Monday, November 12, 2007

Miss Hacksaw: The jolliest hockey stick in the box

Today has been the most successful day ever. IKEA delivered when they said they were going to! The plumber came and fixed the shower pump, as certain people can't get out of the bath without some sort of zimmer-type appliance any more! The scaffolders removed the scaffolding that prevented us from receiving a Sky signal for the last four weeks, so that I no longer think I am living in some sort of Amish reality show! Junior Hacksaw has four heart chambers and a normal spine, plus various other pleasing features! My hormones have sent me completely crazy!

Heh. Fear not, I've not turned into Jean Slater, as the paragraph above may suggest. In truth, the fact that IKEA delivered stuff when they were instructed to has been enough to send me skipping (for that you can read waddling quickly) around the flat in a state of high excitement.

The Hubbo and I realised we'd not had an argument for a few months, and therefore decided a trip to IKEA to buy a sideboard was the best remedy for that. Actually, things went tremendously - apart from ending up with a Billy With Doors instead of an actual sideboard. It's the law to buy a Billy when you go to IKEA, so I don't care. We also managed to buy the wardrobe for the nursery without too many mishaps, apart from me nearly biffing the wardrobe genius one for not being able to tell the difference between wardrobe heights. We even managed to get through the blasted market place without one of us picking up anything more untoward than a new floor lamp (as opposed to the usual "WE DON'T NEED A TEA STRAINER BECAUSE WE DON'T USE TEA LEAVES" type argument one sees every couple having in the market place at one time or another.)

The problems began when we entered the dreaded Vault of Flatpack, Where No Staff Dareth Enter. Or something. Seriously, you can't move for bloody IKEA staff stocking up the tealights and plumping sofa cushions, but the minute you need them for something, i.e getting the furniture down from the 12 foot high place where it lives, they all bugger off for meatballs and herrings leaving you to teeter precariously on your husband's shoulders while you hoof a two stone flatpack bookcase off the shelf.

It's not that we argued as such, it's just that when the idiots put aisle 2 along the back of the shop instead of in between aisles 1 and 3, as any sane shop designer would suggest, the Hubbo rather lost patience with the entire fiasco and blamed me for not reading the aisle map right. However, it turns out that growing another head inside you has the side effect of developing a fairly monstrous temper, so I made it clear to him that we could either blame each other and fight this out until the end of time in the middle of Swedish flatpack hell; or we could find a member of staff and give them some temperamental customer feedback on the spot. We found one rather quickly (hiding behind a yucca plant from a customer whose wife had just been flattened by a Benno CD rack) and proceeded to give said feedback, which I'm sure has been noted and is being actioned upon as we speak.

After all this fandango I wasn't expecting said furniture to actually turn up when we asked for it to (after having to pay a storage fee of £10 A NIGHT, damn crooks), but it did and I now have a place for all the baby clothes, and storage. Must ixcillent! Bork bork bork!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bork bork bork

Sorry for the continued absence. As ever, there are no excuses. Back tomorrow with an undignified rant about IKEA.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Dot + Big Mo + misplaced sack of vibrators off the back of a lorry = Classic EastEnders comedy that puts even Neighbours to shame. Scriptwriters, all is forgiven.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nice of me to pop in

I'm back. Not that I went anywhere of course. I've spent the last two weeks being driven completely insane as I've had Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" in my head almost constantly. The man won't leave me alone. Why, in the ad break during Twister just now (one of the two movies owned by ITV2 along with A Few Good Men) three ads in a row have started with the "Air" drum beats - the Cadburys ad (which is quickly reaching "Wassuuuuuuuup" levels of annoyance), the Collins Greatest Hits and some dad rock drive-time compilation.

I've also spent the last two weeks patrolling the shops dejectedly for a winter coat that will fit over the bump (which appeared two weeks ago and is very much growing by the day) still by the time March rolls around, when I expect to be the size of Henry VIII. It is not proving successful, and if anyone has any ideas (preferably better than my current solution of "big cardigan over eight layers) I'd be most grateful.

Away from the grumpiness - a question. Where on earth has this "Peggy in a landslide of debt" storyline popped up from on EastEnders? Where was all the foreshadowing? EastEnders loves foreshadowing. At the very least I expected to have a scene or two of Peggy manfully playing down a card declination in the Mini Mart, or squishing a mountain of Jacques Vert shopping bags behind the board games in Ben's closet. Get a grip, writers.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dear Amir Khan...

Elvis called - he wants his trousers back.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Soldier boy

We all know that Sean Slater is a hardcore soldier whose personality quirks are due to war horrors, but is that really an excuse to stand with his arms half a foot away from his sides as if he was Action Man?

I could make a tasteless "gripping hands" joke here, but I can't quite get to it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I just spent an entire night too scared to go to the loo because I thought there was a slug in the bathroom. Considering my bladder is currently the size of a sultana - judging by the amount of time I spend scampering to and from the bathroom - this required some willpower to say the least.

My slug fears are not as weird as you might like to think. The Hubbo and I used to live in an enormous basement flat in Hammersmith, which was charming in every way apart from the builders' neglect to actually build a bathroom in it. Therefore the ablutions area was very much a damp afterthought, a below-freezing wet room stuck on the side of the house that the W6 slug population fell in love with. The amount of times I ran screaming from the bathroom because an orange invertebrate had wrapped it round my toothbrush is more than I care to think about. It was particularly humiliating the time when the Hubbo (whose marriage vows included a promise to always be on hand to dispose of house-based wildlife) was in Canada snowboarding and I had to summon the upstairs neighbour to rid the bath of a particularly vivd green specimen.

So, when I got up at 3am to visit the facilities I was somewhat alarmed to see what looked like a big black slug on the floor, especially as my Hackney bathroom is pleasingly free of damp and therefore not the most sensible habitat for gastropods. Unable to face waking the Hubbo, who was flat on his back snoring like only those who know that in five months their sleeping habits are to be disrupted for the next five years, and those who have been drinking in the West End for nine hours following a "quick trip to PC World" can, I instead flapped for ten minutes, contemplated shutting my eyes and getting on with it, disregarded this idea because then I would inevitably tread on the slug, cursed the fact that I am such a girl, and decided to wait it out until the Hubbo woke up and could do his duty of slinging the slimy bastard out of the window. Few experiences have been less entertaining.

Of course, I saw the funny side when the slug turned out to be a memory stick that had fallen out of the Hubbo's PC World bag when he staggered in at half past midnight needing a piss so desperately he hadn't even time to drop his bags outside the bathroom door. Hilarious.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dang it!

This is infuriating. Four minutes spent racking my brains for that last bloody state. Goddamn you, Nebraska!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Elegantly Dressed Wednesday: Miss J. Alexander

Um, so I meant to do this last week. I had a great idea all ready to go, but then I couldn't find a picture to do the gent in question justice. One for another time. Still, I'm here this week and proud to finally join the ranks of Hackney's finest in celebrating all that is elegant on Wednesdays.

I love America's Next Top Model's J. Alexander. He's always so well turned out, especially in comparison to Janice Dickinson, who generally looks like she got dressed with the help of Pete Burns (actually, I'm not convinced she isn't Pete Burns); and Jay Manuel, whose orange face/yellow hair combo reminds me of a red brick house with a thatched roof. Even Tyra, with her penchant for massive orange hair, looks dishevelled in comparison to J's crisp attire. Just look at that matching shirt and headband!

J. manages to look quite sweet here, and rather as if he's on his way to big school wearing short trousers and a small smile of excitement. In reality, J. is not sweet, but a hardcore runway coach who would scare the crap out of me if I had to walk in the same room as him. Especially if he was wearing his school-marm outfit.

Quink - apologies if I've ruined the notion of EDW by being so thoroughly shallow. If so let me know and I'll make it up with something intelligent next week. If not, there's a treat for everyone in store.

Photo from

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Time for Trumpton

Two thirds of the way through E4's Top 100 Kid's TV Shows, I'm clocking in to make the point that Trumpton Council was a hell of a lot more lenient on flyposters than most nowadays. Putting ads for bands up on the side of the Town Hall? Hackney Council would have had Bill Sticker Nick bang to rights.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

That's no excuse

Well, that was a ridiculously long blogging break. I do hope that 'anonymous' doesn't think they've put me off blogging after my last post.

In fact I've been gallivanting about the country going to weddings - four in the last two weeks, including a terrific jaunt from Devon last Friday to Ipswich on Saturday - and when I've been back at the Hacksaw Chateau I haven't had the energy to write and have instead sat on my arse watching too much reality TV.

So, what's been going on? Um, nothing. Seriously. Apart from scampering from country house to converted barn toasting happy couples and staying in far too many Travelodges for anyone who isn't Alan Partridge, I have been going to work and then coming back home. Apart from the odd bit of baking, life consists of TV, bed and Gaviscon. How desperately unfortunate.

Still, I've managed to cobble together a few observations and queries over the past week or two - some of which I may develop into proper posts once my energy levels rise again.

1. Am I a bad person for being pleased when Jacqui and "Little Drummer Boy" Sam got booted unceremoniously off The Restaurant? They were so nice, and enthusiastic, and perky. However, I found myself unable to get past their reasons for choosing their restaurant's name - Ostrich: "I was cast as the ostrich in Peter Pan and I really became one with the ostrich." Be gone, dear. The Luvvies column in Private Eye calls.

