Monday, 29 December 2008


There is nothing that makes me feel less like a woman than getting my hair cut.

I try to do it as infrequently as I possibly can but today the wild tresses were shorn.

Here are the myriad reasons why I hate it so:

  1. As soon as I walk in my appearance is being judged by the kinds of girls who used to cause me acute misery by doing exactly the same when I was at school.
  2. I am then handed one of the magazines I avoid every other day of the year because they contain hundereds of pictures of women I will never be like.
  3. While I am waiting I am forced to eavesdrop on conversations between hairdressers and clients which flow easily and are relaxed and imply that the client is having a good time. I am painfully aware of the contrast that is about to unfold when it is my turn.
  4. Next the stylist comes over, stands behind me at the mirror and begins to finger my limp hair which has not been cut for 1 to 2 years, and asks me about my usual 'routine'. I blush and stutter as I try to find an answer other than "I just get out of bed and leave it. I don't even own a hairdryer and I don't care if I can't find my brush."
  5. Having got over this hurdle and endured my sense of feminity shrinking to the size of a pea with every second that her judging, girly eye fixes mine, with her shiny hair and her makeup and her pretty little shoes and her stupid bra that is not an industrial one like mine and her knowledge of fashion and boys, she asks me the dreaded question; "And what can I do for you today?"
  6. I have an image in my mind of myself as a foxy, funky woman with a daring style that suits my face, that I am able to maintain with skillful manipulation of dryer and 'product'. But I must have been absent during that life skills class where they teach you the language to describe such things. Believe me, I have tried many times, with many different hair dressers to ask for what I want, but somewhere along the line it always seems to translate in their ears as one of the following:
  • Make me look like my mother please.
  • Make me look like my grandmother please.
  • Make me look like my father please.
  • Make me look like my hamster please.
  • Make me look like I am going to an 80s party please.
  • Make me look like I am going to a 70s party please.
  • Make me look like I am going to a halloween party please.

Or on this particular occasion:

  • Make me look like Long Distance Clara from Pigeon Street please.

7. Next I have my hair shampooed and am led back in front of the mirror. Readers, very few of you will have ever seem me with wet, brushed hair and there is a reason for that. I have an inordinately large forehead and very thin hair so I look like an egg. A blushing, insecure egg in a room full of girly girls who have perfect hair and can see me. And I am sitting in front of a mirror.

8. My next crippling inadequacy to be exposed is my complete inability to engage in small talk. I was also absent from that life skills class. No, I am not going anywhere nice on my holidays, and if I was, I would not know how to answer that question in a way that did not end after the first, dull sentence. I can't comment on the magazine I am reading because I don't understand it. I can't comment on what you are doing because, as has already been painfully established, I don't have the vocabulary. I can't think of anything to say because there is a loud voice in my head saying; "You don't belong here! All the women are laughing at you and your split ends! Your stylist has never met anyone with less oestrogen! She also thinks you are fat and a bad dancer! She can tell just by looking at you that you don't know how to walk in high heels! She has the power to change your appearance in a completely unpredictable way and there is nothing you can do about it! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!" Would you be able to talk about the weather with all that going on?

9. I am now forced to watch as my dignity is removed hair by hair. It is too late. She is doing things with instruments and hair products that cost more than my mortgage, that I know I will never be able to replicate (and so does she).

10. The haircut is finished. I hate it and I hate myself. She shows me what it looks like from the back. Even worse. She asks me if I like it. "Yes, it's great! Thanks so much Donna!" I pay £43 for the priveledge of a sinking heart, a sticky mess on my head and feeling like Madonna would feel if she went to a National Chastity Convention.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Rootbabe Quotes #1

Rootbabe is my friend. She is strange. Not in the contrived way that some people are ("I'm mad I am!") but in a completely effortless, delightful way.

Here are two pieces of evidence:

Me: I'm feeling pretty sad today. It's possible that I might cry for no reason.
Rootbabe: OK. Today I watched a TV programme where thousands of children died of a disease.

Me: Do you know what my first pet was?
Rootbabe:...I want to say whale...

10 Ways God Has Changed My Life in 10 Years

This list was given to me as a Born Again Birthday gift from Anna, who led me to Christ 10 years ago on the 31st of October 1998 (The following posts are also ones that Anna has helped me to compile, knowing that I love lists so, especially when they are about me).

  1. He has taken me from death to live. I was His enemy, now I am His child.
  2. He has changed who I am as a person - I am more joyful and peaceful than I was then ("I in my Saviour am happy and blessed").
  3. I have improved in my ability to relate to people (she means that I was socially retarded when I was 19).
  4. My relationships with my family have been transformed.
  5. My relationships with men have been transformed.
  6. I have learned to be content, even in pain.
  7. I've become an evangelist (she says, since the first day of my conversion).
  8. I have found my niche as a counsellor.
  9. I am still me (strange, really funny, and radical) but I am more me (Ephesians 4).
  10. I really know and have experienced, that God's ways are best.

A List

Things I hate (as observed by Anna).

  • Stickers

  • Posh, mysogynist men

  • Social ettiquette - RSVPs, small talk etc.

  • Nauseating couples

  • Sport

  • Having to talk to children in front of thier parents

  • Logistical arrangements

  • Tidying up

  • Michael Winner

  • Smugness

  • Standing at conference stalls

  • Boring people

  • BMW & Mercedes drivers

Why I Am Strange

One day after church, Bell and I were discussing the people we knew who were strange. I was suggesting people, and she kept saying "No, he's not strange, he's weird." Or, "No, she's not strange, she's clinically insane." We struggled to define the word strange until Bell said; "Well, you're strange." I was delighted! I asked her to justify it. What follows are her observances, and then Anna's, on the same worthy subject.

Observed by Bell:

  • I wear lots of bright colours all at the same time.
  • I love presents but hate opening them.
  • I love offal.
  • I have strange toilet fetishes [see here]
  • I always have an old cabbage in the fridge (it's true, I do! A different one each time she looks!)
  • I'm a deep thinker but I love things like Big Brother and have Jesus' on Wheels.
  • I am innately childish.
  • I am good at singing but I'm too embarrassed to sing.
  • I give people names from Jesus (Croissant, ShoeKeeper, Tiny Dancer, Melon Raider etc.)
  • I like stones being thrown at my bottom.
  • I've got a music degree but I can't sing and clap at the same time.
  • All of my shoes are really badly broken and stored on a hat rack which is on the floor.
  • I own enough pants to wear one a day for 3 months without washing them.
  • I hate hot weather but live in a flat which is like a sauna.
  • I have a very strange phobia.
  • I do utterly inaccurate impersonations of people.
  • Being called strange causes me inexpressible delight.

Observed by Anna:

  • I have a friend called Croissant.
  • I find single words out of context funny (eg. Paper. Hahahah!)
  • I think my cuddly toys are real.
  • I am simultaneously very introvert and very extrovert.
  • I am actually obsessed with flatulence.
  • I am very messy indeed, but my CD collection is perfectly alphabetised and each disc has the title at perfect right angles to the edge of the case, and all my knickers are folded perfectly in a special way.
  • I carry around a book in which to write lists (like this one, the previous post and the one after this one).
  • I say words funny (see following post).
  • I laugh much longer than anyone else if I find something funny. This often means that I will still be laughing when the subject matter in the conversation has moved on to much more somber things.
  • If a car horn beeps I go 'excuse me' as if it was my bum, and think I am being funny and original every time.
  • I can never remember what I have just done, or what I am supposed to be doing next.
  • I suddenly make loud, isolated, completely random sounds.
  • Sometimes I sway.

Of Limited Interest to Others...

Words that Witsy and I always have to say in a certain accent:

Fanny - 1940s English (Feyaneya)
Fancy - 1040s English (Feyanseya)
I appreciate that - Australian (Oi aprayshayayt thit)
I did not know that - American (I diyad nat know thayat)
Cushion - Brian Sewel (Cusssyon) See also Efficient, Tissue, Delicious.
Juice - Gruff Northern (Jowse)
Twenty - Some sort of Northern with dropped Ts (Twe'-e)
Purse - Scottish with rolled Rs, but very clipped (Purrrs)
Dirty - As above (Durrrti)
Photocopyer - Geordie (For'door'cob'ear)
Local - Geordie (Lor'-el)

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

A Horrifying Discovery

Just in case anyone didn't believe that the story in [this post] was actually true, check out this email that I just received from Witsy:

Barney - I was trying to kill a bit of time at work and was reading through your blog and chuckling about the crazy blue-haired woman in Belle and Herbs. I clicked on the link to remind myself of the embarrassment. To my horror, there is a video on the website and WE'RE ON IT!!!!!!!!!

Go to 'Portfolio' and then click 'Cold Coffee'. The video is just over 3 mins long. WATCH IT ALL and look out for our cringing faces!!!


Disappointingly, it doesn't show the mortifying special performance that we had at our own table, but it does show our combination of looking at the unbelievable freak show, and trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. It also shows numerous other people trying their best to ignore the performances. It even has an excerpt from the 'Fred Had a Muffin' song.

See, I DON'T make this stuff up.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Black, white and grey

Read [this] , then my comment in response, then the MSN conversation below (if you like. You can always navigate away from this page and read something else if you want, I'm not your mother.)

