Friday, 30 October 2009

Cirque du Freak-ing Awful

I'm going to stop suggesting film choices. Last night we went to see Cirque du Freak - The Vampire's Assistant. Possibly an odd choice, I admit, but it's all about the vampires at the moment so we thought why the heck not. Turns out, big why not. It was awful! And because it was so bad, it felt like it was never going to end. My body started doing that thing where everything just aches cos really all you want to do is get up out of the cinema seat and leave the utterly awful film (which several people did might I add) I wouldn't have felt so bad except that it was me who suggested we watch it and both Fizz and Wavey came along as well.

When I read the premise on the cinema guide it sounded fun, dark and fantastical with special effects and the most important element, vampires. Perhaps I should have guessed when I read a review of it saying that it was a bit too grotesque for children and a bit not enough for adults...I should have been put off, but I foolishly carried on and paid for my ticket. Oh talking of tickets, most excellent. I'm still awaiting my student discount card, that as an employee in a higher education institute I'm fully entitled to, which means cheaper cinema nights. I was outraged when I got closer to find that a full price ticket is £6.80! Nearly £7 people to go to the cinema! That is at 2 and 3/4 pints if a night of drinking was being done instead of cinema. Anyways, I said to the nice cinema desk guy, I've got a dead student card if that counts for anything, and he gave me the much more friendly student rate of £5.20. As I walked towards Fizz and Wavey triumphant they were just shaking their heads asking the always asked question: how did you do that...? I don't know my lovelies, that's the charm of me I guess.

And so back to the film. Awkward teenagers, Salma Hayek growing a beard (!), evil little Gollum-like creatures who seemed to pop from evaporated vamps, comedy spiders, all in all it was freaking awful. Lesson learned: don't go to the cinema in half-term holidays as clearly all films are aimed at grotty teenagers/snotty children. Is it wrong that I still want to go and see The Fantastic Mr Fox...? Any takers? Anyone...

Monday, 26 October 2009

A day of observations

Travelling by public transport is one of my favourite things to do, which is lucky as in my current commute I get a bus, a train, and a hop-skip-jump 15 minute walk. When it's cold and wet and you've been standing waiting for a bus for half an hour and then 4 turn up at once it can be slightly annoying, but for the most part, you truly do get to see life and all its glories. Today was just one of those days.

It started off on the bus. It's half term so all the grotty teenagers are heading into town to do whatever it is that grotty teenagers do these days (my, I sound old there!) This particular group were all around 14-15 years old and all of the male persuasion. They had in their sweaty hands one of the many male magazines that are on offer from the stand. This particular one seemed to be a bonanza issue of big boobies. I find it particularly odd, this idea of group gazing. Is this the thing to do now? It was always furtive glances at page 3 when I was at school, but obviously that was a gazillion years ago and times have changed. Much sniggering and fwoargh-ing later they reached their stop and headed off into the grotty teenagedom distance.

It continued on the train. I was stood at the platform waiting for the train to arrive and next to me were a family of 2 adults + 2 children, boy and girl, your perfect nuclear family...until the boy (who I would say was about 7) started going off on one when his sister (about 4) kept straying over the yellow safety line. At first I didn't pay too much attention but when he started screaming and stamping his feet my eyes strayed a little over their way. She looked to me like she was of a cheeky demeanour (we can spot each other a mile away, us cheeky peeps) so of course she did it again. Which prompted this massive outburst from him of hysterics, clutching at his mother he shouted "but she might die!" (imagine said in loud long wailing tone) Sheesh. It even made me take a step back away from the line; needless to say she stayed firmly by her mother's side after that. His little outbursts continued on the journey, especially when she nipped him - cue more screaming and foot stamping. Blimey.

I get off the train to begin my walk when I had to do a double take as walking right by me with his suitcase was Ian Botham! Looking very tanned (I know he didn't get that from round these parts!) But I was baffled. Why would a cricketing legend be here? Was he doing his latest Shredded Wheat advert? But I was (sadly) so excited at spotting a famous person that I had to immediately text my peeps! Ha!

