Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Me and my hearing memories

Phew, today has been craa-zy busy at work. Since I rocked up outside my office in style this morning, *blush* it's been non-stop.

At lunch I popped out to get some air – but there wasn't any. Seriously, it feels as though all the air has been completely sucked out of central London. But then it's summer, so I should really suck it up and get on with it.

My head is aching today - it's affecting my hearing. The radio is quieter, the lights are brighter and as a result of those two combined, I'm having trouble lipreading.

However, that's not the weirdest thing. That would be that I just heard a phone ring.

There I was, tap tapping away at my computer, feeling full up from my M&S lunch and whatever else I have scrounged off the work filing cabinet today – mini teacakes being the most frequent nibble, and I don't even like marshmallow! – when all of a sudden:

Bleeeeat, bleeeat

I looked up, wondering if it was possible to hallucinate sound. Then…

bleeeat, bleeat

Sure enough, there it was again.

I looked around. People continued to work.

'Erm...' I said to my boss. 'Did you just hear that noise?'

And she nodded.

But before you get excited and think I am getting my hearing back – it was the lowest phone tone I've ever heard. It sounded like a sheep in labour – not that I've ever heard one of them either. But it was a low kind of bleating sound.

It was amazing though – I heard a phone ring and this excites me!

I mean after all, the last time I heard a phone ring, I had size 11 feet and was about 6 – I remember this as I got given a cool pair of blue rollerskates and I used to skate around the house and therefore always used to be the first to answer the phone. I have this really vivid memory of taking off down the hall towards the telephone table to answer it and sending a tuppaware box of phone number cards flying.

It's nice to have these hearing memories – like I can still remember what a cat meowing sounds like, and a car alarm, and a green man beeping. I can also remember story tapes, and TV without subtitles, hearing from the back of the car and playing chinese whispers. These memories are so incredibly important to me – it's like a part of me I will never get back so I don't ever want to forget it.

Most of the time however, I don't even think about them, but then, when I hear something like a phone ring, even if it's very low, it unleashes all those hearing memories and they flood my head again, causing me to indulge in a little light daydreaming.

It really is the little things sometimes isn't it!

*sigh

Monday, 29 June 2009

Hot, hot, hot

Today, I feel like I’m doing an impression of the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz – everytime I step outside I want to squawk, ‘I’m melting, I’m melting!’

It’s seriously hot in my little flat – think tropical humidity with no breeze – not least because I haven’t quite worked out how to get hot water without heating yet.

Poor Miss K, she was greeted on her first morning in her new flat by hot radiators and lukewarm water! Whoops!

Anyway, so yah, I now have a new housemate! Yesterday I drove oop norf to Kilburn and picked up Miss K.

I looked at my little car, I looked at the growing number of bags and boxes that kept appearing to go in it. But sure enough, after 40 minutes of traipsing, packing, pushing, pulling and ramming, we were ready to go.

It was a challenge just to pull out of the parking space though. I couldn’t see a thing out the back window, had a drying rack tickling my left ear and poor Miss K was wedged in the passenger seat with various bags propped on top of her.

*Phew!

But we made it back to my side of town, albeit in a car so heavy it had the stopping distance of a jugganaut, and with some hoping and praying while zooming around Hyde Park Corner.

And so, after all that drama, it seemed only fair we had some bubbles to celebrate, chill out in the sun, and marvel at the size of Miss K’s TV!

Anyway, today it’s back to work, back to sitting in an air conditioned block while real summer is occurring outside.

But I will console myself with the fact that after work’s out, I have almost five hours of daylight and sun to play in…

…can’t wait!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Decisions decisions

Today is Thankful Friday and most of all, I'm thankful that First Uni Housemate's fiancé is back from Afghanistan.

They're getting married in September and she was counting the days until he was back in England. And now he is! Hurrah!

I'm also thankful for my Deafinitely Girly Umbrella, which I bought from my Deafinitely Girly Shop. The rain is due to come down in bucket loads today so I think it will come in very handy.

So will the new roof on Center Court, too, I'm sure!

Slowly but surely the Deafinitely Girly merchandise is getting out there. Soon there will be a pair of Chav Pants
in Vietnam along with an ‘I Heart DG’
T-shirt.

Oop Norf, there are 2 Deafinitely Girly T-shirts and I've heard a rumour that the Micro Clog baby clothing is soon to grace South Africa!

And, seeing as over half of my friends seem to be pregnant right now, hopefully there'll be a surge of sales in my baby wear section!

And ahem... back to reality.

Which is that, in the light of Michael Jackson’s death (rather shocked to find this out from Ex Penthouse Flatmate), there’s an awful lot of his music playing on the radio. I never ever bothered to learn to the words to his songs – so I guess my colleagues will be in for a quiet day as I can’t sing along.

Anyway, this week has flown by, perhaps because I had Monday off work, or maybe because it's been so busy. All I do know is Friday seems to have come around in the blink of an eye.

And, to cap it all off, I have eight hours to make a decision about my future, which is not good as at the way time is going right now, it'll probably feel more like eight minutes.

I’ve had good advice from amazing people about what to do, which has been very useful, and then I read my horoscope, which I try to never do. It said to follow my heart when making a big decision, and I’m going to do just that.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Miss K's moving in!

Ah, what a lovely day it is today again. I knew it was going to be a good day, as I woke up smiling – after a fabulous dream that Snowboarding Boy and I were um… snowboarding together.

Halfway down the mountain I decided I was rubbish at snowboarding and magically a pair of skis appeared on my feet and I swished off down the slope after him.

The sun was shining, the snow was soft and powdery and the most brilliant shade of white. All in all it was rather wonderful, particularly because, as it was a dream, I could hear perfectly – something that I find always happens in my dreams.

Anyway, do you know it’s nearly a year since Lovely Housemate moved out to her own little pad up the road and became Shakira Shakira!?

Where has the time gone?

Well, now once again it’s time for another housemate of mine to spread his wings – again to a pad of his own just up the road. It seems to be a thing that my housemates do.

I’m very excited for him, as it’s actually his. He owns it. No more rent. No more dealing with his housemate’s sleepwalking antics and girly products all over the bathroom.

And, now for the really exciting news: in his place I am getting a brand new housemate – and quite a lot of you know her – Miss K!

The timing was quite unbelievably perfect – Miss K needed a place to live, and I needed a lovely housemate. What a brilliant combination eh?

I remember when she used to live 100s of miles from London, in zone 3, we used to talk about how lovely it would be if we could share a flat. Well, it looks like someone was listening.

So this weekend, I’m trundling up to Norf London, where she’s living right now, in my little car to try and squeeze everything in. She has a big TV, which I am slightly concerned about as it’s quite possibly bigger than my car, but fingers crossed we will manage it all in one trip.

Miss K has been on an incredible journey already this year and I hope that my little flat will be a place where her adventures can continue. Not least because I absolutely LOVE hearing all about them, and as Miss K is so good at being my ears, I never miss any gossip!

Hurrah!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Where's my deaf awareness?!

Perfect, perfect weather! Usually during Wimbledon, it rains, but not so far! I mean now they've spent millions on a roof for Centre Court, it seems only fair that we get wall-to-wall sunshine in the opening days, with good prospects of it continuing!

I love waking up to sunshine – it always makes me happy. When I lived in Pompey, my bed was in a bay window overlooking the sea and every morning I'd wake up and just look at the view out of my window. The big ships would be coming in and out of the Solent, sounding their low horns as they went.

Wonderful!

Now, in all fairness my current view isn't so enticing, but after just 10 minutes of looking at the blue, blue sky this morning, I was ready to face the day.

Anyway, last night just as I was dropping off to sleep, I got an email from Ma.

Ah-ha, I thought, I wonder if she's logged into her email chat. So I logged on, and sure enough, there she was.

‘Ma,’ I typed, ‘are you there?’

No response...

‘Coo-ee!’ I typed…

Still no response.

Five minutes passed and I read my new Katie Fforde book. And then all of a sudden my phone buzzed.

‘Hello,’ Ma typed. ‘I wondered why the computer kept pinging and then saw your message.’

I explained to her how email chat worked, and so, we chatted.

It was so lovely, and I think even more so for her as her hearing is quite bad these days and she really does struggle on the phone.

It's strange having a Ma who's going deaf. You'd think I'd have advice for her, be aware of her needs and things like that. But I'm a bit rubbish to tell you the truth. I'm learning to gradually spot where she might need help and to nag her to get her hearing aids re-tuned, but I also forget a lot that she's not able to hear me so clearly anymore.

It's kind of been enlightening actually. It's made me understand how people can forget I am deaf. It's made me realise that when people get impatient with me, or can't be bothered to repeat something and instead say never mind, that they're not being mean.

The other day, Ma and I were in her kitchen, preparing dinner. She said something to me while she had her head in the fridge.

‘What?’ I said, waiting for her to turn around so I could lipread her.

She did, and as I replied, I started getting the plates out of the cupboard, making quite a lot of noise.

‘What?’ she said, to me, unable to hear from the din I was making.

And so I stopped making a noise and repeated myself.

This bizarre conversation continued. Each of us being amazingly un-deaf aware of the other one.

And if I'm that bad, then maybe I should just give everyone else a break.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The whooping, cartwheeling deaf girl

Phew, where has the time gone!? I just looked at my watch and saw that it's almost too late to blog.

Today, the weather is perfect. At lunchtime I sat in the square near my office, and let the sun warm me as I closed my eyes. It honestly
felt as though I was all alone there in my square. No real noise to distract me – just me and my deafness, my deafness and me.

It's like we're inseparable life partners. Did I promise to love, honour and cherish it? Did it promise me that, too? Can I divorce it?

The answer is, of course, no. But just sometimes I feel like shaking my deafness off – like when you're a kid and an annoying older kid tickles you because they're bigger and stronger. And so you kick out, but you can't shake them off.

