Sunday, 14 August 2011

A day out!

I'm shattered.

Sylvester, our ancient and noisy cat, was very good and let me lie in until 7 this morning (he's normally grumbling at us by around 5.30) but, even so, it feels like I spent last night on the piss.  Which is odd, really, because yesterday was spent with the inestimable Katyboo (plus friends and family) doing very genteel things like going to the theatre and eating cake.  I'm such a lightweight.

I spent the morning at home alone as TLH had returned to his native homeland in order to construct flatpack furniture for his mam and stay over, and he left at about 7.30.  I got the 10.28 up to Waterloo, then the tube to Leicester Square and pootled about until our scheduled meeting time of 12 noon outside the theatre.  I was a little concerned that we'd not recognise each other but bearing in mind that my deciding to slap on some unaccustomed makeup plus my pink hair resulted in me ending up with a more than passing resemblance to Ronald McDonald, there was little difficulty in them spotting me in the heaving throng of bloody tourists.

It was a very nice surprise to discover that the Boo clan does actually exist and aren't just a figure of my deranged imagination.  And it shouldn't really have been a surprise to me to find that, literally within 5 minutes of meeting for the very first time, Katy and I were chatting about how much more perky properly fitted Rigby and Peller bras make your boobs.

Indeed, conversation between the 5 of was free ranging and organic, and included (but was not limited to) the following:

  • Whether or not the old Queen Mary had been given syphilis by her husband
  • The wisdom of importing Nazi memorabilia from Germany in order to make a killing (sorry) on eBay
  • Why crowns aren't more acceptable as everyday wear
  • That antique bakelite and diamante jewellery should be worn for doing the housework in
  • My inability to tap dance properly - I can do the feet but not the arms, and perhaps I'd be better suited to Irish riverdance stuff
  • Whether we could set up Katy and her dad in a shop to read tarot cards and do spiritual readings
  • Why 'esoteric' bookshops always smell of soap (it's the incense)
  • Pondering whether anyone was going to order 'Sauteed Dragon Whiskers with Two Kinds of Preserved Egg' on the menu
  • Or, indeed, the 'Braised Duck's Web with Fish Lips'.  For realz.
  • That you can change the sex of Gecko offspring depending on whether the egg is kept hot or cold.
  • That someone has seriously misunderstood the meaning of the word 'diet' if they think that includes the consumption of a large pork pie
  • The makes and colour of various combine harvesters
  • Back in 1981 seeing Donald Sinden in blackface playing the lead in Othello, depicting the mad scene by just waving his hands around a lot and moaning
  • The wisdom of trying to save money by constructing a much-needed neckbrace from (unused) old-style sanitary towels with loops and then being sent to school in it by your mother
  • Whether it would be possible to convince one's husband to wear a bandalero made from (unused) Tampax

....and so on.

Should you get the opportunity to meet Ms Boo in the flesh, I would highly recommend it for, not only is she most entertaining, she knows where the good cake shops are, a skill to be much admired and one in which I am sadly lacking.

The play?  You want to know about the play?  Okay.  We saw Dr Who and Donna in 'Much Ado About Nothing' at Wyndhams Theatre.  Now it's well known in Jones Towers that my critical faculties are sadly lacking - I enjoy pretty much everything; I'm very easily entertained.  And I thoroughly enjoyed this - yes, there was some scenery-chewing and a fair amount of slapstick but it all worked really well, and the cast looked like they were enjoying themselves too.  The audience gave them a standing ovation which, for a Saturday matinee two-thirds through the run, is good going.  Needless to say, reviews have been terrific and tickets are like gold dust but if you can get one, do go, it's terrific fun.

And my day ended with being able to get home in time to watch on the Proms the National Youth Orchestra playing Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet suite which had me snivelling like a baby.

All round, a bloody fab day!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Finally did it.....sort of....

I wrote this post over a year ago.  It was a post about dying my hair properly pink.  I was umm'ing and ahh'ing about it but decided I would probably do it, when I finally plucked up the courage.

I finally plucked up the courage.  And it's sort of worked.  But, hey, look, I took pictures to show you the progress.  However, a bit of backstory first:

I decided last week that I'd had enough of shoulder length hair.  It clogs up the bath plug.  It makes the back of my neck hot which means, every summer, I have to sleep with it pinned up high on top of my head.  It takes an age to dry and I hate, hate, hate it hanging all wet and limp around my neck but I also don't like using a hairdryer.  The plus points to having long hair is that it doesn't cost you anything at the hairdresser because, um, I didn't go to a hairdresser.  When the ends got splitty or the fringe too long, I just took a pair of scissors to it myself, and job's a good 'un. Or, at least, a respectable 'un.

Having a complete restyle in a fancy schmancy salon would cost an arm and a leg but I found a friend of a friend who works in a salon during the day and does private customers (clients? patients?) after work for a very reasonable price.  So I contacted her and she came round on Wednesday this week and she hacked it all off.

In the back of my mind I'd been preparing for this, and the subsequent bleaching and dyeing, so had been growing the old colour out and letting my natural, fag-ash grey colour dominate, so that I could start from a clean slate, as it were.

Anyway, this is what it looked like before I let Hannah get her magic scissors on it:

Sort of fairly nondescript, shoulder length bob that's pink at the ends but greying on the top.

Hannah then did this to it:

And suddenly I was turned into my mother.   This is no reflection at all on Hannah's skills as I think she did a really good job, it's just, all of a sudden I seem to have developed the neck of an almost-50 year old woman which had been successfully hidden by lots of hair before, and even though I am an almost-50 year old woman, I don't really want any of her bodyparts knocking around - know what I mean?  The haircut itself was fine but I was just not sure about it.  I felt a bit 'mumsy'.

TLH arrived home, though, and decided he loved it and made me put my new sunglasses on so he could take a picture and, I must admit, it doesn't look too bad here, but then I always look better slightly out of focus:

Thursday (yesterday), I decided I might as well slap the bleach on that I'd bought and see what happened.  If I didn't like it, I knew I'd got some brown hair dye and also some Eastern European hooker purple colour hair dye in the cupboard left over from when I used to dye it that colour, so, if the worst came to the worst, I could always use either of those.

When I used to bleach my hair totally peroxide white, back in the 80s, I used to use a brand that didn't have added colour - the idea was that you bleached the feck out of your hair, then added the colour that you wanted.  And, stupidly, I thought that was what I had bought this time.  Turned out it was a brand that had a colour already in it.  In this case it was 'gold'.  Oh well, I thought, let's give it a go and see what happens.

So onto my head it got plastered while I sat and watched a minor black and white Alfred Hitchcock flick on the box ('Shadow of a Doubt' with Joseph Cotton - pretty good, actually):

 (By the way, these are all pictures that I took of the process to send to TLH during the day, so he could see what I was up to!).

The end result was quite interesting, a sort of pale goldeny biscuit colour.  And because I had so many different colours in my hair to begin with - naturally dark, grey, silver white, pink - it looked like I'd had highlights:

I actually quite liked the colour, and was half tempted to keep it.  But then I knew that was not going to fulfil my dream of having pink hair so decided that I'd carry on with my plan.

This morning, Friday, I had to nip out to run a few errands before I got down to it, so it eventually took me until lunchtime to get up to the bathroom, brush in hand.

This is the colour I'm using - Special Effects Atomic Pink:

Which looks blood red in the bottle and is, actually, that colour when you put it on, but comes out pink.

I'd squirted out about a third of the bottle into the bowl, loaded up the dye applicator brush, raised it to my head and then stopped.  I almost, ALMOST bottled it, right there.  I started wondering what the hell I was doing?  What was I trying to achieve?  For Christ's sake, I'm forty-bloody-eight years old with the figure of a grandmother, not some willowy eighteen year old art student.  What if I hated it?  What if it looked really, REALLY stupid?

Then I remembered that it's just hair, it grows out.  And I have two packs of back-up 'normal' hair colour that I can use if I freak out.  And - okay, I admit it - while I do want people to notice me, I really, honestly don't give a toss what they think about me; I just don't want to be invisible.  Zandra Rhodes is my role model.

So I took a deep breath and started plastering it on:

No going back now!  Oh God - what have I done?????

You're supposed to leave it on for 15 minutes, and the colour will be brighter depending on how porous and/or bleached your hair is.  I left it on for 45 minutes, as I wanted to be sure the colour was as strong as it would go.

You know what?  It's fantastic:

I think it would have been even brighter if I'd managed to get my hair peroxide white to start off with, rather than biscuity golden, but I still think the colour's pretty good.  Plus it's actually brighter pink in real life, and, yes, I know there's gratuitous cleavage in that shot - don't say I'm not generous to you all...

So here I'm looking like my mum still but at least I'm ROCKING PINK HAIR, DUDES!!!

And here's a final, glamorous, sunglasses shot which I think is pretty cool and badass, melonfarmers!

I'm now feeling MUCH happier about the haircut and am pleased I plucked up the courage to go ahead with it.  Admittedly, I haven't left the house yet to show it off in public but I'm off to London tomorrow to finally meet up with the fragrant Ms Katyboo for the first time so she'll be one of the first of my friends to see it and have her retinas burnt out!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Who, me? Overshare? D'you think?

I had a bit of a first today.

Today was the very first time I've done housework in the nude.  Yes, you read that right, completely starkers.  Before you think I've gone all German and naturist on you, I shall explain.

I've started running again.  I had a bit of a hiatus - throughout the whole of May, June and half of July I only ran 8 times which averages out at about 1.25 runs per week, which is a bit rubbish really.  But the weather was often against me and then I sort of 'forgot' that I was supposed to be running.  The weather from mid-July, though, has been much improved.  Plus I also remembered that I'd got a portable blood pressure monitoring machine so thought I'd better check it one morning a coupla weeks ago and it was a bit higher than I would like.  Admittedly I'd woken that morning with a tickly throat and had, in fact, just had a massive and prolonged coughing fit before strapping on the armband, which can't have helped, but even so, I thought, time to step up the running again.

So I'm trying to get back into the habit of going out if not every other day (it's best not to run every day, a day's break in between is optimal for muscle recovery, etc., and, yes, that does include shamblers like me) then the day after that - what's that, every 2 days? every 3?  It's maths and counting, I can't do maths and counting, but you know what I mean - run on Monday, rest Tuesday, possibly go out Wednesday and, if not, then definitely Thursday (but Wednesday if I feel up to it), you get the picture.

At the moment I'm averaging around 1.8 miles per run but I'm also suffering from bloody shin splints again and the only 'cure' that I can find online is 'don't do too much, or go too fast, too quickly' so I'm trying to keep the pace slow but steady so it doesn't get too painful.  Therefore I'm resigned to not seeing the far side of a 2 mile run for a very, very long time, but that's okay.  Slow and steady will get there, I hope.

Anyhoo, I went out this morning at about 9.30am and went my usual route - down the road, into the meadow, along the path down the edge of the poppy field (which, this year, had no poppies in it but was spectacular last year) and into the corn (maize) field which has grown as high as an elephant's eye.  I wonder what variety it is since it's MASSIVE.  The corn I grow at the allotment is lucky to make it to 5 feet tall but this stuff has to be 7 or 8 feet tall.  I usually get through one of the cornfields before the voice on my C25K iPhone app chimes in with 'you are halfway through your workout', which is the cue for me to turn round and head on home.  It was a lovely morning, blue sky, sunny with scuds of cloud and just this side of bearably hot.  I shambled home, sweat literally pouring off me, shut the front door and plonked myself into the chair in our hallway while I checked the stats on my iPhone (I'm SUCH a geek) and took my shoes off.

It dawned on me then that we'd left our sitting room curtains closed this morning (we often do this as the sun comes up on that side of the house) so rather than go all the way up two flights of stairs to strip off my sodden running gear and then eventually traipse back down two flights of stairs with it to put in the washing machine, I could take it all off in the hallway and just load it into the washing machine in our ground floor utility cupboard right there and then.  Head on upstairs, pass through the sitting room (on the first floor) and carry on upstairs to the bathroom for a shower; curtains are closed, no horses (or neighbours) would be startled by the amazingly pink and wrinkled suit I was apparently wearing, job's a good 'un.  So mote it be.

I was on the final, skyclad, approach to the bathroom when I suddenly realised that I had told myself that I was going to do the hoovering today.  I'm not very good at doing housework - I have a bloke's natural inability to see clutter and dust and stuff and so it doesn't bother me.  Until it does.  Like now, when the cat gets stuck to the floor because it's so sticky and we're fending off giant tumbleweeds of his discarded cat hair spiralling around in various corners when there's a draught.  I know I have to get the hoover out but I hate doing it - a three-storey house has a lot of floor space and two flights of carpeted stairs are a right pain in the hole to do.  Plus - and this is the whole point of my rambling - hoovering always, always gets me very hot and extremely sweaty - I've been known to need a shower after doing it.

You're ahead of me, aren't you?

I had a lightbulb moment.  I halted my progress to the bathroom, turned back and headed off into the garage to get the Henry.  Stark bollock naked.

Took me about 40 minutes to hoover everything and, yes, I did get very hot and sweaty again, and I felt perfectly justified for doing it au naturelle when I felt the big trickles of sweat running down from under my giant lolloping boobs (can I offer you some bleach for your mind's eye?  It's just over there, help yourself...), knowing that it wasn't soaking into the clean clothes I'd have put on following my post-run shower because I wasn't wearing any and I hadn't had one!  Hooray!

So that's how I spent my morning - how was yours?

PS.  Yes, of course I had a shower afterwards - I'm not completely without standards, you know!

PPS.  I'm getting all my hair cut off next week.  Finally.  After threatening months ago to do it, the time has finally arrived.