Friday, November 30, 2007


So long NaBloPoMo

And fingers crossed that I might win a prize, despite the dastardly tube making one of my posts after midnight.

I guess my post-it note can be retired until next year.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy birthday poet!

Happy birthday to my darling poet.

May your 50th year be filled with love and new poems. Good wines, excellent food and improved health. Book sales and phenomenal readings.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Almost there...

And while I will miss NaBloPoMo for the impetus it gave my blogging, it will be nice not to have to blog every single day unless I want to.

It's the poet's birthday tomorrow, so I'm wrapping his 'please only give me things that are useful' presents and getting ready for our big day out tomorrow. I'll probably go to the post office in the morning and send off a box of Christmas presents to Australia to avoid the hideous Saturday morning queues. Don't even speak to me about Abbey National - routinely queues out the door.

Just read in Metro tonight that there is another form of MRSA that's not hospital-acquired. Maybe this will be the pandemic the NHS is busy preparing for, not bird flu after all. I really really hope not. Not bird flu, not community MRSA, not anything. No pandemic, ok.

Monday, November 26, 2007

If Facebook doesn't believe in santa, I don't believe in Facebook

I've been over Facebook for a while. I don't really see the point apart from finding people you've lost touch with, and all those turkeys being thrown at me and being Superpoked is kind of irritating. Once I've found someone, I'd much prefer to keep in touch with people by email and snailmail, or in person if they're local.

I guess my internet community and livejournal experience, where you actually have a forum for discussion (that's not hidden under news feeds and who has friended who) and hearing about people's lives, probably made me a poor candidate for this kind of social networking site. Also, how do people have the time to do anything on Facebook except update their status and respond to all the invitations, pokes, growing gifts etc?

This Guardian article was the last straw. I'll keep my listing up, but I'll disable all of those applications.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I am grateful for Christmas cacti, cyclamen and fake Australian parrots in these dark November days. And Wes Anderson's latest, The Darjeeling Limited, for a spot of Indian sun in the midst of grey suburban London.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Howard out!

John Howard concedes defeat in the Australian election.

He definitely had long enough - ten years, or eleven? And Anne in Brisbane agrees with Anne in London who is from Brisbane,

I might look into postal voting for Australian elections in future. I think I've dropped off the electoral role after nine years in London. I did go along to the High Commission a few times to vote early on, but then it seemed to be more important to vote in the country I'm actually living in. Psst, Brown, can we have an election please?


Well, I could backdate my post by 40 minutes and pretend I'm posting on Friday, but it's officially Saturday and I have lost my NaBloPoMo cred. Dammit.

A big shout out to London Transport for being so slow in getting me and the poet home from his reading at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden - an excellent night of poetry from Jacqueline Gabbitas and my poet, with wonderful jazz and blues. Somehow ended up talking about the upcoming Australian election with the singer (who is from New Zealand). I think that may well be the only conversation about politics I have ever willingly engaged in in my life, and I don't pretend to have said anything knowledgeable. I should vote, really, but I haven't for a few years (I've been in the UK 9 and a half) and I do vote in the UK elections.

p.s. Dammit. I was doing so well with the daily posting, it feels really unfair to be caught out by a time issue. If only I felt safe blogging at work.

(Does it count if I was composing this post all the way home in my head)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Just when you thought there would be no more Buffy blogging

It's been a little while now since we watched the last episode. The pain of Anya's death is fading. The jonesing for a regular DVD fix is waning. I'm no longer thinking in Buffy-isms (which is a bit sad actually as some of the dialogue is darn witty). But I do still have this to sustain me:

I only own the first five issues, but apparently there could be as many as 50 by the time they finish. Not quite the same as having all the characters speak their lines outside my head, and nowhere near as funny, but it is satisfying to see what their creator thought would happen to them next.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wherein spam is strangely appropriate as an opener

My Beloved,

As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.
2007 has been a year of worrying about my health, maybe it's because now that I'm 37 I am starting to notice the signs of ageing. There has been mega-worrying about my teeth, which I've never had any problems with at all, but I now have some acid erosion, which isn't terrible or uncommon, but damn. So I'm rather obsessive about not eating lots of food which is acidic, and rinsing my mouth after fruit. Also, I'd like to get my teeth whitened but am concerned about the possible long term effects, also the sensitivity. I would hate to have lovely white teeth for a while, only for them all to fall out in 20 years...

And then I had a blocked ear from early August, which still hasn't cleared properly. No problems visible in two doctor visits and no real pain apart from occasional aching. Mystery. Strangely, I know several other people who've had ear issues recently, ongoing and mysterious like mine. Maybe there's some strange new virus around.

And just today, as the first period cramps from hell close in, I started to think about my ureters. Not that I often do, those poor neglected little tubes that run from my kidneys to my bladder. But it was relevant, I promise, because I have endometriosis, which happens to be on my ureters as well as other places. And I was in a Google kind of mood today, which was really reassuring. Like, renal failure reassuring. I shall think positive and since I haven't had any problems since surgery 4 years ago, I might just write to my consultant (I don't see her regularly as I don't really have much pain despite severe endo) and ask her if we should be monitoring those poor little tubes, especially if I decide to have a break from the continuous pill.

Not a particularly cheerful day, and I also made a silly non-work-related decision at work today, which I regret but felt right at the time. Hopefully it will all be ok.

But now, to finish as I began...
The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of Eleven Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars that I have with a Security Home/Deport in United Kingdom for safe keeping. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and disburse it to some charity organizations and to the less privileged. While I await to hear from you the earliest possible time to enable me give you some guard lines on how to get the project done.reply me through my reached email.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

BBDO (no, not the advertising agency)

It's the poet's birthday next week and we're going to continue the tradition (started last year) of a Big Birthday Day Out (BBDO). Last year we went into the West End and had lunch at the kind of all-you-can-eat Asian buffet the poet loves, then queued up in Leicester Square for half-price theatre tickets and saw a matinee performance of Les Miserables. Then it was over to the South Bank for a quick dinner and a very engaging theatrical interpretation of Virgina Woolf's The Waves.

(I had my own BBDO last year when we caught a train to Ely with a friend and played tourists for the day, cream tea included. This year we were in Italy for my birthday, it was more like a Big Birthday Weekend.)

This year the poet has to take his mother to an appointment late morning, so we'll be kicking off later, but I figure we can still fit in a matinee theatre performance and then dinner at Chez Gerard, where I am hopelessly in love with their anchovy butter. The poet likes his steak, so we'll both be happy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ugh, winter

Seriously, who could enjoy this weather - rainy and cold? I don't think even ducks would. I arrived at work with soaking feet and legs (umbrellas are so useless for any body part except the head), and after a day spent drying socks and shoes out on the radiator at work, I arrived home again with soaking feet thanks to walking between work, train, bus and home. At least it wasn't raining when I went for a walk at lunchtime.

I could potentially enjoy a very limited run of this weather if I was in a beautiful hotel with lots of good books, fine food and comfortable windowseats looking out onto some rugged and/or picturesque countryside. But having to go to work in it is not fun.

A friend just reminded me of this search engine -

Apparently, if Google had a black screen, taking in account the huge number of page views, according to calculations, 750 mega watts/hour per year would be saved. Being the eco-friendly little bunnies we hope they are, in response Google created a black version of its search engine, called Blackle, with the exact same functions as the white version, but with lower energy consumption:

It would be interesting to see if my power bills went down at all, using this instead of Google, but I'm not sure I use Google enough for Blackle to make a difference. An admirable idea, but really they should just change Google to a black background.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


The BBC weather forecast for today was 4 degrees (!) and rainy. So I stayed up until the early hours last night watching 'House' and tidying my desk, and then stayed in bed today until early afternoon. I walked to the library and Waitrose mainly to get some daylight (for SAD avoidance) and then came home, did a bit of housework and put our rapidly-becoming-a-tradition Sunday roast chicken in the oven. The poet has arrived home from his very well-received presentation at the NAWE conference in York, and is presently having a hot bath.

At this time of year, when the days start to get cold, on the first really cold day I always think it can't possibly get any colder. Then it does. And I always think I can't possibly handle it getting any colder, being a born Queenslander, sub tropical native and all, but I do. I just wish it didn't have to be cold and dark. We have had some beautiful sunny days lately, I hope they continue throughout winter.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Um, I just got on the NaBloPoMo randomizer!

Bus life

I bet the person who convinced some London bus companies to have automatic announcements on their buses thought they were pretty clever. They obviously don't have to travel with these excessively loud announcements blaring through the bus. And the problem with anything like this is that it's bound to be wrong at least some of the time. Making the problem they're ostensibly trying to solve (people not knowing where to get off) worse.

For some reason, the new electronic display always say 'Bounces Road' when the 192 goes down Fotheringham Road. Granted, it is a pretty bumpy and bouncy ride, but I have no idea where Bounces Road even is. I pity the non-residents who get off there thinking they're somewhere else entirely.

Tonight, on a very crowded 192, the entire bus collapsed in laughter when the announcement said, 'Please move down the bus. There are seats available on the upper deck.'

The 192 is a single-decker.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yes, just take the damn cheezburger already!

I need to stop obsessively refreshing this site: But there is just so much funny! Most of the pictures are cats, but I have a soft spot for frogs.

This little one reminds me of the tiny tree frogs that lived on a locut tree behind our garage when I was a kid. They were so incredibly sweet. We would stand under the tree and look for shadows on the leaves, then carefully put our hand over the leaf and pick up the frog. I'm sure they really loved that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This was a birthday present from Cristina's family, made by Cristina herself. She is so talented. I adore the paper it's bound with and now I just need to find photos special enough to fill this very special album.

The organisation I work for is having its very first Christmas party ever this year. I'm kind of apprehensive. I don't like huge social gatherings. I will try to stick close to my friends and probably end up putting lots of faces to names and probably have a really good time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How to find a lost friend - part 3


The email I sent to a school who listed her as a staff member in 2005 reached her as she still works there.

Also, today, for the first time since I started doing the puzzles about a week ago, I got the Sudoku puzzle in Metro out! Now fingers crossed that I win the £200. It's been a lucky year, so maybe.

1 for Wednesday

The more I see of Heather Mills in the tabloid press (or any media), the more bewildered I become. She's obviously really angry about a lot of things, and not afraid to say so, no matter how much more negative publicity it gets her, and how ridiculous it makes her look to the public. Could she also not be realising that Paul McCartney is seen by many as a national treasure and his perceived dignity and silence on the matter of their divorce only makes him look even better, and her even worse?

Today I read in Metro that she wants to become a gay icon because 'Gay men love a strong woman and I think I fit the bill, don't you?' Um, Heather, I don't think you can tell gay men (or any other group) that you want to be their icon. An icon has to emerge because they value your qualities, not because you value your qualities and think they should too. Ok, probably iconship is carefully managed and marketed too, but still. Telling people you want to be their icon may not be the best way of going about it, especially if all you're in the media for currently is being really angry and vengeful.

Because she seems to be someone, like a lot of someone's in a society that is raising many of its children to aspire to being famous*, who is trying to cement her role in a celebrity-obsessed society so that the money keeps rolling in for doing very little except be seen

*Famous for what? you might ask. Oh, just famous. Because look at all the so-called celebrities who aren't famous for being wonderful actors, or accomplished musicians, or fascinating artists or witty writers, they're just famous because they were on a reality television show. What can they actually do? Who knows! Maybe nothing more than the averagely talented person in the street. Scary though the thought may be, maybe even less than that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The poet's website has been down for about a month, and despite numerous emails to the provider of the free webspace, no reply has been forthcoming. It's been down before but they've always been prompt in resolving the problem. This time, however, we finally get a reply email along the lines of 'Oh, we're not offering free webspace anymore and you should have received an email advising you of this and offering you the opportunity to upgrade to a paid account.' No, we didn't. Shabby, Portland, very shabby.

