During his last visit, Will leaned over, peered at my face for a few moments and narrowed his eyes. I looked at him looking at me but before I could ask what exactly it was about my face that had drawn his interest, he flopped back against the sofa cushions, his mouth a taut line and turned the channel over to Supernanny (because part of the reason our friendship works is our shared love of watching people with no control over their offspring.)

When Will gets like this, you just have to leave him to it and investigate the reason for his impromptu solemnity your damn self, so I ambled to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror; I mean really looked. It was the first time I had done so in a while and I was…perturbed by what I saw. I was a hot ass mess. I looked like a person who had not slept in weeks. I looked exhausted. I returned to the sofa and gingerly perched beside Will. He looked over at me:

Me: So.
He: Yep.
Me: I guess I need to…
He: Yep.

And then we ate cheesesteaks because disturbing life revelations are always best soothed by the ingestion of trans fats.

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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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