Saturday 23 October 2010


OMG we own a house in London! We exchanged contracts today, which means the purchase is now official. We 'complete' on 9th November, and looks like we will move in early December. It's only taken since early July!

Anyway, I'm exhausted and heading to bed. David and I stayed up watching Coraline, which is one of the strangest movies I've ever seen. Someone has taken a lot of drugs, I think... Good movie though.

I also managed to snarf my way through half a very large bar of Lindt Chocolate, one large chocolate chip cookie, and a small banoffee. I feel like a manatee. Moo. Must do lots of cardio this weekend!

Wednesday 20 October 2010

This is the Dawning of the Age of Austerity...

It was a bit like waiting for and then watching a slow train wreck. Today was the Comprehensive Spending Review, where the government announced all the cuts it intends to make over the next four years. The average cut seems to be about 20%, which, I suppose, isn't as bad as was feared. Sales tax (VAT) is going to 20%, from the current 17.5%, and they estimate that 500000 jobs are going to disappear from the public sector (though the 'natural wastage' over that period of time is nearly 400000, so the actual number of jobs lost won't be as bad as it seems, I suppose...). The French, when presented with a similar scenario, have decided to trash the country, as have plenty of other Europeans, most notably the Greeks. The British and the Irish, on the other hand, seem to have engaged in a collective shoulder shrug. This is particularly true of the Irish, where things have been really terrible. I read somewhere that the general train of thought there is that life is generally difficult, and that there was no way the good times would last. How very Irish. Wonder how long that attitude will last?

Hackney's already announced cutbacks of about 25% over the next few years - we had this huge all-departmental meeting - a 'road-show' - where the borough CEO announced, the blandest tones possible, that 'tough decisions' would have to be made, 'efficiencies' would have to be effected, and various other English words would have to be tortured. Wonder how much it costs to pack several hundred people into the Town Hall (lost productivity!), feed them croissants, fruit, tea and coffee, and tell them nothing they couldn't figure out for themselves? Anyway, so far (fingers crossed) things seem like they will be OK, but I do keep looking for private sector jobs. If the Tories have their way, we'll have no government left - just businesses - like the Republicans without the whole religion garbage.

Ah yes, good times. Glad the bankers are doing OK, and their bonuses are back up. I was very concerned, you know.


I used the new shower today at work - it's so small I can only shower facing one direction, or my arms hit the side. It's supposed to be 'disabled accessible', being on the ground floor, and with little foldable seats and everything. Problem is, the showers and changing areas are so small I seriously doubt a wheelchair bound person, or even someone slightly overweight could possibly use the showers. Ah well, I suppose it was the thought that mattered.

And in my current and general list of gripes - people who insist on putting their entire life to music. What's with the whole wearing headphones in all circumstances thing? Personally, I like to actually hear things around me - especially when I'm cycling. My cycling jacket actually has a place for headphones. Unbelieveable...

Blah, anyway, I should make my lunch and get ready for bed. Pretty exciting...

Sunday 17 October 2010

Frightfully Middle Class...

I looked at furniture again today, with Robin. Wandered around Heal's (a furniture store) looking at outrageously priced sofas, tables, fitted kitchens (all the rage here) and silly looking toilets. We actually saw one of those Japanese toilets the other day - the kind that heats your butt, pipes out (non-poopy) fragrances, chirps like a bird and goes out to take itself for walks when you are away. Those Japanese will think of everything, apparently. Lots of bidets. I do not, honestly, see the point of a bidet. I mean, really - that's why God created toilet paper! I remember my 6th grade teacher had a funny story about his first encounter with a bidet - he thought it was a urinal. Seems sensible. The only real problem came when he flushed. Oh dear. We have kitchen and bathroom catalogues strewn all over the living room as well. It's actually been kind of fun (as we've not actually had to do anything yet). Of course, we've gone and looked at all the sensible options, but, strangely, we've also gravitated to the specialist stores in the West End - the kinds where they don't list prices on anything, as it is all built to order, and if you have to ask, well... One of my faves was a sink where the water sort of pours out the top of it like a waterfall. I couldn't help but wonder, what happens, for example, if the water was turned off, and you get lots of air in the system - wouldn't it be a bit like having Old Faithful in the bathroom? And, of course, this being, technically, part of Europe, there are any number of possibilities for wet rooms, rather than normal bathrooms. The Swedes seem to like those. I stayed at a hotel in Sweden, and the shower was just sort of built into the bathroom. Everything got wet when I took a shower, and then I had to use the little squeegee to wipe down the walls and the toilet. It is actually quite interesting, the differences in how different countries go about their business. Don't get my started on squat toilets in France. Silly French people!

