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I had an incident last week where  I got asked for directions in Chinese. Again. Notorious for my lack of navigational skills I am always quite surprised that anyone would ask me those kind of questions anyway. Still I was in town yesterday when a gentleman came up to me.

To set the scene, I was in an unhappy mood: I had just braved the strike to go and interview for an unpaid internship. That is right ladies and gentleman, this is what we have resorted to. Unfortunately it was an opportunity for glorified data entry and as much I could do this,  I would rather get paid for it. So as my new motto in life is: make money or write, preferably both – I realised that this was neither.  Secondly I have to clarify that the gentleman coming up to me was Oriental or whatever is PC now South East Asian looking. He came to me at the crossing and asked me in English whether I could tell him where Warren Street was and the Embassy.

So trying to get my bearings I concluded that Tottenham Court Road was straight ahead and he should go into that direction and right. I think.  Then he asked me if I could tell him where the Embassy was, to which I asked: which Embassy? He looked at me as if I had just told him I was Dutch.  The Chinese Embassy of course. No sorry, I was not sure where that was. He looked at me suspiciously and then walked away without a word of thanks, still looking at me as if not quite believing me… As if I would know where the Chinese Embassy was and keep this information from him, just to spite him! Perhaps I could have guessed, but for all I know he could have been Korean or something…One wouldn’t want to assume right? (Not that I would know where the Korean Embassy is – not the point I am making my clever reader.)

I just find it surprising that in such a multi-cultural city as London people still assume you are from a certain place in the world. (Walk into a random corner shop and the first question, if they speak to you that is, is ” Where are you from?”. Having said that perhaps it is because it is such a melting pot that people want to know, no one in London is actually from London. )

I was still thinking about this and was getting a little upset about my morning, which wasn’t helped by the English bus driver who stopped the bus and shouted at me in slow pidgin English that ” Oy, the bus. is.”  (You know what, that doesn’t even make sense!) Blood boiling now, I started walking to my sister’s.

Half way down the road was an older lady with a baby in a pram, she looked lost and her face lit up when she saw me. Great… if only she knew. Luckily, when she approached me she was holding a small London A to Z. She apologised for her English and tried to make clear on the map where she needed to be…in Russian. So trying to identify where we were on the tiiiiiny street map, I tried to speak slowly ( in normal English I may add!) and direct her to where she needed to be. She followed and repeated in Russian, whilst tracing the route on the map with her finger.  Suddenly she smiled, said a very clear Thank you and we parted.

It was only at the end of the road that I realised I was smiling too.

Magic of coffee

by -yes really

Some days it still doesn’t look good out there… but then you realise that you are  in fact inside, in a nice and heated flat.

Some days you realise that all the weight that you ran off in 3 months has slipped back on in two, whilst you devour that other piece of home-made millionaire shortbread: good, you will need the extra layer when the snow does fall.

Some days you find out that nothing is as simple as it seems and that next time you think of a good idea… you will still do it because you have tried simple and it bored you.

Some days you wonder how you ever will be able to write all that is now in your head down in a word document, but opening the programme would be a good start.

Some days you try to convince the world that you are the perfect asset to their writing team.  (And I am! You should see me write!)

Some days you look at the empty moving boxes and wonder whether you should just go home and forget about it all. Then you remember that you are home.

Some days you understand the look that the bank manager gives you when you tell her you are indeed a freelancer, which confirms how lucky you are to have the freedom to create.

Some days you just have to embrace the magic of a hot shower and a cuppa coffee to kick-start the day.

Some days you cannot be more grateful for all the chances you are getting, for being able to keep everything in perspective and for being sane.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Magic of a cuppa

Some days it doesn’t look good out there… Student protests, dead miners, bail-outs and potential snowstorms.

by the

Some days you realise that all the weight that you ran off in 3 months has slipped back on in two.

Some days you find out that nothing is as simple as it seems and that next time you think of a good idea…

Some days you wonder how you ever will be able to write all that is now  in your head down in a word document.

Some days you try to convince the world that you are the perfect Christmas sales associate. (And I am! You should see me wrap!)

Some days you look at the empty moving boxes and wonder whether you should just go home and forget about it all.

Some days you understand the look that the bank manager gives you when you tell her you are indeed a freelancer.

Some days you just have to embrace the magic of a blanket and a cup a tea.

Some days you cannot be more proud of yourself for keeping everything in perspective and keeping sane.

Should you use a condom?

I understand now the Pope has made a statement on condoms and the spinners are quick to read out the small print (” oooh this can be seen as the Holy Father’s personal opinion, not God’s word.” What? Since when does the man have a personal opinion, what stupid Newtonesque Evil God theory is this?) we are all confused. So for anyone stuck on what to do tonight, here a diagram:

1. You want to have sex:

Yes- go to 1b.                     No- go to 8

1b.You are married

Yes – go to 3a.                 No – go to 2.

2. You care about the morals of the Catholic Church:

Yes – go to 3a                     No-go to 3b

3a. Are you trying to get yourself/another person pregnant?

