Late Arrivals


Gare Du Nord

Gare Du Nord

I am now of the belief that I was destined to miss every train I am scheduled to get on. Everyone that knows me always jokes that I will probably be late to my wedding, funeral and every other monumental occasion that won’t function without my presence. But this week it dawned on me that there might be some truth to that joke.

 

I ventured on a week-long vacation to Paris last week. I have a fear of flying so the scary cat in me opted for a five hours long train journey from the North of England to the capital of England to get to the Capital of France as opposed to an hour long plane ride. The things we do when we succumb to our fears, eh!

 

I could write a verbose on the psychology of how I missed every train but I shall refrain from that because what I realised is that the problem arises from the fact that I take my small town mentality to big cities like London. Of course there is nothing wrong with that if there weren’t any time constraints. I live in a place where everything I need is within five minute radius and thus you cannot possibly be late to anything but often I still am. At those extraordinary times when I do; it is due to reasons out of my personal control. Such as the taxi company not getting my taxi within the prescribed five minutes, or a catastrophe of sorts befalls my wardrobe that day that I am left feeling wardrobe content bereft despite it bursting with clothes. In which case whoever I am supposed to be meeting understands. Maybe because I usually feign catastrophe of different calibre- the type that revolves around my car breaking down and consequently creating an awful traffic jam in the city. Oh it works a treat every time.

 

The extent of my driving is limited to that of the passenger’s seat.

 

So I missed my train to London, almost missed my train to Paris and missed my train back home. Not to mention the numerous other trains/tubes I missed whilst travelling in London. By the end of it all I had enough; I just wanted to be reunited with my pillow. Is that too much to ask for? It was turning into a bit of a maze.

photo (1)

Montmartre

 

For a change I put up a fight, well my lungs and legs did. I always walk at a leisurely pace. Nothing will ever warrant me to run. But that day I felt I owed it to my pillow and my friend to not miss that damned train. I ran like a demented woman with a suitcase up until that point I was struggling to carry. As I got to the platform the train left taking with it my friend and the promise of two hours worth of girly chit chat with it. It wasn’t a dignified scene to say the least but in hindsight it aided my appeal to get on the next train at no extra charge. Had I approached that platform with my usual leisurely pace I am sure the station staff would have been convinced I didn’t care.

 

I stood there alone, defeated, and battling an asthma attack whilst cursing intermittently through gulps of air.  I was now at the discretional mercy of the train station staff. It is never a good thing to be at the discretional mercy of anyone! The long walk back to the front of the platform allowed me to gather my thoughts, how can I get on the next train and avoid the 120 pound fare. Can I bribe the staff with macaroons? Will they accept the train fare in Euros because it was all I had?  Will a puppy eyed look win them over? Shall I resort to some seedy tactics that involve the fluttering of my eyelashes and putting my new acquired cup size to a good use (no surgical enhancements here; it is what having a reciprocated love affair with chocolates and carbohydrates does to you).

 

I was ready to part with my beloved macaroons and feminist idealisms for this.

 

But I didn’t have to do any of that. In fact I didn’t even have to say a word. Unbeknown to me my friend must have utilised some or all of the above said tactics, maybe she employed new ones I was unaware of. Who knows, all I know is she won me the sympathy card. The lovely station manager took away my train ticket scribbled something on it and stamped it. The only thing he asked me was “what happened”? I simply replied with conviction that “I was stuck in traffic jam”. He had a look of “what traffic jam situation takes place underground” about him.

 

Thankfully it was left at that. Possible traffic jams within the London underground wasn’t an area I could lend my expertise to.

 

He said he promised my friend he will get me to my destination that day. In my head I was thinking mate I admire your altruism and everything else but I don’t have the sums you require to upgrade me on the next fast train. Good job I was still amidst a severe asthma attack to utter such nonsense. Because true to his word he got me on the next Sheffield bound train that got me to my destination ten minutes after my friend’s arrival at no extra cost.

 

Yorkshire- God's own county!

Yorkshire- God’s own county!

Dennis mate if you ever read this, I owe you a macaroon… or two… OK maybe a whole packet of them!!

 

Was your name even Dennis? Damn it…if you read this and you identify yourself with the hero of this story who was behind the happy reunion of two northern lasses one with pillow withdrawal symptoms …mate really thank you!!

 

So I got on the next train, my pulse and lung activity somewhat back to normal. I endured the two hours train journey in solitude reflecting back on my innate ability to forever be late to everything and anything. The scenic countryside was too much of a distraction though. It wasn’t long before I started questioning other people’s lifestyle choices… how could someone live in the middle of nowhere and how could they possibly gather all the herd of sheep scattered around the green spaces back to their place of residence .. I believe they call it a farm, no?!

 

On another note, THANK YOU to all you lovely folks out there who took the time to read, comment and follow this blog.  I came back from my holiday to find a burgeoning number of followers and views, something that was far-fetched at the start of this blog. You all deserve a macaroon or two.

Help yourself to some...

Help yourself to some…

My Hips Do Lie


It is a big old hilly city out here. To be able to get through the seven hills on which this city is built on, you need a degree of fitness attribution. I am by no means a sporty person and I am by no means the fittest either. If I can make it to the bus stop without pulsating lungs, it is a triumph.

Almost a year ago I was proselytised into a new form of sport, I mean dance – Salsa! My hips had me believe that neither the hills of this city nor anything else they could ever engage in would:

  A- Reduce their burgeoning size

B- Give them eternal innomination

 The past 15 years saw the birth and the consequent rapid growth of my hips. There was the occasional truce here and there but for the most part it was an onslaught on neighbouring citadels of legs, bum and tum! They got greedy and were not content with their specified or desired territory. There was no stopping them.

  Oh the horror!!

The sovereignty of my legs, bum and tum and their right to exist independently was thus tested and tried; pushed to the fringes of no definition. With no afore mentioned referendum, a union was sought.

Salsa dancing proved otherwise. It came in at a precarious time in our affiliation. To an extent Salsa provided us with some truce, a common ground…at the very best it gave me the ammunition I needed to respond to this offensive.

After having the pleasure of being swirled, twirled and twisted around the dance floor to the rhythms of Mambo, Cucaracha, Basic back and Opening out, hours on end every week; a white flag of mercy was waved by my hips. Something I wasn’t familiar with was taking place, a new phenomenon was emerging!

Oh the joy!!!

Muscles, tendons, labrum, cartilage that I didn’t know existed were beginning to surface. The cries of help emerging from the opposition were now all but too palpable.  I revelled in this: in this revelation that my hips concealed from me.

Alas these hips were responding to something!!!

As it turns out we both liked Salsa; so much so that we came to a mutual agreement hitherto unheard of. Insofar, we are enjoying this harmonious period. My hips have agreed to put the ambush on hold and I stopped my feeble threats of joining the gym and exercising.

I am not certain how long this peace process will last for, but I am sure I speak for both of us when I say that I and my hips are currently enjoying the right to life, liberty and security provided under the Salsa 2013 Treaty.

 

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Grapes Are Not The Only Fruit


I am someone who has had the good fortune of being borne and brought up in a household full of feminist hypochondriacs. From a young age I was indoctrinated with the ways of the world albeit cryptically. As a child you don’t appreciate the linguistic wonders of metaphors, analogies and proverbs which my parents utilised more often than I could recall and thus I was unable to fully comprehend the gravity of what messages my parents were attempting to convey to me. I was too busy chasing balls (strictly of the leather type), being a tom boy and advancing my skills as a centre forward to care too much for their crypticism.

 

With little assistance from the Angels and the Almighty or so my mother tells me I came into this world. I was always a cheery go lucky child who grew up to be a bit too trusting of strangers, or so my father tells me. So unbeknown to me my parents devised a plan to ensure that I don’t grow up too gullible especially where men are concerned and later in my teenage life – girls. My mother was always of the belief that girls are a mischief and having brought up five girls she was of the belief too that this was her golden ticket to heaven – My mother works in mysterious ways!

 

I was born at an unfortunate time where the joys of wondering off as a child were slowly diminishing. Though things were not as bad as they are now but the signs were cropping up. There were the odd horror stories here and there concerning children.

 

Years of primary socialisation that my parents took upon themselves remained forever ingrained in my brains. My mother used to say “strangers are friends you are yet to meet and I’ll be sure it stays that way”. We can all conclude that I had a sheltered life.