OddBabble says:
I've just left you another blog comment that doesn't make any sense
hoveactually says:
your comment made perfect sense!
I think it's hard to explain though, I might draw a diagram explaining the large space between the question and the answer
hoveactually says:
cos it's something that's pretty fundamental but few people seem to understand
OddBabble says:
It only recently occured to me

OddBabble says:
I've only just started to realise that everything is not in fact black and white
OddBabble says:
it is a complete revelation to me!
OddBabble says:
I've noticed that human beings don't fit very well into that

hoveactually says:
not really...
hoveactually says:
being complex and messy and not at all black and white...
hoveactually says:
there are a few things that are pretty concrete but the living out practise of them is very messy and grey
hoveactually says:
I think that's the problem, people see the concrete realities and assume they fit neatly into black and white lives.. they don't cos we're not like that...

OddBabble says:
Yes! That's exactly it!!
hoveactually says:
hoveactually says:
why doesn't everyone know this though..?
OddBabble says:
I don't know! I certainly didn't until about 2 weeks ago!
OddBabble says:
I think actually it's because that is really uncomfortable
OddBabble says:
and you touched on it when you said that it's really comfortable for the person giving the answers out, to have an answer.
OddBabble says:
I know that cos I've been that person for a long time
OddBabble says:
I do think, actually, that I've treated other people as if they don't fit into the black and white stuff (I hope)
OddBabble says:
but I'm not very good at applying it to myself.
OddBabble says:
Actually, the statement about other people above is possibly bollocks.
hoveactually says:
I don't think so... I always think you are someone who knows about the mess

OddBabble says:
Well that's good if so...
OddBabble says:
may I give you an example?
hoveactually says:
go ahead!

OddBabble says:
so like, i can believe that something is WRONG
OddBabble says:
OddBabble says:
it's confusing when I oops, go and do it anyway, and find that oh, it actually seems quite life-enhancing, positive and beautiful.
OddBabble says:
Going by a philosophy that everything is black and white means that I must have been wrong about the WRONG bit.
OddBabble says:
actually, the WRONG bit is black and white, it's just that it doesn't deny that there are experiencially grey bits.
hoveactually says:

OddBabble says:
oh phew, I'm glad that makes sense!
hoveactually says:
which we don't really factor in in our discipleship talks/seminars/onetoones/hanging out with people
hoveactually says:
because it takes longer to talk about the realities rather than the simple packaged answer
hoveactually says:
and the realities are only learnt over many years of struggle
hoveactually says:
we've kind of lost the long term nature of life and God along the way i think...

OddBabble says:
Yes, and actually I think the result of that can be potentially spiritually dangerous for the hearers. Because experiencing the experiencially grey bits does make you doubt the black and white stuff you heard, and some people conclude that the world must all therefore be grey, so let us go forth and enjoy the freedom of its many shades!
hoveactually says:
hoveactually says:
and lots of people throw out the black and white on the grounds that we can't be certain about anything, cos they've been burnt by the people who are way way to certain about EVERYTHING.
OddBabble says:
hoveactually says:
sigh. the reality lives somewhere inbetween
hoveactually says:
dammit YES

OddBabble says:

OddBabble says:
I think I'm going to blog this whole convo, after linking to your post. Do I have your permission?
hoveactually says:
yes please!
hoveactually says:
hoveactually says:
I'm such a narcissitic one
OddBabble says:
Me too, but that's because I am wonderful.
hoveactually says:
hoveactually says:
i think we should rule the world though

OddBabble says:
OddBabble says:
You, me and Witsy
hoveactually says:
hoveactually says:
it's such a good plan
hoveactually says:
nothing could go wrong
OddBabble says:
Nothing. That is a black and white fact.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Fois Grois

The scene:
The office is in silence as Mike and OddBabble communicate via MSN, though they are sitting next to each other.

Mike gets on the floor on his knees, and pretends to eat corn off the ground.
OddBabble gets up, forces him upright, and mimes forcing something into his mouth violently.

The whole office ignores them and remains in silence, as they always do when this sort of thing happens.

Michelle's attention is caught by Mike lying on the floor laughing following above scene.

Michelle: "Did you fall off your chair Mike?"
Mike: "No, OddBabble was miming force feeding me until my throat burst."
Michelle: "..."
Mike: "So that we could make fois grois".
Michelle: "..."

Mike and OddBabble sit back on their chairs and the office descends into silence once more.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Love is...

A friend was asking me about how I became a Christian & after I gave him a brief summary, he asked; "Has it made a big difference to your life?” “Yeah, totally” I replied. “I know that no matter what I do, I’ll always be loved.” He responded; “No matter what you do you’ll always be loved...that’s nice.”

I’ve reflected back on that conversation with frustration because I had managed to communicate so little about something so profound. The love I was lamely describing so blandly is not ‘nice’. Nice is tea with vicar and cucumber sandwiches. That's not the Christianity I gave my life for....

These are the things I wish I had said about why knowing that ‘no matter what I do I’ll always be loved’ really matters, and alters every aspect of my life:

When I really believe that I am unalterably loved, I have a deep core knowledge that I am OK. I’m freed from having to try to prove that to myself or to others through pretending I am cleverer, kinder, prettier, cooler, funnier, fitter, younger, older, richer or better than I really am. The limited levels of all of those that I do have are OK, because I am OK, because I am loved.

When I am reminded by friends of the truth that I am unchangeably loved, I have a solid foundation that will remain even if I lost my job, my home, my family, my friends, my dignity and even my earthly life. That means that when I am able trust in that love a little bit, I can hold all of those things a bit more loosely, which frees me to know that even if I lost everything, I could never lose everything.

When I do take a moment to think about this tenacious love, I can start to learn from it how to love other people. So when someone hurts me badly in a way I didn’t deserve, I can learn both how to forgive them when my instinct is revenge, as well as how much it costs to do that. I can learn that because I know how it feels to receive it.

I know how earthly love feels. More than once I have been in love and been the object of another’s adoration. I have also known the consistent and sacrificial love of a stable family. Those are wonderful, wonderful things, but anyone who has ever been involved in loving me on any level will know how slippery I perceive it. No matter how much love is told or demonstrated, I have a frustratingly reliable tendency to demand that it is proved again and again. God’s love is the only love that can permanently silence me in that, because it’s been proved once and for all by the irrefutable symbol of love – the cross of Christ.

You’ll notice that I started all of those first few paragraphs with qualifying sentences like ‘when I remember to’ or similar. That’s because often I forget about this love or what it really means, and behave in entirely opposite ways to the ones I describe. That’s why Jesus describes His followers as sheep: we are so easily distracted by the next dewy-sweet patch of grass that often we think that the grass is all that life is about & we forget about the Shepherd busily keeping the wolves away. The good thing is that even when I'm behaving like a stupid sheep, all of those things remain true. Sometimes I remember it and my whole view of myself and the world is turned upside down again.

‘Nice’ is not really the word, is it?

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Pre Tricenarian Tension

"Why God, why?! We had a deal! Let the others grow old, not me!" Joey Tribbiani in, 'The One Where They All Turn Thirty'.

It's just a number. 30. It's the one before 31 and the one after 29. But there is something about the looming of this particular number on the very near horizon, which is causing me to take a panoramic look at my life both retrospecively and speculatively, with mild horror. I call it PTT.

Things that have changed:
* I can no longer eat what I want and do no excercise without gaining weight.
* Eating healthily and doing excercise doesn't seem to make a lot of difference.
* If I stay up past midnight for one night, that's the whole week wrecked.
* I'm pretty sure I need glasses.
* I listen to Radio 4.
* When I listen to Radio 1, I haven't heard of any of the bands, and all the songs sound the same.
* Pop stars are all younger than me.
* I have recently had acutal, non-ironic conversations about the following: mortgages, stain removal and pensions.
* Recently, with a bit of spare cash, I treated myself to 'something for the kitchen'.
* I iron T-shirts. In fact I only bought an iron this year. In fact my mum bought it for me because she was furious to discover I had gone that long in my life without having to endure the chore that she had been chained to for years.
* My body is suddenly telling me urgently that I must procreate by any means necessary, even though prior to this, the idea has been of virtually no interest at all.
* Things that I have been fairly relaxed about having not achieved so far, suddenly seem so significant that I feel like a fundamental failure without them. For example:

* I am not married.
* I have no babies.
* I am not financially solvent.
* I am not above the first rung of a 'career'.
* I still don't know how to apply makeup.
* I still ring my mummy when I feel sad (whenever I think about any of the above).
* I am still a bit scared of thunderstorms.
* I still go home for Christmas.
* I still sleep in a single bed.
* I still get spots.
* I still have an extremely peurile sense of humour. For example, just writing the following words is my idea of sophisticated wit: willy, bum, fanny, fart, trump, tit, flange.
* I am still laughing about the above.

Help me. I never thought Thirty would happen to me.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

You're Not Going to Believe This But...

...It's happened again.

I really need to stop going to these arty~type places.

So I was in this bar with a friend having a normal beer. Nice. Normal. She had to go to the loo so I remained seated by myself at the bar while I waited for her. Now, sitting at a bar by oneself when one has a disposition like mine is already quite a vulnerable position to be in. But I remained there trying to be inconspicuous, as is my way.

Then something a bit odd happened.

A group of people at the bar began to shout thier drink orders to one particular bar maid. First ordinary drinks, and then cocktails: "Witch's Tit! Slippery Nipple! Sex on the Beach!" Etc. They shouted louder and louder while the bar maid repeated them back. I began to notice that there was a definate rhythm to this, and that yes, I was unwittingly part of another peculiar random art performance.

I was fairly happy watching this from the side, but after a few minutes of this something horrifying happened.

The bar maid got up onto the bar and began to tap dance, meaning that a spotlight was on her and the section of bar that I was sitting at alone, rapidly failing at trying to be inconspicuous.

Why do these sorts of things happen to me? I'm beginning to wonder if I am a part of some Trueman Show~esque world where utterly random things happen to me just to see if I go mad. I mean, did you read that sentence above? "The bar maid got up onto the bar and began to tap dance". All I wanted was a beer.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Geordie Adventure Part 2

So Witsy and I went to our favourite cafe for a cup of tea and a sandwich. Just a brew, a snack and a chat. Perfectly normal, like we always do. Nice. Normal.

We ordered our food and then a man came around and gave us a menu saying "Here are some alternative things to order. It's all free". It became apparent upon looking at the menu that the 'dishes' on offer were in fact performances, and in fact, we had noticed some musical instruments being set up in the corner earlier. As I mentioned, we only went in for a cup of tea and a chat so we quickly chose something that seemed innocuous, something that sounded like it might be some kind of monologue that we could easily ignore.

We were just getting on with having our perfectly normal cup of tea when the first 'order' was announced. "Table 5, item 6" was an acoustic song about.....I'm sorry, I can't tell you. It was in English, yes, but it just made no sense. The only bit I understood was the chorus, for which the words were "Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm! Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!" You'll have noticed the exclamation marks there. It was VERY enthusiastic, wide-eyed humming, and they tried to get us all to join in. The shame for them was, that this 'performance' had not been advertised so I don't think anyone was expecting to be entertained in this way. Most people were concentrating very hard on looking at their eggs and avoiding eye-contact at every possible cost. We only came in for a cup of tea. They got very much the same reaction when they sang the next song, with the lamenting chorus of "Fred had a muffin, Fred had a muffin, Fred had a muffin, but I had no hands" (honestly, I REALLY don't make this stuff up).

Next, our 'dish' was announced. Just as the announcement was made, we made a horrifying discovery. We had failed to notice until that moment that the word 'intimate' had been used to describe the performance we had chosen. Far from being something inconspicuous we could ignore, the woman came and sat AT OUR TABLE, while the whole of the rest of the cafe stared.

Now you need to know two things before I describe what she did. Firstly Witsy and I both have quite a low embarrassment threshold when it comes to this sort of thing. The words 'audience' and 'participation' when used together will always make me break out into a cold sweat and give me a bit of an upset tummy. This situation is highlighted further by the fact that I am very blonde and Witsy is very ginger, meaning that any internal experience of embarrassment is broadcast on our faces in the form of a beetroot red face.

The second thing you need to know is that the woman giving the performance was one of those people who have the bit of their brain missing that tells you that you should be embarrassed. Where most people would avoid running down the street naked shouting 'Onions!', people with this bit of their brain missing do it every Tuesday and can't understand why they keep getting arrested.

These two sorts of people are never a good mix, but the situation is surely at its worst when one of them is doing a dramatic monologue in a public place where there are Other People. She sat down at our table with a spoon and a box of ice cream and said to us in her loud, embarrassing drama-school voice "DO YOU LIKE ICE CREAM?" Witsy and I positioned our throbbing, scarlet faces behind our mugs and whimpered in unison "no" in a way that cried out 'Please don't make us participate! Please go away frightening lady!' But she didn't. She proceeded to say something which made NO sense about ice cream, while spooning it into her mouth, and thus inevitably spitting a lot of it back out at us.

Did I mention that she had blue hair?

She had blue hair, and massive glasses. So I was expected to sit in a crowded cafe while everyone looked at me, being spat at by a loud insane woman with blue hair and massive glasses without laughing was I?

I am proud to say, I ALMOST managed it. I concentrated VERY hard on not looking at Witsy, and on trying to listen to what she was saying, but every now and then it crept into my consciousness that I was in a crowded cafe being shouted at by a woman with blue hair and massive glasses, and my body did that school-assembly thing where the effort of not audibly laughing makes your whole body shake. I only did it 2 or 3 times, and only in short bursts. I think I did amazingly well. Unfortunately for the performers (and adding 97 fold to the toe-curlingness of it all) the whole thing was being filmed. I'm not sure our reaction provided the kind of footage they were looking for for their promotional material.

As soon as it was over I turned to Witsy to beg her to let us leave. Gladly, she went up to the till to pay. As she turned to return to our table she was horrified to find that her path was blocked by the next performance. The blue-haired lady was furiously hitting tables and crockery with a pair of wooden spoons while grinning. She did it in such a way that Witsy had to duck and swerve her way back to me to avoid being part of the installation. Just as we were scrambling desperately out of the door, Mrs Blue Hair had lifted up the receiver of a decorative phone on the wall and was shouting 'HELLO! HELLO! HELLO!' rhythmically into it while her companions continued to accompany her on the wooden spoons.

This ACTUALLY happened.

If you don't believe me, follow this link. She's there in all her blue glory. You'll notice from the photos that there is no-one left in the cafe.

Geordie Adventure Part 1

Question: Who is the worst person to spend two and a half hours sitting next to on a train?
Answer: The man I spent two and a half hours sitting next to on a train.

I arrived at my packed train with my ticket in my hand, walking down the aisle towards my reserved seat. G36, G37, G38 (I wonder what that disgusting slobbery noise is) G39, G40 (and that rank smell) G41, GForty...oh. THAT's the source of both the sounds and the smell. My neighbour for the next 2.5 hours was noisily eating a KFC. When I say noisily, I don't just mean a couple of slurps here and there. I mean, imagine the sound of a big dog with a cold lapping up custard. Now you're close.

When he had finished his 'meal', he got out his reading material for the journey - that winner of many a journalistic award, The Daily Star. The 'headlines' were an exclusive interview with someone from Hollyoaks who had forgotten to get dressed, and something to do with Gazza. I felt like I was falling in love with him.

Then he made a little noise. It was a noise like, how can I describe it, like someone who has just noisily eaten a KFC has got a bit of chicken stuck somewhere near the back of thier grease-coated mouths, and they wish to extract it in order to masticate it once more. A sort of wet, sucking sound. Quite short and sharp, but nevertheless able to sound indescribably repulsive even in such a short space of time. The kind of little sound that makes me physically wince. Why am I describing this sound in such detail? Because my neighbour made the sound CONTINUOUSLY for two and a half hours at about 7 second intervals. There was something about the pitch and frequency of that sound, that even having Ruby on at FULL volume (to the extent that people turned round to see where the sound was coming from) I could STILL HEAR HIM! I am not exaggerating when I say that it made me want to cry.

All the while he was doing this, he also repeatedly pulled at the material by his lifted armpit (only the one facing me) as if wishing to air it, but in fact succeeding in wafting his stink my way, and punctuating his other bodily noises with a motif of intermittent belching, just in case I had forgotten EXACTLY what the KFC had smelled like.

Just when I thought I would faint with the effort of not smashing his face against the train window, he did something which really surpassed himself. He ripped up his train ticket into little bits and....I almost can't believe this...used it as an improvised tooth pick, before discarding the pieces at OUR feet.

Honestly, I don't make this stuff up. Did I mention the journey was two and a half hours?

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Searching for God Knows What

If you are one of those friends of mine who is not a Christian and who cannot understand why I would choose to believe such a thing, I would like you to read this book because it explains much better than I could, why.

I can pretty much nod to every opinion he articulates, and sometimes I did it so hard I thought my head might fall off.

He does write in an irritatingly chummy and mildly patronising way at times, especially at the beginning, but keep going with it - you'll get used to that and his content is real gold dust.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

OddBabble Would Like to Announce...

...that after 17 months and 23 interviews, she finally has landed herself a permanent (well, year's contract) full-time job!

It's a great start to a career in counselling, and the hours fit around going to Uni and doing a placement. Basically, it fits like a glove, and I am over the moon.

Friday, 18 April 2008

A Dream Come True...Almost

As documented on a previous post, I have a bit of a soft spot for Mr Damien Rice. In my view, he should totally sack Lisa Hannigan and get me on board doing the harmonies. Since this is about as likely to happen as a piece of cheese becoming king of the universe, I settled for the next best thing; singing harmonies with a boy who looks a bit like a young Damien if you squint in the dark while looking through your fingers having drunk a litre of meths. Throw in the fact that he can sing and play like him, and my elbows start to go a bit funny. I want you to know that during this clip, I am almost beside myself with excitement. It was a bit of a disappointment to me therefore, when I watched it back and realised that I looked static and terrified, and as if I couldn't have been more bored if I was watching a documentary about forks. I apologise for this. Enjoy.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Reception Rage

Sorry, I just had to get this off my chest.
I am on a switchboard. This means that my sole raison d'etre is to find out who your call needs to be forwarded to.

Scenario #1. This is how the conversation goes in reality, about 239420785 times a day:

Phone rings.

OddBabble: Good morning, [Name of organisation]
Member of Public: Hi, my name is Philancho Peristhwali and I live at 39 Bonkybrook Avenue, but I used to live in Slipsyhips Boulevard from 1990 to 2007. My mother has thyroid issues and has been to see Doctor Randyhosen. No, sorry, Doctor Bristletit. But Doctor Bristletit wasn't able to issue a prescription for my mother, who has a thyroid problem, because she needs a new medical card. Can I give you my postcode so that you can help me to get a new one?
OddBabble: Just hold the line one moment while I put you through to someone who can help you with that.

This is what goes on in my head, about 239420785 times a day:
Phone rings.
OddBabble: Good morning, I feel like dying.
Member of Public: Hi, my name is....
OddBabble: SHUT UP! SHUT UP! It is of NO relevance to me WHATSOEVER what your name is, where you live, who your mother is, who you doctor is or was, what your medical history or hers is or was. SHUT UP. I know you need a medical card, so just say so. Let me put you through to someone who gives a *Click*.
Scenario #2. This is how the conversation goes in reality about 239420785 times a day:
Member of Public walks into reception.
OddBabble is on the phone enduring monologue from Scenario #1.
MoP: Hi I'm here for a meeting concerning the managers and sub-managers of the regional directors for departmental departments.
OddBabble: I'll be with you in just a moment.
This is what goes on in my head about 239420785 times a day:
Member of Public walks into reception.
OddBabble is imagining above angry retaliation while enduring above monologue from Scenario #1.
MoP: Hi I'm here....
OddBabble: ARE YOU BLIND? I am holding a phone receiver to my face. Has it occured to you that there might be a reason for this? It is because I am in a phone call. PHONE, CALLLLLL. So shut up and wait. When I have finished I will pretend I care about your STUPID meeting, but I do NOT care and would like to be dead right now. I wish the same to you.
Scenario #3; Scarily close to many actual conversations:
MoP: The meeting I have come to attend is not on the schedule sheet.
OddBabble says: Oh dear. Would you like me to call someone for you?
OddBabble thinks: That is a statement. It is not a request for help, nor even an acknowledgment that I am a human being. What exactly was it that gave you the impression that I have any desire to help a rude man who fires axiomatic statements at me?
MoP: Yes.
OddBabble says: OK, do you have the name of someone I could contact?
OddBabble thinks: OK, there are two things missing here. The first is the word please. This is a word that people use as a suffix to a sentence in order to communicate that they appreciate they are asking something of someone that they do not have to give, and that they acknowledge the humanity of the person with whom they are speaking. The second thing missing is the name of a person to call. You see, I cannot read your mind and nor do I wish to. You are clearly a moron. The irony is that you think I am a moron, which is why you are speaking to me as if I am some blonde receptionist, just because I am a blonde receptionist.
MoP: No.
OddBabble Says: I need to know a name really, otherwise I can't help you.
OddBabble thinks: OK bye then. BYE. FROG OFF! Why are you still here? Why are you looking at me as if you expect me help you? Do you not understand how little I care?
MoP: Hold on let me think....Dave.
OddBabble says: OK. Do you have a surname?
OddBabble thinks: HOLD ON LET ME THINK? Is this the first time it has occured to you to do that? You would prefer to just stand there staring at me while I do all the running, rather than bother to come up with, what is that you say, DAVE? Do you seriously expect me to suddenly say, "oh Dave! Well why didn't you say?! Thanks so much for your accurate, precise and helpful information!"
MoP: No.
OddBabble says: Right, there are quite a few Dave's in this building! Do you perhaps have the name written down somewhere?
OddBabble thinks: Serioulsy, do you want me to murder you?
MoP: He works for the NHS.
OddBabble says: OK. Do you know what department?
OddBabble thinks: What exactly do you think you have just walked into, if it is not a 4 storey building full of people, all of whom fit the description you have just blessed me with?
MoP: No.
OddBabble says: OK, I'm not sure how I can help you then.
OddBabble thinks: I may actually cry.
MoP: But I need to get to my meeting.
OddBabble says: Right, yes. Do you have any other names of someone I could contact?
OddBabble thinks: Oh why didn't you say so?! You see, I thought this was all just for FUN!! Now I will reveal to you the information that I have been foolishly keeping a secret from you all this time!!
And so it goes on until the MoP realises he got the wrong building/day/receptionist.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

What I Have Learned So Far...

...on my esteemed MSc Course.
Humanistic/Person-Centred Counselling:
Counsellor: Hi Bob, welcome to our session. This time is yours, use it for whatever you need.
Client: Thanks. I'm feeling really low at the moment.
Counsellor: Mmmm.
Client: Yeah, I'm just feeling pretty sad a lot really.
Counsellor: Mmmm. You're feeling sad.
Client: That's right.
Counsellor: Mmmm. It's OK to feel sad Bob. Let's explore how it feels right now for you to be feeling sad right now.Etc. etc.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:
Counsellor: Hi. What's the problem?
Client: Um, I'm feeling really low at the moment.
Counsellor: On a scale of 1 to 10, exactly how low would you say you were feeling?
Client: Um, I guess, a 9?
Counsellor: Right. By the end of the week I want you to get that down to an 8. Here is an exercise: Next time you find yourself feeling sad, give yourself a little slap and say "PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER BOB!".
Client: Um...
Counsellor: Trust me, this stuff really works.
Client: But I...
Counsellor: Sorry, times up.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy:
Counsellor: Hi Bob, I notice you chose to wear blue today. Interesting.
Client: Well, it's funny you should say that. I'm feeling quite blue.
Counsellor: Interesting.
Client: Yes, I'm really quite unhappy.
Counsellor: I notice you used the word unhappy there.
Client: Yes.
Counsellor: It's interesting you should choose that word, or rather, that that word should choose you. You see, the word 'unhappy' is an anagram of the word pypahun.
Client: I'm sorry, I'm not sure I follow...
Counsellor: Pypahun is an ancient word from yore, which has many meanings, but principally it describes someone who wishes to have sex with a family member.
Client: Oh...
Counsellor: It's clear from the way you are sitting that you have been fantasizing about your mother.
Client: Oh!
Counsellor: You are telling me you are unhappy but really you are communicating through the transference and countertransference, a repressed sexual desire which is linked to the way that your father looked at you when you were being potty trained...etc. etc.
*Disclaimer:May I point out that I am using the tool of caricature, and I am not trying to discredit my own future profession (well, maybe the psychodynamic bit). I would also like to point out that in my previous post I was using the tool of comedic licence, and I am not in fact late every day. This is just in case any potential employers, or reference writers, or lecturers should stumble across any of this. That is all.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008


