And that’s why I hate work functions

This week after a very interesting talk at work about fossils (yes honestly) some colleagues were chatting away and I was called over to join in.  There was background music plus lots of other ambient noise going on and so my hearing was not at its usual owl-like quality which is why there was a slight little mix up.

And by examining this fossil photo I can tel you exactly what period this is from – NOT

One VERY senior member of our jolly group was talking about how excited she was to be flying to Auckland at the weekend for an exhibition she’d been desperate to come to New Zealand for ages.  An exhibition, which, quite frankly seemed a little at odds to her office persona – a committed conservationist who is highly academic – but each to their own, what you do in your spare time is no business of mine.

She asked me if I had any thoughts about the exhibition, inquiring as to my own experience on the legacy left behind. I stood there smiling and nodding, playing for time as I raced through the empty corridors of my mind looking for something intelligent and vaguely articulate to say and I thought I did OK.

Told her that whilst at the beginning of their career the impact was nothing short of astounding with brave decisions made, taking risks that weren’t always necessary but unfailingly successful, their place in the history books was rightly justified.  However towards the end, like every other revolutionary they sold out for corporate bucks and had become a bit of an embarrassment both to themselves and the industry they once spearheaded.

She stared at me in amazement “you really believe that?” she asked. Looking around I could see everyone one staring at me wide-eyed, and conceitedly thought I must be making a great impression, so (in my usual mis-guided fashion)I carried on.

“Yes, I do and I don’t believe I’m in the minority here – total sell out, not to mention showing their private parts to all and sundry, that’s got a bit old hat too.”

“You believe President Mandela is a corporate sell out who exposes himself?”

“Oh my God NO NO NO, of course I don’t think that, the man is a Saint.  I thought you said Madonna, that you were going to a Madonna exhibition.”

Mutton dressed and lamb spring to mind Madge

Like I say she didn’t look the type and I was right!

Ooops – would it come as a surprise if I told you my contract hasn’t been renewed!

For more information on the exhibition documenting the life of the inimitable Mr Mandela visit… 

And wishing him a very Happy Heavenly Birthday on July 18th.


When did Physicists Become Rock Gods?

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

Last night I went to see Brian Cox at a packed TSB Arena, the merch stand was doing a roaring trade and the walk-in music was more Radiohead than Holst.

He spoke about space time, and how it moves differently for each one of us depending on how many ‘life events’ you’ve experienced, which would explain which I feel so old some days.

He also discussed the theory of relativity, light cones, the event horizon, parallel universes and how light bends at the mouth of a black hole which slows down time to a standstill – whaaaaat? And if you’re wondering there are two trillion stars in our galaxy and three trillion galaxies in the universe – and then my brain exploded!

Basically I spent £70 to watch a really clever bloke in a well fitting leather jacket speak a foreign language for two hours.

Nice one Prof Cox!

That’s not my name!

During a writing classes our tutor asked us to come up with a pen name or nom de plume if I’m being all French and fancy pants.  She wanted us to discuss the reason for our choice and what attracted us to that name.

Back then I decided to call myself Lorelei Lee after the protagonist in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  I thought it was a cute name, a little nod to the marvellous Marilyn Monroe plus providing me with perfect anonymity if I wanted to slag anyone off, whilst avoiding litigation.

I began to notice that whenever I published a blog and wrote about something that could be construed to be suggestive, ie pants, cleavage, kiss etc I started to get male followers, and without fail they were all living in America.  Being totally conceited I was very flattered that our cousins across the pond would find me amusing even if I thought some of the comments they wrote were a bit ‘random’.  Maybe the blog could have got lost in translation, right?  Wrong, oh so wrong …

When I looked at google analytics the key words associated with my site involved a very adventurous sexual position and an unhealthy interest in farmyard animals!   My anguished shrieking quickly aroused husband’s suspicion that something was not quite right.  He found me jumping around the laptop, pointing at the screen, “Look at this, how has this happened, fix this, NOW”.  Apparently at that stage my voice had risen so high, electric garage doors in the village were opening and closing without the remote control being activated.

On investigation it turns out that Lorelei Lee is the name of an American porn actress!  She too has a blog, one which is considerably more broad- minded than mine!

My ‘followers’ weren’t thinking me funny at all, they were looking for porn. In their search for adult entertainment they got the rantings of a menopausal maniac.  I’ve been responsible for erectile dysfunction across the United States of America, East coast to West. 

To be honest I’m surprised I didn’t get a ‘cease and desist’ letter from her lawyers as I wasn’t enhancing her reputation; when I wrote about getting caught in a cold shower with the hound, it was just that, a miserable dog walk in the rain – no euphemism here.

We quickly agreed I needed to change my name. Struggling to reach 5ft 4 with an estuary English accent, I’d love my alter ego to be a tall, blousey Southern red head with a melodious drawl.  The type of author who would have readers eating out of her hand with her mesmerising plot lines and quick silver dialogue.   Needless to say ‘that woman’ has written absolutely nothing and all this one can think about is ‘what the hell is a 3 way milk enema’?  And that, I guarantee, is one thing I won’t be asking Google today.

Getting Tired of Sleep?

Has anyone noticed that Sleep seems to be all consuming these days, it’s the hottest trending topic on social media. 

Night-night mental illness you’re so last year, right now we’re all focussed on sleep.  Articles are being published daily discussing slumber and the side effects of not having enough.  According to ‘medical research’ lack of sleep or poor sleep can lead to irritability, acne, lack of creativity, decline in organ function, loss of integrity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s – symptoms very similar to the morning after a big night on the wine!

Since depression and anxiety are a thing of the past (weren’t they such a downer) we all have something new to worry about – our sleep; not just the quantity but the quality too.  There are hundreds of apps available where you can monitor the length of your sleep stages during an evening’s shut eye, with some stages scoring higher than others.

Screen shots of sleep cycle graphs are being added to social media feeds, like Facebook wasn’t  competitive enough …

This leaves me feeling very torn.  On the one side I’m despondent that we are now so reliant on technology we believe the results of an app over what our own bodies are telling us?  But on the other hand – AT LAST, SOMETHING I CAN WIN!

I am a sleep champion, if it was an Olympic Sport I’d be getting gold for England.  I am the Moe Farrah of sleep. 

This girl also loved her sleep – check out the tongue, mine does that too!

I could sleep on a washing line if an alternative flat surface wasn’t available. Planes, trains, buses – bring it on!  After landing in New Zealand I commented to husband that the in-flight entertainment was good, he snapped back asking how would I know when I was asleep for 11 hours and he had to take the ear phones off my head and move me to stop the snoring.  Oops.

My sleep graph would be a thing of beauty.  Finally, I’d be able to compete in the social media ‘this is my life’ showreel competition.  I could be honest and a winner, (if there are any professional cyclists reading someone will need to explain this to you). My daily posts would not discuss holidays, husbands or prodigy but would detail how brilliant my sleep was, how my sleep was the best sleep ever, how I love sleep more than anything else in the whole world blah blah, you get the picture.

I could do that, or, I could just take a little nap and get over myself.

“Get your knees further apart, I’m coming over”

Is not what I expected to be hearing from a 20 something, floppy fringed, wet suited male (well not when I was awake anyways) but then it’s not every day I go stand up paddle boarding.

Five days ago I booked husband and myself onto a paddle board night tour where we would, according the advertising spiel; watch a beautiful sunset, paddle on a pristine lake, search for glow worm caves and gaze upon this incredible spectacle of nature before paddling back under the night time skies star gazing.  Sounds good right?  Which is why I should have avoided it completely.

Standing on the lake’s edge two days later it dawned on me that I don’t like cold water, my balance sucks and I have absolutely no sense of direction. Why would I risk my life on a unknown lake in the pitch dark with only a plank of wood separating me from the elements? Tightening my life jacket straps I prepared for the worst.

After our training session we were pushed onto the lake, balancing on all fours with the instruction to stand soon as we hit open water.  The Mother/Daughter combo who joined us on this excursion nimbly leapt up on their boards, paddling with grace as they elegantly skimmed the top of the water.  Husband wasn’t far behind as he scooted past also looking remarkably at ease. 

Ha, I thought easy – put your foot where your knee is, stand up and you’ll be there with the rest of the pack.  First attempt and I wobbled more than Lady Gaga’s bottom lip on Oscar night so back on all fours.  Second attempt got me into a semi upright position but dropped the paddle so back flat on the board to fish it out the lake.  Third attempt, board maliciously pitched to the side and I was straight in the lake – thank you life jacket.

Attempt No 4 was when our guide, Matt came over to assist me – after two more ‘jelly-leg’ false starts and another swim he gently suggested that maybe I should try balancing on my knees.  Admittedly it was easier to stay on the board but then I had to paddle, requiring co-ordination and dexterity to move the paddle from one hand to the other.  If you don’t swap hands after a couple of strokes you end up going round in circles, and around and around and around and you get to feel a bit sea-sick.

This, quite obviously, is not me

Everyone else was busy investigating the caves and marvelling at  the glow worms (I could hear their oohs and aahhs) as I dejectedly zig zagged in the opposite direction until Matt was concerned about his insurance policy took pity  and towed me into a cave so I too could see the sole reason why I’d come on this trip. 

And … it was magical, hundreds of tiny luminescent blue lights festooning the walls and ceiling of the cave radiating an ethereal glow with no sound apart from the gentle lapping of water.  We sat in silence gazing in awe at this mystical sight in the blackness, savouring every moment of the stillness and serenity.  Until that was, I over-balanced whilst looking at the cave roof and hit the water with a whoomph as the board shot out from under me. 

After apologising for the buzzkill I attempted to scrabble back on the board when husband asked what no woman wants to hear when in a pitch black cave with one tiny exit.

‘Hey Matt are there any animals living in this cave?’

‘No mate nothing here apart from the eels, they get to be quite a good size.’

Did someone say Eels?

Eeels?  Big eels? Pitch black and I’m bobbing in the water with giant killer eels all around me? My skinny legs looking like droewors? What kind of madness had I signed up to?

I was on that board quicker than a badger with its arse on fire.  And you know what?  I miraculously found the ability to paddle – rapidly and in the right direction.  I was the first one back to the shore feeling much happier to be on terra firma until a rat run over my foot at the water’s edge and that’s when I peed myself a little!

Sorry Matt, not my wetsuit, not my laundry!

Sorry for your Therapy

Last week coming back from the corner shop after getting an ice cream posting a letter I got wolf whistled by two teenage boys zooming past me in their POS car. 

They proper hooted and cat-called as they drove past, so loud I nearly dropped my ice cream had a heart attack. The boy in the passenger seat was hanging out the window, which must have been very traumatic for him because, as he drew level he would have seen that he’d just leered at someone old enough to be his Granny!  In fact, I swear I could hear gagging noises as they drove down the road and he realised his mistake, no doubt it will take years of intensive therapy to righten that wrong.

Feeling quite pleased with myself I skipped into the lounge to tell husband what had happened.  He looked up from his keyboard and eyed me appraisingly …

“hmmmm, well they do like ’em big over here”

Then went back to work!

To the teenage boys who whistled, thanks for making my day and I’m sorry about the gruelling therapy sessions you are now undergoing.

Touch, Pause, Engage (Brain)

Last Friday I went to watch Hurricanes vs Highlanders at Westpac Stadium, very exciting.  A Friday night spent watching 30 muscular men rolling around and on a wet and slightly muddy floor – homoerotic or what?

I’m not a rugby expert, my knowledge of rugby is limited – very, very limited. Many years ago, attending my inaugural rugby match I asked when the nets would be put on the back of the goal posts.

A rockin’ Friday night at Westpac

On meeting Joel Stransky, – the Springbok rugby legend responsible for the awesome drop goal guaranteeing South Africa’s victory of the 1995 World Cup – I asked what he did for a living and when he told me he played rugby I steamrollered down my path of ignorance wondering if it was for a team I might have heard of!  To his credit he took it in good humour and was an outrageous flirt, love you Joel.

Those air-head remarks are all behind me now.  My rugby loving husband has used the 15 years we’ve been together to educate me, his patience knows no bounds as he’s struggled to teach me the finer points of the game but I reckon I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the basic laws and regs.

Feeling optimistic about the wining outcome for the Hurricanes we’re off to a good start as the half full stadium meant no queues at the bar allowing for plentiful white wine refills to stave off the chills on a wet night.

Wine for medicinal purposes only – honest!

Watching the teams warm up I was very much enjoying the atmosphere and looking at those fantastically well-proportioned Kiwis on the field.  This could be a regular event I reckoned.  

Then ….

Warm up completed, the teams were leaving the field for their respective changing rooms and final preparations when I noticed three other guys running across the field

‘Oooh look over there, what are those three boys with black shirts and white shorts doing on the field?’

‘That’s the referee and his ARs (linesmen to the uninitiated) and if you carry on like this it’s going to be a very difficult and long evening!’  

Shaking his head in disbelief, he placed it in his hands where it stayed for quite a long time.

What can I say, I’m a slow learner!