Monday, 28 April 2008

Money Money Money

Why are we so fucking obsessed with money? Seriously? Since I got new job, I have lost count the number of people who have asked - not even remotely embarrassed 'Is the money good?' A fairly standard question - but it always makes me frown. Reason being is that I have never worked purely for money. Ever. Honestly - hand on heart - apart from a few crappy presenting jobs and a stint waitressing at a poncy Moroccan restaurant run by a coke ravaged ego-manic, I have pretty much only worked at something that I enjoy - that makes (as trite as this sounds) my soul soar.

It's not to say I haven't suffered for this pleasure - my career has forced me to shed far more tears than I ever did over any ill fated romance. I just cannot do a job I hate. When I was 16 I glass collected for a pittance at a local squash and tennis club in Belfast. I would weave amongst the merry drinkers at the late license bashes and blush when the odd man flirted or asked me to dance. My confidence, which at that point - thanks to unfortunate teeth, having not befriended the humble tweezer and the boys at school being very cruel - was in the toilet, took a huge leap. I pocketed numbers and tips and compliments galore. I clearly remember the thrill of being so young amongst a sea of haggard drunken old women. (I clearly AM now one of those haggard drunken old women - but I digress). I loved watching older folk make twats of themselves when drunk: (so it wasn't just us teenagers then?) trying to dance sexily after 12 pints of Guinness or making a clumsy pass at a someone who proffers a cheek.

Since then I have worked as a barmaid all over the world - I know every dodgy chat up line and how to make a mean liquid ecstasy shooter - before I moved onto TV land. Occasionally when the bills came a callin' I have had to be an associate producer on a crap show or present on a quiz channel or two... but truth is - I did get something from these - and not just a paycheck. At a quiz channel the staff were so lovely that I would frequently arrive with a face like thunder and have such a laugh on set that by the time I left I'd be a brighter soul. If I'm not challenged, inspired or passionate about my job - I can't do it. Husband often tells me I am so damn readable. He can tell within 30 seconds whether or not I like someone. Things generally are written all over my face. I can't pretend to like someone, a situation or food on my plate. If it doesn't rock my world, it's outta there... Don't mistake me for an all or nothing kinda gal either - husband hates my liberal shades of grey. But in my working life - I have to love it - I can't spend 40 hours a week somewhere that cages me and stops me from being me. I often used to think I could only be a presenter or a barmaid - as I got fired from BT's Directory enquiries for being too damn friendly on the phone! Unbelievable but true. A girl who wore a silk neck scarf (says it all really) happily fired me after a mere two weeks training and escorted me from the premises. What did they think I'd do - nick a headset? I was deemed unsuitable because I would stop to chat to people who called up - just giving them a number bored the hell out of me. So I was axed. The only job that has ever fired me.

So I begin my new career excited and inspired and I honestly had no idea what script editors earn. It didn't matter to me. All that mattered was doing a job I love. Because that is worth more than all the money in the world. Or maybe that is just me...

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Leaving Sproglet

There is a huge unmovable lump in my throat. A dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach. I am damn excited to start work on Monday - in a job I will love and have waited a long time to get. But I have to leave Sproglet. Monday won't be so bad - he will be with husband. But the rest of the week, when I chomp a quick breakfast with him then race out the door and then only see him in time for a quick play, bath and bed, a gnawing feeling will eat away at me. A whole day will have passed and I will have missed all his new learning curves. Last summer when I worked at Emmerdale for a month, the first week was excruciating. Every day I raced home from the train station on my Aunt's bike and grabbed Sproglet the minute I saw him. I nuzzled and snuggled him, drank in his smell, took him to see the ducks and wept when I realised I hadn't seen him that day - having left for work before he had stirred.

Last night I craved him so much I brought him into bed with me. His wispy hair tickled my face and he moved round and round until I gave up my selfish needs to cuddle him to within an inch of his life and deposited him back in his cot. Husband woke me with kisses and we dashed into his room - a favourite hobby of ours - to watch our tot sleeping and marvel at how wonderful he is. Husband had had a few drinks and was in that soft mushy mood where he pontificates about how much he loves us both. I tell him how Sproglet came out for my child minder's b'day - and he planted a kiss on a little girl who took a shine to him. Then he ran off, having teased her with his affection. She duly chased him, never managing to secure another smacker. How he refused pizza but ate a tonne of dough balls. How he rejected the ice cream but opened his mouth wide for the toffee chunks. How his trousers fell down as he raced around the restaurant causing two tables to fall about laughing. We ooh and ahhh and go gooey for the little boy who has changed our lives forever.

Yesterday he ran between husband and I giving us liberal amounts of kisses. My heart swells so much I can't love anything more. I cannot believe I am so captivated and in love with him. Watching my boys together is my favourite pastime. What with husband's night hours, my day hours and his working on a Saturday we will have only Sundays together. I can't think about this too much as it makes me sad. I keep thinking of what my friend Justine said - and how I will look outside on a summer day and crave to be in the park, watching Sproglet negotiate climbing up the slide. I want to have a career - I need to be inspired and challenged and to converse with adults, work as a team. But my little boy pulls my heart strings and my ultimate commitment is to him. The eternal juggle begins. I am blessed to have had so much time with him, I know. But nothing - I mean nothing - tears you apart more, than the obligatory Motherhood guilt. Some days I cannot wait to drop him at his child minder's (she knows we are moving and cried 3 times last night, so upset to lose Sproglet) and other days we play in the park, watch Toy Story, eat cup cakes, play with trucks and read 'Where the Wild Things are' six times - and it is just bliss. I'm sure it will get easier. I'm sure I will learn to cope and juggle. But I'm bringing a few tissues with me next week - just in case.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


I had the best sex of my life last night. In my dreams. Literally. With an ex. It was all covert meetings and brushed thighs and loaded looks and wet lips and.... oh, I've come over all a fluster. Strange thing is - it is almost as of husband knew. Just as I was reaching my peak (god bless 35) he shouted out loudly in his sleep and jolted me from my illicit passion. I was out of breath, shocked and disorientated. Relieved and also... er... pissed off. Boy my ex was good - in the dream. In real life - I can't remember actually. Sounds awful to say, but it is all a blur. A past life that thank god, is buried deep in the past. In my dream all my mates knew - they somehow worked it out - due to some letter dropped at the scene of my crime. They all knew and they all gave me merry hell. I felt awful. Rotten. Tempted to do it again. Dear friends of old berated me and ostracised me. I was mortified and unsure how it had all come to pass. For a dream it was frighteningly real. I wish I had jotted down the story because it was soap gold. When I woke, I looked at husband's matted black tufty hair, his long lashes that mirror our son's and his soft features. I was so happy that my deceit was wiped away in the opening of an eye. Yet all of today I kept thinking of the ex. Who is an ex for a reason - many of them. Yet to my horror, he made me smile. Is that bad?


Blood is boiling. Rage overcomes me. My throat goes dry, my muscles tense and a throb begins in my right temple. What has driven me to such distraction? What has made me go loopy and want to scream until I can no longer hear?

Ikea. Dear god it enrages me beyond any other place on earth. I hate the shoddy furniture that can't withstand a good burp, the cheap touch of the fibres and the tacky neon colours that assault my senses from the moment I walk inside. But today - I was forced to visit. No other place on earth it appears, sells blinds (wooden slats) that are 100cm across. B&Q, Homebase etc - are all 120cm. Why is this? So my kind builder - who came round to tell me that my washing machine is in fact broken and we need a new one - drove me there and I scampered quickly through, only stopping at the candle and light section as it is the singular part that I can stomach. I grabbed a few cheap overly sweet vanilla scented tea lights, a few wine glasses and 2 lamps. A furry sheepskin rug for sproglet to curl up in (as he loves one at his godmother's). Got said blind and then paid oh... a mere £25 to get home again.

Once home I discover one wine glass is broken and one lamp. It only cost £8 - but that isn't the point!!!! The point is I had to trek to that godforsaken place and survive the laborious walk round it - and then pay for crap cab home - only to discover the shoddy goods are BROKEN shoddy goods. Yes I am more bitter than a lemon. Plus my bastard mortgage company have valued my flat £50k less than it is worth - and my whole house buying is once again on a precarious knife edge. All this whilst I try and work out when to start work and order furniture and try and get tenants. I am ready to kill.

Just spoke to my good mate Donna who puts my house buying hell into perspective. The poor woman has been due to move since January and some numpty at the bottom of her chain (buying from the people who are buying her place) has dilly dallied needing a Muslim mortgage (as Muslims cannot borrow money) which is fine - but his conveyancer makes Ikea look unshoddy. Today it all fell through - her house by the way is packed and ready to go. Her dream home awaits. But her vendor put it back on the market and has had a better offer - so it looks like she has lost her dream home. To say she is devastated is an understatement. I try to tell her that it means an even better home awaits her. That in this market - she can get a great deal. But they are empty words - because after all she has been through she deserves that house. Not for her whole chain to disintegrate before her eyes - and not on account of what she has or hasn't done - but because of other weak parts of the chain.

My tip - stay put. If you can. This market is a mare for all but savvy business men who can spot a bargain, smell desperation and move in for the kill, their fins circling as the desperate seller goes under. Whilst the rich bonus boys in the city who caused this catastrophe count their pennies and recline to watch their 42" TVs the rest of us mere mortals pay the price. I'm off to suck on another lemon.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Night tremors....

What do you think about when you lie in bed at night? The shopping list? To remember to buy your partner that anti-snoring spray? What great sex you've just had? (Sorry -it's just a friend of mine grilled me last week about how regular my bedroom activities were - she was smug with the glow of obscene amounts of sex as she has been with her partner a whole 10 months! They are still in that 'can't get enough of you - whip 'em off quick' stage - which I remember very fondly. They gave me pitying looks when I admitted I didn't swing from the chandeliers every night of the week. I quickly told them to get back to me 7 years and one child in, with her getting up at 8:30am every day and him hitting the hay at 3am every morning and then see how damn frisky one can be in those brief windows). Anyway - I have my most creative (and stressed out) thoughts as I wait for the sandman. I've decided to keep a dictaphone beside my bed, as all too often that killer retort I wish I'd had, the best blog ideas (in fact entire posts), the perfect 'discussion' I am keen to have with husband, all come to me in the darkness and are long forgotten by the time sproglet hollers the next morning.