Up until now, I have always had a job which requires me to work mainly from home at quite random hours wearing whatever I like. For the first time, I now have to go to an office in smart clothes at the same time every day. I am still excited by this! I feel like part of the Real World. Since this is my blog and I can write what I like even if it's dull as dishwater, I am going dedicate a little moment or two, just to enjoy that routine.

Every day my radio alarm goes off at 6:45 for half an hour, allowing me to gently rise to consciousness. Each morning I listen to the presenters wondering what they look like, and decide I will stay in bed for 'just one more song'. When the alarm switches itself off, I switch the radio back on again for 'just one more song'. I will do this until they play Take That (which they do every day) when I am forced out of bed to save my ears.

I will then switch the shower on to warm up the water while I use the loo. Every morning I will forget that the seat is broken and I will suddenly slip to my left involuntarily exclaiming "WOO!" as I remember. I will look at the new seat to the left of the loo, wondering why I havn't fitted it yet, until I remember how much I love hearing guests involuntarily exclaim "WOO!", and I forget all about it again. I get into the shower for exactly 5 minutes minus loo time, because that is how long my crap shower will allow me hot water, thus I wish to avoid involuntarily exclaiming "GAAHH!!" as I am showered with icy water.

I put on my smart clothes, and consider putting my hair in plaits to avoid potential wildness. I conclude plaits are not appropriate so let nature do its random thing, not caring a fig.

As I leave the house, I switch on Ruby and have the daily dilema of whether to listen to the Willow Creek podcast, which will be edifying and spiritually enriching, or whether to listen to sweet, sweet music. It varies from day to day whether I select the aural equivalent of bran flakes or sugar puffs.

Depending on how many times I chose to stay in bed for 'just one more song' I will get a different bus with different collections of routine characters. If I am on time, the bus will be packed and will be driven by Angry Bus Driver. He will always shout at someone for something at every stop. Once he shouted at me. Invariably he will refuse to drive off until everyone complies with whatever he is angry about, so sometimes he makes everyone else on the bus angry too because he makes us all late. Perhaps that's why I never leave the flat on time.

If I am a few minutes late I will get on the bus which has Sleeping Fat Woman on it. She is always in the same seat (or, one and a quarter seats actually) always alseep, and always makes 'You're the One for Me, Fatty' by the Smiths come into my head for the duration of the journey. Now I think about it, I hope Sleeping Fat Woman is not in fact Dead Fat Woman....perhaps I should poke her tomorrow morning. Also on this bus is Fat Rick Astley. He is not Actual Rick Astley because he is not ginger enough. He is usually asleep too, which allows me to stare at him wondering what Actual Rick Astley is doing right now. Perhaps he is now behind the scenes in the music industry, or perhaps he is a generic person in an office, where each new employee exclaims "Hey, isn't that 80s Pop Legend Rick Astley?!" to which his colleagues reply in a bored and resigned way "Yeah" because Actual Rick Astley is actually just like the rest of us, and he refuses to sing 'Never Gonna Give You Up' on demand.

I get off the bus at the Guardian offices and think to myself "I must find out if you can still get hold of those Greek Myth booklets they gave away" and then instantly forget again. I look at my watch to do the impossible maths required for getting to work on time (10 minute walk in 4 minutes, or minus 6 minutes etc.). I arrive sweating and breathless saying to my colleague "Morning Emmanuel!" "Morning OddBabble" he replies, looking at his watch to see how many minutes late I am. "Sorry I'm late" I say. "You'll be alright" he replies with a laid back smile, which I return.

And thus, the day begins.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Worship While You Work Out

Yes, this IS for real. I can taste a little bit of sick in the back of my throat.....

Gospel Aerobics

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

You Probably Had to Be There

Witsy: This book is fascinating. One minute you're reading about the human anatomy, the next you're learning about the Coffin Fly.
Me: I definately don't want to hear about the Coffin Fly.
Witsy: Did you know that the Coffin Fly can survive its entire life on one human corpse?
Me: Did you hear what I just said?

They laugh like drains.