Monday, November 12, 2007

How to find a lost friend - part 2

Ooh! Google helps again, up to a point. Looks like her ex-husband stayed in Australia after the divorce and is now in Sydney. No contact details for him either. But he is on facebook. She is not on his friends list, but I don't think she was ever into the internet much. I have no irl friends who are!

If only everyone had a blog...

Monday Flaubert

Whereas the truth is that fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.

(Madame Bovary)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Why is this? Why have so many of us lost a sense of public courtesy? We are richer than we have ever been but, equally, our sense of social obligation has never been weaker.
I know I'm going to come across as a total Grumpy Old Woman with this post, but seriously, I'm noticing such a lack of respect for other people and one's environment in today's society. Just this afternoon, I went to the cinema and unfortunately sat in the same row as a couple who talked for a fair amount of time through the film, which has always been pretty much par for the course in our north London cinema. But did they really have to keep turning their mobile phones on and distracting me with the bright light of the screen? Maybe I'm becoming one of a minority who goes to a film to watch a film, not to talk and send text messages.

Then I walked over to B&Q to buy some last-minute crocus and tulip bulbs for the garden. Because I can never have too many spring flowers. Walking ahead of me were a couple of young boys, dropping fastfood wrappers in their wake. Ok, I understand that 'Keep Britain Tidy' is not as inspiring or convincing as 'Keep Australia Beautiful', but come on... didn't their parents teach them not to drop litter? And then, the piece de resistance. A motorcycle rider decided he didn't want to wait in traffic but instead drove across two pedestrian crossings and their accompanying traffic islands, narrowly missing pedestrians in the process. What is that about? Too many people just wanting to do what they want to do, go where they want to go with no thought for other people. 'Me and mine' above all else.

These days I'm not so game to challenge people on their antisocial behaviour, because mostly you get told to F off, oh, and didn't you know that these days you get stabbed for asking someone to stop throwing chips at your girlfriend? I did call security once when some teenagers were running riot through a screening of a film, literally running around the cinema, and that was satisfying. Luckily they weren't waiting outside for me afterwards.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


If you gradually eat a whole bag of these, sent with birthday presents from home, all by yourself because your husband doesn't like them, you're not going to feel very well. You'll probably also be wondering what your more politically correct associates might make of a bag full of little chocolate jelly babies. Sorry, jubes.

How to find a lost friend

It's gradually come to my attention that I seem to have lost a friend. As in misplaced, as in lost touch and had no luck in tracing through the easy routes. The last time I saw her was just before she left England (2002, 2003?) to go back to Australia with her husband and son, and we were in email contact after that for a couple of years.

Mutual friends haven't heard from her. The email address she was using isn't valid anymore, neither is her parents' email address, which she was using for a while. I got no response from the wedding invitation mailed to her parents' home address.

So I've been thinking for a while of printing out a few 'Hi, how are you, but more to the point, where are you?' letters and sending them to her parents' home address (they might have moved), but also to all the primary schools, preschools, kindergartens and nurseries (last we knew she was an early childhood teacher) in the last town she mentioned as being 'home'. It's fairly likely she's no longer there, except that her son was at school there and she may have wanted to stay settled for that reason, but I don't really know where else to look. Google helped me with the name of a school she was working at in 2005 - but the site doesn't seem to have been updated since then. I might email the school with a request for a message to be passed on if she's still there. Maybe she doesn't want to be in contact with us anymore for some reason, or maybe she's lost all our contact info as well.

Friday, November 09, 2007


I realised, slightly too late, that I need to carry my camera around with me to attempt to capture some of the gorgeous autumn details. Here are a few from today, and tonight. Of course, London's not a patch on the countryside, but it has its moments.

I saw my first famous person for a while today. Fiona Shaw (with Saffron Burrows I think - or a clone) waiting at the same bus stop as me in Camden Town. Actually, the only reason I realised this familiar-looking person was Fiona Shaw was because of her leggy companion. I saw Saffron a couple of years ago in Fresh and Wild in Soho. These little celebrity encounters remind me where I am. It doesn't happen so much in Brisbane.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

As I left my therapist's rooms tonight, I passed a girl in the waiting room, music blaring from her ears via her iPod. For a moment, I had the faint hope she might be there for some iPod rehabilitation therapy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The work that never ends

The difficulty with being married to a poet, who also does teaching work and project work for the Royal Literary Fund (aka being kind of employed by Winnie the Pooh!), is that I come home from a day of being a very busy personal assistant, wanting to just veg out and watch Heroes, and the poet is still on the go.

Even worse, sometimes he wants to utilise my occasionally impressive skills on Powerpoint or Word, or needs me to design an Excel spreadsheet to help him do his taxes. Worse than that, sometimes he pays me to help him with a project and that means I have to get it done to time, on his terms. He is a perfectionist of the highest order. Which is admirable, but sometimes maddening. Thank goodness my boss at work is not a perfectionist or I would be tearing my hair out. Most of our arguments centre around the computer, like there is some irritated, grumpy vortex that just pulls me in when we sit down to work on something together.

My pc is the internet pc in our house, which means the poet spends a fair amount of time on it doing his email. His pc is the inviolable virus-free-clean-zone machine that has never been breathed upon by a dirty modem. And I've just come home to catch a peek at his inbox where there is a lengthy email from someone he's working with, with several attachments, which is going to mean he will be at my pc working for some time to come when he gets home. Hence this blog post being typed now. (Actually, hence this blog post at all!)

On a cheerier and less whinging note, am I the only blogger to get unfeasibly excited by someone I don't know commenting on my blog? It's just as well really, as I seem to have no irl friends who use the internet for fun (I feel like a 17-year-old with no friends who own mobile phones) and so Married to a Poet is mostly a comment-free zone.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Rabbits, cake and Hello Kitty

I've slightly run out of blogging steam and time so instead of posting something about me, I'll direct your attention to these other very worthy blogs:

Disapproving Rabbits - A blog showcasing the disapproval of our bunny friends
Hello Kitty Hell - Who knew there was so much to share about Hello Kitty?
Cupcake Bakeshop - I don't bake cakes, I rarely even eat cupcakes, but I cannot resist this blog and the scrumptious photographs.

My current favourite cupcake

Also, check out the NaBloPoMo Randomizer (button just on the right). I seem to get a few repeats of blogs when I use it, but it's a great way of finding new sites to read. And let's face it, we can all do with a few more funny/witty/superbly photographed/insightful/silly blogs in our internet lives.

Oh, here is an Anne snippet of little or no importance - the poet and I have been watching Heroes on DVD. I think I'm falling into a space where I can only enjoy television series with a fantasy element. Here's hoping Joss Whedon's new show Dollhouse fits the bill, even if Eliza Dushku looks worrying like Heather Graham in that photo.

Monday, November 05, 2007

So Bourgeois

I'm not really up with contemporary art, or any art for that matter. I have a definite soft spot for Magritte, but otherwise my knowledge is pretty scanty. I saw a room filled with Louise Bourgeois' nighttime doodles at the Tate and was intrigued, but since then I haven't been that drawn to much of her work. Until I saw this cushion in last Saturday's Guardian Weekend magazine.

