Thursday, 30 October 2008

What's in a name?

Deafinitely Girly has a disgruntled reader…

The reader, who shall remain anonymous*, is unhappy with his blog name and, in the light of recent news stories, perhaps he has a point. After all, would you want to be associated with two blundering idiots on the radio.

*DISCLAIMER Any assumptions made as to the identity of this person or company are entirely at the responsibility of the reader and Deafinitely Girly bears no liability for this.

So it would seem that the name has to go as he’s not happy, and Deafinitely Girly does not like to make people unhappy. So just as Lovely Housemate became Shakira Shakira, the disgruntled reader is now reborn as Gingerbread Man.

Will he love me any more for this? The jury is still out.

Anyway, let’s get on to today’s post shall we. Once again, Thursday has become Thankful Friday as I am not in work tomorrow. It’s my birthday, don’t you know, and so I thought I’d celebrate with a lie-in!

Today, I am mostly thankful for my friends. Thankful to the Six Chicks, Friend-Who-Knows-Big-Words and Clever Katie for humouring me during pass the parcel and eating my cupcakes yesterday, and for all their wonderful presents, too.

I am also thankful for the inventor of airplanes as it means that First-Ever-Friend, who lives in Switzerland, is able to zoom into London tonight and stay for the whole weekend. How fab is that!?

And there’s one more thing I am thankful for, and that is that my deafness, for all its annoyances and inconveniences, still has the ability to make me burst out laughing. Take this morning, there I was travelling to work on the subtitled bus with the garbled voice when I suddenly heard it say ‘Bad Television Centre’.

Huh? I know the Beeb have had some bother recently but scolding them on the bus? Whatever next!?

I looked around to see if anyone else had heard this strange declaration but no one seemed to share my bemused expression. It then occurred to me to read the subtitles, which said:

South Kensington Station

and that made lots more sense. Forgetting I was in a public place I started chortling away at my random hearing. And so, from now on, South Kensington Station will forever be known as Bad Television Centre. Another, if a little ironic, name change for Deafinitely Girly.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Icing is all around me!

I had a tantrum in my kitchen this morning worth of Gordon Ramsay – but minus the swearing Ma, I promise.

The reason for my diva strop was my kitchen. Firstly, the oven is like something out of a 1950's Barbie Dream House and it makes baking cakes very difficult. It has two elements on each side and is so small that my gratin dish doesn't fit in it. I found this out once after I'd filled it with flapjack mix. I stubbornly decided to cook it with the door open – the flat was toasty warm that day.
Secondly, it’s colder than a polar bear’s nose!

So anyway, this morning I got up at 6am, wrapped myself in about 20 layers and set about icing the cakes I’d made at 6am the day before – I really do enjoy baking and I’d love to be a modern-day Martha Stewart, just without the criminal record.

My icing is a top-secret recipe – it’s a complex mix of butter and icing sugar and involves lots of dancing around with the electric beater… usually!
However, last night I'd left the butter out to soften for the icing but this morning, when I picked it up I nearly got frostbite in my fingers. How can you make melt-in-the-mouth icing with butter that would be more suitable as a house brick?

So I popped the butter on the radiator – New Housemate must think I am quite bonkers – and while waiting for it to thaw I sheepishly apologised to him. You see, when I got in last night after dinner with Climbing Boy, I forgot that there were stairs in my flat and promptly fell down them. And I don’t fall gently – I think I sounded like an epileptic elephant as I tried to stop the fall, arms flailing wildly, bouncing off the walls as I went.

Clumsy me!

Once the butter had softened I started to beat it, but it started to cool down again and before long I was beating a lump of solid butter and icing sugar. It was disasterous and my arm got very tired. I persevered though, I added hot water to the mix, I put the bowl over the kettle and then I had my tantrum.

However, I am pleased to report that the cakes are now iced with somewhat stiff, whipped and peaked icing and decorated with tiny pink sparkly bits. I have fed them to my colleagues and they are all still alive and well – so that’s a good thing.

But it’s left me hankering after a proper oven. I think I would like one more than possibly any other consumer purchase in the world. Even more than a Bugatti Veyron, which to be fair I could never park and would probably crash in the first week. There is actually a pink one in existence – it’s disgusting. Everything but cars can be pink.

There is no point to today’s post as my mind is all over the place. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I had butter icing for breakfast?

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Ice is all around me

Wow, it certainly sure is chilly out this morning. There's ice on my car and the pathetic hot water pressure in my bathroom had me shivering throughout my very quick shower.

I often wonder how much I could talk about the weather given the chance. I certainly never leave the house in the morning without first watching a BBC weather bulletin!

But, is it being British that gives me an innate fascination with the weather or am I just a meteorological freak?

If I was one though, I think I would choose to live somewhere a little more weather diverse than slap bang in the middle of the most temperate bits of the world.