Thus endeth the Monday observations.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Always me!

I don't know how I manage it, I truly don't. I seem to attract mad happenings at a bonkers pace. If it's not tales of public transport woes, it's tales from reception, and now I have another one to tell you.

I'm quite happily logged onto the PC trying to find a deal for my home insurance which is coming up (we know how to use our time effectively here you know...) when I hear cries of school children. They did used to occupy the place so I'm surprised they haven't turned up before now. This was a trio of Year 7s which would make them approximately 11 I think. All slightly out of breath and bordering on hysterical they tell me that one of them has managed to get her shoe stuck in a bush. Trying not to laugh too much I get a little bit more information out of them about where exactly it is. Oh we know the place, they say, we can run and get way, thinks I, am I letting crazy school children run riot round the building, our boss would kill me! So I calmly point them to the reception waiting area and ask them to sit there whilst I phone back to the office requesting assistance.

Over in the corner the Breathless Trio start flapping about one of their friends being left behind and immediately whip out 3 mobile phones and start texting. A competition possibly, to see who could contact their errant pal first? Then they start taking shoes off and getting trainers out of bags and trying on each other's shoes, all to the constant stream of: don'tworrythey'llfinditandifnotyoucanusemytrainersyou'reasize5aren'tyou...and so on. A jingley alert later, one of them proudly informs the other 2 that errant pal has found safety in another's company, big relief eh?

One tramping around in the bushes later the flying shoe is retrieved from the bush and passed back to the Breathless Shoeless One. And off they trot into the sunset with the leader of the pack telling them all about how when she was on holiday in Turkey they let you drink when you're 11 and obviously they have a different culture...I missed the last few words as they'd gone too far. One of them did think to stop and yell through the door Thank You!

And that was today's adventure. Tune in for more next week.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Cry baby

So Fizz and I went to see Time Traveler's Wife last night. We went to our favourite cinema, where you can take a drink if you like, in a nice civilized glass rather than an oversized giant cup packed full of ice with a straw hole. We also discovered that they have an icecream machine now so we put in our pennies and watched our icecreams appear in the little window, very exciting! I got my trusty Ben and Jerry's Caramel ChewChew, but Fizz went all retro and got herself a Feast, still good apparently. It was a nice surprise to see a theatre bud there too so we chitted the chat with him until the film started.

As I said in a previous post I had anxiety about seeing this film. But all for nothing dear readers. It was a very lovely adaptation of a gorgeous book. Of course, there were huge chunks missing but it's impossible to be entirely true to the original. And what they did miss out didn't make the film version any less lovely. I felt it was very well cast as well, Fizz was particularly impressed with the idea that she would get to see Eric Bana in the buff, and in the library stacks as well, how rude!

I knew from the get-go that I would end up in tears by the end. I'm not afraid to say that I am a total and utter puff when it comes to sad films/television/books/music. At a particularly emotional point in the film, when I was indeed snuffling a bit, Fizz leaned over and said to me, are you crying yet? Which she thought was just hi-larious (grrrr) By the end, I was of course all welled up and snuffling, but it truly did merit such tears (in my puff-dom opinion) If I'd been watching it at home and on my own I would have probably been all out bawling (ahem) So to sum up, I'd recommend the film. But pack your tissues if you're off the puff-dom persuasion as you will need them.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Passing the time...

I was reading my magazine at lunchtime and there was an article about positive thinking which recommended you take a test to find your Signature Strengths. 240 questions later, here's the results...

VIA Survey of Character Strengths
Here are your scores on the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. For how to interpret and use your scores, see the book Authentic Happiness. The ranking of the strengths reflects your overall ratings of yourself on the 24 strengths in the survey, how much of each strength you possess. Your top five, especially those marked as Signature Strengths, are the ones to pay attention to and find ways to use more often.

Your Top Strength
Capacity to love and be loved
You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.

Your Second Strength
Humor and playfulness
You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.

Your Third Strength
Curiosity and interest in the world
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

Your Fourth Strength
Fairness, equity, and justice
Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.

Your Fifth Strength
Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness
You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way. You are down to earth and without pretense; you are a "real" person.

I'm not always a great believer in these things but if I'd had to list off the top of my head what my strengths were I would have said just those things. I might have used different words and phrases but essentially, as a summing up of Dizz, pretty accurate methinks.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

You have 116 unique titles queued

Such was the message that greeted me today when I logged onto my lovefilm account. I tend to watch 1 dvd per week so if I don't add any more it should only take me, oooh about 2 years and 3 months to watch them all! What am I thinking? I may never ever catch up. Mind you, is that truly the objective? I wonder if anyone ever completely empties their list and then starts again. It could take years to build it again, trawling through all the hot new releases, the coming soons, the top 50 per's endless. But I don't want to remove any of them either cos they're on there for a reason. We just watched Assault on Precinct 13 on Sunday night which was a great film, edge of your seat type stuff, but it was from 2004, sheesh! What about all the 2009s that are just coming out? Too much availability, this is the trouble here.

Speaking of cinema, Fizz and I are going to see The Time Traveller's Wife tomorrow. I'm actually feeling a little anxious about it. The first time I read the book I didn't really like it, for some reason, it just didn't gel for me. But then so many people kept telling me how wonderful it was so I gave it another go. On the second reading I was utterly mesmerised by it. What happens if the film is a total washout? I will truly be devestated. Has anyone seen it? Do we know how faithful it is to the book? I shall report back on Thursday.

Monday, 12 October 2009


It's my late night til 9. I've done my reception stint and am now sat in the office, but it's warm and I'm ever so sleepy and hungry so I'm doing a lot of staring off into space and fighting the urge to put my head down on my desk and have a quick nappette. I'm not really sure that anyone would really notice as I've been sat here for 1 hour and 20 minutes and no-one has come in to ask for my assistance. Bad form do we think? To sleep on the job?

Where did the weekend go? You know it's bad when even your 7 year old nephew is commenting on how quickly time is flying by! It truly is ever so whooshy. Probably not helping in the whole sleepy thing either as I was kinda busy busy. Did some housey jobs, did lots of shopping (which is always exhausting...), met Fizz for a late lunch but as she's poorly sick with some horrible cold that's flying round, proved to be a shortlived meeting up sesh. Stumbled across a continental market and bought some yummy tomato bread from a French stall and bought not one but two Christmas presents (wow! I impress myself with my organisation thus far!) Did some wizzy card shopping too, I think Wavey was very impressed by my see it and grab it selection method, no lingering around to read the pukey verse for me. We found a soooper card for our beloved Stormin' which is just hi-larious and much chuckling will occur upon opening. And that was the end of that folks. Sunday evening rolled around and it was time to start the work week again.

We have a new person joining us tomorrow making 4 people with nothing to do. Interesting *strokes chin* but first we have inducting and showing around to do, which is always an effective time filler.

It's dicky-dark outside now, not helping with the whole wanting to snooze thing. But! Only 59 minutes to go and I am outta here! Woooo! You'll give me a nudge won't you...

Friday, 9 October 2009

New shops!

One of the bestest things about being in new areas is finding new shops. And this evening is the night for discovery detail. I'm outta the door at 4 (oooh rhymey) and heading into the town to lookee round the new shops. I'm not getting too excited as they don't have an H&M or a Peacocks, which are my most favourite, but they do have a TopShop, New Look and Primark which should hopefully prove somewhat fruitful in my search for ever more funky hosiery. And! Everywhere has mid-season sales on. And! Because of my new work location and not having to walk through town to get home, I've not spent any money at all really, apart from on train fares and milk. I've got from 4-6, it's a challenge. But it's one I relish with delight. I shall post purchases with glee.

On a work related note, today was very exciting. We got to play with the fire alarms! Not many people can say that about their workplace, but as we're such a small staff we'll be responsible for the weekly testing. We all have a key and the power to press buttons to reset the system, wowie zowie! Just another rock and roll Friday here then...

Thursday, 8 October 2009


For the longest time it's been under discussion in libraryland about how we should be allowed to have a radio or to listen to our ipods whilst at work. Obviously it doesn't happen as libraries are generally quiet places and it'd be the staff getting shushed (not that I have ever shushed anyone in my life!) and being told to turn that offensive thing off. Not so in other-libraryland. The group of students that were supposed to turn up didn't (what a surprise) So I started singing in the office. I suspect this wasn't really very well received as it was suggested that the radio be put on...and now I'm sat here listening to Fearne Cotton on Radio 1! Which is simply super.

What isn't super is of course the ongoing snoozefest that is other-libraryland. Has anyone else seriously ever known a university campus to have absolutely no students on it? A big fat zero? I really cannot get my head wrapped around it at all. It's the most bizarre "job" I've ever had. The worst thing about it is that everyone told me it would be like this and, me being me, I refused to listen and believed it would be different. Of course it's not and I can't bear the thought of having to go back with my tail between my legs and say you told me so and you were so right. Silverlining? I needed to get out of normal-libraryland to get some perspective. Being here has allowed for that. And I now know that no matter how frustrating it is back there, I will be ever so grateful to go back to all the madness in 6 weeks...

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Wow! I'm sat at the Enquiry Point in our informal library and there are actual students here! Admittedly the majority of them are eating their lunch as this is also where the cafeteria is, but there are 2 actual people using library PCs. It's amazing! And actually feels like a proper university campus once more. Wooooo! Tis tragic but I'm actually sat with a dopey grin on my face at the sight of all these lovely people.

And I've only been sat here for 24 minutes and I've had 2 queries. This is amazing!

Are you reading a change in tone? I had a bit of a revelation last night. I was sat on the sofa whingeing to Wavey about work, when I actually stopped and heard myself and thought, wooooah chickie, this is not you, you are the upbeat girl who always finds the silver lining. And with that I've woken up with a different attitude. For one, I'm grateful that I've got a job at all. The same cannot be said for a lot of people in my region so amen to that. And let's face it, every job is up and down, the best thing to do is just go with the flow and see what happens. Don't get me wrong, I will always be frustrated by lack of work but hopefully it will pick up as more people become aware that we're here to help.

But I do have to say that we really need a sign that says push on the door to get of the library. The number of people that stand there pulling at the door and it doesn't open is just comical! Push people, push!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


It's 2pm on a grey damp day and I'm sat in a very overheated reception area struggling to stay awake. The secondment is only into its third week and I'm already beginning to think that it wasn't such a great idea to come here after all. You'll understand how much time I have to think about stuff when I tell you that I've already drawn up a mental list of the pros and cons.

On the plus side, the first week was excellent fun. Running around and exploring a huge school, including spooky block is not exactly what I would call work. Everyone was in good spirits, we were united in our cause and we seriously couldn't believe the amount of stuff that has been left behind here. It's also been fun getting to know new managers, especially ones that like to talk and gossip as much as we do. You wouldn't believe the stuff I've heard this past couple of weeks about high up peeps at work! I've also enjoyed being able to drive to work 2 days a week as it's doing wonders for my ever ailing flexi; in fact there's a serious danger that I might actually return with positive flexi! This is something I have never known, wonders will surely never cease!

However, the cons far outweigh such nice things. For starters, we've hardly got any students. On Fridays we have none at all. Can you believe that? A university campus with absolutely no students on it. It's too much to comprehend. And we've also got absolutely nothing to do. Again, this is a very alien concept. I'm used to being surrounded by paperwork and telephone queries and emails demanding information. Here, nothing. And next week we get a permanent member of staff to join us so there'll be four of us twiddling our thumbs. It's one of those strange situations in that we have areas that need covering hence the need for staff, but with nothing to do those staff are just struggling to stay awake. It's completely and utterly bonkers. I have honestly never known anything like it my whole working life. Don't get me wrong, I've had boring jobs, but I've never worked anywhere where there is absolutely nothing to do. Last week, the heating was broken and it suddenly turned autumnal so we were really rather chilly. They fixed the heating last Friday and now the place is like a sauna! But they don't know how to control it so it's just switched on. Permanently. Are you getting the bonkers here? Am I conveying it accurately enough for you?

