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August 11, 2015 / Anne Friston

Frizzled…off and on again

Here I am again, several months later and finally getting round to doing a bit of writing.  My Facebook page has been giving me subtle little hints about my blog, things like ‘It’s been 70 days since you last posted’ and ‘It’s been 103 days since you last posted’ and so on.  Helpful yes, in the way that I then think ‘Yikes, it’s been that long?’ and vow on the spot to create another post.  Unhelpful yes, in the way that I then think ‘Yikes, I’ve totally lost the plot!  I have no idea what to write about, I’ll never be able to write another post ever again!’  Melodramatic?  Absolutely.

So.  Here I am again.  House move well and truly recovered from – all settled in and sorted.  Great – until youngest son moved house and in with me for a short while, then back out to new flat.  Eldest son and I helped him move his stuff to ours – from his third floor flat – yes, that’s THIRD floor with no lift.  Then we helped him move into his new third floor flat – yes, THIRD floor with no lift.  It was heaps and heaps of fun, what’s not to like?  I very much enjoy carrying boxes and awkwardly shaped items down and up curved, stone staircases repeatedly and who doesn’t love wheezing and sweating profusely, bent practically double with the gruelling exertion of that final third set of steps?  Who doesn’t enjoy the sensation of every ounce of energy draining through the soles of the feet with the crippling realisation we’re nowhere near finished?

I have to say though, all these moves I’ve done over the years has blessed me with the fabulous skill of being able to pack my small car super efficiently with household items and with barely a square centimetre of empty space.  As I drive along – car rattling unnervingly -I can feel the palpable envy of other drivers who stare incredulously at my ‘house in a car’ wondering how what they’re witnessing is even possible.  Dream on, fellow drivers and I’ll tell you my secret….move house 20-odd times and you too, shall reach car pack nirvana.

I love my son dearly and of course, think nothing of helping him move house, it’s my pleasure to help.  However, to say I’m glad that’s over and done with is no understatement.  Yay.  Well almost.  There are a few stubborn items that are still hanging about gleefully anticipating being hauled into the back of my small car and dragged unceremoniously up to the dizzy heights of ‘new flat’.  They’re not sat there mocking me every time I walk into the now ‘spare’ room – of course they’re not, that would be weird.  I’m pretty sure they’re not.

Anyway….all done (nearly), son settled in nicely at new place.  ….and relax.

So, my little blog is back and I am prattling on as usual about whatever pops into my head.  Hurrah.

Now I just need to make sure that Facebook nagging voice ‘It’s been … days since…’ keeps itself to itself and out of my way.  Prepare, reader, to be dazzled with more musings about stuff.

Till the next time and here’s hoping you don’t have to heave any ridiculously heavy items up any stairs any time soon.

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April 13, 2015 / Anne Friston

Frizzled…in February and March

‘Hey, I’d simply LOVE to move house in a mad rush and then go on holiday abroad a week later!’ said no one ever.

I certainly wouldn’t dream of saying such a stupid thing…unfortunately, I did it.  Not by choice. No. Not at all. I’m not a masochist.

My landlords returned from abroad earlier than expected so new house needed in February.  February is housing rental market DESERT here in Edinburgh, absolutely bugger all going.  With two weeks left I still hadn’t spied anything remotely habitable – there were a few flats, but totally useless for my elderly dog who needs a visit to the garden at least twice a night. Yes, a few flats and about one crappy house at any given time.

My son Phil and I had a look around one house and the whole time my brain was screaming, ‘REALLY?!! HOW MUCH RENT?!!  SERIOUSLY?!!’ (If I told you how much, you wouldn’t believe me.)  Bungalow. Very old. Original windows, original wiring, original wallpaper, original carpets…(all decrepit and dirty).rather alarming damp stains on the living room walls.  Smelled funny. Kitchen? Sort of – there were some cupboards in one of the rooms and something that resembled an ancient cooker, like the one on the Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Day Out.  Garden?  Yes, check out the ancient tarmac tastefully applied to the ground on all four sides of the house. No bothersome plants to worry you.   Also, check out the rusty, crumbling bench where you can sit and survey the lovely broken tarmac. Our looks of disgust and incredulity must have been something to behold  as indeed the agency guy cut a hasty retreat to a mouldy bedroom where he stood trying to look nonchalant.

We left.  Very quickly.  Practically ran to the car, didn’t look back.

A week an a half to go.  Felt a little stressed but my bum was having a great workout as my buttocks seemed to be in a state of permanent clench.  No idea why.  The prospect of being homeless or living in some grotty dive was not alarming in any way at all.  However, I remained ever hopeful that it would all be fine.

Arranged to see another house, checked out the area, promptly unarranged to see it.  Dreadful.  Again with the ‘How much?  Really?  Seriously?’ routine.  At least the dirty old bungalow was in a nice area, this one certainly wasn’t.

A little vein on my right temple appeared out of nowhere and began to throb visibly.  The arse workout continued and my ability to get a good night’s sleep ran off into the sunset with grim determination.

Yikes.

Just under a week to go and glory be, this house just appeared in a bubble of loveliness. It was empty, available immediately and the price was ok.  Unbepigginlievable.  We snapped it up and moved in a week later.  Great area, lovely house and most unbelievable of all, nice letting agents.  Very nice agents, all laid back and amenable.  Didn’t know such creatures existed. The whole thing seemed surreal and super easy.  My buttocks finally unclenched and my ability to sleep skipped merrily back as if it had never been away.

Phew.

Twice phew.

And thrice phew.

The move went as smoothly as jam on a scone (could absolutely murder one just now, so nothing new there) and there we were.  Utterly knackered to the very bone, surrounded by mountains of boxes, having trouble believing our luck, but nonetheless happily ensconced in our new abode.

February…frizzled….freaked out (slightly)…feckin’ moved.

So earlier I mentioned a trip abroad.  New York to be exact.  EXCITING!  So for a  week after we moved house in a massive rush, we were unpacking the house in a massive rush and preparing for our trip in a massive rush…off to snowbound NYC.

Moved in.  Unpacked.  Fecked off. Done.

February 13, 2015 / Anne Friston

Frizzled…with my sis

You know that thing where you haven’t seen someone for ages but when you’re together it’s like you’ve not been apart?  Well the weekend with my sis was nothing like this.

Only joking! It totally was!  We had a fabulous time and the weekend whizzed past like someone has pressed the fast forward button.  (Strange image there of some enormous hand holding a remote control that controls my life….bit creepy…)

My sis looked after me very well indeed, it was like staying in a hotel.  Saturday morning, breakfast in bed – orange juice, pot of tea, croissants, tray on legs on which to put my grub whilst lounging in bed – very Downton Abbey (although I resisted the urge to say ‘I shall wear the green day dress and matching hat and have the car brought round for 10am’).  Hey, I could get very much used to this but wait, it got better…

Sunday morning, full fry up!  Bacon, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans, toast, pot of tea, tray on legs, (‘the blue dress today and have my silk shawl pressed’).  Yum!  There was so much food that even I failed to hoover it all up.

This was heaven, this was bliss, this was not the norm. The norm is me staggering to the kettle in a state of zombiedom to make a cuppa in a desperate effort to wake myself at least half up.  You see, mornings are definately not my thing. Not at all, never have been.  Every morning (or afternoon, which it often is) is a battle I endure to leave the luxurious comfort of sleep and my bed and enter the world of wakefulness.  I’m sure any night owls reading this will understand and those early birds amongst my readers definately won’t.  I envy early birds being able to just wake up and get out of bed as if nothing nightmarish is happening and get on with their day.  I don’t, however, envy their inability to stay awake past 9pm for as we night owls all know, this is just when we’re getting our second wind and are ready to rush out and conquer the world (or maybe just go out…).

Yes mornings are, ironically, a nightmare.  For me, anyway.  There are only two occasions in my life when getting up is not completely hideous and impossible – the first is going on holiday and the second is Christmas Day.  I write this with the full knowledge that my family will scoff and howl with laughter at the previous statement as even when I’m going on holiday or it is Christmas, waking me up is practically impossible.  In my defence, though, I will say that I have arisen at 4am on more than one occasion, wide awake, ready to go on my hols.  Yes, yes, I spend the rest of the day snoozing but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, back to the weekend where mornings temporarily became very pleasant.  My sis and I had heaps of fun, having a laugh, watching TV, talking about life, the universe and everything and so on.  As well as seeing my sis, I’d arranged to get my hair done at my favourite place in Stafford, where I used to live.  Hang on, I know what you’re thinking…why in the name of Dale Winton did you go all the way from Edinburgh to Stafford to get your hair done, are you mad?  Well no, I’m not, but I DO have ridiculously fine, soft hair which is an absolute nightmare to manage and finding a hairdresser that can cut it properly is almost impossible. There’s a running joke in our household (which I find HILARIOUS…not) where my hair is referred to as candy floss. I don’t go to the hairdresser, no no I go to the fairground to get it re-spun and when I go out in the rain, it melts and sticks together!  As I say, hilarious. The laugh’s on them though, as I have it dyed a gorgeous lavender colour so it looks even more like candy floss and I don’t give a flying doodah.  It is ridiculously fine and ridiculously soft without a doubt – so fine in fact that to dry it, all I need is a baby within shouting distance to breathe in my general direction and voila, my hair is dry.  I’m not even joking.  I have a friend who has the most beautiful hair and has to have it THINNED OUT at the hairdresser (my feeble mind cannot compute this fact) and it takes 3 hours to dry.  WHAT?! Well the laugh’s on you sister, all I need is a baby in the vicinity and failing that, I just go and stand outside for 10 seconds – 5 if it’s windy and I’m good to go.  Look a bloody mess, but I’m good to go.

Sis and I had planned our day meticulously but what with getting up late, chatting, chatting, larking about, chatting and so on, our plans ran off into the sunset in a fit of pique.  On leaving the hairdresser, we were starving having failed miserably to leave time for lunch and so we headed off to a local pub for a delicious carvery.  My oh my, is there anything as wonderful as a carvery?  Well yes…a beautiful sunset, gorgeous pair of shoes, fish and chips blah blah blah.  But, when you’re famished, a carvery is perfect – what’s not to like?  It’s pretty much instant and it’s a roast dinner, A ROAST DINNER.  Perfect.

We headed off with full tummies to see my niece, her fiance and their two gorgeous little boys, one of whom made me a loom band bracelet (instantly cherished) then home for massive chat over several cups of tea.  Who could wish for more?

Before I knew it, the weekend was over and I was heading back on the train to freezing Edinburgh – the whole of the UK was freezing apparently, it certainly was in Cheshire and Staffordshire, proper brass monkey weather.  Speaking of the cold, I heard the absolute best sentence ever this weekend, ‘Onesies and fur coats have completely transformed my life.’  Well you can’t say fairer than that, can you?

Anne Friston

February 12, 2015 / Anne Friston

Frizzled…on the train

I had a lovely weekend away recently, staying with my sister in Cheshire and got the train from sunny Edinburgh to Manchester, a mere 3 hours’ or so journey – fab.

Love trains, could sit on one all day….which is actually a bit what this felt like.  You know those lovely new, spacious, comfortable trains that are all the rage these days?  Well this wasn’t one of them.  Last time I made this journey, it was one of the lovely trains (there and back – yippee) and it was a lovely journey…loads of space, comfortable seats, luggage compartments etc, etc, etc.

So, I relished the expected experience and armed with chocolate, water, novel, etc. and limbed aboard.  First thing I noticed – no luggage bay.  Ok, overhead storage aplenty…..great if you’re not a shortarse of a mere 5 feet, but if you are indeed a shortarse like me…if you are actually me….which I am….obviously….then overhead storage is your enemy.  I immediately adopted ‘fluster’ mode and attempted to hurl my small but weighty suitcase up above my head whilst leaning across the table.  I honestly expected to fail miserably.  Miraculously though, mission accomplished and I was feeling mighty proud of myself when I realised the lady next to whom I would be sitting, had adopted the ‘you are about to be hit in the face by a weighty suitcase that some munchkin is attempting to hurl in the overhead storage thingy….alert!….alert!’ pose of terrified look on face, hands raised ready to defend and body pressed back in to seat.

Of course, being nice polite people, we made a little joke of it, laughed and on no account referred to the imminent disaster that had just been averted.

I, still recovering from ‘fluster’ mode and considerably lacking in energy after expending such effort, sat down and attempted to remove my coat, scarf, thick cardigan (it was very, very cold) whilst juggling with handbag and carrier bag of goodies, without hitting the poor woman or myself, for that matter, in the face.

It was at this point that I realised just how small this bloody train was.  Nowhere to put my coat – it certainly wasn’t going up with my case – and nowhere to put my super thick, long cardi.  I made the best of things and made a sort of rudimentary barrier between myself and my new friend and we laughed politely again about how little space there was and ‘no, of course your several items of clothing are not in my way at all’, which they most obviously were.

My travelling companion was, it must be said, super lovely despite my nonsense, so thank you whoever you are.

Apart from the cramped and…(oh yes I forgot, STIFLING HEAT, which was really helpful as everyone was dressed for the bitter weather in really warm clothing)…warm conditions, all was well.

The journey was great.  Lots of beautiful snowy scenes to behold, with gorgeous blue skies.  Watching the scenery roll by is one of the great joys of train travel…I love it.

At one point, a man got into our carriage with his small, elderly dog.  As he walked along the aisle, all heads turned to watch the little dog and the wave of affection that followed it was palpable.  A few smiles were exchanged between we fellow passengers which loosely translated meant ‘Aw, isn’t he cute?’ (the dog, that is).  Then, of course, we all went straight back to politely ignoring each other as best we could.

Towards the end of the journey, I could feel myself getting a bit drowsy and as I sat back and rested my head and my shortarse status was once again highlighted in the most cruel and uncomfortable manner.  One word…headrest.  I can only assume that whoever designed the seats on the cramped, sweltering train, did so with giants in mind.  I sat back, expecting to be able to rest my head at least somewhat. even though all headrests are usually a bit too high for me and found the base of this one digging in to the top of my head forcing it forward, with a large space behind my neck and shoulders.

