Tuesday, 19 June 2007

American Cheese

Am currently sitting at my desk eating a rather depressing prawn sandwich, trying not to panic about my Huge Important Presentation this afternoon.

I realised at 4am that I had forgotten to send my presentation to the Very Senior and Important Person I am going through it with this afternoon, so now he'll think I'm a fuckwit before I even start. Gah.

I will stay in the office for another hour or so then fight my way across the South West to be in Bath for 4pm for my meeting. And I look like shit because I was awake at 4am, panicking. Which was helpful.

It'll take more than a bit of lipstick to sort this out. Even my Emergency Last Resort Virgin Vie Sparkly Lipstick.

This is so not the lifestyle I envisaged when I was young.

A few years ago I registered on Friends Reunited, and a few of my old school mates got in touch. It was lovely to hear from them, about their lives, their children, their achievements and their troubles. That was great. Hello Caroline, Sophia, Kim, Kate, Charlotte.

Well, not the troubles part, but you know what I mean.

However, I had a real mid-life crisis when one of them commented in an email "I can't believe what you do for a living. I always thought you'd be a writer." And for the first time in many, many years I looked at myself and thought "Well shit. I always thought I'd be a writer too."

Maybe that's why I started blogging. It makes me feel as though I can still do it. I can still affect other people a bit. Tell them stuff they maybe didn't know. Engage them for a while.

I try now and again to put a story together, but it is hard work. Blogging is much easier in comparison. The more I read of other peoples' stuff the more I realise how much talent is out there. Still, at least it keeps me entertained.

Heard from my lovely Youngest Sis that she didn't get through her bike test this morning. Arse. Still, it means I hang onto my Queen of Smugness crown as I passed mine first time, and Mr WithaY didn't. And now neither did she.

I have been looking at bikes on eBay, and wondering about biting the bullet and investing in something large and funky. I still fancy a Kawasaki Z, or maybe a Zephyr, but having drooled all over Bill the Spill's Harley when he was up here I am also leaning towards the USA a little.

When Mr WithaY and I were in the States a few years ago our mate Joe took us to the local HD dealership in New Hampshire. We almost had kittens, running from bike to bike going "Look at THIS one!" and squealing excitedly.

All the cool Harley riders were very contemptuous. Till they found out we were English, then they were merely amused and slightly pitying, especially when we told them how much Harleys cost over here.

Then we spent an hour seriously trying to work out if it was cost-effective to get a couple shipped over to the UK. It was, but we couldn't afford it. However. Now we could.

I might go and visit Joe and Nancy again...heh. I still feel like I need a holiday and I adore New England. We are lucky enough to have kind friends there who let us stay with them when we come over, and don't object too much when we eat them out of house and home for a couple of weeks.

If anyone is ever in New Hampshire, go to Nancy's excellent cheese shop and deli - C'Est Cheese. She stocks fab interesting cheese which you can't find in the supermarkets.

I was horrified by the cheese section in the supermarket in Harwich. Or was it Hingham? Or Sandwich? Anyway, a small Cape Cod town. Not Provincetown though.

God I loved it there. Mr WithaY was a bit phased by it all, but only because he was getting eyed up by the cute local guys. Heh. I have some fab pictures of me on one of the hammocks on the beachfront. I want to go back. Today. I want to sit on the beach at Nauset. *sigh*

Anyway. Cheese counter outrage. They had two types of cheese, in huge square blocks, both bright yellow and deeply unappealing. However, their fruit counter kicked some serious arse. And you could buy hot clam chowder from a giant vat which is always a good thing in a supermarket.

Our mate on the Cape told us a story about her next door neighbour having to move house. Not as in "put everything in a van and go elsewhere". No, this was "pick up complete house and put it somewhere else entirely".

They had ordered a load of heating oil, which was to be delivered while they were at their other house in Boston. The delivery driver stuck the hose nozzle into what he thought was the right orifice in the house and began to pump hundreds of gallons of heating oil into the tank.

Only he didn't. Somehow, he missed the right oil tank hole and simply pumped the entire contents of his truck into their cellar (basement, American readers). The driver only realised what had happened when his truck was empty.

I like to imagine him standing there, watching his oil gauge dropping to zero, scratching his head thinking "Wow. This is a really big tank."

The oil company put their hands up and paid to have the house picked up, moved across the garden, all the oil pumped back out of the cellar, the earth removed and replaced with uncontaminated stuff and all the water table tests conducted at their expense. According to our mate's neighbours it was Hell On Toast for 6 months.

One of the few downsides to living where we do is that everyone has a septic tank in the garden. (No mains drainage, see). Fine, as long as they keep working. Every once in a while you have to get the nice man with the big sucky truck to come out and empty it. (Company motto on the back of his truck: "You dump it, we pump it." Really.) And when that happens, oh boy do you want to be somewhere else.

I was driving through the village on my way to work this morning when the unholy "tank emptying" stench filled the car.

When there's a 30mph speed limit, and people walking their dogs in the road, you can't just put your foot down and flee, screaming "Aaaaaiiieeeeee" however much you want to.

I drove the rest of the way hoping my suit didn't retain the stench. Still, if it did, my meeting will be brief. Heh.

No comments: