Thursday, February 27, 2003

Are you selling something!?

See the thing on the sidebar saying "pop down the shops"? See how it has but a scanty couple of links? Want yours there too? Go on, t-shirt making folk-- sp am me. Now's your chance.
Yay! Stoatie got the all-clear! :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Cunning Plans.

I've been trying to formulate a sensible plan for when I get to Spain, but I can't be bothered. I'm sick of making sensible plans for the future. I've spent the last ten years making sensible plans for the future. They always go pear-shaped on me.

I think that when I commenced this blog I was up to Plan Q, having exhausted the rest of the alphabet. Plan Q was to complete a foundation year in electronics and then move on to a degree in electronics and music technology. What actually happened was the closure of the entire department, technicians who so busy listening to the footie and surfing the net that they would only come out and actually do their jobs if you threatened them with physical violence (okay if you're a strapping six-footer with muscles on your muscles, not so easy if you're 5'5" and just want to get your work done) lecturers who didn't give a tinker's cuss because they were all retiring or looking for new jobs, and my going partially deaf in one ear (not helpful when half your course relates to sound engineering). Also much amusing falling over and twitching, oh so funny.

Plan R related to my getting some kind of technical journalist type thing whilst picking up the missing credits part-time, but then the whole leaving the country thing came up.

So now I'm on Plan S. Plan S is as follows: Get some shitey wee job out in Barca, and be learning the Spanish whilst finishing off my degree via the OU. I will have this degree. Oh yes. Furthermore the writeyness will be large and unstoppable, for my novel is still trickling out in dribs and drabs and I shall soon be punting out another short for a certain webzine (fingers crossed).

In the abscence of anyone jumping up and down and begging to pay me to write for them, I'm hoping that I can find some really freaky job this time. Then I could write about my freaky job. They still make those schlock-horrors in Spain, right? I could go and be a gopher. I could write about being a gopher. That would be a Thing.

Ignore me. I'm all flu-ey and probably delirious.

(PS: Kernow, we all miss you at the Mudshow. We're sorry. Pleaaase come back!)

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Epilepsy Action: The Mozart Effect I'll belive it when the pretty coloulours tel meee it's 302€vt1Z;;@LLs, *thunk* *twitch*

(Via bagpusscoffeeshop.)

Being as how years of overindulgence, years of mental atrophy, and years of... well, just years of years have left me with a leaky collander where my BRANE should be, I'm terrible with b/days and stuff. Over the last few weeks, a number of excellent and hate-exempted folk have had a happy return, and I'd just like to wish them all a good'un.

Also one of my buddies is going in for a cancer test today :( . It sounds foul. Any magickal readers want to send Stoatie some good vibes? Ta!
Monkey does bunk from biodefence lab

The tiny rhesus macaque monkey was "being used for breeding purposes" and wasn't carring any diseases. %So that's all right then.%
What's in YOUR police file, kiddies?

Nothing? You sure?

(Via Happy Coconut)

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Another annoying autobiographical abeyance

So like I said the other day, I'm stopping working at the end of the month; next Wednesday, to be precice. I have mixed feelings about this. Mad sickness cover and lousy pay aside, my current job hasn't been so bad. It's relatively varied compared to assembly-line work*, and has a minimal gross-out factor compared to fishing used condoms out of bushes* or scrubbing dried-on shit out of toilets in a bail hostel.* My co-workers are fun to be around and my boss is, as bosses go, a joy to work for. On a scale of zero to ten, where zero is the hinge factory** and ten is writing my 15th bestselling novel while Nicholas Brendon gives me a neckrub, Alan Rickman pours me shots of cognac and my personal shopper, Eddie Izzard, picks up my latest tailor-made outfit from House of Harlot, it's about a three-and-a-half.

See, I really do need to take a month off to sort out the packing and the bills and liase with the removal guys and learn Spanish and so on, but I hate being out of work for any reason. I know I complain about the kind of jobs I have to do but deep down I'm very grateful to be in work at all.

