Burning woman…


For many of us, 2014 started with a bang and a wallop – and I’m talking UK weather here, not drunken fisticuffs.  For me the actual festivities were laid back and low-key, despite having to drive home the next day in hurricane-style winds with a hangover. Not. Recommended.  Still, now that the year is officially back to being blah, I’ve spent the last week contemplating the year that was and setting my intentions for the next twelve months.  I’ve done this with an empty oil drum and a book of matches.

And no, I haven’t lost the plot or turned into a pyromaniac! I’ve spent the last 6 weeks gutting my renovation project and taking the ancient plaster and lathe walls back to brick.  Seven skips later, I’ve been disposing of the wooden battens used by the Victorian builders who constructed the place. Extreme renovation makes you unsentimental about ‘stuff’ – faced with a house that resembles an empty shell, I’m pretty sanguine about what I want to keep and what I want to dispose of.

Which brings me to my resolutions for 2014.  Apparently this is the Chinese Year of the Horse. And I’m a Fire Horse, which makes me someone who ‘loves action and excitement in life and will rarely be quiet’ according to the Feng Shui site I googled...Well, no surprises there, then. So, will I burn with passion this year? Or will my lovelife continue to resemble a damp squib? Will my career ignite like a roman candle, or like Comet Holmes, will I just keep getting half a million times brighter on my way to becoming the biggest object in the universe? Frankly, I have no idea.  What I do know is this…

  • I won’t keep hold of things (emotions, situations, stuff) that no longer work. Those dead horses were flogged and are well on their way to the glue factory, my friend!
  • I won’t accept second-best. Not for myself, or those I hold dear. No. No-way. Nada.
  • I will love the people who matter and who’ve been there for me in dark times and good. Whole-heartedly and without judgement – although in the case of gentlemen admirers, probably with a bit of caution and a condom, since my horoscope also mentions ‘new arrivals’ and ‘unreliable boyfriends’. 
  • I will tackle my goals and to-do list with fire and energy. Passion is great, but without action, ultimately nothing. And yes…I will put away the matches!

And finally… I will wish my friends, family and readers of this blog, a 2014 filled with brightness, gladness and all good things. Happy New Year!

Hit and Ms…

Being one has never bothered me…but clearly my marital status is of great concern to people who really should know better. Perfect strangers and distant relatives all seem to think my private life is fair game. They labour under the misapprehension that being unencumbered must mean a) I’m deviant in some way or b) I’ve missed out or  c) I don’t mind intrusive personal questions.  Wrong on all three counts.

Them: Why aren’t you married?

At this point I have three possible responses depending on how riled I am, or how stupid they are…

Response #1:  Because I forgot!
Response #2:  Because George Clooney was unavailable last week!
Response #3:  Because in my spare time I sacrifice babies to the turnip god and shag elephants!

Or my other personal favourite…

Them: Is it Mrs or Miss?
Me: Actually, it’s ‘Ms’. There is no Mr B.
Them:…Oh…Are you a feminist?

For the record, ignoramus, ‘ms’ is the French abbreviation for Mademoiselle! It’s a bit more chic than ‘miss’. As a woman in my prime, ‘miss’ just seems a bit juvenile. Frankly I’m fed up answering rude questions about my love-life and deflecting wrongful assumptions about my sexuality, simply because I’m a modern gal.

This is annoying enough, but being one means you also have to deal with the unwelcome advances of neanderthal man.  You know, the type that frequents the end of the bar and spends his time wondering how women can resist his bald head and oversize beer belly as he wobbles to the slot machine. 

This was the conversation on a recent night out with friends at our local…

N-Man: Hi baby, wanna drink with me?
Me: The last person who called me baby left with his balls in a bag.  I don’t think so.
N-Man: Wassa matter, don’t you like me?
Me: No, you are ugly and your mother dresses you funny.
N-Man: Awww…come on, have a drink with me?
Me: No thanks, I’m not your type.
N-Man: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, I’m not inflatable!

And for the record, the distinguished chap who sent over a bottle of bubbly was the guy who scored the hit that night. Stupidity will never win fair maid, but champagne always might! 

H is for…Hero

In my world, every now and then, the wheels come off the truck.  Never mind changing the tyres…it usually involves the sort of experiences that make you want to hibernate under the duvet until the world ends and we all end up as flesh eating Zombies. Given last week’s events, becoming one of the undead is looking like a favourable option.  But I digress…

I wanted to dedicate this blog to heroes.  It came to me as I was running down the fairway along the beach.  Running is usually a good source of inspiration for the blog, so I was surprised that heroes popped into my head…Well, it may have had something to do with the tall ship moored in Sandwich Bay…You know, swashbuckling pirates and fantasies of Johnny Depp!  But I digress…

As the running gave way to wheezing, I started wondering what had happened to all of the heroes. Where are they? Those square-jawed, muscle-bound men who rescue damsels in distress and still manage to make it back to the office!   Men who combine witty repartee with rippling physique. And yes, for those of you who know me well…they must have their own hair and teeth!  Though at this point in the run…anyone with a stretcher and a champagne drip would have sufficed!

Perhaps I have been asleep in my own tower for far too long… it’s quiet, but I keep finding legumes under the mattress. Still, I digress… When I look around and wimpy, weedy, iffy men have suddenly assumed primacy…well, in the UK anyway – that is the only explanation for Simon Amstell and that twit boy in plaid who presents T4… So, I’ve decided it’s time to do a Bonnie Tyler.  It’s a hero with hearts and flowers or nothing for this particular princess.

A is for Attraction…

So far, it’s been a weird month…which probably explains why I haven’t blogged for a while. I won’t go into the gory details, but recent events – you know, the sort of things that make you go ‘huh?’ just before you step on the exploding death-square or pick the card that says ‘Do not pass go!’ – have made it a bit tricky to collect my thoughts, let alone commit them to cyberspace in an erudite fashion. Anyway…so far, so blah! Rather than mope, I’ve decided to blog about a subject for each letter of the alphabet, starting with A. Reasons will become obvious, later…

Truth is, I’ve recently found myself with a surfeit of younger men in my life who all share the same first initial. Even stranger, they share the same first name… Yup, this is the parallel world I now live in!  Call me superstitious, but I think the universe is trying to tell me something, and it doesn’t spell C-o-u-g-a-r!  I realise that you might think I got lucky, but these boys seem to be cropping up everywhere – at work, in my uni class, via friends. If I didn’t know better, I would think this was a bad repeat of Matrix out-takes…

Still, It got me thinking whether I have a type – ‘younger’ fits the bill for reasons I won’t elaborate on in a public forum – but it also made me wonder what intangible qualities draw us to people, places and things. What is the essence of attraction? How is it that we know in an instant whether we like someone? And what makes some people obsess about art or trains or stamps? Why can a perfume or a pair of heels make you salivate? And what draws our souls to return to places and spaces that we feel fill our spirit and make us whole?

We are not all attracted to the same things, but I wonder…do each of us have a personal ‘A-list’ – a checklist of factors, characteristics or attributes that make the difference between love and loathing – whether the thing in question is animal, mineral or vegetable?  I guess, the bottom line is that attraction – like any other emotion – is deeply individual, sometimes cerebral, but almost always illogical.  What or who, does it for you…? Answers on a comment, pls…

Size matters…

Apparently hand size is really important if you’re a bloke, but presumably not if you are an accountant as they always seem to have small digits…The better to count money with, albeit no guarantee of romantic success.  Being an accountant, I mean!  

The fact is most men are of average endowment regardless of how big other parts of them are. And that includes their egos… No, I haven’t been using a tape measure, I have this on good authority from a friend who is a nurse! Sorry chaps, but not everyone can be Ron Jeremy, and not every woman wants someone who needs longer shorts because of their shoe size!

I will admit that size matters to me.  But before all the men who read this go scurrying off to stroke their…um…egos, let me just say that I’m talking cerebrally here!  Like most of the independently-minded women I know, there is a list of desireable characteristics that make the difference between Mr Right and Mr Wrong-on-so-many-levels…you know, the ones that we tick off mentally before the man in question has had the time to open his mouth and ruin it all.  

My requirements are fairly simple…tall…younger…own hair and teeth…you get the picture.  But my particular kryptonite happens to be intelligence.   For me, brains and all the above in one package is a particularly devastating combination.  Add a fair dollop of wry humour and a generous spirit, and I’m probably putty by the end of the evening…or slutty…but only if they happen to have a six-figure IQ!


2009 has been a tempestuous year. You know, the sort of twelve month period where your world spins on its axis and you wake up without your red shoes and little dog Toto in the sort of place where not everything is what it seems to be.

I’ve met the cowardly lion, the tin man and loads of oompa loompas in between. I’m not sure I like any of them.  The coward deserves to be stuffed or made into a rug, the heartless tin man should be recycled and turned into a can… and, as for the oompa loompas…well, they really should carry a health warning before they are let out amongst the general populace.

With Christmas looming, I’ve decided to get ahead of myself and write my gratitude, goodbye and intentions list.  It’s something I’ve started doing because I’m usually rubbish at New Year’s Resolutions. And anyway,  perfection is hard to maintain in a tornado!  So, I’m writing a list of all the things that happened that I’m grateful for, all the things I am clicking my heels and putting in the box marked ‘o’ for over, and setting my goals for the next 12 months.  Somehow it feels better than simply making a list that says: 1. no booze 2. no sweets 3. no schoolboys.  (OK, I was only joking about the last one).

Whatever you are doing this Christmas, whether you celebrate the Winter Solstice, the birth of Christ or just the opportunity to spend some relaxing time at home, I hope this festive season is a good one. May 2010 bring all of us a little shelter, a lot of love and no more natural disasters!

Strong opinions, weakly held…

Modern life is rubbish, but modern romance is even rubbisher.  I’m writing this post in despair at the parlous state of the British male of the species. Now before all my male friends get shirty, this particular post does not refer to you.  But, I should say that names have been changed to protect the guilty, and Mr Unique is so definitely not.  Girls, you get the picture…

 So, me…sensible woman, not unintelligent, no scales and only one head.  Him, ok bloke – nice looking, own hair and teeth (always a plus) seems reasonable. So far, so good.   Everything was going swimmingly until he said: ‘I have strong opinions, weakly held’…Now I don’t know if it was the fact that he turned out to be a fence-sitter (that’s usually not a comfortable place to be) or the fact that he sent me an email with a You Tube version of Danny Boy, sung by Muppets – no really, Muppets…Either he was implying that secretly he was a felt puppet with bad hair or that is what passes for sense of humour these days.  So, that was the kiss of death as far as I was concerned.  See my previous post, ‘Things that make you go ha!’ to understand why a shared sense of humour is crucial.

But it got me thinking.  What is the point of having a strong opinion if its only weakly held. That just seems like a cop-out. Strong opinions, strongly held are what led to the abolition of slavery, enshrined voting rights for the suffragettes, got the first man to walk on the moon. On balance, I’d prefer a strongly minded man than one who seems a bit soft in the head.