2. Devon teenagers' grasp on what makes a relationship is a lesson for us all. Overheard last weekend:

Teenage girl, petulantly: "You never says you love me any more!"
Teenage boy, exasperatedly and in strongest Devon accent ever: "Look. I fucks yer, I buys yer chips. What more do you want?"

3. I really wish that contestants on the American versions of The Apprentice, Hell's Kitchen, America's Next Top Model et al would get a grasp on percentages and how they work. I am in no way a'math' expert (as proven by having to ask a work colleague last week how to work out on a calculator how much my pay rise will be once the unions stop dicking around with the offers) but even I know that 100% makes a whole, or however you care to phrase it. The contestants can't quite get the hang of this:

"I had a close shave with Mr Trump in last week's boardroom, so this week I gotta give a hundred and ten percent!"

"Tyra says I'm losing my enthusiasm, so I gotta start giving two hundred percent!"

"I've gotta start giving a hundred and fifty percent, or Chef Ramsay's gonna kick my arse."

Speaking of Hell's Kitchen, how much of a pussycat has MPW turned out to be? Bless him.

4. Over on EastEnders, I see that Peggy has started rivalling Pat for House Most Like a Tardis. Where on earth is everyone sleeping? I presume Ronnie and Roxy are bunking up on the banquettes down in the Vic, wonky boobs crushed up against each other and breathing vodka up each other's noses. It's a poor man's idea of porn. On the other hand, Phil Mitchell staggering about falling face down into cakes and stamping Airfix models to bits is rich televisual porn, especially now that someone's read this and sorted out his tipple of choice.

5. Now that we've hit 12 weeks (at long last), the Hubbo and I have broached the subject of names for Junior Hacksaw. And where else to find inspiration apart from lists of celebrity baby names? You will be pleased to know that so far we have cast aside the more wacky Poppy and Brooklyn in favour of the completely normal Satchel and Jermajesty.

As I said, not much has been going on over here. However, I'll be around a bit more often, specifically on Wednesdays as I'm taking a long overdue jump into Quink's EDW caper, having been inspired by this post. In the meantime, I'm off to start drinking water in preparation for tomorrow's scan, which I'm sure will result in a post all of its own regarding the madness of Homerton Hospital.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Think on

In response to 'anonymous', who courageously left a comment on my previous post asking if I was the only woman to have ever been pregnant before (which I have now removed BECAUSE I CAN): don't be so silly. A quick trip to Google will prove to you that that is blatantly not the case.

I can't believe I've got dickhead comments about this and not about any of the EastEnders drivel I come out with.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Signs that I am slowly going insane

1. At 8.45am I thought a McDonalds breakfast would be just the ticket to calm that pesky growling nausea.

2. This evening I apologised to a pregnant woman I bumped into by mistake, and then gave her the "Morning sickness eh! That's a lark!" eye contact over the Moses baskets when I realised it was a mannequin.

3. Went to Hamleys, for God's sake. An expedition which nearly ended in the nobbling of the hyperactive "Everybody! You have fun tonight!" demonstrator fellow with a junior telescope.

4. After whizzing all the meatball ingredients together in the Kenwood, tried to disentangle the lump of meaty goodness from the blades using my hand and not a wooden spoon; and as a result am sporting a large ACME style bandage round my middle finger.

5. Of all the songs that could be in my head to musically illustrate this post, I have got that "Out of your Mind" one, as squawked by Dane Bowers and Victoria Beckham.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gruesome twosome

Watching Big Brother's Little Brother, one thought comes to mind:

Dane Bowers and Pauline Fowler - together again at last.

Does life get any better?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Walford bankers...

I wish I lived in Walford, where the banks are apparently open for business on Sundays. It's a bit different to my local branch, which at present is undergoing some extensive wallpapering that prevents them from providing anything approaching a service.

However, I can console myself with the thought that if I was signed up with the Bank of Walford I'd spend most of my life staring at the screen of the cashpoint near the tube while it mockingly told me I had an available balance of £0.00, like everyone else on EastEnders.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Not featuring Barry, Robin or Maurice

"I'm not sure they meant for you to drink that much water."

"But they said come with a full bladder!"

"Yes, but it takes less than a litre to fill your bladder, especially if you've just had four glasses of orange juice with breakfast."

"But it might not be full enough and we might not be able to see anything."

"Fine, but don't go moaning on to me when we're on our way that you need a piss desperately and are in pain."

Forty five minutes later...

"Ow. Owowowowowow. Can't....walk...properly."

"Ha! I told you so. Look, there's a public loo there."


Also known as Incident 8494 In Which I Am Wrong, it turned out that my bladder was so full that it was impossible to see whether I had a uterus at all, let alone find out if there was definitely something floating in it. The sonographer (who turned out not to be a member of the Bee Gees, and in fact wasn't even the mysterious Dr. Gibb who probably earns enough not to have to come in on Saturdays) let me go and relieve myself ("THANK YOU SO MUCH!") and then got down to business.
Sadly, the scanner's broken, so I can't show you all the 10mm embryo that's inside me, with a heartbeat that we heard and everything. In my current emotional state the fact that the scanner is broken is enough to send me into a wailing heap, and the only answer is M&S choocolate cornflake bites.
Mmmm, cornflakes.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Greece is the word

Bit of an extended absence there, although regular readers should be used to that. I went to Greece - Kefalos to be exact - and have returned with an orange tan and an unfortunate case of water retention that makes me look seven months and not seven weeks pregnant. Great!

K, H and I booked the holiday when pissed at the beginning of June - Hubbo had four stag parties planned over two months and I thought I should have some fun by escaping with the girls for a week of ice cold lager and tzatziki.

This would have actually been the case, was I not knocked up and therefore relegated to the position of The Boring One who sits in the corner being all "orange juice please, Tracy", Phil Mitchell style. I couldn't even go mad on tzatziki, as I've developed an aversion to it due to its yogurty consistency. I have also gone off hummus, which surely proves that there is no justice in this world.

Actually, the holiday itself wasn't too bad. I learned some things, namely that drunk people talk a lot of shit. I also got to tip a glass of water over a German fellow who decided to fall asleep on the walkway outside my apartment and wake me up by snoring at around 120db at 6am. He did not react well, and we had a shout-off for ten minutes before he would accept my sane and rational argument that he was a tit for not going to bed IN HIS BED and went to it.

So, now I'm back. Today I got to have my first experience of Homerton Hospital's antenatal unit - something which can be summed up succintly using the word 'chaos'. I was only dropping some forms off (complete with traditional useless scribbles courtesy of Dr Codeine over the road) and was on the verge of a panic attack. A man in overalls wandered in with a snack trolley at one point and it was like watching a load of angry hawks descending on a deer carcass. Because we're generally quite impatient, we've got an early scan booked on Saturday with a private fellow in town - a Dr Gibb. While I'm quite excited about this, it's not stopped me having nightmares about lying on a bed, bladder full and stomach smeared with swarfega, and suddenly realising a Bee Gee is about to give me an ultrasound while squealing a medley of 1970's 'Gee hits.

Obviously this is not the most exciting thing happening at the moment. No, the most exciting thing is coming back from holiday and having four whole episodes of EastEnders to catch up on (and still having three to watch tonight, if you include tonight's episode!) I see they waited till I got the Easties Comedy Award out of the way before cracking on with those side splitting abandoned rubbish/mouse in caff/robbing of QV bust. Anyway, a few questions which I trust regular readers will be able to help me answer:

1. I thought Phil Mitchell was always a vodka man (I can still picture the bottle hidden cunningly in Kaff's dishwasher). P Mitchell does not strike me as a chap to re-embrace alcoholism with a random bottle of Johnnie Walker or any old toot that's lying around Peggy's drinks globe (which she hasn't got, but really should). He'd make the effort to get himself a bloody good bottle of Smirnoff, neck it and then commence with the purple-faced beatings. I hope that on the plane to Rio he digs out Borehamwood's dog-eared copy of The Soap Guide To Alcoholism and takes notes.

2. Where is most of Samantha Janus's nose?

3. Who wrote to the BBC and complained there weren't enough Rubbish Gangsters in EastEnders anymore, prompting them to bring in this gun-totin' James Dean quotin' Blazing Squad member who is trying to get into the tiresome Lucy Beale's knickers?

4. Not a question, more of an observation: Go away, smackhead sister of Tanya.

Monday, July 23, 2007

And now I'm Ross Geller

There's a headline I never thought I'd write. Yet, the fact remains that it's actually true, due to the fact that today I got Sandwich Rage.

Not rage at the actual sandwich. I might be a bit hormonal at the moment, but I've not yet reached the point where I'm yelling at inanimate wheat-based items (stay tuned to see what happens over the next eight months though). I got rage at the Sandwich Maker, or more accurately, the Sandwich Maker Who Dares Pass Judgement.

Just what is so odd about ciabatta with parma ham and fresh tomato anyway? LOTS, apparently. Enough is wrong with it to make the Sandwich Maker give me a raised-eyebrow stare for ten seconds and then shout across the sandwich bar: "You eat strange foods, yes?!"

And then I shouted back about piss poor customer service and my rights to have whatever sandwich I damn well wanted, yes?!

Then I turned on my heel and slipped on a wet leaf. Tomorrow I am buying my lunch from M & S.

