Sunday, 16 November 2008

The return of the sick note!

Once again I have been away for a while... This is partly because I've now lost confidence in my ability to write something anyone will want to read and because I've been ill again!

It all started a couple of weeks ago. I was forcing myself to the gym every night of the week. I was starting to feel smug as I left the office each day with my gym bag over my shoulder and clenching my buttocks as I left in a bid to show all my work colleagues how tight the buns were getting. Unfortunately in my bid to become a gym bunny I was exhausted. Every morning I came in to work confidently plonking my gym bag down and putting my plastic container of fruit that I had bought from the cafe near work onto my desk. But rather confusingly I was being greeted with concerned faces asking if I was alright because I looked ill and tired. I would smile back at them confirming that I was simply exhausted by my work out the night before. As the days went on each morning was the same and by Thursday I was dragging myself to the gym at the end of the day repeating in my head "no pain no gain". By Friday I felt like death. I was now feeling dizzy and slightly spaced out. "This is how fit people feel" I thought. It was very likely my brain was simply rejecting my new found healthiness and was trying to tell my body that I was not feeling well ... in fact I was fit and healthy... and possibly developing proper calf muscles. By lunchtime I was thinking "hmmm maybe I just need some sweets to make me feel less dizzy". I am convinced my body does actually need some bad stuff going into my system regularly and I was obviously detoxing. But I needed to get through the afternoon. I went to the shop and bought a huge bag of sour haribos. These are the sweets that make your eyelids sweat because of the sourness of them but which you can't stop eating when you start. Salt and vinegar crisps have the same effect on me. I did think it was a little unusual I ate the whole bag of sweets in about 10 minutes as despite my love of food I'm not mad on sweets. I prefer savoury stuff.

By 5 pm I thought I think I'll knock the gym and go home for a sleep I was really not feeling very well. I would make up for the gym on the weekend and would go on both Saturday and Sunday. I got in the front door and put on a pizza which I whoofed down as soon as it was out of the oven. I then decided sleep was overcoming me remarkably quickly and I laid down on the sofa. 3 hours later I awoke to a terrible feeling of sickness. I tried to get up but instead found myself rolling onto the floor and promptly started to gag. As I started to be sick I realised how ill I felt and tried to crawl to the toilet. 2 hours later I was still crawling backwards and forwards to the toilet puking all the sweets etc I had eaten. If only I had not eaten so much!!! Eventually I spoke to my mum and decided to call the doctor. I did so and an ambulance then arrived! As I opened the door two young men came in and tried to talk to me whilst I was busy answering in monosyllables between moments of puking into my washing up bowl. Never have I felt so attractive!!! The ambulance men told me the doctor was on her way but they would stay with me in the meantime. They asked if I lived on my own or if they could call my mum. I immediately burst into tears saying my mum lives in England. At this point they asked how old I was and I replied 31. The ambulance man then laughed saying "Oh god I was feeling really sorry for you there I thought you were only 17!". I ignored him.

By the time the doctor arrived I was lying on the floor unable to move continually puking. She informed me that she thought I had the Norwalk virus. She sat beside me as I puked asking me the following questions:

1. "So basically you just woke up and started to chunder?" - The word "chunder" should never be used to someone who is struggling to stop being sick... the word alone makes me feel like something is rising in my throat.
2. "So have you eaten alot today?" "yes" "Oh dear that means you have probably got a good few more hours of chundering!" - This again is not a positive thing to say to someone who is wishing she would just die rather than continuing to be sick".
3. "Well we could admit you into hospital. You could be put in the ward with all the other people who have this virus - we've closed it off - a kind of quarantine. Do you want to go?" "No... puking... I can't think of anything worse... puking... then being with ... puking... a load of people... puking ... who have the same thing..."
4."Shall I give you an anti-sickness injection.. may help but may not... Yes? Ok well you are actually in the perfect position... stay there... just a little scratch." As she jabbed the injection into my bum whilst I had my head over a bowl and my bum in the air I can tell you it was not a little scratch! What a cow!

Eventually she left and for the next 8 hours every 20 minutes I was being sick. In other words there was no maybe about it the injection did not work. I was told I had to be quarantined so no one could visit me. My landlady came in to see me and immediately put her scarf over her mouth to avoid my contagiousness. Over the next week various lovely friends brought over things that I needed... god knows why but I have never needed ice lollies so much. I lived on them. Work called telling me they did not want me in but they would like to cargo some files over to me so I could work from home... how kind of them!! As the days went on my stomach continued to churn and I happily noticed that I was not that hungry.. the norwalk virus diet was working..Note this was only temporary though and as soon as I ate normally the weight attached to my hips as normal!

On Monday I went back into work informing everyone I was no longer contagious and I was fighting fit! I even went to the gym! By Tuesday I felt like I was dying a slow painful death. As I arrived in at work I soon realised I needed to be in bed. I went to the doctor and then drove home. Instead of my normal going to the sofa and lying in agony under a duvet. I went to bed for the whole day. I awoke in the darkness and realised I must be feeling really terrible to not even be able to stomach day time Tv. You know that lovely feeling of smugness you get knowing that everyone is at work and you are under a duvet watching various live television phone ins on the important issues such as "sex for the over seventies", "dealing with the trauma of memory loss" and "gardening tips for a rainy summer" with various experts giving us 30 seconds of advice before cutting off the caller mid question and moving on to the next caller Sue for Somerset.

On Wednesday I dragged myself into work again and spent the rest of the week fighting a bloated stomach after I ate anything at lunchtime. I am finally now starting to feel myself. Well myself minus the gym... my old self! And so it makes me wonder how is that as soon as I start trying to be ultra healthy does it always make me ill? Perhaps I should just embrace my unhealthiness as yet another fault I cannot change...or I can change but which would ultimately make me ill. Hmmm think I'll ponder on that over a bag of crips!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

No one ever wished they spent more time at work

I consider myself to be a fairly driven, ambitious person and yet when I really have time to think about it... I mean I have the time because I am a self confessed lazy person... but when I sit down and think about it I really just want to have nothing to do. I have just spent 2 hours (this is time which I will never get back even if I wanted to!) watching the programme Girls of the Playboy mansion. Now I am not proud of this viewing but I am ever so slightly addicted to this programme. Not because I can relate to it or because I am ANYTHING like the 3 girlfriends that Hugh currently has... although I would happily have their looks and figures (bearing in mind I stopped going to the gym whilst I waited for my official yearly subscription to it through work to start and a month on haven't managed to go back!) but the reason I watch this programme so avidly is because honestly.. I mean honestly that is the life to have! I mean these girls are living a very nice life. Sure they have to occasionaly kiss the wrinkly lips of Hugh Hefner but God we've all had to kiss Nans and Grandads lips and immediately wiped our mouths and minds of the experience so what is the difference? I don't believe any of them other than Holly (the main girlfriend) sleeps with him and so these other girls have it made! Bridget and Kendra basically have dogs to play with, their own rooms which are pink and girly and lots of clothes to wear (ok these are all branded playboy but god so what?It would be a small price to pay!) and they get ready for parties and they get new cars and dress up for fancy dress evenings and hang out with other girlie girls. I mean is this not the life to have? Or is it just me?

We all are in some way selling ourselves for what we want out of life and so their selling of themselves is a bit more basic but I could do the little girlie laugh and play with my hair and kiss wrinkly lips every once in a while for such a nice life! These girls never look tired or jaded... they never worry about money or seem to have arguments. They are emotional so ocassionaly you see them cry but normally because some other play boy bunny has won an award and is so overcome with happiness she cries which sets all the other bunnies off! Their main concern at this time is wiping the mascara from their tear drenched eyes and looking beautiful as they hug and laugh at themselves for crying through the tears. And Hugh just says they are sweet and then they are encouraged to carry on discovering their girlie pursuits. There is no pressure to this lifestyle. Realistically I'm sure I would be a nicer, more laid back person if my only plans for the day were hula hooping, playing with my dogs, bouncing on the trampoline and being nice to an old guy called Hef who actually doesn't seem to be that involved in the day to day activities. It's not a taxing way to live! And if it didn't make me a nice person I could pretend. It would be worth pretending for the lifestyle! God they aren't even expected to iron Hugh's silky pyjamas. Actually I like the idea of a life in pyjamas! What a perfect way to live... constantly dressed for lounging!

So now is this normal for me to feel like this? Is it something to aspire to? I mean should we be encouraging ourselves and our loved ones to go for a life like this? I accept it is not ideal! But let me ask you this... do you think these girls will look back on their time at the playboy mansion fondly? Sure! Why wouldn't they? They live is a bundle of pink fluff, it is fun and they are pandered to... so what is the problem? It is not something I had aspired to as a child but maybe that's because for most of us we never think that we will be able to have this kind of life so we don't bother seeing it as a possibility. Plus I can't imagine telling my parents when they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up with any convinction "I want to be a playboy bunny of course!" and they would look on me with pride in their eyes and say "wow what a wonderful career choice darling!".

Recently my Mum stayed with me in Jersey for 10 days. It was great to have her around and I took 2 days off work to hang out with her for her birthday. The whole time she was here though I was having to do work at home in the evenings and on my two days off I had to work for 6 hours in the day and one day I even went in to see a client for 2 hours. I had no other option. By the end of the week I was exhausted! So I soon felt like the walking dead. I was snappy and distracted by the work I had to do. One evening my mum insisted on watching Coronation Street (for American readers this is our longest running soap opera... as far as I know there is no American equivalent... all I can tell you is some of the actors no longer have to act because they have been in it for so long!) I can't stand Coronation Street. I don't know what it is ... but as soon as the music comes on it makes me feel thoroughly irritated. My mum however loves it and on one night it appears to be on twice on the one night... hell for me when my mum is here! As my Mum wanted to watch the second show I told her I would have a little half hour sleep. A snooze. A power nap if you will. I gave her strict instructions to wake me after Coronation Street and she promised she would with a cup of tea. I was asleep on the sofa in seconds. I was awoken by mum putting the cup of tea down on the coffee table. As she did so I jumped up and said "Shit Mum it's nine fifteen!!!" "So it is." She replied and calmly put the biscuits on the table. I jumped off the sofa and bounded up the stairs two at a time towards the bathroom undoing my jeans as I did so and trying to pull my jeans off without falling over. I put the shower on and jumped in. As I frantically scrubbed myself I realised it was 9.15 pm and not 9.15 in the morning. I hadn't over slept. I had no need to be in the shower rushing as if I was late for work. I stepped out of the shower and sheepishly returned to the living room. My mum looked at me concerned and confused and asked "you ok?". I was ok, I was just over tired and delirious..ok I wasn't delirious but it makes me wonder if my panic over being late and having so much to do at work is normal.I had basically slipped into a coma for 45 minutes on the sofa. This can't be normal. For the rest of the week my brother and sister kept saying that Mum said I was working really hard and long hours. I'm sure she is proud of me but I also knows she worries about me. And so if I told her now I was retiring to be a playboy bunny do you think she'd really mind? If she knew it was a better life? I doubt it. And so I dedicate this to Hugh .... Lots of love your next girlfriend! xx PS If any of you dare tell him my age I blame you for my lack of happiness!!!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Everyone needs a great financial advisor.

