We’ll just pretend that I posted regularly throughout February and the beginning of March.

Moving on.

London has been miserable since before Christmas when the weather decided to act like a raging harpy and ruin life for everyone. There was storm after storm, the most recent of which destroyed my back fence (which, in a twist of shite, isn’t covered by my home insurance – awesome) and kept me trapped in my house for almost two weeks due to flooding. Then there came a particularly brutal period at work where it became a physical effort not to beat people about the head with blunt objects.

So when my sister decided that she wanted to head out of the country for her birthday, I needed zero persuasion. My jaw was tightening up due to the teeth grinding, my blood pressure was dancing perilously close to hypertensive levels and Scandal was still on its 24645 week break*, so I hopped online, browsed a few of the travel clubs of which I am a member and scored us a sweet deal to Amsterdam for next to nothing.

We flew out last Sunday (a couple of weeks after my sister’s birthday) into what felt like a different world where there was sunshine! And smiling people! And an efficient public transport service! And we spent a few days walking around, eating gorgeous food, watching horrific television in our hotel and exploring a city that I would love to make my home for at least a while (come through, Jesus with my EuroMillions win.)

I took roughly 575 photos and they do the place no justice.

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I have been very full of feelings lately. My journal has taken a real battering; pages overflowing with angst and emotion and all the words that journey up to my throat and then just camp out there instead of allowing themselves to be spoken.

And I suppose this is a bad habit but when this kind of thing happens, I sort of withdraw into myself, not because it’s the most comfortable thing to do (it’s not; it’s like having the most colossal itch, being able to reach this itch but choosing not to because to scratch might leave an unsightly scab and we can’t have that) but because it’s what I am used to; learned behaviour that is really difficult to shake.

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Life, Seasons

How to Survive Winter

Last year we had something of a summer in London. It lasted about a month and let me tell you, that month was glorious. Thousands of curmudgeonly Londonders were smiling. Acres of exposed flesh everywhere. A legitimate reason to wear jorts to work. An even more legitimate reason to hoard ice cream.

Even the pneumonia I contracted did nothing to dampen my fervour.

But all good things much come to an end and so London summer did. Unceremoniously. Giving way to week after week of grey skies and contemplating the tube track as a desirable location for a nap. It was like Mother Nature had decided to toy with the sanity of everyone in the city and then, just as we were getting comfortable, decide to be all “lolz nah, jk, here have some winter. All the winter.”

So it’s been necessary for me to put together a survival guide of sorts for living through the perpetual darkness, driving rain and constant train delays without pulling a Falling Down and ending up on the evening news.

You’re welcome*

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On Christmas day, my mother, along with some other things, gave me the pink fluffy slippers you see in the photo above. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a pink fluffy person. I’d sooner wear sackcloth. I didn’t understand. I looked at the slippers. And then I looked at her. And then I looked at the slippers. And then I looked at her. And then I said thank you.

“Just put them on,” Mama T said, wholly unconvinced by my gratitude (which was real underneath the confusion.)

So I did and as my feet succumbed to the near-orgasmic pleasure of the softness within, I looked up at my mother. “Mum,” I gasped, “what…what is this?”

“Those,” she replied calmly, “are memory foam slippers. Heated. You’re welcome.”

It was just another in a lifelong series of lessons from my parents – always trust your mother, she knows better than you. And as I padded around the house in heated memory foam slippers, popping the glucosamine and olive leaf extract that she’d been pressing on me for months and finally admitting that my knees actually are the better for taking them, I realised not for the first time that my parents are really fucking wise.

They’ve taught me and my siblings innumerable life lessons and I’ve plucked out 50 of the most memorable because putting them in writing here is a great way for me to appreciate the force that is the Parents Typewriter (and I’m yet to meet a sane person who does not love them.)

  1. Do not settle – In work, love, friendships or anything. Only accept what you deserve. This is also true of cake as Mama T regularly tells her cake clients. The words “why wouldn’t you want an extra tier made entirely of fudge cake?” has been used more than once.
  2. Everything in moderation – We are not a juice cleanse, no chocolate ever, “I don’t have a TV” type of family. Papa T likes to impress upon us the brevity and improbability of life. “It is too short to deprive yourself of things that make you happy.” When met with smartass responses like what if drugs make you happy? Or, like, MURDER? he will fix you with a look and say very slowly “use your head.” Well, quite.
  3. Embarrassment is just a state of mind – As evidenced by the time when I was 15 and Papa T and I visited the pharmacy and, as I trailed behind him being sullen and teenagery, he projected his voice to ask ”which kind of sanitary towels do you need? Super? Winged? What is the difference?”
  4. What people think of you is none of your business.
  5. You are important.
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