Thursday, July 11, 2002

One more thing for today.

I had a ‘moment’ last night. A God moment I think.

I was standing under the shower [which is by the bathroom window and at the right height that you can see down the street when the window is open] as the thunder clapped just above the house [or so it seemed] and the most amazing torrential rain hit the earth all at once.

On the bus on the way home I looed up at the sky and saw that the edges on all sides were clear, not quite blue skies but clear in comparison to the black clouds directly above. It all looked like the earth was pulling on a very bad toupee that did not quite reach the sides of its head.

As the bus came down Edgerton Road just before my stop I heard the fat drops hit the roof. I got my brolly out in preparation but thankfully the heavens did not open completely until I got into the shower about 15 minutes later. The light was an uncanny yellow hue as the sun tried to reach under the toupee. Nobody on the street was prepared for the rain as it fell from the sky. I watched all of this from the bathroom window standing under a warm shower and it seemed both surreal and reminiscent of the four o’clock downpours in Darwin during the wet season.

I don’t know why all the elements above turned 5.56pm into a ‘moment’ but it did. And I was aware again of the colossal power beyond me and my soul felt at peace.

C x
A bit of an update is due I think. In order of occurrence:

Job ... I was told last Friday afternoon by the head of Events that I was the candidate she wants in the position however [I just hate that word] the position itself if under review due to the current recruitment freeze and the additional 'politics' surrounding it all that were beyond her control. She said she was going to present her case for the position on Tuesday and get back to me.

In the meantime a friend of mine close to the situation filled me in on what that means in English. Basically, a woman from another department in the Leeds office was being moved into the Marketing Manager position which a) gives her the authority and clout to hire who she likes and b) leaves her PA without a job. I’ll let you do the math. In case your math is crap like mine – the upshot is she will move her PA over into the position I was interviewed for twice and all but told I had without so much as a blink. Ms Head of Events called me yesterday to advise that even though I was the preferred candidate, ‘practicalities’ prevented them offering me the job. Now even if the said ‘practicalities’ were a determining factor I would have appreciated hearing the whole truth about the machine at work here. Alas, I was given a glib answer to two and a half weeks of waiting.

Now this may sound like sour grapes but over the weekend, between phone calls, I pretty much decided that I would not take the job if I was offered it. Why? I’d lost enthusiasm. And I know me by now. I mean I waited from April 1999 – October 1999 [enthusiasm intact at all times] to find out if I had the job in London. I knew that I knew that I knew that this was the right step for me to take. This was not. So there you have it. At least I walk away with the confidence to know that I can interview well, climb the stack and stand out. Lesson learned, confidence gained.

Weather … sucking big time. At least this week the rain has been torrential as opposed to mizzley. A very important difference. Torrential makes you feel like the dark clouds looming all day and blocking out the sun were worth it. Mizzle is, in a word, miserable.

Life … We’ve booked ourselves eight days in Barcelona in the first week of November. Even in November the weather in Spain will be way better than the weather here in July. Discuss.

Big Brother ... Adele was voted out last Friday [Yesssss!] and tomorrow the nation decides if Kate or PJ go. Sadly I don't want to see either of them leave but I so wish someone would put Tim out of our misery please. Thankfully we will be seeing some real friends over the weekend cause for a while there we could tell you more about the seven strangers in the Big Brother House in East London that we could about any of our real friends.

Love … my husband is beautiful. He wrote me a poem which, if he says yes, I will post here soon.

C x
Have you ever found yourself grasping for the edges of a thought that dissipates with the grasping into the back of your consciousness? You realise in your half dreaming you have formed a moving picture on the peripheral of your waking and upon your return to the present it dissolves completely.

It happens to me all the time. More so as I get older, to the point I thought my mental health was deteriorating along with my short-term memory. Thankfully I've just asked Ian if he experiences this and he said ‘yes’.


C x

Listening to: 'Walking Wounded', Everything But The Girl
Reading: 'Fever Pitch', Nick Hornby

Friday, July 05, 2002

Ian suggested I post some of the thing I wrote when I first got to England. They are simply my observations, as an outsider, of some of the more idiosyncratic elements of living in England.

