Archive for June, 2007

Wanted: New Friends

I have been living in Amsterdam for about 6 years now and the problem with being and mixing with expats is that most of them are not here permanently. The fact is most people come for work and stay for about 2 to 3 years so in the last six years I have waved goodbye to many good friends and another one of them is leaving at the end of July. It never gets any easier to say goodbye to them and gets even harder to then go off and try to meet new friends. In fact I met Tina (who leaves at the end of the month) through a dating website, she emailed me and asked if I fancied trying to meet men the traditional way i.e. whilst very drunk and wearing inappropriate shoes. On our first date after a few ladylike wines she casually asked if I would like to help her entertain 40 Irish dairy farmers who she knew through a friends cousin. Of course I said yes and the spent the rest of the next day being sick. We have been firm friends ever since and she was my most succesful date. She also gets all the credit for the talented Mr. Rigby as he was her friend first. I am going to miss her like crazy but there are still a few weekends left!!I met one of my other best friends out here too, although I actually went to school with her brother we didn’t meet till she moved Netherlands way. Keri and I could not be more different she married at 18 and had a baby about a week later closely followed by two more but she is my best friend luckily as she moved back to my home town we still see a fair bit of each other. We also tend to call each other on a Friday night and drink wine together and laugh till I wet myself. She is also a fantastic shopper and jewellery designer so the gifts are pretty good too!

So now have to go find friends again, what if no one wants to play with me.

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Definitely time to start the diet I have been putting off. This morning on the tram a lovely polite young girl got up and gave me her seat, I was a bit shocked so sat down and then started to think why would she do that? I was definitely older than her but not at the needing a seat stage. Then it came to me in a flash. Oh My God she thinks I am pregnant! But rather than be offended that she thought my lovingly cultivated beer belly was holding a wee one I actually started to feel guilty that I had taken her seat on false pretences so I spent the rest of the journey with my hand gently resting on my belly and smiling serenely.

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I have noticed on my last few trips to sunny sunny Bournemouth that nearly all the girls dress the same, looks that seem religiously copied from the ‘fashion’ pages of NOW magazine and it makes me think it is a bit of a shame, I mean wear what you want but you can’t possibly all want to be WAGS. This time it was it was skinny jeans, maternity style floral tops or tunics. Now did you know that skinny jeans do not make you look skinny, in fact they make you look quite fat especially if you are quite fat. And if you combine them with a tunic you probably will not look like Kate Moss but rather an egg on legs. And leggings and ballet flats, they are everywhere!!!

There just doesn’t seem to be any variety, however it is all so very very cheap in comparison with Amsterdam so when you see me in six weeks lugging a basket full of ballet flats, leggings and floral print tunics through Primark stop me and have a right go, you have my permission.

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The talented Mr. Rigby likes to tell me about his dreams, this can be quite sweet but also quite dull. However I have noticed that one of the main themes in his dreams is me treating him badly. For example he once dreamt that I had been on the Liverpool FC website and actually rolled over and refused to speak to me in the morning and then last week when I woke up to go to work a full hour before he gets up he rolled toward me and said “You were so mean to me last night and in front of all those people”. It would seem that he had dreamt that I had dumped him while we were in the big brother house. I like to think that he dreams of me being so mean because I am so lovely in real life.

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So I finally got round to doing one of my Miranda July assignments, I picked number 14 – Write your life story in less than a day, now as usual I did not read the assignment details properly so it isn’t quite what they asked for but hey it is my blog I can make the rules!

Life Story

I was born in 1975, two weeks overdue, in the Louise Margaret hospital. My middle name is Louise we moved three months later and I kept on moving after that. By the time I had got to secondary school I had lived in three countries and 10 houses. My first memory is hearing the opening credits of the ten o’clock news and wandering downstairs to find that my parents had gone out. I put on my coat and walked to my friends house unbelievably her mother sent me home alone, my parents were actually only next door for a few minutes and were pretty scared when they saw I was missing. I was 4.


When I was 5 we moved to a flat and I was terrified that Father Christmas would not find me because we had no chimney, when I woke up on Christmas day my dad had made footprints in the snow to make it look like Father Christmas had climbed over the balcony. It was one of the most magical experiences of my life but my dad doesn’t remember it so perhaps it didn’t happen.


I am an only child but spent most of my summer holidays in France with my cousin who was also an only child (until she was 10) I bossed her around all the time and usually made sure she got the crap parts in our plays. I think this is proof that I would have made a bad big sister. I always wanted an older brother though so had an imaginary one called Robert, he was handsome and sporty and he always introduced me to his friends. I think my dad would have been very proud of him.


I had a happy childhood and when I look back at it the overwhelming colour is yellow, warm summer sunshine yellow. In the photos I never seem to have any clothes on and appear to be constantly in water. I still love the water and whenever I feel ill or down it is in the bath you will find me. I thought my mum was the most beautiful woman in the world she had long blonde hair, red nails and red lips; she still is the most beautiful woman in the world.


I liked school because I liked to see my friends and although I did well I always felt thick, I wanted to be an artist but got very low grades in art so studied to be an art teacher in primary school instead. I quit, I also quit my next degree. I went travelling to Australia and came back after a weekend, the same crew who flew out where on my return trip, I was mortified and knew that I would regret it the rest of my life.


My parents split up 2 months before my 21st birthday after 24 years of marriage it was the single hardest thing I have had to cope with and I am proud of how we all did. We are still a family but a bigger one now.


I went back to university at 23 and paid for it all myself, I graduated at 26 and moved to Amsterdam to become a grown up and live with the love of my life, unfortunately he was already in love with someone else.


I have had three serious relationships one of three years, one of nearly eight and the one I am in now. The middle one broke my heart; this one has mended it and made it bigger.


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Am I getting too old to go to gigs, yes probably. I had been nursing a sore neck all day yesterday which I was convinced was from sleeping in a draught however last night when I went to see The Pigeon Detectives (they were fab) I lifted my head to see the stage and a searing pain ran straight down my neck and made me remember that I had also spent Sunday night looking up to the stage watching Art Brut and Black Wire. I was going to take some comfort in the fact that Eddie Argos from Art Brut had to be at least as old as me but his myspace page lists him as 27, I’m definitely getting close to being the oldest swinger in town. 

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I went to a book lecture last night because I am the intelligent artsy type or boring and lonely (I went on my own) you choose. I was actually super excited because it was Miranda July and she was going to read from her new book of short stories. I hadn’t read the book but I loved the film Me and You and Everyone We Know so was looking forward to it and a bit intrigued. However Ms. July was joined by Wilfred Takken, Arts Editor for NRC Handelsblad who was to interview her on stage. Now this part of the evening was awful, really cringe worthy as he alternated between smug arts correspondent bollocks to badgering her about writing as a woman (Mr. Takken –she is a fucking woman) Miranda July looked confused for the most part and embarrassed for the rest.

However I still loved it. Miranda July, I think I love you. It was wonderful to listen as you read your short story The Boy From Lam Kien and when I read it later sitting on the balcony it was only your voice I could hear.

I have been to a few of these things before but this was the best. The only thing is that I now really regret  losing my bottle and not going to get my book signed, you see I was on my own and didn’t know what to say. Completely star struck!

 I also found out about her website http://learningtoloveyoumore.com/ which gives people art assignments, I think I will pick one and give it a go.

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I was sitting on the tram this morning desperately trying to keep my head and cup of coffee upright when a tiny pretty wee slip of a girl sat down beside me. I half smiled and then went back to staring listlessly out of the window. All of a sudden my whole body was vibrating and my coffee was doing that ta da ta da thing like when the dinosaur arrives in Jurassic
Park. I was genuinely frightened and all because this tiny wee girl had started to speak. She had the loudest and deepest voice I have ever heard, she was on her mobile yelling about being late (well I think it was that but my Dutch is really only the menu variety) and I could not help but stare at her in horror. How could someone that tiny and cute looking possibly have such a deep deep voice?

Anyway after recovering it got me to thinking about voices and accents and how they affect what people think of you. Since I have been living in
Holland I am often asked if I am American/South African/Australian and I think that is because I spend so much time with so many different nationalities. I like to think I have a very nice British accent – in fact was once asked if I had ever considered doing phone sex lines which I  took  as a compliment, it was wasn’t it?

And accents are odd things too, the Talented Mr. Rigby often suffers from wandering accent syndrome (Liverpool, Norwich, Sheffield –all lovely!!) but for me the absolute worst is when I catch myself saying things like chips for crisps and cell for mobile. I hate myself for that!

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beard song

I went to see the Kaiser Chiefs a couple of nights ago and due to feeling a bit under the weather decided to miss the support and go straight for the real deal. Unfortunately the place was packed to the rafters with enormous Dutch people. The Dutch are really really tall and I am only five foot so I was starting to panic when the opening chords of ‘I predict a riot’ started up and I was still stranded on the landing desperately trying to tiptoe to the height of seven foot while holding my coat and two pints but then I spotted a bench at the front row of the balcony. It was tricky though as it seemed to be occupied by an enormous man, his coat, his tiny girlfriend and her coat still I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if I could squeeze in. What followed was a look of complete disgust and very drawn out folding of coat and shuffling. WHATEVER, I had a front row seat!! But the fat rude man did make me think – why it is that so many large (fat) men have beards or more specifically goatees. I think it might be so that can show people where their chin really should be, maybe they think it gives their faces a chiselled edge, it doesn’t.

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