Wednesday, 11 December 2013


I have always liked the word Paradoxical - mainly because it's quite difficult to explain what it means but you nevertheless know what it means. Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, I am having a bit of a paradoxical time at the moment. It goes a bit like this: new medication comes along. For most people it is all singing and all dancing, no side effects, no relapses, going to make your life wonderful, medication. And guess what, it comes in tablet form. One pill a day and that's it. Fantastic.

Well, fantastic until you have the first set of blood tests and your neurologist suggests that you are either (a) a vampire or (b) already dead. Hmm. So, I plead with him to let me stay on panacea-type medication. He reluctantly agrees for a further two weeks because the alternatives are not so all-singing-and-all-dancing. In the meantime, I do that very dangerous thing: research on the inter-web (as my mum in law refers to it).

Research into medical matters on the inter-web is not for the faint-hearted. Within two hours I was convinced that I had dengue fever, chagas disease, leprosy and the plague. The research on said new medication however, was suspiciously elusive. I directed myself to that paragon of all human interaction: Facebook, and joined a group. Therein lay the answers to all of my queries.

So today I see my GP for a minor complaint which she concludes is stress related. Juggling too many balls in the air, she suggests. It quickly dawns on me (cos I'm smart like that) that the most stressful thing in my life is not my job, my kids, my PhD - it's my neurologist and the not so all-singing-all-dancing medication. Paradoxical: the thing that is supposed to make me feel good, is in fact the one thing in my life that I am stressing about. So, what's a girl to do? There's no alternative but to make a list of things to avoid the stress (admit it, you knew there was going to be a list) My GP suggests less coffee, sleeping, eating, that kind of thing. But oh, no. That won't do. So, here's the grown up woman's guide to avoiding stress:

1. Stab the neurologist with something sharp.

2. Give as many people as you can, the finger on the SZR and see how long it takes the police to arrest you (this is based on the hypothesis that it isn't in fact illegal to make hand gestures but is merely frowned upon). There's nothing like a night in Dubai Jail to smooth away all thoughts of anything else stressful in your life.

3. Avoid looking at the photographs that your best friend took at the Christmas party last week.

4. Arrange a further Christmas party (you might be able to remember this one)

5. Respond to the emails asking you if you would like to enlarge your 'member' just to see what they can offer (women only on this one please). The possibilities are endless.

6. Go into Gap and unfold all the carefully folded jumpers telling the assistants that you are looking for a size -1

7. Just for a laugh, spend the day trying to get something done in immigration - if you are really stressing about something in your life do this on a Thursday - all other stresses pale into insignificance once you have to contend with immigration.

8. Decide from now on to cook only things that require 1 tablespoon of wine. Be inventive: beans on toast au vin, sausages poached in wine with egg and chips,red lentil and sauvignon blanc soup, you get the picture. Once a bottle is opened it must be drunk or it goes off (which is a waste of money, which causes you stress, so you need to drink it).

9. Log in to Ebay and look in the miscellaneous-other section. Weird isn't even close. This will make you realise that no matter how stressful your life is, there are people out there suffering far more than you (and they are prepared to pay for it).

10. Finally, write stupid blog entry, include list that you can only think of 9 things when your OCD decrees that it should be 10, and then just add stupid statement on the bottom...

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Week from hell...

This week has been the week from hell. No, really, the worst so far this year (yes, I know it's only March). It has been a week of unprecedented disasters.

This is how the week was supposed to look:

Sunday: Meeting with PhD supervisors during which I would convey my erudite and original ideas for my research proposal whilst cultivating a friendly and mutually respectful exchange.
Monday: Parents evening at secondary school. Teachers would confirm our choices for GCSE options, assuring us of our educated and well informed decisions.
Tuesday: Reading group. Lovely evening with a few friends to raise and discuss profound questions about last month's book.
Wednesday: Highlight of the week: visit arranged by me, to my place of work, of eminent British Detective fiction writer (who shall remain nameless but who writes a very famous series of novels featuring a detective in Scotland). Director would be impressed with my organisational skills and bask in the kudos of opportunity to meet such a famous and charming author. This is followed by 1 hour meeting at secondary school to discuss forthcoming trip to Tanzania for No 1 child to iron out any small wrinkles.
Thursday: Visit to local Dr of dermatology for removal of two moles - a small procedure one has undergone before - relatively painless and minor. This is followed by girls night in at BFF's house - wine flowing, food delicious, riotous company.

This is how the week actually went:

Sunday: Soul destroying meeting with PhD supervisors in which I manage to convey not only my utter incompetence but also my general demeanour of sheer panic.
Monday: Parents evening resembles a rugby scrum in which 5 minute appointments are allocated for 10 minute chats and everyone is behind by 30 minutes into the sequence. Teachers all assured in the belief that THEIR subject is the most important and suitable for No 1 child. Leave totally unsure of GCSE option choices.
Tuesday: Reading group meeting. Most people hate the book. We discuss it for 5 minutes and spend the other 175 minutes drinking wine and laughing raucously. Stagger home and await the arrival of the hangover that will pervade the VERY IMPORTANT DAY tomorrow.
Wednesday: Up at the crack of dawn and into work at stupid o'clock. Driver takes me to hotel to collect eminent author. Arrive at hotel 45 minutes early. Have lovely cup of coffee in lounge. Wait in lobby for eminent author with lovely lady from Literature Festival who is accompanying him. He doesn't show. I panic. I have the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, the Director and about 60 other people awaiting eminent author back at GCHQ. It transpires that eminent author has been given wrong schedule and is currently in the elevator with his wife at the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. I manage to convince festival organisers to allow me to fetch eminent author. Driver takes us to largest mall in the world and I walk the length of it, in three inch heels, to collect eminent author who is understandably, somewhat flummoxed. Wait 15 minutes for driver to find us on other side of world's biggest mall. Arrive at place of work 45 minutes late, stressed out and mortified in embarrassment.  Talk by author absolutely hilarious and worth the wait.
Death by meeting to discuss Tanzania trip simply goes over previous information sent by email; my mobile phone goes off just as they are explaining that pupils cannot take their mobile phones on the trip. I apologise profusely and die of embarrassment for the second time today. My humiliation is complete.
Thursday: Procedure to remove moles agonisingly painful. It transpires that as moles are on back, I now cannot bend. So dressing, particularly putting on one's shoes or knickers becomes a triumph of ingenuity and yoga style stretching without bending. Cannot move without pain from barbed wire type stiches in back.
Arrive home to find cat very ill. Rush to vets. He has temperature of 40 degrees and bowel obstruction. Vet keeps him for x ray and telephones to inform me that charges will amount to the cost of a small car.
Girls night in: masterful triumph from most excellent hostess who plys me with much needed alcohol.

What are friends for.