Take Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean north of mainland Europe, about midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, for example. Right now it's temperatures are -10°C with a wind chill of -17°C. That’s so cold that people can't wear mascara as it would freeze, weigh their eyelashes down and then they'd fall out (not sure if this is an urban myth or not). But anyway, seeing as the sun sets in October for quite a considerable amount of time, I guess it doesn’t matter if you have to scrimp on make-up as no one can see you anyway.

Or what about El Azizia in Africa, where on September 13, 1922, the highest temperature in the world was recorded at an eye-watering 58°C? In those kind of temperatures, my English rose complexion would be redder than a London bus before you could say ‘Where's my sunscreen!?’

That said, I really don’t mind extreme heat or extreme cold – so long as I am warm, I am happy! So for the former that means basking under a parasol in factor 50, and for the latter wearing four million layers of thermals under a down jacket.

It's when I get that bit wrong that there's trouble. For example, many years ago, on a beach in Fiji, I cooked myself to within an inch of my sanity. I got sunstroke and went completely gaga! Seriously, I didn't make any sense for at least half a day. I had the concentration of a goldfish – it was shocking.

Then, there was my ice climbing experience in Scotland. The weather was being, um... Scottish, and after two days of being holed up in our Station Bothy because the mountains were closed, with only stew to eat that some bright spark added toothpaste to, we finally got to go and do our training.

Ever single bit of my skin was hidden from the freezing temperatures, bonkers blizzards and 80-mile-an-hour winds, as was everyone else’s including my instructor. We trudged up hill for a good hour or so until we found a bit of snow that looked exactly like the snow at the bottom of the hill and then, our instructor spent the next hour teaching us something. To this day I still have no idea what it was as his mouth was hidden behind several layers of down!

This was in my less proactive deaf years, so instead of alerting him to predicament I decided to just copy everyone else! This involved throwing myself down the mountain headfirst, turning myself around mid slide and ramming an ice axe into the snow! It was great! I loved it! Until I lost everyone and realised I was on a mountain unable to see or hear. I was also freeeeeee-eezing cold as in my panic I had started to take my layers off as I thought I couldn't breathe – something that is apparently quite common according to my instructor.

Bugger...

After much panicking and flailing around (it’s hard to run in giant plastic boots and crampons) I finally found the vivid waterproofs of my group – my instructor then made me sit under a piece of canvas until I had warmed up and this moment of solitude helped me to decide that this really wasn’t for me. The next day, I went snowboarding instead – it really does make sense to take a lift up a mountain, slide down and have a hot chocolate at the bottom.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Yoo-hoo!

I am back from my week’s holiday and, well it’s OK. At least the sky is blue, even if the temperature did have me shivering and walking more briskly to work than usual.

I had a lovely week off and it had the perfect end with the arrival of Best-Friend-And-Head Girl and Friend-Who-Knows-Big-Words at the weekend. Best-Friend bought her son, Northern Boy, who is extremely cute. His accent is a wonderful hybrid that even I can hear. He say Moomay – like a Brummie, cuppo tea – like a Yorkshire farmer, and Ta – like Cilla Black. At nearly 2 years old, there’s plenty of time for him to add to his vocabulary and I am intrigued to know what new accents he will have picked up by the next time I see him.

Big-Word-Friend bought her fiancĂ©, whose blog name I haven’t decided on yet, so for the moment lets call him RenĂ© – as in ’Allo ’Allo. Best-Friend has never met him before and neither have The Rents, so it was a chance for them to approve – which of course they did.

There was champagne, much toasting and actually a premature birthday celebration for me, which was great fun. I had a cake and completely forgot to share the blowing out of the candles with Northern Boy – I think he was a bit upset and kept saying, ‘Again, again!’

He’s quite a fascinating little character you know, and has the most incredible ability to put away quite a lot of food. After an extensive roast dinner followed by apple pie and custard, there was afternoon tea with cake and millionaires shortbread. No sooner had the plate been put on the table when a little hand shot out and grabbed a bit. The only evidence that it was Northern Boy was the smattering of crumbs round his little face and his inability to say anything for the next 10 minutes as his mouth was so full!

He is also the exact same age as Mini Clog, my nephew, and seeing Northern Boy made me miss Mini Clog and the Dutch branch of my family. I hope to see them soon as there will soon be an Ultra-Mini Clog on the way. It’s very exciting, although becoming an aunt of two is perhaps also another sign that I should start getting a bit more responsible. With my 28th birthday looming it could be about time.

On second thoughts, I think I’d better enjoy being irresponsible for the moment – there’s always next year after all…

Friday, 24 October 2008

Thankful Friday

Wow! How quickly thankful Friday comes along when you are on holiday. I am a bit baffled today and wondering if I am going prematurely senile as there doesn't seem to be a Thursday post for Deafinitely Girly and yet I am sure I wrote one.

Dear Reader,
Please write and reassure me of my sanity...

