Thursday, 26 June 2008

Bare Necessities

I worked at Oval yesterday, and wow, what a match! It came down to the very last ball, and the kiwis had to score 2 runs to win, no wickets in hand. Gillespie, who had missed the last 2 balls he faced, swung, missed and ran anyway.... and an overthrow gave them the time they needed to make the last run and take the game from the shocked Poms. The tension was incredible! Everyone thought that England would win, and I was one of the few people cheering for the Black Caps as they claimed victory. I don't know why, but I feel I should support the Southern Hemisphere teams over England, even though I live here!

The gig itself was great. I was hostessing up in the boxes, and there was very little to do other than stand around smiling and looking pretty, and checking that the guests were all happy. Basically, I got paid £150 to watch a cricket match. No complaints there.

Afterwards, I was on my way to drop off my uniform when I ran into 5 of my colleagues. They were pretty wasted from an all-dayer, and insisted I join them for a drink at the pub. As I had called in sick, I had to first make them promise that they'd never seen me, but luckily the guys are all my work friends and they thought the whole thing was brilliant. We ended up at the dodgiest of Vauxhall strip pubs, the Queen Anne. I've walked passed it before and had a good laugh; I never imagined I'd be going inside for a night! Turned out to be quite fun, in a 'so seedy it's laughable' kind of way. The strippers are not professionals; they are just girls who have auditioned (and I use the term loosely - I think some of these girls just took off their tops and got the gig, that's how bad they were) and who pop in for a couple of quick-buck dances every night. They walk around with a little tin before they dance and if you're watching - and by watching I mean standing anywhere inside where you might catch a glimpse of the stage - you have to pay 50p. The guys were quite rowdy by this stage, and kept asking for their 50p back if the girl was crap - which was often! All in all it was good fun, and I left at a decent hour and only a couple of drinks down, so this morning I had no problems getting up.

Tonight I'm off to Def Leppard, which I'm super excited about, and tomorrow it's Wimbledon, so I'm not sure if I'll get another chance to update before Monday. If not, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Take Your Sistas Out Tonight

It's hot outside today - everyone in my office is commenting on it. These comments range from "Oh what a beautiful day!" to "Mother&%!$?*, what's wrong with the air conditioning?" Poms. They're only happy if they can complain about the weather. My only complaint is my lack of sunglasses. I lost my pair from Cape Town (I seem to have entered another 'pick me and I'll lose anything' phase), and the replacement pair I bought from H&M a couple of weeks ago just don't make the grade. I thought they looked a little funny when I put them on, but since I have as much luck buying sunglasses as I do with finding the right size jeans or getting visas issued, I convinced myself they were ok. You know, just to relieve the pressure and actually walk out the shop with some sunnies, instead of nothing but a sulky lip. Anyway, turns out they sit skew on my face. Surprise surprise. I was safely ensconced in my illusion of decent sunnies, until I put them on for Shoes and Scarf to see and got skeefed out like I was the only black person in Vryburg. I'm now super self conscious about my skew eyes (I know most people have one eye higher than the other, but I swear mine are so bad I've taken to leaning slightly to the right when I talk to people), and only wear the damn sunnies when the squinting results in tears.

So, last weekend. It was a good 'un. Friday night Scarf and I went down to Gilgamesh in Camden to see the Hoosiers. Gilgamesh. How can a place with a name like that fail to be cool? I would have gone just to have a photo taken at the front door (ok, I didn't actually do that, but only because my camera is broken). The gig itself was ok. The band has a couple of songs with funky beats, but I won't be downloading their album anytime soon. Also, even though we got free drinks tokens, the vodka tasted like the barmen had added a splash of petrol to it - it was completely undrinkable. For my second drink I tried gin, but it appeared those pesky barmen had an excess supply of petrol, and it too went unfinished. Ok, so apparently the Booze Fairy was forcably dragging us onto the wagon. Kicking and screaming, I might add. But she got us there nevertheless. We left almost immediately after the set finished, and got a fairly early night.

Saturday I met TheArtyOne, Mello and TheArtyOne's new addition to our group, WestEndGirl, in Leicester Square for West End Live. This little festivity included all the usual gems that come with free entertainment, such as face painting, food stalls and goodie bags of food samples and, more bizarrely, a spray called Foot Silk, which apparently reduces friction when wearing tight shoes. Then there was the main attraction - 15 minute performances from most of the major West End shows. It's a brilliant marketing idea, which aims at getting bums on seats for what is traditionally a winter activity in London. We Will Rock You drew the most cheers from the audience, while Dirty Dancing was the most disappointing. As I've seen both shows, I can safely say that DD was a pathetic representation of the production itself, which, if you love the movie, can't fail to thrill you. A new show that none of us had heard of and are now going to see is Into The Hoods, which twists fairy tales into modern stories and tells them through hip-hop dancing. Also, I heard nothing but immense praise for Billy Elliot, a show I had previously not considered seeing and which is now in my top 5 must-sees.

After a morning of soaking up West End culture, we went for lunch in Chinatown at a little place called the Laughing Buddha (the second most popular name for Chinese restaurants; the first being anything related to dragons). Then it was off to Covent Garden for a spot of shopping, which for me included a Little Black Dress from Jane Norman. I justifed this by rationalising that I actually don't have a decent LBD to wear out. The fact that I have no events in the near future for which I need an LBD is irrelevant. No woman should be caught without one. And anyway, it was half price!!!!

Then it was off to the the University of London to see Feeder, who were playing the venue as part of Xfm's all day breakfast show (nearly 24 hours of back to back bands in various venues around London, all presented by the seriously mad Alex Zane, who of course managed this on coffee and red bull alone *cough cough*). Feeder was absolutely brilliant. I liked their stuff before the gig, now I am a full-blown fan. After the Hoosiers, it was a treat to see how a band could really rock a small gig when they have the passion for it. Overall it really was a perfect chicks day out, marred only by the lack of cocktails and dancing to finish it off.

The rest of the weekend was chilled out. I watched my future husband Kimi Raikonnen limp to a second place finish at the French Grand Prix, and while the others watched Italy play Spain on Sunday night (footie on a Sunday night - now they're taking the piss), I watched The Other Boleyn girl, which I adored. It's like Braveheart but with oestrogen.

Then we come to this week. Tomorrow, I may or may not be working at Oval cricket ground through my promotions company... I'm currently a reserve, so I only find out when I get there at 7am tomorrow morning. Luckily, I get paid a third of my daily rate just for coming in, so I score even if I don't work. Thursday night I'm going to see Def Leppard at Wembley Arena - a whole post will be dedicated to this on Thursday, as my love (read mad obsession) for them cannot be expressed in one line. Friday I'm off to Wimbledon for the day, courtesy of TheArtyOne and her mate at work who gets free tickets. I'm thinking strawberries, champagne and a great big straw hat. Which I don't have. Saturday is another day out with TheArtyOne at the British National Gymnastics Championships in Guildford. This will be the first time I've seen live gymnastics since the days I used to do it, so I'm very excited. Sunday the Awesome Foursome is off see Linkin Park, Jay-Z and guests playing the Revolution Tour at Milton Keynes Bowl. I'm exhausted just writing all that - how much more once I've lived through it? What a cracker of a week. I'll update whenever I can.

Friday, 20 June 2008

What A Wonderful Word

It's a free ticket frenzy at work at the moment, and I am taking full advantage! Tonight Scarf is coming with me to see the Hoosiers in Camden, and tomorrow I have tickets to see Feeder as part of one of our station's birthday celebrations. Sometimes I really love my job. This weekend also sees West End Live take over London's West End. Basically this is a festival of sorts celebrating all that's great about the West End, so it includes live acts from the best musicals on an outdoor stage at Leicester Square; movies and all sorts of other promotions and entertainment. Best of all - it's all free! This is good, as I am poorer than an Ethiopian churchmouse. TheArtyOne, Mello and I will be joining thousands of revellers taking part in the fun tomorrow.