Those niggles in my stomach get darn busy when the lights go off. I lie there (convinced I can hear mice - I will not rest until we are moved. No, it isn't funny) and little knots of fear start to twist and turn. These thoughts have been kinder since I got the Eastenders job but still they begin to beat their drums with the topics such as 'will this move work out?' and lists of things I have to do and 'how will I ever drive anywhere as I am a crap driver?' etc etc.

I twist and turn and try to drown out the metaphorical voices that yabber away worse than me after a several mohitos. Thus I have decided that a good nights slumber must be at the top of my list from now on and I have resolved to get a memory foam mattress and spend some serious wonga to make sure the minute my head hits the supportive pillow that I am OUT! I don't mind a few creative ideas spinning in there - whether it be aha! that is the colour I should be painting the lounge or a solution to a tricky scene in a script or even just a way to fit more into the next day or what to cook for friends that weekend. But I want to banish the insecure demons who wait all day in the shadows only to pounce when the lights go down.

So I must dash - I have beds and mattresses to check out. Dust mite resistant. Pocket sprung. Cushioned NASA spacemen during take -off. Etc. So sleep tight and don't let the demons bite!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

How will this work?

How is it supposed to work exactly - when I get start this new job? Husband has been living a somewhat pampered existence (he would dispute this) with my routine as follows: (sorry in advance if this sends you to a slumber - it sent me on anti-depressants) 8:15 up with sproglet. Make him breakfast. Hang with him while he eats and try to wake up. Sproglet plays with toys, I make him two nutritious meals to take with him to child minder and pack his bag - usually involving stir fries, boiling noodles, potatoes, carrots, grilling chicken etc. Try being Jamie Oliver every day - it is exhausting! Dress him. Tidy his room. Put on wash. Put out wash. Put away dried washing. Shower. Sproglet does Nemo or Monsters Inc. Tidy house for prospective buyers/tenants (hiding every sign of us living here) - this takes forever. In our small flat all storage space is full to the MAX. Latest spot - hide all under sproglet's cot. Dress - try to be creative, give up and wear usual jeans, white vest top under black top ensemble. Dry hair, spot of make up to try and look human. By this stage it is normally noon. Husband - sleeps.

Take sproglet to childminder and script read, organise house move, food shop to make sure sproglet has milk, wipes, cereal, eggs etc. etc. etc. Forget gyming it - body combat and my waist have gone by the wayside in this hectic era. Go through solicitor's papers, call mortgage man, try and pick a bed etc. Those 6 hours go mighty quickly.

6pm get sproglet back (this is only on Tues/Wed/Thurs - other days I have sproglet all day). Play for an hour, visit the park. Bath him, dress him, bottle and story. 8pm make myself dinner. Collapse on sofa. Notice how sofa needs cleaning. Wash bedding, towels etc. Normally watch all TV dramas to find new writers and to know my soaps inside out in order to find work. Riveting day eh? Sorry - are you still there? Thank god, thought you had gone to open a vein.

How will I ever juggle a full time job, sproglet and looking after a house (plus the move??) It took me all afternoon yesterday to research child care in our new neck of the woods - and we have only two possible nurseries - one of which may be full!! My lists are endless. Husband - sleeps - oh and works. Kind of like a bar vampire.

How we will juggle our lives and careers and a small child in between - with me working days and him nights? Will we see each other? Will he ever see sproglet? I voice these worries and he shushes me. It will all work out he says. I want to kill him as what he means is - you will somehow cope with full time job (described by one BBC exec as 'the hardest two years of your life') and picking up sproglet and taking him to nursery, and the house move and being able to do the shop/housework etc. I will try. I want to keep up Samaritans too - yes, I will be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d beyond belief. But hey - better to be busy than bored. But oh my god - how appealing does an afternoon of Danielle Steel trash movies and cupcakes feel now eh?

When I read that the non-entity singer/model/whatever-I-can-be-that-doesn't-require- any-training Lisa B has written a 'lifestyle book' I wanted to vomit on her. How dare someone who is married to a property tycoon multi-millionaire, replete with nannies and housekeepers and the like - try and tell ME how to have a perfect lifestyle!!! How to throw a well catered dinner party, have no cellulite and teach my kids yoga and find the ultimate truffle. I want to invite her round for a day at chez crummy mummy and then see what she advises. Why the vacuous rich idle away their days as yummy mummies telling us mere mortals how to live our lives - I have no idea. Will I buy this book? I would rather have a smear test every day for the rest of my life.The pictures of this book show Lisa in cashmere casual wear (think The White Company) in a yoga position, with fruit bowl in front of her, on a white daybed staring out at her lake. Yes, that's right - lake. Next to her mansion in the country. This woman isn't giving us advice on how to get through the day sans breakdown - she is smugly going 'look what I have. Unattainable - get me!' If she is a woman's woman I will eat my bra. In the photos there is not a puke stain, mushed tangerine or greasy hair in sight. It is all tranquility spa, fluffy and white. It is about as realistic as Jordan's breasts.

