And now, the end is near…

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This is definitely not a complaint. First class is really quiet. It’s what libraries used to be, before turning into emo youth hangouts they are today. People in first class whisper – they even cough quietly.

Which means that when people are loud, it’s really annoying. It doesn’t help that it’s an enclosed part of the carriage either, so the noise goes nowhere. The other day I was ensconced in my book when I became aware of a hideous, grinding noise. I looked up and the gentleman beside me had decided to eschew his fruit salad to chew his spork instead. Personally, I would have plumped for the fruit.

The train was really, really full in the middle of the week because, basically, there’s never enough room for the amount of people who want to get on. Loads of people commute to Cambridge from Ely, which is only fifteen minutes away and has a really pretty cathedral. It looks like quite a nice place, but the scallies to normal people ratio is a bit high for my liking. I suppose the same could be said for Norwich, though.

Just before the train pulled off on the way home, a woman popped through the first class doors. These doors are motion sensitive on the inside but they have to be button operated from the outside. Which is cool, as then there are no pesky draughts/standard class people to bother us… So, the woman darted through and sat in a seat. At this point there were only two people in first class including me, so that was fine. Plus, my lefty guilt was seeping through as I watched the rest of the passengers struggling to stand in the crowded carriage. The conductor came round almost straightaway – pretty unusual for such a packed train. The woman immediately said “I don’t have a first class ticket, there wasn’t room to stand and no seats left”. The conductor asked where she was getting off, which was Ely. He said it was fine and then extended the question to myself and my first class companion, asking if we’d mind if some other people were to come in – just until Ely. Naturally I said yes, that’s fine. Until Ely.

In the end, only one other woman came in, who joined myself and the other woman at the table. They immediately struck up a conversation about how incompetent the train company was and how annoying it is to have bought a first class ticket and have standard class people sit there. I had to gawk at the clanger one woman came out with.

“We were de-classified once on a train from Twickenham – the train was so full that anyone was allowed to sit anywhere. Of course, it meant we had people coming in and talking loudly when we’d wanted peace and quiet”

Some people are so unaware of themselves, it’s astounding.

The other thing (this is definitely not a problem, not in the slightest) is that you’re unavoidably drawn into other peoples’ conversations. You know that Steven is going to be late home and Martin is on the 17.12 train (thanks Martin, I knew that already) and that he’s having stew for tea. I was privy to a conversation about a young lady who gets on at Thetford, the other day. Two middle aged men were talking about work – one of them called the other a muppet as a joke and his companion said” Easy, I am two grades above you”. What a horrible man! Anyway, he followed this gem up by commenting on the girl that got on – “She’s pretty”. The unspoken comments hung in the air. In fact, his eyes said more than his mouth. The disappointment was tangible that she wasn’t in a sheer negligee. Ick.

I discovered that first class does not have mere strip lighting like standard, oh no. Most of the time there is a funky Orient Express lamp and a spotlight! I have not yet used either as it has not been dark enough. I may use he spotlight today, though. Or I might try out the lamp.

I am leaving work early today. In fact, I am leaving work today. This morning was the last time I had to get up at 06:25am unless it’s Christmas. Rather fittingly, this morning was the first time I’d gotten up with the moon. I honestly thought that next door had left their security light on again (seriously, brighter than the sun and able to shine through no less than three walls into our bedroom) but on closer inspection, the moon was out. I had to check three clocks to make sure I hadn’t gotten up an hour early. Unfortunately, I hadn’t. Walking to work with the glimmers of the moon and the sun is weird. Walking home at 6.30pm in the pitch black is weird too. I won’t be doing it for much longer, though!

Honestly, it’s a bit sad that I’m not going to be here longer. At the end of the day, though, I had to do what was right for my own career rather than try not to offend some people by daring to hand my resignation in. Oh well.

I’m reading new moon at the moment, which is quite a hefty tome. A full 500 odd pages, although there’s a bit of a cheat as the first chapter of the next book is nestled at the back. Darn their tricksy ‘buy the next book’ moves. I have to go to the library anyway so I’ll have a look for Eclipse then.

I haven’t finished yet, but I’ve only got a chapter to go. Here’s what I think: not half as good as twilight. This is more forced, rushed, less sure of itself. There are some horribly glaring grammatical errors that make me wince, which could easily have been avoided by a careful proof reader or editor. Books with typos, spelling errors and grammatical errors annoy me as to me, it shows disrespect to the reader. If ‘they’ can’t even be bothered to make sure everything is spelled properly and the reader does not have to do extra work to understand the novel, why did I bother spending x hours reading it or spend my hard-earned cash on it?

In terms of the plot, though, it’s fun. Predictable and it could definitely have been 200 pages shorter, but still enjoyable. There are two more books to read after this one, and the film comes out soon! The writing is a bit laboured in this one but there are flashes of twilight’s ease and natural conversation that peek out every now and then.

I will watch the film and probably love it, although I feel that I am betraying myself by watching a film with a Harry Potter actor in it…

I’m definitely Team Edward though!

Who’s been watching Hollyoaks?

The last week or so has been brilliant . I’m not even being ironic – it’s the climax to a slow build-up which has seen a villain torment the McQueens under his own irrational sense of injustice. They’ve been unaware of this conductor of their poor fortunes. Until now. Exploding churches, dead people, people who are meant to be dead but aren’t, people who are meant to be schizophrenic but aren’t (for those episodes, anyway), family betrayal, secrets… How will they recover from their physical and mental wounds? Will anything be the same again?

See what I mean? It’s brilliant.

I’m off paintballing this weekend so I may not be with you again… If I succumb to the enemy, remember this. Be good to yourself, and each other.

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Operation Neon

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“We flying the first class
Up in the sky
Poppin’ champagne
Livin’ the life
In the fast lane
And I won’t change
By the Glamorous, oh the flossy flossy”

This has been in my head for a couple of weeks. All blame lies on Gossip Girl… In some episodes there’s a slightly camp madrigal type choir who seem to always sing slightly inappropriate ditties. A case in point – Fergie’s masterpiece. The excerpt begs the question: what the hell is ‘flossy, flossy’? If anyone knows and would like to explain, I’d be most grateful. Don’t even get me started on the atrocious grammar… Young people these days.

To be honest, there haven’t been any stand out characters on the train recently. Perhaps I’ve stopped noticing because it’s been a while now, or perhaps I’ve stopped noticing because I’ve become one of Them . It’s a good thing this is my last week, if that is the case.
I bit the bullet and bought a first class season ticket. (I wanted to keep the accidental alliteration going there but couldn’t think of a b for ticket, besides billet, that would make sense…) It was extremely expensive but I was determined to treat myself. I was even more determined when the woman who sold me the ticket confirmed twice with me that I wanted the first class (oh the flossy, flossy) season ticket and explained that sometimes trains don’t have them and I wouldn’t be able to sit in first class if it wasn’t there. I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted on being spoken to like a five year old. Oh well, the upside is I spent over one hundred pounds before 7.30am today. That must be a record.

Speaking of spending money, as an FYI, I logged onto Amazon today and my beautifully spangly converse have doubled in price, from £25 to £50! Boy, do I feel smug now.

Anyway, back to first class. It was like heaven. Slightly worn out heaven, but still, I recognised the signs of Elysium right away. First – the seats were larger, more cushioned and shaped to hold you lightly in their palms. Second – the space to chair ration was vastly different to that of the normal carriage. There are ten first class seats in the space of about a third of the carriage, which probably holds about twenty seats. Third and definitely, absolutely, the most important – there was no-one else in there. For the entire journey. Well, the conductor came to check my ticket and occasionally sauntered through to get to the little room tacked onto the end of the train, but apart from that – pas des personnes. I highly recommend it. The only thing that would make it better is to have the complimentary drinks trolley. I actually got off the train in a good mood! Un-jostled by fellow commuters and not tutted at for getting up to put my coat on and stretch. In fact, I could have done calisthenetics in the space quite comfortably, if I’d wanted.

Mr Charming and I finally got round to ordering our new bed! The last one has been good to us but it’s time to part company. We’ve had it for about 4 years and it was from the medium priced range at Argos, so it’s amazing that it’s lasted so long, I guess. We went window shopping (bed shopping?) for the bed about a month ago, and saw one we liked. It’s pretty big and about three feet off the floor, which means that you have to step up to get into it. Also, there’s loads of storage underneath, which is good news for us as we need somewhere to put our spare bedding, towels etc. The perils of renting… It’s black framed with gold knobby bits on the headboard and the foot(board?) thing. Apparently we should expect it within a fortnight or so. I’m not holding my breath – we bought it from Harveys and I had the misfortune of stumbling across customer reviews online while I was looking for a picture. There are definitely some positive reviews in there, but they’re dwarfed by the sheer volume of negative ones. Furniture takes months to arrive and when it does it’s damaged and/or the wrong thing. Eep. Still, it’s a bed frame and a mattress – how wrong could they get it?
Of course, getting a new bed means that we also need to get new duvet, pillows and duvet cover set(s). Darn. The only issue about that is that I fancy something other than plain colours and feel like it’s time we got into patterns. Of course, I’m veering towards floral and Mr Charming errs towards geometric. If only we could get geometrically floral, or florally geometric. Update soon…

I’m off to paintball next Saturday. I’ve never been paintballing so my knowledge comes from Ant being blinded by those girls and Spaced. I’m also reliably informed by friends who’ve gone that it is fun because you get to shoot people. Now, I play computer games. However, I tend to gravitate the ones with the puzzle element or the scrolling platformers like Mario and Sonic. I have no wish, no desire, to shoot people – real or otherwise. I think I’ll enjoy it but I also feel like I’m lacking the mandatory killer instinct to get the most out of it. I’m also a bit scared of the bruises. It’s my first day at work next Monday and I don’t think it’ll be a good idea if I turn up battered and bloodied. Oh well – you never know – I might discover my true calling!
Black Ops going deep – will report back when out of enemy lines. Or something like that.

Who am I?

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Hello dear reader (s),

This week is my last full week working in Cambridge. My last day is actually Friday the 17th, but I’m using my half day holiday on that day. It’s Tuesday already! I thought it might be fun/scary to work out how much time I’ve spent on the train from the time I started in July until the time I’ll finish in October.

Here goes…

A grand total of 72 days, which works out at 144 journeys at approximately 1 hour and 18 minutes each way which means I will have spent 187.2 hours on the train. Eep. That doesn’t count the time taken to get to the station and back, which would add another 72 hours on to the total figure. If I assume that it cost me £65 for five days’ travel, altogether I’ve spent (or will have spent) £936. That’s a lot of shoes.

Assuming I have read three books each week, I have read 43 books since July 2nd.

Enough numbers, it’s starting to creep me out.

Actually, one last number –I asked how much a first class weekly season ticket would be. £104. Ouch. I expected it to be about £90, but to have a two third increase is a bit steep. No wonder they’re always empty. Still, it would probably mean I’d break the £1000 barrier!

My long weekend was lovely – I firmly believe that everyone would be more productive with a three day weekend. In fact, I wouldn’t mind working ten hours a day for the rest of the week if it meant I could have Fridays off all of the time. On the other hand, it may mean that Thursdays become the new Fridays and it’s even harder to come in to work on Mondays. Still, a girl can dream, can’t she?

We definitely didn’t look like this playing badminton on Sunday, but I rediscovered the simple joys of running around a court after a bit of plastic. It was fun and got us out of our pyjamas on a Sunday afternoon, which was nice. The only downside is that I worked some muscles in my bum and upper arms that had forgotten why they were created. Cue lots of stiffness and feeling like an old lady – even now!

We continued our energetic streak to bop down to The Waterfront to see Roots Manuva. Nice juxtaposition. The Waterfront must have been nearly sold out – I haven’t seen it that full for an awfully long time. Still, Rodney was good and I enjoyed the change in pace from normal Sunday evening.

I’m attempting to get a ticket for Noah and the Whale in November – if anyone has a spare or knows where there are some left for sale, feel free to let me know!

I was a model Jane Asher last night. Somehow baking soothes me from whatever mood I’m in – maybe it just re-focuses my attention onto something else, or something. Like when you stub a toe and someone offers to punch you in the face. A distraction tactic. Anyway, I attempted to make muffins that rise and aren’t rubbery. They didn’t rise but they weren’t rubbery – yay! They’re actually really yummy, although you’llhave to excuse me blowing my own trumpet, so to speak. I made the ginger loaf first, where my aim was to make it so that the top didn’t come away from the bottom. I’ve made it three times and each time it tastes nice, but on two occasions the top’s fallen off before I can get it out if the tin. This time I was determined not to end up with a Tupperware box of crumbs, so I lined the tin. Hey presto! That seems to be the secret. Personally I can’t believe it took me so long to think of that.

So the muffins were made second in the same bowl as the ginger loaf, which gave it a bit of a gingery tang. I also mashed up some plain chocolate in lieu of actual chips. They were very flat but nice. Does anyone know how to make ‘em rise? Perhaps I need to put more air in the mixture. I might try peanut putter and chocolate muffins next.

I have a feeling that people may receive baked goods for Christmas this year – so much more personal than a music voucher. I could make them pretty, with bows and sparkle.

After mourn
ing the death of Scrabulous, I have found another addiction.Gossip Girl. I know, I know – I’m way behind the rest of the demographic. I’ve had season one to watch for a while but just haven’t had the time to watch. I got the opportunity on Saturday night, when I caught up with Samantha Who? and Gossip Girl up to and including the dare episode. Then, last night, I watched Victor/Victrola and Seventeen Candles. Hooked! It’s brilliant, like a sassy, young and cool Sex and the City. I actually like the main characters, which is nigh on a first for me. I’m currently a Serena girl but that may change. I also do not have crushes on any of the guys, but again, that may change. Three episodes ago I disliked Chuck Bass intensely – now I think he’s misunderstood.

The episodes I’m watching have French subtitles on them too, which is definitely interesting. I now want to say “bises” and I’m also brushing up on my conjugation skills. Passe Compose? Eat my dust!

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the episodes. I may even be able to get Mr Charming interested…

Bises!