Once you've experienced long-term unemployment, you fear it. Even a brief spell of enforced joblessness can be an utterly crushing experience, and I was on the jam roll for nearly three years (interspersed with periods of sick-ticket when my health packed up). That's three years of sending out as many as thirty applications in a week, only to get rejected or completely ignored. Three years of working through phone books, cold-calling potential employers. Three years of never having quite enough money. Three years of going up the job centre and finding out that every other card in the window is actually out of date. Three years of being told that I was too young, too old, too underqualified, too overqualified, or-- surprise!-- too inexperienced. Of waiting on tenterhooks for a giro that didn't come because someone lost a box of sign-on tickets, of pointless re-training for mickeymouse certificates that meant nothing, of getting my application forms sent back crossed through with red pen or torn into pieces, of boredom, of eating the same cheap crap every day, of insomnia, of ill-health, of crappy, insecure accomodation, of being told every day in a hundred small but important ways that I was lazy, stupid, and worthless. Oh yeah, and of being called Clive by electronics firms. Funnily enough, anything that reminds me of that time in my life depresses the hell out of me.

I still consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. I'm childless, so I never had to watch my kids go through that. I was young, so I never entirely lost hope. And I was able to make the move to London, where I finally found work and lived happily ever after cheers cheers cheers.

Hence the nagging discomfort at the thought of taking this time off; hence the increasing trepidation at the thought of trying to find work in Spain. It's natural that a person would be having those feelings. What it isn't is rational.

I can always get money. Got plenty of experience under my belt, and I'm not all niminy-piminy about doing dull or messy jobs. Barcalona is a big and vibrant city, with plentymuch opportunity for pint-pulling or floor-mopping. Ergo, no joblessness, and in the fullness of time I bet I can find something really fun and memorable to do for my dough. Even if I fetch up in the usual minimum-wage grind, it won't be a total loss as any job I do will present me with more opportunities to learn and practice my Spanish.

The other thing to bear in mind is this: Why, given that I was stuck on the dole, did I not do something exiting like sign up with the VSO? Because the bloke at the youth advice place said I couldn't. Why didn't I get my arse down the local uni and sign up for a foundation year? Because the people at my old tech said I couldn't. Why didn't I try and get an apprenticeship with a local firm? Because the people at the dole centre said I couldn't. Now, I can either sit around and go "Oh, those bad bad people who crushed my youthful ambitions! How thoughtless and rotten they were!" or I can look at the common factor here, which would be moi. Sure, I've been given cruddy advise by a number of egregious wankers in my life but I was the one who took that advice-- I was the one who sat and listened and did exactly what they said.

So I'm going to treat moving to Barca like being 17 all over again, and I'm going to try all the things I never tried back then, see if I can't wrangle myself that really cool job I've been hankering after. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't; the important thing is giving it a fair shot.

Why am I telling you all this? So that whatever age you are and whatever you want to do, you never just take someone's word for it when they tell you you can't do something. So that you give it a fair shot, so that you don't miss out on an opportunity by giving up before you've even started.

I hate you, but not even I hate you that much.

*Yes, I really do have to do stuff like that for a living. Incidentally, I had probably just come home from doing one of those things the last time one of you twerps accused me of browbeating you with my superior education. You accused the cleaning lady of intellectual elitism. You are funny and I laugh at you. Loud and long.

**It's been brought to my attention that when I talk about the whole hinge factory thing, some people assume that it's a Schindler's List reference and that I'm comparing my situation to that of a Holocaust survivor, leading them to the inevitable conclusion that I'm a really big fuckwit. The truth is that I worked in a hinge factory. When I talk about the hinge factory it's not a metaphor. It's a factory. That makes hinges. Where I worked.

If I was comparing myself to a Holocaust survivor, I would indeed be the biggest fuckwit in the entire known universe.

I have a problem: my favourite coat is getting really manky. I mean, really really manky, mankier than even I can put up with.

Thing is: it's a full length PVC trenchcoat. I just love the way those words roll off the tongue, don't you? Full. Length. PVC. Trenchcoat. I got my Full. Length. PVC. Trenchcoat. at a thrift store for five quid. No, I'm just telling you that to torment you-- it's relevant! Really! Sort of. A bit relevant. Well, okay, it's completely irrelevant, I just enjoy tormenting you all.

I suck at ordinary shopping, but I rock at op-shopping. The trouble with buying stuff from thrift stores, even really cool stuff at prices that make people hugely and disgustingly envious, is that someone else has already had a lot of the wear out of them. The coat in question needed a lot of work when I bought it: bare patches had to be disguised with acrylic paint, buttons had to be sewn on, the lining had to be replaced with an old purple satin dressing-gown. Since I wear it all the time, it's now looking distinctly threadbare. I don't think the acrylic paint trick is going to work this time. I should really chuck it out and replace it, but there's just no way I am ever going to afford anything nearly as groovy. Gaffertape isn't really durable enough for outerware, and patching with PVC or leather is likely to give me librarian elbows (not the look I was going for).

