Friday, September 26, 2008


Hi all! I'm sorry I haven't been able to blog. As you know, I moved out of my flat last Wednesday week. The days leading up to the wedding were manic, despite my best efforts at preparation and organization. (Remind me to tell you about baking the cake.)

The wedding last Friday we beautiful. After 4 months of rain and grey and utterly shit weather, the sun broke through and we we had absolutely spectacular weather. My bridesmaids were fantastic, and as we walked to the church with all our flowers, me on my father's arm, I felt like a queen. (Looked like one, too. Might as well be honest.)

The service was lovely. Even the minister said it was the nicest wedding she'd ever presided. The light was blazing in through the stained glass, and all the church was aglow with autum flowers and amber light. I will post photos as soon as I have some. I, obviously, wasn't taking pictures, so I don't have any off my own camera to upload.

The reception was a blast, and by 11 pm the dancing was getting very silly indeed. I got thrown from person to person during Cotton-eyed Joe until I passed out, and Pirate's sea-faring friends did some very inappropriate things with his mother. Oh, and I have to tell you about the paper airplanes!

During dinner Pirate began writing his speech (nothing like a little preparation, is there?). He had a pad of paper, which promptly got confiscated by his mates for paper airplanes, which were thrown all over the room. There were dozens of them going back and forth, landing in people's food, the candles, hitting people in the head, etc. It was a great laugh. Then when it was time for speeches, when Pirate stood up the entire room threw all their paper airplanes at him, as well as a few napkins and anything else they could lay hands on. It was absolutely hilarious. Despite having the air of complete spontenaity, we found out later that my dad had orchestrated the whole thing during dinner with a particularly effective game of 'telephone'!

Anyway, now that i'm back online I'll have lots more stories to tell, and hopefully some pictures soon.

Married life is great! xoxooxoxox

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


It's taken me 3 days to clean up the nasty-ass fucking mess my disgusting flatmates left behind for me to deal with.

I had to mop the kitchen floor 5 times. (The third time I did it the water was still black at the end, and the kitchen is less than 10x10 feet.) There were rotting vegetables in the fridge drawers, the bottom of the fridge was full of fetid water. There was rancid yogurt spilled all over the shelves. There were EMPTY wrappers from smoked fish tucked away in the back. Yes, at some point someone unwrapped some smoked fish and put the oily WRAPPER back in the fridge.

There was grease all over everything -- that filmy grease that floats in the air from deep frying and settles everywhere. They left me pots, pans, cutlery, plates, dishes, bowls, mugs, chopsticks, 8 tubes of assorted plastic wrap and tin foil, knives, and rusty rice steamers to deal with. They took their trash out of their bedrooms and left it in bags on the kitchen floor for me to take out to the dumpster. In the last 48 hours I have removed 9 full bags of garbage, none of which was mine.

The kitchen is finally done. I am shattered. I've barely slept in 3 days. Last night I finally had 8 hours to myself, and one of my bridesmaids sent me a text at 6 am, waking me up. Instantly my mind started spinning with everything I had to do today, and it became impossible to get back to sleep.

I'm so tired I'm ill. I don't feel awake, but my adreneline is keeping me going. Living on adrenaline is not fun. It gives me the shakes, like too much caffeine, and I feel agitated and jumpy. I've got a pounding headache (also from the adrenaline) and I feel slightly nauseas. I just want to go to sleep.

Now I get to clean my room -- it will take about an hour to vacuum and wipe all the surfaces and clean the bathroom -- and then I move out of here altogether. When that happens I will move in to the hotel for the rest of the week, at which point I won't have email. It's unlikely I'll post again until after the wedding, or even have a chance to read your blogs. If Pirate's done his job and gotten the internet hooked up in Plymouth I should be back online sometime next week, a married woman.

Stay tuned.

And yes, there will be photographs.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Short Human

One of my teammates just announced she's pregnant, so I had this printed up for her at the T-shirt place up the road.
Well what the hell else do you get a knocked-up rower??? (Someone better get me one of these when I start spawning, that's all I'm saying.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Tonight I am alone. Pirate has left for the week. (When we woke up this morning I looked at him and realized that the next time we wake up together it will be as husband and wife. Wow.)

Not only that, all my flatmates have gone. I am the last person in the flat.

I am also the last person in the entire 8-storey, 200-occupant building. Everyone else left Friday, or Saturday at the latest, but I got special leave to remain since I had no where else to go before the wedding.

