Saturday, August 17

a year in toiletry

It's been a toiletty year. I used a chic restaurant toilet, where the urinal was a glass wall looking out onto the terrace. The one-way glass lets you wee directly at the other diners without them knowing.

Before that I did a DIY toilet refit.

And I saw this urinal last month, on the trip when we visited UK, Bavaria and Spain. Which country do you think it's from, and why?

Tuesday, August 13

my favourite things

It's great to have people you love, but most of mine are in another hemisphere. Or dead. Perhaps to compensate, my life here is full of much-loved objects.

One possession that gives me a lot of happiness is my winter quilt. The quilt ratings here go from 1-season (summer only), right up to 4-season. But the one I bought was advertised as a 5-season quilt. Perfect for my skinny body, it's crammed full of new wool, yet it feels feather-light. 

The photograph actually contains several more of my favourite things, including the down pillow that travels everywhere with me. Without it, I'd suffer the screaming neck pain more often than I do. 

Hidden under the covers, another thing I'm grateful to is the electric blanket. A roasting bed at night is a wonderful welcome to oblivion. I sometimes even leave it switched on all day just in case I feel like an afternoon nap.

Even the book in the picture is my current fave, Irvine Welsh's Skagboys, a Trainspotting prequel. Possibly his blackest, funniest yet, it also makes you thankful that you've never had to live in the violent junkie subculture of proletarian Edinburgh. 

The ipad mini on the quilt is for bedtime scrabble, email, reading ebooks and the newspaper, Twitter and FB, and for writing this very post. 

Nobody's life is perfect, and mine has some major gaps, but what a fortunate creature I am really. So I am!

Friday, August 2

following the rules

The weeks in captivity had sickened me of Piddledorf. Ordinary petty burghers had been coming up to me, to offer gratuitous "advice", sometimes several times in one day. Do it this way! Don't do that! You shouldn't be walking on the grass, Wrong way! Go back! I'm before you! Don't put that there! Look where you're going! Do it properly! Shower before the pool, not after!

The best one was this demand, from a punter in the no-clothes sauna, delivered to the cellmate: take off your swimsuit! (And he stood over her while she complied). 

At last, one cold morning we got on the early train from Piddledorf, and made our escape. As the train pulled out, we found our seats, in the quiet zone compartment. Ahh, peace at last!

But then I noticed the businessman sitting in front of me, muttering into his mobile phone. I looked at the sign above his head, "No Phoning". Something exploded in my head. I got up and pulled at his sleeve. He said into his phone "hang on a minute".   I pointed at the sign. 

He whined: "but people are allowed to talk!"

I said (and I quote): "Just TURN IT OFF! Jesus, some currants want to make up their own rules! I mean, are we in effing Bavaria or not?"

He shut off his phone, picked up his briefcase, and moved quickly to another carriage. 

I sat there for some time, congratulating myself. If these people can dish out the rules, well they can effing well abide by them!

About half an hour later, the victorious feeling faded and it dawned on me that I had behaved just like the rest of them, smugly forcing rules down other people's throats. I felt disappointed, and a little ashamed. He had actually seemed like a nice guy, and I had made him so uncomfortable that he couldn't stand being in the same carriage.

So I got up and walked down the train to look for him. When I found his seat, he looked up, warily. 

I said: "I want to apologise. I over-reacted."

He touched my arm and said "I accept your apology gladly".

I thanked him and left him to it. Justice was done. I had shown that I was better than that.