50 Things part 4

  1. ‘Making’ by Thomas Heatherwick

I treated myself to a beautiful book by the man that designed the Rolling Bridge at Paddington Basin. It’s so simple, effective and beautiful. Free to visit if you have a bit of spare time in London. You can walk across it, watch it roll up and marvel at the geometry.

Making book

Making book

The Rolling Bridge.

heatherwick_studio_lightbox_rolling_bridge

  1. Krakow visit.

What a lovely place. Poles seem very proud of their country, which makes a pleasant change from English cynicism, my own included.

I can’t recommend Travelzoo enough- really cheap offers in decent hotels. We also got a trip round Auschwitz which I’ve been meaning to get around to. There’s nowt I can say to express the impact and my sheer inability to believe what humans can do.

Anyway, on our tourist itinerary were the salt mine- very impressive; many churches and Nowa Huta, the Brutalist social realism dream.

Detail from St Francis church

Detail from St Francis church

My favourite church was Church of St. Francis of Assisi which is covered with Art Nouveau wallpapers. I thought one of the stained glass windows featured a man with a huge afro, but on reflection I think that was a shadow inside his halo. I’ve no idea- there’s no guessing what Polish words mean. The Lord’s Ark is pretty special too, built by volunteers, with it’s bit of moon rutile, shrapnel and a stone from the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican.

I won’t bore you with meals we had, but there’s plenty of very good veggie food in Krakow, particularly at Pod Norenami and Czerwone Korale.

  1. Sowing seeds seedlingsI mean to do this every year, but April comes around and I’ve not flexed my green fingers. So this year I’ve sowed some sweet peas courtesy of Katie JH and some poached egg plants and they’ve germinated! It’s like magic. I am the proud nurturer of some baby seedlings. I sincerely hope I don’t kill them.
  1. 1965 is a fine vintagetree 1965I treated myself and a few fine friends who are 50 this year to necklaces made from 1965 pennies.

    My friend Stuart has been making jewellery from old coins for many years and selling them at festivals, but he’s finally got a shop in Hebden Bridge- shameless plug for ‘Not a Full Shilling ‘.

    All handmade by a lovely man.

50 Things part 3

3. My friend Katie gave me a ‘Garland lampshade‘ from Habitat, I’m not sure if they make them any more. garland

I love it, it makes me happy every time I see it, which is many times a day as I spend much of winter in my bedroom, the warmest room in the house. Garland is basically a sheet of metal carved into leaves and flowers in a twisty turny garland which you drape around a light garland 2bulb. I can’t see me ever getting it untangled now it’s up. There’s something alive about it- the way tendrils seem to be escaping in all directions. And it’s so dainty. Not my usual thing at all.

Habitat reminds me of childhood in my parents’ weird flat roofed house which looked like a shoe box. We had loads of Habitat furniture, which I think has made me love straight lines, blocks of colour, simple things that do what you need. I’ve got 3 sets of Habitat cubes around my house, one of which I’ve been carting around since I left home in the early 80s. Hmm, maybe I should write an ode to Habitat to play on my ukulele.

Interlude:

My bank just cancelled a VISA payment due to ‘unusual patterns of spending’, as in I’ve actually been buying things this year. I usually go to Spain twice a year to stay with mates and buy food, books n booze. That’s about it, so no wonder they were suspicious. It’s been fun so far, but I don’t know how people keep up with fashion, it seems like a stupid waste of time and money to me.

4. What better to do on a cold hungover winter weekend than watch the final series of Breaking Bad?

bb 5

50 Things part 2

Mr Tom B has requested the full list because he ‘can’t be bothered to look every week’. I think such honesty should be rewarded so ‘ere you go Tom. There’s some blanks for unexpected events and the list may be subject to change..

1. Buy a magnum

2. Meal at Prashad

3. Habitat Garland

4. Buy a car

5. Watch Breaking Bad series 5

6. Krakow

7. Visit Katie+ quilt museum

8. Red Ladder theatre show

9. Budapest

10. Ragdale or Champneys with old schoolmates

11. Kneehigh theatre Rebecca

12. Womens Holiday Centre Horton

13. Luxembourg to visit cousins

14. Bonfire in garden

15. Butterfly house when they’re hatching

16. Sew some seeds

17. Forbidden Corner

18. Get a gardener

19. Orgiva

20. Walk to Goldenacre Park along Meanwood trail, at rhodedendron time

21. Tea at Sketch in London

22. Cream tea in London with family

23. Party

24. Beatherder

25. Isle of Lewes- lots of stone circles

26. Picnic at Armscliff Crags

27. Day in garden hammock

28 Castlerigg stone circle

29. Ambiente for tapas

30. Barcelona

31. Xmas with dad and Paddy

32. Fantasia at Kirkstall Abbey

33. Body mudpack + shower in Rita’s lovely bathroom

34. Go up a Fjord

35. Cheerful Chilli

36. Dough

37. Curry with Calderdaleites

38. Visit Rich

39. Aura photo

40. Visit Nik in Chesterfield

41. Reflexology

42. Yorks Wildlife Park

43 See some puffins

44. Massage

45. Visit seaside

46-50. tbc

50 Things, because I’m worth it.

2015 is the year I’m going to treat myself to 50 things I’ve always wanted to do, or just will really enjoy. I’m 50 in June and making this list to look forward to has definitely softened the blow.

Every other dating profile says ‘I don’t look or feel my age’ but it’s true, most of us don’t. So I can’t say these things will be sensible or grown up, but I’m going to enjoy this year until my bank is bled dry. And it should keep me so busy I won’t need to worry about dating. In fact, if I’m still single at the end of the year I’m going to get a dog and call it Proxy BF.

So, here goes:

1. Buy a magnum.magnum

Really? What am I thinking? I have no idea but I love champagne and this feels suitably decadent. I’ve not drunk it yet, but that wasn’t the point. Can’t imagine it’ll still be in my larder in 2016.

2. Prashad.

The delicious vegetarian restaurant that won Gordon Ramsay’s Indian of the year a while ago.

My mate Dusti took me to their tiny corner cafe oprashad2n a Bradford housing estate many years ago. The food was amazing and incredibly cheap. My mouth still waters when I remember my first bite of a savoury cake flavoured with mustard seeds called dhokra. So I went this year to their new Drighlington place with some very good mates and it’s still delicious but not so cheap. Sign of the times (and fame).

Conversation on a train with an old friend (OF) who I rarely see.

Me: Shall we update each other on our dating exploits?

OF: Yeh, what have you been up to?

Me: Well after the nearly vicar I met someone on another bench- by the river in York.

OF. Really? I had a date with a man from York. In the Adelphi recently.

Me (with dread) Really? It wasn’t a couple of weeks ago was it? On a Sunday night?

OF. Er, yes.

Me. He’s 6 foot seven?

OF (laughs) yeh, do you know him?

Me. Er yes, he came round to mine afterwards and stayed the night. He said he was meeting a band in the Adelphi about possibly joining them.

OF. No way! I texted him after to see if he got home ok. He texted back saying I was a sexy kisser.

Me. He was at mine then. I can’t quite believe this.

OF. He said he was tired because he’d been at a band rehearsal on Friday which turned into a wine drinking session and late night.

Me. Yep, that’ll be when we had a date and I stayed over. Bloody hell, I really liked him.

OF. Yep, so did I.

Me. Shall we text the lying cunt?

So, what have I learnt from this sorry episode?

  1. My gut instinct isn’t infallible (though if I’d known he was a salesman I probably wouldn’t have met up with him).
  2. Leeds is smaller than you might think.
  3. To check in with my dating mates so we can swap man details and not overlap.
  4. Even when I am my usual ‘brutally honest’ self, I can’t expect it of others.
  5. Being lied to makes me feel sick.
  6. Tho odd blog is quite cathartic.

We all know that people might be dating several others at the beginning, but this was both rude and deceitful. I’m now questioning everything he told me. I’m guessing ‘early retirement’ means ‘old git on the dole’. And ‘I really want to keep you in my life’ means ‘you’re a mug, ker-ching’.

It’s hard not to get bitter and suspicious, but I refuse to ruin myself for some bloody psychopath. Perhaps I should go for the cynical curmudgeons, I think they might be more honest.

Dating 5, this is getting to be a habit

I suppose I’m becoming a dating veteran now: 3 years on and off, a few shortish relationships. And yet do I ever learn?

The last date was wrong on so many counts, yet I jumped straight in with booze and bed (thinking to myself, well I want a shag, it needn’t go anywhere). Yes, dear.

Wrong in what way? I hear you ask, well…..

  1. He left his first wife for his second and was still pining over the woman he left his second wife for. Leopards n all that..
  2. He dated a friend of mine a few months before who’d primed me about his unfaithful ways and wanting things 100% on his own terms. Dates must be available when wanted but otherwise shut up and wait until they’re summoned.
  3. He’s addicted to the internet and internet dating and booze.
  4. He nearly became a vicar not very long ago. Eek! I’m a defected catholic, I do NOT do religion.
  5. He’s very insecure. Which basically equals hard work.
  6. He snored so loudly I banished him to the sofabed .
  7. Last but by no means least, someone else with far more in common with me contacted me at the same time (but he lived farther away).

The omens weren’t looking good. So why oh why did I see him again?

Good question. Well, we shared an interest in good food, wine and I was feeling lonely. So surely a few trips to the seaside, meals out and some decent sex was better than nowt.

Reader, I was a fool.. although we had a good time and I carried on seeing him, even though the push me/pullyou was making me feel uncharacteristically insecure. I realised after a few of weeks I just couldn’t do it without emotions and they were all over the place. Best call the whole thing off.

Sadly t’other man has since found another (serves me right).

Still, I got to visit the Gormley men in the sea at Crosby (otherwise known as the real sea devils) and now have someone I can consult about computers &/or theological matters, if I should ever need the latter.

Dating 4: Still online dating. Yawn.

So I managed to ‘see’ someone for a while, but he lived 2 hours away which wasn’t ideal. We had occasional weekends together- bit of art, some food and sex, but it’s a strange way to get to know each other. You can’t drop in for a cuppa and a chat- it’s fullon or texting from a distance.

When I started thinking I wanted something more, Buddha17I realised that yet again the couples’ grass seemed greener. Maybe humans always have desire, and whatever you’ve got, it just isn’t satisfying for long. The Buddhists may be right after all.

I’ve paid for a couple of sites for 3 months and will approach it as daily work, then if nowt happens I’m out of there. Can’t spend all my life trying to find the perfect partner- I need to get on with living.

My life’s ok, but that isn’t good enough. I’ve finally realised that I’m bored- I haven’t had a learning obsession for a few years. And I reckon that’s the key. As long as my brain is being excited I’m happy, single or not. But when I have too much time to think I get miserable. What a bloody cliché.

There’s loads of free courses at edx.org from Harvard, MIT etc. It’s brilliant.

Anyway, back to the dating disasters.

The last person I had much in common with on okc didn’t want to meet anyone in the flesh. Which reminded me of William Gibson’s Idoru, where someone marries a purely virtual person. At the time I thought that might be the answer to my relationship problems, but it does make going away for weekends, or to weddings, together a bit difficult. I wonder if we’ll end up with giant robots we can program with our own choice of personality, or just carry our loved ones around on an ipad. (I never feel right spelling programme My-Virtual-Boyfriendprogram. It’s wrong!). Actually, Charlie Brooker’s been there already with his grow-your-own-boyfriend-in-the-bath.

We had loads to talk about- art, theatre, excitons, then he deleted his account, without any warning. What a charmer.

 

Most men on these dating sites seem to think I’m too clever, because I like ideas and am interested in sciencey things. But the ‘clever’ men tend to be very rigid in their beliefs, so as soon as I say I’m a homeopath they run away screaming. There’s also been a noticeable dropoff since I revealed myself to be 48, not 43. I don’t like lying, but otherwise they won’t even look at my profile. They often put the desired age of their dates completely below their own age- not just a bit, but the whole range, because they’re so ‘young’. With their bald heads and dodgy teeth.

Still, I’ve decided to be honest from the start, if they’re that deluded I’m not interested.

Update

The paying sites seem no better than okcupid, which is free.

I had reasonable hopes for my latest potential date, until he had a huge online tantrum because I didn’t reply to him quickly enough during an evening of email messages. I’d just got back from holiday, told him I was ill, but apparently I overstepped some invisible rule he had.

I have a vague idea that face to face, phone or even instant chat conversations are different to emails, which can be answered at your own convenience. That’s why I like ‘em. Personally speaking, I may be chatting to someone online, but I’ll certainly be doing sommat else too- any or all of the following: tv, scrabble, fb, emails, picking my nose. I might even be doing something more useful. What I WON’T be doing is sitting looking at my watch waiting for a reply.

He was also incensed that my messages had been too short on that night (when I’d said I was ill) and accused me of ‘not trying hard enough’. This was after 2 weeks of chatting most nights. I practised several replies detailing his unreasonable insane behaviour but decided to keep a dignified silence. He finally sent a strange paragraph alluding to things I had ‘implied’. Yawn. I am now a fully certified ‘timewaster’.

So the search for Mr Right Enuff goes on. Much more slowly now but I can’t quite give up the desire for some sort of partner. With a working brain, sense of humour and a large degree of tolerance.

In the meantime I’m gonna practise mindfulness and work on enjoying what I’ve got, perimenopausal nightmare an’ all.