My natural instinct in life is to hate financial advisors. I have met a few in my short (yes short) life. I have normally had to resort to taking advice from these "sorts" when my financial life has turned to disaster. Most of the time when I have had to deal with any kind of financial institution this has normally ended with me either crying or feeling slightly suicidal... at times this has been replaced by pure hatred for the person who sits behind the desk gently tutting at my financial incompetence as they delve through the depths of my various credit cards statements questioning how I spent so much in such a short amount of time. Red faced I try to justify myself by stating that bank account had been emptied and I was forced to use my credit cards 2. I have a problem. I literally can't stop spending. It was either visit a financial advisor or go to a mental institution (I probably should have picked the latter) 3. I had no idea what had happened having been struck down by amnesia in the preceeding months. I could feel the judgement of me and my spending habits literally oozing out of the pores of this man. He looked disappointed in me without even knowing me and seemed bored with my excuses. Sure he'd heard them all before but there is a code of politeness. I do it with client's all the time. I listen to them knowing that they are justifying their actions and making themselves feel slightly better but the reality is they are lying and it's appropriate for me to seem to believe them at the very least in the first meeting!

So my experience of financial advisors is that they are generally judgemental, slightly smug people who look down their noses and sigh at the level of debt you have got yourself into as they wipe imaginery dust off their Rolex watch. Generally speaking they are making money out of your misfortune. This I don't mind as such as any advisory role does just that. If all was going well they would need you alot more. They would probably downplay your wealth and talk about wealthier client's they see and how to achieve this level of wealth. But the run of the mill people ... people like me... commonly known as "debt ridden scummers" are the ones that they can really vent their anger on without worrying about complaints. After all we need them much more than they need us!

Last Christmas as I stared at my credit card statements and spent alot of time trying to juggle my money in order to pay the minimum payments I knew it was only a matter of time before I would find myself again knocking on the door of the local financial humiliator to try to resolve my financial difficulties. I'm honest when I need help but there is something so very mortifying about going to someone and confessing your financial sins. I am the typical person who earns a decent wage but has a massive ball and chain that I drag around with me. The ball and chain is years of living on a low wage, student loans and credit card therapy. I needed help.

My friend suggested that I go and see someone at a place called Acorn Finance. I was slightly concerned that Acorn suggested they expected people to have little debts. You know the size of an acorn. I was a financial loser. The worst kind. As I had ignored it for far too long. I went to see Andrew (although I'll call him Andreas as the mediterrean name makes the process seem sunnier and alot less dark and painful). Within minutes I was in tears. I told him I was in a mess. Andreas was different from other financial advisors I had seen. He certainly didn't appear to be judging me and I felt as if he had heard it all before. Inside I have no doubt he was thinking "oh my god you financial incompetent!" but he hid it well and was friendly yet I totally believed what he had to say. Before Christmas I was sorted and relieved to think that I would be able to deal with my debts and not get myself into such a situation again.

So 7 months later when I was forced to get in touch with Andreas again I couldn't really see what I could say other than "I've really screwed up!" Ok so by the time I saw him he was a little more judgemental but this time I didn't cry. What was the point? He knew I was a loser so why become a pathetic loser? I wasn't crying when I was building up the credit cards again. And this time I had to accept real responsibility. It was hard. I took it on the chin... Ok I didn't. But I knew that I was just an idiot when it came to money and I would have to deal with my idiotic behaviour. IF there is ever a next time I know he will use 2 words and the first one will begin with P and the second word will be off... This alone makes me fear him. And I'll be honest this is not the sort of man you fear! He's funny and I suspect a bit of a party boy but the difficulty with this sort of person is you know that if you let him down again you would feel really bad! One evening after work I went to see him to discuss the loan arrangements for my new consolidation I arrived at the office after work to a barrage of bad language being shouted through the office. I was sitting in the waiting room as I listened to various c, f and sh words being shouted to a colleague and knew that this was the sort of unprofessional firm I needed to be involved with! These people were perfect for my financial needs! They were approachable and human. They hated their clients and therefore me and it made me love their ethos all the more! A rather embarrassed Andreas came round the corner and greeted me saying that he was unaware I was sitting there. But the reality was it sealed my loyalty to such a ridiculously helpful and hugely unprofessional approach. Now don't get me wrong I'm sure they can be very professional for others. I mean only today Andreas cancelled my appointment to go and hob nob on a golf course with some of his more important clients. His complete honesty immmediately made me feel like I'm in on a secret. I know the flaws, their professionality is wasted on me and I think they know that.

Now to bring a new element of interbreeding to Jersey I then happened to tell Andreas that I was looking for a flat. He told me that his business partner David had a flat to rent. He called him in and I met David who looked like he had just woken up (it was 5pm) and told me his wife deals with it all. After Andreas telling me it was a whole £200 cheaper than it actually was (the lack of accuracy of figures may worry some when it comes to a financial advisor but it appealed to me... why should we get bogged down with accuracy anyway!!).I visited the flat and I now live in it. It is all a bit weird! I wonder if they really wanted me close? Did I have to commit my soul to Acorn now that I've messed up for the second time? Every purchase I make I now think about knowing that I will have to walk it into my flat past the house that David lives in. They've lent me money I have to be seen to be being sensible. It is the old saying of keep your friends close, your enemies even closer... I wonder if the same goes for debtors? It would seem also that Andreas has been to visit David at home and has seen my crap car and then because he knows that he has no real professional image with me he had the cheek to tell me it was crap! He back tracked soon after I told him I was willing to borrow more money to buy a nice car and all we had to do was re-hash the figures. Suddenly my little passion wagon was not so bad! Funny that!

And so I find myself for the first time feeling responsible for ensuring I don't let these people down. I owe it to their honesty and their lack of professional image. I will never find another firm like it I am sure. And ok so they have bothered to move me next door to them to keep an eye on me... which is a little over the top! But I guess it's good for me too... as the guilt of buying is more overwhelming than usual. I may start carrying purchases into my flat in the dark under sheets or black bags when everyone is asleep... it may be the only way to keep the shopping addiction going! The truth is that this is the kind of advice I need... no judgement but the fear of disappointing Andreas and David. However the commitment of a five year loan and living in this flat for possibly five years is not something I can envisage. I may have to escape the cell and move elsewhere at some point... I just pray I don't fall off the wagon. We all need a great financial advisor... but if you can't find one ... get one that at least has a lack of pompousness and the ability to make you feel comfortable. The best kind is one that really just acts like a friend who seems to be mucking around a bit. There is really no need to be all serious about it... we all know it's pathetic that I'm in this situation so let's just accept it... slightly scared I'm now thinking though I may have lost my freedom to these people...They are watching me... Acorn don't stifle me I want to be an Oak tree. Note to self I must read the small print and just make sure I don't have to hand over my soul as collateral for my loan.... oh so what if I do it'll be worth it I guess!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Excuse me... I think I'm lost on the road to nowhere....

As you all know I am now in my new flat. I have also mentioned it is gorgeous... I have a few problems like sky is not working yet and my internet is tempermental (stop muttering "let it go Clare" - I can't ok? Deal with it)but I am a little further away from work and therefore from town then I used to be. It is picturesque and quaint and most people will remark on what a lovely area it is! It is not unusual to regularly see a person riding their horse past my window and the sound of birds cheeping but PAUSE hang on just one second! I am not used to this!

I awake in the morning to the sound of these noises accompanied by the sweet sound of quite a busy road in front of the house. As you all know country roads mean one thing! Men driving like loonies, way to fast and swerving in and out. So I hear this noise and get out of bed cursing the world as I go and when I finally get in my car to get out on to that busy road I'm constantly dicing with death. The entrance to the road is a concealed entrance and has no visibility to see traffic coming either way. I should go back a step to say that the driveway is on a very tight corner so on maneouvering my way to get out of the gateway I'm then faced with a wall that is directly in front of me. With no power steering I huff and puff to move the wheel and reverse two inches, turn the wheel, go forward 2 inches, reverse two inches whilst turning the wheel and go forward again until I have cleared the entrance. This immediately leads me to being hot and bothered as I then risk my life to get onto the road. Honestly I am not exagerrating you cannot see a thing from either direction. This morning I decided to open my windows to see if I could hear a car and then nearly killed myself as my own heap of a car makes so much noise from the engine it drowned out the sound of oncoming vehicles! To be honest it's a game of russian roulette and it involves straining my neck and generally talking to myself saying "can I go, shall I go oh what the hell just close your eyes and go!!!" You can imagine my mood then by the time I get to work. To say that it is not worth even saying hi to me is an understatement. For future reference if you say hi at this point on my arrival I won't answer. Sorry I'm just not capable. Wait an hour and a latte and you may get a grunt... apart from that it's just not worth it. I'm being honest and I'm warning you.

