Saturday, December 31, 2016

F**k off 2016

2016. A year to forget. Celebrity death-fest. The year that so many things broke. The year we got stuck. What a frankly cr*p year. I was going to title this with a slightly more banal "farewell" - then George Michael died.

It was a very bad year to be a celebrity. Death seemed to stalk the famous this year. Not that a celebrity death is especially bad (one of my aunts passed away this year - now for me & my family that was really bad) but it seemed that for a while every time you turned the TV on there was another amazingly talented person gone too soon - David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, Prince. We  had a brief hiatus then 2016's death count rose again and again  - Caroline Aherne, Carla Lane, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder, Alexis Arquette, Jimmy Young, Robert Vaughn, Pete Burns, Andrew Sachs, A.A.Gill, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds barely a day after her daughter. Enough already. In non celeb land, back in the summer, my mother was rushed to hospital with a pulmonary embolism and it was touch and go- thankfully she pulled through. But George died ... I have made my feelings about that one clear in the previous post.

And 2016 was also a year when big events impacted directly on our small FauxSurrey lives. We wanted to run away to our lovely Welsh Mill this year and start a brand new adventure. We did the due diligence, we checked the spreadsheet, we canvassed opinion from the experts and we decided that June was the time to sell up in Surrey and get going. We hadn't banked on the completely mad, bad and dangerous Brexit vote going completely the wrong way.

As a result of the lunatic vote, the housing market froze. And despite 2 price cuts and changing agents we are still sat in limbo, 7 months later with no sign of moving on .. but critical immoveable deadlines are moving ever closer to us! Like FSHubby has resigned and we will be unemployed with 2 houses in April if something
doesn't give soon!

And talking of employment I can safely say that 2016 has been the WORST year ever for work for me. Basically I didn't have any. And I had a great contract - a save the day kind of contract - cancelled at the very last minute. So have been relying on hubby and dipping into the spreadsheet - yep, great.

But all of these things are tiny - let's not forget 2016 has seen the world slowly collapse - Brexit, the election of Donald Trump to the White House, Syria / Aleppo, the refugee crisis, increasing terrorist attacks, increasing racial tension & for London commuters HIDEOUS rail strikes. At times 2016 felt like the 1970's.

So p*ss off 2016, I will not miss you - I will be glad to see the back of you. Roll on 2017. And roll on 28th Jan 2017 when the year of the naughty, disruptive, damaging Monkey gives way to the year of the Fire Rooster (or fire chicken as some websites would have it they believe it's a female bird this year!), a creature associated with trustworthiness, timeliness and responsibility. Fingers and toes crossed!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Goodbye gorgeous George Michael. The world has lost a genius

Anyone who knows me even slightly will not be at all surprised to know that I have been bereft & heartbroken since the news broke on Christmas day that my idol, the amazing, talented, generous, fabulous George Michael had died aged just 53.

I have been a HUGE fan of George since he burst onto Top of the Pops in 1983 telling Andrew Ridgeley that "caution paid"!  I was hooked - I bought the big white t-shirt and I danced around my handbag to "Wake me up before you go-go"; I knew every word to "Everything she Wants", I swooned as he belted out "I'm Your Man" (Oh George you so were), and sipped cocktails to "Club Tropicana" but my adoration was sealed when he released "Faith". What an album.

An old friend & I scored front row - yup FRONT ROW!! - tickets to one of the Earls Court Faith gigs. And we were wowed. So much energy, so much talent, so much showmanship, so much love in the room. And we agree wholeheartedly, it was one of the best nights of our lives. Ever.

With another friend & partner in crime, despite the fact we were well into our 20's, we followed George around the country on his Cover to Cover tour - screaming his name loud at every venue so he knew we were there, adoring him as always! We covered our tracks well, lying to workmates, bosses and boyfriends telling each we had commitments to the other so no one thought it was odd we were out every night for a fortnight! Ah those were the days.

George made me happy, His songs cheered my soul. I listened to him through the worst times of my life and the best times of my life - he was there when the most important relationship I'd ever had collapsed (Too Funky"); he was there when I gathered 200 friends round to raise hell at my 40th birthday ("Flawless"), and he was always there to get Christmas going .. But Christmas 2016 would be his last.

Rest in peace gorgeous George. My heart is broken at your loss. I cannot tell you how much I will miss you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

And pray to your god that 2017 will be a significantly better year than the car crash that 2016 was!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The lunatics have finally taken over the asylum

I don't normally express opinions here, this blog is a place for idle chat and gentle musing but really, right now I give up. 2016 will go down as the year the extremists took hold.

The year so many people consciously and willingly gave away their rights and their freedoms.

First Brexit. Now we have President Trump. A misogynist, homophobic, racist billionaire who cares about no one but himself and his bank balance.

He thinks NATO is a waste of money. He praised the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. He is an autocrat not a democrat

Lest we forget, this is how he feels about women:

"I just start kissing them. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.” He added: “Grab them by the p-ssy. You can do anything.”


“If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

Really America??

God help us all.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Patience they say is a virtue. Well clearly I am a model of virtuosity! Patience is something I am not normally known for, but the past few months have called for it in bucket loads. The FauxSurreyHomestead is still refusing to budge.

We have done everything we can think of. Alongside the normal depersonalisation & decluttering we have now removed furniture. I am spending a fortune on fresh (fancy) flowers. We have switched agents. We have reduced the price. We have offered to include many white goods such as an American fridge freezer, a dishwasher and a washing machine in the reduced price ..  but still nothing!

Looking on the consolidator sites such as Right Move etc. it's clear to see there's a problem at our price band. Houses priced below us seem to be selling without too much drama - but we (and others at the same price) appear to be stuck fast and have been for over 4 months now! I guess all we can do is wait it out.

But FSHubby has resigned properly from the big job (and all are very very sad to see him go, many articles have been written and tears were shed!) so we have a brick wall (if you will!) of 31st March 2017 when we have to be out. And because we really thought we'd be in Wales by now I accepted a lecturers job at a nearby university which I have now had to decline (a 400 mile daily commute? I don't think so!). But as it always works out for the best, out of the blue I was asked to go back to the lovely Smithfields office I was at last year, which will keep me busy and solvent through till Christmas. And FSHubby is now being courted by many big companies so he may get and even more prestigious & lucrative job so actually its all good.

That said we have agreed a plan B. Whilst we don't want to, if we are still stuck fast in January we will put the FSHomestead up for rental and head to Wales anyway - and be unwilling landlords for as long as the market takes to recover.
And apropos nothing at all - completely unrelated - I am loving this series of Strictly although am astounded at the level of competence of shown so early - have they all been at dance school??!! But I am SO SO sad to see Will Young leave early - he was my favourite. I love Will. I voted (many many times!) for him on Pop Idol and remember jumping so high with glee and punching my ceiling when he won. Sorry you felt you couldn't go on Will. I (and millions of others) will really miss you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Emotional baggage?

So we finally decided to put the old FauxSurreyHomestead on the market. Our timing would appear to be TERRIBLE however. We launched the day after the Brexit vote!! Not for a minute did it cross our minds that the UK was going to vote out, which created huge uncertainty in the markets, the biggest fall sterling has seen for over 30 years and many house chains to collapse .... BUT the agents were positive and the fundamentals haven't changed - too many people and too few houses

Now over a month in we have only had 8 viewings, no second viewings and not even 1 comedy offer! What to do? What is going wrong with the sale of our des res??

Of course I have been scouring the interweb to try and see what I can do. All the property selling websites tell you to declutter and depersonalise - both of which I have done; there's not 1 photo on show and a number of books and "gorgeous things" have been removed.

However there are also some more 'esoteric' sites that have other advice and it's these sites that have given me my "aha" moment. Apparently you have to let go emotionally of your house and visualise yourself moving on / into your next residence. Now for all the previous house moves I've made that has been easy! I was doing it without knowing I was doing it. The house before this one FSHubby and I used to walk past it regularly and we would stop, talk about living there & imagine ourselves there. This house we used to do drive by's and we even had tea in the garden with the previous owners and we were able to easily see ourselves living here.

