Friday, 29 February 2008

160days, 12hours, 11minutes & 47seconds until....

...I see Radiohead, Kings of Leon et al at the All Points West festival across the Hudson River in Jersey City!!

Whooooooo hoooooo!!!

So excited, I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale today. I love music festivals (well, except for the bathroom situation. Ugh). I was thwarted in my attempt to go to Austin City Limits a few years ago by Hurricane Bloody Rita!!

Must calm down, it's not 'til August 9th. Meanwhile, here's one of my fave Radiohead songs for your enjoyment.

Have a brill weekend!!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Hee hee

Just heard this on Scott Mills on Radio1. LOVE IT!!! I'm feeling the sentiment myself!!

I know red wine is good for you....

...but 3 glasses of rioja and no food beyond 2 pretzel sticks last night does not make for a happy Fish on this frigid Thursday morning.

I'm old enough to know better I really am.

I walked the 2miles in to work to try and burn off some of the residual alcohol. It's baltic out there. By the time I arrived at the office I couldn't feel my face. My plan didn't really work either, I still feel a bit worse for wear.

Could we keep the volume down today please. Much appreciated.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

It's always good to know what your friends think of your dates

“Thanks for sending through the pic of Bill my darling, that’s a much better one! I checked him out on your Facebook last night- but his profile isn’t open so could only see his tiny profile pic. I thought he looked a bit like Catweazle!!”


I’m not quite old enough to remember the show, but according to Wikipedia, Catweazle was “an eccentric, incompetent, dishevelled and smelly (but lovable) old 11th Century wizard”

Dishevelled and smelly???

Seriously Miles, these may be desperate dating times, but I do have some standards. Huff!!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Madam, please calm yourself, this is Pilates NOT yoga!!

Pilates class was crazily crowded this morning, there were a good dozen more people than usual crammed into the studio. Fifty-two of us, I counted. It distracted me from the pain I was feeling in my abs. There were 49women and 3men and we were mat to mat; it was very cosy. I’m guessing the slight rise in temperature today must have got people fired up to work off those extra winter pounds in preparation for skimpier summer attire in a few months.

Fortunately the instructor does a great job of keeping the class good natured, so there was no squabbling over floor space. She’s also excellent at wandering around class and keeping her eyes peeled for saggy posture, so there’s no hiding, even among 51 other people. Woe betide you if you don't maintain correct alignment and let your abs relax for even a brief second, she'll spot you shirking and be over in a flash to sort you out. She's a real task master that one, but I have her to thank for a flatter belly. It was a great class as usual; I only wish the woman in front of me could have refrained from making sex-like noises of exertion throughout the class. Yuck!! I really could have done without hearing that.

After class I jumped on the subway and headed over to Brooklyn to meet my friend Nigel for a catch up over brunch on Smith St. I hadn’t eaten for 5hours and was ravenous when I got there 20minutes early, so I was relieved when I called Nigel and he was good to go. I couldn’t wait to wrap my hands around a big mug of coffee and tuck into poached eggs with smoked salmon. Mmm mmmmmm!!

I love to pop out to Brooklyn from time to time. I love the fact that it’s mellower than Manhattan and that small stores and restaurants can still thrive as Manhattan rolls inevitably towards becoming one giant strip mall. I’ve toyed with the idea of moving to Brooklyn a few times, but I’ve never gone through with it, because much as I love Brooklyn moving is, quite frankly, a pain in the arse and much as I would sometimes like a change of scenery I’m completely smitten with my cosy little apartment on the Upper East Side. I have a good deal; too good a deal to give up. It’s not an amazing bargain by any stretch, a friend’s mother has one of those deals that are the stuff of New York legend; she pays $300/month for a one bedroom apartment in the West Village. $300!!! Peanuts!! The $2,900/month another friend pays for a one bedroom in the same neighbourhood is more typical for that part of town. It’s no wonder the area is supposedly infested with investment bankers, who else could afford to live there? However I’m lucky enough to rent a small 2 bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side for the price most people pay for a studio. It would be hard to give that up for either a smaller space or higher rent in a different neighbourhood. I’d also miss the half a dozen friends who conveniently live close by and not being able to walk to and from work every day. So, much as I'm tempted, I think I’ll be renewing my lease on the UES for at least one more year. I’ll just keep sating my Brooklyn craving by popping out there every now and then to visit Nigel.

Brunch with Nigel was fun as usual. We like to get together every few months and trade war stories of being single in New York. He’s just met a woman he really likes so I’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed for him. Funnily enough as I was waiting for him to show up outside the subway station on the corner of 2nd Place and Smith St I heard a familiar voice. I glanced over at the woman sat on the bench, chatting on her mobile.


“What? Yes. Wh…!! Oh my God. I can’t believe it. What are YOU doing HERE?”

I work with Amy and for the last 5years she’s lived with her husband and 2 young children a few blocks for me on the Upper East Side. I've never once seen her in the neighbourhood, but then I take the F train out to Brooklyn and who should be loitering outside the Carroll St subway station. Turns out she and her family are considering making the move, so she was spending the day house hunting in the area. I love those moments when I randomly bump into someone I know. It makes New York feel like a small town instead of a heaving metropolis.

Photo of Brooklyn Heights Promenade courtesy of Josh Derr via Flickr.

Braving the cold

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a sports fan, but I surprised myself by getting really into The Knicks game on Friday night. It was a great game, although I wasn’t too impressed with them in the first quarter when they were 14points down against the Toronto Raptors. Pht!! They staged a good come back though, finally winning 103 to 99. My favourite Knicks player to watch was #4. He was only 5ft 9, but he was a feisty little bugger, very nimble, it was like watching a jack Russell terrier taking on a bunch of Great Danes. Since the game started at 7.30pm I was hoping to be out by 9.30pm since D and I had tickets to see Eddie Izzard at the Union Square theater at 10.30pm, but no such luck. It’s amazing how a game that takes only an hour can drag on for 2.5hours. Start, stop, start, stop. Are all those time outs completely necessary? I don’t bloody think so. GET ON WITH IT!!!!!! They waste so much time in these games, if they're not starting and stopping they're having marriage proposals at half time. There were two such proposals last night. The first couple were quite glamorous. They were both dressed to the nines and clearly on a special night out in a…um…sweaty sports stadium. Not my idea of a romantic night out, but to each her own, perhaps she’s a big sports fan. She seemed quite taken aback when the camera approached and her boyfriend got down on one knee and proffered her the ring. She nodded and then grabbed him for a full on Hollywood style snog as everyone around them stood and cheered.

The second proposal couldn’t have been more different. The ‘Will You Marry Me’ message appeared briefly on the scoreboard and then cut to an awkward looking guy clumsily thrusting a ring box towards his girlfriend who, looking stunned and embarrassed by the whole thing, grabbed the ring and shoved it on her finger without so much as a glance in the direction of her boyfriend.

It was kind of endearing and I could certainly empathise. Were this to happen to me I think my reaction would be more akin to the second woman’s than the first. I’d be absolutely mortified, but then I have a tendency to shun the spotlight. I used to absolutely hate it when Gobshite would coerce me to go for dinner with him at the restaurant he managed - can you believe that on his nights off he wanted to eat at the restaurant he worked at - and half the staff would leave the kitchen to come and have a nosy at me. I realise he had the sweetest intentions of wanting to show me off to his friends, but he never appreciated how utterly uncomfortable it made me. I felt as if I was dining in a goldfish bowl. I’m not shy by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not one to relish the limelight. In the musical of my own life, I’d be in the chorus line ;-)

At the start of the 3rd quarter a couple of us went to get beers and I noticed marriage proposal guy #2 was stood behind us in the queue. As we left I heard him place his order…

His accent was unmistakably British!!

Ha. That explained everything. While we certainly have our fair share of fame hungry trollops – Jodie Marsh anyone – we definitely have a well deserved reputation for being a more reserved nation.

D and I had to miss the last 4minutes of the game to dash downtown to see Eddie Izzard only to wait for 30minutes to pick up our tickets. I have to say the show was quite disappointing, he was funny, but the material seemed to be a rehash of previous stuff I’ve seen on his DVDs and while his delivery of that material is funny it would have been better if he'd done something completely different, however I still enjoyed the performance. It was close to 1am by the time we left the theatre, but poor D had to head back into work for another 3 or 4hours to complete a client deliverable and was getting it in the neck from the account team, this despite the fact they hadn’t requested the work until after official office hours on Thursday and required the information by first thing Saturday morning.

Yes, by Saturday!!! As in the weekend!! The weekend people!! How obnoxious is that?

Excuse my language, but I have to say I am bloody sick of people seemingly assuming that all we do in our department is push a fucking button and hey presto, there’s your results. You need a maths degree to work in our department for chrissakes, it’s a bit more fucking complicated and time consuming than button pushing. Grrrrrrr!!!!!

For once I haven’t had work hanging over my head this weekend, my time has been my own to waste, so I walked the 5 or 6 miles down to the west village to stock up on British basics at Myers of Keswick. Namely cans of Heinz tomato soup and walnut whips. By the way how weird is it that Heinz, an American company, doesn’t sell canned soups in the US? At least not in New York, so I pay $2.95 for a 400g tin at the English grocery store in the village. The trip was more an excuse to walk than anything, I love to walk around New York, the destination isn’t really important. Buying Heinz tomato soup from Myers of Keswick was just an excuse to get out and about and shake off the cobwebs. If I can spare the time I’ll walk for hours on end around New York for no reason whatsoever. I was the same when I lived in London and it’s why I know both cities so well. One of the reasons I liked North Carolina Bill so much was his eagerness to walk around New York for no real reason whatsoever. Walking is usually a solitary activity for me, but every once in a while it’s nice to have like minded company on my jaunts around the city.

It wasn’t the warmest of weather today, but bearable with enough layers. I find the cold in New York to be completely different to the cold in England. The temperature may drop further down the thermometer in New York, but here I find that if I wear enough layers I can walk around without too many problems. However in England the climate is damper so even though it doesn’t get as cold, it tends to seep through your layers and chill you to the bone. Brrrrr!!!

Tonight I watched the 2007 Palme D’Or winning movie “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” on pay per view. The film tells the story of two college roommates who try to arrange an illegal abortion for one of them, during the communist regime of Nicolae Ceaucescu in the late 1980s.



It’s an amazing film, but not exactly light hearted fare, it was intense, heart wrenching. One of those films where you breath a huge sigh as the credits roll, but so engrossing that until it ends you don’t even realise you’re holding your breath. I had to lighten up by watching Zoolander after it had ended.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Dancing around my bedroom

I love this Freemasons edit of the Kelly Rowland song, Work. I've been shaking my booty to it all weekend. The lyrics are a bit on the raunchy side though - as The Feeling discovered when they did a stripped down cover of it for Jo Whiley's Live Lounge.

I'm surprised at Kelly Rowland, I always thought Beyonce was the saucy minx. Just goes to show it's always the quiet ones ;-)

Friday, 22 February 2008

A lovely and lazy day off!!

It’s been a weird old week; there’s been a lot of apathy at the office. People seem exhausted and out of sorts, I’m not sure if they’re overworked or suffering with a touch of the winter blues, but when I’ve stopped to chat with colleagues in the hallways there’s been a lot of deep sighing and chat about a lack of motivation.

Personally I’ve had a quieter week as far as client deliverables have been concerned which is good, because I developed and taught a 3hour training course on Thursday morning and getting everything ready really took its toll. Thankfully it’s over and done with now and seemed to go well, but I was feeling in need of some recovery time, so I decided to treat myself to a day off. I have 4.5 carry over days to use or lose by the end of March and I know that if I don’t take the opportunity for a day off when work is quiet then work will get busy and I’ll miss my chance to use them.

It was a last minute decision to take the day off so I didn’t really have any plans to do anything special. I did consider going for breakfast at Balthazar if I woke up in good time, and I did wake up early enough to get there before they stop serving breakfast at 11am, however it was to the tune of snow shovels scraping against the pavement. It’s coming down quite fast, settling too, and I didn’t quite have it in me to get dressed up to go out, so I missed out on sour cream hazelnut waffles with warm berry compote and had a bowl of Cheerios instead. I think they’re expecting 6-9inches of snow to accumulate in the city. Eeeek!!! I love snow; I especially love feeling warm and cosy inside when it’s snowy outside. It’s almost noon and I’m still lounging about on the sofa in my jimjams catching up on emails and half watching last night’s episode of ‘Lost’.

Anyway not much doing this week other than work work work, although I did get an email from Bill – the southern chappy I had a date with a couple of weeks ago to say he might be back in New York in April...

"I may be back up in April. A friend will be hosting his brother and sister-in-law from Germany and they are going to visit some cities along the east coast to include NY and I’d like to catch up with them. It would be nice to see you again if you happen to be available. They would just be up for a day or 2 but I would plan to stay longer if you’re around?"

It would be nice to see him, but I'm just going to see what materialises. It's funny, because while I liked him when we were hanging out on our date, I also remember being quite glad that he lived 4 states away. Tel Aviv was back on my mind - after I'd noticed he'd checked my blog a few times recently, well either him or someone else who works for the same small company he’s at as the name popped up as a network host for a visitor in my tracking - and I wasn't sure I was ready for a date. I’m cautious like that after a break up. Some people just jump right back in and start seeing someone new, but I like to readjust myself emotionally before jumping back into the fray, however I was quite surprised last weekend to find myself wishing Bill was around to hang out with. Maybe I'm looking back on our date with rose tinted spectacles, but Bill was a lot of fun to be with and I did like his enthusiasm for exploring New York. He's similar to me in that respect. I’m pretty sure that if I said to Bill 'let's go for brunch at Ici in Fort Greene on Sunday and explore the neighbourhood' he'd be up for it, whereas some of my other friends would be more likely to say "Brunch in Fort Greene? What do you want to go all the way to Brooklyn* for, there's a perfectly good diner around the corner?"

I liked Bill’s willingness to explore, he was great company too. I’m just not certain of his romantic expectations if he does visit in April, or mine for that matter, which is fine, uncertainty makes life interesting, but why let seeing how things go get in the way of some good old fashioned over analysing. There are a couple of things that puzzle me about Bill you see. He seems to like me, he said so numerous times on our date and was very tactile with me – slightly more tactile than I was comfortable with to be honest for a first date. I couldn’t work out whether it was just because he was naturally quite forward or didn’t want to waste time taking things at a slower pace when he was flying back to North Carolina the next day, but either way I tend to prefer to take things a little slower. Me, I’m all about taking things slower; moving too fast has only ever proved disastrous for me in the past, but I went with the flow on the date and he reiterated how much he liked me when I saw him briefly on Monday. Nooooo, I did not see him on Monday because he stayed over on Sunday night. Honestly, what kind of boomeranged legged slapper do you take me for? No, I saw him on Monday because the pal he was staying with was leaving on a business trip at 6am that morning and he didn’t have a spare key for his apartment, so Bill also had to get up and leave at 6am with his big back pack and wander the streets of New York until his 4pm flight. Not fun and I felt badly for him walking around with all his stuff, especially as it was freezing cold that day, so I told him he could drop his bags at my office for a few hours if he wanted. He took me up on my offer and turned up at my office at 8.30am – good timing as the nosy buggers I work with would have had a field day if he’d got there at 9.30am when they’d all be arriving at the office – and I met him in the lobby to take his extremely heavy back pack off his hands and packed him off for breakfast at Balthazar to keep warm while he waited for the shops in SoHo to open. Balthazar opens for breakfast at 7.30am on Monday-Thursday and it’s a perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and people watch. I knew he’d love it in there. I met him later for coffee in Starbucks when he came back to pick up his bag and he held my hand tightly and told me what a great time he’d had and said how much he wanted to keep in touch.

Since then….well it’s been pretty quiet on the North Carolina front. I heard from him the next day when he was back in work…

”Thanks again for showing me around Chelsea and SoHo. You were a wonderful partner in my little mini-adventure. Just walking around and ducking into an English grocery [Myers of Keswick] and trying new things were exactly the kinds of experiences I was hoping for during my visit. I enjoyed our dinner very much. It has been quite sometime since I have been able to relax and enjoy a nice meal with such attractive and engaging company. Let's definitely keep in touch! I hope to come back up in the next few months.”

A nice note right? Is it naïve of me to assume he meant it about keeping in touch? I’ve been kind of surprised you see that except for the brief email to say he’s planning to visit in April I haven’t really heard a peep. I suppose I expected slightly more, not grand declarations or anything, just a little more back and forth, to get to know him a bit better over email, especially if he does visit in April and expects to pick things up where we left off. If he’s expecting date number 2 rather than just hanging out with me as a friend and free NYC tour guide then I’ll be needing me some email woo-ing :-)

Anyway I shall finish here and focus on Lost, since it’s not a show you can appreciate while multi-tasking. I have to brave the snow later tonight as I'm off to a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden with three people from work. We won tickets in the trivia quiz last week, I’m not much of a sports fan, but I thought I may as well go. I’m not sure how long it goes on for, but we may have to dash out before the end as we have tickets to see Eddie Izzard at 10.30pm at the Union Square Theatre. It should be fab, I can’t wait.

Photo by my gorgeous gay husband, Miles. Isn't he artsy? It was taken last St. Valentines Day – this smattering of snow is pitiful compared to how it looks outside right now - and only just emailed to me today, the lazy bugger ;-)

*It’s funny I’ve had a Brooklyn hankering all week. I’m sating it by having brunch with my friend Nigel on Sunday. Nigel lives in Carroll Gardens and he and I like to get together every few months and share our latest stories of the single life. He’s thrilled that I’m willing to make the trip out to Brooklyn as everyone usually makes him come into Manhattan.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


I’m so over tired today; I barely slept a wink last night. My brain was whirling after working for most of the day and I couldn’t quite seem to switch off. I think I managed about 4hours sleep in total, so not quite as refreshed and ready for work as I’d hoped after a 3-day weekend. Today looks as if it will be a highly caffeinated day.

The weekend was good anyway, as I mentioned it was a 3-day one for President’s Day, although really only a typical 2day weekend for me as I spent Monday working; developing materials for a training course I’m teaching this week. Saturday and Sunday were great though, low key as I'd hoped. I really didn’t do that much at all to speak of, except for dinner with Deesha on Saturday and a movie with Betsy on Sunday, so today is a very slow news day on the blog. It felt good though to limit my plans and get the time to myself I'd been craving, I also gave my apartment a thorough cleaning - it’s spotless, I love it - and I actually have food in my cupboards after a trip down to Trader Joe's first thing on Sunday morning. I’ve had little time to shop in the last couple of weeks with work and what not, so I've been subsisting on a diet of peanut butter on toast. Not a very grown up dinner eh?

There are few things in New York that test my patience quite as much as a trip to Trader Joe's. For the uninitiated Trader Joe’s is a popular American supermarket chain which the people in New York became unimaginably excited about a couple of years ago when the company announced they were opening a store in Manhattan. New Yorkers were gagging for the place to open and when it finally did, in the spring of 2006, the store was so popular that supposedly cool New Yorkers queued out the door, awaiting their chance to grocery shop.

Have you ever heard of such a thing, a supermarket so popular it had a ‘one in, one out’ policy like a night club?

Two years on people are no longer queuing to get in, but it’s still very popular and a nightmare to do your shopping there. Within an hour of opening the line to check out snakes halfway around the store. I’d hazard a guess that, in terms of the number of resident New Yorkers/square foot, the density of Trader Joe’s is second only to the subway. Well, okay, that could be an exaggeration; it just feels that way when you’re trying to squeeze through all the shoppers crammed into their tiny aisles to grab a box of couscous. Every day feels like grocery shopping on the last day before Christmas or Thanksgiving and although most are polite there’s always a few with a manic gleam in their eye who care little for those unfortunate souls who happen to cross their path. I suspect these shoppers are the same people who shoulder their way onto the subway without letting people off first. There's many a time I've sported the bruises from being side swiped with a trolley by overly aggressive shoppers. I feel lucky if I leave completely unscathed.

There’s only one time I’ve ever enjoyed shopping at Trader Joe’s was after Francesca and I had drunk one too many glasses of Sancerre with our pork buns at Momofuku Ssam one Sunday evening and decided to pop in for a few groceries on the way home. I have to say that grocery shopping while slightly drunk is infinitely more fun than shopping while sober; although admittedly a lot less practical as I was seduced into buying a lot of party foods I didn’t need. I had appetizers for dinner for the next fortnight after that particular shopping spree.

The food is good though and relatively inexpensive when compared to the likes of Whole Foods, which is why, having woken up at 7.30am on Sunday morning, I decided to take a chance on it being quiet first thing and popped down to replenish my pantry. The place opens at 9am. I walked in at 9.04am and the place was heaving. I couldn’t believe it. Heaving!! Who gets up at that time on a Sunday morning? Why weren’t all these people in bed like normal human beings? Ahem!! Anyway, since I was already there I took a deep breath, grabbed a basket and dived in and managed to buy about a months worth of food, but I’m battered and bruised as a result and not at all keen on venturing in there again any time soon. I feel traumatized and think I’d rather eat peanut butter on toast for the rest of my days.

Later on Sunday I met Betsy - my upstairs neighbour of 3years who I randomly met for the first time on the gallery tour in Chelsea last weekend - and we headed downtown to the Sunshine Cinema on Houston St to see the new Woody Allen movie, Cassandra’s Dream, the one where Ewan MacGregor and Colin Farrell play brothers who commit a murder.

It was okay, 6/10, not a patch on Match Point, although in a similar vein. I found myself more than a little distracted by Ewan MacGregor’s stilted performance and by the fact that much of it was filmed in two pubs I used to frequent when I lived in London; the Pembroke Castle in Primrose Hill and The Rutland in Hammersmith. Colin Farrell was good in it though which surprised me. I’m generally not a fan of Mr. Farrell. A friend of mine thinks he’s pure sex on a stick; but I always think he looks like he needs a good wash* and have generally remained immune to his charms. The only time I’ve ever found him vaguely attractive was while watching the movie SWAT at the cinema a few years ago when my parents were visiting. For some reason he appealed to me in that movie and I started to think I might be realizing what my friend saw in him after all, that was until my Mum leaned over and whispered “don’t you think he has a look of Kevin Webster from Coronation St?” And there ended any fleeting attraction I’ve ever had to Colin Farrell.

Separated at birth? Colin is the one on the left in case you were having a hard time telling them apart ;-)

*I felt much the same about Michael Hutchence from INXS. I suppose bad boy types don’t really do much for me.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Of course there’s a catch

So my plan for this weekend, this lovely long 3day weekend for President's Day, is rest and relaxation. Apart from dinner with my friend Deesha on Saturday night I have nothing planned. I cannot wait.

Famous last words!!

Regular readers of this blog may recall that R&R was also the plan for LAST weekend except it didn't quite turn out that way owing to my last minute decision to join one of Rafael Risemberg’s Chelsea Gallery Tours that I enjoy so much. Rafael does a tour every two weeks alternating between a monthly "Best Exhibits" tour and a monthly tour focused on Gay & Lesbian artists, and last Saturday was the most recent 'Best Exhibits' tour where I happened to meet Bill and guess what....he asked me out and I went on a date with him on Sunday afternoon.

We had a nice time shuffling around New York for a while, despite sporadic blizzard-like weather conditions. It was so weird. It was sunny and a balmy 45F when I left the apartment to meet him at 3pm, so I didn't bother with the extra layer I usually have on me, or with a hat, because I was worried I would be too warm. I should have paid more attention to the weather forecast, because as soon as we arrived at Union Square and started walking over to the west village - what a surprise the 'L' train wasn't working again - the temperature had dropped significantly, the wind had whipped up and by the time we got to 8th Avenue it had started to lightly snow, so we scurried as quickly as possible over to Chelsea Market on 9th Avenue and 15th St to grab a coffee from the Ninth St Expresso - divine coffee, I only wish they would serve it hotter, although I'm scared to ask if they could just zap it in the microwave for 30seconds, I feel it would be offensive to them as artisans of the bean, especially as I once heard one of them laugh derisorily behind the back of a customer who had the nerve to ask for a macchiatto. "Where does he think he is," the hipster barista huffed, "Starbucks!!"

Fortunately this weekend's hipster barista girls were very nice, so Bill and I stood for a while chatting and sipping our mochas before venturing back out onto 9th Avenue to see how the weather looked. The snow had stopped, the wind was back to being more of a breeze than a gust, so we decided to risk a walk through the village, via Myers of Keswick as I had a yen for Heinz Tomato Soup - I'm a great date aren't I, I take my dates grocery shopping. Actually he was quite taken with Myers of Keswick and even happier when I treated him to a Crunchie. Americans, I've noted, seem to be particularly fond of Crunchies when it comes to British sweets, and Bill was no exception.

As we left Myers of Keswick the wind suddenly whipped up again and Bill pointed to the sky and marvelled at how fast the clouds were moving.

"Um, I don't think those are clouds", I said, "I think that's snooowwwaaaaaiieeeeeeeee!!"

That's the closest written approximation I can get to the kind of the noise I made as hundreds, nay thousands, of tiny snowflakes smacked me in the face. I started to really miss my hat at that point, but we both preferred to just continue walking around instead of popping in somewhere for another coffee so soon after our last one, so with an umbrella held against the wind we continued walking down Hudson and I pointed out the likes of the White Horse Tavern at Hudson and West 11th, the place where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death with 18 consecutive whiskies or something, before returning to The Chelsea Hotel to breath his last - I do like to woo my dates with grisly facts - and then made a left onto Leroy St where I pointed out number 10, which was used for the exterior shots of the Huxtable house for The Cosby Show, even though the Huxtables supposedly lived in Brooklyn, not the West Village.

Look familiar Cosby fans?

We trotted across Seventh Avenue and along Bedford st before heading down across Houston to SoHo, where we popped into Room & Board on Wooster to use the loos and shelter from the now very frigid temperatures. Although we were thankful that it had at least stopped snowing.

Tip for tourists: the best places for loos without queues in bustling SoHo are contemporary furniture stores. The second floor of Crate & Barrel - first floor to Brits - on Houston and Broadway and the second floor of Room & Board on Wooster between Prince and Spring are your best bets.

Bill was quite taken with Room & Board and we wandered around for a while admiring designer sofas and what not.
First date and we are already choosing furniture??? Moving a fraction too fast perhaps??? ;-)

As it turned out Bill is a big fan of architecture and design, and I quite like all that gubbins myself as a former wannabe architect – I studied architecture for a year before realising it was something I enjoy more as a hobby than as a potential career and switched to do a Maths degree. Yeah, yeah, yeah I'm a pointy head - so we spent a good while pottering around all the great designy places in SoHo including a visit to admire the fabulous ribbon like stairs in the Longchamp store at 132 Spring St.
Eh Voila!! I did French as well as Maths, note my command of the language ;-)

Amazing aren't they? They were designed by London based architect Thomas Heatherwick. He designed the whole store in fact, but I do love the ribbon effect of the stairs. You can see more of Heatherwick's work here.

After pottering around SoHo we headed up to NoLiTa for a nosy around, but most of the shops were closed, it had started to snow again and we were getting hungry, so we started looking for places to eat, ending up at Quartino, a fabulous organic Italian place on Bleeker at the north end of Elizabeth St. The only problem was that neither of us noticed it was cash only and when it came time to pay the bill neither of us had enough cash on us. Uh-oh!!

Bill, kindly volunteered to brave the cold and dash to the Chase ATM the waitress told us was around the corner on The Bowery while I stayed with our bags. The cash only thing seemed to be a bit of a problem for this restaurant as the women sat next to us had the same issue and shortly after Bill left to visit the ATM one of the women followed suit.

After 5minutes, she returned and the women paid the bill and left the restaurant. Bill still hadn't showed. Another 10minutes went by and I started to wonder whether he'd run out on the check. The waitress also seemed to think the same thing as she kept giving me concerned looks and making jokes about him being lost. I was worried, but then I still had his bag with me and he didn't seem the type. I sent him a text message asking if he was lost.

No response.


Two minutes later he stumbled through the door smiling sheepishly.


"The bank was closed" he said, “I had to go up to the Wholefoods to get cash”

"Did you try your card in the slot by the door", the waitress asked

", I just tried the door. It was locked"

"Yes, you have to swipe your card to unlock it" she laughed.

"Oh!! Hmmm. We don’t have that in North Carolina" said Bill

...and there's the catch kids, I had a very nice day out with Bill, but he's not of these parts, he was just here for the weekend visiting a friend.

It was fun for the 5.5hours it lasted!!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

How cute is this!!

My friend, Kim, just sent me this photo of her 4month old baby boy, Ben, with his little pals. Ben's the one in the middle sucking his fingers.

Loving the hair of the one on the far left. He's got some serious static going on.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Actually I don’t even like roses

I’m taking Posh Totty up on her challenge to share this banner at the top of my blog until Valentines Day. Yeah, yeah, I know, there’s less than 24hours to go, but I only saw it yesterday.

Anyway, hope you have a lovely Valentines tomorrow whatever you are doing. I’m not the biggest fan of February 14th it has to be said, and not because I’m a bitter, relatively recently dumped singleton. Nope, that’s not it at all. It doesn't particularly bother me - well, except for last year when I was still smarting from the unpleasantness of the break up with Gobshite. Shudder!!!! I actually quite like the sentiment behind it; everyone likes to be made to feel special, however it’s the rampant commercialism I detest and of course in USA they do the rampant commercialism bigger and better than anyone. Okay that’s a sweeping generalisation, I’ve only experienced Valentines in the 2 countries, the UK and the US, but it’s a generalisation I suspect is true. I’m sorry America, I love you, but you and I both know that you have a tendency to go a little over the top when it comes to “The Holidays.”

My memory may well be faulty but I don’t recall Valentines Day being such a huge deal in the UK. Brits, am I wrong? I suspect things may well have changed as diamond retailers, florists and restaurateurs realise what a money spinner it is, but as far as I recall Valentines was less about couples and more about anonymously sending a love note to someone you fancy from afar.

That’s a charming custom don’t you think, to make someone’s day by letting them know they have a secret admirer?

Unfortunately I feel these days that this charming, sweet and low key custom has been taken around the back of the bike sheds by the likes of Hallmark and been given a severe beating, at least in the US. To me there's nothing romantic about sitting side by side by side with other couples and selecting mediocre, over priced food from a pink hued menu, as Miles and I did last year at the Klee Brasserie. Its production line romance, doing what’s expected – going out for dinner and sending her roses - instead of acting on how you feel.

Have I become horribly cynical in my old age?

I’m going to stop moaning on like an ol’ curmudgeon and instead relate to you the story of the most fun Valentines Day I ever had. Don’t worry; this story is not heading in an icky, of the ‘too much information’, kind of direction. No, my best Valentines Day occurred when I was working at a small ad agency in London and the overlords decided to hold an impromptu wooing competition. The first prize being a weekend for two in Paris and a second prize of dinner at some fancy pants restaurant in London, I don’t recall which. Perhaps Titanic which I remember being very in at the time – they did a delicious chilled pea and mint soup – but pretty much went the way of the ship a few years later.

The way it worked was that we all picked names out of one of two hats, women had to pick a guy's name and men had to pick a female name. I remember Miles being quite disgruntled about this and chuntering on and on and on about it being an infringement of his rights as a gay man, not to be able to choose a guy to charm.


Honestly he does get all hot and bothered about this sort of stuff at times and I can understand there are times when it’s important to stand up for your rights, but in a wooing competition? It’s not as if it’s REAL, besides Miles and I both know he’d absolutely compromise his integrity for the sake of a trip to Paris - I jest Miles, I jest. Love you lots. Besides, it wasn't as if you had to take your woo-ee with you to Paris if you won the trip.

Lucky ol’ me got the office sexpot, so it wasn’t exactly a stretch. I spent the afternoon writing saucy poetry and surreptitiously inter-officing him chocolatey treats. (I wonder if you'd get into trouble with HR for that in the US? Probably, they have lots of rules on office fun here.) You had to be anonymous about it y'see, which was tricky as we worked in an open plan office with a big glass atrium running through the centre, so you could pretty much see what was going on. I don’t recall if it was one of the rules that you couldn't be found out, but I remember us going to great lengths to avoid discovery.

Ahh halcyon days, it was great fun, although as you can imagine we didn't get a lot of work done that afternoon, but it had a great impact on office moral.

