Looking for a Hot Tub baby this evening

Hot Tub Time Machine
Image via Wikipedia

For NYE my crazy friends have built a hot tub in the garden of the house where the party will take place. You read it right, not placed, actually build with wood and heavy-duty plastic.  This morning the poor girl who owns the house with her boyfriend got woken up by a few sheepish looking guys with a ” Surprise! May we build a hot tub in your garden?” (I did ask them what they would have done if she had said No!. They grinned and said they would have phoned her boyfriend for a second opinion…)

It is currently being heated by a genius construction that heats an old radiator by wood fire, place a pump in between tub and radiator: Bob’s your uncle.  A piece of plastic is placed over the tub to keep us dry and the heat in too.

So tonight we will be wave goodbye to 2010 and welcome 2011 with beer, bikinis and a barbecue – NYE small town style.

Happy New Year everyone!

Winter companions

Anno 2010 it is really hard to be away from the rest of the world: no internet connection, no phone calls, nothing. In the past three days I have tried to resist checking my phone (only one text message to see if my sister was flying out to Belfast for NYE to wish her a safe flight but she decided against it in the end.) and borrow people’s laptop/ IPhones/smartphones to check emails. How different to the times we first went on a break: all we took was a DVD player and we had three mobile phones between us. If that.

There really was no need for cyber communication: I was in good company already. The annual holiday with my old school friends was perfectly unstressful this time. Once again an elaborate game was devised but it seems that eleven years of experience pays off. The only thing that was a little off was the timing of the evening segment of the game: often we were enjoying faffing about so much in the afternoon, we started a little late in the evening. So mostly our days ran from 12pm to 5am…

It was a little tiring and it would have been nice if the showers were a little less temperamental but in good company all is easy. When we weren’t playing the elaborate game, we were eating, watching a film projected on the wall, reading magazines on the sofas or playing cards. The latter is something the guys already did during secondary school, fantasizing what it would be like in 60 years time when they would all be together in one retirement home, just playing cards all day… I  used to imagine them sitting there: old men round a table. The girls, women by then just reading, drinking tea and having a gossip. I always knew it wasn’t my dream at all but I’d imagine that my friends would be very happy.

One day soon, we will be too old to make one massive bed out of mattresses on the floor and sleep together in one room. One day soon, we might not all be able to make it because of work or move or… One day soon, we won’t be able to drink to 5 in the morning, brush our teeth, go to bed and get up for brunch and do it all again. One day soon, people might not have the time or energy to invest in elaborate games anymore. One day soon, those who are still single might find their partners who live half-way across the world/ who don’t like weekends away with us/ who don’t get it. One day soon, strollers and babies prevent us from going on day-long hikes and no routine. One day soon, it will all be different and that will be ok.

For the first time I realised that even if I won’t be making the tea in the communal kitchen in 60 years time: at the very least I will be in one of the pictures in the common room and quite frankly, that is good enough for me.

===

PS: Talking about change: what a difference a year makes! I’m away for three days and I missed the news that Reese W got engaged to her man Jim Toth. Congratulations! Very happy for you both 🙂

Pity party at the airport

Yesterday I discovered at the airport that I would find it really hard to participate in Survivor or Big Brother. You know, anything that would require a group to pull together for a task… 

My flight was supposed to depart at 8.15am and after a really early start I arrived at the airport where chaos was starting at the door. Because City is such a small airport the queues needed to be looped around each other and they had decided to call out for people per company to lead them to the right queues in small groups. Obviously this was not communicated (no, that would be way to efficient…) and the crowd that was waiting outside was getting restless and confused.

As soon as you were in the building though, it was easy-peasy. You had the occasional jobsworth who tried to get everyone to stand in single file but was soon discouraged by the unmoving crowd. (Silly woman.) Still it was pretty smooth-running. All passengers on my flight, roughly 15, even got all the way to the gate . There we had to wait for the bus to bring us to our small plane. Ten minutes later however the ground-steward got a call that we had to wait because of the change in weather. Icy rain at the tiny airport where we should land, in combination with a small plane was going to be a problem.

As you can imagine, 10 minutes turned into half an hour into one hour into two – finally we were sent back to the departure lounge with sincere apologies (Poor man, every time the phone rang he had to give us worse news!). We were instructed to keep an eye on the screens for the next update.  As we were now a bit of a group, we stuck together in the lounge – my rookie mistake as this is where the whingeing started.

At first they complained the flight wasn’t on the screen, amongst the group until a fed-up girl decided to ask customer service, who apologised and placed it back on. Then it didn’t say anything more than ” Delayed” cue more sighs, but when 30 minutes later it said Delayed until 13:30, it triggered even more complaints that we had to wait for so long.  Wasn’t it ridiculous that we were the only morning-flight left, even the 12:45 to Antwerp (close to where I was supposed to go) was going etc. etc. etc. Lots of phone-calls home were made and it just included a lot of sighing.

It made me realise that you cannot win with some people. Surely it is better to see that planes are still flying than to be stuck with six more flights, imagine all those extra passengers in the lounge too… The fact that the flight to Antwerp was still going surely was a positive things as well: more chance our tiny plane would make it too.