And then I realised, with a little help of course, that if you go with the flow, let yourself be tickled and relax, it's actually not that bad after all. So I think that's my plan right now. No more deafness sulking.

Anyway, my long weekend drew to a close last night with a fabulous meal out with London Aunt, London Cousins 1 & 2, and the Blanco Family. We went for tapas as it was Paparazzi Blanco's 13th birthday.
There were 10 women and Blanco. What a lucky, lucky man he is!!!!

I was telling the youngest Blanco about my blog and she decided that she should choose her own blog name. I was more than happy to let her do this – I don't let people do it very often – but she put up a good argument. And so she named herself
Kalamari Blanco.

So then, we just had the middle Blanco daughter to name – she plays the flute like me you know, so I settled on Tootfloot Blanco.

It was great to hear them all talking excitedly about school, music exams, singing, dancing, and holidays. When we finished dinner we all went onto the green and they cartwheeled and handstanded their way around, whooping with delight. I almost joined them, except I haven't done a cartwheel in quite some time.

Maybe I'll do one after work later – so look out for a whooping, cartwheeling, dizzy, deaf blonde girl in Hyde Park – it might just be me!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Subtitles? on Top Gear? Am I asking too much?!

OK, here’s the thing: to my knowledge, the BBC is an extensive, if not 24-hour service. Between BBC1 and 2, and 3 and 4, and the news channel and the World one, it must put out hundreds of programmes a week.

I have but one request – that it successfully subtitles just seven hours of programmes. Seven hours!!!!!!

While I know that the Beeb has other companies helping it with its subtitles, ultimately, in my opinion, it is wholly responsible when things go wrong. And as I am paying a licence fee to watch it, and as we are in the 21st Century and things as simple as subtitles shouldn’t be going wrong, this makes me VERY mad.

So here we are – last night was the first in a new series of Top Gear (21 June). I must confess that since the iPlayer redemption, I have forgotten about the BBC’s rubbish subtitling of the last series of Top Gear, so when I settled down last night I wasn’t even contemplating that my viewing might be ruined by this.

Apparently, The Stig was going to be unmasked. Hmmmmm, did anyone fall for this?

And they had a race in the fastest motor things from 1946 – a Black Shadow bike, a pretty Jaguar and a stonking great steam train (which wasn’t the fastest train at the time but they used it anyway).

I became engrossed in the programme. I laughed, I giggled and I yelled, ‘Rubbish!!’ at the TV screen when The Stig allegedly came out as Michael Shoemaker.

And then, when there was just 15 precious minutes to go…

NOTHING

Not a subtitle in sight.

Then, I’d get the odd sporadic word. Then nothing again.

To make matters worse, I was missing the most exciting bit. It was the end of the race from London to Edinburgh. Jeremy Clarkson looked like a chimney sweep from stoking coal, Richard Hammond was quite possible infertile and had a posture resembling a scarecrow from bouncing along on his little Black Shadow, and James May was looking unphased and unruffled tootling along in his pretty Jag.

But I had absolutely no idea what was going on.

I asked Pa, but in all fairness, he was quite engrossed in actually watching Top Gear and had no wish to translate for me.

So I sat there, and missed most of the end of the first edition in the new series of my most favourite programme EVER made.

*sniff

I guess, on a plus, this season of Top Gear is seven episodes long – well, that’s what JC said yesterday – so that means that the BBC has six more attempts at providing decent subtitles for one hour on a Sunday night on BBC2.

And on another plus, if it continues to muck it up in this hugely annoying, rant-inducing fashion, at least I will have something to write about for the next six Mondays after this one.

But to be honest, I’d rather just have decent subtitles so I can follow JC’s inane but endearing ramblings, laugh at Mr May’s attempts to fight off being bullied by the other two, and marvel at how, when Hammond starts to whine, his voice actually disappears right out of my frequency.

Here’s hoping…

Here’s hoping.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

My lo-oooooooooooooooooong weekend

Today, I am not at work.

Tomorrow, I will not be at work.

Monday I will not be at work either.

I've gone oop norf to see The Rents for a long weekend and a spot of respite in the country. It's Father's Day on Sunday (psst - Big Bro, don't forget to call Pa) so I thought I'd come home and see Pa and thank him for being, well... fabulous.

I'm also going to recharge my hearing assertiveness batteries. They've been failing a bit of late.

Take yesterday for example when, at lunchtime I popped out to my favourite salad bar to grab a salad. The man behind the counter asked me a question.

I thought it was, 'Would you like a bag?' so I said, 'Yes please.'

He looked at me weirdly, and muttered something under his breath to his colleague who started to laugh.

*sniff

Now, normally I would speak up and say, 'I'm hard of hearing' but yesterday I just stood there like a lemon and let them laugh at me.

Not my finest moment...

When he did eventually ask me if I wanted a bag, I said yes and grabbed it and ran out the shop, a good few shades of red darker than when I went in.