Actually I do hold February 14th close to my heart for reasons other than Valentines Day, since it’s also the anniversary of the day I was offered a job in New York. Eight years ago I remember Miles getting a call from a former colleague who’d moved to New York the year before. It wasn’t a surprise that he called, they were friends outside of work, but it was a surprise when, after speaking to him for a few minutes, Miles turned to me and said ‘he wants to speak to you’, the rest as they say is history.

Oh and it's true about the roses, I much prefer tulips.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Gallery Hopping

So far I am having an absolutely lovely weekend. I managed to catch up on my sleep on Friday night and felt unusually well rested on Saturday despite being woken around 3am by my new upstairs neighbour arriving home from her night out. She moved in about a week ago and she’s very noisy when she walks around the apartment. She’s one of those heavy walker types – fairy elephants as we call them in England, which means a person who looks as if she should be light on her feet, but is nothing of the sort. She often wears shoes while walking around on uncarpeted wooden floors, so there are times when it sounds as if a family of elephants wearing clogs has moved in above me.

Anyway, despite the noise, the weekend has been smashing. I went on another of Rafael Risemberg’s gallery tours on Saturday which was great as usual. I swear if you are ever in New York and are an art lover you really should take advantage of these tours. Rafael does a best exhibits tour every month and while you won’t necessarily like all the art he’s chosen, it always makes for great conversation. In fact, don’t be shy; come with me while I take you on yesterday’s tour…

First stop on the tour of eight exhibits was Daniella Dooling, showing at the
Michael Steinberg gallery, or should I say *was* showing as this exhibit ended yesterday, so apologies if you wanted to see it.

By the way, all the photos of the exhibits are courtesy of the gallery websites. Unfortunately I couldn’t find photos that completely reflected the first exhibit which took up the entire gallery. I have 2 digital cameras and none of them work properly, I need to get them sorted and stop relying on the likes of Flickr, but here you go...

A little freaky right??? It's art that I can appreciate in terms of the work that's gone into it, but I can't say I particularly like it. The artist – Daniella Dooling – apparently uses taxidermy animal forms, wraps them in tin foil, covers them in hot glue and leaves that to dry before sticking pushpins into the forms. What you can't see so well from the photos, except perhaps the one of the baboon on the bottom left, is that the animals are suspended on rods, some rise from the floor, some hang from a grid that's attached to the ceiling. In the back room of the gallery was the piece shown on the bottom right; the entire thing is made up of 16,000 pushpins. I quite liked the effect of this one and it struck me as something that, no disrespect to the artist, could be reasonably easily replicated in my own apartment, although I am sure my landlord would not thank me for putting 16,000 tiny holes in the wall. Overall I thought this exhibit was kind of bizarre, but interesting. One thing I love about Rafael’s tours is that the art is never boring.

Next up…Harun Farocki at the
Greene Naftali gallery.

This was probably my least favourite of the eight exhibits on the tour, although as a European I couldn't help but feel a pang of excitement about the World Cup theme. It's a video installation by Harun Farocki, a Czech artist and is a difficult piece to replicate in photos, you really have to see it, except you can't as this also ended yesterday. Sorry kids.

I was divided on this piece as it was a lot of big screens showing the analysis of the game that the likes of the coaches get to see. It was definitely impactful though.

The next 3 pieces were my favourites....

The husband and wife team of Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz were showing at the PPOW gallery. I loved this exhibit. Initially all we saw were the photos, but what this couple actually do is create snow globes and then photograph the scenes within. The snowglobes seem cute on first glance, but when you really look at them they're quite often a bit macabre. If I were able to buy one piece from the exhibits I saw today a snowglobe by Martin and Munoz would have been a front runner. I really liked 'Jumping' on the bottom right of the photos below, even the figures are actually jumping to their deaths, it almost looks as if they're dancing on air, which makes it more uplifting than depressing, well, except for the poor chap mangled on the rocks below. He's not going to be doing any more dancing. Both the globes and the prints were on sale by the gallery. We didn't get to find out the price, but I'm pretty sure I didn't have enough cash on me.

The 4th stop on the tour was the Stefan Stux gallery which was showing works by the German artist Kuno Gonschior.

The photo really doesn't do it justice as these pieces were really impressive. You need to see these pieces in person, and if you happen to live in New York then you are in luck as the exhibit doesn't close until the 8th March. Apparently Kuno starts by putting a dawb of paint on a raw canvas, moves back to cast a critical eye over the effect from a distance and then returns to the canvas to add another dab of paint, repeating the process over and over until the work is completed. It must take him forever. The smaller of the pieces - which are about 4ft by 3ft - will set you back a bargain $32,000. The larger ones - like the one shown below - are closer to $70,000.

The next stop on the tour impressed me the most, and - eeek - the artist happened to be visiting the gallery at the time we all piled in, and he very kindly talked to us about his inspiration and we got to ask him a few questions. I have only one word for the work of this artist, and that is PHENOMENAL!!! They're paintings, not photographs. There are a couple that, even when you're only a foot away from them, you'd swear were photographs at first glance; the work is so detailed and precise that if you didn't know it was painted you might assume it's photo-realism. It's at the Mike Weiss gallery and is by an Israeli artist, Yigal Ozeri, and closes on the 23rd February. See it if you can, Yigal's work is absolutely breathtaking in person.

Doesn't it look like a photograph? I promise you, when you get up close you can see it's a painting. The artist takes a photo of the scene using a high quality camera, I don't know anything about photograpy to be honest, but the artist said he used the highest quality camera money can buy, a movie camera I think he said, to photo the scene and then he replicates it in oils. Apparently a big trend among artists these days is to try and make photography look like paintings whereas Yigal tries to make paintings look like photography. The painting above kind of reminds me of the pre-Raphaelite paintings of John William Waterhouse, such as the Lady Of Shalott.

The original photo of the above painting was taken in Central Park in New York. The model, Priscilla, lives in a commune in Maine and is apparently "very at one with nature". She's stunning isn't she? The artist said he didn't direct her, but just let her do her own thing and then he photographed her from a distance, before gradually coming closer and closer. I love the way her dreadlocks blend in to the surrounding trees. She's perfect for these paintings. Even though I've seen these up close I still have a hard time believing they're not photos.

Here's a photo of the artist at work. He works on approximately 15 paintings at any given time, with the help of 6 assistants. He told us that the current series of paintings took him 18-24months to complete.

I love his waistcoat. I have to say Yigal was a hard act to follow.

Sixth on the tour was the Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota who is at the Goff & Rosenthal gallery until the 10th March. I appreciated this work, but didn't love it, although I think it would be very impactful if purchased as an entrance way to a restaurant or bar, what you don't see clearly is the way it arches over the doorway to the office next door. The pieces are made from wool.
I kind of like these light bulbs suspended in wool...

The last piece I saw was Christy Rupp at the Frederieke Taylor gallery, which was titled 'Extinct Birds Previously Consumed by Humans' and was "constructed with the assistance of numerous scientists and University Websites, a visit to the American Museum of Natural History's dark lockers, and many friends who have donated the remains of barbecues and holiday dinners."

She created these skeletons of extinct birds using the remains of her friends' Kentucky Fried Chicken dinners. It's certainly an interesting way to recycle.

I had to leave before we visited the eighth piece as I had an appointment to wax my eyebrows and unmentionables, however I didn't leave without exchanging numbers with art lover Bill who I'd been chatting to on the tour and who asked me if I was interested in going for a coffee or a bite to eat after the tour. I couldn't, but he and I have a date today. I also swapped info with Betsy who I got chatting to while peering into the snowglobes and found out she lives in my building. Can you believe that? I go all the way down to Chelsea and meet someone who lives in the same building as me on the Upper East Side. I don't live in a big building either so it's amazing we haven't run into each other in the halls since she's lived there for 3years and I've been there for 7, but now that I have her number I'll be inviting her for brunch.

I had to make a mad dash to be on time for my appointment with Alicja. I've been going to her for a years now and about 18months ago she set up her own spa on 31st street with her friend Christina. Unfortunately after a year of being there the building was purchased and she and Christina had to look for new premises. These will be ready in March but for the time being she's seeing her regulars out of a client's apartment on Sullivan St. It was interesting to see someone else's apartment, the place was tiny, a long, skinny railroad studio, but it was decorated beautifully. I loved the way she used a fire surround, which she'd hung white pillows across, as a headboard for her bed. It was inventive and really effective. Alicja was telling me that she works in advertising and is looking for a job, having just recently been let go from her last position, so I left her my email address so she could send me her resume to pass on to my account teams. I wasn't sure if any of them are looking, but it's worth a try.

It had been several hours since I'd eaten, so I made a quick pit stop at the Hampton Chutney Co. on Prince St in SoHo for a delicious dosa and a revitalising cardamom coffee before heading home. I love that place, but so it seems does everyone else as it's permanently packed and you can rarely get a seat, but for once I was lucky and a couple of people were leaving as I ordered, so I got to sit down and enjoy my food instead of getting it to go, before heading home to run errands.

As I was heading back from the laundry a few hours later I ran into Allison, a colleague who's lived 2 blocks from me for a few years now, but who I never see. I suppose if I don't even run into people like Betsy who lives in the same building I can hardly expect to run into people 2blocks over. Allison told me how she's been working 80+hour weeks and if they don't hire someone to help her soon she's offski. I told her about Alicja's client and she sounded very interested in seeing her resume, so with any luck it could work out well for the both of them.

All in all it felt like a serendipitous sort of day, what with meeting Bill and Betsy on the gallery tour, getting a rare seat in Hampton Chutney Co; Alicja telling me her client is looking for a job and then running into Allison who needs someone. It was fab!!

After cleaning my apartment I cracked open a nice bottle of burgundy and enjoyed a glass of wine whilst IMing with my sister in Australia. It was great to catch up with her, it's been a couple of weeks since we've had a proper catch up. She was telling me that my nephew started school a week or two ago and has been fitting in really well due to being a bit of a star on the cricket team, well that of course and the devastating good looks he so clearly gets from his aunt hee hee. His father's a semi-professional cricket player, so my nephew's been playing since he was big enough to hold a bat.

Yes, Saturday was a great day. The only low point to my weekend was hearing the news that a massive fire has swept Camden town in North London, devastating the Hawley Arms and much of the market. There were a 100 firefighers tackling the blaze. I haven't heard any news of fatalities though so fingers crossed no-one was hurt.

Photo courtesy of the BBC.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Floating alphabets and the Death Star canteen

Phewwwwwww!!! TGIF!!! I am sooooooo looking forward to this weekend. Other than drinks with friends tonight I’ve purposely planned very little. I usually spend my weekends running here, there and everywhere trying to fit in errands, trips to the gym and catch ups with friends and I’m usually frazzled by the end of it, so it’s time for some rest and relaxation I think as I've been struggling even more than usual to get out of bed for work this past week and doing very little appeals immensely.

I also didn’t have the best of times at a client meeting yesterday morning. The more junior of the clients was very sweet, but her boss….shudder. What a witch. She was so unnecessarily nasty. When she blew into the conference room so did the artic wind. I've never experienced such a frosty reception from someone who’s never met me before; she was an absolute snot who clearly thought that meeting with us was a waste of her time. I found her incredibly argumentative, questioning every word out of my mouth. I was sat there thinking calm down woman we're only on the agenda. I don’t know how she can go through life like that; it must be exhausting to be so unpleasant. She was like the Wicked Witch of the West without the warmth.

It really pissed me off how rude she was to barely give us the time of day when we’d spent an intense few days working on the project. I’d worked a good part of last weekend and was in work late on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I was even dreaming about the damn thing. My part of the project required me to analyze a few customer segments which were identified by 3 letter acronyms: SMS, CMS, TAS etc and on Tuesday I had a restless night dreaming the alphabet was floating above my head just out of my reach and I was struggling to jump and reach for the letters to make up the names of the segments. I really hate it when work infiltrates my dreams.

Oh and I also found my first grey hair. I’m not at all happy about that I can tell you, but fortunately it’s only one, so it’s easily missed and yeah, I know, I’m a lucky bitch to have made it to almost 37 without having to resort to a trip to the colourist to hide the grey, but my father only just started turning grey a couple of years ago and he’s 57 so I was kind of hoping to have scored some of those genetics given all the years I’ve had to put up with the masses of baby fine hair I’ve inherited from him. I can’t do a thing with it without drenching it in half a can of volumising hair mousse.

Fortunately my spirits were significantly lifted when I got back to the office after the meeting and found that Emma had snagged us tickets for the upcoming Eddie Izzard shows at the Union Square Theatre on February 22nd.

Eeek, I’m so happy, I lurve Eddie Izzard!!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Disgruntled of Manhattan

So far I’m not so impressed with 2008:

* I’ve been dumped!!

* 60 people were laid off in early January, including some very good friends of mine.

* My boss resigned, as did 2 people I also really like working with (is it me?)

...And now, while perusing the
Eater blog today, I’ve learned that one of my favourite places in New York, Palacinka, closed its doors on Sunday due to yet another greedy bloody New York landlord hiking up the rent.

I realise there are people in the world with real problems, but I’m thoroughly peeved.

First DT:UT and now Palacinka.


