Kefalonia sunset

Today is my blog’s 3rd birthday! And even though I’ve been neglecting it a bit recently, I felt it was only right to mark the occasion. So – not that I want to be predictable or anything – here are some photos of a sunset.

A Kefalonian sunset, to be precise, because I just got back from a week there to celebrate my friend’s lovely wedding. (I know, I know, the things I do for my friends…) I took many photos during the week, because it’s a ridiculously beautiful place, and there will be more posts on the way, so brace yourselves.

But here for now are a few of my favourite shots, taken on an evening stroll along the beach next to my hotel. I was the only person there, so I could have fun pretending to be a real photographer and taking loads of photos, each of them very slightly different as the sun crept closer to the horizon.

Happy Monday 🙂

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Happy Sunday: weird noises, rapping bridesmaids… and a kitten called Bum

Greetings from a wet and windy Kent! I’m very happy to be at home, in the warm, while outside it’s blowing a gale and pouring with rain. I hope, wherever you’re reading this, that you’re warm and dry too.

Anyway, here are a few of the things that made me smile over the past couple of weeks. Ironically, I started writing this post whilst watching War and Peace, which made me cry like a baby… but it’s over now so back to the good stuff 🙂

This week:

  • After waiting (im)patiently for a few weeks, I finally got my copy of the February issue of Dartford Living, which this month, for the first time, includes my local theatre round-up. (No, I haven’t stopped being excited about that yet.)

Dartford Living

  • A bus driver in Nottingham took a detour from his route to take home an elderly lady with dementia. Mark Feurtado, whose mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, was concerned when the lady didn’t get off his bus at the end of the line, and made a special trip to make sure she got home safely.
  • I finally discovered the source of the strange noise in my building – a sort of scraping, banging noise that’s very hard to describe, and which I’d heard a few times over the past few weeks. It turns out it isn’t, in fact, the building falling down, or – as some of my Twitter friends suggested – a serial killer roaming the halls (thanks for that, guys). It’s just the door of the meter cupboard on the outside wall blowing about in the wind, which is a lot less interesting, but also less terrifying, so I’m taking that as a win.
  • In Alberta, Canada, Maggie the dog escaped from her kennel at Barkers Dog Motel in the middle of the night, to cuddle with two rescue puppies who’d just arrived.
  • My friend, who’s getting married in May, posted this video on Facebook earlier today with the suggestion that her sister and I should do something similar at her wedding. Funnily enough, I don’t see that happening… It’s a great video though 🙂
  • A mother and daughter from New York have been reunited after 82 years: Lena Pierce was only thirteen when she had her baby, who was adopted at six months. Betty Morrell’s been searching for her mother for 20 years and the two finally had an emotional reunion last month.
  • Last weekend I finally had time for a bit of a clear-out at home; I hate actually doing the clearing, but love it when it’s done and I can see my floor again. And I even got around to buying a box for all my theatre programmes, which is, er, already full…

Theatre box

  • This kitten called Bum is so cute I want to cry.
  • I completed my Welsh challenge – after only a few hours spent on it last weekend… (Now I just need some Welsh people to talk to – any volunteers?!) Next I’m learning Scottish Gaelic, because why not? Feasgar math!

How was your week?

Wedding bells

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be a guest at my friend Safia’s wedding. It was only the second wedding I’ve been to as an adult; at the first one I was a bridesmaid, so this was my first time as a regular guest. Clearly then I’m not an expert on weddings, but I’d say it was a pretty good one.

From the beautiful location in the Hampshire countryside, to watching the bride walk down the aisle, looking absolutely stunning, to the afternoon tea and cakes (I’m totally stealing that idea when I get married) and the newlyweds’ fantastic first dance, it was all lovely. It was even worth the three-hour journey from hell to get home 😉

Apparently getting engaged has become the thing to do for my friends just recently, so I’ve got plenty more weddings to look forward to. Bring on the next one!

Wedding

100 happy days – week 8

Well, I’m shattered. It’s been another crazy week; I can’t believe it’s nearly Monday again already. And no, that’s not one of my happy things. But there have been plenty of them this week 🙂

Day 53 – Monday was World Tennis Day, and to mark the occasion, London played host to a special one-off event, featuring four legends of the sport – first, Pat Cash against Ivan Lendl, and then Pete Sampras against Andre Agassi. I never got the chance to see any of these guys play competitively, so it was really exciting to be there. Unfortunately, the seats were insanely uncomfortable, there was zero leg-room, and the woman next to me practically sat in my lap all evening, but it was worth it.World Tennis Day

Day 54 – Pancake Day! And thanks to the efforts of one of my colleagues, the first ever Ultimate Flipping Championship at work. The competitors each had a minute to flip a pancake as many times as possible, with the winner being awarded a trophy for being ‘Champion Tosser’. Ahem. And then we all ate lots of pancakes to get over the excitement.

Pancake DayDay 55 – on Wednesday I was on a training day, which was not only closer to home than my usual office but also finished at 4.30. This meant I got to go home early and was back at London Bridge before 5pm. I even had time to eat some dinner and rearrange the furniture before book club in the evening. London Bridge is really ugly though, so here’s a picture of the Shard, taken from the platform.

London BridgeDay 56 – I never thought I’d take any of my happy day photos in the bathroom, but there’s a first time for everything. My new shower gel smells amazing and was half price 🙂 Yes, I know, little things and little minds, etc. (What can I say, Thursday was a bit of a slow news day.)

Shower gelDay 57 – on Friday, one of my colleagues got married. It’s been a long time since we had a wedding at work so we all got a bit excited. Especially when we saw the amazing wedding cake, which was made by another colleague (the one who made the pancakes – she’s basically a superstar).