So... I dunno. I'm thinking of sewing a textured fabric over the bald patches, like lace or this fine crochet-type stuff I've got lying around, and then maybe going over that with the acrylic to give it durability. I could just ditch the coat altogether and go back to my trusty BLJ, but I'd feel bereft.

Friday, February 21, 2003


So there's this bloke, right? And this bloke used to be on this BB quite a lot. He gave Your Humble Narratrix some much-needed advice and general encouragement with the writey stuff. Which was, y'know, cool, even though he's probably come to regret it. Then this bloke went through a rough patch, and there was some out-of-character spikeyness, followed by a prolonged abscence from said BB. So I send him a PM; no response. Which might mean nothing because hey, not always very good at responding to PMs myself.

Now, this bloke's abscence has been noticed and remarked upon by others, but nobody has said anything to indicate that they know what, if anything, is going on. And I don't want to make a big fuss, because there might be a stroppy feudy Thing going on, and you know what happens if you go poking a Thing.

In the unlikely event that this guy is reading this, it would be nice to get a Yo. Even if it's accompanied by a "leave me the hell alone, I've gone to a remote desert island to paint rocks!"

Thursday, February 20, 2003

You're staring.

You know you shouldn't be doing this.

Openly, amongst freinds, you mock me. You've flamed me in cyberspace, dissed me in meatsville. You complain about my oversensitivity, my PC gone maaaad Feminazi politics; you speculate hilariously on the state of my lovelife. You tell your mates (and yourselves) how worthless my opinions are; how many typos and HTML glitches you counted in the last entry.

Yet you still come back, don't you? You've tried to stop. You've told yourselves, over and over again, that you really don't care what I think, what I say. You've told yourselves you won't spare me another minute of your time, won't give me the satisfaction of one more hit on my counter. You've erased me from your bookmarks time and again. It doesn't help. The URL is graven into your tiny, rancid minds in letters of flame. No matter how hard you try you can't quite prevent yourselves from taking just one more tiny peek.

Your mouth is hanging open ju-ust a little; there's a glazed quality to your eyes. You don't realise it, but your breath is coming in short, silent hitches. Your muscles tense up and the sound of a door opening somewhere else in the building makes you leap out of your skin. You twitch guiltily at the thought that someone might catch you reading this. You couldn't be any more strung out if you were actually choking your chickens.

But that's what this is, isn't it? That's what you come here for.

Hate porn.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I'm becoming increasingly fucked off with the idea that because I'm anti-war, I must be pro-Saddam and pro-Ba'athist. However, it's obvious that if you're anti-war, you ought to be offering some sort of reasonable alternative to invading Iraq. So have some linkage. More as I read it. Feel free to bung your suggestions in the comments box.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Jonathan Freedland: What would you suggest?

As you may or may not have noticed, I've been increasing the linkage in my sidebar. There are lots of nice little looker-uppers there now, so you dog-oglers have even less of an excuse than usual to not sod off and do something more useful instead of wallowing in the bile.

Among other things, I've included a couple of Word of the Day sites. I like Word of the Day sites. They are fun. I don't expect everyone around me to have huge ginormous vocabularies leaking out of their ears but having heard some people who (I think) read this blog lamenting their lack of word power, I thought that some of you might fancy a way to give your onboard dictionary a quick boost. When you've found a word you like, get the pronunciation and sp. down and start using it as soon as possible so that it sticks.

There's a high probability that some git will turn round and be all "huh, that was Word of the Day on whenever, and you read Word of the Day sites!" The implication here is that the git has the word for everso long and is way cleverer than you; that furthermore you're a thicko to not have known that word in the first place and your attempts to better yourself are a huge doomed joke. Because you're so thick, see? A big thicky thicko, that's you!

Ignore them. They are gits. Spill coffee on them or something.


I will stop using mediocrity as a yardstick.
I will stop using mediocrity as a yardstick.
I will stop using mediocrity as a yardstick.
I will stop using mediocrity as a yardstick.
I will stop using mediocrity as a yardstick.
I will stop using mediocrity as a yardstick.
I will stop using mediocrity as a yardstick.
I will stop using mediocrity as a yardstick.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Day after day

I have got to get back into updating this thing regularly. This once-a-week business is getting pathetic. And my sidebar is stale; I've had pretty much the same fiddling little handful of news links in place for almost a year now. Keep meaning to add some more, but I never get round to it. Plus I ought to include some general reference links for you chattering zanies in the vain hope that you might one day bother to fill the vacuum in between your pink'n'shell-likes;, Wikipedia, that kind of thing. Got to sort that out. I'm jacking the job in at the end of the month, so maybe I'll find time in between all the packing to fix dog carcass up a bit.

So what have I been doing? Okay, on Thursday I got a Seichim attunement to go with my standard-issue Reiki. I don't know that much about it, but from what I can worlk out it's basically the same sort of deal as the basic Reiki (big mysterious healing energy thing uses you as an interdimensional extension cord) only based on this, uhhh, ancient Egyptian wisdom that someone "channelled" *cough*. (I'm not saying it's all made up and fake and worthless, far from it; just that I don't think the people who get these things get them from where they think they're getting them.)

The Seichim attunement was a bit weird. The room we use for the class is always overheated but I got really cold, a bone-deep chill that made me feel like I'd never get warm again. It was as if I was submerged in running water. Apparently this is a good thing. It means that something you don't need anymore is leaving you, some energy is being banished. (Damn, I always choke when I use the e-word in this kind of context. I'm trying to see it as a model that we're using to visualize something that we don't properly understand.) The healing went well; my hands were drawn to my client's upper chest (I was working on the teacher) and she informent me afterwards that she had indeed been coming down with a chest infection and had felt the area warm up. One of the other clients dropped off to sleep during his sesh and woke up from a falling dream with such a start that he scared the hell out of his healer-- not to mention the rest of the class.

On Friday myself and Lurid travelled down to Dublin, as planned. The coach journey took about 5 hours, but it wasn't too bad. I went over my Spanish homework, then just dozed off for a while. We stayed over with an old mate from London who I haven't seen in ages. It was great to catch up. She finds herself in a similar position as me; same age, stuck in a crappy minimum-wage shop-job, trying to scrape a living and build a career at the same time. It was great just getting pissed together and griping about our respective stores-- I feel like much less of a loser now. And fuck, she's just such a cool and amazing person to hang out with anyhow.

On Saturday there was the anti-war demo. I was expecting to be part of a gathering of a couple of thousand people; the actual turnout was more like 50 or 60,000. At first it was a bit crappy, because there were all these passionate, determined people, many of whom obviously dedicated their lives to this kind of thing, and I was all why-bothery and apathetic. I felt like a walking corpse surrounded by the living.

"No to Oil War!"
"Bush go home!"
"Give peace a chance!"
"One, two, three, four-- we don't want your fucking war!"
"Braaaaiiiiiinnnnnnnnssssss... waaaaannnt braaaaiiiiiiinnnnnssss!"

As time wore on though, the scale of the protest became clear. All sorts of people, many of them obvious march virgins, had turned out. The centre of Dublin was at a virtual standstill. Myself and L.A. shuffled along for a few hours, eventually calling it a day and going to check out some news sites in an internet caff. My apathy took a much-deserved kicking as I read the about the sheer number of people who'd turned out against the war. I grabbed a few tracts, even got some bumf about forthcoming demonstrations; I'm keen to take part in a demo at Shannon airport in a couple of weeks, but I want to find out more about the organizers first.

Friday, February 14, 2003


Going to Dublin tomorrow (well, today, strictly speaking, since it's after midnight). Originally I was just going there to hook up with a mate of mine, but as luck would have it the anti-war demo is on the Saturday.

I'm going on the march, I am. Maybe fix up a placard. Meet up with the crowd, become part of it, show my face, make a stand. I just can't recall why. It doesn't matter what I say, what I do; the futility of it all feels like a lead weight nestling in my gut, but somehow this is a gesture I'm compelled to perfom.

I want peace.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Stop reading this blog.

Are you back again? Can't bloody leave it alone, can you? Can't just take a deep breath, delete the URL from your bookmarks, and read something less upsetting to your delicate artistic sensibilities, can you? Oh, no. That would be too healthy. No, you've got to come back here, day after day. Get lives! All of you! 99% of all Weblogs are crap anyway! This one doesn't even have any comedy drug anecdotes in it! If you really can't stand the thought of dragging your collective backside out into the world then at least go and read something different for once. Go and read a news site, find a new hobby, or look at pictures of bloody fluffy kittens-- anything.

Puppies are cute. You could look at some puppies.

I see you're still here.


Friday, February 07, 2003

Doctor brands his university's initials on woman's uterus.

No, really. I don't know what's worse: the fact that he burned initials onto someone's internal organ, or the fact that he did this knowing full well that the whole ghastly prank was being commited to video, or that he then went ahead and gave the video to the woman and her husband to watch. What the hell did he think they were going to do?

"Oh, look, sweetie-- that must be a heated surgical instument being applied to the wall of your soon-to-be-removed womb."
"Hey, yeah! What's he doing now?"
"Looks almost like he's... ha, ha! Look, darling, he's writing on your uterus!"
"Tee, hee! He is! He's monogramming it! That is so COOL!"
"Yes. That's really lightened the whole procedure up for us, hasn't it?"
"Yeah! Who knew that having a risky and life-altering surgical procedure could be so funny? Let's put him on our Christmas card list!"

Arrogant git.

Went for a drive today with a couple of mates, out into the wilds of west Cork. First we stopped to check out Drombeg stone circle It was interesting, very powerful atmos.

From the link above: "About 40m (44yds) to the west of the circle are the remains of two stone-built prehistoric huts joined by a common doorway. The smaller has a cooking place 1.5 x 1.1m (5ft x 3ft 6in) on its eastern side; this was still in use in the 5th century AD. This prehistoric kitchen had a flagged trough in which water was boiled by dropping red-hot stones into it... 70 or more gallons of water could be boiled for almost three hours."

Call me arrogant, but I'm not at all convinced by the idea that the nearby structures were built as dwellings. For a start, they seem a bit too close to the circle itself; from what I know about this kind of thing (admittedly not a huge amount), people didn't live in very close proximity to sacred sites like this and I've got a feeling that people in this neck of the woods still pretty much nomadic and hunter-gatherery 5000 years ago. Besides which, one of the huts is built round a natural spring. For my money, natural spring + nearby stone circle = sacred well. I'm thinking these buildings would have been places of communal worship. The kitchen might have been a steamhouse, or have been used for cooking ritual meals. (All this is just the noodley theorising of someone with only a sketchy knowledge of the subject, I hasten to add.)

I like visiting these sites. There's something eerie about being in a place like that, looking at things that were created by men and women living thousands of years ago. I'm planning to look into prehistoric sites in Spain before I go out there.

Anyhow, it was a grand day out. We stopped off in Leap (pronounced Lep) and sort of commandeered a veggie'n'wholefood shop that served snacks. We had a nice spread of goat's cheese, soda-bread, oatcakes, olives and various bits and bobs, then we drove on to the coast. It was raining and cold, and I'd neglected to bring a hat, but it was still great to stand and look out over the sea. Got to admit, County Cork has some lovely veiws.

I need to do this kind of thing more. Living in London, I sort of bought into the mindset that you have to be being entertained all the time to be happy; that you have to be pubbing'n'clubbing every spare second, that somewhere a better time is being had than you're having and you have to chase after it NOW! FASTER! FASTER! And I really don't. I never have. Not planning to give up the social whirl and become a hermit just yet, y'know, but aware of the need to strike some kind of balance.

Wonder if there's a Spanish equivalent to Caeder Idris? I always wanted to do that "spend the night up there and wake up mad or a poet" thing, but I never got around to it while I was still in the UK. Hmmm.

Jer-RY! Jer-RY! Jer-RY!

Ah, there's only one thing better than making your very own Jerry Springer show, and that's making your very own Jerry Springer show using characters from an obscure British science fiction programme.

JERRY: Tonight on the Jerry Springer show we have a particularly interesting episode! Kerr Avon is here to finally confess something to a long-time friend of his Roj Blake. So everyone please put your hands together for Kerr Avon!

Jerry: Okay, now Kerr Avon you're here to talk about someone aren't you?

You: Yes.

Jerry: And what is this other persons name?

You: Servelan.

The crowd SQUEALS with delight.

Jerry: Okay, okay, well Servelan, is actually here tonight...

The crowd SQUEALS once more.

Jerry: But first we have a surprise for you Kerr Avon, because as it happens there is someone else here to see YOU! So let's bring out... Orac!

You: What the HELL!!!

Out of nowhere you pull out a Hoffel's radiation. Orac reaches for the bulkhead. Out of the shadows Jenna appears.

Jenna: Wait everybody wait!

Jerry: Yes, everybody let's just calm down for a moment here. First tell us why you're here Orac.

Orac: Because I saw Kerr Avon and Jenna making out at deck of the Liberator!

The crowd goes absolutely INSANE.

Jenna: That's a lie! I was home watching Gardener's World!

Jerry: (raising his hands) Hold on, hold on, I'm missing the problem here...what exactly IS the problem Orac?

Orac: Because I've recently been taking part in a sexual relationship with Roj Blake who has recently become engaged to Jenna.

The crowd hollers, screams and whoops in an orchestra of orgasmic excitement.

Jerry: Okay, okay. Well why don't we bring Roj Blake out here because Kerr Avon had something that they needed to tell them anyway about... Servelan that's right!

Roj Blake: (enters onto stage and saunters over towards you) What's the deal? I saw you outside getting it on with Servelan! You know I'm how I feel about Servelan!.

Jenna: (screams) What? Why the hell did you ask me to marry you if you're in love with Servelan!

Roj Blake: Because I knew that I could never have Servelan. But Kerr Avon promised me that they'd never hook up out of respect for my feelings!

Jenna: What about respect for MY feelings!

Orac walks suddenly across the stage, embracing Roj Blake.

Orac: Don't worry baby, you don't need any of them now that you have me.

Again the crowd SQUEALS.

Jenna: Oh my God! Are you SICK!

Jenna runs across the room and wraps their arms around you tightly.

Jenna: Kerr Avon take me away from all of this!

You: You see? That's the thing...I'm...well, I'm married...

The crowd does its bit.

Jenna: Married?

You nod.

Jenna: Who the hell are you married to? When...when did this happen? I don't understand!

You: The other day. In Vegas. I'm married to Servelan.

Roj Blake: (screaming) WHAT!!!

Jerry: (grinning widely, makes an enquiry) So...did you have a nice wedding night?

Servelan: (stepping back out onto center stage) Well we had sex thirteen times if that's what you mean.

The crowd squeals.

Jerry: Okay, okay. So let me get this all straight... Kerr Avon is married to Servelan who Roj Blake has secretly been in love with for years and years. Now Roj Blake has recently become engaged to Jenna who was recently spotted kissing Kerr Avon in the deck of the Liberator. Now on top of this Orac has just admitted to being in a sexual relationship with Roj Blake.

Servelan: That's right Jerry.

Jerry: (looking sternly into the camera) It is times like these that one has to wonder, whether or not these people are aware that they are quite clinically insane. Perhaps we should be spending more on psychiatric health funds in this country, perhaps we should just ban Vegas to cut down on impulse marriages. Perhaps I should get a new job. Thanks for watching folks it's been great but for's goodnight.

Queue cheesy background music and fade to black.

(Of course, this is all Solonor's fault.)

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Remain calm.

I'm still here. Had a lot on my plate the last few days; mostly this big messy novelizing jag. Still got the sucky dialogue problem, but I think I've licked the reality vs fantasy problem.

Went to this big do the other night with Lurid. It was this maths-related thing at a hotel and was all Formal and stuff, so I wandered around some of Cork's more modestly priced clothing outlets shopping for something Formal to wear. I was thinking along the lines of a velvet trouser suit or maybe some sort of evening gown affair, but apparently there's been a moratorium on semi-wearable, demi-formal clobber that I'd be seen dead in. The suits were all nasty crispy polycotton with shoulderpads. (Since I already have shoulders, the logic of sticking an extra pair of fake ones in my jacket escapes me.) There were a few evening dresses left on sale, strange, sad relics of the long-gone party season. The predominant colours were pistachio, pale orange and bubblegum pink, with an option on all three in sofa-sized florals. I vetoed these on the grounds of a) public decency and b) my not being Margot Ledbetter. After exhausting the varied delights of Mister Thriftee's House O Polyester and Captain Crimplene's Chiffon Shack, I got fed up with the whole idea and blew 30 Euros on a black combatty looking skirt with about a gazzilion pockets and lots of pointless but hugely stylish dangly straps. It's about as formal as a bunfight. (You will have gathered by now that I really suck at shopping.)

'Part from that one night of debauchery it's been work, Spanish, Reiki, and novel. And I'm not telling you about the novel because I don't trust you.

Been looking at floorplans of the flat I'll be living in when we finally move to Spain. Damn, I want to be in Barcalona, now. It's not that I don't like Cork. I've enjoyed a lot of things about living here; the people are cool, and having three pubs on my doorstep is a definate plus. But I just want this interludey thing to be over; I want to get on to the next bit. Ah well-- only a few more weeks...