In other news: shut up, Orange gigs and tours advert.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Easties Awards: Part Three

Welcome back for Category #3: The Mince and Gary Award for Inane Comic Relief Storyline. Apologies for the extended absence – I had to go and buy a new awards dress in which to accommodate my new comedy breasts. Also, I’ve been struggling with this category, as EastEnders is such a desolate wasteland of misery most of the time that the comedy storylines get hoofed into the background and are over and done with before you know it. Why they can’t just hire Janice Dickinson to sit in the corner of the Vic passing loud crack-fuelled judgement on everyone I don’t know – that would be enough comedy to last me a lifetime. Anyway, here we go:

1. Ricky’s stag night

Oh, glory days. Why can’t they bring Ricky back? He was always there with a cheery word and a buffoonish expression on his face; losing spanners, incurring the wrath of Bianca and causing Frank to squeeze that bit of skin between his eyes eight times an episode. Mind you, I suppose they’ve got Gary now. Anyway: background. Rickaaay is about to marry screaming orange harpy Biancaaaaaar, and because nothing ever goes wrong in EastEnders, decides to have his stag party the night before. How wise!

Unsurprisingly, a great time was had by all until young Butcher woke up in a field in France the next day. Along with three men who anyone would want in a crisis – Phil, Grant and Nigel. Oh, what larks! Luckily, Nigel had taken GCSE French and asked a local peasant where they were (as far as I recall, Nigel’s French sounded rather similar to my dad’s on the legendary occasion where he got absolutely trolleyed in Paris and lost his hotel key; and then decided to sort out the whole fiasco by lurching up to the snooty receptionist and ask in ‘Allo ‘Allo style English: “Escooose me! Der yer ‘ave zer key?”). The peasant took pity and revealed that they were in fact in – wait for it – Kent. The day is saved! Although considering the fuss people in EastEnders make about going Up West or to the High Street, chances are that this fact caused more distress than finding out they were in St Malo or whatever.

2. Walford One Owed Freedom

Any canine who bites Ian Beale’s arse deserves a paw shake in my book. However, when this jolly event happened, thanks to the ever reliable comedy staple Wellard, Beale failed to see it that way and spent what seemed like weeks whining on about it and making his voice go all high pitched. When everyone failed to listen, or in fact care, Beale dug out his biggest Unreasonable Hat and decided that the only solution to keeping his butt bite-free was to have Wellard put down. “Nooooo!” cried the loyal audience. “He’s a much better actor than nearly everyone else on this soap!”

Luckily, the People’s Poet Gus Smith (new owner of said antisocial dog since Robbie took his acne to pastures new) and Newcomer In Need of a Storyline Deano Wicks were on the side of the viewing public, and started the unforgettable campaign WOOF, complete with T-shirts and everything. Beale got red faced and shouted, Gus banged on incessantly about dog rights, and in the end everything was resolved, as ever, by the sensible Jane, plus Peter and Lucy (aka The Woodentops). Also, in order to teach Beale that Dogs Have Feelings Too (Or Summink) they bought him his own dog, who has not been seen since.

3. Patrick and Jim, generally

I love it when EastEnders scriptwriters realize that there is so much moroseness abounding in the Square, and decide to lighten up life by getting Yolande or Dot to scamper off for three weeks to Jamaica/'to visit Michelle in Florida’ respectively, and Patrick and Jim to indulge in non stop boozing, betting and breaking of much-loved pottery products. ‘Hilarity ensues’, mostly involving Jim’s eye going wonkier and Patrick bellowing about plantains and rum at the top of his voice, until Yolande/Dot returns early and subjects them to a week of stupid punishments such as training for a marathon or manning the fruit stall. Oh, how we laugh.

And the winner is….(drumroll this week provided by Sean beating his head against the bar in protest at the lameness of this category’s nominations…)

Walford One Owed Freedom!

Well done, Wellard. Everyone knows dogs are funny. Dogs biting the hell out of Beale are even funnier, so props to you.

Next up: it’s bemused expressions at the ready for Category #4: The "Hang On, This Totally Doesn't Make Sense" Award. Which will hopefully be less of a Mick Fleetwood/Sam Fox type washout than this one.

It's a good thing we didn't book that holiday to Malaysia yet...

Alternative titles for this post included "This may explain my recent absence" and "Of course, this would happen the month I pay a year's gym membership upfront".

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mr Sandman...get your ass to Hackney, stat

Another traditional Miss Hacksaw week involving zero blogging there. My apologies. However, I am typing this at 04.47am on Sunday morning, which is an accurate reflection of my current sleeping habits, so it's all I can do to actually move from the sofa each day, let alone log onto Blogger and try to be amusing about things. With any luck at some point today I'll score some Valium or something and the blog will be back in play soon enough.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Easties Awards: Part Two

Welcome back, funsters! Before I start, I should point out that this category has been re-named The Miss Hacksaw Award for Characters So Unworkable That Decent Actors Come Across As Useless, So Don’t Sue Me.

1. Laura Beale

Poor Laura. As if life hadn’t dealt her enough duff hands in life, what with having to nanny Beale’s whinging kids, then marrying Beale, then it all going horribly wrong, having a paternity to-do over her moon headed child, and finally being pushed down the stairs to a long overdue death; and now she’s the victim of a snarky nomination here, thanks to Dandelion (round of applause!)

What started out as middle of the road, eye rolling acting at Beale’s various scrapes turned, over the years, into gurning parody – in the end involving nothing apart from stumping across the Square with a buggy shouting the odds at Beale; or sitting in a pile of pooey nappies staring bug-eyed at an empty jar of Cow & Gate pureed spinach. Murder at the hands of Janine Butcher was welcome relief for those watching.

2. Jean Slater

I hate Jean Slater. If she’s not sat in an armchair with her knees under her chin, rocking back and forth and muttering about how “they” are trying to get her; she’s throwing Sugar Puffs at the wall while screaming at the top of her lungs; or getting way too overexcited about the prospect of a pot of tea and not letting anyone get a word in edgeways. And the voice sends icicles down my spine.

Her scripts are pretty much identical every time she rolls up, which is around every four months when the plot needs a little bit of help. MacGuffin, thy name is Jean Slater! Now take that Prozac and stop the damn yelling.

3. Rebecca/Chloe/Spawn of Sonia and Martin

“Can we go and feed the ducks with Granny Pau-line?”

“No! No, we can’t, because you’re going in the cellar until you learn to stop over pronouncing every vowel, stop glaring at everyone with that devil child stare, and cut that fringe. Although if my storylines had been half as confusing as yours have been over the years I’d probably be trying to get sacked as well. However, I don’t care. Be gone.”

4. Peggy

It’s rare for someone in a soap to be contracted to only use four facial expressions (Outraged; Blissful; Sly; Disappointed) and use only four phrases day in, day out (“You’re a Mitchell!/You ain’t a Mitchell!”/”It’s all abaht the family!” or variations thereof; “Fwee dwinks fer all!”; “Get aaahhta my pub!”; “Pat Evans ain’t getting the better of me, just you wait!”) Babs Windsor rocks, but the character of Peggy just isn’t given enough to work with here. I expect a Mitchell to be on me doorstep within the hour brandishing a crowbar.

5. Carly Wicks

I quite liked the actress who played Carly when the character first arrived in the Square. She was a voice of reason in between all the KEVIN “Parklife” WICKS! and Deano hair-tearing and japestering. However, things have gone a bit swiftly downhill for young Carly, and now all her scenes just involve her either downing vodka out of pint glasses in the Vic, falling over, screaming at family members, rolling her eyes and screwing up her face in outrage. The term one-trick pony comes to mind, which is shame because I quite like the actress whenever she’s on Soccer AM.

So concludes the nominations. And the winner is (drumroll courtesy of Garry with a couple of darts on the bar….)

It’s Rebecca/Chloe/Spawn! Um, I feel a bit bad about handing this out to a child who has not yet been to Sylvia Young or the Poor School like everyone else in EastEnders, but it is unfortunately well deserved. The staring eyes, the stilted delivery, the maddening mispronunciation of the name Pauline, and of course the general aura of being spawned from Satan himself; the farewell was excruciatingly overdue.
Next up, it’s less hate and more fun with Category #3: The Mince and Gary Award for Inane Comic Relief Storyline! Oh, the wacky japesters.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Sorry if I'm being a dense jackass here, but what does the protective skirt on Tampax Compak actually do? I can't work it out, and the ad explains nothing. I could Google it, but I'd rather moan about it on here.

Easties Awards: Part One

Welcome to the Queen Vic, your venue for this evening’s glittering awards ceremony! The bar’s stocked; the tables have been cleaned FOR ONCE, SHIRLEY; Jim’s pissed and his eye’s gone even more wonky than usual; Pat and Yolande are having an evils contest; Sean’s eyeing up some totty and making Miss Hacksaw jealous (shut up); and Genghis hasn’t even got to the spread yet.

Thanks to the wonderful Ms Baroque and Dandelion for their nominations – quite a fantastic selection. Dandelion’s in particular reached back into the heyday of EastEnders, and unfortunately not even Wikipedia can help me out with some of them. Still, much like EastEnders itself, I’ll bluster through and hope it all comes out in the wash (with Dot’s fag ash all over it.)

On with the awards!
These are going to be done over a number of posts, as chances are proceedings will be interrupted by a fight and the QV bust being swung at someone.

