Tuesday, August 31, 2004

How very... erm ... English of you Witho!

There's something quintessentially English about playing tennis on grass. Whilst most clubs describe themselves as "Lawn Tennis Clubs" (presumably to differentiate them from "Real Tennis" - 'cause everyone plays that, don't they...) not many of them actually keep it real with the green stuff.

Last evening, the Big Fella and I were taking a stroll through Taunton (partly for fresh air/exercise, partly in our mission to suss out the "nice"areas where we'd like to buy a house, eventually) and couldn't help but notice a grass court tennis club in a square, surrounded by beautiful 3 storey Victorian town houses with huge bay windows. Naturally, we were drawn to the verdure and the thwack (or, if you're me, boing) of, erm, rubber on nylon (is that what tennis racquet strings are made of - doesn't have quite the same ring as leather on willow, does it?) so we had a chinwag with the assembled members, and arranged to go down tonight for club night. I really enjoyed it. I used to belong to a grass court club in Southampton, and there's something so blummin' civilised about it! You play tennis, you drink tea and eat cake - you've got to love the simplicity. It's also a way for us to meet people down here - we must make an effort not to become isolated which would be easy for us to do...

Trouble is, the grass season will be over soon... boo!

Anyhoo, on our way back, it being after 8pm, we were feeling a little peckish and I wasn't sure I could face cooking or waiting for the food to be ready. There is a fish and chip shop at the end of our road. Nuff said...

Tennis on grass? Fish 'n' chips? How very English indeed!

Other than that

I've got a job interview on Monday. I've applied for a job as an "Environmental Administrator" for a Waste Management company. Now, if you know Witho, you know that she likes to ... erm ... manage waste, either by re-use or recycling, so this sounds like it could be right up my street. And it almost is literally "right up my street" too - the company is based about a ten minute walk from here.

Who's gonna drive you home?

My car has been replaced by a piece of paper with an amount of money written on it. The hire car has been dropped back at the depot. I have no vehicular transport at the moment... Okay, I could have been organised and bought a new one whilst I had the hire car, but buying a car is not something I like to do in a hurry. So we'll have to manage without for a while. This weekend, we went to Southampton on the train (I wasn't ready to brave the A303 again just yet...) and I found it really quite relaxing. We've another train journey this weekend, to Swiss Toni's wedding. We've even considered *not* getting another car... BF doesn't drive, I am getting increasingly fed up with driving and that accident has affected me probably more than I've let on here. The big question is, could we manage without?

Sweet perfection

And there I was thinking that nothing could surpass Pick 'n' Mix white mice... Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 28, 2004

If you should ever (*shudder*) delete your link to Dear Witho...

... never fear, for you can find it again through some very interesting searches, as a skim through my referrals has shown. Just type these little badgers into your friendly, neighbourhood "engine" and Bob will be your proverbial uncle (septics, click here if you're not sure who Bob is and why his being my proverbial uncle is relevant, Americans click here if you don't know what septics are...):

... which was nice!

In other news

I've received my settlement cheque from the insurance company. I will have a few things to say about them in due course and they won't be nice...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

More from the Witho archives

Oh dear - so much time can be frittered away when you come across what can only be described as "memorabilia". Earlier this week I relieved my sister of several boxes of stuff which she had been looking after for me for years in her loft - including my collection of vinyls (example shown below). I swear those boxes must have been... erm... doing things in that loft. I'm sure only about 3 boxes were put in there, but no fewer than 11 came out... I *should* be sorting them out, deciding what to keep, finding places to store said items and throwing stuff away. Two words: Yeah, right! I am physically incapable (it's a confirmed medical condition) of touching a packet of photos without looking at each and every one of them at least once. Now, when you have a box stuffed full of packets of photos - well, you do the math [sic]!

Yesterday evening, I came across an absolute gem of memorabilia which I shall now share with you, my gentle and not-at-all-likely-to-take-the-piss reader...

Picture the scene. A Witho, aged 17. Well, as if by magic, I've pictured it for you - the below being a (slightly blurred but you get the idea) photo of Witho, aged 17:

Posted by Hello

Like most 17 year olds, Witho fancies someone - she's got it bad. So bad, in fact, that she resorts to that mode of self-torture which blights the lives of many a teenager. Yes, readers, poetry. Teenage, naïve, angst-ridden poetry. I found two pages, typed on a typewriter (this was the olden days, remember), containing the following "beauties" - no editing, this is as they were:

Look at me

Haven't got the guts to stare
Into your eyes, to find out
If there's anything there
That might have anything to do
With me.

So instead I'll just glance
Across the room, now and again,
Just on the off chance
That you might possibly look over
At me.

Decisions, decisions

I've got to do it. I don't care
What anyone else says.
I've just got to know
One way or the other.
But I really don't think I
Could handle it if he said no.

So do I just go on
Wondering if he does or not?
I suppose I'll just have to.
So, he says no. So, my pride
Gets hurt, so? Oh God,
Now I don't know what to do.

Well if he did he'd have
Done it by now. So he
Doesn't, so I don't.
That's okay then, end of that.
But maybe he thinks I'll say
No, in that case he won't.

Yes, that's it. But if he
Doesn't, and I won't,
Then I'll never know.
So I'll do it definitely.
But I really don't think I
Could handle it if he said no.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Blasts from the past

Currently, the "Now" chart music compilation series is on number 58. Whilst thumbing through the vinyls which had been gathering dust in my sister's loft, I came across number 4 - how old does that make me?

Posted by Hello

Note the fact that the full nomenclature, "Now that's what I call music", is shown, along with the attractive "pig" motif.


Anyone remember these?

Posted by Hello

I retained a wrapper before they changed it over to Snickers... How sad does that make me?

Friday, August 20, 2004

Strawberry shoes forever...

BF, on seeing Witho's new shoes: "Those are the gayest shoes I've *ever* seen!"
Witho: "Am I bothered though?"

Stop Press:

Just seen this - an issue close to my heart, as a self-proclaimed, unsolicited, surreptitious spell-checker of blogs. If you look at the comments people have left on the blog post (follow the link in the article), interesting questions are raised about "Grammar Bitchery" vs Evolution of Language and self expression, particularly in the realm of the blog as a modern form of communication. But is bad grammar and spelling indicative of evolution? I'm not convinced.

Why does it bother me when people misuse apostrophes? Why do spelling mistakes annoy me so much? To be honest, I don't really know... maybe I need to take a chill pill.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Word Association

I suffer from an affliction. I call this affliction "Word Association Singing Phenomenon" or WASP for short. Here's how it works:

Example 1:

Example 2:

There are many more examples (none of which I can actually think of right now). Does anyone else suffer from a similar phenomenon?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Another one bites the dust...

My car has been written off - my second write off in 18 months, after years of accident-free driving. Both write-offs, I hasten to add, were the fault of someone else. For the first one, I wasn't even there - I was happily watching a film at the cinema when someone drove into the back of my parked car - André was his name. My friend S named him using the following (some might say twisted) logic:

So, when André was taken to car heaven, my sister stepped in and offered to sell me her car, known as "Monkey" due to its colour being likened to "Monkey Sick" (I wouldn't have gone out and *chosen* such a colour, now would I?). She was in the market for a new car anyway, and selling her car to me would mean she'd have to get her arse in gear and buy a new one. So the plan was hatched - Monkey would be mine - woo ha ha ha haaaaaaa! Or something...

So, Monkey is no more, and I have to think about buying a new car at a time when I don't really want to have to think about buying a new car. And what's it going to be, this new car of mine...? Maybe my sister will decide she needs another new one and will sell me her Seat Leon (mmm, air con, CD player, a normal, non yellow colour...) - at least then I wouldn't have to make a decision...

I somehow doubt it.

I've been coveting an Audi A3 or a VW Golf for some time now - I'm a grown up, surely I'm allowed to have a grown up car? But somehow it seems a bit extravagant - especially for someone who doesn't currently have a job. Oh yes, I've got money - not quite coming out of my ears, but certainly in the vicinity of the aural canal system. But that's for proper things like a house. For some reason, I've never been frivolous with cars - I think I don't deserve a "posh" one, so I've made do with small, economical, modest cars. Plus, there's the environmental consideration - I don't need a bigger, more powerful car which consumes more fuel and spews out more exhaust fumes. Answers in a comment box please...

Quiz Update

Top of the form is the BF with 90, followed by "teacher's pets" Ms Jones, Raymondo and Minnow on a very respectable score of 70. Ro has 60, while Eloise and Billy have 50 apiece. The top 6 are people who have met me, whilst those languishing below know me only by the written word. So no great surprises there. The question which has foxed most is the one about the chronology of Witho's "accessories" - not surprisingly, as all of them apart from Dog Purse were in situ before I started the blog, so how were you to know? Well, I didn't want to make it too easy, did I?


Sorry Microsoft, it wasn't your fault after all. Yes, I did install a Windows Update but I also did a Live Update on Norton Internet Security at the same time - which I have now tweaked to allow certain pop-ups (comment boxes being classed as such in some circles...)

Monday, August 16, 2004

Microsoft? Shite-cro-soft, more like!

Much as I'd like to be able to respond to your comments, for some reason I can't seem to get into them since I installed a Windows Update. I expect it thinks it's trying to protect me from something, but the fact is, it's serving to make the normally mild-mannered Witho into a screaming banshee. In fact I'm screaming more now than I was when I thought I was going to have a head-on collision on the A303 (see below post - I yelled a lot, I swore a lot, but I don't think I screamed... it was the scariest thing I've ever experienced...)

So, while I'm fannying about trying to sort this shambles out, why don't you lot amuse yourselves with my little quiz. If you manage to do it without it opening 1 million* blank Explorer windows at each question, you'll be doing better than me...

* this may be an exaggeration

P.S. If you can't be arsed doing it, but want to see how others have done, click here.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Question: What do you get....

... if you cross an idiot, driving on the wrong side of the road because they thought they were on a dual carriageway (I kid you not), with a Witho, minding her own business on her way to C's annual barbecue?


A rather mangled car but, thankfully, no injuries... Posted by Hello

Needless to say, we didn't make it to the barbecue...

Saturday, August 14, 2004

O Cactus! My Cactus! Our fearful trip is done...

Dear Cactus

I carefully removed you from my kitchen windowsill in Southampton, I gently placed you in a box with your three spiky friends, I put that box in another box and locked you in with parcel tape. I know, it was dark, you were scared, but it wouldn't be for long. The idea was that I would remember to take you out again when I moved up to London - unfortunately, there was a flaw in that part of the plan - in that it didn't quite happen. I left you in that box for 4 months didn't I? And no, it doesn't surprise me that you now look a bit funny:

Posted by Hello
I can only apologise. But can you forgive me?

I hope your new windowsill, overlooking a garden with Umberto (a.k.a. Cliff) the Umbrella plant to watch over you, will make you happy.

Love Witho

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A year ago today...

... I had the following conversations:

Conversation One
The interlocutors: Witho and Swiss Toni
The context: Swiss Toni, Witho’s desk “mate”, has returned from holiday and is keen to hear Witho’s gossip
The subject matter: Witho’s situation vis-à-vis H
The upshot: Swiss Toni “enthusiastically suggests” that Witho goes through with decision to contact H

Conversation Two
The interlocutors: Witho and J
The context: An email
The subject matter: H’s “co-ordinates”
The upshot: J gives Witho H’s email address, home number and mobile number. When asked, as an aside: “By the way, is H single?”, J replies (and I quote): “He is single and he is a nutjob. Face it, you were made for each other…”

Conversation Three
The interlocutors: Witho, Swiss Toni and Humstey Dumstey (the mostly silent yet oft wise alternative desk mate of Witho)
The context: A bit of a chinwag
The subject matter: The communication method that Witho should use to contact H
The upshot: Whilst Swiss Toni favours the more confrontational voice call, timid Witho considers email, but notes that the email address given is a “home” email which may not be accessed on a regular basis - this could lead to much angst. At Humstey Dumstey’s suggestion, Witho plumps for a text message – not as confrontational or potentially awkward as a telephone call, allows time for "composition", but more likely to illicit a prompt response than a home email…

Conversation Four
The interlocutors: Witho and Swiss Toni
The context: An afternoon chat (we did *some* work as well, I think…)
The subject matter: Swiss Toni’s excitement at the proceedings
The upshot: Swiss wants Witho to phone H immediately. Witho sticks to guns and says she will text him, but not from work. Swiss is disappointed, saying that he doesn’t believe that Witho will do it and threatens to get the number himself and call H. Witho reassures him that she *will* go through with it. Swiss leaves the office – still not entirely convinced…

Conversation Five
The interlocutors: Witho and H
The context: A text message
The subject matter: A declaration of “interest”, specifically:

Hi H, Witho here. J gave me your number - hope you don't mind... Enjoyed your company last weekend - felt a "vibe". If you felt it too, would love to hear from you. If not, no worries, just ignore this message and sorry if I have embarrassed you. Bye for now. Witho :)

The upshot: A couple of hours of agony as Witho receives a send confirmation, a delivery confirmation, a text from Swiss conveying excitement and, finally, a two hour telephone conversation with H during which they decide that, as previously advised by J, they were in fact made for each other…

The rest, mostly, is available in the archives…

As Lauryn Hill once said: “What you need might pass you by if you don’t catch it…”

Happy Anniversary Big Fella/Housse/whatever your bleedin' name is!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Act IV

Sunday, August 10th 2003

It's another hot day, and Witho and her friends have organised a day trip involving Crazy Golf at Sandbanks followed by lunch in the New Forest. The usual suspects are present.

Witho has not heard from H, but has continued to think about him all week long (in both non-naughty and naughty ways...) and has been considering what she should do. Meanwhile, unbeknown (can this be a word, really?) to Witho, S has been trying to plot with J, H's friend, but J is reluctant to get involved...

On the drive back to Southampton, Witho decides to confide in S and S who are in the car with her.

Witho: "Can I ask your opinion on something?"
S and S: "Yes, what?"
Witho: "I think I'm going to ask J for H's number. Because I think if I don't, I'll regret it, and I don't want to keep regretting things in my life..."
S: trying to hide glee at not having to further orchestrate situation herself Oh yes, you definitely should, no doubt about it. You two are good together - just go for it...
Witho: Yes, I know we are - I've just got to pluck up the courage to go through with it...

Monday, August 09, 2004


Guess where Witho's been.... Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 05, 2004

A year ago today...

... I found myself back at work, pondering on the events of the weekend while making it seem as if I was doing work by flicking between windows on my PC screen - a technique many people at [insert company name] have perfected. Although to be fair, I hadn't really started blogging at this point (only reading, not writing), so may have actually been doing some work - yes, I know, hard to believe isn't it? What I really wanted to do was discuss the situation with Swiss Toni with whom I shared a bank of desks and a love of strong coffee and almond croissants. He had shared with me the dénouement of his own relationship and was keen to advise me in matters of the heart (as well as a variety of other matters). But alas, Swiss was on holiday at the time - gallivanting around Europe in his VW Camper Van, so I pondered alone. For some reason, I didn't feel I wanted to discuss the situation with my main circle of friends: S, S, J, C, T and S etc. Maybe because they knew H, whereas Toni didn't - sometimes it's easier to discuss things with "outsiders"...

So I dithered:

H was a guy with whom I had loads in common:

and these were just the things I knew at this stage - many more (some scary) would come to light...

We were comfortable in each other's company, he seemed genuinely interested in me and listened to what I had to say. He was tall and handsome - I could imagine myself in his arms. He was laid back, funny, silly. I could be myself in his company. I felt a vibe, a chemistry... something intangible...

Surely all of this was an opportunity not to be missed...

That wink - did that mean he was interested? If he was, he would get my number from J and call me, wouldn't he?

Well, wouldn't he?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

And one year ago *today*...

...was one of the hottest days of the year down South, as far as I remember (and for this story, I remember very well, thank you very much!).

Still pondering on seeing H again at the previous night's barbecue, I drove over to Petersfield where I was meeting my brother for *another* barbecue at his friend's house. Having a lunchtime barbecue on a day where the heat is already oppressive (by British standards, of course...), with hindsight, was clearly a crazy idea, but we soldiered on. My little nephew and his cousin were lucky enough to have a paddling pool in which to cool off - us adults had no such luxury, but soon retired to the front room for some shade...

Whilst I was there, I received a text message from J, asking if I wanted to meet he and H in the pub to watch the Grand Prix. Curious as to what the text message was about, my sister-in-law began probing me. Not literally, of course - that would be both revolting and futile - much easier to simply ask... I told her that I'd met this H character and we'd got on well. She began to froth at the mouth with excitement, as she thought the invitation had been prompted by H. In fact, it hadn't, but I later found out that there *may* have been some orchestration on the part of J...

Anyway, I declined their invitation, since I was busy in Petersfield but did wonder if (and probably hope that) there was something afoot.

After falling asleep on the sofa (this is one of my specialities), I awoke and realised that I had to be back in Southampton for 6pm as my friend S (out of S and S from the previous night) had invited me round for dinner and a movie with S (out of S and S) and J (out of J). I remembered the emails which had gone around relating to this event, where J had said he would attend after seeing H off back to London. In the back of my mind, I was hoping that, in fact, H would decide to postpone his journey back to London and come along too...

... and sure enough, I arrived at S's to find J, S, S and H assembled. I later discovered that this *had* been partly orchestrated by J and S - and there was more to come, I would find out...

We enjoyed a pleasant evening of pasta, chat, French films. H announced that he would book a taxi to the station for the 21:45 to Waterloo. I stepped in and offered him a lift. Offering lifts is another Witho speciality and S knows this. I later found out that she had deliberately had a couple of glasses of wine so that I would be the only sober person available, just in case there was any chance of me not offering him a lift. Now, that's a girly plot, right there!

So I gave him a lift to the station and we were both quiet in the car. I felt like a teenager, all fluttery and nervous. I wanted to do something, to give him a sign, but wasn't sure what to do. When I stopped the car at the station, I hoped that he would just snog me, and then I wouldn't have to do anything more, but he didn't. We said goodbye and as he grabbed his Man U bag from the back seat, I saw it - a wink. I smiled and drove off, my head full of the kind of feelings I hadn't felt for a long long time...

When I got back to S's, I had an eager welcoming committee: "So? Did he snog you?". "No, but put it this way - if he had, I wouldn't have stopped him..."

Monday, August 02, 2004

1 year ago today...

... I went to a barbecue at my friend C's house, in Dorset. The barbecue is an annual, August-based event at C's (this year it's on the 14th) and always draws a crowd of people from [insert old company name]. The order of events goes something like this:

So, a standard event in Witho's social calendar - but last year's would prove to be monumental...

I can recall exactly what I was wearing - being my faded jeans, black sleeveless t-shirt and flower sandals. I took with me some home-made veggie kebabs, some Waitrose lamb, halloumi and black olive kebabs and a couple of packets of "emergency" halloumi in case C hadn't provided any (an unlikely scenario, if you know C)...

Why do I remember these details so clearly?

Earlier that week, some emails among my circle of friends at work had revealed that my friend J was bringing his old school friend H to the barbecue. I had met H a couple of years previously, when J had brought him along to a social event in Winchester. We had shared a mutual dislike of the trendy Vodka Bar (being old fogies) and, together with other old fogies, had sought refuge in an old fashioned pub where we could actually hear each other. We had discussed the fact that he lived in London, where he had bought a flat. I was surprised that a teacher was able to afford to buy a flat in London on a single income - he was a teacher, you see. I remembered that we had got on well and was quite pleased to discover that he was coming to this barbecue...

I drove my friends S and S to the barbecue and, as we drew up outside C's house, other C pulled up in his car with various passengers in tow - the aforementioned H, J and also K. Unfortunately, there wasn't an "I" to make a nice sequence... Damn! I do enjoy neatness...Almost unexpectedly and despite myself, I felt a flutter of nervousness seeing H again, but I managed to behave all nonchalantly, said a casual "Hi, oh yes, I think I met you once before..." and sashayed off into the house, swishing my hair in the manner of a Pantene girl... possibly...

Sure enough, H and I (that's me, not the ubiquitous "I") got on very well again. He consumed one of my vegetable kebabs (consumption of comestibles being one of his particular skills...) and I made him a cup of tea (*so* rock and roll, man!) and, together with my other friends, chatted happily throughout the evening as he regaled us with tales of J's schoolboy antics. On the drive home, S and S threw in a few casual: "H is a nice guy, isn't he?" type comments, and I couldn't help but agree with them...

More to come...

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