Wedding cake

Day 58 – this, believe it or not, is a group of actors during the interval of a Shakespeare play. Yesterday I went to Canterbury with my mum and my sister Caz, to see Propeller, an all-male theatre company who we’ve seen a few times before. Not only are they slightly unconventional (the costumes below are from their version of A Comedy of Errors – you know, that Shakespeare play where they wear football shirts and sombreros) but they also traditionally perform a few songs during the interval to raise money for charity. They also tend to do double bills, so yesterday we not only watched A Comedy of Errors but also an extremely chaotic Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you like your Shakespeare straight, I’d avoid them, but otherwise you should check them out; they’re brilliant.

Propeller

Day 59 – it’s my sister’s birthday on Tuesday so today we went for lunch as a family to celebrate. Afterwards, it was far too nice to go home so we headed to Shorne Woods Country Park for a walk. It was still a bit muddy in places but so nice to see some sunshine and blue skies, and to leave the house without a coat for the first time this year. And it seemed like everyone else had the same idea because the place was packed – although you might not believe it looking at this photo…

Shorne Woods

Let’s hope the sunshine continues! Have a happy week 🙂

Hurrah for Singletons!

Last night I started the new Bridget Jones novel (despite reservations about the absence of Mr Darcy. Sulk). So far, I’m happy to say I’m not disappointed; it’s just as funny and ridiculous as the first two books, but with an added level of seriousness because now Bridget actually has to be a grown up and deal with grown up stuff.

The one thing that makes me a bit sad – apart from the Darcylessness, obviously – is that she’s now twenty years older than me. I read the original novel when I was eighteen, back when it was just a funny story but not something I could really relate to. Now I’ve hit my 30s, but suddenly Bridget’s 51 and dealing with a whole different stage of her life. Although it still involves the usual chaos and drunkenness. And Daniel Cleaver.

Now I’m no Bridget Jones. I don’t smoke like a chimney and I’m not obsessed with my weight. (Which may come back to haunt me later, given my love of cake.) My parents are normal and have never, to my knowledge, attended a Tarts and Vicars party or hosted a turkey curry buffet. And I’ve never, sadly, met any good-looking, single human rights lawyers.

But I do start each year making New Year’s Resolutions, which I never keep. I share Bridget’s talent for procrastination when I don’t want to do something. And I’ve now reached the age where my friends are starting to get married and have children. I’m happy to say none of them are Smug Marrieds, so I can go round for dinner without being quizzed about my love life. But I do have a Facebook timeline full of wedding and baby pictures, and have had to de-friend a couple of people for sharing a little bit too much information about their child’s toilet habits, because I really don’t need to know that stuff.

I did get a marriage proposal once. I was seven, and his name was Clive. He wrote me a note in class, which as I recall said something like, ‘Will you go out with me and will you marry me and will you have two kids?’ (Back then we were a bit young to understand it wasn’t something I could do on my own.) After considering carefully for all of ten seconds, I decided I was too young to be tied down and said no – which turned out to be a good decision. But that’s another story. And so my life as a professional singleton began.

Being single can be pretty depressing, particularly when you’re always the one turning up to events on your own, and all your friends seem to be pairing off around you. Valentine’s Day is a bit rubbish, no matter how many people tell you it’s just a manufactured holiday designed to make us all spend money (of course it doesn’t help that the people telling you this are all in a relationship and clutching the bouquet of flowers they just had delivered). Incidentally, while doing some research for work last year, I discovered this hilarious website offering advice to single people on Valentine’s Day. Definitely worth a read if you’re feeling blue, it’ll cheer you right up.

So yes, at times I feel a bit miserable and wonder why other people have found their perfect partner and I haven’t. Occasionally I have a little whinge to my friends, who I know full well can’t do anything about it (short of suddenly remembering that eligible bachelor they’ve got locked in a cupboard for just such an occasion) but who doesn’t like a good pointless rant from time to time?

But I also recognise that being in a relationship isn’t the most important thing in the world, and it bothers me when people assume my life is somehow worse because I don’t have a partner to share it with. A couple of years after leaving university, I met up with a friend for a catch-up. By that point, I’d moved out of my parents’ house, found a flat in London and got a job as an accounts manager at a successful publishing company. But my friend’s only real concern was whether or not I was in a relationship, and she was clearly disappointed when I said I wasn’t. That one fact took precedence over everything else I’d told her and meant she went away feeling sorry for me. Which in turn meant I ended up feeling sorry for myself, and that’s never fun.

Online dating is a good way to tackle the singleton blues, because you know you’re pretty much guaranteed a date and  you’ve at least had a conversation before you meet up with someone. But it’s also quite hard work at times, and personally I always feel under pressure to make something out of it even if it’s obvious neither of us is really that keen. I think also, deep down, I don’t really expect to meet the man of my dreams on a dating site, despite plenty of evidence that people do just that every day. As a result, my experiments with online dating have tended to end with, yes, disappointment that I didn’t meet The One, but also, often, a bit of relief too.

Because when all’s said and done, I actually quite like being single. I like being able to do what I want when I want. I enjoy being able to be completely myself without worrying if my annoying habits are putting someone off. (Like the way I have to set the alarm for ages before I actually get up, and then hit snooze repeatedly so I can enjoy that delicious ‘stay in bed’ feeling. Or the fact that I’m always running late. Or getting lost. Or both.) I like having space for all my stuff (see previous post on my inability to throw anything away) and being able to scatter it around organise it how I want.

Would I give all this up for the right person? Absolutely. But in the meantime I’m not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself. And I definitely don’t want my life to turn into one long search for Mr Right while I sit and write a diary about it. I’m quite happy to get on with life while he tracks me down. (And you can feel free to remind me of this next time I have a moan about being sad and lonely.)

Of course, if anyone does actually have an eligible bachelor in a cupboard, you know where I am.