Yes- go to 4a                     No- go to 5

3b. Are you trying to get yourself/another person pregnant?

Yes – go to 4c                           No- go to 4b

4a. Are you HIV positive?

Yes – go to 6             No – go to 11

4b. Are you HIV positive?

Yes-go to 9                 No- go to 10

4c. Are you HIV positive

Yes- go to 6                   No- go to 7.

5. Would you consider another source of entertainment tonight?

Yes – go to 8                 No- go to 4b.

6. Ah tricky situation here. There is the risk of infecting the other person and the baby, but there are alternatives like insemination. See this website for further details.

7. You are about to have sex, unmarried sex, to create a child. Moral dilemma: your child will be born a bastard, but if you promise christen it I’m sure the Big Man will forgive its soul – no one can choose their parents.

8. Robson Green’s Wild Swimming Adventure is broadcast by ITV tonight. Alternatively visit the Time Out website to see what’s on where you are.

9. Congratulations! You are allowed by papal permission to wear a condom, to prevent disease. Especially if you are a male prostitute. Small print: please note that if the Catholic church puts too much pressure on, the comment will be dismissed as the Pope’s personal opinion and either way you will most certainly not enter Heaven after this life.

10. Tough luck, a condom is not allowed to prevent pregnancies. You can always rely on the tried and tested methods of withdrawal and monthly cycle roulette: Good luck!

11. If you are not yet married, forget the condom but put a ring on it. If you are already married – well done you. You are HIV free and trying to have a baby. Have lots of sex,  enjoy it. Once the baby is here, the fun is over.

Zumba and other things

Let’s face it, working out can be healthy, rewarding and beneficial. Working out can be lots of things, but it’s never been known to be an exhilarating experience…UNTIL NOW!

Or so the Zumba website promotes itself. Zumba, I first heard of it when my friend B decided to skip the class to go drinking with me (Yes, apparently I am that kind of friend, for which I shall not apologise!)  and got reminded of it again this morning when someone else on the book of Face announced that she was skiving her Zumba-class.

What is Zumba, apart from exhilarating? It is a work-out devised around Latin dancing: an aerobics trainer forgot his music in the 90’s, put on the music he had (salsa and merengue) and did a work-out on that. Like the Post-It, the invention of Zumba was pretty much by coincidence.

From what I gather on the website, Zumba is Huge. Everybody is Zumba’ing and if you are not, you will be soon.  Amazing as it is, it reminds me of Tae-bo (remember that kids?!) that got even used in a one-hit wonder song  Drops of Jupiter. But then I would be cynical as frequent readers might know,  group exercise is not something I participate in.  I will be uncoordinated one in the back, going right when everyone is going left and the thought of some instructor yelling things at me, even if only to confirm ” How much fun we’re having and how exhilarating this all is!” let alone other motivational shout-outs, gives me visions of a bloodbath by my own hands.

Which  gives me a ghastly bridge to an article I read this morning which reported the finding of three bodies of missing persons that were found in a hollow tree. The only suspect was an unemployed tree-surgeon who had the daughter of one of the missing people bound and gagged in his basement. This is obviously bad and horrendous and the poor child will have major trauma. Still what I found interesting in the report was that the sheriff had gone to the missing lady’s home and knew something was up because ‘ there was an unusual amount of blood in their home.’  Which begs the question: How much blood does one usually keep in the home? You know just a splash or a pint in the fridge?

Again, poor girl  who lived and apart from interesting reporting let’s not make light of it.  As it is Friday and the above is just horrible, shall I end on a happier note – yes let’s I hear you cry.

So here, 5 happy things to get you through the day:

1. it is only 36 days until Christmas (will I buy my presents on time this year- probably not!)

2. somebody is fixing  the boiler in my flat  and though he cannot find the fault, he is really worried for my safety and comfort.

3. Anne Hathaway one of my favourite actresses is going to host the annual Nobel Prize concert on the 11th of December.

4. Dutch explorers have found two new grasshopper species on Socotra.


The things I will resort to to make you smile (By Toothpaste for Dinner)

Have a great weekend x

Gee whiz!

Am I really late to catch up on this new phenomenon: Gwyneth Paltrow singing?

After a stint on the Country Music Awards (yeah I know: country? Apparently it is all part of a movie that is coming out.) she has now also appeared in Glee as a substitute teacher who obviously can hit some notes.

What a difference decade makes… Yes of course she was a famous actress before (She was the one who got engaged to Brad before Jennifer) but I always kind of thought of her as a bit ‘alternative’ in the non-good way. She was mostly known for her macrobiotic diet, BFF with Madonna during her London-years,  and prided herself on a secretive marriage to a very lucky musician. All very well but she just came across as a bit boring. (That said, I would probably struggle to find anything in common anyone who has a penchant for diets, let alone combining that with a passion for yoga.)

 Now she is rockin’ a guitar and dancing around in a tv show being ok with looking a little foolish; suddenly she just look like she might be fun. Please enjoy this little YouTube clip, for the tv friendly version of Cee Lo Green’s F— You: