Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Pointy Finger of Justice

Don't mess with me - I'm a juror and I'm not afraid to say 'Guilty!'. So watch out.

Actually that's a lie. I've just finished jury service and it was 'orrible. Very interesting, but strangely upsetting. If it wasn't being forced to constantly stare at pictures of bloody faces and bruised and broken backs, it was having to listen to Counsel 1 (Miss Mustapha in an obviously newly qualified wig) being zombifyingly boring, or developping a desperately awkward crush on the Prosecutor (it was the voice and him saying "Don't fence with me!" to a snotty witness. We all knew he meant 'fuck').

The whole way through we thought that there simply wasn't enough evidence to convict, but when it came to the deliberation it became evident that for some of the defendants on some of the counts, there, well, was. We came to our conclusions, then had to wait over an hour for the court to come free to deliver our verdicts. We sat in silence, we 12 who had nothing in common other than increasing depression over convicting someone, and waited, and waited.

So, we entered court, and started delivering the verdicts. Unfortunate coincidence in placing meant that all the 'not guilty's came first leading the defendants to think they were in the clear. Then came the 'guilty's. At that point the court went stellar. People crying, defendants grey-faced, and family members shouting at the jury 'Well I hope you're happy now!'.

What?!?! Yes, of course missus bleach-blonde, white stiletto boot-wearing lady. I can think of nothing more conducive to happiness than hearing for nine days how a bunch of idiot chavs beat the shit out of each other, in which no-one came out credibly unless it was in pursuit of the Annual Wanker Award. This not only robbed me of 2 weeks of my life that I will never get back but cost the tax payer Half a Million Quid. FOR A FUCKING PUB BRAWL!!!

And relax. It was really good to see how our judicial system works first hand, and is probably the best option out of a not-particularly-inspiring bunch, but my god! Some of the cases that get this far are so stupid. Apparently, when talking to one of the ushers, half of the cases should have been sorted at Magistrates, but in today's litigious society (bloody US) people push and push until they get as far as they can. What's the betting that one of the lawyers will find a loop-hole in this case and redo the whole bloody thing at Appeals, eh?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sand and CGI

I quite like these programmes, but I had to note down this review because my good friend Katrina would much appreciate it:

Dramatised documentaries featuring legendary ruins and Panama-hatted archaeologists often prove popular - possibly by vague association with the world of Indiana Jones. Fans of the genre will enjoy this, the first of three trips into antiquity over the coming nights. The subject is the ancient Egyptian city of Piramesse, the Venice of its day and centre of "one of the most bizarre puzzles in the history of archaeology". Put simply: it moved. How it did so is something we learn at length courtesy of a cliché-tastic narration and a slew of filler shots with blokes in eyeliner and sandals posing as ancient Egyptians - all drenched in whooshy music. It's an extraordinary story, but the eyelid-drooping slowness of its telling may test your patience.

RT reviewer: David Butcher

There you go Kat - someone who holds an uncannily similar view to you on these sword 'n sandal docu-dramas. 'Da-da-daahh' music and all! :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Cherry Drops

What happened to Cherry Drops? They used to be encased in kitch, pale pink cherry flower pattern perfectly circular tubes. The sweets themselves were rock hard, cloudy baby pink, wrapped in wax paper and impressed all the way round the edges with a pretty pie-crust pattern.

Now, they're ovoid, clear and fractured with ugly fissures, devoid of patterns wrapped in plastic and sold in bog-standard black and (shudder) hot pink paper with Bertie Bassett mugging away.

They seem to taste the same, but where, I ask you, is the craftsmanship? Half my enjoyment in these little nuggets of heaven has been destroyed.

Have any other beloved sweeties from childhood been desecrated in this way? Answers on a postcard, please.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Return of the Bag Lady

Once again I shall be an itinerant wanderer, without home or shelter to my name. I'm moving out from what I laughingly call my flat and which everyone else refers to as the shoe storage depot.

Having been recently gazzumped and robbed of the darling little flat that should have been mine I will be hurrumphing back to my parents to asthmatically wheeze away my life surrounded by numerous emotionally needy feline fuzzballs.

Why, when the one thing that distinguishes cats from other annoying little mammals is their elegant aloofness, intelligence and independance, did my mother choose to breed persians? The one breed famous for its need for constant cuddles, pudgy lack of coordination and the same level of intelligence and wanderlust as your average potato.

Ho hum. So anyway, I'm packing up my things and shipping them homewards. The problem is, I've accumulated even more stuff. Since I've moved in a year ago, I've bought a whole new wardrobe, even more books and about 20 new pairs of shoes. On the up side, I've managed to contain the practical items to about the same amount as when I moved in. So that's all right then.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Feeling 10 again

Childhood is over-rated. I relived a common childhood experience on Friday and it wasn't so great.

I was crossing the park to my bus stop where I rely on London Transport to get me to work. The buses are few and far between so if you see one begin to pull up you run hell for leather to make it.

In stilleto heels this does not present a problem. I've had years experience pelting down streets in 3 inch heels. However, this fresh Friday morning I was in a pair of flat, flappy, flipflop thingies.

See Shizue...

A small figure in an unbuttoned black trench coat is pootling along the lane. Figure catches sight of bus pulling up to bus stop.

(Watch closely and you can see the figure seems to be blaspheming).

Small figure begins to run down path at high speed.

Path does a 90 degree angle.

Small figure does not.

Frankly, I was never any good at geometry. My mind was fully engaged on the 'round the corner' concept, but my body was firmly convinced that my current trajectory was the way to go.

As a consequence I slipped in spectacular fashion: One leg flying into the air, Jazz hands on the way down, my black trench swirling round Phantom of the Opera stylee, a resounding thud, lengthy skid and an indignant OWWW!! of, well, actually more of mortification than pain. I must of looked like a demented Wayne Sleep.

Anyway, I limped to the bus which amazingly had waited for me, and boarded to be confronted by a dozen concerned faces.I mustered the dregs of my dignity and sat down. 10 minutes into the journey, an awfully naice lady touched my shoulder. 'I'm terribly sorry, but you seem to have, er...blood running down your leg?'

Oh great. You try and look cool while mopping up copious amounts of blood running down your pins.

It got even better at work. My Clinical Director who was to attend a meeting with me came into my office while I was gingerly dabbing at my leg. Being a typical clinician he took command at the first sight of blood.
"No, no, you need to get all the grit out - here, let me do it"
"OWWWWWW!!!! What the F**K d'you think you're doing, David?!?"
"Trust me...I'm a Doctor!"

Oh dear. He then proceded to chortle happily to himself saying how he'd always wanted to say that without getting a smack from a patient. He nearly didn't make it out the office alive.

I am now the not-so-proud possesor of a scabby knee the like of which I haven't had since I was about 10. Its at the crusty dark browny yellowy stage. I await with trepidation the bit where it will start to itch like buggery and I'll be consumed with that morbid need to pick at it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Someone hates me...

I'm quite disturbed. That's 'disturbed' in the 'I'm fairly perturbed' sense, not the 'where's someone put my straitjacket?' sense.

It seems that someone hates me, and moreover that they have fairly good reason. I am currently contemplating crawling under my desk, but that would put me in close proximity to my footwear and at the moment that makes me writhe in shame. (Hard to imagine, I know). Let me fill you in on the background...

Sunday night I received an email from persons unknown stating "You are a thief". I had no idea who the person was, the only clue was that the email was cc'd to an old friend from Uni. I emailed said friend who insouciantly responded "Oh yeah, she hates you - you stole her shoes".


I don't remember this.

According to reliable sources, a few years ago at Uni I got rat-arsed in the bar, ogled this girl's shoes, then later in the nightclub hared off with them. What happened to the footwear post-nightclub is a mystery. Certainly they haven't remained with me. What I don't get is how I managed to snaffle them in the first place. I mean to say, how can you not notice someone removing your strappy shoes? (I'm making an assumption here, I can't imagine I would steal a pair of trainers or such like).

I've sent a tentative email back offering to reimburse the cost of the missing tootsie-warmers but so far its been a frosty silence.

This is perhaps not (embarrased little cough) my finest moment.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Well Slap me with a Spoon and call me Mrs. Beeton!

I had an unexpected burst of literary and culinary creativity the other night. It may have been due to the welcomed bank holiday break and the knowledge that my snotty, cold-infested state would prevent me from going to work the next day, allowing me to stop obsessing about NHS targets and actually unwind a wee bit.

Whatever the reason, I had a bit of a Conran moment in the kitchen (though I feel more spiritually akin to Floyd) and came up with a dish so spendiferously, lip-smackingly good that I spent the evening in a warm fug of Smug.

Now what I usually do when this occurs is think "gosh, that's tasty, must remember how I made that" then promptly forget and spend many heart-breaking hours in the kitchen trying to recreate the glory of that lost dish. I seem to do this on an alarmingly regular basis. Early senile dementia, one supposes...ho hum. So, several months ago, I bought a journal for the express purpose of noting down the receipe of anything tasty I make.

Then lived off 3 minute noodles and muesli bars for a couple of months while my work went into the stratosphere.

Anyway, this distressing state of affairs came to an end with the aforementioned culinary moment (Prune and Flaked Almond Wood Pigeon Tagine, for the interested) and I opened the virgin pages of my journal to jot down the receipe.

2 hours later I was still writing, having penned several pages with titles such as 'The Difficulty of Woodpigeon', 'Cream: A Tale of Unrequited Love and (tummy) Trouble' and 'How not to eat Oysters' grrr...

As a consequence, its less of a standard cook book than an odd gallimaufry of strange foody opinions, receipes and anecdotal tales. Incrediably user-unfriendly, but since I'm the only one who will read it, it doesn't really matter does it?

And it makes me giggle.

Specially the bit about the oysters.