Then, last night, Snowboarding Boy and I went for sushi in this fab little Japanese restaurant. Walking in, I recognised a girl from work and said hello and started chatting. Halfway through the conversation however, I realised she was a different girl from work, who worked on a totally different floor, in a totally different office. I'd been guessing what she was asking me as it was quite noisy and as she wasn't who I thought she was, it meant none of my answers would have made any sense.

*cringe

When I eventually realised this, instead of explaining my blondness/deafness, I stood there, rooted to the spot, yakking at her, making a total idiot of myself. Honestly, I seriously considered death by chopstick to make it all go away.

Snowboarding Boy however, reassured me that I didn't look like the lemon I felt and so we settled down to munch on raw fish.

But all this has got me thinking. Why am I all of a sudden so reluctant to backtrack and explain that I haven't heard something right or have got confused. This head-in-the-sand approach to my deafness is something I used to do when I first went VERY deaf as I wasn't used to cocking up all the time.

And then I realised, while glancing through past columns, that I recently mentioned that I was feeling less and less deaf at the moment. Which means I appear to have forgotten all my one liners and face-saving sentences I dish out when I'm heading for a catostrophic situation.

So this weekend, while enjoying some R&R, I am going to think about ways to stop me forgetting my deafness. Just for a little while. Just til I get my groove back.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Hearing my dreams

Last night I had the weirdest dream.

Friend Who Knows Big Words and I were fleeing some kidnappers and had to climb down and across a massive cliff overhanging the sea to get away.

I remember feeling the wind in my hair and hearing the rush of the sea below as it surged against the base of the cliff. Rather usefully it seems once again, I wasn’t deaf in my dream so I could hear Friend Who Knows Big Words yelling at me to hurry up as I traversed a particularly tricky bit in front of her.

Such was the clarity of the dream that I was also thinking about climbing techniques, thinking about where to place my feet, how to shift my weight and I even remember being quite impressed at my strength and ability to hang on.

As we neared the bottom of the cliff, I fell and landed in the sea – I remember it being icy cold and seeing the fear on Friend Who Knows Big Words’s face. But I managed to haul myself up onto a ledge and we made our way into a secret room where French Boy was waiting, pacing the room, looking at maps and generally acting a bit stressed out.

After much discussion we finally escaped on a sea plane and that was the end of that.

See what I mean…

WEIRD!

I wonder what it means – all this running away, cliff climbing and French Boy acting like a member of the French resistance. Anyone know if all that’s in a dream dictionary anywhere?

What it does mean though, is that I feel absolutely exhausted today. I feel like I spent all night climbing down a cliff face and running away from bad people. I don’t feel like I’ve slept. I also feel extremely hungry…

I must however, keep reminding myself that just because I dreamt that I climbed down a cliff last night, doesn’t mean I burnt off those calories, so I can’t stuff my face with Waitrose New York Cheesecake, however much I might want to.

I think I’ll go for a brisk walk at lunch and then devour some Waitrose New York Cheesecake instead!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Lipreading London

Yesterday, Friend Who Knows Big Words came for dinner. She leaves for Vietnam in two months so I am seeing as much of her as possible before she goes.

It was great. I found out all about her recent holiday in Columbia, where she had a mud bath in a volcano, and I also quizzed her some more about her new home-to-be – Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)...

*sniff

She's still working on her plan to get me to move there and set up a cake shop, but I'm really not sure I'd be able to lipread Vietnamese that well!

Speaking of friends trying to get me to move, tonight I am seeing SuperCathyFragileMystic as she's in town unexpectedly. She's just got a GP placement in the Wild West um... Country and is looking at buying a gorgeous flat in Bath or cute chocolate-box cottage in one of the surrounding villages.

The house prices are slightly more palatable compared with London, which makes me a teeny tiny bit jealous, as I can barely afford a parking space right now, let alone a building with four walls and a roof over it.

Knowing this fact, she announced that she wants a housemate... or neighbour… and thinks I’d be ideal.

‘Affordable housing,’ she said to me.

‘Love my actual job in London,’ I replied.

But really, a cake shop in the Wild West um... Country – could that work?

The main part of me thinks no, because although it is actually my childhood home, I would be following a whole load of ex- and RICH Londoners there who have already set up the cake shops, bought the country piles and pushed the house prices up. And I don’t really want to be a social cliché that looks like it has walked straight out of the starched pages of Country Life.

*GAH!

And come to think of it, I'm not that convinced I could lipread the West Country accent that well either!

But perhaps I could have a chain of cake shops, in addition to my lovely day job – one in London, one in HCMC, and one in the Wild West um... Country?

I could call it, ‘Around The World In 80 Cakes’ and have 80 different varieties of icing and cake mixture, while writing books in my spare time, and...

*sigh

…back to reality…

…which actually isn’t all that bad. After all, I can actually lipread the London accent and I think if I left, there’d be one or two things I’d miss… just one or two.

*blush

Monday, 15 June 2009

The lettuce and the supermarket

Wow, what a weekend!