Being Sunday yesterday I decided that I would have a little drive around to get to know the area. I was hoping to drive and come across a nearby shopping mall that no one had mentioned existed and maybe a big supermarket like Tesco which was open all hours of the day and night. The dreams in my head filled my heart with delight as I risked life and limb to get onto the main road. I drove aimlessly whistling to myself. I stayed straight first of all and then did a few right and left turns. Easy enough to remember on a small island? Twenty minutes later I realised that I probably should have bought camping equipment as I was totally lost. I didn't recognise anything as I drove through country lanes covered with trees and wondered what would happen if a spaceship lifted me up and took me and my car into space. No one would have seen me to know where I was. It was completely deserted. An hour and a half later I had discovered two things. One - I have no sense of direction whatsoever and in fact I was tempted just to leave all my possessions and rent a new flat and start again as I would probably never find my way back to my current home and Two - I live in the middle of nowhere! There is no shopping mall. No secret big supermarket. In fact there was not much of anything. How could I get constantly lost on an island that is so small? I always pretend that I am pretty good at directions. I often impress my mum with my ability to get places (though not when I offered to drive her and my auntie to my cousin's wedding and due to a few unfortunate turns on my part they ended up arriving half way through the ceremony! They were the first ones out though so this meant they were the first ones to the reception.... so don't think they had anything really to complain about!)

So here I am in the middle of nowhere. I realised whilst I was driving that probably one life skill that is pretty essential to be successful in life is to have a good sense of direction. I mean we are ruled by directions. Not just to get us from a to b but also in life. Where is this relationship going? What direction in your career are you taking? Answering direct questions. They are all about routes that are taken and they get us to where we need to be. The problem is my sense of direction does cause friction in my life. As I am constantly lost it means I take longer to get there than anyone else. This is whether I'm going to work, trying to grow up or in relationships. I put the time in. Everything takes longer than I'd expect and when I don't know the right directions I guess (with some confidence) normally taken the wrong route first. I do though eventually find my way and upon arrival I find the rest of the world has not only passed me by but they are waiting for me and slightly pissed off about my late arrival! But does it really matter how I get there? I don't arrive in style, I'm normally stressed and bedraggled, late and frowning but I make it. Isn't that what's important?

It is quite nice though living in the middle of nowhere. It's quite anonymous and makes me feel like I'm a little bit of a secret hiding away in my little flat... But to be a hermit like Howard Hughes I suspect it is more appealing if you have lots of good stuff to keep you amused like SKY TV for instance.... I have a need people! Until this need is met I will continue to moan! Or even internet that is reliable. Maybe even a nice car to drive round nowhere in! It's the little perks that make nowhere bearable surely?

And so as I get back on that road tomorrow... sorry IF I get back on that main road tomorrow... it really is that dangerous!... I know that the only direction I'll travel at 8 am is towards work but on the way home who knows? I will continue my quest to find something remotely civilised on this island... remotely modern... It's like being in a desert and seeing a mirage and praying it stays there by the time you get there... that's how I feel about shopping malls or supermarkets.... it looks like it's there... you can see it... you imagine getting out of your car and wandering the large expanse of aisles and aisles of various food, drink and if you are lucky books, clothing, stationary and DVDS but as you approach it disappears before your very eyes... You don't know what happened to it or why it is not there anymore but it's gone... God giveth and god taketh away... the problem is often it leaves us with being on the road to nowhere.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

I want my life back... sky tv I miss you!

Once again my poor blog has been neglected and I have probably lost all my readers in the process ... so for my brother and sister who are no doubt reading this and already know this information I'll bore you again.

In recent weeks I have moved out of my flat and into a new one. My new flat is a lot bigger than the previous one and upon viewing it I immediately decided that it would change my life. No more lying on the floor with my lap top plugged in with lots of wires. This time I was going to do it properly! This time I would have the ability to sit on my sofa (did I not mention it came with a sofa in the flat which is large and soft! -I wasn't aware that sofas could be soft and that you could lie out on them!) I moved in with excitement. The flat is a two storey one bedroom flat which also has a mezzanine floor (a posh word for a half floor which is kind of pointless but nice)in the living room. The first question I asked was "does the flat have sky tv?". As the landlady nodded I knew I had found a HOME!

I have now been living in this flat for 2 weeks and to be honest I'm confused. Don't get me wrong the flat is a dream but somehow I have managed to get myself in a situation where I am no longer lying on the floor next to my laptop but I'm sitting in a dark corner underneath the staircase to the mezzanine floor between the sofa and my tv. There is no room for me to lie down. There is honestly no room for anything. This is the only place I can put my lap top as I don't have wireless. This means that whilst I'm writing this my feet have gone to sleep as they are all caught up underneath my legs. I'm also surrounded by wires and I can't watch TV at the same time.

So has Sky changed my life for the better?... the answer is no. Why I hear you cry? Well my miniscule TV has been moved to my bedroom! Someone at work was selling a 26 inch TV for £10. I assumed it must be broken or else a gift from god. When I arrived to pick up the TV I realised that it weighed as much as a man with a serious obesity problem and as I lugged it down the stairs in high heels and put it in my car I realised that the chances of me getting it out of my car was unlikely. However I managed to get it out several days later after of course, I noticed that the car was struggling to go uphill from the weight of the TV in the back which I had cunningly covered in the back seat with a sheet. I did not want anyone breaking into my £160 car to steal my £10 TV! After getting the TV into the flat I whistled lightly as I prepared for Sky to immediately come on. In my head I started to plan my evening of watching MTV and american sitcoms. So why could I not get it to work? Why does god giveth and taketh away? Surely this was too unfair?

For the next 3 days I tried everything I could think of ... unplugging various leads, cords and plugging in various wires to anything I could find. I invested in a long plug extender thing so that I could have more than two things plugged in at once in the hope it would help with all the items I intended to plug into the area next to the TV (ie my laptop and stereo). But nothing... no sky. I could get up the menu titles but then it would say no signal. I contemplated moving out there and then but I am faced with reality - Sky and I are not meant to be together. I just don't understand it. We are perfect for each other. The mindless programme watching suits my numb brain perfectly and I long to spend quality time with cable tv!

Apart from that my new flat is lovely. I am still at the stage where everything is kept perfectly in place. I even bought new sheets for my bed to make it look extra nice! Ok so the bedroom is about quarter the size of my previous bedroom and therefore I feel a bit like I'm sleeping in a box... but still it looks nice.

Along with that I have no microwave which is a big problem for someone who is as lazy as I am. I wonder how anyone lived without a microwave before? Thank god I didn't live in a time before microwaves! And yet I somehow feel as if I'm living in that time zone now.

I have a place to park at my new flat too! This is an amazing feeling! I no longer have a ten minute walk to get to my car! I just look straight out my front door and there it is...the little car! And ok so I did tell everyone when I moved here I would get the bus to work to save money rather than paying for car parking near work and OK so, as of yet, I've not managed to get the bus as the temptation of hopping into my car and getting to work without having to deal with looking at other people on the way to work on a bus is just too appealing! I can't stand the thought of sitting on a bus listening to some woman (you know the kind the one with the incessant chatter? The one who names people you have never heard of and assumes the person she is talking to knows who she means. So she'll say "Pat is going to come and stay and I said to Julie you know you really must come and see me soon" and some poor sucker will be listening politely wishing she could find the off button for the obnoxious woman who just can't stop spouting out crap particularly as she has never met Pat or Julie or in fact this woman!) You see even the thought of it makes me irrate so why would I put myself through it! Why not just admit that I have not got the patience or the inclination to sit on a bus?... or even run for one as I'm sure to be on the brink of missing it every morning and I will then have to half heartedly run for it before giving up and deciding I may as well just be late for work again!So as long as my car continues running I will be in it on my way to work scowling but in the privacy of my own car!

And so I've realised that everywhere you move has it's own problems. After complaining for a year that I was always lying on the floor in front of my laptop I am now doing the unthinkable which is so much worse! I'm sitting upright at my laptop... it's like torture. Someone save me from a life without wireless and sky tv! I've done my time... give me my life back!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

I want to be Gym Bunny!

If you have the Rocky theme tune anywhere in your CD collection please insert and play Eye of the Tiger or the Rocky theme tune to the first few paragraphs

You are probably wondering why I've suggested that you listen to the Rocky anthems and it is for one reason only...your blogger is getting fit! Well I say getting fit I'm not necessarily getting fit but I have joined a gym! This is a huge feat for me as many of you will know my natural instinct is to be lazy. This means that every one single thing I do in life is an effort or a chore. However, in a bid not to become one of those people who is confined to their house as they are too large to get through the front door I have decided drastic action needs to be taken. I need to at least try to get a body that I'm remotely proud of! At age hmmm hmmm, ok at age 31 I've decided this may be my last chance!

So 2 weeks ago I found myself walking into my local gym red faced and exhausted just looking at the men pumping their pecks in the room nearest the reception desk and asking how to join up. Assuming that I would no doubt not be a member for a great deal of time I decided to join up for a month with my friend. This prevented any possibility of me being locked into a 12 month contract for a gym membership that I am unable to cancel and which then causes huge amounts of guilt every time I walk past the gym. Which as it happens would be a regular occurence as the gym is approximately 13 steps away from my office where I work and next door to the place that supplies my daily lattes! As I signed up for the month I immediately decided the lifting of the pen to fill in the relevant form was enough work and exercise for the first day and my friend and I decided we would go to the induction the following day! The next day arrived and I was exhausted just thinking about it let alone walking the 3 flights of stairs to the changing room but after an hour long induction on the various machines from rowing machines, tread mills to cross trainers with their complicated computer screens and about 45 buttons to play with per machine I had managed to get through the induction which ended with a series of stretches... which I should add hurt somewhat!

The following day dressed in our gym stuff (which is not flattering to anyone unless you are fit first! I will never understand why lycra is a necessity for every gym goer regardless of the cellulite creeping through!) my friend and I went to the room that we decided would be the room we went to each time. This room is perfect for every self conscious, body image hating, depressive gym goer as it is a room in semi darkness save for the small disco ball which flashes lights around the room in various colours. The best thing about this room is that it is dark which disguises any lumps and bumps and your red face that is glowing in the light of the disco ball.

I decided I would start with the bike. I optimistically got onto the bike and started to pedal. "This is not too bad at all" I said to myself as I watched the screens playing the latest euro pop dance anthems. Ok this is not my preferred choice of music but my normal choice is lazy and slow like my mood and therefore not exactly conducive to sweating and exercise! After 2 minutes of cycling I reached for my water and thought to myself "hmmm this is getting a little harder now but I must keep going". I glanced up at the screens focusing on the bikini clad bodies dancing around in front of me in the music videos. Just got to keep focused! I want a body like that! By minute 3 however I had decided that God hates me and that electric shocks were being pumped into the muscles in my limbs. My body started to cease up. I tried to mentally focus and tell myself the lines Rocky once used "NO PAIN, NO GAIN". I repeated this in my head a few times until even my brain was struggling for energy. I'm in hell! My chubby legs tried to continue the fluid motion of cycling but every repetition caused further pain and I wondered if I had actually got any fitness in my limbs at all! I tried another tact. I focused on the idea that my muscles were pushing through the chubbiness... itching to get out and be lean. But after 5 minutes I was losing the will to live and staggered from there to the cross-trainer whilst guzzling the whole bottle of water I had with me. I turned to look at one of the other girls who appeared to be wearing a pristine pink track suit with what I can only describe as the most perfectly formed pair of buns I had ever seen and her pony tail bobbing up and down whilst my sweat soaked hair stuck to my head. Without even a shortness of breath she bounced up and down on the cross trainer looking as though she was actually feeling no pain whatsoever and it was quite fun! Immediate thought... weirdo! What is wrong with her? She smiled at me. But my own lips were sticking to my teeth from all the exercise so I just about managed to raise an eyebrow before realising that even my eyebrows now hurt.

After 40 minutes of sheer hell and hatred welling up inside me I left the gym with my friend. We decided we would do our stretches in the main room with lights! How brave! As we arrived at the part of the gym where people do floor exercises and stretches we were greeted by a very flexible elastic band type of woman who was lying on the floor and throwing her legs over her head. We immediately looked at each other in horror and decided that we would do our pointless stretches in the dressing room.

Arriving at the dressing room we started to stretch out! God I sound like a gym bunny already! As we did so I noted from the corner of my eye someone walking out of the shower. Now don't get me wrong I am entirely comfortable with people loving themselves and feeling comfortable in their own skins but is it really necessary in gym changing rooms for women to leave the shower completely naked whilst holding their folded up towel in their hands rather than covering up their bodies? I tried to avert my eyes but as soon as I did this lady immediately stood directly in front of my eye view and proceeded to moisturise every part of her body. I mean every part. No crevice was left unmoist. I could not do anything other than to pretend to close my eyes whilst feeling the stretch! But even with my eyes closed I felt as though I had seen something I shouldn't have. A vivid image. I hadn't even seen my own body in that much detail and to be honest I wouldn't want to and yet here and now I had a full front, back and almost insides of a woman I had never met! Worst still who I would no doubt see again as it is such a small place in Jersey! Oh my God what if she came in one day and was one of my clients?

From that first visit to the gym I made a conscious effort not to change anywhere in the vicinity of "nakey women". I now go in to the changing rooms eyes half covered to protect them and walk into the toilet, lock the door, cover my eyes, put my stuff in the locker, cover my eyes and walk down the stairs to the safety of the dark room. I'm telling you now if I see Ms perfect buns naked I will probably shoot myself but for now I'm covering all my bases in the hope that I don't have to see anymore flesh and will for the foreseeable future cover my eyes until I least feel my buns are half as bulbous as they are now.

I have now been to the gym 6 times. It is getting marginally easier and I'm forcing myself to get my one month money's worth. I can honestly say I'll never love it but I want to be that person. I want to enjoy the gym and feel naturally energetic. I don't think it will ever happen but I desperately want to be a gym bunny!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Feeling the fear meets the deadline!

Dear Blog,

I apologise for neglecting you for so long... once again I have been busy. So what have I been doing that makes me so selfish and neglectful? Many things as it happens to all my doubters out there! Yes I may be lazy but sometimes just sometimes life forces me to reject my natural instinct to be lazy and do things! Working to deadlines is something I am used to and I'll be honest with you I am a last minute person! I can't help it! I try to be organised but I really am incapable of starting something until it is absolutely crucial. I'm a crammer of the most annoying kind! When I was a student it wasn't uncommon for me to be up all night working on an essay before I handed it in because (even though I had had 3 weeks to do this) I had not managed to start until the day before. Now some I realise find this an impossible way to live but for me I have to feel the fear, hear the clock ticking, feel the immense panic of not making the deadline and have the feeling that I'm going to fail in order to actually start let alone complete whatever it is that needs to be produced. It's not something I like about myself but it is who I am.

Which brings me to the current situation. I handed in my notice on my flat due to the lack of sky TV - I know I just can't let this go but it has been most traumatic living with 4 channels! But being me I handed in my notice without another flat to go to. I had 6 weeks to find somewhere and after the first 2 weeks I had not even opened the paper to find a flat. 3 weeks before I was due to leave my flat I half heartedly mentioned that I was looking (I say looking but I was putting it off until the crucial point!) for a flat and someone knew someone who was renting somewhere. I went to see it and took it on... Don't get me wrong it is a lovely flat but the downside it is further away from work. This means I will have to get up earlier and that I will probably be later each day for work than I already am. So the last few days have been spent putting off packing. This involves telling everyone I know how stressful moving is, thinking that I need to go to the shop and get some cardboard boxes and telling myself that "hmmm bet they don't have any!" and not actually standing up to go and ask. What's the point? They won't have any! Then I get teary and tell everyone I hate moving and that I've got so much to do I couldn't possibly go to a barbeque or any other social event. The reality is that I probably could have gone if I had been more organised but having decided today "right Clare you need to get moving" I then decided stage one of the big move was a little 2 hour snooze! I need to conserve my energy right? Anyway just thinking about it made me tired. And so when I finally started I did so with a great deal of huffing and puffing, standing with my hands on my hips wondering where to start, walking into each room and wondering how I got so much stuff, making myself a cup of tea and looking round the flat as I did so wondering where to start followed by going to the shop next door and asking for the boxes. Now you are probably wondering was I right? Were there no boxes?

Well I explained I was moving and asked if they had any boxes. The old lady "Beryl" to regular readers (looked teary eyed as I mentioned I was moving and I could actually hear her tightening her purse strings with the realisation that her main customer who regularly spends a fortune in there would not be providing her nest egg anymore)asked her male friend (new man who hangs out in the shop although I am not sure who he is or if he is being paid) to go out the back to get some boxes as I was moving house. Now tell me this. If someone said to you they were moving house would you think they probably need quite big boxes? Or would you do what he did and come out carrying two boxes the size of shoe boxes? Well as I glanced down at the boxes I wondered if actually even a pair of my shoes would fit in the boxes and made a mental note that I would have to use these boxes to pack up my mobile phone and some q tips because that is all it would fit I heard myself saying "Thank you so much! Have you got any others?" To which the response was "none spare". She probably uses all her big boxes to store all her money! So I wandered away with the pathetic boxes and arrived home disheartened. I would have to have another cup of tea before I started as I would need to contemplate how I intended to pack a one bedroom flat into two shoe boxes. Actually this contemplation turned out to be quite fruitful as I decided I would pack what I could in any suitcases I had as the thought of walking up the road to another shop (not far but still!) involved too much energy.

And so I began. I packed my 30 odd pairs of not quite right mediocre jeans into suitcases because even though they are not quite right maybe one day my body will completely change shape and they will look great! You just never know! Now as I had officially started packing I was then getting phone calls from family members asking me how it was going and by this time I was in the groove and irriatedly told them (but this time telling the truth!) I was far too busy to chat and repeated that I hated moving and generally moaned until they said they better let me go to carry on!And suprisingly I have managed to complete my bedroom and my sitting room. This meant that I then had to put the flat back to the way it was before I moved in. This involved taking the repulsive plug in electric fire with it's very own fake log top and putting it back in front of the fire place whilst removing my candles and dried flowers in vases, removing my modern pictures and replacing them with various oil paintings of fruit and empty bottles on a silky looking cloth (which I always think it a bit weird because I never have fruit lying round on a silky table cloth at various heights with a bottle of wine next to it but even weirder is that this painter insisted on putting a pumpkin next to the apples and oranges!) and just generally returning the flat to the old fogey den it was once was. Now I have to live in it like this until next weekend which makes me realise that I will probably end up going to the doctor for anti-depressants.

I have now spoken to my mum to get the necessary sympathy and cooing about how her poor daughter is having to do all this moving and how she wishes she could be there. I then proceeded to tell her (despite earlier announcing I couldn't face packing and how awful an experience it is) that actually I don't have much stuff after all to which she replied "Basically you have make up, clothes and books and not alot else. But then you do have rather alot of stuff in my spare room!" This always immediately gets my back up! Not because I sound rather pathetic that all my worldly possessions are make up I use, books I've read and clothes that don't fit me but that she insists that I always have alot of stuff at her house! I refuse to believe this. Yes it is true I have some stuff there but isn't that what you are supposed to have at your parents house. Shouldn't they be lovingly looking at their child possessions stroking them and thinking how lovely that they are in my house cluttering up my spare room as it reminds me that my darling daughter has once touched these items and how special she is? No? Well that's what I like to believe anyway instead I fear that she dislikes the fact that her tiny 2nd bedroom is full of my stuff! Let's bear in mind that as soon as I left home to move to university my mum left her house and moved into a tiny flat perhaps just to make sure I didn't move back home! As I tried to ignore the fact that my mum was suggesting my stuff was not a joy to her I then told her that once again I was far too busy to continue our chat and got back to the important cooing and sympathy before getting off the phone to make another cup of tea!

Tomorrow I will be packing up my kitchen and my bathroom and I have the added stress of no boxes, no newspaper to pack the breakables in and no motivation! And if I'm honest the real reason for this is I'm not moving till Saturday... I don't feel the fear and therefore the fact that I'm forcing myself to be organised is so unnatural that I can almost guarantee tomorrow I'll feel very snoozy and will convince himself that I did so much today it would be wrong to do more tomorrow! There is just no real incentive to be organised.....

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Levi Stress!

