Posted in Uncategorized at 2:03 am by rachel

We’re just back from a hobbit-esque birthday party.

I should explain, to those less geeky. In Middle Earth terms, when one attends a birthday party, one receives a present, rather than brings one for the lucky being who is a year older.

So – in attending Burly’s friend Paul’s 30th birthday party this evening, we made the happy discovery that a) his flatmate works for Waterstones and b) he has shelves upon shelves of books that he didn’t want and allowed people to take away. For free. What a strange, but nice, man.

We got sixteen books between us, and had Burly not had a rucksack malfunction (and all the lovely books fallen into a big puddle in the middle of Hammersmith) we’d have easily made about 300 quid’s worth of books this evening. Sadly, his rucksack did fall apart as we tried in vain to get the last tube.. 2 hours later, we’re home, very wet, with very wet books. They are on the various radiators throughout the flat, and it’s after bedtime.

Hopefully they will be ok in the morning.



Posted in Uncategorized at 10:14 pm by rachel

Paris – great. The weather was lovely, clear blue skies and the sunshine bouncing off the sandstone buildings along the Seine. We walked around until we got ridiculously tired. We did the Tower, the Louvre, Montmartre and the Quartier Latin. We visited more churches than we did in the whole of last year, last year of the weddings; in the Louvre, we saw more paintings of the Passion of the Christ than I really needed to see. I kept thinking that if I was a child, looking at these paintings would horrify me, the evident suffering and pain.. not that they didn’t. But the intention inspiring the artist, and the knowledge that so much of these masterpieces was to instill this same feeling of fear, guilt and overwhelming remorse, and subsequent onus to prostrate yourself in front of the God who sent his son to die in pain for all…

Burly stated as we were walking around that he could really appreciate Turner now – an artist who spent more time on clouds that cruxifixes. I guess there was less money in landscapes – portraits where were it was at; either the wealthy nobleman who wanted the virgin and child painted in his wife and son’s image, or the church who wanted something to adorn their alter and concentrate the minds of their congregation. The trees and fields don’t pay so well.

Modern art, I’ve decided, is more my thing; furthermore, the palace itself provides ample justification for the revolution. I’ve never been in a place so opulent, dripping in diamonds and gold and extravagence.

From the sublime… the hotel we stayed in was a budget 2* place, close to the Gare de l’Est. It was fine, nothing special, but the second morning, there was no hot water. Not ideal, but we won’t be back – there. There is still a lot of Paris to be seen. We visited Les Deux Magots, in the shadow of Hemingway. Nice – on the expensive side, but nerds such as myself will pay that bit extra for the cachet and the opportunity to have my GCSE Frence snubbed by the waiters.

Eurostar was good. Burly got quite excited about how it draws power from three different sources, or something 🙂

Work – ok. I had a day waiting for a bill to come through, and when it did, the past month of stress and bother was put to one side. My MP basically read out the speech I’d written her, as I sat up in the gallery with my boss and her kids, then she took us to tea and crumpets in the HC dining room. Lovely. It was a couple of hours when I felt like I could actually a) make a difference and b) not worry about all the other crap that is currently my job.

After the event, it’s hard to tell. Went to a cafe with my manager and had a chat about work, told her I wasn’t happy, I hope diplomatically, in terms of stress and hassles, in the ‘little things getting in the way of my doing my job, can’t be bothered’ way of trying to raise something without letting her know that I’m checking out the Guardian website for a new job everyone morning. She’s scared of me leaving. Until the bill, I was so paralysed with how much I had to do this morning, I gave my time over to browsing the web etc. Faffed. Faffed and procrastinated and wasted time. Wished I was still in Paris. I have to come up with an idea for a lucrative, best-selling book and just get on with it.

So.. tomorrow. Wednesday. Three days until the weekend.

Burly’s at a free Apple gig, the Fratellis are playing in Regent Street but I couldn’t be bothered standing in the cold for over an hour (queueing for the Tower for over an hour was enough) so I came home, made stew and a glass of wine.

The West Wing is on (PVR rules) and it’s a sad one. And I’m at the stage where I am wondering what to do. This is the problem with the West Wing, glorifying legislative process and snappy rejoinders. Life isn’t so glamourous. Nor is it all drinking and gak shenanigans in Westminster bars, as the new BBC2 drama would put forward. Or perhaps I’ve been going to the wrong bars. But that side of it – the gameplaying, the tribalism, the skirting over the serious issues with sarcasm – has never appealed. The more I see of politics, the more cynical I get. The more I feel that I’m wasting my time.

Ah, I’ve gotten into this maudlin self-obsessed state of mind again. That’s no good.


A Paris

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:05 pm by rachel

Demain, nous allons a Paris, sur l’Eurostar, pour le weekend. Je suis tres heureux.

Enough of that. I can’t wait – to go, to leave, to be away and to be in Paris. I’m really looking forward to the day off work, being a tourist, spending some time with Burly because we’ve both been working really hard recently, and I’ve not seen as much of him as I’d like. So that shall be rectified.

Work has been tough, so I’m thrilled to get away from it. Things have been sorted (or sorted enough) so I can switch off and just enjoy the city.

You may detect smugness, but I’m not feeling smug – just tired, too tired to be original and think of witticisms; and relieved that the potential for such a nice weekend lies ahead.

a bientot