 

Consequently, as an adult hypochondriac woman with Feminist tendencies, I am weary of unsolicited conversations, gifts and offerings from people who I am not familiar with. Not so long ago a male colleague started working with us. Unfortunately before we could get to know each other I jetted off on much deserved and belated annual leave from work. I am unsurest as to what happened in that time but all I know is that grapes are a thing for this guy.

 

I am not aloof and I am not overtly friendly either. I am particularly volatile capricious pre 12pm. I don’t ask for much, all I want is to be left alone with my coffee and respond to whatever vituperation humans have via the best mode of communication invented for folks like me- Emails! Save the world one human at a time with few unicorns and mermaids thrown in for a good measure.

 

Post 12:00 pm a different woman emerges; one that is more receptive to other modes of communication including the occasional human format; I’ll even hmm and ahh at few office gossips! Suspending my frivolous digression and coming back to the story at hand… So when someone disturbs this little routine and wants to engage in some small talk pre 12:00 pm with offerings of grapes that I don’t know where they have been, I am a little taken aback. When someone offers me grapes that I don’t know where they have been and then instructs me to eat them as they watch me; I am more than taken aback.

 

My hypochondria comes out in full blow. I assume some verbal diarrhoea about how it is lunch time and studies show that grapes are best eaten after food and how the acidity found in grapes can cause untoward incidents to someone’s intestines.

 

All the inculcating ideas on how I shouldn’t talk to strangers my parents instilled in me as a child do go out of the window every now and then. I like to give people benefit of the doubt, most of the time anyway. So I got talking to this individual. There is something inviting about me despite all my attempts at staying aloof. Our exchange was plagued by platitude at best, mendacity at worst.

 

I don’t know if this guy has some weird grape fetish, or whether I show signs of grape malnutrition or if it is just his way of peace offering- maybe a triangulation of all three. I don’t know…

 

All I know is my germ sirens have been giving off prolonged warning signs. I have had few sleepless nights worrying about all the possible germs I might have contracted. I have rescheduled few meetings in an attempt to disinfect my desk, only for Mr. Grapes to come back with yet more lashings of the damn fruit personally hand washed by him. I also know that I probably erased all possible signs of natural oils in my hands due to excessively washing them.

 

In hindsight I wish I feigned an allergy to grapes but then again grapes aren’t the only fruit and I believe where there is a will there is a way.

 

There was a banana on my desk this morning!

 

I wonder how much time one should allow to lapse before one can report suspicious behaviour on the grounds of gratuitous grapes?!

 

Pingaback

Mellow Monday Musings


Turkish Tea Delight

Turkish Tea Delight

Mondays are contentious. They always crop up on me unexpectedly. Things never take the course they intend to take, which means come Monday morning I am all over the place. Every place other than where I should be both mentally and physically.

Mentally I am still entangled in a web of weekend wisteria partying hard with fellow ethereal entities. I brush shoulders (amongst other bodily parts depending on the style of our rave) with mermaids and unicorns. We have established a happy coexistence over the years. Untamed, undiscovered, unnaturally natural. 

Somehow Mondays happen to be the day in which my mental capabilities desert me and remain in that vortex of daydreams. I don’t think ethereal entities realise that I am a wanted women in the real world come Monday morning.

Physically, things aren’t any better either. My physical capabilities too are restrained to that of my slumber chamber. There is something about morning sleep that is enchanting and encompassing in a way that night sleep isn’t. Night sleep doesn’t offer as many enticing prospects, thus we are not best of buddies. Resistance on either part is futile, so we gave up the struggle to please one another long ago; it is safe to say we don’t miss each other.

Night time sleep allows me to get on with pursuing perplexing paraphernalia that are hitherto not possible. Insomniac idiosyncrasies are thus the norm. Where night sleep fails, morning sleep succeeds. It flourishes, nourishes and fulfils. 

Gripped by post annual leave blues, I begrudgingly left my slumber nest this Monday morning in a feeble attempt to re-join the wonderful world of work. What I didn’t expect on this unlikely warm northern Monday morning was mellowness… Mellowness to this Monday. 