Category #1: Silliest Brookside-esque Storyline

EastEnders is great at stupid storylines. Isn’t that the whole point of soaps? Of course, they’ve not reached Brookside stringing-up-paedos-in-the-street levels yet, but give it time. In order for an EE storyline to reach the dizzy heights of being completely insane it must tick a number of boxes, including rampaging on for at least six months, having more twists and turns than a twisty turny thing, getting the inept Walford coppers involved and Pat doing some amateur sleuthing, preferably with the hindrance of a comedy sidekick such as Billy or Genghis.

Nominations for this category include:

1. The nobbling of the annoying Saskia with an ashtray, subsequent breakdowns of those involved, boring court case and too many scenes featuring Paul Nicholls rotting in prison wearing a netball sash.

2. Max and Stacey. Balding shyster who can’t keep his plonker in his pants ignoring his hot up-for-it wife in favour of gobby vodka swilling teenager caked in Collection 2000. Completely unbelievable, and it’s not even over with yet.

3. Dawn Swann pretending to be Ian Beale’s wife for sinister, Masonic Lodge type reasons that I can’t even remember, meeting smooooth, strangely hairlined Rob, shagging his brains out, getting pregnant, finding out the smoooothster is married to the very nice new GP, very nice new GP finding out about that her patient is knocked up by her husband, going completely batshit crazy, threatening to perform a caesarean with a butter knife and getting taken away to a bouncy room by those inept coppers. Then we all had to suffer the insufferable Carly Wicks singing songs from Annie during the labour. I felt like I’d been in labour for nine months after sitting through this storyline.

4. Mental, wife beating Owen kidnapping dorky tween Squiggle (sorry, sorry, Libby – we don’t want a Button style strop on our hands) and essentially trying to kill her, for reasons that even after a trip to Wikipedia I am unsure of. As ever, the inept coppers eventually turned up after what seemed like years of failing to get involved and the baddie was arrested. They all lived happily ever after, except for Libby who then had to move in with KEVIN “Parklife” WICKS!, and Owen, who is presumably now spending his days playing Boggle with various inmates in the House of Batshit.

And the winner is (drumroll please while Peggy replenishes various glasses of Unspecific)……..

It’s Dawn, Rob and May! It kind of had to be, seeing as the episode with the threatened caesarian was the one that inspired this glittering ceremony. To quote, er, me: “[it] included all the traditional soap stalwarts of hysteria, insanity, tears, blood and scalpels.” Starting off as a comedy storyline based around Beale’s relentless social climbing and pottering off on various tangents along the way (including an obligatory real girlfriend turns up, charms the pants off everyone and Beale looks like an arse scene) it suddenly turned itself on its head and viewers were left scratching their heads wondering why all this blacking-one’s-own-eye capery had been going on if May and Rob had been in cahoots all along. Jimmy Corkhill would be proud.

Next up: Category #2: The Phil Daniels Award for Shoddy Acting!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Dammit! (Jack Bauer voice)

So, I just spent about an hour typing a really long post that encompassed all my favourite subjects including EastEnders, Kiefer and Red Stripe and Blogger totally ate it. Why do I not write these things in Word first, save them and then copy over to the Blogger template? I have no idea. I'm blaming this lack of sensible procedure on the fact that I AM QUITTING SMOKING and am high on these Niquitin lozenge things which have made the inside of my mouth tingle which is a really weird feeling.

I'm also blaming the lozenges for the fact that I sat transfixed in front of the concert for Diana for about four and a half hours until the Hubbo came back from a stag do in Newquay and pleaded with me to watch something normal instead. So we watched EastEnders. Which was predictably insane.

Speaking of, apologies for the lack of awards ceremony last week. Beale double booked himself and you can't have a do in the Vic without a plate of Marmite sandwiches and a cheese hedgehog. People need food to soak up all that Churchills. Otherwise there might be a fight or something else equally unthinkable.

Oh, he so did not. I spent the week drinking, shopping and going to the gym and neglected to do any blogging at all. Sorry. The ceremony will take place tomorrow, so make sure you stop by! Peggy's promised "fwee dwinks fer all!"

Oh yeah, and someone got here by googling "hot polish builder eastenders". I sometimes think I must be watching a different programme to some people.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Yesterday, I stumbled across a new blog. This isn't unusual, but what is unusual is that I spent the rest of the day reading it.

Dooce has written about her daughter since the day she found out she was pregnant. Her monthly letters to said daughter make for the most honest, raw and beautiful writing I've come across since I started reading weblogs.

Please, go read.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Update: Easties Awards 2007

Well, the nominations are flying in, thanks to the fragrant Ms Baroque and the fantastically informed Dandelion, whose website I cannot get to at the moment for some reason but who I will link as soon as I can.

Thrillingly, we have feast of new categories to add, sponsored by said bloggers in homage to their Easties love.

First up, its the Dandelion Award for Best Life Advice. I already have a winner in mind, but could easily be persuaded to change my mind if a sound nomination is sent in.

Next, it's the three Baroque Awards for Most Tiresome Storyline Ever (a veritable bounty of choices for that on); Classic Moments We'd Hate to Have Missed (Beale's vasectomy anyone? Oh, just me then) And Best EastEnders Thing Ever.

Get nominating, soapfans. The awards ceremony will take place next week. Beale's getting a pig's head in specially, and there'll no doubt be a classic bust up afterwards in the traditon of all good Queen Vic hosted events.


I can, on occasions, be extremely childish. So can the Hubbo, which is why at least once a week I am pinned down on the sofa while he tries to fart on my head. However, I've not seen people be childish about public transport before.

I was at Euston bus station, waiting for a 476 to take me home. A 73 had pulled up but I didn;t get on it, because it was rammed and also a man had got on wielding an angry looking pitbull, and I didn't fancy having to whip out my Brownie first aid skills during the journey.

A 476 pulled up, but because the route starts at Euston it pulls up round the corner from the actual stop to allow passengers to get off and for the driver to have a smoke, or whatever. So, knowing it'd be rolling up at the stop in a couple of minutes, I pottered down to the part of the bus stop where the bus would actually stop and carried on reading my book (The Secret History, by Donna Tartt. An excellent read, but haven't a clue how it'll end).

I am a big believer in personal space (after an unfortunate tutorial at university on the subject of 'non verbals' which probably only stuck in my mind because it was one of about four 'Interpersonal Communication' tutorials I went to over the course of the year) and will go to extreme lengths to ensure that I am not, you know, breathing on someone or standing on their shoes. Likewise, I am most appreciative when people reciprocate the favour. So, imagine my face when this woman came and stood directly in front of me, close enough for my shoes to be touching hers. It wouldn't have been so bad if she hadn't nearly been toppling off the pavement. What's more, she turned round and gave me a look that said: "Har! I have foiled your wily plan!"

Anyway, I didn't fancy continuing my read with my nose in the back of this woman's hair, so I moved up a couple of paces.

She moved again, right in front of me. It was the movement equivalent of the childhood copying game ("Muuuum! He's copying meee!" "Muuuum! He's copying meee!" "Muuuum! It's really annoying!" "Muuuum! It's really annoying!" ad nauseum until someone, usually me, gets grounded). And gave me another look, this time: "Don't think your cunning moving technique will get you out of this tight spot!" Rahaaa!"

I moved again, just to escape the madness, but this time of course moved so far that she thought that she'd won the 'who's getting on the bus first? Me!' game and did not follow.

Of course, the 476 pulled up right in front of me. Her facial expression was priceless, but not as priceless as those of the various commuters she shoved out of the way in order to be second on the bus.

I thought the whole ludicrous caper was over and done with, until I was walking up the bus towards the seat I wanted. Yes, ok, I have a favourite seat on the bus. Shut up. It's the one on the opposite side of the doors next to the buggy space, and its good because no matter how rammed the bus is you don't have to do the "Sorry, can I...thanks. Excuse me, excuse me, EXCUSE! Oh, thanks. Sorry! Sorry! Can - I - just, oh sorry, gah! Don't shut the doors! Sorry, thanks" dance trying to get to the doors before you end up in Edmonton. However, if someone's sat in said seat I don't haul them up by a lock of their hair and fling them off to another seat.

Not that my new-found rival did that. She did, however, charge up the bus like Linford Christie, push past me and seat herself and all her shopping on said seat. And then gave me a smug look along the lines of "game, set and match. Bitch."

Its almost enough to make me miss the ninety minute Southwest Trains commute.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Easties Awards 2007

Look, it has to be done. I've just watched one of the most hysterical half hours of television ever thanks to EastEnders which included all the traditional soap stalwarts of hysteria, insanity, tears, blood and scalpels (for more on the madness, I recommend a visit to Ms Baroque).

In snarky thanks, therefore, I present the Easties Awards 2007. If you wish you can have your say by leaving your nominations for the following categories in the comments box.

Category #1: Silliest Brookside-esque Storyline (I fear there may be a clear winner for this one)

Category #2: The Phil Daniels Award for Shoddy Acting

Category #3: The Mince and Gary Award for Inane Comic Relief Storyline

Category #4: The "Hang On, This Totally Doesn't Make Sense" Award

Category #5: The Award for Excellent Villainry

Category #6: The "Ew!" Award for Unnecessary Mental/Actual Images

Category #7: The "Shut up, Chelsea" Award for Most Annoying Early-20s Character

Category #8: The Asif and Martin Award for Zany Moneymaking Schemes

I think that's probably enough to be getting on with. Expect a glittering awards ceremony, with free Churchills and catering by Beale, soon enough.

And if youo wish to comment about me having no life, I KNOW. You don't need to tell me.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Dear Euston Road freesheet distributors,

If I am striding down the Euston Road at 5.45pm, it generally means that I am heading home or to the pub. Please do not try and hinder my way by biffing me in the ribs with one of your newspapers in a vain effort to get me to take one. If I want one, I will make eye contact and do something that suggests I want one, such as extending a hand to reach for one. If I scowl at the pavement, it means I generally don't.


Dear Wheely Luggage People

Why? WHY do you all have to wait until the minute I step out of work to all converge on the street, weaving your vehicles of sin in front of my feet and right behind my feet (as in knocking into the heel of my sandal - thanks, loud annoying foreign-exchange teenager) and right over my feet? Also, please explain why you all feel the need to tell all your friends this rilly rilly, like, hilarious story about, like, whatever while standing right at the top of the Victoria Line escalator and being completely oblivious to the eleventy thousand people slowly filling up King's Cross station who are all letting out growls of hate? And then look utterly perturbed when a woman with insane hair and a broken sandal tells you to move your like, ass so that she can actually get to the pub before it shuts? Oh, and while I'm at it, a cardboard Travelcard will not be topped up at the Oyster machine no matter how many times you kick it and tell all your friends how much "England sucks, dude".


Dear Muggy Weather,

Go away.


Dear Chelsea In EastEnders,
Quit the damn pouting.


Dear Dawson Leery,

Shit, your forehead is huge. Not as huge as your ego though.


Dear Microsoft Office paperclip 'helper' thing

"It looks like you're writing a letter!" Yes, yes I am. A LETTER OF HATE. Be gone.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Technology is the boss of me

My Sky+ box just refused to Sky+ Big Brother.

I think this is known as a lesson learnt. The Hubbo is sat on the sofa crowing about it, which makes me think that he has programmed the box to not record any non-cookery related reality programmes.

At least my now-traditional BB-induced post-11pm rage might simmer down as a result of this.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Never mind

They've reverted back to English. I hate computers.


WHY are the months in my blog archive suddenly in Italian? Or it might be Spanish. The point is, I do not understand.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

All bets are off

Damn you Albert Square! (shakes fist)

I had a bet with a mate that EastEnders wouldn't even acknowledge the smoking ban. I am now a tenner poorer.

While I admire this up to date, on the ball with current affairs approach to storylines, I'd much rather the behind the scenes sorts dedicated their efforts to buying Libby a decent bra.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dinner party from hell

Miss Hacksaw: Afternoon

K: Oh, hullo. Weren’t you meant to be here about forty minutes ago?

MH: Yeah, sorry. I woke up late and then started watching Hollyoaks, and then had to have a deep bath with lots of soothing balms and lotions to stop all the hate, and then had to get newspapers…

K: Ooh, what ones?

MH: The Observer, for the food magazine only. They’ve a special on Chinese food.

K: Oh excellent. I bought the Sunday Mirror and feel a bit sick as a result.

MH: Why?

K: The zebra print is back.

MH: Oh hell, really? Actually, so’s the pantsuit, I meant to tell you.

K: The what? Those…all in one things from the 80s? That make going for a piss a nightmare?

MH: Oh yes. I’m appalled, they’re almost as bad as the body.

K: Oh ewww, the body. That by law had to be work with really high waisted jeans so that nobody would see the fact you were wearing an all in one bodysuit.

MH: Ugh, high waists. Aren’t they back as well now?

K: Probably. It’ll be legwarmers and kilts next.

MH: “Designed especially for Topshop by Kate Moss”, I’d imagine. Oof. What else is in the Mirror?

K: Gail Porter.

MH: Didn’t her hair grow back?

K: Yes, but it all fell out again.

MH: Harsh. What’s she got to say for herself?

K: She’s quite entertaining actually. They’ve thrown her a question about who she’d have at her nightmare dinner party.

MH: Oh wicked! I can do that game!

K: As opposed to not being able to do…other games?

MH: I had to ban myself from playing Fantasy Dinner Party last year.

K: ……Okay.

MH: No, seriously. After the Steve Irwin incident.

K: The what?

MH: Well, we were in the pub, and Fantasy Dinner Party came up, and Steve Irwin was on mine. And then the next day he died. And I had to quit playing Fantasy Dinner Party, because of all the subsequent fears for Kiefer and whatnot. However, Nightmare Dinner Party is do-able, because I really don’t care very much if Julia Roberts is speared by a stingray.

K: Oh, Julia. How we dislike thee. Apart from in Pretty Woman, where you’re actually quite cool although not half as cool as your ho mate. What is it about her we hate so much though?

MH: The obligatory grinning scene in every film she’s done ever, apart from Flatliners where she was all beaky and earnest.

K: Ugh, good call. She’s in. Okay, who else?

MH: Davina McCall. Which I know is well controversial and I’m the only person in the entire world doesn’t like her, but she’d spend all the time SHOUTING or telling other guests what’s happening in the kitchen in that Big Brother conspiratual tone. “It. Is. 7.30pm. The guests. Have been here. For thirty minutes. The starter. Is imminent.”

K: Ha! And when another guest went for a piss, she’d collar them outside the loo to get their bitchy opinions on everyone else in the house. “So. Julia. What did you really think of Jeremy Kyle? LET’S SEE YOUR BEST MOMENTS!”

MH: “Ooh, Sleeping With The Enemy!” Yeah, or not. Jeremy Kyle totally belongs in dinner party hell though.

K: Oh my God it’d be horrendous. Someone would say something fairly standard about how their sister once took coke at Chinawhite and he’d be straight down their throats. “I can’t believe you KNOW she’s taking it and you’re not doing a THING about it!” “Er, it was ten years ago. Nobody goes to Chinawhite anymore, twat.” “Listen to me! LISTEN! To me! You’re irresponsible, you’re a disgrace! That’s a FACT!”
MH: And then Tom Cruise takes him into a corner and tries to calm him down with some calming and not-at-all-sinister Scientology chat.

K: Oh my God. The Cruise is the ULTIMATE nightmare dinner party guest. First of all he’d turn up and do The Grin at everyone –

MH: Gah, the pleased-with-oneself side-smile as patented in Cocktail?

K: Exactly that. Then he’d be sniffing round the entire house checking that you hadn’t stashed a camera or a 3am Girl in the corner or whatever. Then he’d haul in Katie Holmes, stash her on the sofa with a few tomes of L. Ron’s and prop her up with all your cushions to stop her lurching to the side like the blow up doll in Alan Partridge. And then he’d bore the arse off everyone for three hours trying to convert them all to Scientology.

MH: It’s enough to almost make you feel sorry for them. Except Dubya.

K: Ha! Who’d just be sat at the head of the table with half a pretzel hanging out of his mouth, looking cross eyed at Cruise. “Shut him up. Put the off button…er…on.”

MH: Christ, what a motley crew. What are the odds on me killing them all within twenty minutes?

K: I’ll give you a tenner at two to one.

MH: Done.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Someone kill me now.

I just cried at The Horse Whisperer.

Either I'm obscenely premenstrual or I just need a good slap.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I love....

...the fact that Patrick in EastEnders gets turned on by chicken.

I don't love the fact that I write so frequently about EastEnders that I have had to give it its own label.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

For Clare....


Get me a ticket for Wembley and I'll even buy something in navy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Four! Four chocolate souffles! Ah ah ah

I love Delia Smith!

While I love cooking, and get a great amount of pleasure out of dicking around in the kitchen all day whipping up treats for those nearest and dearest, it is rare I actually make a great effort. During the week the Hubbo and I are kings of the easily-knocked-up dish such as meatballs and tomato sauce, or steak, or homemade Gourmet Burger Kitchen style burgers (and other dishes that do occasionally involve non-red meat, not that you'd believe it from that list). At weekends we generally have a takeaway on a Friday, eat out on the Saturday, and on the Sunday we'll whip up a roast - a meal that is very much the Hubbo's forte, while I end up going over the road to buy the Ben & Jerry's and Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire puds after I've inevitably cocked up the attempted homemade ones.

However, occasionally I'll invite people over for dinner and become obsessed with turning out a meal of champions. The first instance of this was New Year 2005, when we decided we were all far too old to go gallivanting about London trying to get into a pub that wasn't full of vomiting teenagers and so invited a gang over for dinner and a few buckets of champagne instead. I cooked for twelve hours solid, and against all bets managed to turn out a slow roasted pork belly, as well as stuffed aubergines for the token vegetarian. Since then, when people come over I always try to do something new - something John and Greg off Masterchef would be horrified at I imagine. Still if it goes wrong there's always the pizza menu, and nobody looks like a tit apart from me.

We had the same gang over for Eurovision on Saturday night - because Eurovision isn't tolerable unless you have a house full of drunk people screaming with laughter at the Ukranian Su Pollard-esque act. Plus, we didn't want a repeat of last year, when the Hubbo and I watched it alone and sober and nearly split up because I wanted to vote for someone other than Lordi.

The main course was kept fairly simple - chicken and ham pie out of Nigella's Feast. Worked a treat - apart from the fact that the pastry I made according to her specifications was wrong, wrong, wrong. Luckily I had half a pack of puff pastry left over from K's vegetarian mushroom pie that I'd made her specially (veg cookery is not a talent of mine, and mushrooms are one of the only vegetables I can cook without fucking them up royally, so she got a pie to herself. I could have made a massive mushroom pie for all, but the Hubbo's allergic to fungus (ha! I love that word), and I love chicken pie anyway) so I used that. It looked a bit stretched, but the glory of puff pastry is that after five minutes in the oven it looks like nothing else on earth anyway, so it didn't really matter. Plus, I made individual pies for each person, and there's nothing quite as fun as One's Own Pie.

The pud was a slightly different matter. I always go a bit balls out on pudding, mainly because I don't really eat dairy produce and this is the only way I ever get to have fun with cream and eggs.

Because of the zero expertise I have in the pudding zone, a souffle may have been a bit above and beyond what I was capable of. However, I'd bought some ramekins that morning from the pound shop, and a souffle in a ramekin is one of the prettiest desserts ever, even if you can't eat it because the double cream will bloat you up for three days and give you hives. Also, in the clean up we'd had on Saturday morning I unearthed the Christmas Sainsburys magazine which included a Delia recipe for chocolate rum souffles which according to her, are "well behaved". After the Nigella pastry fiasco I was somewhat concerned that I'd end up just covered in whipped egg white and collapsed spongy stuff and sending someone off to Costcutter to buy a slab of Dairy Milk; but you never know unless you try, and I trust Delia a lot more than Nigella anyway (you'd never get Delia licking the fish slice, or whatever. Ew, that sounded more dirty than it should have done.)

They worked. All four (four! Chocolate souffles! Ah ah...okay, got to quit it with the Count japes) rose perfectly, didn't sink into themselves when I dusted them with icing sugar, and weren't just raw eggy chocolate underneath. Brilliant. There's nothing quite like the pleased feeling you get watching four people hoover up something you've put effort into, especially when you were convinced it was going to go horribly wrong. Especially when you can't have any of the pudding, and so get to finish off the bottle of rum by yourself instead.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ms. Baroque knows the score

Har har. I thought I was the only one who found that Nurofen works best when washed down with Diet Coke. I am regularly told off for this in the office (obviously the reasons for taking said Nurofen are stressed-migraine and not alcohol induced, you understand) and was starting to think that perhaps it wasn't the acest of all ideas.

However, Ms Baroque is on my side.

I knew I was right.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Someone got to this website by typing into Google "toms mum has sweaty beef curtains".

I'm not sure who should be more embarrassed by this fact, them or me.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bradley Branning is a genius

For years, medical professionals have been trying to cure the phenomenon that is man-flu. Lemsips, Strepsils and Night Nurse have all failed the test. Doctors all over the globe scratch their heads and try to come up with a solution.

Fear not! As ever, EastEnders has come up with the answer, thanks to the flushed-of-face, red-of-hair buffoon that is Bradley Branning.

And that answer seems to be.....Haribo. Ugh.

In other EastEnders news, I see that Polish builders have finally migrated their way from Chiswick to Walford. Polish builders + Ian Beale = comedy genius.

In non-television related news, I will write a proper entry soon. The violent London entry went on hiatus, then Blogger ate it and I can't quite get the new version to come right. In the meantime, stay tuned for more soap-related tosh and a rant about Donald Trump's hair.

Saturday, April 28, 2007



I was just in the middle of writing a long, ranting and rather scaremongering entry about various violent run-ins with London nutters I've had in the last two weeks or so; when I had to save it swiftly and start a new one.

In the last post I wrote, which was an admittedly lame one in anyone's book, I was moaning on about the snapping turtle song that accompanies the seventeen Orange ads I see each day (yeah, I finally figured out what the ad was for. Or rather, Google did) and comforting myself with the fact that at least I didn't have the sodding Frosties 'Its gonna taste great!' jingle in my head.

Now, not so much. After the international outcry about the irritance factor of said advert ("I can hear the sound of Frosties hittin' me plaaaate!") I thought that whatever besuited ad executive who has the misfortune to hold the Kelloggs account and was stupid enough to come up with this had been fired, Alan Sugar style ("you've gone from anchor to wanker"), but no.

There's a new damn Frosties advert. It uses the same jingle. It makes me want to cry.

Come back, snapping turtle. All is forgiven.

"Even ladies with per-so-na-lised number plates!" Shut up, Kelloggs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hey there little snapping turtle...

I hate it when advert songs or jingles get stuck in your head. I woke up this morning with the snapping turtle song in my head, and it has refused to go away all damn day. I've tried everything I can think of to get it to leave - half an hour of The Smiths on the bus on the way to work; the performance of a Take That medley in my lunch hour with C; sticking MTV on in the office at 5 after the phones went on voicemail. Did it work? Did it heck. The snapping turtle is the boss of me.

It wouldn't be quite so bad if I could remember what the hell the advert was for in the first place. Considering the fact that said advert is seemingly on TV non-stop; isn't it pretty poor that the only thing I can remember about it is the song?

Still, it could be worse. I could have the Frosties 'It's gonna taste great!' jingle in my head. Grrrrrr.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How very dare you

When I used to live in Shepherds Bush, there was a selection of characters you got to know and love. The man in the motorised wheelchair who would drink in O'Neills religiously every Sunday from 2 till 4. The bouncer at the Walkabout who I'm sure was Ian Wright. The hobos on the bench on the green. And a little, white haired old lady who spent her days wandering up and down Shepherds Bush Road hissing and doling out venomous insults to anyone whose jib she didn't like the cut of.

The first time I saw her, she was standing about by a bus stop, leaning on her walking stick and looking as innocent as any other five foot nothing old lady.

I heard her mutter something under her breath; as most of us are wont to do if waiting for a bus at rush hour and none are on the horizon.




Mutter mutter ohmygod you crazy woman what the hell are you doing?!

Displaying a remarkable amount of agility for a woman who was in all likelihood born before World War I started, she had leapt forward and started jamming a group of 14 year old girls in the kidneys with her walking stick.

"I asked you the fucking time! Have some fucking respect!"


The next time I saw her I was pottering home down that road after an afternoon beer or two. I found myself behind her, and as the road was narrow and she had that charming trait of weaving all over the damn pavement so I couldn't get past without getting in the road and overtaking her or leapfrogging, I contented myself with ambling home slowly behind her.

A portly chap was coming down the road towards us. He stood aside to let her and I pass, and as she walked past him he smiled at her - the sort of smile you give someone when you're anticipating a thank-you of some sort.

Tap, tap, tap. Went the walking stick on the pavement.

Plod, plod, plod. Goes me behind her, starting to wonder if I'll ever get home to attend to a desperately busting bladder because if I have a beer at two in the afternoon I turn into an eighty year old myself and end up going three times an hour for the next eight.

Smile, smile, smile. From the man waiting for us to pass.

"Well you could do with losing some fucking weight, couldn't you!" Was the parting shot from the elderly lady.

The poor man looked as if he was about to burst into tears. Not being one for confrontation, especially with deranged elders who have weapons about their person, I gave him an apologetic smile and suddenly realised that a pelican crossing was looming, which I ran across in order to get away from the crazy offensive pensioner.

Since moving to Hackney, I've not encountered such rudeness. The people who wait for the bus with me are polite. People in my local shops queue and smile and talk and don't comment loudly on your personal appearance or try and maim you if you fail to make sense of their near-silent mutterings.

Entertainingly, I had a run in yesterday that reminded me with a jolt just how rude people can be, which is what reminded me of my west London acquaintance.

I was in the chemist, waiting patiently in the middle of an inevitable queue of grumbling people who were trying to pick up prescriptions and a bottle of Tixylix. After what seemed like an age of shuffling and staring at the gross lipstick colours and wondering if anyone ever buys powdered glucose any more, I got to the counter. I put the pregnancy test on the counter, spent forever and a day trying to locate my purse in my massive handbag, paid up, took the paper bag and turned round to go to the door. The woman behind me, who bore a remarkable resemblance to the lady in Shepherds Bush in the sense that she was small and white haired and was armed with a walking aid, stared me down in a way that made me wonder if one of my boobs was hanging out. Whatever. I made brief eye contact.

"You bloody slut!"

I had no idea what to say. To their credit, the other people in the queue looked appalled and on the verge of taking her out, which would have possibly been more uncomfortable. What do you even say to that? Should I have embarked on a lengthy finger-wagging lecture about how being old doesn't give you the right to make loud and judgements about strangers? Should I have flashed my wedding ring?

In the end I walked out and fell about laughing at the sheer rudeness of some people. At least they can't be called boring.

To add insult to injury, the damn test was duff, which means I get to repeat the experience all over again. This time though, I might go to Boots, where the staff and clientele are in all likelihood more used to hos like me striding in and demanding sticks to piss on.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Happiness is......

....a pub with a cinema screen in it.

Happiness is also the Sunday 1 April lineup of Stand By Me, the Goonies and the Lost Boys. Mmm, 1980s goodness.

I don't know who came up with the idea of the Roxy, but I love them. I've been once before, to see Don't Look Now which is one of my favourite films of all time (having been introduced to it at an early age by my dad, who fancied the pants off Julie Christie and was quite happy to uproot his 8 year old daughter's watching of the Sound of Music in order to emotionally scar her with scenes of rampant shagging and really scary dwarves). I went with K, who HATES this film with a passion, but wanted to see if perhaps watching it while getting quietly spannered would improve matters. We also took S, who had never seen it and would be able to tell us who was right in terms of the film being excellent or rubbish. I fully intended to blog about this at the time actually, but I had to work late, or my glasses broke or something, and I never got around to it.