To top it off, last night was our first late night of opening, and also my night to work late. It started off just grand as I didn't have to start until 1, a nice sleep in on Monday mornings is always welcome. By the time the other staff left at 6 I'd had one woman in reception shrieking and screaming and crying hysterically and a very confused old man looking for the school children who used to occupy the building! Add to that the fact that it's very very dark outside with very few lights and it's a huge old building with lots of squeaks and groans, I was thoroughly creeped out by the time I left just after half 8.

The biggest thing of all is that I'm so disappointed. I wanted it to be something really good. Something for me to get my teeth into. Everyone kept telling me what a great opportunity it was going to be. So far, I've probably excelled myself in manual handling having spent a few days lugging furniture around, and it turns out I may excel myself with blogging and email catching up due to excessive availability of time. RAH peeps, a big RAH!

Monday, 5 October 2009

An elegant affair

I went to a family wedding yesterday. And it was an absolutely delightful experience. I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't always look forward to weddings. I get the whole concept behind them, they're supposed to be lovely days and drunken evenings, fun and frolics, dancing and big smiles. But more often than not they're quite stressful and not always enjoyable. But this was one lovely day.

I should have guessed it would be really by the engagement story. On a trip to New York to celebrate a special birthday, groomie proposed to bridie at the top of the Rockefeller Centre and then took her to Tiffanys to buy an engagement ring! Now that's classy, with maybe a hint of cheesey, but every girl that I've ever told that story too always says "awwwwww" at the end of it.

So to the wedding. It was at a most lovely venue, up in Jesmond in Newcastle. Everyone was in their finest and we all looked super dandy. I had my favourite new dress on, bright bright pink with ruffled sleeves and my favourite new shoes, shiny patent leather with a high block heel and a heart on the front, very wedding appropriate; a purple flower in my hair and red accessories topped the clashing with style ensemble. Wavey was looking super handsome in his suit and my ma had the finest fascinator in her hair, it was feathers and net and flowers and jaunty angle-d, looked fabulous! My dad, in typical Dizz-dad mode pretended to be blinded by my bright pink dress but I knew that secretly he was very pleased that I wouldn't be letting the side down as we say in our family, and had scrubbed up well.

It was a small wedding, only 47 guests, but it was lovely to catch up with family and meet new family members. Everyone was ever so lovely to Wavey. I was given full approval by one auntie whilst in the powder room, and at the end of the night when everyone had consumed much alcohol, we were both told that he is a very welcome addition to the family and must stick around! Yay! Cos my family are tough cookies and very protective of me, so this is a very good sign for Wavey.

The room for the wedding was lush. Big high ceilings and dimmed lighting, all adding to the elegance of the day. My cousin was bridesmaid in a gorgeous Karen Millen dress in gunmetal grey and the groom and best man/bride give away-er were dressed in dark grey suits with peacock blue ties. The bride wore a beautiful dress in peacock blue with a bolero, that was simply stunning. I know I keep saying it but it truly was all so damned elegant. It was simply gorgeous. It takes real effort to do this at a wedding, in my humble opinion.

The food was really rather tasty. For starters we had smoked haddock with baby potatoes, green beans and broccoli and a creamy mustard sauce, and hot little rolls so that the butter melted right through. The main course was corn fed chicken with roasted beetroot and carrots and potatoes and then for pudding we had cinnamon donut balls with apple flavoured icecream! YUMNESS! And the wedding cake was made up of little cupcakes of all varieties and they came round shortly after, along with some other petit fours that were chocolate truffle type things and jelly, wow sugar, treats.

Lovely. It must be hard to know how to plan a wedding when the bride and groom are both 60, but this one was a true success. Tasteful. Elegant. Simple yet rather lovely. The happy couple have gone on their honeymoon to Marrakech, so here's to them. I hope they continue to live as happily as they have done for the past 22 years...for the next 22 years...and beyond. Ain't love grand x