Today I am thankful for holiday. I really do feel extremely rested - not £35 a night in Champneys rested - but still, it's amazing to spend time at home with Ma and Pa. It's the little things like not having to hurry in the morning, opening the fridge to find lots of delicious food, edible fruit in the fruit bowl rather than the crusty stuff in mine, a TV hard drive full of Poirot and Inspector Morse, conversations filled with reminiscing, and CATS!

I love cats, they have the most amazing ability to cheer you up no matter what. Last night I couldn't sleep, I was worrying about something. I was lying on my front when all of a sudden I felt a big weight on my back - it was Mabel, The Rents' calico cat. She just sat on my back, her purring resonating through my body, keeping me company until I fell asleep.

This morning she was still there, this time lying on my feet, still purring - I could feel the vibrations - and all she wanted in return was an ear tickle and a pouch of Whiskas - not a bad trade for her unwaning loyalty.

The Rents have always had cats and one of them was actually mine. He was a giant long-haired, salmon pink (you didn't think I'd have a normal-coloured cat did you?) alley cat and had an incredibly camp nature about him. He was around in the years that I was growing up and kind of became my hearing cat. If I was alone in the house and the door bell rang, he came and got me. If the phone rang, he bothered me and if the on-the-hob kettle was squealing, he went skitzo.

I am sure that what he really had was a sensitivity to sound and I was the nearest person to alleviate his discomfort. But growing up, it was great knowing that Pink Cat would rescue me if need be.

And so, I would like to rewrite a common phrase about dogs being mans' best friend as it's blatantly wrong - although Beeb Boy would deafinitely disagree - whoever created that saying had obviously never had a cat.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Eye spy...

Exciting news...

I finally decided to replace my glasses for a nice new pair - and I even resisted getting pink ones.

The decision that I needed new glasses was made my by clumsiness yesterday morning when I snapped a bit of my 8-year-old vintage-looking ones off. I hadn't realised the lens had tumbled out at first - in fact, I must confess I actually panicked that I had lost the sight in my right eye as everything disappeared from view - I really am THAT blind!

So it was something of a relief to discover that on hastily pulling on clothes - the gardener incident had something to do with my speed - I had in fact pulled my glasses apart.

These glasses were also something of an emergency purchase when I was at uni. I had gone on a climbing trip and carefully put my usual glasses in the side pocket of the tent after putting my contact lenses in. I had then gone to the bathroom to brush my teeth and on returning found the tent neatly packed into its bag...

the glasses did not survive.

So, it was on another familiar mercy dash that I embarked yesterday. You see, without my glasses I am doubly deaf. It's hard to put into words but basically, if I can't lipread I am screwed. And, while my contact lenses are good for the daytime, I can't leave them in forever...

At the opticians today, the staff did their best to understand my no sight=no hearing predicament. They removed my contact lenses so they could check my eyes, and then in order for me to lip read them, they had to cope with having my face about 10cm from theirs... it was a delightful bonding session and I almost feel as though I could Facebook them all now!

This particular opticians had a promotion, and naturally I hated every single frame that was in the special-offer bracket... I looked completely 1980s NHS in most of them and one pair actually made me look like Principle McGee from Grease - not a look I was going for.

In desperation I moved over to the designer frames section and even the Chanel frames made me look a sandwich short of a picnic. Then, there was the blingy Versace frames - lovely, but my Cat-from-Shrek eyes were so big that they only covered half of them and made me look like I was wearing a badly-fitted Star Trek visor.

Eventually, after wondering if glasses just aren't my thing, I stumbled upon the perfect pair - they were not in the budget section and, as I discovered, neither were the lenses to put in them - unless I wanted them the thickness and size of Wagon Wheels.

And so, my wallet took another kicking.

But I am pleased with the result. So much so that I keep looking in shop windows, mirrors and even people's sunglasses as I pass to admire them. It's not that I am vain - well maybe a bit - but it's mostly that I am relieved that for all that money, I managed to walk out of the opticians not looking like I'd chosen my glasses in the dark, or had one ear higher than the other, which incidentally I do!

However, all this reflection-admiring concerns me because, between that and not looking where I am going when I'm lipreading, I am unsure how long my spectacular spectacles will last for...

Let's just watch this space eh!?

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

tsk tsk

Apologies to my avid readers for my tardiness of late.

Onion-Soup-Mate, your hits have been noted :-)

The reasons for yesterday's non existent post was that I was driving back to the country. It's cold up here and very dark at night, too - it's strange not having light streaming through my curtains 24 hours a day.

Back in London I love the hustle and bustle of the road, the glow of the streetlamps and the flashing lights of the emergency services that constantly fly past. Sometimes I leave my curtains open long after it gets dark so I can watch the world go by.

But recently however, I have been closing my curtains as soon as I get in from work - the days are getting shorter so it is getting dark quite early - but that's not actually the reason.

The reason is my neighbour...

Remember the ugly naked guy in Friends - he was the one who could be seen from Monica and Rachel's apartment and was... well, ugly and naked. Well, I have one of those. To be exact, I have an ugly naked woman.