It's a great place, with a huge back room full of tables and sofas which is where the screen is; with this room separated from the bar area (which also has seats and sofas for those who just want to have a drink and not watch the film. Drinks are normal London prices (about £12 for a bottle of decent red, and £3 a pint) but food is a fantastic bargain. I had a chicken sandwich off the all-day menu and thought I'd never need to eat again - and all for £4.50 too.

Less good is the fact that when we went we were right next to a table of people who were all exceeding pleased with themselves and celebrating this fact with some post-work drinks. I am all up for noisy chatterboxery, but why did they feel the need to hold this evening of fun in the cinema bit when not one of them was even remotely interested in the film? (Apart from the sex scene, whereupon they all went very quiet as if they were being forced to watch it in the same room as their parents. I'm sure I heard one of them hiss "Look! Tits!" to his mate, whose ears then went red.) What annoyed me was that they a) had the comfiest seats in the room, and b) there was an entire other section of the bar in which to sit and talk if you weren't going to watch the film. Being English, of course I wasn't going to go over and ask them to be quiet with a wagging finger, so I just huffed and puffed and gave them cross looks for the best part of an hour before another table away from them became free and we could move. Well, honestly.

So, a good night out guaranteed at the Roxy. Unless of course you are K, who still hated Don't Look Now after another viewing, or S, who had never seen it before and loathed every second of it. No taste, some people.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Book o' blogging

100 bloggers have published a book to raise funds of the BBC's Comic Relief appeal on Friday 16th March.

'Shaggy Blog Stories' features hilarious contributions from Richard Herring of 'Fist of Fun' fame, BBC 6Music presenter Andrew Collins, comedian Emma Kennedy, and James Henry, scriptwriter from Channel Four's 'The Green Wing'.Authors Abby Lee, David Belbin, Zoe McCarthy, Catherine Sanderson and The Guardian's Anna Pickard have also contributed pieces to the book.

The vast majority of contributions, however, are the work of many of the lesser known and unfamiliar heroes of British blogging; going under pen names such as Diamond Geezer, Scaryduck, Pandemian and Unreliable Witness.

The book is the idea of blogger Mike Atkinson who writes the 'Troubled Diva' weblog. 'Shaggy Blog Stories' features comic writing from not only the cream of British blogging, but also the best up-and-coming and undiscovered writers publishing their work on their own websites.

Giving himself a "ridiculously short" seven days from idea to finished product, Atkinson admitted that he was overwhelmed with the response, which gleaned over 300 submissions for publication.

With a pool of talented writers, and the latest publishing-on-demand technology, Shaggy Blog Stories bypasses the usual snail-paced publishing industry, and offers a mail order service to customers who will receive their finished copy within days of placing their order, and only a couple of weeks after the original idea.

"Blogging creates complex, worldwide networks of friendship and contacts on the internet", says journalist Alistair Coleman, one of Shaggy Blog Stories' contributors. "By creating a buzz about this book, we can reach out to hundreds, thousands of readers who'd be willing to part with a few quid for this very good cause. Mike's got some excellent writers on board here whose work deserves a wider audience. Everybody wins."

For details of how to order the book, visit Shaggy Blog Stories. For the background story on the creation of Shaggy Blog Stories, take a look at Troubled-Diva.

Note my festive Red Nose Day themed text, even if it is a day late.

I'd like to thank Mike, Anna and everyone else who worked so hard on this project - it's a great idea and I'm so pleased it's been a resounding success.

Charity rocks!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Comic Relief 2007

I do like people who come up with Good Ideas, and Mike over at Troubled Diva is no exception. He's come up with a great way of raising money for this year's Comic Relief, and needs help from British bloggers!

Basically he's compiling an anthology of humourous blogs posts which will then be sold, and all profits go to Comic Relief. Hurrah!

I've spent the last ten minutes trying to link to the post but whenever I try, Blogger eats the post, so I'll just paste it here, which looks messy, but as least is guaranteed to actually work. Get clicking, y'all!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

All change...

So, I changed my template. The green was giving me a headache, and also when I view the page on any other PC apart from my laptop the font is in a horrible pale green which I don't like; as opposed to the white font which shows up on the laptop screen. Why is this, I wonder?

Anyway, have fun. Tonight was my last day of working late for the next few weeks, so I'll be blogging much more than I have been recently. I'm hoping to do some more of the nostalgic stuff over the next couple of days, which may even feature some photos of me sporting a variety of 80s haircuts. Reason enough for anyone to tune in, surely.

Wireless hits East London

Dear EastEnders,

What? Keith Miller can't afford cornflakes, yet the Miller household seems to have wireless broadband? As does the caff? Since when?

Also: shut up, Dawn Swan; shut up, Rob; shut up, May; shut up, entire Wicks clan; shut up, Chelsea; shut up, Sean; shut up, post-cruise Peggy; shut up, Squiggle; shut up, everyone apart from Tanya.


Miss Hacksaw

Damn it, I think I blew an artery.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Oh hell.

The time has finally come. I've avoided this moment for three years now, and due to my extreme slyness so far thought the moment would never come where I would have to go through the hate and humiliation all over again.

No, it's not my smear test, although I'm sure that's overdue as well now I think about it. It's the trip to the opticians to be told how much blinder I am now.

The reason I'm having to go in the first place is because my trusty spectacles have finally given up the ghost. I don't wear them outside the house - partly because I only need them for watching telly, but mainly because they make me look like Norris from Coronation Street - but three years of hardcore TV watching most nights has meant that they've had a fairly intense life, and they rewarded me for all my use by popping apart where the frame and the arm meets. The lens fell out onto the sofa - hilariously I'd had a beer or two when it actually happened and so didn't realise until I wondered aloud to the Hubbo why William Fichtner looked so out of focus and why I had a headache behind one eye. So now my specs are held together at the side by about eight feet of sparkly sellotape. All I need now is a great big plaster over one lens and I'm in full on Declan Swan territory.

The thing I hate about the opticians is the fact that I am never sure if there's a right answer or not. I always get the feeling that if I say that the three is clearer than the nine, or whatever the hell they make you do nowadays, then the bin doctor will shake their head wryly, note something on a pad and leave the room, and the next thing I hear is them and a colleague emitting shrieks of laughter behind the door while I sit there unable to move as my head is pinned to the back of the chair by the lens-tester thing.

I should really go get myself some confidence one of these days.

Anyway, I can't carry on wearing these crazy-ass party-tape specs for much longer, so I've finally made the appointment to go and see them and see what Ugly Betty type frames they will decide looks good for half my monthly paycheck.

There is, of course, another option, especially as I have a feeling I should probably be wearing some sort of vision enhancer at work. Contacts.

I am torn on the contact lens front. The Hubbo wears them every day, and swears that there is no grief involved at all and I am being a whinging arse. However, I'm crap at putting stuff in my eye. I have visions (or no visions, depending on how you look at it) of me spending forty five minutes every morning trying to get the buggers in, being late for work every single day as a result, blundering about with my eyes shut as the contacts are too uncomfortable, eventually losing all patience and trying to get them out in the work loos, only to find that they've wormed their way round the back of my eyeball (ew) and my vision will be distorted forevermore by a flappy bit of plastic fluttering in my skull.

Have any readers got contacts? Am I being un-necessarily alarmed here? If you have any comforting tales then please let me know.

In the meantime, I must go and repair the bins again as I've got some 24 to get on with watching, and the damn sellotape has started unravelling. And there's no way I'm watching an out of focus Kiefer.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hangover haiku

I had too much beer

Resulting in angry head

Nurofen is great.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Achy, breaky...muscles. Gaah

Ow. Ow ow ow ow ow.

My muscles HATE me. I feel like they’ve all been out on some stag do in Vegas for a week drinking nothing but sambuca, eating nothing but cocaine and doing nothing but severely overdoing it on every possible level. I have spent the day stretching and yowling and generally feeling that what I need is to be put on a medieval rack and stretched for a few hours so that I end up looking like Mike Teevee at the end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

I blame Status Quo. Rick Parfitt is the boss of me.

It was my UK wedding reception on Saturday night, which explains this fiasco in its entirety. As we got married in Australia, it was obvious that not all of our friends and family were going to be able to come over for the event – most notably the Hubbo’s mum and stepdad, who gave up long haul flights last year due to the fact that unless you’re in first class they’re a pain in the arse. So we decided to have a major piss up in Essex so everyone could come along, see us in our wedding garb and get spannered for free while jigging about to Summer of ’69 and other classic tuneage.

I wasn’t entirely convinced about the re-wearing of my wedding dress, not least because I was unsure I’d fit back into it after the lager and cake fest of Australia and Thailand. Also because the back of the bodice bit features about eight million tiny little buttons that have to be done up by someone other than me, and it’s the sort of task that sends Hubbo round the bend (one of the wedding’s finest moments was us nearly calling the concierge at the hotel at 3 in the morning to lend a hand, as we were both too boss-eyed to make any sense of it. Pleasingly, I did not take the advice given, which was along the lines of ‘Make like Moll Flanders and rip it’.) I managed to get into it in the end though, and we even managed to get all the buttons done up thanks to some crafty handiwork with a pair of tweezers.

I had my hair done in the morning – which I was dreading as I hate the hairdressers with a passion. Apart from Charles Worthington in Covent Garden, where they give you a glass of champagne and a copy of Vogue and get on with it. Actually, the new place I went on Saturday was good too – my fabulous male stylist was pretty hot, and also fairly quiet, so I didn’t have to spend an hour talking about my holiday plans (which would have made for a 30 second long conversation in the first place, considering I can’t afford to go on holiday ever again).