Here's the first one ...

There are a number of English idiosyncrasies that I've found amusing at best and downright annoying at worst. If I ever write a book about my Antipodean reflections on living in London I'm going to call it The Plastic Bowl in the Sink.

Why? I hear you ask yourself.

Because, I say.

When I first moved into Mark & Nina's place in Brockley I noticed, as I glanced about their kitchen, that they had a plastic bowl in the sink. Initially I wasn't sure what its use was but it seemed to live there permanently. All the washing up was done in said plastic bowl and said plastic bowl remained in the sink. I thought at that point it was a Mark&Nina anomaly so I left it at that. You will appreciate my surprise, upon arriving at Ian's place in Manchester, that he too housed a plastic bowl in the sink. Now at this point my suspicion was raised as it began to dawn on me that this was beyond a coincidence.

I asked Ian why as it seemed unnecessary to me that folk place a plastic bowl in a perfectly fit stainless steel sink.
Ian pondered the question for a moment then brightly replied "It's for when you fill up the sink with warm soapy water only to discover you have a half-full cup of tea that needs emptying..."

But surely you can check for half-full cups of tea before you fill the sink? I reply in my usual lateral way. This draws a blank response, and the plastic bowl in the sink remains a mystery.

I have asked the odd Englishperson for an explanation for it seems this is not just a random phenomenon.

The only response that seemed remotely logical was from Ian's mum. She claims that the stainless steel sink has historically been used to wash clothes in the absence of a laundry and the plastic bowl inserted to separate the wash spaces. This seems logical enough until you find you are asking yourself why don't they just make stainless steel kitchen units with two sinks...

British ingenuity excels in exceptional ways (no, I can't think of an example right now but wait, it'll come to me) but falls down dead in the plastic bowl stakes.

But don't let this worry you - England is still a really nice place.

C x

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Can’t think of anything of note to post today. Another uninspiring kind of day in the north of England, a bonus is that it isn’t cold. The office air conditioning is comical and no matter what the weather is doing outside, it is always eerily warm in here. Bugger.

Being bored at work but we are all heading out for a drink and a meal. I’m hoping we’ll get there as the proposal we are working on needs ‘tweaking’ which, between you and I, is a screaming understatement.

Still no news on the job front. Typical. I brought in Alex Lloyd's Watching Angels Mend to listen to today which I may just do in order to retain sanity and an optimistic outlook.

Got an email from my new blogger friend from in Canberra - we're discussing how to change the world in three quick and painless steps. The first I think should be to disembowel the President of the United States but I'll get back to you on that one.

The US forces in Afghanistan bombed a wedding, two planes collided in mid air over Germany killing about 70 children, Cheryl Kernot & Gareth Evans have had an affair [yikes!] and the whole country wants Jade out of the Big Brother house. I do not need to tell you which of the above topics have taken up column inches in my current affairs intake this week.

Lleyton Hewitt looks like he may lose to Sjeng Schalken on Court One this afternoon. That would be sad. The stick I get when Australian's lose at anything is amazing. Bring on the cricket - please!

I've bored myself to tears, best post this now.

C x

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Its Wednesday [bet you already knew that] and I've still not heard about the job, its still raining in England and I have to make this short cause I'm gonna miss Big Brother!!

However, tomorrow is Thursday and I'm hoping it will be sunny, that I get to check out some of that blue stuff in the sky I sometimes see, I'm hoping I'll hear that I got the job and it would be very nice to get an email from at least one person in Australia [The Age newsfeed does not count].

Not much else happening I fear. Tomorrow will be better.

Oh, I got a bottle of grappa from Eric at work who brought it back from Venice for me. Amazing bottle, orange mottled, slender with a round stopper. Very sexy. Can't wait to try the grappa though.