Firstly, I’m ashamed to say that I got my first bout of sunstroke on Sunday! I was sick as um... a sick person, as I forgot to pack the hat that Snowboarding Boy bought me. And so, I sat in the sun for two hours during a picnic and felt the sense evaporate from my brain.

So Sunday night saw me, very poorly and feeling very sorry for myself.

*sniff

Anyway, the rest of the weekend was marvellous! It was Penthouse Flatmate’s son’s Christening and First Uni Housemate and I went up to the Wild West um... Country for it. Her first baby is my goddaughter you know – I was chosen to teach her how to be fabulous apparently!

On the Saturday we caught up and marvelled at how much Goddaughter has grown. I bought her a dress, which she loved, and every five minutes she begged her mum to let her wear it NOW!

She’s talking lots now, too. Although I can’t really hear her yet. If I really concentrate I can decipher bits and bobs – the best one being when she told me she loved me.

*grin

Anyway, something most odd happens to me when I’m reunited with Penthouse Flatmate and First Uni Housemate – I start behaving like a kid.

Maybe it’s because they’re both settled and doing grown-up things with their lives, like weddings and babies. I dunno...

But I do know I do some odd things.

While shopping for the picnic stuff in Sainsbury’s, I let them take charge and followed them round getting restless. To keep me occupied, Penthouse Flatmate sent me off to find lettuce, which I did. I returned to find them further up the aisle than they had been previously so, for some completely unknown reason, I high bowled the lettuce at the trolley.

Except I’m not good at bowling lettuces and missed. I am however good at throwing things hard, so the lettuce took off at speed and thwacked a poor unsuspecting woman who was standing a good 10 metres from the trolley.

*cringe

Penthouse Flatmate and First Uni Housemate stood stock-still, open-mouthed staring at me, and I swear I shrank to the size of a Borrower.

*eek

I thought Penthouse Flatmate was going to put me on the naughty step!

*mental note to self – there is a 20 in front of the 8!

Keen to redeem myself, I was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday making fairy cakes for the Christening. As I’m in training for the wedding I jumped at the chance. But it turns out that Penthouse Flatmate has slightly more fancy beaters than me, and they pinged the mixture all over her lovely kitchen.

Redemption = 0

Thankfully, I managed to locate my inner adult during the christening and at the picnic afterwards. And in typical adult fashion I forgot sun cream and shade and the fact I have an English rose complexion that burns quicker than a chip pan fire.

And so here I am today, tired, burnt and… um glittery.

Hmmm, it turns out the only aftersun I have is a sparkly one – I presume designed for application after beach frying and before clubbing... Or to cheer up sunburnt toddlers as it ‘looks so pretty!’

I got it free, I promise.

So, here I am, covered in glitter, at work, on a Monday.

Attempts at being an adult = 0!

Friday, 12 June 2009

BBC subtitles go awry!

Right, today is Thankful Friday and I'm afraid I am going to start with what I am not thankful for, and this is for the prepubescent schoolboys on my bus.

It's a rush hour bus, it's rammed and they are each taking up two seats each with their giant school bags and oafish figures.

They are so, so noisy, too! If I close my eyes I could be back on a school coach – I feel about 10 years old right now!

Next they'll probably start throwing things!

Ok, so now onto Thankful Friday! Well, I am thankful for the BBC subtitles as ever for being...

Ow! I just got smacked on the head by a tennis racket...

Damn these boys!

Um, where was I, ah yes, this morning the BBC subtitling service informed me that millions of Jews are murdered every year at the top of Snowdonia!

I was so shocked that I nearly choked on my tea, and I'm still not sure what good old Bill Turnbull actually said, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t that.

Ooh hurrah the boys are all getting of the bus, thumping every aisle passenger as they go with their HUGE bags! What have they got in there?

Recently I feel as though the deaf-related rants in this blog are getting fewer and far between. This is both good and bad. It's good because it means that, for some reason, I have been facing less obstacles regarding my hearing, but it's bad because soon I will have to rename this blog ‘Girly’.

Snowboarding Boy told me the other day that he often forgets I am deaf. This time last year when I was writing this blog I'd have replied, ‘I never forget I am deaf, not even for a minute.’

But just recently I have been. It's quite bizarre...

I wonder why this is?

I am still deaf and I am still girly.

Harrumph

Perhaps I should rename my blog Defiantly Girly instead…

Thursday, 11 June 2009

All change!

OK, I have news.

I’m going to say it quickly, like when you need to pull off a plaster and the build up is always worse than actually doing it.

Friend Who Knows Big Words and French Boy are moving.

*phew

There, I said it.

Now, they’re not moving to a different London postcode – that would be easy for me to say.

Nope! They’re moving over 6000 miles away to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam!

Now, first things first, congratulations to French Boy as this is a new job for him and a brilliant opportunity, too. Plus, I know that the sunshine and heat will make Friend Who Knows Big Words happy, as she really isn’t made for English weather. She’s the only person I know who can wear more layers than me.

But since she arrived on my doorstep over 4 years ago, fresh from her travels in Asia, I have loved every minute of having her in London. Even the vomiting-in-the-hood episode – which is a whole other story.

It was so unexpected you see. In our yearbook at school, we said she would be the one who lived in a far-flung country with a hot man. And I guess that has now come true. Which means that all that’s left to come true is me ending up in a padded cell.

*gulp

I am so happy for them both, I really am. But I am sad for me. I am sad that I won’t be able to go around the corner for a feast of dead animals on their smoking BBQ. I am sad that the time difference will mean that I won’t be able to email Friend Who Knows Big Words quotes from Stewie in Family Guy and know that five miles up the road she too is sniggering behind her computer screen. I am also sad that meeting up for a quick bit to eat will involve a long-haul plane flight.

Since we met in the corridor of our school on the first day of 6th form, we’ve been through a whole lotta stuff and now I gotta go over 6000 miles to go through more! But then that’s the good thing isn’t it?

You see, by going on her own awfully big adventure, she’s paving the way for me to have one, too – by going to visit her! Hurrah!

Currently she is working on a plan to encourage me to move to Ho Chi Minh City too, and set up a ‘Hello Kitty’-themed cupcake shop – apparently that would go down a treat there – but I think for now, my place is here in London.

But even once they’re gone, there are email and text messages, and they can keep up to date with my antics through Deafinitely Girly.

It’ll all be fine, I know.

It’s the start of something new and exciting.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Tube strike issues? Not me!

Today chaos reigned in London as the tube people striked.

There were queues for buses snaking around the block, cars backed up in massive traffic jams and to top it all off, a good dosage of English rain!

Pah!

But did I suffer?

Um…

*blush

Nope!

*Deafinitely Girly grins from ear to ear

And why not? Because I got a lift with my very own knight in shining armour – on a bright yellow motorbike.

And so, while people stood exasperated unable to squeeze onto already-rammed buses, I got whizzed through the streets of London by Snowboarding Boy, hanging on tight, loving the low growl of the engine and only closing my eyes once – in the tunnel under Hyde Park Corner…

…it wasn’t scary as such, more just; OK that bit was a little scary!

It was quite amazing to rock up at work on time, no stress, no bother and with only a little bit of a helmet-hair situation to worry about. It made me wonder – should I get a motorbike? A pink one, with a matching pink helmet? I could be the Lady Penelope of the bike world.

Actually, on second thoughts, imagine, me on a motorbike – with less road sense than a drunken hedgehog. It could be quite catastrophic.

But then, it could also be very very fun.

I’m off to Google pink Vespas

But shhhhhhh…

Don’t tell Snowboarding Boy as he doesn’t think Vespas are real bikes.

Do they make real bikes in pink?!?!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Counting hippopotami

Dammit!

This sleeping thing is really bugging me now. Last night I was telling Fab Friend how I wasn't sleeping and I dropped into the conversation that I was going to have a soothing cup of green tea!

And she told me off! It's littered with caffeine and would keep me up all night, she said.

So instead I had a hot peach squash, dimmed the lights, read myself a story and drowned my pillow in Champney's pillow mist.

Ho hum…

Tap, tap, tap, tap

Still no sleep...

One hippopotamus, two hippopotamus, three…

Yup, they're definitely more effective than sheep as that's just about where I drifted off.

But on the subject of the hippopotamus, there was an error in yesterday's blog. It was pointed out by Snowboarding Boy, the only other person in the world, apart from Pa, who seems to know more useless information than me.

And I thought I knew a lot!

Anyway, it turns out that one hippopotamus only covers 330m not a mile as I previously thought.

I would love to tell you how many hippopotami are then in fact in a thunderstorm mile but I struggle with working out how much a handbag with 25% off costs – and that's when I'm actually motivated to do the maths. So I don't stand a chance here.

Maths has never been my strong point. I once got 10% in an exam when I was about 9. It was horrible.

But physics, I am even worse at. Just remembering those little stick men on the seesaw that you had to balance, brings me out in a cold sweat. I remember I once got 3 out of 23 in a physics test and promptly threw up in the science lab sink with the stress of it all.

I think some of it was that I couldn't hear in class and was also totally incapable of teaching myself, like I did in all my other subjects.

But I think most of it is that my brain just doesn't work that way. It sees numbers and scientific problems and shuts down.

I had a year of weekly physics coaching to get me through my GCSE, with an old man called Uncle Frank. Best Friend And Head Girl and I used to go to his house after school, and his wife, Aunty Mary, would feed us home-made Eccles cakes.

We'd begin and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, I'd fall asleep.

Best Friend would be studiously paying attention and I'd be slumped in my chair, one eye open, willing myself to stay awake long enough to learn why x over y equals q

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ah-ha! I've got it. Tonight, when I can't sleep, I will study physics. It's bound to work, in fact

*Yawn…

Just the thought of it is working already.