I was going to wear my veil again, but didn’t in the end. Fifteen minutes of swearing and poking my head with Kirby grips convinced me that it would have been overkill anyway.

We made sure we got to the golf club half an hour before the japes were due to kick off, as the last thing we wanted was to be late, make a sweaty entrance and get applauded by everyone. We beat the first guests, but only by about five minutes. My university mates rocked up early doors, which I was really pleased about because I hardly got to speak to them for the rest of the evening. I felt terrible, especially as two of them had come down from Newcastle for the occasion. I kept on trying to fight my way to the table, but kept on being apprehended by various relations and carted off to meet other people, so I barely got the chance to talk to them. Bad friend!

It seemed to me that one minute there were five people there, and the next minute there were a hundred. Nearly everyone arrived at exactly the same time, which meant that we ended up having a meet and greet line anyway, even though we said we wouldn’t. Good thing really, as I hardly spoke to some of the people there. Still, we paid for the booze so I don’t suppose they minded that much.

After the buffet - which went in about five minutes, impressively - we decided to get the dancing started with a first dance. The band we hired were more of a rock and roll bunch and only had the option of three slow songs – none of which were the song we had at the actual wedding (Someone Like You, Van Morrison). So we went for Wonderful Tonight instead, which is quite short and also had the added comedy bonus of getting half the women crying and having to depart to the loos to repair eye make-up.

It seems that everyone felt it was rude to kick off the jigs before we’d got up and danced, because as soon as we left the dance floor (escaped outside as it was about 100 degrees in the room) pretty much everyone in the room was up. Excellent! The band were fantastic; and in their breaks we had the CDs from the actual wedding full of songs that people had requested, so there were some comical musical moments there. Such as the Home and Away theme tune. And Cold Chisel.

The muscle abuse started when the band revved up with Rocking All Over The World. I must have been more pissed than I thought, because I found myself doing the patented Status Quo dance (you know the drill: hands on hips, grab a partner and bend over to the left and to the right while they go the opposite way….yeah, humiliating) with one of Hubbo’s work mates. Oh dear.

Then – and I’ve no idea how this happened – I had a dance off with my dad. To Come On, Eileen of all things. I remember very little of this particular part of the evening, but numerous people have rung me up crowing about the comedy of it. Apparently we managed to match each other move for move all the way through – which seemed like a great idea at the time but I fear is now part of the reason for my muscular trauma.

In short: an excellent night. There were all the elements of a great night there: friends, family, beer, food, the Quo and, of course, air guitar - courtesy of my brother. I reckon I should have a wedding reception every year.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Television: Teacher. Mother. Secret lover. Mmmm....

Huh. Anyone got any tips for gaining an ounce or two of willpower? Because not only have I once again failed to blog for over a week, but I have also failed hideously to quit smoking - leaving somewhat ashamed of my crowing post of last Tuesday. I've managed to quit smoking during work, but considering I rarely smoked there anyway I fear this is nothing to be smug about. Its the fact that going back to work after a whole month off has knocked me for six rather, and when I get out of there my head is buzzing to the extent that the first thing I want is a bloody great beaker of wine; and therefore a cigarette. Perhaps my first day back at work wasn't the best day to try and knock the habit on the head...I don't know. Either way, I'm not too proud of myself, and have been wallowing in a state of nicotine-stained moroseness for a week.

Still, at least I've got it better than this chap:

Poor Jack. Tortured, crazy Jack who bit the shit out of someone's throat - causing some fairly vivid Lost Boys flashbacks - and yet is still insanely hot. Is it wrong that I think this? I fear so.

The thing is, 24 this season is even more fun for me than it usually is. This is because the Hubbo and I decided to treat ourselves to a wedding present - in the form of a fifty inch telly for our wall. We had a 32" before, which we thought was perfectly serviceable. However, now it's sat in the corner (before being picked up by K who is adopting it for her fabulous new flat next to the Emirates) it looks comically small in comparison, mainly because people's heads were smaller than one's own when viewed on it. It's madness. Still, at least the new TV has at last got me and the Hubbo off our arses and made us shift the flat round in order to give ourselves more room. I can;t quite believe that we've lived here for nearly two years with the most higgledy-piggledy arrangement of furniture ever known, just because the removal chaps dumped the TV in one position and we couldn't be bothered to move it, so just arranged the sofas and bookcases around it. Now we've thrown out a load of crap, got rid of my desk which simply served as a place to dump junk mail and packets of photos and moved the sofas. The end result is a) we have room for the armchair now, which has spent two years shoved into a corner of the spare room and having various books and clothes thrown on it, and b) we can now entertain more than three people at a time. Hurrah!

In other news, I have nearly finished my Australia and Thailand entry. It is massive, and somewhat out of date considering the wedding was a month ago, but I reckon that it needs to be posted anyway.

So, in short: nothing's really changed. I'm still a skanky smoker - although I'm going to give quitting another go once I've got used to being back at work. I still fancy the pants off Kiefer Sutherland - a fact that will probably never change, ever. I have spent a LOT of money on a plasma TV which has led to me being proactive about my living arrangements. Fun and games all round then!

Have good weekends, readers. And sorry, once again, for being such a sporadic blogger.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dear Mr Marlboro: goodbye forever! MWAhahaha

G'day all. So, I'm back from a month pissing about in Sydney and Thailand. Every moment of it was fantastic, and in due course I shall write a lengthy and rather boring post about everything I got up to, including a mock OK! magazine style write up of my wedding, which Katie made me promise to do on my return. All in good time though - at present I'm still getting over jetlag and am pretty shagged out, so we'll save that gem for the weekend.

Besides, at present I am trying to get my head round something else which is happening tomorrow. It's finally time to bite the bullet and quit the fags.

I've been smoking for ten years, and in that time have managed to quit once, when I was 21 and unemployed. Then I got a job in the City two months later and embarked on an unfortunate lifestyle of doing not very much work all day and then pissing it up big style in the evenings, and suddenly found myself with a fag in the hand again. Disgraceful.

I tried to quit again last year, and even went so far as to sign up to an online program where my progress would be 'encouraged' by supportive emails every couple of days. Baaaah. The emails were so smug and self righteous that I became irrationally angered by them on Day 3 and had to go outside to have a cigarette in order to calm down. Nice display of willpower there, Miss H.

The thing is, I LOVE smoking. Which is disgusting, obviously. But when I'm sat with a pint in one hand, it feels right that there should be a little stick of burning leaves in the other. This is where the problem lies. I hardly smoke at work; and I smoke very little at home. But if I've got a beaker of booze in one hand, which, it has to be said, is not uncommon; then I will want a fag in the other. What an idiot. However, The Hubbo (newly upgraded from The Fiance) reckons it's not the actual smoking I like, it's the feeling of just having something in the other hand. This stems from my habit of waving an unlit cigarette about for up to an hour if I'm talking to someone, along with the lighter, and failing to light it. I hadn't noticed it before, but he's quite right - the amount of times he has hunted about the pub table for his lighter in vain before realising I've got it grasped in my boozy paw and failing to do anything with it is quite astounding. So, here is at least part of the solution.

The thing is, I don't want to buy one of those comedy Nicorette sticks that one draws upon as if it were an actual cigarette. A past manager had one, and used to inhale on it in meetings before making a smug point, and it used to send me into hysterics every damn time. So I've decided that when I'm in the pub I'll get a pen, or a fake cigarette, or something else along a similar line, and wave that about instead to see if that helps. Of course, I could always stop going to the pub, but I'm taking this one step at a time and don't want to distress the system too much.

I've got a load of lozenges too, which colleagues and friends have recommended. Much rather that than the horrible nicotine gum, which always makes my tongue go numb within about five minutes and causes much distress to those trying to understand what on earth I am saying.

Tomorrow is the first day of the plan. Tonight, after dinner, I will don the metaphorical smoking jacket for what will hopefully be the last time. Please wish me luck.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Give it up, yo

Ten reasons why Sydney rocks

1. Pier 26 down at Darling Harbour sells a kilo of prawns for $20 every Saturday.

2. It sells Carlton Draught, which is the most refreshing lager ever. I should know, I've road tested a bunch of them over the last two weeks.

3. Its most famous restaurant is not a restaurant. It's a pie shop. In fact it's a pie van, and it's called Harry's Cafe de Wheels. It sells you a pie with mash and mushy peas for under $5. And it has a snap outside of Dennis Waterman enjoying a pie. And a snap of BA Barachus.

4. It costs the equivalent of £600 a month to rent a three bedroom house.

5. They give you strawberries when you order sparkling wine.

6. The equivalent of WD40 over here is called 'Start, Ya Bastard!'

7. Adverts are refreshingly brief and to the point. To whit: 'Drink. Drive. Bloody idiot!' And Brett Lee advertising Weet-bix with a non-cool cheesy grin on his face. And Shane Warne advertising hair plugs. Hee.

8. Cigarette packets over here have scared me into giving up.

9. The main department store in town has an entire floor of pretty dresses for $30, which is about £12. My bank hates me.

10. Sydneysiders seem geniunely disappointed that the Ashes wasn't more of a fight rather than a complete washout.

So, it seems that I love Sydney because it has cheap food, good beer, pies and hysterical TV. Beats Hackney in every way, I think. Except I'm pretty sure you can get a decent pie on the Dalston Road somewhere.