Now, my flatmates were pretty fucking anti-social. I rarely saw or spoke to them. I knew they were there because the kitchen was constantly filthy, but that was the only evidence of their existence.

But somehow without them here the place is eerily quiet. It doesn't help that Pirate has also taken Goebbels (the evil, aryan, Nazi dwarf hamster) as well as Wong-Foo, Studly, Preggers, and Gluon (my Betta, 2 guppies, and their quantum offspring, respectively). The hamster wheel and aquarium bubbler have been my constant night-time noises for 3 years.

And because it's Sunday, there aren't even many drunk people outside screaming. There are fewer ambulances. There are no live bands at the pub downstairs. Even the seagulss have gone. (Thank fuck for that, anyway.) Except for the hum of normal traffic around St. Augustine's Parade, it is completely quiet.

I have never felt so alone in the middle of a huge city.

This is the first time since I arrived I'm locking myself in my bedroom while I sleep.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Remember the whole chocolate fountain thing? One thing I left out of the story was this:

After the idiots told me they couldn't set up at the agreed time I began looking for replacement suppliers. I Googled "chocolate fountain Bristol" and just started phoning down the list. One conversation went as such:

Me: (briefly explains situation)

Chocolate woman: Well, I suppose I could do it. I am technically free that day, but I'm not really taking bookings for the month of September. My teenage son was killed in a car crash on Monday and we haven't had the funeral yet... *starts to get choked up* ...but you're in a pinch...

Me: No! No, chocolate is not important. I don't want a fountain. Never mind. Oh God I'm so sorry... *hangs up*

Crisis du Moment, III

Yesterday a bill arrived from FedEx. They seem to think I owe them 175 pounds in import duty for a package my mother sent me 6 weeks ago. It was a personal gift with a value less than $400, and so no duty is owed on it. For some reason they refuse to believe this. Moreover, the irritating letter came with huge writing across the top: FINAL WARNING. It was the first notice I'd received. Assholes. Somehow I need to convince them I don't owe them anything and get that in writing before they phone Experion and fuck up my credit rating.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Crisis du Moment, II

or, Why You Should Not Take Driving Lessons With BSM

This afternoon's crisis was dealing with fucking BSM again. My god those people are fucking incompetent. It absolutely astounds me that they are still in business. (I even wrote that in the letter I sent them this morning.) Let's go in order, shall we?

Fuck up #1: The instructor never showed up for my first lesson. No phone call, no notification, nada. Just didn't show. I waited outside, in the rain, for 90 minutes, during which time I phoned them repeatedly to complain, and they insisted that, despite their failed attempts to contact the driver, they were sure everything was OK and he would be along any minute. It took an hour and half for them to clue in that something was amiss.

Fuck up #2: Against my better judgment I rescheduled the lesson, but I insisted on a different instructor. He showed up on time and was very nice and apologetic while he told me that he couldn't take me for a lesson. You see, I didn't have a provisional license. No one told me I needed one. When I first phoned BSM to book lessons I explicitly told them that I had an American driving license. No one said anything about needing a provisional or in any way indicated that having an American license was a barrier to receiving driving instruction.

Fuck up #3: After that I phoned and demanded a full refund. They were not apologetic. They tried to keep my business by offering to reschedule my lessons in Plymouth after the wedding, but they gave me no incentive whatsoever to do that. I insisted, and they said the cheque would be in the mail. Then I got a phone call three days later explaining that there had been "a clerical error" and that my refund would arrive in 2 separate cheques, on 2 separate days, so I should not spaz out when the first one arrived and it was for less than the full amount. At least they gave me a heads-up.

Fuck up #4: After more than a week an envelope finally arrived. It did not contain a cheque. It contained a letter explaining that they can only give refunds directly to the card with which I made the purchase. That's fair enough, but why were 2 different employees on 2 separate occasions convinced I would receive a cheque??? Furthermore, the letter said (and I am not making this up) "Will we refund you the full amount of [my postode]." Yes, they actually put my postcode where the amount should have gone. Someone doesn't know the difference between a monetary sum and a postcode??? It's also highly suspicious, since because of that error nowhere did it say in the letter how much they owed me. The letter committed them to paying me absolutely nothing because they neglected to include the amount. Frankly, I don't think it was a mistake. I think it was them being slimy. So I sent a copy to my solicitor, along with a copy of my reply to them (which basically said everthing I've just written here).

It's going to take forever to get that 222 pounds back, I can tell. I must say, I felt a profound kinship with GSE all day. This is just the sort of shit that seems to happen to her with statistically improbable frequency.