*snore

Monday, 8 June 2009

News Flash: Thunder wakes Deafinitely Girly

Deafinitely Girly is not sleeping at the moment. Not sure why this is exactly but it's very frustrating.

I go to bed, I lie there, I count sheep, I think non-stimulating happy thoughts, I say 'om...'

OK, I don't do the last bit, but I do do the other bits.

Anyway, on Saturday night, I actually did get to sleep at a reasonable hour, much to my relief. Until...


BOOM, rumble, rumble...

Something woke me up! Something actually woke me up.

BOOM, rumble, rumble, rumble...

I was so shocked to be woken that I lay awake, heart pounding, trying to work out what it was.

And then, after one more BOOM, rumble, rumble, I realised it was a massive storm.

I got up, just in time to see a huge flash of lightening.

BOOM, rumble, rumble…

And peeked out of my bedroom window, pressing my ear to the glass, I could just about hear the rain. Then...

Boom, rumble, rumble...

Argh

I would not recommend having your ear pressed up against glass when thunder occurs. It was kinda like hearing through a megaphone!

With all this racket going on at 5.30am, I decided little sleep would get done, so made a cup of tea and sat in bed drinking it, counting one hippopotamus, two hippopotamus, after each lightening strike to see how many miles away the storm was. At one point it was just one hip away!

So it's not surprising I felt slightly groggy yesterday, and still feel a bit groggy today.

My weekend, was to be fair, an action-packed whirlwind of creativity and culture, with baking with NikNak, craft with um... me, and a trip to the Tate Modern followed by cocktails at the Southbank with Miss K.

The giant cupcake, NikNak and Country Boy 1's top tier, has been practised… twice, and it's actually not looking too bad! Although I'm now wondering if my inability to sleep is somehow connected to licking the beaters every time I made buttercream icing...

Sugar high?

Hmmm maybe a little!

But now it's done, and I've perfected the art of spiral-piped buttercream, I'm feeling more prepared for my role as wedding baker.

Hmmm, yes...

Deafinitely Girly, wedding baker...

I like it!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Deafness… bovvered? Course not!

Today is Thankful Friday and I am immediately thankful that I didn't keep thinking it was Saturday, which is what I initially thought when I woke up this morning!

I am also thankful that NikNak and I have planned some baking practise over the weekend! She's gonna help me work out how to bake the giant cupcake that's going to be the top tier of her wedding cake and then Country Boy 1 is going to eat it!

Thankful Fridays have become something of an institution here at Deafinitely Girly. I like them. They're a great way to remind me of all the amazingly fantastic people and things in my life...

Good grief I sound a little Like Pollyanna and the Glad Game right now don't I?

But I think it's important to recognise these things otherwise it's much easier to focus on the negatives...

On the days that I wake up with this incredible optimism, I often test myself with things to see how unwavering the feeling is, and to see how strong it's making me.

One of the things I test it with is my deafness.

'Am I bovvered?' I ask myself

'No,' is the reply...

Obviously if you asked me to do a phone interview with an Irish boyband or work in a call centre then obviously the answer would be yes, very bovvered. But right here, right now, in my life...

Totally not bovvered.

Everything is just fine the way it is.

And for that, I am thankful.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Cast your vote

This morning I left the house a little bit early to go and vote in the European elections.

I used to be a bit rubbish at using my vote (much to my Gma’s disgust), but this year I thought I'd better as, in the light of the recent expenses palaver, lots of people probably won't vote and we'll end up with some crazy party winning a seat, giving them loads of money and unmonitored European expenses.

Anyway, casting my vote means I am now on a different bus to work. It's the bus that The Writer gets every day and she's always claimed it's the poshest bus in the world.

Now, the bus I get is pretty posh. There are people called Araminta on it with big hair, big sunglasses and even bigger bags, but this bus wins the posh contest hands down. It feels like I've been upgraded to first class!

For a start it's so quiet. Although I can't hear it, I swear the loudest thing is the tap-tap tapping of Pinkberry as I write this blog. Everyone is sat up straight, too, hands genteelly folded in the laps. There are no MP3 players, no toast being munched by people in a hurry, no people coughing and wheezing, and no annoying children. It's like a weird bus twilight zone. To my left is a beautifully manicured woman reading a frightfully intelligent looking book. To my right is a man with suede loafers, a signet ring and matching cufflinks. He's impeccably turned out and on his mobile right now, but his voice is so hushed it's barely audible.

It honestly feels that if I started to cough, eat the cereal in my bag, or read a gossip magazine an alarm would go off and I'd be dragged off the bus and thrown into jail.

However, I can pretty much guarantee I will never take this bus again. This is partly because the subtitles are driving me nuts. At every bus stop I get the muffled announcement saying, ‘Please keep all your personal belongings with you’, ‘Seats are available on the upper deck’, and ‘Please move down inside the bus’. It’s driving me batty! That, and it's currently stuck in the biggest traffic jam and I'm going to be late for work.