Now, to be fair I have known of her existence for some time, since the days that Shakira-Shakira lived in my room and I had the one next door. I remember Shakira-Shakira's shrieks quite clearly as she stood transfixed to the spot watching the rather voluptious pasty lady hoovering in her birthday suit. It was grim, especially when bent down to pick up something off the floor...

Too much information? Sorry

From my old bedroom window, the spectacle was not as shocking and so, until recently I had forgotten about our fleshy neighbour.

Until one night last week when she spent most of the evening wandering around, light on, clothes off, inhibitions in Timbuktu.

Now, don't get my wrong, I have no problem with people doing things in the privacy of their own homes, but she needs to be reminded that the keyword in that sentence is privacy.

Sometimes I wonder if she has forgotten that when it's dark outside and you switch the lights on inside, it becomes like live TV for all the passers by. Sometimes I wonder if she just hasn't noticed the stonking great block of flats that has been opposite hers for ooh at least 50 years. And then, sometimes I wonder if perhaps she knows the whole world can see her and she's happy about that. And, when I start wondering that, I close my curtains.

Last night I walked into my old room at The Rents' house to find I had no curtains - it has been decorated recently and they hadn't been put back up. 'That's OK,' I thought to myself. 'My Rents live in the middle of nowhere, who is going to look through my window?'

*HA!

I found out the answer to this question, this morning as I was air drying after my shower...

...my Rents elderly gardener!

The poor man was quite innocently cutting back the roses from around my window when he caught a glimpse of quite a different English rose. Thankfully I did the runner not him, as he was halfway up a ladder.

I am still blushing now and in hiding in the front bedroom, which has curtains, praying that he hasn't had a heart attack.

*blush

Monday, 20 October 2008

the latest post ever

Well well, well... It would seem that this is latest post ever for Deafinitely Girly and if I don't type quickly enough on my pinkberry, it may well end up being the earliest post on Deafinitely Girly!! Today has been the first day of my holiday and it's been quite a busy one of pottering, drinking lots of tea and visiting London Aunt. It was lovely to see her and London Cousins 1 and 2... I am going trick or treating with them on Halloween and can't wait! It'll be my first time ever as Ma never let me go when I was little... Partly because most of our neighbours were cows and partly because I was normally full of birthday E numbers as Halloween is also my birthday. I guess you could say I'm a witch... But I'd rather you didn't!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

It's not Friday but…

The sun is shining, the birds are mouthing something unintelligible and for me, it’s Thankful Friday – well technically it’s not Friday at all, but I am working out of the office tomorrow so will not be near a computer for my daily Deafinitely Girly update. And, with Pink Top out of action – there’s no possibility of a remote update either.

I am working all weekend…

*sniff

However, the thought that is holding me together is that I have a whole week off afterwards. It will be fabulously wonderful to relax and not get up at the crack of dawn which, now the winter is here, is getting later and later. I have actually been getting up before the crack of dawn recently, which I think is harder – there’s nothing less motivating than knowing it’s still dark outside.

One of my friends once missed a whole winter term of morning uni lectures because of this. She claimed it wasn’t right getting up when the sun still hadn’t! Hmmmm not sure that would wash in the world of work.

Now, after that long ramble, let’s get on to what I am thankful for and today, I am thankful for those subtitled buses I told you about last month. They really are the best thing since sliced bread and make my journey to and from work so deliciously stress free.

Take this morning – there we were pootling along the loooo-ooong road that connects my flat to central London (it really almost is the same road the whole way you know!) when I suddenly realised we had been at the same bus stop for an awfully long time.

I sat there wondering what was going on when suddenly, the bus read my thoughts and the tinny voice announced something. And, thanks to the subtitles, I could read along. It informed me that the bus was waiting at the stop to regulate the service. OK, so I was still annoyed at being held up, but at least I knew why.

What’s also amazing is that buses now give orders – my favourite being ‘NO STANDING ON THE UPPER DECK OR STAIRS PLEASE’. I catch quite a popular bus and normally have to contend with half the population of the borough blocking the stairwell and generally getting in the way.

There’s also a popular horror story that buses topple over when people stand upstairs but am not sure that’s true. Anyway, this morning a posh woman chose to ignore the announcement and carried on standing upstairs flouncing her hair everywhere and hitting me with her Louis Vuitton handbag.

Four announcements later, the embarrassment finally got to her and she retreated! Leaving me to read in peace without getting a faceful of her faux fur. Hurrah!

As a result of this subtitling boom, I have become something of a transport geek it seems. On every bus I travel on I check out the quality of subtitles and whether I know what’s going on. And on that note, I am off to buy an anorak and some thick-rimmed spectacles so I can be a proper bus-spotting Deafinitely Girly.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Hearing voices…

Hahaha!

*ahem

Sorry, but I am still chuckling about an email that Lovely Freelancer sent me last night.

