Sunday, 30 December 2007

Good riddance 2007

I just realised, as I looked out over the sink into the Rectory's garden (patch of grass, rusting BBQ and budweiser cans) that my love for uneven numbers has been completely unfounded.

I have always liked unevens, despite the fact that my birthday is made up of almost entirely (apart from the 1 and the 9) even numbers. They are angular, odd and kind of quirky.

But, as I realised in my dishwashing epiphany, odds have never done anything good for me. Looking back over the years, odd years have generally been pants. All the good ones have been evens. 2006 - ruled. 2005 - lame. 2004 - very pleasing indeed. 2003 - average. Along with this - 2007 was, in one word, arse. In two words, mainly arse. In a sentence, mainly arse with a few good bits thrown in, apart from the last bit which was cool.

Now you don't have to be Stephen Hawking to figure out that according to this pattern 2008 is going to be absolutely blistering.

Happy 2008 everyone. Look at all those evens in there. Lovin' it.

The nomad goes religious at The Rectory, Clapham

I am currently resting on my laurels in Clapham, South London.

Walk straight past Dame Vivienne Westwood's house, and wave to the firefighters as you cross the road to Rectory Gardens.

Head down the little lane to the white house at the very end.

Although it is devoid of central heating, the taps drip, and the neighbours get a suspicious number of visitors, Le Chateau (as we like to call it) is a cosy, friendly little place. And when you are dependent on the hospitality of others, you have absolutely nothing to moan about and everything to be thankful for.

Friday, 28 December 2007

My Nemesis

It is amazing the way that sneaky little being self-doubt pops up when and where you least expect him.

Just when you thought all was good in the world, he steps out of the shadows. As you walk along, he whispers nasty nothings in your ear. You turn and glare at him, relegating him to sliding along the walls of the scummy stores you pass on your way home, the shadows skidding across his empty eyes. But before you have time to banish him completely, with a quickened step he catches you and continues his depressive tirade of doubtful thoughts.

Sometimes I stop suddenly, turning to shout at him to leave me alone. He skulks off to hang out with his low life mates Pity and Jealousy, at the local Starbucks, or wherever similarly bad feelings get together to drink bitter coffee.

But before you know it, like a mouse that you swear you just saw across the other side of the room, he is right there in front of you again.

Today I had my first thought of 'am I going to spend the rest of my life in fear of one day being found slowly decomposing into the sofa only because the power company finally realise I haven't paid the bill for over a year?'

The neighbours will be quoted as saying 'we only really saw her when she occasionally put her piles of newspaper bundled in twine, out for recycling, as well as let the 45 cats out for a quick wee'.

You will be pleased to know, however, after two laaaarge glasses of wine, I kicked self-doubt's arse in a 'crouching tiger, hidden dragon' style kung-ku fight. Entirely in slow motion, of course.

Nomadic Emma lives to see another day as the 'super singleton'.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

These boots are made for....

My workmates officially think I am a freak. I let slip at the work xmas party, that I walk to the office every morning. I am now viewed with a slight sideways look of suspicion.

I think everyone remembers their first 'person under the train' incident. My first day of work was mine. A sad, sad thing. But after a while (maybe by the third body) you become somewhat heartless. Now it is not a shock; just pure inconvenience. The same frustrating morning I spent standing on the tube platform trying to get to work only to be, 45 minutes later, one further station back than where I started, my housemate found herself stuck in a tunnel for 25 minutes. Someone had wandered in, they said. The driver told the passengers that it took them half an hour to locate the body.

But I digress. I now walk my 8 stops along the Northern Line. It takes me just over an hour if I power it. Which lately I have been doing, simply to keep the frostbite from my toes.

It is amazing just how empty the streets are between the tube stations. And amazing just how close the tube stations actually are, in 'real life'.

I love my morning walks. Much nicer than spending a train trip with your head in someone's armpit.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Chrimbo in London-town

I have realised that a quick scan of my last couple of blogs would give you the impression that London and I are not getting along. This is far from the truth.

In fact, we are having a full-blown, passionate, love affair. I have fallen for this great city. If I was a cartoon character I would be flat on my face, features messed into the cobble stones. That is how hard I have fallen for her.

This city has a thousand sides to her personality. Any spare hour I have, I spend it walking her streets, soaking up each and every side of her.

We have had fudge and a flat white at the Borough Markets; walked amongst the fire-like xmas lights in a foggy Hyde Park; drunk endless pots of Earl Grey next to Clapham Common; whiled away an afternoon with Picasso, Monet and Pollock at the Tate Modern; and every day that we are at work, in the afternoon winter light, across the Thames, we can see Tower Bridge bathed in pink.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Queue Rage

Well-known for their high standards in queuing here, I have to wonder if this came about from hundreds of years of banks and post offices only having two tellers open when the line is seemingly going from Clapham to Camden and back.

I have to say that I am rather a patient queuer. This did not get me anywhere in India where queues are completely non-existent and instead are a screaming, heaving mass of arms and legs gathered around one window. Eventually I learnt not to stand back - 'No, I insist - you go first. All 345 of you. I'll just wait here for you guys to finish up.' And rather to get in there like a fifty year old woman with razor blade elbows on Kirks' sale day.

But it is with relief that I am now in a country that tends towards standing one behind the other. This usually works except when you are in the Clapham Post Office, as I was the other day, and there are about 25 people queuing with only two tellers open. The queue had about a 50/50 sane/insane split. I wont go into details but I will say that is the closest I have come to a queue riot since I got here.

The previous day I had been to the bank to pick up my new credit card, only to find the door wouldn't open because the queue was pushed up against it. Thinking I was very smart, I decided to come back the following morning, right on opening time. I did just that only to find the queue was this time situated outside the still-closed doors, and making its way across the street.

I do think maybe the people behind the glass windows have been abused just one too many times so are now seeking some sort of slow excruciating revenge on the general populous.