C x

Listening to: 'The Last Broadcast', Doves
Reading: 'Fever Pitch', NIck Hornby

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Ian has just bought tickets for us to see Beth Orton in October. The last time we saw Beth was in Melbourne in Jan 2000 at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda. It was such a romantic night. Ian had just flown in from the UK and we were so loved up, the night was warm and the ambiance at the POW that night was magical. I suspect my recollection of that night is heavily rose coloured but I'll never forget how I felt when she played 'Central Reservation'. Ah, love was in the air, my man was holding me tight and that song became 'our' song.

At our traditionless wedding a year later we decided not to dance the wedding waltz to some folks dismay. During the evening I remember my sister pushing me out the door to speak to the caterer to get dessert happening. [She was after all 7 months pregnant and very, very hungry!] As I turned to leave the room I heard the first strains of the song and spun around to see my gorgeous groom standing in the middle of the room looking at me. As I recall I ran into his arms and wrapped my shawl around us both to hide our faces. I don't think anybody in the room understood what on earth was going on but I didn't care. I'm sure I'll always feel the same way when I hear that song. Funny isn't it?

C x
This is my response to my friend’s question about living in a strange land:

I understand your predicament completely and most of the thoughts you are having are completely normal when faced with a decision like this one. Remember when I decided to head for London I was single and for the most part my decision had been well and truly made before Ian and I ever got together so I think I can speak without bias.

Well, living in another country for a long period of time, what can I say? It becomes home. You start to love things and can't imagine you ever lived without [pubs/channel 4/BBC/long light filled summer evenings/the lakes/the peaks/Sainsburys/H&M/World Cup playoffs/Newcastle United FC/trains to London/cheap flights to anywhere in Europe/pints etc] you miss home less occasionally, you romanticise about home less and things take on proper perspective, you realise that out of all the people you knew as friends [different degrees of course] only a core circle will actually remain with you for life and that this is not a bad thing at all, you make new friends from a healthy place and you realise people like you for who you are and not cause you work with them/go to church with them/live with them etc. You gain a new dimension by simple virtue of having lived in 2 countries, 2 hemispheres and 2 diabolically opposed time zones. You learn the history of your adopted home which helps make it feel more like home and to be honest I reckon this all helps to make you smarter!! Well, at least a little more interesting...

Every day the sun comes up you sense it is not quite the same as what you've spent 30 years thinking a sunrise was, trees and flowers look and smell different, people are different but completely fascinating [even that Geordie bloke on Big Brother this year who you love to listen to] and everyone has a completely different landscape to your childhood but thankfully, at least the music is the same.

C x
It’s been ages since I last updated this. I actually hopped on the other day, the day after Brazil beat England in the quarter final, and bashed out a pile of words which were steeped in the mood around the country at the time. When I hit ‘post’ the whole lot disappeared from the screen and I sat there staring at my monitor in disbelief. That just added to my already bleak mental landscape.

It is now nearly two weeks since that fateful day and I’m happy to report that life is on the up and up. The World Cup is over, as are the million and one adverts on the telly, selling everything from drinks to kitchen sinks, with a football flourish. Thank God! The world as I see it has returned to normal – sort of.

Ian and I have sadly found ourselves captivated by Big Brother 3. I know, I know – get a life! But it really is good fodder. Fodder for what exactly I can’t say but we love it. I won’t bore you with it but if you call us between 7 & 10pm and we don’t answer – you know where we are.

I had the second interview for the Event Executive job last Tuesday here in the office [rather than Leeds]. It went really well and the woman who interviewed me seemed very positive. However she still had two more candidates to interview and she advised that I would know the outcome of my application last Friday. It is now Tuesday and I am still none the wiser. Slightly frustrating to say the least but work at present is completely bonkers so I’m distractedly busy. I’ve hardly had time to whack out emails to friends during work hours so I’ve taken advantage of this sudden lull in activity to produce this.

A friend of mine living overseas at the moment emailed me last week asking what it was like to live in a country, not your own, for a prolonged time. My friend is possibly going to be away from her country for a couple of years and mid decision at the moment so I wrote back. I showed the email to Ian and he suggested I post it here. So I will. On the next post as this is way too long already.

C x