Thursday, 13 September 2007

The Bitch Is Back

Hello to my loyal readers (all three of you).

Yes, I know it has been a while, but 'things' have been going on. However, I promise to re-start the Gillie-Blog properly VERY soon - Jack .... no need to panic, I am still alive!

What fun this week:- fab lunch with great friends :- sad (but eventual peaceful) death of K's godmother and millions of phone calls (the whole of Ireland) arranging funeral and 'things' for next week. At least I had the week before we went on holiday with her and that means a lot. I even got the boy (K) to come to see her - not quite sure who was whiter, him or her, he's paranoid about hospitals!

Hols in Slovenia - great, although range of temperature could haver been better (30 C /9C) Never seen snow before at this time of year! However, didn't stop us doing all we wanted.

Decorating going well - no longer do I have a bright red hallway and lime green study!

I have my official 'leaving work' lunch today so better do a bit of ironing so I am respectable - out of work casuals might not go down too well in Kensington!

Sunday, 3 June 2007

And so to bed .....

It arrived ....

Blissful sleep & not a twinge anywhere in the morning. Mind you, Beloved is a bit concerned about the altitude sickness and nose bleeds - OK, so the mattress is exceptionally thick/deep, and it would be advisable to employ a Sherpa before going to bed - BUT - when you get there .....................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Please - no mention of my actually falling out of the bed last night - I was being chased by Simon Cowell. Interpretations on a postcard please.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

What Gets Me Mad ....

Having been tagged by Writers Moll (Hope you are making Hay while the sun shines) as to what makes me mad I thought I'd give you a little example of deceit and lies .... (MANY MORE TO FOLLOW!!!!!!!)

Decided (as we are moving and would be 'due' for a replacement soon) to get a new mattress before we moved and therefore take it with us. Went to local Bed Centre, where we got bed originally and a few years later a new mattress - so had been happy with the company to go back again.

Chose wonderful new mattress on a Sunday - to be delivered on the Thursday p.m. - could just make the time if I ran from work - (+point, probably lost half a pound in weight with the run -point, hurt my ankle). Delivery guys turned up right on time ..... shame the mattress was the wrong size. Cool, calm and collected, rang the company. No - that particular mattress was the only size they had in stock, so sorry, 'right' size would take six weeks - but just had a new batch of stock in .... come in, choose a new one. Went in on the Saturday - same guy ... very apologetic ... spoke to manager, must have been their fault in noting down size requirement, offered me any of the new stock (£250 more expensive) at original price ..... how could I complain!! Chose fab new mattress - delivery Friday (just gone) between 10/12.00 ...(Stock would be arriving at showroom on the Wednesday beforehand). Friday (second time of moving furniture etc etc etc) 11.50 - nothing ....... Rang ..... terribly sorry, hadn't anyone called me (or the other 15 people due deliveries the same day) van and delivery guys tied up in Sussex (give me the ropes and I'd have done it) delivering 60 mattressess to a hotel complex - obviously far more lucrative. They were trying to hire another van and men to complete deliveries ...need I say more ... by END of day when they had to admit there was no chance - PROMISED me delivery, next day (i.e. this morning) by 11 a.m.

Beloved had planned day out today - first day off work for ten days - so you can imagine how 'happy' he was, but at least by 11 a.m. we could at least get out and do something ..............

10.30 - phone rings ... guess who .... no chance - mainly because they hadn't even received the stock which I was assured was arriving three days before - and you are telling me that they didn't know yesterday when they were making 'other' excuses???!!! Sorry - in my mind that is deceit and downright lying!

So ..... still waiting - 'should' be within next hour ..... will I sleep comfortably tonight? - watch this space.

Yes, I'm still alive

OK, OK .....I've been a bit busy - mainly shouting at solicitors, agents, removal companies, beloved, delivery companies (or lack of delivery) ...... so, one of these days, in my copious spare time, I'll let you know what's going on.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Waiting Time

It started me thinking today as to what people do when they are 'waiting' - for the elusive delivery man; the bus; their turn at the Post Office Counter; the Doctor's apopintment or, even, The Surveyor!

Reading a book/magazine is always fairly standard, unless you are chewing your fingernails off in the Dentist's waiting room. If you watch a queue of 'waiters' you will always see a wide variety - the foot tapper; the hair twirler; the reader; the frustrated heaving sigher; the dreamer who is either thinking of their beloved or whether to do chips or mash with supper.

Me - well this morning with some time on my hands, as it turned out, whilst waiting for said Surveyor, managed to thoroughly clean the bathroom AND do my Tax Return - I'm not saying that I had a little while to wait, but I think you might get my drift! When he eventually turned up I discovered that the Estate Agent hadn't even confirmed the apointment with him (AND I believe him) so at least he didn't get his head bitten off and was even allowed Earl Grey Tea.

So the saga continues - now waiting on some essential paperwork before meeting with Solicitor ..... and I've been in his waiting room before - take your own book/paper, nothing provided.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Hello folks, I'm back

After a lovely week away in Menorca - what a pretty island - I'm back the colour of a well grillled lobster, the owner of 'a few' Spanish sandals and ready to face the world again. Or am I ....? Arrived back to Solicitor's letter with three A4 pages of queries - and that's just for our sale, not our purchase - hey ho, let's look forward to the nervous breakdown!

As we are a shared freehold we have a Company Secretary (just about to leave for a new job in the US) and a Director (me)just about to move out. Now, over the last few year things have gone fairly smoothly, BUT, in this lovely old Victorian terrace house there are ten flats and, gradually over these years, the owners have moved out and let out the flats ....... therefore no-one willing to take over the management - just another little problem to sort out!

But the sun is shining, the laundry's all finished, and the computer printer has just blown up.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

still fingers crossed

well ..... trying to organise surveyors etc etc etc BUT hopefully all going ahead.

This home buying experience has been 'quite an experience' .. I can't believe some of the places I've seen. Some absulutely FAB and some .....

Maybe it's just that I'm weird, but when we put our place on the market we made sure it was pristine and presentable - give an idea what anyone might want to do with it - but some of the ones I've seen!! Viewing a place when you have to step over piles of dirty laundry on the floor, the kitchen sink overflowing with dirty dishes and the cupboard doors hanging off because there is too much 'stuff' having been stuffed in. Then there was the one where the Estate Agent rushed to open the French windows to try to disguise the fact that the place reeked of damp..... but my "favourite" (remember I'm an animal lover) antelope skins all over the floors in EVERY room, kudu and gazelle heads on the walls, an incredibly subtle gold trimmed invite from the Duke of Devonshire to the Royal Enclosure Ascot prominently placed on the living room mirror, AND, down a whole corridor - obviously personally done by the owner - nine paintings of naked ladies (and they certainly wouldn't qualify for the RA Summer Exhibition). I'm afraid my wicked sense of humour got the better of me and I decided to assess the intrinsic artistic qualities of EACH painting with the 25(ish) year old Estate Agent ..... He had a very strange colouring round the cheeks when we left the place! - Can't think why

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Farewell lobster - hello goat

Well, I feel as if a couple of tons have been lifted off my shoulders - we've found somewhere - and the offer has been accepted!

Contacting yet another Estate Agent we saw a property which had just come onto the market that day - first viewers, and by chance it was Beloved's day off so he could see it too. We liked it, BUT - it certainly didn't tick all the boxes, it wasn't in an area we were looking at, or even thought we would want to live. It seemed to be a no.

However - the next morning I sat myself down and gave myself a good talking to. How long were we going to carry on (by we I mean 99% of the time, me) looking for the really perfect place which did, in fact, tick at least most of the boxes, (and incidentally cost at least £50K more). Perhaps it was more appropriate to look for something we liked at a much lower price, but know that it wasn't going to be forever - we could take our time in a few years to do that. (Doesn't help when Beloved finds that we could buy at least two apartments in Lucca for the same price). This place isn't perfect, needs some changes and a lot of TLC, BUT - I had a 'feeling' when I first saw it - it's comfortable ... it has a study area for me ... the spare room is far enough away from the Master bedroom to get away from the Brontasnorus when noise levels hit the Richter scale ... it has a lovely living room looking out on to the garden, the french windows flooding in light ... and it has a kitchen! Anyone who knows us, knows that our kitchen is not big enough to swing a kitten in (NOT that I would EVER swing a kitten) and although this one might not suit Gordon Ramsay it would be pure heaven to me. For the first time in my life I can have a washing machine (yes, over half a century old and nver possessed a washing machine) and favourite sister in law, who will only be a 20 minute walk away has already volunteered to come round and give me lessons.

So, yes - I went to see it again the next day and put in an offer - Friday 13th can be a very lucky day.

Now, about this goat ..... had been hoping for a patio garden (lazy gardener) but we now have some grass!

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Endless searching

still homeless ............ - anyone want a waif and stray (you can decide which is which)

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Feeling Flat

So - what do you do ?

Here you go working towards a potential new home/love nest (OK OK, wishful thinking on the last bit - mind you, a couple of the Estate Agents have been rather cute) and The Boy turns cold on you ...... "pissed off, choose what you want, I don't care it's all too much for me ...." (He's seen all of TWO properties!!!!!!) poor lamb!

SO ...... arranged second viewings on two potentials (for him to look at for the first time) ... "so much for my day off!" - although allowing him half an hour in between for a hair cut - plus, let me add - all this before I have to go to work!

As they say ... hey ho!

Mind you - one of the places .... the lobster in the bidet will HAVE to go!

Friday, 30 March 2007

My Toe Bleeds Betty

Has anyone really noticed that the 'Dawn Chorus' is actually quite a few choruses?

Seeing as Beloved does quite a few early starts (i.e. alarm clock going off any time from 0400) I seem to have got into the habit of automatically waking BEFORE his alarm goes off ...just in case he oversleeps - hence being able to appreciate the wonderful birds in our garden. BUT - they each seem to wait until I'm just dropping off again before the next one starts up - just to remind me that they are there. I'm no twitching expert but I think I know most of them individually now by their particular song. However, when you've said good morning to Mr & Mrs Blue Tit, a passing Hi to the blackbird family, the Jay, the magpies, the great tits, a warm hello to Mrs Robin and umpteen others - and we are blessed with quite a few - I'm just about ready to get back for a bit of sleep.

THEN ..... the wood pigeon starts up - you know the 'call' it makes: "my toe bleeds betty" - well if I get my hands on the ****** there'll be more than his toe bleeding!
- and this from a bird/animal lover!

Ceanothus Blues

aarghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ....

Back to the potential cardboard box

Monday, 26 March 2007

Apologies to my couple of readers ..... been rather hectic here, went down with the lurgey again, but think I'll live - and thankfully so will my adored and adorable Aunt/Mum (actually she's my late father's cousin - but they grew up almost as brother and sister .. I even have a photo of them sharing a pram) - however, she was 'rather' poorly... But, being 200 miles away, and realising just how poorly she evidently was, proved just what an amazingly persistent nag I can be on the phone ...... emergency doctor was round immediately, and she's now OK.

(N.B. she is over 90, despite being generally feisty enough to threaten Kevin with her stick - he calls her his little Nottingham Floosie - and the two of them go into their Neddy Seagoon/Bloodnock routines - you'd think she was only 80 the way that tart can go on !

Manic/panic anyway .....still waiting to hear on the "sealed envelope offer" as to whether we have a new home or not - watch this space

Monday, 12 March 2007

It's me again ...

I'm back: ...cough, cough, hack, sniff, sniff .................... only kidding!

Wow:- just a few hours in fresh Atlantic Ocean air, sharp spray smashing off the volcanic rocks, warm sunshine and constant promise of papas arrugadas with spicy coriander sauce and garlic (I really mean GARLIC) prawns ..... not a cough nor splutter - bliss.

What a gem is Puerto de la Cruz on the northern side of Tenerife - from the little back street tapas bars: La Muralla does THE best bacalao fritters & accompanied by a wonderfully trill canary; the glorious architecture of the colonial squares; the monumental power of volcanic Mount Teide towering over the skyline; the (incredibly cheap) Jorma's Finnish cafe ...... don't even think of getting 'tired and emotional' and attempting to chat up some poor innocent sweet seventeen blonde Finn waiting for her herring supper ..... see the size of the biceps on the lady chef - see how easily she picks up tipsy/annoying Spaniard and 'carries' him out of the door .... ask no questions ... round of applause .... and a VERY good glass of white wine & glass of Cava only comes to £2.50 ...

This wonderful little town IS Spanish and IS a working town (good shops too) - however, it accommodates tourists and (yes I have to admit it) lots of them ... Scandinavians by the SAS-ful; Germans by the Lufthansa-ful; and yes, a few of us Brits. BUT, not the lager-swilling, disco-diving, foam-clubbing louts who seem to invade the South western part of the island - Playa de thingies ....etc.

Puerto is rather more 'sedate' (God, I'm getting old)... for the more 'mature' visitor ..... yes, go down to the San Telmo Cafe by the rocks - fabulous photo opportunities for seaspray fanatics - for your wine and tapas and you can certainly watch the Baywatch Red Swimsuits and Hasselhoff swimming shorts emerge from the waves, tossing their hair back as they swagger to the cliff-face shower points ..... it's just that they are ALL the 'other' side of 60 - good on you!!! It actually make s me feel better about MY body.

Go down to Playa Jardin (beautifully 'designed/sculpted' beach by the late, great,Lanzarote architect Cesar Manrique) and you might find the bikinis (or at least the odd half) on a few under 50's ...but not many! Looking around (apart from being slapped for looking around too often at the Lifeguard station .... definitely under 50!... definitely weight-trained and no artificial padding - ouch!! just been slapped again) you see REAL people, enjoying time together, young couples with baby and buggy in tow who just want to relax, enjoy each others company ............ sheer bliss.

And here I am ... back on the keyboard ... back to work tomorrow .... viewing two properties before breakfast ... back to 'the grind' .... but ........... I have life; I have love; I have laughter .... how could I be happier ......... x x x

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Following Footsteps

Whilst RW is now back facing the English squalls and showers - we are swapping to go to the Canaries, albeit Tenerife - not Gran Canaria - but the same sunshine hopefully.

My croaky chest needs it and K's exhaustion demands it - too many 0430 starts recently has drained him .. and who says a Tube Driver (sorry - ' Train Operator') doesn't earn his money whilst ferrying you all about. It's not their fault there are signal failures, over-running engineering works etc etc ... but they always get the blame.

Flat pristine again - new/under offer owner had asked if he could 'pop in' to have another look ( + brother & girlfriend). Good to meet him - nice guy, with the obvious same 'feel' and enthusiasm for the place that I first had when I viewed it 26 years ago! Even though we've not found anywhere yet, I feel happier knowing that the 'right' person has found and loves our place - now how sentimental is that! AND, he knows that we are actively looking but haven't found anywhere to move to yet - and is happy about that.

Strange coincidence though: .. when I was originally looking I 'viewed' a place on the same road, hated the flat but loved the road/area - went straight back to agent and said so, - was told .. well, there is another place 'opposite', he's not expecting viewers but you could try .... went - got in - fell in love with the place, made an offer the next day. 26 years later, a young man walks into an Estate Agent and says: I'm looking for a ......... in this area, do you have anything interesting? Well, as it happens, there is a 'viewing day' going on at .... if you want to go round there I'm sure they'll try and fit you in .... He went round - saw it - fell in love and put in an offer the next day! ....

Bi folks ... IF there's anyone out there ... back in a week. xx

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Two hands

What one hand gives, the other takes away:-

Greatest news - K's adored godmother has been given a bit of remission ...

Worst news - another close friend's mother has been told it's spread ...

Who decides ... ?

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Human Beings DO exist

First day back to work today, still croaking, but much better and actually able to stand up for longer than half an hour at a time!

Relief:- my In-Basket which normally looks like the Himalayas after I've been away for a week, only resembled the Alps ... and I'd nearly got it down to the Pyrenees before I staggered out tonight.

Human beings actually exist:-

1) My Boss, when I got in, actually rushed up and hugged me - was I OK, gosh how she'd missed me .... blimey, I'm sure she's heard that I am seriously considering leaving!

2) Filipino client had just come back from a trip 'home' and brought a beautiful, locally made necklace and bracelet as a little thank you ...!

3) Thai client - who had heard that I'd been off ill, checked that I was in today and came in with freshly made (still warm from the pan) Thai chicken curry, so I wouldn't have to think about cooking when I got home! Delcious or what !!!

Sometimes, it just makes you feel good to be alive and amongst some real human beings ... just a little 'thank you' can take away all the horrors of the arrogant, selfish pigs you more often have to deal with - Mind you, I do like a bit of roast pork, particularly with crackling.

Sunday, 25 February 2007


Well, the week has gone by amidst a cacophony of coughing, anti-biotics, lozenges and syrups .... still coughing, but am more practised at it, so can cough through a range of three octaves now!

Seen a variety of potential new homes, although only one really hit the mark - absolutely fell in love with it ..... however, (sorry in advance fans) we just couldn't see ourselves living right next door to the QPR ground. So it's back to pounding the streets looking for suitable park benches.

Did manage to see the film 'The Queen' - marvellous performance by Helen Mirren and (I thought) excellent portrayal of the Queen Mum by a near neighbour of ours, the great Sylvia Sims. However - calling all dog fans .... at one point Her Maj at Balmoral takes the dogs - Black Labradors - up to the heather to join the (hate to say this) stag hunting party. Two dogs get put into the Land Rover, but three get out ... darned fast breeders these Labs!

Friday, 23 February 2007

While the cat's away

So while we were off gallivanting in Paris - or in my case, trying not to croak whilst actually croaking - what were our nice Estate Agent boys Russell and Justin up to?

Well it seems they had lots of fun ... well not themselves of course ... they had 15 viewers booked in for the Saturday alone, so they had "a girl" at the flat all day to show people round! Now how chauvinist is that - and I bet she doesn't get a share of the commission!

All in all, we arrived home on the Monday evening having been 'viewed' by 31 poeple over the one week we'd been on the market, and had a firm, written offer for the full asking price on the table! It only goes to show - if you blink, you miss it.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

We'll always have Paris ....

Well, what can I say?

K's first visit to one of the world's most romantic cities. Did it work it's spell on him, seducing him with the grandeur of the Eiffel Tower; the magnificence of Notre Dame's Rose windows; the bustle of Monmartre; the sorbets of Ile St Louis; the stroll along the Seine; the bohemian bonhomie of St Germain where the local buskers are opera-trained sopranos whose exquisite 'Flower Duet' brought a tear to many an onlooker's eye .....

Yes he says, he'll ALWAYS remember this unique experience - and yes, we will ALWAYS have Paris - and yes, we will return ...... but next time, could I make sure that I don't come down with a throat/chest/ear infection that introduced him particularly to all the delights of so many Parisian pharmacies!

Arrived (after lovely Eurostar First Class brekkie) feeling a little dry/itchy in the throat and thought - might see if there's a pharmacy nearby in the morning, just to get some lozenges. Let's go strolling! Next morning - couldn't swallow/breathe for painful throat ... find pharmacy - analgesic throat spray. No I'm fine, let's get going - got a lot of 'sights' to do. By lunch time - can't stop coughing ... find pharmacy - cough linctus (God, that PholCodeine is good, but you do need it about every 20 minutes!!!!!) This progresses to:- if I cough, I can't stop and start choking, but at the same time it's acutally ripping the flesh off my already gory throat! Gosh what a fun time we are having! All this AND I'm trying to be the ultimate tour guide having carefully selected 'snippets' of Paris to whet his appetite for a return trip - despite the fact that by now I can hardly even talk ... which (between coughing fits) actually kept him smiling, although I can't think why!

Need I say more? .... We did really have quite a good and interesting trip but rather more than a bit tarnished. However, it was a lovely hotel and K was a VERY happy bunny to find a wall mounted, flat screen TV in the room - so I think I could just have left him there with his best friend, the remote control, for the whole weekend and brought in takeaway moules frites!

C'est la vie mes amis.

Friday, 16 February 2007

All aboard for Paris

Well, it's off to Paris on Eurostar EARLY in the morning, but not before hoovering, dusting, tiyding and finding that last miniscule corner of the cupboard where you can JUST squeeze something in to get it 'out of the way' - but then promptly forget what you put in where.

Russell has only got 15 viewers booked in so far for tomorrow, so he'll no doubt have an easy day of it!

Now, where did I move the passports to ...... must check the breadbin.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Day 1

Never has the flat been soooooooooooooooo clean and tidy - shame I can't find anything.

Ink hardly dry on the Agent's contract and already NINE viewings on the first day ..... getting to the point that whenever the phone rang it was ................Oh No - not Justin again asking to 'squeeze in' just one more appointment.

Roll on next weekend when we are away (with Justin holding the flat keys) and I can kick off my shoes, drop my clothes on the floor, and not automatically think that I've got to put them away - I hasten to add that this won't be in the Louvre, I will wait until we are in our hotel room!

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Weekend in Paris

Being the tenderheart that I am, and given that my beloved does not often get a weekend off work, I decided to book a weekend away in Paris. He's never been to Paris and, whilst I've often suggested it, the idea has usually been met with a bit of a shrug and 'not particularly keen' attitude. However ............ I took the bull by the horns adn booked it:-

Him: Why on earth do I want to go to Paris? I've never wanted to go to Paris ...

Me: It's a lovely city, loads to see, good food, and you know I've always wanted to show you round somewhere I love and know pretty well.

Him: But I've never wanted to go to Paris.

Me: I know you'll love it when you get there .... just like you hated the idea of going to Florence, or Sorrento, or Venice, or Rome - and fell in love with them all. AND it was a special offer - first class on Eurostar .... AND I'm paying.

Him: First classs BOTH ways? - so that means the luxury leg room and three course meal with free wine/bubbly BOTH ways?

Me: Yes.

Him: OK then.

MEN !!

Friday, 2 February 2007

Toe Dipping

Dipping my toes for the first time into the blog-pool , what ripples will I create or will my toes just freeze in the cold waters?

Just as frightening is my current entry into the world of Estate Agents as we try to sell our humble abode and buy something new. The world of the Estate Agent could be likened to the lion's den - will I be a Daniel or Androcles .... or just another lunch time titbit. Time will only tell - and will be reported! So far though, I have to keep reminding myself that we live in a Garden Flat - NOT Basement (well it does actually have a rather lovely patio garden) - and have also learned the power of lavender incense sticks. They work absolute wonders in covering that slightly musty (AKA damp!) smell you always get in those vaults under the main front steps going up to the raised ground floor entrance of your typical Victorian terrace .... sorry, it's not a 'vault', it's actually the wine cellar and convenient storage room - with great further potential, including cycle storage. So, we're looking for a cycling wine buff who likes a nice secluded garden but doesn't want to cook too much (very small kitchen - can't swing a kitten) unless they are super organised - even though I've cooked happily in it for 26 years with no culinary complaints!

We shall see how Agents Justin and Russell get on 'marketing' the place ..... they had four viewers booked in before I'd even signed their contract, so I think they are keen, and I also think we've made a good decision to say we are going away to Paris next weekend and just giving them the keys! ..... Or will I, like a fretful mother hen, be worrying about whether the viewers appreciate the play of light on the wall at dusk, or the varied bird song of our robin, blue tits and great tits as they breakfast at the bird feeder and argue with the squirrel over who gets the lion's share of the nuts - oh dear, there's that lion again!

We shall see, we shall see.