Friday, 29 June 2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...hopefully

I have been off the radar for a long time now, I know that.  A lot of things came up, all at once and I let this blog lapse, as a result of changing priorities.  I apologise for the terrible gap this must have left in your life.  But it's ok, you can stop crying now.  I'm back and I'm going to try my best to stay. 

So I'll try and fill in the gaps over the next few weeks, starting with the ten days I spent in the South of France with my mum and her partner, helping my aunt and her partner re-build a house.  By helping, I mean that for the most part I ensured that I didn't get in the way while they got on and re-built the house.  Nothing worse than having someone under your feet while you're trying to re-build a house, right?  I'm very considerate that way.

The house is in the middle of nowhere.  Literally.  It's a ten minute drive to the nearest post box.  I didn't really know what I was getting into when I signed up for going.  I was kinda sold it as a free holiday in the South of France, with a little light labour thrown in.  "Cool," I thought.  Sounds good. 

Then I found out that the house was in slightly worse nick that I'd been led to believe.  As in, there were no rooms that were habitable for us to stay in.  Ok, maybe there was one in the loft but, BUT, they did have this small problem of a loir infestation in that room.  'But that's ok!  Really!  Yes, they are small and mouse-like, and yes, they do make a hell of a nocturnal, squeaky racket and yes, they do have a tendency to run across your face in the middle of the night!  But they're quite cute really.  Really.'

Errrrrrrrrrrr......... Right.

So, yay.  I was going to stay in a shack for ten days, with small mouse-like squirrels trying to eat my eyes out in the middle of the night.  Oh, and did I mention that apparently there was no internal plumbing.  As in NO TOILET.   Oh hells bells.  I should be receiving payment for signing up for this.  THIS IS SO NOT WHAT I WAS LED TO BELIEVE IT WOULD BE.  Crap.

 Nevertheless, let it never be said that I am not fearless and intrepid, or willing to turn down a free holiday, and so off we set to experience what could be the worst holiday of my life.  At least it would be sunny.  It was late April after all.  It would be sunny, right?



It was not. 

It rained for the entire ten days.  Actually, come to think of it, it hasn't really stopped raining since.

However, on the upside, when we got there, it turned out that the glass was missing from the window in the upstairs loft room.  You may be confused as to why this was an upside.  Well, please try to keep up, you're holding up the whole class.  Obviously it is an upside because it meant that a barn owl had flown through the window and eaten all the loirs!  Yesssssssss!  My eyes were safe. They were grateful. 

But the loft room was still way too dingy for me.  I wasn't sleeping up there.  There was only one place in the whole house I was willing to stay and that was on the cosy sofa in the living room, next to the fire.  Does that mean that I'm in everyone's way in the morning?  Oh well.  Sorry folks.  Life isn't always fair.  Mum and her bloke ended up sleeping in the loft room.  I mean, yes, the roof leaked, but that was ok because they pitched a tent inside the room and screwed the guy ropes straight into the floor!  Did I mention it was a bit rustic?!

Still, it was very pretty and french looking on the outside (taken by dashing outside in a rare moment of dry weather):

You can see the missing window!

It was not as charming inside.  You'll experience the joy of that in the next installment.  It's worth the wait.  Trust me!


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ha ha ha ha!!

Let me start by saying this:  You know those lovely blogs where the interesting writing is cleverly interspersed with beautiful photos that make you want the life of the person posting them?  Yeah?  Well this blog isn't like that.   Not remotely.  Sorry.  I am who I am!  You have been warned.  :)

So, with that out of the way, you remember that I promised you that I would publish my photos from my Holga, as and when I had them developed?  Well, folks, the time has come. 

I would like to make the point that I never promised they would be good!

What follows is a collection that I have giving the inspired title of:

"Blurry Spring"

And now for your viewing pleasure, I introduce a stunning collection I have called:

"Snow.  With Alpaca Overtones."

(Which also shows just how long it has taken for me to get these photos developed!)

And now, for the finale, my favourite photo of them all.

So special in fact, that it gets its own title. 

Allow me to introduce:

'KIPPER.  The Dog God.'

(Also known as 'The Shepherd and her Flock')

(Also known as 'I Clearly Forgot to Wind the Film On')

And that, folks, is what happens when a completely incompetent photographer is given a camera that requires some form of basic skill to operate.  More practise needed, me thinks.  :) 

firefly x

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

I suck at this

Once again I have to apologise for my long unexplained absence.  I'm a bad blogger!  But, in my defence, my to-do list has been rather jam packed recently.  Here, in no particular order, is a small excerpt:

- Make GP's appointment for pre-op tests.
- Find out whether I can claim incapacity benefit during my operation recovery period.
- Re-list ebay items that didn't sell.
- Learn how to build a bio-diesel processor (have you SEEN the price petrol is now?! This is MM's new project.)
- Learn how to build a house (Long story.  No, I'm not kidding.  More on that another time.)
- Pack for holiday in three weeks in South of France. (First holiday in years! Yay!) Weather could be anything, so must pack for all eventualities.  I'm going to help my Aunt build a house there.  This, believe it or not, is not at all connected to the point above.
- Develop Holga film.  Poor neglected little camera.
- Find out where to safely dispose of needles. For the meds I need to take after my op.  Not because my to-do list has driven me to drugs.  Although at times it's a close fought battle.  I joke, I joke.  Just say no, kids. 
- Stop downloading and reading the Hunger Game books on my Kindle so I can get some SLEEP!
- And last, but by no means least, wage un-holy war on Santander.

Oh Santander.  Everyone knows how appalling your customer service is, so I shouldn't be disappointed, shocked or totally OUTRAGED at how you're behaving.  I shouldn't.  But I am. 

I had my mortgage with Santander.  I sold the house on the 14th Feb 2012 (thanks to my magic rug!).  For whatever reason, Santander had failed to let my solicitors know the amount I needed to pay to pay off my mortgage so, on the day, in desperation, I rang Santander myself to find out.

Here is where it is important to point out that I am NOT a bank.  I do NOT have a computer in front of me giving me all the figures.  I am NOT to know whether I am given the right figure.  I have to trust Santander to give me the correct information.  The lesson here folks? DON'T trust Santander to give you the correct information.  Because they didn't.

Turns out I didn't pay enough back to clear the mortgage, because they told me the wrong amount.  Did they let me know this?  Hahahahahahaha.  No, of course not!!!

So, several weeks later in the middle of March, I suddenly find I have run out of money.  Where the hell has it all gone?  I'm not a particularly careless spender.  So I investigate.  Oh.  Hi Santander.  You're still taking mortgage payments by Direct Debit.  WTF?

I rang.  I politely asked them what the hell they thought they were doing?  It was now over a month since I had paid off the mortgage.  And it is only at this point that I find out that there is a shortfall.  Excuse me?  Why would that be?  Oh, right, because you screwed up.  And you now want me to pay?!  How the hell is that fair? 

Santander, I asked you specifically for a redemption amount.  And you gave me what you said was a redemption figure to pay.  I PAID IT!  I've done my bit.  Now hands off my dosh.  And you can give back the money you've taken as well.  I need it for luxuries like RENT!!

To cut a painfully long story short, as it stands, I don't have my money back.  Oh, and they want more now.  You know, coz they cocked up and so I should pay.  Isn't that how the world works?

To be fair, they did offer to make a gesture of goodwill.  I was listening... 

Santander: "We'll give you back the money we took from your account." 

Me: "Oh, well.  Thank you, that's very ki..."

Santander: "But." 

Me: "But?"

Santander: "But that money will still be owed on your mortgage account, so your solicitors will still have to pay off the full amount before we can sign off your mortgage.  So....we're not sure how you want to sort that out."

Me - something along the lines of:  "What fricking planet are you on?  Who do you think is going to have to pay my solicitors that money?!  The fricking fairies from the magical land of 'Delusional'??  No, funnily enough.  It's me.  So you want to give the money back to me "as a gesture of goodwill" so that I can pay it to my solicitors, so that they can pay it back to you?  In what cocking universe is that a "gesture of goodwill"?" 

I believe I then went on to use the word "farcical" and said that in no way did I accept their ridiculous 'gesture of goodwill' because it wasn't actually a gesture.  It was a joke. 

Because I was speaking to the complaints department by this point, my outrage was met with many soothing comments along the lines of, "I totally understand, madam" and "I can of course see your point, madam" and then they said they would escalate my complaint.  And I would receive a letter. 

Hopefully this time it will be sent to the address where I actually now live, and not to the house they know I sold months ago.  Which is where they sent all my other letters apparently.  Because, of course, that's the best way to reach me. Duh.

murderously yours,

firefly xxx

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Inappropriate content probably not suitable for my mother

There.  Now she can't say she wasn't warned.

So, I am a girl.  And, as a girl, I have from time to time, over the years, engaged in so called "girl talk."

And, as everyone knows, the scientific formula for girl talk is 10% gossip, 5% bitching and 80% sex talk.  What about the other 5%, you say?  Oh, that's alcohol.  This percentage can often be much much higher.

So it is merely inevitable that, over time, I have amassed an impressive collection of truly horrifying, hilarious and sometimes downright wrong sex stories.  And it seems a royal shame for all of these stories to be stuck inside my head (actually, at times it can be rather disturbing).  So I thought, "Hey Internet, time to share!"

Here's one of my favourites:

My uni housemate goes out to a party and meets a guy.  She thinks he's tall and cute, and they dance and drink the night away.

I imagine she then shyly invited him back for coffee, or used some other handy euphemism. (Actually, knowing her, she probably didn't bother with the euphemism!)  I can vouch for the tall and cute, because he had to run the gauntlet of my living room past a bunch of gawking, giggly girls (including me), as my housemate attempted to drag him to her room as quickly as possible. 

So next morning, noting the lack of cute, tall guys haunting our kitchen, we obviously enquired as to how her night went.  And here's where it gets good (or bad, depending who you are in this story!).

Firstly, it apparently turns out that being tall is no indication of anything else being in proportion.  Now, no judgement, but when you have deliberately chosen a tall guy with an end result in mind, it can be disappointing, I imagine, to discover that vital inches are missing.  So, considering that this guy was apparently almost inversely proportionate to his height in that area, their night of passion was already off to a bad start.

But then it sank to a whole new level.  He failed to rise to the occasion.  Strike number 2.  It's not looking good.  But maybe we can cut him some slack here (hehehe, bad pun), after all he had been drinking all night.  But then he put the nail in the coffin with this classic line:

"I'm sorry.  This doesn't usually happen to me.  But then I mostly sleep with guys."

Love it.

firefly xxx

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Inevitability is...

...your friend asking you to pick up two chocolate flake bars for her, and devouring one before even arriving at her house.


firefly xx

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


I went to yoga yesterday (some of you may remember that this is part of my brilliant "lying down" exercise plan).

I was struggling to do one of the positions, which often happens as my DDH (developmental dysplasia of the hips) causes problems and means I can't move in certain ways.

My yoga teacher told me that I was holding on to some emotion, most likely to do with my upcoming operation, and that it was seizing me up.  She's very good at this.  As someone pretty sceptical about spiritual aspects, I still can't help being impressed at how she has this incredible ability to poke and prod various bits of your body, and then tell you exactly what is going on in your head.

So later, I decided to have a think about it.  Explore my emotions surrounding my operation, so to speak. 

Up until then, if you'd asked me how I felt about my upcoming operation (17th May - make a note people) I guess I would have said I felt scared.  And since that's not a helpful emotion to me, my coping strategy has generally been just not to think about it. 

But I faced up and I thought about it, and thought about how I feel about everything I'm going to go through, and I realised that actually I was really angry about it all.  Really, REALLY angry! Which was unexpected. 

I was 'who the hell decided that I should have to go through all of this crap, anyway?' kind of angry.

When I talked to MM later that evening, I was still angry.  I was aware that there was no logical reason to be angry, or indeed anyone really to be angry at, but boy, oh boy, was I mad.

I know that there are people in this world with problems that make mine pale in comparison.  And actually, on most days, I appreciate that I am incredibly lucky just to be able to walk.  If I had been born maybe 50 years earlier, I could possibly have been in a wheelchair my whole life.

But yesterday, I didn't want to hear that.  MM tried to point this all out to me, and got an earful.  "WHO THE HELL DO THEY THINK THEY ARE TO DO THIS TO ME?!" I yelled.  "I wasn't even given a bloody CHOICE!"  "I didn't ask for this STUPID BROKEN body, and I don't want it.  I bloody don't.  I don't want to have to be dealing with any of this crap.  I'm out.  I choose NOT to have stupid, CRAPPY, broken hips.  I am DONE with this shit."   

Incidentally, in case the above is not clear, I was not angry with the doctors, or with my parents, or myself.  No, no.  I was angry with the UNIVERSE.  I have no idea who the "they" are that I was angry at, but boy I wanted to pound them into the ground.  Who chose to put me through this, huh? HUH?  Yeah, well they'd be sorry when I got my hands on them. 

"And, AND" I continued to MM, "They didn't even have the decency to make me 6 foot tall, did they?  Noooooo.  They take away my ability to wear high heels, like EVERY. OTHER. normal 26 year old girl gets to do, and just for FUN, they also made me 5 foot pissing 1!!  So I look 12 years old and completely stupid wearing flat shoes.  THAT'S JUST TAKING THE PISS, THAT IS!  Jeez!"

All this time, there had been silence on the other end of the phone.  MM was clearly a little stumped as to how to respond to this rant against the universe. 

But then, when I finally paused for breath, he said quietly, "But if you had been made 6 foot tall, I wouldn't be going out with you, would I?"

That shut me up.

It's all about perspective people. 

So thank you, universe, for not making me 6 foot tall, and thank you for MM.  I stand by all my other points though, ok?  OK???  Good.

firefly xx

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Hmmph.  Just got home to discover that I left the lights on in my bedroom all day.

Some bloody eco-warrior I am, eh?  Muppet.

firefly x