People were worried they wouldn’t make it home for Christmas, when we still had 10 hours on the clock – and one extra day if necessary. It has been snowing for three days, everyone was well aware of chaos and troubles so what do you expect? As far as I could see it, we were warm inside, being able to sit comfortably and more importantly able to find oneself some food… Every time someone said something positive like “Well only an hour more to go.” a member of the pity-party would shoot it down with a “That is, if we are actually make it out of here.” Grand, just the spirit. The high-light for me was when six hours later, we finally made it back to The Gate and someone started complaining about how cold it was there…

So yes, we had a massive delay and the flight got diverted. We got met by two lovely ground stewardesses who waited with us until coach arrived. Ok, the coach driver had never been to the other airport either and at the very end decided it was a good idea to reverse back onto the round about, and  we did find out other planes had managed to land at our original destination throughout the day…Annoying? Perhaps. Not life-changingly so though, surely.

My parents who came to pick me up gave two fellow-passengers a lift to the station before heading home.  I’m typing this blog entry on the 23rd of December from my parent’s living room. Two days before Christmas, result.

 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” Herm Albright

 

‘tWas the night before Christmas…

…alright, perhaps not true but it’s definitely the night before my return home. Despite weather warnings and the

by glamoriginals.co.uk

recent snow malarkey, my sister made it home today so I am hopeful for my flight tomorrow-morning. I have packed my bags, quite sizeable for a change – mostly because of Christmas presents and the cold back home which will require me to layer up.

I am strangely excited to go back home after what seems to have been the most random month of this year. It might also be because I will be sleeping on a mattress instead of an airbed for the first time in two weeks.

And…

I am also rethinking the format of this blog for 2011 so watch this space!

First though: 5.30am alarm clock, so here’s hoping it will all go well.

4’33”

You may be aware that in an attempt to scoop the Christmas number one from this year’s X-factor winner, John Cage’s silent symphony is being released. It is basically 4’33” of ambient noise, encouraging to listen to our surroundings as music.

I just listened to it and it is a strangely calming experience.

Today has been a little hectic with the snow you see. (Snow? What snow?) As I am typing this, my poor sister is trying to get back to London after having spend 5 hours on a coach to the airport, 2 in a queue to rebook ticket as her flight was cancelled, then 1 hour in the queue to get a trainticket back. Last time we had contact she was on a train and well…I just hope she gets here now.

Snow disrupts London, if ol’ Al Q could invent a snow machine, they’d be laughing. Surely it must be possible to deal with this, as this is roughly the third winter (and very probably not the last!) they have been dealing with severe weather around this time of year.

The hectic day of travelling; trodding through slush, trying to make it from A to B to meet with friends who also got stuck but luckily had a hotel room, was so much different from my day yesterday. It really deserves its own entry so for now it suffices to say that it was a lot more fun and a lot less faff! Which is obviously nothing in comparison to standing in a queue for hours and after 12 hours of travelling to end up at the same point where we started!

(Flashforward an hour or so)

As I was typing this, to my relief, my sister arrived at the flat. I had visions of her being stranded between A and B somewhere in the slushy dirty snow.The queues where really long apparently and people didn’t even know what they were queuing for! There was a rumour of a Magic Desk, but my sister never saw this phenomenon as  the HQ in the Netherlands managed to book her on a flight on Tuesday.

Camaraderie during these times are a necessity and my sister described kind people helping her with her bag and people taking turns to look after bags whilst the owners go on a food/ toilet break. (A lady quipped that at least the flight queues put the toilet queues in perspective. For once!) Though there is obviously a person ignoring a struggling fellow-man for every helpful soul, it is nice to know that we aren’t all just stuck in our own bubble – not even in a city notorious for grumpiness.

I am glad she has returned and I hope that all the people travelling have safe journeys home. x

The Master at Work

You think you know a person until you live with them…  I am currently residing with my sister and you would think that after having previously spent roughly 15 years in each other’s continuous company, we’ve got one another sussed. (For you who are now trying to do the maths: I left home when I was 17 and there is 2.5 years between us. Are you with me? Good. Moving on.)

She’s even recently spent some time in my flat but as she is now on home turf so to speak, I discover different sides to her. Also because she has now started her  (second) post-grad course. Her approach to work is very different to mine and though I always knew this, I also thought that she left it to the last-minute. This seems to be a misconception. In the week before the essay is due, she starts reading and revising all the paperwork and sources whilst making notes and high-lighting. Then the day/night before she collates it all together and types up everything in one go.

I would start weeks before, writing bits and pieces as I’d go along and put them together into an essay over the last week. Granted, our subjects are also very different: she draws schedules of chemical molecules and I pretended to physicalise the colour purple (no ma’am not even the play, the actual colour) on stage. My essays would be a little more subjective in argument and especially when writing for English literature you’d try to be a little clever and pretentious with quotes. Her essays have diagrams and figures.  (She tried to explain to me that she misplaced a radical in her drawing, I could just nod and look at what really just looked like a dot to me…)

When I tell people about her, they note that she must be the brains of the family then. I can only agree and add that she is pretty too. (And no, they won’t ever get to meet her.)

Last night she was still typing away when I fell asleep. She had to get up at nine to print out the work and draw the diagrams in (see that kind of thing would just freak me out, I would have visions of  broken printers and disappearing pencils.) When I woke up, I saw her standing next to my bed and though surprised it was nine already, I smiled and waved at her. She looked at me as if I had completely lost the plot and gave me a wave back to humour me. She then turned off the light and jumped into her own bed. It was 5am and she had just finished the essay…

Of course she finished it on time this morning and I just got a text that she handed everything in and she might stay out to catch a movie with her friends tonight. (“God, now I also need to socialise!” she sighed. Which amused me.) I don’t know how she does it, but it may lie in the motto she’s upheld from the age of 14: Sleep is just a poor substitute for coffee!