As for kitchens, the British really like everything to have a smooth surface, to blend into one sort of whole. They even will incorporate the fridge and the dishwasher into the decor of the kitchen, hiding them behind cabinet doors. The washing machine also goes in the kitchen, and, being a small European front loading type, takes 3 hours to wash clothes and sounds like a jet about to take off when it spins. I miss a proper American washing machine that will wash a family of 5.

Anyway, just winding down on Sunday evening - David is watching Buck Rogers (oh dear - to think that I used to think that was a cool program!) and Robin is watching some ridiculous Tom Selleck movie. It's all thrills and spills here in the capital of the world, eh?

Saturday 16 October 2010

Sweety, Darling...

And once again a whole bunch of time passes and I don't actually write anything. It's getting so I can't write at work, b/c I actually have to do work (imagine), and then I'm tired and grumpy when I get home and it's time for bed. What's a silly little boy to do?

Anyway, David, Robin and I spent today in Chelsea looking at furniture and kitchens. How very extremely middle aged and middle class! We had a lovely lunch of eggs benedict at the in-store brasserie at the department store while we flipped through big, beautiful kitchen and decorating catalogues. It did feel a bit of an AbFab day (minus the big lines of coke, traffic tickets and general mayhem).

Hopefully hopefully hopefully we'll actually exchange contracts next week, and complete the purchase on 9th November. Considering that we first saw this place sometime in July, it's been a bit of a slog. Still though, we're getting excited about decorating stuff, though God only knows how we're going to afford this sort of silliness. Oh well - we'll manage I'm sure, somehow. (I'll find a nice street corner... ;-)

Went out last weekend to a leather/rubber type dance club, held in a car park underneath South London railway arches - a bit sort of rave-esque. There were two dance arches, one 'chill out' arch (complete with a tea/coffee/hot dogs booth - ick), with the punishment cages right next to it (the normal place to put those sorts of things, I am sure). Big smoking area outside, full of trashed queens (leather daddies are usually actually big opera poofters when it comes right down to it - fastidious and ridiculous and unable to see that they are actually grownups playing dress-up games). And, of course, there was the naughty room, complete with a parked car so people could do things in the back seat. Kind of an amusing place I have to say (went there with Robin and Avi - David had more sense). And then there were the toilets - oh God. Put several thousand people, mostly men, add nowhere near enough portapotties, none of which seem to work properly and you get, well, you don't get any surfaces you would like to spend my time anywhere near. Next time I think they need to improve the toilet situation, b/c I'm really surprised no one went away from that place without cholera. But, overall it was an amusing night, though it does, once again, demonstrate to me that I am just far too cynical to take any of this sort of thing even remotely seriously - even when I am running around in clunky big army boots and a rubber surfer suit. Very fashionable. Not very comfortable. Honestly, I don't know how guys go to these things and spend the entire night in head to toe rubber and don't, quite literally, die. I did ask a guy once, and he said you just get used to it. I suppose people ask me the same thing when I say I ride my bike 100 miles. If it's your thing, you just do it, and you figure out how to deal with the difficult bits.


It's definitely autumn. Nights are getting worryingly long, quite quickly, not to mention cold. The leaves are sort of beginning to think about turning vague shades of not green (London is not known for its autumn colours), and I think the trains may have already altered their schedules to make up for the 'wrong kind of leaves' being on the tracks.

Oh, and in a sure sign of the apocalypse, 2.5 years after it was requested, they actually put showers into my building at work - got rid of one of the women's toilets, which is good, b/c we don't want women using the toilet - they might start getting silly ideas about voting or driving cars... ;-) Still can't lock my bike in the building though, as it is a 'health and safety hazard' (you know - they catch fire, bite people in the leg, carry rabies, that sort of thing), so I still have to lock it across the street in the Town Hall basement. How I suffer.

Right, I'm getting random now, so I will probably go. Robin has just fished a CD out of the DVD player, which he has set up in the kitchen, over the sink. Just another Saturday evening in our happy gay household, it seems.