I have been reading articles on SA Good news today, and was going to write a serious post on how I think that we all - me included - need to make more of an effort to get involved in making a difference. I was even going to talk up these fabulous bags I found that are made entirely from discarded polypropylen packaging that is used to transport tea, coffee, sugar, rice, etc, thereby helping protect the environment. I still think it's a great idea, and the manufacturer has come up with some lovely extra motivations to go along with the bags, based on the concept of pay-it-forward. Check them out here.

Anyway, so that's what I was going to do. BUT.... then I found this. And I thought, you know what? It's Friday. We'll leave the serious post for another day. Enjoy the intelligent wit, courtesy of the readers of the Washington Post. :-)

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing of one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness. 11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Thought For The Day

Is there anything more disgusting than walking into a public toilet after the previous occupant has made a poo?

And then even if you hold your breath the whole time, when you walk out the bathroom you can still smell turd wafting around you for the next few minutes.



Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Sing When You're Winning

So, the weekend. It was a pretty good one, despite me initially not being in a weekend mood. The Friday feeling eluded me last week for some reason. Eyes went to visit G-Days in Chippenham, so on Friday night it was just Shoes, Scarf and I at home. We didn't really do much that's worth writing about. It was a quiet night and early to bed for a change - my, how old we're getting!

Saturday was good fun though. The three of us went to a braai at Miss M's house, and we were joined by the Queen of Melodrama, OJ and several other entertaining people, including Miss M's housemate, MopGirl, who is a very, um, interesting person! I personally thought she was hilarious - I mean, she did dance around the kitchen with a mop for most of the evening. Miss M thinks I might have scared her a bit though. This could have had something to do with Scarf, Miss M and I standing on chairs around the braai and BELTING out Hollaback Girl, among other songs. We took loudness to new levels, which for us is really pushing the envelope, as you'd be hard pressed to find three louder people in London as it is. At one point I gestured frantically to the gardens on either side of their little backyard, trying to convey my concern that the neighbours might soon protest. Miss M gestured back (talking was impossible due to the volume of music and enthusiastic singing) that she didn't know / didn't care - I could not tell by the shrug of her shoulders which it was - and we segued melodiously into a rendition of U and Ur Hand. QoM was a scream as usual - I don't see him for a while and I forget how much fun it is to hang out with him; then he appears in all his extremely camp glory and I wonder how any party has ever functioned without him!

Someone decided later on that it would be a great idea to play drunken football on the nearby pitch dark field. Let's just say that dutch courage + total darkness + full on tackling = bruises that remind you of your stupidity for several days to come. I am still being reminded everytime I bump my left arm, courtesy of Shoes' "no mercy because you're playing with the big boys now" tackling style. He is competitive when sober, when drunk he is a liability - or rather, I am a liability to his team, if you were to ask him.

On Sunday I spent the entire day studying for my Life in the UK test. This is the test that one must take when applying either for British citizenship or a settlement (permanent residence) visa. As my next visa is for settlement, I had to spend my day studying a 120 page book crammed full of useless facts, such as what percentage of Christians in the UK are Catholic, and where one must go if one needs legal advice. Ludicrous. All you need to know to live in the UK is how to sink 8 pints in a pub after work! Luckily, my 8 hours of poring over the tedious material paid off, and I completed the 24 question multiple choice test in 6 minutes.

I have now got confirmation that I can get my Schengen visa in time for our trip, so today has been spent researching accommodation for Mallorca. I can see myself on a beach with a Pina Colada in hand already.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Summer Holiday


My PEO appointment for my new visa is booked for 14 July, and that gives me a month afterwards in which to organise my Schengen visa for travelling.

I have plenty to tell about the weekend, but I am now going to spend the rest of my afternoon looking for accommodation in Mallorca, so I will fill you in tomorrow.

Thanks for the positive vibes everyone - I am officially the happiest person on the planet today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 13 June 2008

The Chillout Session

Stress has a taste. It's metallic, like Red Bull, but also bitter, like coffee brewed too strong. It has acidic properties too. It can make your stomach heave as if you've had too much tart white wine, or a huge Mexican dinner.

I can't actually decide whether Wednesday or Thursday was my worst day this week. It is literally one step forward, two steps back with this visa drama. I found out that I could apply at the Portugeuse Consulate for my Schengen visa, after having been told it would have to be the Spanish Consulate, where I couldn't get an appointment for love nor money. One step forward.

However, the date I am eventually going to get for my PEO appointment (for my new UK visa) is so close to the date that I fly, that the Consulate says it can't issue me the travel visa in time. It says the turn-around time is a month. 2 steps back.

I still don't know for sure what is going to happen. Once I've written my citizenship test on Monday and phoned to book my PEO appointment, I will have a better idea of where I stand. But hope is hanging by a thread.

I finally decided last night to surrender the fight. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying to get my paperwork organised - I'll do everything I can within reason. But I've accepted the fact that I'm not going to be able to go. If it somehow does work out, then I will thank God for the miracle and have an amazing holiday. If it doesn't, well, I am mentally prepared for it.

This might seem like a negative way to look at things, but for me it is merely preparation for the next mental battle I have to face. The exhaustion and fatigue and disappointment everytime I try and travel are so consuming that I lose not only the will to try, but also any fun in the build up to the holiday. By the time one of these events is over, I am left trying to pick up the pieces for long after the holiday is forgotten. And I haven't even mentioned the money, which we can ill afford at the moment.

After making my decision last night, I had a fantastic night's sleep. I even had a really nice dream, involving a fabulous braai with my family and the really hot boys from another family we were friends with when I was younger. No, it wasn't THAT kind of dream! They were just eye candy ;-) But it was the first dream I've had in as long as I can remember.

I woke up refreshed this morning, and came into work for what has been a relaxing and pleasant day. It helped that both directors were out all day today, so instead of doing the work of 2 or 3 people as I have been doing all week (which has only added to the stress), I got to read Perez Hilton and catch up on all my gymnastics news.

And I feel completely calm about it now. I am ok with not going. This will not be another Turkey. This time my boyfriend will stay behind, and we will go for a spa day or something so I can get a bit of R&R.

If it works out, I will be very happy, but for now I choose to believe that it will not. I still have a small ray of hope burning deep down, but it no longer defines how I am going to handle the situation. My decision to be at peace about this does.

I feel rather New Age or Zen writing this - I am so not the meditation type! I am all about action, all of the time. But I've realised that sometimes you only make things worse for yourself if you try too hard.

And guess what? The Twitch seems to have gone.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Let's Twitch Again

I'm very tired today; to the point where the screen in front of me keeps blurring and my mind can't resist wondering to exotic, sunny places. There's no particular reason for this. For the past couple of months I have been struggling to sleep at night - a side effect of all the passport drama and other personal stuff which I am actually now quite used to. Sleep is the first thing to go when I'm stressed out, but as it's always been that way I have developed coping mechanisms - namely shifting my body into high gear so it can run on very little sleep and lots of adrenaline. I can go on like this for months at a time if needs be. The second side effect is a more recent and previously unheard of (for me at least) sympton - The Twitch. It started 3 or 4 weeks ago now, and has mainly been concentrated in my right eyelid. It's an incredibly annoying place to have a twitch, because if people look closely and catch me doing it, it appears that I am winking lasciviously at them. It comes and goes randomly - in fact, I can be having a peaceful, relaxing day and suddenly BAM! My eyelid starts twitching maniacally. Last week it migrated from my eyelid to my left nostril (what is it with the left aside of my face?). I honestly can't decide which one is worse - to be seen as a perverted winker or a snobby nostril-flarer. Sometimes - not often - it actually manages to twitch in both places at once. I just go sit in the loo for a bit when that happens.

I googled The Twitch as I was starting to get worried when it didn't stop after a week. According to one website, the most common cause of twitches is fatigue and stress. Either that or I have Tourette's. Not to stereotype or anything, but I'm not yelling out swear words at inappropriate times yet, so I'm guessing it's the fatigue and stress. It's also psychic - it knows when I'm thinking or talking about it. Just now as I started writing, it started up with a vengeance.

My passport arrived on Monday with my old visa restamped in it. I was excited to have it back, but as I'm not quite out of the woods yet, I'll wait til next week to update you fully once I know where I stand. Anyway, I've slept quite well over the last few nights, which is why I don't understand my excessive fatigue this morning.

Last night I helped out on a Sara Bareilles gig broadcast live on Capital Radio. The station ran a competition where people could win the chance to watch the broadcast and meet Sara, who is in London to promote her latest single after opening for Lenny Kravitz on his tour of Germany. I was a chaperone, which meant organising pizza and beer for the winners, and escorting them around the building while making sure they were safe, happy and informed. I also got to watch Sara perform her smash hit Love Song, and her second, as yet unreleased single, Bottled Up. I'd only heard Love Song a few times on the radio, and wasn't really blown away, but she was absolutely incredible live. She is one of those rare artists whose voice actually sounds better live than over the radio, and coupled with her spunky personality, she was a pleasure to watch. In person she's tiny and very pretty, but in a girly way, if that makes sense. What I mean is, I think her looks appeal more to girls than to guys, as she is not intimidatingly beautiful. For her final song, she did a cover of Genie in a Bottle, and she changed it up to suit her more soulful voice. Very original, very surprising.

Overall it was a fun evening, and I am getting to know the Events Team on Capital - a good move if I plan on going in that direction in the future. I've offered to help out at any future gigs so hopefully there will be more celeb gossip for you. Now if only someone truly scandalous like Pete Doherty would come in - I could write pages!!!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Flying Without Wings

Sorry I've been so quiet lately peeps. It's been a combination of being kept busy at work, as well as struggling along with some personal issues, the kind that I don't really discuss here. I won't say that these issues are resolved - in fact, there is no resolution in near sight except to keep on keeping on - but I can definitely say I'm holding my head above water.

However, I had a truly fabulous weekend and so I finally have something happy to write about.

On Saturday we all went off to Red Bull Flugtag in Hyde Park. For those who have been living under a rock (and that includes you saffas at home - we have these events there too!), Flugtag, which translates directly to Flight Day, is an event owned and operated by Red Bull in which competitors attempt to fly homemade human-powered flying machines. The "flying" machines - and I do use the term loosely - are launched off a pier into the sea or a lake or other suitably sized body of water. The day is really all about competitors making absolute tits of themselves on stage to win over the crowd before launching their contraptions off the pier, only for the machines to nosedive down into the water. They are followed swiftly by the competitors themselves who must "fly" their steed, or who are sometimes pushed by over-enthusiastic crewhands.

In London, the crowd goes to witness the madness and get pissed in the park, because where there is a park there must be an excess of booze (Britain's First Law of Culture & Tradition). You can't buy or steal tickets to this event; they are handed out in several lucky draws. When we first spotted the adverts, Scarf and I sent an e-mail round telling everyone to enter, and as a result we bagged a total of 17 tickets, which enabled pretty much our whole gang to come along.

Of course, because of our natural diligence in organisation, the Awesome Foursome were the ones with the most tickets. This meant we had to try and co-ordinate everybody to arrive at Hyde Park at the same time and meet up so we could distribute the tickets. Cue first bout of mayhem for the day. The plan was to leave our house at 10:45am to get to the park for 11:30.

9:20 - Shoes and I are woken up by Eyes and Scarf STOMPING and SHOUTING around the house. This does not in fact indicate a fire or other household disaster - it merely means that they are up and getting ready to go shopping. Let's just say consideration in the mornings is not their strong point.
9:40 - I am showered and dressed and in the kitchen making breakfast. Unlike our housemates, we'd gone shopping the night before, and had our picnic items and booze all ready for prep.
9:43 - Shoes comes rampaging into the kitchen. Eyes has had a bath - an event which requires an entire tank of hot water - and has not turned the geyser on. The water is now cold and G-Days and Shoes both still need to shower. Shoes incandescent with rage.
10:05 - Our vodka has been decanted into plastic bottles, mixed with iced tea and put in the freezer. Still no sign of Eyes and Scarf. It's T-25.
10:10 - Water still cold. Shoes still flooking like a sailor. I make another round of coffee.
10:15 - OJ arrives, packed and ready to go. We almost fall over in shock - he is usually the worst when it comes to procrastinating.
10:20 - Shoes boils a kettle in desperation and washes in the basin. Curses the likes of which I have never heard are streaming out of his mouth. G-Days gives up and has a cold shower.
10:22 - Eyes and Scarf arrive home. Kitchen rapidly begins to resemble war zone as plastic bags, picnic stuff and paraphernalia fly everywhere.
10:25 - Mello arrives. Scarf is trying to pack away groceries and make rolls at the same time. All she really manages to do is make a mess.
10:35 - Rolls are prepped. Cue the Great Hunt for Stuff. Cries of "Where's my...." echo through the house. "Where's my sunnies?" "Where's my flip-flops?" Where's the frizbee?" "Where's the other cooler bag?"
10:40 - Scarf and I both making phone calls at 100 miles an hour as we try to let everybody know where to go (Marble Arch. No, Hyde Park Corner! No guys, I promise it's Marble Arch. No but really, this website says Hyde Park Corner - etc etc)
10:45 - T-0. Still hunting for picnic blankets. Shoes dressed and sulking in a corner.
10:55 - Ready to go. Have we got everything? Yes. NO!!!! OMG, WE DIDN'T BUY ICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11:00 - Leave house. Off to Sainsburys. 15 mins past T.
11:15 - Finally, Sainsburys queues have been negotiated. Ice has been bought. Off to station.
11:20 - About to go through turnstiles. WAIT! OJ has not printed his tickets. Off to internet cafe.
11:30 - On tube. 45 mins late.
12:30 - Arrive Marble Arch. Everybody else already there and seriously pissed off with us.
12:35 - Actually not everybody else is there. Remember we have forgotten to tell Miss M, Jailbait and Britney that we were going to Marble Arch instead of Hyde Park Corner.
12:40 - Split up. Shoes and I sent to hunt for missing persons.

Finally, we got everybody together and made it inside, after the minor hiccup of making our way to the front of the queue only to realise we hadn't decanted the wine into plastic bottles. A scuffle ensued as we fought our way back out and spilt wine everywhere while trying to funnel it into too-narrow water bottles.

Once we finally got settled, we had an absolutely fabulous day. TheArtyOne came along for the ride, and I met Jailbait for the first time, having previously only spoken to him on the phone. Even though there wasn't much sun, Miss M and I sat in bikini tops and I actually did get a bit of colour. I can't comment much on the actual Flugtag, as even though we sat near the big screen so we could see everything, I didn't take much notice of who was who or who did well. We mostly drank our vodka and caused a scene. We were the loudest people in a good 200m radius. TheArtyOne and I did our family proud with our shrieks of laughter (we call our mothers the hyenas because they are physically incapable of laughing quietly) and Scarf, who is easily the loudest person I have ever met in my life, only has to open her mouth and people turn to stare. Miss M fits right into the cacophony as well. Looking back, I feel we should be a bit embarrassed at how disruptive we were, but although everyone stared, they didn't say anything so I think we were probably ok.

The day culminated in everyone going back to our place to continue the party. Once again, we had neighbours knocking on our door telling us to keep the noise down - this has happened three times now in our new place. I know, I know. We really are trying, but these flats are so much less soundproof than the last ones. We can hear people walking in the flat above us - just walking, not stomping. Anyway, they've been quite good natured about it so far - I guess we should only expect dead animals through our letterbox after the 4th or 5th time.

Sunday was very relaxing. It was 27 degrees, so we went to the park to work on our tans. My skin has become used to the different sun here now, and it is lapping up the rays like a Arab at an oasis. I'm able to tan quite easily, even when the sun isn't very strong. As you can imagine, this puts me in very high spirits, especially as the Poms really struggle to tan evenly. After a sunny weekend I get to come into work looking like I've just come back from "abroad", as they like to say, even thought I haven't seen a beach in nearly 6 months. :-)