I went into work expecting the place to wreak havoc, not because I hold the place together and my absence will make it fall apart (actually why the humbleness, that place more or less relies on the functionality of my brain cells), but because Mondays generally are a mayhem. Everything that could go pear shaped from wardrobe to board decisions do indeed! The day just refuses to cooperate or allow me to operate on mutual terms, so by the time it’s almost over and Tuesday is beckoning; I am left disparaged. 

But not today … Not this Monday. It came with a sense of empathy. It recognised my need, my want, my desire, my hope and prayers to be left alone; for this day to pass without things going haywire both at home and at work. It left me alone to get on with more pressing issues such as having one last rave with fellow ethereal entities before I fully let go of the holiday mode. Monday has recognised that Tuesday is another day too, for which such catastrophes can be left for; in which case I shall be more aptly prepared to deal with. 

But for now I shall sit here, slowly sipping my Turkish Tea whilst I await the denouement of this day to unfold. 

Age Is Everything But A Number


I often hear people contest that age is nothing but a number. Two weeks ago I celebrated my 27th year on this incorrigible planet. Of course up until now, I too shared the same sentiments. But as I grow older, and hopefully wiser, it dawned on me that such sentiments might not be entirely true.

Age is everything, other than the number it denotes. With age comes maturity, of course to take up that offer is entirely up to the individual. I am all for choice and I believe maturity is something you either partake in or refute.

The ageing process is a progression towards a fully fledged maturation status. Age is more than the wrinkles on our face, the slight dip in our posture. The slowness in our talk, the u-turn our cognitive abilities take. It is about fulfilment- fulfilling the ageing process which we are destined towards from conception. Some of us will graduate from this life with having passed the various stages of the ageing process, some of us won’t. Some of us will have it all figured out and pass through the ageing process with flying colours, some of us will crumble, some won’t have a clue.  That is life, there are no guarantees that you will, but nonetheless we still take part.

Society will no doubt give us pointers on how to best overcome each stage of the ageing process; from cosmetics to diets to technological advancement that help us predict the future so we can endure this ageing processes longer and with no defects or ailments. But nature will always have the last laugh and fate will almost certainly deliver the last punch!

Society will also dictate how to best behave in each segment of the process:

–          The Child: Seen but unheard.

–          The Teenager: Rowdy and in need of direction.

–          The Twenty Something: Yet to figure out life, but society can’t afford to have you clueless for long. So you are lured into further education, training and the likes.

–          The Thirty Something: Established, your career is flourishing with your significant other and your nuclear family intact. A house with a good sized garden in your name and your two cars parched parallel to one another on your front parking space.

Society will allow you one hiccup though; one opting out clause and that is in your Forties; on the basis that once you have had that you opt back into the ageing structure.

–          The Forty Something:  Start operation – mid life crisis. Your perfect marriage and career is in tatters. Your forty something self is not that dissimilar to the Twenty something you; only in your forties you have a little more responsibilities than you did then. Isn’t that why they say “forty is the new twenty”?!

–          Enter your Fifties:  You are contributing to the structure again … Alas you are deemed responsible!

–          Sixties: You have earned your stripes; society dictates that you don’t require as much close circuit attention as you did in your yester years. You are now on course on to heralding your senior citizenry status.

–          Seventies, Eighties and Beyond: You are now nothing but a burden on society, so you are slowly but surely shunned out. To the point of no return!

Birthdays thus serve as a reminder, a check point if you like. Each year on our birthdays we review, look back and check where we got to on the ageing process, are we flagging behind or are we on par with this structure?! Then we start to panic, stress and self doubt. I start asking myself fundamental questions such as where am I going with my life? Though having such conversations at 3:00am with myself, often means that those questions remain strictly rhetorical.

My six years old nephew asked me on my birthday “what do you want to be when you are older“? With a slight befuddlement at his question, I replied “I am already old” to which he replied “no no, I mean when you are thirty”!

I suppose I will leave answers to such potent questions for when I am in my thirties, for thirties are when life changing decisions are made. For now I shall enjoy whatever is left of my twenties- cluelessly cheery.

If nothing at all, the ageing process has taught me  that the ability to progress; to succeed, to live will be in my own terms, at my own pace, a one woman race!

N.B This post was intended to be a humorous reflection on birthdays. Somewhere between starting the post and ending it, things took an unexpected philosophical turn!

Overcoming the Dreaded P’s


I am someone who loves to procrastinate. I have been wanting for few days to sit down and put pen to paper; or as is the case with me commit thumbs to type away on my phone incessantly until a verbose of sorts has been formed; mull over it for a day or two, come back to it, edit it and once I am satisfied with the quality of the verbose on offer-send it off into its intended destination to take its iota amongst the other roaming data in the world of blogosphere.

 

You see I am a perfectionist too. Being a procrastinator and a perfectionist are two traits that a writer (or anyone else) should not have to deal with simultaneously. I think I have become someone who over the years perfected the art of procrastination. I will delay something until it can be delayed no more. Until I have no choice but to see to it.

 

It is not like I have hit the dreaded writer’s block, on the contrary my creative juices have been overflowing of late so much so that I have several posts that I started and never got the chance to finish or publish. I blame the World Cup and the rare glimpses of sunshine we are currently experiencing in England. Even the meteorologists have us believing that at times the temperatures have been on par with that of Brazil… really?  I know I am sceptical of such claims too but us Brits like to indulge in a bit of a hyperbole where the weather is concerned.

 

Of course there are always things, both living and otherwise that irk the peaceful equilibrium of my cerebral cortex. Unfortunately for the culprits involved in challenging my peaceful existence they serve as a great musing for my next blog post. Karmically, it provides me and you with something to ponder over; though I always give them the joy of anonymity, at least where living beings are concerned.

 

Unlike the usual writer’s block that most writers stumble on I have been contending with a dread of different calibre- procrastination and perfection. With the myriad of things happening around me, inspiration seems to be just round the corner. But procrastination would have me delay inspiration under the clever guise of perfectionism. To borrow Freema Agyeman’s words “I swing between procrastination and being really thorough so either way things aren’t getting done quickly”.

 

But great posts like all good things such as goal-line technology are worth procrastinating over and perfecting, because once they materialise we can all marvel over them, dispute them or just be indifferent. I am still undecided if that goal in the France v Honduras game was a goal or not.

 

And you know what being indifferent, undecided, on the fence, are all fine too…

 

Unless you are a referee or reading a great post I procrastinated laboured over and perfected for you to marvel at… In which case it isn’t!!!

 

She Beckoned Me To Come Forth


Lately we haven’t been spending enough time together

 

She whispered to me across the room as she lay gloriously next to the double glazed window where she takes pride of place. Her edges are broad yet soft to the touch, not overpowering but complimenting her surroundings. She glows frantically amongst the lead of fairy lights adorning her. Her pearly hues dance joyously across the room; those fairy lights providing a graphic milieu.

 

I starred longingly at the warp of yellow and grey stripped cotton sheets wrapped around her. They were a reminder of the sun that never transpired today and the grey state of affairs outside.

 

I know!!”

 

I whispered back as I unchanged.“What can I say it has been a hectic month thus far, but fret not dear, I am here to stay today; all day and no one can get me away from you, even if all the flood warnings materialise, I am all yours today“.

 

I could sense an outburst of excitement, relief, and that of sheer joy beckoning;  in knowing that our encounter today shan’t be disrupted by alarm clocks suggesting lateness to something or somewhere or someone of importance.

 

It has been incredibly hard every morning getting up and leaving you behind. It has been incredibly hard every morning to ignore your pleas of “stay in with me … don’t go“. But today I shall succumb to you, and I shall let you satisfy my needs. I shall let your warmth engulf my fatigued body.

 

Today has been long coming and oh girl do good things come to those who wait. I shall get in with you today curve my body into a fetus position, and wander off into la-la land.

 

An architect of soft comfortable stature you are, my dear bed!

Why I Won’t Be Voting Today


Local and European Elections are taking place across the UK today to determine the faith of our local Councils and representation at the European Parliament.

It is a day of reckoning for politicians as it is the only time that the public wield more power.

Politicians, who hold little regard to the needs of their constituents most days, become friendlier than a hooker in post World War II Berlin.

Whilst I am appreciative of the choice that is available to me to be able to vote without fear of repercussions or drones coming down on me for stepping out of my house or even that I as someone who happens to be of the female persuasion can even cast a vote (our lot always tend to get the wet end of the stick); however today I am choosing not to take up the offer.

