Sunday, 22 September 2013

Another step

I had time to think on Friday night.

Waiting and thinking
By chance I'd caught the in between train so had half an hour sitting in Cambridge. And it was the perfect time to think. No fuckwitts or drunks. No bad weather. And even the loos weren't too awful.

Mostly what I thought about was talking. Specifically telling and explaining and how I would attempt to give a drama free explanation of what changes I'm going through and what they do and don't mean. The tricky bit was these would be my children and parents I had to talk with.


So I felt a little bit lost in thought as my mind raged with turmoil. And then I slept on it.

I talked a little bit on the Saturday with my lovely friend Sarah about how to approach my eldest. All very sound advice and as it matched my thoughts I felt deeply reassured.
It was simply a matter of timing.

Which I then lost. This morning I received a LinkedIn request. From my dad. Oh. I mean oh! It was time to talk.

Which scared me. I didn't know which way they would react and whilst I hoped all would be well I did have to mentally prepare for it not going so well.


Fortunately I had lots of time to think, I didn't want to do anything until I was safely home in Contrary Towers, I needed to be somewhere I felt both safe and comfortable.

And then we talked. And talked. And talked. It seemed to go okay, as my flatmate predicted, and I just hope things stay this way.

So not a terribly exciting post, but an important bridge to cross.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Magic in four colours.

Art is a funny old thing. Not just the actual art, but the art scene. Lots of beautiful people (and me) wandering in to tedious white rooms, be proffered wine and then largely ignoring the thing that they are meant to be there for. Well, except for me. The thing is I lost faith, the first night scene was feeling more like a chuffing cocktail party than a chance to have an early glimpse at some art.

Good for people watching though.

Anyway, as I say, I lost faith and stopped attending openings as, frankly, they were usually full of people who think Damien Hirst is actually a good thing. Idiots. Fast forward some time. Lots of time. Well, maybe not that much but I am dealing with the single biggest upheaval of my life at the same time.

Some months back I gained a new follower on twitter by the name of Matt Forster. From time to time he'd tweet images of watercolours he'd been working on and I liked what I saw, they had a certain something, a simplicity with depth.


Time passed a bit more and I saw that he had an exhibition about to start a little way from my office. Well that had to be a good thing. I at least knew I liked what I'd seen so far and was curious to see how it would measure up in reality. This was helped by the fact that the exhibition wasn't going to be in a white cube, but a coffee shop. In SW1. Crikey.

It was going to be a memorable evening. And not completely in a good way.

My plus one would be my bezzie, oddly this is only the second time I've dragged her kicking and screaming to an evening of art. And last time it was erotica. A bit different.

We started the evening in the Tom Cribb on Panton Street so we could cover the important business of the evening, namely love interests, in my case non-existent, obvs. And maybe have a little wine. Before we had more wine. Look, it never does to turn up on time and I never do!

Time passed...

...And then we wobbled off to Charles II Street to the Borough Barista which was to be the host for the evening reception and ensuing month long showing.

The interesting thing about this place was it seems to be downstairs so as you walk down said stairs you actually get a quick chance to view all of the art at once. Which I liked. I also like what I saw, especially one piece lurking in the corner, but more of that later.

As expected the beautiful people were out in force, which is quite tedious, but, unexpectedly, we were warmly greeted by Simon de Pinna of the Town and Country Gallery. Now this was nice, genuinely and does mean you know who to collar if you see something you like. Smart.

Artist holds head shocker...
So, there was just enough time for Simon to introduce us to the artist and have a very quick, yet detailed, chat about what we were here to see before it was abruptly halted for the inevitable speeches. Yep, we were that late. What I hadn't realised was this was the first proper exhibition that Simon and the T&C had put on, he went on to explain that he wanted somewhere different, a place that would make people feel comfortable.

It worked.

I was getting a little tetchy though. As Matt was explaining his technique and what it was that made his paintings so special the beautiful people were busy fannying about with their iBastards and not showing due interest.

Honestly people, you were being fed and wined. *whines*

After I may have said something quite rude about said beautiful people. We talked a bit more with Matt and worked our way along the wall of images until we reached the corner and the picture that had caught my eye on the way in.

It didn't have an orange dot.

Deep breaths

I made my excuses and went to look for Simon with the classic opening line, we need to talk. And we did.

The Lake Side was mine. *cackles*

Actual sheepish
After a short time secluded in the back room with nothing more than the gentle hum of a card machine to serenade me, we returned with the magic orange dot and marked the frame. Oh yes. The best thing was getting a brush by brush description of how Matt had carefully built up the image with just four colours and the order that he did it in. Utterly fascinating stuff, this is truly approaching magic in what is achieved. Needless to say the snippet of image above doesn't do it justice. Not even a little bit.

The funny thing is I know the technique well, it's an approach we took in the 90s to give new effects in videogames, though I strongly suspect this was far more painstaking and will be around long after some dodgy games are thankfully forgotten. I hope.

The pictures really do have a magical character and, which is a delight, the more you look at them the more you notice fabulous little nuances.