She, like me, loves theatre and emailed me to ask if I wanted to go to see a play by good ol’ Shakespeare as it was audio described. Great I thought initially, sounds good. Then I started to think about what audio described actually meant, and I'm sure it is a fantastic service, if you're blind!!

We had both got it confused with captions! Now, just imagine me going to an audio-described play – not only would I not be able to hear what was going on, I wouldn't be able to hear the description of what was going on either! Sounds like a recipe for pure torture if you ask me.

Anyway, this reminded me of my last visit to see my Gma. While I was there, and in-between reading her Woman’s Weekly and plundering her dark-chocolate digestive store, I helped sort her digital box out as all the channels were a bit wonky. I then turned on subtitles so I could follow the show we were watching.

However, I forgot to turn them off when I left, so poor Gma had them splashed all over her screen when in fact, she can hear brilliantly! A few days later, Nottnum Uncle, the fabulous actor who really should be in The Bill, came over to try and fix the problem. He had a cup of tea, did The Times sudoku puzzle, which he and Pa usually fight over, and assured Gma there would be no more readalong TV.

The next day Gma switched the TV on and it began to speak to her. 'The man is walking to the sink and washing up' it said. Feeling slightly alarmed, Gma changed the channel and still the TV continued to talk to her. So much so that she couldn't follow what the actor people were actually saying.

Eventually, when she could stand it no more she called up Pa and tried to think of the best way to tell him that the TV was talking to her. And, as my Gma still has all her wits about her, and is probably reading this right now (hello Gma!), Pa decided there had to be a more reasonable explanation than um, insanity! And there was.

In his haste to fix the subtitle problem, Nottnum Uncle had turned on audio description service, so the TV was indeed talking to Gma because it thought she was blind!

Thankfully it was easily fixed and Gma’s fears of bonkers-ness were allayed. I am intrigued by this audio description service though, and would love to hear it for myself. I wonder if they do a subtitled version…

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away

Ooooh I am feeling all warm and fuzzy and nostalgically 1980s today! If I close my eyes, I am almost back there, black Reebok ankle trainers, leggings from C&A, white reversible Mickey Mouse jumper, and a cardboard circle cut out and stuck on my head to try and make me look like Kylie!

The reason for this is because of the fab evening I had with Beeb Boy last night. He came over for lasagne and to make sure I added to my appallingly small film resume… step one – Star Wars IV. Even New Housemate admits that it’s shocking I haven’t seen this movie.

Technically, I should be feeling nostalgic for 1977 as this is when the movie was made, but seeing as I wasn’t even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes then, I can’t. So it is the 80s I must hanker after today.

Beeb Boy rightfully pointed out that there was something quite special about this generation of kids movies… in short they were brilliant. OK, OK, so I am not a total expert on these as I still haven’t seen ET… but I do love how films from this era so effortlessly take you back!

Flight Of The Navigator reminds me of Sunday afternoons in winter, sat on the sofa with Big Bro eating crumpets and being totally enthralled by the adventure of it all! Short Circuit I also liked, although I remember there being quite a few tears.

Then, there was The Goonies, which was my favourite movie for many, many years – I had a massive crush on Mikey, the one with braces. I hate being underground but would quite happily have been stuck down a well with him!

Everything in an 80s movie was an adventure – it was so clear cut who the goodies and baddies were that you could cheer for them right from the beginning. And no important goodies EVER died.

What’s exciting about watching these films nowadays is that they have subtitles. Back in the days when I first saw them, they were fantastical visual feasts with hazy storylines as I didn’t really hear what was going on. Now, I get to read the classic lines my friends were quoting for years in subtitles and get the sound effects in italic writing at the bottom of the screen.

Last night for example, R2D2’s squeaks and peeps came up even though they were far out of my frequency and I was even informed when Jabba the Hut was speaking in a foreign language. How brilliant is that?

I am kind of glad that I didn’t see Star Wars as a kid as I probably wouldn’t have got it! R2D2 would have been this silent robot that didn’t do anything, Jabba the Hut would have been boring and the storyline impossible to follow.

After all, have you ever tried to lip read Darth Vader?

For some random reason, it got me wondering about what if Darth Vader was my father– what a poignant moment that would have been. He drops the bombshell of my life on me and all I say is ‘Pardon, what was that?’
Hmmm anyway, back to reality…

Monday, 13 October 2008

Today…

I have absolutely nothing to say...

that's gotta be a first for me.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Thanks guys

It's kind of hard to have a thankful Friday when all the news headlines are calling it Freefall Friday and Black Friday due to the current World financial turmoil. I can however thank my lucky stars I don't have an Icelandic bank account – but then the knock-on effects are going to have consequences for everyone – not just readers of Moneysupermarket.com.

I could add it to my list of daily worries but really, what good is that going to do. If I was on a ship in rough seas, I wouldn't try and take over the steering from the captain or jump overboard, I would buy
a G&T and find something to hang on to until the storm passed... and that's exactly my thinking for the current situation. Sure, if the ship actually sinks, I will have to have a rethink but right now, a G&T seems like the best option. I also know, that if I have any worries, I can always ask Shakira-Shakira as she's a financial genius and will give it to me straight, I'm sure.