Vent over.

Ok - I am off to wake or murder husband. Not sure which.

Is it wrong to crave a martini at 11:15am?

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

My neck of the woods

I've lived in my little neck of the woods for 9 years. Its a long time to be in one place - particularly in the fluid city of London. I arrived here in this leafy village in zone 2 as a recently unemployed associate producer - desperate to become a presenter. Sharing a plush airy mansion block flat with 3 other girls. There was Claire who had just split up with her boyfriend and was in the summer of woe (which became the autumn of booty-calling and the winter of discontent followed by a spring exit out of the UK) - she spent all her free time using retail therapy to mend her broken heart. Why else would a woman buy three types of facial glitter and a pair of Gucci sandals to go travelling in? Caroline - the work-a-holic who smoked like a chimney and rarely got out of her Pjs before 6pm on a Sunday. She was looking for love but ended up dating men who would try and persuade her to give them hand jobs under the bar table. Singledom was far more appealing, especially as she only had a night off once in a blue moon. Finally there was Nikki, who thought doritos and cream cheese were a staple diet, wore the most colourful clothes in the whole of London and dated many frogs in search of her prince. I lived in the lounge, which the girls still used as a lounge - we all used to pile into my bed and onto my sofa for our weekly Dawson's Creek rituals, replete with Sunday Papers. I began presenting on a teen channel and was well paid, with a wardrobe allowance to boot and yet I still found reasons to complain - mainly about my wasteland of a love life. About 20 seconds away was a cafe that we basically lived in - once we moved out they shut down, clearly we had kept them afloat - and would stomp there every night to moan about work and boys.

They were happy years - in between the beer goggle snogs with unsuitable boys (remind me to tell you my 17 year old masquerading as a 20 year old cookie boy story another time) the overdrafts and my yo-yo career in TV. There was always something going on: a party, a launch, a showcase, a free screening with free wine and tasty sarnies. We were each other's family - home from home. It couldn't last. Claire buggered off to NZ, Nikki moved in with her man and I bought a flat. I only moved down the road but the difference was acute. I rented out my spare room to a boy for a start - and desperately missed my girlie chats. Who to go to when I ran out of tampax? I still miss those days occasionally. The 'stealth' nights out in our 'operation summer'(a plan to kiss as many boys as poss - no more mind, we were moral girls) when we wore little make up and a lot of attitude and whirled like dervishes on the sweaty sticky dancefloor of our local late-nite dive 'Latelys.' I became a member the first time I went there - I still am. Gordon the owner never charged me to get in. I lost count of the number of random boys I would write my phone no on the arms of. In the dim pink neon strip lighting we would down vile shots and sexily shimmy to drive the boys wild. Except the boys were wild already - neanderthals in pressed shirts hunting prey and avoiding relationships.

I loved the area - I could walk to 3 different cinemas; drink until 3am in two local drinking dens (the kind of places where requesting Madonna's 'Beautiful Stranger' or Britney's 'Hit me Baby one more time' was not considered uncool); there was a bustling Sainsburies, a posh Waitrose and lots of restaurants and bars. I made friends with the boys in the Video store (that became DVDs), the owners of the local Italian - it became my second home and in fact I later invited them to my wedding - and the folk in the dry cleaning store and the bagel bakery. Out went my miserly lodger, in came one of my girls. When she left my boyfriend moved in. My small second bedroom had been my room from day 1, then my first 'living with my boyfriend' room; the room that he proposed in, the room sproglet was conceived in and is now sproglet's room. I saw out my twenties in this flat - had so many different folk to stay on my crummy sofa bed - left this flat to get married, returned to it from honeymoon. Brought sproglet home from hospital.

My memories are mainly all good: (apart from the summer of hell after I had sproglet and it was 37 degree heat, with builders creating dust clouds and enough noise to wake the dead) power walking on the Heath with my friend Magster - followed by cake and tea - we knew exercise required rewarding; drunken nights spilling out of Latelys trailing feather boas with my friend Sam (who discovered this area long before I did); many meals in La Brocca followed by lock-ins and helping ourselves to drinks behind the bar; the buzz of the place in the summer, the first chills of autumn walking to the movies down a much-used side path and the twinkling fairy lights lighting up the lampposts to announce Xmas is imminent. Finally the cute turtle that swims in the O2 centre fish tanks, who I am convinced recognises me and waves accordingly with his little fin.

I am ready to move on - to have a proper house, to drive to work like a grown up and to have room for more than 3 people in the lounge at once. I will miss my dear friends in the area - Pocket who is heading to LA anyway, Gerry and Lis who pop round with beers or a bottle - willing to lend helping hands at sproglet's bath time, Rachel who pounds the air with me at body combat, Kate who joins me for cakeathons in Hampstead, my amazing child minder who has looked after sproglet for almost 2 years (when I told her we were moving she was fine - I cried) and always is flexible and genuinely loves him. I am excited to move on, but a little part of my heart will be left behind here. No doubt on moving day I will shed a few tears. Forgive me in advance - this area will always be home to me - no matter where I am.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

To do... no.124,678

Well I did it. I turned 35. A new box. A new chapter. It was a breeze actually. I just drank some cocktails, got a cute card from sproglet and berated husband for not getting me cake or flowers (he will be shelling out for some summer footwear pour moi though). A very chilled day. Lots of facebook messages and text messages and people enjoying the fact they are younger than me. Who isn't these days?

But oh my god - the lists. The endless fecking lists that have emerged to haunt my waking moments and sleeping ones too. My head feels like it is about to explode under the weight of 'to dos.' I know starting a new job is stressful. I know that moving house is stressful. I know that renting out a property is stressful. I know children are stressful. I know finding good childcare is even more stressful. Put all said stressful ingredients into a large mixing bowl, stir with woman on anti-depressants, a husband's 65 hour working week, add a pinch of short tempers and dollop of not enough time in the day and voila! You have a nervous breakdown in the making!

Why does everything come at once? I am trying to exchange on new house but mortgage people are on go slow... Solicitors ask impossible questions. I have to buy beds, paint my flat, get carpets cleaned and boiler certificates. But furniture and organise delivery at new home. Pack. Move. Find a nursery for sproglet where fairies make organic angel cakes and they skip over rainbows and drink nectar from bluebell cups and the like to ease my enormous motherhood guilt at going back to work. Thank god I am not Catholic is all I can say - as my guilt weighs me down and I'm not even there yet.

I haven't moved from the sofa in two hours - making calls, writing lists, sending emails. Sorting it all out. Of course I am still buzzing about new job - but the reality of 9-6 5 days a week will hit me like a tonne of bricks. Don't hate me - but I haven't done full time work since '99!! Apart from the odd 6 week or 9 week stint (twice) I have just presented here and there - 10 days a month maybe. I know... I'll stop talking now. Life is about to change. But I promise to still blog.

BTW - I was handed a strange package in the street the other week. Turns out it was skincare from Japan. I stuffed it in a drawer and forgot about it until Sunday, when I decided to give it a bash. An oil cleanser, soap, toner and moisturiser. OH MY GOD. I have skin softer than sproglet. Buy some now. DHC. Genius. See, even in my wild list world, I still have time to drop in some product wisdom. At 35 I need to know my onions. Or rather olive oil based products. Buy it!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

The nicest thing

Do you know the nicest thing?

I know lying toastie in a warm bed, knowing that you don't have to get up for work has gotta be up there - but the nicest thing for me, was yesterday my friends' reaction to me getting a job - finally.

It was so lovely to text them/ring them with my news and hear their cheery responses. Most phoned - full of pure joy for me. Telling me it was deserved and it restored their belief that if you want anything enough - it can be achieved. It made me gooey and warm inside - and just added to my excitment. I have cried on their collective shoulders; moaned, bitched, vented my frustrations - fed them tedious detail affter detail on my rollercoaster career. They have cajoled, comforted and calmed. My cheerleaders who believed in me and told me that it WOULD happen. They deserve medals themselves.

It really hasn't been the easiest of times - husband never here much, me lonely - chained to a child's routine, in night after night alone, wondering if I will ever work again. Through it all I have tried to appreciate the little things: lying flat with sproglet on the roundabout in the local park, gazing up at the summer sky; reading scripts in starbucks chomping on a muffin; Grazia on a Tuesday; bath times with sproglet; having time to watch what I want on TV; friends making time for me - popping round with thai take-aways, meeting for a cheeky cuppa or a bottle or two of red. I know that with the house move and the new job that life is going to get so hectic I am not going to have enough hours in the day. I can't fecking wait!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Over the Moon.... hurrah!


Today I got a phonecall that will change my life - I got offered a script editing job at Eastenders!!!!

I am beyond excited. And terrified. After the assistant script ed job went internally at the BBC I was devastated - as I thought I would be seen as too inexperienced to get the fully fledged script editor one... but I applied anyway. I was chuffed to be invited for interview but didn't have high hopes. It was on Monday and I socked it to them! We talked writers and characters and all sorts - as I know the show inside out - and I tried to persuade them that passion was worth more than experience. I left with a spring in my step - I had done my best.

They offered me the job today. My heart began to beat very fast in shock.

I am thrilled. Amazed. Excited to be going back to work. Worried about leaving sproglet. Going now to soak up every last minute with him.

Thanks for all your support - is proof that hard work and determination DO pay off.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

What you see aint always what you get

So... I got an email from another old schoolmate. Bless her - she had read this blog cover to cover and wanted to tell me how much she related to it and to keep my chin up - which was so lovely of her. (Thanks Pam!). But here's the thing - she confessed to having admired/envied me back in our old schooldays. According to her I was the 'girl who had everything': the looks/boys/friends/educational success etc. Which absolutely knocked me sideways - totally jaw-droppingly astounded me. Trust me, pre- dental work (thank the lord for veneers)my teeth were not a pretty sight; particularly the gap between my two front teeth and one further along. The boys used to cheerfully tell me (and I quote) 'You could drive a Rolls Royce through that - sideways!' Nice. Occasionally they would mix it up a bit and call me 'the dog' or 'human skateboard' on account of my unrealised breasts. In the emotionally wrought teen years when one's self confidence is normally in the toilet, my male chums would get hammered at parties, kiss me, then the next day announce they remembered nothing and that they were 'victims' of mine. Truly. I realllllllly felt good about myself. I may have grown Jessica Rabbit like curves overnight and my cups thus ran over - but even then my teenage pertness didn't attract the boys one bit. The only boy that actually looked at me was the school stoner - who didn't give a toss what anyone said (probably too boxed to hear what anyone said) and won me over by promising me a purple orchid. Which naturally, he never sent. So my first real boyfriend of note happened a month before my 17th birthday. Late bloomer? I thought I would never flower, or be de-flowered for that matter.

Educationally - whilst I was a jammy sod who could swot up the night before and do ok in exams - sailing through English and bizarrely Religious Ed; my true passion was art - but I was a lazy article - who procrastinated to within an inch of her life and never gave it her all - thereby getting good-ish grades but never the grades I was capable of (bar the A in Eng Lit A level. I think I wrote 25 sides in one paper...). Meanwhile my family life was hell - I lived with my Mother who was sinking further into alcoholism in my latter teenage years - and my Mother's ex-boyfriend at weekends. A weird scenario I know, but one that was my salvation. My Dad remarried and swaned off every weekend, seeing me when he could fit me in, in between his refereeing, work, socialising etc. The only thing that got me through such bleak years, was having a core of friends that I could turn to - and can still turn to - in my Eastenders like dramas. I remember when my Dad told me I had to choose between him or Mum's ex. If I didn't choose him - he would walk out of my life forever. I was 15.

Thank God for my muckers. They were always there for a conspiratorial ciggie on route to squash/tennis/rowing (followed by cream cakes - great health plan - try it) or a swift glass of Blue Nun at the Empire pub to whinge to about my fucked up family. I counted the months, then days, until I could get to Uni and escape my existence. I was tired of having 3 phone numbers (long before the simplified days of mobile phones), having to pack my bag on a Thursday night and the insane petty squabbles that my parental figures involved me in, just to score points off each other. To say that I had it all is so laughable. I felt like the girl who had nothing. To the point that I attempted to take my life when I was only 14. Now that I volunteer for Samaritans and I can look back in retrospect - I was such a classic example of someone crying out for help. I saved pills for 6 months. I planned every last detail - writing a will; planning the day; who would find me etc. The attempt didn't work (clearly) and I blacked out - only to come to 14 hours later and then vomit for a day. I planned another attempt - straight after school. I don't remember what happened that March day in 1987 - but whatever it was, it was enough to make me temporarily put the pills away - locked in a bureau in the corner of my room. (With a packet of Marlboro Reds and a half bottle of Tia Maria to make Black Russians with - oh the glamour!). I kept those pills right through until I went to Uni - and then threw them away - I had no need for them anymore - now that I had escaped.

16 years on - things are a million times better with my families (all 3 of them) and I still have the same friends - and now their wives and husbands - so on that one Pamela was right. They are my other family. The one I knew that would never leave me. Or at least I hoped they wouldn't. There is something comforting in having known someone for 23 years - in some cases 29. Hell, I'm still friends with some of those cruel boys - who grew up to be the loveliest men. (Who knew?)

The point is - we all think everyone else's life is a bowl of cherries. Cat Deeley doesn't look like anything bad has ever happened to her - what with that glossy hair, thin pins, golden legs (and career) and houses in London and LA. But I bet she has bad days too - just like the rest of us. We are all mere mortals, we all make mistakes. I have to remember this when I frequently think that everyone else is having THE BEST TIME and I think I missed the party.

Husband kissed me today.(I am 75% forgiven he says). Sproglet and I played with trucks and shared cornflakes. I walked in the sunshine and had a meeting a nice estate agent who will rent out our flat for us. I'm going to move house and somehow find work. It will all be ok. As Pamela said - there is light at the end of the tunnel - and it isn't necessarily a train coming towards you.....Hurrah!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Damages ... over. What the hell will I do with my Monday nights from now on? What an amazing series. Did you not watch? Get the DVD box set quick - banish kids and spouse and grab a cuppa and a half price Easter egg and get comfy. You are in for one helluva treat. A lesson in how to sustain a story arc over 13 episodes that initially appears simplistic but has more twists and turns than an Irish country road! What a rollercoaster of a ride. And rejoice - for series 2 is currently in production!!

Wasn't Glenn Close amazing? Mind you the woman has never put in a dud performance in her whole life. Where would 80s films have been without her? 'The World According To Garp,' 'The Big Chill,' 'Jagged Edge' 'Dangerous Liaisons' and of course 'Fatal Attraction' to name a few. She is one of the all time greats. Who knew Ted Danson had such depths? I really have to rein in my need to pontificate on how great this series was - as we'd be here all day. Plus I just cannot write anything without giving a key plot point away and I really would rather cut off my eyelids than spoil this rare treat for the lucky few who have yet to discover the thrill of Damages.

Meanwhile... the sun is shining... Nemo is NOT on the DVD. Husband thawed slightly when I bought him a £45 bottle of something oaky and full bodied. He still hasn't done the weekly shop and therefore there is no butter for my toast but he has said he will deign to speak to me again today. I'm kinda getting over the whole punishment thing now - an Aries girl can only hold her fire for so long and I have eaten enough humble pie to fill a bakery twice over. If he doesn't get over himself and embrace forgiveness as a virtue we may enter a new battle zone. I know he wanted me to grovel. To skirt around him on tippy toes full of remorse and subservient wife gestures - but I am only capable of acting this despised role for so long - and then snap! Must go - sproglet needs me. By the way - I am taking Justine's advice - and am loving every moment with my son. This age is just a joy. He has taken a huge shine to a duck stuffed animal and carries it under his arm - everywhere. Including into the bath yesterday. Then howled in his cot when Duckie was getting his feathers toasted on the radiator and was too damp for a night time cuddle. In the end I had to put Duckie in with him - dry side round and then sneak it out from under his arm while he slept to complete the drying process... Thank god sproglet is far from high maintenance - I couldn't put up with 2 Divas at the moment!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Pictures without sound

Well its all pictures and no sound in our house at the minute. Actually it is blissfully peaceful. I could go into the sorry tale of why husband is not communicating with me - but I am the bad guy. I know I air my dirty laundry here like a fishwife - but I will put into a few syllables: me - drunk. Very. Misread a situation. Angry. Texts. Dismember doorbell. Lock up. Sleep soundly. Husband home. Lying in 3 foot hall until 6am. Angry. Door bashing. Not speaking. There you have it. I have apologised. By text. We have communicated through 3 texts (mine) and 4 grunts (his) since Fri evening. I go out, come home, he goes out. Sproglet runs between us and thinks it is a game. I wish I could be more bothered. But I have too much to do - what with organising a whole house move and all. A job to find. You know the small things in life. The cold winds show no sign of thawing. He claims that he won't speak to me for a week. My birthday is next Monday. Will he be talking to me by then or should I try and get some gals together for a cocktail or 5? Mind you, who the hell does cocktails on a Monday night anymore? Tis a school night after all...

The strange thing is that normally my birthday is like a week long event that builds to one helluva climax. But this year I'm just like.... yeah, birthday schmirthday. It all feels like too much of an effort. Is odd. I feel removed from it - almost like it has no bearing on my life whatsoever - which is great I guess, because if I ignore it - does that mean I can stay 34???

Friday, 4 April 2008

What's for you....

Hello!!! God it all got a bit dark there for a bit didn't it? It's Friday avo - I can't have darkness on a gorgeous sunny day like today.I've had a lovely day. I met with my friend Maggie - who is radiant, with shiny thick glossy hair, being in the glorious blooms of pregnancy - we went to a cute playpark in posh Hampstead. I think you need a bugaboo to get in - the terrain is rough with a sand pit in the middle - pure off road wheels needed. Sproglet frolicked around, went down the slide backwards on his tummy, ran away from a wee girl who threw sand in his eyes (her Mother was on the phone the whole time and didn't look up once - I was ready to bop her on the head with said phone and tell her to rein in her wild child - I went into full Mama bear mode)and tried to converse with a huge bear shaped bin.

We ate pasta at Carluccios, sproglet covered himself in butter and blue pencil and then he slept peacefully as we wandered down the hill back towards my flat. Girl chat, sunshine on my face, a frappacino and fun with sproglet - I just need some cake and happiness is complete. I received an email today from an old schoolmate - Justine. I haven't seen her since we left school back in... oh too long ago to mention - but she reads this blog and she offered me some great words of wisdom. Basically to dry my eyes and enjoy what I have. 'Tis true. I got a bit wallowy there for a moment. I need to concentrate on what I have rather that what I don't have. I remember once at a party I had - I spent more time wondering where the folk that hadn't turned up were, rather than worry about those that had actually made an appearance. I'm forever getting to one goalpost and then moving it fifty yards away - saying 'I'll be happy if I get there...' then getting there and... you get the picture. Do you ever do this? Come on, make me feel like I'm not alone in this sin! So, the job thing - I'll worry about it next week - and actually instead of worrying (a wasted activity if ever there was one - like snooker) I will just try and do my best and see what comes up. What's for you won't go past you.

On that cheery note - have a good weekend. I'm off to get cake. x

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Giving up

I want to give up. Honest I do. I've had a crappy couple of weeks and things aren't getting any better. Husband tries his best but does crazy hours and basically I am left holding sproglet. The job situation isn't improving and I feel so fresh out of ideas and inspiration that I feel like I am a walking zombie. A walking zombie who's tear ducts are doing overtime. Three weeps today - one in the street. Snotty nose, tears tripping me, hard to breathe - to the point an old man stopped walking, turned round and clocked me, a concerned look spread over his craggly face. Once one tear falls it is hard to stop.

I know I shouldn't compare my life to others - it does me no good - but why the hell is it so fucking hard for me to get work? I mean, was there a media party that everyone was invited to bar me? A bloody BBC one? Does someone out there practice black magic to a fine art and has a little shrine of hate to me? What is going on??? I have spent over a year trying to break into tv drama - and I have no fight left. No fire in my belly. The tank is empty. I just want to curl up under the duvet and not get up until someone has a job ticket with my name on it. We should move in 5 weeks - and how will I pay my share of the mortgage? The stress of this consumes me daily. I feel sick when I think about it. Then today - just when I couldn't get lower - my Dad calls. The show I gave my heart and soul to - the one I flew back to Belfast for every weekend with 4 month old sproglet - is back. With a new presenter. Not that anyone told me. It is the ultimate humiliation. Fair enough the TV company is making redundancies - and has recruited said presenter from within - and it is a differnt style of show - less young, more political... But I can't help feel it is a slap in the face. Oh yeah - kick me when I am down. Get your big boots on - with the steel toe caps - great. Now aim!

Am I turning into one of those half empty people? I dunno. I just feel flat. Christ if I wasn't on the anti-depressants I would be calling the Samaritans rather than volunteering for them. I know - I am meant to give out positive vibes and then they all coming raging back to me boomerang stylee and lo and behold - life is a bowl of cherries. I just wish I could get a break. I keep thinking why me? Then beating myself up for being such a self-pitying self-obsessed arse. I just wish I knew a way out of this all. A way to have - dare I say it - some stability in life. I'm a good person - I pay taxes, volunteer, floss, pick up litter, recycle etc etc. All I want is to work and earn a crust at something I enjoy and challenges me. Is that too much to ask?

Ok - enough of my pity party. I just feel shattered. Lost. Disappointed and disenchanted. I just want things to change and I have tried and tried and don't know what to do any more. Mr Big at the beeb has yet to get back to me. I feel like the girl who had the date from heaven and yet - he never called.

But I did go and see 'Horton hears a who'at the cinema today. Sproglet loved it. The moral is - a person is still a person, no matter how small. Which is good because I feel very small indeed.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Pity party - you're all invited!

Well... I intended to have a pity party tonight. Just you, me and a fine red 'Georges Duboeuf Fleurie' 2006. I wanted to whitter on about how my job hell had sunk lower than Captain Nemo ever dared to venture - that the only thing beneath me now is Satan himself. Then I popped onto a blog I liked (The Girl Who... - check Monica out) and from there was sent to this link:

Well, reading about a 16 month old child with cancer is enough to sober anyone. I grabbed for my wallet and donated to this poor family who really know the pit of despair. They discovered their child was ill - on vacation... miles from home. There they are ensconced. Struggling through the days, praying that their darling daughter will survive numerous operations and chemo etc. It wasn't an easy read. It dampened my enthusiasm for my little well of self pity that I was going to dip into. So I will explain but not dwell. Dwelling is for ejits... or those that don't know how lucky they are.

So why was my stupid day so bad? Well I emailed a lovely girl who used to send me out scripts from the BBC. I wondered what had happened to the job I have waited for over a year to come up - the assistant script editor at Eastenders. (Brit soap for all my amazing foreign readers). I had done some digging and discovered the girl who did it was promoted and her replacement was a guy on placement - who is leaving this week. Voila! The opportunity was mine for the taking! I had been in to meet the folk there twice - they knew me, I was ready - just in time for the house move and HUGE new mortgage etc.... and.... today lovely Kathleen emailed me - the job went internally.


Yes - MY job - for it had my name on it I assure you - had been advertised and the interviews already had taken place. Big bulbous tears hit the keyboard. I just didn't know where to turn to. I have spent a year trying to get into script editing. I met great bigwigs in the industry. The big wigs said "Work on a soap!" So soapwards I went. There are 7 in the UK. 3 in London. One great soap offered me a job but I had to say no - due to it being in Leeds and sprog and husband (mortgage etc) all being in London. So..... I concentrated on the 3 soaps in London. One fancies itself as a 'serial drama' so is out of my league. That leaves 2. I can't get in to one - so that leaves EE - which I love. I met with folk there and they said - the assistant script ed would be PERFECT for you! Then they gave it... blah blah - you know the rest. I was gutted. I am gutted. I have no idea where to look for work - an opening or even inspiration. Why do I always choose the hardest mountains to climb? Why couldn't I want to be something straightforward - a hairdresser or solicitor or something... And I thought getting in to presenting was hard!

Do you ever have days like today - when you wonder what the hell is against you? Does an ex-boyfriend have a freakin' voodoo doll that he is sticking more pins in than a seamstress's cushion? Anyway - I washed sproglet, fed him pasta and popped him down to sleep. He went out like a light, snuggling his new fav toy - and duck called... er, 'Duckie'. And I realised that I am blessed - with friends, family, a husband who buys me 'Taste the difference cream custard' to drown my sorrows with. And a sproglet with fuzzy hair and the best laugh in the world. Feck 'em and their job. To quote that brilliant Aries woman Scarlett - 'tomorrow is another day.'