The Mill has been different. We're sort of there already as we own it, we've put furniture in there and we visit frequently. But it still doesn't feel like home and I think that's the problem. I keep coming "home" to this house. I am still far too emotionally attached to this house. I love living here. I struggle to picture life in Wales. I need to let go / move on.

So here's the thing - I am going to make a statement of intent across the internet. So here goes! Universe are you listening?

It's time for us to let go of our beautiful Surrey house and for it to have new owners. It's time for new life to be breathed into it. This house now easily and effortlessly finds new owners who will prosper here and who gladly pay our asking price or better. I gladly pass this house on to its new owners with love & joy. It's time for us to move onto The Mill and start our new adventure.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Menopausal misery!

Sorry, sorry rant alert! I have been "experiencing" (suffering!!) menopausal horrors for almost a year now and I am totally & utterly fed up.

I am fed up of turning into a human radiator, drenched in sweat every 3 hours or so.

I am fed up that cutting out all of the "triggers" (alcohol, caffeine, sugar) has made no discernible difference. Sometimes a glass of water can set me off.

I am fed up of sleeping no more than 2 hours at a stretch, waking up soaking wet and having to get up to get dried and changed, then get back into a damp bed & try & get back to sleep.

I am fed up of having all the windows open and a fan on full blast pointed at me at all times. (Actually FSHubby and the KC are also fed up about this)

I am fed up of women's magazine articles telling me to "embrace the change" and suggesting I eat more tofu (happy to do that), drink tomato juice (full of phyto-oestrogens apparently), take sage tablets, black cohosh and evening primrose oil - I did, for 6 months - THEY DON'T WORK!!

I am fed up of gaining 5lbs every time I even sniff a cake let alone eat it (and if I dare eat it I sweat too, it's got sugar in it).

I am fed up that I can't have HRT.

My family doesn't cope well with fake hormones - mum & sister both had oestrogen triggered breast cancers (thank god both survived)

So I am fed up (but not surprised) that genetic screening showed my risk was way too high. Computer said NO.

I am fed up that a very expensive course of (GP recommended) acupuncture didn't stop my sweats it just made me freezing cold when I wasn't boiling hot!

I am also fed up that the one medically proven remedy available to those who can't have HRT (Clonidine, it's typically given to migraine sufferers to modulate blood flow) will likely cause me to faint (and I'd probably fall on concrete and fracture my skull) if I take it as I also suffer from something stupid called vaso depressive syncope which means any medications that affect blood flow knock me for 6.

And I am finally fed up that my buggered Achilles is healing more slowly because of this dammed menopause

Before I reached this "special time of change" I was very sniffy about middle aged men who suddenly upped and left their middle aged wives, women they'd been with for 20 odd years. Now I am going through it I look at the sweaty, irritable, overweight, exhausted, humourless harridan staring back at me and think good God, I completely understand - I'd leave me!

Thank the Lord however that my amazing FSHubby is patience personified and not only puts up with all the rubbish, he reassures me constantly and tells me how much he loves me daily!! Awww....

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Living on the edge

We now find ourselves on the edge of a very big decision here in FauxSurreyLand. We have in front of us an opportunity that very very few people get in their lives. The opportunity to STOP and never have to work again. Ever. Honest.

Buying The Mill was all part of a grand plan to start a completely different life at some point. Not retire as such - we're still a bit too young to do that - but to take a step back from horrific commuting, being at the beck & call of clients, bosses and colleagues and running on the endless mortgage treadmill. We have been beavering away at our "spreadsheet" for almost 3 years now and my taking a proper job last summer was all part of that plan. And my wonderful mother in law Joyce made a significant contribution to our spreadsheet after she passed away.

But recently things have accelerated somewhat. The FauxSurreyHomestead was valued at 2 x the price we paid for it (hurrah!) and after much to-ing and fro-ing and sleepless nights and stressful conversations (!!) FauxSurreyHubby took the plunge and resigned from his big job. But of course there's a spanner in the works. The Big Job people were horrified & essentially refused to accept FSHubbys resignation, asking him to give them a chance to make an offer he can't refuse! So we are now in limbo somewhat as we wait to see what they can possibly offer him that will counteract waking up every day to the sound of birds and the river flowing past and not having to do anything more strenuous than a bit of gardening, pottering about, going for a big walk or driving to the coast for the day.

But when pondering the realities of possibly doing nothing, FSHubby started to fret that actually, he may get bored! I have already got a plan to keep myself sane there (it's just a plan right now, not sure if I will be able to pull it off, but hey I have a plan!) but FSHubby hasn't got any thoughts of what he may - or may not  - do and it's paralysing him with fear!!

So here we are perched on the edge of a big decision. When the Big Job people come back with their offer will we take a leap into the unknown or will we scurry back to the devil we know??

This puts me in mind of the Christopher Logue poem:

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
And they came,
and he pushed,
And they flew.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hip Hop?

Oy oy. I am falling apart. My bl**dy back is causing me problems again. I have not been able to walk any great distance without agony since the beginning of March as I have developed Achilles tendinopathy and had to go for an MRI yesterday as, despite 10 weeks of full on physiotherapy, it's not getting better as it should.

Basically because I am so lopsided post my spinal surgery 12 years ago I have suffered two stress fractures in my right foot and now my right Achilles has given up the ghost. The lovely foot & ankle specialist who I went to see - I saw him in 2010 when I suffered my 2nd stress fracture - is muttering about surgery - using phrases like 'gastrocnemius release' and 'paratenon strip'. Both of which sound horrific!! So I am being uber attentive to my new physio routine and have had long chats with the lovely hospital physio who agrees with me that surgery is likely NOT the answer, especially as the stretches the specialist wants me to do hurt my back .. I feel like I am a living bad version of  'The leg bone's connected to the thigh bone' .. once one thing goes, everything else comes tumbling down behind it.

However the biggest shock I got (bigger than looking at the truly scary images that pop up in full colour goriness when you put either of those medical terms into a Google search) was when the MRI technician weighed me. Oh. My. God. The number I saw could NOT be possible. Could it? Apparently I have increased my body weight by 10% since the last time I looked properly ... HELP! So I have decided. I will have to go on the diet to beat all diets! Cut out the booze. Drink water & eat lettuce leaves. As I can't walk for any great distance or use my wonderful life saving (and waistband taming) X-Trainer, what else can I do??

Friday, April 22, 2016

When Doves Cry

OK this is now getting ridiculous. Now Prince is dead. What the ....??? This is clearly NOT a good year to be a celebrity.

Prince was a unique and towering talent, he worked with an amazingly wide range of artists (remember U got the look with Sheena Easton?) and his music was always ahead of the curve. And bloody good to dance to!

Raspberry Beret, Kiss, & Sign O the Times, 1999 .. all classics.

Prince Rogers Nelson, thank you for the music
. And may you rest in peace.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

RIP Victoria Wood

2016 has not started well in celeb land - it has been a shocking year for losing talented & much loved people - David Bowie, Alan Rickman, George Martin, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett  - what's going on?

And yesterday we learned about the tragically sad death - at only 62 - of the amazing, talented, fabulous, hilarious, brilliant Lancastrian, Victoria Wood.

She has made me both howl with laughter and cry with emotion. Victoria Wood on TV was brilliant - who can forget the perfectly parodied Acorn Antiques?  And the Ballad of Freda & Barry will live on forever as a truly classic comedy song. To this day I can't look at a copy of Woman's Weekly without smirking!

So goodbye Victoria - I can't believe you've gone.

May you rest in eternal peace, an eternity filled with joy & laughter.

F**k off 2016

2016. A year to forget. Celebrity death-fest. The year that so many things broke. The year we got stuck. What a frankly cr*p year. I was goi...