I'm really looking forward to this weekend as I am off to the Wild West Country to see Jenny M, who is quite a regular feature in this blog. She's in theatre daaa-aaarlink and has her own production company, which puts on plays all year round. Anyway, she's holding a cocktail party and we've been instructed to wear our oldest dresses due to the confined nature at her flat.

Mental note to self – must try and keep the breakdancing under control!

Also there will be Ad Mate – she's a hotshot at an advertising agency in London and she's great!

Do you know, she once read me childrens' stories in a West-Country casualty after I crashed my Mini. She and Jenny M came to my rescue and neither flinched when they saw my horrible deformed face. The crash caused me to punch myself, which resulted in the most fabulous black eye. For weeks after, I had a kind of a one-sided Twiggy look going on, which I tried to convince myself was classy even when small children were pointing at me in Tesco.

That was over three years ago now but we still laugh about that surrealness of that day when we get together.

There was my...
...insane flirting with the firemen – looking like Shrek, I am amazed I thought I stood a chance!
...swearing at the bloke that drove into me – I had him kicked out of my ambulance when he tried to get in to apologise – the naughty man is in jail now.
...belief that my car could be mended – the firemen wanted to fill it with water to stop it exploding and I was worried they'd damage the interior.

So I guess thankful Friday is all about how great ALL my friends have been over the years during the various scrapes, bumps and crisies I have got myself into!
Thanks guys!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Bon Voyage Pink Top

I waved goodbye to my Pink Top today as it embarked on a journey with UPS to Holland. I considered packing myself into the box and hitching a ride to visit Big Bro, Maxi-Clog and Mini-Clog as I haven’t been for a while, but I think I would have exceeded the 6kg weight allowance.

I’m a bit nervous actually about when I will see Pink Top again and if it will be in working order. It only lived a week before it died – much like my Russian hamster Belinda that I had as a child. She tried to escape by squeezing through the bars of her cage and suffocated.

Perhaps I have some sort of strange breakdown effect on things I own…

You know, my mother once bought me a pair of Startrite school shoes and all I did was walk out the shop in them and the soles fell off…

Then there are the things that don’t break as ‘magically’ as the ones mentioned above, such as the set of very expensive stripy glasses I treated myself to from The Pier – they lasted a week.

*Smash!

Or the entire wine and champagne glass set of Old-Housemate-Who-Now-Lives-In-Cornwall – my breakdancing saw the end of most of those. This led me to only drink out of vase-like plastic glasses for many years afterwards.

And don’t even get me started on my hearing aids. In the space of two months as a teenager, I put one pair through the washing machine, dived into a swimming pool in the next set, and lost another pair on a school trip. It started to get embarrassing going in for new ones and when the fourth pair got dropped in the bath, I am afraid I popped them on the radiator and just kept quiet. Problem was they kept quiet after that too, and I had broken hearing aids for quite a while until I plucked up the courage to confess.

Perhaps it’s because I whirlwind through life in a flurry of hurry and enthusiasm… or perhaps I am just a bit clumsy, which thankfully cannot be blamed for Pink Top’s demise.

I only hope that when I get it back, I won’t have such a fear of breaking it that I never use it – that would void my reasons for buying it. But hopefully, so long as I keep it away from the licking boy on the bus and naughty burglars, it should be OK.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Mud, mud, glorious um... Mud!

Everyone, from Persil to Unilever, says that dirt is good for children. Some people even say that it can help strengthen their immune systems and even make them happy – sure I remember being happiest jumping (but not being pushed, Big Bro!!) in puddles when I was little.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t cramming earthworms in my mouth or anything but I do remember one particularly happy day making a mud slide down a steep bank in wet weather in a country lane near my friends house. We had an emergency tree root to grab should a car come along.

Back to dirt – I really hope that the idea that it’s good for you is true. If it does make children’s immune systems stronger, then one that was sat next to me on the bus yesterday will soon have the constitution of an ox!

According to some particular gruesome statistics I found thanks to Google, the average bus seat could be harbouring up to 70 different types of bacteria including lethal MRSA. This kind of thinking leaves me not wanting to touch much when I travel from A to B each day! Sometimes I forget and rest my head against the window before noticing a big greasy mark where someone has done just that before me. YUECHK!

Anyway this kid, who was about 3 years old I would guess, had a baby bottle filled with water with him. I was sat at the front of the bus and he and his mother joined me. This would have been OK but he was shrieking, loudly and within my frequency.

After struggling from the confines of his mother’s lap, he then proceeded to throw water all over the ledge at the front of the bus, which let's not forget is probably equally rich with MRSA and goodness knows what else, and then licked it off!

Delightful!

He did the same to the window and would have licked the floor and quite possibly me had he got the chance! It left me feeling quite queasy!

