Wednesday, October 21, 2015

List Of Things I Have Learnt While Clearing Out My Desk And Filing Cabinet In Readiness For Transatlantic Move

  1. Penhaligon's 'gift fragrance oils' (3 pack) do not improve with age.
  2. You can't do much with miniature postcards of Czech saints, even WITH their English names scribbled in pencil across the back. 
  3. I am never going to use:
    - the matching crystal envelope opener and magnifying glass in padded blue silken box
    - the packet of Barbapapa stickers
    - the family of finger puppet rabbits
    - a brooch (approx. 6 x 3 cms) of a lopsided monkey in a fez with the face of Coluche
  4. Some pens last forever: Bic Crystal, Staedler Permanent Felt Tip.
  5. I could, tomorrow morning (stamps permitting), send:
    -  25 birthday cards,
    - 30 blank cards feat. 17th century tulips, etc
    - c. 100 postcards of EITHER art OR kittens and puppies.
  6. I have enough loose change to buy an egg and cress sandwich in the early 90s.
  7. I have 7 padlocks.
  8. According to an unpaid bill from 2005, I owe my therapist 300 quid.
  9. I really like a) paperclips; b) tiny clothespegs; c) staples; d) old cheque books.
  10. The inside of my head looks like this: 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

List Of Things To Do Before Moving

  1. Give giant pot to translator
  2. Unlock phone I finished paying for in May 2014
  3. Give unlocked phone (iPhone 4) to husband
  4. Explain to husband how a 'smartphone' works
  5. Check exchange rate
  6. Cry
  7. Find tax accountant and financial advisor, pref. called 'Alan' or 'Bryan'
  8. Plan leaving party. Order gin and sausages
  9. Empty cupboard x 5
  10. Empty chest of drawers x 3
  11. Listen to Tutti Frutti by New Order 14 times in a row while folding socks
  12. Remember have promised husband and Moving Man Robin that will reduce books by c. 25%
  13. Stare at Ulysses, Clarissa and In Parenthesis and remind self again how much loathe them
  14. Keep them anyway 
  15. Reduce books by 10% but tell husband is 20% and say IS BOOKS glaring and tutting
  16. Celebrate 46th birthday and note that a) still as fat as ever; b) next stop 50
  17. Look for houses "within 3 miles of" Royston with room for chairlift
  18. Go through photos. Throw away pics of places or people I cannot name. Reduce pics by 90%
  19. Go through emails/letters, 2000-2006. Throw away ones that remind self of poor taste in men
  20. Go through emails/letters that remind self that took self too seriously. Reduce pile by 100%
  21. Count cake tins. Reduce from c. 18 to 4
  22. Count vegetable peelers. Reduce from c. 5 to 1
  23. Sit on floor reading Nancy Mitford on top of emptied contents of filing cabinet & desk
  24. Check date of flight (7th November) seven times, but tell everyone is 8th November
  25. Eat cookies made for husband straight from freezer while folding pants
  26. Pick crumbs out of ladyparts.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Date Approaches

Yes, adoring readers and/or fans, I will be leaving Montreal forever* on the 8th November. On the 16th November I start what is known in some circles as "a new job" doing something completely new (but related), which I will draw a veil over for the moment (hem hem).  In the meantime, progress is as follows:

We have found a removal company.

Referred by friends with exacting standards and a lot of books, Robin the Removal Man is 71 and follows me around with a clipboard saying things like: 

  • That box?
  • The cat?
  • Wine cellar?  (Answer: NO, I DRANK IT.)
  • Are you sure?
  • I wouldn’t if I were you.
  • Forty cubic metres, probably.

He doesn't eat biscuits when you offer them to him, but he DOES put them in his pocket 'for later' when he goes.

I have learnt how to fold clothes.

I spent c. $13 on a book having read an article about the author, a lady called Marie who likes folding socks.  The book was a bit of a let-down as it contains lot of chat about socks having feelings and thanking your t-shirts but not many pictures.  

She has her own version of "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" (which we all know because we are not idiots), suggesting that you only keep things that "spark joy". By this definition I'd be surrounded by bottles of Viejos Robles cornershop wine (c. $10), the veterinary pathologist to whom I am married, and back issues of Which? Magazine so I’ve ignored that bit o’ wisdom, but I have paid attention to the following:

Tidy up by category not by room.   For e.g.,  get all your clothes/books/hats/photos/letters etc out at a time, don’t do it by room.  It works.  Incidentally, here is some of my own advice on clothes culling. Get rid of things if:

  • you look like a twat in it
  • you haven't worn it since you last moved continents in 2006
  • it has cat wee on it.

Folding is fun!! No. Really. I am serious. T-shirt video here. Do it. Fold your socks. It makes room in drawers and makes you feel like an adult.

Do not categorize clothes that are a bit shit as 'loungewear' and keep them.  Hers is a more ladylike version of: "girlfriend, self-respect starts with not spending your life in baggy track pants and gigantic stained t-shirts with holes in - get some fucking pyjamas!".   Following this advice has freed up approximately 80% of storage space in my house. True.

Avoid 'storage solutions'.  'Storage solutions' are just expensive boxes for you to put your crap in.  Deal with the crap.

I have rented a flat (for a bit)

You do not need me to tell you that renting in London is a fucking joke. If you do not want to live in a flat full of depressed cockroaches with bloodstained sofas, you have to spend the equivalent of  $5,000 a month and commute for 2 hours.  I have gone all AirBnB and rented a flat in Brook Green for 3 months from a psychotherapist called Stephen until the veterinary pathologist with whom I share my life (and fleas) gets his visa and moves over. Then we'll move to the country and I will do a real commute, and a part of me will die inside, and I will make brave noises about "really switching off!" and "doing tons of reading on the train!". 