So tomorrow I'm going to downgrade to economy, travel with the coughing masses without stoopid announcements and be on time.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

The spider that came to tea

*Yawn

Can you catch a yawn by reading one? Are you yawning now?

Anyway, the reason I am yawning today is because last night I saw London Aunt. She organised a brilliant private view of student photography, paintings, sculpture, graphics and jewellery at a central London gallery and I went along to support her.

It was excellent fun and I nosied at the work while sipping beer and eating delicious canapés. Blanco and Mrs Blanco – London Aunt’s neighbours – were there too, and it was great to catch up with them both. Blanco is going on some extreme survival week soon where you only get food for the first two days and the rest of the time you ‘live off the land’ – sounds deeelightful…

Not

Anyway, afterwards we all piled into a taxi and went back to London Aunt’s house for some takeaway from a new restaurant that had dropped a menu through her letterbox. London Aunt ordered it on the phone while Mrs Blanco and I opened some bubbly and then all of a sudden I became aware of London Aunt pointing at the floor. Looking down I realised she had spotted the most enormous spider – I am not kidding, it was about the size of a coaster and had thick hair legs.

I screamed, Mrs Blanco screamed, the cat flew out of her peaceful slumber and skated across the kitchen work surface sending post, magazines and a lone satsuma flying. The man on the other end of the phone at the restaurant probably thought he was on the phone to a load of nutters…

Um…

Anyway, in the commotion we assumed dinner had been ordered so settled down to wait for it and catch up with another lot of London Aunt’s Neighbours – The Human Resources – who had popped in to say hello.

One hour later…

No dinner. Deafinitely Girly’s stomach was rumbling so loudly even I could hear it.

I suggested we call the restaurant to ask where it was and on doing so we discovered that they didn’t deliver and our food had been sat there going cold for the last 45 minutes with them wondering where we were. I think in the screaming spider situation some wires had got crossed, although London Aunt swears she gave him her address for delivery.

But Blanco – in true extreme survival skills tradition – saved the day and dashed out to pick it up for us. The sheepish restaurateur halved the bill and promised a delivery service as soon as they could sort out drivers and insurance…

The food? Delicious and well worth the wait

The reason for my tiredness? The mad evening of tango, salsa and hip-shaking that followed.

*snore

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Summer lovin'

Today, instead of writing my blog, I went for a walk in the sun with Gym Buddy.

I treated myself to some new Benefit make-up using my Boots points and then we bought an ice lolly and wandered slowly through a square. It was amazing feeling the warmth of the sun on my head, the gentle breeze fluttering through between the buildings, and just about hearing the hum of London traffic in the distance.

It reminded me what it is I love about London in the summer – it’s so alive, so full of people soaking up the rays, chilling out, reading books, lying in parks heads rested on stomachs. You really can have the most perfect day simply by adding an ice lolly and some green space to that equation.

As a former Country Mouse, I thought I’d always miss summer days in the Wild um… West Country but recently I find myself quite content in the city. Sure, I have my escape routes to The Rents, Brighton and Pompey when I need some greenery or sea air, but I don’t have the burning desire to leave anymore.

It’s something that started to fade within me some time ago – and while I think I may leave London eventually, I’m quite happy, right here, right now, exploring, enjoying and finding my way around. There’s so much I haven’t yet seen and done and I’ve decided this summer I’m going to cross a whole lot more off my list, starting with theatre.

So using Stagetext.org, I am going to locate all the subtitled productions I can find and go and see them all. Then, I will book up some Proms at the Albert Hall, and maybe get some galleries in to.

If anyone fancies joining me, let me know…

Monday, 1 June 2009

Can't hear, can't say… will say!

The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip horray!

It’s weird waking up to warm weather in the UK. Normally it’s warm in the afternoon here, but recently it’s been warm in the morning, too.

I had an amazing weekend visiting Guru Tambo and her son Little S in Brighton. We walked along the seafront, had burgers for lunch and then sat in her garden drinking Kir Royales while Little S played with a bucket of water.

Little S’s real name is of Irish origin you know, which makes it hard for me to hear – lots of s sounds and different vowel combinations. When I first met him I was too afraid to say his name in case I got it wrong. But it sounded so weird not using it that I had to fess up that I couldn’t hear how to say it.

Guru Tambo then taught me, so we marched through The Lanes saying Little S’s name until I got it right – I think!

*Phew

But, it seemed that I was doomed for a weekend of mispronunciation. I said wrath with a northern ‘a’ and promptly got corrected by Ma... Apparently even northerners don’t say it the way and I put an audible p at the end of corps...

*Dammit

As a result, I’m reluctant to use all these words. However, quite often when I’m reluctant or scared to do something, the best thing to do is do, or say, it repeatedly. So I’m going to make sure I say Little S’s name, ‘wrath’ and ‘corps’ repeatedly today until they automatically come out right.

Just for good measure I might pop a Marseilles, Versailles, schizophrenic and a few other tricky ones in there, too…

…oh I pity the people I speak to today!