I loved Palacinka. I didn’t quite make my mark on Palacinka in the same way I literally did with DT:UT – it was the first time I’d had S’mores and I wasn’t very adept at it and while talking and gesturing I managed to fling a flaming marshmallow across the room where it landed on a table and scorched it. Fortunately there weren't many witnesses – but I did very much enjoy hanging out there with friends and enjoying a café con leche and a delicious mushroom, mozzarella, potato and pesto crepe.


I’m so not impressed with the way things are heading in New York. If
Barrio Chino turns out to be next I may seriously consider making the most of my European passport and my French A level and skedaddle off to Paris!!

RIP Palacinka :-(

Photo courtesy of NY Magazine

Monday, 4 February 2008

Post Superbowl Babblings!!

Whoo hoo, we won the Superbowl. I say ‘we’ because of course *I* contributed MASSIVELY as I lounged on my sofa and scoffed low fat barbeque flavoured soy chips and quaffed diet Sprite while watching the game. Party on!!

I have to say though it was quite an achievement for me to sit and watch 4 hours of football because, shocking though this announcement may be to some, I’m not what you’d call much of a sports fan. No really I’m not. I’m even less of a fan of American sports where the games seem to go on for, let’s be honest here, an ETERNITY – what’s with all the stopping? - but I do rather like to champion the underdog, especially when the underdog is from my adopted home city and the favourites include all round golden boy and scumbag love rat Tom Brady.

Boo hisssssssss!!!

It’s team Moynihan all the way in my corner of town. I’m not at all a fan of Tom.

I realise of course that I am making sweeping generalisations about Tom Brady’s character based solely on what I’ve read in the gossip columns. It’s more than a little judgmental of me perhaps, but I just don’t care. Dumping your girlfriend when she is pregnant with your child…well, it’s just not good form is it. I feel similarly about Billy Crudup. I’ll give you that he’s a very talented actor and I used to find him rather attractive, but after the whole shenanigans of him dumping of Mary Louise Parker when she was pregnant he just makes my skin crawl. Repulsive!!

Anyway as I’ve said I’m not much of a sports fan, in fact the only time I ever go to games in the US is when my friend Nick visits me in New York. He usually coerces me into something or other. The first time it was a Yankees match and I considered it was a true sign of the value of our friendship that I was willing to forgo a precious Saturday afternoon to watch a pile of sweaty men spit and scratch their bollocks for a few hours, but that wasn’t enough for him. Oh no, he insisted I actually watch the game and was utterly appalled that I brought a magazine with me. Hey, I needed something to do in case I got bored. To my credit I didn’t open it once in the FOUR AND A HALF HOURS we were sat there – see, I’m a true friend and by God was my arse was numb from those hard plastic seats – and I did have quite a nice afternoon – a couple of beers helped - but I have to admit that my favourite part of the whole thing was at half time when the grounds men tidied up the pitch while doing a routine to YMCA. The rest of it, I could take or leave.

There just isn’t anything in it for me. I don’t even like it for eye candy purposes, although admittedly big swarthy men just don’t really do it for me, in general I prefer a leaner man, like a football player for instance – and when I say football I do of course mean ‘the beautiful game’. However if my friends are any barometer I’m a bit of an exception as a fair few I know are quite turned on by these baseball/American football types. They tell me it’s because the guys are so huge they would make them feel tiny, but then I’m 5ft 1 and a 114lbs (8stone 2 Brits), so i'd be hard pressed to find a man that wouldn’t make me feel tiny, although your average jockey would probably make me feel like a right heifer, but I’d be worried about an American football player slipping on a banana skin or some such and squashing me flat as a pancake.

Times Square celebrations courtesy of Lordofnerur via Flickr

Friday, 1 February 2008

The end of an era

Today is the last day in the office for our current head of department before he heads off to pastures new. It’s hard to believe today is his last day, I’ve only just got used to the idea that he’s leaving and here he is clearing out his office to leave. I’ve never really got used to the fact that everyone in the US, regardless of seniority, seems to be on a 2week notice period, it’s so short compared to the six months notice required for many of my friends who hold senior positions in the UK.

It's quite a sad day really. I’ve worked for him so long it'll be weird not to have him around anymore. He hired me to work here just a month shy of 7years ago and although I’ve had my moments where I haven’t exactly agreed with his way of doing things - he can be terrible for having favourites and he’s always been very reluctant to expense a few drinks on those rare occasions he’s called upon to reward his underpaid, hard working staff. Seriously you’d think he was being asked to spend his own money - but for the most part I've appreciated working for him and I’ve learned a lot so seeing him leave is like the end of an era.

I'm not the only one that feels that way. His resignation stunned a lot of people as everyone just seemed to assume he'd be around forever. He made no secret of the fact that he loved working here and he did very well for himself. Understandably news of his resignation led to a lot of whispering in corridors with people speculating as to whether he’d decided to leave of his own accord or whether he'd been pushed out due to the recent deterioration of his working relationship with certain senior someone, especially given the company he’s leaving us for hasn’t exactly had rosy financial prospects of late. It feels like a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire to me and so in a wine fuelled bravado at his leaving do on Wednesday night, I decided to ask him what the story was on his resignation.

You would have been proud of me, I fearlessly got down to the nitty gritty and did not once shirk from asking the hard hitting questions. Seriously I’m like Jeremy Paxman after a couple of glasses of wine; except unlike Jeremy I have absolutely no problems whatsoever with the quality of my
M&S underwear, you’ll find no quibbles here about the supportiveness of their underpinnings, oh no, in fact their lingerie appears to be of a far superior quality to the shite sold in Victoria’s Secret, but I digress…..

He’s usually a very diplomatic person, so I was surprised when he responded to my questions very frankly and pretty much told me flat out that he’d decided to leave because of his rapidly souring relationship with the CSS who, putting it mildly, has a reputation for being difficult.

“I really just couldn’t deal with it any more” he told me. ”It wasn’t worth it to stay.”

I can’t say I blame him. He’s lasted longer than most, but I saw first hand back in September how the CSS treated him and it wasn’t pretty. A few of us later learned from our manager – the one who's been promoted into his position – that things got so bad between them that they both used him as a conduit to communicate with each other. You know the way you do when you're about 12 and you’re mad at someone, so you refuse to speak to that person things directly even when they are standing right next to you? Instead you talk to them through a third party and say things like 'Miles, could you ask Kimberley if she’d like a cup of tea please?'

It's hard to believe that I work for grown ups sometimes.

Anyway I’m very sorry to see him leave us, but I wish him all the best. It’s a small industry so I'm sure our paths will cross again in future.

Photo of Jeremy Paxman courtesy of the BBC