For someone in her nineties especially, that's pretty cool. With which succinct statement I cleverly illustrate just why I don't comment on art much.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


The power of positive thinking

I just won £20 from the poet in a bet that a free PDF converter would work on his computer without any problems. He often seems to come to things relating to computers anticipating that they will probably go wrong - based on some past experience. So the PDFs worked perfectly and I now have £20. He originally wanted to bet £100, but as I am rather broke, I said no. How I wish now I had been more positive!

And yay for the lucrative power of positive thinking!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


We've been lucky enough to travel to Italy twice this year, and both times ate a lot of gelati, because it really is the best, in Europe at least. I think King Island (Tasmania) might produce some pretty special ice cream along with all that cream and cheese. These two flavours, the top one from the best gelateria in the world - Della Palma (there's one in Rome and one in New York) - and the bottom flavour from Orta, gave us pause for thought.

Yes, it does say Viagra.

One last thing about poets

This one, anyway. He may profess that he adores a certain character in a certain sadly finished television series, and yet he takes particular pleasure in watching her die, over and over, on the DVD. Is it sexy or something to have a sword run through you from shoulder to navel?


So, Orta was really beautiful.

Picture an old cobbled-street town on the bank of a huge lake. And in the middle of that lake, a tiny island that looks like it has been torn from the pages of a fairytale book, crammed with ancient buildings including a church that houses a saint in a glass box. Actually, he's mostly just bones now. Look up from the lake to the surrounding mountains, the Dolomites, some with faint snow caps, and beyond them to the Alps and Switzerland. Look down to the plate on the table in the little restaurant you are sitting in and lift your fork.

You have to do all that work because the photo really doesn't do it justice.

Yes, actually, I am married to a poet

So I realised that for a blog called Married to a Poet, I don't really write that much about the whole being married to a poet thing. For all I know, you're thinking about spending a fairly big proportion of your life with a poet too and you've stumbled here in search of tips and experience.

Not sure I have much to offer there, unless your poet is like mine - not recognisably a stereotypical poet i.e. not fey or sentimental. He's not a performance poet by the popular definition of the word which seems to equate pretty well with 'rapper'. But he is an incredible performer (he co-founded a group called Shadowork, who create amazing voice soundscapes) and he writes damn good poetry. He has published about seven books, two of which have sold out and one is in a second print. Oh, and he was a physicist first. And yet not geeky either. Come to think of it, he is all about not conforming to stereotype.

Anyway, here are some musings about poetry from a poet wife's perspective.

1. The poetry world, in the UK at least, is rather political, and it does increasingly seem who you know rather than the quality of your work that gets you readings and festival appearances and residencies and sometimes even published. This is a big frustration that you will probably come to share and wish you could blog about.

2. You cannot make a living by writing and publishing poetry alone. Maybe someone like Seamus Heaney can, or the few poets in the curious higher echelons who are at every festival, have agents and command high fees, but your average pretty successful poet is going to need a day job, or at least do a lot of freelance work. Teaching is popular, and there is an ever-growing hungry adult student body for creative writing classes and workshops (witness the rise of the creative writing MA in the UK) as well as all those kids in schools. Getting work on BBC radio is good, because they pay per minute.

3. If you write poetry yourself, and you become intimate with another poet, you may just feel the desire to start working in another genre if your loved one's mastery of the art makes you wonder why you bother. Or maybe that's just me.

4. You may arrive home from work, or return from being in another room to find a poem or several awaiting your audience. You may get a phone call which is a poem. You may surprise yourself at just how usefully critical your reading of poetry becomes.

5. You may find yourself reading poems written before the poet met you, and wishing they were written for you, or just that you had been around to give him/her a hug.

Like this one.


I'd stand at the door like one bereaved:
Aghast and breathless,
With silence stretched between us
For a second
Before it snapped -
And my heart burst its banks
In belief.

Then I'd draw you in by both hands
I'd kiss you on the mouth, on the face
Wear out your name
with soft saying
I'd kiss you more than you would want
Until you'd have to draw back, breathless
As one wounded
To try to speak, to tell me
Why it was you came.