Crisis du Moment

So this morning's crisis was the chocolate fountain people* emailing me to inform me that despite our agreement, they would not be able to have the table and fountain set up in the reception hall before 5 pm. Instead, the earliest they could do it is 7 pm, and I would just have to deal with the fact that they would be hauling in crates and boxes and tables while the guests are seated at dinner. Um, noooooooooo.

So there I was, 10 days before my wedding, trying to hire a replacement chocolate fountain (Pirate really really really really wants one). I spent 3 hours on the internet and phone getting quotes from the few places that had availability. The best I could get was 75 pounds more than what we had originally paid. I said I would check with the Pirate and get back to him in the evening.

Then I called my contact at the reception hall just to let her know what was going on. "No problem," she said. "I'll take care of it." She asked for the details of my arrangement with the original chocolate people, which I gave her. 10 minutes later she rang me back to say she'd found a reputable place that would do everything we wanted and more for the same price. She's worked with them before and she trusts them. Brilliant!

So I phoned back the chap who gave me the quote that was 75 pounds above our budget to tell him we didn't need him after all. Here's the kicker: "I've just been on the phone to your friend at the hotel" quoth he. "She's booked me for your wedding." She got the same place I wanted, but she did it 75 quid cheaper! Brilliant!

Crisis averted. And since we're naming and shaming people, let's also give some good press to the wonderful people at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, who are being absolute stars. Thanks, guys!

*Clearly no one should ever hire these people. I believe in naming and shaming. (Now I just need to get my fucking 400 quid back.)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sorry *sheepish*

I am rubbish. I haven't posted in AGES, and for those few of you who give a shit it must have been really irritating. I'm sorry.

I can only make the excuse that planning a wedding, moving house, and trying to write a PhD is taking its toll. It's been frustrating for me, too, because I keep having all these thoughts that I want to share but don't have time to write down right away, and by the time I get the time I've forgotten them. But here are a few of the highlights from the past couple weeks:


Met Hendrix Cat for coffee and a truly great She Elephant for dinner (along with the Pirate). We had a delightful time and I was thrilled to meet both of them. I sincerely hope we have the chance to repeat the experience.

Saw Ed Byrne, who did half his routine on wedding planning. We were in pain from laughing so hard. That one really hit the zeitgeist's funny bone.


Yay for Sarah Palin! She's going to destroy the GOP ticket. They talk big now, but at the end of the day a significant chunk of the Republicans won't vote for the McCain/Palin ticket for 2 reasons.
1. After all the flack about Obama's lack of experience, she's got even less. And everyone knows that if McCain gets elected, there's a better than average chance he won't live out the full term. She's so inexperienced she even said "Can someone explain to me just what the VP does all day?" Even the republicans, when pressed, won't vote for that kind cluelessness.

2. Her so-called "family values." She was brought in because McCain is too liberal (snort) for the evangelical right wingers. She's certainly nutty enough, but she's a mother with 5 kids all in school including an infant with a serious disability. The extreme conservative right think she should be home taking care of them! A man with her positions might have been a boon to the ticket, but not a woman with a baby.

She was also brought in to pick up some of the Hillary camp, but (most) women won't be stupid enough to vote for a vagina that is hell bent on taking away women's rights to control their own snatches.

And finally, she's so right wing wacko conservative that she'll put off a lot of the moderate undecideds that Obama is trying to woo and send them running to his camp.

So at the end of the day a lot of Republicans won't vote for a ticket with Palin on it, and they sure as shit won't vote for Obama, so they'll stay home. Result: low voter turnout on election day and victory for Obama. Thus spake Zarathustra.

Bridal shower:

Bridesmaid tried to plan one for me. Not one person came. So she tried again. ONE person came. They don't have showers over here, and I don't think anyone really "got it" or understood how important it was. *sad*


The bridesmaids dresses were supposed to be rust-colored, not pumpkin orange. I sincerely hope my friends don't feel like they're walking down the isle in giant traffic cones. The swatch did NOT look that bright, I swear!


Pirate has just collected the keys to our future house (only 12 days away!) and has begun taking carloads of my stuff down to Plymouth. I haven't been to Plymouth yet, but he brought me pictures. The garden and views are fantastic, the furniture is acceptable, and the kitchen appliances are strangely nonexistent. I really don't know how you can call something "fully furnished" and not include a refrigerator! So guess who's going fridge shopping this week? Yup, not me!