Tuesday 20 March 2012


I've just spent the past god knows what prepping for a big interview tomorrow.  I love the word prepping - it sounds so professional, like you actually know what you are doing and can achieve greatness by actually doing it.

My basic prepping involves visiting every page of the company's website and making grasshopper notes.  What this does is put facts into my brain and highlight items of interest that I can then bring up at interview.  I don't know why this technique works for me but it does - it requires one run through with paper and pen and then I don't need to look at the notes afterwards.  I usually manage to spring a surprising fact upon the interviewers - for instance why bother having an events page with only one event on it ...... the day you are closed.  That's not very positive promotion is it now?

My big bone of contention however is the rather 'loose' directions.  Very helpfully the site suggests that you check the train times because it only runs every 15 minutes and naturally that would have a detrimental effect on your journey.  I checked.  The train runs every 10 minutes.  Are they trying to give me a heart attack?  Additionally they provide a map.  Which is impossible to read or identify the smaller street names.  So we go to Google Maps because everyone knows Google is king.  The online directions state that it is a 5 minute walk from the station to the school.  Google Maps says 15 minutes.  Damn it!!  Now I have to leave even earlier than before.

The we invite you to interview email states that the first part of the programme (I know right?) is meeting the Principal at 8.30am.  So we have to be there by 8.15.  Whilst reading the website, there is a continual reference to how awesome the academy is because they strive for perfection and high standards.  I'm guessing arriving at 8.20am would be a little more than unacceptable.  So now my stress levels for journey planning with 'loose' directions is at an all time high.  And I have no money on my oyster card so I need to allow an additional 5 minutes at the station to put some moolah on.  So basically I am leaving the house at 10 to 7.  In the morning.  Which means waking around 6 for a shower and pathetic groom through.  Forget breakfast that is just not going to happen.  Which means grasshopper will begin to emit growly hungry noises during the crucial interview segment of the half day programme.

There are five of us, timetabled throughout the day.  So does that mean at some point we will be given a weapon and expected to fight for glory and victory?  I don't like it - it smacks of elitism and we all know that this grasshopper excels in mediocrity.  I've made my case for non-attendance and despite being given the green light to back out due to "unforeseen circumstances" I can't.  I'm too scared that my mum will yell at me.  I'm cornered into a corner.  I will just have to go with my broken-down boots and shabby chic (I wish) outfit and pretend that I am high-powered elitist grasshopper with drive to be the best ooh-rah!  Watch this space for my speech of defeat and in-depth explanations as to why it would never have worked out anyway.

Monday 12 March 2012

The Little Things

I would never have imagined there would come a day when I compared my Grandad to Bill Nighy riding a motorcycle in India with Judi Dench riding pillion but the way he rose his arm and saluted his greeting to his fellow castmates was so so so similar to the way my Grandfather would wave us goodbye after a visit.  It is these little things that catch your breath and bring cherished memories back to you, spark a tear in the corner of an eye and a truly wistful longing that you might see them one more time.

I have always had a difficult time reconciling myself to the inevitable.  I know we have to die.  It will happen and it's coming whether we want it to or not but I have never been able to embrace the concept.  I was petrified of death as a tween, the mere thought of it would have been running through the corridors of my mind, slamming doors and refusing to touch the subject matter.  I don't know whether it is because of the tragedy that hit my small family in my early years.  I have no memory of it.  In fact my earliest coherent memories are from secondary school - there isn't much before that at all, just vanishing glimpses of possible places, faces and half remembered occurrences.  My brothers died when I was very small, my parents lived through extreme grief in their own different, separate ways and I think that grief shrouded my childhood and made me fear death.

Grief is hard.  It makes you feel selfish because you have to ask whether you are crying for yourself or for the person who is now gone.  They don't know that your are crying - whether they are still capable of conscious thought is a riddle we will probably never know but I like to think that wherever they are, there is no pain, no darkness, no hurt.  I am not a religious grasshopper but I have faith that there is something more than nothing when the final curtain falls.  It is always the little things that remind us.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Academy of Hair

I don't like getting my hair cut.  I don't like clothes shopping, make-up, nail varnish, fashion, blah blah shallow blah blah blah.  Some might say I'm not really into women's things.  So I object to paying through the nose for a haircut which is why I get mine done at The Academy.

Now having your hair cut by students might seem scary but these are not the kinds of students who have never cut hair before - these are fully qualified hairdressers who are just having refresher courses in new techniques and new colours.  So you are getting a cut and colour for a total bargain - yay I like a bargain!  The only problem is it involves having your haircut!

Horror scenario number one is having to sit in front of a full length mirror in a chair that does nothing for chubby leg viewage plus the fact that you have to sit in front of a full length mirror for 4 hours.  4 hours!

Horror scenario number two is having at least four people "assess" your hair, talk about it without mentioning the individual beneath the mop and not caring whether it hurts when they pull their fingers through your hair about a billion times.

Horror scenario number three - full length mirror.

A long line of middle-aged (not that I'm quite there yet) women with bad bad bad overgrown, badly dyed, big roots, poorly conditioned hair begin the full length mirror line-up and then four hours later we have the gorgeously coiffed line of shiny mop tops - still the problem of the full length mirrors but the hair looks good grasshopper!