVP MY DIETARY REQUIREMENTS so I had a very awkward moment when I had to ask for the veggie meal, although I think my sheer piteousness and the fact I was willing to take a plate of the meaty stuff and just eat the side salad may have played in my favour. Amazing food, though! And the first best man's speech I've ever seen via medium of powerpoint and a film trailer. We danced all night to a truly epically dreadful wedding DJ, and I drove home very sober but buzzing from adreneline until I fell into bed. It was a really, really lovely day.

Less lovely was my early wake-up on Sunday. Ugh. My mother is from the West Midlands, and although I neatly sidestepped taking Richie to see the hillbilly relatives from Rowley Regis (vis the medium of having not spoken to them for about 12 years now) we did go and see my Grandad and Nan for a night in Worcester. Nan had a debillitating stoke 18 months ago and to be quite honest I've been avoiding it, but she looks much better then when she was in hospital, and the new extension of their house with wheelchair access and a proper bed for her must be helping. More awkward was meeting a woman that mum told me about a few months ago, who is Grandad's... er... friend. No one is asking further questions. Nan is not aware that anything is going on. Crucially I am also not meant to know. Still, you now, awkward. (And I understand, I do, Grandad is still young and Nan is, well, it's not good. But oh.)

Despite that, we survived an overnight stay. We took the Awful Dog for a walk ("it's got no personality, it's like a void of a dog" is Dad's opinion) and in the evening I had some wine and, well, we survived, basically.

The next day was my 27th birthday (OH GOD WHY HOW AM I SO OLD) and we trundled up north to visit my parents. The week was spent mostly drinking and eating, which frankly I am all in favour of. We went back to our old stomping ground in Southport, and drank far too much beer and cider, and had a barbeque, and tried to relax. Although! Do not go to a pub! On A-Level results night! I feel SO OLD! Also neither Matt or I could remember what we'd done on the same night, which is a little concerning. "I mean, I know I lost my virginity at the END of the night, but between about 7pm and midnight it a little blurry?" yeah I'm classy.

Of course, this was taking into account my neighbour's driveway builder, WHO I KNEW FROM MY OLD WORK. I know him because he refers to all women as 'babe' and I once flipped and howled "MY NAME IS COLLEEN ACTUALLY" and on a hot day he once came in without a shirt on and pasty crumbs in his chest hair. OMG ARGH WHAT I NEVER WANTED TO SEE HIM AGAIN.

However, we had gone to Ormskirk for such a long stint in order to go to another wedding, this time for Adam and Jess. It was also a lovely, lovely wedding, this time in Southport registry offices (which I used to live 5 minutes away from). It ran slightly late as the wedding before had a guest have a heart attack half way through (!) but still seemed to go okay. Jess wore a beautiful 1950s dress and somewhat predictably I also cried. The reception was in Aughton Village Hall (which I also lived five minutes away from) and was really lovely. They'd done the venue up themselves, entirely homemade, and as Adam is a chef he'd done the prep for the food. Also, free booze! ALL DAY! Oh god. I must confess it was slightly less to my taste than Claire and George's, but I still had a good time. Jess and I had a mad bonding session of "BUT I KNEW YOU WHEN I WAS THREE AND NOW WE ARE BOTH MARRIED WHAT". Matt came along later and we nabbed a lift home with his mum.

Exhausted, I was taking my make-up off and Richie and gone to bed when I realised that my parents were still out. I knew they'd been out to the neighbours for Apology Curry due to the ongoing driveway works, and it was about this point my mum stumbled back, demanding beer. "Er, okay," I said, and put on my shoes and took some over. This is all literally via a missing panel in the fence in the back garden, you must understand. "COLLEEN! OR POSSIBLY MEGAN! HAVE SOME WINE!" my neighbour insisted. I really didn't want to, but very drunken neighbours plus parents plus my lack of sobriety meant it didn't happen. Dad even went and got Richie, which Richie privately informs me was SUPER WEIRD.

... anyway, I got home at about 4am. UGH.

The next day was a hangover, put it that way.

And on Monday, it was back to London. It was... really nice to visit the north again, as well as mega cheap. I do miss it sometimes, particularly when the area around my work is TOURIST CENTRAL and so help me GET OUT OF MY PUBS. But I do also very, very much like being in London, I hasten to point out.

Anyway. I have now been back to work for three days and my period has FINALLY FUCKING TURNED UP. I'm mostly torn between going "yay! menstrual cycle! no more peeing on sticks for me!" and "ARGH I HAVEN'T DONE THIS AU NATUREL FOR YEARS IS IT MEANT TO HURT THIS MONTH". This weekend Mary is coming to stay, and next week I enrol in college and am officially a student again. That's good, right?
"The thing is, I mean, there's times when you look at the universe and you think 'What about me?' and you can just hear the universe replying, 'Well, what about you?'"

Unity appeared to consider this. "Well, what about you?"


January 2015


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