Thursday, June 30, 2005

When it's okay to fake it

Today's earlier post probably left you with the impression I look like Quasimodo with the ebola virus, right? Well you would never guess what I've agreed to do next week. That's right, I'm getting a fake tan.

I've mentioned before that I'm flying to Paris to have lunch at the Eiffel Tower, and this is still going ahead on 9 July. I've bought a rather sexy summer dress to wear that plunges down front and back - oh la la. But to ensure that I don't stop traffic in a bad way, by blinding the Parisian motorists, I've committed to paying someone to spray me with high blasts of golden tan. I'm going to be Fake Baked.

If you know me well, you would recall I have a strict "No Touch" policy, that is only slackened on three strict conditions:
  • if it's Friday;
  • if you've bought me dinner; and/or
  • if I am, or have been, drinking.

So not only am I going to ignore these conditions, I am going to do it while standing in front of a complete stranger in my underwear. And then pay her for it. Crikey, this is serious.

The proverbial giraffe

When something is said, or occurs, that no-one wants to mention - either because it's a blatantly taboo subject or just too uncomfortable to bring up - people say that a giraffe has just walked into the room. Because you can't miss it, and yet drawing attention might be considered vulgar.

Well my hayfever has given me a creepy case of pink eye. It's itchy and also very unsightly (pardon the pun). Because I know it's there, I'm damn sure that everyone I talk to knows its there. But these people abide by polite social conventions, they manage to ignore the proverbial (pink) giraffe that has taken up residence on my face.

But I want it gone. So to hasten its removal, I'm pouring eye drops into my sockets like there's no tomorrow but nothing is working. Just when I thought pink eye was bad, I realise that I've even been rubbing my eyes so much that - just for good measure - there is also some sort of allergy-related sty action going on.

Are you grossed out yet?!

If anyone has any remedies for the hasty removal of these plague-like afflictions, please let me know. And before you suggest it, I have considered the AHOY ME HEARTIES eye patch solution but figure that it might only make me look shifty.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Showing Paris Hilton the REALLY Simple Life

When an heir and an heiress decide to get hitched, what's the first thing they do? That's right, they graciously retire indoors, far from the prying eyes of wannabes, and sit around counting cash.

At least, that seems to be what my favourite heiress Paris Hilton, and her beau, the creatively-named Paris Latsis have reportedly decided to do. Both in their mid-20s, they have decided to "retire from public life" and concentrate on being married and having lots of little Parises.

With their self-imposed exile only a short time away, Hilton has been reported as saying that she's effectively grown out of her 'clubbing and partying' phase, hardly believing she ever used to enjoy it. I hear you, sister.

Gone are the nights where I line up outside a club, buy overpriced mixed drinks, and dance away till the wee hours. On the whole I've said goodbye to sub-standard nightclub toilets that don't flush and door hags that live to scrutinise my shoes (which have always been fabulous anyway).

Instead I've said a resounding HALLO to:

  • quaint pubs and funky cocktail bars;
  • muscled bar staff with exotic accents;
  • pristine ladies toilets that look like art installations;
  • quiet pints after work;
  • home early on Friday night to watch "A Question of Sport" on the BBC (I have a crush on Scottish football legend Ally McCoist, who is old but strangely sexy); and
  • yawning by 11pm.
No more clubbing, waiting for taxis at 3am, or having dodgy pictures of me turn up on nightclub walls (it only happened once anyway). Of course I'm still young enough to accept that one pint can often lead to three, which inevitably leads to smooches in taxis, which logically leads to kebabs. But you bounce back from these things, and no one will put THOSE indiscretions on the internet!

So if I had 5 minutes with her, I'd like to tell Paris that there IS a life after clubbing. If I show her how it's done, perhaps she can nab me a shipping heir too?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Can I call ya Eddie?

This Saturday I'm going to join the sweaty masses on the train to Edinburgh, but not solely for the reasons you might think. My visit there was organised weeks ago (in-principle anyway), to rendez-vous with Daz & Jaime, whose UK junket will conclude with a visit to the Old Town.

I've been to the Body Shop and bought my wrist band thingy, and I'm going to show my support to the Sir Bob and his marauding hordes. But given that I'm only going to be in Ed for one full day, I think I'm going to have to be a party pooper and forgo the protest itself. As it is, I get the sneaking suspicion that I will freak out with the city crowds and the furthest I am away from them, while still within the City limits, the better.

The 2 July protest is getting a lot of coverage at my work, because the University's Honorary Professor has taken time out of his professional life to help get "Make Poverty History" organised in Scotland. Morning teas have been convened, costumes coordinated, and cash donations taken.

In fact, my impending train trip generated a bit of interest, with many believing me to be a foreign activist of some kind (or at the very least somewhat noble), but the peer admiration quickly dissipated when I fessed up.

After all, the white band is no excuse for a white lie.

Signed, sealed, and delivered...but to where?

Years of work in the public sector has made me quite adept at filling in forms, if I do say so myself. But for the most part, I was filling in forms for other people all those times. Forms to appoint people; promote people; give people leave; transfer people - the list was endless. Far from being a confusing process, I understood this bureaucracy. I knew that at the end of its ride in the magic yellow internal envelope, the form would arrive at its destination (usually HR), be entered into the all-knowing computer system, and be considered resolved.

Here in Scotland I feel like I've been filling out forms for everything. But you can't just lodge forms in Scotland through a 'magic envelope' system, oh no no. You have to make appointments to meet the usually faceless bureaucrats. And THAT means putting on a respectable outfit (or a clevage-enhancing one, it all depends), a 500-megawatt smile, and assemble the most official looking proof of your existence and identity that you can.

So today I trudged down to get my National Insurance Number from a really lovely bureaucrat. In fact, I can't even call Mrs B that - she was too nice. We bonded over eyeball rolling at the severity of the hayfever season, and argued the benefits of contact lenses over glasses. But being bespectacled myself, I had no idea what to say about contacts. Given that I needed Mrs B to give me something, I figured it was prudent to simply agree with anything she said about them.

I trotted out all the pieces of correspondence I've ever received at my Scottish address. I even took along my Heritage Scotland membership. I figured Mrs B would consider it a sure sign that I am cultured and belong here. She didn't say as much, but I knew she was thinking it.

Secretly I knew there would be no problem getting my NI number. I had all the right ID, I'm not on the run from the authorities, and I've never collected bogus or legitimate benefits from any other nation in my life. And yet I still stammered and stuttered through the most basic of questions.
What is your occupation?
Public, er, pri-, er, Personal Assistant.
And how long have you been working as a PA here?
One, no wait, two weeks. Yep, just over two weeks.
Right. And do you like it?
I don't know. What's the right answer?
But after 20 minutes of this, the interview was over and the waiting game for my little insurance card begins. And guess what? Just before I left the office, I turned to see Mrs B slip copies of everything I presented went into a magic yellow envelope. Awwww.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Mr Humphries, are you free?

Aside from the obvious ones like the weather and the accents, one of the primary differences between Scotland and Australia is the standard of customer service one receives, either in person or on the phone.

Every Scot I have met so far has been downright charming; however, something happens to these people when they put on a supermarket uniform, or accept a job in a bureaucratic institution in which they have to deal with customers. They become the complete opposite (is un-engaging a word?).

I have noticed that it is very un-Scottish to announce to a caller who you are. People around here pick up the phone with a perfectly polite "hallo" but that's where the introduction stops. The onus is then on the caller to stammer through a conversation, never quite sure they are actually speaking to the right person.

So I ask "hello, is that Mr McX" and they gruffly reply "Aye" (roughly translated: Well of course it is, this is my telephone you've dialled, Stupid Tourist). How hard is it for people to say "Hello, Mr McX speaking"?!

Okay it's a tiny gripe and I should get over it but come on people - a little help here please....


Yes, that is the sound I have been making consistently over the past week as the pollen, cut grasses, bugs, bits of wheat, and mixed perfumes waft through the air and into my nostrils. The noises I'm now making have progressed from a bunny-sounding (and rather conventional) 'achoo', to a belly-shaking and wall-vibrating WOO-CHAAA.

It sure feels good afterwards though.

Along with the usual hayfever symptoms of sneezing and perpetually blowing my nose, my eyes are itchy, so I'm squirting Scottish eyedrops in them at an alarming rate. At least I'm not alone though - my worksite resembles a hospital ward of bubonic plague sufferers - each person sniffing and snorting worse than the last. I am in miserable company but, at the same time, it's strangely comforting. Group hug, people.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Money for nothing and your parking for free?

I got my first pay cheque from my temp job last night and guess what? I've already earmarked some of it to for the local constabulary, to pay a heinous parking fine we incurred the other week in Paisley. An innocent mistake, naturally, but do you think the bobbies will have a bar of it? No bloody way, mate.

As Executive in Charge of Navigation, riding shotgun at the time of the "alleged" infringement, I felt obliged to shoulder the responsibility for directing AB to park in the no-go zone. So I pragmatically sat down the other day and wrote what I considered to be a well-worded letter disputing the fine.

And just when I thought a cute man would turn up on my doorstep with flowers of apology, and exonerating me from any liability, I was, in the words of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, "brutally rebuffed". The letter arrived to emphatically declare that they're making me pay up. Can you believe it?

It's an unconvential way to spend the first historic pay cheque, but at least it will be memorable. And if I have any change left over, I'm buying a bottle of Aussie red. Here's cheers!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Happy Anniversary to Me

As you know, today is 23 June, and exactly 4 months since I left Adelaide.

It's hard to believe that the time has flown like that. But when I look back on my photo albums, blog posts, and grubby wardrobe, I can accept that I've come so far and seen so much.

We started out in Hong Kong and Macau, enjoying the foggy atmosphere from the relative comfort of an air-conditioned Mercedes. When we weren't being driven around, we were literally running after our driver to keep up. The result was the quickest yet most comprehensive tour of Hong Kong that I think anyone has ever had.

After HK we landed in Paris - in freezing cold weather. Minus 4 degrees celcius, with teeth a-chattering on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle. Our itinerary in France included wine tasting in a blustery Bordeaux vineyard, under the protection of a rather bronzed-out St Joan of Arc. Plus I legged it around France wearing a Zara jacket in the ugliest brown known to humankind. Purchased in Paris too, putting paid to the rumour that the City of Lights is also the City of Fashion. BAH. The leather gloves rock though.

The Swiss hospitality greeted us next, in the form of a quick visit to Bern, the nation's capital. I am yet to find a waffle to rival the one I had there. Mmmm golden syrup gone all caramel-like. Gooey goodness. Then the Genevan experience reunited us with the Gardners, with visits to the UN Offices, the Waterjet on Lake Geneva, and the Hill of Death that PG made us climb.

Then it was onwards to sunnier skies in beautiful Italy, my favourite place by far. We walked everywhere and, in between time, ate more pasta and cheese and bread than I thought possible. The chianti wasn't half bad, either.

Then it was off to Turkey, for a 15-day tour that united us with countless other Aussie and NZ pilgrims to the Gallipoli peninsula for a dawn service I'll never forget. Sleeping outdoors - stone cold sober - was never so much fun. For the rest of the time, if we weren't on the bus or at a monument, we were in a bar. Lord help our livers - mine is still bruised.

And after all that, I look back at the last 4 months from my new "home" in Scotland and I am well chuffed. We've come this far and we weren't robbed once. We only missed one train, made a few friends, didn't lose our luggage (although I did leave my new Peter Alexander PJs in a Turkish hotel room), and best of all - we've lived to tell the tales.

And there are plenty more to come.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Frankly my dear Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore

As an unrepentant movie buff, I often quote from a vast array of movies as a running commentary on my everyday life. So I have been quite interested in the results of a Film Industry survey into the Top 100 Film Lines of All Time

I could have guessed that Rhett Butler's parting remark would have made it to number one because for me, that's such a cliched line applicable to a whole lotta situations.

There's some real gold in the full list - everything from Humphrey Bogart and Greta Garbo, to Tom Cruise and Jack Nicolson. But I am dismayed to find that nothing from the Brat Pack movies rated. The best comeback in history, from "The Breakfast Club" was obviously not high-brow enough. Who could forget Emilio Estevez to Judd Nelson: "Two hits. I hit you, you hit the floor". Gold. Oh well, maybe next year.

If I had been asked the survey question, I would have pushed Dorothy's "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore" further up the list. In addition, I would have ensured that "May the force be with you" crept up there, in defence of old-school George Lucas.

But what about you? What would you have picked as the most memborable film line(s) of all time?

Head-scratching and navel-gazing

The G8 summit hits Edinburgh very soon, and I have been bombarded with emails from across the world, urging me to get involved in the spirit of the occasion. So here is my online show of support to Sir Bob, Bono, and their teams.

As an aside, have you seen the ads with the celebrities clicking their fingers to show just how often an African kiddie dies of starvation and disease? It's awful - the statistics, I mean. The fact that they have used over-paid, over-indulged and argubly under-talented artists to hawk their wares is another issue altogether. I know they didn't get paid for the ad, but they walk away with a $20 million cheque for starring in a movie and don't think twice. Sad.

Still, enough of that rant. I am doing as I've been told, and showing my support for the campaign, posted here to the best of my IT abilities.

A small price to pay

Like a lot of people, I tend to assess value for money around the world by the price I pay for everyday items, like a cup of coffee or a pint of beer.

I have been employing this measure since I left Australia in late February and have continued to do it here in the UK. There has to be some flexibility built into this assessment process, of course. The primary consideration has to be the "cost:taste" ratio. Sometimes there is a reason that a cuppa is only 80p. It tastes like crap. And no country would charge people more than 80p for a cup of crap.

Yesterday morning, we visited a small cafe overlooking the Paisley gardens next to the Town Hall. A very unassuming place, it has charming decor and friendly staff. But when Andrea ordered a cappuccino and instead got a white tea with sugar presented to her, alarm bells should have been ringing. So she returned the tea, accepting that because she talks "funny", the misunderstanding was perfectly alright. But to be told that the cafe doesn't actually make cappuccino was the clincher. The disbelief on AB's face was classic.

So for lunch, we tried somewhere else, determined not to be dissuaded from the search for good tasting, good value coffee. We found a coffee shop that sold massive cereal bowls of coffee for £1.70. In this case, the cost:taste ratio was pretty even, so I was well chuffed. I thought we'd hit the caffeinated motherload. On reflection, my only criticism (and it's not usually a bad thing), was that the cup was as big as my head, so these coffees should only be consumed when one has ample time to enjoy them. As it was, I had to leave some of the coffee in my cup. And THAT is a no-no where I come from.

But this morning's coffee excursion has taken the proverbial cake. Arriving at another as-yet untested cafe, I ordered two white coffees. The lady poured filter coffee from a thermos into two cups. My mouth fell open. Then she put hot milk in them. I closed my mouth. Then she charged me £2.78 for them. Does that strike anyone else as a very weird sum for two coffees? It is already hard for me to adjust to 1p and 2p pieces again, but what a strange total for coffee. They tasted alright, but I wasn't thinking about that at the time.

The search continues. I will find a good coffee in Paisley.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Oh it's so true

Like it? Charge it - a post for the girls

I have been in Scotland since 2 May 2005, and have spent most of my time in and around the Paisley area. Now that I'm also working here, I've established a bit of a routine and have started frequenting the same shops to buy the things a girl needs to face her working days.

For those of you interested in such things (ie. the girls), I can recommend the following retail outlets if ever you hit this country with your VISA card:

Boots: The chain of health and beauty shops, sort of like a Priceline I suppose. They have a loyalty card scheme, and you can spend the points you earn on your purchases. They are VERY big on the "Buy 2, get 1 free" idea, and it's easy to get sucked into those promotions. They also stock the beautiful "Benefit" range of make-up (Kate and Alix are big fans).

Superchem: Is the poor man's Boots, but the brands are well-known and there is nothing wrong with the stock. A large bottle of Imperial Leather body wash costs 99p. You can't sniff at that.

The Pound Shop: I've blogged about this one before, but everything in there costs £1 and they stock Cadbury chocolate. The first place to go to feed your nostalgic chocolate cravings.

Somerfield: The supermarket that sells Vegemite.

Tesco: The mulli-billion pound juggernaut that sells BIGGER jars of Vegemite.

Clothes-wise, there are a number of stores that have taken my fancy, and will most likely be taking my ££s, once the first pay cheque clears. For the most part, Paisley seems to be Polyester Town. So the pickings for quality clothes are rather slim. That said, there are some places I would buy clothes around here and, for everything else, there is always Glasgow a short train ride away. So right now, here's where I'd spend my cash, if I had it:

Monsoon - beautiful clothes, high prices, soft fabrics, sequins, online shop.
Accessorize - see above
Marks and Spencer - like Target, but I find they have teen clothes or old lady clothes and very little in between. Even if Helena Christensen is their latest poster girl.
Topshop - funky clothes and groovy shoes, that look cheaper than they actually are.

So there you have it girls, the whirlwind guide to shopping in Scotland, based on my limited experience confined to Paisley and Glasgow. Of course I've missed out on some places, but I'm just starting out.

Give a girl time.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The universal language

It's nice to know that Monday-itis strikes no matter where you are in the world. I confess that, this morning, I have not been firing on all cylinders but have managed to switch to auto pilot, and get myself to work on time.
But it almost didn't happen that smoothly.
Walking down the driveway at 8am, what should pass us in a blue and white blur but the bus! I cannot print the expletive that escaped from both our mouths in perfect unison, but what happened next surprised us both.
Whether it's because he is an exceptional lip reader, or by sheer good fortune, the bus driver hit the skids, reversed back, and collected us.
What a man.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Aye the sun, it's magic, that is

The BBC reporter was perhaps a little too flamboyant when he announced that London was gripped by a heatwave today. Count 'em: a staggering 24 degrees Celcius.

The newsreaders swapped grimaces as they shared the common desire to be further north, say in Scotland for instance, where humidity has set in and it's all a bit cooler than that.

I was promised SWELTERING weather this weekend by the punters around the University where I'm currently working. I suppose I shouldn't complain, because I AM sitting here in a tshirt and light pants. It's not quite flip-flop weather, but it's close. And it's not raining...yet. So there are some small mercies for which I am thankful.

I am sparing a thought for my Aussie chums in London, and how they might be bearing up under this early summer assault of sunshine. Send it up north fellas, we'll give it a good home here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Katie Cruise? Sounds dumb.

According to the folk over at, it's official. Katie Holmes and her (much) older boyfriend of just a few months, Tom Cruise, are getting married.
Can anyone else hear a shotgun in the distance? Perhaps that's cruel. Okay, what about the sounds of a wannabe starlet riding the coat-tails of a veritable movie veteran for all she's worth? Still too cruel? Well too bad.
I should be building a bridge and simply "getting over it" but it makes me feel icky. He's too old for her, and he's too old to keep shagging the up-and-comers in Hollywood. Have some pride, man. Of course the girls are going to be all goo-gaa for him - he's rich, good-looking, successful, and well connected. And if they sleep with him, it's "So long, Casting Couch!". Oh it's just all wrong.
Am I suggesting that Nic, Pene, and now Katie are devoid of any self-pride and shagging Tommy senseless in order to make it in Hollywood? Probably, but I don't mean to suggest they ALL did it. It's just that I would feel plain sorry for Tom if they did. He would certainly have saved a lot of money on diamonds if the girls had been honest.
[Editor's note: Pene's current flame, Matthew McConaughey is a vast improvement on Tom. Well done, girl!]
And yes, before you call me on it - there is a green eyed monster lurking within this green eyed girl. I just want to reach into those photos of them together and straighten up Katie's smug little smile that just seems to scream "I'm with Maverick! I'm with Maverick!". Because I know that given half the chance she'd say, "why yes I'm sleeping with Tom Cruise, but you should also know I've got a movie out and I used to be in Dawson's Creek and bla bla me me me".
Bah, I give it 2 months.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Toilet Buddy

No, this post is not about something I found in a toilet, saw in a toilet, or did in a toilet - this is a request for some interpretation from the amateur behavioural psychologists out there.
Saw Cute Boy (CB) at my work today - no wedding ring. Check. Anyway, nothing much was said between us but this afternoon, a strange thing happened.
Not once, but twice, CB and I emerged from the toilets at the same time. By way of explanation, the boys and girls toilets are right next to each other in a long corridor. For whatever reason (cosmic connection or mere coincidence), we emerged at exactly the same time on two separate occasions. What does this mean?!
If it indeed does mean anything, is there some unwritten etiquette that dictates what one is supposed to say in this situation? So far I have looked at the floor and rushed past, though I'm not convinced this is what the super-cool and immensely attractive people do.
Any help?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Rain, rain, go away!

The weather this week has been pretty rotten, and perhaps that is Heaven's way of sympathising with me being back in the workplace. Dreary concept calls for dreary weather, right? Well today has been no exception.
My office has a floor to ceiling window behind me that lets in fabulous light, but also gives me direct view of the blustery conditions outside. I've seen umbrellas turned inside out, hairstyles ruined, uni students sploshing in puddles because they think no-one's watching, and more rain than I care to mention.
In the last week, Batreg and I have both been asked "why are you here?", and they're particularly talking about Paisley, not just Scotland in general. Apparently the civic pride here is a little low, and people can't understand why we'd look to find proverbial (rather than literal) roots in their fine city. But there's nothing wrong with Paisley.
Consider, if you will, that the place has got an Abbey with a King buried in it, a High Street with all the shops I could want to browse in, a Pound Land (where everything costs £1), and a train station taking me straight into Glasgow should I wish to go there. Not bad, I'd say.
So aside from the religious zealots preaching at maximum volume in the Square (not a frequent occurrence), the drug addicts begging us to put cash in their McDonalds cups, and the preference of the shop-keepers to retail clothes for 60 year olds, Paisley is okay with me. Some extra sunshine would be nice though, but I expect even the Paisley residents can't help that.
Some good news now, to end this drizzly post. At the end of this 4-week work placement, I jet off to Paris to enjoy lunch at the Jules Verne restaurant (half way up the Eiffel Tower) for Jamie's birthday. I've got a new dress in mind, a haircut and fake tan to schedule, and then I'll be set. I'm only going to be in Paris for the weekend (as you do), so this glamorous event is going to be worth working for. And I suppose that if the weather in Paris is sunny and bright for the lunch, then I will go out a winner on all fronts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

There's no harm in looking

Good looking man spotted on my floor, washing his own coffee cup out in the kitchen sink. Not only that, he wears a suit - and wears it well. AND he works in the Uni's Corporate Communications branch, so we have mutual career interests.

Sounding pretty peachy, right? Well get this - the clincher is that he's a local lad and so when we exchanged pleasantries (but not phone numbers!), his Scottish accent rolled out, and made me all giggly and flustered. Nice one, G. Smooth.

Second day on the job, and already I've singled out the resident eye candy. Now I need to find another excuse to casually walk past and check out his ring finger.

Stay tuned.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A feet-finding mission

Just a quick post to announce that I am half-way through my first day of my new job. I haven't had a "first day" in so long, I didn't think how nervous I would be.

I woke at 7am, which was a shock in itself. Actually, I woke up every hour from 3.45am, so my subconscious was already well-aware of the change in routine I was expected to make. I got up, dressed, and ready while the rest of the house slept. Except the dog. She made a frenzied barking fuss when I left so I shut her up with some dog biscuits and crossed the road to wait for the bus.

The bus arrived just before 8am and I threw myself infront of it to make it stop. I didn't think it was going to, for a while there. But of course I did, and it was fine. I sat on the edge of the bus seat the whole ride there, just in case I missed my stop. The fact that my stop is the last on the bus route did not seem to gel with me at the time.

My new boss (Brian) seems really nice. I am not unkind enough to speculate age, but he has two boys, aged 11 and 8 - so you guys can do the maths. He is a caffeine freak, so we are getting along great. I have pledged to donate Tim Tams (courtesy of Tesco) for consumption on Friday.

Setting up my office (yes, MY office) has been fun. I've been ordering things from catalogues and bossing around the people in Accommodation to scrounge whiteboards, desks and other goodies from across the campus.

My hours are 8.45am to 4.45pm, which is very civilised. Plus the uni supplies coffee which has made Brian and myself very happy.

So all seems to be going well - will post in a few days with a status report.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I've got a head for business, and a bod for sin

mmMmMMmMmm ,,,thats alot
Originally uploaded by sweet_venoum.

For those of you that recognised the title of this post as a direct quote from Melanie Griffith's movie, "Working Girl", well done you.

For those of you who have blacklisted me as a blatant pervert, I applaud your ethics but ask you to please remember I am a movie fiend and draw most of my good lines from them.

So good news people - I have a job!

On Monday I commence work at Paisley University, about 10 mins away from where I'm living. I'll be Personal Assistant to the Director of ICT Services. I know nothing about the man, or about ICT Services - so I can only improve, right?

So it's back to my PA roots for the next four weeks, and at least it keeps me off the streets and in the money.

No more harping on about unemployment, and I have to squeeze my feet back into high heels after 4 months in walking boots. At least my work pants still feet me after all this time. Phew.

Will post later on this week to provide a status report!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Make mine a frappaccino half-caf double latte

Tube Entrance Bar
Originally uploaded by taromatsumura.

Okay so I did a shameless plug for one billion-dollar corporation the other day, now it's Starbucks's turn.

I learned in PR class that Starbucks is a stellar corporate citizen, so don't give me grief about this post.

On a day trip by train into Glasgow yesterday, AB and I called into Starbucks on Buchanan Street, just up from the train station. We sat in the window watching the crowd go by, sipping on (wait for it) - ESPRESSO FRAPPACCINO.

Take slushy ice, whip it into a frenzy with some sort of coffee solution, pour in extra coffee solution and voila. A frothy, icy, slushy bucket o'yumness.

I love you Mr Starbucks. Hmm I wonder if HE has a son?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Call of the wild

Who ya lookin' at?
Originally uploaded by Computer Science Geek.

I am still amazed at the fact that I am living in the country. I know a previous post commented on how well I thought I'd assimilated into rural life by no longer staring open-mouthed at the cows and sheep accommodated in neighbouring fields.

But the weekend saw us travelling the windy country roads of adjacent neighbourhoods, and I think both Andrea and I were marvelling at how 'clean and green' Scotland really is. At least our little pocket of Scotland, anyway.

Did you know that if the cows in the paddock are lying down, that rain is expected? There you go - a bit of trivia.

But before you worry that I'm going to want to get back to nature and start my own dairy or something, fear not. I long for the smoggy air of the city, and the convenience of take-away coffee and cheap Indian food. Buses, trucks, pedestrian crossings - that's my usual fare.

Oooh and guess what? I visited Tesco, the uberchain of UK supermarkets and (sadly) contributed to the multi-squillion dollar empire by purchasing a few necessary pantry items. Tesco has so many product lines, my head nearly exploded.

And the best bit? Big jars of Vegemite and packets of caramel timtams. Love it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Reflections on a Loch

loch lomond sunset
Originally uploaded by ardub.

Today is a drizzly horrible day in Scotland, and I am left to muse about the last few days, when the sun was actually shining. Ahh memories.

As you know, last weekend Andrea and I went to her relative's caravan at Dalbeattie, near Dumfries in south-western Scotland. It's about 2 hours from where we are living, and the van butts right up onto a field occupied by cows, donkies, and even an amorous horse of two. There is something rather rural at waking up to a cow moo-ing right outside of your caravan window, that's for sure.

The walk up to the toilet/shower block each morning was quite nostalgic, recalling previous Christmas holiday trips with my family and Melbourne relatives.

We were taken to dinner the first night with Willy and Hazel, family friends of Andrea's relatives, who own an on-site van at the park. Watching the wild winds thrash the golf course out the window, while enjoying a glass of red wine, was fun.

The next day we went to Gretna Green, the quickie wedding capital of olde time Scotland. Think Lidia Bennett eloping there in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and you know what I mean. Or at least pretend you do. Anyway we saw 2 weddings, one of which was preceded by genuine bagpipers, and I do believe Andrea and I may have ended up in the background of a few wedding snaps. Gold.

On the way home we stopped at Ayr, a coastal town that was celebrating the Robbie Burns festival. We couldn't stay though, having already packed up the van and nowhere to stay that night. And the weather had actually turned quite nice on the coast, so that was a bit of a shame. Still, we pledged a return visit to Ayr sometime, so that would be nice.

Then on the public holiday Monday, we were visited by Nat and Susie, the 2 Adelaide girls we met in Turkey. They drove down from Edinburgh to spend the day with us, and we went to Loch Lomond and walked around the loch-side shopping complex.

Then in the late afternoon we went to Dumbarton Castle, the childhood refuge of Mary, Queen of Scots. Ancient and uphill, are the two words I would use to describe the fort castle. But it was beautiful to be visiting something so old - bit of history and culture, and all that.

The weather was perfect on Monday and gave us a great day out in the sunshine.

So all in all, an action-packed few days. But for the rest of this week, with drizzle projected to continue, I think I'll curl up with a library book and a hot cuppa.