At the moment I am feeling particularly frustrated by life. Discontentment surrounds me. It's not just the everyday things like balancing your cheque book (which if I'm honest I can't really do as due to mismanaging my finances when I was young resulted in the bank taking away my cheque book and so all my adult life I've lived without one!) nor is it job stresses... although that is part of it! It is more to do with the lack of quality in life. As life gets more expensive and we all want more, more, more I still can't fathom why everything lacks a certain quality.

My main frustration involves things I buy. It seems to me that you work hard for your money and you see things you want. You crave it and work out how you are going to buy it. THEN YOU GET IT! Your life is complete and suddenly your self esteem is raised.... at least for the few minutes that it is brand spanking new and therefore perfect. It is only minutes later when you notice a fault that you feel disheartened and irritated by what only can be described as the crap quality.

For the last few months I have been looking for the perfect pair of jeans. You know the kind every once in a while you buy a pair of jeans that just fit right. They are like your second skin and you reach for them every day when you need to feel good about yourself. They have kept their colour, they seem to expand perfectly to your ever-increasing waist line and they just look better with age... a Sean Connery of jeans if you like. After a whole year of wearing them you notice they are starting to fray... but it adds to their character! And then the fatal starts to happen you realise that you need a replacement. Not just a replacement but an equivalent pair. Apart from they don't sell the exact ones anymore and so the quest starts. You search every shop, you enter hot changing rooms and squeeze yourself into the same size jeans ... only of course, the shops have changed their sizings and instead they are a lot tighter than before. Yet you know that they have changed their sizings because the old faithfuls still fit perfectly! And so it goes on the never ending quest for the next perfect jeans.

So I am now at this stage. I have been on this quest for some months now apart from the unthinkable has happened and there is a hole in the old faithfuls just below the bum cheek so I know I can't wear them (well I can but if I do I will have to write this blog from my prison cell as I will be arrested for exposing myself!)... but I can't throw them away either. As you fail to find the exact replica you find yourself buying various other jeans which are not quite perfect but which will see you through until your eureka moment when you find the new perfect replacement.

Which brings me to the current situation. I found a pair of jeans of mediocre quality but quite nice. They fit ok but they do that thing where they shrink in the wash each time so I then spend a lot of time pulling them up with all the strength in my upper arms, then pushing the pockets back in, then I start doing lunges round the room. Not for any exercise reason although thinking about it, it does count doesn't it? It's exercise right? It makes my heart race as the tightness of the jeans is unbearable at this stage and normally builds up a sweat and I immediately start feeling uncomfortable about how much tighter the jeans have got. Then I have to start trying to stretch the area round the knees which for some reason always crunkle up at the wrong part. And then the lunges continue because the crotch of the jeans has not gone back to the correct place and is hanging down mid thigh. And then just as I am ready and have managed to get the correct fitting the unthinkable happens! The zip ceases to work! Every time I pull it up it comes back down rapidly. It is either wear these jeans with a long top and therefore hide the fact that I'm flying low or just start searching for a different equally ill fitting pair of jeans to wear. One time I opted for the first and wore a long top but as I went through security at the airport and was then pulled over to be frisked I realised it was a bad idea as the woman patted down my legs and then was face to face with my open zip. As I tried to explain the jeans had broken she just gave me that slightly odd look of a mix of sympathy and being slightly frightened. And so now I tend to start looking for another pair of jeans to wear in my overflowing wardrobe of ill fitting ones! Those jeans were taken back to the shop and exchanged for a replica... because although they are only mediocre they would do until the day my life will change ... when I find a new pair of perfect jeans! I will not give up.

As I repeated the above a week later by lunging around the room etc after the new jeans were washed I finally reached the final stage when what should happen but the button then snapped off. Close to tears and feeling pretty frustrated that God insists on making my life with jeans so difficult I found myself back at the shop exchanging them whilst being looked at cynically because by now the shop assistant thinks I am in fact a bit of a con artist who is just wearing jeans, breaking them deliberately so I can get a new pair and she is also looking me up and down. I know what she's thinking! I can even hear her thoughts "Maybe you should just get a bigger size love". But the bigger size gapes at the back and then everytime I sit down the whole world sees my knickers which is a form of abuse on the public. It may work for Britney but I'll be honest I am not willing to risk it in normal every day life. In fact thong showing is equivalent to builders bums. It's not funny, it's not clever and it can't be comfortable.

So when the lady agreed to exchange the jeans I spotted another pair but this time a black pair. Hmmm interesting. Maybe I could get the perfect pair of black jeans! I arrived home and was suitably impressed with the fit. I will be able to tell more when they are washed but so far so good. That evening when I went out with friends I happily strode out in my new jeans spotting my reflection in the window and thinking maybe these were the ones that would solve all my problems of the jean area. How could I be so wrong? As I left the house I nearly tripped and fell as my heel on my shoe caught the back of the jeans and immediately created a hole in the hem of the jeans. Feeling fed up I perservered hoping that this would just give the jeans character. Unfortunately it then started to rain. As it did I noticed the colour of the jeans literally staining my feet (which were in open toe sandals for any foot fetish readers!). By the time I went to the toilet for the first time in the evening I noticed that the whole of the lower part of my body was now stained with black dye. This was fine as noone could see it but as the evening went on and the jeans were still slightly damp from the rain the dye was now leaking onto my fingers whenever I touched my jeans and staining my arms when I was not concentrating and had lent on arms on my knees. By the time I got home I looked like I had not had a wash in days and I have spent the whole day today scrubbing my skin to remove the staining and subsequently caused bruised feeling bright red skin all over my arms and legs.

So the quest is continuing and my life is far from complete. The quality is not how it used to be and like any other person who is lacking in their lives I will not give up on my journey to find the best jean partnership since cowboys and jeans. Lonely girl looking for fun, loyalty and a comfortable relationship seeks jeans, perfect fit and hardwearing with a good sense of humour. If you are out there jeans I'm looking for you... stay where you are I coming to get you!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Sunday Blues...

From the moment I woke up this morning... sorry I keep forgetting I have promised honesty from my blog... From the moment I woke up this afternoon (oh the shame!)I have had a niggling feeling. At first I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Had I forgotten something? What was this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach? I ran my fingers across my frown lines and realised that soon I would have to get those frown lines filled or half my fingers may get lost in them!What is it that was putting me in this mood that made me feel I was so angry I could break down a wall? (If only I had the energy to do so! Or more to the point if only I lived in some kind of warehouse where it didn't really matter if I broke down a wall because I could put one of the scary flapping plastic sheets up that Crockett and Tubbs always found in the warehouses that they went to when they were uncovering a drug gang in Miami Vice).

I got out of bed and made a hot cup of tea and sat down waiting for me to realise what it was that put me in such a foul mood. I make the point of saying it is a hot cup of tea for those of you out there who drink the putrid iced tea and call yourselves tea drinkers(you know who you are!). You wouldn't drink a boiling cup of Coke or Sprite why drink cold tea? I noticed a noise in my flat and nearly called out to find out what it was but realised it was my own groaning and then it hit me... It was SUNDAY! Which means tomorrow is Monday... which means the following;

1. Getting up early.
2. Wearing uncomfortable clothes.
3. Sitting at a desk all day rather than being in my preferred horizontal posture of lying down.
4. Answering calls and putting on a fake smile as taught by people giving those annoying courses about how to answer a phone and sound professional yet approachable.
5. Listening to peoples problems which don't get me wrong are very important to them but which have no relevance to the divorce proceedings I am preparing for them. "Yes I understand he was supposed to bring the dog back from his contact with the dog fed and he didn't and I think it is terrible that he took your dog to the dump and then the nearest swamp before bringing him home but really all I can do is write to his lawyer about this... no an injunction is not possible in these circumstances..."
6. Sit at a computer all day writing letters about equally irrelevant happenings and having to act like I care and this is extremely important and just generally quibbling over possessions that my client doesn't really want but doesn't want her husband to have!
7. Hearing the sound of the pigeons cooing in the air conditioning vent and wondering how many diseases I am catching from these pigeons throughout the day.
8. Listening to the inane phone conversations of work colleagues with their various husbands talking about irrelevant matters.

I could go on but the point of telling you all this is because when you work in open plan offices you learn the skill of blocking things out. You no longer feel self conscious when you make a personal call to shout at various electricity companies who just won't stop threatening to issue court proceedings against you for an account you never had with them. You quickly lose all your dignity and privacy as very soon every one in the office knows your habits. They know the way you work, the way you handle situations and how many times you go to the toilet each day. However, when you feel a bit unfocused (this happens oh I don't know about 100 times a week) or you just don't know where to start or what annoying person to speak to first you find that all of a sudden everyone's conversations and movements cannot be ignored. In fact they are magnified and amplified.

One particular day as I was busy preparing for a two day court hearing and feeling pretty stressed about the whole thing,I had had numerous conversations with a particular lady who worked in my office who insisted on coming over to my desk at various intervals to talk to me about unrelated matters. As I nodded in all the right places whilst she told me that her cat had pulled a rabbit into her hallway in the night and she woke up to a smeared carpet of rabbit remnants I tried to keep my coffee down at the thought of this. Yuk! I then started to rest my hands over my keyboard to show that I was poised for working and that this conversation was stopping me from doing that as I visualised her hallway in graphic details. (Think the film the Shining with the two twins in the hallway but no twins just a rabbit!)I was horrified when she told me that she had left the rabbit there and she would have to clean it up when she returned home because she didn't want to be late which completely amazed me because she always arrived about an hour early for work each day! Or so I'm told!I've never arrived that early and don't intend to!

When this particular colleague left my desk I returned to my work and tried to get the dead rabbit visions out of my mind. After what seemed like only a few minutes she was back beside my desk informing me that she didn't know what kind of car insurance she should get for her car. It turned out she had two cars but intended on selling one at a later date. However this brought up numerous dilemnas for her. Did she just insure one car? Did she get separate insurances? Should she try and get what is called "fleet insurance" to cover more than one car? I'll be honest with you I had no opinion then and I have no opinion on this subject now. But I will say this I never want to have another conversation like this in my life. I just didn't know what to say without screaming as so all I said was "hmmm I don't know that's a difficult one". I heard others in the office sniggering as they for some reason had no problem saying to her "I'm too busy to discuss this" and handing her things to do. I however would have to work my lunch hour to make up for the time I was wasting listening to this drivel.

After numerous returns by this woman and further discussions regarding her car insurance I was on the brink of crying out of pure frustration or just ringing security and asking them to escort her from the building or better still escort me!
It was soon lunchtime and I breathed a sigh of relief when she left to go and get her lunch. Within 10 minutes she was back. I tried to focus but she then insisted on ringing up various insurance companies and discussing at great length with them her dilemnas followed by repeating the various quotes she was getting before writing them down. Her voice seemed louder than normal and it was actually managing to fill my brain so I was unable to think. She was taking over my thoughts!

When her conversations were over I breathed a sigh of relief as she was silent for a few minutes before she returned to my desk. She then stood by me with a notepad and flicked through the pages informing me of the various quotes she had been given and repeating that she didn't know what to do. Again I nodded and told her it was a "difficult one and who knows what to do for the best". She returned to her desk again and I could hear her frantically texting. I'm guessing that she was texting her husband because ten seconds later he rang and a 20 minute loud conversation with her husband ensued regarding what the insurance companies had said. By the middle of this conversation I had stopped working and just stared at her back as her head bobbed up and down whilst she relayed the intricacies of car insurance to her husband. It wasn't until she put the phone down and I had put my fingers over my keyboard again to start work that I noticed she had not even put the phone receiver down. Oh no to save time she held the button and redialed the insurance companies to discuss things further after her discussions with her husband! At this point I decided that all I could do was pray for lightning to strike me. She had beaten me. I had lost the battle of sanity and could take no more.

And so it is days like this that torture me... days that make me want to retire early. And when I say early I mean tomorrow. These are the days that fill me with dread on a Sunday and make me lose the enjoyment of a day off because from the moment I wake up I realise that tomorrow I have to listen to all of this ... this .... well if I'm honest all of this crap! And I can't bear it. Perhaps I can ask about whether I can be given some headphones that they wear on gameshows when you are not allowed to hear the other persons answers... or better still a sound proof booth to sit in to work!

Did I mention I think I might be starting to hate work and people?! Well not all people but certainly some. So as I prepare for the week ahead I realise that it's not just Sunday blues but is now an extension into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday blues... but I do like Fridays... then again who doesn't?

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Shopping in my pyjamas and the business acumen of Beryl!

As some of you will know I live in Jersey in the Channel Islands. It's a pretty strange place to move to but one that people are always interested in. It suits my personality because it doesn't really know where it fits in. It's part of the United Kingdom but it doesn't consider itself British. It's actually closer to France than England. It's a small island that is quite stubborn in it's loneliness and self sufficiency. It's kind of like a place that really doesn't want to get involved. It has actually got involved when it didn't want to like when the Germans occupied it in the Second World War but generally speaking it stands alone and proud! I admire it for that reason! It's the James Dean of the United Kingdom. A bit of a rebel and proud to be so. It has it's own bank notes and it's own courts. It also has no tax on cars and there is a maximum speed of 40 miles an hour all over the island. So you can imagine it is not a very fast pace of life. There are tax breaks over here and you are likely to earn more gross salary anyway! On the other hand it has a rather weird system where you have to obtain a kind of licence to buy a property here. You can get it through your job or you can get it by living on the island for a mere 12 years! If you get it through your job when you leave you are stripped of your licence. You have basically deserted them so they wash their hands of you! Ah my loyalty point again! Yes Jersey gives you no loyalty if you give them none. Also if you get the licence through work your rent will still be more expensive. You have not deserved your right to very cheap rent and so the cost of living can be quite pricey.

Generally speaking it is a lovely place to live. You are surrounded by lovely beaches (I know it's a bit obvious as it's an island but I'm building a picture for you here!) The weather is a fraction better than the UK in that it doesn't rain every day and when the weather is nice it's like being on a fabulous holiday.

So how could I find this place frustrating? Well as you will all know I live without any sky TV due to my sky dish being ripped off my wall without notice (I'm sorry I need to let this go I know but it is imbedded in my soul as a tormented memory of a life I could have with sky tv!).I find it hard to move on sometimes!

Apart from that there is another thing that drives me to complete despair and this is the lack of supermarkets! How can a place in the world today function without a big supermarket? Basically all the grocery shops are little shops or expensive boutique style grocery stores. The little shop next to my apartment is owned by a lovely but nosey woman called Beryl. She must be about 80 years old and she works a 13 hour day every day! Her shop is about as expensive as Harrods. This shop has pretty much everything you could possibly need but at the most extorninate prices. She handwrites all the prices on the packaging and rings them up on her till with delight sometimes even commenting on how expensive her own stock is but in a way that suggests it is completely out of control! So when I recently paid £4.50 for the smallest block of cheese I have ever seen and which I could eat in 2 bites. (You should know I have a real problem with cheese in that I can never just buy a block and put it in my fridge! Oh no! Once I have cheese I go backwards and forwards throughout the evening wrapping and unwrapping the cheese as it gets smaller and smaller cutting bits off and shoving them into my mouth. As I watch it getting smaller I think to myself "I'll save that for tomorrow" but as I'm wrapping the last miniscule bit back up I then say to myself "Sod it there's no point leaving that tiny bit" and I shove it in my mouth and swiftly chuck the packaging in the bin feeling slightly guilty but at the same time wishing I had more!)Anyway as I bought this smallest block of cheese known to man for £4.50 from Beryl she smiled a slightly evil smile and said "My goodness cheese is so expensive these days!" I grunted yes knowing that the problem was it would be finished by the time I had managed to think about what I would use it for as I cut small portions off it to make it last. How does she do it and make a profit?!

When my brother came to see me he went into the shop to buy a few things which would normally cost £5 but came to £9 and when he handed her a £20 note Beryl gave him change for a £10 note. He questioned her about this but then gave in as he felt sorry for her as she seems so old and frail. That's how I think she makes her fortune apart from her overpriced goods. She plays on her cuteness but this is a canny old lady! I try to give her exact change now! It's for the best! It really wouldn't suprise me at all if she was actually a young entrepreneur dressed up as an old woman as a ploy to make her millions!

I used to walk past her shop on my way to and from work but she would then start noticing when I was late or early for work... sorry who am I kidding she noticed that I was late for work and started asking what time I started work. I already suffer from guilt. Why put myself through it? So now I walk the long way to work which makes me later than before but leaves only my work colleagues noticing my lateness! I don't need the woman who runs the little shop next door making me feel worse than I already do.

One particular day I went to the shop which is approximately 12 steps from my apartment and I was having a lazy Saturday. At 3pm I was still in my pyjamas which I had convinced myself actually look like jogging bottoms. At least I thought I could get away with it! As I entered the shop which was packed with queues of people spending their hard earned money in Beryl's shop she was happily ringing up people's purchases at a slow speed and managing to distract customers of the prices with her cute lonely old person's chit chat when she immediately said hello to me. The whole shop turned round to look at me in my pyjamas (that looked like jogging bottoms - they would never know- I probably looked like I'd just come back from the gym! Little did they know I chuckled inwardly to myself!) but this was the moment I realised that Beryl was no fool and maybe just a little bit of a spiteful woman when she stopped ringing up her expensive stock and said in a loud voice "You just got out of bed have you?" Everyone stared at me with a kind of pity and kind of shock! They obviously had all been out early enjoying their day off but each to their own. I enjoy snoozing! I looked behind me wishing that there was someone behind me who was blattantly in their stripy pyjamas or nightdress and slippers but no typically I was alone to brace this comment. So being me all I could think of was "No I've just been to the gym". The disbelieving looks met me as I looked down at the flip flops on my feet which were not exactly gym wear and realised that I might just might have sleepies in my eyes. I was certain that my hair had that"just got out of bed look" with a pony tail that had without a doubt been slept in! But I decided I had to be confident to pull this off. Beryl couldn't let it go though and said " you look like you only just got up!" I ignored her and to avoid the stares set about picking up various goods I didn't need at high prices to act like I was busily shopping and to distract myself and others from my embarrassment and obvious sleepy look! I realised what an amazing business acumen Beryl has! It was yet another way of getting me to spend more! And I did.

As I walked away with a bag of items... yes one bag!... which came to £34 and which didn't actually manage to give me more than one meal which actually went together I made a mental note to start a petition to get a big supermarket over here. One which opened 24 hours so it was not abnormal to see people in their pyjamas (that look like jogging bottoms, honestly they do!) and where all the staff are in a daze due to how boring their job is and won't recognise you from week to week. They don't care what you buy, what you are wearing or how much you spend they just want to get home so that they don't have to sit there ringing things through their tills.

As "Beryl" the young twenty something entrepreneur takes off his Beryl suit and gets into bed to count his money tonight I wish him luck because he must be making a fortune and anyway Jersey is not ready for big supermarkets as they like to support their own but for those of us who love the anonominity of big supermarkets please give us a break sometimes! Please put some bargains on your shelves especially for us so that we don't feel robbed everytime we go into your shop! It's not a good feeling and we hate thinking it because you are dressed as an old woman and it makes us feel like a nasty bully picking on an old lady albeit a very rich one probably!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

What a difference a blog makes!

To those of you who read my blog regularly you might be wondering where the hell I've been and if I am just one of those fickle bloggers who starts a blog and doesn't continue when I have had enough nice comments to feed my ego... You may think we were just getting to know her what's going on or you may think "thank bloody god she has finally stopped moaning!" But for those of you who genuinely wondered I have been a bit down in the dumps. I'll be honest with you this happens to me sometimes and I can't shake it... everything seems difficult and nothing is really that funny; it's more frustrating! However, when I get over my moodiness I can normally look back and laugh at how difficult life can be!

And no offence to people who read this blog but you have all been so nice to me and complimentary, it can be a pressure! I've even accused my brother and sister of creating loads of accounts and putting comments on under different names to make me feel good. Their response was basically "we have lives Clare .. we don't have the time or inclination to make up comments on your blog to make you feel good!" First of all my immediate reaction is "What? They have lives?! How did that happen?!" I remember the days when being the baby of the family (which I am!) meant you got the most attention and everyone humoured me for being the cute little one! Now I'm told they have lives! I guess it's ok ... I mean I'm happy for them that they have lives but I am a little more than concerned that my neice at the age of 6 has a better social life than me! Whenever I ring her she is either at one of her many friend's houses playing or the friend is at her house or she is attending one of the many birthday parties of her friends, or going to bop or brownies or doing something else which involves her socialising! This means that cool Auntie Clare is suddenly boring! She speaks to me on the phone and asks me what i'm doing and the only thing I can ever say is "I'm on the phone to you!" To which she says "What were you doing before that?" and more often than not I say watching TV and she groans and says "boring .... bye".

Now don't get me wrong it has been lovely hearing such kind comments from you all but I almost feel that I'm waiting for the time you all turn against me! I mean I almost feel that if you met me you might be disappointed. I'm not bubbly ... regular readers will know I'm a self confessed grumpy person! I'm sarcastic by nature and generally weary of life. Very close friends think I'm funny and my family think I'm hilarious but then they have to love me! But I'm certainly an acquired taste! I find big groups of people a nightmare and even though I have been to university and am known as being pretty opinionated...put me in a room with a group of people and my mind goes completely blank. Not just struggling to think of things to say but almost as if I have been struck down with a terrible disorder that makes me completely mute and not have a thought in my head! I recently saw a video of myself and was struck by how awkward I am and to be honest how weird my mannerisms are... I appear to do lots of funny hand movements which I am not conscious of but then I am also know for my ability to bend just the end of my finger tips while the rest of my fingers are completely straight! Now you may wonder how I ever discovered such a skill and how useful this is? All I can tell you is I was a kid once and all in all a bit of an oddball! I spent hours figuring out how to do this with all my fingers and now I try and tell people how useful it is for giving directions. All you have to do is say straight ahead and on the left and it only takes one finger and bending my finger tip. Ok I admit that this has had little use to date but one day it may make me my fortune. You just never know!

Basically what I'm saying is I started writing this blog on my brother's advice in order to tell the world (ok that may be going a little too far but to tell a few people!) my frustrations rather than letting it all build up. While I can laugh about things I also am very aware of the fact that I'm a stress head! Little things in life can make me throw a tantrum like a three year old and so as I watch my nephew and neices(all under the age of 6) throw their tantrums I completely feel their frustration. The difference between them and me is they will probably grow out of it! As my blog got going I started to get readers and I have been excited about my blog ever since! When I see the comments or notice the amount of profile views I immediately tell all my family because it is nice to know that people are listening. The pressure builds though when I realise that I am only as good as my last blog... that I may be writing about things that annoy people or may eventually come to a stage where the only readers are my family. Although that would be ok because I never expected anyone else to bother it still means that, well don't go getting all big headed now, but I would miss you all!

I've always felt in life that friendships are transitory to a certain extent. This is less by choice than circumstance. Friends have let me down many times. People have hurt me but I've learnt that you can live without them and sometimes you meet better people or sometimes worse! I always have this feeling that when people discover the real me they suddenly find plenty to criticise! What were my alluring or exciting attributes soon become my faults. And so there is always a part of me in every friendship where I wonder if I will be found out for the difficult person I can be. The great thing about this blog is that I haven't actually hidden that! I've not tried to give you all a good impression. Sorry that's a bit rude of me but I haven't! Not because I don't think you are worth it but because I wanted to be honest! You all by now know I'm moody and frustrated with life and yet I do still find life amusing for all it's difficulties.

I am learning with every year I get older that I can work on my faults but that fundamentally I am who I am. I can't change myself and there are parts of me that are funny or different. I don't fit the mould always. I'm not your typical lawyer. I will go the extra mile for anyone and I have total loyalty to people I care about. However I am learning to demand loyalty from others which can make life hard when my expectations are not met! So now you are probably all scared wondering what will happen when you don't read my blog! I demand loyalty I tell you! The reality is I am not going to be everyone's favourite person nor am I going to get a massive ego about people who care enough to read this. I appreciate all your support! I will however give you this promise today that I will keep my blog going and will continue to try and amuse you when I can. All I ask is that you bear with me on down days or when I have a sense of humour failure because it won't last long and I will do my best to continue to see life from the funny side! What a difference a blog makes!

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Reality sucks but it can be really funny!

I have to say that since starting to write this blog I have discovered a change in myself. I am more aware of what is happening in my life and how funny life sometimes is. In the midst of pain and suffering the world over there is always something to laugh about... most of the time!

In my family we embrace our faults and quirks. It makes us the people we are! For every quirk that you have you are that little bit more memorable and in a way more appealing to our family. When my brother and my sister and I are together we love to make fun of our parents. I don't know why but they are so very amusing! We tell each other what our Mum has said and we have a voice that we put on which sounds a bit like the Queen of England and in this voice she rolls her "rs". In our impression she says things like "the public house that he frequents" and so on. It makes me laugh every time. Even when we tell each other text messages that she has sent us we use this voice. For our Dad we have an american accent. He is actually from Dublin but spent years in America. So again when we talk about him we say things like "poor guy!" We don't do it for anyone else just our parents or at least not to my knowledge! My brother and sister may have a voice for me but they have never let on! Each of us is ridiculed lovingly for our quirks. Mine is for my moodiness and general bad temperedness. My sister is for her drama and moodiness. Some of the funniest times of my life are my sister as a teenager like when she was dragging her text books down the stairs in a big bin bag after her last exam even before she got the results and saying she would not need these anymore! My brother is just generally hilarious! He is one of those people with a Simpsons sense of humour. He is self critical and is the sort of person that always made you laugh in church. Mum often separated us as I could not contain my laughter when my brother would deliberately clap to songs ultra loudly and out of the beat of the rest of the church.

Even in our toughest times we are always able to find some dark humour in it. I can honestly say that some of the hardest times in my life are sources of great amusement to me. I'll give you an example. About 3 years ago I had a wisdom tooth removed in a rather barbaric way in a small town in Norfolk. It actually involved (I kid you not! Although there is always at least one story like this floating around!) the dentist injecting my gum, pulling on my tooth with my mouth wide open, realising that he didn't have enough leverage to remove it and actually putting his knee on the arm of the dentist chair as he removed my tooth using both hands and a pair of pliers whilst making the grunting noises of a body builder lifting an extra heavy weight. Approximately 4 minutes later I was shoved out the door having paid £120 for this, let's call it "procedure" with wadding covered in blood hanging out of my mouth. Sorry if any of you are squeamish!

By the time I arrived home I could barely stand but had been told by the dentist I would be allowed to go back to work the next day. The next day came and I was starting to resemble a chipmunk storing a winter's full of nuts in his cheek. I didn't go to work... it was not fair on the public! As the days went on my cheek got bigger and bigger until I eventually lost my chin to the swelling. Everyday by way of update and to get lots of sympathy I would send my mother a picture message on my phone with a suitably pained expression on my face (Come on! I'm not pathetic we all do it!) and she would immediately ring me and coo down the phone how much pain I must be in. Not to labour a point here but I was in pain and my mouth tasted like what I imagine a soldier's sock tastes of when he has been in the trenches solidly for 6 days!

After a week of my swollen face increasing in size daily and various trips to the doctor my mum came to stay with me to look after me. The doctor had told me I probably had a "little infection" and not to worry. A few days later I appeared to be slipping in and out of consciousness as my mother spoke to me. She then noticed a line of poison (Not sure if it actually was a line of poison? Is there such a thing?) travelling down from my cheek towards my heart... doesn't this sound dramatic? So my mum insisted we went to the hospital. When we arrived it was a smallish hospital in King's lynn and they told me I had a high temperature but there was nothing they could do for me so they would have to send me to another hospital 50 miles away. So with my elephant man face I got in the ambulance and we were driven to the hospital where I was admitted some 4 hours later.

As I laid in bed after they had informed me I had a massive abscess in my cheek under the stitches. Oh did I not mention that in the four minutes of my procedure the dentist also had time to stitch up my wound? (As an aside point this was not the first time I had been hosptialised with an abscess. I did have one before on my hip from an injection which involved me being in hosptial for three weeks. As if that wasn't bad enough I was put on a bowel ward where people were having their bowels removed. A young, rather good looking trainee doctor was sent to examine me and whilst doing his internal for 5 minutes unquestioned by me- think bowel ward and you'll get the drift- he said he couldn't feel the abscess so he thought it was gone... to which I replied "It's on my hip". He told me, red faced, it was always good to do an internal and that everything was fine down there.) Anyway at the hospital they removed some of the stitches from my gum and the doctor who wrote everything down on what I can only describe as a screwed up cocktail bar's napkin and scrunched it in his pocket, told me I now had septicemia. I finally got to the ward. This was not a particularly vibrant ward as I was the youngest person by about oh I don't know...60 years! Bearing in mind the fact that my aunt told my mum that my university graduation photo looked like a 12 year old graduating I looked even younger with my swollen cheek.

The following day my whole family arrived in force; my mum, sister, brother, brother-in-law and father. I knew by this time I was in serious trouble if they were all here! Nonetheless I enjoyed my sister and brother sitting on the bed making fun of my bulbous cheek. As the evening drew on though I was aware of the fact that I couldn't really follow their conversation and I felt like I was slipping down into the mattress.Not just in a "oh how comfortable way" but as though the mattress was sucking me into it. Weird huh? I was later told by my brother and sister that whilst they carried on chattering my eyes started to roll and they realised I was not at all well and they started to panic. In the only way brothers and sisters can do they reverted to times when we were younger and pretended everything was normal and continued to chatter. This technique was also employed when my brother was babysitting us one night and a man tried to break into our house. We huddled in front of the tv with the sound up trying to ignore what was going on!

As I laid in the hospital bed thinking I was possibly delirious I then remember my father coming to speak to me and sitting with my brother and sister. At this point he decided it was a good idea to ask his ailing lawyer daughter law questions! I know this is totally reasonable! I mean what an opportunity! I could barely focus as I tried to grasp exactly what he was saying. Ever trying to impress I tried to conjure up the thoughts in my brain of legal matters but realised that at that point I wasn't even sure I knew my own name! After trying to put together anything that resembled a sentence I decided on the only strategy I could think of and that was to try to cry... I say "try to" as I didn't even have the energy to do so and so whimpered that I did not think it was really the best time for me to give legal advice.

The next thing I remember in that hospital bed was being violently sick and my sister carrying sick bowls to me on a regular basis whilst my brother put cold towels on my neck and back. Where were the nurses I hear you ask? Oh they were too busy either chatting or having tea breaks or just generally ignoring the annoying young girl who was "pretending" to be sick! So when it was eventually announced that I was going to have to have an emergency operation to have my abscess removed and they might have to cut the side of my cheek to do so, my mum went into terror mode and was begging the doctor (yes the doctor of the crumpled up napkin fame!) not to cut my cheek unless it was the last resort.

Looking back now there are serious low points in my life but puking puss has to be the ultimate of low! However the hilariousness of my family dealing with it the only way they knew how by acting as if nothing was happening always makes me laugh! It always makes me giggle that faced with adversity they respond by laughing and joking. Apparently one of their funniest nights ever was whilst I was in surgery they were down in the lobby having not slept for 24 hours in hysterics as my Dad twirled in front of them remarking how thin he was! Oh how sorry I am I missed that! Typical!

Upon arriving back from surgery and very groggy I was not particularly sure if I was living in reality or not. By the time I was back on the ward and saw my concerned parents leering at me with concerned looks on their faces I decided I was in fact dead! I had to be. I had not seen these two people together since I was a teenager so there was only one answer. I was dead... was it heaven or hell? I wasn't entirely sure but I knew one thing they looked old and concerned and as it was dark in the ward apart from the light from the corridor they had a glow around them. In reality this was the glow from the corridor but in a dazed state I was convinced they were ghosts or angels of something out of this world. I looked up at them and immediately said "So i'm dead then?" In my head I was thinking this is so bloody typical! I'm going to die from having a wisdom tooth removed by a hic dentist! I haven't even had a chance to go to Hawaii(one of my dreams!) or find out what exactly my brother and sister had been laughing and joking about when I was incoherent!I would not be remembered for the face I had but as an overgrown chipmunk with no chin! It was just so unfair.

I was still not convinced that I was alive when my mum told me I was until the nurse came in to me when they left and told me off for worrying my "elderly parents". I remember laughing out loud and thinking to myself "elderly" god they are not even 60! What a joke! And I knew then that I had to be alive because they did seem old and I needed to tell my brother and sister about this! Once the pain kicked in from laughing I was sure... bloody typical I'm not dead, I'm alive and in pain!!!

So dark times in our lives are not necessarily funny. In fact, sometimes, they are quite tragic but we have laughed till we cried during those times. When we are ill something funny seems to just happen to lighten the mood like when my brother took my sister some soup up to her in bed as she was unwell and then because his mouth was watering with hunger dribbled into it as he passed it to her.

Sometimes you feel like you shouldn't be laughing which makes it all the funnier and that's how we get through it! Reality sucks but it can be really funny!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The embarrassment of an Ebay seller!

Now one of the really bizarre things about me is that I love to read... Ok so anyone reading this blog probably enjoys reading as well! But if the truth is told I can't live with out it! I spend all day long reading and writing letters in my job and then I come home and spend large amounts of time lying on the floor in front of my laptop with all its connecting wires reading things on the internet or thinking of what I can write on my blog! Now to some this may not seem too odd but if you add on top of all that reading the fact that I also read approximately 2 novels a week (sometimes more!) you probably are starting to see how ridiculous I am... I mean how do I find time to sustain relationships with anyone? How do I have friends? I could really freak you out and tell you in a low creepy voice that the characters in books are my friends but that is not the case! I promise! No, I, in fact, find the time to continue to talk to people and snooze my life away... The worrying thing is when I go to bed at night and see that I have 150 pages left of a book I think "right ok then I'm near the end I may as well finish it tonight". Recently when my Mum came to stay with me I told her proudly of the amount of books I read thinking she was bound to be impressed. After all this was the woman who taught me to read at 3, took me to the library regularly when I was little and encouraged me in spelling competitions. She too is a big reader. So with a big grin on my face I told her in a boastful voice "Do you know Mum I'm getting through about 2 novels a week at the moment" to which she looked at me with a concerned look on her face and replied "Have you told your doctor that?". Now don't get me wrong I adore my Mum but I didn't quite understand why I would share this particular information with my doctor who surely is more worried about hearing physical symptoms of illness and not my reading capabilities? However, my mum later explained that in fact she thought that amount of reading was over the top and I must be suffering from depression! I've never heard of reading as a symptom of a depressive illness but I will research this fact and I promise if I find out the answer is that my mother is right, I am concerned for myself and all of you and suspect we should set up a support group for all us depressed readers out there!

I'll be honest I am more likely to be depressed about what I see on the news then characters in a book although I often do get emotionally attached to some of the characters... (Stop adding up my symptoms ok? I promise I am not a lunatic nor am I suffering from a depressive disorder!). I do, of course, have my depressive moments, who doesn't? But let's not get depressive moments and my bad moods and irritation mixed up! Being grumpy is my personality and not an illness!!!

As I read so much I am constantly over run with a stupid amount of books. I live on my own so it doesn't particularly matter but I also try to keep my possessions down to a car load so that I can move with ease! Just a funny thing I do to ensure I can get away quick and with minimum effort. I'm not on the run and would never leave without warning but I hate moving with a passion and in the last few years seem to be constantly moving.

Anyway, in a bid to get rid of some of these books I discovered Ebay! I swear I have not been stuck in another time frame until recently, I just was a late starter when it came to the internet so I have only really just discovered it. I curse having to take pictures of all the books and think of interesting things to say about them in the listings but once it is done I spend many a happy moment clicking on and off my ebay summary to check if anyone is watching them.

After a few auctions I admit I started to get greedy and was soon hunting round for other items I could sell. At last I decided on various beauty products and a couple of pairs of shoes. One pair of shoes in particular were a lovely pair of strappy sandals (well I would say that as a seller- but actually they were quite nice!)I don't really know why I had never worn them but I hadn't and so I put them up for sale. I was thrilled when I noticed that I have 4 watchers and various questions asking about the shoes. On the 3rd day of the auction I got an email from someone saying that they liked the shoes but couldn't see them well enough in the photo. Immediately I downloaded another photo and sent it off. This time the person responded that they were lovely but couldn't understand how the straps worked. Could I put them on my feet and take a picture? Now to some of you who are a bit less trusting at this point you might have heard alarm bells but all I could see were the £ signs for the money I could make on these shoes if I sold them right! I was wearing my mankiest pair of pyjama bottoms and some very thermal socks and I took the socks off, rolled up the pyjama bottoms, put the shoe on (slightly cringing at the sock mark my sock had left indented into my leg) and started to take pictures. It took me quite a while as I had to crane my foot to the side so that I could see the reflection in the long mirror in my bedroom and then take the picture.

After much huffing and puffing I sent the pictures saying "this is the best I can do! Sorry!". I immediately got a response saying "Oh can you not just zoom in a little more so that I can see the detail? Ps Lovely toes". Now I know I probably should have done something differently at this point but I already knew I had probably gone too far. Was I imagining that this was a little weird? Was I just being unkind to feel uncomfortable? No! I would carry on and sell these shoes to this very nice, interested prospective buyer. I went through the same process again cursing myself that I had put my sock back on and so had another indent in my leg to match the one slightly higher up and made a note to self to get some less tight but warm socks! This time I spent ages taking photos of every conceivable angle, moving my foot in odd positions and taking pictures of every detail of the shoe in zoom. Finally after 40 minutes I returned to my laptop and emailed the photos with a short message " Sorry for the delay. This really is all I can do now. I am starting to feel embarrassed and am cringing at my feet! Please bid if you want them. Thanks for your interest!". Immediately I got a reply saying "Gorgeous. You have beautiful toes. I have had some great pleasure from your photos. Thank you so much but I never wanted the shoes. I would love to see more of you if your toes are anything to go by." At this point I wanted to cry. Not because of anything other than my own stupidity. Still I was reluctant to give up on the sale! I immediately emailed back "So you got me to go through all that so that you could see my feet. That is really unkind. (And finally)So you don't want the shoes then?" How pathetic am I? As you can see I always find it difficult to give up on things! To which I got a swift response "No. Sorry but thank you I've had a great night!"

As I watched in horror as the sale slipped out of my hands I also realised that this situation was very embarrassing. Yes I had naively fallen for it through my own greed but also because my feet have always been embarrassing!The realisation of the ridiculousness of my evening was hitting me hard. I imagined my work colleagues sitting at home having normal evenings whilst I was embarrassing myself taking pictures of my feet! They are chubby feet that are actually very wide and square. They have short stubby toes and I often think this is from squeezing myself into shoes that are too small. They are far from alluring! I called my mother who did the respectable thing and said "You poor thing! Oh you are far too trusting Clare, you really are! You must report him as he obviously has a sexual fetish!" and then I rang my sister who did what you would expect any self respecting older sister to do... she burst out laughing... immediately shouted to tell her husband the hilarity of my evening and then proceeded to make fun of the whole situation before remembering we weren't 14 anymore and said seriously, "Mum's right you probably should report him".

And so I did. I wasn't sure if it was necessary as I wasn't sure anyone else would be so stupid. I was reluctant to because I was embarrassed and yet I still did it in case it was the right thing to do. As I wrote my humiliating email to Ebay support I imagined an office full of people laughing their heads off at my misfortune and cringed some more. However I did get a notably sympathetic response and was told that I should get some support for this violation if I felt I needed it! I didn't. But I did learn a lesson about how easy it is to do things without thinking of the consequences in excitment to get a sale. I am pleased to report I did get a sale from a girl who just wanted the shoes and was not interested in my feet and she loved them! So in future I will not go to such lengths to sell things. If they want them, they want them... minimum effort! I haven't given up ebay but I concentrate more on the books then other things. So if the man who got great pleasure (oh yuk yuk yuk!!!) from my feet is out there reading this... (actually bit freaky if he is!) please delete the photos of my stubby feet from your inbox. The thought of finding my feet on a foot fetish website one day is awful! If I had known that they might be seen by others I undoubtedly would have painted my toe nails with fresh paint, got rid of the sock mark and maybe even added a toe ring! Be fair now!