I'm starting to sound like an insane art luvvy. I'll stop.

Northerners. Pub. Naturally.
As the evening drew to a close we skipped back to the Tom Cribb for more of teh winez eventually being joined by the artist as we'd mentioned we were going there afterwards. What followed can't really be recalled with clarity as, well, you can guess, but did involved talking about life, art and avoiding tourists. As you do. It was the fab end to the evening that anyone would want, just such a shame it all went horribly wrong a little later when some thieving toerag decided that my bag looked fetching. But that's another story.

So, here I am, nearly two weeks later. A delightful latte in front of me, cool music playing in the background and a selection of business types holding meetings.

And my picture.

It's still glowering in the corner, the shadows giving a depth and intensity missing from the others. And you know what? Even given the trials and tribulations I suffered later that evening, I'm still overjoyed that I managed to secure such a lovely piece of art.

As for the Borough Barista, I can definitely say I like it, nicely quiet, easy on the eye staff who look like they give a monkeys and not too far from the office. I will definitely be back again soon.

The Matt Forster exhibition is showing at the Borough Barista until the 7th of October 2013, do go if you can. The coffee is pretty good too.

And don't forget to say hello to my picture!

Friday, 6 September 2013

When you reach the end of your tether...

...and it doesn't snap.

After my last posting I finally heard from the agent, though not without me prodding the company on Twitter first. Eventually after much mucking about they gave me a name and number so I reached for my pen to write it down...

Actual heartbreak.

Something as small and simple, insignificant even. But just too much. I feel sorry for my poor boss who walked in the room at that point to find me in full sobs and of course I couldn't explain what had happened because I couldn't talk properly and when I could it did sound a little on the stupidly irrational side.

But then I am stupidly irrational so that's alright.

Anway, within minutes of the exchange and just before I was to go and find a telephone to make a call the agent popped up and said I'd have to change the locks at my expense. Which is fair enough. But I haven't got a card at the moment. And no you can't have a contact number as I am without phone. You get the picture. More emails passed and eventually she relented, possibly because I really wanted to be able to actually go home and said a colleague would leave the management keys with the concierge at 2:30.


I found a problem that had just cropped up at work and then made a mad dash for the door and home.

Trouble was when I got there at 2:35... No keys. Instant panic. When I said though that the agent would be dropping them off the concierge realised the connection with the woman outside... So off I went.

Poor woman she had to deal with a very emotional me. Really, this was getting ridiculous. I still didn't have an entry fob, but hey, I don't come and go that often so the concierge got to let me in. I am always grateful and happy to get home but this time it was all a bit much.

The good news was that as I believed I'd managed to leave pennies in my old purse! I was actually grateful for being a ditz for once... Then I remembered I do have a spare phone which lives at the office so once my SIM arrives I will at least be back in the modern world.

I also had to call the people at Oyster central to get them to transfer the stuff from my stolen card to the new one. This really did show how I had lost all sense of normality, after passing various details he said "that's done for you", err, "don't you want my old card number?"... Of course he didn't. I'd sensibly registered the new card with my Norfolk address (same as the old one) and as there aren't that many people called Victoria Stamps it was an easy connection to make.

I didn't at all feel slightly stupid. Uh-uh, no sirreee.


Anyway. The diamond geezer of a locksmith was fairly helpful and I'll get to see him sometime tomorrow afternoon. Though getting a replacement fob will be a pain and I suspect I will have to call them again on Monday as, well, maybe I wasn't talking with the sharpest tool in the box.

So here I am, sitting looking out over the canal, in my home. I wasn't hurt, other than my pride and the biggest damage other than cost has been to my poor eyes that have been endlessly flowing. So now I just need to sit this out, wait for replacements and look at lessons learned. Whilst I did reach the end of my tether I didn't snap, which I guess is the point behind tears because they give such a release. I think that I can safely say...

I don't want to do this again.

When the going gets tough...

...the tough burst in to tears.

I'm not proud of that, more in a bit. I barely slept last night, it was the little things that got to me. The pen I was given for my 21st by the nearly-ex, a little mirror I've had for maybe 15 years, the tiny diary I track mine and my flatmate's cycles with, lip balm, but the worst of all is something that didn't even belong to me, a simple hair clip.

I feel so bad about that, words can't even begin to describe it.

Fortunately this morning the first person I spoke to was a female friend, who forced a coffee on me and then listened as I blubbed and explained, at least that got things out of the system to an extent as I was still shaking like an actual shaky leaf. She also explained to the boss that there had been an unexpected arrival in the night...

Still, I had my brolly, Nexus and a hairbrush so I could at least go out, contact people and make myself look marginally less scary. And my friend leant me a top and offered the contents of her make up bag so I could at least distract people from the obvious crying-all-night look I'd adopted. Having disrupted the peace I headed off to work with said boss having already emailing my apartment agents and calling the nearly-ex's work to pass on an out-of-touch message...

...and then realised I didn't have a fan. I suffer with hot flushes, I need a hand-fan. Oh lordy.

No email from the agent.


So I did a little work whilst also revoking app permissions and changing passwords for various things, so I have months of screaming at devices to come when I can't recall what I've set anything to. Also, fortunately, I have spare HRT pills and patches at the office, so I could stop my hormones spinning out of control.

Or so I thought.

By now, after blowing £8.80 on a day travelcard, I was down to £8.50 which I knew I'd need to get a new Oyster. So, off to Oxford Circus I went...

...and stood in a queue with frightful colonials wanting to buy 4 one day travelcards and other such frippery. Now I must have misread that I could get this done at the ticket office but you *can't* get your stuff transferred to a new card there. I'm sure I did this once before after losing a card in Farringdon, but that was two years ago so I guess things have changed. Okay, so £5 and, I was disgusted to learn, I had to fill in a form... Could I borrow a pen? *blank face*. At this point I went in to the full my bag was stolen last night I have neither a Oyster, phone, purse, telephone or indeed a pen. He sort of through one at me, though I suspect it was more to make me run away than to loan the pen.


Filling in the form was fun. Major shakes have settled in and, of course, my chuffing glasses were in the bag, so reading is a little tricky. Especially as my eyes were now filling again.

I just about managed to hold it together in the queue and, fortunately, ended up with a different ticket person who had just opened his window. Really fortunate as it turned out. So he took the details, did the bits, I waved the £5 at him and...
How much do you want it topped up? Minimum is £5
I looked at him. I looked at the little plastic bag that was now my purse. I looked at him. I looked at the bag. I had £3.50
I've only got £3.50, can't I just have it empty? 
No, sorry, against the rules. 
And I burst in to tears. FFS
My bag was stolen last night, not only do I not have my Oyster I don't have a phone, purse, cards, nothing. This is literally all I have on me and I have no way of getting any cash, which means my £1216 travelcard will remain out of my reach until I can get some and even then I'll have to try and get around, I really can't do a ten mile walk every day. Look I have the card number and everything can't you do something?
For maximum effect imagine that being said without any spaces as tears roll down my face and I was getting increasingly hysterical. And then pleading.

Not my finest moment.

But serendipity struck a second time and it turns out Harry from TFL was a good sort and broke the rules. I really hope he doesn't get in to trouble and if he happens to read this and he does then I hope he gets in touch so I can give TFL a PR headache. I can't call the helpline until about 3pm to get the stuff transferred.

So, with £3.50 left I shuffled out in to the rain to cry my way back to the office as things were rushing round my head once more.

Hence now I'm trying to get the right number to call from the agents, I really would like some keys as, well, things are difficult without them. Really difficult.

On the bright side I did hear back from my knight in shining dinner suit, well, wasn't shining, it was really nicely cut. His reply:

De Nada. The world isn't totally "dark"!

Pass the tissues someone. 

History burps

A couple of years ago some thieving scrote stole my bank card using a Lebanese loop. It was very upsetting, a pain and a massive inconvenience. And then in the gap between my card being list and replaced I met somebody, fell in love and had my heart broken.

A week can be a long time anywhere.

Which isn't why tonight I'm in a strange bed, feeling tearful but also grateful for being saved. As it were.

I'd been out, had a fabulous time with my bezzie and managed to be slightly irresponsible. Which is nice. Unfortunately at the end of the night I found my handbag... Gone.


The bag that held my keys, phone, purse, oyster, everything. Gone.


I mean really. Central London is not a cool place to be when you are suddenly without anything and have literally no place to go. My knight in shining armour was called Roy. A lovely chap who we'd invited to join our table. All I know of him is his email address and that he took £60 out of a cash machine so I could attempt to get somewhere to sleep.

Yep, no Hailo either.

The first taxi driver stopped then pulled off. Then stopped again owing to lights. When challenged he said he wouldn't pick me up because I was drunk. No I was fucking upset. Not the same thing.

The next was better. Lovely actually. Didn't mind that I sobbed for a couple of site miles before listing who I needed to call. Unfortunately I couldn't raise my first option, not totally surprising, but now £30 down. My options were limited, walk the streets or hail another cab and hope I could raise somebody at plan B.

And here I become tearfully grateful. Nobody wants to wake a friend at midnight, but having just been driven past my now inaccessible home I had no choice. Well, other than walking. A lot.

Fortunately I could remember the apartment number. Fortunately they answered the phone and fortunately they understood me through the unending tears.

So here I am. Grateful for being taken in.

I had fun on the phone to my bank (no, I don't have my sort code and account number my bag was stolen) and the phone company (no, my bag won't just turn up in an hour or two). Tomorrow I need to try and sort out some keys as I really am desperate to go home.

I'm also glad my mascara is waterproof.

It also means I have the joy of calling the nearly-ex to say I'm stranded. Again. That'll go well. Ironically their number was the only one I actually know, but pointless to call.

So when I head to W1, without my shiny oyster travelcard, I will look like I'm on a walk of shame. In yesterday's clothes.

I'm not.

History has not so much repeated itself as burped and brought up a little bile.

I am my dears, safe but beyond unhappy.