I almost wanted to ask the mother, who seemed totally unfazed, for her email address so I could write on a yearly basis to check whether her son had caught something deadly from his transport-licking antics – but politeness got the better of me.

Eventually his shrieking got so out of control that she bundled him up, took him downstairs and shoved him in his buggy. When I went downstairs to get off the bus, there he was – licking the STOP button on the handrail.

While dirt may well be good for you, I think I’m a believer of everything in moderation and won’t be encouraging London Cousins 1 or 2 to go around licking public transport, to stop them getting sick, anytime soon.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Fire, fire...

Guess what? I can now text the emergency services...

if I live in Dorset, Wiltshire, Avon (which I thought wasn't a county any more) and Cornwall. It used to be that I could only text them if I was in Hampshire and spotted a cat up a tree, or a burning building. But now at least this service is extended to a whole lot of other places where I don't live.

With all fairness though, this sounds like a really good idea. I mean, there are all the alerts in place for deaf people to inform them of when a fire alarm is going off, but this could be a bit annoying if they then couldn't contact anyone to put the fire out.

As it happens, I have never yet had to dial 999 (touch wood) but if I did, I would much rather text 80999 than call an operator and risk her thinking I was a stupid hoax caller and have her hang up on me.

I nearly had to call 999 once though, when I lived with Ex-Housemate-Who-Now-Lives-In-Cornwall. She had a habit of getting stuck in bathrooms and did it twice when we were studying in Portsmouth.

The second time was after a particularly lively night out. We arrived home, I went into the kitchen to put some potato waffles into the toaster and she disappeared into her room. Ten minutes later, no sign of her, so I decided to eat her potato waffles. Ten minutes after that, I went looking and found her trapped in her en-suite bathroom.

Unable to hear her shouts from the kitchen she had been sat there wondering what to do for the last 20 minutes. However, once there and alerted to her plight, the situation wasn't much better as I couldn't lipread her through the door. Luckily however, she had taken her phone into the loo with her so we texted backwards and forwards as we pushed and pulled the door, but it was stuck fast.

And so, in the light of our lively evening, we forgot that locksmiths really are the best people to get people out of doors that won't open and she called the fire brigade. In our defence though, she is asthmatic and the thought of spending the night in there was making her rather wheezy.

Two minutes later, lights on, sirens blaring, the boys in yellow helmets arrived with axes... EEK... I saw our deposit disappear right before our very eyes but in the end they managed it with a screwdriver and were on their way with very sheepish thanks from us.

But, imagine if that was me stuck in the toilet, what would I do? I guess so long as I make sure I only get stuck in toilets in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Avon, Somerset and Cornwall, I will be OK...

Monday, 6 October 2008

Holiday...

Well, it's not really so please refrain from breaking into song a la Madonna...

However, I am not at work today and the reason for this is so I can help my Pa as he's in hospital having 10 injections into his spine to try and sort something out that I don't really get. Whatever it is, it's not going to be pleasant and so I took the day off to ensure he and Ma were OK.

It's chilly up here and so much quieter than London. Last night I woke up and lay awake listening for noises and there really were none. Back in London, even though I am really quite deaf these days, I can still here the hum of the traffic, the drone of the planes and occasionally the shouts of the drunk people from the pub up the road when I lay awake in bed at night. And, I quite like all those noises, they remind me that I am not totally deaf.

Last night there was nothing... I felt really quite deaf. I guess hearies find the country noisy... the birds, the animal shrieks, the wind and the rattles that it causes. But these are all out of my frequency so to me there really is nothing.

I wonder, when I get back to London tomorrow, if it will seem really noisy after my break in the country? I am kind of hoping it does so that even just for a little bit, I don't feel as deaf as I am suddenly starting to feel...

Friday, 3 October 2008

Sad, happy, sad, happy

Today, is Thankful Friday and I am thankful that I have the day off work as I am going to a wedding in Knutsford this weekend.
Do you know, many moons ago before The Rents were married, they were driving to Scotland up the M6 and the traffic was terrible. When it became clear that they were going to have to stop for the night, Pa said to Ma, 'The next junction is Knutsford, have a look in the AA book and see if there are any hotels we can stay at.'
My Ma frantically thumbed her way through the alphabeticalised book, going forwards and backwards before she finally said, exasperated, 'There's nothing between Nuneaton and Oxford!'

Normally, I love that story and it makes me giggle that Knutsford was Nutsford to my Ma... but today it barely raises a smile.

I have some sad news... Pink Top is sick. I tried to turn it on to tap-tap-away on the train home last night and...

NOTHING

*sniff

So today's post is short and sweet as I am going to rush it to PC World, bat my eyelashes and hope that even though I didn't buy it from there, they will be able to perform some sort of life-saving action on it.

Big Bro has also been very helpful - and has his own theories of what might have caused it!!!! He's got me into techy forums and last night I actually joined one and left a note saying 'There's no wind in my Wind' as Pink Top's real name is a Wind.