Uncomfortable? Yep.  From the side, my back took on the shape of a question mark, whilst my face grimaced with pain.  It was at this point, that an image of my super-padded neck cushion (bought specifically for occasions such as these) wilting away in a dark cupboard in the spare room, popped in to my head.  My facial grimace worsened as I called myself vile names under my breath.

Nap well and truly denied.  Note to self…take bloody neck cushion on journeys instead of leaving it to die in a cupboard.

Got off train on time with very rosy cheeks and had a wonderful weekend with my lovely sis.  All was well.

Anne Friston

 

 

February 12, 2014 / Anne Friston

Where did my blog go?

Today I read Beth Hewitt’s excellent blog, ‘What to do when your Blogging Wheels fall off’.  It came at  exactly the right time – are you a mind reader, Beth? 🙂  Over the past week, life has thrown an unexpected challenge at me, as life tends to do when you’re not paying attention.  I was expecting something, but not quite the challenge that appeared…and then my blogging wheels fell off, thankfully it didn’t hurt and I didn’t even need a sticking plaster .

Sometimes, our minds are completely absorbed by current events and that’s ok, that’s life…busy chucking things our way and thanks to Beth, I felt ok about neglecting my blog for a week (couldn’t be helped really) and I she reminded me it’s ok to just pick up the reins and carry on.

As ever though, there are always things around to make us smile and I always feel so much better after a good laugh.

First up, is the ticket barrier on the Jubilee Line, London Underground, filling in for Damon Albarn’s vocals in Blur’s Song Number 2 – you may well have seen this clip on Facebook.  Brilliant.

Whilst flicking through the music channels the other night, I found ‘Thank U’ by Alanis Morissette which reminded me of the wonderful parody by French and Saunders who are the absolute queens of the mickey-take.

And here’s Dawn as the lovely Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

 

 

February 3, 2014 / Anne Friston

One of those days

I seem to be having ‘one of those days’ too frequently for my liking just lately.  Start the day full of good intentions, determined to tackle those tasks I’ve been meaning to do for ages…I even have a list!

Today’s been ok, but time has slipped away like Golden Syrup off the back of a spoon and I’m doing everything hours later than planned.  I’ve never been one for rushing around like a blue-arsed fly unless I really have to (and then I can rush with the best of them) and I’m pretty much an expert in procrastination, but some days just get the better of me and this is one such day.

In my defence, having ME doesn’t help – I can lose an entire week or two or even three without even trying, so running late with my plans isn’t the big deal it may have been in my past.  I have been known to cram about 4 hours’ worth of activity into 90 minutes around teatime to catch up on stuff I meant to do.  Thankfully those days are a mere foggy memory and nowadays, I remind myself tomorrow is another day and another chance to get stuff done.

Sometimes, circumstances force us to stop, slow down or change direction altogether (sometimes all 3) and it can take some getting used to.  I wouldn’t say I’m completely happy with going more slowly than I want to, but there are definite benefits from letting go of the need to rush and just go with the flow.

Yesterday’s song by Pharrell does indeed make me ‘Happy’ every time I listen to it, as does today’s song by Foxes. 🙂

February 2, 2014 / Anne Friston

Getting Jumpy

Who’s been watching The Jump this week?  I have and I’ve loved every minute so far.

Now, I don’t really watch much in the way of reality TV, especially celebrity reality TV, but The Jump proved to be utterly irresistible.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s a programme based on the Winter Olympics, in which several celebs hurl themselves down snowy and icy mountain runs at great speed, competing in various Olympic sports; downhill slalom, skeleton, bobsleigh, speed skating and ski jump.

It’s quite simply, superb.  Here’s why:

Most of the celebs haven’t done much, if any, skiing and most have never tried any of the other sports.  So, lots of falling over , crashing and general slapstick-style slips and bumps.  Excellent fun to watch from the safety of my sofa.

Listening to the screams of terror as they barrel down the snowy/icy course, really funny.  Quite admire them though, if it was me doing any of those things, I’d no doubt vomit, pass out or have a heart attack just looking at the course, never mind actually hurling myself down it.

Witnessing how well they’ve developed their skills – fair play to them and the trainers. (Yes, I know  they’re being paid and probably quite a lot, but I for one am very glad it’s them and not me.)

Very much enjoying the irony of me thinking, ‘That looks like a lot of fun, I’d love to have a go at that.’  More than a little ironic as just the though of learning to ski makes me feel more than a little bit sick.

Favourite comment so far, from Henry, about to do the Skeleton run (lying face down on a small wooden block that sits on blades, hurtling along a chute of ice) – ‘I wish this helmet had a valve on it as it’s going to fill up, half with sick, half with tears!’

Semi-final tonight.  I’ll be glued to the TV, full of admiration and very happy I’m sat at home.

Cue Pharrell: