• Mauris euismod rhoncus tortor

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I definitely do.

Gareth and I have been together for about four years now. For three years, 11 months, three weeks and a day, I've been dreaming about marrying him. The thing is, I knew from the start that he was marriage material. Because, you see, he is a bloody good chap.

And so it was with sheer delight and a definite yes that I accepted his marriage proposal on Sunday night.

Now, at last, I can start looking at wedding dresses and writing my speech without people thinking I'm a bunny boiler. Now I have a ring on my finger (a platinum one at that, apparently.) I have license to think about our wedding. And that's why Gareth's just made me the happiest woman on the Isle of Wight.

I'm also the most nervous person on the Isle of Wight. A platinum ring? Me? Seriously, the time I lost the only piece of jewellery I own that didn't come from Accessorise, I cried for a week. Then I found it in my camper van and pretty much wet myself with relief. I am not to be trusted with anything of any worth.

I assure you that now I am engaged, I am not going to bang on about it in every blog. I'll still be funny, I promise. But I thought I'd do a blog about the proposal, because it was, after all, rather amusing. And I like a bit of amusement.

Gareth's vision for the Big Question was to get down on bended knee while the sun set on our favourite beach, on the Isle of Wight. Knowing I'd rather look nice for the moment, he knew he had to find a way to get me into a pretty dress. And so he appealed to my sense of vanity and asked me to model for him.

'I want to take a picture of you in a floaty dress beside the ocean.'

Well, he didn't have to ask this professional limelight lover twice.

Unbeknown to me, Gareth had enlisted my sister and mum's help in organising the 'moment'. While he was pottering about preparing his camera, I was sitting in my pretty dress playing Sudoku and they were down on the beach erecting a gazebo and laying out dinner for two.

Gareth and I then took the long walk down to the beach. During which, Gareth wanted to talk about how happy we were, how loved up and lucky a pair we were.

Not likely. Every time he tried to talk about love, I'd talk about some banal thing that had happened to me earlier. 'Yes, Gareth, we're in love, bla bla bla, do you think I got a tan today?'

We got to the end of the path and as luck would have it, there was a red rose in the way. Always an opportunist, I scooped it up and stole it. I'm sure no one would have missed it and it would be perfect for our photoshoot.

Turning the corner onto the beach, we saw the gazebo. Candles, champagne… my first thought was that whoever had set this up was probably the same person who'd left the rose in the path. And the poor boy was probably hoping his girlfriend would find the rose.

'Where are you going?' Gareth asked as I turned on my heel.

'I'm going to put the rose back!' I screamed, wishing I wasn't such a thief.

Gareth had to pin me back and assure me the rose, and this whole hullabaloo, was for us.

At the back of the gazebo was a hob, and on the hob was a saucepan, and in the saucepan was Thai Green Curry.

That's what did it for me really. How can I refuse to marry a man who gives me Thai Green Curry for my engagement meal? Forget 'he had me at hello'. He had me at the subtle yet spicy combination of lime and coconut milk.

There were tears, there were diamonds, there was a yes, my family joined us on the beach to share the celebratory whooping…

Then we walked back to the caravan, where my darling sister Pipsy was waiting. She has a way with words, and as I sat down beside her and told her that Gareth and I had got engaged and were going to get married she announced: 'That sounds a bit silly. I'm not coming to your wedding.'

And with that, I was brought back to reality.

Pip might take some convincing, but I am definitely going to be there, all guns blazing. Possibly with stolen roses in my bouquet.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Riot Wombles

To add to the melee of unnecessary drivel being written about the riots, here I am.

The Daily Mail are spitting bricks, Twitter and Facebook status updates appear to be variations of the same ‘Looter Scum, whatever next,’ hype machine that we can come to expect from ‘these days’.

Here’s an idea. These riots are bringing out the very best in some people. Comradeship, united fronts, new-found respect for a police force which, only a few weeks ago, were being ridiculed for their handling of the hacking scandal. Now, the Met Police are literally being applauded as they march London's streets.

The reaction to the riots makes me proud to be British. Yes, we have feral teenagers with nothing better to do than jump on a bandwagon, smash a window and run off with a packet of sweets, but we also have the Riot Wombles.

The Riot Wombles – an army of civilians wielding brooms, here to tidy up streets, boroughs, and cities. To tidy up a broken, shattered, burnt out Britain. With all it’s sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful Britain.

Sometimes, if I am going to be British I might as well feel proud. The Riot Wombles make me proud. So does the fact that there will be no Glastonbury festival next year because there will be the Olympics and we don’t have enough portaloos to cover both events. Isn’t that beautiful? A nation of 70 million people and we don’t have enough portaloos to cover two events at once. Who needs a well behaved society when you have a portaloo crisis to fall in love with instead.

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Friday, August 5, 2011


I find if I’m trying really hard not to do something, I’m all the more likely to do it. It’s like my brain likes to toy with me. My thoughts are saying ‘Don’t say she looks like Dawn French, don’t say she looks like Dawn French,’ and then my mouth says: ‘You look just like Dawn French!’

Ah, damage done. Well done brain, one to you.

And so it was when Nicola, my partner in crime and business, started abbreviating words. I didn’t like it. I’m a big fan of the English language. Text talk drives me crazy. The youth of today, they are pissing all over our beautiful words with their luv and their lol. Nic started with the occasional ‘obvs’ where she meant obviously, obviously. ‘Don’t join in, Kim, don’t join in.’ I bit my lip. I remembered what peace there may be in silence. I made a point of saying all my words right to the last syllable.

Then Nic started saying other words in the same way.

Lunch time arrived. ‘I’m hung,’ she’d say.

Fed and satisfied, she’d declare, ‘That was amaze.’

And then, as if from nowhere, I was joining in. I couldn’t help it. She had infiltrated my mind and, seeing as she was the only person I saw all day every day (we are a powerhouse of two) it wasn’t hard for her to wear me down.

‘Cup of coff?’ I asked, boiling the ket.

Yes, I sort of did hate myself. But it was also a lot of fun. Nic and I developed our own language. We out did each other with shorter and shorter abbreviations. Of course, it was funny for us, but it wasn’t something I was able to switch off at night, or at weekends, when talking to other human beings. They’d look at me strangely as I started off by abbreviating in the style Nic and I had become accustomed to, then, after a short pause mid-word in which I realised not all the world finds it as funny as we do, I’d finish my word. As if I got mid-word amnesia.

‘Glass of wine, Kim?’ weekend friends would ask.

“Yes please. Have you got any Sauv….(embarrassing pause…) ignon blanc?’

Mega embarro.

But, I soon let go of my embarrassment. Shortening words was funny and I realised other people were doing it, not just me and Nic. In fact just yesterday, my friend Hannah emailed me thus:

‘’I'm wearing sequined shorts this weekend whatever the weather. Whatevs the weaths.’’

And she works in London, where all the cool kids hang out.

Redeemed, I started shortening words willy nilly – will nill, dare I say.

But then came a really embarro situ, which caused me to think maybe it was time to reign in the old ‘cool speak’ and start talking like a normal person again.

Gareth and I had gone camping in Wales with friends. Beach bound, we’d arrived at a little shop, at which we were hiring body-boards and wetsuits. So already we weren’t as cool as the surfers.

‘Do you sell suncream?’ I asked the shopkeeper, in my usual too loud, too shrill, too posh voice.

‘Yes.’ He said.

‘Brillo!’ I replied. I hadn’t realised how loudly I had said it until I realised an entire shop’s worth of cool surfer types were all staring at me, and Gareth was backing away with a mortified look on his face, wondering how he could get out of this situation and relationship in tact. My middle class accented word wafting through the silence, ringing in my ears as only an embarrassing final sentence can. (If you can call ‘Brillo’ a sentence. I call it a death sentence.)

The shop keeper looked at me. Hannah in London may be shortening her words, but I’m not sure the trend has reached Pembrokeshire.

‘It’s, er, over there,’ he said, pointing at the suncream and hoping that I’d go back to Bristol and take my dismal excuse for conversation with me.

The girl in the queue behind me was the sort of person I’d like to punch in the face for being prettier, skinnier and now, better at English than me. She looked me up and down. I did not feel very brillo at all.

‘I’m really good at English!’ I wanted to shout. ‘I can spell definitely and necessary without spellchecker and I know the difference between their, they’re and there, god dammit.’ But of course, I just shuffled out of the shop with my tail between my legs instead.

‘You’re a dick,’ Gareth said as we walked to the beach.

I know, I know. You’d think I’d have learned a valuable lesson in letting other people do their funky thing with words while I stick to my resolute opinion that the English language is adequate, nay, beautiful, as it is and should not be tampered with.

Maybe skinny surf girl and stuffy shop keep man are the losers here. I should have turned the situation around on them.

‘Er, Wales, hello! I find it advantageous for sensible cerebrum space management to occasionally knock the last syllable of a word off, sometimes replacing it with an ‘O’, which you, surf girl, wannabe Auzzie, should appreciate, thus affording me commodious room in an otherwise overloaded brain, for thought and speculation about what’s really important in life – don’t for one minute presume that I did not get an A in English language, have not made a living out of words, or that I am of the generation scholars worry about for their inability to articulate their feelings or write proper sentences. Because I did, I do and I’m not.

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