I am hoping that it will be something simple to sort out...

I miss my Pink Top...

*sniff

Thursday, 2 October 2008

I have a question…

Why do people give up their seats to children on buses?
Now, elderly or physically-disabled people I understand – in fact this morning I hurtled up the bus to ask the bus driver to wait as an elderly lady on crutches was almost at the door but he hadn't seen her and was about to speed off.

And OK, I concede that on a very busy bus it might be nice to let a mother put her children on a seat where she can see them – but do these pint-sized people really need a seat each?

This morning however, the bus was not busy. I got on and took a folding seat downstairs as I have a suitcase with me today. Just behind me two kids and their mum got on and the only seats were at the back of the bus. One of these little people stood there are looked at me expectantly, sticking his bottom lip out thinking he was looking cute when in fact he looked like a dying guppy. But what was clear was that he thought I should move for him!

At the risk of sounding like Jeremy Clarkson, where in the name of all that is holy did he expect me to go? To the back of the bus, maiming the shins of everyone with my suitcase on my way? Perhaps there is an argument about me having my suitcase with me taking up space – but it is only a cabin-sized one, which was slotted very neatly out the way of everyone and, had someone in a wheelchair needed the space, or it had got really busy, I would have moved it and balanced it on my head if need be.

This child was about 8 years old – he should be at his most robust, agile and physically fit, so I figured surely he, his brother and his mum were capable of the few extra steps it took them to get to the back.
But no, from every direction, people scattered to accommodate the boy king and his entourage!

Even pregnant women don't get the same treatment – in fact I once gave up my seat to one particularly large gestating lady and someone else nabbed it before she had a chance to manoeuvre her bump into place! Harsh words were exchanged!

On today’s journey, two stops later more little people got on and once again they looked at everyone who was sat down as if to say, “MOVE, NOW!” The mother kept sighing and eventually some poor soul caved! Why? Why? Why? Can these children not walk upstairs? Is the cotton wool wrapped so tightly around them that standing is a physical impossibility? One stop later they got off... They could have walked it quicker!

There is one more thing that gets me, which is actually a little controversial and in the past when I've broached the subject, my more tolerant friends have tried to reason with me. It is this: on London buses, there is a sign that reads buggies may need to be folded at busy times.... Now has anyone actually ever seen this happen? OK, so modern designs are often hard to fold and the various paraphernalia that comes with children do not make this the easiest of tasks. But in busy times I have been unable to get on a bus because there are three gigantic all-terrain buggies crammed in, all empty because the children are sat in all the seats.

I was once on a bus where a lady with her massive pushchair actually begrudged making room for a person in a wheelchair!

Perhaps, when I have four children and a buggy designed for the wilds of Scotland that I insist on pushing along the smooth terrain of London’s streets, I too will expect people to give up everything for me. Perhaps I will think it wise to catch a bus 100 metres and tut at wheelchair users. But my children however, will be taught that they are perfectly capable of standing. And when we are on the bus and someone gets on wielding a suitcase, or needs a seat, I will make my children stand up.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

This is not just…

Recently I've been buying my lunch from Marks & Spencer quite a lot!
Granted it's a bit more expensive but the advert reassured me that it's not just pasta and feta salad, it's Marks & Spencer pasta and feta salad! And, it's unfailingly delicious every time.

Being a creature of habit, I usually have the same thing most days, a salad, a packet of copycat Wotsits, which are luminous orange, get stuck in my teeth, and quite possibly make me hyperactive, and a bag of grapes.

The promise of this meal alone is enough to entice me there and very occasionally I also indulge in a packet of Percy Pigs too, but recently I have been drawn there for an entirely different reason...

Embarrassment-free shopping! You see, M&S have moved with the times and installed tills without people...

This coupled with the ban on free bags is my dream come true! No more missing the would-you-like-a-bag question, no more questions full stop – just a nice till that I can swipe all my things through before loading them into my eco-friendly fabric carrier bag!

Hurrah!

If I am having a particularly deaf day, say after, oooooh, a night's partying in Bungalow 8 with Shakira-Shakira, I will always be found in M&S, quite oblivious of the world around me, quite happy playing shop at the self-service till! It really is fantastic!

I only wish the same could be said for all the shops I visit! The other day when I was in HMV buying SATC on DVD, the lady serving me was particularly chatty and, to you hearies, that's probably excellent customer service. But to me it was just downright embarrassing. Music was blaring and every other word I said was pardon! It was a cringe-worthy episode made bearable only by the fact I was buying SATC (hurrah!) and it had subtitles (double hurrah!).

But rather than moaning, I am going to be proactive about this and so, I'm off to write to HMV to ask them for some self-service tills!

Subtitled Cinema: Daydreaming of a better deaf world

Sometimes, just sometimes, I allow myself the chance to daydream about all the things on my deaf wishlist coming true... It's a bit li...