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.