That is the update for now. If you have any informations to share I am ready for them. Until then, I remain over-excited and unfocused, as if left alone in a Hula-Hoop factory overnight. 

Pip pip ! 


Monday, September 21, 2015

Things I Think About When I Think About Moving Back To England

Yes, adoring readers and/or fans, the moment is fast approaching.  Our multiple residences are for sale.  I have resigned and now work part-time, where my days divide up in the following ways:

Also, I have a cold - or is it a dust allergy, stirred up by moving piles of stuff in cupboards that have lain untouched for 7 years?  We may never know. In the meantime, I watch the Canadian dollar become weaker by the second (something to do with OPEC and the sands), the size of the house we can afford to live in shrink to 4 square feet, and the list of urgent matters in need of resolution grow.  For e.g.:

  1. Will my friends realise - when they are forced to see me more than once a year - that I am a crashing bore? 
  2. Has Canada - The Most Reasonable And Non-judgmental Country In The World - made me boring, or was I boring all along? Will anyone tell me if I am a bore? (This was Nancy Mitford's greatest fear so I am in OK company.)
  3. Where can I get some Dutch friends? Dutch people will always tell you the truth. A Dutch friend would tell me if I were boring.   (There is much to commend the Dutch.  A passion for the truth is one thing, along with great height, cycling proficiency, magnificent art, very good taste in lighting and excellent architecture. And also bitterballen.)
  4. What am I, an "ambitious lady" with a desire to have A REALLY GOOD POP AT IT and wear businesslike spectacles before becoming an overpaid consultant, or someone who seeks a simpler life involving entire afternoons on the sofa eating Hula-Hoops and watching Escape To The Country, interspersed with the odd bit of freelance for design agencies in the smaller centres of Hertfordshire?  
  5. Where does all the dust come from?
  6. Are those clothes moths or food moths? Both are fucking arseholes, but there's an outside chance they're neither.
  7. Will the cat survive the flight over? What if the heating breaks and the pilot doesn't turn round, as he did for this bulldog the other day
  8. Is Waitrose really that good? 
  9. Is it OK to say you really like Which? magazine
  10. Is it normal to lie in bed at night and think of marketing strategy for Which? magazine? 
  11. Is it OK to want to be  marketing director of Which? magazine? 
  12. How will I sort out my gas/heating/telephone/internet/TV/bank/mobile phone? 
It is very complicated. If there is anything else I should be worrying about - or if you have any answers to my questions - I would be grateful for all the words you can cram into the comments boxes with your tiny little fingers.  (Also, I have lost the header on my web-blog which is very vexing, as it featured a beautiful drawing of me at my desk drawn by Mr Dave Shelton. Keep an eye out. If you see it, let me know.)

Pip pip!


Monday, July 27, 2015

Brush Up Your French with The Daily Mail (Revised 2015)

Regular readers may be aware of my first brush with this book, published in 1931 (4th Edition 1937).  It has been very useful to me in the seven years  since I found it in a 'bazar' run by nuns, and many has been the time that have I been heard telling the greengrocer in almost perfect French that "I have a big order", or telling myself that I am "becoming stoutish". Why, only yesterday I asked my husband if he was "ending his toilet with a good brushing".  

But times change, and with that change comes the need to update the conversations that would be of  use to today's Daily Mail reader.    Therefore, armed with no more than a good look through the comments section of Mail Online* (and a perfectly bilingual husband), I give you: 

Essential Conversation Starters : taken from Brush Up Your French with The Daily Mail (2015 Version)

Anyone who thinks skateboarding in a city centre is acceptable needs psychological assessment.
Quelqu'un qui croit qu'il est acceptable de faire du skateboard dans un centre-ville aurait besoin d'un examen psychiatrique.

I would like a huge refund for all the years my BBC licence fee has been used to fill the bank accounts of numerous sex predators.
Je voudrais avoir un remboursement pour toutes les années ou ma contribution à la BBC a servi à remplir les comptes en banque de prédateurs sexuels.

This is what happened when labour opened floodgates to the world and European masses, 4 million and climbing.
Voilà ce qui c'est passé quand le parti travailliste a ouvert les vannes au monde et aux masses européennes, 4 millions et ça monte toujours.

That is why you should never listen to a liberal: no morals, no ethics and all politics.
Voilà pourquoi il ne faut jamais écouter un libéral: aucune morale, aucune éthique, c'est tout de la politique.

Is it me or does Kate always seem to wear that outfit (striped top, jeans and those shoes) when dressed casually?
Est-ce que je me trompe ou est-ce que Kate semble toujours porter cet ensemble (un dessus rayé, des jeans, et ces souliers) lorsqu'elle s'habille en décontracté ?

Soya products and things like Quorn and tofu aren't actually good for people and THAT needs exposing too.
Les produits du soja et des choses comme le Quorn et le tofu ne sont en fait pas bons pour la santé, et ceci aussi doit être rendu public.

Why don't she get a proper job like the rest of us have to.
Pourquoi ne se trouve-t-elle pas un vrai emploi, comme le reste du monde doit faire ?

We can only be grateful no same sex weddings to be endured - Downton is nice I think !
Nous ne pouvons qu'être reconnaissants qu'il n'y avait aucun marriage gai à subir - Downton est bien je crois !

Useful, non?

Pipe Pipe!


* I didn't put SIC throughout but you will see where I would have done.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin