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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

31 May 2005
We were walking up the road yesterday to get a late breakfast, and just about to cross the street when a car pulled up in front of us and the driver leaned out and said something in London. Neither of us understood what he said first time round, but both assumed him to be asking for directions, and so He Who Only... got ready with his pointing fingers in order to accomodate. It was only when the driver repeated what he had said that we both noticed the boy in the passenger seat proffering a laptop in the most furtive of manners and staring around him like he was under surveillance. Which, for all we know, he was.

I'm in London less than 24 hour and already being offered stolen goods. Brilliant.

Yesterday: saw a room in a house I'd like to have. Today: Two job interviews and a Ben Folds gig. Tomorrow: Two job interviews and a Ben Folds gig. Thursday - Sunday: Open University essay beckons, swiftly followed by lots and lots of outdoor drinking in the sunshine.

London's gonna be fun.

29 May 2005
Holy shit, peeps. Today's the day. I'm off to London town to seek my fortune with all the other street urchins. I feel the timing's right. Plus, I've quit my job, cancelled my phone, run up a huge tax bill I need to escape and booked some flights. So I might as well run while the running's good. Updates may be many and varied, or may be preciously few but highly entertaining. It depends on m'laptop and it's ability to make friends with the internet.

Do remind me later to tell you the following stories, which have happened over the last undocumented while:
- Spazzing out on the bus
- Being hit in the face by a dog
- Being stamped on the foot by a (different) dog
- Spending Saturday alternatively crying hysterically and laughing hysterically
- Not being hugged by Little Sister Edel
- The Great Packing Escapade

Finally, today's flight details. It's gonna be a good 'un, I can feel it in me bones.


25 May 2005
Packing plans are afoot, and not before time, since it seems to have only occurred to me that moving takes place on Sunday – which is now THIS Sunday, not just a theoretical Sunday in the long and distant future, like it has been up until now. Packing plans, though, mark you. Not actual packing. That I thought could wait until the middle of the week, so that I wasn’t going mental and packing a month in advance and then living out to suitcases in my own home.

But now I’ve gone the opposite direction. I had thought I could start packing on Wednesday, all leisurely like, doing washing as I went along and sorting through things at a measured rate. But then I realised the football to end all football happens on Wednesday, so that’s no good. Thursday, then, would be a fine time to start with the packing, the folding, the sorting, the washing, the general sorting out – oh yes. Though. With the meeting people for lunch, and then working, and then the meeting further people for dinner. People insist on saying goodbye to me, you see.

So okay, the Friday. It’s a bit late, but it’s better late than Saturday. Oh. But. Yes. With the lunch with the girls from work, and then the work, and then the meeting people after work for dinner and drinks, with the goodbyes and the hugging. Oh, the goodbyes. Dammit.

So packing. Begins and ends. On Saturday. That’s just stupid. For someone who has spent since the moment of deciding to move to London planning the move to London moment by moment, making lists and buying new things and throwing away old things and sorting through notebooks and books and dvds and cds and making decisions about to bring and what not to bring and now although I know what I’m taking, none of those things are boxed up, folded, washed, packed, piled or even taken off shelves and thrown on to the bed.

Madness. Utter madness.

Example of how my head is this week: Yesterday, I bought clothes in which to make good impressions with job interview style people for next week. I bought a white shirt, which is great and presentable, and (I only realised this morning when I put it on in day light rather than shop-changing-room light) totally see-through. Thankfully, I also bought respectable bra to wear under respectable but see-through shirt, so that I can preserve some dignity. Was sorting through shopping last night at work, putting things from three bags in to one bag in order to carry it all easier on the Luas. And it was only when I was half way to meeting Little Sister Edel that I realised I’d left my new mumsy bra sitting slap dash in the middle of someone else’s desk.

I left my underwear at work.

The rest of this week will probably follow the same pattern. Hoorah.


The wire that connected the computer to the outside world got all smushed up by the new computer chair. So updates haven't been possible, thanks partly to that, partly to my Eurovision mourning, and partly to the biology homework I've been wrestling with for the last week.

Sincere written apology can be found here.

Business as usual in a bit.

20 May 2005
I realised what a cross I've made for myself with my current line of study when I was sitting having a polite chat with someone at work on Wednesday. She was asking about my studies, and I was telling her about my studies. That's the way conversation works, you see. I talk about me, and people listen. It's the way of the world. Anyway, I was saying that this year I'm doing child development, and how interesting it all was, and how much I was learning and that when suddenly out of nowhere she piped up "and so if a child grows up with a lot of shouting and arguments, what kind of effect does that have?"

With that happy sentence, she’d shared far more of her personal life with me then I ever would have wished to know. And she continued to share. With abundance. I won’t reveal many details, since my own revulsion of this new found knowledge has left me wondering what to do with my brain in terms of cleaning it out and making it happy again, but while I was reeling with the shock I was also realising that I might have to put up with this for the rest of my life.

Doctors get asked medical questions, lawyers are asked their opinions on various matters, and now I’m going to be being asked if I think people have attachment problems, or unresolved issues with their fathers, or OCD, or whatever the new trendy psychological illness is at the time.

I’ve decided that from the moment I step foot in the town of London, I’ll be telling people I’m studying pure maths. Then see what questions they’ll have.

19 May 2005
All day today, at any quiet moment (and there have been a few), I’ve found myself starting to sing. All. Day. The singing starts with a very quiet:

("…do you wanna, do you wanna, do you wanna fall in love…")

but then slowly and surely builds up to a finger snapping:


and I don’t think those are even the right words. I don’t care. I’ve been infected and there’s nowt I can do.

Tonight – for those of you outside the island of Ireland and not exposed to such a high quiver of excitement that’s currently sweeping the nation – tonight is the Eurovision Semi-Finals and you’d swear we’d made it to the world cup finals or something. It’s the day of the McCaulls and there’s no escaping it.

I’m very very very excited about seeing two ginger misfits let loose from the farm for a day and without the right medication will probably start humping Beddingfield stylee all over the stage. I’m very very very excited about seeing their backing dancers prancing about in gold coloured corsets and potentially falling over as apparently they have done in rehearsals. The song is horrendous and cheesy and the singing is strained and appalling and it’s the Eurovision and that’s brilliant. The very thought that we might not even qualify for the finals makes it even better. Bring on the fun tonight! Go Team McCaull! The whole nation is waiting with baited breath to see you fall on your collective arse and fail miserably!


17 May 2005
Religious ceremonies: much fun. The more chanting, the better. The more long winded, the better. The more nausea-inducing incense, the better. Darned shame, therefore, that the religious ceremony I chose to attend this weekend just passed had none of them. First Communions were happening all over Ireland last weekend, and I thought it would be fun, fun, fun to drag He Who Only..., someone who isn't of the Catholic persuasion (and is therefore, and quite rightly, going straight to hell without passing Go) to one such First Communion. Happy coincidence, therefore, that my beautiful god-daughter Rosie happened to be making hers on Saturday.

And so there we found ourselves first thing in the morning. Sat squished in to a pew were myself, Dee, Rosie, Mrs Bishop, Dee's parents, Dee's Granny, Dee's Aunty and He Who Only... - that's nine people sitting on a seat designed to fit five anorexic nuns. Rosie was delighted because I think she won the official popularity contest of "I brought the most extended family with me". Myself and Mrs Bishop were sat beside each other, all the better for distracting and giggling and making inappropriate comments. (Also distracting to me was the fact that, in the rush to get dressed, I hadn't realised that the top that had looked so appropriate for the occasion in the confines of the bedroom now revealed a touch more bosom than I had previously noticed. Every time I bowed my head in reverence for the word of the Lord, the ladies were right there grinning back up at me.)

At one point during the ceremony, with apparently no prompting, Rosie turned to Mrs Bishop and asked her did she believe in God. Without a moment's hesitation, Mrs Bishop (Rosie's GOD MOTHER) replied to Rosie (AN EIGHT YEAR OLD ABOUT TO RECEIVE HER FIRST COMMUNION) that she didn't in any way believe in any God whatsoever. Now, I'm all for telling the kids the truth, introducing them to new ideas and outlooks and generally being open and honest at almost all times, but I felt perhaps this wasn't the right moment or context to have an existential conversation with a child. Not a child dressed head to toe in white, in a church, about to deliver a prayer of the faithful. So I did what any responsible atheist God Mother should do - I gave Mrs Bishop a right dig in the ribs with my elbow, and she recanted almost immediately by telling Rosie she was only joking.

That child is in serious trouble, faith wise, with us to lead her.

What with the standing up and sitting down and kneeling and the sitting altogether too closely with people you barely know, and the putting up with constant giggling and inappropriate commentary from me and Mrs Bishop, only the fictional God knows what He Who Only... made of it all. Catholicism is mystifying at the best of times, and perhaps introducing him to those glorious ways with a church full of 44 eight year olds dressed to the nines delivering the Gospel wasn't the most coherent introduction, but he got through it.

Isn't that just ridiculous? Date an Irish girl for long enough, and you'll be dragged to mass.

On another note, there will be a brief bending of the self imposed rules of this blog over the next few days, as since I've only got two weeks left in the place, I'll be blogging about work. Specifically: my replacement is starting today, and so will be shadowing me to learn about my job for the Next. Two. Weeks. My job currently consists of emailing my boyfriend and siblings and Mrs Bishop; making tea for myself; talking to Bell at great length; wandering around; doing OU essays; reading Dr Who ebooks (I would highly recommend The Well Mannered War). I'm supposed to be making a list of responsibilities and writing guided instructions. Eek.

13 May 2005
Of course, mere moments after posting on blog about how wondrous life is and how filled with the joys thereof that I am, I wake up this morning with a feeling of impending DOOM that will not, despite everything I’ve done today, go away. I was so cranky that my mother, on seeing the thunder cloud hovering over my head, gave me a big hug and handed me some chocolate when I came in to the kitchen this morning.

I think I’ve exceeded my seratonin limit for the week, or something. I tried playing with Bobby, running around, singing loudly, putting on different outfits, having a very long shower, going shopping, trying on fancy clothes, blowing huge bubbles with gum, having lunch with a friend, eating chocolate brownies, buying things… nothing has quite hit the spot and managed to disperse the cloud.

I’ve now started stressing an enormously inappropriate amount about the outfit I should be wearing at tomorrow’s communion ceremony, which I will be attending with the glamorous Mrs Bishop. We will be present to witness our beautiful god daughter giving her soul to the Jesus, and wearing a tiny replica of a wedding dress while promising to take and eat the body of Christ. (Don’t dwell on the implications of this for too long. You’ll come to no good.)

In other news, Mrs Bishop has surpassed herself by rising to a challenge I set her not a week ago, in which I told her it would be impossible for her to find the weblog of my ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend. I wanted to find this only because said ex-boyfriend (who reads this, by the by – Hi Ovular!) wouldn’t give me said address, saying that it would be "too weird". And he’s right, of course. But highly inappropriate Mrs Bishop (who is gifted to the level of idiot savant in terms of cyber stalking) has come up with the goods! All hail Mrs Bishop. If anyone has any major challenges, do email me and I’ll pass them her way. For the rest of you hiding special secrets behind pseudonyms, I can only tell you: be afraid. She will find you.

12 May 2005
I've had a sort-of cold ever since waking up Sunday beside Mrs Bishop. Of course, waking up next to Mrs Bishop is enough to give anyone the lurgy (Hello Mrs Bishop!), but I'm not sure she's the source of my kind-of illness.

The not-really-a-cold symptoms include a bit of a sore throat, a cough that sounds like I'm trying to discreetly get someone's attention, a not really blocked nose that just gives me more of an English accent than ever, and a mild feeling not being very well at all. Along with all of this, I've had this surreal feeling of euphoria for most of the week. I've also been taking a lot of cold and flu remedies to try and shake it off, and I attribute the euphoric feelings directly to them. Cold and flu remedies are brilliant.

This amiable giddiness follows me around all day, and I've had a great week as a result, even though I'm a bit under the weather. Even listening to Tom McRae's brilliant new album hasn't managed to make me want to kill myself at any point, and that's rare in a McRae album.

The only draw back, then, with this not-really-an-illness-at-all that I have is that from about 1.30am to 3.00am I am the sickest most unwell person in the entire universe. Same thing happens for about an hour after I wake up. Everything is all hell. My lungs are on fire. My head hurts. I pulled a muscle coughing IN MY SLEEP on Monday. I don't know my own name and I'm not sure why there's a jack russell eating my hand. I've had to get out of bed to take tablets that I can barely swallow every night this week, and have come close to writing my own eulogy and laying down to die with pennies over my eyes, that's how awful I've felt. And then, about an hour after waking up, I'm all fine again. Example: I've spent the most part of today walking dancing around the house on the tips of my toes pretending to be a ballerina.

I'm ill enough to justify over the counter medication, but not too ill that being a pretty ballerina all day isn't entirely out of the question. It's perfect.

11 May 2005
The internet has spoken! Many thanks to all who helped with boots buying decision. Having now compiled the opinions of a total of eleven people, both real and imaginary, only one person didn't out right throw up at the thought of purchasing said boots, and that was He Who Only... and that's only because he's humoring me. So thanks to y'all, I won't be buying said boots, I will never be happy again and I hate you bitches with all the firey depths of hell.

You know what's a good way to wake up of a morning? By speaking to three different people in a call centre at 8.30am in another country while still tucked up in bed. Seriously. It's brilliant. The first person you speak to in the morning should always give their full name, their job description and ask how they can help you. It's a wonder how that little courtesy can lift your heart right up.

I was ringing to cancel my mobile phone contract, because like a foole I forgot to do that yesterday, which means I now get to pay Vodafone A FULL MONTH'S EXTRA RENT on a mobile that I won't be able to fucking use. I plan and plan and plan things, but then I totally fail to execute said plans. I suck at organisation.

But the ladies I spoke to this morning - in a call centre somewhere in the UK - were terribly helpful even though I was totally incoherent. Sleeping with your mobile phone right beside your head all night probably isn't very good for you, brain tumour wise, but it does mean that the very first conscious action you can take in the morning is to dial a number and the first phrase spoken can be confirming your date of birth. Unless I'm asked direct questions for three hours after waking up, I don't make much sense, so when someone asks me how they can help me, so many options spring to mind that I get confused. Hence having to call the customer care line THREE TIMES before getting all the information I needed.

Still. Phone more or less cancelled, pending confirmation from evil Vodafone HQ. And boots will remain unpurchased, you horrible unfeeling harridons.

09 May 2005
I want to buy these boots.

Should I buy these boots?

What do we think?

Please leave a comment and let me know. Seriously. I need help making decisions.


Okay, so that's Mrs Bishop, Little Sister Edel and littlesisterlouise who all vote against the boots. No votes for the boots. What the fuck is wrong with y'all? Anyone out there like the boots? It's the skull of a pussy cat! C'mon! Get behind the cat skull! Lurkers of the world, I beg of you to voice your approval for said boots.

And no, I can't afford them. But since when has that ever stopped me? Now vote for (or against, your choice) my boots, and then go watch this animation about the End Of The World because it's very funny.

08 May 2005
Last night myself and Mrs Bishop were lying in bed watching pornography. We were having a sleep over having had a Dr Who mini-festival, gorging ourselves on every episode shown so far of the current series, as Mrs Bishop has been a bit lax in her Ecclestoning, and I’m more than happy to watch them over and over again, apparently irritating my viewing companions by constantly exclaiming about what’s coming next (Sorry, Mrs Bishop).

But eventually the Who Fest had to end, and we found ourselves making our own entertainment. Having flicked through the fourteen other channels on offer, Mrs Bishop settled on the pornography lightly disguised as documentary, or E4 as it’s more commonly known. We watched for a few minutes, and talk soon turned, as it always inevitably does in these situations, to the adult licensing laws in Ireland, and whether or not pornography (hard- and soft-core) is now legal in Ireland, or whether the policing of said pornography has just become more relaxed. Having come to no conclusion, we turned back to the porn, at the moment where a lady and a gentleman were having sex in the back seat of a car while another lady sat in the front seat and, ahem, egged them on. Conversation at that point, naturally, centred on what said ladies were wearing.

During the ad break, I thought I recognised the voice telling us about a new kind of life insurance to be a mutual friend of ours, and having debated it throughout a scene in which some ladies were dancing about with no actual clothes on, I was thrilled (having sent off an urgent text message to said mutual friend) to prove Mrs Bishop wrong. Having been brow beaten with this irrevocable proof, Mrs Bishop was quiet for a while, and we considered the scene involving dildos and butt plugs in companionable silence.

“I’m not sure,” I said to Mrs Bishop moments later, as we exclaimed in delight at the pretty tattoo another lady had on her bottom, “that we’re doing this right.”

06 May 2005
I had lunch this afternoon with my past. Since making and announcing the decision to move to London, I’ve been trying to catch up with people I’ve been meaning to catch up with since moving back to Dublin. Yes, nearly two years ago. It’s best not to rush these things. I’ve decided on a strict policy of luncheon meetings, because meeting in pubs after work has proven to become a bit messy in the past.

The problem with the age of internet, email and text messages is that it’s very easy to continue a relationship with people without realising that you haven’t been face to face with that person for a very, very long time. And the problem with casually rolling through life the way I have been for at least the last year is that time casually rolls away from you, and all of a sudden you’re leaving without saying hello, let alone saying goodbye.

So this afternoon, I had lunch with someone I haven’t seen for maybe three years. This is a fact I only realised as I walked up to him to say hello, and he entirely failed to recognise me. Which is a novel experience for me, since I’m usually the person blanking the other person, seeing as how I’m blessed with a weird form of facial dyslexia. I’ll remember what someone is wearing forever more, but will entirely fail to remember what their face is like.

We went to a café, we sat down, we talked for an age about this and that. Since we both keep blogs, and both read each other’s blogs, there wasn’t a huge amount of catching up to be done. Talk quickly turned instead to plans and jobs and get-rich-quick schemes and the like. And although it probably doesn’t sound it, this I think was the very first grown-up conversation I’ve ever had in all of my life.

I’ve talked to people about their marriage plans, their pregnancies, the children, their divorces, the death of their friends, family, pets, their mortgages, their birth control plans, their sexual dysfunctions – I’ve pretty much covered all of the adult basics. But for all of this, I’ve never felt like a proper grown up having these conversations, at least not in the way I was so aware of being a grown up this lunchtime.

This, I think had a tremendous amount to do with the fact that I very much am no longer the person I was when I first met and associated with my lunch date. In that long and distant past, I realised while drinking my coffee and talking about where I’d ultimately like to end up living, I was a psychotic child, barely out of my teens and desperate to prove myself. Now I’m a psychotic adult, barely still in my twenties, and perfectly happy with how things seem to be cruising along. Which is a very nice thing to realise of a Friday.

05 May 2005
I still haven’t told anyone at work (other than my boss, and one other girl in my office, who I’ll call Bell, because that’s quite obviously not her name) that I’ve quit. The long I leave it, the more it seems like a dirty little secret that I’m keeping to myself, for the shame of it would bring disrepute to my family. But really, the reason I’ve not let slip yet is because of the almighty slagging off I’ll receive.

I love the ridiculous job I’m doing at the moment, something I was at pains to emphasise to the recruitment agency who called me today to ask why I was going. Apparently, moving to London for the sheer heck of it doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to the agency, who were so utterly convinced I was experiencing bullying in the work place that they asked me not twice but three times in a very direct manner.

One of the many reasons I adore my ridiculous job, besides the fact that I only work for five hours, and on a good day up to three of them will involve doing absolutely no work at all, is because the girls that I work with in my office are, to a lady, the nicest bunch of crazed nut jobs I’ve ever been lucky enough to share an office space with.

There we’ll sit on a slow day, all of us with our chairs swung around to face each other and the centre of the room, and we’ll discuss how terrible each person is looking, how little work each individual does, how awful their computer and typing skills, how unprofessional their phone manner. We’ll talk about how we’re going to get each other sacked, the sexual favours we’re each performing on our respective bosses, and occasionally even just the unpleasant odours rising from each desk caused, it needn’t be pointed out, by the poor hygiene standards of each one of us.

Each office has their share of people who think they’re just the darn tootin’ craziest wacko you’re ever going to meet, and each office seems to recruit people specifically for this job, those that walk in to a room with a poor joke already thought through, will stand by the printer, deliver said joke, and then leave the room again to the sound of the damp thump as said joke falls unsuccessfully to the floor, to the embarrassment of all who heard it. In our office, the office in which I spend a good two hours a night downloading and reading Dr Who fan fiction, we ignore those people and make our own inappropriate comments to each other, and then swing our chairs back round when someone else enters the room as if the conversation never happened.

I don’t want to tell these ladies I’m leaving. The abuse will, I know this for a fact, then centre entirely on me for the duration of the time I’ve got left there. And that would be the most depressing thing ever. It’s very rare to find people you can insult on a daily basis who aren’t blood relatives, and who will keep coming back for more.

03 May 2005
A very quick tip to those of you considering going on the London Eye at any point in the future - which, by the way, is something I recommend you all do at any point in the future, being taken up the eye turns out to be a very pleasurable experience indeed -

Ladies in skirts should avoid standing at the North door during ascent and the South door during descent, as the inhabitants of the pod below WILL be able to see right up their skirts.

02 May 2005
I’m not sure if it’s just me or a frame of mind drummed in to Irish children, and girls in particular, from an early age, but I fully expect at each and every moment that I’m present in London that every last person is going to be - at best - horribly rude to me, or - at worst - make an attempt on my life just for the loose change in my pockets or because they don’t like my accent. (For that last point, I can’t exactly blame them, having recently been mistaken for an American, a Canadian, an English and a South African by various Dubliners in recent months). The very last thing I expect in London is for people to be helpful.

So when I was stood in the train station trying to buy tickets for a journey whose destination names had been drilled in to me the night before by a drunkenly helpful He Who Only… [more details below], I wasn’t entirely surprised when the man with the large hair behind the bullet proof glass started yelling at me. Due to the security glass and the fact that he was agitatedly flapping his hands near the microphone, it took me a bemused moment to work out what the hell he was yelling at me.

Turns out that he was screaming at me that the train I wanted was now approaching, and that if I didn’t hurry up I’d have to wait half an hour. Of course, his yelling had put me off my game somewhat, so I stumbled my way through the gates and checked out the window to see which side of the tracks I should be heading towards.

Then another man started yelling at me. I turned around to try to decipher some words out of his torrent of what my brain had initially registered as abuse and it turned out he was also concerned about my time keeping. I turned around again and battled through the flow of people going the opposite way on the stairs, but all in vain. The train left without m4.

I think, as I sit here writing this on the platform with thirty minutes to go before the next train, I could probably have made the train if it hadn’t been for the people helpfully yelling at me. Even so, it gladdens my heart to find that people in London are ready, willing and able to abusively and aggressively hurl helpful suggestions at you from all directions.

01 May 2005
When you’ve got two Open University assignments due, a house move from one capital city to another on a TOTALLY DIFFERENT ISLAND, last nights out to plan, birthday presents to buy and all manner of packing to attend to, the only sensible way to spend a sunny afternoon in London town is working out the best - and crucially, the funniest - way to make a hand explode.

Of course, when I became embroiled in the tawdry world of show business, I was prepared for all sorts. The temper tantrums, the hissy fits, the endless preening and prancing about - he’s been kind enough to ignore all of these habits in me, so I’m willing to be patient with his endeavours. And honestly, if you find yourself at a loose end of a weekend, you could do much worse than traipsing around pound shops and DIY stores looking for ways to inflate rubber gloves that can be discreetly hidden up a sleeve until the crucial moment.

The basic ingredients, if you’re going to try this out - and you must, you really must - are a pair of marigolds (preferably pink), an industrial size can of shaving foam, some rubber bands, a lot of sellotape, a bucket and some very understanding flat mates.

The first time we tried it, I had stepped back towards the bucket, and was half way through the sentence “it’s not going to work” when it burst across the floor and I got a runner full of shaving foam for my trouble. I haven’t laughed so much since Bobby ran head first in to the window. The second and third explosions were of course purely to refine the technique. Which was fortunate, as the second time, due to technicalities and reasons, the hand didn’t burst so much as haemorrhage shaving foam, almost entirely covering both patio and He Who Only…

I was fortunate enough to have wisely remained in the shelter of the doorway that time.

[Post script: Three times it worked on the patio. Three times. In a row. With varying degrees of bursting. It was great. On stage, though. It didn’t work. It failed to go off. Nothing bloody happened. Darned tooting shame too, the audience missed a treat. I’m still intending to spend future weekends filling things with shaving foam until they burst though. That’s reward enough in itself.]