I chose to not exercise my democratic right and join the legions of other British (and European) voters today. I know the Suffragettes would be turning in their graves at my assertion…SORRY.

I couldn’t reach one conclusive answer as to what is stopping me from embarking on the short-ish journey to the nearest polling station. So true to my indecisive form I devised a list explaining my reasoning. Hear me out folks…

Ahem… So you know…

1. That pothole you promised to fix at the last elections it is still there. Instead of fixing it you empty my bin once every 2 weeks. What kind of a deal is that?

2. The only time I see the lot of you is around this time of the year. Dressing up in your tracksuit and hand delivering your propaganda won’t score you any extra brownie points either.

3. The xenophobes are having a field day. They are spoilt for choice, UKIP, BNP, Britain First, et al, why can’t the rest of you give me such a varied composition of faithful politicians, eh?

4. In this particular moment in time the only queue I care about beating is the one to the communal kitchen microwave at work.

5. Seriously though have you seen the weather?! My apparel of choice isn’t appropriate for this downpour… Is there an app I can vote on?!

6. Is it weird that I dig Farrage’s sartorial sensibilities more? I mean if this was a style contest he would have won hands down. Tracksuit guy take a note!

7. I am agoraphobic and thus fearful of inescapable situations. Such as when Tracksuit candidate casts puppy eyed looks my way pleading with me to tick his name on the ballot papers. What do I say to him when he finds out I haven’t “sorry mate its purely sartorial based, erm your policies are commendable though, erm I think…?!!”

8. Ain’t nobody got time for liars!

9. Would it get Farrage off my screen if I do hmm?

10. Oh I am not even registered to vote…..

 

OOPSIE!!!

 

The United Nations of Football


It is that time once again, where foreign flags of friendship reign supreme… Side by side they stand in a perfectly choreographed choir singing internationally recognised hymns – chasing dreams of conquering round stuffed objects. Where countries that once fought as foes, in the United Nations of football now stand side by side and compete in healthy wars.

They now find themselves in league tables where there are no guarantees to permanent membership; the weak and absolute all in the same category. Or is it? I suppose the cynic in us would say it only takes bribing a pundit or two to match fix. I quite fancy the look of Group G- what do you make of it?

It is that time once again where new identities emerge and old trans-national identities are challenged. Will I support England – I suppose UKIP would want me to, or would I root for France, or perhaps Spain..? I know Nick Clegg would strongly support the latter. Hmm maybe I am not so sure anymore. I know David Cameron would welcome my reticence. Let’s go for a referendum he would say and we shall go for majority vote. Labour and Ed Miliband wouldn’t want me to discriminate. I can almost hear their cries of we are all equal and each team brings something different. Ed and Co would have me support the whole World. Well funny they should say that because I am a lover of all things underdog. Such was the case during the 2010 World Cup quarter finals between Ghana and Uruguay.

In retrospect (what a joy of a mental tool that is), there were two things that stuck out for me during that game. Of course I am not sure if Uruguay would qualify as an underdog because I am not aware of their football plight or the lack of it. But Ghana I was semi versed in their footballing plight, at least within the context of the African Cup of Nations and thus Ghana was an obvious choice to rally as part of my campaign to pledge support for all the teams that were unlikely to go past the first qualifying rounds.

Any who, the thing or things that stuck out for me during that long winded game where neither teams were ready to call it a day was that:

  1. Londoners were uncharacteristically friendly even engaging in football banter (I happened to be in London at the time of that game). As a Northerner I always had that lot as an aloof forever grumpy bunch. We Northerners will always strike a conversation with one another (99.999% of the time it will always be about the weather).

 

  1. I found my body ridding itself of any lady like attributes it may ever have had. I had what I could only characterise as an out of body experience. Imagine a five foot five (and three quarters) lass amongst a swamp of testosterone rage, shouting obscenities at a plasma screen urging Asamoah Gyan to better not miss that penalty!!!

 

Lo and behold when he did miss it, I was protesting profusely that I could have done a better job. Where did I see such display of tantrums before, eh? More importantly how did I come to learn such behaviour?

Ahh such is Football…and life in general I suppose… you win some you lose some.